Posts

New Course! Elevator Pitches That Don't Suck!

Image
  I attend networking meetings every week and I'm amazed to see the change that takes place in people from when you're just having a normal conversation with them and the point where they are asked to introduce themselves to the group. I almost have to do a double-take because the charming person I was just talking with has turned into a robot who is rushing through a canned, formulaic phrase that ends up not giving anyone a reason to talk to them after the intros are done. I've had my share of elevator faux pas', too, mostly because I never realized just how important they were in the process of creating memories and delivering value. A few years ago, I attended a workshop at the SBDC where we were given an elevator pitch exercise that had a formula that I had to question. It was the most uninteresting way to present yourself that I had ever seen. About a month later I was putting together a workshop on marketing messages for the same SBDC and I created a short exercis

Getting a Job Isn't Failing at Business

Image
  Sometimes solopreneurs find job opportunities appealing enough to take some of their time and energy away from their businesses in favor of the job. Recently, I had a person ask if taking a job meant that they weren't committed enough to their business and should close it down. My answer has more questions than resolutions. I want to know more. Are they ready to be done with their business? Do they need the steady income and regular structure the job provides? Have they been considering closing their business? Do they need to hire help or add partners? Unless you want one, there isn't a straightforward yes or no answer to this. Then my answer is yes. I also want to highlight that every business has a lifecycle; sometimes you reach the end and have decisions to make. Does the business model need to change? Is there another value that can be developed for the market you serve? Again, no direct or easy answers. I have more to say in the Coffee Break, but I also want to add that

How Not to Work With a Creative

Image
After getting ghosted on a copywriting job I was hired for by a colleague, I have some things to say about the professional treatment and attitudes you need when you work with creative contractors. It shouldn't amaze me anymore to see just how little creative talents and professions are valued in the marketplace. Anyone who has ever mastered a craft seen as artistic or creative is not treated with the same level of professional respect as a janitor. We're routinely asked to undervalue our work and accept prices that don't cover basic costs. We're asked to deliver perfection on the first try. We're asked to work under ridiculously short timelines. And then when the client doesn't apparently like what we're doing, they don't even give us the courtesy of a phone call? Sorry to say that this doesn't speak well of their business practices, and it makes me wonder how they treat their clients. I'll be slow to refer anyone to these people; before this, I

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Image
Or rather, don't pay attention to my ten-year-old blog site, last-minute copy on my sales page, and disdainful approach to social media.  For my clients, the work is easier. I can see it objectively, find the gaps, fill them in, and we're golden. They get great results, and we're all happy. Behind the curtain, a guy throws spaghetti on the wall, lets it all fall to the floor, and doesn't clean up after himself. It's all too much! Yet another shoemaker whose family has no shoes, here I am, and my marketing is a pile of steamy. But my clients are rocking! I'm lucky to have customers who are so happy with what we've accomplished that they send people to me directly. Otherwise, I'd have no business based on my own marketing. Part of it is that I'm too close to it to be objective. Second of all, I'm not depending on the website or social media activity for business right now. And finally, there are so many other ways I'd rather spend my time than

Emotional Storms, Cluelessness, and Longing

Image
I've had a couple of hard days. Feeling emotions that are bigger than their trigger. Feeling clueless and unfocused as I try to show up for my work. And aware of a sense of loss that has been affirmed by a few recent dreams of loved ones who've passed in the last few years. I don't fight these days, feelings or movements. They're just as important as the positive feeling days. The reflections and insights that come through on days like this couldn't come through on days when my energy is high, my clarity and focus allow me to get things done, so there is a silver lining. I'm not worried about days like this because they always pass. Sometimes they happen ahead of important breakthroughs, or they are a way to prepare me for opportunities I otherwise would not be willing or able to consider. My encouragement to you is to just find your way through them with as much grace as you can muster. These times are not avoidable, nor are they shameful. They are just a part

Why I Won't Pay to Play

Image
Creators are frequently asked to contribute their talents to events, promotions, and venues, and instead of being paid for their time, talent, and craft, they are asked to pay to participate. This has been going on in the music world for years.  At some point, venue owners realized there were enough musicians who were desperate for exposure out there that instead of paying for musical performances, they would ask the musicians to pay to play. In this video, I share my point of view on what is wrong with that picture. I am begging at this point for people who host venues, events, and promotions to stop this practice. You need to work out compensation for creators into your business model. Your short-term gains are leading to the demise of your cash cow industry, and you won't be able to sustain your business with this practice in the long term either. And if you are a creator, please stop offering your time, talent, and craft to people at a cost to you that will never be compensated

Quiet Marketing with Danielle Gardner

Image
▼Watch and Listen Below!▼ Back in February, I made a book recommendation video for a book I had just read called Quiet Marketing: A Calm, Minimal Approach to Business and Online Visibility for Highly Sensitive Solopreneurs (Amazon Associate link: https://amzn.to/3oMCxES ) This short book is packed with essential insights, principles, and practices for highly sensitive and intuitive people who have found their way into business ownership. I'm delighted today to introduce you to the author of Quiet Marketing, Danielle Gardner. In addition to being an author, Danielle is a business mentor and tiny course creator. Her work with clients is centered around taking a calm, minimal approach to business and online visibility that is especially suited to Highly Sensitive solopreneurs.   In today's conversation, we hear about: Dani's career evolution from leaving the perks and paychecks of the corporate world to pursuing work more aligned with her gifts. Creating your own definition of

Recommended: Bittersweet, by Susan Cain

Image
A few years ago, I was introduced to Susan Cain's first book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking , and was deeply affected by what she had written. She was describing my repeated experience in such accurate detail that I wondered if she'd been able to do a Google search of my thought banks. Turns out I'm just not as unique as I thought I was. My book group of two that I have enjoyed participating in for the past year has been reading Susan Cain's latest book, Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole, and I'm having a stark sense of deja vu. She is putting my internal world on paper for the whole world to see. I've had a streak of melancholy as a feature of my existence since I was very young. I don't remember a time in my life when it wasn't nearby. It was never based on my circumstances; it was almost as if it was central to my worldview. And longing too has been a companion. I think this book will be an affir

Selling the Experience

Image
You may have heard the old sales trope about people don't buy the drill; they buy the hole. I take that even further and suggest that people buy the enhancement to their life from the painting hung on the hook held by the screw in the wall that was put into the hole drilled by the drill. For the creators I work with who struggle with their pricing, I like to say that your price isn't for the object; it's for the desired experience. People buy things because of the experience of life they desire. And often, they're inspired to buy when certain experiences are suggested. When I learned this for myself, playing gigs became less an exchange of attention for money, and they became a more holistic offer - the music was a part of the enhanced experience of being together and enjoying an evening out. As I started to approach gigs that way, I started to make more money both in the pay for the gig and in tips. Tips skyrocketed. This doesn't just apply in artistic circumstance

Where to Find People to Help

Image
I was referred to a coach early in my music career who had helped another musician friend of mine get her business started. When I hired her I found that most of the business things she was teaching were already things I knew, but the area where I really needed help was marketing. The marketing advice she gave me was great for coaches but not so much for musicians. I ended up finding some people who were ahead of me in their musical success and learning from them how to do marketing. And as I learned, I became a resource for those who were getting started after me. When my music career was disrupted and coaching became my main stream, the first people who sought my help were these musicians, the ones who were just getting started and had no clue.  If you're trying to find people to help, look for those who are a step or two behind you in the path you're on and see if there is an opportunity there for you. You are uniquely qualified in both knowledge and experience to help them.

If You're Worried About Money

Image
Don't make making money harder than it has to be. There are opportunities all around you. If your fancy automated marketing funnel isn't working yet and you need cash, find someone to help and charge them for it. Know how to design a logo? Visit some websites until you find someone who needs a logo, and then be bold about telling them they need to hire you. Do you know how to make an animated intro for a video? Find someone on YouTube who doesn't have one yet, and tell them you'll make one for them today for $250. Know someone on your block whose yard needs to be raked? Knock on the door, remind them about the HOA rules, and tell them you'll have it done by lunchtime. If you need money, stop waiting for it to find you, and go out and help someone, then charge them for it. Don't make it any more difficult than that.  You have time to tweak your funnel until it's humming like an Indy car, but don't allow desperation to screw everything up for you. #funnel

Nourishing Silence

Image
Today my being came to an almost full stop. Despite the list of things I wanted to accomplish and the regular things I would do on a Sunday, today was a day made for silence. Not just quiet - silence. There is a depth of silence that isn't always easy to reach, but it's always here, and it is the silence that restores, replenishes, and nourishes. It doesn't manifest as more energy but rather as deep peace and calm. I've had recent conversations with a couple of people who need a full reset, but it's nearly impossible for them to stop long enough for it to happen. It's almost as if they are frightened they'll be unable to return to their normal hustle and bustle if they allow themselves even a few hours of this nourishment. Some of the most well-known spiritual masters invite people to stop. Today I understand why. #silence #mindset #reset  

A Lesson From ZZ Top's First Gig

Image
 I've loved ZZ Top's music since I bought the 8-Track tape of their Fandango album when I was a freshman in high school. I even loved them when they added the fake drums and synthesizers. Last year, when Dusty Hill died, I felt like I'd lost a personal best friend. So I've watched the Netflix documentary, ZZ Top: Just a Little Ol' Band From Texas, three and a half times, and I'll finish the fourth tonight. One of the things they talked about in the film was their first gig. This part of the story has stuck with me because it's one thing I have in common with them - I had a first gig, too. And my first gig had the same number of attendees - one. They bought the guy at their show a coke when they took a break so he'd stay for the second half.  Sometimes, our first run at something gets a minimal response even with our best marketing efforts. It's easy to get discouraged when this happens, but it isn't a commentary on the work you're doing or ha

Writing Articles for Publications - Erica Holthausen

Image
 ▼ Watch and Listen Below! ▼ For coaches, consultants, and other experts, reaching new audiences with your messages, experience, and offers is one of the biggest business challenges. You'll be given a litany of options that will include blogging, YouTube, social media strategy, public speaking, podcasting, and whatever marketing soup of the day everyone is raving about. Erica Holthausen has a better idea. Share your expertise with the masses by publishing articles in major publications like Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, and professional journals. The digital realm has opened many doors for experts to share their writing that weren't available even a few years ago. Erica's coaching programs help professionals plan, write, pitch, and place their articles in publications that will expose thousands of new people to their work. From here, you'll want to join her for her free Q and A session, Pitched to Published here: https://www.catchlinecommunications.com/p2p.html While you

Industry Standard Doesn't Mean Best Option

Image
Many years ago, a good friend of mine spent over five thousand dollars on a digital recording system featuring ProTools's latest and greatest technology. My friend had never had any experience with digital recording, although he'd had decades of experience with analog. His sole reason for purchasing the system he did was that the salesman told him it was the industry standard, which was a true statement. He set out to learn how to use his new system and ran into obstacle after obstacle. Months after purchasing it, he had yet to have recorded even a few seconds of audio. He was beyond frustrated. Yes, this system was industry standard, but it was intended to be used by professional level technicians, not novices. He never was able to make the system work. We need to treat claims of industry standard with an eye of caution and suspicion as DIY entrepreneurs. Just because professionals within an industry can make something work doesn't mean it's your best option as a new u

Not Wanting To Be Found

Image
I had a realization the last few days that doesn't come as much of a surprise, but it is liberating to finally see. Several people wondered why I had a small mailing list after being perceived as a marketing expert. It felt good to finally articulate that I don't really want to be found, and I don't think I'm the expert that others see. I do love marketing because it's the most human thing about business, but I still don't believe that there is an honest-to-God marketing expert anywhere in the world. It's too fluid to be mastered. All that said, when I saw and admitted that at the root of it all I don't want to be discovered, located, found, or noticed, I breathed a huge sigh of relief at having made the statement.  Visibility may or may not have helped my situation. At some point, people did find out about me, but more often than not, I found them first. If I meet someone and discover I can help them, I will be relentless in my pursuit. But I don't

After the Fall

Image
This morning started out with a thud. Listen for more details. I love walking my dog. I think he knew he was about to go to the groomer, so he tried to throw a kink in the works. I had her cut his hair extra short this time. I am OK, but I've had a lot on my mind since then.  Circumstances happen quickly, but our lasting experiences don't appear to be caused by the events themselves but rather by the thinking afterward. I've had a hundred different experiences of the same event today, but the event only really happened once. #impagination #mindset #reality  

Franklin on Grown Women Growing Wealth Podcast!

Image
  I enjoyed visiting with my friends, Daphne Jones and Roberta Ravella on their podcast, Grown Women Growing Wealth.  We covered a lot of ground - concerns about the economy, changing plans in the middle of crises, creating a business centered on creative gifts and talents, and much more. When you listen, be sure to take a few minutes to leave a review and let them know how you enjoy the show. Roberta and Daphne have both been recent guests on Your Own Best Company so if you'd like to hear their stories, here are the links: Daphne: https://www.franklintaggart.com/2022/07/money-smarts-daphne-jones.html Roberta: https://www.franklintaggart.com/2022/07/enjoying-marketing-and-selling-with.html To listen to the audio version, click here:  https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-68z5n-12770eb Thanks for watching!

Brilliant Celebrations

Image
Talking to my friend Teresa Funke today and was inspired by her fun idea for celebrating her birthday. Buy one lottery ticket for every year of her life and give those tickets to anyone she meets. Celebration is a central part of our life together as humans. It's a central aspect of living in community and we are unique as a species in that we look for reasons to celebrate - milestones, rites of passage, getting up in the morning - celebration is a human thing. As I've gotten older, celebration has become a much more important thing to remember. I haven't always been good at it, and it still feels awkward, but it matters. More in the Coffee Break about that. A great way to celebrate Teresa would be to buy her book, Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life here: https://www.teresafunke.com/product/bursts-of-brilliance/ #creativity #community #celebration  

Inspiration Everywhere

Image
Where do you get ideas? Is it difficult to find subjects for your creativity? Today's Coffee Break answers a client's question about where I get ideas to talk about in these videos. My ideas come from whatever I'm thinking about. Sometimes they're interesting, other times not so much. Putting my thoughts in a video gives me a process of making my internal world more external. Similar to Seth Godin's daily blogs, my ideas come from my thought in that moment and I just make a record of them. If you're looking for something to create from, start there. I think more often than not, we judge our ideas as unworthy before we ever give voice to them. That is a mistake. I never know if I like the idea until it's been made into something. And sometimes I really like them. Many times...meh. Creativity is messy and predictably unpredictable. We never stop thinking. There's always a fish to catch in that pond; some are worth keeping. #creativity #thinking #creativeth

Sorting Out Work Options

Image
The frequency of calls from people concerned about jobs and economic changes is increasing, so I'll talk a bit in this Coffee Break about what I'm seeing.  We are hearing seemingly mixed messages about jobs and worker shortages. Some companies are starting early rounds of layoffs as they anticipate an economic slowdown, so there are more corporate and professional workers re-entering the job market. At the same time, service industries like food and beverage, construction, and hospitality scramble to rehire or replace workers who were let go during the pandemic. The air travel industry is included in this last mix, reporting service disruptions as the demand for flights exceeds their personnel capacity. Several people have asked if this is a good time to start a new business. Like any other time, you need to answer some basic questions. Do you have something valuable to offer, and do people need it and have the ability to pay? I'm seeing an upswing for people in freelance c

Staying Human and Staying In Business - Audrey Holst

Image
▼Watch and Listen Below!▼ Some of the most challenging times for self-employed people are those when we both need to attend to personal crises and change while continuing to do what our businesses require. In this episode of Your Own Best Company, Audrey Holst returns and offers some keen insights into her own process and experience that will help us all navigate times like these. Audrey has been my guest a couple of times before, and I love the quality of our conversations. She's candid and articulate, and she openly shares the real stories that offer deep empathy and hopeful suggestions. You can find her work at https://fortitudeandflow.com . Some highlights: **Getting through times of grief and high emotion. **My insight about the distinction between gifts and talents. **Seeing our human limitations in a positive light and challenging the myth of limitlessness. **Understanding will, resistance, and commitment as almost magical human tools. Subscribers to this channel can easily