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Archive for October, 2011

The Newsletter Mindset: Chocolates & Flowers

by Linda Claire Puig, President, Claire Communications

What do you do when you want to impress a sweetheart or thank a dear friend?

Give them flowers! Or chocolate! Or BOTH!

And think now how it feels on the receiving end when you receive flowers or chocolate or both. You feel delighted, appreciated, enlivened.

So what does all this have to do with newsletters?

It’s about the newsletter mindset.

Sometimes when I talk to coaches, mental health professionals and others of you in the “helping” professions, I hear a kind of anxiety that goes like this: “I’m not sure I should send a newsletter. People are already so overloaded with information coming at them. I don’t want to add to their burden.”

I say: think of your newsletter as the business equivalent of flowers and chocolate!

Let’s back up for a moment. It’s important to remember that a newsletter’s primary function is to build relationship with your readers. (Key word: relationship.)

When someone new signs up to receive your newsletter, they are wondering things like:

  • Do you understand me?
  • Can you inspire me?
  • How will I grow from this relationship?

Sending your newsletter (your version of flowers & chocolate) is a great way to follow up this “first meeting.” It’s like putting your best foot forward. And every issue you send shows your readers that you care, that you understand their needs.

Sending your newsletter says, “I’ve been thinking of you.” It says you want their life to be sweet and alive. It lets your readers know that you’d like to get to know them better, to keep the conversation going and the relationship growing.

And you want that relationship to stay fresh and exciting, so you keep up the flowers & chocolate.

Do you see what a difference this mindset makes? “I send chocolates & flowers to my list!” versus “I don’t want to burden people.”

About the Author:

Linda Claire Puig is the Founder and President of Ready2GoArticles.com and Ready2GoEzines.com, which provides coaches and personal development professionals who don’t have time to write – or don’t like to – with high-quality done-for-you newsletters and articles that help them more easily connect with their audience and grow their businesses.

She also teaches service-based solo-business owners how to attract buckets of ideal prospects, nurture those relationships through high-value newsletters and strategically use these newsletters to get more clients, fill more programs and make more money.

An award-winning writer since 1983, Linda’s articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines and newsletters throughout the world. She has produced newsletters for small businesses and professionals since 1990 and has trained thousands of individuals in “the way of the newsletter.” Linda is also an actor, she loves to travel, and all manner of dogs catch her eye.

Posted in: Professional Development

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Structure Breeds Freedom and Abundance!

Sounds totally counter-intuitive, right?!  How can structure lead to freedom? Doesn’t it lead to putting us into a box? Or keeping us playing small?  The opposite of structure is freedom.  Without structure shouldn’t we be able to do anything we want, however we want, how often we want?  That is what we so often hear from coaches who are in purgatory; stuck between the worlds of hobbyist vs. business owner.

The way so many coaches define structure is what we call the tug-of-war mentality of the entrepreneur:  “Either I have structure in my business and I am confined to playing small in a box OR I abandon structure and live free; live the life of my dreams doing what I love.”  These are conflicting views, and therefore the problem with this either/or tug-of-war is that neither side wins. It always ends up in a stalemate; each conflicting view pulling in equally opposing directions.

As a coach, it is time to redefine “structure” through the perspective of Both/And.  You leverage the skills, resources, and people that integrate a sense of focused structure that paves the way to your greatest freedom.

It takes quite a bit more brain power, energy and time to reinvent the wheel each time you interact with a prospect, a client or a member of your team.  And that is precisely what you are doing when you buy into the illusion that structure and freedom do not go hand in hand.  When most coaches hear the word “structure”, it’s like fingernails on a chalk board.  The right-side of their brain, the part that is what makes them creative and outstanding coaches, goes off like a red warning light.  They quickly believe that if they apply any structure to their day, their activities and how they work with their clients, they then won’t be able to “be fully present” to support their client in the best way possible or to do what they love.  And they also fear they won’t be able to live the life of their dreams.  We have been so fearful of the extreme end of the spectrum, labeled “corporate structure”, that we have abandoned the power of structure and the elements of structure that lead to our greatest freedom.

The 3 elements to leveraging structure into freedom:

  1. Knowing What to do in your business
  2. Knowing How to do “it”
  3. Doing “it” consistently every time

Element #1 “The What”

This element of structure is all about the actions and activities you experience on a daily basis within your business. The “what” includes things such as:

  • Attracting prospects and referral sources
  • Collaborating with strategic partners
  • Guiding contacts through your sales funnel
  • Integrating exquisite client support
  • Implementing the best practices when it comes to billing and payment processing

Element #2: The “How To Do It”

This element of structure is all about the specific steps you take when you are involved in the above-listed activities.  In every activity in your business there is a specific sequence of steps that, when done in sequence, will generate the greatest flow and quickest results.  When we reinvent the wheel each time we engage in these activities, we waste brain power, energy and time “figuring it out.”  When we can identify in advance the sequence of specific steps, the “how” becomes effortless and we recoup much of our time and energy to put towards other result-based activity.

Element #3: Consistency

It is not just enough to know the specific sequence of steps to take in each business activity, but rather it’s also about doing the sequence consistently each time.  It is in this consistent application where we truly leverage our time.

Once you’ve identified the steps to take, how to take them and the best sequence to take them in, you begin to realize you are saving time, money and energy to focus on things such as:

  • More clients in the same amount of time
  • Doing more of what you love (vacations, travel, etc.)
  • More time with your family
  • Using your entrepreneurial creative juices to develop your next vision

It is through structure that we recoup our time.  It is through structure that we reclaim our power and energy;  not the extreme type of structure often experienced in corporate settings where you are in a box (literally, a “cubicle”) and are limited in what you are able to do.  As the entrepreneur wearing all the hats within your business, it is these elements of structure that allow you to quickly and easily go back and forth between the various hats and leverage your strengths to yield the quickest and greatest results.

Are you ready to stop the tug-of-war stalemate in your business and to integrate the Both/And approach to structure?  If your answer is yes, we invite you to join our Business Success Inner Circle of coaches growing their businesses, and making a big difference (and big money, too)!  We so believe in this business growth program, we are offering the first two months FREE! But don’t take our word for it.  We are biased.  Try it for yourself!

Posted in: Business Operations

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