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3 Gifts Hidden Inside Every Pang of Jealousy

Sunita (name changed) walked into the dojo, confident, regal and self-possessed to begin practicing Aikido.

For some people — including me — studying Aikido (The Japanese Martial Art, called The Way of Harmony that works as a way to polish the spirit, to turn lead into gold) is a slow, awkward, and arduous process. It can take years — decades, even — to master the intricate movements and achieve a level of skill and grace that would be considered “masterful.”

I’ve been practicing this martial art for almost six years. Even though I’ll be taking my black belt test in a few weeks, much of the time I still feel like a hulking Clydesdale, tromping around inelegantly.

Which is why I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy (OK, more than just a “twinge”) watching Sunita, the “new girl” at the dojo, pick up all of the basic moves so quickly — and effortlessly.

As a former gymnast, Sunita already has a great deal of physical intelligence, balance, coordination, and the ability to memorize patterns and dance-like movements quickly. Oh, and did I mention that she’s also drop-dead gorgeous and mesmerizing to watch?

Yeah.

It was hard not to feel jealous.

Girl dancing dark autumn_Lies Thru a Lens

Self-Esteem for women Photo Credit: Lies Thru a Lens

Jealousy is a funny emotion. I’ve found that — no matter how “evolved” you think you are, and no matter how fiercely you try to deny that it’s happening (“Nope! I’m not jealous, no, not at all…”) it has a way of creeping back into your body and taking over — if you allow it.

I see this happen with my clients all the time, and unfortunately, it can be detrimental to their success.

Just a few weeks back, a woman in my monthly training program confessed that she’s been hesitating on moving forward with a crucial piece of her publicity plan because she feels like one of her “business heroes” is “so much better” than her, so much “farther along” with her business, with a more attractive website and legions of online fans, and polished programs — so what’s the point of even trying? She feels like, “Why even bother? I ought to just give up now, because I’ll never be able to measure up!”

I probably don’t have to spell out why that kind of thinking is so harmful.

Imagine if J.K. Rowling had said to herself, “Oh, plenty of other people have written stories about wizards. J.R.R. Tolkien already wrote a whole bunch of wizard-y books, years ago, and he’s a much better writer than me. He already has tons of adoring fans. I have none. Plus, 12 publishers have rejected my manuscript for Harry Potter. I’ll just quit now.”

When jealousy turns into creative-paralysis — freezing you in place, holding you back from doing the work you feel called to do — nobody benefits. The world is left bereft, with a “gap” where your finest contribution ought to go.

On some level, I’m guessing you already know this. You get that jealousy can be a harmful emotion if it’s left untamed and undirected. The question on your mind might be, “So, if I’m feeling jealous of someone — say, a business competitor, peer, athlete, or even a good friend — what can I do about that?”

Here are three acts of “emotional alchemy” (that is, transforming one emotional state into another) that I recommend trying. Or, to word it differently, three “gifts” or “opportunities” that are hidden inside of every twinge of jealousy…

1. Turn jealousy into an opportunity to “steal the technique.”

Watching Sunita’s graceful movements, I found myself thinking, “I want my body to move like that. I want my mind to be more still.”

When there’s something I want, I’ve trained myself to shift out of “jealous lurker mode” and into “student mode.” I began to study her more closely, picking up cues, copying her subtle movements, learning through imitation, asking that I can absorb her qualities and make them mine.

Aikido braid B&W_Øystein Alsaker

Aikido Martial Arts Training Photo Credit: Øystein Alsaker

Later, even though I was advising her, since I’m her “sempei” or senior (though based on years and experience that doesn’t necessarily mean superior in skill), I could feel her technique and that, in itself taught me. I noticed myself improving. Just by being near her I felt myself becoming more calm.

In Aikido we call this “stealing the technique.” Actually, I’m not just jealous of Sunita. I’m jealous of everyone in the dojo. Every single person who trains at Bay Marin Aikido has a quality or movement I envy.

In fact, I’ve written down those qualities and techniques and consciously practice them on the mat. I have a list that I review before going to training and take one per night to focus on. This is a variation on what Saito Sensei, who trained directly with O’Sensei advised.

My sensei (teacher) Hans Goto Sensei explained it this way: “Work on one thing and then you’ll get it. That’s yours. And then you can work on another one thing. That’s what Saito Sensei said. He said, ‘You can try and work on too many things each class you’ll get zero. 30 days of zero still equal zero. But if you only try to get one thing out of each class after 30 days you have 30 things.’ This is huge.”

Jealousy doesn’t have to “freeze” you. It can be turned into motivational fuel, inspiring you to study and train more precisely, more intensely. Or perhaps, simply try something new to achieve the result that you want. It can be an opportunity to “steal the technique” and learn from the best.

2. Turn jealousy into an opportunity to return to the present and rejoice in the success of others.

When I feel my mind spinning into intense jealousy, it’s usually a signal that I have “left” the present moment. Instead of focusing on the Aikido technique that I’m trying to master, or the blog post I’m trying to write, or the webinar that I’m trying to deliver, or the client I am trying to coach, my mind has gone somewhere else.

My mind is caught up in what other people are doing and how they are doing it better. That kind of mental departure leads to distracted, fragmented work. It’s hard to do your best work when you’re not fully engaged in the present moment and it just doesn’t feel good either.

When I sense that happening, I take a few deep breaths to center myself back in my body, back in the present moment. Sometimes I say silently, “OK, I’m back here now.” Everything feels better once I’m “back,” and in that more centered place, I let go of the envious feelings and focus on what I’m working on in the moment.

Ginny Breeland Sensei says, “The Breath provides a bridge to subtle energies that can nourish. It is the connection for the Mind to the Body and the Here to the Now. On the mat it allows us to go from tension to relaxation, from confusion to a clarity, from irregular motion to coordinated ease.

In life it can quell a sense of separation and allow us to find that comforting sense of interconnection. It can take us beyond ourselves.

Let attention allow us see ourselves with a new reverence.

Study the Breath. The most profound things lie close at hand.”

So the breath can connect us to the very person we envy thus dissolving the separation between us. It brings us closer to what we want and who we want to be and gives us the chance to “see ourselves with new reverence.”

Aikido B&W girl throw_Øystein Alsaker

How to turn jealousy into an asset Photo Credit: Øystein Alsaker

Another way to look at this is that whenever jealous feelings arise for me I’m being pulled off center. One of the key principles of Aikido is to keep your center and take your attacker’s center, to get them off balance so they are light and easy to throw. It’s often said that someone asked O’Sensei, the founder of Aikido, “How is it you never get pulled off center?” And he replied that, just like everyone else, he does get pulled off center but he has trained himself to get back to center so quickly you can’t see it. So the more you practice pulling yourself back to center the faster you’ll be able to do it. And soon, like O’Sensei, your process will be “invisible” and incorporated into how you handle jealousy, and ultimately, self-acceptance.

3. Turn jealousy into an opportunity to reflect on your own strengths, skills, desirable assets, and “swallow the world in one gulp.”

Curly haired women long for smooth locks. Straight-haired women spend hours trying to add curls and waves.

Skinny women yearn for Marilyn Monroe-esque curves. Curvy girls wish they could slim down and look like a runway model.

A struggling yoga studio owner might long for more money, more influence, or a big team to manage. A successful CEO might wistfully yearn for quiet days filled with minimal responsibilities, no meetings, and plenty of time to practice yoga.

So many of us crave the opposite of what we have! It’s almost comedic.

I admire Sunita’s instant, effortless grace on the Aikido mat. One day, in the dressing room, she mentioned that she found me a patient teacher who didn’t condescend. Who knew? Another woman in the dojo startled me by saying she was studying my conversational skills. I know I’m much more fluent verbally than physically, but had no idea that someone would study what comes naturally to me.

We all have skills and strengths that other people find enviable. Sometimes, though, caught up in a whirlwind of jealousy, we can’t see our own gloriousness.

Samurai Sword_Alex Masters

The Neuroscience of happiness Photo Credit: Alex Masters

Not surprisingly, self-acceptance is a key happiness factor.

Christopher Bergland, a world-class endurance athlete, coach, author, and political activist noted, “A 2014 survey by psychologists who study happiness identified ‘ten keys to happier living’ including daily habits that make people genuinely happy. In an unexpected finding, the psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire who performed the survey found that the habit which corresponded most closely with being happy — and satisfied with overall life — is self-acceptance.”

Unfortunately, self-acceptance was also the “happiness habit” that participants in the survey practiced the least. The new study is titled “Self-Acceptance Could Be the Key to a Happier Life, Yet It’s the Happy Habit Many People Practice the Least.””

Dr. Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness, said: “Our society puts huge pressure on us to be successful and to constantly compare ourselves with others. This causes a great deal of unhappiness and anxiety.”

An antidote to comparing ourselves to others is a Buddhist practice that asks, “Can you be happy for their (the person you are jealous of) success?” You notice your jealous feelings. Stop. Take a breath and simply ask this question. You can do this anywhere, anytime. Can you be happy for this person’s success? Even rejoice in it? At the heart of this practice is the realization that it’s actually changing you. It’s not just for Karma points. You are getting something from engaging in the very act of transforming your feelings from envy into good will toward another person.

Reverse the negative thought by giving a blessing

Reverse the negative thought by giving a blessing

We may even be able to extend this same practice to ourselves in a direct way by doing what Dr. Mark Williamson recommends, “Ask a trusted friend or colleague to tell you what your strengths are or what they value about you.”

But don’t stop there, because as psychologist Rick Hanson, author of the best-selling Buddha’s Brain says, “The mind is like Velcro for negative experiences, and Teflon for positive ones.”

He references John Gottman’s study that found in important relationships “a negative interaction in an important relationship is five times more powerful than a positive interaction.”

To counteract this “negativity bias” effect, Hanson recommends that we really savor a person’s positive words. “The way to remember something is to make it intense, felt in the body, and lasting. That’s how we give those neurons lots and lots of time to fire together so they start wiring together. So rather than noticing it and feeling good for a couple of seconds, stay with it. Relish it, enjoy it, for 10, 20, or 30 seconds, so it really starts developing neural structure.”

And lastly, “Sense and intend that this positive experience is sinking into you and becoming a part of you. In other words, it’s becoming woven into the fabric of your brain and yourself.”

When our body and mind are so full of our own happiness it leaves less room for jealousy and makes it easier to be happier for others.

Another way to counteract jealousy is to consider that that moment of “outward longing” might be your cue to pause and turn your gaze inward. Ask yourself, “What are some of the qualities that I possess that others might find desirable, enviable, or beautiful?”

Maybe you have tremendous poise, perseverance, a sense of balance, a wry sense of humor, mental grit, physical endurance, playfulness, seriousness, graciousness, an uncanny ability to say just the right thing at just the right time, or the ability to know when to listen and say nothing at all.

Return to the qualities that make you… you. Make a mental list or write them down.

Refer back to your list when feelings of jealousy are starting to feel overwhelming.

Remember who you are, beneath the noise. Remember what you add to the world.

Aikdo Sword Kyoto_Alex Masters

Neuroscience how to train your brain Photo Credit: Alex Masters

The stark reality is that there will always be people who are more seasoned, more experienced, and more popular than you. 

You might feel like you will “never catch up” with them, and you are quite right.

You will never “catch up” with people that you admire deeply, because you are not them. You are you.

You have your own stories to tell, books to write, products to launch, projects to bring forth into the world. In the end, who knows? You might become bewilderingly successful — in the conventional, making-millions-of-dollars sense of the term — beyond your wildest dreams, surpassing all of your personal heroes as you skyrocket ever-upwards.

Or, instead of making millions you might move millions with your words, your deeds, your presence.

Or you might achieve success on a far humbler, though no less meaningful, scale. Who knows?

One thing is certain:

True success is not about being “as good” or “better” than somebody else.

It’s about using all that you have been given to the fullest and maxing out your potential. 

That’s the person that your clients, your customers, your fellow martial arts students, and media audiences all want to meet.

As O’Sensei says, “Never become stagnant. Train your body, forge your spirit, and swallow the world in one gulp! Stand boldly, with confidence, wherever you find yourself. Make use of all your innate power and you can accomplish anything.”

On that note, it’s time for me to finish this up, head to the dojo and swallow the world in one gulp.

Dear Jealousy:

Domo arigato gozaimashita.

(Thank you very much for what you have taught me.)


Love Beads and Bergamot

My sweetie and I were sitting in a booth at Chevy’s in Richmond, right after visiting Annie’s Annuals to get some of her incredible plants (cappuccino sunflowers, dahlias, violas, hollyhocks). As we sloppily ate the fire-roasted salsa (my fav) I noticed the guy across from me with his amazing array of super colorful bracelets and necklace — kinda like you’d wear when you were a kid. I wanted to take a photo of him, and Will encouraged me as I felt a bit shy about asking. But I did it. We asked if he made the jewelry and he said some. Others had been given to him. And explained that he went to parties where they exchanged the jewelry with each other.

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Brand you

As he left he came to our table and asked me if I wanted a bracelet. He put it on my wrist and said, “But first, I’ll teach you what we do when we give it.” He held up his hand in a peace sign and I did the same and we held our fingers together. Next was love, our hand in a C. Then was respect, palm to palm. Last was… unity and we laced our fingers together. Peace. Love. Respect. Unity. I did a short video re-enactment so I could remember it.

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branding management

I’m wearing the bracelet now as I write this about to continue to work on my new website and realized that one of my hopes is that… my website conveys these things.

For a long time, my website hasn’t felt like me, and that pained me deeply. I’d outgrown the design and feel. So it has felt out of alignment. I had to wait 9 months to get Paul Jarvis the web designer I wanted (it was SO worth it!). We started in February. Completed the design in March. And a team of us have been working madly transferring and editing the content as we populate it.

It’s been both a purifying and maddening process. Maddening for so many little details and decisions. Purifying, for letting go of what no longer represents who I am or what I do. Since I like to see things happen fast so this has been a huge exercise in patience and endurance. There have been many moments of little temper tantrums and crying in the kitchen.

To help calm myself I read The Art of Stillness: Adventures in going nowhere by Pico Iyer. I’ve put Ed Sheeran (who I’m kinda in love with) on the CD player and lit a Sydney Hale Co bergamot and black tea candle. I’ve gone to Aikido even when exhausted and crabby. I’ve immersed myself in the garden too. I figure pleasuring the senses will help neutralize frustration and fatigue.

To give you a little tour of my new website I’ve highlighted a number of new gifts and guides that I made for you can enjoy.

I’m particularly proud of this. As it’s been 15 years in the making.

To purification,

Susan

P.S. Want to be my podcast guest?

I’ll be starting a Podcast soon and I’m looking to interview you if you got featured in the media. Jet me a quick email and tell me a bit about your experience (and be sure to include your website). If I think your story is a good match I’ll ping you right back to set up a time to talk. If you’re chosen you’ll get in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands and, of course, we will so our best promote you and your expertise gracefully integrated into the Podcast interview using the same principles we teach in the Your Signature Sound Bites course.

P.P.S. If you find any glitches or irritations in the new website please let us know!

P.P.P.S. I’m moving away from Facebook onto Instagram to share my “behind the scenes” life. So follow me (and maybe “like” some pics that appeal) over there where you’ll find a photo that won me a Sydney Hale Co. candle! So thrilled.

P.P.P.P.S. Live in the San Francisco Bay Area? Come to a coaching salon in the garden! I’d love to meet you in person.

For You

Looking to go far fast? Ultra Super Saver Bundle (All my creations – minus the ones I’m no longer proud of) for a hefty 75%+ off.

Curious about the Sound bite and Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul E-course combo? Try it for $1. (30 day guarantee).

Want to work together. Here are the many wonderful ways. (Choose your delight).

Haven’t found your JoySpot, the place where joy and profit meet? (Book a session now.)

Think you can’t afford me? You can! Get group coaching every month in the Q&A in the Membership Club (+ fab lessons).

Want eye and heart candy? Quote-Poems to inspire you. (Perfect for social media engagement + happy-making).

Need a media list? 50 Top Media Contacts. (Right on the home page).

Yearning to learn? Masterclass trainings here. (Fun and fast).

Seeking the latest blueprints, PR and tech tools? Look no further. (What I use).

Aaaaaand, more free reports

Aching for a reading binge? Hop on over to the blog. (See the ENTIRE list of posts + get more PDF downloads).

That’s it for the lalapalooza!


The Top 7 Tips to Getting on TV

By Guest Blogger Gina Rubinstein

Every time you turn on the radio or TV, you see a so-called expert being interviewed. The Today Show, CNN, Talk Radio, local morning shows and all the rest rely on these experts to give background and insight on the hot topics of the day.  For these experts, the result of being on TV or radio is that their BOOK SALES SOAR, they become an IN-DEMAND SPEAKERS, and one media booking leads to more.

This can be you.

As a TV producer, I can tell you from experience that we are always on the hunt for guests and experts who shine.  Actually, we are desperate to find smart and funny people.

In my career, I’ve cast thousands of people for talk shows and other types of reality TV, and said “No” to many thousands more.  I’ve coached many authors and speakers who were looking to promote themselves and their products on TV so they could do the best job possible.  As the one you must get past, the one who says “Yes” or “No,” I can tell you what you need to get booked AND THE MISTAKES THAT CAN TORPEDO OPPORTUNITIES.

Here are the top 7 tips to getting booked on TV:

1. Be authentic: So many people try to be what they think is “right” and come across stilted and rehearsed instead.  I coached my client Judy Carter on how to be authentic and within 30 seconds of being on TV with Marie Osmond, Marie sat on her lap because she liked her so much.

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2. Connect your expertise to a current hot topic.  In order to get the attention of mass media, you need to build a bridge from your expertise to what’s hot in the news. A client of mine who wrote a book on parenting got onto a show about legalizing marijuana because she had advice for parents who want to say “yes” to pot for themselves and “no” to pot for their kids.

3.  Have a compelling elevator pitch – In three or four sentences I need to know who you are, why I should listen to you, what problem you’re going to solve, how if affects me and what fresh ideas you have as solutions. A client of mine found herself in an elevator with a radio producer, gave her pitch, and by the time the elevator got to her floor she was booked on the producer’s show.

glasses-and-pen-on-a-newspaper

4. Talk in sound bites: In our ADD, double latte culture, no one has the time or interest to listen to someone who rambles on or goes off on tangents. In order to be media presence you need to express yourself concisely, in a few short, punchy sentences.

5. Make your points using compelling stories: Your stories give your message the one thing that facts can’t — heart. You need to emotionally connect with audiences and these stories are the way.

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6. Work in your best credentials in a clever way: Nothing is more boring that an arrogant name-dropper. But, it’s important for the audience to know your credentials. I teach my clients to reveal their credentials in anecdotes that enhance who they are in a natural, unforced way.

 7. Have a hot sizzle reel:  90% of the sizzle reels I see have bad audio, are too long, and don’t showcase the expert’s personality immediately. A sizzle reel should be short (3 minutes max, and shorter is better), and should present you as an attractive person who’s an expert in their field and can reach people’s hearts as well as minds. I’ve produced several sizzle reels for clients and all have gotten TV and radio appearances as a result.

Gina Rubinstein is a Los Angeles-based media coach who helps her clients grow their business through the media. For more info go to here. For a free evaluation, please fill out this short questionnaire.


Escape the Time for Money Trap by Launching Your First (or second) Product

By Guest Blogger Danny Iny

Too many of us fall into the trap of trading time for money.

You may have already launched a product—but had disappointing results. Or you may have created a product that got some traction, but didn’t get the kind of success you’d hoped. Or, you haven’t developed a product yet, but you feel pretty sure you’d like one especially since….

Coaches, consultants, speakers, freelancers… all of us are in the same boat of working for an hourly wage.

Now, for some of us, the hourly wage can be very attractive; if it’s a cage, then it’s one made of gold, and studded with diamonds.

But still, it’s a cage; if we don’t work, then we don’t earn – which means that in some ways, we never get to take a real break and get off that treadmill without a gnawing fear in the back of our minds about what our business will look like when we get back.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way…

Your First (or second) Product: The Secret to Scalable Revenue

There’s a way to escape the time for money paradigm, and it lies within your first digital product.

As freelancers, we often find ourselves daydreaming of that perfect situation where we can walk away from our business for a few days without everything falling apart.

We think about what it would be like to create something that creates huge impact, making the world a better place.

And we think about how wonderful it would be to create that something once, and how easy it would be if it worked behind the scenes, even when we weren’t there.

We dream of vacations on white sandy beaches, holding drinks with tiny umbrellas and laughing with friends as the breeze gently sweeps across the beachfront.

All the while our business hums away quietly in the background, leaving us free to enjoy life.

But as much as we dream of this lifestyle, it’s not something we know how to create.

We aren’t sure how to scale our business outside the bounds of trading more time, or possibly the same time for more money.

You may have thought about building a product, but don’t know how to balance the time you’ll take building it with the money that you won’t be making in the meantime.

It’s a vicious cycle.

What if I told you that there’s a way for you to get paid to create your first product, while virtually guaranteeing that it will be successful?

There is, and when you implement the strategy, you will build a product that scales with ease, and it may not even matter if you’re there to deliver it, once it’s automated.

But wait…

If Products Are So Great, Why Don’t More People Build Them?

It’s a legitimate question.

Up until now, product creation has been fraught with danger.

Using the standard model of product creation, an entrepreneur might spend months of their time and a serious amount of money slaving away to create what they are sure will be a groundbreaking new product.

The entrepreneur has spent enough time interacting with their audience to know exactly which of their great new ideas will be the best to build out.

They know their audience better than anyone else, after all.

But in the end, most entrepreneurs creating new products will have their offering met with a lukewarm reception, or even worse: silence.

CREATE A PRODUCT BLUEPRINT

CREATE A PRODUCT BLUEPRINT

The opportunity cost is too high for most people, and for those intrepid enough to break into product creation, failure can be painful and costly.

The problem here is that entrepreneurs base their product creation on an assumption.

And they not only start with an assumption, but they either use faulty reasoning to validate their ideas or don’t validate them at all.

So how do you avoid the assumption trap and create something that your audience really wants, and at scale?

You take a little lesson from the technology industry.

Rapid Prototyping for Training Products

Now that you know why so many others have failed before you, how can you avoid the same fate?

Start by listening to your audience, and using what they tell you to quickly and profitably validate that they want what you’re going to build.

By listening, we don’t mean just skimming over what they say, picking and choosing which pieces seem to validate the ideas you have.

It’s about meeting your client or customer’s deepest needs. You want to figure out what problems they are having, and the exact language that they use to describe that problem.

How do you find out that information?

1. Listen and Validate

The first step is to find out what your audience wants, and quickly test to see if they really want it.

There are several ways that you can listen to your audience that will help you discover what they would pay you to create for them.

  • Listen to the questions that your audience sends to you via email. What are they asking for?
  • How do they respond to your blog posts? Which posts are they sharing or talking about most on social media?
  • The same thing applies to your emails and newsletters: which emails result in a lot of enthusiastic responses or questions?
  • You can also “eavesdrop” on conversations on social media to find out which topics are the most discussed.
  • Or, you can review comments left on blog posts and forums around the web. What questions are people asking repeatedly?

2. Dig Deeper with Surveys and Interviews

To dig deeper into the problems your audience is facing, you can create a simple survey, asking what their biggest challenge is.

And then, to gather additional information, you can conduct informational interviews with members of your audience or the people who responded to your survey.

These interviews can be conducted over the phone or by video chat. During the interviews, you can go in depth about the topic and the problem they are having.

3. Analyze Your Data

When you have finished your eavesdropping, surveys, conversations and interviews, you should have gathered a lot of data.

Your next step is to analyze the information you collected, looking for patterns and repetition of problem language.

If you have enough data points, and your audience really cares, you have likely just uncovered a problem that your audience is practically begging you to teach them how to fix!

4. Sell a Pilot Version

Finally, you need to validate that your audience will take out their wallets and pay you for the solution to their problem.

The best way to validate your product is to sell a pilot version of the course.

After the pilot, you can then use the outline and student feedback to build out your full product.

The process outlined above means that you will get paid, ahead of time, for creating a scalable product for your audience.

What’s even better is that this post includes both a case study about exactly how this works, and templates that will help you to create this success for yourself!

Case Study: The Course Builder’s Laboratory

At Firepole Marketing, we used this exact model of product creation as we built our soon-to-be-launched program, Course Builder’s Laboratory.

In our case, we had audience members and students in our Audience Business Masterclass come straight out and ask us to solve a problem for them.

We looked at all of the requests that came in and found there was a real pattern.

There were different ways that our audience asked for it, but in the end everyone wanted to know how to teach effectively online, and how to sell their own digital courses.

Then, rather than taking those requests and just building the final product, we used the process we describe in this post to validate that our audience would actually pay for the course.

We ran an initial pilot program called Course Builder’s Bootcamp; these live weekly calls went over what we thought the biggest pain points in terms of building and selling online courses would be. This program lasted six weeks in total.

We received some amazing feedback from the students, and were able to make smart choices about how to build out the final product in a valuable way.

We also ran a second pilot to gain more insight: a higher end in-person weekend in Montreal called Course Builders LIVE. We decided to run the additional pilot because the eventual course we were thinking of building was going to be HUGE.

CREATE PASSIVE STREAMS OF INCOME

This in-person pilot was a much smaller group, and allowed for a very intensive, hands-on experience for the students.

We were able to see places in the pilot curriculum where students were asking lots of similar questions, requesting additional features, or getting stuck – so we could fix them for the final version.

Through the two pilots, we were able to really refine the course material for the ultimate product. And we made about $70,000 while we were at it.

How to Do it Yourself, Starting Today

Following the process outlined in this post, you can easily create your first product.

Start by listening to your audience, analyzing the data you gather, and validating the problem that you think they are having.

Then, sell a pilot version of the product.

When you reach out to your audience, you will want to use the same language they use to describe the problem your pilot solves.

If having sales conversations isn’t your strong suit, we have created a set of free templates that will walk you, step by step, through how to get started creating and selling your pilot.

Then, once you’ve sold your pilot, you will deliver the content and gather feedback from your students.

Afterwards, you will use the basic outline of the course material and any student feedback to create your final product.

This final product is your key to scalable revenue.

So, does it feel like it’s time to break out of the hourly wage cage?

Then let’s get started!

We just have one favor to ask of you: send us a postcard from your next vacation!

Danny Iny is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, and creator of the Course Builder’s Laboratory. For a limited time, he’s giving away a comprehensive “Done For You” swipe kit of email templates that you can copy-and-paste to sell your own pilot course


The 10 Best Social Media Tips & Tools Posts From 2014

This is a curated list of the very best posts from top social media peeps. It’s all of THEIR best posts. So you get a giant dose of great tips, tools, strategies, and ideas to start the New Year. Enjoy!

 

  1. Buffer’s top 10 most-read posts of 2014
    Curious about copy that converts? Want to know the best length of everything online verified by research? You got it.

free image

  1. Top 10 Social Media Posts of 2014
    Get solid strategies from an active social media strategist who walks his talk. Good stuff.
  1. Digital Marketer’s 10 Most Popular Articles of 2014
    Small business alert — you can use the same system that Starbucks and McDonald’s do for their mega campaigns and more….

Deiss

  1. Top 8 social media posts of 2013 (doesn’t look like they’ve done 2014).
    Who knows what tickles the psyche when it comes to going viral. Check out the most popular posts of last year. Prepare to be astonished. Be sure to check out the crazy Norwegian video.
  1. Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2014
    Trends, Tools, popularity, people, and marketing strategies. Lots to learn and use.
  1. 10 Types of Images to Boost Your Social Media Engagement
    You know that images boost engagement. But, I bet you don’t have all of these in your bailiwick ….
  1. 10 Best Social Media Tool Posts in 2014
    Get hyper productive with these Apps and software. Includes video marketing, Pinterest tools, and plug ins. (Plus, how to get 1000 shares on your blog) from a very reliable source I follow.
  1. Top 10 Social Media Marketing Posts: This Year in Social Media
    You’ll want to follow Social Media Examiner you’ll find consistently useful info. Want to generate leads? Create content? Understand Facebook’s metrics? It’s all there.

Social media examiner

  1. 20 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros
    These are tips and tools that got results. We want that, yes?
    .
  2.  50 Ways to Promote and Market Your Blog PostsYou want your great posts to reach your tribe, to expand your reach. Here’s how. Jeff Bullas’ blog is a regular must read. Always relevant. One of my favs.

Bullas bullhorn

BONUS: 19 free social media analytics tools

No budget? No problem. All these tools are yours for the taking. I bet you haven’t heard of some of these terrific online helpers.

ONE CAVEAT: No matter how great your social media presence is your strategy won’t work unless your website does. You’re directing people back to your blog or your website so people who are intrigued by your social media updates can have more than a taste of your great content. Don’t disappointment them by having a website doesn’t look and feel like you, your tweets, pics, and posts. Here are 3 free highest converting home page website templates from Marisa Murgatroyd. You can choose the layout that best suits your personality and goals—so your website and social media messages are aligned.


8 Website Conversion Trends Could Transform Your Business in 2015

By Guest Blogger Marisa Murgatroyd

Blink your eyes three times.

That’s 1 second — the amount of time it takes for 10 new websites to hit the internet. (That’s 86,400 new sites each day!)

Holy Christmas! How do you compete against that?

It’s actually easy.

  1. First, stop following the latest & greatest “web design” trend articles that get put out every year. Web designers can tell you what’s new & what looks good, but they’re rarely experts in what works to CONVERT traffic into results online.
  2. Second, implement these 8 new conversion trends I’ve identified. (By sticking to whatconverts, you’re guaranteed that you’ll get a return on your investment.)

Here they are, starting with the MOST important one of all. The one trend to rule them all.

1. The World Has Gone Mobile.

Last year, mobile, cell & tablet internet usage surpassed desktop for the first time — up to 67% of people are now visiting you with a small(er) screen.

So what”, you ask? Well – think about it this way young Padawan.

If YOUR site looks craptastic on smaller screens, what do you think up to 67% of your visitors are going to do?

That’s right — they’re going to hit the back button as fast as their fat fingers can find it.

Without a great mobile experience, all of the hard work you’ve done up until now (and money you’ve spent) will be for nothing because you could be losing up to 67% of your traffic INSTANTLY.

No, I’m not trying to make you feel bad here right off that bat. On the contrary. Take this as a great opportunity to get out ahead of this huge trend and bring in a bunch of new business that are currently visiting you on their tablets from their couch.

Quick plug: I’ve got more information about how to do just that in my upcoming trainings on Jan 14 and 15. It’s free to attend and you can get more info here.

OK – so moving on to the next trends.

2. Big, gorgeous, full-width graphics and videos!

Global internet speeds have increased 2-3x in the last few years, bringing with it demand for more episodes of The Walking Dead, along with demand for more “eye candy”.

This means designers are now featuring large photos, graphics and videos that stretch full-width across a web page – expanding to fill an extra large monitor or shrinking down to fit a small handheld device.

The upside for you is that these large image areas grab your visitor’s full attention helping them focus on the thing you want them to do.

3. Modular Organization of Pages

It’s easier to scroll down a page on mobile devices then it is to click a small button. Web pages are getting longer and making greater use of full-width graphics and backgrounds to organize the page into “modules” that focus visitor’s attention on one concept at a time.

In case you’re wondering, your “So What” factor is this…

Many of us were taught to think about websites one page at a time. But website structure is evolving along with the technology, and we need to start thinking about them one section or module at a time.

(More on that in my upcoming free webinar! Woot!)

4. Sticky Nav. (AKA navigation…)

As pages are getting longer, it takes more time to scroll from the top to the bottom of the page, where the site navigation is usually featured.

Enter the “sticky nav”.

By minimizing the top navigation and allowing it to “stick” to the top of the page as a visitor scrolls, they now have access to the most important pages on your site at any moment in time.

5. Modals, pop-ups & “microinteractions.”

As we’ve already seen, pages are getting longer while attention is getting shorter.

This means it’s become more important to direct your visitors to thet one single action you want them to take at any given time — such as signing up for your email list or scheduling a free call.

For example, a single extra large button in your top banner launches a modal or pop-over focusing your visitors attention exclusively on inputting their name and email address.

Or a well-timed pop-up directs your audience to do the same.

6. Less text, bolder type

Just like it’s predecessor, the newspaper, people scan rather than read when they’re online, often consuming 30% or less of the text on any given page.

Up until now, smart designers have made use of bullet points, numbered lists, headlines, short paragraphs and other ways to chop text up into smaller and smaller pieces.

Now designers are using typography itself to draw attention to the handful of headlines & content that’s truly important.

Google Fonts plus low-to-no-cost type libraries are allowing businesses to craft custom font palettes that allow them to treat content like design – grabbing attention and pulling the reader in – while reducing the amount of text on a page for greater consumption.

7. Cleaner, fresher, flatter, simpler

Websites used to be jammed pixel-by-pixel with textures, graphics, tables and animations.

But the 80s are gone and these dense designs don’t convert well for seamless browsing on smaller screens.

The best sites coming online today make use of the full length (vertical scrolling) and width of the page (full page-width graphics & backgrounds) to create more spacious, modular designs that work on every screen and device.

They’re also making greater use of space and color to create cleaner, fresher designs.

8. Live chat

Only scammers still bury their contact information — social media has created a culture of transparency and accessibility where people demand conversations with businesses before making a purchasing decision.

Easy live chat technology now allows and encourages visitors to interact with business owners the exact moment they have a question, which skyrockets conversion.

MORE GOODIES:

Download Marisa’s 3 Highest Converting Home Pages (Yours Free!) 

PLUS: Jan 14 and 15 Marisa will give a live training on how to apply the ideas above and more to YOUR website.

Join Marisa free to learn the details, plus she’ll show you how you can actually have other people do all the work for you, leaving you free to concentrate on what you do best. (How cool is that?)

(Sign up for her webinar on January 14-15 and download your website templates now)


Feeling overwhelmed? How I deal with heavy, icky, can’t-move moments.

A little while back, I did a PR Secrets survey.

I asked you to tell me what you’re struggling with, what you crave, and how I might be able to help.

There was a theme that percolated through nearly every response.

That theme… summed up in three words?

“I am overwhelmed.”

No surprise, there. Most of the business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, authors, speakers, coaches and consultants that I know place an incredible amount of pressure on themselves to create… serve… help… heal… and of course, grow their revenue. I do it, too.

And when you are running your own business, there is no “5 pm.” There is no timecard to punch out for the night. There is just you, your computer, and a seemingly endless list of things that you could do, should do, ought to do…

Overwhelming? Heck yes.

The perfect solution? I wish I knew.

What I do know is that when I’m feeling completely overwhelmed — when my projects feel too big, when my to-do list feels too long, when my bones feel too weary, when my head feels too foggy to carry on — there is one thing that keeps me sane and keeps me on track.

PHOTO CREDIT: DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO

PHOTO CREDIT: DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO

Connecting with people.

Real, living, human people.

My daily check in with my web designer insures that I’m on track for the next E-zine, new product design, website update, or software implementation.

My daily email back and forth with my social media manager holds down the blog and social media front and makes sure we’re always rolling forward with new (hopefully) delightful content.

My monthly call with my virtual assistant keeps me focused on the business priorities that matter—and protects me from getting involved with products and people who take me off course. Very challenging as there are so many delicious (and some treacherous) temptations!)

My weekly 2-hour writing stint with my Wild Writing group ensures that I’m adding new material to my novel, even on weeks when it feels impossible.

My monthly day with my writing coach means that I’m guaranteed to publish at least a few new blog posts and newsletters (like this one) to stay connected with my clients and customers, even when life feels incredibly busy.

My weekly phone calls with my two best friends who live far away keep me centered through struggles and make me feel alive and loved.

And of course, my evening snuggle and kitchen chats where I keep a notebook for impromptu witticisms with my sweetie, Will, (plus kittie love!) helps me stay grounded and laugh at myself.

It’s those daily, weekly and monthly connections that help me to break through feelings of overwhelm, more than anything else.

If you, like so many of the people I’ve spoken to, recently, are grappling with a heavy cloud of overwhelm and resistance… and if you feel like those emotions are holding you back from making progress with your business, your projects, or your publicity efforts…

PHOTO CREDIT: DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO

PHOTO CREDIT: DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO

I urge you to connect

With people.

Specifically, people who get you, care about you, make you feel alive, and want to see you succeed.

You can get your daily dose of connection with people in your circle of friends. You can do it with buddies in your yoga or martial arts class. Or, if it feels right, you can do it with me and a wonderful circle of peers.

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Starting in January 2015, I am opening the doors to a new membership club and online community. A place to get media training, business inspiration and encouragement from people who want to see you take action — and who will lovingly nudge you when you don’t.

This membership club is just $25 a month and features a monthly opportunity to get your personal questions answered, live, by me, on the phone (First Q&A January 13). That, alone, is reason enough to join. 🙂

Learn more about The Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul Membership Club right here. Registration for 2015 is open now.

Wherever and however you do it, get some humanity and community in your life, today.

Nothing is ever truly accomplished “alone.”

We all need to connect.

It’s what allows us to show up as our best. 

A THOUGHT: I’ve been thinking a lot about daily routines and productivity so keep your eye out for an upcoming blog post on how I structure my days to keep on track and enlivened.

I love E.M. Forster’s sage advice: “Only connect.” It’s only everything.How do you stay connected? Love to hear.


Earn 7 Figures in 2015: Ask yourself this one question

abundance

Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs


Words matter.

In just a few words David Neagle, Million Dollar Income Acceleration Mentor, changed my mind.

David was my guest on a complimentary teleseminar about how to make a quantum leap to earn 7 figures. In the teleseminar, he offered a free evaluation and consulting session so I thought I’d better go through it so I would know exactly what it was like and how valuable it really was before I promoted it.

I got more than I bargained for.

I couldn’t really imagine how I could earn a million dollars this year. I wanted to believe I could, but logically and emotionally I couldn’t make the leap. Especially not when I looked at the notion on paper.

One of my goals is to do a bit less consulting so I can concentrate on a big project. But where to find the extra hours in a day?

David didn’t even need to address this topic. The advice he gave me set me in motion to begin revamping the consulting I already do and the products I already have.

Instead of advising me to do more, he advised me to do less–with more effect. I jumped into action and worked into the wee hours of the morning several nights in a row to do everything he recommended–consolidate, eliminate, and expand. This included my product line, my media coaching packages, and my strategic marketing planning sessions–like brainstorming with publicity firms to develop angles, ideas, pitches and segments for their clients. I’m still doing that. It’s an ongoing process to refine my current offerings and to delete what doesn’t serve me or my audience any more.

This principle of reworking what I already have resonated with me as it’s exactly like creating a soundbite. I listen to how you speak naturally, then train you to say more with less words. You have all the knowledge inside you, you just may not know how to package it. I can easily do it for other people. Not so easy for myself! We all need other eyes and perspectives on our work as we’re often too close to it to be able to see all the other options.

Happiness

Photo Credit: Crazy Luca 69

One of my gifts is being able find hidden revenue streams that may be staring you in the face. My other superpower is to find your Joyspot(tm), the place where joy and profit meet. Many times what comes easiest to us we ignore. Other times a simple re-packaging or repositioning is all that’s required to turn a failure into a success.  So if you would like to explore making 6-7 figures (and finding YOUR Joyspot(tm) in 2015 I have one opening for a long-term client and one short term one. I’d love to help you find what makes you come alive. Tell me a bit about what your aspirations here. I’ll connect if I think we’re a good match and that I know in my bones I can help.


3 Tips on the Power of Podcasting

 

by Kris Gilbertson

Did you know iTunes has over 1 Billion podcast subscribers?

5 Reraseons you simply can't afford not ot partner with iTunesTip #1) Podcasting Creates Leverage

With the rise of technology to the tune of over 1 Billion podcast subscribers in just iTunes alone, there is a new age of content curation available for every day entrepreneurs to position themselves in front of the mainstream with your message, programs, products, services, entertainment, and information.

More importantly, technology has allowed you to connect with consumers, and that is more powerful than any other form of marketing out there today.

Stitcher radio has now partners with major brands like GM, Ford, Subaru, Mini-cooper, etc . . . Making it so easy today to easily have mainstream consumers Find and connect with your business and your products!

So imagine this scenario:

The rise of the PodcastYour prospects wakes up, brews their pot of coffee, gets ready for work, and jumps in their car for their 30+ minute commute to work.

And before they have even pulled out of their driveway, they have already – with a simple touch of a button on their dash from Sticher – turned on your podcast to listen to for their enjoyment, entertainment and education on their commute to work.

They are looking for people to help them with problems they have in their life, or solutions they are looking for, or just plain entertainment and to better themselves through personal development.

So now you have their undivided attention.

You become the solo expert that is helping them, and that they’re connecting with and what does that mean for your business?

Reach the Global Audience you DeserveIncreased PROFITS and Revenue!

Tip #2) Podcast Create EPIC Connection

You see the real power of podcasting is the epic connection that happens for you and your business.

The top podcast providers are reporting that the average amount of time a listener will tune into a podcast is for 30+ minutes.

This creates a REAL connection with your listener and what allows you to Build TRUST on autopilot.

Be Found, Be Heard, Start leaving your impactSo how does that exactly translate into clients for your business?

We only buy from people that we TRUST. The power of the podcast allows you to create EPIC connections on auto-pilot and how you are able to turn listeners into clients from your podcast from the connection you make.

That level of connection is what allows you to stand out in this crowded marketplace – standing out as THE expert for your prospects and listeners.

There are many marketing strategies that can grab the attention of your target audience; however, are they all as effective as you think they are at holding it?

And turning the prospect into a HOT lead for your business?

The shift to Portable ContentTip #3) Podcasting Can Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Today the advertising space today is just plain loud.

As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with noise about new products and services that distract us from the last advertiser we were interested in just 30 seconds ago.

If your website does not captivate someone in less than 10 seconds, they head back into the cyber space black hole, probably never to return to your webpage again.

Audio Content: Why it works and is dominating the MarketMost squeeze pages result in less than 5 percent of buyers. A great direct mail campaign produces only about a 3 percent response rate. Radio and TV advertisements are being skipped over. Radio advertisements are being avoided all together following the birth and merger of SiriusXM and Pandora.

So, in a sea of today’s technological advancements, how do you get around that ADD consumer personality and create a loyal, tribe of followers for your brand, message, product, or service?

The answer is Podcasting.

Today’s market is driven by the consumer and in a world where everyone’s voice can be heard through social networks, having a podcast is going to allow you to connect and engage with your clients to keep them extremely satisfied, happy, more loyal than ever, and tweeting your praises to the world for you!

Be Discovered!Most importantly, a podcast is the only way to create a one-to-one relationship, with thousands of people at the same time, more than any other form of marketing.

This is exactly why a podcast is going to be your secret weapon for your marketing strategy and allow you to connect, build trust and rapport, with your consumers on auto-pilot and on demand!

Join us for a free master class webinar where Kris actually SHOW us exactly how to use these strategies to get you 5 figure clients and high-powered Lead generation with iTunes

Register now: http://bit.ly/kpodcast

About the Author

Kris Gilbertson

The power of Podcasting to your BusnessKris Gilbertson is the Best Selling Author of Podcasting for Promotion, Positioning, and Profit, Founder of the www.LifestyleAcademy.com, and host of the popular Business Lifestyle Entrepreneur Podcast.

She is a leading expert in how to create a world-class podcast. Her clients praise their podcast enables them to reach their ideal customer, create a thriving tribe, increase their traffic to their website from over 40%-5000% and do what they love by simply using the power of their voice.

To learn more please head over to www.LifestyleAcademy.com to learn the power of podcasting for your business!


How to Rock at Marketing (and Still Like Yourself in the Morning)

 

By Christine Gallagher

How to Rock at MarketingWhen you hear the word “marketing,” how does it make you feel?

If you’re like many business owners, it doesn’t exactly cause you to jump for joy. Why? Because for so long, it has conjured up images of the sleazy used car salesman trying to get you to buy something you don’t need. No one wants to inflict that on someone, right?

The truth is, marketing today doesn’t have to come with a side of slime. The real deal is that modern marketing is simply compelling, effective communication that has nothing to do with manipulation or sleaze. It’s about meeting your client or customer’s deepest needs, and no matter what business you’re in, it’s NOT optional.

The good news is, it’s not about lying or being out of integrity to make sales, no matter what you’ve heard in the past. Happily, you can still really profit while still being completely truthful and ethical.

Remember, it’s your job to remind people that you’re in business and that you have a solution to offer them. Marketing is simply the vehicle that allows you to do that, and without it in your business, you’ll stay broke. (It’s the hard truth.)

If that’s the case, how can you really rock it out with your marketing? Here are five simple ways to keep the cash flowing while remaining sleaze-free.

Schedule it and be consistent.

The only way your marketing is going to get done is if you make the time to do it. Put it on the calendar and DON’T move it! If you’re lacking in clients and cash flow, it usually means you’re not marketing enough. Be brutally honest about how you’re spending your time. Schedule at least three hours a week to do it and beware the temptation to stop once the money begins to flow. Yep, to ensure your success continues, market even when you’ve got a full pipeline.

Ask your market what they need.

The Email Marketing Process

Click for a larger view of image

Find out what your market needs and how they want to be served by simply asking them. Survey your list, email or call past or current clients, ask probing questions. Ask them what their biggest challenges are, what their perfect solutions would be, and what they’ve tried that hasn’t worked. Find out how critical it is for them to get their problems solved, and listen carefully to the words they use. You can then position what you offer as a solution to the needs you’ve discovered.

Be curious about copywriting.

Copywriting chops are not just for the pros! Because it’s one of the most expensive things to outsource, it’s wise to sharpen your word-slinging skills. Practice writing headlines and bullets. Use words that evoke emotion. Especially online, much of your communication will occur via the written word. Learn how to use your writing to pique curiosity and showcase the benefits you offer.

Track and tweak.

Tracking your results shows you what you need to change and improve. It also helps you understand your market and what fuels their behaviors. Don’t be super-hard on yourself if something doesn’t work—think of it as a learning opportunity and a chance to do things better. Do more of what works!

Keep soaking up the knowledge.

I’m a big believer that the learning never stops. Read blogs and books, attend workshops and seminars, and take courses. The more you learn, the better you can serve your market.

These days, the absolute best marketing is relationship-based, honest, and best of all, it has the power to change the lives of others. Sounds a lot more appealing, doesn’t it? Keep these five ways in mind and you’ll be a marketing rock star in no time.

Join us for Free webinar training called Get the EXPERT FACTOR: Simple Steps to Stand Out, Serve More People and Turn Relationships to Revenue Online.”

Christine Gallagher is founder of ShesGotClients.com, a company dedicated to teaching women entrepreneurs all over the world how to use authentic relationship marketing and online strategies to attract raving fans, enroll more clients, and enjoy more income and freedom in their business, all while sharing their gifts and their message in a much bigger way. After applying Christine’s proven online marketing methods, her clients typically experience a significant increase in traffic, subscribers, clients, affiliates and lucrative joint venture opportunities.