I’m a former plastic surgeon. I left my practice in 2003, disgruntled with the overall state of healthcare—the legal, political, and business climate.
In 2005, I started my coaching practice, working with service-dedicated entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. In 73 days, I created a six-figure annualized revenue stream, and I’ve sustained it and grown it ever since. I’ve had clients best my record (70 days) or at least come close (99–226 days).
I’m writing this not to brag, but to set the context for what I’m about to say about picking your niche.
I’ve learned that just because I know a lot about something—for example, being a physician and surgeon—doesn’t mean that’s what I should focus on. For instance, I know a lot about cosmetic surgery, but I have no interest in writing about it. Or even advising about it.
Now, if you’re excited about writing on specific topics, then, by all means, follow your passion.
But consider channeling your skills as a writer and educator into fields that may or may not have an obvious correlation with your past experiences and training. In the end, you may still end up writing for the very audience you are considering now. And if you do, it will be with greater confidence and conviction.
Write and speak about subjects that you are naturally excited about.
Pick ONE area and test it out. That’s the only way to learn: by experience.
As an example, when I first started practicing plastic surgery, I was trained to operate literally from head to toe. So on any given operating room day, I’d do surgery, say, on someone’s head; then, for the next patient, something on their chest or back; then I operated on the next patient’s hand, and then I’d end the day with something on a lower extremity.
Over time, I realized I hated doing nose jobs. I quit doing that. Then, a couple of years later, I realized I was tired of getting up in the middle of the night for people who had cut off their fingers. I quit doing emergency hand surgery. Then I finally figured out that I was sick and tired of dealing with facial fractures at 3 AM. So I gladly gave those up. But tummy tucks—I was totally excited to do those!
My point is, I learned from experience what I liked, and my preferences changed over time as I gained maturity and experience.
I encourage you to do the same, in the roles you play as an entrepreneur, educator, change-maker, and/or thought-leader. Go out and explore working with different audiences. Experience what comes to you readily, what sparks your creativity.
Have fun with your exploration; you don’t have to hit a grand slam in your first at-bat.
“Oh, the places your lead magnets will go! There is traffic to be directed! There are leads to be gained. There are buyers to be won! And the magical things you can do with your lead magnets that will make you the winning-est winner of all.” — inspired by Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
The number one urgent problem most business owners have is that they want more clients. That means you need to attract leads who will one day become clients.
TRAFFIC => LEADS => PROSPECTS => CUSTOMERS
Turning traffic into quality leads isn’t always the easiest thing to do in the world. But having a quality lead magnet that “magnetizes” the attention of your audience makes the job a lot easier.
A well-designed lead magnet delivers immediate value to the recipient and begins to build the “know, like, trust, respect” factor. It also begins to establish your position as an authority and trusted resource. More importantly, it leads your audience to the next appropriate action step, which may be either getting more information or making a buying decision.
Because lead magnets are such a critical element of your entire marketing and sales pathways, I invite you to attend the next Lead Magnet Master Class: The 10 Most Important Tweaks to Make to Your Lead Magnets So You Can Triple Your Email List Growth in the Next 12 Months
Space is limited, so click to register right away!
Then get ready for some “flat forehead” moments during this MasterClass. You’ll learn easy tweaks you can make right away so your lead magnets convert better and you grow your email list faster!
From today until the new year, will be inundated with sales and special offers from retailers. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of all the different deals.
When it comes to your business, it can be easy to rationalize purchases that you have either deferred or, perhaps, not even considered before. The problem is, you can end up with things that don’t serve your needs, because you didn’t put a lot of thought into the purchase.
Throughout the year, especially now, I use a decision-making matrix that I applied to business-related purchases, especially large ones.
Here’s how it works. I first ask myself the following questions:
Will this purchase…
- Directly increase revenue and profitability?
- Decrease expenses?
- Directly enhance productivity?
- Improve safety/avoid injury?
- Enhance professional satisfaction?
Now criteria #5 is a “soft” one; if this is the only criterion that my contemplated purchase meets, but I don’t make the purchase. But if the purchase needs one or more of the preceding four criteria, then the purchase gets a “green light.”
I found these criteria to be very helpful for keeping me from making an impulsive purchase and wasting a lot of time and money in the process.
You may have other criteria by which you make your purchases and investments in your business. I’d like to hear some of those; please leave them in your comments below.
In the meantime, if you apply the simple criteria to purchases you make today and moving forward, they’ll help to keep your business in the black.
Last week, I wrote about what I think are practical skills that any entrepreneur needs to develop, acquire, or hire into their business. I wrote about the first four, which are listed below in Practical Entrepreneurship, Part 1, and provided recommended resources. I’ve since refined that list and added one more: Turnkey Systemization.
1. Time and Productivity Management
5. Business Financial Management, including interpreting financial statements
6. Verbal Presentation Skills
7. Written Presentation Skills
8. Visual Presentations Skills
9. Lifelong Learning and Application Skills
10. Team-Building, Collaboration, and Network Development Skills
11. Turnkey Systemization
Today, I’m going to describe the next four critical skillsets:
- Business Financial Management, including interpreting financial statements
- Verbal Presentation Skills
- Written Presentation Skills
- Visual Presentations Skills
Business Financial Management, Including How to Read Financial Statements
If you’re going to run any business, ultimately you have to become profitable. That means you have to learn how to manage business finances. A great place to start is by learning how to read business financial statements.
When I started out in the business world, I had no idea what a P&L was or to do with a Balance Sheet. My accountant and other professionals tossed these terms around as if I should have been born knowing this stuff already. It took me a while to figure out that a “P&L” or “Profit and Loss Statement” was the same thing as an “Income Statement.” And it’s one thing to understand the “lingo,” but another completely different thing to figure out what the numbers are telling you.
Once I set out to understand the “lingo” and how to interpret financial statement, I ran into further frustration: Many of the books on the subject were either poorly written, assuming the reader understood “financial street talk” or skipped fundamental steps, or they contained frank errors in their explanations!
Out of my own frustration with this experience, I created a plain English training on the basics of understanding financial statements. I’ll dust it off, if there’s enough interest. Just enter your email address here to let me know you’re interested.
Pricing Based on Value
I’ve written a lot about pricing over the past few months. Whether it’s a product or service, most entrepreneurs don’t understand how to set their prices and fees. The key to pricing starts with clarifying the value – the specific outcomes, improvements, results, and experiences – that you provide through your services and products. Then flip that around and ask yourself, “What are the outcomes, improvements, results, and experiences that people won’t get if they don’t use your products and services?”
Read more about pricing based on value here.
Verbal Presentation Skills
If you want to inspire support and enthusiasm for your vision, you’ll need to be effective at persuading people in seeing what you see. If you study the great leaders of the world, regardless of personality and style, have mastered the ability to motivate using their words. Just do an internet search for Martin Luther King (“I Have a Dream”) or Ronald Reagan (“Challenger Disaster Address”).
I know that a lot of people join Toastmasters to learn how to present. While I don’t have direct experience with this organization, I’ve heard good things about them.
But there’s so much more to being effective in your speaking, whether it’s one-on-one or one-to-millions. Singers and stage performers call this “stage presence.”
From a practical standpoint, most entrepreneurs aren’t going to study acting or singing in order to become more effective in their speaking. So you know where a great place to learn verbal presentation skills? From a radio talk show host. Really.
You see in radio, you don’t see people’s faces. So when you’re on the air, you have to be really tuned into the nuance of your voice – tone, volume, inflection, delivery cadence, pauses, breathing, and even body posture and gestures.
If you’re interested, I happen to know a great radio talk show host, Wayne Kelly. Wayne co-hosts the Wayne and Jayne Show in British Columbia. It’s not listed on his website, but if you contact him through http://www.onairpublicity.com/, he can help you develop a powerful “on-air” presence that will serve you in any and all conversations and presentations.
Written Presentation Skills
Most writers are not born that way. At least in my career, I haven’t seen a single newborn baby who could write. So get over it, if you are saying to yourself, “But I’m not a very good writer.” Writing clearly and in a way that compels the reader is a skill that can be developed. Now there are different types of writing, but here, I’m talking about writing compelling marketing copy and education-based marketing material.
Writing well means telling a story that engages the reader and pulls them along. Joe Sugarman, the mail order maverick from the 70’s and 80’s, was an early pioneer and master of marketing by telling stories. Here are a couple of great places to start: Triggers: 30 Sales Tools you can use to Control the Mind of your Prospect to Motivate, Influence and Persuade
Advertising Secrets of the Written Word: The Ultimate Resource on How to Write Powerful Advertising Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters and Mail Order Entrepreneurs
Visual Presentation Skills
I used to think that all you needed to be successful was good verbal and writing skills. But the advent of high-speed internet becoming more ubiquitous has made it important to be able to communicate your vision through online presentations, video, and slide-sharing.
When it comes to a resource that lays out the essentials of what you need to know, I recommend Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte.
Next time, I’ll write about the remaining practical skills that every entrepreneur needs to have:
- Lifelong Learning and Application Skills
- Team-Building, Collaboration, and Network Development Skills
- Turnkey Systemization
Until then, let’s hear from you. What other practical skills do you think are critical to the success of an entrepreneur?
From time to time, I send out information and announcements related to business development.
Well…today is a bit different.
I want to pull back the curtain and share something more personal.
So here goes. I was recently speaking with my good buddy, Michael Margolis (www.GetStoried.com). My business is about freedom for entrepreneurs: The freedom to be who you really are, rather than who you think you “should” be to be accepted and “fit in.” The freedom to contribute your gifts, talents, wisdom, and experiences in ways to touch other people’s lives, however big or small. The freedom to define what prosperity means to you – and live it.
Heck, freedom (or lack thereof) is why I retired from the practice of plastic surgery when I was 40 years old. I felt trapped, unfulfilled, and alone. Leaving a career that I devoted my entire early adult life toward was very challenging in many ways – mentally and emotionally. Yet, my collective experiences — the good, the sad, the bad, the ugly — contributed to who I am today and what I have to contribute and share with others.
What I never told you is that I made this year the year of “Brilliant Revelation.”
To me, “brilliant revelation” means sharing and giving of myself in ways that shine light, insight, and inspiration with those whose paths cross with mine. It means giving everything I’ve got, in support of my purpose in this lifetime.
And frankly, this has been a challenging theme to fulfill on for me, at least at the level I believe is possible.
But….(the infamous “But”)…
Along these lines, there is one REALLY BIG request I’ve heard from people who know me that I’ve been holding back on – for years, despite their strong requests, pleadings, and demands.
I’ve been working through this internal resistance and I’m contemplating changing my mind and giving what I’ve got, even if it’s “not perfect.”
I hate to admit this, but I’m super nervous because it means sharing with you more of myself in ways that I haven’t in the past.
The part that scares me the most, is that I’m also going to need your help. And I don’t even like to telling you that, either.
Anyway, enough for now… (stay tuned until next time)
P.S. I’ll be back with more details in a couple of days, while I gather my thoughts. But until then, tell me in the comments what “business freedom” means to you.
Most entrepreneurs go into business because they have a great service or product that they feel compelled to share with the world. But most don’t realize what they are getting into! Quickly, they learn that they have gotten themselves into the business of marketing. But no one ever warned them that they needed to master the art and science of verbal, written, and visual communications.
If you want to get someone or a group of people excited about an idea, or a product or service you have, you need to connect with their story and they need to connect with yours. In theory, it’s not too hard. All you need to do is find where there are open gaps and missing pieces in their story and figure out a way to intertwine their story with yours.
For example, I desire to help small businesses owners get more and better clients and to help them generate even more revenue by doing what they love most in helping others. All in support of a vision that is bigger than themselves alone. If I can see that their mission is something I can support and believe in, I want to find a way to help them achieve their goals.
In actual practice, connecting with others can be very tricky. Here are a few steps you can take to see if your story (i.e. who you are, what you believe in, your approach, and your services and products) meshes with your prospects’ stories. Because only then can they see the value of you helping them turn their great potential into reality.
- First, write as if you were talking to one person. Make it someone you really care about and sincerely want to help to accomplish their goals. It’s more natural to write (and speak) this way. And it’s also easier to focus and concentrate on what you are writing about. Being conversational in your tone is also an important aspect of effective communication.
- Second, think diagnostically. Since I have been trained as a plastic surgeon, I tend to think more diagnostically. What I mean by this is to ask your potential clients what they want to accomplish, why, and where they are stuck in achieving that. Then with the bigger picture in mind, go to work on trying to figure out what the missing pieces are that keep them from accomplishing what’s important to them.
- Third, ask yourself, “What is it that I can teach them?“ “What do I have that I can offer?”
Personally, I thrive on figuring out ways to help others get unstuck and help them learn something insightful that will help them breakthrough any limiting beliefs, thoughts, and ideas that no longer serve them. Ultimately, my role is to move them further the direction of where they are called to go.
A good example of what I am talking about is my upcoming webinar I am doing today, Wednesday, April 27, “Get Paid to Get Clients.” The title is catchy and has drawn a lot of attention, but getting paid to get clients is not what my clients really need or want. They simply want to get more clients because they want to generate more money. But ultimately, they want to generate more money so they can help more people.
I care about why you want to generate more income, but only in the context of: What are your desires and dreams that are bigger than yourself? How do you want to make the world a better place?
I want to work with people who want to integrate those desires and longings in everything that they do…even attracting more and better clients!
I want to work with people who have substance and meaning behind their business, so I find that out first. Then I figure out a way I could help guide them to build that substance into every aspect of their business.
You have to know who they are and understand their story to see if and how you can integrate your story in helping them.
Where did they come from? Where do they want to go? Where are they now? What are their roadblocks? What are their hopes, dreams and aspirations?
Figure this out first. And once you understand those elements of their story, the next element that comes into play is presenting your story and seeing if there is a complementary fit of their story with your story. Ask yourself this question…”Can I support their story and can I support their hopes and their dreams?”
It all comes back to why you have to communicate your story in a way that is convincing, compelling, credible and that instills confidence in the minds, eyes, hearts and souls of the people that you seek to serve.
In what ways can you complement their story?
I’ve taught the “Get Paid to Get Clients” approach to hundreds of entrepreneurs and I believe it’s the smartest way that I know to get found by clients while providing great content and value. And what I’m really teaching is how to get to the core story of what your potential clients really want to accomplish. And why. Then tying their story into your own authentic story about who you are and the value you offer.
If you’re interested in exploring this further, join us for today’s webinar; Get Paid to Get Clients: A Fresh Approach for Providing Great Value to Great Clients.