5 Things I Learned About Business While Shark Diving

sharkdiving

Sitting on the ocean floor during the shark dive

Yes, I was crazy enough to go shark diving. Not in those cages either. I actually jumped into a water infested with fins. It was unnerving to say the least but there were lots of other divers already in the water so it seemed harmless. As in everything I do in my life, everything comes back to how it applies to small business.

Here are some things I learned about my own small business that day…

1. Prepare Yourself

Before the big ‘shark dive’ portion of the live-aboard dive trip I took, we had briefing after briefing about what to do and what not to do. Stay away from the food they lower to the ocean floor. (A guy actually lost a limb when a piece of food floated his way). Don’t make sudden moves etc. In business, I often find that people just throw themselves out there. Sometimes with little to no preparation for their mind or skill set. Unfortunately statistically speaking, they end up shark bait to their competitors.

2. Watch Your Surroundings Constantly

As part of the briefing, we were told that if a shark is swimming erratically and speeds up while swimming towards you, you’re in trouble. There’s not much you can do at that point. However, we did learn to be extra vigilant of our surroundings because the sharks were literally everywhere-in front, behind, and on top of us as we sat in a circle at the bottom of the ocean. It’s actually not a bad metaphor for the business world. Are you out networking with your competitors? Are you attending their seminars or webinars? Watch your surroundings in business constantly. Or you might get attacked.

3. Watch Yourself Constantly

One of the biggest things I had to watch out for was my air consumption because I was breathing heavier due to my elevated heart rate. Cut me some slack here, I was literally swimming with sharks during their feeding! Still, I had to be extra aware of my air flow and keep an eye on my tank supply. In business, your cash flow is your oxygen. During times of crisis you use more of it and need to keep a constant eye on it because as in the ocean, there’s no life without air.

4. Stick To Someone Bigger Than You

I was so paranoid about getting bitten by a shark that I picked the most heavyset, enormously overweight dive buddy on the entire boat. He was easily 4 times my size. I figured even a hungry shark might be intimidated by that size. I mean, if you were a shark, would you eat a steak your own size? I stuck to him like glue. Of course, he did get stuck while passing between two reefs but we were well-trained to calmly back out and untangle our gear from the reefs. Similarly in business, I pay extraordinary amounts of money to walk with the giants of my industry standing next to me. My coaches have been responsible for doubling and tripling my income in the three years since I started my business. Stick to someone bigger than you, always.

5. Have Fun

All the while I was calculating and analyzing and listening to my own heavy breathing in my mask during the shark dive, I was exhilarated. I was doing something most people wouldn’t even dare to dream of doing. I felt brave and alive. Every time I meet miserable people who work for someone else, I feel the same exhilaration for having had the guts to leave that life and work for myself. Just as in the shark dive, I sometimes have to remind myself that the journey of an entrepreneur is scary but it is a ton of fun.

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 Joan Rivers Can Help Your Biz

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The late great comedian Joan Rivers once said “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.”  As a small business growth coach, I have to ask…what if you could succeed by saying what everyone else is thinking about your industry and your clients?

What You Can Learn From Joan

If you were to dare to step into your own thoughts as publicly as Joan did in marketing your own business, what would you do differently?

This is a passionate topic for me because every day I see successful, smart and wonderful business women hide themselves behind stock imagery, silence and generic thoughts. Their businesses are suffering for it.

Tell Your Stories of Shame

Joan Rivers was even authentic when she was inauthentic (“I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.”)

A former client and now good friend was telling me the story of how she got fired by a crazy boss who reprimanded her for having a stapler on her desk in a ‘clean-desk policy’ office. Imagine how much more relevant her work as a Standards expert would be if she related that story in her blogs or keynotes?

What makes you think you’re the only one who has suffered shame, humiliation and learned from your mistakes? Why not expose your truth so you can connect deeper with and help more people?

Show Yourself

Ok, I don’t mean SHOW yourself inappropriately but people want to see your picture. They want at the minimum to see your profile picture. Then use your About page or your social media posts or your newsletter to show them your life. I frequently show pictures of my family and my clients and the events I go to.

Show your values. Tell your clients and community what your deeply held beliefs are. People I have never met approach me like friends at networking events and tell me they follow my work and life. I find that the highest open rates and click rates on my newsletters are when they contain personal stories. I even had a stranger (who was on my mailing list) give me bedwetting tips for my 4-year-old because he’d read my story about it. Wow!

Be Afraid But Do It Anyway

Joan said “I’ve learned: When you get older, who cares? I don’t mince words, I don’t hold back. What are you gonna do to me? Fire me? It’s been done. Threaten to commit suicide? Done. Take away my show? Done! Not invite to me to the Vanity Fair party? I’ve never been invited! If I ever saw the invitation, I’d use it as toilet paper.”

The true sign of courage they say, is not when you do something brave and you’re not afraid but it’s when you’re peeing your pants and do it anyway. Each time I invest in even more expensive levels of coaching, each time I travel internationally to do a trade show, each time I speak in front of a new crowd of people, I leave my comfort at home. I have embraced being afraid and doing it anyway.

Everyday when I speak to unsuccessful entrepreneurs, they are so keenly aware that what’s stopping their success are their fears. It’s when they let those fears stop them from doing what needs to be done that they get into trouble.

Joan wasn’t afraid of anything. I personally will miss this gutsy lady. Anyone who bravely stands up to criticism and keeps on going earns my undying respect.

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

Are You Credentialed to Death and Starving?

credentialledThis blog’s been inside me for a long time. I myself was on my way to being credentialed up the wazoo and still had no clients. If this is you, then maybe you’ll be able to make the change you need. That’s all I ever hope for when I write these things.

I Don’t Know Enough

The Credentialed-To-Death consultant/coach/engineer, (you name it) is sure about one thing: that they need  more letters behind their names, more accreditation and to obtain more certifications. They do this partly because they like learning but mostly because they delude themselves that they’ll get more or bigger clients this way.

I was that person once. When contemplating leaving a decade-long corporate career, I didn’t know how to make the jump into self-employment so I went out and got a coaching certificate. Then, I went and got another one and another one. Each subsequent one got more expensive and more involved and yes, it taught me more but none of it actually got me any clients.

Investing in the Wrong Thing

To help more people or to make more money, what most people in the Credentialed-To-Death camp don’t know is that it actually doesn’t work that way. Knowing more about your subject matter isn’t the same as knowing more about selling and marketing your subject matter. It astounds me that every time I meet a coach or a consultant who is starving for new clients, they are gearing up to spend another chunk of significant cash on yet another certification course or another program that is not about getting clients.

Unfortunately as I found out, if you can’t get them, you can’t SERVE them. So if you’ve launched your business in the hopes of helping people, you are an unknown entity to them until you sell and market yourself.

Somewhere, (probably in your childhood) someone taught you that it’s sleazy to sell but honorable to learn. Look inside yourself to find the source of your patterns. Awareness of your patterns makes you more powerful.

End Of Rant

So if you’re suffering from the Credentialed-To-Death-but-Starving-for-Clients syndrome, stop the cycle now and start investing in giving some serious care and attention to actually GETTING the clients.

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 Client Said She Didn’t Like Me

hateWhat would you do if a client told you she disliked you? What if it was a client you liked and respected as someone smart and successful in her business? Well, that’s what I found out, when I asked the same client for a referral. Here’s the unedited version of the email that the new prospect (now client) got from my client. Of course, identities have been protected.

On Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 1:33 PM, xxxx wrote:

Hi, I have been speaking with Chala and she gave me your name as a ref. Basically ,How long have you been working with her and have you achieved the results you wanted? Thanks,M

Sent from my iPhone

Subject: Re: Chala Reference

‘Hello M, Thank you for reaching out…I LOVE LOVE LOVE Chala.

I will honestly tell you that I didn’t like her in the beginning because she put me in my uncomfortable zone.  Once I committed to be uncomfortable, I fell in love.  I really didn’t think I would ever like Chala because she is no-nonsense and had me focusing on things that I really didn’t think were going to help me.  I kept at it each time I thought about the hefty price tag on her service.  Once I was able to follow her instruction, do my homework and focus on marketing tasks assigned, I started to see results.  First and most importantly in how I felt about marketing my company and secondly in terms of clarity.  I never thought I could feel so proud and clear about marketing my business.  one piece of advise – ask ask ask ask for help in everything marketing because she has her finger on the pulse.  Every time I changed voice-mail greeting, email signature, newsletter title, networking groups – I consulted with Chala and have seen a positive increase in either clients, leads or new knowledge.

I am now ignoring my phone more and trying to handle the recent influx…it took 2-3 months to feel this influx, but i have had many small increases in all areas along the way.  Now my problem is hiring to keep up with the new business:O)

I am very happy i stuck it through and pushed myself to enjoy the discomfort.  For the first time in 5 years i have a marketing plan, strategy and calendar and every thing that is considered marketing in my business is sending the same message.  I have connected with many “marketers” and none of them are as all-inclusive in their marketing approach as Chala.

now to figure out how to keep Chala in my life, she is worth every penny and more!!

You cannot go wrong here unless you choose to do nothing.  Let me know if you have any questions.

All the best! S

What did I learn from this very insightful correspondence? That once you burn through your discomfort and your fears and stop blaming things, people and circumstances, THAT’S when you truly experience growth.

This is not a brag-blog. This is a reminder and a message to all my coach and consultant community who have been called (because I believe it is a calling!) to help others through your gift. Your first job isn’t to teach them a skillset, it’s to teach them a mindset. It’s to hold their hand through the fire of fear and discomfort. Do I have clients who quit when they get uncomfortable? Hell yes. I heard a scary stat somewhere that 80% of coaching clients don’t implement what their coach tells them. But do the ones that push themselves past the discomfort benefit? Well, you’ve read it yourself.

What discomfort do YOU have to push yourself through?

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

What You Can Learn About Marketing From Lady Gaga

jackiehuba

Jackie Huba speaking about Lady Gaga

Yesterday, I fell in love with Lady Gaga. I must admit, I initially thought that she was a little too out there for me. Then, I watched a speaker named Jackie Huba who wrote a book about marketing lessons from Lady G speak about why she was a marketing genius who was named the top influencer of our decade by Time Magazine!

Here are the lessons she learned from Lady Gaga about marketing:

Focus On Your 1%

Forget about the 80-20 rule where you concentrate on 20% of the customers who are responsible for 80% of your sales volume. Get even more specific, down to your RAVING crazy-fanatic-would-die-for-you fans that actually make up only 1% of your customers.

Lady Gaga calls them her Little Monsters. She calls herself Mother Monster. She has created clubs and websites for her 1%. She lavishes her love and attention on these people and they love her back and bring other fans to her franchise. What can you do for your 1% that you’re not doing right now?

Create A Community

When Lady Gaga wanted to create an online community for her Monsters, she didn’t like Facebook, she didn’t like Twitter so she paid a software company to create one for her. Littlemonsters.com allows her to directly and deeply connect with her fans. It makes them feel special and different than any other community. What can you do to create a community around what you do?

Lead With Your Values

Did you know that Lady Gaga is a staunch advocate of anti-bullying and LGBT causes, funding and speaking to support these causes with her Born This Way Foundation? Did you know that at her concert, she created colourful buses where fans who are being bullied can get counseling? People are in love with her values. Her music supports her values. Her marketing supports her values. Are you doing enough to talk about your values in your business?

Be Different

When Coty approached Lady Gaga to do a perfume deal, she refused to be like Britney Spears, Justin Bieber or Christina Aguilera. She made Coty go back to their scientists and create a black liquid that sprayed on clear and named it the title of her first album called Black. The name was also a message about her views on how dark fame could be.  She then created a multi-million dollar video to launch it that rivaled the best science fiction movie trailer in history. She captured an enormous market share in a very fragmented and competitive market. The CEO of Coty was quoted as saying that she forced the industry to change because she refused to do the same thing as everyone else. What are you doing differently than your peers in your industry?

Lady Gaga certainly taught an old marketer like me a few lessons and reminded me of the importance of values and community. Now, I’ve gotta think of my next meat-dress-move! What will be yours?

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

3 Simple Steps To Pick Your Ideal Client (VIDEO)

Hi, this is Chala Dincoy from Coachtactics.com your no-nonsense marketing coach who gives your small business a booster shot in the arm. In this video, I’m going to be addressing a big headache of small businesses -How Do I Pick My Ideal Client?

First of all, I want to congratulate YOU ON KNOWING that your business needs an ideal client. Somehow, you’ve figured out that  you will run out of time, energy and money fast if you try to go after EVERYONE and market to every type of client.

Let me put you out of your misery and tell you the quickest way to pick your ideal client group to work with. There are 3 criteria that you can use when deciding on a target market.

First Simple Step

First you write down a whole bunch of different target groups you could have.  Say Housewives, Dentists, Mining Companies, etc. Then you put them through these three criteria to pick the best one. The first criteria is whether there’s a fit with that target client and your own personality, background and skill set. I mean if you’re a vegan targeting meat companies like a client of mine once did, you may want to rethink that one.

Second Simple Step

Number 2 criteria to pick your ideal client group is whether they can afford to pay you the level of income you want to make.  I mean, what if your soul cries out to help a group of people who are broke? I say, do like I do and get more paying clients so you can give away a portion of your time as charity to those who are less fortunate.

Third Simple Step

The last criteria in choosing your ideal client group is access. Do you have or can you easily get access to large groups of these people. For example, a client who wanted to target millionaires found that she couldn’t afford to join their clubs or networks and didn’t have a single millionaire in her personal network. So, do yourself a favour when you’re planning to grow your business and use these 3 simple criteria to pick the right target client.

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

Answer The Miracle Happiness Question

Have you ever wondered how one question could make you happy? Psychologists at the Canadian Positive Psychology Association conference that I was at last week sure did. They went further than wondering about it. They researched it. That’s right, I attended a 2 day conference with 400 happy people who did and presented research about happiness.

One of the researchers found that when a “miracle” question was asked, it gave perspective to people who felt strife in their lives. It made them actually feel better.

The question?

If you woke up and your world is exactly how you want it to be , what would be the evidence that it’s how you want it to be?

So of course, being a small business coach, I ask that question for your business. What would be the evidence that your business would be exactly how you want it to be?

Top 5 Indicators

Based on all my conversations with hundreds of small businesses that I talk to each year, I’ve taken a good guess at (and included some of my own) indicators that would be evidence that our businesses would be exactly as we dreamed:

1. All My Clients Value And Adore Me and Vice Versa

2. I Never Have To Sell And Market

3. I’m Making Tons Of Money That Grows Each Year

4. I Don’t Work Long Hours

5. I Never Have To Do Anything Uncomfortable

Other Questions To Ask

  • What would you do differently if you woke up to your ideal life?
  • What would be different compared to your life now?
  • Where do you rate yourself right now, on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being the ideal)?
  • What’s different from being at a 0 vs. where you’re at now?

When you feel yourself getting down about your business, refocus your energies by asking yourself the “Miracle” question and see if you have anything to be happy about!

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