entrepreneurial life

How to commercialise your purpose and not vomit

purpose into prosperityI’ve been speaking with lots of female business owners lately, most of whom are running what I would call ‘heart-driven’ businesses. They are doing the work they’re doing because they believe it’s their calling. They are really living and working in their purpose, doing what feels right,  and all of them are, no-doubt, excellent practitioners.

So you’d think they had it all figured out and were feeling flush with success, yes? That they were lucky enough to have found their calling early on and were living and breathing it every day? Uh, no. Not so. Most of them feel like they’re missing something – at least that’s what they’ve told me, and that’s intuitively what I’ve felt when I’ve spoken with them.  And that THING is the ability to commercialise their ‘purpose’. To really and truly make a good living from their magical superpower.

Being ‘commercial’ and being heart-centred or soul-focused may sound like a dichotomy. How can you be all spiritual and gorgeous and nurturing and gentle and floaty but then put yourself out there, pop your business hat on and actually ask for money for what you do? It usually makes these women feel sick to their stomachs and so they typically under-value themselves.

Then I also see and talk with those at the other end of the scale, the ones that the heart-driven types just can’t relate to.  The hustlers, the hard-arses, the masculine female types. But funnily enough, guess what? They have their own set of crazy problems when it comes to connecting with people and growing their business. How can there be any soul or meaning or heart whatsoever in the hard-faced bitches in their power suits that strut around saying they’re worth thousands of dollars every day, demanding people pay to merely talk with them for minutes, handing out business cards in every toilet line they find themselves in? Well, deep down, many of these women are quietly wondering why people aren’t lining up at the door to connect with them, nervous and knowing that something is amiss. (This is a whole other story, for another day, another blog.)

The truth is that most ‘woo-woo’ business owners* I’ve met over the years used to drive me mad with their lack of commercial nous. You see, I belonged to the second group. It used to make me wild that these ethereal and flighty beings, whilst completely endearing and in touch with themselves and the goodness of the world, had no idea about how to turn their ideas into real products that people could purchase.  I could see the value in what they were offering (god knows I’ve bought enough of their services), but they’d constantly bemoan the poor creative soul and almost wallow in their ‘poverty’, wearing it as a badge of honour. There was no plan to move beyond that point of pain and make a change, which frustrated the hell out of me – and they weren’t even my businesses! Being financially successful  and being woo-woo appeared to be at complete opposite ends of the spectrum – and never the twain shall meet.

Until recently.

Thankfully, as my views have altered/relaxed/matured, and in parallel the world of modern entrepreneurialism has changed, it’s perfectly valid and viable now to run a business that is both on purpose in a spiritual sense, is meaningful for the owner and that also makes money. Who would have thunk it???

What’s interesting for me is that as I grew up professionally in a very masculine world where, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was all about pricing, product, placement and promotion (plus deals being made on the golf course), the way I was trained to look at businesses first and foremost, was with a heavy focus on revenue streams.  It was always about how is the idea positioned, what are the competitive offerings and how can we smash them, how can we price this for best effect, what is the ceiling on your offering, how do we crash through that ceiling by changing up how we do things, how do we package up and bundle services, how do we reach untapped audiences, how can we cash in to best effect without having to work harder?

Well guess what? That stuff hasn’t really changed. But what HAS changed, is how I approach all of this. AND there are a couple of new questions to throw into the mix, namely:  how can we create passive income streams for you (using technology as a channel to market) so you make money in your sleep whilst offering massive value, how can we use YOU and your stories to connect with your audience through marketing rather than gimmicks or trickery or clever copy, and and how can you maximise your intellectual property without undermining yourself?

What’s really cool is that the answer is WE CAN do all of this. It really can be done. You can be woo-woo (all love and joy being sent your way) and commercial in the same breath, without compromising your values and beliefs. You don’t have to get a power suit and black patent pumps to rock your business (although a fabulous pair of black patent pumps NEVER goes astray in a wardrobe…). What has to be revealed though, is the connector between where you’ve come from and why you’re doing what you’re doing now, resulting in an honest understanding about what your value is to others. Your past experiences inform your present reality in a big way, but you get to choose which trajectory your stories take you on. The way you reacted to those experiences plus your innate personality will uncover your uniqueness; they provide the signposts to living and working in your purpose. When you’ve done that, there should be no question as to the value that you offer and the manner in which you can earn a living from what you do.

Looking beyond the actual ‘thing’ you do is really important. It’s not just a service you offer, it’s the manner in which you offer it and the reason you offer that particular thing. People buy into people (and dreams), not products or services. They want what you’ve got because it promises them a better version of themselves. The most powerful selling point you have is when you can demonstrate how that ‘thing’ worked for you. How it took you from A to B. Then they not only hear the value but see the value.

Compartmentalising the knowledge in your head is part of this process. Understanding the chunks of stuff that you know and the ways in which you impart that knowledge to create an affect on someone else (your clients) is really important. This is the content you can then use to blog about, to create marketing campaigns from, to build eCourses and programs from and to broaden your reach with. The little pieces of your life (both personal and professional) that are drip fed through your content are going to appeal to different people at different points in time. Someone will relate to one aspect of your journey whilst another may not be interested at all.  But the next time you write, the snippet may just resonate beautifully with that second person who found little of interest in your first piece of writing. Don’t keep it all the same. Change things up. Offer different variations of you and you will strike a chord with the right person at the right time.

When you categorise the knowledge you have, and understand the ways in which your story (your personality, your experiences and the reactions to those experiences) can touch different people at different times, you are ready to commercialise your purpose. It is then that you need to get objective – take a bird’s eye view of the information you are now familiar with and break it up into consumable pieces. Don’t be wedded to it as a lifetime body of work that must be given to all clients all at once. If you do that, you have nowhere to lead them. They have no reason to come back to you. Break up what you know into a logical order or process. It may be a blog series, an eCourse, a book, a coaching program, a workshop, a webinar series etc etc. You will be offering more value to the people who seek help from you AND you can help more people at once. THIS is when you can start to really grow your business. Stop trading hours for dollars and start to really leverage your knowledge.

It may seem a vile task to think about your beautiful gift in terms of cold hard cash. What I know though, is that if YOU don’t think about it, noone else will either. And then very few people will get to experience the gift that you have.

 

 

* Woo-woo is NOT a derogatory term, it’s just how I can best describe those people that operate on a realm that I, (until recently) had seriously no idea about! Happily I have embraced my inner woo-woo (in fact, I realised I was quite woo-woo as a teenager and then I was a bit of a pretend woo-woo at uni, and then I lost my woo-woo completely in my 20s….

Dragons and 7 year olds – the real purpose of your business

sun in handA couple of days ago I shared a post on my personal Facebook page and my business page about a conversation I had with Miss 7, regarding an author who visited her school. He – and his message – left a lasting impression on her. It got lots of amazing feedback, both verbal and on FB, so I thought I’d share it here, and elaborate further on the poignancy of it….

The author had helped the children see how ‘ok’ it is to be different and actually how important it is to celebrate that difference.

The story he wrote and read them was about a dragon who couldn’t fly and was teased because of it. But he could ride a scooter like a champion….
The lasting words etched in Miss 7’s mind were “Always follow your sun.”
She had an inkling of what it meant…”always look on the bright side of life?”
But when I offered another suggestion: “always follow your purpose”, the flood gates of enquiry followed, as did the prickles of tears in my eyes.
“What’s my purpose in life mummy? What will I be when I grow up? Why am I here? What’s YOUR purpose mummy?…..”

Wow. Ok, ummm….

As it happens, I’ve been working on my legacy and my purpose recently. I’ve been challenged on it and made to think quite deeply about it. And what I realised, is that it doesn’t matter what it is, so long as it comes from deep inside you and really REALLY resonates with every fibre of your being. That’s not to say that your purpose has to be exceptionally lofty or globally affecting. You don’t have to want to cure cancer or save the world from poverty for it to be valid; it can definitely be more humble than that. However, I do think it needs to run deeper than simply wanting to be rich or famous.

What I know is that it is very difficult to run a business effectively and sustainably if you a) don’t believe deeply that what you sell is of value and b) that there is a bigger reason beyond finances and fame for what you are doing.  Life as an entrepreneur/small business owner can be tough. There are many highs and lows, but the lows are particularly difficult to navigate if you don’t have a bigger end game in mind. Finding motivation to pull you out of the darkness is nearly impossible without a purpose.

So this exchange with my daughter was uncannily timely. Two weeks ago I found, hidden in the recesses of my mind, the reason I’m doing what I’m doing. And it took me by surprise if I’m honest, because I didn’t think I knew what my purpose was anymore. Things have changed so much for me over the last few years, and again more heartily in the last 9 months, that I felt that my ‘big ass why’ had gone westward. The truth is, I simply hadn’t been encouraged to voice it until recently, and because I hadn’t voiced it, I wasn’t entirely sure that it existed. I had a suspicion, but I was sceptical about the strength of it as my true driver.

Standing up in front of a group of open hearted women, in a safe and supportive space with nowhere to hide, helped the truth flow. It made sense as it gushed out of my mouth, and the tears and wringing heart told me it was real.

My wish for all of my clients and fellow entrepreneurs is that they voice their reason for doing what they’re doing to someone, anyone! By giving it language, by giving it breath, you fuel it.  Finding your true purpose for being on this earth is SO important. Finding it young is an amazing gift, because you get to live more of it. But finding it at 85 is still amazing and worthwhile and imperative.

Climbing trees and other entrepreneurial activities

IMG_5658What an incredible week I’ve had, hanging out with my mastermind tribe on the Gold Coast.  I’ve had an absolute blast, grown so much and got so much done. And there’s been some big lessons about ‘tribe’ that I wanted to share….

This group of female entrepreneurs are funny, clever, passionate, driven, authentic, inspiring, emotional, and very very human. We laughed together, cried together, drank, giggled, danced together.  We read tarot cards, manifested money, walked, skipped, and played together.  We had photoshoots, sang songs, told jokes, climbed trees and ate great food. And last but certainly not least we wrote blogs, created ads, built sales funnels, filmed videos, created programs, generated leads, wrote social posts and made sales – lots of them.

It’s such a powerful thing to find YOUR people who offer you insight into yourself and who help you shine. Then when you immerse yourself in them for an intense period of time the result is magnified by 100! There is so much gold to be uncovered during retreats such as these. The collective energy generated by a group of likeminded people who all want the best for each other is ridiculous. It’s so powerful and palpable.  You can actually feel it working its magic in the room. If you put yourself in a position to be stretched beyond your usual limits – emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually – you’ll experience incredible breakthroughs.

And you know what’s REALLY amazing about these gals? EVERYONE had to work hard to get here. And when I mean work hard, I mean organise kids/animals, ensure meal plans were done, au pairs were organised, husbands were on board, bills were paid, client work was done early, etc etc.  For some it was also a financial stretch, but every single one of us made it happen. Why? Because we care enough – about ourselves and each other – and because we know the amazing outcomes from intensive weeks like these.  When you dig deep and make shit happen, you propel your business and yourself forward, exponentially.

Forgive me my personal rant today, but I wanted to share this with you because I know there are learnings for each of you here. Whether you’re considering working with a mentor or coach, joining a mastermind group or you’re feeling alone in your business right now and are unsure of how to make that better, rest assured there are others who feel the same and there are people who can help.

Keep fighting for what you believe in, keep working towards your ideal perfect day…..

Happy writing!

Big hugs.
Jo

ps. The picture of me in the tree is to remind you that business doesn’t have to be serious to be successful….and also that when you climb high or change your perspective on things, your challenges will suddenly look more like opportunities.

pps. If you want to find out if I can help you build YOUR tribe, add your details in here and we can have a chat about what your next steps are.

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