One Year Reflections – 13 Decisions

Wow. It has been one full year since I left the perceived security of my corporate job.

April 13th, 2012 was the last day I ever “worked”.

Shortly after that (June 28th to be exact), I  sent an email to a number of friends, colleagues and other folks with what I called a “BIG Announcement.” The announcement was that I was writing a book. I was going to write about my journey from being a scared little kid to stuck in a corporate career to finally launching the life of my dreams. I made that announcement 292 days ago, and today I am thrilled to announce that my new book, “How to Quit Working, Create a life of FREEDOM using what you KNOW instead of just getting paid for what you DO,” is officially available for sale!

Now, obviously, I would love it if you would Click Here and order a copy (or 10)! But, instead of badgering you with a sales pitch, I though I would give you a list of 13 decisions you must make if you want to QUIT WORKING and live the most amazing life you can imagine that lets YOU DECIDE what you do each day.

There is a whole chapter devoted to these 13 things and 11 other chapters of practical how-to for anyone who wants to create a life of freedom in How to Quit Working.

OK, here it goes. Make these 13 decisions.

1) Decide to be Honest

Honesty is a value I hold very high. In this industry (the information/education industry), trust is of the utmost importance. When people buy, they buy YOU, not your information and nobody’s buyin’ if they aren’t trustin’. Not to mention, it’s just cool to be honest.

2) Decide to be Selfish

One of the biggest reasons people I talk to want FREEDOM in their lives is to help other people. And the best way to do that is to start by making yourself everything can be and that means focus. Focus on yourself, your needs and your own personal development. There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first, because a) you deserve it and b) the better off you are, the more people you can help.

3) Decide to Never Regret Anything.

Ever. Regrets waste time, energy and keep you from focusing on what you really want. Let ’em go. Whatever you regret, you probably (at the least) learned a lot from anyway. I have not one regret in my life.

4) Decide to Listen

Listen to what people say. You can be like the Snuggie and go out and convince people that they have a problem or a need that they don’t really have, but that’s not freedom. It’s too hard and requires too much pushing. Instead, just close your mouth and listen to what people tell you they need. Then create it. It’s also a great way to build amazing relationships.

5) Decide to Never Blame Anyone or Anything

Never Blame. Blame takes away your power and gives it to someone else and therefore is the most disempowering thing you can do. The only relevant question to ask is: “What could I have done differently?” Business and personal life, this is a universal truth.

We’re just getting started…

6) Decide to Set Goals

If you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never get there. Just decide what you want, and then start working for it it. Set the goal, then figure out what you have to do to get to it. Then do it.

7) Decide to Be Positive

Positive is the only way to be. Successful people always look at what GOOD could possibly come from a situation, not what BAD could possibly come from a situation. I get it, this is not as easy as it sounds and, for me, I struggle with it sometimes. But recognizing it’s importance to your success is step #1.

8) Decide to Be Yourself

When you just relax and be who you are, life is so much easier. More people like REAL YOU. Some people won’t like REAL you, and that is totally OK. It means you are bringing something unique to the world. I know I’m getting a little Mr. Rogers on you, but it’s true.

9) Decide to Clean Your Brain

Turn off that awful box (the boob tube) that spits out negative news all day and all night. You don’t need it. Successful people don’t wallow in all the awful, horrible things going on in the world, they focus on creating improvements. No more news.

We’re getting there, only 4 more to go!

10) Decide to Work on You

This isn’t a journey of entrepreneurship,  it’s not a journey of business, it’s not a journey of anything but personal improvement. It’s about becoming the best possible person you can possibly be, so you can inspire others to do the same. Then you are truly free.

11) Decide to be Healthy

Your personal health is the most important thing you have. Because really, without it, what else is there? Without it, none of this other stuff matters. Exercise, eat right and you’ll feel better and be more successful.

12) Decide to Deliver on Commitments

Back to trust, if you don’t deliver on commitments,  you don’t build trust, and you don’t build relationships and you aren’t free. The people, prospects, clients and partners you come into contact with must know you are going to do what you say you will.

This is my favorite; I saved it for last.

13) Decide to Give Stuff Up

“The things I am giving up today are allowing me to have more of those things in the future.” I firmly believe that you can have whatever you want in life, but you can’t necessarily have it exactly when you want it. It requires hard work and sacrifice. Sacrifice is easy when you keep your eyes on what you are aiming to have more of — time, money, freedom … whatever it is.

The things I am giving up today are allowing me to have more of those things in the future.

This first year has been a crazy, amazing one. There have been ups, downs, times of sheer joy and times of unbelievable frustration. But, I can say this with 100% honesty, leaving my job and creating this life for myself was the best decision I ever made.

It was NOT the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It was NOT the easiest decision.

In fact, it was among the hardest decision and one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

But totally worth it.

Leaving my job and creating this life for myself was the best decision I ever made.

And the thing that keeps blowing my mind, over and over is that it just keeps getting better. The more I really embrace this life and the more I let myself enjoy and experience it, the more possibilities I see and the more excited I get for the future.

I’m going to be talking a lot more on this blog and on my show about what this life is like and what I’m learning along the way. I’m also interviewing the most amazing lifestyle entrepreneurs each week on my new show, called the “The How to Quit Working Show”.

Wherever you are in your journey, go farther. Look back over that list of 13 things and decide which one you you need to work on most and make it your goal to focus on that for the next 30 – 45 days. Then, do it again.

You’ll be amazed what happens.

I started this blog post with a picture of shy, scared Jeff in the 80’s, here’s a picture of Jeff in 2013.

How far do you want to go?

Leave me a comment below and tell me where you want your life to go. I love hearing from you and I read and reply to every comment.

Live Free,

Jeff

P.S.: I could never have come this far without all of the amazing people in my life. You are too numerous to mention, but thanks to all of you.

How to Quit Working on Amazon

Image Credit: Photo by Some Tale on Unsplash

Blog: Stop Following the Herd

Lifestyle means doing it YOUR WAY. It means doing life the way YOU want, not the way your parents, teachers, friends, family, celebrities, politicians or “lifestyle gurus” think you should do it.

Hangin’ with Tom and Walt

On a recent beautiful spring day in St. Louis, I was at a friend’s house and saw exactly what I was talking about. Tom has an English Bulldog named Walter. Walter is old for a dog. He’s about 10, which is up there for a Bulldog. But he hasn’t lost his zeal for life.

Walter
Walter

While we were hanging out, drinking beer and philosophizing about life, politics and whatever else, Walter seemed antsy, so Tom went to get Walter a raw-hide bone to chew on.

Hearing the sound of the wrapper on the bone made Walter’s ears perke up and his head was tilt to his right as if to say, “Could it be? Is it possible? Today? Might I be about to get a (insert drumroll here) bone???!!!”

Great Day for Walter

Walter’s hope was true. It’s as if he has received the most wonderful thing a dog could receive — a raw-hide bone.

Walter was very excited about this bone and all the joy it has in store for him. He immediately went to town, chewing away at it, fully immersed in the sheer joy of chewing. Nothing could get him down now.

Walter went at the bone for about 5 or 10 minutes, then suddenly stopped. He laid the bone down, sat back on his haunches, and looked around–as though he were looking for something.

He did that for a few minutes and then picked up the bone and headed off with the bone in his mouth to a spot just 5 or 6 feet away. He set the bone down and began scratching at the ground as though he were trying to dig a hole. He kept at this for a while.

The Perfectionist

But he soon set the bone back down and looked around some more, as if to say, “This spot won’t do. I have to find a better place.”

After looking around a bit, he moved to another spot, and went through the digging motions once more. Again, this spot just didn’t seem right. So he moved to a third and final spot, and clearly, this was where he needed to be, because he confidently went through the digging motions, deposited the bone and then pushed his nose in a sweeping manner towards the bone.

A Job Well Done for the Wrong Reason

All done.

Walter plopped down, satisfied with a job well done; his bone supply now one greater.

I left an important detail out of this story: This all occurred in the living room.

Doing What You Are “Supposed to” Do

The Herd
The Herd

Walter was doing what he thought he was supposed to do. He did it because when he was a puppy, he saw everyone else doing it.

The result? A lot of energy spent to accomplish Absolutely Nothing.

Studies show that 80% of people are dissatisfied or disengaged with their job. (citation) That’s because 95% of the population is just doing what they think they are supposed to do.

Scratching at the hardwood floors in a vein attempt to accomplish something.

80% of the population is just scratching at the floor in a vein attempt to accomplish something.

Most don’t even know what they are trying to accomplish and their efforts certainly aren’t leading to anything useful or meaningful.

What’s the difference between the 80% who are unhappy and the 20% who are?

The 80% Say:

But if everyone is doing it, it must be right.

Wrong.

Followers Have Never Mattered

Ancient Greek crackpots had a crazy notion that the world was round. Those nutballs remained on the fringes of society through the days of Plato and Aristotle in the 300’s and 400s BC, through the middle ages, and until Ferdinand Magellan finally circumnavigated the earth in 1522, finally proving who the real crackpots were. Details courtesy of Wikipedia, cause I sure as hell don’t remember any of that from school.

The 20% Say:

Why?

Now What?

We’re not followers. We are lifestyle snobs. We want the freedom to pursue life on OUR terms.

We don’t do what everyone else is doing, just because everyone is doing it. We watch everyone else trying to dig holes in the hardwood floor, baffled as to why someone would do that.

“Why?,” we ask.

Keep asking why.

Live Free!

Image Credit: Photo by Andrea Lightfoot on Unsplash

How to Be a Lifestyle Fanatic

How much time do you spend each week doing something you don’t like? 80% of Americans hate their job (citation) so that’s at least 40 hours. When you add laundry, mowing the lawn and other chores on top of that, it’s almost all your time. As bad as that sounds, the worse part is that everybody thinks that’s just how it is. It’s Bullshit. I’m Jeff Steinmann. I’m a Lifestyle Fanatic and I have another way.

How You Spend Your Time

Besides sleeping, there are only three things to do with your time:

  • Living Your Life
  • Building Your Life
  • Sustaining Your Life

Think of each of those things as spheres — like a Venn Diagram.

Living Your Life is the only reason to be alive. It’s all the things you love doing, like music, writing, talking with friends, playing with your kids, walking in the woods or having a glass of wine.

Building Your Life is creating things that improve the amount or quality of time you spend Living, like building relationships with people who inspire you, creating a business, or writing a book.

Sustaining Your Life is all the things you must do to keep life going. Things like making money, mowing the grass, brushing your teeth and getting your annual physical.

The Problem

The problem with the “normal” way is that we spend almost all of it Sustaining, barely any time Living and almost none Building. That’s why two-thirds of people are unhappy. (citation)

The Lifestyle Myth

You’ve been told to live your life like this:

  1. Spend a fortune on college to learn how to do something you’ll probably hate.
  2. Work for someone else doing something you hate because it is the only way to make money.
  3. Buy lots of big things on credit so you have no choice but to keep working the job you hate.
  4. Hate your life until you retire and are too old to do anything.
  5. And thats just the way it is.

Lifestyle Fanatics look at these ideas with distain. We do not believe “normal” is a worthwhile goal. This must change. That’s why I’m here.

Become a Lifestyle Fanatic

Being a Lifestyle Fanatic means never spending more than one hour a week not Living. Here’s how. You can Build and Sustain while Living. Your happiness is a function of the size of your spheres and the degree to which Building and Sustaining lie inside Living. Designing your life like this is a commitment. It starts with YOU. Decide that YOU are in control and you are not going to spend more than one hour a week doing things you don’t like. If you decide that YOU are in control of your life you will be. But you have to commit.

Get Started

Click here to download a worksheet to get started. On the worksheet, draw your Lifestyle spheres twice. First draw them how they are now. Then draw them how you want them to be in six months. Next, write on the lines in the center, the one thing you can do now that will move you toward your goal the fastest. Finally, make your commitment public. Snap a pic of the worksheet and go to http://facebook.com/howtoquitworking to share it with the community.

Quit Working, Start Living

About Jeff

Jeff Steinmann is the founder of the boutique lifestyle consulting company, Braveau Experts and author of How to Quit Working, a simple plan to leave your job for a life of freedom. He is a speaker and hosts a weekly show called “The How to Quit Working Show” that features Lifestyle Fanatics who have rejected the idea of having a JOB and put lifestyle first. Jeff also founded a real estate investing company, holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Business Administration and is a Certified High Performance Coach™. Jeff was a vice president at a major financial institution for over 10 years, managing large technology programs, including website conversions for the largest bank mergers in the U.S.  His extensive knowledge of marketing, sales, business strategy and technology, combined with his experience building businesses for clients and himself have made him a sought after consultant to people at all levels of their businesses worldwide. Most of all, Jeff is a Lifestyle Fanatic, fiercely devoted to finding better ways to “do life”.

Image Credit: Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Building Relationships: It’s All Your Fault

One of the 13 decisions I made early on in my life was to never blame anyone for anything. Ever. That means taking 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING. Even if someone “wrongs” me, it was my fault for not setting better expectations, not creating a situation where I had as much control as I should have, or simply choosing to rely on the wrong person.

While nothing I’m saying is really controversial, most people have a silent objection. That silent objection is articulated something like this: “But that means I’m letting the person who was ‘wrong’ off the hook, which is NOT FAIR.”

Not true at all. I discuss how this affects your relationship with clients and prospects in this week’s blog post and short video, which you can watch below or just scroll down and keep reading.

This problem is this. When you blame others,

YOU GIVE THEM CONTROL.

If you view it from the standpoint of ‘how can I handle this differently next time,’ you are in control. If you are blaming someone else, you’ve given them control and you are the helpless victim. Let’s look at how this applies to building relationships with clients and prospects.

I follow this thought process in everything I do, and particularly with clients and prospects. Despite the many great reasons above for never blaming anyone, there are some really good reasons to keep this in mind when dealing with clients and prospects.

1)Any time someone feels “blamed”, right or wrong, it is sending the relationship downhill.

2)When you start blaming clients and prospects, you are losing control of your business.

3)When you are constantly looking for how YOU can do things better, you are constantly improving your business.

Never Blame

I had a situation the other day with one of my highest paying clients. We had a meeting on the calendar and

Building Relationships Its All Your Fault

the time on my calendar was two hours later than he believed the meeting was. This ended up being a time zone misunderstanding, however, nobody at my company did anything “wrong.” We did not provide any incorrect information and we did do an adequate amount of confirmation and validation. However, I did apologize and indicate that I will provide additional clarity next time. Now, we provide more time zone detail in our confirmations. Stronger business processes.

Keep Control

If there is one thing I could communicate to the world, it would be that when you blame others, you are simply giving away your control to them. If you blame clients and prospects for things that don’t go the way you want, you’ve given THEM control of your business and removed your control. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs get caught in that trap. Never go there.

Constantly Improve

When you are looking at how YOU can improve a situation, you are keeping control of it and making everything in your business better and of higher quality. If you are putting things in place that actually prevent or deal with the “bad things” that clients or prospects do, you are building a business that is rock solid and stronger than your competitors’.

What Can I Do About It?

  1. Just change the way you think about everything to be view every situation from the standpoint of “how could have handled this situation differently?” Just thinking that way empowers you in a huge way.
  2. When there is a situation where something didn’t go the way you both expected, find a way to respond and use language that clearly outlines what happened and what YOU are going to do to fix it. This shows that you take responsibility and that you really CARE about your clients’ success and are willing to take action.
  3. Every time something doesn’t go the way you want it to, make it a learning experience, and incorporate the learnings into your processes and procedures. This builds your business and makes everything you do higher quality.

As a side note, this mentality is very freeing. It opens you up to be calmer, more successful and in control of your business. Apply it to your life, too.

Let me know what you think. Comment below and let me know what changes you could make that would put you more in control of your business?

Image Credit: Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

Talking to People: Your Tone

As we continue to discuss how to effectively build relationships with Clients and Prospects (and really everyone you talk to), let’s talk about always keeping a positive tone.

Using a positive tone keeps you in the forefront of people’s minds as someone they WANT to talk to because you are always showing them something positive – ie. That they want or like.

I see people mess this up all the time, usually by using language that unintentionally puts people on the defensive because it accusing or jabbing at them somehow. They don’t even realize they are doing it and I’m going to talk about how to avoid it.

I made a video about this, which you can watch below, or you can just scroll down and keep reading.

Let’s discuss a few examples. These particularly irritate me.

“You lost me.”

Have you ever heard this? When someone doesn’t understand what someone else is saying, they say, “you lost me.” Communication is a two way street. It almost always requires some back and forth in order for both parties to understand each other. When you say, “You lost me,” whether you mean to or not, you’ve just communicated to the person you are speaking to and trying to build rapport with that they have done their job poorly and they need to try again. Why send that message? Use it as an opportunity to better understand the person and their perspective.

Instead try something like this:

“Mike, I don’t understand this point. Could you help me understand this better?”

Now, you have opened the channels of communication for both of you to begin a dialogue and better understand each other! Now we’re building relationships.

Just don’t use language that makes it seem like there is something “wrong.” There really is very little “right” or “wrong”. It’s a giant gray area. Instead, use what appears as a disagreement to better understand the persons perspective, concerns, wants and needs. If this is a prospect, understanding how they think about their situation will be invaluable in your ability to provide value to them and ultimately, sell stuff to them!

Let’s look at another example. The word “but.” I completely eliminated this word from my vocabulary a long

Talking to Clients and Prospects Your Tone

time ago. The way we use “but” is almost always negative in it’s tone. Here are two examples that state the same thing but one says it in a much more positive and uplifting way.

“That looks great Gary, but you need to make the margins wider.”

Versus

“That looks great Gary, and making the margins wider would make it even better.”

The first statement created a problem, the second statement created an opportunity. Two totally different ways to handle the exact same situation that also has two very different outcomes.

Side Note: Once you understand how these things work, you may still use them, but differently. You will actually use them when you have lost control and are TRYING to make it a conflict situation!

Here’s the big objection that many will have with this.

“But Jeff, I don’t want to appear weak or look like I don’t understand something.”

Get over it.

You don’t know or understand everything! Nobody expects you to and asking questions doesn’t make you look weak or ignorant. The most brilliant minds are as brilliant as they are because they asked so many questions and have such a diverse understanding and perspective.

So, when communicating with clients and prospects, remember these three things, to turn each conversation into an opportunity to build a relationship:

1)The language you use is either building up or tearing down your relationship. Choose your words carefully.

2)Every conversation is an opportunity to learn more about the client or prospect you are talking to, so never disagree, only seek to understand.

3)Nobody is no right or wrong. It’s your job to get to the heart of each party’s perspective and understanding of the situation.

Image Credit: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

How to Talk to Clients and Prospects

Throughout my corporate career, the thing I heard most often was, “Jeff, you have such good relationships with everyone you work with.” And I did. I had outstanding relationships with customers, peers, management, employees, stakeholders and just about everyone I came in contact with. I did not realize how extremely valuable that skill (developing relationships) would be in marketing. So, I thought I’d write a series of blog posts about the topic of building relationships, and I’m going to start with how to TALK TO people in a way that builds relationships.

Click below to watch a short video on the topic or just scroll down and keep reading.

Most importantly, talk to everyone from THEIR perspective. When you talk to kids, you refer to their parents, as mom or dad. You say, “Mommy will be home soon.” or “Can I talk to your dad?”

You don’t refer to the kids parents by their name, or your relationship with them, you refer to them from the child’s perspective. We do this to ensure they know exactly who you are talking about. We use their language. Kids have a lot to teach us about the world, and this is no exception. W learn from kids, in this case that people understand better when we are talking to them from THEIR perspective.

My first corporate job was an interesting one and I learned a lot about relationships. I collected money from health care providers who were paid in error by the insurance companies that I represented. What that means is that I would call health care providers and convince them to resubmit the bill to Medicare and refund the money to my company. They were not legally required to do this rebilling, so I had no choice but to develop a relationship with them so they would want to do this for me. This also frequently meant that they would have to accept less money for the services rendered because the Medicare rate was less than what had already been paid by the insurance company.

What I quickly identified was that we (the insurance industry) had a VERY different vocabulary than the health care providers I was contacting. The most notable was what we called the person who received the services. We called them the “beneficiary” (‘bene’ for short), but the providers called them the “patient.” So, I started referring to the “bene” as the “patient” and saw that something as little as that made me sound less like a “jerk from the insurance company” (which is basically what I was).

That’s just one of many examples of how talking to the providers in their language was beneficial. The industry is complicated and there were numerous opportunities to use sensitivity their language as a method to increase my influence.

This is exactly how to approach marketing and talking to clients and prospects. Always approach the conversation from their perspective.

How to Talk to Clients and Prospects

Do they want a coach? NO
Do they want a training program? NO
Do they want to attend your event? NO
Do they want a 6 part CD series? NO

They want something REAL, like

• A better love life.
• Better behaved kids
• Less Stress in their business
• A lifestyle that allows them to have more Freedom (my favorite).

Those are the terms in which you must talk to your clients and prospects.

You want to sell them a 6-part CD series.

BUT

They want a better love life.

Sell the better love life, not the 6-part CD series. Just like the beneficiary vs. the patient.

Always get right down to these two questions:

• Who are you talking to?
• What do they want?

I’m obsessive about this. I keep notes with specific words I hear, so that I can use those same words to talk to clients and prospects. The more I can talk their language, the better I can serve them and as a result influence their buying decisions. Since I offer amazing products and services, I can rest easy that influencing them to consume my information is the best for them.

Image Credit: Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

How to Promote Your Expert Lifestyle Business

Building an Expert Lifestyle Business successfully hinges on one major thing: Getting Known for Your Knowledge.

People have to know who you are and what you do if they are going to follow you and buy from you. And that means you have to promote yourself and your products. One important aspect of that is to create and deliver high-quality content regularly. Another is to build relationships with others who have a complimentary audience. But, if you really want to build your business to awesome new heights, you will need to put some big promotional strategies in place.

Below is a video that outlines the key to successfully promoting yourself as an expert authority on your subject. Watch the video below, or scroll down to keep reading.

Examples of big promotional strategies are things like:

  • Podcast
  • Web TV Show
  • Teleseminars
  • Webinars
  • Writing a book
  • Creating an Ipad Magazine
  • Public Speaking

There are infinite promotional strategies, but those are a few of the more popular ones.

Expert Entrepreneurs are also action-takers. When we see a opportunity, we jump on it! We are subscribed to lots of Internet Marketing newsletters and the like, and when we see a product that we believe will teach us something useful or help us, we are all over it. The problem comes in when we start down too many of these paths.

Then, we start to get overwhelmed, frustration follows, and then we are gridlocked. We don’t know where to start with all the things we have in play and progress stops. Then, we hear about another promotional technique and the whole cycle has started over again!

Pick Two  

Pick two major promotional strategies to focus on and focus on them like a laser. Do these in addition to creating content regularly and building relationships in your industry. But focus on those two and no more. Unsubscribe from Internet Marketing mailing lists if you have to! That will save you time and ensure your focus stays on your TWO key strategies.

Stick with those two items for a clear and definite period of time. How long that period of time is will depend on the individual technique, but the important thing is that in the beginning, you commit to a specific amount of time. Whether that is 6 months or 18 months, you will have a concrete goal that you can meet. The point here is that you do not quit because something else more exciting came along.

Why Two?

Two is more than one but its still a manageable number. One is not enough. It creates a single point of failure. If that one didn’t work out or was less successful that you expected, you wouldn’t have a fallback. Also, by having more than one, you are beginning to be seen in more than one place and platform by the same person. This builds credibility and positions you as an authority figure. Any more than two would just get unrealistic. You want a life of freedom, right???!!!

This is YOUR Life

Since this is YOUR Expert Lifestyle Business we are talking about, pick two promotional strategies that YOU like! Don’t pick the ones that are “hot right now” or that “everyone is doing.” Pick stuff you like to do. If you hate writing, a book is not a good choice! What other business, job or industry lets you do “whatever you want?”

Get Help

Definitely seek out training, coaching, consulting or whatever help you need to implement these major strategies. They will be important to the success of your business, so investing money to learn or get help is a must.

Now you know how to choose two promotional strategies to promote yourself as an expert. Tell me in the comments below what TWO strategies you are going to use to build your following.

Image Credit: Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Find and Understand your Niche

Call it a niche, call it a crew, call it a tribe, a herd, an avatar or an ideal client. Whatever you call it, it’s important. If you don’t think it’s important, keep reading.

You can literally have the PERFECT solution to someone’s problems, but if you can’t find those people and you can’t communicate to them in a way that they understand and that resonates with them, they will not pay attention, you will never build a following and you will certainly never sell anything.

I’m going to give you the three things to consider when selecting a niche. They are listed below this video. If you would like to “watch” this blog post, just click the video below, otherwise keep reading.

OK, before we get into that, let’s start by outlining WHY you need to define a niche. The simple reason is that you need to have a group of people with a common set of problems or desires who you can get access to and communicate with in a similar manner.

Coca-cola, Budweiser and McDonald’s have the “marketing muscle” to CREATE demand. They have the budget to sponsor sporting events, create characters and do the appropriate amount and type of advertising to actually MAKE people want their products. McDonald’s, for example, has actually manufactured demand for their bad-tasting, unhealthy food that kills you.

None of those three big companies have the best beverage or food in their category. But they do have the best marketing. They have marketing that is so good it has actually created demand for their sub-par products.

You probably don’t have the marketing budget to do that. And, I suspect that even if you did, you wouldn’t want to sell your information in that manner anyway. So, you must define a clear niche that already has a clear and common set of problems and desires. Let’s talk about that.

Find_and_Understand_your_Niche

The three things your niche must have: 

1. A clear problem they want to solve or desire they want met.

2. Common viewpoints about their situation, their goals, desires and frustrations.

3. Findability – they must gather in places where you can get access to them.

1. A Clear Problem They Want To Solve or Desire They Want Met 

We call ourselves “experts” and say we are in the “information” business, but let’s face it, we are in the marketing business. Marketing is all about identifying a problem that someone has and then showing them how the thing you have solves that problem. If there is no Problem to solve or Desire to meet, there can be no effective marketing.

That is why your niche must have a common problem or desire. In some cases, this is obvious, for example, if you are an expert on relieving back pain, the problem is obvious. If, however, your area of expertise is a generic and very broad topic, such as Holistic Medicine, you have some work to do here to “niche it down.” While the general topic of Holistic Medicine does contain benefit that is applicable to nearly everyone, you can’t market that to EVERYONE because EVERYONE does not have the same problems and desires.

Simply choose a small portion of EVERYONE to start with. In the holistic medicine example, you might choose the parents of hyperactive children, or women in their 50s who are concerned about osteoporosis due to their family history, for example. That concern about osteoporosis or hyperactivity is a PROBLEM that you can address.

They want a SOLUTION to that specific problem and you have one to offer to them.

2. Common Viewpoints About Their Situation, Goals, and Frustrations

Your niche must have similarities in how they view the world. Certainly not in every aspect, but in many. You must be able to talk to them in a similar way. For example, let’s continue with the holistic medicine theme. The parents of children with chronic earaches is a specific niche. These parents also should have similar views about the world. They are interested in holistic medicine. Perhaps they are frustrated with traditional medicine’s approach to the problem. They may feel that their doctor just prescribes medication each time their child gets and ear infection, rather than attempting to get to the root cause. They are frustrated with the reactive nature of their doctor.

Let’s also consider a little more about this parent. They obviously love their child very much. They hate to see him or her suffer with this horrible earache. The parent misses a lot of work because of their child’s illness and spends a lot of money on doctor bills. They are also concerned because the child is missing so much school because of the earaches. This is all much more rich information we can use to understand what our niche wants and needs.

Their clear problem is their kids having chronic earaches. Their common viewpoints or perspectives are that traditional medicine is reactive and a holistic approach may get to the root cause and result in fewer earaches, making their child feel better and be happier.

3. Findability: They Must Gather In Places Where You Can Get Access To Them

This is just a plain old practical matter! You have to have a way of reaching or contacting your niche. This can take on a number of different forms. It could be online forums, regular events or trade shows, clubs, organizations, Facebook groups, etc.

If you can’t find them, you can’t market to them and you can’t get known. That’s it. Your niche simply must be in some place where you have access to them. Pick a niche that “hangs out” in a few specific places that you can get access to.

Misconception Alert!

Finally, there is a huge misconception that “niching” is limiting. The conception is that defining a small niche will hurt your business by limiting the pool of people you do business with.

The opposite is true.

By choosing and targeting a smaller niche, you actually increase the power of your marketing. You actually make it possible to reach and very effectively target a small group of people with your marketing dollars (which are much smaller than Coca-Cola’s :-). Once you have success and a following in this niche, it will be much easier to branch out and target larger groups and niches.

So, if you are feeling limited by a niche, think of it as a stepping stone.

Image Credit: Photo by note thanun on Unsplash

11 Things You Must Know to Publish a Book

Jeff Steinmann Review of APE – How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review an advance copy of Guy Kawasaki’s brand new book, “APE, How to Publish a Book”, which he co-authored with Shawn Welch. I’ve been staying closely in touch with the publishing industry and all of the radical changes it has been going through the past several years and this book is an incredibly concise (even at 313 pages) overview of the industry and literally EVERYTHING you need to know about writing a book.

I decided rather than writing a fourth-grade book report, I would summarize the most important points for anyone who wants to use a book to establish themselves as an expert in a particular niche.

So, here it goes, these are the 11 most important points I captured from the book:

  1. Write a book for the right reasons. Write it because you have a message inside you that you MUST get out! It’s just too much work to do for any other reason. Whatever you do, DO NOT write it to make money from sales of the book.
  2. Traditional Publishers vs. Self-Publishing: In general, traditional publishers get you one thing: The “clout” of being published by a big publishing house. In order to be published by one of those houses, you need to have a platform, or a way to reach a large number of your followers. If you have that platform, traditional publishing with a major publisher may work well for you. If you don’t, self publish, but you will STILL need the platform in order to promote your book. So, start building a platform, if you aren’t already.
  3. Ebooks are gaining in popularity, but there is still nothing like holding a physical book in your hand. And printed books are still outselling eBooks by a large margin. At the end of the day, it’s easy to have your book in print these days with print on demand technology, so have it in print, have it on the Kindle, iPad, Nook and every format you can reasonably support. Guy explains exactly how in the book.
  4. Tools matter. The tools you use, word processor, conversion tools, file sharing, etc. will make your work easier or harder. Guy tells you exactly what to use for best results.
  5. How much does it cost to self-publish your book? 4300 bucks. You have to do the math and decide if this expense is worth it and guy walks you through that. You can also barter and cut corners to get that cost much lower, which will come at the cost of time and quality, but may make sense on a limited budget.
  6. Hire an Editor. Hire someone who edits books for a living. You simply can’t get out of your own mind enough to look at your book objectively.
  7. Don’t let it look like crap. Guy calls it the “self-published look.” Get a professional cover design, interior design and use an imprint (publisher name) that is not your own name or company name.
  8. Distribution options are almost unlimited. There are companies that will do this for you, or you can work directly with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc and their respective self-publishing programs. This is great, because there are a multitude of different ways to get your book distributed. You can choose the method (or more likely, methods) that work best for you. Guy outlines your options very thoroughly.
  9. File formats can be tricky. But, it’s not rocket science, you just need to understand the ins and outs of each format and which ones you need for what you are doing. He explains them very simply and clearly in the book.
  10. Pricing. If you are just getting started and building a platform, start low and go up if you can. You are never going to get rich off the book sales themselves (the money is in the credibility a book brings!), so the better route is to keep the price low so you can get it into more people’s hands and build your credibility.
  11. Platform, Platform, Platform. That’s what promoting and selling a book is all about. You must focus on creating a following of people who know you, love you and are ready and eager to buy from you. Wait, isn’t that MY area of expertise? Good, your in the right place. Click here for more information (from me) on how to get known as an expert and build a life of FREEDOM and FLEXIBILITY with your knowledge and expertise. OK, I had to get a little plug in for myself. :-)

If you are considering writing a book, you definitely want to read APE. There simply is no other book that so thoroughly, yet concisely wraps up all you need to know about this complex and still changing topic.

You can purchase APE from Amazon.com by clicking here. If you follow this link, I will be compensated an extremely small amount (nowhere near enough to buy a cup of coffee) by Amazon for referring you there.

Image Credit: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

What do FEELINGS have to do with business?

I wondered a lot this year about that feeling … you know that kind of little feeling that you get when you maybe should do something or shouldn’t do something … go in one direction or go in another direction.

Well I got that little feeling a lot this past year. I got that feeling a lot this past year and what I found that I wasn’t following it. I wasn’t doing what that little feeling told me that I need to do.

Now, I’m going to get a little bit crazy here in this blog post. I don’t really normally talk about this kind-of touchy-feely stuff, but probably should more, so here it goes.

Continue reading below or watch this short video I made about the topic:

What was happening is that I made a lot of decisions without paying attention to that “feeling.” And I found that I was going back, reversing decisions and changing direction and doing a lot of things only to go back to be true with that feeling I remembered having in the first place.

Now, what I really believe is happening there is my subconscious, or intuition, or “gut” is way way way more intelligent and can process way more information and knowledge than our conscious mind does. So I believe that my subconscious was giving me much more “information” and better resources to make the decision with than my conscious mind ever could!

So, that’s why not following those feelings sent me down the wrong path every single time. It’s something that I’ve really seen this year to be incredibly true for me, my personal life and my business. I simply have got to follow that feeling and generally when I do follow that feeling things do work out.

And when I don’t…well I saw how that works out this year!

That’s another thing that in 2012 I didn’t do the way I would’ve liked to have. But I’ve learned very important lessons about how to do it right in 2013!

I’m only part way through this journey. I’ve strongly embraced the importance of this “feeling,” but my biggest challenge remains actually RECOGNIZING the feeling when I have it. I’m getting better, but have a ways to go on that front. I sometimes use a technique that a coach taught me a while back.

That technique is to ask yourself, when making a decision: How does this feel? Heavy or Light?

Asking myself that question always helps me to sort of “feel” it more.

Now, I’ll share an experience I had earlier this year with this. I was sitting at my desk on a Wednesday afternoon over the summer, frustrated as ever with my life and with my business. I suddenly had the realization that I had 3-5 thing I needed to FIX immediately. I had gone in directions that my intuition told me not to go in.

That day my business radically changed. I made some hard decisions, severed relationships, and let some large time and financial investments disintegrate. It was when I shifted the focus of Braveau Experts from being an agency (actually creating brands, websites, products and things FOR experts) to becoming an expert lifestyle business, which is what I was doing for my clients. In other words, the company was no longer about what I DO, it was about what I KNOW.

Then I became sort of addicted to getting things RIGHT and reversing those old, bad decisions. It was so liberating! I love it! I began actually asking myself, “What else can I change?”

Have you recently made a decision that was NOT congruent with what your body and intuition were telling you? How did it turn out? Tell me in the comments below, I love to hear from you!

Whether your post it below or not, I would like to issue a personal challenge to you to reverse one of those decisions TODAY. It might be hard at first, but step up and DO IT. You deserve the outcome.

Image Credit: Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash