Building a Business can be a Slippery Slope – Avoid the Landslide!

January 18, 2012

Building a business can be a slippery slope, if you allow it to be. One of the ways to avoid the slip is to recognize that the foundation of a strong business is clear communication and a strong message. Steering clear of false, overstated promises means avoiding a landslide that inevitably forms as a result of uncertainty and an unclear business message.

What do I mean by “slippery slope”? I’m talking about a business built on a shaky, uncertain foundation- and this happens when you give people the message you think they want to hear, even if that means you are giving them the wrong message.

Consider the following: false promises:

“Increase income!” “Feel less stressed!” “Pain-free!” “More productive!” “Inner peace!”

Heard these before? So have your clients! So don’t make them. Come up with your own message, your own promise, based on what you offer, on what you can do for them! And you DO have a lot to offer.

Make your message clear. Otherwise, it’s like building a house on a little bubble: one that could pop and topple your business to the ground. Without clarity in your message, your business will probably get hit with some pretty daunting economic downpours- diminishing cash flow, downsizing, economic uncertainty, etc.

You need to remain solid. Your message needs to remain clear.

Communicate clearly the way people’s lives are going to change by working with you. Show them the possibilities that they don’t even see, and how they’re going to accomplish what they couldn’t before. These messages seem like no-brainers, right? Yet we sometimes get so caught up with making promises we think will keep them listening, that we forget how important it is to make your clients understand the bottom line: by working with you, they’re going to feel better and accomplish more.

The trick is painting this picture clearly, and doing it with confidence, because sending the wrong message is the start of the aforementioned slippery slope. False messages, unclear direction, and the inability to translate the change you are going to help your clients make will inevitably result in a lack of client trust, and that wrong message you are sending will become a landslide that will eventually seep into every aspect of your business, leaving you face down in the mud.

Don’t let that happen. Stand on your own two, solid feet. Connect with your true intent, speak clearly, and people will finally listen. But this time, they will be listening to what they should be hearing, not what you think they should be hearing!


Entrepreneurship – The Road Less Traveled

January 5, 2012

I believe that life is a journey, and just like any journey, it has some bumps in the road along the way. For me, those “bumps” came in the form of three layoffs in two years. I drove home from my last job, the remains of its existence in a cardboard box beside me, and I received this message: “Why go to work for somebody else when you can work for yourself?” I literally looked around like, “Who said that?” And then I realized: “This is my life. I need to create a way for it to support me and bring me freedom and joy.” So… I started on that journey of entrepreneurship.

I knew that the road to entrepreneurship would not be an easy one to travel – with fear, risk, and uncertainty lurking around every corner. But as I drove down that freeway, I also knew there was no turning back now. It was time to follow the right path, and for me, that path was helping others discover theirs!

That third layoff was a turning point in my life: a point in which I realized I needed to make a change. And that change resulted in helping others to make changes as well. In fact, this is a step in my “Stand Out, Be Juicy” program that I call Juicy Benefits – communicating how you change someone’s life. And we all do it! We, as entrepreneurs, all offer services that change people’s lives. You just have to realize it.

To illustrate this point, one of my clients, a professional organizer, wasn’t meeting her goal of making a six-figure income. While she viewed herself as an organizer of stuff, her clients were saying, “You’re so much more than a professional organizer!” She couldn’t see it. So I asked her: “How are people different after working with you?”

Like most people, she couldn’t answer. But I helped her find her voice, her answer, which was: “I help people get to the root of the cause of their clutter so it never comes back.” Ta-da! There it was. Her Juicy Benefits. She started charging more and hit her six-figure mark that year.

The answer to, “How are people different after working with me?” should roll off your tongue, but most likely, it doesn’t. For most entrepreneurs, this is the case. My own dissatisfaction while working in corporate America should have been obvious to me, but it wasn’t. My point? We don’t always see what’s right in front of us. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to help us see what we should see, say what we should say, do what we should be doing. Juicy Benefits is just a piece of the puzzle, one curve in your road to discovery. Take the wheel for a moment, and let’s see where we can go!

Showing Up For the Lessons: Turning Tough Times Into Catalysts for Positive Change

December 23, 2011

Being an entrepreneur is an invitation for the universe to shine a big spotlight on all the things we haven’t dealt with. These things typically show up as problems: anxiety, fear, less success than we desire, depleted bank accounts, etc. The good news is, each of these “problems” is in fact an opportunity to examine what you’re doing – and what needs to change.

I call this “showing up for the lessons” – and it’s one thing, I’m proud to say, I’ve done perfectly in my business. My most recent experience with this was around the time I gave birth to my daughter and I reevaluated the frumpy sweater my company had become. To do that, though, I had to reevaluate myself. Had I become a frumpy sweater?

During the 12 years I’ve owned my company, I’ve learned that whenever something in my business just doesn’t feel right, I need to look inside myself for the reason behind it. More often than not, it boils down to my own issues, fears, or limiting beliefs coming to the surface.

My solution may sound crazy: trust yourself when it comes to your business.

If something doesn’t feel right, take some time to figure out what needs to change. If you need to take a few days off, take a few days off. Do whatever you need to do, even if it flies in the face of what you think you “should” be doing… even if it goes against traditional business logic or strategy.

When you trust yourself, you operate at a higher level.

During your lifetime, you will continuously evolve. Because your business is a reflection of you, your business will evolve, too. So it only makes sense that lessons will come along to aid in each step of that evolution. When they do, pay attention. Trust yourself. And do whatever you need to do to show up for the lessons, ready to learn.

One effective way to develop that trusting relationship with yourself, and nurture that positive evolution, is to hire a coach or mentor. Coaches and mentors not only hold you accountable, but they also see possibilities for you and your business that you may not be able to see just yet. They can lend their perspectives when the spotlight illuminates a new lesson in your life and your business.

Whether you like it or not, as an entrepreneur, lessons are always going to enter your life in one form or another. The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to show up for them. Not only will you move more quickly through each “tough time,” but you’ll also find that you’re happier, more fulfilled and living a juicier life.


Taking a Break – Your Greatest Investment

December 6, 2011

You’ve heard the saying, “you get what you pay for”, right? In order to best give your clients what they are paying you for, it is absolutely necessary for you to put the best you at the forefront of your business.   Sometimes, this may mean taking a step back from  it all and getting to the root of who you are. Taking the time to reevaluate, reassess and get back to your truest you just might be the best investment you’ll ever make.

What do I mean by investing in yourself? I mean going against all business logic and just stopping.  Take a moment (or days or weeks, however long you need) to get yourself back on track. Admittedly, stopping anything – time, effort, progress – in the middle of the hustle and bustle of running a business seems counterproductive: counterintuitive, even.

But in the long-run, those moments (no matter how long they are, in the realm of life, they’re just moments) will allow you to reconnect with yourself and your business. Taking the time to revisit your mission, reassess your methods and reevaluate the communication and relationships you have with clients will inevitably result in a smoother running business.

This brief pause in business will also give you the opportunity to make sure your voice is clear, your marketing plan is effective and your communication is at the top of its game. And from there, you’ll be able to focus on creating and maintaining a business that is authentic, congruent and successful as a result of your newfound confidence.

I call this process cleaning your pipe. You, at the center of your business, become its lifeline, its pipe, and to keep that pipe clean and running efficiently means doing everything to your best ability. Compromising or justifying anything – saying “Well, what I’m doing is okay, but I’m going to do it anyway…” – means clogging the pipe. And that pipe is the main gateway for financial flow, client flow, happiness and joy… so it’s all about keeping the pipe clean, staying aligned, and letting everything you envision flow through.

The end result? A learned confidence that will deepen the foundation of your relationships with your clients by building trust through clearer communication and direction.  So trust in yourself and invest in yourself – your number one asset!

What I Learned From A Glitch – And A Rabbit

November 22, 2011

I had no idea the twists and turns my business would take when I first left corporate America.  When I started out, I thought I had it in the bag!  I had worked for some of the biggest names out there, I knew how to market.  But, something happened along my journey.  I don’t like to use the word mistake, so I’ll call it a glitch … a glitch with a purpose.

Working with entrepreneurs taught me how vital it is to be conscious about your marketing.  It’s the core strategy behind what I teach.  It’s why I named my business Conscious Marketing!  But here’s where my head got in the way of my heart:  I had an extensive marketing background.  I played hardball with some of the top advertising agencies.  I thought I had it going on!  I didn’t think I needed any help, coaching or mentoring.

I was wrong.

This was the birth of my own conscious marketing. Here I was painting this beautiful marketing portrait for my clients, and it just wasn’t setting with them.  The clients I was working with didn’t feel right bragging about themselves like my corporate clients did.  That’s when I had a light-bulb moment: they didn’t see themselves the way I saw them!  How the heck were they going to get “out there” and impact their sphere of influence if they didn’t feel it for themselves?

I needed to find a way for people to find their own path to selling in a genuine, authentic manner.  The glitch – I was not having success with my own marketing.  But this glitch had a purpose, which was to show me that all of the marketing strategies and techniques that I had learned from top marketing and ad agencies didn’t work for entrepreneurs, and they didn’t work for me!

As entrepreneurs, we have to be clear in our marketing message.  What you say or don’t say will impact your results, and in a huge way.  You have to be real.  Working through this concept allowed me to pass this transformational power of the message on to my clients.  It took me a year to pay attention. Joining a mastermind group and allowing myself to be coached was a key part of the journey.  This struggle had a purpose, and it was the birth of my own conscious marketing.

Now, about the rabbit.  The holidays are coming and one of my favorite things to do during this season is to watch The Velveteen Rabbit with my daughter.  I love the part when the little boy, who is the rabbit’s best friend and just saw him fly, says “How did you know you could do that?”  The rabbit simply responds, “How did you know you couldn’t?”  Imagine if we all felt this way and focused on what we can do rather than what we can’t.

What do you do and who is it for?  This foundational piece must be in place for you to fly.

Everyone Needs a Soapbox!

November 4, 2011

I was kicked out of corporate America. Literally. I was let go three times in two years! It was difficult at the time, but now I see – the struggle had a purpose. Because of that trial, I found my true calling: helping business owners find their voice, get on that soapbox, and attract their ideal clients like moths to light.

When I started my business, I have to admit I thought it would be easy. After all, I had marketed for some of the biggest players out there! But I quickly learned that marketing for a major corporation and marketing for entrepreneurs require two very different approaches. Through this experience, I found my forte’: I had a way of asking just the right question to bring out someone’s brilliance and guide their marketing.

In truth, many people are insecure when talking about what they do. Consequently, they’re not “out there” like they need to be. They need more clients, but they hate speaking in public. They have a website, but the message isn’t representing their abilities in the best possible way. They don’t like pumping up their accomplishments because it feels like bragging. Or, they feel that no one really cares about all that anyway. They couldn’t be more wrong!

People want to know all that about you. And how are you going to be “out there” if you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself and your unique way of helping people? I realized I needed to find a way for people to find their own words. And it had to start with me. This was like a glitch with a purpose for me! The purpose was to show me that all of the marketing strategies I had learned from the corporate world don’t work for the entrepreneur. And this went for me, too.

It’s easy to feel like you’re making progress when you are busy all day. But when you don’t get results, and your bank account is at an all-time low, it’s easier to blame something other than yourself, like the economy. When you only look at the external cause, you overlook the true source of the problem – your marketing message is not clear!

Every entrepreneur needs a soapbox. You need to know how to access words that you can utilize in any marketing situation. They should roll off your tongue with passion as their source. That is a true soapbox! Use these words anytime someone asks you what you do. When you do, you will know exactly what to say when you encounter your Ideal Clients, and you will in turn begin to love working with every client you have!

You know who your non-ideal clients are. If you market to everybody, you’re marketing to nobody. So get on your soapbox, deliver the right message to the right audience, and find the people who want the transformation that you offer. Find the clients who want what you have!

Attract Your Ideal Clients and Charge What You’re Worth

October 19, 2011

Every entrepreneur starts her business wanting to make lots of money doing something she loves. We dream about it. We plan out what our life will look like, and where we will take vacations. But then something happens. We start getting nervous about not making money fast enough, and think maybe we’re charging too much. We spread a wide net and take on clients that are more of a drain on resources than a boon to our cash flow.

Think about your business. Does your income reflect the value of your services? If what you do is worth more than what you’re making, this is a sign that you are selling yourself short. You need to take yourself out of the equation and get an honest assessment of your business strategy. There’s no slick cookie-cutter formula to use for every business, but here are some points that helped me create a successful business model:

  1. The main reason you’re not charging enough for your product or service could be that you don’t believe in yourself. Ouch! But it’s true. When was the last time you raised your rates? Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth. The clients who get what you do, and appreciate what you can do for them, will pay it.
  2. You need the right words to describe what you do: on your website, blogs, advertising copy – anything that your ideal client might read. An unintended wrong message could be what’s standing in your way. Write as though you are having a conversation with the person you are presenting to. Don’t worry about the economy, and what you think people can and cannot afford. Just put the right message out there, and let them decide.
  3. Invest in your #1 asset – yourself! This is where a mentor and/or mastermind group is key, to give you the support to command the level that you are worth. Friends and family, though well-meaning, don’t always get what you do. And seminars are worthless if you just put another notebook on your shelf. The Mastermind group I joined in 2009 was the next big step for me. At the time, I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it; I just knew I had to do it for myself. Have that faith in yourself and let it take you to the next level. I had my best year ever the year after I made that investment. And it’s no accident that now I have my own Divine Juice Inner Circle Mentorship program!
  4. Last but not least, take time for yourself as well. Acknowledge what you need to do to maintain the mindset, energy level and positive space to live a life you love. As an entrepreneur, you get to do that! And it looks different for everyone. It’s all about what’s important to you. Create time for yourself to not work. To rejuvenate. What can you do today because of the freedom that you have, no matter how small? Like taking a walk or going to work-out, or to a movie. What little thing can you do to create that space now? Start a practice that keeps you grounded and centered at the beginning of each day. Maybe get up earlier to lengthen the time you have to prepare mentally and spiritually for what lies ahead.

Create an opportunity for yourself to get support for your business. One of the tools my team and I offer is a Juicy Marketing Strategy Session (click here to apply). Someone on the outside can see your position more clearly than you, and help you get clarity on the changes you need to make. There are people out there who need your services, and you need to get the fulfillment from your business that you deserve. Don’t give up before the miracle happens!

YES, You Can Be a Full-Time Mom and Successful Entrepreneur!

October 5, 2011

How do I balance being a full-time mother and a full-time entrepreneur? After five+ years of doing both, I can say it’s been crazy, fun, and worth every minute! I started by creating the life that I wanted, and then I worked my business into it. If you want to be a mother and entrepreneur without sacrificing either, start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What transitions do I need to make in light of being a mother? There’s nothing like a child to make you do a 180 with your business. For me, I was inspired to get smarter and work less. Being a mom forced me to get real about how I was spending my time. Not in a time management sense, but in the sense of how I wanted to be of service with my life’s work, which leads to the second question.
  2. How do I design my business around my most profitable activities? Let go of what’s not working and get support for what is. At first I needed to just pare things down. I was working five plus days a week before I had my daughter. After Bella was born I was able to cut back to one or two days a week with no change in income. I was just working off of the momentum that I had created. When she turned two and started preschool, I still only wanted to work three days a week, max. It took a huge mind-set shift, and I took some big risks, but by focusing on my most profitable activities, I was able to triple my income again.
  3. What are some of the action steps I can take to make a full-time business model work with part-time hours? First, I changed the way I was charging for my services. I had to get out of the whole “economy” conversation, because it gives people an out instead of really taking a hard look at the way they do business. Look at what you really want to do. Try charging by the project instead of by the hour, or experiment with value-based pricing where you create service packages. Maybe you need to leverage your programs instead of doing so much one-on-one work. For myself, I went straight to the leveraged model. I keep it very simple, with just a few highly impactful programs. I created programs that I believed in, I set an implementation date, I enrolled people in the program, and I went for it.
  4. Where can you give yourself a raise? Here’s an exercise. Think about the last time you raised your rates. Make a list of the reasons why you did it. Now think about doubling your rates today. There is no difference between where you were when you last raised your rates and where you are now. So why can’t you do it again? Any reason you come up with to not justify your true value is just an excuse.

If being a full-time mother and a full-time entrepreneur is your goal, take action now. Find a mentor who shares your values and vision for your life and don’t leave their side until you make the change. Investing in a mentor when Bella turned 3 gave me the courage to take those steps. Even now that my daughter is in First Grade, I still work only three to four days a week, because I’m willing to do what I need to do to create the life I want. You can too!

Why am I clutching my heart?

September 30, 2011

The Ripple Effect of a “Yes” to Yourself

Lisa Cherney, The Juicy Marketing Expert, with the women of her
Divine Juice Inner Circle in Laguna Beach, CA last weekend.

I clutch my heart, overcome with gratitude, as I look around at the women in my 2011/2012 Divine Juice Inner Circle Mentorship program. This is the closing ceremony of our first retreat of the year, and I’m deeply struck by my awareness of the ripple effect that my “yes” to myself from only 3 years ago has had. Now, I am gifted with the honor of ushering these amazing women to birth the next level of their own businesses, and watching the ripple of my 2008 “yes” to myself, continue out even farther and touch the lives of the clients these women are meant to serve.

Let me take you back…

In November of 2008, for the first time in my 9 years in business, I found myself wondering how I was going to pay my salary. Against all logic, I started investing in myself in specific areas where I knew I needed help.

Then, in 2009, I said “yes” to myself in the biggest way I had ever done so before. I made the decision to invest over $20,000 in a mentor and joined a mastermind group. As most of you know, that is the year I tripled my income while only working part-time. That was also the year that I introduced my own mentorship program. The ripple effect of my “yes” was passed on to a select group of women who were ready to leap, and it’s still moving. It is now 2011, and I’m in my third year of having a mentorship program.

In fact, I just got back from our first retreat of the 2011/2012 Divine Juice Inner Circle Mentorship program and I’m flying high. Pictured here are women from all over the world who said, “yes” to their selves this year, and each of them has her own story. Two women were inspired to finally “go for it” because of the passing of their mothers. One woman cured herself of a condition that had her bed ridden and now knows that she is called to help others. And two more quit jobs or careers that they hated and that had them burnt out and frustrated, to finally launch their life’s mission of helping other women do the same.

(From left to right) Deb Morton, Laurie Cantus, Shalini Yamdagni, Francine Portelance, MarBeth Dunn, Lisa Cherney, Christine Baumgartner, Jane Garee, Mary Schmid 
Dinner at The Cliffs restaurant in Laugna Beach on the Pacific at sunset, day 1 of the retreat. We all agreed that we ate too much! 
This is Shalini, a Physical & Emotional Pain Relief Expert and she got the award for traveling the farthest, all the way from Bangkok, Thailand. It took her 2 days, a special visa and conquering a Typhoon, but she arrived in perfect time and played full out for 3 days. Something fun to note … Shalini has nearly made back all of her Inner Circle investment already and we are only 4 months in! We credit my mentorship combined with her commitment to doing her own “work” to clear whatever fears some up as her sisters pull her up to the next level. (Bravo Shalini!)
Our Divine Juice Inner Circle Retreat Beach House feels like a log cabin on the water. Here we are snuggling up for an evening session on How to Align Your Spirit with Your Business to Maximize Flow. I can teach you all the million dollar strategies I know, but without knowing how to stay aligned with your vision, it will be a struggle … and struggle is not required! (Notice how fashionable we all look with our scarves from Thailand.) All of our training and Love Seats (where each Sister has a chance to have the whole group focused on their business) take place in our Beach House just steps from the Pacific Ocean. Here’s a shot of a few gals who ran to put their feet in the sand during a break from our session on How to Get New Clients When You Speak.
Speaking has been my #1 marketing tool since I started my business 12 years ago and it’s so fun to share all the lessons I learned along the way. I learned them the HARD way, so my members can see results fast without enduring the struggle I went through. I don’t hold back anything from my Inner Circle!

Why Is the Inner Circle Closed?

Right now the Inner Circle is closed to new members so we can honor the intimacy we’ve been building with our current Divine Juice Sisterhood, but we will be opening up for new members in April 2012.

If you’re ready to take the leap and say “yes” to yourself, and you want to explore the possibility of joining our Divine Juice Inner Circle Sisterhood to experience the power of the ripple effect, Click Here and fill out our application for an interview.

We will be keeping our group to 8 sisters and since we had 100% renewal last year (leaving us with only a few spots this year) we can’t predict the number of openings that will be available. So if you’re serious, jump on filling out the application for an interview so that we can put you at the top of the list.

I look forward to sharing the ripple effect from my “yes” with you so that you can continue the flow and share the ripple effect from your own “yes” with others!

Build Your House On A Solid Marketing Foundation – Part 2

September 15, 2011

Do you have a clear message for your business? In Part 1 of this article series on building a solid marketing foundation, I talked about your marketing efforts as being the foundation and framework of your “house”. Now I’d like to share two more key elements to building that solid marketing foundation, the Juicy way. No matter what level your business is at in this very moment, I think it’s so important to learn and re-learn these marketing practices to ensure a long and happy life for your great big beautiful castle. In a recent interview with my good friend Sheila Galligan, we talked about how Sheila knew when she began working with me as a client that she didn’t exactly have a clear message. At lease not the kind that her ideal clients would “get”. Once she figured it out, it clicked! So here are the last two tips for your solid marketing foundation:

  • Carpet, paint and some exotic tile gives your house its own style. Capitalize on what makes you, as an individual, unique. This is different than your juicy benefit, which is about your product. This is about YOU. If you take the time to translate the best parts of your story into your marketing, you will stand out. This is untapped gold. What do clients, friends, and family compliment you on? This is the outside perspective on how other people view you, and I’m not talking about a testimonial. Which of your values will resonate with your ideal client? What will they hear from you that they won’t hear from anyone else? And how can you work that in to your marketing? A designer can take any space, no matter how small, and turn it into a welcoming retreat for the right client.
  • Art is wasted when it’s hanging in a closet. You want to systematically translate your juiciness into your marketing. Take what you’ve learned, all of your experience plus your natural abilities and put it out there for everyone to oooh and aaah at! You will definitely need a process for taking action. When you are inspired, whether from a seminar, networking group, workshop, teleclass, etc., translate that into your work. Have a system in place to incorporate these great ideas into your own business. It will help if you set deadlines for yourself, rather than putting it on the shelf.

With your solid foundation, your well-constructed walls and leak-proof roof, your artisan molding and perfectly manicured lawn, your designer paints and tiles and your exquisite portraits hanging throughout, you’re ready to have the biggest housewarming party of the year! I love the house that I have built with my business, and I’m wishing the same for you!