bbwo-experts (14)

How Not to Have an Automation Meltdown


I love automation. It's one of the reasons I have a business, but it can also be a big pain in the rear when it doesn't work.

I remember this one week where I was having terrible problems with my meeting scheduler. I was using a service to set up complimentary appointments with prospective clients and I'd done this big promotion about it. What was supposed to happen is the person would go to this page, click on a link to see my available calendar, and in about 2-3 clicks they're all set.

They'd get an email confirmation and the meeting time would pop into my calendar. No back and forth, no wasted time, boom - there is the appointment.

I had a number of people trying to set up their free time to connect but they weren't getting the handy little meeting schedule. Instead every one of them kept getting an "error 404" page ... those error pages always get on my last nerve especially when it means I have a link not working! Ever had that happen to you?

So what was happening is I kept getting phone call after phone call telling me the link didn't work, asking for next steps, requesting a return phone call. Some were even downright insults saying things like "this is unprofessional" (and yes, remember I said it was a free offer ---sometimes those are the worst kind when things go wrong).

Well once I figured out what the problem was, I'd missed at least 20 prospective meetings. I had to personally call each person back who left a voicemail and arrange the meeting manually, which is what I'd set up the service to help me avoid in the first place! That free time turned into triple the hours I'd planned for.

After that little incident, I learned my lesson. I'll give you a few quick hitter tips you can use so you don't end up falling prey to an automation disaster like this.

Always Test Your Automated Systems

When I sent out the promotion emails and let people know the links were open, I should have already tested the entire process myself along with having a friend or assistant test it. I know this now. Most of the time I'll remember this horrible week and I will have someone go through the entire process as though they are signing up. That way, any errors can be worked out before the whole world hears about it.

Remember, It's People Over Process

Many people think more of their super fabulous tools and systems than what the experience will be like for the end user. If you take the time to put yourself in the other person's shoes -- you know, the person who might just be investing in you or your stuff? -- you will know if you're headed in the right direction. Think about things like, "how easy is this to use?", "how many buttons would I click?", "does this frustrate me more than endear me to the service?".

You should make it easy for people to do business with you, not harder. The more difficult it is, the less likely they will buy.

Always Have a Back Up

Sure in this case I was the back-up. I literally sat down and made a list of all the people and manually called them myself. But what if there was a better way? If I had an assistant at the time, I would have had more help. Or if I learned through the testing process that the service wasn't working, I would easily have changed over to a new scheduling service before the promotion ever went out.

Think through your backup plan. What could you use if a part of your system is not flowing smoothly? What resources are available quickly and within your budget? Just thinking this through may save you a ton of time and money.

Now I can't tell you I've never had an automation problem ever again, but I can say that putting systems in place to help me replicate my work has always cost me less in the end than doing it all manually...both in dollars and in sanity. If you remember the tips I shared with you in this post, you'll reduce the chances of automation fail.

Want to learn more about how to use automation the right way? Get more over at my main blog

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10744096275?profile=originalSee Where You Are Going

One of the most relied upon of the five senses is sight. Sight on a basic level is the ability to see with your physical eyes. But if you dig deeper the ability to see includes creating a mental picture; a visualization. Familiar with the term “mind’s eye”? This term refers to the human ability for visualization, which is experiencing visual mental imagery. Basically, the ability to “see” with your mind. Helen Keller said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but, no vision.”

From this place of seeing you can begin to jump start your life. Use your “mind’s eye” to see yourself in the future. Where are you? Are you living the life you dreamed of living? Are you experiencing success in all areas of your life? Do you have balance? Say to yourself, “I see you in the future and you look much better than you look right now!”

Visualize the life you want and deserve to live. Harness what you see to help create the path to get from where you are to where you want to be. Use vision to see where you are going.

Pursue Your Passion

Dare to create a vision for your life? Tap into the creativity embedded within you to reach your destined place of purpose. Have you taken the steps necessary to find your purpose? That very thing you are passionate about could be the spark you need. 

I was inspired to become a life coach because I encountered individuals who have shared with me that they don’t know their life’s mission. They didn’t know why they are on this earth at this appointed time and in space. Some stated they have no desire to invest their time, resources or energy to finding their purpose, maximizing their potential and igniting the passion within. I hope you are not at this place in your life; however, if you are then you are reading this at the right time.

Now is the time for you to invest in you. You may have spent years, an enormous amount of resources or endless hours working toward something that is not germane to your life’s call. But take the time to think about that thing in your life which makes you sing. That thing you begin to talk about to the point where people can see the twinkle in your eye and the glow in your countenance. Discover, unleash and pursue your passion.

Act on Your Goals

Take a close look at the word “goal”.  The first two letters make up the word “go”. Go, to move on a course, proceed or to take a certain course. It is just that simple. Goals are not as complicated as we make them out to be. For example, your goal is the bigger picture. For this example our goal or bigger picture is to go food shopping. There are a number of “tasks” we must complete in order to reach this goal. The basic tasks include preparation, going outside, getting into the car, putting the car in gear and “going”.

An effective way to help reach your goals is to break the bigger goal down into a series of tasks. With this in mind, you may only want to tackle two to three goals at one time. Why? Because when you list out the tasks associated with each goal the list can become pretty long. Begin small, be persistent and consistent.

Rev Up Your Engine

In thinking about revving an engine, car racing came to mind. In preparation for a high speed motor race revving the engine prepares the car for optimum performance. To get your car warmed up for the race ahead.

This is certainly a principle you can apply to your life. Revving your personal engine is a great way to prepare yourself for the race head. Life is often viewed as a race. It takes many components for you to not only get in the race, but to sustain it with speed, persistence, consistency and accuracy. You are the driver and the car you have been given is called life. One of the keys to life is learning to drive and navigate with wise efficiency.

One of the ways to “rev up your engine” is to create positive affirmations which are consistent with the way you see your life in the future. They should be positive and written in present tense. View your future with your “mind’s eye”.

Kick Start Your Life

To “kick start” your life is just another way to say “jump start”. It is time to restart fresh and re-energize your life. Little to no progress can be made if you are stuck in life with no “spark” to help provide the kick start you need.

In the movie Inception, “the kick” was necessary to awaken a dreaming individual to get them from one level to another. Sometimes in order to get to our next level in life with need a kick. It is time to make room for new experiences by removing thoughts, ideas and concepts that are not helping you to get to your new level in life. What may have worked in the past may not work for your future.

Kick start your life by connecting with the right people, changing the way you see your life, pursuing your passion and getting the tools and resources you need to jump start your life.

You can receive more inspiration of awesomeness from my weekly podcast show, Awesome Living with Cheryl Pullins.

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Remember that old Biz Markie song, ♪ "You, you got what I neeeed...." ♫.  Don't you wish that every time your ideal client or customer saw your stuff online that song would just automatically pop up in their head?

If you don't, you should.  Because that means you've made the right connection.  See it works like this...


But often we just focus on the first part of the equation - what we want to sell.

The fact is it can be pretty time consuming to do market research, but it's crucial to your business.  It's just one of those things you've got to do.  Otherwise, you can spend a lot of time creating products and promoting services no one will every buy.

You know my answer to almost everything when it comes to saving time, right?  Turn your research into a system, (my quick definition?  a system is a set of repeated activities you can map out, delegate and automate to get similar results).

Where Should You Start?

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the first step for most solo service providers. It helps you understand what people are searching for online and what words they are using. There are numerous tools that can help you do this research, including Google’s own AdWords keyword tool, a free and paid tool from Wordtracker, and a popular software program called Market Samurai.

It takes a little practice to learn to do keyword research well, but knowing the most commonly searched terms will help you target the problems that people are facing. It also means you can optimize any content you create, helping it rank in the search engines.

Study Problems People Are Facing

When you know the problems people are facing in your target market, you can create solutions. Solutions sell. Look at the questions people are asking and why they are asking them. Look for the places your target market hangs out, like forums or Facebook groups, and listen in.  You might even create a list using a tool like Evernote or Google Drive.  I call this list my R&D (research & development) list.

Other places people don't really think about are YouTube videos and Amazon books.  What's popular?  What are people talking about around the topic you're interested in promoting?  Watch the discussions that take place and the questions asked. If there are problems that people consistently talk about, you’ve just found a great opportunity to provide a solution.


Paint a Portrait of Your Customers

It helps to paint a portrait of your ideal customer in as much detail as possible. This isn’t necessarily a visual picture, though some people do that, but one that describes little details about them. What are their demographics, such as age, gender, occupation, where they live, etc? What is some of the lingo they use? Do they tend to have similar interests or hobbies? Write it all down. Some marketers even keep this list in front of them whenever they write anything for or to their customers.

While it can take what seems like a lot of time, having a system you use to do market research can save you from sinking a fortune in time and money in a doomed project. The more market research you do from the start to understand your market, the less risk you face and the more likely they'll be singing your song loud and clear. ;)

In my lunch time series coming up I'll share a few more tips on how to create great, but simple systems for your biz.  Get on the "notify me" list now so you get reminders.  

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You left your corporate job (or perhaps it left you) and you’re finally self-employed. You get to finally live your dreams of business ownership right. but do you have the right mindset? Are you still treating yourself like an employee of your own business? What are the 3 things you need to do to shift your mindset from thinking "paycheck to paycheck" to thinking like a real employer?

When I said "that's IT" from my last corporate layoff (yes I had 2) I was ready to embrace self-employment head-on. I had clients almost immediately and had replaced my corporate salary and then some. BUT

I was overwhelmed, I didn't know know to set boundaries with my clients, I felt like I had to "earn" every penny they paid me. I was  "crackberry" addict (my Blackberry stayed on 24/7 literally. I spend 40+ hours on client work with little time to actually build my business. Despite the fact I had 15 years+ experience and a solid background in operations and systems. I was still struggling and overwhelmed. Even though I was my own boss, I was treating my business and my value like I was still an employee.

Listen to this latest podcast for the 3 things I learned about myself and my business that literally changed the course of my business.


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Very few people I know use business process mapping, but it can be a really good way to figure out the difference between what is happening now vs. what you want to have happen with certain systems running in your business.

For example, you might have this really great product out in your online store, but you somehow keep losing customers -- like 85% of the time -- after they click the "add to cart" button.  What happened?

Or in another instance, you may have tons of referrals and they come to you willing and ready to invest, but you only convert 10% of them into clients.  Where's the breakdown? How do you know?  And what resources do you need in order to increase that number?

Many times, knowing the solution that works the best for you does not just pop up in a magical light bulb over your head.  Instead, it requires knowing what is taking place, step-by-step, so you can make improvements for the better.

Business Analysts (also known as BA's) tend to take advantage of process mapping because it suits them perfectly since they tend to be practical thinkers, always looking for the "why" behind what's going on.  They also get really passionate about information.  I like how this article from TDWI says, "They love to wallow in it, get it all over themselves, see what they can do with it, and see it change state and morph and eventually crystallize into facets of meaning."

Basically, these guys can get really geeky about improving a system, or set of activities so you get the most optimal results.

How do I know?  Because I actually have an analyst background in my "other" career.  Yeah, that's how I got to be such a systems geek.

Now here's what is cool about that...

There are a lot of creative thinkers marketing how great it is to use your creativity to ...well...create things. Products, new service offerings, you name it. I love it and I think that's great.  If you want to promote creative thinking, mind-mapping is a very effective tool. But that's a whole different type of method than what I'm talking about.

The thing is, not everyone is naturally given to creatively wild or illustrative thinking.  Some of  us tend to be a bit more structured and systematic in our thinking.  Having those type of people in your business network can be tremendously helpful because we help with the execution of the actual sale of that wonderful new product, or we help you fix problems with the way you're handling questions from prospective buyers so they feel better about trusting you and affirmed when they buy.

This is the beautiful place where process mapping comes in.

In my upcoming webinar, 10 Ways To Design Better Systems For Your Business, I share more about process mapping and what it can do. Plus I'll be talking about more ways to improve what you're doing in your business, so you can be more efficient which => (ta-dah) more profitable.

Business process mapping may just be the answer to your problems. Oh, and if you search the internet now for some process mapping resources, it will probably look a lot more boring than how I do it.

I've made the webinar publicly available.  No registration required.

=> Just click here to watch and get my free Systems Success Roadmap

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Multipassionate entrepreneurs often suffer from this...Self-competition - doing WAY too much in your business or having so many visions and passions that it's difficult and challenging to know exactly what to focus on - where and when to ask for help and how to really impact change with your work. What is the key "thing" you MUST know and understand if you desire your visions to truly manifest into real impact?

I'm excited to introduce my new PODCAST show "Liberation Conversations with Katrina" discussing a issue I struggled with for YEARS in my business. The issue that caused me to start a business on Monday and by Friday I'd be "on the next". Or to start a project and then find myself completely overwhelmed (and underperforming) because I was doing waaaay too much and not delegating properly. I got the wake up call and in this podcast I reveal the "thing" we must all do to be both effective and sane. The truth revealed here may ruffle a few feathers and be uncomfortable to hear but often the truth isn't comfortable, but it's always necessary if you intend to grow.

Listen to this podcast, then leave me your thoughts, comments. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Are you challenged in your own business with "Self-competition?"

Until next week


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Outsource What You Can To Free Up More Time

Most of the people I know are high achievers; and a large portion of them are "control addicts".   But the bad part about being in control of everything is that you often end up doing everything in your business.

This kind of behavior creates failure, not success.

One solution is to consider outsourcing - hiring an independent contractor to help you get things done.  Outsourcing can help lift a huge weight off your shoulders.

And it's not just a resource for larger businesses.  Businesses of every size are starting to acknowledge the need to spend more time perfecting their expertise while they free up time by giving work away.  This serves to help you build stronger relationships with prospects and retain current clients.

Why Outsource?

Outsourcing can help you make the most of all of your resources—people, time, money and energy—because you and your staff can focus on the what's most important to your business. When you outsource, in essence you're allowing other companies or individuals with different skill sets (e.g., accounting, human resources or information technology) to do what they do best for YOU. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

As a result, you have more time to be laser-focused on your specialization which then enhances your credibility, and you become more attractive to people who are looking for the precise solution that you or your company offer.

Fitting Outsourcing Into Your Lifestyle

Outsourcing can definitely require an attitude shift and a willingness to give up a bit of control.  Realistically, it can feel uncomfortable at first.  But staying in a comfort zone is often what leaves some people stuck at the same level year after year.

Really think about your hesitation; what are your concerns about outsourcing?

Here are some common objections:

  • Reputation. Business owners might worry what their customers, clients, staff and other stakeholders will think about their decision to outsource. You might also be concerned that the outside specialist will make some kind of drastic error that will harm your reputation.
  • Security. Outsourcing may require that you consider sharing certain information to get certain tasks done.  Businesses may not be sure how to protect their intellectual property and other key data from fraud, tampering and other damage.
  • Offshoring. A lot of outsourcing is done at the local or national level, but more and more is taking place using foreign associates. You might be concerned about language barriers, health and safety standards, work quality or the impact on your national economy.

With each of these concerns and any others you may have, take some time to answer the question, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if we outsourced?” and then ask yourself, “If that happened, then what?”

Many businesses have outsourced successfully and made mistakes that you can learn from. Do your research and be confident and intentional about your decision to move ahead.

How to Get Started with Outsourcing

Look at the activities you are spending time on that divert you from the core of your business. What’s draining you? Is it administrative tasks, technical support, accounting, human resources, internet technology or something else?

Determine how much time it's taking you to get these things done.  Are you generating profit by doing these yourself?  Could the work be assigned to someone else who has expertise?  What would it take to give up the work?

Start with these questions and begin looking into options for outsourcing to quality contractors.

Need help getting started?  For a complete course on how to find the right outsource partner, check out my brand new online course, "Outsource Your Service Business" on  I will walk you through the entire process step by step.  For a limited time, you can get it at no cost here:

Ready to focus on what you do best and outsource the rest? The move to outsourcing requires a shift in thinking, some preparation and a slight learning curve, but in the end, you will emerge with a stronger focus on the "main thing" in your business. And it might just be the answer to growing your business to the next level.

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10744093094?profile=originalWhile watching the television show, Unsung, a music biography series which sheds much-do light on some of the most influential, talented and yet, somehow forgotten R&B, Soul and Gospel artists of our time. On this particular show they featured rap icon, Kool Moe Dee. He made a statement which reminded me of part of my own journey. He said “my ego does drive the car sometimes.” The statement caught my attention and immediately reminded me of what it takes to get to the place in your life where you recognize and openly admitted that your ego can be in the driver seat of the car of your life and it has a big mouth.

Thinking about my own ego, I re-visited one of the many defining moments in my life. This one was during my time as a flight attendant. Yes, I know, you didn’t know that I had a short stint as a flight attendant. It was one of my dreams and I had the opportunity to live it.

One day I was doing a flight, can’t recall where, but on this flight I was the only flight attendant in the cabin. I did regional flights so it was usually a fifty seat aircraft. It was time for beverage service, and I always started in the rear of the cabin. While setting up for service I hadn’t noticed one of the first class passengers went in the back to use the restroom. Of course as soon as I pushed the cart all the way to the back the passenger comes out of the restroom ready to return to his seat in first class.

Since we’re talking about ego, what do you think I did? Yep. I wouldn’t let him return until I got to the front where there was enough space for him to get back into his seat. Because I wanted to “make my point” about who was in charge. Then to make matters worse, I “apologized” to him for not letting him go back to his seat. Well, he didn’t want to hear it and immediately gave me the front of his palm, also known as the “get out of my face, I don’t want to hear what you have to say” sign.

Well! As you could imagine, both me and my ego were livid. Hot! Upset! How dare he disrespect me in front of the other first class passengers. So now we are having a pretty heated exchange. I didn’t care. I was in “charge” and he needed to know it. But what I had totally forgotten was that I had an administrative ghost rider on my flight and she was sitting in first class. Usually you don’t know when you are being “watched in action.” But it just so happens there was another flight attendant on my flight heading home and somehow she knew there was a ghost rider and she had already warned me. So needless to say, I blew that observation.

What is amazing is that it took me five years to recognize who had really shown up to work the flight 10744093674?profile=originalthat day. It was my ego and it had a big mouth.

When Oprah started her Life Class, the first one I watched was The False Power of Ego. As I listened to the conversation I took it all in and was like okay, how does this relate to me?

The next day I had a conversation with my husband about the class and shared how I believed it related to me, and in that moment, my life had come full circle. The incident I shared about being a flight attendant was because my ego was in the driver’s seat and it had a big mouth. I let ego represent me and speak on my behalf because it needed to not only show the gentleman who was in charge, but it showed me that it was in charge of me too.

When it comes to personal growth, self-reflection, realization and acceptance are very powerful tools.  Using these three strategies can help to transform your thinking and assist you in making the changes needed to go to the next level of your life. There are many experiences and places you will never reach until you pass certain life lessons and learning how to tell your ego to take a back seat and shut up is a lesson you must learn if you are going to truly impact the world with your gifts, talents and abilities.

Here are a few lessons to know and learn about ego because it is tough and stubborn, and will allude you at every turn. If you entertain it, ego will have you abandoning your dreams, settling for less than you deserve, thinking you have all the answers and missing out on amazing opportunities that could move your vision forward.

1) Let go of your need to be perfect

I personally have struggled with the need to be perfect. I refer to myself as a “recovering perfectionist.”  Perfection is an ego-based need, and is used so you can avoid criticism and correction because your ego wants to protect you from them both. Perfection is also the measuring stick we use to compare ourselves to others and it can prevent you from moving forward. Let go of your need to be perfect. Perfection only serves you.

2) Be self-aware

You can’t relate to the ego of another unless you have the same ego within yourself. Becoming self-aware enables you to recognize when your ego is responding to the same ego in someone else. It’s the mirror effect. You are revealed through the reflection of someone else’s behavior. We typically don’t recognize ourselves and believe that it’s the other person with the issue, when often times we have those very same traits. Woman, know thyself. The more you know about you, the real you, the better you know what areas need to be developed.

3) Let go of the need to be right

Oh man! This is a big one. I just know it! Letting go of your need to be right gives notice to your ego that it does not control you. Ego is a tough opponent and will not go away silently into the night. Take a close notice to when you “demand” to be right and the other person is “always” wrong. That my dear is the “Ego game.” You will consistently and regularly explain yourself to prove yourself right. When you feel yourself in the middle of this “game,” stop and ask yourself, Do I want to be right or do I want to exhibit love? For the sake of relationships, personal and professional, let go of being right. I have learned that “right” will surface at some point down the road with relationships in tact. Because of how relentless ego can be, we don’t just want to be right, we want to be right, right now because it wants to protect you from being embarrassed. But when you choose love it expands you and grows you and keeps your ego in check and it’s no longer about being embarrassed, but then about being an example.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cheryl Pullins is Speaker and Peak Mastery Coach for women with BIG dreams and want EXTRAORDINARY results. As a coach and speaker, she empowers women to embrace their brilliance, release their gifts and create a life they love. Get tips, tools and empowerment at:

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RFImageSet139-1024x768.jpg?width=237I have been building my subscriber list for a few years now. It's had wear and tear, much of it because of my abuse.  I switched focus, lost focus, tried different paths, different brands...all of the things new business owners tend to do when they're finding their way.

There are a ton of reasons people stay on your subscriber list.  Many stay even when they're no longer getting value. Maybe it's because they like you as a person, though they don't have interest in your topic. Or maybe they forgot to disconnect at some point. Instead they just delete everything you send.

Perhaps, they find a few tidbits of information you've sent for free they could appreciate, but now that you're asking them to invest they are offended.  The point is - my audience members came in for different reasons and stayed for different reasons.

The danger in this is at some point, you may find yourself with a huge list of people that DON'T CARE A THING ABOUT YOUR OFFER.

Signs of a list that needs to be downsized? You have dead silence when you're sending out market survey questions. You actually look at your metrics and find that your open rate is not only low, it's in the red. No one shows up for your special events that are only for your subscribers.

When these things are happening although you have list quantity, it's a good chance you have a list that needs to be downsized.

Recently I did a downsizing of my list.  It gave me a sense of freedom I never thought I'd have. At first, I was afraid (♪ I was petrified ♫...I love that song...short digression...ok, back on track now). Seriously though, when you work hard to build a good sized list it can be very intimidating to even think about minimizing it or tearing it apart.

But I had to do it.

Ever heard of the law of the vacuum?  Catherine Ponder talked about it in the book, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity.  It says something like, "Make room for the thing you desire by letting go of that which you do not appreciate or use. Give it away with a giving, charitable heart, and let the Universe compensate you."   In other words, when you let go and make space you have more room to receive what's really meant for you.

I knew that downsizing my list would put me in a different place, giving me the freedom to really talk directly to an interested audience of people who want what I have to share. No more wondering "do they care?" or "is anybody listening?" And for them - the ones who were purged voluntarily from my list - I gave them back freedom, freedom to read and receive information they truly would find useful and immediately applicable.

So how did I do it? I'll break it down for you:

First, I used my email marketing service, Mailchimp (shout out - "eep eep"), to evaluate my list. They have some pretty decent analytics and along with a tool called Hairball, it was pretty easy to create a small list, or segment of people who were rated below a 3 rating. These ratings give you an idea of how often your emails are opened or clicked by the user, along with a few other stats. Your service may have a different way to show you this information.

The key is to figure out who is least active in your list over a period of time. By the way, I did not include users who were fairly new and still building a rating.  Since they recently added themselves to the list, I assumed they have an interest in my content.

Second, I sent out an email to the folks in that group about 14 days before the purge date (you can adapt this to your comfort level). The subject line read something like "Only open this if you want to keep getting my emails!". I wanted to make it super easy for those who didn't open them anyway to take little to no action. Only the genuinely interested people would reply back to say "leave me on the list". And yes, I had several who read the email explaining my "Spring Cleaning List Purge" and they asked to stay on.

Great! That separated those who were missing in action, but still interested so I wouldn't remove them from the active list.

Third, on the date I'd set for myself I exported the segmented list (minus the ones who wanted to stay) and did a mass unsubscribe. I will admit, I was pretty nervous but after I clicked enter I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  It was like, "now I get to talk to people who really care to connect with me and to get the full benefit of my sharing".

Here was another added benefit I didn't think about until later. You know how many email service providers charge you based on your total count of subscribers? Well, I was able to reduce my own email marketing fees because of the reduced count. Cha-ching!

Now mind you, I would be fine paying more for a more responsive, targeted list. It was just a good reality check to realize that I was actually paying to keep people on my list who never really wanted the info anyway.

So that's my story...and I hope it connects with you in some way. Does it make you think about downsizing your own list?  Don't you think that having 100 or 200 or 500 people who really connect with your message is better than having thousands who don't get it and won't take action at all?

As a business owner, we have choices to make for the good of our customers and ourselves. I chose to downsize for peace of mind and it was one of the best decisions I've made so far in my business.


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About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative online business strategist and coach specializing in showing independent service providers how to simplify, save time & stand out with simple strategies that engage more quality leads and clients. Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market. Get free tools to simplify and stand out online at:

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Stopping your own blessings.

this post will read like my random thoughts and revelations I've discovered in my own times of resisting to be loved and blessed and having experienced others doing the same. I realize and know that ALL blessings aren't good blessings and it takes understanding proper DISCERNMENT to distinguish when God is offering the blessing versus when there is an hidden agenda involved. However this blog post is about when the blessing is authentic. It’s the hard truth as I see it, unfiltered and perhaps uncomfortable. But new levels of living require new levels of truth. I’m being held accountable for my living every day and I’m sharing it with you…


Ooch! I know...but for me the truth doesn't always come in a politically correct form...perhaps for you you've had enough of the sweet delivery of messages that do very little to hold you completely accountable to your action or inaction. IF that's you this will connect deeply.

We pray for blessings, and miracles but then we block them every chance we get.


is what was told to ME loud and clear when I found myself being scared and insecure in those sneaky unnoticeable ways I was sabotaging miracles and blessing that were coming to me that often people never ever see or are willing to address.

Ever notice that? I do. I’m mindful of the times I do it and I clearly see it when others to. No judgement, but I notice it. I wonder for myself why I’d ask for miracles to come and happen only for it to happen then I turn my nose up because it didn't fit into the image I originally had in mind. Or to have been SO attached to a specific outcome (like I know every darn thing) that when someone comes to bless me and they didn't have the specific dollar amount, the race, or whatever in their hand – that I wanted. I started doctoring up the blessing, twisting and turning it and trying to force-fit my “needs” in it until the blessing had know choice but to say “Oh wow, I can’t do this..NO”



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How to raise your prices without losing your clients

Eventually in your business you’ve probably considered or are forced to increase your fees or prices. And for many doing so without losing your most valuable clients/customers comes with a level of anxiety and perhaps fear.

Will they go to another competitor?
Will they begin to bad mouth me and tarnish my reputation?
Will they simply laugh at me and threaten to leave if I raise my prices another penny?

However at some point, especially if you offer time based services (charge by the hour), you’ll need to increase your fees, give yourself a raise and expand your business. We all have the same 24 hours a day it’s impossible if you are a solo entrepreneur to grow your biz without hiring new staff, or increasing fees.
So If you’re in that critical space where your palms are sweating, you’re staring at your bank account or an open email to your client where you have to break the news that you must raise your fees - here’s what you need to do and how to go about raising your prices.

1st. EVALUATE YOUR TOP CLIENT LIST. While all your clients/customers are important to you, those that consistently invest in your services are your Top clients. Evaluate the services you clearly offer to your top paying (or frequent paying) clients. What are they buying from you? What questions or issues do they seem to have that you may not be charging them for? What are they saying about your services right now? Often clients will hire you for what they think they need and then realize they need you for more.It’s up to you to be in the position of power to realize exactly what that is. There is hidden (profit) potential in those unspoken needs of your clients.

2nd TURN IT INTO A PACKAGE. Turn what they buy from you that is related to task/time (hourly) into packaged automated services. Ex. when I created Your Simple Bookkeeper, I created it as a monthly automated service to tackle bookkeeping task at a monthly recurring fee. This allowed me to package my “time driven” services and hire other bookkeepers to actually do the work so I could be available to offer higher end consulting services. Automating (or systemizing) your services and business is a common struggle for business owners as many like the control of knowing they did the work, however remember there are only 24 hours a day and you need most of them to work ON your business (more clients, partnerships, exposure) not IN. Your clients will appreciate your keen insight into entrepreneurship.

3rd MAKE IT SIMPLE. Create one sheets of those simple services you’re now automating or have created packages for. One sheets are literally that, a one sided designed document with your service or product description on it. It gives the reader all the information they NEED to know about what you offer to make a decision on hiring you. You can place your new automated time driven services on your website or "work with me" page. Ensure to include a payment link so potential customers can submit a payment (or if you need them to inquire first - a way for them to email you). Automate your hourly based services as much as possible. 

4th. SEND A LETTER. Send your existing clients a letter – written to them as specifically as possible (or call them, invite to coffee, etc) and explain to them that you are seeking to expand and offer more services to them and want to serve them in more ways. Having this personal touch goes along way. Like in #1 - getting to know your clients is important. You are in the position of power - you were hired to provide a solution and often that solution isn't in what you're being paid for, but in those consistent questions you're being asked that you're not charging for. Once you've realized that, and have now increased your fees. Compassionately talk to your clients, get them on board - you'll find that most are eager and ready to have you do more for them.

5th. MAKE IT COMPLIMENTARY. You may offer them the same services they are currently buying from you at a slightly higher fee (your new higher price) but you’ll offer 2 of your task driven services for “free” or “complimentary” Ex. YSB’s bookkeeping services are $75 an hour for most businesses. Our Small Business packages run form $150 a month to $1250 a month. At the $1250 level, bookkeeping becomes “complimentary” as the bulk of the services they are getting become more consultative in nature. 

There are countless other strategies that I’ll share in subsequent blog post about how to do this, but these 5 steps are great starters. The moral of the story is to not become self-victimized by fear of losing clients when it’s time to raise your fees. Do it with confidence, and be clear on WHY you’re doing it. You could lose some clients, but again you probably WILL open yourself to a new group of clients eager to pay your higher fee :-) .

Like this? Make sure you subscribe to this blog on the right…more goodies in store for those who do.


Katrina M. Harrell is a Award-Winning Entrepreneur and Business Strategist and 3x Best-selling author. She trains and teaches women entrepreneurs how to create solid 6-figure and above business strategies focused on strategic pricing and marketing. She is co-author of "How She Got Free: A 5-step Spiritual Business Manual for Women Who Lead through Entrepreneurship". 

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This past week, so many people suffered from a superstorm that was born out of water, sand and wind.  Sandy's latest stats spoke of killing an overall 161 people, including 92 in the United States (source: CNN, Nov. 2, 2012).

The aftermath of this storm has left literally hundreds of thousands of people without fuel, food, electricity, and prized possessions.

This storm was a heartbreak and one of the biggest ever in the loss of lives and finance.

And many of us felt the pain and the wrath of it even from many miles away.

Maybe you have felt loss and pain because of  storms in your business - one day you're riding high, enjoying the fruits of your labor and out of nowhere it seems, you're left scraping the bottom of your budget, feeling desperation about your business model, facing naysayers who tell you to give up, unable to attract paying clients.  These personal storms can take a heavy toll on you.

But there are lessons we can learn from the recovery following this devastating storm called Sandy. Lessons we can apply to life and our businesses, especially in times of loss.

Lesson 1 -  You Are Not Alone

In the aftermath of a huge storm like this, it's easy to feel separated from the rest of the world.  People feel isolated, like no one but their small community knows what's going on.  Survivors of Hurricane Katrina and the Joplin, Missouri tornado spoke of the anger and sadness, and how alone they felt.

Victim Eileen Romero spoke of this to CNN, "I didn't even realize that we were being covered 24 hours a day," she said. "It was only months later that I comprehended that New Orleans was on TV all the time, that people cared so much about it."

When you are facing devastation in your business and in your life, you may be surprised that people care.  They want you to be successful.  They want you to get back on your feet.  Reach out through mediums like networking communities, social media, friends and family.  You don't have to share all the specifics; say what you're comfortable saying and let others help and encourage you.

Lesson 2 - Focus On What's Important

In times of tragedy, remember what's important.  I was listening to an interview with a family who talked about how they lost so much.  But they weren't looking for their laptops or jewelry in the wreckage; they were trying to find other loved ones, making sure they all had food, that they could be transported to safe lodging.

In business, you may find yourself falling back on familiar things like putting time and money into a website, when you could be making sure you have groceries for the month.  Take inventory of what's happening and where to focus your time and money when going through a business crisis. Focus on the priorities for survival until you can get back on your feet.

Lesson 3 - Recovery Won't Happen Overnight

Even after the worst of the storm itself was over, many Sandy victims still await rescue. Although some electricity was restored, backup batteries and generators for cellphone towers have been running out of juice.  It's going to take some time to get back to stability.

When you have suffered a loss in your business, it won't "fix" itself overnight.  Remember there is a process to recovery and just because you don't see things turning around after making two or three efforts, it doesn't mean it's time to give up.  A colleague of mine talks about how it took her 3 years to get back on her feet after her small business went bankrupt.  It was not easy, but her perseverance paid off.

Hold onto your vision - keep it steady, and know that it may not be time to give up on your dream just yet.  Even if you have to find temporary employment in a different field, even if you feel your previous business model has failed, it doesn't mean you should give up your idea completely.

Do what you need to survive first, surround yourself with encouragement and support, and dust yourself off to plan for the next life adventure.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” - Khalil Gibran, Artist, Poet, Writer (1883-1931)


You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it...

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist and coach specializing in showing independent service providers how to simplify, save time & stand out with simple strategies that engage more quality leads and clients. Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market. Get free tools to simplify and stand out online

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Rejection feels “icky” doesn’t it? It hits that space in us that we are uncomfortable with. That space that reminds us that we perhaps aren’t good enough or worthy enough. It reminds us of those childhood memories we would much rather forget. It just doesn’t feel good to be rejected by others.

We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives, perhaps regularly. That feeling of wanting to retreat and hide in our “caves” after someone has rejected us or made us feel as if we weren’t “in the in crowd”. Or perhaps that family member who spoke to you in a manner that contradicts the symbol and role they are supposed to play in your life, confirming that “people are selfish or out to get you” It could also be the lost client contract or the new connection you made with someone on line who’s positive energy wasn’t favorably returned. It happens to us all at one time as we all have this undercurrent desire to be accepted and connected to each other. It’s normal for us to want to bond with others and co-exist with others. It’s part of our human DNA – but when rejection begins to take over our human existence, the feeling of wanting to be accepted begins to appear in an unhealthy way.

You know…

::Seeking approval over and over from others and feeling “empty” when not reciprocated

::Not knowing when it’s time to let go of a relationship or connection

::Making personal decisions based on what others think of you…

::The ironic disconnect from others (i.e. isolation or indifference because the world isn’t giving you “your way”)

or the most common for most people…

Living your entire life against the flow of your LIFE PURPOSE.



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 yes you read right. 

Picture yourself sitting in a fully furnished office, employees ready, systems in place, all the right connections, solid and highly profitable business model that is ready to throw money at you, solid marketing strategy and hundreds of customers ready to use your service over and over again, a target market that has so limited offerings that you come at the right time. I know you have a big ole smile on your face right now at the image or maybe you're wondering "what does this have to do with the title, seems like everything is in order right?" Keep reading...

Now imagine being in that office smiling and happy and ready to take your eager clients money only not being able to service any of them. In fact, they're waiving their money at you waiting on you to service them but you can't even unlock the door to let them in!

The only issue is that you can't take their money. In fact you'll never be able to take the hundreds of thousands to millions waiting before you, ever. You've done so much to set your business up and get it ready for this moment but the authorities come your way and tell you "nope you can't open, not now not ever"

 Picture it? Yes, that was me spring 2009.


Click  here to continue reading about my epic failure and the MOST VALUABLE LESSON I LEARNED THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF MY BUSINESS.



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