About Laurel Lindsay

Laurel Stark née Lindsay has helped thousands of businesses get better results from their online marketing since she began her career as a web marketer in 2003. As a speaker, author and CEO of The New Media Group, she’s been featured on CNN, Entrepreneur.com, CTV and ShawTV.

Are women selling themselves short?

Are-women-selling-themselves-short

It’s the day after International Women’s Day.

I’m sure by now you’ve read statistics about the pay and promotion disparity between women and men in the workforce.

It’s 2017 and men are still getting paid more for the same role.

Realistically, we’re dealing with the legacy of a culture where only 100 short years ago women were granted the right to vote. Systems, be they private or public, tend to be slow to evolve and catch up with changing times. They tend to favour the status-quo.

I think we can all agree this sucks.

What I’m more interested in, however, is what we can do about it the other 364 days of the year.

I wonder, are the women inside these systems selling themselves short?

One thing I notice in my role as an online marketing consultant is that consistently more women then men devalue their professional worth.

My work for my clients essentially boils down to helping them sell themselves online.

I’ve met a few men with blustering egos, low value and huge price tags and a huge amount of women with staggering levels of talent and apologetic attitudes about asking for what they deserve as pay.

I suspect the cultural training for women to be nice or the media’s messages we are not good enough have roles to play in this self-sabotage phenomenon.

So what can we do about this?

I just finished reading Hidden Figures, about the hidden role female African American mathematicians played at NASA during the race to the moon.

These women were at a double disadvantage – race and gender. However, one of the main characters became the first female African American engineer at NASA by showing her value, stating her case and asking repeatedly for what she wanted.

I believe a consistent implementation of this very tactic would go a long way toward equalizing pay and promotion inequality.

As anyone with a background in sales will tell you, the way to get what you want is showing the value and asking for it, over and over again – despite how many times you’re told “no”.

Without these two critical steps, I am betting there is a slim chance anyone in a flawed system will be simply handed the promotion or raise.

If women aren’t consistently showing value and asking for more within these faulty systems, I believe we’ll continue to see the same dismal improvement percentages.

A great book on the topic is called What It Takes: Step up, Speak up, Move up, by Amy Henry (with a forward by Donald Trump, no less). Using the techniques in her book I asked for and doubled my salary, back when I still worked for someone else.

Starting with small asks is also a great way to build the confidence to ask for the raise or promotion.

Start with asking for one thing a day that makes you feel uncomfortable.

You will eventually become immune to the word no and you’ll be surprised at what people will say yes to!

I have been given many really nice pens because I ask the banker for his, I’ve received a free box donuts, 3 for the price of 2 zip line admission and discounts on clothes at big department stores…to name a few… and just because I stated my case and asked for what I wanted.

Audacious, yes and silly examples to be sure, but they illustrate my point.

You can’t get a YES if you don’t ask.

Developing the skill of showing value and asking is an invaluable one, whether you’re man or woman.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your comments below.

What my Dad’s Style and your website should have in common

What my dad's style and your website should have in common

Going to the mall as a young teen with my Dad was absolute torture.

I’d ask him to give me a ride and drop me off at the doors, but he’d always insist on entering the building with me.

I’d spend hours getting ready so I could look exactly like my posse of girlfriends, and my Dad would wear track pants WITH his dress shoes.

In PUBLIC.

I was basically a permanent cringe.

When I’d beg him to wear something else – ANYTHING else – he’d shrug his shoulders, refuse and and say, “well, it works for me”.

“It works for me”

Last week I posted an article warning against letting your website become the online equivalent of an 80’s perm.

But being outdated and unfashionable online is totally fine –  on ONE condition – that your website is working for you.

By working for you, I mean that it’s positively contributing to you achieving a specific goal.

Most of my clients tell me they want their websites to help them generate revenue.

If that’s your goal, than there are only a few basics you’ll need from your website.
In the case of your website, think like my dad (trends be darned!) to ensure your website works for you.

My big thumbs can’t click these tiny buttons!

It was 2015, in Nanton Alberta that I predicted you would see a decrease in where your website ranks on Google if you don’t have a mobile friendly website.

This may surprise you, but for the last few years, more people use their smartphones than desktops to navigate the web.

In 2017 the majority of web traffic is mobile.

So, if your website is next to impossible for the majority of people online to use, than it’s not exactly functional, is it?

What do I do next?

What action do you want your website visitors to take next?

Whether you want them to call you, give you their email address or shop online, it should be painfully obvious what the next step is.

All the visual indicators and functionality on each page of your website should lead to this action.

An example:

This is my home page.

screen_shot_2017_02_24_at_4.34.05_pm

With the funky orange arrow, you can tell exactly what I want you to do.

(Don’t be shy, you can feel free to head on over there and sign up for free online marketing tips)

Another example. Again using orange, you can tell we want you to Try TILOS.

screen_shot_2017_02_24_at_4.55.54_pm
I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Yeah? Prove it!

Sure, your website tells me you’re the best around, but I need you to prove it before I spend.

And I am not alone.

Most customers trust online reviews, or what other people say about you.

Take the time to ask for and collect customer reviews and post them on your website.

Literally, no-one can speak as powerfully to your potential customers as your existing ones.

This is called social proof, a phenomenon I discuss on CNN here.

In Summary:

Whether your website is the crocs with socks style or more haute couture, it should be mobile friendly, have a call to action and social proof.

In my opinion, these are the three most important factors in making sure your website works for you and aides in your sales process and revenue generation objectives.

Sharing is caring!
If you found this valuable (or humourous), don’t be shy, share this with your network.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

Is your Dad more stylish than my Dad?
Did I miss a contender for the top three most important basics for a website in 2017?

What No One Will Tell You About Your Brand New Website

Reading a good book can change your outlook on life.

Philosophically speaking, you may even be a different person than you were before you read the book.

Most of the successful business owners I know are voracious readers, they have coaches and consultants and are in regular attendance at workshops and seminars.

Their growth game is strong.

The continued evolution of their offering, brand, services and approach to business and life has a downside no-one talks about.

Sometimes, you can evolve so fast, the online reflection of your business is outdated as soon as you launch.

Yep. Your website is outdated the minute you launch.

The text, images, wording…call to action, all of it is the product of your reality 3-6 months ago, when you were working to get it launched.

If you’re a perfectionist, or like the feeling of being done, once and for all, or even for this quarter, this can eat away at you.

Whether you change your hair as often as Madonna used to, or you’re committed to providing the best in service you possibly can, you’re going to be out of date.

It’s the side-effect of being an evolving entrepreneur.

And it’s ok!

The web has enabled you to become your own broadcaster – and that’s wonderful.

Just know that it’s iterative. Your website, your headshots, your official bio…all of it.

It’s all progress.

It’s never, ever going to be perfect.

And that’s ok.

Going into your new website development or product design or photo shoot or whatever it is with this knowledge can save you a ton of time and frustration.

It may never, ever, ever feel done, or perfect, or 100%.

But it can be an improvement on the last iteration.

Don’t let great be the enemy of good.

Just launch your website, then refine it.

Launch and refine, launch and refine, launch and refine.

That’s the evolutionary way.

But do continue to evolve your online presence on a somewhat regular basis.

Don’t just give up and settle for the online equivalent of an 80’s perm.

What no one will tell you about your brand new site

Case Study: Behind The Scenes of A Multilingual E-Commerce Website Launch

laurel-blog-tilos-americas

Friday January 6th 2017 at 12pm I clicked the refresh button on my browser and was overcome with excitement – my latest project was live and ready for public consumption.

www.tilosamericas.com is one of the larger projects I’ve worked on. Here I am sharing behind the scenes of what went into creating this multi-lingual ecommerce website.

Snapshot: the e-commerce website by the numbers:

Serves 23 countries, in 2 languages, over 72 pages with approx. 20,000 words, selling 22 products, completed in 7 weeks.

E-commerce website – client overview:

 

TILOS is a very specialized software tool that makes planning, executing and controlling linear infrastructure projects easier and more profitable.  

Petroglyph Project Analytics recently became the Authorized Dealer of TILOS across the Americas – North, Central and South America – and needed increased exposure online to get in front of their customers.

Objective:

Create a new website that would:

  • Be found on search engines.
  • Communicate the unique benefits of TILOS in a way that would generate leads and sales, across multiple cultures and languages.

E-commerce website- process:

Strategy First:

 

First, we worked to understand the target audience: what problems they were having, what questions they asked through different phases of their buying process, what they’d already tried and how TILOS could positively impact their daily work.  

Then, we got really clear on the benefits TILOS offers, specifically how it solves the target’s pain points in a way that is unique within the marketplace, who else was using the product and what they were saying about it.

Lastly, we conducted comprehensive keyword research to determine what the target customers were typing into search engines when they were looking for a solution to the problem TILOS solved. We also looked at the amount of demand for each keyword or phrase as well as the amount of competition for each phrase to create a nice balance of high traffic and very niche terms to target.

Creating The Brand:

It was really interesting to develop the key benefit statements and create the brand and identify the imagery to associate with each benefit statement.

We needed a message that could be instantly understood across multiple cultures and languages and decided to deliver the message with the use of vivid and stunning images of animals. This was a bold move in the conservative area of civil engineering, but one that dramatically conveys the message in a way that makes this website a memorable stand out from the sea of boring software websites.

Creating and Translating the Text.

Based on the target keywords and best practices for search optimization, a total of 72 pages were written and then translated into Spanish.

Finalizing the Design:

Now that we had the text and images, we crafted each page of the website around one purpose: asking the website visitor to take action.

The entire website is crafted around the call to action, which is for the visitor to request a free trial version of the software.

The call to action buttons and links are prominent and frequent – it’s obvious what the next logical step should be.

Additionally, we had to find a way to present a huge volume of content in a visually appealing way that wouldn’t intimidate website visitors. Some pages are close to 3,000 words! The use of visuals in the form of icons instantly transmit the message in a way that facilitates the scanning-instead-of-reading behaviour of online users today.

Building the Site:

Creating a multi-currency, multi-country, multi-lingual ecommerce website is not a simple task!

We built the website in WordPress and painstakingly developed the functionality that would identify the user’s location and language, displaying the correct text, product info and pricing as well as relevant taxes for each location.

The site also offers, administrator on-page search engine optimization support, social media sharing, blogging and lead-capture email newsletter integration capabilities as well as the integration with Salesforce and Desk.

Launching the site:

Once the website went live (on January 7th), we submitted the sitemap to Google and verified the website with Google search console. The target search keywords and terms were added to a tracking software to report on where the site is ranking for key terms within the first 30 days of launch.

What the client says:

wow

What it took:

From my perspective, as the lead web marketing strategist, copywriter and project manager on this project, I’ve slept, ate, and dreamed TILOS americas.com over these past 7 weeks.

It’s been an incredible journey, from a pile of dense technical white papers to a world-class online presence.

The team I worked with included: one extremely talented website developer, one lovely translator, two brilliant SEO and content experts and a very much appreciated Office Ninja.

Where we’re going from here:

We’ll be monitoring the initial search ranking performance of the just-launched site very closely and augmenting where needed with off-site search ranking tactics.

Work with me:

 

Do you want better results from your online marketing? Let’s chat! Visit me at

http://www.laurelastark.com/web-marketing-consultant-services/

Online Sales Funnel Creation: Case Study & Review

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Client Overview:

Mieke Lily Van Orden is the creative force behind Flux & Stone, a line of handmade artisan jewellery designed to make women feel beautiful.

Based in Victoria, BC, Mieke built her business over the last 4 years by showcasing her work in person at various shows and markets around BC.

Objective:

Mieke was active online, but wasn’t making any sales from her website or online efforts.

She wanted to start making sales from the web, and wanted to work less than her customary 12 hour market days, without compromising her revenue.

Solution:

Mieke & worked together over the course of 3 months to develop an optimized online sales funnel.

First we looked at what was working about her business, and what wasn’t.

  1. What customers were most profitable, and what areas of her business were causing profit leaks.
  2. What her existing sales process was, and how we could recreate that process online.
  3. What we could do to easily & quickly increase repeat business.
  4. What her existing online marketing process was.
  5. What parts of her website weren’t working or were neglected and needed to be updated.
  6. What her schedule was like and her strengths and preferences for what she should be delegating.
  7. Where she got stuck executing on strategy.

Then we created her online marketing plan which would show her exactly how to:

  1. Get in front of her target customers online.
  2. Increase repeat business from her current customers.
  3. Steadily build her email list of fans, customers and prospective customers.
  4. Leverage the time she was spending at markets to contribute to her online efforts.
  5. Schedule in various online marketing deliverables, in a way that worked for her based on daily, weekly and monthly tasks.

Lastly, we developed the online assets she needed to execute after we stopped working together:

  1. A new website showcasing her best selling items, where she could easily add new products from her phone.
  2. An email marketing campaign and list building strategy.
  3. A content calendar for her social media, including blog post topics
  4. A social media strategy and automated scheduling system.

Outcome:

I think Mieke and I both thought we’d be working solely on her online marketing, but what happened was I deployed my experience in creating business systems and optimizing operations to create a work day for Mieke that would work to optimize sales as well as her time.

Based on her routine what was already working for her and what she didn’t like we devised a program schedule and a system to help her stay on top of regular social media posts blogging and adding new inventory to her website.

We set her up with an easy to follow system of to-do’s each week and month and set her up with administrative support in the areas where she needed to delegate.

We also set up a comprehensive post sales follow-up system for her wholesale customers which were by far her most profitable area.

What The Client Says About Working With Me:

“To start with the woman just got me organized in a way that I hadn’t been before, and helped me schedule my life in a way that I hadn’t before.  What I thought I wanted from her, I actually got a whole different thing. Which was learning how to organize my life in a professional manner which will benefit me for years to come.

Would I recommend? Yes, Totally! I think that the things she taught me are so invaluable. I didn’t even use my google calendar before I met this woman. I’d wake up every day I’d wake up and think to myself, what are all the things I need to get done today and I would try and organize them all in my brain and all the time I was like forgetting somebody or forgetting something or not getting something done, and things were always taking longer and more energy than needed them to.

And these simple steps that this woman has shown me how to put everything into place and now I just wake up and I look at this calendar and I look at the schedule we’ve written out.

And I think that that is the most beautiful part of working with this woman is that she holds you accountable until the point that she actually sees you change.”

Check out Mieke’s new website at www.fluxandstone.com

If you would like to explore working with me to optimize your operations market and marketing for increased pleasure and profit please contact me at www.laurelannestark.com

Otherwise please join me in congratulating Mieke on presenting her beautiful work online in a way that she can be proud of.

Stop Doing This On Facebook To Get More Sales, Spend Less Money

stop-doing-this-on-facebook-for-more-sales-with-less-ad-spendYou know how to advertise on Facebook already.

Click boost post and you’re done, right?

Wrong.

Facebook has done a brilliant job of making it easy for small businesses to spend money on ads.

The trouble is, boosting your business page posts may not be providing the results you’re looking for.

Here’s some things you didn’t know about Facebook advertising that are going to help you skyrocket your sales this holiday season.

Stop Boosting Posts. Seriously.

If you haven’t heard of Facebook.com/powereditor yet, you’re welcome :-)

In all seriousness, the power editor offers a robust control panel for managing, and getting better results from your ads.

In fact, it’s a lot less expensive to advertise on Facebook using this tool.

Here are a few things it can do:

Retargeting using the Facebook Pixel.

Retargeting is advertising to people who have already been on your website. You may notice ads from bigger brand tend to “follow you around” online.

This is retargeting and you can do this too!

Why retarget?

People who have already visited your website are a lot closer to buying what you sell than people who have no idea who you are. Advertising to this group may produce a better return on your advertising dollar than a group of strangers.

How to enable retargeting:

Login to powereditor by going to facebook.com/powereditor and on the top left click on the 3 lines.

A new menu will show up, under assets, click on pixels. (see screenshot below)screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-40-15-pm

From there, click on Create Audience and fill out the pop up:screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-43-06-pm

Last step, under Actions, click on View Pixel Code.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-43-24-pm

Copy and paste the code that displays and embed it on your website.

(If that’s greek to you, just email it to your website developer)screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-43-34-pm

Once the Facebook pixel is embedded and working properly, you can track visitors to your website, and then advertise specifically to website visitors on Facebook.

TIP: It can be a finicky to get this pixel to work – you need to check back in with the power editor and make sure your pixel has a green dot next to it before you can advertise to this group.

Setting Up Hyper-Targeted Facebook Ads.

You can target your ads very specifically using the power editor, which is great!  

The more closely you zero in your target market, the more affordable your ads will be and the bigger impact they will have.

If you’ve done any work with me or anyone else to develop your Customer Avatar, or Buyer Persona, this is where that work will come in really handy.

Let’s walk through creating a new Facebook ad using the power editor.

On the top left, click on Create Ad and you’ll get this screen:screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-2-48-57-pm

You’ll notice on the left there are three sections, Campaign, Ad Set and New Ad.

If you’ve done any work in Google Adwords, this will be very familiar, but if it isn’t…read on!

What I want to focus on here is the Audience options, under Ad Set.

Audience Targeting Options:

Remember that Facebook pixel you just embedded in your website?

This is where it comes in handy.

Under Custom Audience, this is where you can select people that have been to your website before. You’ll notice in the screenshot, that the pixel I just created shows up here.

By selecting this Pixel, you’ll target this ad campaign to people who have been to your website before.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-5-40-31-pm

This option alone makes the power editor that much better than boosted posts.

Under location, be sure to check “people who live in this location” if that’s important to you.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-5-46-56-pm

Lookalike Audience Targeting

If you’re not comfortable using retargeting, don’t have a website or just want another targeting option, lookalike audiences might be for you.

Just scroll down a bit more to detailed targeting, where things can get even more fun!

Here, you can create an audience based on their stated interests on Facebook, or other pages they like.

So, again, think about what Facebook pages your target audience would already like, or interests they have.

Type in and select these interests until you’re satisfied you’ve got a good match to your prospects.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-5-49-31-pm

Create More Than One Ad

If you’ve done your homework, and know what your customers are interested in or care about, you can explicitly target the people most likely to buy from you, and skip the generic targeting available with boosted posts.

Usually, I create a few ads, one for each audience type and measure them against each other to see which one is the most effective.

Monitor Your Results Closely.

One of the reasons I love online marketing is that you can get exact data on performance, almost immediately.

I usually run my ads for 24-48 hours and then re-evaluate to see which ones are worth the money, and which ones aren’t

If you offer online shopping, be sure to offer a coupon code in your ads so you can get exact reporting as to what ads resulted in sales.

If not, you can still get decent numbers from the ads manager.

Here are some of my numbers. I LOVE that I can get video views for a penny.

There’s not much that you can get for an extinct coin these days!screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-6-12-34-pm

Tell me…

Do you think you’ll try Facebook editor after this?

Sharing is caring!

If you found this post valuable, please share

 

What To Do When You’ve Outgrown Your Business

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You know how to make money.

You’ve been running your business for awhile, and by all appearances, you’re a success.

The thing is, there’s this feeling. The feeling that you’re heart just isn’t in this anymore.

You’ve tried to ignore it and  rationalize it, but it just gets stronger.

The way you’re spending your days just feels “ugh”. Whether it’s because you seem to be constantly on the verge of burnout (lame). Or you have a gnawing sensation you have something else you should be doing.

It’s called the golden handcuffs.

When you’re business is working, on paper, the profits are there and demand is constant, it can be really really difficult to admit your business is not working for you personally.

And what a disheartening feeling.

You started your business so you could do things your way; have the freedom and enjoyment of directing your own destiny.

Yet, little by little, without you even noticing, your business has turned into a monster you created that doesn’t accurately reflect the life you want to live.

You’re doing things that provoke seething resentment and you’ve been running on caffeine and adrenaline for too long. You find yourself saying yes to things you don’t want to do. Your vision and clarity of focus are waning. You feel a bit lost.

You’ve worked your butt off to get here, and you should be grateful, you think. Especially given that it’s better than it was…the money is better, you’re not working quite so much as you used to. The fear around making the bills has disappeared somewhat.

But, in your bones, you know It’s not really working.

You want more.

But here lies the problem. Exactly how do you make the changes to renovate your business so it serves you?

Does it mean walking away from what you’ve built. Turning away hard won revenue?

Feeling trapped in your own business is a really awful feeling.

The good news is, this is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

These feelings are the sign you’re ready for bigger things. To step into the life and business you deserve.

Maybe what you long for is more time off, feeling like you’re making a bigger difference in people’s lives or having more flexibility.

Or maybe you simply want to get paid what you’re worth.

To get to where you want to go, first you have to know where you’re going- what’s missing, what you want- and what’s working about your business and life now.

Often, when I’m working with my clients to create an online sales funnel, these topics come up.

Many times, it’s about optimizing the sales funnel, business operations and the finances around what’s already working.

Recreating your business doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning it – but renovating it- to better suit what you’re passionate about, the people you want to work with and what you’re really good at

What’s amazing about this formula is that most of the time, it points the way to not only more enjoyment, but more profits.

Life is too short to settle. Especially in the business you built.

If this post resonated with you, why not take a few minutes and write down what’s working and what isn’t in your business.

It’s the first step to a more fulfilling and profitable working life.

If you would like to talk to me about optimizing your business by leveraging my 13+ years of sales, online marketing and entrepreneurship experience, please get in touch with me via my website at www.laurelannestark.com

 

Stop Watching Cat Videos And Start Marketing On Social Media

Stop Watching Cat Videos And Start Marketing On Social Media

Scrolling through your Facebook feed while your coffee gets cold isn’t social media marketing.

You’re supposed to be doing something to promote your business online, but all those videos of cats can be awfully distracting.

The next thing you know, 20 minutes of your life has slipped away, and you still haven’t done anything productive.

The scenario I just described is typical for small business owners succumbing to the pressure to get on social media.

The thing is, without a plan of attack, many small business owners don’t get very far online.

Instead they face:

  1. Overwhelm: all the new, shiny tools!
  2. Wasted time: mucking about, without a strategy
  3. A sinking feeling: they’re missing out on a world of opportunity.

The way to be effective on social media is to know your audience.

Imagine you sell cat beds.

Probably, sharing all those cat videos on social media would be a great idea, because your ideal customer likes cats.

That’s an obvious one, but if you can get into the mind of your target market and figure out who they are, you can then create and share content (videos, articles, images) that will be received well.

Content that is well received will:

  • Generate likes, comments and shares (increasing your exposure)
  • Drive traffic to your website (assuming you provide a link to your site)
  • Teach your prospects something (building trust and positioning you as a thought leader)

How do you figure out who your target audience is?

Hint: Here’s a handy video that shows you just how to figure that out, easily.

Take out a pen and paper and imagine your ideal client. Start brainstorming the answers to questions like:

  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What problem do they want to solve?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • Where else do they spend money?
  • How do they see themselves?
  • What do they stand for?
  • What media do they consume?
  • What are they ready for?
  • What questions they ask before they buy what you sell?

The answers to these questions will give you an idea of what’s important to your target, and what types of content they would like to see.

Answer the questions you get asked every day in the form of a blog post.

Think about it.

You get asked the same questions over and over and over.

Obviously, the answers are important to your existing customers, so the odds are good the answers will be important to your prospective customers.

Why not answer that question, in depth in a blog post. This handy video will give you tips on how to get that done more quickly and easily than you thought possible.


A social media strategy that is based on what your target audience cares about is the most effective strategy.

But, knowing your target audience is just the first step

One of my clients said today “I thought going to social media camp I’d learn everything I’d need to know about social media and be done – HA! That didn’t happen”

He’s right.

Successfully marketing your business on social media can be complicated, if you try to figure it all out on your own.

Or you can grab a complimentary copy of my book Social in 17 – how to be successful on social media in just 17 minutes a day.

This is what people are saying about Social in 17:

Really! Social Media can be done in 17 minutes a day. Laurel gives you the structure, the tips, and the ideas. This book is quick and easy to read. She touches on all the major social media platforms but she isn’t short on details. I enjoyed Laurel’s clear and concise style. Well worth my time (and I teach courses on social media). Jeff Nelson, Calgary.

Grab your free copy, here:  www.laurelannestark.com

May Cause Sads: When The Price Of Success Is Too High

may-cause-sads-when-the-price-of-success-is-too-high

It’s a familiar scene: the ambitious, young business person works determinedly at their laptop.

The desk that surrounds them is littered with empty Red Bull cans and coffee cups.

There they are, grinding it out, hustling, pushing. Meeting that deadline and hitting those numbers.

It’s such a commonplace occurrence that it hardly bears mention.

when-the-price-of-success-is-too-high

“Sacrifice for success” is such an accepted and glorified narrative. A close cousin to the beloved rags to riches story.

The sacrifices of many start up or even established business owners is well understood, and even expected — long working hours, not a lot of sleep, nonexistent social life, sporadic nutrition.

All to attain a future vision of success. A goal. A target.
More sales. Get the business funded. Triple the bottom line revenues.

And yet, often when the lofty goal is achieved, the feeling our hero experiences can be anticlimactic.

Instead of the much anticipated, soaring feeling of success, happiness and accomplishment, our hard working entrepreneur feels an empty disappointment; another hollow victory.

It’s confusing and even embarrassing to admit this — that the tremendous sacrifices have not produced the expected feeling of success or fulfillment.

The assumed happiness and feeling of satisfaction that would result from the achievement did not in fact appear.

This can be so embarrassing that many of us push it away. I must have done it wrong, somehow.

The next ambition will produce the feeling of satisfaction, it’s decided. It must. So we immediately set our sights on the next horizon and trudge ever forward.

And our hero continues on. The years go by and she does succeed. From the outside it looks like she has everything she needs to feel happy and fulfilled.

But because she doesn’t, she pushes harder, on to the next glittering success.

The continuous, habitual sacrifice of the present moment’s happiness and wellbeing for some future achievement can be a dangerous habit.

If happiness and fulfilment is only available in the future, conditionally, than it may never arrive.

This is how midlife crises occur.

Suddenly you wake up one day and realize you’ve sacrificed too much for your outer success.

Playing by the rules has you winning someone else’s game.

Maybe the wake up call occurs due to a health concern — burnout or cancer.

Or maybe there is no wake up call. And instead, your regrets join those documented deathbed laments.

“I worked too much, I did what was expected of me instead of what I was true to my heart.”

The drive to continually achieve, whether it’s making ever increasing sums of money or hitting ever increasing growth targets, isn’t a bad thing.

What’s dangerous is that many of us can get caught in the cycle of striving without really examining whether or not the path we are walking is contributing to our fulfillment, joy, happiness and wellbeing.

Small decisions made each day make a life. Habits, including the habit of mindlessly striving, shape our days.

Honestly looking at how you’re living your life — the life you created for yourself — can be frightening.

I’ve heard whispered confessions from many clients…

  • “I haven’t taken a vacation in over five years”
  • “I don’t have time to eat breakfast”
  • “I can’t actually work any harder than I am without getting sick”

These truths may be indicators of future regret…

The choice seems to be happy now or successful later- and that’s simply not true. You can have both. But you have to choose it.

After all, didn’t you start your business to be the author of your own destiny? To make your own rules?

Tell me…

Are you sacrificing too much?
What are you working so hard for ?
Do you find yourself constantly chasing the next accomplishment?

How Doing Good is Increasing Profits for Business

How Doing Good is Increasing Profits for Business The first rule of business is make money.

Whether it’s donating a certain percentage of profits to charity, organizing staff volunteering events or committing to being “green”, doing good doesn’t always make the high priority list for busy entrepreneurs.

Business owners focus on ensuring profits are good and operations are going smoothly before considering any altruistic programs.

This is called a transactional business model and it’s a common way of doing business. Essentially, someone buys a product or service from you and they give you money for it, and that is it.

But studies are showing that transactional businesses are facing a growing disadvantage.

According to a survey by Goodmustgrow.com 30% of respondents said that they expect to increase the amount of goods and services they buy from socially-responsible companies and 60% of people said that buying goods from socially-responsible companies is important to them.

We can see sales of up to 10% more by having a seal at the bottom of your website that says, “hey, a certain percentage of these sales are going to charity.”

The world is getting smaller, and we are all feeling the impact of things like environmental disasters, refugees, wars etc. and it’s becoming more and more important from both a fiscally and an ethically responsible perspective to make sure that your business is a force for good.

The alternative to a transactional business model is a transformational business model.

A great example of a transformational business is Tom’s Shoes, they’ve got what’s called a triple bottom line. That is, impact, amount of people served, as well as profits. If you’re not familiar with Tom’s Shoes, every time you buy a pair of shoes they give a pair of shoes to a child in need.

I’m asking you now, how do you think that you could use your business as a force for good in the world, and turn it into a transformational instead of a transactional business?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you like this video/blog post please “like” it, and consider sharing it with your network.