Three Ways Running a Business is Like Dating

Three Ways Running a Business is Like Dating

Online dating and running a business have a lot in common – and I don’t mean because there’s a risk of being inundated by d*ck pics and catfished.

When I say online dating and running a business have a lot in common, I actually mean it as a very positive thing. Many people have become cynical about online dating – I know, it can be frustrating – but I’m actually a big proponent of meeting people online; it’s how I met my husband (thank you, OkCupid!)

Not too long ago, I discussed the similarities between attracting new customers to your business and finding a partner virtually on my Facebook business page. I think it’s a really fun topic for business owners to consider. I’d like to expound on a few thoughts I have about the similarities between the two, in addition to some new ideas I’ve had since shooting the video.

First Impressions Matter

One of the biggest similarities between online dating and business is the concept that first impressions matter. The best example of this would be Tinder, a dating phone app where users literally make a decision within seconds before “swiping” in either direction for yes or no. I’ve never used the app myself, silly me I want to learn about someone beyond what their face looks like…

Tinder might seem foreign to a lot of us, but if you look at the current online climate, its existence makes perfect sense. We live in a world where people communicate in 140-character Tweets and snapshots of their lives sent in warp-speed via Instagram or Snapchat. You can wax poetic about what it means about society at large all day, but one thing is clear: People want to receive information in short, sweet and fast little bursts.

As a business owner, this means that first impressions are more important now than they ever have been before. Most companies have always understood the importance of branding, such as creating a powerful logo, but many companies never felt the need to create a truly extraordinary first impression before. If you want your business to succeed in today’s landscape, you need to be able to really push your message in one glance. This means the right logo, the right colors, and succinct marketing text that says what you want to say in less than 2 seconds (easy, right?)

Pushiness and Desperation? Never A Good Look

Have you ever initiated conversation with a prospective match, only to have them bombard you with messages at every hour of the day? While they might have seemed like they had great potential when you first swiped right, now they just seem pushy and desperate.

This little gem of a life lesson also applies incredibly strongly to running your business, specifically when it comes to marketing online.

A friend of mine recently gave her information to an online company that specializes in paying people for their used laptops. She wasn’t sure if she was ready to ditch her four-year-old Macbook, but she was toying with the idea. Instead of just sending her one reminder email and then waiting for her to get back to them, the company in question sent her dozens upon dozens of emails with a downright melodramatic sense of urgency. “I actually have decided to sell it, and now I’m going to go through any company but them,” she remarked.

The bottom line? Desperation isn’t a good look. Not for a single person trying to find love online, nor for a business. It’s a good idea to market yourself with strong, compelling text and interesting strategies. But if you bombard clients, customers, or prospective love matches with message after message, the only date you’ll have will be with their block list and a Netflix binge.

Sales – And Dates – Don’t Always Happen Immediately

It’d be nice if, when online dating, we could skip the banter and go straight to the part where we’ve found happiness and love. But this isn’t la-la land and we need to get to know people before we’re ready to commit to the first date.

In business, it’d be great if we could make the sale almost immediately after introducing our brand to our potential clients or customers. While this will occasionally happen, especially if you have stellar marketing materials, most of the time you have to woo them a bit first. This means creating a relationship with a potential customer before they’ve committed to a sale. However, as stated in my last point, you can never be pushy. Instead, just as with online dating, you need to woo.

Wooing can sometimes entail backing off a bit. Sometimes after making your pitch, you need to back off and let the customer chew on your offer for a few days. It can be difficult to sit and wait in business purgatory, but backing off and exercising patience can have a spectacular payoff. Ultimately, the key is to present the best version of yourself possible, but never to overload your potential client… or romantic interest. Know when to step back and walk away for a bit. I promise that people won’t forget about you.

Final Thoughts

I’ll admit it, sales and business can both be tricky. When you’re hunting for what you want, be it that great sale or new love interest, it’s easy to become frustrated and appear desperate.

At the end of the day, success in both of these arenas boils down to you putting your best face forward and being careful to never come off as desperate, pushy or intrusive. Make a stellar first impression and then, if you have to, step away. If you follow these tips, you can knock it out of the park in both your professional and personal life.

Are you experienced in the world of online dating?

What are you thoughts in the similarities to business?

dating business

Why You Join a Mastermind Group Today

Why You Join a Mastermind Group Today

A mastermind group is essential to becoming a successful online entrepreneur (and yes, I’m totally including those of you who are “just” bloggers!)

Most online entrepreneurs fail within the first 6 months, not because of a lack in funding or knowledge, but because of isolation! It can be so incredibly difficult to push forward when you don’t have a group on your side cheering you on, a group who “gets it” and can support you in a way that keeps you down the pathway to success.

What is a Mastermind Group?

A mastermind group removes you from that isolation and plants you into a “collective brain” – a group in which you’ll find support, accountability, and ideas that you might not have otherwise thought of on your own. The relationships you develop within a mastermind are key to finding long-term success as an entrepreneur.

Some mastermind groups focus on one specific goal (i.e. hitting a profit target within a set amount of time) while others are a bit more broad, allowing for the benefits of being in a solid group of colleagues while still providing the room to customize your goals and forge your own path.

How Much Does a Mastermind Group Cost?

Now these mastermind groups always GREATLY vary in price – sometimes free, but often ranging towards thousands of dollars per session.

I myself have paid $350 for a 30-day program and $1,800 for a 3-month program – both greatly beneficial, though I found the longer group was what really propelled me into finding the success that I now have as a frugal-living blogger and business strategist.

That said, I do not recommend trying to go the free route with a mastermind group. Even if you have the drive to build connections, many others will not, as there is no investment to keep them motivated on the days where they’re feeling anything but.

How Do You Find a Mastermind Group?

There are a number of ways you can find a mastermind group, but typically you want to find one that is facilitated by someone who A) has the experience with organizational leadership and B) has worked within a number of mastermind groups to know what works/what doesn’t.

My best advice for finding a mastermind program is to ask in your favorite Facebook groups (like Entrepreneurs and Bloggers in the Spotlight!)

LinkedIn is also a great resource, provided you already have solid connections and can trust their recommendations.

That said, I often offer mastermind group opportunities like this one:

mastermind group for bloggers

This mastermind program is absolutely for you if:

  • You find yourself feeling as though you live online.
  • You can’t seem to find the balance between hitting your profit goals and not stressing over the amount of time put into your business.
  • The thought of an 8-week commitment makes you nervous – I can’t think of anyone better to join, because I KNOW you need help finding the confidence in your business and ensuring that failure is NEVER again an option.
  • You’ve been running your business for 6+ months and have yet to make a significant profit, despite strong efforts.
  • You read the part about isolation and felt your heart sigh. You don’t have to be alone in this!!

Unstick Your Stuck Group Outline

I will host weekly sessions in which we’ll share each other’s successes, struggles, and we’ll come together to brainstorm how best to help each of the members move forward. These sessions will be live, but recorded, so you don’t have to worry about working MY schedule into yours.

You will also be granted access to an exclusive Facebook community, provided lifetime access to recordings of all sessions held, and be provided with 24-hour support via the group and e-mail access to me.

We will cover:
– Setting + Strengthening the Foundation of Your Business
– Paving the way for passive income products
– Maintaining momentum to keep out of your lazy zone
– Creating a solid support system
– The best marketing techniques and how to adapt them for your specific business
– Time management
– Automation systems
– And SO much more!!

It’s important to note that this is not just a group for advice, but a positive place to bring your goals to life. Each and every one of us would be there to support each other and manifest each others goals. This group *WILL* be industry changing and if you’re eager to be a part of it, DO. NOT. WAIT.

Enrollment is currently closed, but be sure you’re on my e-mail list so you don’t miss the next opportunity!

Dealing with Death: The Loss of Grandma

Dealing with Death: The Loss of Grandma

“She died, didn’t she?” The nod that followed my question shattered a part of me forever. My worst nightmare had come true; Grandma had died while I was away on my eighth grade trip.

March 15th 2001 was the last time I saw Grandma alive. I walked to her house every day after school, but this time my step-father drove me there so I could say goodbye before I left for my class trip to Washington D.C.

I’ll never forget how frail she looked, a shell of the powerful woman who had helped to raise me. I stood at the edge of her bed and fought the staggering urge to cry; crying would make it real and this just couldn’t be real. So I bit down hard on my bottom lip, the taste of mercury filling my mouth, and I kept myself numb to it all.

As I moved closer to her bed, her eyelids fluttered open and she gave me a feeble smile.

“Hi, honey,” she croaked through her chapped and swollen lips.

“Hi, Grandma,” I replied. I could feel my throat begin to swell and burn as I attempted to swallow those unshed tears.

“Leaving for your trip soon?” she asked. I knew she was excited for me to go on this trip as she’d previously made it clear that under no circumstances was I allowed to stay behind and watch her die.

All I could bring myself to do was nod in reply.

“Well…have fun, okay?”

I again gave a soft nod and turned to leave. To this day I cannot say for sure whether or not I even told her “I love you.”

When I returned from Washington D.C. a few days later, I stepped off the bus and with a quick glance, I saw my mom waiting for me beside our little blue Ford Focus. I had to force myself to look up at her.

“She died, didn’t she,” I asked.

My mom’s lips remained in a tight firm line as she made eye contact and nodded.

It’s that nod that still burns in my brain.

Grandma’s funeral went by quickly and yet I remember so much.

Almost as if thirteen year old me is still stuck there, forever looped in time…

I remember looking down at her in the casket, soft and frozen in time, willing her to just breathe. To just please come back to me.

I remember my school friends stopping by with their parents, awkward hugs and hand drawn cards.

I remember sitting in the bathroom with a friend, both of us sobbing into the couches and begging the pain to stop.

I remember the final glance I took before once again turning away from Grandma, this time forever.

The time following her death saw me tumbling into darkness.

First, my step-grandpa died of a heart attack.

Then the dog I’d had since my first birthday had to be put to sleep.

A month later, we adopted a puppy only to watch it slowly die of Parvo over the course of half a week.

And then as the summer faded to fall, my mom announced we’d be moving. We left Chicago and I became “the new girl” in a town that had less people than my grade school.

Every morning my eyes would flutter open only for my brain to immediately beg for the release that sleep provided. I lived each day simply to move on to the next.

With no friends and a mother lost in her own sorrowful oblivion, I let myself fall away from reality.

Then one night, a dream…

In it, I was sitting at the feet of my grandmother as she stroked my hair and soothed my sorrow. For a moment, I relished the comfort.

Then suddenly, I looked up at her.

“You’re dead,” I stated as if it were a fact we’d both just forgotten.

“I know,” she replied, still stroking my hair.

“But…but you can’t be. You’re here!” I cried.

“I am,” she said softly.

“You’re not supposed to be. Please, please come back,” I clung to her, willing the dream to continue on forever.

“It’s time to go, Amber,” she told me with one final caress, “You have to wake up now.”

With that, I felt a white light pull me toward the front door. I reached and screamed and begged…

And woke up.

my grandma

It’s been seventeen years, three months, and twenty-seven days since Grandma died. Surviving in a world without her was (and sometimes still is) almost more than I can bear, but I push on.

I look to my children now and think about how she would have adored them. Unlike most Grandmas, mine was fairly strict, much more a mother than a grandmother. But oh how she would’ve spoiled my babies, especially my little girl, who was given the same middle name as my grandmother – Arlene Margaret Lewner.

I often think about how different my life would have been had she beaten that colon cancer and survived beyond her fifty-three short years. Oh how different the path would have been, but surely the destinations would have remained the same.

Every day I will work harder. Each day I will push a bit more. While I may never be as great as she once was, I will be a Lewner woman. I will make her proud.

How to Create an Editorial Calendar (Free Template Included!)

How to Create an Editorial Calendar (Free Template Included!)

Do you have an editorial calendar for YOUR online business?

You KNOW consistency is key in making a success of your business, but how do you follow through on that? Whenever you sit down to work, do you find yourself staring at a blinking cursor, quickly distracted by Facebook?

If you’re in my Facebook community, you’ve heard me say dozens of times that no matter what kind of entrepreneur you are, you should have a blog. It sets up such an easy pathway for readers (and potential clients!) to find you.

Perhaps you hear me say that, though, and you think “Okay, but what do I write about…?”

If you run an online business, you should have a blog. It’s an easy way to share your value and expertise, and when done right, it can easily drive traffic to your website in a nearly-passive way.

So how do you get started running a successful blog?

With an EDITORIAL CALENDAR!

Grab your free template by clicking here then continue on below to learn all about how to implement your editorial calendar efficiently!

How to create an editorial calendar as a blogger or online business owner

How to Create an Editorial Calendar:

1. Go deeper with your goals

How will you get your audience from Point A (your post) to Point Z (your sales)? What sort of pathway do you want them to take? How do you best connect to your ideal clients? When you consider these factors as you map out your goals for your calendar, it becomes much easier to not only direct yourself, but to direct those leads that will (ideally) become paying clients. Don’t just scratch the surface and say “I’ll write four posts on W, X, Y, Z” and then expect mind-blowing results. Each post should have a purpose beyond just free value for your readers.

2. Priorities

How do your priorities factor into your writing/videos? How can you use these to ensure an easier transition from new reader to client? IS writing a blog or doing regular videos ACTUALLY a priority for you? Whether you write for a blog, do a podcast, do videos, or all of the above, you should have all of those commitments factored into the overall editorial calendar. If you’re just starting out, start slow and pick ONE media platform to run with. If writing comes naturally to you, but you don’t have the time or care to make video a priority, don’t try to squeeze it in there because you think you’re “supposed to.” This is your business. There is no “supposed to.”

3. Start with pen and paper

Physically writing out your editorial calendar will take you a LOT farther than plugging it into an online program. Put paper to pen and create PHYSICAL proof of your passion and abilities. Allow for a judgement-free space and write down whatever comes to mind, even if it feels totally unrelated to your business. Just write. See what starts to flow and build from there.

4. Frequency

Decide how often you’re going to post and BE realistic. Don’t start off posting 2x/week and then suddenly leave your audience hanging by disappearing for a month. Always be at least one post ahead. Better to set the bar low and have extra posts then to set it too high and fail to stay consistent.

Editorial Calendar template for bloggers

5. Pay attention to the dates

Think about the months/seasons as you begin to plan. Example: January – New Year Resolutions, recovering from the holiday season, starting off a new year right, etc. February – Valentine’s Day, getting started on taxes, Mardi Gras, etc. March – St. Patrick’s Day, spring cleaning, end of Quarter 1, etc. How can you use these to develop content themes? Map out your entire year if you have to, even if it’s just a bare-bones framework.

6. Work backwards

Along those same lines, if a holiday passes and you find yourself thinking “Man, that would’ve made for a GREAT blog post!!” then WRITE IT! Imagine if you wrote TWO blog posts every week and only posted once. You’d be an entire year ahead come December!!

7. Brainstorm & Free Write

Still stuck on the pen and paper part? Give yourself 30 minutes to brainstorm. No judgement, no dumb ideas, just free write for 30 minutes. THEN go back and decide what’s worth plugging into your editorial calendar. From there you can come up with keywords to focus on, photo you’ll need to take/find, and note what content you’ll use to nudge people towards your programs/products.

8. Keep it visible

However you decide to compile your editorial calendar after creating the rough draft, do it in such a way that it STAYS IN FRONT OF YOU! Pick up a yearly calendar from the dollar store and use it only for your editorial calendar – pin it up in front of your desk. Or use a program such as CoSchedule or a WP plug-in like Editorial Calendar.

Actually create your editorial calendar and you’ll already be one step ahead of those still staring at their blinking cursor.

Stop staring, get to it today!

Do you have YOUR editorial calendar done for this year?