On Saturday night, I sold two copies of my new book, Quiet Power Strategy.
And it was one of the single best experiences of my life.
Before starting my company, I managed a Borders Books & Music store. Though that company is now defunct, at the time, they were the 2nd largest bookstore chain in the United States. I managed a store with a $5 million volume and a team of 30-40 employees.
My role as Sales Manager had me overseeing merchandising, human resources, our coffee shop, and the local books & events category. It was my job to purchase books from local authors and plan book signings. While I was working 50-60 hour weeks for $28,000 per year, I dreamed of the day I could be the author instead of the bookseller.
Filling out purchase orders and accounts payable records, I daydreamed about when it would be my book on invoice instead of my signature on the purchaser line.
Saturday, those day dreams came true.
My friend Lisa Reid, who owns Lucy’s Books here in Astoria, Oregon, asked me if I would be the March Author Spotlight when she heard about the impending release of Quiet Power Strategy. When 4:45pm rolled around on Saturday, I gathered up some books and headed downtown.
After about 6 weeks of warm weather and brilliant sunshine, the Pacific Northwest got some “normal weather” for March. It was about 52 degrees and ranging from drizzle to downpour all day. Even though ArtWalk is generally a well-attended event here, noone was overly optimistic.
I sat down at the author’s table and watched about 5 or 6 people walk through the door in the 3 hours I was there. Lisa apologized. It was wholly unnecessary. My dream had come true. I was an author, at an event, at a bookstore. The two books we sold Saturday night represented one of the greatest victories of my career so far.
Well over 1300 books are out there in the world since the books was released last month (thank you!). And those 2 sales still represent something new and incredibly fulfilling to me.
As the above photo wracked up more & more likes on Facebook and Instagram, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much clear vision, purposeful action, and focused direction helps a business stand out.
It’s not about how loud you shout or what promotional tactics you master. Your voice will get hoarse. The algorithms will change.
Knowing where you’re headed, what you want to create, and how you want to connect with other people leads you to take action that helps your business stand out.
Perhaps more so, each step you take on the path toward those things earns you and your business more respect, visibility, and attention.
If your business is struggling to earn that respect, visibility, or attention… if you’re feeling pulled in a million directions and far from focused or purposeful with your actions… my next CreativeLive workshop can help.
We’ll spend a whole week identifying your vision, declaring your Chief Initiative, and defining the metrics by which you can track your progress.
Here’s what you’ll learn in 25 FREE lessons over 5 weeks in Build a Standout Business:
- The 8 questions you need to answers as a foundation for standing out naturally.
- The 2 languages you use to communicate naturally and how you can use them to create more compelling messages.
- The specific conditions you need to successfully connect with others and what marketing channels to try based on those conditions.
- How to create a business bio you can be proud of and use to differentiate what you do from everyone else in the market
- And much, much more…
Again, this bootcamp is completely FREE to watch live and, when you RSVP, you’ll get access to the exclusive course worksheets as soon as they’re available.
I hope you’ll join me starting March 23!
Today’s You Economy case studies from 10ThousandFeet
alumnna focus on the opportunities and clarity that comes from having an expansive brand vision. When you understand the whole world your business is creating, you have both clear path forward and endless opportunities. Meet Megan, who is moving forward with marketing that paints the whole picture for her customer while providing specific, actionable solutions. And meet Ana, who is seeing herself as an artist-in-demand and creating a path–through multiple ventures–to meet her goals.
Megan Cain, founder of The Creative Vegetable Gardener
At the end of 10ThousandFeet, I feel excited about my business and the future instead of being overwhelmed and stressed out.
The biggest shift for me came in realizing that I was spending a lot of time focusing on the technical information around gardening and not enough time painting the bigger picture of what it means to have a beautiful garden in your life. For me and most of my customers gardening is so much more than just growing food.
I have begun to shift some of my writing to focus on exploring some of the deeper benefits and meaning of gardening. My first post definitely resonated with my readers because I received several enthusiastic emails asking me to write more about the topic.
I am also changing my website to add more language and photos that reflect the new tagline Tara helped me come up with, “your garden should feed you, body and soul.” I am excited about this new direction! I am clearer about where I want to go and what I need to do to get there after taking 10ThousandFeet.
Megan also has the goal of becoming the go-to gardening expert in Madison. This requires her to leverage stories about the bigger picture of gardening as well as the nitty gritty how-to details. She’s carving out individual solutions that serve that big picture and will be reaping the rewards of less dirty work, more revenue, and more time off soon.
Find out more about Megan and the gardens she designs at creativevegetablegardener.com.
Ana Ramos, founder of air illustration & design
One of the most important shifts for me was to start to understand the power of team building. Before that, I was very untrained in asking for help and seeing the possibilities when it came to broadening my offers through partnerships with other experts.
With a fresh understanding of team building and strategic partnerships, I saw how I could accept a larger project from an old client, a project that will be a huge contribution towards reaching my chief initiative for the year.
But I learned many more things, like how to streamline my efforts and manage clients’ expectations: I used to react to clients’ requests and work overtime and now I am able to plan and schedule in advance, reducing stress.
And today I felt I reached a huge milestone when I rewrote my Embroidery Club sales page. Now I understand why you say it’s fun.
Ana has really focused on expanding her brand with her own artistic vision at the core. Instead of creating disparate ventures or trying to confirm to clients’ demands, she’s leveraging her unique perspective. That means she can pursue a wider range of opportunities but remain grounded in what she does best.
As she builds her team and expands her vision, she’s be able to do so from a place of strength and purpose, bringing on those who complement her artistic vision instead of competing with or diluting it.
Find out more about Ana Ramos and air illustration & design.
There are two stories to tell when communicating about your business. Neither are wrong, neither are right. The story you choose to concentrate on tells others quite a bit about why you do what you do and how you do it.
What are these two stories?
There’s a long-term story. And there’s a short-term story. Click to tweet!
Most online entrepreneurs are telling a short-term story. It’s the story that is focused on the present, on the growth of the business. It’s the story of immediate needs, quick fixes, and hype.
It’s based on perception. It’s works towards near-sighted objectives.
There’s a place for this story. It drives you to generate revenue now, to attract clients now. It keeps you motivated even when the going gets tough. It allows you to celebrate small wins – and celebrating is oh-so-important.
This isn’t a bad story to tell – especially when you’re telling it to yourself.
But there are those telling the long-term story. It’s the story focused on value, on the way forward, on the client relationship. It’s the story that produces movements, conversations, communities.
The long-term story creates collaborative goals. It’s the tide that lifts all the boats.
When money is tight, when resources seem scarce, the long-term story is the last thing you want to think about. The long-term story seems like a luxury.
But the long-term story is what your customers & clients are looking for. They want to know you’re here for the long haul. They want to know you’re as concerned with their needs as you are with your own. They want to feel care for, nurtured, understood.
The people attracted to the long-term story are the ones you want to work with. There the ones who want your best work. They’re the ones who pay what you’re worth and understand your value. They’re the ones that support you as an artist, thinker, creator.
Your customers believe in you because you give them a story to believe in.
Click to spread the word!
So what story are you telling? Does you website tell the long-term story or the short-term story? What story does your social media tell? What story does your person to person interaction tell?
What story are you telling?
If you’re interested in telling a long-term story, I invite you to sign up over at Kick Start Labs. You’ll start getting a free ecourse designed to help you blog a smarter, more engaging story around your business: your long-term story. Click here to get started now!
I hear you loud & clear: you don’t want to choose. You don’t want to focus on one passion over another. You’d rather celebrate the diversity of your interests that founder in homogeny.
I hear that you want to explore each of your passions separately, giving them each a name and a dollar sign.
My question to you is simple & honest: How’s that working out for ya?
I want you to be fulfilled & profitable, finding the truth of what you really have to offer while honoring the expansiveness of your gifts.
It’s not about focusing on what you do, but why you do it.
It’s not about limiting yourself, it’s about digging deeper.
And then owning – claiming – what you find down there.
I have always fashioned myself a Renaissance Woman. My interests & talents have been wide & varied. I’ve indulged myself here & there, always feeling guilty about moving on to something new, never knowing where I would turn next.
In my personal & academic life, I have been a musician, a scientist, a pastor, and a theologian. In my business, I’ve declared myself everything from a social media consultant to a copywriter to a web designer.
What I have realized is that my interests are a means, not an end.
My job title is not “Renaissance Woman.” Nor is it any of the titles I have mentioned above. My title is a representation of the result of digging deeper into these means. It’s an outward sign of much inward work.
That work wasn’t making a choice, it was realizing what I wanted my end to be. That “end” is the purpose behind my work. It’s the world-shaking change I need to make.
My purpose, the change I want to make in the world, is too big to be tucked neatly into my interests.
Interests grow & change. We chase new things like toddlers chase shiny objects. Your “end” might expand or evolve but you have a better idea of what you want than you give yourself credit for.
What expression of your gifts will best serve this great vision?
Which people need your work to help you realize this vision?
If you don’t know yet, that’s okay. Keeping looking. Keeping digging. Keep experimenting.
I’m working on a program to help with this – Really & truly! – for early fall. Think intimate, high-touch, high-concept group coaching. Think business as novel. Think the power of other brains plugged in to your brain (and biz). Want to learn more? Sign up here for backstage access.