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Success

The Path to Speaking and Coaching Success

Recently I talked to a new high performance coach who wants to do some speaking. Wendy (not her real name) had a 20+ year corporate career and a couple months ago quit her full-time job to pursue her passion. Now THAT’S exciting!

As the conversation continued, I learned quite a bit more about where she’s starting from and I recognized familiar challenges I have seen countless others face. Like many before her, Wendy wanted to know the secret to speaking and coaching success.

See if any of this sounds familiar…

So far she has invested in a bunch of training, certification, and group programs, but as of now she has only one client to show for the time, effort, and money she has already put into her business. Also, she is being influenced by two drastically different crowds: one who regularly charges $6000 for a 12-week session and another crowd who says there’s no way she can get even half that with any kind of regularity, even though her first client is happily regularly paying the fee she asked for.

She has learned PART of the path to profiting from her passion along the way, but not all of it.

What I will share with you in this post are the very same 7 Steps to Speaking and Coaching Success that I shared with Wendy.

  • Dump the dead weight
  • Greatness is not a prerequisite to success
  • What to do with them after the speech
  • Keep communicaiton open and flowing
  • Continue the experience
  • Grow your fan base exponentially
  • The secret is there is no secret

I don’t necessarily share this info with everyone because not everyone is ready to hear it and/or take action on it. Wendy was. Maybe you are, too. Maybe you’re not.

Either way, I laid out the full path for speaking and coaching success and thought I’d share it here with you.

The 7 Step Path to Speaking and Coaching Success

path-to-success

heres-what-it-takes

DUMP THE DEAD WEIGHT

Let me start by saying your family, friends and business associates probably want what is best for you.

But, have you heard the saying that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”?

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” 

– Jim Rohn

Right away, there was a business success lesson I could share in our conversation: I told her to dump the second crowd FAST.

Who you listen to and hang out with matters IMMENSELY! If you are in a group of people, whether in person or virtual, such as in a Facebook or LinkedIn group, and the overwhelming message is “You can’t do that,” when others absolutely HAVE done it and ARE doing it, then you’re in the wrong group.

In the words of a horror movie haunted house ghost: “GET OUT!” Run! Don’t walk; RUN away from the naysayers. The longer you spend with them, the more you will begin thinking like them. The more you think like them, the more you get the same results as they get.

Success-is-contagious

Teachable Moment: Success Is Contagious – So Is Lack of Success: Which Will You Catch? (Tweet that!)

Think about it like this:

Doesn’t it seem MUCH better to hang out with the millionaire’s club than with Guttersnipes R Us?

You could learn a technique or two (or twenty!) from what the millionaires are doing. But the main reason to spend time with a group of successful people is their MINDSET. They believe they can succeed and because of that they make things happen.

Simply by being with them, listening to what they discuss, and absorbing their success vibes makes all the difference.

Success, you see, is contagious.

GREATNESS IS NOT A PREREQUISITE TO SUCCESS

To be successful you need to offer a small variety of presentations and YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD. (Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re good right now,we can fix that.)

Important Note: If you have different kinds of audiences for your same topic (like I talk about communication, branding, and speaking to business owners, but also to corporate folks), you need two different, yet possibly similar speeches that address the needs of the different audiences.

I tell my clients you want to craft one speech you deliver for free as a marketing tool to get clients from the audience – I call that your Signature Speech, and at least one different speech unique to you, that you do for a fee.

Let’s break your Signature Speech down into it’s main 4 parts.

Marketing: This is the part of your business where you get the phone to start ringing, so to speak. You’re driving traffic to your website, you’re meeting people networking, you’re using videos and articles, you’re using outbound direct marketing techniques, you’re buying targeted ads… all so people know who you are and what you do.

Sales: After people know you, then they need a chance to buy from you and/or hire you to speak or coach or consult or train or whatever you offer. This can be online through your own sales page, through a forum that manages the process of selling your products related to your speeches or your speaking services for you like Amazon, Fiverr, Upwork, Udemy, or others, or directly through a personal conversation.

Content: Obviously, you’ve got to have SOMETHING to say to an audience.

Your content is what meeting planners and clients pay you money for. One of the oddest questions I get from people who believe they are good speakers is, “What would I talk about?”

If you don’t know about something and have expertise in that something, you *could* make money speaking, but you’re not going to build an entire business of your own from it.

Spend some time learning something so in-depth that others will pay you for it. And by “some time” I mean years.

You don’t need an advanced degree, but it’s certainly helpful to prove you’ve focused your time on a particular area, yet still not required. You don’t need any education at all – but you DO need lots and lots of experience.

Again, I’m talking YEARS here. Don’t read a Kindle book, take someone else’s digital training and suddenly decide you’re an expert in that. You’re not and it will show.

Get REALLY good at something, do something, and then people will ask you about how you did it. That’s your content.

Delivery: If you have excellent content but you’re boring or irritating on stage – you’ll never make a living as a speaker.

Unlike college professors who can be brilliant but boring, you’ve got to be brilliant and engaging. That means no reading word for word from PowerPoint slides, no endless monologues without audience interaction, no staying glued to the lectern with a death grip on it, and no 60-minute sales pitches devoid of actionable or useful information.

You don’t have to be as funny as a stand-up comic, but it helps to have a good sense of humor and keep your presentation light.

You also don’t have to be choreographed like a 90s boy band, but it helps to know your blocking, gestures, and have your movements be planned and purposeful.

Finally, you don’t have to have the panache of Steve Jobs or the inspirational oratorical presence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  but you’ve got to be able to hold people’s attention.

Too many speakers *think* they know it all when it comes to delivery. It’s the ones who fall into that trap that often need the most help. Your content alone is not good enough to carry a speaking business.

Delivery counts.

And it’s often the case that the smallest tweaks make the biggest differences.

WHAT TO DO WITH THEM AFTER THE SPEECH

The money is in the back-end.

Don’t bother building a speaking business without a back-end, and some version of coaching or consulting is the easiest way to have something that comes after your speech.

If you’re any good on stage, and if you clearly know your stuff, people will ask you about consulting anyway and you’d better have an idea what that looks like. You also need to know and be able to explain the results of your consulting and what you’re different than others.

For example, I tell people, when they hire me it’s like getting multiple consultants in one: you get marketing and branding consulting and coaching for your business AND you get content and delivery help for your speaking AND you get training development help for your products.

It’s rare to find someone as qualified and effective as I am in all those areas.

What about with you?

First, know the difference in what you’re offering.

Coaching and consulting represent different forms of helping professionals. I do both with my clients. Here’s the difference:

Coaching – is a process of the coach asking questions and eliciting answers from the client. Coaching is great for goal-setting and creating action steps.

Coaching works well when someone is having a challenge with something in her life or business and there is no one right way or several proven formulas or whatever.

Coaching is about allowing your clients space to grow and develop and make mistakes along their journey that they own, understand, and learn from, while at the same time, guiding them away from as many of those mistakes as possible.

Coaches ask many questions and allow clients to come to their own conclusions and answers. Coaching is a process.

Consulting – In your role as a consultant, you tell your clients what you know based on YOUR specialized background, knowledge and expertise and provide them with tools and techniques to use along with the instruction to go with it.

There often *IS* a right way or a proven formula. When you are a consultant, you are hired to use your expertise for your clients so they don’t have to learn the proven formula themselves. They simply turn to YOU to tell them what it is and either explain how to implement it or implement it for or with them.

A great consultant knows when to consult and when to coach.

When these two roles are combined, you get a customized plan developed by your clients with guidance and support from you —along with the skills to achieve your clients’ goals and follow through on their plans.  The best consultants blend coaching and consulting together as we work on your needs; that’s what I do so you’ll end up with extraordinary one-of-a-kind plans and results.

It’s fun for you as the consultant AND fun for your clients!

KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN AND FLOWING

Listen, if you’re going to have a speaking business, no matter if you run it mainly online, mainly offline or do a combo of the two, the fact is you have to do some kind of writing to support your speaking work.

Think of writing Speaking writing yin yangas the yin to the yang of speaking. They go together and one cannot exist without the other.

Your writing supports your speaking. Your speaking supports your writing. It’s a fine balance that must always exist in harmony.

What you can touch on during a presentation, you can expand on in-depth in a blog post or a even more so in a book. People read your books and blog posts and hire you for more speaking or consulting.

 

 

 

It’s a beautiful circle of how business is run.

Leave one out – the writing or the speaking – and it’s like having a peanut butter sandwich without the jelly, or without the honey and banana (the way my kids love it!).

Plain peanut butter on bread is dry and while it gets the job done (a quick breakfast, snack or lunch) it’s not inspiring or comforting or even fulfilling. You’ll leave your biggest fans – and potential clients and customers – starving for what they are missing from you.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an awesome writer.

There are many tools available to help you create written content from your spoken content.

There are people you can hire to help edit what you’ve roughly written, edit a transcript of a speech, or write from scratch as a ghostwriter.

There’s no shame in hiring someone to do the heavy lifting of your writing for you. In fact, it’s smart business and highly productive. Give your ideas to someone to put into complete sentences with proper grammar while you work on something else.

Then you’re getting two things done at once!

CONTINUE THE EXPERIENCE

So let’s say you’ve got a blog, a book (Kindle book or physical), and a speech.

That’s a great start, but you’re still not FULLY developed in your speaking and coaching or consulting business yet.

You’re missing out on one of my favorite parts of the business: making money while you sleep, or doing anything else you prefer to do.

There is some debate as to if you should even create training and products to sell online. Some think if you do that, clients won’t have to hire you. They can buy your training and be good to go. That kind of thinking is a mistake and I’ll explain why in a moment.

Another mistake is thinking if you offer lower-price tools and solutions online, people will see you as a bargain basement-type person and not a high-ticket consultant or coach. Seems to make sense, in a way. The theory is if someone pays you a small amount, they won’t see your value, thus you have devalued your knowledge and expertise.

Nothing could be farther from the truth!!!

You’ve used your valuable knowledge and expertise to provide a tool or solution that you know people need and are very happy with. You take your time to create the product and the sales process ONCE and then you’ll get paid over and over again, potentially making in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

speaker-one-sheet-felicia-slattery-unique-angle

I’M HERE TO TELL YOU, THOSE LOWER-PRICED TOOLS AND SOLUTIONS ARE WHAT
BRING ME A STEADY STREAM OF POTENTIAL CONSULTING CLIENTS READY TO HIRE ME.

 

Someone who needs a Speaker One Sheet Templateis in the mode of getting booked to speak. In that moment, the likelihood is extremely high that person is the exact ideal candidate for me to work with and help move forward.

 

Why?

Because if someone wants to get booked to speak, they need marketing help. AND they need help with content and delivery for when they do get on stage. AND they should be developing a full business  around their speaking so they don’t leave money on the table.

With customers for the Speaker One Sheet Templates, I’m essentially having people pay me to tell me they could be ready to work with me. Most will not, and never will become a high-ticket consulting client. (That’s fine because I only work with 5 at a time and I’m usually fully booked.)

Consider developing a tool that will solve a problem your ideal client has RIGHT AT THE MOMENT when it would be good for them to hire you. The tool should be complete in and of itself.

Don’t skimp. Make it really good.

Consider it to be an audition that you may get a call-back for if it’s good enough.

GROW YOUR FAN BASE EXPONENTIALLY

We are nearing completion of your business success puzzle. Are you excited! Because I AM!

Let’s talk about list-building for a moment.

When you have a list of subscribers, meaning a group of people who are interested in your work, like your style, and are in your market who have signed up to hear from you via email, you have a hidden gold mine not many outside our industry (or frankly even IN it) fully comprehend.

Consider the many things you can do with a list of engaged subscribers:

felicia slattery; how to be a successful speaker

Sell your own products, training, and services:

This one is a no-brainer, easy way to make more money. When people opt in to join your community of subscribers, you can let them know what you personally have created that will help them solve a problem they experience or reach a goal they want. As your business grows, your subscribers will tell you what they want and it becomes easier to create lucrative offers.

Sell affiliated products and services:

When you build a list of people all interested in the same general kinds of things, telling them about other products and services created by someone else can make you money. For example, if you tell everyone you meet in a certain niche to read a particular book, you’d benefit financially by simply signing up for an Amazon Associates account here, which is free and couldn’t be easier. When someone uses your special tracking link to buy the book or whatever else you recommend, you’ll make money. Individual business also have affiliate programs, so you can make money the same way; get an affiliate tracking link and when someone you refer with that link buys something, you’ll get paid. To get an idea of what this looks like, you can see my affiliate program here.

Speaking of affiliate programs, you could create your own affiliate program:

Your happiest clients and customers will want to shout your name from the rooftops.

When you have an affiliate program, they have an extra incentive to remember to tell others about you. There are a number of ways to track affiliates, but choosing an automated system that ties into the rest of your sales cycle is by far the easiest and best choice.

Get Sponsors:

When you have a group of people that a particular marketer wants to reach, that enables you to sell sponsorships to that organization. You can be paid for an individual event like a live event or a webinar, or on a monthly basis for posting the company’s logo on your blog or showing photos on social media of you engaging with that company in one way or another.

What to do to build your list? Simple.

  • Give people in your audiences where you speak a reason to sign up for something for free.
  • Or do a Facebook ad campaign.
  • Or spend some time (or hire someone) to make sure your website is optimized for the search engines (called SEO).
  • Or put your free offer on the back side of your business cards for when you go to networking or speaking events.
  • Or offer a colleague that you’ll do a webinar for her community of subscribers for free and have them sign up for the free webinar.
  • Or make a video and put it on YouTube with your keywords and a link to your free offer online.

So. Many. Things!

And here’s the final piece of the puzzle I shared with Wendy, and I’ll now share with you…

THE SECRET IS THERE IS NO SECRET

Please understand that using the word “secret” is simply a time-proven marketing tactic.

The word evokes mystery top secret stamp redand suspense and our minds need to know the answers and what the “secrets” are. So when a marketer uses the word “secret” – it’s to drive more traffic, get more clicks, and generate engagement.

Employing the word “secret” as a marketing tactic is fine – many of my contemporaries and I, myself, use it.

However, make no mistake. What to do to become successful in a speaking, coaching, and consulting business is not a secret at all, in any way.

It’s out there. It’s also right here in this post.

Look at what successful people in the speaking and coaching world are up to – you’ll see them doing the same kinds of work, in their own ways.

“There is no club or group or association or grand pooh-bah of the speaking world,
holding closely guarded trade secrets and allowing only members to
receive their golden tickets to success.”
– Felicia Slattery

golden ticket

Now, there are plenty of reasons to join clubs, groups, and associations for speaking, coaching, consulting and business success (like maybe learning a super secret handshake to go with the usually awesome networking?) but the path to business success is about as public as possible.

Yet not everyone knows it – or takes action on what they know.

What it comes down to, and what I help my clients with, are the individual PARTS of making a successful speaking business happen. KNOWING what to do and being ABLE to implement each section of each step along the way is the difference between reading a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and enjoying the unmistakable aroma of those luscious chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven and finally savoring the flavor of those still-melty chips in a freshly home-baked cookie.

Sure, you can know what to do, but if you don’t do it – and don’t do it all the way – you won’t reach the level of success you want. Just like if you read the recipe for chocolate chip cookies and don’t make them – no cookies. Or you do make them and decide not to add the chocolate chips. You’ll get cookies, but you’ll miss out on the best part!

The smartest speakers get that to be successful, you can KNOW the plan in your head, you can be in groups for support, but without specific actionable help along the way, you’re going to make the mistakes and it’s going to take A LOT longer.

I help people fast-track their success. If you’re interested in that recipe for a successful speaking business, what you need to know – the recipe –  is on this page.

There it is. All laid out for you.

Your exact 7-step path to running a successful (meaning profitable) business doing public speaking, coaching, consulting, and writing books. Put these pieces together and you’re on your way to living an extraordinary life where you get to serve the kind of people you can help best.

And, if you need any help putting the pieces together, contact me.

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PS: If you’re a speaker, author, coach, or consultant, please share in the comments below what has worked for you, what you struggle with, and if you found anything particularly interesting, useful, or valuable from this post! I look forward to reading your thoughts!

 

Real Fast Holiday Promotions – ANY Time of Year for ANY Business, Part 1

national ice cream day

National Ice Cream Day is July 16, 2016. Why not send your best clients a gift card for a scoop?

One of the biggest myths is that “the holidays” only come once a year.

Maybe that’s true for “The Holidays” – capitalized because if you’re thinking of the big 3 of Thanksgiving – Christmas – New Years (or Thanksgiving – Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Your Holiday of Choice – New Years), you’re right. But when you want to communicate with your people, market your business, serve more people, and make more money, you’ve got an opportunity to use a holiday promotion 365 days a year – and I’m not just talking about Christmas in July sales.

Certainly there are the obvious traditional holidays that people celebrate – Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and such. Plus there are the “mattress company and car dealership” holidays that apparently only mattress retail outlets and car dealerships seem to market around like Veteran’s Day or Columbus Day.

As you peel away the next layer of the holiday promotional onion, you see some organizations marketing around a cause like Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October – heck just about the whole NFL wears pink socks and if that organization isn’t about making money, nothing is!

But then, digging even deeper, you’ll find a different reason to celebrate – and promote your business – every single day of the year! They can be a day, a week, or a whole month. Holidays like these related to my business of speaking, writing, coaching and consulting:

  • National Motivation and Inspiration Day: January 2
  • Just Say No to PowerPoint Week: February 7-12
  • National Be Heard Day: March 7 (instituted by my friend, PR Pro Shannon Cherry)
  • National Bookmobile Day: April 13
  • National Small Business Week: May 1-7
  • Effective Communications Month: June (I’ve celebrated this for many years annually)
  • National Talk in an Elevator Day: July 29, last Friday in July, (I may have to do a promo around my Kill the Elevator Speech book!)
  • Weird Contest Week: August 8-12
  • International People Skills Month: September (I’ve got a weekly show called “Creating Connections” – it’s all about people skills for business and marketing!)
  • National Face Your Fears Day, October 11, 2nd Tuesday in October (public speaking anyone?)
  • National Entrepreneurship Month: November
  • National Thank You Note day: December 26 (in case you don’t have enough other options in December!)

Are your wheels turning yet?

You can visit a site like Brownielocks.com, which looks VERY “homemade in the basement,” but has accurate info plus links to any and all holidays that have websites and organizations attached to them. Find a holiday that’s fun or interesting, or related to what you do and make your plans now.

My friend and colleague, Daniel Hall, and I are teaching a course called Real Fast Holiday Promotions on all the ins and outs of how you can use holiday marketing. Check that out here now to help you bring your ideas to life!

In Part 2, I’ll give you some ideas for how various kinds of businesses can use wild and wacky holiday marketing creatively to create connections with potential customers and clients, nurture those who you already have relationships with, and stand out in the crowd of others who do what you do to make more money and have more fun!

Your Business Has a Lifestyle?!

healthy business

Your Business Has a Lifestyle – It’s Up to YOU to Make it a Healthy One!

I didn’t have to make a resolution to determine that I want to learn something new every single day. Being a lifelong learner is simply part of my lifestyle. And that got me to thinking about a major ah-ha moment I had this week while listening to my friends and colleagues Jim Edwards and Jeff Herring.

You can watch this webinar on demand (that means right NOW!) and I promise you’ll pick up something new – I did! – (You can hear about my major ah-ha at about the 16:30 mark).

During the webinar, Jim was talking about the importance of CONSISTENCY and something I hadn’t considered before hit me. If you think of marketing your business in terms of how you live your LIFE – anything you’re NOT consistent with isn’t going to work for you.

Think of diet and exercise.

  • If you workout sporadically or just once a week, is that going to get you the amazing body you know is under there somewhere?
  • If you only eat healthy foods when you feel inspired to, are you going to be in optimal health?
  • NO! You HAVE to make exercise and healthy eating part of your lifestyle to get the best possible results.

The same is true with content marketing. You need to make it part of your business lifestyle. That means every day you want to create SOMETHING that can help DRIVE MORE TRAFFIC. It can be:

  • An email article you send your subscribers
  • A blog post on your own blog (like this!)
  • A guest post on someone else’s blog
  • A video doing a demo, telling a story, clarifying a point, explaining a detail… whatever
  • A webinar – either that you teach or you present
  • A speech – that you deliver live or show a video of
  • A podcast – either that you run or that you’re a guest on
  • A live stream event – either that you run or that you’re a guest on
  • Slides that you post online for people to learn from

The list goes on.

But golly that can get time consuming. Even if you’re repurposing your content, which smart marketers do, you still have to create it in the first place.

Enter the CUSTOM CONTENT WIZARD. This tool Jeff and Jim talked about makes creating that content you need to be consistently sharing very EASY. And FAST!

The fact is, your business DOES have a lifestyle of it’s own. But YOU are the one who drives that. Isn’t it time to get your business lifestyle in the BEST possible shape it can be in? Of course it is! Go see what it’s all about at:

http://feliciaslattery.com/ccw

BTW There is a special deal going on right now that expires in a couple days, so go see it this weekend while you’re thinking of it.

Tales from Box Mountain Part 3: Broken Promises, Cut Locks, and No Texting While Driving (Not what you think!)

Note: This post is the third in a series about what I learned about life and business from moving my family from the suburbs of Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee. You can read the first post here and second here.

Not our container... ours was obnoxiously overstuffed!

Not our container… ours was obnoxiously overstuffed!

Whenever you move, one of the biggest issues to contend with is how to get all your stuff from your current home to your new home, expediently, efficiently, and safely – and as cost-effectively as possible, unless you are being moved by your company and they are footing the (potentially massive) bill. That was not us.

During our recent move, we looked into the options, which as far as we could tell included:

  • Hiring a big cross-country moving company (far too expensive).
  • Renting a truck and hiring a driver (not sure we wanted to trust some random driver with all our earthly possessions).
  • Renting a truck and driving it ourselves (no one in our family has a truck license, plus … just no.).
  • Having a service bring a container to our driveway, we load it up/ hire movers to load it up, and have it picked up again, shipped to our new home, dropped off, and unloaded.

We went with that last option because we had done it before, twice, and while those moves were local, it worked out well enough both times we felt confident it would be the best choice for us this time. So I did my research and made a choice on the company to use.

First, I have to say, ultimately we were happy with the service. However, there were A LOT of missteps by the company we choose, ABF Freight, otherwise known for it’s consumer service called UPack.

We chose them on the recommendation of my father-in-law, who had used them in the past and remembered their prices being far and away less expensive than PODS, Pack Rat, or any of the other consumer container storage and shipping companies. He was right… the price was almost half of what everyone else was going to charge. That was explained in their marketing. Because the company is a commercial freight service, they may place a few boxes of their own on the back of our truck, to be delivered to another of their commercial customers en route to our new home.  Makes sense to me.

The first misstep came with their scheduling online. I wanted to set up my moving date for the last few days in June. But their online scheduler automatically chose a random date two weeks into the future, which was still early June, and wouldn’t allow me to change it online; so I had to call.

Lesson #1: If you have an online scheduler or order process, make sure everything can be done online without forcing your customers to make a phone call or jump through other hoops.

After I *thought* we had the date squared away (more coming later), the phone rep told me part of the deal was that the driver would be texting my container’s location to me along the route to my new location so I would have an idea where my stuff was. That wasn’t anywhere on their website, but the site had already proven to be less-than-reliable, and it sounded like a cool value-add. Plus, with my knowledge of technology and what’s possible, it was perfectly feasible that a driver could check into an automated system, that would then send me an auto update like “Driver 7245 has now entered Kentucky with your container.” It makes sense right? Well, the person I was on the phone with was making that up apparently, because in subsequent conversations (to fix the wrong drop off date AGAIN), this customer service agent said there was no such offer of texting while driving, so to speak.

The only thing I can think of now, as I reflect, is perhaps that is an offering for their freight customers but not for their individual consumer customers and the customer service agent I spoke with was confused. I don’t know, but I felt like I missed out on a great service.

Lesson #2: Deliver on your promises.
Lesson #3: Make sure your entire staff can effectively explain your offerings correctly.

Interestingly, I soon learned this company DOES use texting to confirm that your container will be dropped off to be loaded on a certain date. That was good because I received a text with the wrong date, so I had to call AGAIN. In fact, I planned an out of town in Minnesota for a business retreat on that date, which had been scheduled for months, so I would have never set that date up as a drop off or pick up date. The good news for this company is they had the text confirmation set up so I could see the error and immediately call to avoid having a driver show up at my home while I was out of town and pick up an empty container 2 days later because I was still out of town. Their system worked in this case to catch the customer service agent’s mistake.

Lesson 4: Have systems in place to catch any errors before they turn into bigger problems down the line.

After we received our container, on time and set up exactly how we wanted it, we set to the hard work of packing it. In another post, I’ll share about the fabulous service our movers provided, because they deserve their own post with more lessons learned.

Another promise was after we packed up our belongings, we should LOCK the wall they provided to completely secure our things in the container. A regular pad lock wasn’t going to fit, so my Dad went out and bought a $25 heavy duty industrial lock for the job. We secured our belongings as stated in the contract and on the phone and were on our way.

Not long after our container was picked up, however, I received a phone call from the local dispatch office. At this point, we were on the road somewhere between Illinois and Tennessee. The dispatcher on the phone asked me to come in to remove my lock so they could get their ramp, which was inside the truck when they delivered it to us, and we put it back inside. There was no mention that specific ramp, which we would need in Tennessee to get our stuff OUT of the truck, had to stay in Illinois. Apparently the Tennessee dispatch office would have their own ramp. Unfortunately, I had the only keys and we were on the Interstate somewhere. So they cut off a brand new $25 lock and now our personal items weren’t secure.

Lesson 5: If you want something to be a certain way (in this case, the ramp to be accessible to the local dispatch office), spell it out in your instructions and make sure it’s well-communicated.

As I said, overall we were happy with the end result: our container was safely delivered, when we wanted it, where we wanted it, and at an affordable and fair price. After we arrived in Knoxville, everything went very well and the Knoxville dispatchers were great with accommodating the times I needed for our container to be dropped off and then later the same day removed.

Could I recommend this company? I would, with the caveat that people I refer read this blog post so they know what to expect. What it comes down to is this:

FINAL LESSON: If you teach your customers what to expect from you and then deliver that exact promise through the customer experience, you will have raving fans every time.

 

Tales From Box Mountain Pt. 2: It’s Not About The Box

We never did find the box, but we DID find what we needed to get the job done!

We never did find the box, but we DID find what we needed to get the job done!

After my husband and I made the decision to move from the suburbs of Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee, we thought renting for a year would be a better choice because we looked at more than 20 homes to buy yet never came up with quite what we wanted. Plus, we don’t know the area AT ALL, and we didn’t want to rush into buying just any old house in any old place.

In another post, I’ll talk more about the decision to downsize from our 3000 square foot home to an 1121 square foot apartment, but for this story here’s what you need to know: in that process, we realized our daughters, ages 10 and 13, would have to share a bedroom in our new 2-bedroom apartment.

I suggested the girls might enjoy bunk beds, and they were both elated to have that experience. So I set to work on finding some gently used bunk beds for sale at sites like Craigslist, Bookoo, and OfferUp. I soon negotiated a good deal on a set for sale near our former home that I really liked because the lower bunk is a full-sized bed, which allowed a few more options.

When we picked up the black metal frame of the bed, it was in parts. That’s when my Dad took over. You should know my Dad is the handiest of handy men, the most intense assembler you’ll ever meet, and a complete perfectionist when it comes to doing any project he undertakes, no matter how long it takes to get it done right. If you’ve ever seen the HGTV cable network star contractor, Mike Holmes, who makes EVERY thing perfect about a project, you have an idea of how my Dad tackles a project. Plus, he’s retired now and has FULL TIME to devote to any pursuit he wants. And in this instance it was all about the bunk beds.

Once he was involved, Dad went online and printed not one, but two full sets of directions to assemble the set. Then he took the whole bed completely apart so it would fit on the moving truck. He labelled all the little screws, nuts, bolts, and pieces that were part of the assembly of the bed, organized them by what part of the bed they came from into little plastic bags, and then put those into a bigger plastic bag. Finally he packed the whole lot into a well-marked cardboard box and sealed it up.

When we arrived at our new home, for the first couple of weeks one girl slept on the twin-sized sofabed and the other slept on her mattress on the floor because my Dad wanted to be the one to put the beds together the RIGHT way and had planned to come down the second week we were in Tennessee. He’s great at assembling anything and loves it, plus we had plenty of other tasks to do before my parents arrived (have you seen the photo of Box Mountain in my dining area?!), so we came across the well-marked box, and put it into a very safe place.

When the day came for Dad to put the bunk beds together, we started looking for the well-marked box with all the nuts and bolts and pieces neatly organized inside. The well-marked box was about the size of a shirt box at Christmas, but double the thickness, so it wasn’t a massive moving box, but plenty substantial that it could easily be noticed.

But nobody could find the well-marked box ANYWHERE.

We looked all over the apartment, which was easy enough because there are only two bedrooms with walk-in closets, the main living space, and the kitchen/dining area. No well-marked box.

I recalled having the box in my hands and placing it into the girls’ bedroom in the stack of other boxes in there, but as we organized their room and closest, emptying moving box after moving box, the one well-marked box we needed to find to make their beds was not among them.

My husband saw the well-marked box a handful of times, too. He ran back and forth to the storage area (I couldn’t part with my dining room table, our Christmas decorations, and some much-loved bigger furniture pieces!), and he could never find the well-marked box.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law, who live near us here in Tennessee had been helping us unload and unpack. My mother-in-law remembered seeing the well-marked box, but wasn’t sure where it was, either.

After several DAYS of searching off and on for that well-marked box, my Dad and my husband finally decided that we needed a Plan B. We called the manufacturer and explained our situation, hoping they would sell us just the parts, but that wasn’t going to work. So we ended on Plan C: Buy a new set of identical bunk beds to the set we already had and start fresh.

Now, being a thrifty sort who isn’t quite a conservationist, but hates throwing things away that can be used, that really upset me. We had all the BIG pieces for the bed, it was just those screws, nuts and bolts.  I knew we would someday come across that well-marked box, so I thought at the very least I could re-sell the whole original set so it could go to a home that would use it.

While my Dad and husband were at the store, buying the new bunk beds, I said a prayer to St. Anthony (the saint of lost things), and suddenly I had a revelation.

It wasn’t the well-marked box we needed AT ALL. It was the stuff INSIDE that mattered.

Suddenly, with a new determination — and NOT looking for a BOX, but instead looking for the actual thing we needed — I FOUND IT within 2 minutes.

Where was it? In the girls’ room, right next to the parts of the bed. What we needed had been removed from the well-marked box, which had apparently long been discarded, so instead it was a plastic bag filled with other plastic bags in which all the pieces were!

All along we had been looking for a BOX, when what we wanted was what was inside the box, and ignored everything else. We probably each looked right past the set of plastic bags a half dozen times each.

What a relief to finally find what we needed!

The Life and Business Lesson Learned:

Sometimes we THINK we want the box because the magic, we’ve been told, is right inside that particular box. All we have to do is open it. But instead of seeking the magic itself, we seek the box.

Put into concrete terms related to business, we want what goes with a successful business: the credibility, the clients, the cash, the freedom… but instead of working for those things, we spend a ton of time worrying far too much about the box we THINK those things are inside such as a perfect website, a finished information product, a book fully written and published, and so on. You CAN achieve what you want, without worrying about the box.

In life, too many people wait to go after their dream job or search for the person they want to enjoy the rest of their lives with because they are stuck looking for the perfect box of making their body perfect, or their resume perfect, or their wardrobe perfect. You can reach those personal goals, without worrying about the box.

My friends, keep your eye on the prize. It’s not about the box at all, no matter how well-marked and how certain you are you will find it one day. Seek what is inside. Go for what you REALLY want.

See Part 1 in the series here.

Tales from Box Mountain: Part 1 – Life and Business Lessons Learned by Moving Across Country

box mountain

Box Mountain: AKA All the stuff we needed to unpack and find a home for inside our new 1121 sq. foot home.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. As you can likely guess from the title, because you’re smart like that, I’ve been preoccupied with relocating my family from the suburbs of Chicago to the 3rd biggest city in the state of Tennessee, Knoxville. Yes, I’ve been working, but doing the bare minimum to get by.

You know how “they” say moving is one of the top 5 or 10 or whatever most stressful life experiences up there with getting married, having babies, changing jobs, and driving in traffic (that last one has to be true, doesn’t it?)? Well… I am here to say, yep, that’s about right. Whew.

During our move, over and over again I kept seeing so many business and life lessons I decided to share them in at least a series of blog posts, if not, someday soon, a short book. So I’m starting here and we’ll see where this takes me.

As a preview for what’s coming:

  • We about pulled our hair out over looking for a certain box, when I realized it wasn’t about the box at all. That’s when I found what I was looking for.
  • My wedding and engagement rings were in a super safe place… so safe I thought I’d lost them forever.
  • Two reactions to getting lost during travel; he wanted to be upset, so I let him be.
  • Broken promises, cut locks, and no texting while driving. (Not at all what you think!)
  • Going from 3000 square feet (plus garage and shed) to 1121 square feet with a family of 4, plus a dog.

These and other stories will follow this week. Some may appear as written posts and others as video posts. We’ll see what comes up!

What lessons from moving have you learned that can be related to life and/or business? I’d love to learn from your experiences – post in the comments below!

Move on to Part 2 here: Tales from Box Mountain: It’s Not About The Box.

Becoming a More Awesome YOU!

awesomizationToday’s guest blog post comes from my friend, Nicole Dean, who at a recent keynote “double dog dared” everyone in the room to be more awesome and launched what she calls her “Awesomization Nation.” I call it 30 days of awesome you! You can call it whatever you want, but I urge you to consider joining us. We officially start tomorrow but many of us have been warming up and being awesome since last week!

I Double Dog Dare You to Be Awesome!
By: Nicole Dean

Question: What is Awesomization Nation?

Answer: The Awesomization Nation is a group of awesome entrepreneurs who want to be their awesomest selves. We’ve got hundreds of members already, and each person in the group is posting at least 3 small awesome things they’re doing each day. We encourage members to do a minimum of one thing in their business, one in their lives, and one thing to impact their world or THE world.

Question: Why NOW?

Answer: I was scheduled to give a Keynote at NAMS in March 2015 and  the topic was “I Freaking Double-Dog Dare You to Be Awesome” and so the idea for the Awesomization Nation just happened. I wanted to create a movement and the amazing thing is that it’s already taking on a life of its own and we haven’t even officially STARTED yet.

The Awesomization Nation was supposed to start on April 1st, but the members are so eager that they’re already doing awesome every day and posting about it. I’m amazed watching the group and participating in it, too. Joint Ventures are forming, connections are being made, and inspiration is flying everywhere. I honestly am blessed beyond measure that I get to be in this group of positive people.

People are hungry for an invitation to be better versions of themselves, me included. I’m just shocked at how it’s taking off – and thrilled and excited, too!

Question: Will being part of Awesomization Nation help me grow my business or is this just another distraction?

Answer: Being part of the Awesomization Nation will awaken you to potential in your business and your life that you may have stopped seeing. Yes, you’ll receive all kinds of valuable information and inspiration for moving your business forward. But the other important thing is that I want you to have grace to take small steps forward – as long as you ARE moving forward.

For instance, one item you do for the day may be to take 5 minutes to map out the outline of the book that you want to write. Instead of letting 6 more months go by being overwhelmed by the task, break it down and let Awesome You do one part to move that project ahead. Or perhaps an awesome task you might do one day is to schedule a coaching time to talk with Felicia about your Signature Speech™. Instead of putting it off and letting yourself be overwhelmed, take the 5 minutes to book the call, invest in yourself, and walk away ready to rock the stage. That’s definitely what “Awesome You” would do. So do it!

And, to answer your question, YES, it will help you to move your business ahead. Any time you invest in taking action, you’re moving in the right direction. And, these people are definitely taking action. I can’t wait to see where this leads and the RESULTS that our members will get by the end.

Join us at The Awesomization Nation and become more awesome today!

Communicating Your Guiding Principles

Hugh Ballou and Felicia Slattery

Hugh Ballou, showing his name tag torn to reveal “Hug!”

Yesterday I was at an event where I had the honor of sharing lunch with and learning from Hugh Ballou, leadership expert and CEO Space faculty member. Ballou has been written up in Forbes magazine, and is the author of several books where he shares leadership lessons from his more than 40 years as a conductor and leader of music ministry at one of the biggest mega-churches in the country.

My biggest action item take-away from his presentation is to be successful, we should run our business on our own personal guiding principles and to communicate those guiding principles clearly with everyone we work with.

Different from your mission statement, vision statement, business plan, marketing plan, or strategic plan, your guiding principles are your values, clearly defined, that drive your work. Note the short definition from BusinessDictionary.com:

“Any principles or precepts that guide an organization throughout its life in all circumstances, irrespective of changes in its goals, strategies, type of work, or the top management.” (my emphasis added)

Interestingly, this definition fits perfectly for small and solo business owners, experts, speakers, and consultants because we often change our goals, strategies and even sometimes the type of work we do by adding or subtracting products and services. Even if you don’t have all those other business-y pieces, Hugh Ballou asserted, when you have your guiding principles in place, and those you work with from clients and customers to joint venture partners and even vendors know what you’re about, it’s easy for them to interact with you at all levels. Ballou shares his own guiding principles for his personal life, and for his business on his website.

“The bottom line: leading without guiding principles is like trying to sail a boat without a rudder.” ~ Hugh Ballou

So keeping that in mind, here are my own guiding principles for my business as a speaker, author, and consultant:

Be Myself: In all communication, including on social media, on stage, on video, on TV, in emails, and in person, I will be who I truly am, not a stylized version of me, or some pseudo-representation of who I think people want to see. When people meet me after seeing me online or in the media, I always want their reaction to be, “You’re just like how I thought you’d be!”

Be Creative: I will look for creative and unique solutions to challenges for myself and my clients, and enjoy the creative process as it unfolds. This includes being open to the possibilities I have not yet considered.

Be Grateful: Realizing that all I have is a gift from God, I will show my gratitude and thanks for the good that comes into my business and my life.

Be Compassionate: Remembering that I have felt confused, scared, frustrated, and angry at times, I will respond with compassion when others are feeling the same as they interact with my business and online processes that sometimes, as all technologies and systems do, will fail to provide the best possible experience. I will also remind others to please be compassionate with me, as I would never intend for something to not work or go as it should and want people to enjoy their experience of working with me and purchasing from me.

Have Fun: If I’m not enjoying myself and having a good time, it’s likely others I’m interacting with are not either. I will look for the joy and fun in most situations and whenever there is a choice, I will choose to laugh.

Be Collaborative: I will find ways to work together with clients and competitors, realizing that serving the world from our own gifts and genius honors not only the people we work with, but gives glory to God for each using our gifts.

Create Win-Win-Win Situations: Unless every party in a professional relationship will benefit, I will not be involved. That means the person I’m working with has to benefit, I have to benefit, and the people we serve have to benefit. If there’s any “lose” involved, I’m out.

Connect and Create Connections: Regardless of how it may or may not benefit me, I will connect people I know to each other and to opportunities so they can serve each other and create win-win-win situations in their own businesses and lives.

Be a Lifelong Learner: Never be too smart to learn more, to improve my craft, or to discover something wonderful about my business or myself that will help me grow, expand, and move forward. Look for learning opportunities and teachable moments everywhere.

Be Inspiring and Inspired: (This one is a challenge for me, but so many have used this word to describe me, I am learning to embrace it!) – I will inspire others to do their best, be their best, and serve the most people possible using their gifts and their genius. And I will actively seek to be inspired by the brilliance and genius of others to do my best, be my best, and serve the most people possible.

That exercise took some time and in-depth thought about how I will run my business, regardless of my goals, or even the work I choose to do. I may amend these as time goes on and as I realize there is more I want to commit to, but even the Constitution of the United States gets amended every now and then. 🙂

Have you done something like this before? If not, consider doing so and then share the link to your own guiding principles in the comments below.

To Be a Successful Speaker: Do Something First

21 Ways to Make Money Speaking by Felicia Slattery“How can I make money as a speaker?”

As the #1 best-selling author of 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking, this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get. And of course, there are at least 21 answers. 😉

But before you can make any money as a speaker you have to do something first. Multiple choice question — What’s your pick for what to do FIRST:

  • A: Good marketing? (Yes, but that’s not it.)
  • B: Get training in good delivery skills? (Yes, but that’s not it either.)
  • C: Develop a fabulous speech? (Getting warmer, but you don’t start there…)

You have to start with doing SOMETHING in your life or professional career that people want to know more about.

Look at the most highly paid speakers in the world today. Here is a partial list with their speaker fees:

  • Rush Limbaugh: In 2013, the National Conference of American Proctologists paid Limbaugh $3.8 million for one speech.
  • Donald Trump: Reportedly Trump received $1.5 million for The Learning Annex where he delivered 17 one-hour speeches in a 2-year period at real estate conferences and was paid that full amount FOR EACH SPEECH.
  • Bill Clinton: Averages $195,000 per speech; with a high of $700,000 received twice for a local newspaper publishing company in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Tony Blair: Highest earning was $616,000 for 2 30-minute speeches in 2009 in the Philippines.
  • Nicole Kidman: Was paid $435,ooo for a 25-minute speech to a group of Forbes Global CEO comference in Sydney, Australia.
  • Alan Greenspan: Earned $250,000 speaking at a Lehman Brothers meeting after he retired as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
  • Peyton Manning, Richard Branson, Sarah Palin, Lance Armstrong, Al Gore, and more all make $100,000 for a speech.

So what do all those folks have in common? Clearly it’s not their politics. And it’s not what they do for a living. What they have in common is that they have become well-known for what they do in the world. They are athletes, politicians, entertainers, and business professionals who have accomplished something in their careers and people want to know more about that.

Of course, those people are also celebrities in their own right, which is another thing they have in common. If you’re not a celebrity does that mean you can’t be a well-paid speaker? Absolutely not! In fact, many working speakers make a living with their speaking (or use it as a major source of income).  To be successful in speaking, you must have done something, studied something, accomplished something in your life that others want to know more about. It’s that simple. And it’s that challenging at the same time.

If you’ve long thought that you are born to be a speaker; that you have a message that’s inside you that you know will serve the world, start by taking a good look as your life and your accomplishments from the standpoint of a meeting planner. Why would someone put you in front of their audience? What do you have to share or offer that could impact people for the better? It’s your unique stories, knowledge, and experiences which will make you stand out, get booked, and be successful in the world of talented speakers.

Start by sharing those stories, knowledge and experiences in any way you can so meeting planners can get a feel for who you are and what you’re about. Here are a few ways to begin:

  • Start a blog and on it tell your stories along with a lesson that anyone could learn from reading your story.
  • Record a series of how-to videos or FAQ videos that showcase your knowledge using screen capture technology like Camtasia or simply PowerPoint (learn all about that in this free webinar).
  • Turn the camera on and look right into the lens and tell one of your stories. Similarly to what you’d do in a blog post, this will share what happened, what you learned, and what others can take away from your story. Think of it as practice before getting on stage. Post the video on your speaker website, on your YouTube channel and on social media so people see it and share it themselves.

If you feel like you haven’t yet accomplished anything or have something of value to share with an audience, don’t be so sure. If God put the feeling on your heart that you have a message to share, then you do. It might take some serious reflection and journaling time, a little digging to get there, a bit of refinement of the story and the message, but you likely have SOMETHING inside you that needs help getting out. If you’re not sure what your unique genius is yet, it’s time to find out (and I have a free webinar which talks all about your genius factor that you can watch starting right this minute!).

What’s your story? What’s your message? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

7 Reasons You Have Permission – And a Responsibility – To Prosper

I escaped the frigid Chicago winter and snow to Atlanta recently to attend an event called the Novice to Advance Marketing System, or NAMS.

Ironically, as I sat in the last row of the conference room, in my new long-sleeved turquoise cowl-neck sweater, I began to shiver. It was so COLD in that alarm clock in shadowroom. But that didn’t make it any less warm in spirit. 🙂

The keynote speakers at the event varied in their content and value they provided, as well as their skill on stage. One evening’s speaker, Ray Edwards, shared a message of hope. One of the things I most appreciated about Ray Edwards’ speech is that he stood in front of a room full of business people and professed his strong religious beliefs because that’s where the content of his speech was inspired.

It’s amazing to see when speakers present from a place of who they really are and what they truly believe because suddenly the room lights up. Not everyone in the room shared Ray’s strong Christian beliefs, but that didn’t matter. It was his message that mattered. Ray was speaking from his own God-given genius and I’d like to share what I learned based on his main points.

  1. You Are a Creator: Regardless of what you do, you are a creator. In our world of speaking, writing, and providing our expertise to others, it’s important to remember that you are constantly creating: content, an experience, a legacy for people to learn from.
  2. Wealth is an Act of Creation: Wealth is the result of creating massive value. Money isn’t something that we covet, but to look at as certificates of appreciation. The more value you can create, the more wealth you can accumulate. Isn’t that an awesome way to look at the money you receive for a job well-done? The cash in your hand represents certificates of appreciation for the value you provided. The greater the value you provide, the more certificates you receive. Woo-hoo! This reminds me of Bob Burg’s book The Go-Giver where he talks about the Law of Value stated as, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
  3. Change the World: An entrepreneur’s position is to create value where there was nothing before. When you create value where there was none before, you literally change the world. And you get to change it for the better!
  4. To Break Bondage: There is a greed mindset, which says a person has to horde everything to himself because he fears there is only so much to go around. A poverty mindset says there isn’t enough and never will be enough. When you create value and change the world for the better, and in turn receive wealth from that, you can begin to break free of either of these mindsets, and see the world for what it is: an abundant universe of possibilities where we ALL can have success.
  5. Blessed & Blessing: It’s okay to be blessed so you can be a blessing in return. Be willing to receive the fruits of your labor and be blessed by them. Business in and of itself is good because doing business well allows you to receive and when you receive, you can in turn give. In the Bible it says, “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” When you are blessed you get to bless others.
  6. The Alarm Clock: Bad things happen; that is not up to us. How we deal with bad things, however IS up to us. We each have our own alarm clock and will each leave the earth someday. We should focus on what we are here to do without delay, distraction, or fear. I’ve personally been reminded of this fact having survived a childbirth experience that nearly ended in death for me and my child and then most recently cancer; I think I am on my third and final chance to get it right!
  7. What the World Needs Now: Love what you do, love the people you do it for, love the gift of being able to do it as well as you do, and love being able to do it tomorrow and the day after. Take joy in the work. When you work in a place of love, only good can come from it.

 

 

 
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