Desperation Will Cost You the Sale

As you’re casually scrolling through Facebook, you get a ping from someone who has sent you a private message. The message could be from a relative or friend but often these are sales pitches. A health and fitness coach wants to help you get in shape. A business “expert” offers strategies to grow your sales. A relationship consultant promises to guide you to deeper love in your life.

These people might be genuine experts who know their topic better than most, but the approach repels you. There’s a truth that most entrepreneurs know but need to keep reminding themselves: “Needy is unappealing.”

Financial stress is what motivates a lot of these marketing messages, but when you sense financial stress you think twice about doing business with that person. You want to do business with entrepreneurs who are successful. There are three things to understand so you don’t lose a sale because you come across as needy

1. Your content must prove your expertise.

When you are a genuine expert you don’t have to spend most of your time trying to convince other people that you are. You have blog posts, articles, podcast interviews and videos to validate your expertise.

Content is what people absorb and what helps them to know, like and trust you. Chasing the sale wastes time you could be using to create informative content that brings sales to you. We live in a time of Google, social media and other search engines. You will be viewed as an expert when you have expert content appearing at the top of those search engines. That will speak volumes about your qualifications. Read more ›

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The Elements of a Complete Lifestyle Business

When I started this journey in 2011, I had a dream of building a “passive” income online business. I wanted to have membership websites, courses, and everything passive so that I could make money while I slept. I read the Four Hour Work Week and was determined to live that kind of lifestyle. It took doing the actual work to realize that even in passive income, there is active work. If I was going to build an online business that supported me and my family, four (or even 40 hours) was not going to cut it at times.

Today, I operate what I call a “lifestyle” business. The idea is to build a business that supports the kind of lifestyle you want to live. The “life” part comes first. A lifestyle business has some passive income elements but also active. It’s a business that involves writing, speaking, coaching, consulting, digital products, travel, and lots of relaxing. Today, I want to break down some of the main elements of a complete lifestyle business. I hope it helps as you build this year.

Traditional Online Parts

These are the things you would normally think of in an online business. You have a website setup that talks about your topic and who you are. You start to build your social media presence and email list. You build an audience and social proof as an expert. You start to sell different online offerings in different ways. You might run some Facebook ads, do a webinar, or use live video (which is popular right now). A complete lifestyle business needs the online parts because passive income is nice and it’s good to have multiple streams of income. That’s how you create stability in your life and business.


Here you might offer coaching or other services depending on your topic. There are all kinds of services to offer in a lifestyle business and they can bring you a great income. Coaching was my #1 income source for a long time. This year, it’s consulting by far. Services are the natural place to start and make serious income in the beginning. As you grow, you might scale back because services take up so much of your time. A complete lifestyle business will have some kind of service’s offer. Read more ›

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Four Mindset Struggles Every Speaker and Consultant Needs to Overcome

When I self-published my first book in late-2011, my only goal was to make enough money from this new online business thing so I could get rid of my service business. This idea of speaking and consulting never crossed my mind. In 2012, I was focused on building my audience. This meant that I guest posted on over 60 blogs and was a guest on over 80 podcasts. It worked because it brought 500,000 plus visitors to my website in 2012.

The exposure through the blogs, publications, and podcasts also had an unintended effect. In mid-2012, I had gotten an offer to speak at a small social media conference. They offered to pay for my flight and hotel, and give me a speaker’s fee of $250. The idea of public speaking terrified me as an introvert, but I went because I was more excited about traveling.

I got on stage and bombed—I sucked. But, the whole experience got me on a path that would lead to traveling to 20 countries a year for speaking and consulting gigs. As I write this, I’m getting ready to leave for a five-country consulting tour in Asia. To get here, there were four mindset struggles that I, and many other speakers and consultants, had/have to overcome.

I’m not good enough.

I’ve had the honor of hearing some amazing speaker’s speak. I looked at the way they moved and talked and knew I wasn’t that good. I let this belief that I’m not good enough keep me from pursuing speaking and I know I’m not alone. Realize that everyone is different and has different styles. The important thing to understand is that you have to be clear. If you can present your message in a clear way, you’ve done your job. You are and can be better than good enough as a speaker and consultant. Practice will help get you there.

I don’t have enough experience.

Everyone has to start somewhere. You may not be as experienced but that doesn’t mean you can’t be good. You can study and practice and become the best at what you do. A lack of experience keeps too many speakers and consultants from pitching paid gigs—it shouldn’t. You deserve to get paid every time you get on stage. Your life experience is worth more.  Read more ›

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4 Essentials That Persuade Companies You’re the Expert They Should Hire

Being booked as a paid consultant to companies is one of the highest margin services offered by lifestyle businesses. You can consult full time, which pays as much as $175,000 a year according to USA Today or consulting can be a portion of your larger business. Either way can be lucrative and can lead to many other interesting opportunities all over the world. Many entrepreneurs dream of consulting at companies all over the world but few know how to do it.

There aren’t many books or much information online teaching entrepreneurs how to book paid consulting, but you won’t succeed if you don’t understand what companies are looking for. This year, I’ve booked 20 consulting gigs at companies in 20 countries. I just completed a six-country consulting tour in Europe. I know a little about paid consulting. Here are four things companies look for when hiring a consultant.

1. A foundation that shows you’re an expert on your topic.

When an H.R manager at a company is considering hiring you, they will look at your foundation — your website, social media presence and email list. They want to see if your foundation matches the expertise you claim you have.

Your website pages should demonstrate your expertise. Your content page should include blog posts, podcasts and/or videos that show you know what you’re talking about and can educate. You need “speaking” and “consulting” pages about what to expect when hiring you, what your topics were if you’ve done gigs in other places and the value you provide to a company.

2. Content on large publications.

Companies, C.E.O.’s, H.R. managers and small business owners all look to, trust and read large business and personal development publications. They read Entrepreneur, Business Insider, SUCCESS and so on for information and strategies to help their businesses grow.

When you contribute to these publications you become a trusted source who is seen as an expert. When a company can read your content on these publications, they trust you do know what you’re talking about and become interested in hiring you. Read more ›

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How to Get Started as a Paid Consultant to Companies

When it comes to the speaking industry, entrepreneurs tend to focus on speaking at events and conferences. It’s the traditional path that is known and understood. Being a paid consultant to companies is something that intrigues entrepreneurs but there’s no clear path. The lack of clarity and not enough “how-to” information keeps entrepreneurs from incorporating consulting into the services they offer.

Consulting is different in the fact that you might be giving a presentation to a few department managers or part of a company’s employee workforce. The audience may not be as big, but the money tends to be better. Conferences are limited by their speaker’s budget. A company tends to bring in one consultant at a time and their budget can be unlimited. In 2013, it was estimated that consulting is a $39.3 billion dollar a year industry according to Bloomberg.

Consulting is also great because mid to large companies have offices in other countries. If you do good work in one office, there is the opportunity to consult with the other offices all over the world. I’m writing this article to you from Rome, Italy. I have been here in Europe for six weeks on a six-country consulting tour for the same company. If consulting at companies is one of your goals, here is how you get started.

Build your foundation and social proof.

Your foundation consists of your website, social media presence, and your email list. Your foundation is where you will send HR managers and department heads at companies to see that you are an expert at what you talk about. Your website shouldn’t be cluttered with too many pages and too much information — you don’t want to overwhelm anyone. Each page should demonstrate that what you teach is practical. Companies invest their time and money on training and strategy they can understand.

On your social media pages, you should post content that illustrates you know what you’re talking about in regards to your topic. It is not uncommon for a company to follow your work on social media and your email list for some time to get a feel for you and what you do. After the foundation is set, it’s time to build social proof. You can: Read more ›

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How Being Different is Hurting Your Lifestyle Business

From the first day that you even thought about starting a business, you’ve heard that your business and your businesses marketing needs to be different to stand out from the competition. You’ve heard that when you’re different, you stand out and people will do business with you versus others who are the same.

While there is some truth to this, the desire to be different has caused a major lack of clarity in many businesses today. We live in a time with unparalleled access to tools, technology, and knowledge. We live in a time where personal development and Internet marketing have collided. While you need both to create a successful life and business, the combination could be hurting your marketing efforts and messaging.

It is not uncommon to see entrepreneurs brand themselves as the “transitional mindset consultant,” or the “social influence strategist,” or a business that helps you “connect your customers with their true purpose.” While these labels and descriptions sound interesting, they confuse the average person. When a customer can’t understand what you do, or more importantly, how what you do will lead to a practical benefit in their life, they won’t spend their hard earned dollars with your business. People spend money on things they understand.

Be Clear

Clarity is an amazing thing. When you are clear about your goals in life, you are able to create a plan to reach those goals and make them your reality. When you are clear in your core message and marketing efforts in your business, people buy from you and your business grows. Being clear is better than being different. Yes, you want to stand out, but not at the cost of confusing potential future customers.

The best brands are clear. Think about Apple. They are the software and hardware company focused on design and elegance. Think about Elon Musk and his companies. He wants to change what we believe is possible and everything he does works towards that clear goal. Now think about the brands that aren’t clear. You probably see infomercials coming to mind. It’s hard to sell those combination knife/vacuum cleaner, which is why the price is low and there’s a bunch of freebies. When there’s clarity in your branding, you can be in the higher tier of your industry. Read more ›

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Travel Plans, Content, and Updates

It has been amazing two months in Europe! Walking the streets of Amsterdam, touring the Guinness Factory in Dublin, seeing the all of the sites I love in London, spending lots of time at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, sticking my feet in the ocean in Barcelona, and seeing the Pope in the Vatican in Rome.

I’ll be telling my grandkids about how my lifestyle business and consulting gigs allowed me to see the world, live out cool experiences, and make money while doing all of it. Travel can enrich your life–take several trips this year. Look for some great content and classes coming your way the rest of this year.

Do you have travel plans? 

Over the past two months, I’ve done six consulting gigs in six countries here in Europe. I was paid a generous fee, all of my expenses were covered, and I got to explore each country.

As a paid consultant, you can travel, do local gigs, or be Skyped into a company for a presentation. You can train companies on a topic you’re passionate about and get paid well to do it. There are many options and this is an area of lifestyle business that’s pretty untapped.

You might want to book some consulting gigs but you don’t know where to start. On Monday, May 1 at 7 pm CST, I’m teaching a masterclass on how to get started as a paid consultant.

You’ll learn how to build your consultants foundation, what kind of social proof you’ll need and how to get it, and how to find your first few gigs. If paid consulting is one of your goals this year, this masterclass might be a good fit. The details are here:

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It’s Time to Stop Fearing Entrepreneurial Success

There are many fears that we have to overcome to start and grow a successful business that makes money and leads to true freedom. We face self-limiting beliefs within us, the negative voices of others who don’t get it and a host of other issues. Each of us has a choice. These fears and difficulties can derail us, or become life lessons that help us become stronger entrepreneurs. Too many people let the pressure keep them from taking the chance to chase their major life and business goals.

There is another fear that isn’t talked about enough. That fear is the fear of what happens when you reach your biggest life goals, fulfill a dream, experience a higher level of success. We work so hard to get to where we want to be that we don’t think of what it will be like once we move even farther in our entrepreneurial journey.

The fear of success is very real and can hurt us more than all of the others. This fear has us sabotaging what we do because we’re afraid to get to our next level, and it’s all happening on a subconscious level. There are some things that you should understand in regards to the fear of success and ways to beat this fear.

You are enough.

I don’t know what’s happened in your past. I don’t know what struggles you’re facing in your life right now. I don’t know what you still must go through. What I do know is that you are enough. You are special, unique and deserve to be happy. Your past doesn’t have to define you. Just because things may not have gone as planned doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing future.

I don’t know you but I know that you are enough. It’s important to your success and time for you to realize that.

You can’t even start if you don’t believe in yourself and what’s possible. If you read blogs, listen to podcasts or watch videos, the importance of taking action has been pounded into your head but you won’t take action if you don’t believe it can be done. You can’t believe in the goal if you don’t believe in yourself. You are enough and are capable of creating magic. This isn’t just woo-woo personal development stuff. This is a core belief that you need to establish if you’re going to create a successful business. Read more ›

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How to Create an Endless Stream of Clients for Your Coaching Business

The internet has created the opportunity to start a business teaching a topic you know, are passionate about and have researched in-depth. You can take that knowledge and teach it to others through a coaching business or coaching as a part of a lifestyle business. The connectedness of the Internet means you can have clients all over the world and teach them through Skype, Zoom, Go to Meeting and other conference software and platforms.

You can use payment systems to charge before sessions or that are recurring. You can use software to create worksheets, handouts, homework and even use software to track a client’s progress. You can have a real business that adds instant value to people’s lives through what you teach and with the tools you use.

The internet has three billion daily users, which is an immense opportunity to find coaching clients. But, despite the opportunity, tools, and access, most coaches are barely making it. You can log onto Facebook and see a friend of yours who does coaching pleading with people to sign up for their program for a low amount.

The coaching business is feast or famine. Sometimes you’re flush with business and other times you’re starving. This happens when you don’t have a plan for lead generation in your business, and it’s not just in the coaching business. You need a way to constantly bring in new clients. If you don’t have lead generation, your income will be sporadic at best. Here are four ways to set up an endless stream of clients for your coaching business and one lesson as you build.

1. Get interviewed on podcasts.

If you have a coaching business, I’m guessing there’s a story behind why you started it. That story along with some helpful and actionable advice can get you interviewed on podcasts. Being interviewed on podcasts exposes you to a whole new audience that doesn’t know you and can get excited about what you do and teach. Some of that new audience will hire you as a coach. You can even use strategies such as offering a special bonus if the listeners go to a special page on your website.

You can find podcasts to interview you using free services such as Radio Guest List, Podcasts Guests and H.A.R.O. Respond to what you will see delivered to your inbox using these free services and get interviewed on your first few podcasts. Read more ›

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What Consulting in Europe Has Taught Me About Lifestyle Business

It’s been five weeks since I left the United States for a six-country consulting tour in Europe. I’ve given trainings at companies in Amsterdam, Dublin, London, and now Paris. I still have two more presentations in Barcelona and Rome. To say this trip has been incredible is an understatement. The consulting work has been good but the experience has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibility. Heck, I’ve even lost 30 pounds on this trip.

I didn’t start this journey as an international consultant. I owned a service business for 12 years. In 2011, I self-published a book that flopped, which got me on the journey to build a successful lifestyle business. To get to where I am now, it took a lot of work. Five years ago, I was doing $500 consulting gigs at local companies in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It took writing over 80 guests posts, doing over 100 podcasts interviews, writing over 500 articles for large publications, coaching over 400 clients, speaking for free 50 times, doing 10 local consulting gigs that maybe added up to $4K, and trying to network with a lot of people who were all talk. It took a lot to get here, but the work was worth it. Here are a few things this trip has taught me about lifestyle business.

A Good Work Space Helps Productivity

I use Airbnb when I travel for accommodations. The first few apartments that were booked didn’t have a desk and chair. I didn’t think this was a big deal until I got there and realized how much of a pain it is to try and write on your lap. I would find myself looking for cafes and there’s issue with that. I’ve come to realize that to be productive, you need the kind of work area that works for you. All the Airbnb’s for the rest of this trip have a nice, dedicated work area. A place where I can sit and write and work. I don’t know what your situation is, but make sure you have an area just for you where you can work in peace.

Enjoy Each Moment

When you travel, it’s easy to get caught up in all the details. This trip, I’ve relaxed and decided to cherish each moment. I’ve seen amazing sites like the Guinness factory in Dublin, Ireland. The London Eye in London, England. The Eiffel Tower here in Paris, France. These are lifetime experiences and I want to soak them in. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of life. We have so much that has to get done on a daily basis. We miss so much in our rush to get things done—don’t. Enjoy life—even when it feels hard. You only get one life to live. Read more ›

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