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.

 

Want to Scale Your Service Business Fast? Find Out Whether Your Business is “Scale-Ready” Right Now.

Want to Scale Your Service Business Fast?  Find Out Whether Your Business is “Scale-Ready” Right Now.

Do you know how to tell whether a Ramen joint is a good one? 

You test the place by ordering the simplest version with just broth, noodles and a few garnishes. No meat, no shellfish, no other exotic or expensive ingredients. 

The same goes for discovering the best Burger, Arepa, Dumplings, Pizza, Curry, etc.

Why?

The reason is: Simple dishes have nowhere to hide. They'd better be darn good with very limited ingredients.

With a fewer ingredients, it comes down to how a creator of that dish crafts ingredients by adding just enough skill to make it shine.

This is, by far, the hardest thing to do.

Instead of hiding behind bells and whistles, a creator must resist the urge to show off for the sake of his ego and let his dish do the magic.

 

Adding is easy. Subtracting is hard.

 

Not only is it hard to strip a dish down to bare minimum, but it's also hard NOT to feel inadequate.  Since it is so simple, the dish will be judged by the level of confidence, knowledge, and restraint that a creator possesses.

I know what you are about to ask.

“How is creating a simplest dish even relevant to scaling a business?”

The simple strategic concept below can help you create new milestones to scale your business. Also, you will find whether your business is “scale-ready” by answering 5 statements.

So, read on.  

 

How to Create Stunning Branded Content that Sparks Engagement Using Your Smartphone

How to Create Stunning Branded Content that Sparks Engagement Using Your Smartphone

Don’t let the term, “Branded Content,” intimidate you.  This just means content that reflects either your personal brand or what your business offers, whether that is service or product.  As you might have figured out, branded content, if done well, can be deployed as a highly effective tool for your lead generation.

For my August meetup event, I invited back branding & lifestyle photographer, John DeMato from DeMato Productions, to tackle two commonly known obstacles associated with the content creation process for businesses.

  1. How to stay consistent: While we all know consistency is key when it comes to content creation, it can be challenging for business owners whose main job is to run their businesses,

  2. How to keep your content interesting & engaging: Often, when we focus on generating interesting & engaging content, we face “performance anxiety.”  As a result, we ended up posting something sub-par or not posting at all.


John appeared at my November event last year entitled, Make Your Mark: A Winning Strategy that Translates Your Brand.  This fireside chat was well received among my members, so it was a no-brainer for me to bring him back on the subject of content creation for entrepreneurs.

Because I wanted this event to focus more on “how-tos,” John put together a value-packed masterclass. 

Recovering Workaholic’s Staycation Gone Wrong:  My Story & What You Can Learn from It.

Recovering Workaholic’s Staycation Gone Wrong:  My Story & What You Can Learn from It.

There were many things my father taught me back in a day.  One lesson that stuck with me was, “When (notice: not ‘if’) you fall, grab something, anything, on your way up.”

Recently, I attempted to take some time off in a lazy way by making it a ‘staycation.’

The description of “staycation gone wrong” may be a little exaggerated.  In hindsight, it was not as terrible as it seemed at the time, but the experience was not great.  This was one of those moments where my father’s advice seemed quite fitting.

In this post, you will see 3 simple sections: Before, during, and after.

If you consider yourself a “recovering workaholic entrepreneur,” this post can help you plan your time-off effectively, mainly by not doing the things I have done.  So, read on!

The Back Story

Despite my skillful mindset practice involving meditation, continuous education, and other energy preserving strategies, I was burned out.

The reason was obvious.  I had not taken a vacation since late 2015.

Unfortunately, this is pretty normal for entrepreneurs like myself.

Because we can't rely on paid vacations or time-off like regular employees, we end up burning out.  The most challenging part of this predicament is giving ourselves permission to take time off. Sounds simple, but it’s a hurdle that is extremely hard for some (myself included) to jump over.

This process could be made easier if we could just ask someone else to give us an OK.  In some cases, family intervention plays a role in this type of situation (if you are lucky).

Behind the Scenes 2: Create Your Signature Workshop from Scratch (Updates & 3 Tips for Digesting Feedback Effectively)

Behind the Scenes 2: Create Your Signature Workshop from Scratch (Updates & 3 Tips for Digesting Feedback Effectively)

It has been more than 6 months since I posted my first update on how I created my signature workshop in 3.5 weeks while I run my regular business.  In the post, I also shared what worked and what didn’t.

If you haven’t checked it out, you might want to do that first so that you get the backstory before diving into this one.

My original intention was to share my process of creating one then testing it so that you would be inspired to work on yours.  Since then, a lot has happened.  So, it is time to invite you back to this topic and see how it has evolved.

In this post, you are going to learn 2 things:

1.     Updates on how this effort of perfecting a workshop took an unexpected turn & what I took away from the experience.

2.     Tips on what to do once you collect feedback from participants.

By the way, you would appreciate knowing this fact, that I did not make this a priority for my business during the first half of this year.  What I am about to share did not come from actively promoting or developing the original workshop. 

Things just started to happen without me doing much to it.

Now, please don’t take this the wrong way.  I am not in anyway suggesting you to lock up your workshop and throw away the key and, expecting an offer or an invitation will magically appear without you lifting a finger.  Although I wasn’t actively working on it, it has always been on the back of my mind. 

This is key so that once you spot an opportunity, you can pull it out and look at it again from another perspective.  We will go deep into how to execute this in this post.

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 2: The Fine Art Painting Method

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 2: The Fine Art Painting Method

This is the part 2 of the 3-part series covering the topic of “How to Niche Down When You Have So Much to Offer.” 

Just to recap, part 1 covered the “what” and “why” of niching your services down like fine dining restaurant menus. (embed the link.)

I purposely used the fine dining model as an example to convey my point of how a refined, high ticket item will allow you to create a highly profitable service business without burning yourself out while executing.

In part 2, it is going to be all about “how” to explore your niche that works.  

With all the noise over on the internet, many are dismissing the fact that there are many, many highly profitable businesses that you would never hear or read about. 

Not only are they so profitable that they don’t need to conduct any sales, marketing and advertising campaigns, they are content with the kind of freedom they have with their lives without losing their love for their work.

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, let me tell you about my acupuncture doctor as a real-life example.  He is a multi-millionaire that you will never hear about (unless I tell you, of course.)

No fancy office. 

No fancy sign outside.  You’ll walk right pass it.

Occasional ads on one local super niche newspaper. 

That is about it.

He’s been running his business all by himself (no staff) at the same location for nearly 20 years.

You must be wondering, “What does he do that is so different from any other acupuncturists that is so profitable?”

DIY PR: Proven Strategies to be Recognized as an Expert in Your Industry

DIY PR: Proven Strategies to be Recognized as an Expert in Your Industry

“Why Should We Hire You?”

You thought you would never have to hear this again once you left your 9 to 5 life. But, there you are as a business owner, you find yourself having to answer this question to your prospects. Déjà vu.  Somehow this never seems to go away.

There are a few ways to handle this age-old question.  One of them is to increase your visibility to be viewed as an expert in your field. 

It provides a sense of assurance to prospective customers to feel confident in your ability to solve a problem they have.  On the same token, it takes care of a large part of their due diligence process.  You have been properly vetted through a channel, in this case ‘media,’ which allows them to put the guard down.

Sounds like a daunting task.  It also sparks a lot of questions.

“Where do I even start?”
“How do I know I am qualified? I don’t have PhD or anything.”
“Would this take a long time?”
“What makes me different from anyone else?”
“What are the secrets to increase the chance of my ideas being picked?”

I was pleased when Tara Rae Bradford from The Potentialista agreed to be the guest speaker at my June event.

Bootstrap Trap: The Hidden Cost of Being Thrifty that will Keep You Away from the Place of Growth

Bootstrap Trap: The Hidden Cost of Being Thrifty that will Keep You Away from the Place of Growth

My parents happen to be a bunch of mad thrifty & handy people. They don't suck at anything. They sure know how to "get by" with a limited amount of resources.

Because of it, it's been engraved in my brain so much so that, if I left myself to my own device, I don't have a moment where I don't say to myself, "How do I get that with the best deal I can possibly find without wasting time? Ah heck, I'll just do it myself."

I had to 'unlearn' this mentality entirely when I left my corporate life. By the way, the process of 'unlearning' is an ongoing process; it never ends.

Here's the ultimate question for you that I had to ask myself:

“Do you want to just... ‘get by’?”

Likable vs. Relatable: Why Your Innate Desire to be Liked is Killing Your Business (and What to Do about It.)

Likable vs. Relatable: Why Your Innate Desire to be Liked is Killing Your Business (and What to Do about It.)

“The Courage to be Disliked” has been a Japanese’s bestselling self-help book for the past few years.

It is a big deal as this probably is the last group of people on earth voicing their desire to be "different" and to be totally OK about it. It is a long time coming.

Born and raised in Japan, I have the first-hand experience in failing miserably at being a “girl next door.”  I have been (and still am) more like Wednesday (Christina Ricci) from The Addams Family or Lydia (Winona Ryder) from Beatlejuice. Not the most approachable in the eyes of a well-behaved collective. 

Clients from Hell: 51 Ideas You Can Implement When Your Top Paying Clients are Ruining Your Life

Clients from Hell: 51 Ideas You Can Implement When Your Top Paying Clients are Ruining Your Life

You must have a horror story or two that involves "clients from hell." This may be a no-brainer, but I was surprised to find a website dedicated to sharing those horror stories. (https://clientsfromhell.net/) It seems they even have a podcast about it.

On the flip side, if you haven't had any experience dealing with clients from hell in your service business, you are leaving money on the table. 

“What?!,” you might ask.  You heard it right the first time. You are losing money.

Recap: Spring Clean Your Business – Master How to Declutter, Streamline & Protect Your Business Like A Pro

Recap:  Spring Clean Your Business – Master How to Declutter, Streamline & Protect Your Business Like A Pro

I get it. This is not the sexiest topic you want to consume as a business owner. 

It's not about making millions of dollars or getting 10,000 additional subscribers on your website in one month or running a successful launch and make 6 figures out of it.

On the contrary, the April live event was all about getting your (business) house in order.  

But if you are like me trying to live somewhat seasonally, I bet you will find this post helpful.  When you start spotting subtle signs of spring, overall – personally & professionally – you are in the mood to hit the “refresh” button.  So why not push the refresh button on your business, too?

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 1: The Fine Dining Menu Strategy

How to Niche Down Your Services When Your Business Has So Much to Offer Pt. 1: The Fine Dining Menu Strategy

Who says you can’t learn anything by just watching Netflix?  You can.  If you pay attention, that is.


The Netflix series, Chef's Table, is a secret obsession of mine.

The show is about the stories of highly regarded fine dining chefs who take you through their journey by candidly sharing their anguish, failures, creative process, adversity, breakthroughs, desire, resistance, recognition, and perfecting their craft as a chef as well as a business owner by finding their own voices through food.

No Budget? No Problem: The Magic Blueprint to Overcome "No Budget" Objections with Confidence

No Budget? No Problem: The Magic Blueprint to Overcome "No Budget" Objections with Confidence

This topic popped up when I was leading a strategy session with a video production duo the other day. 

They were feeling puzzled and slightly defeated.  I empathized as I knew these guys have been gun-ho about going after new leads to create more opportunities for their business.

Good news is, this is something you can fix. Here, I'm going to show you how to tackle “no budget” objections.  In a way, THIS IS THE GREATEST INDICATOR that you need to revisit your outreach strategy. You are lucky to face this problem (that you can totally fix.) So, read on.

The One Task These Leading Entrepreneurs Will Not Delegate or Automate: A Quick Guide to Deciding Which Tasks NOT to Delegate or Automate (and What You Can Do Instead to Leverage Your Time.)

The One Task These Leading Entrepreneurs Will Not Delegate or Automate: A Quick Guide to Deciding Which Tasks NOT to Delegate or Automate (and What You Can Do Instead to Leverage Your Time.)

"Delegation & automation" is a hot topic among business owners who are on the hunt to find ways to leverage their resources to grow their businesses without killing themselves in the process. 

The challenge is to do this process right.  Why do I know it's a challenge?  I know this because I get, frankly, underwhelming emails on daily basis as a result of doing this process all wrong.

Getting it wrong is one thing but losing opportunities by doing something else is another matter.  Might as well, don't do anything, right?

Recap: “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business” – The Secrets to Building a Million-Dollar, One-Person Business Revealed!

Recap: “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business” – The Secrets to Building a Million-Dollar, One-Person Business Revealed!

There's a new breed of entrepreneurs who are ruthlessly focused on delighting their customers while pursuing their ultimate goal of having freedom and generating 7 figure gross annual revenues without being tied down to managing full-time employees.

 

How do they do it? 

What are their secrets?

What's the catch?