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Cathy Stucker – The Idea Lady https://www.idealady.com Attract Customers and Make Yourself Famous Sat, 04 Dec 2021 18:30:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 The Short but Powerful Guide to Finding Your Passion https://www.idealady.com/the-short-but-powerful-guide-to-finding-your-passion/ Mon, 21 Jun 2021 20:39:41 +0000 https://www.idealady.com/?p=8413 Following your passion can be a tough thing. But figuring out what that passion is can be even more elusive. I’m lucky — I’ve found my passion, and I’m living it. I can testify that it’s the most wonderful thing, to be able to make a living doing what you love. And so, in this [...]

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Following your passion can be a tough thing. But figuring out what that passion is can be even more elusive.

I’m lucky — I’ve found my passion, and I’m living it. I can testify that it’s the most wonderful thing, to be able to make a living doing what you love.

And so, in this little guide, I’d like to help you get started figuring out what you’d love doing. This turns out to be one of the most common problems of many Zen Habits readers — including many who recently responded to me on Twitter.

This will be the thing that will get you motivated to get out of bed in the morning, to cry out, “I’m alive! I’m feeling this, baby!”. And to scare your family members or anyone who happens to be in yelling distance as you do this.

This guide won’t be comprehensive, and it won’t find your passion for you. But it will help you in your journey to find it.

Here’s how.

1. What are you good at? Unless you’re just starting out in life, you have some skills or talent, shown some kind of aptitude. Even if you are just starting out, you might have shown some talent when you were young, even as young as elementary school. Have you always been a good writer, speaker, drawer, organizer, builder, teacher, friend? Have you been good at ideas, connecting people, gardening, selling? Give this some thought. Take at least 30 minutes, going over this question — often we forget about things we’ve done well. Think back, as far as you can, to jobs, projects, hobbies. This could be your passion. Or you may have several things. Start a list of potential candidates.

2. What excites you? It may be something at work — a little part of your job that gets you excited. It could be something you do outside of work — a hobby, a side job, something you do as a volunteer or a parent or a spouse or a friend. It could be something you haven’t done in awhile. Again, think about this for 30 minutes, or 15 at the least. If you don’t, you’re probably shortchanging yourself. Add any answers to your list.

3. What do you read about? What have you spent hours reading about online? What magazines do you look forward to reading? What blogs do you follow? What section of the bookstore do you usually peruse? There may be many topics here — add them to the list.

4. What have you secretly dreamed of? You might have some ridiculous dream job you’ve always wanted to do — to be a novelist, an artist, a designer, an architect, a doctor, an entrepreneur, a programmer. But some fear, some self-doubt, has held you back, has led you to dismiss this idea. Maybe there are several. Add them to the list — no matter how unrealistic.

5. Learn, ask, take notes. OK, you have a list. Pick one thing from the list that excites you most. This is your first candidate. Now read up on it, talk to people who’ve been successful in the field (through their blogs, if they have them, or email). Make a list of notes of things you need to learn, need to improve on, skills you want to master, people to talk to. Study up on it, but don’t make yourself wait too long before diving into the next step.

6. Experiment, try. Here’s where the learning really takes place. If you haven’t been already, start to do the thing you’ve chosen. Maybe you already are, in which case you might be able to skip to the next step or choose a second candidate to try out. But if you haven’t been, start now — just do it. It can be in the privacy of your own home, but as quickly as possible, make it public however you can. This motivates you to improve, it gets you feedback, and your reputation will improve as you do. Pay attention to how you feel doing it — is it something you look forward to, that gets you excited, that you love to share?

7. Narrow things down. I recommend that you pick 3-5 things from your list, if it’s longer than that, and do steps 5 & 6 with them. This could take month, or perhaps you’ve already learned about and tried them all out. So now here’s what you need to ask yourself: which gets you the most excited? Which of these can produce something that people will pay for or get excited about? Which can you see yourself doing for years (even if it’s not a traditional career path)? Pick one, or two at the most, and focus on that. You’re going to do the next three steps with it: banish your fears, find the time, and make it into a career if possible. If it doesn’t work out, you can try the next thing on your list — there’s no shame in giving something a shot and failing, because it’ll teach you valuable lessons that will help you to be successful in the next attempt.

8. Banish your fears. This is the biggest obstacle for most people – self-doubt and fear of failure. You’re going to face it and banish it. First, acknowledge it rather than ignoring or denying it. Second, write it down, to externalize it. Third, feel it, and be OK with having it. Fourth, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Usually it’s not catastrophic. Fifth, prepare yourself for doing it anyway, and then do it. Take small steps, as tiny as possible, and forget about what might happen — focus on what actually is happening, right now. And then celebrate your success, no matter how small.

9. Find the time. Don’t have the time to pursue this passion? Make the time, dammit! If this is a priority, you’ll make the time — rearrange your life until you have the time. This might mean waking earlier, or doing it after work or during lunch, or on weekends. It will probably mean canceling some commitments, simplifying your work routing or doing a lot of work in advance (like you’re going on a vacation). Do what it takes.

10. How to make a living doing it. This doesn’t happen overnight. You need to do something, get good at it, be passionate about it. This could take months or years, but if you’re having fun, that’s what’s most important. When you get to the point where someone would pay you for it, then you’re golden — there are many ways to make a living at that point, including doing freelance or consulting work, making information products such as ebooks, writing a blog and selling advertising. In fact, I recommend you do a blog if you’re not already — it’ll help solidify your thinking, build a reputation, find people who are interested in what you do, demonstrate your knowledge and passion.

I told you this wouldn’t be easy. It’ll require a lot of reflection and soul-searching, at first, then a lot of courage and learning and experimentation, and finally a lot of commitment.

But it’s all worth it — every second, every ounce of courage and effort. Because in the end, you’ll have something that will transform your life in so many ways, will give you that reason to jump out of bed, will make you happy no matter how much you make.

I hope you follow this guide and find success, because I wish on you nothing less than finding your true passion.

This article was written by Leo Babauta and published here under uncopyright.

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3 Strategies for Quick & Easy Content Creation https://www.idealady.com/3-strategies-for-quick-easy-content-creation/ Wed, 02 Sep 2020 19:11:00 +0000 https://www.idealady.com/?p=8068 No matter what business you’re in, if you’re marketing your products and services (and you no doubt are) then you’re most likely creating content. Lots and lots of content. Blog posts. Emails. Opt-in gifts. Books. Membership programs. Videos. Podcasts… The list is endless. In fact, you can spend the majority of your workday creating content. [...]

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No matter what business you’re in, if you’re marketing your products and services (and you no doubt are) then you’re most likely creating content. Lots and lots of content.

Blog posts. Emails. Opt-in gifts. Books. Membership programs. Videos. Podcasts…

The list is endless. In fact, you can spend the majority of your workday creating content. And it’s still not enough.

Sound familiar? What if you could quickly and easily create more content, without spending hours at the keyboard? Here are a few ideas to help you quickly and easily create the content you need (without breaking the bank hiring writers).

Strategy #1: Crowdsource it.

Think you can’t get other people to write your content without paying them? Think again. You can easily tap into your network of friends, colleagues and even competitors to create an endless stream of content that requires very little work on your part.

  • Interview the influencers in your niche, either in text or audio
  • Solicit guest posts for your blog
  • Build a panel of experts to answer questions for your email subscribers
  • Host a webinar with a guest speaker
  • Create a survey and share the results

The possibilities for creating content based on the input from others is nearly endless, and while all of them require you to play some part, the actual time spent will be minimal.

An example of this, is Nicole Dean’s Expert Briefs. She crowdsources blog posts about leveraging business and life. Here’s one about meditation: https://nicoleonthenet.com/50520/entrepreneurs-who-meditate/

I use this strategy on my site for authors and publishers, SellingBooks.com. I post interviews with published authors, something that has generated more than 1000 posts on the website.

A bonus from using this strategy is that the people you feature will usually promote their appearance on your site, bringing you more traffic and helping lots of new visitors discover your site.

Strategy #2: Repurpose it.

If you’re anything like most entrepreneurs, you already have a huge collection of content. You’ve written hundreds of blog posts and emails, recorded dozens of how-to videos, produced several ebooks or guides, and created at least a few presentations.

Don’t let all that content sit around and collect dust! Gather it up, give it a light edit, and put it back to work for you.

Turn a series of blog posts into an ebook to sell, or transform an ebook into a video course. Membership sites become books for sale in print and on Kindle (with an upsell to the full course), and old blog posts find new life (and new readers) with a simple refresher and a date change.

Have a PowerPoint presentation of a talk you gave to a lunch group? Record an audio narration to go with it and post the video to YouTube and on your blog. Or create a video from an article you wrote.

Strategy #3: Rebrand it.

Looking for something completely new that you haven’t offered before? Put your keyboard away and discover the power of rebrandable (PLR) content instead. Prewritten content gives you the flexibility to create exactly what your audience needs and wants, without spending hours (or days) researching and writing.

Looking for top quality, rebrandable content for your audience?

Check out the done-for-you blog posts, training, workshops, planners and forms at CoachGlue.com. They’ve done all the research and writing, and even created your worksheets and slide decks. All that’s left is for you to add your unique voice and perspective, change up the colors and add your logo. In no time at all, you’ll have ebooks, planners, and even complete training courses ready to sell.

Your audience will love that you keep them up to date on the latest trends, and you’ll love how quickly you can create new content with little to no writing involved.

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What to Ask When Hiring a Ghostwriter https://www.idealady.com/what-to-ask-when-hiring-a-ghostwriter/ Tue, 01 Sep 2020 11:00:22 +0000 https://www.idealady.com/?p=7937 Hiring a ghostwriter for your business is the easiest way to gain more time in your busy schedule so you can focus on coaching your clients, attracting new clients, or creating that signature program you’ve been longing to complete for years. However, finding the right ghostwriter for your needs can be a time-consuming journey, one [...]

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Hiring a ghostwriter for your business is the easiest way to gain more time in your busy schedule so you can focus on coaching your clients, attracting new clients, or creating that signature program you’ve been longing to complete for years. However, finding the right ghostwriter for your needs can be a time-consuming journey, one which requires you to ask a lot of questions and be clear on what tasks you need completed.

Here are 5 key questions you should ask when hiring a ghostwriter:

1. What experience do you have?

Anyone can put a website online and claim to be a ghostwriter so you need to play detective here and decipher if this candidate truly has the experience or if they’re a scam artist. Any professional writer should be willing to supply references and samples of their work. At the very least, check out their blog and read a few posts. Are the thoughts clear? Are the grammar and syntax correct? You can even go so far as to copy and paste part of the blog post into Google or Copyscape to check for plagiarism (which, obviously, is a big no no in the online and real life world).

2. Do you have a specialty genre?

In general, writers can write on a variety of topics, from traveling with toddlers to deep sea fishing, but ultimately you want a ghostwriter who truly knows your business inside and out and who can convey your professional voice through every word of copy. Do you really want to train a travel writer about the ins and outs of a coaching business? Do you want give a fashion writer the assignment of writing follow up emails to your clients? Chances are these specialty writers wouldn’t apply for this type of project anyway but it never hurts to ask. Otherwise, you may get charged for many hours of research when a writer who has small business or coaching experience could write off the tops of their heads.

3. Is English your native language?

This question is not meant to discriminate in the least; it’s simply meant to qualify candidates. After all, if this ghostwriter is meant to portray your voice throughout the website copy or in your signature program, it stands to reason the writer should have an expertise in your native tongue, right? You’re outsourcing the writing for a reason…to save you time. If you choose a writer who is fluent in another language, you run the risk of having to do a lot of editing so the copy sounds like you instead of someone who is still trying to master the nuances of the English language. There are certainly bilingual and multilingual writers who can write well in English but the question is worth asking so there are no surprises. That being said, I have worked with some really good writers who English was not their first language. So, ask, and then test them out.

4. What is your fee?

This question can be tricky simply because ghostwriting fees vary tremendously! To prepare for this question, it benefits you to know what tasks you’re looking to outsource right away. The fees to write individual blog posts will differ considerably compared with ghostwriting a specialty program. The same for ghostwriting an ebook versus rewriting your website copy. Do your own research ahead of time and determine a budget for each of the tasks so you can also approach this question from a project fee and see who’s willing to work for that fee. A word of warning, however: you get what you pay for. Don’t simply go for the cheapest ghostwriter you can find. You’ll likely get lots of mistakes or need to hold their hand while they run everything by you for approval.

5. What is your turnaround time?

Keep in mind that ghostwriters have multiple clients, much like you have multiple coaching clients, so it’s unfair and unreasonable to expect assignments to be completed in 24 hours. Another question to ask here is do they have a rush fee if you do need something turned around faster. This is another time when having a calendar of tasks will benefit you because you can then discuss your first deadline with the candidates and ask who is able to complete it by then.

Your Personal Ghostwriting Team

If you find a personal ghostwriter is out of your budget at the moment or it’s just too darned much hassle, take advantage of the personal ghostwriting team at CoachGlue.com and all of the done-for-you content they create. ALL of the content you purchase from CoachGlue can be edited, your name put on it, your website and contact info added, your personal case studies added…it’s all yours to do what you wish. They offer many packages to suit your needs and this is a great way to experiment with outsourcing your writing. They’re available to help you move ahead in your business! From done-for-you blog posts to entire workshops, they’ve got you covered.

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Take a Real Break – Fully Disengage https://www.idealady.com/take-a-real-break/ Fri, 24 Apr 2020 21:59:18 +0000 https://www.idealady.com/?p=8064 Are you feeling overwhelmed these days? You are not alone. Lots of people are. Pandemic stress is real. If you can, the best thing you can do for your mental and physical health is to take some time to completely disengage. You probably can’t do it for days (or even hours) at a time, but [...]

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Are you feeling overwhelmed these days? You are not alone. Lots of people are. Pandemic stress is real.

If you can, the best thing you can do for your mental and physical health is to take some time to completely disengage. You probably can’t do it for days (or even hours) at a time, but taking just a few minutes as you can during your day to unplug and zone out can make a huge difference in your ability to cope.

Take a look at the article below for what Steve Pavlina has to say about disengaging to recharge. He suggested disengaging as a way to regain your focus and productivity during the workday, but it can do much more than that for you.

A lot of time and energy are poorly utilized by working with partial engagement and then taking half-engaged breaks, like to web surf or check email.

A great way to increase productivity is to focus on a single task when working and fully engage with it. If the task is a little dull, a good way to make it more engaging is to try to do it faster than usual but at the same level of quality.

Then when focus starts to fade, take a break that’s fully disengaged for several minutes, doing nothing other than resting your mind. Don’t check email or social media. Don’t count eating or going to the bathroom or chatting with someone as a break. Just disengage completely.

When I want to take a disengaged break, I put my feet up on my desk, kick back in my chair (which has a headrest), close my eyes, and let my mind go blank. Sometimes I’ll start with 1-3 minutes of deep breaths with the Breathe App on Apple Watch (at the rate of 4 breaths per minute). Afterwards I’ll zone out completely with eyes closed, usually for 5 to 15 minutes. I don’t try to think about anything. I don’t usually listen to music. I just rest my mind. If my mind tries to stay active, I just think “Shhhhhh” now and then.

Sometimes I nod off and fall asleep during this time. Other times I just feel my mind going into low gear and slowing down. Normally I don’t set a timer. I trust my mind to let me know when it’s ready to return to work. The signal to re-engage is usually pretty clear. I feel my mind speeding up again, and at some point my eyes pop open, and I feel a desire to get back into work mode.

Another type of break is to lie down on the couch and take a nap. That’s really good in the early afternoon. I usually set a 20-minute timer but normally don’t need it unless I’m extra tired. Typically I pop awake automatically within 16-18 minutes. Rachelle and I often like to cuddle nap together on the couch if we both want this kind of break at the same time. Naps are terrific for restoring focus.

A third method I use for full rest breaks is to lie down on the couch and listen to some meditative music for 15-30 minutes. I often do this when I desire a longer break, like when I’m doing lots of creative work, and I sense my mind could use more downtime to rejuvenate itself. For this I usually listen to Brain.fm “relax” tracks, and there are 4 different modes to choose from: chill, recharge, destress, and unwind. I’ve tested all four of these, and I get the best results from the unwind tracks. They usually take me down to a deep level of relaxation, and when the track ends I feel nicely refreshed and ready to get back to work.

With a few of these types of breaks during a workday, I can normally be productive all day long. They don’t take a lot of time, and they’re very restorative. Even five minutes of mental disengagement once per day makes a notable difference.

While I’m resting I do my best to focus solely on rest, and I try to avoid doing anything else. If I take semi-breaks only, like a break that’s really a meal or a break that includes some low-engagement online interaction, more fatigue accumulates, and it gets harder to focus later in the day. I especially notice the difference when I’m doing creative work or design work that requires careful decisions and attention to detail.

In the past I often thought it would be productive to switch to low-engagement tasks during breaks from high-engagement work. But it’s normally counter-productive to do that. It’s so much more restorative when I let my brain basically go offline. Of course it doesn’t really switch off, but it often feels like some parts are able to power down for a while.

Have you tested fully disengaged breaks during your workday? If not, I encourage you to do so. Tune out completely, and let your only mental activity during such breaks be relaxation or sleep. Hold the intentions to rest deeply, to allow some parts of your brain to go inactive, and to notice the signal to return to work when you’re feeling refreshed.

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You Get an Extra Day https://www.idealady.com/you-get-an-extra-day/ Fri, 28 Feb 2020 17:38:16 +0000 http://www.idealady.com/?p=6755 We all say we want and need “more time.” Well, tomorrow we get it. Because this is a leap year, February has 29 days instead of 28. What will you do with your extra day? Use the day to enrich yourself. Start by thinking about some of the things you claim never to have time [...]

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february 29We all say we want and need “more time.” Well, tomorrow we get it. Because this is a leap year, February has 29 days instead of 28. What will you do with your extra day?

Use the day to enrich yourself. Start by thinking about some of the things you claim never to have time for. Whether that means spending more time with family and friends, grabbing your camera and going to the park or the zoo, reading for pleasure, etc., use your leap day to do something that will help your heart and soul.

Take on a project you can complete in a day. That might mean cleaning out the garage, writing a short story, building something in your workshop or taking a one-day class.

Start something. You know that thing you keep meaning to do? Use the day to get a head start on it. Pull out the language CDs you never listen to and start immersing yourself in French. Start writing your book. Sign up for a sports league, and get the equipment you need. Throw away the junk food and stock up on healthful foods. The hard part of each of these is getting started. Use your extra day to start, then just keep going.

Finish something. How many projects have you started and abandoned? Maybe you had a reason for not finishing, but in many cases we just get distracted or busy, or afraid of finishing, and we let things fall by the wayside. Pull out that needlepoint sampler you “almost” finished, or the photos you “almost” organized into albums, and get them done. Go back to the product you have been working on for six months but can’t seem to get done and finish it. Completing something gives you an incredible feeling of accomplishment that leads to accomplishing even more.

Stop something. Make leap day the day you end a bad habit, such as smoking, spending too much money, procrastination, or whatever your bad habit is.

Get something unpleasant out of the way. Do your taxes or something else you dread doing. Once it is done, you can move on to things you like to do, and you will not have that icky task hanging over your head.

Do nothing. You work hard, right? Do you ever take a day and do nothing? Try it.

Before you email me, I know that this is not really extra time. The extra day is added to the calendar every four years to adjust for the fact that it takes the earth about 365-1/4 days to make a revolution around the sun, not 365. But if thinking of February 29 as a “free” day motivates you to use it in a special way, why not take advantage of it? In fact, why not set aside a day every so often as a day to do the things you don’t normally do?

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Need Customers? Borrow Some! https://www.idealady.com/need-customers-borrow-some/ Fri, 01 Mar 2019 16:33:20 +0000 http://cathystucker.com/?p=475 One of the questions I get a lot goes something like this, “How do I get customers for my business? I don’t have an advertising budget, an email list, a popular web site or any other way to reach an audience. How can I start making money without those things?” Here’s how… First of all, [...]

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One of the questions I get a lot goes something like this, “How do I get customers for my business? I don’t have an advertising budget, an email list, a popular web site or any other way to reach an audience. How can I start making money without those things?”

Here’s how…

First of all, start working on your visibility today. The sooner you do so, the sooner you will have a group of raving fans. In the meantime, though, you can sell your products and services by borrowing someone else’s audience. No, there is nothing illegal, immoral or fattening about this. In fact, everyone wins!

The most important part of building your fan base is to start building an email list. Only add people who have chosen to subscribe. I use Aweber to maintain this mailing list. They make it easy to add a subscription box to your web site and start signing people up. Give people a reason to subscribe–a free special report, tip sheet, audio or other goodie they will value but that costs little or nothing for you to provide.

While you are building your audience, you can find customers by borrowing audiences from other people and customers. Here are a few of my favorite ways:

Let another organization promote your event. Many years ago, I started presenting seminars in Houston through Leisure Learning Unlimited. They promoted the seminars, handled registrations and payment, and provided a place. All I had to do was show up and talk. We split the fees paid, and they got the lion’s share. But I got access to their audience: the hundreds of thousands of people who got their catalogs. You can do this with non-profit organizations, colleges and others who have built-in audiences.

Let someone else sell your products. Sell your books, ebooks, audio products and more on Amazon.com and through other retailers. Get affiliates to sell your products online. Sell your services through Fivver, Upwork or one of the many other freelancer sites.

Joint venture with someone. Help them create a product that both of you will sell. When they promote it to their audience you not only get sales, you start building a larger audience for future products. Keep in mind that in exchange for borrowing their audience, you may do the bulk of the work in creating the product. The results can be worth it, though. I did this early on and it resulted in a profitable product and, more importantly, a long-term friendship. In addition, he helped me make connections to a lot of movers and shakers. These were great relationships and also helped me build my business.

If you are not sure whether a person or organization will work with you, ask! Ask nicely. Look for a win-win. Show them what you can bring to the relationship. If they say yes, great! And if they say no, move on and ask someone else.

Get started now and create the success you want.

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When You Don’t Know What to Write https://www.idealady.com/when-you-dont-know-what-to-write/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 15:29:44 +0000 https://www.idealady.com/?p=7641 Note from Cathy: This article resonated with me for a number of reasons. In many ways, Robert’s experiences in content marketing are similar to mine. I am doing less consulting (and less content marketing) these days, but writing articles for my website and ezine, and to publish elsewhere online, was an important part of how [...]

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Note from Cathy:
This article resonated with me for a number of reasons. In many ways, Robert’s experiences in content marketing are similar to mine. I am doing less consulting (and less content marketing) these days, but writing articles for my website and ezine, and to publish elsewhere online, was an important part of how I built my business.

When I suggest that starting an email list and sending an email newsletter is important for a new business, many of my clients would say, “But I don’t know what to write about!” Robert’s answer is perfect.

Have an email newsletter, publish your content on a website or blog, and post links to your content on social media. It works.

And if you are not sure what to write about, just start writing. I used to write a weekly newspaper column. Every week I had to turn in 500 words. It didn’t matter if I didn’t know what to write about, I had to write about something. There were times when my column was due in an hour and I still didn’t know what it would be about. But it always got written and submitted on time. Make yourself write. If you are selling what you know as a consultant, coach or information marketer, content marketing can be the most effective way to get more clients and make more sales.

Now take a look at what Robert has to say. I think you will enjoy it an be inspired by it.

Cathy

Some Mondays I don’t know what to write in my weekly eZine article. Other Mondays I’m more prepared because I’ve been thinking of a topic for several days.

Today is the former. No idea what to write about.

So, what do you say when it seems you have nothing to say?

Recently, I listened to a video program by Larry King about communication, and the problem of having nothing to say was one of the very first things he talked about. He related the story of when he was the host of a radio show for the very first time.

When he was cued that he was now live on the air, he went blank and nothing came out of his mouth. So after a minute or so he simply started talking about what had happened.

“As soon as I was cued, my mind went blank and I didn’t know what to say…” and he simply took it from there, reporting what had happened in the moment.

This turned out to be one of the most valuable lessons he had ever learned about communication: simply communicate what’s going on right now. And if you do that, inevitably the mind kicks in and things go just fine. Now Larry is rarely at a loss for words.

So here I am on a Monday afternoon, writing this article with no idea what to talk about. I often talk to my clients about exactly this when they ask me what they should write about.

“As a consultant or coach, your clients have problems, right? And don’t you help them with solutions? Aren’t there a lot of things you teach them and show them? Well, that’s what you should write about!”

And a few minutes later we inevitably have a list of a dozen topics for articles they could write.

Maybe that’s enough of an idea for you to start writing articles as well, but then there’s this question: “Why should I write articles in the first place?” and, “What good does it do; will it really help me grow my business?”

Those are really important questions.

Back in 1997, I’d launched my website only a year earlier. It really wasn’t doing much. A client I worked with had started writing a weekly email newsletter and he inspired me to start one as well.

I didn’t know that writing a weekly article was impossible, so I just started. Twenty years, and more than a thousand articles later, I’m still at it.

Did it work? Well, it helped me grow my email list to as high as 50,000 subscribers and build an international marketing coaching business.

For the first nine years, I simply sent out the eZine by email. And since 2006, I also posted it on my blog.

Nothing really complicated, high-tech or tricky. Yes, I also post links to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, which takes me just a few extra minutes.

A few years later, the whole concept of ‘content marketing’ became the rage, but I realized I’d been doing that for more than fifteen years already.

All those articles are out on the web, and people find them. Then they end up on my website, many of them signing up for this eZine. Ultimately, some of those subscribers become clients or participants in my programs. It’s that simple.

So, when I don’t have the most brilliant, ground-shaking marketing topic to write about, I don’t worry. I trust it will all work out… if I just keep writing!

But I will share a new tip with you. I decided to add more content to my website with an “Ideas” section and also put links to all my content on the home page of my site.

I figure this will help in two main ways: 1. The links on the home page will help Google rank me higher, 2. My site will become ‘stickier’ as the content on the site is easier to find and navigate.

I just landed a new client this week who had found my site, spent a lot of time reading several articles, and ultimately contacted me. So it’s working!

Don’t know what to write? Don’t worry. Just start writing and posting. Before long your website will contain a treasure trove of good ideas that will engage prospective clients asking if you can help them.

By Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit Robert’s web site at www.actionplan.com for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses.

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The Secrets to Creating Good Habits https://www.idealady.com/the-secrets-to-creating-good-habits/ Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:53:41 +0000 https://www.idealady.com/?p=7633 Have you ever driven a familiar route, arrived at your destination, and realized you do not remember how you got there? You had driven that way so many times, you were not even consciously aware of making turns, stopping at traffic signals (At least I hope you stopped at traffic signals!) and making the hundreds [...]

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Have you ever driven a familiar route, arrived at your destination, and realized you do not remember how you got there? You had driven that way so many times, you were not even consciously aware of making turns, stopping at traffic signals (At least I hope you stopped at traffic signals!) and making the hundreds of tiny decisions you make as you drive.

Driving that same route again and again had become a habit. Habits cause us to do things without even thinking about how we do them or even if we should be doing them in the first place. They are like a magnetic force that’s constantly pulling us toward doing the same things over and over again. And once we do those things over and over again over a period of months and years, that magnet pulls stronger and stronger.

A habit can be a good thing. There are likely things you do every day that are great for your health, family, and business. You do these things without really thinking about them. However, there are other things that aren’t so great for your health, family, and business. These things consistently lead to bad results and you may not be sure how to stop them. In fact, you may not even be aware that you do them.

We have habits we’re proud of and habits we’re not so proud of. We have habits we’re comfortable with and habits we’re not so comfortable with. The problem with that last one is that sometimes we become far too comfortable with poor habits, simply because they’ve been a part of us for so long.

There are lots of things that go into creating a habit. You’ve consciously adopted some habits. Others have crept up on you, for better or for worse.

Habit is a very tricky thing. The people who you’re jealous of who consistently seem happy and successful are that way due to their habits. We all have different strengths and each of us has our own good and bad habits. Some people may find it easier to develop good habits than others.

In many ways, it’s a matter of nature. You might be a naturally organized person or a naturally disorganized person. If you fall into the latter category, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. It means you have to work harder to develop habits of organization.

Changing Habits

No matter what your habits are right now, you can work to change them. That’s the key word—“work.” Changing habits doesn’t come easy, but you can develop new ones. Because habits are things you do without thinking about them, once you have established a habit it becomes part of what you naturally do or what takes very little effort to do.

You have to think and consciously change a habit at first. You’ll likely have many ups and downs along the way because those old, ingrained habits will try to take over like a magnetic force. Over time, the new habit takes hold and it gets easier and easier. Then, you’ll naturally fall into a pattern and that behavior will become a true habit.

Once you’ve “fixed” or adopted one positive habit, you can focus on the next one. That’s because we can only focus on so much at one time. Changing habits happens little by little. Over time, you can become one of those people with “naturally” wonderful habits.

Why Is It So Hard To Develop New Habits?

If changing a habit were as easy as deciding you want to change and then just doing it, we’d all be perfect. That’s not the case at all.

Anything worth having is worth working for, and you will have to work hard to develop new habits. You’ll have to be conscious of it and look out for those times when it seems like it will be too hard. Set yourself up for success by knowing what to expect and really dedicating yourself to developing new, positive habits.

The length of time it takes to make a new behavior a habit varies, depending on the person and the behavior. We often hear numbers such as 21 to 30 days thrown around, but some habits take less time and others much more. For example, if you want to get into the habit of drinking a bottle of water first thing in the morning, that may only take a week or so. Make it easy for yourself by putting a bottle of water right next to the bed so it is there when you wake up. Think you can’t remember to do that? You might not at first, so give yourself reminders. Getting the bottle of water out and putting it next to the bed is part of the habit you are creating.

Get over that hump and then it becomes so much easier. The human mind is complicated and habits are a feature of survival in many cases. The thing is that we have so much on our plates in modern society that it’s easy to short circuit and fall into bad patterns. It’s hard to overcome patterns that have become well-worn with time. It’s worth it, though.

Out With the Bad, In With the Good

You may want to start a good new habit (such as regular exercise) or you may want to end a bad habit (such as smoking). Here is a hint: When you want to get rid of a bad habit, replace it with a good one. In the smoking example, when you want a cigarette, do something else instead. Maybe you will take a brief walk or do something that keeps your hands busy so they cannot hold a cigarette.

Perhaps your bad habit is hitting the snooze button on your alarm multiple times before dragging yourself out of bed. This may make you late for appointments, or it may cheat you out of quality sleep because you set the alarm for an earlier time than necessary so you can keep hitting that darn snooze button. What could you do that would make you get out of bed (and stay out of bed) the first time the alarm goes off? One way might be to use a favorite tune as your alarm. When you hear it, jump up and dance! The point is to find something that gets you motivated to get your butt out of bed and move.

Make Changing Easier Than Not Changing

Huh? I have been telling you how hard it is to change. And you know that to be true even without my saying so. So how do you make changing easier?

Set up your life for your new habits. If you want to stop eating sweets, don’t keep them around. Don’t hang out with the people who encourage your bad habits. Do you spend too much time on social media? Get a program for your device that blocks the sites you waste time on, or only allows access for a limited time each day.

Make it easier to do the things you want and need to do. Get your workout clothes and gym bag out the night before so you are ready to go to the gym before or after work. Keep a supply of healthy treats on hand so that when you get hungry you can grab a carrot stick instead of a candy bar.

Changing a Habit in 30 Days

I mentioned that it can take 30 days or more to change a habit. I know you feel like you should be able to just choose to change and make it happen. But your own history shows that’s not the case.

It’s important to come up for a plan for changing one habit over the next 30 days. Focus on just one…it’s not easy to change multiple habits at a time and can really backfire. One of the reasons many of our New Year’s resolutions fail is that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to change everything overnight. Start with one habit, then build on your success.

The more you do something, the closer it comes to becoming a habit. Although there is no magic number of days that it takes to create a new habit, 30 days is a great time frame where you can really make great progress on developing or changing a habit.

Make a List of the Habits You Want To Change

I’m sure you could list many, many things you want to change about your habits. Go ahead and make that list. Get it all down on paper and out of your head. When you do this sort of brainstorming, you might surprise yourself at what pops out.

Focus On Just One

Think about what’s really negatively affecting your life or business. What would make a huge difference if you could change or eliminate it? What stands out the most and would have the biggest impact if corrected?

The habit that will make the most difference is not necessarily the one that will be hardest to do. Choose just one habit you’re going to focus on for now. You can always revisit the other things later on. Habit change is a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ sort of thing.

Work on that habit and that habit alone over the next 30 days, and beyond if you still struggle with it.

Layer New, Positive Habits

Once you’ve worked on changing one habit and you’ve successfully done so, it’s time to layer in a new positive habit. Focus on that one for 30 days, keeping up with the other habit. Use your existing good habits to trigger new good habits.

Rinse and repeat.

Continue on down the line. Change and create better habits. Fix yourself one piece at a time. You can change habits related to your life and business. Focus on habits that bother you the most and that will have the biggest impact on your mindset.

Layer these habits and you can finally live life your way. People will start to really admire you and wonder what your secret is. The ‘secret’ will be that you’re willing to work really hard to change habits so you can work better and faster and live easier.

The great news is that developing positive habits makes it easier to develop other positive habits. Many people find that when they start improving in one area, such as getting out of debt, other areas of their lives also get better. It’s catching, in many ways.

Change Your Habits for the Better over the Long Term

Never give up. If there’s a habit you have that bothers you, figure out a game plan so you can change it. Isolate that habit and do whatever you can to really focus on changing it and (here is an important point) replacing it with a new and better habit.

Look at the people you admire. What daily habits do they have? One at a time, focus on adopting those positive habits.

Review your habits every once in a while. This will really be a lifelong process and journey of self-discovery. No one is perfect and no one has perfect habits. But you can work to better yourself. You can make life easier for yourself by developing positive habits.

Right now, your negative habits are making things challenging for you. They’re making it harder for you to work well, achieve, and be happy. Better habits lead to happiness, success, and better outcomes all the way around.

Expect to have many ups and downs, especially with tricky habits you previously believed to be a part of you (like procrastination, for example). Be patient with yourself and try to look at old problems in new ways. Habit change is a challenge but it’s really worth it. Stick with it no matter what—especially when you know that adopting a certain habit could really change your life.

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Turn a Minus Into a Plus https://www.idealady.com/turn-a-minus-into-a-plus/ Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:06:01 +0000 https://www.idealady.com/?p=7527 The thing you believe is an obstacle can actually be a plus to your customers. It just takes looking at it from another perspective. Can’t afford an office or storefront? Go to your customers. They will appreciate the convenience, and you’ll have an edge over your competitors. There are hair stylists who regularly go to [...]

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The thing you believe is an obstacle can actually be a plus to your customers. It just takes looking at it from another perspective.

Can’t afford an office or storefront? Go to your customers. They will appreciate the convenience, and you’ll have an edge over your competitors. There are hair stylists who regularly go to nursing homes to serve the residents, massage therapists who do outcall, and even pet groomers who go to customers’ homes in a van to bathe and groom cats and dogs.

Is the amount you can earn limited by the number of hours you can work? If you provide a service, your earnings can’t exceed the number of hours you can work times your hourly rate. However, you can “clone” yourself to serve more customers. One way is to hire help. Another is to create products and services, such as videos and books, that share your information with those who need it. You create additional revenue streams, and make your knowledge available to a wider audience, allowing you to help more people.

Don’t focus on what you don’t have or can’t do. Look for ways to serve your existing (and new) clients by giving them what they want and need.

Do you have an obstacle in your way? Email me! I will share some of your obstacles and how to overcome them.

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Dealing With Business Setbacks https://www.idealady.com/dealing-with-business-setbacks/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 16:58:20 +0000 http://cathystucker.com/?p=1117 I got an email recently asking for some advice. The question is one that I think all of us face from time to time, especially with a new business or during lean times, so I thought it would be a good idea to share the question and my response with you. Details have been changed [...]

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I got an email recently asking for some advice. The question is one that I think all of us face from time to time, especially with a new business or during lean times, so I thought it would be a good idea to share the question and my response with you. Details have been changed for privacy reasons, but the problem is universal.

I am feeling so discouraged right now. I spent a lot of time over the past month trying to sign a new client. There was a proposal followed by questions, meetings, emails, conference calls and more questions. Just when I thought I had the job, I found out it went to someone else.

I was counting on this work and really put everything I had into it. I really need the money I would have made. What do I do now? I don’t have any other prospects. I feel frustrated and sad and I just want to quit.

Wow. Been there, done that. We have all had times when things didn’t go our way. Sometimes big things, like this. Rejection at any time can feel like you were punched in the stomach, and it is especially hard to take when you really need the work (and the money–mostly the money!).

Back in the early days of my business I encountered a situation very much like this. I had what seemed like a sure thing. I interviewed with the client and they liked what I proposed. I went back and met with others at the company and everyone was enthusiastic. We were discussing terms and a timeline. Then, nothing. I called a few times and finally got in touch with my contact who told me that they had hired someone else. I was devastated. Not only did I think I had the contract, business was slow right then and I really needed it.

What got me through was the promise of another opportunity. Even though I was sure the first contract was going to happen (and it would have kept me quite busy) I had other possibilities in the works. Sure enough, one of them came through within the next week, with others falling in line after that.

The lesson I learned from this was to always have more than one client in the pipeline. It can be tempting to stop marketing once you think you have enough work lined up to keep you busy for a while. But some of those clients may not come through and, even if they do, the work will run out sometime. Always have more waiting in the pipeline.

That is good advice for the future, but what about now? Let’s figure out how to take care of your immediate problem then plan for the future.

The immediate problem may be that without this client you won’t have the money to pay your bills. If that is the case, you need to deal with that NOW. Find a way to earn money. You might:

  • Call past clients and see if they could use your help now.
  • Put together a package of products and/or services and offer it at a special price.
  • Sell your stuff on eBay or CraigsList. Or hold a garage sale.
  • Offer your services through CraigsList, WarriorForum or other places where you can advertise inexpensively.
  • Contact colleagues to ask if you can support them by assisting on their projects.
  • Get a part-time job.

You can not effectively focus on your business if you are worried about the electricity being shut off, so do what you have to do to earn the money you need to live.

The other side of the current situation is your emotional state. You feel depressed and scared and unsure of yourself—not the strongest position to be in when you want to attract business. People do not respond positively to desperation, so do not talk about how much you need to earn money or that you don’t know what you are going to do if someone doesn’t hire you. You have just found yourself with an unexpected opening in your schedule and you are looking to fill it.

Give yourself a pep talk, put a smile on your face and get out there and look for clients. Keep smiling and you will start to believe you are happy and confident. Believe you are happy and confident and you will be.

The stuff in the previous section is the short-term strategy. The mid- to long-term strategy is not to find yourself in this situation again. Here is what you need to do so that you never find yourself at the mercy of a single client again.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Do not rely on one client to provide a large percentage of your income (What happens if you lose that client?) and do not focus on getting one client at a time. Always have many possibilities in the works. What is the worst that can happen if you are juggling several proposals and possible clients? The worst might be that you get offered more work than you can handle. At that point you can turn some of it down, hire people to help you serve your clients, or outsource some of your work. You already know the worst that can happen when you are working only one possible client.

Keep marketing even when you have plenty of business. There is always some amount of churn in any business. Clients come and go, circumstances change and your income can be affected. Make sure that when one part of your income disappears there is another opportunity waiting to take its place.

Diversify your income sources. That means not only that you should not depend on just one client to provide a large share of your income, you should look for sources of income that are not directly related to your primary business. For example, if most of your customers are in one industry actively seek customers from other sectors.

Create a base income that comes in whether you are working or not. Passive income. You want to know that you will have $300 or $700 or $1500 coming in every week no matter what. There are lots of ways to do that, more than I can address here. The short answer is to create some kind of intellectual property: write a book, create a training program, set up a website and run advertising, whatever. Start creating sources of passive income that will be there for you.

If business is slow, you need to take action right now to turn things around. Even if things are going well, you should be taking steps to keep them going well.

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