Archives for February 2015

Are you spinning your wheels to the point of ineffectiveness?

You’re a woman, you’ve had a successful career, and now you’re ready for your “second act.” What is the second act? It’s the time in your life you are going to do things your way. You’re going to grow a business and leave a legacy of why you’re here in the first place.

You’ve raised the kids, had the career, been in long term relationship (or not) and KNOW there’s more to life than what you’re doing, but you’re not quite sure how to get your message out. You want to build a community you can work with, influence and make a difference to.

It’s actually a lot easier than you might be making it. The first step is making the decision you’re going to step out in a big way. It’s about positioning your message so it can be seen and heard.

No matter where you turn, someone has the latest and greatest way to position your message. Truth be told, there are lots of ways to get your message out to market.

With all that’s available online and off, we are not lacking for ways to reach our market. What most people are lacking is a strategy and one that is consistent.

Where most people fail is not grabbing hold of something and being consistent in what they are doing.

They try a little of this, a little of that, a little more of this, then they are off to the latest bright shiny object.

Stop! Spreading yourself too thin is going to do you and those you are trying to reach a disservice.

You’re better off to step back in order to decide exactly how you want to impact the market. Once you decide, commit to a specific period of time to focus, focus, focus.

By doing so you WILL have more of an impact and you are more likely to make a great living in the process.

One client I recently began working with is a great example of spreading herself too thin resulting in very poor results.

For quite some time this woman was spinning her wheels trying to reach her market and have an impact. It wasn’t for lack of desire and a lot of effort that things weren’t working for her. It was just the opposite. She has a great deal of desire and she was doing LOTS of work, but it wasn’t focused and she was doing a little of a lot of things rather than a lot of a little that was laser focused.

The first thing we did was evaluate what she had to offer and to whom. Once that was established we worked on a plan. One thing I asked her to do was let go of nearly 90% of what she had been doing and focus on only a handful of activities.

I had her put a list together of people she had been intending on following up with based on meeting them at networking meetings. One of the “spinning her wheels” activities was going to a lot of networking meetings, but she rarely followed up with those she met.

After putting her plan together and her working the plan, the results were nothing short of miraculous. In the first few days of follow-up she not only sold more than she usually did in a month or two previously, she also secured some speaking engagements, she set up meetings with several people to discuss what she could do for them, and several of the people she contacted gave her names of people they knew who could use her products and services.

One of the agreements she and I made was that before adding anything else to her plate, like another networking meeting, she would have a 24 hour cooling down period to decide if the meeting fit into her overall plan.

Amazingly, most of what she would have jumped on previous to us working together, she was now able to see that this was yet another BSO – bright shiny object.

Because she was willing to put a plan together, commit to work the plan for at least six months, and she is thinking things through based on logic rather than emotion, she has already seen incredible results.

It’s amazing how often we can get distracted with activities that don’t serve us or our clients.

If you’re looking for ways to be more productive one of the first things to do is step back, look at your own personal landscape and get honest about what is and what is not working. You also need to let go of those activities that can be considered “busy work” rather than activities that will get you the results you seek.

By doing so you will use less energy, get greater outcomes and impact more people with what you are here to do.

Make More Money Speaking for Free Than You Ever Can Getting Paid

Lots of people dream of being paid to speak. If you love to speak, you’re really good and you have outstanding material, getting paid to speak is a great way to make a living.

Yet, there are many people making a heck of a lot more speaking for free than they ever would by getting paid.

Some experts make thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars speaking for free to the “right” audience to showcase their knowledge.

Showcasing simply means you, the expert, gives an audience a taste of what you do and knock it out of the park with your information. In some cases you make an offer at some point during your showcase, while other times you make an offer through a follow up strategy. Follow up might be done via email, direct mail or a phone call.

A great place to showcase your talent is at association chapter meetings. There are thousands upon thousands of meetings taking place every month throughout the United States and Canada. Of course, Europe has association meetings too.

Regardless of where you speak, the key is to make sure members of the association fit your profile of an ideal client.

You absolutely need to make sure it’s the right audience for your message and your offer – if, in fact, you do make an offer.

There is a caveat to all this; if you’re just starting out and need platform experience, my recommendation is to speak to as many people as possible without too much concern for whether or not they will invest in your products and/or services.

On the other hand, if you are a seasoned presenter, then be extremely targeted with the people you get in front of. This is where the incredible revenue opportunities reside.

Another great way to generate untold amounts of revenue from speaking is to host your own events. You can offer one hour, half day, fully day, two and three day events. Depending on the outcome you seek, what your budget is for hosting an event and how good you are at marketing your event would determine what type of event you should host.

Want to learn more about making money as a speaker? Join me on March 10, 2015 for a FREE webinar – Speak Your Way to Success

Is Your Business “Attitude” Foolish?

A few weeks ago I progressed from a weekend warrior, self-trained power walker to hiring a coach to train me for the Eugene Marathon in May, 2015. I hired my coach because I want to minimize my chances of injury and increase my likelihood for success.

I’m no stranger to coaches, having hired several over the years to guide me in my business. Years ago I learned how valuable the right mentor can be in achieving more with their strategies, knowledge and expertise and minimizing my learning curve than I would do on my own.

A great coach encourages you to get outside of your comfort zone, pushes when needed and identifies strategies that can be game changers.

In order to grow we have to do things differently and doing things differently can definitely be uncomfortable. It is in the discomfort we find out what we are truly made of.

Knowing how valuable business coaches have been to the success of my business, I knew a marathon coach would teach me, push me, encourage me and inspire me. In the short time I have been working with my coach I have already progressed more than I had been on my own. Not only am I hitting my stride in my daily trainings, I’m increasing my speed, endurance and incorporating important changes, some minor and others more significant.

Although some of the changes seem almost insignificant, a few could literally save my life.

In that I live in a rural community, where I train has very little traffic. On any given day, in an hour I may see ten cars while power walking.

Pre-coach, one of the greatest frustrations I experienced on my morning power walks were drivers who would not slow down when approaching where I was. Little did I realize my attire was the primary reason drivers ignored me.

My coach recommended a reflective vest, reflective ankle bands and a bright fluorescent shirt. Since adding these items to my training gear I haven’t had any drivers ignore me. All have slowed down, steering clear of me.

A minor change; a huge outcome.

Another change is to wear a whistle around my neck. “If you lose cell phone reception and you hurt yourself, the whistle is essential,” Coach Kathy said.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that hiring Coach Kathy has many similarities to the business coaches I’ve hired over the years. Each taught me game-changing strategies, tips and tricks and each recommended various investments that would make my business run smoother, become more profitable and steer clear of danger zones.

Additional changes I made were with a couple of apps I downloaded. Just like software for my computer, I chose apps that are helping me to more accurately track my progress. Actually, because of one of the apps, Walkmeter, I found out I have a faster pace than I first thought.

For less than $5 I got one of the most advanced applications for walkers and hikers ever designed for a mobile device. It was built from the ground up for iPhone, iPad, and iCloud. It makes the iPhone a powerful fitness computer.

Walkmeter calculates distance, calories burned, minutes per mile, fastest speed, average speed and much more.

One of the nicest features is Walkmeter records and stores an unlimited number of workouts in order to really track my progress.

The other app I am using is MyFitnessPal. This app is free and designed to track calorie intake. Basically, I set my calorie goal and record my daily food and exercise to help me stay on track with my overall fitness goals.

Between my coach, the apps, my commitment, determination and willingness to stretch, I know this experience will continue to be awesome. Will it be without pain? Nope. I’m sure there will be plenty of pain. To think otherwise would be foolish. And yet, I have strategies to minimize the pain.

It’s the same in business. If you want to go from hobbyist to a “real” entrepreneur, investing in the right tools, information and mentors makes all the difference in the world. To think otherwise is just plain foolish.

What are you doing to stretch, grow and improve in your personal and professional life? Comments welcomed and encouraged.

3 Common Mistakes Authors Make With Amazon Books Listings (and how to fix them!)

3 Common Mistakes Authors Make With Amazon Books Listings (and how to fix them!) by Karon Thackston

It is finished! You've completed your book and it's time to show off your moves with a rousing rendition of the Happy Dance. As part of your marketing plan, you decide to list your new publication on Amazon. With glee and excitement, you post your book listing, click “submit” and walk away with visions of record-breaking sales spinning around in your head. Then. Crickets.

What happened? Why didn't the millions of shoppers on come racing to your sales page? And what stopped them from buying? While there are numerous elements to creating a successful book listing on Amazon, I want to focus specifically on your book description for this article. It is here that we find three extremely common (and often fatal) mistakes that you need to overcome in order to generate more sales.

Mistake #1 – Not Giving Credentials

With the dawn of self-publishing over a decade ago, many readers have found the quality of books on a decline. Some have become wary and even suspicious (especially regarding digital books) about buying from authors they may not have heard of.

Give them a reason to believe in you before they invest money in your book. Include some of your accomplishments with your book description. This is easy if you're a New York Times best-selling author, a famous celebrity or CEO of a national corporation. But what about the rest of us? Here's a good example.

Notice how the author is positioned as an “exercise dynamo” and someone who is “known for her popular” workouts. The description mentions her trademarked routines and rabid fan base as well, which indicates (without saying as much) that she's kind of a big deal.

There are a couple of items I'd change in this description, however. For starters, “fanbase” is two words, not one. Watch those typos! If you want to be a grammar nazi, the trademark routines should be written as “trademark 5- to 10-minute.” There is something worse, however, that causes this description to be a little stand-off-ish, leaving the reader on the outside looking in.

Mistake #2 – Not Relating To Your Target Customers

As I read through this description, I gasped under my breath four times. Why? Because I felt alienated. I didn't feel this book was written for me, but rather like it was written for some other group of people.

Karen T article

I'm not a big fan of book descriptions that are written in third person. Have a look at the four pink-highlighted areas above. “Practitioners”? Really? First of all, that word sounds very clinical to me. Second, who is this group of practitioners and where do they practice? “Women” gives me the same impression. How about “you”? I find “keep you engaged and active” much more inviting and appealing than talking about some arbitrary group of people.

Then we reach the phrase “Cassey's followers.” What if I'm not one of Cassey's followers, but have happened on her book for the first time? Again, this term makes it sound as if the book is for an elite group of people to which I do not belong. Can we just end it with “make it a must-buy”?

The last instance is the word “readers',” which again gives us that feeling of being an outsider. Another perfect place to use “you.”

Relate to your target audience when you create your book description. Think about them as actual people (they are, you know!) and consider what they will be thinking and feeling when browsing through the 32 million books on Amazon. (Yes, that's an accurate number.)

Write specifically to your target customers and communicate what they'll get from reading your book, whether it's a momentary escape from reality, a new skill they can use to build their business, tips for handling life's stresses or an outlandish adventure the revs up the imagination of their child.

Mistake #3 – Being Afraid To Market Your Book

The style of writing most genres and that of writing marketing copy are completely different. Many authors shy away from using language in their book listings that is enticing and compelling (no, I don't mean full of hype). However, this is necessary to draw in readers and show them what they have to look forward to.

If you lean too far to the right with an ultra-conservative list of facts, you're likely to lose readers who can't draw conclusions themselves about what they'll get from your book. Too far to the left with outlandish claims and you'll butt heads with people rolling their eyes in disbelief. The key is to experiment and find a good balance so that your listing is informative and intriguing at the same time.

Avoiding or overcoming these three critical errors can quickly allow you to convert more of the traffic from your Amazon listing into paying readers. What's more, those who choose to buy are more likely to reward you with their loyalty the next time you publish.

If you're struggling to create an Amazon book listing that draws in readers and stimulates sales, Karon's new ebook is a quick fix (at only 60 pages) that lets you move from commonplace to compelling in no time.

karen t 2Get Author Advantage: How to Create Amazon Book Descriptions That Sell” now and save 40% with coupon code KATHLEEN40 (no spaces). Offer expires Sunday, February 15th so be sure to act now.


Is Facebook Responsible for the Demise of News Anchor Brian Williams?

brian williamsIf you doubt the power of social media, a quick look at recent events regarding Brian Williams should put any doubt to rest. If it weren’t for people speaking out, primarily on Facebook and Twitter, it’s likely Williams would not be taking temporary leave from his post at NBC.

According to reports, Brian Williams shot down his credibility by telling and retelling a story that simply is not true. He claimed several years ago he had been shot down in a helicopter in Iraq.

I’ve been a fan of Brian Williams for years. I really like his reporting style, am in awe of his witty sense of humor and thought him to be a man of very high integrity. I don’t know if I will trust his reporting ever again.

The interesting thing is this; had it not been for posts by soldiers, primarily on Facebook, discounting the claims, Williams would have remained one of the most believable NBC Nightly News anchors. Once soldiers posted conflicting accounts of Williams’ story, other doubters surfaced regarding the truth in his reporting.

Williams' attempt at an apology was weak at best. This added fuel to the fire.

Ironically, many celebrities, politicians, religious leaders and corporate heads have participated in activities that tarnish their reputation, but after enough time passes, the public seems to forget how outlandish their behavior actually is. Several have been reelected, retained their position in their religious organization as if nothing happened or received huge bonus packages to continue on with the very company that was embarrassed by their reprehensible behavior.

Case in point; Chris Brown was demonized on social media after he severely beat Rihanna; and rightfully so.  There was absolutely no excuse whatsoever for what Brown did.

There was a huge uproar and it appeared as if his career was over… until enough time passed. Soon he was appearing on the stage at award shows and back on track with his career. Had Brown been smart he would have done all he could to keep his behaviors in tack, but after a period of time he just couldn’t stay out of trouble and ended up in jail.

What about Anthony Weiner? He nearly destroyed his career with his sexting selfies. He was all the buzz on social media the first time he was “exposed.” His newlywed wife stood by his side during the grueling process of gaining back public favor even after he resigned from his congressional position. .

Again, after enough time passed, it seemed the public forgot. Weiner ran for mayor, emerged as a frontrunner, but again destroyed the public’s trust when images once again surfaced. What a wiener.

On the flip side, social media has made careers virtually overnight. Flappy Bird, which launched in May 2013, quickly became the number-one free app in Apple’s App Story because of a wave of funny tweets; the kind that people have to retweet again and again.

And no matter what you think about Justin Bieber, had it not been for Bieber posting homemade videos on YouTube he would not have been discovered by his current manager, Scooter Braun, in 2007.

Although both Flappy Bird and Justin Bieber’s rise to instant fame is rare, it does show the power of social media.

Until more is revealed we won’t know what will happen to Brian Williams, but if history tells the story, he will be forgiven by many fans and definitely won’t be by others.

If history is any indicator, there are going to be other unknowns who achieve incredible visibility after a life of obscurity by the shares from others.

No matter what any of us wants, believes, or thinks, social media is here to stay and forces a level of transparency we can’t escape.

The reality is this; good or bad, you never know what will go viral on social media. The more enticing the story, the more likely it will go viral. The more a celebrity falls from grace the more likely the story will go viral. The more talented someone is and the more they are willing to showcase their talent online, the more likely they could have others take their talent viral.

It’s the same with your business. Are you using Social Media effectively? Actually, are you using it at all? If not, isn’t it time to learn how to get the most from social media?

What's your take on the power of social media?



It’s about pushing the limits

Life is about pushing limits. At least for some of us. In my world, if you’re not pushing limits you’re not seeing what you’re really made of. If you’re not seeing what you’re made of how will you know what you’re capable of?

When I push the limits I tend to feel incredibly alive. Something that helps me in my own “limit pushing” is to set intentions on the outcomes I seek.

Seems there’s a trend underfoot about pushing limits. I’m writing this article while watching Super Bowl XLIX. Not only will the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots players be pushing their own limits, many of the commercials have “push the limit” themes.

People are hungry to push limits. It makes us end the status quo in our lives. No more settling for.

I love pushing limits in business and in my personal life. Something that helps me to stay the course with what I want to achieve is to set goals. Clear, specific, timed, lofty goals.

Recently, I set a goal that will test me both personally and professionally. It’s not that I’m necessarily going to make money directly from achieving the outcome I seek, but by committing to completing the Eugene Marathon in May, 2015 for my 61st birthday it forces me to stretch myself in ways I don’t yet fully comprehend.

After all, completing a 26.2 mile trek is not something I’ve done before, but with proper preparation there’s a great chance I will achieve the outcome I seek. An outcome that will make me feel more alive than I can imagine.

To assure my success there are a few things I’m consciously doing:

  1. Giving myself enough time to train in order to avoid unnecessary injury.
  2. Hiring a coach to guide me the right way.
  3. Pacing myself in my training so as to build my strength and stamina.
  4. Focusing on all the aspects I need to learn to get the best results.
  5. Investing in the right gear to assure greater success.
  6. Developing strategies I will implement when I hit the wall and may feel like throwing in the towel.

Although the six items listed are about the marathon, they also apply to business. To achieve our best in business we have to:

  1. Train and give ourselves enough time to train properly.
  2. Hire mentors and coaches who will show us how to achieve what we desire faster, with wiser investments and in less time than if we try to figure it out alone.
  3. Pace ourselves so as not to overwhelm and burnout.
  4. Keep a balance in what we do so as to not neglect important aspects of our business.
  5. Be willing to invest in equipment, training, support team members, software and other needed resources to effectively run our businesses.
  6. Work on our mindset so when things seem overwhelming we realize “this too shall pass” if we are willing to go the distance.

What are you doing to push your own limits? What would make you incredibly proud to achieve? Are you willing to make this the best year of your life by pushing your limits?

Only you know for sure.