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A Fresh Set of Eyes

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I’ve had the pleasure of working with several clients who develop and present online training. My job has been to take a look at their programs with a fresh set of eyes either before they launch, or afterwards, and present my assessment and suggestions. I truly enjoy this work as it is stimulating both in content and in intellectual challenge.

One thing I found to be consistent across these clients is the question of whether or not they were targeting the right people with the right program. Sometimes the audience was perfect, but the content missed the mark. Other times the content was solid, but they were marketing to the wrong audience.

One of my clients specialized in transitioning senior executives from the corporate world into their own consulting practices. He had developed a webinar series on where to find clients and how to build a successful business infrastructure. His marketing was directed at senior executives who were looking for a change and he had a number of people register for his training.

Yet the clients were not satisfied with the training. Why? Because, these were people who were currently employed and who did not know what to do in advance of their transition. For example, most of them were used to having support teams (like admin, IT, accounting) always available to them. When they left their positions, suddenly they had to go out and find that support fast or spend their valuable time doing it themselves. Neither was an optimal solution.

What my client did was develop an additional webinar series that suggested things to do, like lining up admin, IT and accounting contractors, before his clients left their organizations for the world of entrepreneurship. Once he made ‘what to do before you leave’ part of his training, his client satisfaction, and client retention, went up. He had the right audience and his content was right for the audience.

In addition, my client changed up his marketing to specifically target executives who had already left the corporate world, but who were experiencing difficulties running their businesses because they were not fully prepared to be the boss. He used language that hit the pain points of leaving a fully structured and staffed organization for the wild world of lean and nimble entrepreneurship. He tweaked his existing content a little and repurposed it for a different audience. Again, his client satisfaction went up as did his retention. He had hit that marketing sweet spot of delivering the right content to the right audience.

Who is your perfect audience? Have you spent the time to clearly identify who they are, what their pain points are and what you can do to help eliminate their pain?

Also, given your current client base (or the audience you’d like to develop), what is it that they actually need in terms of content? Is what you’re currently delivering (or developing), meeting that mark or are you a little off base?

This is the time when you ask for help, a fresh set of eyes. When you’ve developed your own content, often you’re too close to it to have an impartial view of its effectiveness. Find someone who is seriously competent in your field, who has strong business sense and who will tell you the truth. Then listen to what they say and decide whether or not you will make the suggested tweaks or revamps.

When you take the time to carefully and thoughtfully identify your ideal audience for your content and the ideal content for you audience, you will improve your odds of success.

Cass Mullane’s calm, comfortable approach consistently yields positive results for clients. Her business and personal coaching practice, www.ProsperCreatively.com, specializes in delivering solid left brain business skills to right brainers and creatives in a fun, visual way. She’s a best selling author, a contemporary abstract artist and creator of the Cool Stuff Jar™ Retreats.You can also visit Cass on Facebook!

TIME OWNERSHIP – Part 2

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Guest post by Cass Mullane, The Artist with an MBA, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

Here’s a stat you need to be aware of: People who have multiple windows open on their laptops, switch between their windows an average of 37 times per hour. That’s an interruption just about every minute and a half!

Add in the constant notifications from your various devices and it’s no wonder you cannot keep focused on your tasks at hand. I say it’s high time to make a mindset change and take back ownership of your time.

Day to Day Ops

I’d really like you to lift your head up from your screens and push back from your desk. Take a long, deep breath, slowly blink and refocus your eyes. Then, look around your world. If you’re spending your day working on the minutia of running your business, you’re not the boss. You’re letting the business run you.

If you’re the boss, you should be focusing on the big picture, not the day to day operations. Are you the only one who can type? Are you the only one who can post on social media? Are you the only one who can enter a transaction? Are you the only one who can make an appointment? No.

If you’re the boss, are you the one who shapes the vision for your business? Are you the one who establishes your core values as they apply to your business? Are you the final decision maker? Yes.

Then why you would simply give away so much of your unique talent and valuable time on tasks that others can do?

To further refine your time ownership, there is a fundamental mindset shift that you need to make. You need to know what it is that only you can do. This means that you need to look closely at all the tasks that you encounter in a day, a week, a month, a quarter and truly discern what it is that only you can do.

For example, I am the only person who can make my art. I am the only person who can do my podcast. I am the only person who can deliver my keynotes. I am the only one responsible for leadership of my tribe. I am the only one in charge of designing content in my workshops and webinars. I am the only one who can coach my clients directly. I am the only one in charge of my own thoughts and actions. I am the only one who sets the bar for expectations and standards. I am the only one who can set priorities and the direction for my company.

This means that I should spend the majority of my time doing only these things.

What is it that only you can do in your business? Go ahead and make a list.

Look at that list carefully. Have you included items like bookkeeping or managing your own website? If you have, and you’re not in the bookkeeping or site management business, then look inside. Is there a fear or trust issue that you may need to deal with? Do you really believe that no one could do it better than you… not even a professional? Please rethink that assumption and take those things you can hire contractors to do off your list and put them on a list of things to outsource.

If you’re hung up on not having the money to pay someone, you might need to revise your mindset. Henry Ford said “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” If you think you can’t pay someone, you’re right. If you tell yourself that you can’t do it, then it’s pretty certain that you won’t do it. Feels defeating.

Instead, try shifting what you tell yourself to, “I’m going to figure out how to do this.” Feels energizing, doesn’t it? That simple reframe can set you on a path of growth. All you have to do is feed it to your brain and act on it.

Now, go back to that list of things and refine it some more. When you’re satisfied that you’ve reduced it to things only you can do, make a list of the things that you actually spend time doing on your business. Are they the same or is there room for improvement?

Own your time.

Cass Mullane’s calm, comfortable approach consistently yields positive results for clients. Her business and personal coaching practice, www.ProsperCreatively.com, specializes in delivering solid left brain business skills to right brainers and creatives in a fun, visual way. She’s a best selling author, a contemporary abstract artist and creator of the Cool Stuff Jar™ Retreats.You can also visit Cass on Facebook!

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Guest post by by Lisa Dolce, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator,

In a conference room at the 33rd Gathering of Highly Sensitive People in Montecito, California, sitting in a circle with 30 other people, I listened to the facilitator talk and fought my urge to pee.

I can’t, I thought. I don’t want to be rude or disrespectful to the facilitator.

Then, How can I sneak out without interrupting the whole group? I’m all the way on the opposite side of the room. And worse, those big heavy doors are SO loud when they open!”

Amid my panic, I heard the facilitator say, “You are to focus on your needs and not approval this week.”

Wait, what?

I don’t think I heard anything else she said after that.

While I was obsessing about all the reasons I couldn’t possibly get up to pee, I was expending a whole lot of energy worrying about what everyone else would think if I walked out—instead of just taking care of me.

Many of us, not only highly sensitive people like me, tend to put ourselves on the bottom of the list. Usually, it’s because we’re afraid we might disappoint someone or give others a reason to criticize us.

For HSPs in particular, feelings like embarrassment or guilt can overwhelm our sensitive nervous system. We tend to avoid doing anything that triggers these feelings, choosing to feel safe in the moment instead.

But just as was true for my screaming bladder, holding back isn’t good for our health. Long term, it robs us of our precious time, energy, and connection to our spirit. It ultimately holds us back from doing the important things that we are put on this earth to do.

So how can you start letting go of this need for approval?

You start by practicing, one small step at a time.

For me, that meant standing up to go to the bathroom. I used that moment to challenge myself, to experiment with focusing on what I needed instead of others approval.

So I got up, making lots of noise moving my chair. Making my way through the tight circle of people to the dreaded big heavy door, which made a huge groaning noise as I opened it.

I continued to challenge myself all week. I even upped my game from just a bathroom run to “cutting out” of a few sessions and getting some much-needed rest. I also said no to catching up with someone over lunch and decided to walk the beautiful nature trails instead.

And guess what? The world didn’t collapse, no one thought less of me and it felt so great to focus on me and what I needed. I left the conference energized instead of exhausted.

When I think about that week, the other great moment came when I left the bathroom that first day and came out to a line of people shouting “thank you, thank you for giving us all permission to go to the bathroom!”

One woman said, “Oh thank goodness you got up, I had to go too but was too embarrassed!” I not only empowered myself but empowered others to focus on their needs as well!!

These days, the experiment continues for me. The things I ask for now are much higher stakes, and they help me move forward in my personal and professional life.

So don’t wait until you’re doubled over in a crowded conference room. Give yourself permission to ask and get what you need. The more you do this, the stronger and more confident you will become—and you’ll inspire others along the way.

What small need can YOU get met today?

 Lisa Dolce is a Business Coach and Mentor and Licensed Facilitator of the Right Brain Business Plan ®. She is the founder of The Launch Studio and loves to help sensitive entrepreneurs start and grow soul centered-businesses that make a deep and lasting impact in this world.

TIME OWNERSHIP – Part 1

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Guest post by by Cass Mullane, Entrepreneur Coach, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

I believe time management is a misnomer… it just isn’t strong enough. “Management” implies that you’re in a reactive mode, responding to things that are controlled by others then passed on to you. “Ownership” puts you squarely in charge. You decide what the priorities are and you schedule them. You decide what is not a priority and comes off your plate. As Stephen Covey says, “You do not prioritize your schedule, you schedule your priorities.” Do you see the difference?

Let’s take a look at something that most of you do at least a couple times each year, attend business conferences. You attend conferences to hone your skills, meet new people and keep sharp for your businesses. But how many of you go with a plan or at least an intention for what you will learn or what information you will come home with? This is an integral part of time ownership. If you can put it into practice at a conference, you can make it part of your normal routine when you are back home.

Before You Go
Why are you attending the conference in the first place? Are you going to network? Are you looking for clients or customers? Receiving skills training? Finding speaking gigs? Looking for new suppliers? Just taking a break from your regular routine? Whatever the reason, knowing your outcomes before you go the conference can help you spend your time wisely and set you up for success.

While You’re There
When you receive the conference materials, check the schedule, the breakout sessions, the vendors, the after-session activities and decide what you want your priorities are. Then make your plan for each day. Of course, flexibility is essential in case things change. For example, you may experience a major perspective shift that may end up up-leveling your thinking which will shift your priorities. You’ve got to be able to roll with the changes while you are there.

While you are there you’ll likely socialize with others. Remember to plan in down time so you can recharge. You may tend to overextend yourself at conferences because there are lots of activities and you do not want to feel like you’ve missed out. Carefully managing your time is essential so you can accomplish what you intended and so you don’t end up exhausted when you return to work.

Finally, remember to hydrate and to SLEEP! Making your physical well-being a priority is part of time ownership.

After The Conference
One of the most effective things you can do after a conference is to hook up with an accountability partner from the conference. It’s particularly fun if you’ve met someone new and you’ll now have a new friend somewhere else in the country (or the world). If it’s someone local, that’s fine too. You can meet with each other face to face and push each other to accomplish what you set out to accomplish at the end of the conference. This is particularly valuable if you’ve experienced a shift in perspective as this requires changes to what was your normal course of business before the conference.

While it’s fresh, take a moment to review your notes and handouts and highlight the useful parts. Pull out key actions and get them on your calendar. Add the juicy bits of information to your appropriate projects and put the inspiring quotes where you can see them or in your journal. Then, put your conference notes somewhere where you can refer to them later.

Follow up with the people you met once you get home, or even before you leave the conference. Send them an email or text, mention something meaningful about your conversation so they remember you and do whatever you said you would do. If you were going to send them something send it. If you were going to schedule a follow up call, schedule it. The simple act of following up will set you light years ahead of most of the other people at the conference with whom they exchanged business cards.

Finally, apply your new knowledge immediately. Work on the things only you can do and let your staff and contractors take care of the other priorities.

Own your time.

Cass Mullane’s calm, comfortable approach consistently yields positive results for clients. Her business and personal coaching practice, www.ProsperCreatively.com, specializes in delivering solid left brain business skills to right brainers and creatives in a fun, visual way. She’s a best selling author, a contemporary abstract artist and creator of the Cool Stuff Jar™ Retreats.You can also visit Cass on Facebook!

When I found out that a law firm bought the building my studio was in and I had 30 days to move out, I was devastated. My studio had been my safe haven for the past two and a half years – especially during this recent period of transition and loss.

I’m sure you’ve experienced curve balls like that in your life and business. While they can be disappointing and disorienting at first, if you let them, they can also be opportunities to see things in a new light. As Project Runway’s Tim Gunn says, “Make it work!”

Maybe you had to take a temporary job to pay the bills. Or maybe your biggest supplier stopped selling the materials you need for your best-selling product. Or perhaps you’re being forced to use a new system because your current one use is no longer compatible with your other essential tools.

Rather than fixate on the frustrating aspects, find ways to move on and make it work for you. Here are the steps I’ve been taking to move through this latest transition:

Bring closure. I knew it was important for me to acknowledge the loss of my studio before I could move on. Before I turned in my keys, I spent my last afternoon there journaling, meditating, and leading myself through a gratitude ritual as I touched each wall, thanking them for holding sacred space and recounting the marvelous transformation that happened for me and my clients in every nook and cranny. During my reflection I realized that the biggest gift this studio gave me was a strengthened creative practice (which I can take with me anywhere).

Make it work. Get innovative as you work within your new limitations. What are alternative solutions? Think out of the box as you brainstorm. Perhaps the new options aren’t ideal, but if you make sure your basic needs met you’ll be just fine. My absolute must-have was a large empty wall somewhere where I could paint big – and thankfully there is one in my garage.

Find the silver linings. At first I was so bummed by the lack of good lighting in my make-shift studio not to mention that I’m surrounded by unattractive boxes and random, extraneous stuff. However, the more I started to look for the positive, I realized how convenient it is not having a commute (even if it was only 5 min before!), and how awesome it is to pop into the garage even for just a few minutes of painting. Also, because the surroundings aren’t as beautiful, I have full permission to get super messy. It’s okay if I get paint on the walls or the floor (whereas I worried about that at my rented space). Now I feel even more liberated! What positive surprises can you identify in your new situation? Identify at least 3 things that you can be grateful for.

Open up to new possibilities. For the near future, I’m going to keep things simple and just stay put for now. But I’m also letting myself dream about what it would be like to have an art shed or maybe even add a studio on to our house at some point. When you have to make a change, suddenly so many other options are possible! What can you open yourself up to?

Is there something in your life or business that you’re being forced to change? How can you make it work? I’d love to hear!

The Sassy Decade

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Guest post by by Cass Mullane, Entrepreneur Coach, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

I just celebrated the beginning-of-the-next-decade birthday. I’ve decided to dub this the Sassy Decade.

Those of you who know me might be scratching your head saying, “But Cass, you’re already pretty sassy!” My answer, “Yep, and I want to inspire others to help themselves to a serving of my kind of sass.”

My kind of sass is the wonderful humorous, playful kind of sass that helps us really enjoy life. It’s the “I love what I get to do every day” kind of sass. It’s the “Let’s have some fun and still get things done” kind of sass. Are you with me?

One of the most important things I’ve learned as I’ve aged is that you should not sit around and wait for things to happen. You’ve gotta boost your internal Sass Factor, take hold of that courage and go out and make things happen. If it’s something that truly feeds your soul, go get it. If it’s something that truly makes you happy, go do it. Boost your “I’m not waiting for someone to hand it to me, I’m going out and getting it” kind of sass.

You need to be crystal clear on what it is that truly feeds your soul. The emphasis here is on YOU. What is it that YOU really, really want in life? Strip away all the objections, obstacles and obligations… what makes YOUR soul sing?

I can already hear the excuses starting to pop up… you don’t have the time, the money, the equipment, the support, the energy… to go after whatever it is that feeds your soul. My answer is you probably don’t have your priorities very clear. This is not a criticism, it’s an observation. But let me tell you, that once you get really clear on your priorities, everything starts falling into place. Once you’re clear, you can then set priorities and make decisions that will take you down the path to making your soul sing.

As an example, I’ll tell you about a few things that I’ve been working on. I wanted to write a book, start a podcast and travel. For a while, I just dreamed about these things and didn’t take much serious action on achieving them. But then the U.S. presidential election happened and the divisiveness and fear in this country made me really clear on the positive impact I could have if I got my sassy self into gear. The keys to my success in converting these dreams into reality have been:

  • True clarity in what I want to accomplish
  • Chunking each of these big things into small manageable bites that I could squeeze into my already full calendar
  • Sitting down and doing the work

I wanted to write a book about mindset… the manuscript for Cool Stuff Jar is with my editor and we’ll publish in September. I wanted to start a podcast on mindset… Prosper Creatively will launch in a couple of months on the eWomen Podcast Network on Blog Talk Radio. I wanted to travel… I set up Cool Stuff Jar Retreats for busy businesswomen and the first retreat is in Barcelona in October.

The point is, you can do what you dream about. You need to get very clear on what makes your soul sing. You need to chunk it out into small manageable bites. Finally, you need to tap into your sassy self and make it all happen.

 

Cass Mullane’s calm, comfortable approach consistently yields positive results for clients. Her business and personal coaching practice, www.ProsperCreatively.com, specializes in delivering solid left brain business skills to right brainers and creatives in a fun, visual way. She’s a best selling author, a contemporary abstract artist and creator of the Cool Stuff Jar™ Retreats.You can also visit Cass on Facebook!

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Guest post by by Lisa Dolce, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator,

As right-brain entrepreneurs we see our business as a sacred vehicle for getting our gifts and talents out into the world. We are always looking for ways to fully express ourselves and in turn make an even bigger contribution in this world.

But what happens when you don’t know what’s next?

Maybe you hear a little voice inside you that calls you to do or be something more… But you don’t know exactly what that ‘something’ is!

Not knowing your next step can be very uncomfortable and frustrating…if you let it.

Instead of searching for some magical business formula to move you forward, remember that for you, a right-brain entrepreneur, planning starts on the inside.

You have a few superpowers you can rely on in times of transition. They are called Intuition & Imagination—and when accessed, they can reveal what I call “divine breadcrumbs” that lead you to the next step on your business journey.

So how do you access this powerful tag team?

1) Give yourself permission to start from within.

Did you know that only about 20% of our brain is used for conscious thoughts and 80% is dedicated to our unconscious thoughts? That means you have a treasure trove of untapped guidance.

Just because we are conditioned to rely on data and concrete tools for business planning, doesn’t mean you should start there. All you need to take the next step is right there within you.

2) Invite Intuition & Imagination to come out and play.

Intuition wants what is best for us, but we need to shut out all the distractions before we can hear her.

I’ve always loved to write as way of letting my imagination come out to play. So imagine my surprise when, a few years ago, my current business idea and vision came to me as a poem! I had never written a poem before—which just goes to show you never know what your Intuition & Imagination will manifest for you.

You can tune into your personal tag team in many ways: writing, painting, drawing, being in nature, meditating, dancing, cooking, anything you like to do that helps quiet your mind.

Another way to access your internal wise self is through guided imagery. It’s like dreaming while you are awake! I recommend using Jennifer Lee’s Big Vision Visualization.

3) Use a Capture System to record your breadcrumbs.

Flashes of intuitive brilliance pop up when you least expect it. So don’t miss them! Develop a simple Capture System like journaling, mind mapping, collaging or voice recording.

That poem I wrote, was captured onto this beautiful Right Brain Business Plan. This helped me to manifest the next step into a business that expresses who I am more authentically and attracts the most perfect clients for me.

My Intuition & Imagination have been my very best business guidance tool. When I stop and listen, the next evolution of my business begins to clearly emerge and so do the next action steps to lead me there.

So the next time you find yourself longing for an action plan, stop and remember to access your right-brained superpowers before diving into those left-brained details.

Your inner wise self knows exactly what you need. Listen in for those divine breadcrumbs and follow them to your most authentic and fulfilling business.

 Lisa Dolce is a Business Coach and Mentor and Licensed Facilitator of the Right Brain Business Plan ®. She is the founder of The Launch Studio and loves to help sensitive entrepreneurs start and grow soul centered-businesses that make a deep and lasting impact in this world.

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