What I learned from 100 Millionaire Women This Week

rbcI’m not a millionaire (yet) nor had I ever been exposed to so many of them in a concentrated period of time before this week. Two back to back events packed with an audience of millionaire women that I invested a significant amount of money to attend, turned out to be a real eye opener.

Everywhere-a-millionaires

At first blush, the event consisted of a well dressed, chatty group of women just like at any other networking I go to. But when I started to talk to some of the women I ran into at the coffee table or the bathroom lineup, I started to discover that lo and behold–most of the ladies were nominees of one award or another and based on what I know about the criteria for nomination–were millionaires!

Here are a few things that I learned from them:

They Have The Same Headaches

Yes, these women don’t see their children and husbands often. Yes, they spend more time in airport lounges than at hockey practice but the big difference between them and the rest of the women entrepreneurs I know, is that these millionaires have mostly gotten over the guilt of it. I found that millionaire women biz owners looked at being away from their family for work as teaching their children what it’s like to sacrifice things in order to get what you really want in life.

Lean On My Husband

When I came home from the gala last night, I told my husband that I was most definitely going to become a millionaire entrepreneur because the one thing all these ladies had in common with me was a supportive husband who took care of the home front and supported the woman’s dream of building her vision. It was so wonderful and inspiring to hear that.

They’re Terribly Humble

I don’t know if it’s a Canadian thing or if it’s just the nature of millionaire business women but there was such a feeling of humbleness and lack of pretension with these women. Some of the award winners even wept in surprise or said they often felt like an imposter. They talked fearlessly about their ‘dark nights’ where they were scared and depended on loved ones to get them through.

They’re Persistent

Perhaps the single biggest differentiator that I saw between this group of millionaires and the usual entrepreneurs that I meet is that no matter what the circumstance, these millionaires didn’t throw in the towel. They kept putting a second mortgage on the house, they borrowed more money, took more risks in the face of failure but never ever gave up. This characteristic isn’t really found in most women or even most entrepreneurs that I’ve met. They just go back and get a j-o-b.

They Look Good

Was I ever glad that I rented myself a $1000 designer gown that stood out like a beacon in a black tie event that might as well have been called a black dress one. My dress MADE friends for me. Perfect strangers would say ‘I love your dress’ and I’d tell them that I’d rented it. My frankness about the situation as well as the interesting story behind the dress started conversations that turned into genuine connections. From my brush with these millionaire shoulders, I learned that whether day or night-millionaire entrepreneur women dress well. They have expensive boots, purses and dresses. They have giant chunky bling. They are elegant and prepared to look their best when out in public.

They Are Helpful

The last point about these millionaire business women came out when part of the conference was a round table coaching of each other. These women were generous with their experiences and offered a lot of help. They were caring and attuned to the needs of those around them. Excellent connectors, these ladies had hundreds of employees and had formed phenomenal cultures around their workplace.

My whirlwind 2 days with millionaire women left me wonderfully inspired to be more like them. I hope I’ve been able to impart some of the magic of my time with them so that you too can join me at the next awards gala as a millionaire yourself next year!

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 Jann Arden Was Bleeding To Death

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Singer Jann Arden giving a talk a few hours after her bleeding episode

Jann Arden was bleeding to death in Toronto yesterday at 5:30am where she was staying at a hotel to speak at a Woman’s Conference I was attending yesterday. At least, that’s what she thought. In fact, after 4 hours of waiting at the ER she found out that it was simply a pre-menopausal hiccup.

How is that relevant to you, the small business owner whose business itself may be bleeding to death? Jann’s re-telling of an embarrassing and potentially a life threatening event gave me a glimpse of a best in class case of authenticity in the public eye that I want to share with other small business owners.

Here’s what I learned:

When You Are Honest, People Connect Deeper With You

Jann was sincere from the get go telling us funny stories of growing up and the heartbreaking recounting of her brother’s 20 year incarceration. She already had me at ‘hello Toronto’. However, she didn’t truly connect with me until she said ‘I wasn’t going to tell this story today’ and went onto recount her horror story of the bleeding, telling us how she was wearing pants that weren’t buttoned up and were being held up by the girth of her hips. This is a highly personal and potentially embarrassing story. Why would a world renowned singer, author and speaker share such private things you might ask yourself. It’s because she was the most human and vulnerable person in that whole lineup of speakers yesterday. And that made me want to believe her, trust her and listen to anything she had to tell me. What opportunities do you have to do the same in front of your customers?

Authenticity Means You Care Less About Failure Than Others

I wonder how many professional speakers who get paid tens and thousands of dollars to speak would risk looking unprofessional or offending people or grossing them out would have shied away from the topic of their very painful and personal health challenges they had a few hours before going on stage? The fact that Jann was willing to do so only made me certain that she felt secure in her right to be earning that money as a top notch, in demand pro. What are you afraid to reveal that is keeping you from being your true authentic self in front of your customers and colleagues? What would it look like if you finally let go of those fears of failure?

Like Attracts Like

When people are scared to be authentic, they feel REALLY uncomfortable with others who are willing to share and share and share. In fact, a term coined TMI has come out meaning Too Much Information has been shared. It’s been my experience that you attract the kind of people who are at exactly the same level of comfort in their own authenticity as you. So if you want more clients who are ideal for you, you need to reveal the true you more often. Make sense?

Your Lack Of Courage Can Kill Your Business

When you are inauthentic, you refuse to tell people who you really like and who you really dislike to work with. You’re afraid that it will drive business away and let you starve. This inability to define who you truly are in the eyes of your target market and amongst your competitive set is killing your business. It’s making you generic, it’s letting you blend in with all other nameless and faceless businesses.

So stand up for your true authentic self like Jann did and tell stories of who you really are and how you really live. You will not only feel better as a person but will attract the kind of attention and business that you will thrive to.

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

Get the Most Bang for Your Marketing Buck: 3 Ways

save moneyThe biggest misconception I run into about marketing amongst small business owners is that it’s expensive. If you’re interested in making sure that what you do spend is not wasted, read this article by  of Inc. Magazine where he talks about 3 golden ways to do just that:

1. Be Compelling

To be truly compelling you need these three components:

  • Empathy– Identify their pain that most needs to be resolved if you want them to notice you.
  • Objectivity– Suggest a perfect resolution to their pain so they’ll agree and yearn for more of what you have to say.
  • Differentiation– Promote true differentiation by offering something your competitors can’t do or won’t do without great effort or expense.

2. Be Intentional

  • Forethought–Analyze patterns, behaviors and objections in advance to open a successful sales path with your prospects.
  • Efficiency– Look for ways each tool can save time and money on a per sale basis and then measure, measure, measure to insure efficacy.
  • Integration–Spend time figuring out how to gain exponential benefit by making your programs consistent and relatable.

3. Be Memorable

  • Creativity–Combine creative mediums like video and art for resonant emotional outcomes.
  • Intensity–Your communication needs to be extremely powerful to break through the noise of the millions of messages bombarding your customers every day.
  • Revelation  – To truly be memorable you have to deliver an AHA! moment.

http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/get-the-most-bang-for-your-marketing-buck-3-ways.html

If you’re using the spaghetti method of marketing (throwing one noodle against the wall to see if it’ll stick as a determinant of the whole pot of noodles being cooked) then you are in deep marketing pain. The “spray and pray” method is exhausting and expensive and it certainly doesn’t maximize your marketing bucks.

I hope you can see that by being strategic and using the above advice as guidelines, you can start to get qualified leads who will love you and beg to work with 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

My Scary Drive Through The US Border

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Our border guard allegedly looked like Tom Cruise with his shades and uniform

Just in time for Halloween, I can tell you what I learned about fear during my first scary drive through the US Border this week. Fear is fear people, and here’s how to apply those lessons to your small biz.

Be Scared But Do It Anyway

My coach says that only 5% of people in the whole world achieve their potential because 95% of people aren’t willing to do things that the 5% is. Doing things that scare you would rate right up there with things most people aren’t willing to do. So here I was, a 44 year old world traveler, 6 figure business owner, mother and wife, afraid to drive by myself to the US because I get lost a lot. It’s strange to understand, but there it was, my fear of getting lost on the roads of Rochester. I decided to do it anyway because there was going to be tremendous value in the 3 day retreat to grow my business. I knew I had to bite the bullet and just do it. What are you afraid to do for your small biz that you know you just have to bite the bullet to do.

Get Help

Once I’d made the decision to go by myself at all costs, a strange thing happened. A good friend started getting interested in starting her own business. She was willing to come with me to the retreat. Then another strange thing happened, I met a woman one week before the retreat and she signed up for the same retreat. We ended up going together all in the same car. We had 2 GPS‘s in the car and both girls were giving me minute by minute road directions. Getting help was the easiest and fastest way to get to Fairport. What help can you get for your small biz to ease your trip to success?

Fake It Till You Make It

One of my big stressors was the US customs border crossing. I imagined being stopped, cavity searched, delayed, asked to pull over, you name it. I was so nervous about it. When the Tom Cruise (alleged) look-a-like-sunglass-guy claimed not to know what a coach was and that it was ridiculous to think that my coach worked with me over the phone, I was definitely flustered. However, I burned through the pain and kept calmly answering and joking along. He did search our trunk but let us go quickly after that. The girls in the car with me were fanning themselves from their hormonal rush and I myself was covered in sweat but for entirely different reasons. In your business, sometimes you HAVE to fake confidence about your services, your abilities, your fees, you name it. Until you make it, you have to fake it like I did at the US border.

Learn from my over stimulating drive over the US border and ask yourself some tough questions for your biz. You’ll be happy you did.

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 Michael E. Gerber Apologized To Me

michaelgerber

I was at the Art of Small Business yesterday, a conference with a $349 ticket that had famous speakers like Brett Wilson (Dragon’s Den) and Michael E. Gerber (The E-Myth books). I learned quite a few things I want to share with my own peeps and even got an apology from the great Gerber himself. Here’s what I learned:

You Can Reach Anyone, Even A Celebrity

When I tweeted about Michael Gerber heckling people and joked that I was afraid to visit the washroom for fear of being assaulted, I never expected that he would see my comment. Low and behold, the same night I saw his apology. I’ve met numerous high profile, hard to reach people on Twitter because 1. it’s not as populated as LinkedIn or Facebook and 2. when you keep tweeting about a person using their handle and keep doing it, they take notice. If you’re trying to reach someone important, what are you waiting for?

Age Equals Power

When Michael Gerber got up and said he’d do the exact opposite of every previous speaker (which meant all of them) on stage, he wasn’t kidding. He refused to give a how-to list (although he did end up having a list). He refused to be nice, heckling people getting up to leave the audience during his speech. He proudly stated his age-77. Now the man definitely had a style and he had confidence. Every time he’d say something controversial, he’d state “I’ve been around”. So yes, I learned that if I’m still public speaking at 77, I can pull off all that and more on stage.

Millionaires Neglect Their Families

The most interesting part of Brett Wilson’s talk for me was when he recounted the story of how he’d work harder, the more his marriage fell apart. He talked about how his priorities were money and big cars while his own children didn’t know him. He said he needed lots of therapy and reworking his life to find his new normal. A man in the audience stood up and asked ‘is it possible to be a millionaire and have a great family life’ and Brett’s answer was pretty much ‘no’. Interesting…

Paid Speakers Also Sell From The Stage

I know from talking to promoters that these celebrities were getting paid between $10K and $25K for their 1 hour speaking engagement. What was also interesting to me was how they were selling a product or a service while they were also getting paid to speak. Jonathan Fields offered a free mind map download with a link to his website. Most others offered to stick around for questions. Others had book signings. I once heard Marcus Buckingham say that he only made $25K on stage but at the end of the hour long talk, that he’d sold $250K worth of training while doing it. Mark my words: Public Speaking is the best way to build any business.

Free Tickets Are The New Black

After determining that none the 30 or so friends that I ran into at the event had paid for their supposed $349 ticket, I was onto the organizers’ game. The event was simply a paid vehicle for sponsors Visa, KPMG and UPS to gather and market to 250 small business owners. It’s brilliant really. How much better was their reach than TV advertising? How much could they interact with the small biz owners one on one rather than be PVR’d off their screen? Clever, very clever.

So if you’re trying to grow your small biz, learn from the masters like I did and next thing you know, you’ll be holding your own event and apologizing to someone in your audience!

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 Someone In The Audience Ranted On Me

I was speaking at the SOHO Entrepreneur’s conference this week. The room was packed. I had a tiny speaking time slot I’d begged my way into and the organizers were frantically giving me the ‘you’re out of time’ gestures. At the end of my talk, something unexpected happened. A very angry older woman stood up and waved her notebook at me saying “you didn’t get to half the points you said you’d cover, I’m still waiting!”

What would you do if this happened to you? Here are a few lessons that I learned from my brush with audience fury.

When You’re In The Public Eye, Unpleasant Things Could Happen

Public Speaking is a huge fear for most people. No wonder because even though I LOVE to speak, I wasn’t feeling too warm and fuzzy as I was being verbally mauled by this audience member. I blog, speak, appear on TV and radio shows touting that it’s ok to be yourself. Well, here was a reminder that if I’m up for doing all those things, I have to be prepared that not everyone might agree with or like what I’m doing.

Ride the A-Train

My fave coach Sam Horne advises that when someone complains, we should ride what she calls the A-train: Apologize, Acknowledge and Act. So when angry lady caused a ruckus, I told her that I was sorry that we’d run out of time and that she hadn’t gotten to the part she came for (all true and valid complaints). Then I offered to stay behind and answer any questions she had for her business. She booted out as soon as the lights went up so I don’t think she was impressed but I’ve found the A-train invaluable in my business dealings.

Keep Cool

Having someone angry at me isn’t fun. Having someone yell at me in front of a packed room full of people I’m trying to convert into clients is even more nerve wracking. The best thing I did was to keep my cool in that situation and keep repeating the A-train like a robot and quickly move onto other matters. My best advice for you if you’re a small biz owner who is hit head-on with negativity is to think about something that makes you gooey inside (I thought of my 4 year old and how he was waiting for me in his pj’s at home in his bed). It works every time.

Plan Better

The angry audience lady was actually right. I should’ve completely changed up my speech and my usual keynote speaking summary to realistically reflect what I could present in that very small amount of time. It was a bitter way to remind me once again that no matter how many times I do this, I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go.

So the next time someone rants on you in public in front of potential clients, take my advice and you’ll look forward to the next flaying with more fortitude.

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