The Truth About What’s Really Running Your Business

by Christine Kloser

There’s a silent epidemic happening for entrepreneurs world-wide.  It’s not a pretty epidemic, nor is it fun… but it’s an epidemic that can be eradicated by each and every entrepreneur who has been affected by it.

I was personally impacted by this epidemic for many, many years in my business without having any conscious awareness that it was happening, that it had its hold on me.  And, I’m hearing more and more about this epidemic as entrepreneurs are waking up and beginning to realize what’s really happening in their businesses.

And, the epidemic is this…. I call it the “Unconscious, Conscious Entrepreneur” syndrome.  I can hear you already saying, “What?”  “What does it mean to be an “unconscious, conscious entrepreneur?”  Right?  If you’re reading this ezine and believe in a conscious approach to business, how could you be unconsciousness?

The answer is this.  There are ways of being, old habits, default patterns that you aren’t even aware of that are running your business, and your life.  While you are likely working very hard (like I did) not to let these old beliefs and behaviors take over… they are so insidious, they can’t help but creep in.

Here are a two of the most common ways this epidemic shows up, and my personal experience with each:

I’m Not Good Enough
If somewhere in your psyche, you have a belief that you are not “good enough” (which is very common for us overachieving entrepreneurs), no matter how much you take action and do things in your business to feel good enough, there will always be an empty space inside of you that can never be filled no matter how much you achieve.  Feeling like “enough” has to come from inside of you… it can never come from anything outside of yourself.

How this core belief showed up in me was in my ambitious drive to excel, achieve, and accomplish.  While I was connected to really wanting to help people, there had been this underlying “frenetic” feeling that I always had to be doing more.  At the time I wasn’t aware that my ambition and my drive to excel was being fueled by a feeling of not being “good enough.”   Once I shifted away from being an “unconscious, conscious entrepreneur” and opened my eyes to what was really happening inside of myself, everything changed.

So, I invite you to simply notice if you have an underlying feeling of “not being good enough.”  If you do, allow yourself to see how this belief (which is not really the truth of who you are) plays out in your life and your business.  With this new awareness, now stay “awake” to it and you’ll see you can begin to make some new choices.

I’m Worried About What Others Think
This is another biggy!  Be honest with yourself, and ask yourself if you’re ever done something (or not done something) because of what someone else might think?  Did you launch a program you really didn’t want to do, just because your coach or a colleague told you to do it?  Have you ever said “yes” to something you wanted to say “no” to because you didn’t want to let down the other person?  Chances are you’ve done these things because you allow what others think about you to have an influence on you.

This was another big learning area for me.  I used to worry about what others thought about me and what I did or didn’t do (in fact, to be honest, every now and then I still feel this old thought pattern creeping in).  But, once I realized how much I had been sacrificing my own joy trying to fit into someone else’s idea of me – someone else’s “box” – I have been working hard within myself to not worry so much about what other people think about me.  It’s a tough lesson to learn, especially when you care about others and don’t want to make waves or cause anyone to be upset.  However, the most important person to not upset or make waves with is yourself!

So, beginning today, let yourself see if you have been worried about what other people think of you.  And, begin to imagine what would be possible if you thought most about what you thought of you.  As one of my friends likes to say, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

© 2010 Christine Kloser

Christine Kloser, author of The Freedom Formula, helps entrepreneurs put soul in their business and money in the bank.  If you want to thrive in your purpose-driven, profitable business (while enjoying a soul-satisfying life), send for my special report, How to Avoid the 3 Massive Mistakes Made by Most Conscious Entrepreneurs and my audio, 7 Strategies Entrepreneurial Authors Need to Know... Before Writing a Word, both of which you get (at no charge) when you request my Conscious Business Success Kit at

IBM and Social Media: 7 Tips for Midmarket Businesses

by Loraine Kasprzak, CMC, MBA

I interviewed Leslie Reiser, Program Director of Worldwide Digital Marketing for IBM General Business. Leslie and her team built IBM’s infoboom online community to collaborate with mid-market B2B companies. The community has since merged with other IBM midsized business social media channels, including a Facebook page, LinkedIn group, etc.

Leslie shared 7 principles you can apply to your own social media/digital marketing efforts. Using even one or two of Leslie’s insights can make developing your company’s social marketing a whole lot easier.

Understand where people are already getting their information, where conversations are already happening. Get involved in these discussions first. Understand where the client base is going before you try to direct the discussion.

Realize that social marketing requires an investment. You’ll need to have some level of investment to grow your social presence. For example, you may want to have a community manager added to your staff who will drive online discussions.

Be creative! After you’ve been listening to discussions for awhile, you’ll have an idea of what’s needed, what’s missing in the marketplace. Make that your niche. Create a new concept for that niche and make it your own.

Have something insightful to say. You have a short window to engage your audience because there’s so much competition for their time. What value are you giving in exchange for their time?

Keep it simple. When you keep it simple, you’ll make the best use of your investment. You’ll want to focus on sharing your content on the social platforms where you find the discussions most relevant to your company. IBM, for example, simplified and consolidated its midmarket interactions into five relevant social spaces, and made content easier to find with tags and indexing.

Empower your employees to be social marketers, and do it in the context of your market. The Watson success on Jeopardy is a good example – IBM people were all over the place – on both social and traditional media. For example, on [the social bookmarking and sharing site], there is a small, enthusiastic Watson audience, and IBM employees contributed to that discussion.

Leverage free tools – there are many. You don’t need to spend millions of dollars, but be thoughtful and be prepared. [For a good list of free social media tools, check out 10 Free Social Media Tools Every PR Pro Should Master].

Loraine Kasprzak, Founder and Managing Director of Advantage Marketing Consulting Services, is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and MBA with over 17 years of hands-on experience in marketing communications and strategy. One of Loraine’s strengths is her ability to help her clients clarify their thinking so that they can focus and fine-tune their message for the marketplace. She blogs about marketing and social media at and is a frequent contributor to the Secrets of Success blog. She can be reached at


Taking Your Quantum Leap! There Is Life After the Corporate World!

by Mariana M. Cooper

The question that I hear so much from clients and friends is "Why is this happening? People are losing their jobs, how are they going to survive?" It is absolutely a challenging time. Perhaps one of the most challenging in recent history because we have the highest expenses ever and many became very used to living a lifestyle that is dependent on a paycheck every 2 weeks, credit and dividends.

I spent 7 years as an employee for a major Fortune 100 company. As many corporate managers and executives do I had a seemingly great lifestyle of travel, a lovely home, nice clothes, the latest gadgets, a nice title that was respected and a big company name that gave me and my MBA a factor of what I call "societal legitimacy." In other words I was legitimate and "worthy or successful" in society because of where I worked, what I did, where I lived, what I wore, what I owned and how big my bonuses were.

I administered downsizings when I was in the human resources department and I actually took a package 14 years ago and left. I was thrilled! I was stripped of my titles, my company name, the big spending budget and knew that I was moving forward toward my passion even though I wasn't quite sure what it was. It was weird to go to events and when asked who I was to just answer I am Mari, without all of the corporate identity add ons. Over time I developed the full descriptions that are filled with both pride and passion. But I had to be willing to strip down first. The Universe then had the space to move me in the right direction.

Do you find that your job has become your identity? Well most people do and if you answered yes you are not alone. But this is one of the LARGEST ILLUSIONS that society has taught us to believe.

And whenever something is extremely unbalanced, the universe brings us back into balance. We are in a time now where we are being called to our "True Life Purpose". Everyone is born with a gift, sometimes several gifts that they have agreed to discover and impart on the world in this lifetime. This gift is also known as your Passion or bliss. It is the work that provides inspiration, product or service to the world and leads people forward in their lives.

So many people get sidetracked with the false claims of society and ignore their true gift, their lifes purpose.

We are now at a turning point world wide as we approach major changes that are ahead. We are all being called forward to seek, recognize and TAKE ACTION in our passions. The gifts that we signed up to offer the world.

The layoffs, job freezes, seeming demise of the markets etc is a time of cleansing and a catalyst for inner self reflection. It is not a time of doom, evil or demise. It is a time where we are all being called to STEP UP! We are being told: "HEY You signed up for something much better than this! Pay attention! Stop the madness! We are here to help you! Please ask so that we can answer!"

There are 3 key questions to now ask yourself and God / The Universe / Spirit:

   1.  What is my purpose?
   2.  What really makes my heart sing? 
   3.  How May I Contribute?

These are the questions that will bring your customized answers from SPIRIT, rapidly. And that is where you need the answers to come from. Not from the news, the naysayers and the analysts.

If you are anxious, confused and feel caught at the crossroad start by getting quiet and asking these 3 questions 3 times a day. Then use your journal to jot down insights and answers that you get through your day. They will come rapidly. As it does not do the Universe any good to keep you on hold!

It is time to take your Quantum Leap! And the Universe is ready and willing to support you!

Just Ask!

Author: Mariana M. Cooper, Aha! Moments, Inc. Marketing & Manifesting Strategist For Enlightened Entrepreneurs. For more information, products and services visit our blog at:

Priscilla Groves of Piehole on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Priscilla Groves, Ruler of Piehole.
Originally from South Africa, Priscilla has been traveling the world for the last 8 years. Her background is in advertising and she has worked as a creative writer on some of the world's biggest brands.

Priscilla left the rat race 2 years ago to become a full-time internet entrepreneur.  She has been traveling the world with her husband, living in countries like Argentina, Chile, UK and USA, and running her popular voice over directories, and  Her latest product creates professional online videos for company websites.

Date: Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Time: 8:00 pm EDT
Click here to listen to the live or recorded show:


Six Steps to Creating a Referral-Based Business

by Sydni Craig-Hart

Doesn’t it feel great to pass along the word about your favorite restaurant or tell someone about a terrific book you can read? You can make it easy for your clients and colleagues to do the same for your services. When you do great work for your clients, they are just as excited to tell others about you.

Creating a referral based business, where you’re consistently getting leads from your current clients, has multiple benefits. It helps cut down your marketing time and costs, it gives you more opportunities to provide great service and can help you grow your network exponentially.

Here are six PROVEN steps to use to create the type of business that people love to rave about!

   1. Be worth of referring – Always do your best! This doesn’t meant that you have to be perfect. But it does mean that you need to give your very best effort and deliver on what you promise. Under promise and over deliver at every opportunity that you can.

   2. Ask for referrals – Don’t worry if you feel intimidated! Asking your existing and past clients to introduce you to those in their network is a perfectly acceptable way to grow your business. This is simple to do when a client has just commented on the excellent quality of your work.

   3. Educate your audience on how to refer you – It’s easier for your contacts to refer to you when they know exactly what you are looking for. Give specific and relatable examples. For example, “I work with small business owners who are struggling to get organized in their workspaces so they can have peace of mind.” Provide terms and problems they should be looking for so they know when to present your services.

   4. Create referral agreements with key “Power Partners” – For example, if you are a professional organizer, reach out to a real-estate agent, an interior designer and a personal chef to create a referral circle. All of you are committed to making sure your clients have a comfortable, functional home space and lifestyle. And likely your clients will at one point or another need the services of these professionals and vice versa. Your Power Partners will introduce your services to their clients when they need it – and you’ll do exactly the same for them.

   5. Systemize your efforts – Send out a monthly letter to your referral partners to let them know what’s new in your business. Be sure to promptly follow up on any leads you receive (within 48 hours). Keep track of your leads and check-in regularly with prospects.

   6. Offer a gracious and generous thank you to anyone who refers business to you. Show your appreciation by promptly sending a thank you card and a gift. Whether it’s a gift card, a delivery of flowers or another gift of your choice, make the time and extend the effort to let that person know how much you appreciate their confidence in your services.

By implementing these six steps, you’ll be able to create a solid stream of referrals and create more profits and more freedom in your business!

What was the best referral you ever received and what did you to to secure it? Share your story in a comment on the blog!


   1. Ask your current clients who else they know who would be a good match for the solutions you offer.
   2. Create a list of qualities, problems and terms that your ideal clients would use so that your referral partners know what to look for.
   3. Make a list of people that you know (or want to be introduced to) who can become your Power Partners. Reach out to them and set up a referral arrangement. Give them your list of things to look for and ask the same of them.
   4. Create a system for connecting with referral partners, following up on leads and referring business to other people.
   5. Send a surprise gift to clients and partners who refer work your way.

Sydni Craig-Hart, The Smart Simple Marketing Coach, is founder of Known for her easy, strategic and results-focused approach to marketing, she also has the unique ability to find untapped profit centers in her client’s businesses so they can create mo.ney NOW. Visit for your FREE training course, “5 Simple Steps to More Clients, More Visibility and More Freedom” and apply for a FREE "Profit Breakthrough" session with Sydni!

End The Clutter!

by Julie Barnes

Nothing stresses me out more than clutter. The sight of paper piled high and folders stacked up are frankly a buzz-kill for my productivity. I would spend hours every few months reorganizing my office. I had to end the madness. So, I came up with a plan to finally get organized and more importantly to say organized. Here’s what I did…

1. Created a mobile file cabinet – I purchased a personal file tote, hanging files, and file folders from Staples. I then created hanging files for the current projects that I’m working on, along with individual file folders. I filed any projects that were completed in my archives box. I also included files for the business side and for upcoming projects and ideas. The great thing is… if I need a change of scenery and want to work from Starbucks, all I have to do is grab my laptop and my portable file cabinet and I have everything I need for an afternoon of work.

2. Stop printing – It’s pretty simple. The less you print the less paper you have to deal with. I must admit that I picked up a bad printing habit while working in corporate America. I had to print everything and then file it. Argh!! Now I only print what I absolutely need. This also saves me money in ink, gas, and time. Since I was always running to Staples for ink and paper.

3. Office Supplies - I organized three shelves in a closet my office supplies. The top shelf is for art supplies and stuff I do not use on a daily basis. The middle shelf is where my printer sits, so that it’s out of my way. And the bottom shelf is where I have trays for incoming mail, archived files, and copies of magazines for research. I also created a drawer that contains printer paper, file folders, etc. and a small drawer for pens, pencils, and other small supplies.  So when I’m done working for the day, I just close the drawers and cabinet doors and everything is neatly organized and put away. And that signals the office is closed for the day, which is great when you work from home. J

4.  Books ­-   I love books of all kind. I prefer the old school print, but I like the digital versions as well. I have books for reference, books for research, and books for fun. My bookshelves were busting at the seams. So I purged the books that I don’t use on a daily basis and put them in my storage area. Now I purchase most of books digitally, unless it’s a reference book. I like to flip through then and make notes.
Now I’m finally organized…how’s your clutter?
Julie Barnes is a Freelance Writer traveling the great USA full-time in a 42 ft RV.  Her newest book “How They Did It…36 Entrepreneurs Tell How They Launched the Business of Their Dreams” is available here. Visit her website at Follow Julie on Twitter at

Julie Barnes is a regular contributor to the Secrets of Success blog.

A Month of Awareness

You may know that in the United States October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but do you know that it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

From the Becky's Fund site:

First observed in 1981 as a Day of Unity, (Domestic Violence Awareness Month) has evolved into a month of activities with the purpose of connecting victims and advocates together, in efforts to end domestic violence.  The activities in DVAM revolve around mourning those who have been lost to domestic violence, while honoring those who have survived, and renewing our commitment to the fight against an international crisis. DVAM is a great time to learn more about the efforts to end abuse, and raise awareness with friends and family. This newfound knowledge could potentially save a life. One in three women are victims of domestic violence, and one and five teens experience dating violence,

If you feel that you are in an abusive situation and are in danger call:
    * U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or TTY at 1-800-787-3224

    * U.S. National Teen Dating Violence Helpline at 1-866-331-9474

Anna Jerstrom on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Anna Jerstrom started her career in investment banking in 2000, joining Merrill Lynch's financial sponsors group. Subsequently, she spent three years as Chief of Staff for the President of New York Life Asset Management where she helped grow the business to its highest revenue to date (in 2007). After completing her MBA at Columbia University, Anna joined Helix Associates, where she was responsible for marketing and distributing private equity funds.

In late 2009, Anna decided to change her life and follow her love for surfing and fashion, moving to Costa Rica where she started designing and making beachwear. She soon learned that: 1. She's not a bad surfer, and 2. It's hard to keep a bikini in place when you are dancing between the waves. Anna founded Calavera in Q3 2010 as a means of combining her business acumen with her two passions in life. Hence, the May 2011 launch of a new line of swimwear that would stay on no matter how high the waves - Calavera (which means "skull" in Spanish, the image on Jerstrom's surfboard). Her sketches and unique designs transformed into an innovative, fashionable line of swimwear that include unique, edgy fabrics and customizable combinations.

Date: Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Time: 8:00 pm EDT
Click here to listen to the live or recorded show:


Teisha Shelby-Houston on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

Author, speaker, business coach and homeschooling mother of 5, Teisha Shelby-Houston (Lady T) has traveled the United States and Europe helping companies train their employees with essential skills.

But she started feeling guilty about training people to be better employees while she was enjoying the benefits of being an entrepreneur. And she also knew that even though the employees were putting in lots of skills and long hours, most companies wouldn’t honor their loyalty and would “relieve” em-ployees of their duty for the sake of the bottom line.

So she focused her training on helping employees to become entrepreneurs. Today she speaks to women and mom entrepreneurs inspiring and coaching them to return home and start a profitable business based on her gifts. Her motivational workshops and spiritual retreats empower women to live a life of purpose!

She has been an invited guest on the Oprah show, is the co-author of Mom Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, she organizes a weekly Women's Power Net-working group and hosts the BlogTalk Radio show, For Powerful Women Only.

You can catch Lady T on her community blog at where she blogs encouragement, business tips and laughs to help mompreneurs stay focused on success!

Date: Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
Time: 8:00 pm EDT
Click here to listen to the live or recorded show:


5 Unique Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Facebook Page

by Donna Gunter

Now that everyone who owns a business seems to be building Facebook Pages (also known as Fan Pages, Like Pages, and Business Pages), the next inevitable dilemma that we face is what to do with those pages once they’re  created and how to drive traffic there.  I’ve seen companies popping up all over with offers of “1000 new Facebook Fans for $xx.”  I’m not sure that type of strategy is reliable or even works.

What I’ve often seen business owners do, and what they’re encouraged to do, are three things:  1.  Ask questions to promote discussion; 2.  Hold contests; and 3.  Offer regular discounts or coupons.  None of those gets my attention as someone who is a “fan” of many Facebook pages, although sometimes I do check out the discounts or coupons.

However, recently I’ve been paying attention to what attracts me to fan pages.  I am juggling many balls during the day, so any strategy to which I pay attention has to have a very high WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) factor to lure me away from the million other things I have to do.

Here are 5 unique ways I’ve seen others use to drive traffic to their Facebook pages:

1.  Promotion Day:  Consultant Biana Babinsky runs a monthly promotion day where she invites her list and followers to post info about their business and their Facebook page on her business page’s wall.  It’s a great strategy — business owners love the opportunity to talk about themselves, and they get a little free promotion in the process.

2. Brag About Your Blog. Blogging expert Denise Wakeman invites her followers to brag about their blogs once a month on her business page. She is getting amazing results with this strategy, recently reporting over 300 shares when she wrote a follow up post about this strategy.  She encourages business owners to come up with a clever hook that is all about them.

3.  Speed Coaching.  Internet marketing expert Ryan Lee recently let his followers know that he was on a plane to an event and would do speed coaching for them from his Facebook page. A number of people (me included) took him up on his offer, and we got our questions answered while he enjoyed his flight.

4.  Virtual event checkins:  I was on a teleclass recently with Online Business Coach George Kao, and he encouraged us to introduce ourselves and our businesses and interact with each other on his host’s (James Roche) Facebook page.  It was a pretty cool experience, as I connected with some new folks and, in one case, with a current newsletter subscriber.

5.  Host a Q&A day: I’ve watched Social Media Examiner do this every Friday, when they invite an expert on social marketing to be their guest and answer fan questions on their Facebook page.

Take Action Strategy

Don’t take the usual, boring route to engage your Facebook page fans.  Take some time to think about what would really engage them, and implement that on a regular basis. Watch your fanbase grow, as well as your expertise and credibility.

Introvert Marketing Coach Donna Gunter helps professional service businesses stop the client chase and create online businesses that drive clients to them. Want to learn specific Internet marketing strategies that get results for introverts? Discover how to increase your online visibility in this free ecourse, Introvert Marketing Toolkit: 9 Strategies to Make a BOLD Impression Online


Not Another Email!

by Julie Barnes

I have to admit that I love email. I remember getting my first email address in the 90’s. It was just so cool to send a letter or short message by just hitting the send button. I didn’t have to pick up the phone to call someone or drive down to the post office to actually mail a letter…I could simply get on the computer, write my message, and hit send.  And now….I have a smart phone, so I’m never away from my email.  But I do try to take a technology break most weekends and highly recommend it to others.

But what started out as a cool thing quickly turned into overwhelm.  I went from getting a couple of emails a day, to now receiving on average of 50 a day or more and that’s not including the spam that goes directly to the spam box.  My emails include business, personal, newsletters, forum discussions, and junk mail. My email box became so overwhelming that I constantly worried about over looking an important email.  So here is what I did to get my email under control.

1. Create two Gmail addresses – I love Gmail. Because it’s web based you can access it from anywhere.  The first email address I use as my business / important email box. I forward my business email to this address.  I have my friends and family use this address too. That way, I never have to worry about missing an important email from a client, friend or family.

The second Gmail address I use for signing up for newsletters, forum discussions, free reports, etc.  If I’m at a website where they are going to capture my email and then start blasting my inbox with endless marketing emails, they go to this email box. Then at least a couple times a day, I’ll look through it to see if there is anything I want to read.

2. Organized my inbox -  In Gmail you can create color coded labels. I took the time to create labels so I never have to look for an email, I just click on the label and find what I need.  Some examples of the labels I created are… Clients, Personal, Receipts, Business, Entrepreneur Newsletters, Writing Newsletters, Coaching Groups, and Forums. You can also create sub-labels in Gmail to get even more organized. I loved to be organized if you can’t tell. 

3. Send it to the junk box  - I still have and use my very first email address, except  I have turned it into my junk email address. You know when you out shopping and the store ask for an email address to send you coupons and store flyers? This is the email address I give them. Then, when I’m ready to go shopping, all I have to do is look through my email to see what stores are having the good deals or if I have any coupons that I can use. 

I’m happy to say that I ended my email stress and now I have my inbox under control. Now…let’s get yours under control.
Julie Barnes is a Freelance Writer traveling the great USA full-time in a 42 ft RV.  Her newest book “How They Did It…36 Entrepreneurs Tell How They Launched the Business of Their Dreams” is available here. Visit her website at Follow Julie on Twitter at
Julie Barnes is a regular contributor to the Secrets of Success blog.

YiShaun Yang - from Corporate Attorney to Entrepreneur on Women Entrepreneurs Radio™

YiShaun Yang is a former corporate attorney who left the law to start AdoraPet (, a business that creates children’s books and toys to nourish a happy mind.

While still working as an attorney, YiShaun deliberated whether or not to start this new business.  She knew that, worst case scenario, if the business totally failed, she could always come back and be an attorney, and that’s when she realized she was already living her worst case scenario.  YiShaun knew she was blessed that her worst case scenario was also a great safety net, so she took the plunge in starting AdoraPet and never looked back.  While refining her business idea, YiShaun discovered her calling is inspiring children to read and discover a world of possibility.

AdoraPet is releasing a new 8 title picture book series in November 2011 that follows the adventures of 2 puppies, Pima Puppy and Pico Puppy, as they explore the world and share with children their diverse adventures, from the intrepid (like the Astronaut Adventure and Firefighter Adventure books), to the imaginative (like the Mermaid Adventure and Pirate Adventure books), to the practical (like the Visit the Dentist book). YiShaun also writes a family lifestyle blog at

Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
Time: 8:00 pm EDT
Click here to listen to the live or recorded show:


YiShaun is hosting a Free-Book-A-Day giveaway! Every day for the rest of 2011 after the books launch in November, she'll give away a free book to someone on her mailing list.  Sign up on the website (on the right hand side) at:

Wait, there's more! :) "Like" the Facebook fan page at: and/or follow them on Twitter at @AdoraPet_Moms and tweet with the hashtag #AdoraPetLaunch and you'll have the opportunity to win a free book! 


Does Your Niche Measure Up?

by Barbara Saunders

Take this quick quiz to evaluate your niche

Your ‘Niche’ is the pool of targeted clients that you choose to do business with. A clearly defined niche can make your marketing a piece of cake, but only if they measure up.

Just wanting to work with a group of people because you think they need your help is not enough. Running a business MUST be focused on generating income.

I’ve created a quick Niche Quiz to help you measure your niche to see if you still need some fine tuning. Here’s a tip: Work on ONE niche at a time. Don’t get scattered with multiple niches, especially when you’re struggling with getting clients. Only explore additional niches when the one you’ve got is humming along generating income for you.

After you’ve taken the quiz and know how to fine tune your niche, I’ll give you a few tips on how to maximize your work with them and I’ll give you a few tips on where to find MORE of them…

Niche Quiz

1. Does your niche have a shared area of need that they regularly invest in for help?

Do a quick Google search on the keyword that describes your chosen niche (example: small alternative health care clients). If there are less than 10,000 results from your search, that niche may be too small. When you talk with them, do they indicate that they actually invest in the sorts of services that you provide? If not, move to another niche. For example, if they know they need a website, but are set on trying to do it all themselves – no matter how badly it reflects on their business, and they don’t have a clue how important branding and positioning is – they’re going to drain too much of your time trying to educate them.

2. Does your niche have a history of being able to pay for your services?

If the people you’re targeting for clients do not have a history of investing in their business – it’s not worth the time for you. This becomes a ‘CEO Mindset’ issue for many Solo Pros. We may desperately want to help people, but you MUST separate your charitable efforts from your business. Remember that you’re in business to earn a living. By focusing on a target market that is willing and able to pay you what you’re worth – with the least possible effort in converting them from prospect to client – you then will have the time and resources to help the people who cannot pay through strategic – limited – volunteer work.

3. Does your niche know they have a problem?

This might sound obvious, but it’s a key element that’s overlooked often by many Solo Pros. It may be crystal clear to us why these people need an optimized website and a marketing plan, but they may have been stumbling along for quite a while with an old template-based website and putting flyers on cars for years. They just don’t see any reason to change. This type of mindset is going to take a LOT of effort on your part to change. Switch now to a niche that is hungry for your help. Tip: here’s a quick test to tell if this is your niche’s problem: Ask them, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it for you to solve this problem?” If it’s not a 6 or above, move on. They’re not in enough pain yet to invest in your services.

Maximize Your Work Within Your Niche

Here are a few tips to make your services easy to invest in. Tip: The confused mind ALWAYS says ‘NO”, so make your offers as clear and modular as possible. Here’s how:

    * Package specific features for a specific time
    * Always lead your communication with the result
    * Create a ‘juicy’ name – make it appealing, benefit/result based
    * Create step-by-step systems or modules that you can clearly lead your clients through

Where to Find Your Niche

Here are a few overlooked places where your potential clients may be hiding:

    * Your past clients – they might not know of your new services
    * Friends and family – The Department of Labor published a report recently stating that more than 82% of people laid off have started working for themselves – odds are you’re already connected to people who need your help
    * People at your networking groups
    * Your social groups – get comfortable talking about what you do (not your job title, but the results you provide for who) while you’re taking a breather at your square dancing group
    * Social media – FaceBook, Linked In, and Twitter are some of the best ways to find clients.

    You’re welcome to use this article, I just ask that you be sure to keep the author’s info with it and please link to our website.

Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Solo Pro Academy. It’s our mission to build community and help creative solo pros build and run successful businesses by providing support, innovation, tools, and strategies. Our goal is to liberate our members from the feast and famine cycle.

Enter the "Reinvent Your Biz" Contest and win $5,000

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What's this about?

Reinvention. It's the theme of this year's SHINE 2011 event, taking place November 2-4, in Dallas, Texas. No matter who you are, or what stage of business you're in, we ALL need to periodically reinvent our lives and our businesses.

Reinvention doesn't mean you have to make a HUGE shift all at once. You can take small steps to improve your life and your business, or you can make leaps. But I'm sure you can all agree that a chunk of cash will make that shift happen much more easily!

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If you win, Ali will present a $5,000 check to you LIVE on-stage at SHINE. Remember, SHINE is a powerful 3-day conference designed to give entrepreneurial women new ideas, tools, and strategies to propel their businesses and lives to new heights.

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Author Q&A: "School for Startups"

Does the idea of starting your own business scare you? It did for the authors of this book until they took simple steps to turn their ideas into businesses. This book is a result of the lessons learned starting these businesses. Jim Beach, one of the authors of School for Startups: The Breakthrough Course for Guaranteeing Small Business Success in 90 Days or Less ," stopped by the Secrets of Success blog to answer some questions about his new book.

Jim started working as a research assistant at the Japanese External Trade Organization in Atlanta. He attended graduate school in Hawaii before working for Coca-Cola in Japan. At age 26, he founded American Computer Experience, which provided technology training for young people. He sold the company in 2001 and started teaching at Georgia State University. He now teaches at the University of Tennessee/Chattanooga. He has worked extensively with United Parcel Service to promote exports.

Deborah Bailey: What prompted you to write this book? 

Jim Beach: I started a series of businesses while I was teaching MBA classes.  Each semester I would bet the class I could start a business THAT semester, earning ALL startup funds back before the end of the term, and the class got to pick the country and industry I did it in.  Never lost the bet, and a reporter heard the story and encouraged me to write a book about it.  First one was from Pakistan.

DB: What is your book about?

Our belief that entrepreneurship does not have to be about risk or creativity.  Start with less than $5k and copy someone else's idea.  Just execute the idea better.  People wait to become business owners, waiting on creativity or money.  You cannot wait on either.  Copy a good idea and start as cheaply as possible to reduce risk.

DB: Who do you think will benefit from reading your book?

Anyone who wants to own their own business, but doesn't know how to start.

DB: How can people find business ideas?

Our appendix lists 25 or so businesses you can start for under $500 and in under 3 months!

DB: Do you have recommendations for how people can raise capital for their businesses?

DON'T!  Sell a product instead.  I wasted years raising money when I should have been selling product.  If the business really requires so much money, change the model.  Bars can be started for $5 million or $5,000.

DB: You have a chapter on Marketing. Any tips you'd like to share?

The entrepreneur must make the first sale.  Must be the person to get the first customer.  Only that way will the pitch be perfected.  Hiring someone to do marketing for you is a kiss of death.

DB: What can people find in your book?

Encouragement!  Stories of success, real people that succeeded because they decided to!  You can do it too!

DB: What do you feel makes your book different from others in your category?

We are not academics, just people that started lots of businesses.  Our belief that entrepreneurship doesn't have to be about risk or creativity runs counter to most people's views.  We tell lots of fun stories to encourage the reader.  The book is very simple and easy to read.

DB:. What do you want readers to come away with?

The desire to start a business and the knowledge of what to do next.

DB: What inspires you to do the work you do?

I love seeing people succeed.  I love changing lives, reducing risk, and having fun with business growth.

Find out how to get your copy of "School for Startups" and learn more about it at these sites:

Because The Coach Says…

by Julie Barnes

You know the saying it takes a village to raise a child. Well the same is true for running a business…even if you’re solopreneur. And…that village should include a coach. But how do you find a coach that will actually help you and your business grow?  Here are five tips to help you find the perfect coach.

1. What do you need help with?  First, you need to determine where you’re at in your life and business. Do you need coaching to get over any “crap” that’s holding you back from your dreams? Then check out a life coach. Or maybe you have your business started but need help with marketing, so a marketing coach would be great. Some people use multiple coaches to help them move forward.

2. Do you prefer in person or virtual?   Some people like to actually meet with their coach for a face-to-face meeting. Others prefer virtual, since they can work with anyone in the world and do not have to run out to an appointment.

3. How about a group? If you prefer the support of a group of like mined people, then check out coaching groups. You have the benefit of a coach / mentor, monthly group calls on a topic related to the group and you’re able to interact with the members.

4. Show me the money?  Use your monthly budget as a deciding factor. What can you afford to spend on coaching? All three options that I mentioned vary in price.

5. Where did all my time go? Take a look at your calendar. How much time do you have to commit to coaching and the work involved? Yes, there is work involved. You have to actually implement what you’re learning. If you’re in a group coaching program, pencil in time to interact and ask questions with the group and stick to it. If you don’t, before you know it…you’ll have chatted the day away.

Bonus tip: Once you have found the coaching program you feel is best for you…do a trial run before making a commitment. Even though you have asked friends for referrals, their coaching program may be right for them, but not for you. Also, when you feel you’ve outgrown your coaching program…move on to the next level or find a new group. You’ll know when you’re ready. Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to follow your “gut” even though others may not think it’s best for you.

Julie Barnes is a Freelance Writer traveling the great USA full-time in a 42 ft RV.  Her newest book “How They Did It…36 Entrepreneurs Tell How They Launched the Business of Their Dreams” is available here. Visit her website at Follow Julie on Twitter at

Julie Barnes is a regular contributor to the Secrets of Success blog.

Positive Persuasion and That All-Important 1/4-Inch Hole

by Bob Burg

The saying is old. The saying is also true.

Each and every year, millions of 1⁄4-inch drill bits are sold, yet nobody buying any one of these 1⁄4-inch drill bits actually wants a 1⁄4-inch drill bit.

Then, why do they buy them? Because they want a 1⁄4-inch hole!

What’s my point, and what does this have to do with influence and persuasion?

People do things/buy things, not for the thing itself, but for the benefit that doing/buying the thing brings them.

What makes this challenging is that those reasons are not always obvious. And, without knowing what they are, the chances of their taking the desired action are considerably lower.

The key is to find out by asking the right questions. In sales, not everyone has the same buying motivation. Some base their decision on price, others on quality, and still others on style or convenience. Your job is to find out in order to help them get the 1⁄4-inch hole they want.

It is the same outside of sales; people act upon their own reasons, which are often different from ours. In order to influence, you must know what their 1⁄4-inch hole is. Not yours; theirs! Once you do that, you’re most of the way there. (Actually, about 3/4-inches there.) ;-)

Whether personal or business, how do you find yourself doing in terms of focusing on the 1/4-inch hole? Are you able to do that? Or, are you more often than not stuck on the drill bit? If so, what do you feel would be a good step in the right direction?

Bob Burg the author of the new release It’s Not About You:A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business. You can download two sample chapters at Sharing the very principles contained in The Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell More, Bob has addressed audiences ranging in size from 50 to 16,000, sharing the platform with notables including today’s top thought leaders, broadcast personalities, athletes, and political leaders including a former United States President.

How to Write Your Book Fearlessly

by Sophfronia Scott
How big do you think? When it comes to thinking about writing a book or planning strategy for a business, it seems we're constantly being told to "Think Big". Goals are supposed to be just big enough to make us uncomfortable. I do understand the importance of thinking big: it makes you stretch yourself and test your abilities.

But there's a downside to thinking big: it can inspire fear. When you think too big or try to do too much, the possibility of failure looms. You fear failing, you fear trying. Next thing you know, you're frozen with fear. I walk this line constantly. My current writing projects can easily be described as "ambitious" so fear is constantly lurking at the edge of the forest of my mind. Can I really write this? Can I finish it? When the fear rises, I find these two quotes to be helpful:

"'Come to the edge,' He said. They said, 'We are afraid.' 'Come to the edge,' He said. They came. He pushed them... and they flew." -- Guillaume Apollinaire

"You don't have to save the whole world in a single bound. Small steps, taken again and again, will accomplish far more than any grandiose scheme." -- Ralph Marston

Notice in the first quote that the "they" do not have to start out flying. They are not asked to jump. They only have to "come to the edge". The rest of what they needed-momentum, circumstance, opportunity (or, in this case, a friendly push)-showed up and took them the rest of the way. In the second quote, again, you see that you don't have to accomplish the big thing all at once. You start small and you do something small. As you walk you achieve the world along the way.

You don't have to write a 400-page book or execute a million-dollar business strategy all in one week. But you can write one page. You can send out one email or one letter to promote a product or service. You can then write another page, mail a postcard, or start a newsletter. Before you know it, you'll be on your way.

I created the How to Write & Publish Books That Change Lives workshop so you will have the best experts for you with hands on help so you can see how you will bring your book into the world. I know that what you have to offer the world is amazing. Come join us, and we'll show you how to write your book, get it produced and share your insight with the many readers waiting for it.

And here's the best part: as you're moving along and taking your small steps, you won't have space in your mind for fear. Every small accomplishment will push it further and further away. Then your book will be written, your business will be successful, and you will be flying. Come to the edge.

© 2011 Sophfronia Scott

Sophfronia Scott is Executive Editor of the Done For You Writing & Publishing Company. Learn what a difference being a published author can make for your business. Get your FREE audio CD, "How to Succeed in Business By Becoming a Bestselling Author" and your FREE online writing and book publishing tips at

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