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Archive for December, 2008

Both of my girls played softball this year, and they both received trophies.   They were so excited to see that the “champion” at the top of their trophy had a ponytail!   “We got a GIRL trophy!”  I think more than simply wanting to WIN, we all want to WIN our own way.

When I first began my Moms Work business, I came up with a slogan:  Work Your Own Way.  I loved it because I don’t think there is ONE right way to do ANYthing.  I have always almost ABHORRED conformity.  If the masses were going one way, I went the other.  I couldn’t stand to be “lumped” together with the crowd.  Growing up, I clung to my own authenticity.  It defined me.  It was me.  Which is why I was surprised when I “found myself” trying to model a new part of Women who Wow after another “infopreneur”.  More on that later…

In a culture where there is so much pressure to conform, it is no wonder that true authenticity is hard to find.  People are drawn to “realness”… to an authentic, true person… to someone who knows who they are and shares it with the world.  Look at Elvis Presley.  We all know him as a major music success! But when he came on “the scene”, there was no one like him.  He was rejected by the country music world and rejected by Las Vegas.  But, he was Elvis and he continued to be Elvis.  Eventually, the world fell in love with his RAW, AMBITIOUS, ENTHUSIASTIC, COURAGEOUS, and AUTHENTIC performances. 

How can we use this principle of “authenticity” in our businesses?  I can’t tell you how many business owners I have heard from who are “faking it” at their breakfast networking meetings, “faking it” in front of their team members, “faking it” to their customers.  “Fake it till you make it”, they will say.  “People like doing business with successful people”, they will say.  So, they build this “persona” of who they think others want to “do business with” and it is a shame.  Because they are building a house of cards, which will eventually fall down around them. 

Only the authentic business owners will “survive”.  Let me tell you my story.  You know I went to Canada in February to meet with a group of business owners and our mentors.  At that time, I had the same goals as I have today.  But,I was making far less money.  I knew that I wanted to have a monthly membership “club”.  I knew I wanted to begin charging more for my coaching services.  I knew I wanted to start my own Women Who WOW mastermind groups around the country.  BUT, I thought that I needed to “build up my credibility” before I did any of these things.  WRONG!! 

See, in that mindframe, a lot of my time and energy went towards building my house of cards… building an “on line reputation”…  building a “perception” of a successful business.  Then I met with Dan “the man” Lok.   Remember him?  Age 30…. multi-millionaire… has only spoken English for a few years…  This was his advice to me:  Michelle, do the thing! 

It was so simple – as most life changing words are – that I had to mull it over for a while.  Eventually, I got it.  Don’t build the PERCEPTION that you are a successful business coach… Just BE a successful business coach.  So, I started doing the thing. I started coaching business owners, and  at much higher fees.  These clients achieved success beyond what I had originally expected.  They told others… my practice grew and so did my “platform” or sphere of influence within the women’s business community.  I loved my newest level of  success.

Then, I began to prepare for the launch of my “WOW Factor Inner Circle”… perfect for the serious woman entrepreneur!  One day, I heard myself say, “I want to be the next Ali Brown.”  Ali Brown is an infopreneur and marketing coach serving women entrepreneurs.  I admire her for many reasons, but did I really want to BE her? Did I really want to model my new business venture after another?  Of course not!  Ali Brown is doing many of the things I will soon be doing… hosting live events,  for example.  But, while I aspire to her level of success and influence, I want to “WIN” my own way.  I was shocked by my INauthenticity!  

So, how can you PROFIT by being more AUTHENTIC?  

1.  Do the thing.  Simply spend less time on the PRESENTATION of your business, service or product and spend more time letting people EXPERIENCE your business, service or product.  Don’t tell me how great your organic muffins are, let me sample one.  Don’t drone on about the “potential” of your business opportunity… Show me success.  Don’t tell me how great your coaching services are… Coach me through an obstacle.  

2. Be who you are.  I can find someone pretending to be someone else in almost every house in America.  There is nothing “magnetic” about this type of existence.  BE COURAGEOUSLY YOU!  It will attract people to you like moths to a flame. 

If you are spending time building a PERSONA of success, you will have very little time for actually BEING a success. This is true in every area of our lives.  If my focus is on the “presentation” that I am a good wife or mother, less of my time is available for actually BEING a better wife or mother. 

 There were many “aspiring” stars when Elvis came on the scene, but none like him.  And the ONLY thing that seperates him from the “rest of us” is that he was rebelliously authentic to self.  The truth is that there is only ONE you as well.  NO ONE can serve your customers like you… even  if they sell the same product or service.  How can use authenticity to set yourself apart in the eye of your target market?

We are in a relationship economy.  We don’t buy based on a great brochure, clever advertising, or compelling website.  We buy from people we KNOW, LIKE and TRUST.  Your customers and clients are the same.  So, you can’t afford to be a “happy plastic person” as the song goes.   Try being boldly AUTHENTIC for a week.  Let me know what breakthroughs you have!!  I look forward to hearing from you!

© 2008 Women Who WOW

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fabienneYep… THAT Fabienne Frederickson – it was years ago, but I will simply never forget it.  I was  reading her “Client Attraction System”, which my client had purchased for me to read and apply what I learned to his mortgage business. 

At that time, I had already started and grown two “semi-successful” businesses.  I say SEMI successful, because they were profitable right out of the gate (largely due to my REFUSAL to spend money on traditional advertisingand a commitment to always demand my businesses give ME money – and not the other way around) yet not providing the income I had imagined in my “day dreams”.    While I am definitely NOT a “system” or a “in-a – box” type of person, her client attraction focus spoke to me.  I decided to hire my first coach. 

I knew her rates (then) were AROUND $1000 per month – with a three month commitment up front.  So, I saved $3K and made an appointment with Fabienne for our free “Get Acquainted” call.  Prior to the call, she had me fill out a quick questionnaire.  On that questionnaire, I expressed that my top challenges in business were MONEY and TIME.  Essentially, I was a homeschooling mom with three children.  I was working (then) as a Human Resource consultant and business owner.  I needed to keep the HR money coming in to pay the bills, but my time also had to be devoted to my 3 children and their education.  So, lack of money… and lack of time to make money kind of summed up my business obstacle.

Without even a hint of an apology, her assistant was instructed to email me to cancel our “Get Acquainted”  appointment …. based on my responses to the questionnaire, she had made the conclusion that I was NOT her client.  I was slightly stunned… I mean, I had already decided to hire HER… and she was turning ME away…  Somehow, I surmised, she had gotten this thing all mixed up!   Or had she??

I was stunned THEN, but it wasn’t long before I understood completely why she turned me – and my “whopping” $3K – away.   I would have been a “dud” client for her.  Truthfully,  at that time, I was not truly committed to growing a “mini-conglomerate” empire like I am now.   So, nothing she – or any other coach  – could have done would have helped me transform my business – not until my own commitment level changed.    Even though she chose not to coach me, she set a very powerful example that has served me VERY WELL in business.  She had obviously set her own “filters” that helped her sort potential ideal clients from, well… people like me.  =)

While I know it seems counter-intuitive, when you are willing to dump the dud clients,  your practice or business will begin to fill up with IDEAL clients…. people that cheerfully pay your fees… people that energize and inspire you.. people who are courageous, bold and intuitive… people who you are honored to know… people who are optimistic and think (and act) BIG!  One of the most powerful things I have ever done is turned down a potential client.  I continue that selection process and am amazed at how my own practice seems to expand as I grown more and more “picky” with choosing my clients!   BTW… because of my own picky selection process… THREE of my personal clients have now been featured on either ABC NEWS  or Good Morning America or both!!  Congratulations Laurie, Jessica and Missy!!  Rock on Women who (truly) WOW!

So, thanks Fabienne!!  While we never got the chance to work together,  I have been thrilled to see your progress in recent years and loved your last four-way interview with Bill Glazer!  (It inspired this blog post!)  

To being PICKY business owners… CHOOSING our ideal clients and rejecting the rest!! =)

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