June 2015 - Small business consultant

Monthly Archives: June 2015

How to achieve your goals and get the life of your dreams. JFDI

Talking with hubby other day and he told me that he had taken on my philosophy of JFDI. He realised that really no harm could come of anything he was about to do, so why not JFDI. He also said that it was my new way of thinking. The thing is that it’s not ‘mine’ nor is it new to me.

Not sure what JFDI is? Well you could Google it, but just think of the Nike Swoosh and their ‘Just Do It’ slogan – except adding your favourite suitable ‘f’ word in there. I admit, I use ‘fuck’, others I have seen use ‘focus’; the intention and outcomes are the same.

I have one disclaimer, my JFDI does not mean that you make irrational or irresponsible decisions or take like actions Tweet this. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. JFDI means that I will look at my options & risks, make a decision, then JFDI. Now for me, this process can take milliseconds; when for others it can take months.

So why is it that I can take these leaps, make these changes and others don’t? Perhaps it’s the fact that I live by the mottos that ‘I never regret anything I do’ and that ‘A life lived in fear is a life half lived’. Perhaps that spurs my action? Perhaps it’s the resilience I have? I honestly believe that many of us don’t JFDI as we overthink the outcomes. JFDI is about taking intent-filled action and realising that come what may, the result will come what may & honestly ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’

So, when I left my six-figured corporate income to be self-employed, many people thought I was crazy but even more people said ‘I wish I was that brave’. I wasn’t brave, I JFDI knowing that the worst that would happen would be having to get another job. Was I worried that I would have to go job hunting? Not really. I did actually do it. There were weeks where I scoured boards, had email services send me jobs, and I even listed myself for re-employment with the Pubic Service. All the while I was practicing JFDI on a daily basis in my businesses.

So, you had to bite that bullet daily, Kara? Ok, so there were days, where doing anything was too much. Those days, I did nothing. Personally, the thing I need help to JFDI is self-care. I suck at self-care; so much so that last month, I lost my voice, had to pull out of a business booking and rest. That was tough. I had to JFDI admitting that I was sick, that I couldn’t meet my obligations, that I was as important as anyone or anything, and that I really needed to take care of myself.

JFDI comes down to this: want to get stuff done, achieve goals, live the dream, you need to get out of your own way.Tweet this Get out of your head. You need to ask for what you want in life. Set your goals, work out how many customers that means, how many products you need to sell & then ask for the sale. You need to follow up on sales. What’s the worst they could say; ‘No’? Don’t forget that a ‘No’ doesn’t always mean ‘not ever’, it can mean ‘not now’. It might mean, ‘not that product or service’. Keep plugging away, keep sharing your message.

Perhaps you find JFDI difficult; then perhaps you need to stop making excuses and start taking action. I find nowadays, people are adept at excuses, at finding problems, at blaming, at deflecting. Maybe it’s nothing new, and maybe it’s that as a parent I want my children to become adults who find solutions not problems. I think that’s it! People who JFDI are solutions focused, they know the problem and they act to get to the solution. They will push past it. I read recently that a key behaviour of successful entrepreneurs is the fact that they will JFDI. They have the ability to go and try.

Speaking of pushing past! If you have heard of upper limit problems or beliefs, then you really need to become skilled at JFDI. You see, Gay Hendricks states that the best way to bust through these upper limit problems (or even self-limiting beliefs) is to JFDI. I admit that this is bloody hard! When you are feeling stuck or paralysed and unable to make the next step in your business, to move to the next level, to take a new step in your life – you need to JFDI. Remember, I’ve done it – I made the big leap. I jumped from a six-figure salary to self-employment. Now, I can promise that I am yet to replace that salary – let’s face it, it’s early days. But had I not, JFDI and left, I would not have the happy family, the balance, or the freedom to achieve my lifestyle. Now taking yourself out for a coffee, to the shops, to the movies, or the freedom to be present at school events may not be everyone’s cup of tea. (I’m serious!) Some of you need structure, direction, management, and boundaries; if you need that structure and security, then JFDI and get your life going. If however, you know you are destined for bigger things, then JFDI and set to those goals. What’s the worst that could happen? Seriously?

The beauty of JFDI is there is no right or wrong way of doing it.Tweet this There is only ‘doing it’. Better still JFDI doesn’t have to mean all or nothing; remember there’s only ‘doing’. So if you want to run your own business, but you need to pay the bills then you don’t always have to get a loan and ditch your job; you can do it part-time. As your business ramps up, wind back the ‘day job’. The thing is, that without considered action, nothing is likely to happen; so JFDI.


What use are client testimonials?

Let’s talk testimonials. So many businesses use them and many of us are wary of them. But honestly, what use are they? How can asking someone to give feedback on how you helped or changed them make a difference?

The difference for you

I honestly hope that you take heed of the feedback, good bad or ugly. Testimonials are generally positive, some customers will weave some constructive feedback in there, but most will be ‘love fests’. So build where you can, where you see a trend, and where you see the direction of your business.

Don’t be fooled by stars in your eyes. People who have done my Facebook Reach workshop or workbook will know that I don’t rate them (pun intended). Honestly, it’s a seriously flawed system based on averages. Guess what, if your customer writes a glowing review but accidentally gives you one star, they can’t change it. You’re stuck with it. Not to mention competitors, or their fans who stalk your page and give you one star ratings to dull your average. Don’t be fooled, it does happen, your Facebook page is just as likely to be trolled as the next – if you don’t believe me, then do some reading on Tall Poppy Syndrome. Still want to hold onto your stars? Consider what value a star rating is giving you over a written testimonial. You can’t share the star rating, testimonials can be converted into images, website feedback, added in product launches … so many options that star ratings just can’t provide. So move above the stars.

By asking for testimonials you continue to foster a relationship with your customer. You open your heart with vulnerability when you ask them to tell you what they think. When they respond, they want to make you happy, share their truth, and help you out – so they come from a similar spot.

Written testimonials give more information. They give personal experience. They also give a third-party account of your business. Did you know that prospective clients are more favourable to these than just you saying what you do? Why? It’s someone else saying how great you are and not just you blowing your own horn.

So what can you do with the testimonials?

Images images images! Seriously, turn them into an image! This way you can use them across your social media platforms for one! I did this for a testimonial from a coaching client, I made it for Insta, shared it to Twitter, and I used in on Facebook. One image that I can use over and over again. I couldn’t do that with stars. And you know what, a picture speaks a thousand words, let’s face it we are visual critters.

Add them to your product pages on your website. Once again, people prefer an independent account of your business over you selling the WIIFM. Embed them as a single image or put them in as a slider, whatever you do just use them.

You can have a testimonial page. Did your Gran have a brag book full of photos of her grandkids? She was proud of you right? So, do one for your business. Have your brag book. You would share where you were promoted in the media, so why not your testimonials. Remember, people like to see their name up in lights and these third-party accounts will help build trust in your business.

Sales funnel pages. Look, I’m not a fan of the sleazy sales pages. The ‘buy now, or you’re a loser’ or the ‘I can make you an overnight Millionaire’. Ugh! Puh-lease! But there is a way to direct customers on to your list and develop your relationship by using a sales funnel. You just have to find your way that calls to you and your clients. There is a place for testimonials on these pages. They add credibility to your product, they are an endorsement. They can help sway a person to buy your product or service by adding an element of ‘me too’ or ‘I know they have good taste, so it must be good’. So testimonials will generate sales.

What’s in it for my clients?

People love their 15 minutes of fame, so give them that. It’s validation of them as a person. Some want to see their name up in lights, it’s why fan of the week works. It makes people feel special, which is so great when we are having a crummy time.

So we know that they have opened their heart to you, by sharing their testimonial you validate their feedback and honesty. You thank them for their trust. You continue to grow the relationship you have developed.

I like to thank my business customers by giving them a link to their page in return for their testimonial. It’s a little thing, which takes no time for me to add, but if I can help drive traffic to their site or social media and help build their business I will. I mean, let’s face it, if I am coaching you, it’s my job to help you build the best business. My motto is ‘empowering business online’, so it would be remiss of me not to do all I can.


Let’s face it, it all comes back to connection. I’ve said before that it takes around 10 ‘touches’ before a follower becomes a customer. It’s about growing that relationship, showing you care, showing that you value them and your relationship. It’s about alignment. Testimonials show that you have touched them where they ‘live’, that you get them, and that you are giving your customers what they want. You’re on the right track. You can’t get all of this from stars.

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Developing a connection with your client – a business perspective

Warning, this post is not only long, but it also points the mirror directly at you – the business owner. Unless you put yourself out there you can not expect a connection with your client, they don’t know where you’re coming from. If they don’t know where you are, at your heart, then they can’t find you to connect. Relationships have two sides, both need to be open for it to work.

This is where my goal setting workshop and workbook came from. To look at who you are personally, what you want to achieve personally and as a business. But it goes deeper than this. It’s about drivers, it’s about belief, it’s about what warms your heart and makes your blood boil. It’s about what you would stand up for no matter what.

You see, all of these things you bring into your business. You might not use them, but as business owners they can be what keeps us getting out of bed. For me, it’s about helping others to be the best they possibly can be and reaching their potential. It’s all I want for my children and it’s why I love ‘empowering businesses online’.

But if I don’t tell you that, how will you know? You will have to guess that is where I am starting from. You will have to assume that I have your best intentions at heart. You will have to trust that I am in your corner pushing and pulling and urging you on. But if I am vulnerable and let you in what happens?

Sure I run a risk. I risk that I will alienate people. I run a risk that I will be judged. I run a risk that people will shy away from me. But what if that doesn’t happen? What if by opening up to you , I actually touch you where your heart resides? What if that is exactly what you need to hear? What if instead of focusing on how to get to my ideal client, I open my arms and show you my heart and you like it?

It’s a scary place. It’s a vulnerable place. It’s a place where I run the risk of being hurt. But if I don’t do it then I am not being a good example. I am not living to my potential. I am not holding my tenet of being open and honest.

But is this what I should do? Surely as a business owner it’s about products and services and making money. Really? Is that what it’s all about? It’s not for me. It’s about freedom and connection and choice. It’s about being able to help more people. Now that is not to say that money isn’t important and I am going to give away my services. I used to do that. The thing I learnt was that by not valuing myself and the value I bring to others I was teaching them not to value me and to devalue what I had done for them. That’s not empowering, that’s the exact opposite.

How can I expect to connect with you if we are only working on half of the relationship; you? I teach my clients that you get a lot further with a customer when you speak from the heart, when you speak to their why. It allows you to connect. The thing is, and Tony Hsieh from Zappos knows this, that if you tell people what drives you – massive things happen.

You see, I studied this in my Masters. (I did one subject in of a Masters in Public Sector Management and stopped, I had proven I could study at that level) I studied how in the Public Service, if you recruit and motivate based on an alignment of staff and organisational goals, behaviours and drivers – you can have change. I even showed it in an underperforming team. I inherited a group with a 12 month backlog, by aligning their personal beliefs with those of the organisation I was able to get them to work through the backlog in 3 months. This is where I come from when I say this to you, to my coaching clients, and to my Mastermind Group. It works. It seriously stinking works. But you have to be open. You have to not just know your customer’s perspective, they have to know yours. It’s freaking scary, but if you open up – wonderful things happen.

So from me to you – I want you to be your very best. I am open and honest. I value transparency. I believe that speaking from your heart to your ideal client is the best way to build a relationship. I believe in research and facts and how psychology and human behaviour influence sales. I know that if you trust your message, then others will too. I believe that experts quoting big business results doesn’t always relate and translate to action small business can take. I believe that if you set an intention and work towards it, things will happen. I believe in woo woo. I believe!

Overwhelmed by Facebook advice

It’s not surprising that business owners feel overwhelmed or lost in a sea of Facebook or website advice. There are so many people out there telling you what to do. I admit that I’ve been sucked into it too. I remember getting on a call about how to be a social media manager only to be told that all I need to do is subscribe to Social Media Examiner and then I could happily charge whatever I liked to the poor unsuspecting business owners. What the?!

While I advocate connecting to your clients from the heart as the best way to approach your customers, there are some technical skills in actually getting your message out there. This is where the tech blogs come in handy, but I want you to realise something about the vast majority of them.

They are written for the US market. I know the internet is global, but when you are an Australian business, selling to Australian customers – some of their hints just don’t work. Here’s why.

Yes, there are a few Australian businesses with tens to hundreds of thousands of followers, but in the main, most of us creative businesses (yes, I own one) are lucky to have a couple of thousand. These advice blogs generally base their information on the performance of the large businesses with tens to hundreds of thousands of followers. In Australia, we just don’t have the population to build these numbers. It is easier, and more impressive, to show statistics where the numbers are in the thousands – but you need to ask what the actual percentage of their total fans these numbers represent.

In the US, most blogs will advocate that creatives use Pinterest for sales. Unless you have a huge US fan base and can sell to the US, then you are wasting your time. There are only 600 000 Australians on Pinterest, compared to 14 million on Facebook. I used to spend hours each day on Pinterest (and not because I got sucked in) trying to post new content. When I realised that the majority of my fans could never be my customers (due to insurance) I radically reduced the time I spent feeding that beast. What did that do? Well it removed a lot of anxiety over having to find content, but it meant that I had more time to focus on my business and where Aussies hang out – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Most of the pages that they profile are for a younger demographic than the one you would have on your creative business page. They tend to profile Coke, Subway, Starbucks and the like. Do you think your ideal client is likely to like this page? Most of my clients have a core following in the 35-45 year bracket, most people in this age group have moved on from these businesses.

So where am I headed. You shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you try what the big guys suggest and it doesn’t always work. They are playing a different game, in a different league, and with different players. You just can’t expect the rules to apply to your heart-centred creative business. Yours is created on connection, service, and a whole different culture.

So what do you need to do instead? Connect to your client – show them you understand them, you have solutions to their problems. Speak from your heart – show them your passion. Be consistent – flip flops belong on your feet, not on your social media or website. Trust yourself – know that you are not alone.

If you would like any help with this, you can either book a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your needs, an hour of one-on-one coaching, or we can work together to develop an overarching strategy to grow and retain more customers.