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Staying Positive When Business Feels Uncertain

If you are a self-employed business owner you’re familiar with this scene:  One day you know with 100% certainty that you are doing what you have been called to do and the next you are ready to throw in the towel.  Early on in business this wild ride can happen within mere minutes.  Once you’re a little more established the frequency of these episodes tends to become fewer and farther between but they can still happen.

This message is for two people:  1) the new business owner so you know that if you are experiencing these doubts you are normal and 2) the still new but more established business owner who has a good track record but still experiences doubt from time to time.

The answer is simple:  Know Your Numbers and Don’t Worry.  Easier said than done so read on…let go

If you have been around long enough, compare how you are currently doing to how you did at the same period last year.  It’s easy to worry when business doesn’t seem to be growing as fast as you’d like it to.  One way to get perspective is to see how you did previously.  Have you grown?  If so, great!  Recognize your growth and make sure you know how you did it.  Then do more of it.  The only way to know for sure is to track your numbers and where your clients come from.  We call these your ‘sales and sources’.  This information is priceless.  If you haven’t been tracking get started with a simple spreadsheet.

If growth has decreased or has been stagnant, investigate to find out why.  Don’t be too quick to blame the economy or some other outside influence.  Sometimes we get in our own way.  Were you doing some marketing before that you stopped doing?  It might feel like you’re doing everything and more but when you’re wearing all the hats it’s easier than you might think to lose track of what’s working.  If you have been tracking your ‘sales and sources’ it’s easy to pinpoint the problem and make a correction.

Worrying won’t make anything better.  It keeps you in the problem and away from the solution.  How do you get rid of worry?  First, know your numbers to confirm that you’re not totally off track.  Then, relax and let go.  In other words, have faith that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and that everything will be okay.  This is a tall order.  I was fortunate to be part of this experience with one of my clients while developing her business plan.  The business was in good shape but she couldn’t stop worrying.  Finally she let go and surrendered and she is experiencing growth in her business like never before.  She made a conscious decision to stop worrying and give it over to faith.  That can happen for you too.

My encouragement for you is that if you are worrying and getting stressed out about your business you will first check your numbers and if they confirm that you are doing the right thing, you will let go and surrender to the faith that you are exactly where you are supposed to be (even if it doesn’t feel good!).  Remember, you can achieve whatever you believe as long as you are willing to work for it!

Listen to this topic on BlogTalkRadio.

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice for business development and marketing strategy for the self-employed business owner who is going places.

Make The Effort, Don’t Worry About The Outcome

Do you ever avoid taking action because you’re worried about what might happen?  If so, repeat after me: I am responsible for the effort, not the outcome.  Simply put, you need to do the necessary things, the right things, and the important things.

This is one of my favorite philosophies and it has come up a couple of times recently.  One related to marketing and one related to handling difficult conversations with employees.  Whether it’s reaching out to prospects or having tough conversations with employees, remember that you are responsible for the effort, not the outcome.  You can’t possibly predict how someone will respond and really your only responsibility is the effort. effortnotoutcome

What holds people back from making the effort is the fear of how others will, or won’t, respond.   Sometimes the response is positive and sometimes it’s not but we have to make the effort but do we really have an alternative?  Certainly not if we’re trying to build a business or be a good leader.  Good business people and good leaders don’t avoid doing the hard things.  They can’t or they won’t be in their position for long.

The number one reason self-employed business owners don’t send out a newsletter consistently is that they are afraid of getting unsubscribes from their list.  The reality is it’s going to happen.  It happens to me every week.  Who knows why people on your list unsubscribe.  The reason doesn’t matter anyway.  You can’t control that outcome.  If you avoid sending a newsletter because of the people who might not want it you’re cheating all the people who do want to hear what you have to say.  There are plenty of those.

If I quit making the effort every time the outcome didn’t turn out in my favor I wouldn’t be in business.  Just yesterday I got not one, but two, rejections for speaking engagements I applied for.  Two in one day!  Ouch.  Should I quit making the effort?  Of course not!  I have no choice but to persist if I want to use speaking as a marketing tool.  And I do, in fact it’s my highest priority.  Good thing my calendar is full of other opportunities including a trip out East for two speaking engagements, and an interview with a host from Canada.  The only reason my calendar is full is because I made the effort and didn’t worry about the outcome.  More importantly, I continue to make the effort in spite of an occasional no.

The point?  You won’t always get the outcome you want so let it go and focus on the positive outcomes you do get.  And don’t worry, you will get them.  As long as you keep making the effort.

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best place for step by step, focus and direction to grow your business.  Download your free eBook 5 Ways to Boost Your Business Now!

Catch The Wave Of Success

The exciting thing about life is that you never know what’s right around the corner. But… it can be hard to maintain a feeling of excitement and anticipation when you’re working hard to achieve something and it doesn’t seem like you’re getting results.wave

Working towards something significant is sort of like surfing. You have to paddle against the tide to reach the wave and if you stop paddling the tide will push you backwards. But if you just keep going you might finally hit the wave. When you do you might fall off your board. Or, what you thought was a big wave might turn out to be just a ripple.

You don’t stop because one day you might just catch the big wave. When you do, you’ll ride that wave and though it requires skill it will seem effortless. Because all the time you thought you weren’t getting anywhere you were actually acquiring the skills you needed to ride the wave. Every time you tried standing and fell off you learned. Every time you went for it you learned. With every wipeout your skills improved. And when you learned the skills you needed the wave was there and you caught it.

There are five stages you will experience as you search for your big wave:

1) You have to put your toe in the water. You have to get going, you have to get out there and it all starts with one small step. Waves don’t just fall in your lap, you have to go find them.

2) You’re going to fall down. Expect to fall down. There is a learning curve involved in everything new that we do. To think otherwise is to let your pride get in the way. Our pride doesn’t want us to make mistakes.

3) You’re going to get up. Experience is the best teacher. Every time you fall down you learn what not to do. Be grateful that you can get up. Your pride might be hurt but a little bruised pride never hurt anyone.

4) You’re going to fall down again. Think of it as another learning opportunity! Every stumble brings you closer to mastering the skill.

5) You’re going to get up again and this time you’ll catch the wave! Maybe you’ll have to repeat the fall down/get up cycle a few more times but every try increases the odds that you will catch that wave. When do you catch your wave you’ll be propelled along by the momentum and all that paddling and falling off will have been worth it.

One thing is certain, if you stop paddling you’ll never reach that wave. My encouragement for you is that you will take that first step and if you’ve already taken the first step, you’ll keep getting up until one day you’re riding the wave of success. That day could be right around the corner. Remember, you can achieve whatever you believe as long as you are willing to work for it!

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, a great place for developing skills to succeed personally and professionally.

61% of content marketers consider this an effective method…

Event marketing is one of the hottest tickets in town according to the B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends North America report.  67% of B2B content marketers say live events are effective and 61% of B2B content marketers consider webinars to be effective.  That is good news if you market to other businesses.

Why is that such good news?  Well, keeping the focus on webinars, they are an inexpensive way to reach a targeted market over a wide geographic area.  In fact, you can reach a global audience and it doesn’t cost much to put on a webinar.  There are many webinar hosting services to choose from but my personal preference is InstantTeleseminar.  It has everything I need to deliver a high quality presentation and has the replay capabilities I need at a fair monthly price. Other system needs are a lead capture system, a telephone (or VOIP), and email.  Standard technology for any business.

Why is event marketing so popular?  Because event marketing is a form of engagement marketing and engagement marketing is all about the relationships.  People want to experience you before they buy and event marketing is a great way to do that.  Keep this in mind if you are hosting webinars. People love information but they also want a relationship that develops through two-way conversation. webinar

Are you accessible?  If you are hosting a webinar, host it live so that you can allow for Q&A sessions.  Pre-recorded webinars lack a personal touch and it is somewhat discouraging when you realize that while the host wants your attention they won’t take the time to sit in on their own event.  Even if the person interested in your event can only listen to the replay, therefore missing the live touch, they knew that the event was live.

Relevancy is key.  There is something stale about a pre-recorded webinar.  There is no sense of urgency.  It is like a book or magazine that sits on the side table unread even though you have every intention of getting to it.  The stack keeps piling up but you never seem to get to it.  A pre-recorded webinar elicits the same response and that can have detrimental effects if you have a time-sensitive offer.

If you are looking for new avenues to engage your audience and deliver your expertise through content, I strongly suggest giving webinars a try.  Incorporate this method with the intent of creating relationships by opening up the means for initiating dialogue.  It is one of the most affordable, simple ways to get the relationship started with an audience who is interested in what you have to say.

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice for planning and development.  Download ‘5 Ways To Boost Your Business Now!’

A Problem/Solution Ratio That Leads To Success

The inspiration for this week comes from an article I read titled 20 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. This is #9…

“Sh*t happens. Life can be hard. People get hurt; others die. Life isn’t all roses and butterflies. You will fall off that horse again and again and again. The question is, are you strong enough to keep getting back on it?”

Sound harsh? I don’t think so. I’ve spent plenty of time feeling sorry myself. I can assure you that dwelling on the negativity never helped me move forward. Not once. Even worse was sharing the misery with others. It is true that misery loves company.

Talking about problems is fine but it’s only half the equation. The other half of the equation is usually missing – talking about a solution. I never used to be interested in finding solutions, at least not ones that were good for me. It was so much more satisfying to focus on the problem. Or so I thought. Over time I learned that talking about the problem only needs to be a small fraction of the problem/solution ratio.

I have found that 10:90 problem:solution ratio was better than my old ways of a 90:10.  I used toproblems solutions spend most of my time in the problem.  Things changed for me when I got tired enough of myself to want to change. These days I want solutions. I want to be around people who want solutions. I want to work with clients who want solutions. Sitting in the problem is not the solution. I can either accept things as they are or I can do something. Not accepting and not doing anything are no longer options.

If you want to start focusing more on solutions, here’s a little step by step formula to follow:

1)  Identify the problem in just a few words.  No more than one sentence.  Don’t get caught in the drama of it all.

2)  Come up with 5 things you can do about it.

3)  List the pros and cons of each option.

4)  Decide on the best course based on the information you have.

5)  Take action!

My encouragement for you is that you will identify one problem you’ve been complaining about (if you can’t think of any, ask someone close to you, I’m sure they can help you find something) and go through this process of getting to the solution.  You’ll be way better off.

Remember, you achieve whatever you believe as long as you are willing to work for it!

Care to listen to this article?  Check out Monday Morning Movation on BlogTalkRadio.

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice for business development.  Download your free eBook ‘5 Ways To Boost Your Business Now!

A Clear, Simple Method For Achieving Goals

It’s January 5th and for many people that may mean their New Year’s resolutions may already be a faint memory. No worries, you can start over any time you want. Or, if you’re like me and haven’t done any yet, you can start whenever you want. I’m being extra purposeful this year. Last week I wrote about choosing a word for 2014 and I finally settled on one. My word is ‘steward’. Now that I have my word in mind I’m going to create my one-year goals around my word. I choose one-year goals instead of resolutions and they seem to work better for me.

Let me share a run-down of a method that works and doesn’t take a lot of time. First, start with a daily monthly goalsbrainstorming session and write down everything you can think of that you want in each of the 7 areas of life (career, financial, relationships, recreation, health, personal growth, and community). After you’ve exhausted all your idea, choose your top 3 in each area and those become your one year goals.

Next, and this is the key, choose 3 small goals per week that support one or more of your one-year goals. You don’t need to do 3 goals for each area of life, just 3 goals total. Small, purposeful actions over the course of one year will make a significant impact on your life. Just make sure you’re not giving all your attention to one area. The idea is to go for balance.

Each week, when you have your 3 goals in place, use a daily time blocking technique to intentionally carve out time to do everything you said you wanted to do. The biggest lie in the world people tell themselves to absolve themselves of responsibility for their lack of action is that there isn’t enough time. I would prefer that people would just be honest with themselves and not say they want to do things that they really don’t.

And finally, commit to improvement every month. Be mindful about your attitude and commit to working on improving a specific attitude each month. What skills do you need to master? What training will you take? What book will you read?
A few consistent actions taken over the course of time can change your life. If this sounds like a method you can work with, check out the How to Organize & Manage Your Time – A One Year Planning and Action Guide. This workbook has everything you need to meet your goals over the next year.

Remember, you can achieve whatever you believe as long as you are willing to work for it!

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice for personal and professional development for the self-employed.  Get your free eBook ‘5 Ways To Boost Your Business Now!’

The Power Of Words

Words have the power to build up and tear down. Words have power, but not on their own. It’s up to us to use them for good or bad whether it’s for other people or ourselves. I try to use them for good towards others and myself.words

One thing I’ve done the last two years is choose a word that is significant to my personal and professional growth. My word for 2013 was ‘surrender’ and boy did I get more than I bargained for with that, in a very good way as it turns out. I knew it was the word for me when someone suggested it to me and my initial reaction included a tightening of my gut and the thought “no way, I can’t give up control”. My reaction sealed the deal and it became my word.

Now, you might be wondering why I would pick such a word. Well, when left to my own devices and my self-will, I have a tendency to get in my own way. That little word made me challenge myself in surprising ways and do things I never thought I would do. It allowed me to let go of beliefs that weren’t serving me and to be open to opportunities. Ironically, it takes a lot more strength to let go than it does to hang on.

The problem with doing the same old things is that we get the same old results. Change can be uncomfortable but it’s the only through adversity that we grow. I am an advocate of personal and professional growth and I don’t mind the discomfort that comes with it. At least after the fact!

I’ve been encouraging my clients to choose a word and I encourage you to do the same. As you reflect on the year and take inventory of your highlights and lowlights, make a conscious effort to identify one specific word that would make a significant impact on your life in the coming year. Make it your anchor word and use it to push yourself and stretch yourself into places you wouldn’t normally go.

Some ideas are:

Persistence – do you find yourself giving up too soon?
Positivity – are you a glass half-empty kind of person?
Abundance – are you afraid there isn’t enough to go around?
Faith – do you question your abilities and what you’re doing?
Courage – do you hold back?

Once you have your word, use it as a starting point for finding quotes, scripture, verses, and affirmations to support your efforts and give you encouragement as you face opportunities for growth. I promise that any discomfort will be well worth it. Remember, you can achieve whatever you believe as long as you are willing to work for it!

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice for business development.  Get your free eBook ‘5 Ways To Boost Your Business Now’.

Growing In Confidence

I thought I’d share a few thoughts on confidence to start the week off.  I choose this topic, as I choose most of my topics, based on conversations I’ve had during the last week.  It isn’t uncommon at all for people to question their abilities or the path they’re on.  In fact, it’s probably more the rule than the exception.  It’s funny how easy it is for us to look around and think that everyone else knows what’s going on.  That everyone has the answers.  The truth is, people are looking at you thinking the same thing.life has purpose

Confidence comes from knowing deep down that we are doing exactly what we are meant to be doing.  The problem many of us run into is that we aren’t always sure if we are on the right path.  We wish for a bright neon sign to light the way but often find ourselves fumbling around in the dark doing the best we can.  In my experience, that isn’t always a bad thing.  Think about it.  What would be the reward if everything came easy?  Searching for answers builds character.  I know that’s probably not what you want to hear.  It’s a better option than staying in the dark though.

One way to get validation of your purpose is to take an inventory of your assets.  Can’t find any?  Then you are being way too hard on yourself and you need some help.  Go online and get the book StrengthsFinder 2.0.  It will be one of the best $20 you’ll ever spend.  Follow the directions to take the quiz and you’ll get a report of your top 5 strengths.  It’s a start and you’ll have something to work from.  Read the meanings behind each strength and really look at how each one makes you unique.  Then OWN them!

One of my top strengths is ‘significance’.  When I first saw it, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the connotation.  I misunderstood what it meant.  I thought it meant arrogance.  As someone who has been all too familiar with arrogance, I couldn’t see how that could be a strength.  It only seemed to have caused trouble for me in the past.  I found out later that ‘significance’ simply means wanting to make a difference, to have a positive impact on others.  That helped put a lot of pieces of my puzzle together.  Now I understand what makes me want to coach, to speak, to train.  It fits me.

I have been fortunate to have been exposed to all kinds of personal and professional development over the years.   My strengths drive me to always search for continuous understanding and improvement of myself so that I can be the best at whatever I’m supposed to be the best at.  Each of us has our own thing we are meant to be the best at.  Finding that out and owning it allows our confidence to grow.  Overcoming the sure trials and tribulations that come along are part of the process and only serve to make you stronger.

My friends, my encouragement for you this week is that you will spend time focusing on your strengths and challenging yourself to become the best you can be using the gifts you have been given!

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice for business development planning and implementation.  Get your free eBook ‘5 Ways To Boost Your Business Now!’.

While You’re Waiting…

Planning is a very important part of my philosophy and something I am passionate about teaching to others. I firmly believe that to get anywhere in life you have to have an idea of where you want to go and take steps to get there. It’s part of my Vision, Goals, Focus, Action philosophy. I also believe that as we make the best decisions we can, with the information we have, our plans have a way of working out (or not working out as the case may be) in a way that is best.

Plan as we might, there are times when we have to wait. Things don’t move as quickly as we’d like or they appear to be moving in the wrong direction. Despite what you might hear from some people, waiting is the norm not the exception.waiting

Waiting can be hard. We might question ourselves, our abilities, and our decisions. When these concerns pop up, as they are prone to do, it can be easy to slip into fear or panic. I’ve found a better way… I have learned to turn the waiting time into opportunity time. I have the opportunity to be open to new ideas, learning new skills, or working on building a certain character trait. This is time for Focus.

Just knowing that this is a time for focus and growth doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy so this is a time for grabbing on to positive quotes, affirmations, or verses. Two of my favorites are ‘Everything is in perfect order’ and another good one is ‘Everything is exactly as it is supposed to be right now’.

Both of those sayings are filled with hope. They are a reminder that in spite of what I want and when I want it, I don’t know the whole picture and when the time is best. Those sayings keep me grounded and keep me focused on what is in my control. The things that are in your control are: your attitude, your actions, and your decisions.

  • Choose a positive attitude. Choose to believe the best is yet to come. Choose to believe that when one door closes another one opens. Choose to keep an open mind.
  • Choose to continue to take action even when you aren’t sure where you are going. Sometimes the best way to find out which path to take is to take a few steps on the wrong one.
  • Choose to make decisions. Decisions, like action, even if they aren’t exactly right often lead us to where we need to be. The inability to make decisions can be debilitating.

My encouragement for you is that if you are not yet where you want to be, you will take stock of where you are and find opportunities to improve, to grow, and to learn while you are waiting. Make the most of your waiting time. Stay sharp, improve, and be ready to go when the time is right. Remember, you can achieve whatever you believe as long as you are willing to work for it!

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice for business planning.  Get your free eBook 5 Ways to Boost Your Business Now!

Give Thanks On Your Journey

Every good thing requires a period of cultivation and preparation before we are ready to reap a bountiful harvest.  The time of preparation is often difficult and comes with little gratification.  We may want to give up because we can’t see that we are making any progress.  Take time to count the small blessings to fuel your motivation.give thanksL

I love the analogy of planting a garden when it comes to illustrating the principles of success.  Imagine you want a beautiful flower garden bursting with colorful, fragrant, healthy plants.  You’re excited as you browse through plant catalogs and start to create a plan of what it will look like.  You might even sketch it out.  But when you look out your window all you see is a weedy, rocky, barren patch of ground.

The picture you painted in your mind of your glorious garden may temporarily fade as you face the reality but it’s still there and it grows and becomes stronger than the reality of what’s waiting for you outside.  And when your motivation reaches a certain level you grab your shovel and rake and get to work.

It’s fun at first, especially the first time the shovel cuts the soil and goes beneath the surface, but after a while your hands begin to blister and your back hurts.  Every shovel of dirt looks the same and the newness wears off.  Rather than hiding rich, black soil, the weeds and rocks you removed reveal a sandy soil that nothing will grow in.  With a sinking feeling you realize that this is going to be a lot more work than you bargained for.   It’s too late to back out now.  You can’t just abandon it and it would take as much effort to put it back the way it was than to forge ahead.

So you forge ahead.  At this point maybe all you can see is an insurmountable obstacle in front of you and you may begin to resent the fact that you started this project.  You may doubt yourself and your abilities and you may start to lose hope.  Instead of letting negativity get the best of you, why not focus on the all the progress you’ve made so far?  You may have to search for the achievements, but they are there.  After all, you started didn’t you?  That is achievement in itself.

This time of Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on how far you’ve come and the progress you’ve made.  Even though you may not be where you want to be, you’re certainly much further than when you started.   My encouragement for you is that you will take a moment to stop and give Thanks for the progress you’ve made no matter where you are on your journey!

Liz Uram is the owner of The Coach & Mentor Group, the best choice to help you organize your ideas and take action!  Get your free eBook, 5 Steps To Boost Your Business Now!

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