The Anatomy of a 7-Figure Entrepreneur’s Mindset

The Anatomy of a 7-Figure Entrepreneur’s Mindset

I have a question for you.

"What would you ask if you could get the chance to sit down with a few entrepreneurs who have built their 7-figure businesses with no outside funding?"

This was the motivation behind my recent live panel discussion event, “How I Built My 7-Figure Business with No Funding.” I wanted to provide the opportunity for my members to hear directly from 7-figure business owners what they have experienced throughout their journey building one.

Here's the thing, many dream of running a multi-million dollar business. You might be one of them. But what people may not realize is that we are talking about gross revenue. It's not like you get to sit on the entire revenue. If you are visualizing having a bank account with 6 zeros as the available balance, that is not really the case.

Not only that, there are a set of challenges to scale a business beyond the first million, such as building a team, weighing what to risk for greater rewards, what to say no to (that you used to say yes to), etc.

My thought process was, "What do I want aspiring entrepreneurs to know about scaling up?" Because making a million in business gets way too glorified--especially online--I felt the need to get the right message out there.

So, the game was on. I started to reach out and see if anyone would be interested in sharing their stories. Soon, I was introduced to a few ridiculously successful entrepreneurs - Lucky Gobindram from Cemtrex, Karen Morales from Marketing Magnet, Mel Pharr from MelissaPharr.com & Luisa Zhou from LuisaZhou.com.

I can't tell you how many golden nuggets they openly shared. I mean, there was a lot that made us all think on a deeper level.

In this post, I'm going to feature the most memorable concepts they revealed that you are going to absolutely want to take on so that you can tackle building a multi-7-figure business by being level-headed.

Oh wait, one more thing... At the end of the post, I'll also share my behind-the-scenes thoughts you would be glad to know (because these are the things not often shared as key to becoming a successful & happy multi-7-figure business owner!) 

Don’t Make These 6 Critical Mistakes When Carving Out a Profitable Niche for Your Service Business

Don’t Make These 6 Critical Mistakes When Carving Out a Profitable Niche for Your Service Business

Hello, multi-faceted creative entrepreneurs with mad skills! 

 

If this is you AND your desire, vision & mission is to build a high-functioning, profit-generating business, then you’ve just landed on a gold mine. I am about to share 6 deadly mistakes that many creative service business owners make while they are on the hunt to discover a profitable niche that they can then double-down on.

 

There are many articles out there that cover steps (usually anywhere between 5 to 7 steps) to find a profitable niche. They are helpful, but no one really talks about the pitfalls that come with the process.

 

You may have already entertained the idea of niching down your wide range of offers before. Perhaps you may have tried by yourself, but it didn’t work out. That’s totally OK.  In this post I will show you why some attempts fail. These mistakes can be avoided so long as you are aware that they exist.

 

Just in case… if you are wondering why finding your profitable niche is so vital to your business, I’ve got you covered as well.  Before reading this post, start with “How to Niche Down Your Services When You Have So Much to Offer pt.1” (link).  This post explains 6 major reasons why it helps you grow your business exponentially.

 

OK, one more thing before diving in, allow me to clarify a bit about who this post is for. Better yet, let me explain this post is not designed to help those who:

1.     have not yet started a business and are looking for one to start

2.     are wanting to find a niche product to sell online, i.e. Amazon FBA

3.     are searching for a profitable affiliate marketing niche

These require a completely different set of playbooks. Instead, this post is particularly designed for multi-faceted service business owners who have existing offers that are generating revenue but want to narrow down (niche down) and redefine their profitable niches.  

Without further ado, let’s dive in.  

Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Business Consultant for Your Service Business: Questions You Didn't Even Know You Had... Sorted!

Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Business Consultant for Your Service Business: Questions You Didn't Even Know You Had... Sorted!

I’m almost afraid to ask, but I’m going to ask you anyway:

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the term “business consultants”? 

You might think of Ryan Bingham from the movie “Up in the Air” who travels around the country to help businesses restructure & downsize by firing people. 

Not a particularly good impression.

Or you might think of MBA’ers, whose #1 goal is to get hired by top management consulting firms like Bain, Boston Consulting, McKinsey, Accenture, etc. 

OK, another not-so-great impression, especially if you are a creative business owner.

In a way, these are stereotypical descriptions of business/management consultants.  But, in reality, they can help you find solutions to various business challenges faster. 

From my own experience communicating with small business owners, they often don’t consider hiring a business consultant because of these objections:

1.     It’s too expensive

2.     Their business is not big enough in size to hire a consultant

3.     They feel they need help in other areas in their business

It’s a shame because they may be missing out on spectacular growth opportunities by not teaming up with a business consultant.  Later in this post, you will see why these are just misconceptions about what business consultants can bring to the table. 

So, think again if you thought hiring a business consulting firm or a business consultant was a privilege only available to major brands and corporations. 20 years ago, maybe.  But in this day & age, it isn’t.

This post is a comprehensive overview covering the basics of how to find out whether you need to hire a business/management consultant for your business. 

Let’s Address the Elephant in the Room

Because I do roll my eyes when I see a blog post about why we need to hire an accountant on an accounting firm’s website and/or a guest-post about why it’s important to hire a social media strategist written by a social media strategist on an online business publication, I get why you might be rolling your eyes reading this post right now.

It’s a bit cheesy.  I agree.

How to Craft Brand Messaging that Resonates & Converts (Without Bashing Your Head Against the Wall)

How to Craft Brand Messaging that Resonates & Converts (Without Bashing Your Head Against the Wall)

Getting your messaging right is the first step to convert leads and prospects into buyers.

Why? 

It’s because your brand messaging can act as a conversation starter.  You probably have heard many marketers use this dating analogy when they explain the concept of know, like & trust, which helps turn spectators into buyers.

“You don’t just ask him/her to marry you on the first date.”

If you have your brand messaging down, this serves as the first date that goes really well so that it will lead to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th date to develop know, like & trust between you and your leads.

Sadly though, many business owners don’t allocate enough time and energy to crafting their brand messaging.  This became apparent through local Meetup events I host in NYC.

There are 3 types of not-so-ideal messaging I’ve picked up on while listening to the event participants introduce themselves to the rest of the crowd. 

1.     Too generic as for what they offer & who they are, i.e. social media strategist, accountant, SEO specialist.

2.     Too clever with flashy words but unclear as to who they help or what problem they solve.

3.     Only list what they sell.

There is absolutely no need to beat yourself up if you are guilty of these.  Trust me, I can speak from my own experience that crafting good brand messaging for your business is no small feat.

This is why I invited Zach Messler, a.k.a. “Messaging Guy”, as the guest speaker for my May Meetup event in Brooklyn to get to the bottom of this messaging challenge we all face.  He is the master of helping business owners identify what to say and how to say it so that they make a bigger impact on the world and their wallet.

When I met Zach earlier this year, I immediately liked the way he breaks down the process of crafting messaging that resonates and converts with simple steps.  After checking out his website, it was a no brainer for me to have him for one of my events.  

In this post, I am excited to share his framework and how you can improve your brand messaging to generate measurable results without bashing your head against the wall.

So, let’s dive in!

Want to be an Opportunity Magnet? 9 Secrets I Found by Observing Successful Entrepreneurs

Want to be an Opportunity Magnet? 9 Secrets I Found by Observing Successful Entrepreneurs

“I always wonder how in the world (insert a name) gets so many offers and opportunities, like speaking at XYZ conference or getting an invitation for ABC.  No one understands what he is selling.  Frankly, when it comes to credentials, I am a lot more qualified… I network a lot, too!  I just don’t understand what he does differently.”

Have you ever wondered about the same thing? 

Then, you are in luck.  This is NOT one of those articles you find online about networking & creating reciprocity.  Here, I am going to share the secrets I found from successful entrepreneurs by closely observing what they practice (most of the time subconsciously).

The reason this post is different from other “how to identify & attract business opportunities” articles is I am going to touch on some facts that not many discuss publicly.  You won’t find this on social media timelines. It’s because what I have here is the result of many “behind closed doors” conversations. 

To be honest, as a revenue & growth strategist (link), I was a bit hesitant to even talk about this, as none of these are “strategies.”  But at the end of this post, I will tie it all together.

And…there is more.  As a little bonus, I am going to share one thing the entrepreneurs I observed would NOT do at the end of the post.  This is going to help you assess whether you’ve been growing your business the right way or not.

Curious?

But wait.

Before diving in, let me define what “successful” means in this post since it’s a pretty broad & subjective term.  Let’s start with what it’s not.  Here, I don’t define successful entrepreneurs as simply those who generate a specific amount of revenue, i.e. 7 figures, 8 figures, etc.  Rather, they satisfy these 3 things that are essential to be a confident and fulfilled entrepreneur:

 

1.     Always generating leads (by being an opportunity magnet)

2.     Taking care of themselves & their people (their team, family, vendors, friends & peers) to be happy

3.     Having future-proof strategies

 

These are the only 3 jobs CEOs are responsible for. The ones I know who are doing great also have one more thing in common: they receive various business opportunities at all times.  If you like the way I clarified the definition of “successful entrepreneurs,” you are in for a treat!

Now that that’s sorted, let’s unlock the secrets!

How to Handle Collections & Refund Requests: The Secret for Keeping the Money & Keeping Your Customers Happy

How to Handle Collections & Refund Requests: The Secret for Keeping the Money & Keeping Your Customers Happy

“Maiko, there was a client who just called up the office really angry, demanding a refund.  He was really angry & rude yelling at me the whole time...  What do we do?!!!  I didn’t know what to say, so I just told him someone will get back to him… He wasn’t happy to hear that…”

 

Clearly, the person who took the call was caught off guard and was shaken up by what she had to go through.

Before going any further, let me paint a picture here.

In this particular case, the person who called angry isn’t my client.  That is my client’s client.  Nonetheless it is a huge deal.

Why?

Because here, we aren’t talking about a mere $195 refund.  If it were, I would be saying, “Please don’t waste my time with it.”  How about 100x that?

Yep, try $19,500.

What if this happens to YOU?

What would be your first reaction?

Let me guess, right about now there are hundreds of scenarios running through your mind a mile per second. Am I right?

 

“How do I NOT refund this guy?  What are my options?”

“How much would I be able to keep?”

“What if we don’t have any choice but to give the money back?!!! We don’t have any room for this!”

 

If this happened 10 years ago, this kind of news would put me in a panic attack for 5 min. My heart would be racing with an immense amount of stress. Since then, I’ve handled countless non-payment and refund cases over $30K+ per pop. 

So nowadays, my usual response is:

“Alright. Get me all the intel about him.”

See, ideally no business owners should get to this point without doing due diligence to consistently weed out clients from hell. At the same time, though, even with the best intention & strategy, we aren’t completely immune to this kind of incident from time to time.

Here we are.  What's done is done.  There’s no going back. 

So, what do we do now?  What would YOU do?!

13 Tried & Tested Unconventional Creativity Boosters for Non-Creative Business Owners Who Need New Ideas Right Now

13 Tried & Tested Unconventional Creativity Boosters for Non-Creative Business Owners Who Need New Ideas Right Now

“I am not a creative person like you.”

I get this a lot from small service business owners.  The funny thing about it is that I don’t consider myself a creative person in the way they describe.  But as a business growth strategist, providing various perspectives to my clients is my job.  Because of this, I am definitely intentional about keeping my mind open for new ideas.

There is bad news & good news associated with this story of “I’m not creative.”  So, if this is you, read on!

By the way, I call this statement a *story* because they are the ones who made a decision to label themselves as such based on…really no scientific or logical reasons.  It’s just a thought backed by nothing. More on that later.

Let’s start with bad news.

News flash: Trying to grow a business without being creative & resourceful, especially when you need to solve problems, will end up costing you in the long run.

Why? 

There are many problems that can be easily solved by using what you already have.  But because you feel you are inadequate to do creative problem-solving or to come up with new ideas to take your business in the direction you want to take it to, you end up relying heavily on outsourcing.

If it works out, great.  Most of the time though, the process of having others do the job requires some trial & error unless you are driving those projects.  This eats up your time, and you have to pay money for their work if the arrangement is not results-based, meaning you only pay for the results they are bringing in. 

The bottom line is, if you want to grow your business, it is your job to expand your way of thinking.

Now the good news.

I have 3 pieces of good news for you.

1.     Being creative doesn’t mean becoming the next Picasso.

2.     Small actions you can take will make a huge difference.

3.     None of the tips I will share in this post cost much.

7 Signs Why Going Hyper Local & Offering Super High-Touch Interactions Are the Ultimate Future-Proof Strategy: The Hidden Business Gold Mine You May Be Overlooking

7 Signs Why Going Hyper Local & Offering Super High-Touch Interactions Are the Ultimate Future-Proof Strategy: The Hidden Business Gold Mine You May Be Overlooking

As a kid growing up in Japan, I used to daydream about what might be out there waiting for me beyond the ocean lines. 

Because I lived in an island nation, my excitement for the unknown and the future was that much more intense. Unlike living in Austria or Bolivia, islanders are truly isolated by oceans. We simply have no concept of “just crossing the border.”  In other words, living abroad is very foreign to us.

I had all sorts of romantic & wild notions about the idea of living abroad & how different and special my life could be.

Fast forwarding 10 years to when I found myself in the US as an exchange student, I realized it wasn’t all that I imagined as a kid. Right then & there, I realized I took so many things for granted when I lived in Japan, especially things my parents had provided for me. 

This was a priceless lesson in my teenage years:  Appreciate everything; do not take things for granted, however small they may be. How ungrateful I must have looked in their eyes, dying & rushing to get out of where I was, all just to be let down by reality later on?  Like a deserter tumbling down the sand dunes, I ran towards a flowing spring of water, only to discover it was a mirage.

Wanting to rely on getting easy leads online is a lot like this story.  Many of us often romanticize what it would be like to get online prospects into our sales funnel semi-automatically by offering free, downloadable cheat sheets, check lists, webinars, video trainings, etc.  Heck, we can even invest a little in paid ads.  How wonderful it would be!

Now your brain will go haywire with all kinds of expectations.

“No more networking.  No more cold calling.  No more selling.  No more RFP’s.  I don’t even need to leave my house.  Better yet, I can sit by the beach with my laptop & WIFI… I’ll hire help remotely.  People will just buy my stuff online… One-to-one is so yesterday.  One-to-many is the future!”

The Essential Guide to Long-Form Content Creation: Why This Is All You Need to Do for Your Service Business

The Essential Guide to Long-Form Content Creation: Why This Is All You Need to Do for Your Service Business

This guide is for you if the bulk of your leads comes from offline, i.e. referrals and sales, and not from online, i.e. social media, webinar, live stream, and you want to boost your business’s online presence to build repetition (future-proof'ing), and you aren't sure where to start.

"Should I give Instagram a try?"

"Should I do a podcast?"

“Should I hire someone for social media?"

I hear these questions a lot from business owners who haven’t done many of these online activities and only have a very basic website with no content that gets added regularly. If this is you, there is nothing wrong with getting your leads offline.  But at where you are, these are wrong, fragmented questions that will keep you from building a solid base online.

Instead, I'd love you to take a step back and ask this question:

"What content creation strategy should I invest my time in to increase my online presence and stick with & leverage?"

The answer is:  Invest in long-form written content & post on your website regularly.

This strategy comes from my deep belief in building the smallest, meanest profit generating machine, in which you can do business activities that require less effort but produce the maximum effect over time. (Link) 

OK, it doesn’t sound like the sexy answer you were looking for.  But as you read along, you will find out just how smart this strategy really is.

When you focus on what generates compounding effect in your business, you will find yourself putting a lot of effort in the beginning of the process. This is actually the way it should be.  What you are aiming for is to eventually automate the process you are building right now.  To do this, front-loading work is inevitable.

This is the same reason many entrepreneurs don't opt for this route because it completely lacks instant gratification. The work seems endless and tiresome in the face of headlines like:

"How I got 5,000 followers on Instagram in just one week.” 

"How I made $10,000 directly from my Facebook group with 1 offer."

"The secret to my 200K traffic per month to my blog."

What these headlines don't tell you is what goes on behind closed doors.  Most of these posts do not answer the following questions:

5 Actionable Tips to Uplevel Your Public Speaking Skills & Captivate Your Audience, Even If You Have No Experience

5 Actionable Tips to Uplevel Your Public Speaking Skills & Captivate Your Audience, Even If You Have No Experience

In case you haven't heard me say enough, I love hosting interactive live events for entrepreneurs.  It truly allows me to witness a group of people coming together for one goal.

Needless to say, there are ups and downs through the prep process, but I always come out re-energized & so proud of my community’s engagement.

You might say, “Live events? Wow, that’s so old school!”

I totally get it. In this age, trust and genuine connections can just be established over the internet.

But I have news for you. There is a trend that many are already talking about in certain entrepreneur communities this year that you don’t want to ignore:

Online businesses, especially online courses & info products, i.e. group coaching, have hit the fatigue point. 

Do you know what this means?

It means people are looking elsewhere for more “hands-on” experience to solve their problems to attain true transformations.  So, servicing “1 on 1” is becoming sexy again.  Building a community where people can show up & share their thoughts is making a comeback.  Some are ditching their online courses & starting to provide in-person, 1 on 1 experience.  ­

This is all happening right now.

See, this is not a “flavor of the month” kind of trend.  This can easily last as long as “make money online” lasted.

This is the reason I chose the topic of “How to Captivate Your Audience Through Public Speaking & What Not to Do on Stage” for my Meetup group this month.  I wanted to arm my Meetup members with effective public speaking skills so that they can attract more customers by sharing their experience and expertise with confidence.

The problem? 

I’m not an expert in this area.  Luckily though, I knew who was.

Tricia Brouk, podcaster of “Big Talk,” award-winning film director, and the host of “Speaker Salon,” lives & breathes coaching professionals who want to give “fearless, ovation-worthy” talks.

I’ve asked Tricia to help my members master the art of public speaking so that they don’t have to go through endless trial & error to get where they need to be.

Still Trading Time for Money? Overcome These 5 Key Hurdles and Finally Stop Charging by the Hour

Still Trading Time for Money? Overcome These 5 Key Hurdles and Finally Stop Charging by the Hour

Are you sick of tracking time for your own work? Are you sick of constantly reminding your team to track time with an app like Harvest for pricing purposes?

You probably recognize that tracking time itself is a stand-alone task that eats away valuable work hours. You are also aware that trading time for money isn't a sustainable business model, and you want to stop this vicious cycle.

But... (I know there's always a *but*) you aren't sure how to go about making the change?

I also started out by selling my services on an hourly rate basis. It’s OK. We all need to start from somewhere.  Although it was nerve-wracking in the beginning, I made the switch, even with existing clients, from charging hourly to value-based (a.k.a. expertise-based) pricing. If you are wondering how I did it, wonder no more. 

In this post, I'm going to share the top 5 hurdles that keep you from making the switch to value-based pricing & what actions you can take right now to overcome each hurdle.

If you are a solopreneur reading this, you'll get a ton out of this post.  Guaranteed.  By the end of this post, you will see clear steps towards value-based pricing that will allow you to gradually make the shift. 

But this is not just for solopreneurs.  Many established, full-on service businesses with physical locations and FT employees are still trading time for money by billing based on hourly rates.  In most cases, there are legitimate reasons as to why they continue to do so. 

Even then, I always encourage them to switch to value-based pricing, as the benefit of doing so is immense.  We’ll go over that in detail later.

Here’s the good news.  Unlike 15 or 20 years ago, when there were fewer options to charge for services, we now have plenty of options we can explore.  Thanks to the evolution of internet-based services, especially SaaS/MaaS, it’s much easier for customers to accept new pricing models.

In other words, they are more open-minded.

This allows even traditional service businesses to change their pricing & billing with less resistance. 

How to Conduct A Business Detox the Right Way – Missing This 1 Crucial Step Will Undo All of Your Efforts

How to Conduct A Business Detox the Right Way – Missing This 1 Crucial Step Will Undo All of Your Efforts

You know that yucky feeling you get when you see something that has so much “build-up” that you just want to wash it all away?  Whether it’s the way you feel about your hair being coated in product or your brain jammed full with daily to-do’s or not knowing what’s in your bag, I am sure you’ve had this feeling before. 

There is so much going on that you don’t even know what to keep and what to get rid of unless you just dump it all on the table.

The same thing happens to our business after running it for some time.  Conducting a business detox by removing all the build-up can bring in so many new business opportunities without actually starting anything new. 

Imagine being free from the anxious thoughts of having to offer something new or to try new marketing to gain more traction.  You just need to detox your business first by eliminating stagnant areas, which will allow things to run smoothly & effortlessly.

This is, by far, the most underrated, low-hanging fruit when it comes to business transformation strategies.

Visualize a gem covered with thick mud and clay that gets purified with fresh, clear water, revealing its true form.  That can be your business!

If your business is in the season of growth and expansion, what you don’t want to do is to amplify your mess.  Many entrepreneurs tend to focus more on adding things to their businesses over subtracting time-wasting activities, and that’s not a way to go.  For more on how to find out whether your business is “scale-ready,” check out my previous post here. (Insert the link)  

“Oh gosh! Right, I’m ready to detox my business!  Where should I start?”

Glad you are game. But hold your horses for just a minute.  Here, I am going to unearth this one crucial step business owners tend to overlook.  It’s possibly because it’s not often discussed in the business community.  Can you guess what that is?

Supercharge Your “Non-Stop Referral Pipeline” in 15 min or Less Each Day by Doing These 11 “Referral-Inducing” Activities

Supercharge Your “Non-Stop Referral Pipeline” in 15 min or Less Each Day by Doing These 11 “Referral-Inducing” Activities

I have a random question for you.  What cell phone carrier do you use? 

I’ve been using Sprint PCS forever.  Frankly, I don’t even know why.  It’s not so much that I am loyal to them, but more so that it works, and they don’t bother me much.

However, there were a few occasions over the years when I seriously considered switching to another carrier, and I finally had to ask them:

 

“Why are you (Sprint PCS) giving so many incentives to NEW CUSTOMERS & not the ones who have been with you the whole time?!”

 

Can you relate? 

I don’t think it matters which carrier you use.  In the US, as far as I know, carrier companies are obsessed with stealing customers from their competitors and completely neglecting their existing customers. I can see that it has loosened up a bit recently, but 5 to 7 years ago, it was so painfully obvious that the only thing they cared about was acquiring new customers.

To make matters worse, most of the carriers have a hefty penalty in place for those who want to switch carriers before their contract expires.  It’s a punishment for leaving your carrier. 

How’s that for CX (customer experience)?  I say it’s a crappy one, for sure. 

You must have seen this pop-up window show up on any website asking, “From 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends?”  This is a part of NPS (net promoter score) in the world of CX.  In this case, I would score low for how likely I would be to refer Sprint to my friends.

To be clear, I am not ranting here about Sprint. I’m using this example purely to make my point for this post.  If this idea of being mistreated and under-appreciated resonates with this you, a long-time customer of any brand, you know how your existing customer may feel about your service.  So, let me ask you:

How have you been treating your existing customers lately? 

How to Treat Your Business Like a Business: 5 Valuable Lessons from My Time in the Show Biz You Might Want to Steal

How to Treat Your Business Like a Business: 5 Valuable Lessons from My Time in the Show Biz You Might Want to Steal

Do you find yourself having a hard time setting boundaries for your business?  Do you feel like there is no clear distinction between your personal life and your business?  You may be thinking you are too close to your business, and it’s nearly impossible to let go of some of the duties. Or maybe you feel hesitant to publicly declare what you do as a legitimate business.

Many of us start a business by pursuing a passion and/or what we mastered as a working professional, and then we grow it organically from there.  The downside to this is the line gets blurred between our personal life and our business. This also makes us feel like our business is an extension of ourselves, a part of our identity.  At times, it gets too personal because of this.

If you want to scale your business, you have to start treating your business like a business. 

A large part of this is because you are not going to do everything by yourself. You are going to need a team. If you deploy a team, then you need to systematize your processes.  In order to systematize your processes, you need to pull all of them out of your brain and start documenting.

So, what can you do immediately to start treating your business like a stand-alone, profit-generating machine?

Just like many of you, I was once living a corporate life.  Someday though, I knew I was going to leave this life, so I leveraged everything I could learn on the job.  I was consciously “intrepreneurship’ing” within all organizations I worked for. 

It was much later in my life I realized how fortunate that experience was and how much it impacted my business, which enabled me to skip most of the rookie mistakes. In a way, the experience allowed me to get right into making many more of the ‘other’ mistakes, but that is a story for another time.  At least, I did not have to start from complete scratch, so I’d say I was fortunate.

Behind the Scenes 3: Create Your Signature Workshop from Scratch

Behind the Scenes 3:  Create Your Signature Workshop from Scratch

Finally, the dust is settling after this year-long effort of creating a versatile signature workshop, which is to be repurposed into various content.

My mission for this series is to share the process exactly as it unfolds.  As you might have noticed, I have plenty of other posts that clearly outline how to do things for your business. This series does the opposite of that.

I’m baring it all this time in order to give you taste of the mess that goes into it.  As a result, my hope is for you to feel less intimidated by any business projects that you commit to in the long term.  Creating a signature workshop can provide many opportunities to grow your business relatively fast.  I hate to see you putting this off because you feel it is too big of a task to tackle. 

It's never pretty & it's perfectly OK.

Also, I want you to see how some things happen in a way that you could not have guessed. Both good & bad. 

This leads to another mission of mine- to prove that action creates clarity.

I often hear, "I need to know exactly what I'm doing before I get started."  Sure.  Have a plan so that, at least, you see a rough path in front of you. But my problem is the word, "exactly."

Sorry to disappoint, but you are not going to be able to know that unless you start.  What you can do instead is to course-correct along the way based on what you discover as you go. 

This is a kind of ambiguity that many get hung up on. The only thing I can tell you is... trust Nike's slogan- just do it.

In this post, I'm going to show you what that looks like. Trust me, by the time you finish reading this post, you will feel like you are a lot more “put together” than I did.

To do this, let’s break it down in 5 sections.

 

1. What I've Done for This 3rd Round of Workshops

2. What I Did Differently to Prep

3. Challenges I Faced

4. My Takeaways: Things to Improve & A New Plan to Move Forward

5. What Does All This Mean to You?

 

How to Set Priorities for Your Business, Even When Everything Seems Important: The “Thriller, Filler & Spiller” Method pt. 1

How to Set Priorities for Your Business, Even When Everything Seems Important: The “Thriller, Filler & Spiller” Method pt. 1

Have you ever just wanted to hit the refresh button & start over? 

No, I’m not talking about shutting down your business. I’m talking about starting over with a clean slate, so that you can see what matters most both in the long-term and short-term.

It happens to me when I know I have strayed too far from the vision for my business by getting bogged down on daily matters. This nagging feeling of “Ugh, I need to regroup!” starts to run in the background. The struggle is real. 

At that point, my brain is fried from daily tasks, and my vision is blurred.  I know to block out some time to step away from those tasks and cut off all communication, so that I can reassess my entire business.

If you have ever felt the same way, you are at the right place because what I am about to share here isn’t one of those stuffy “annual strategy planning processes” you find online, which are all based on the idea of starting from a target revenue number first.

Frankly, I don’t believe in this method. Starting from a revenue goal can completely derail your business, as you will put too much emphasis on hitting the target number and less emphasis on achieving your ultimate business vision.

It is not even sustainable, as it does not prepare you for potential incidents, wherein some of the strategies you rely on to hit that number suddenly stop working. By the time you realize you need another strategy to compensate for the loss, it is usually too late. From that point on, it will take minimally 3 times longer to get back to where it was.

Another widely known (and used) prioritization method is 4 Quadrant Method, which was devised by the legendary, Steven Covey. By only looking at the quadrants, it does not tell much in terms of what criteria one must go by deciding exactly WHAT IS:

Urgent & Important

Not Urgent, but Important

Urgent & Not Important

Not Urgent & Not Important

On the contrary, the “Thriller, Filler & Spiller” method is fluid, yet clear.  OK, I know the name is weird. But, everything I come up with is weird. By now, you are already aware of that, and I trust you are here to get the insights you can’t get anywhere else. In this case, I know I won’t let you down.

7 Surprisingly Easy Steps to Handle Difficult Conversations with Ease

7 Surprisingly Easy Steps to Handle Difficult Conversations with Ease

As a business owner, you will face conversations that you perceive as "difficult" or "confronting" from time to time.  Some of you may have more experience than others by holding a managerial position at a corporation.  But even then, having rather unpleasant conversations as a business owner is a whole other category, as you are the face of the company.

There are no other bosses to blame.  There is no brand name to hide behind and say, “They made me do it!  I’m just a messenger!”

As your business grows, your responsibility of looking after your business as a whole and assessing the overall well-being of it also grows significantly. 

It could be about firing one of your employees, especially when you break my golden rule- "No family or friends for hire."

It could be about unhappy customers demanding to speak to you.

In some cases, it's about your customers wanting a refund.

It may be that you need to tell vendors you want to stop working with them.

Or, you want to fire your client. 

 

They all sound unsavory, don’t they?

How would you say you feel when realizing you may have to handle these business matters?

Dreadful?
Heavy?
Depressed?
Exposed?
Confronted?
Conflicted?

Is your immediate reaction:

Wanting to avoid it at all cost?
Defensive?
Apprehensive?

 

What if I told you, by the end of this post, you may look forward to having these conversations because you have just acquired a new perspective? 

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 3: Three Ways to Future-Proof Your Niche

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 3: Three Ways to Future-Proof Your Niche

"I don't niche down, and let me explain why it works for me."

This tweet caught my eye earlier this year while I was working on pt. 1 & 2 of this "Niche Down" series.  I was intrigued.  This statement challenged what I practice and promote, and, immediately, I wanted to know more.

It originated from an influencer who seemed to be doing extremely well.  I always liked his overall message, although I'm not part of his target audience.  So, I happen to follow him over Twitter.

Once I got to the post where he explained why & how not niching down was the way to go, I realized his definition of "niching down" was… a little off.  In my eyes, he was totally niching down. 

He just didn't see it that way.

Note, I have no intention of calling someone out just to make a point that I'm right or nitpicking on what “niche down” should be. Doing so doesn't give value to anyone, including me.

Instead, I saw this as an opportunity.  I was so glad that I saw the tweet.  This was an indication that the concept of niching down may not be so straight forward for some, and I needed to articulate more clearly as to how to get this done right, so that no one wastes time or effort.  

The irony is that his business is clearly defined and niched down, but he tells his audience he does not believe in niching down. This can be confusing to many entrepreneurs.

In this final post of the 3-part series, "How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer," I'm going to lay out how to future-proof this process so that you are well on your way to success. 

But before diving in, let’s address what is going on here with this influencer.

How to Bounce Back from Business Setbacks Fast: 5 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Immediately After a Setback

How to Bounce Back from Business Setbacks Fast: 5 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Immediately After a Setback

A sudden loss of a major customer, a delayed shipment, an unexpected departure of your superstar employee, an injury/accident, a failed launch, a deal falling apart in the last minute, family emergencies… Operating a business comes with many unexpected challenges. Worse yet, multiple setbacks can come at us all at once.

When setbacks like these happen to you, they can take you right out of your element. This is particularly true when you are laser-focused on achieving your goal, leaving no room for doubts.

 

So, how do we bounce back from setbacks fast?

 

On a personal note, while writing this post, I experienced a setback. 

Only a few days from my meetup live event in NYC, I had no choice but to put it on hold due to an unexpected complication with the venue, where the event was supposed to be held.

This has never happened during my 2 years of running live events.  

If you are experienced in running events big or small, you know the production process starts way before the actual event.  You may also know that securing a venue is the biggest hurdle for anyone who wants to host a live business event. 

Needless to say, it was a blow at first.  To make the matter worse, in just one-weeks’ time surrounding this setback, I have gone through a massive water leak in my apartment, resulting in a section of the ceiling falling down and a family member getting injured.  Luckily, none of these were life threatening. 

Nonetheless, they did not help me get through a setback any easier.

This experience prompted me to write this post on how you can handle business setbacks better and faster.

At this point in my career, I can safely say that I'm a pro at dealing with setbacks because I've had so many in my life - both business and personal.  As I faced numerous setbacks, I have perfected a way to handle them better without forcing myself to believe everything is OK.

This 1 Simple Exercise will Help You Stay in Alignment with Your Business Emotionally & Strategically

This 1 Simple Exercise will Help You Stay in Alignment with Your Business Emotionally & Strategically

Entrepreneurship comes with a full of surprises at all times.

If you are an aspiring business operator or an entrepreneur, you can probably relate to this statement. 

Right?

Just by looking at this year alone for my business, there were a few twists and turns I did not anticipate.  After all said and done, they were all good.  Yet these unexpected happenings can take you off the rail rather quickly ending up losing sight of what truly matters the most in your business.

When something good and unexpected happens, you do want to keep the momentum going to get the max out of what life throws at you.  Once that settles down, you might feel a little "off" about your business overall, and that's normal.  I have been there.  Many times.

In my previous post, I have covered the importance of simplifying your business in order to scale.  While you experience highs and lows through your business, being skillful at working continuously on simplifying your business depends on how much you feel aligned with your business emotionally and strategically.

In case you are wondering, emotional alignment and strategic alignment - both need to be met.  You can't just pick & choose if you want to achieve the best outcome possible for your business.

Here, I'm going to share a fun & simple exercise to achieve both at the same time.