“You Don’t Have A Money Problem, You Have An Asking Problem!”

asking problemSo said my new coach in an intensely emotional stand-off with a participant at this weekend’s event. The unfortunate woman was emotionally and financially bankrupt. She had lost a lawsuit, owing over 6 figures in damages. She had to shatter her daughter’s dreams to enter an Ivy League college in the fall. All her many advisors and lawyers were telling her to sell off her beautiful home in the Hamptons. Although a successful coach, she couldn’t see where she could get that enormous amount of money in such a short time.

When I pick coaches, I pick people who will tell you the truth no matter what. So here’s what my new coach told this woman and it was SO exactly the same truth for myself, my clients or for any business owner out there who wants to earn more money that I had to share it with you.

He said “You don’t have a money problem. You have an asking problem. If you had called every single person on your list and told them that you could change their lives if they paid you $100K, consistently and through time, you wouldn’t be in this situation. In fact, you could go home right now and do what I said and pay off this debt and send your daughter to an Ivy League school. It’s because you have an ASKING problem that you’re not doing this“.

Wow, I was really stopped in my tracks. How true is this for all of us? Naturally, this led me to ask (no pun intended) the question: Why do we have an ASK problem?

Here are a few hints:

1. You’re conditioned to think it’s rude/wrong/pushy/looks bad to ask for anything. Yup, it happened when you were a kid while your parents and society and your environment (unless you grew up with Donald Trump) taught you this. In fact, you were called greedy and possibly punished for asking too much. Well, you’re an adult now and you’re reading this so isn’t it time to push yourself out of this state of being?

2. You don’t know how. How exactly are you supposed to ask people for a sale? Do you pick up the phone, do you email, do you write a love letter for God’s sake? And what do you say if you do any of these things? You can’t just walk up to someone and ask them to work with you, right? Even as forthright as I am, I would first recommend an invitation to find out more about each others’ businesses and see if anything you hear can indicate a need for your services. If they’re open to hearing about it and if they’re in enough pain, then you can ask how you can help.

3. You don’t know who to ask. Even if you could get over the beast of the first obstacle of your conditioning and you knew what to say, who do you target for this new asking thing? Well, how about people in your target group you’ve met in the past? How about people you’ve already worked with in the past? How about people in your target who are networking at some function right now? All you need is a focused target group and off you go.

So if you’re like the rest of us who have a money problem in that you want more than what you have, then now you have the awareness that it’s actually an asking problem. Now, go get over it and make your money problems disappear.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

And The Sad % Of People Who Keep New Year’s Resolutions Are…

NewYearsResolutions-funnyHappy New Year everyone! I wanted to greet you with a scary statistic..call me strange…Only 19% of people who make new year’s resolutions keep them for one whole year. Here are the other numbers according to the Toronto Star article:

19%: Less than 24 hours

15%: One week

52%: One month

19%: The whole year

As a small business coach and as an entrepreneur, unfortunately I see this all too often. Some clients start the program with a bang and finish with a whimper. Friends who vow to save the Timmy’s coffee money for a vacation are carrying trays of the brown stuff to work in a few weeks. Small business owners I meet while networking who vow to spend more time marketing this year, still get sucked into working more in the business than on it. It truly is sad to see.

Why is this happening? I came up with a few theories of my own on this one:

1. Nobody Is Really Holding You Accountable

Even for those who’ve announced their intentions to the world (remember Rob Ford’s weight loss promise) there’s no real New Year’s Resolution Police who’s going to drag you to the Broken Resolutions Jail. So who cares if a few people ask you about it, nothing really changes in your life if you don’t follow through.

2. You’re Not In Enough Pain To Change

Unfortunately humans don’t change unless they are in deep pain. Most of the time. It’s either a divorce, the loss of a huge client or a heart attack that makes people take real stock and attempt to change. Even then, studies show that most people can’t stick with the changes. When there isn’t enough pain, there’s no gain.

3. Your Body Is Ruling Your Mind

According to neuroscientist Dr.Joe Dispenza, our bodies are chemically dependent on the same thoughts we’ve been thinking (and those thoughts produce hormones and chemicals that translate to feelings) since the day we were born. So to simply start thinking different thoughts is pretty difficult.

What’s a Person To Do?

So how do the people who do keep their resolutions for the whole year differ? They usually have an accountability partner, a plan of action that’s committed and a structure that allows them not to slide back into previous behaviour. For example, in 2013 when I committed to losing weight, I signed on with Weight Watchers. Their weekly meetings and especially the scary weigh-ins kept me on track. Similarly, when I decided to grow my business exponentially, I spent an enormous sum to hire a top-level coach. I haven’t looked back since!

What are you going to do differently to make sure you’re not a sad New Year’s Resolution Statistic?

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk


When My Angry Reader Confronted Me At A Conference

confrontationI had one of the most interesting confrontations of my life at last week’s Canadian Association of Professional Speaker’s Conference. It was really illuminating and I’d like to share it with my fellow business owners who dare to blog, speak and in general share their honest personal opinion on the state of the business that they are in.

Speaking Gig

As my virgin run at this conference, I was thrilled to have gotten a speaking slot. Imagine, my first time at a Speaker’s conference AND I get to speak to professional speakers. My speech was about a fave topic of mine lately: your money mindset. In the 12 minutes that I was allotted, I talked about my humble beginnings, and my limiting beliefs. I talked about my shame and fears. I exposed myself (as I often do) to share my failures and my fumbles.  This humanized me to a very special member of the audience. I was to find out why very shortly.

An Admirer Approaches Me

A gentleman who had been in my audience later approached me in the lobby, telling me how much he’d enjoyed my talk. He also said he wanted to talk to me further. Now alarm bells weren’t ringing at that time because like any business owner who speaks to sell, I often get people wanting to talk to me about how I can help their own business after hearing me on stage. This gentleman was soft-spoken, respectful and from his earlier musical talent show using an odd-looking instrument, a very interesting person. I was happy to talk to him.

I Have A Confession

Then he revealed that he had a confession. He said that he had signed up for my newsletter and had read my last blog titled ‘5 Ways I Can Tell That You’re NOT Serious About Your BusinessHe said that he hadn’t even gotten past the first point before he was boiling mad at me for saying what I did in the article. He then told me of how he’d seen me come in to the conference room the day before and had chosen to ignore me deliberately because of the ill-feelings he was harboring towards me. However, he still wanted to see me speak in person and came to hear me speak that day. That’s when he realized that what was triggering him was HIS own limiting beliefs.

Dare To Tell

I can’t tell you how much I admire this gentleman. It took guts. I was blown away by his courage and honesty. These two things are not often encountered in today’s world. This at first nerve-wracking but later touching experience was literally the best thing to happen to me at that conference all weekend.

What Triggers Us

My new friend and I parted on this one thought in agreement: what triggers us is always what is stopping us. I now know why I used to cringe when speakers started circulating their sales sheets. I know why my heart used to pound out of my chest when it came time to quote my prices (which were a mere fraction of what they are today!). I understand why it was so hard for me to believe that I could make my dreams come true.

I hope this story teaches you something as valuable as it did to me. Speak your truth, always. When the student is ready, the teacher will show up.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

When My Childhood Was Running My Business

I may be over 40 but my parents and I still talk about my business. Occasionally they do give me advice, but that’s not what I’m talking about when I say that my childhood was running my business and it very well might be running yours too!

A year ago, a met a man who became my coach and who taught me that the reason why I was charging so little, the reason why I took on miserable clients and the reason why I’d never hired a $15K coach until today was because of what my parents had taught me about money. And he was dead right.

The product of a 1950’s developing country, my parents struggled mightily when they immigrated to Canada when I was born. So it turned out that my parents, or more specifically what I learned from them and from my environment when I was a child were running my business today.

I was shocked and took great pains to break out of those conditioned beliefs and habits. Beliefs that said I had to work really hard and be miserable to make a lot of money and frequently. Beliefs that said to give an enormous amount of money to a strange man when I didn’t have it and to put it on my credit card was complete insanity and could hurt me.

I run into so many of these beliefs every day when I talk to prospects and other small businesses. If you’re ready to break out of your childhood beliefs that are running your business, then awareness over your patterns is power but unless you take action, nothing will change.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

5 Ways I Can Tell That You’re NOT Serious About Your Business

seriousaboutbizWhy do 80% of businesses fail in 5 years? What makes the difference between struggling and thriving in a business? I ask myself these questions as I stroll from one networking event to another while I meet hundreds of businesses a year.

Here is my answer as the 5 signs that you’re oh-so-not-serious-about your small business.

1. You Haven’t Made Much Money In It For Years

If you have always made around what’s considered welfare level of income (in Canada I think it’s around $20K/year) and that’s ok with you, I don’t think you’re serious about your business. It also tells me that the fact that this has been going on for years without you doing something to change it speaks even louder about your passion for your business.

2. You Prioritize Everything Else

When everything else comes first and your clients come last, they can feel it. When your family, your sick cat, your day job, your new certification program or your travels come before building your business, you are essentially a hobbyist playing at owning a part-time interest. Coming from someone who moon lighted for 7 years in my last corporate job, I can tell you that once I got serious about my business, I simply left my day job.

3. You Don’t Have A Strategy

If every year you’re trying a new marketing gimmick you dreamed up, if you’re copying your competitors to see what things they’re doing to get new clients, if you are throwing spaghetti at the wall to see which niche sticks, then you don’t truly have a strategy and that’s the biggest sign to me that you are not serious about your business.

4. You Have A Free Email Account

I can’t tell you how many times I see this. If you’re serious about your business, you usually get a website AND an email associated with that website. If you’re still operating your business on free mail, it tells me that you are not even serious enough to spend $19 per year to legitimize it with an email account.

5. You Never Hire Any Type Of Help

Doing any of the above mistakes in your small business is not a sin, it’s just something you never learned. What puts the nail in your bankruptcy coffin is if you’re not willing to pay to learn how to make it better. If you never hire help to teach you how to grow your business, if you never pay for someone less qualified than you to do the repetitive mindless stuff that drains your time and takes you away from building new business, then you unfortunately are not really all that serious about your business.

So please don’t take offense if I’ve described you in any of these steps, I was once like you but the difference  is that I got help. Will you?

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

How To Pick Your Brand Name

One of the most common questions I get asked by startups or new companies is ‘what should I choose as my brand name’. For most entrepreneurs, it’s like naming a baby with far reaching consequences and a thousand unforeseen implications.

  • Here’s what I tell them: First figure out your niche. That means who your ideal client is and what area you’re an expert in. Don’t guess this, learn how to research this strategically.
  • Then figure out the words that your ideal client is googling to search for you online. Find out what words they use to describe the pain that they’re in.
  • Then use those words in your brand name. The best brand names are simple and short English words that represent something about what you do, such as Staples or ToysRus.
  • For example, when a marketing consultant client niched in helping small food manufacturers get and stay listed in grocery stores, we picked the name ‘Food Distribution Guy’. When a financial planner client niched in Divorcing Women, her brand name became Divorcing Woman. One of the most successful brand names and url for a business I know is called Stenographers.com. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

So you see, it all starts with figuring out your niche, and what words your ideal clients are using. It’s not really ever about what you think is cute or relevant or sexy, it’s always about them.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk


Why You’re Not Getting Clients From Social Media

Yes, you’ve been posting articles on LinkedIn. You’ve said YES to every invite on Facebook and Twitter. You have done your job so how come social media isn’t doing its job and bringing you new clients? I think I might know the answer to that one. If you follow my work you can probably guess what I’m going to say: Your social media isn’t working because you might not have the right business strategy.

A business strategy is just a fancy way of saying WHO you help and WHAT you help them with. A communication strategy is figuring out where to intercept these ideal clients and telling them HOW you help them over and over and over again. For example, if your market research tells you that you have to target CEO’s of multinational corporations, research shows that 53% don’t even participate in social media. In that case, your communication strategy shouldn’t be heavy on social media presence.

  • So the first order of action is to figure out what we in marketing call your niche (your ideal client target and your specialty).
  • Then you ask your niche what social media platform and groups they are consuming either as an observer or active participant.
  • Then you ask them what their number one pain point with respect to your specialty they are suffering from.
  • Then you post videos and blogs and quotes and articles from other trusted sources in the groups and streams your target clients are involved in, always about solutions to their pain point.

And voila, all of a sudden, your ideal clients think you’re an expert, a celebrity and a go-to guru for their problems in the area of your specialty. Then when they see you speaking at a conference, meet you at a trade show or run into you while networking, they will know, like and trust you already. The rest, as they say will be history and you’ll watch your sales grow and grow.

What has been your experience in how social media has gotten you clients?

Would love your input on this post and if you need more chicken soup for your biz, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk