It’s no secret that the current state of the economy has many entrepreneurs worried about what their future holds. But you don’t have to be!
In this episode of Shop Talk, “Accelerate Your Income: How to Increase Your Income and Reach Your Financial Goals,” I offer valuable tips on how to grow your business, even in a down economy. From the power of perseverance to building trust and authority online, I cover a range of strategies to help you succeed.
So, listen to this episode for all this and more as you learn to cultivate a winning mindset and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead!
Summary of this episode:
- 1:03 – The Power of Perseverance: A Story of Starting Over in Tough Times
- 12:52 – Investing in Your Success
- 17:04 – Building Trust and Authority Online
- 20:24 – Building a Strong Network of Connections
- 29:32 – Focus on Finding The Fastest Path to Cash
- 32:31 – Simplify and Innovate – Don’t Start Over
- 36:48 – Doubling Down on Your Business in Times of Crisis
- 41:30 – How Power Partnerships Can Benefit Your Business
- 44:27 – Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
- 45:30 – The Importance of Options and Mindset in Entrepreneurship
There is no question that there is a lot going on in the world right now. As I’ve talked to people recently, I’ve noticed a lot of fear and anxiety setting in because of the state of the economy and how it may affect small businesses and entrepreneurs.
So, today, I wanted to get ahead of this and share my best advice on how to grow your business and help you accelerate your income even in a down economy.
The Power of Perseverance: A Story of Starting Over in Tough Times
Many of you know I moved my family of 6 from Michigan to Arizona during the last recession. We spent every last penny we had to move. During the first year here, we couldn’t afford to rent a truck and bring our stuff out, so we slept on air mattresses. The only furniture in our 3 bedroom apartment was a TV on the living room floor so the kids could play their games – we couldn’t even afford cable.
I’m sharing this with you because the strategies I am about to give you are the exact strategies I used during the last recession to pull our family off the floor (literally), start over in the worst economic time of our life, with no money, and in a state where we knew just one person who lived over 180 miles from us.
Ok – one thing you’ll learn about me is that I have a really hard time talking about the amazing life we’ve built since then. It feels uncomfortable to me – almost like I’m bragging. But I want to give you a little glimpse into my life today.
- First of all, my husband and I have been married for 29 years (we started dating when we were 15).
- My husband quit his job 7 years ago to support me in the business and be there to help the kids whenever they needed him. We travel all the time, and he’s the MVP of our neighborhood – constantly helping EVERYONE. At Christmas this last year, a bunch of our neighbors brought him gifts to thank him for everything he does.
- I have 4 amazing kids. All of them have (or are) currently working with me in some capacity.
- My oldest runs our graphic design business from her home in Sedona, Arizona as a single, young, independent woman with a disability that would crush most. But she has an amazing life and thrives.
- My second is currently working towards starting his own coffee shop.
- Brin (who’s on the call with us) was one of Rocket Mortgage’s top salespeople last year – which is quite an achievement considering he came on board with them during a time when interest rates were the highest in several years. But we’ve snagged him from Corporate America, and now he’s part of the Your Marketing Coach team (which is freakin’ amazing)!
- Our youngest graduated during COVID and is exploring her options for her future. She’s a very talented artist, has sold some of her work, and does some graphic design for me.
Again, I’m not sharing this to brag. I’m sharing this because I need to get better at sharing my amazing life. I owe it all to the hard work and effort I’ve put into myself and my businesses over the years.
I want you to know this because I don’t know where you are. I don’t know your specific story, but I do know you have a dream (whatever that is), and I want you to know you can achieve it.
Maybe through my story, you can find inspiration. I am nothing special.
In fact, I’m actually writing a book about being extraordinary. If you break down that word, it’s extra/ordinary. That’s me. And I believe that’s YOU, too. Heck, it’s the entire reason why I named our group (and my community) the Extraordinary Entrepreneur!
Maybe you don’t think of yourself as anything special. That’s ok. You don’t have to be the best – you just need to be a little “extra” ordinary.
Ok, enough about that. Let’s dive into strategies to accelerate your income.
Investing in Your Success
One of the biggest problems entrepreneurs have is that no one knows who they are and what they offer. With more exposure, you’d get more clients and make more money. The funny thing is, there are better opportunities today than ever to get your brand and offers in front of your perfect ideal customer (PIC).
But if you want to know how to grow your business, you need to be willing to open your wallet. You can’t rely solely on people finding you organically – you have to start paying to get in front of your audience. Organic growth is fantastic, but if you want to control how many people see your offers, you have to be willing to invest in creating awareness.
Here are a few ideas:
- Pay for event sponsorship opportunities.
- Book speaking gigs. Reach out to event planners and ask if they’ve had cancellations. Then snag those empty spots!
- Invest in a sales team if you don’t have one. Increasing your focus on sales calls can increase your profits.
- And, of course, you should be running paid ads to capture leads and get your offer in front of your PIC.
Making the right investments in your business (even when money is tight) is one of the best ways to kickstart momentum.
Building Trust and Authority Online
You know I talk about posting on social media all the time. That’s because it’s so crucial to building trust and authority online. By consistently posting helpful, inspiring, or educational content on social media, you show your audience that you’re not here just to sell them. You also want to provide value and build a relationship with them.
Every time you post, you are:
- Building brand awareness
- Establishing credibility
- Engaging with your audience
- Driving traffic
- Staying at the top of their mind
And don’t let the “vanity metrics” (likes, comments, shares) fool you. You do get some organic reach. But, if you really want to control the number of people (and who) specifically see your posts – pay to boost them.
Boosting a social media post is paying the social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok) to put your post in front of the audience you choose when setting up the targeting on the ad.
The benefits of boosting your posts are:
- You increase your reach.
- You get to choose who sees your posts.
- They are cost-effective. I recommend boosting a post for anywhere between $5 – $10 per post. That’s $150 – $300 a month in advertising costs. If you find that some posts do better than others, you can spend more to boost them again.
- And they also provide you with metrics and insights that you can use to guide your business decisions.
The thought of creating content daily might seem a little overwhelming – which I totally understand because I felt the same way for a long time. Until I figured out that repurposing was the easiest way to create all the different types of content.
Check out Episode 23, “How to position yourself as an authority in your field”, to learn how to achieve this in just 1 hour a week.
Building a Strong Network of Connections
I want to share the strategy I used to create 600+ solid connections in 6 months when I first moved to Arizona and started over from scratch.
STEP 1 – Intentional Preparation
- I looked up networking groups in my area.
- I identified the movers and shakers in the group.
- My goal in attending the group was to find those people, introduce myself, and schedule a 1:1 meeting to learn more about them.
During the meeting, I didn’t speak. I didn’t know how to grow my business yet, so I was there to meet other local entrepreneurs and learn more about them. I didn’t have referrals to give, so I told the facilitator that I was just there to observe.
Once the meeting was done, I would find my key people, walk up to them and say, “Hi, my name is Misty; I’m from Michigan; I came to this meeting because I wanted to meet you.”
Of course, they were flattered, and we’d schedule a 1:1 meeting to connect more.
STEP 2 – The 1:1 Meeting
I made the meeting all about them. I focused on learning more about them, their business, and their personal lives.
Once we were done with our meeting, I asked them if it was ok if we stayed connected. They said, “yes.” I told them I’d shoot them a Facebook Friend invite when I returned to my office.
STEP 3 – The Follow-Up
When I got back to the office, I immediately did 4 things:
- I sent an email thanking them for their time.
- I wrote a handwritten note thanking them for meeting with me.
- I found them on Facebook and requested that we become friends.
- (This is the key) I gave them a shout-out. I would jump on their Facebook page and share how I had an amazing time connecting with them, and I could easily see why they were such superstars in their line of work.
Here’s why I did these things:
- Only 40% of people follow up after meeting someone at a networking meeting.
- Hardly anyone sends handwritten notes.
Once we became friends on Facebook, I put everyone I met in my new local community on a special list on Facebook. Every morning when I started my day, I’d spend 30 minutes liking, commenting, and sharing their content. My goal was to support them in any way that I could – which in turn, they did the same for me (which was not intended but a pleasant surprise).
The shout-out allowed me to lift them up (because they deserve it). And at the same time, I was seen by their friends and followers. Since it’s rare to see people say nice things on social media, I got noticed. People would click my name, read my profile, and start following me.
I only networked like this for a few months. But, as time passed, I participated in larger networking events. When I attend, I’d feel like a rockstar. So many people I met and stayed connected with were so welcoming to me. They’d introduce me to their friends. They made me feel extraordinary.
Networking Online Today
The explosion of virtual networking has created an unbelievable opportunity to network anywhere in the world – without leaving your house!
Everything I shared with you still applies to what you can do today. If you were to spend 30 minutes a day researching and locating ideal networking opportunities inside groups, it would change your business forever.
There are people out there looking for you. The more you connect, the more clients you can enroll. Remember, marketing is about building relationships, and relationships lead to the know, like, and trust factors. That opens the door to introducing your business and solutions to people you meet, which leads to getting new clients.
Focus on Finding The Fastest Path to Cash
Entrepreneurs are wired to be creative opportunists. I call it “the curse of the entrepreneurial mind.” Why? Because it’s a blessing and a curse.
It’s the very reason we are in business. But it’s also the very thing that will keep us broke. What do I mean by that? The fastest way to put yourself out of business is what I call “half-built buildings.”
When I first moved to Arizona, it was during a recession. In years prior, business boomed. Contractors were building like crazy. You could see all kinds of projects that were started but then abandoned. I remember saying all the time, “It’s such a shame all the time, money, and energy that was put into these projects but never taken them to completion.”
It’s the same in your business. When you start projects you don’t finish, you use precious time, money, and resources that you can’t get back.
What does this have to do with finding the fastest path to cash? Everything! When entrepreneurs need to make money, they tend to want to create something new. They also get bored easily, so they are constantly chasing shiny objects. They start projects they don’t finish and use precious time, money, and resources to find the “easy” thing that will make them a lot of money.
If you find yourself in this position, the best thing to do is step back and find your bread and butter. Look at your business and find what you can sell and deliver the easiest. This will likely be something that has brought in the most money or is the thing that you are best at. Whatever you identify this to be – this is your bread and butter.
Simplify and Innovate – Don’t Start Over
When you find yourself wanting to start over and create something new, resist and instead take your bread-and-butter program, product, or service and look for how you can simplify and innovate.
Let me explain what I mean:
People want convenience. People will pay MORE for convenience and things that save them time. If you can take your “thing” and simplify it to save your audience more time – they will buy from you. And that’s where innovation comes in. It takes innovation – looking at things from a different perspective to be able to do that.
For example, in 2001, Steve Jobs gave a talk that perfectly illustrated when simplicity and innovation come together by providing people with the ability to easily listen to music.
He talked about portable music options that were on the market at the time:
- CD Player (10 – 15 songs)
- Flash Player
- MP3 CD Player
- Hard Drive Jukebox Player
He broke down each one and shared the cost to purchase the device, how many songs the device could provide, and the cost per song. Then he introduced the iPod. He said it’s an MP3 player with CD quality music and plays all the options for open format music – but it can hold 1,000 songs in your pocket.
While Sony was trying to make a CD Player that didn’t skip, Apple was innovating and creating a simpler, better solution. Obviously, the iPod changed the music landscape forever.
As you think about what you do, consider:
- Are you “stuck” in thinking about delivering your services the “old way?”
- Are you trying to hold on to what you’ve always done?
- Are you trying to duplicate what already exists, even if you are a new entrepreneur?
My challenge is to look for ways to simplify and innovate what people are already consuming to give yourself a competitive edge. Don’t try to develop something new. Just make something people are already consuming even better.
Doubling Down on Your Business in Times of Crisis
Action is the solution to just about every business problem. The more you hustle, the more you succeed. While everyone else is worried about what might happen with the economy, you should be working.
Think about it; the timing is perfect. More people than ever are looking for a leader. Step up and be that person! Don’t wait out any crisis during a crisis – you should double down. The person who doesn’t stop despite how they feel always comes out on top. And, if there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s this: inaction compounds fear.
But you may wonder, “Aren’t my feelings telling me to protect myself?” No. Your feelings are only telling you that you are headed into unknown territory. They think they are protecting you when in reality, they will hold you back from getting the outcome you deserve.
You see, all entrepreneurs are at a fork in the road right now. Some will choose the path of least resistance and will retract. Others will push through the fear and change their life forever.
To paraphrase something that Brian Tracy said years ago…
“The winds of change blow on everyone just the same – it’s how you set your sail that determines your destination.”
You get to choose if you go home and wait the storm out – hoping that you have something in the end. Or set your sail to weather the storm and make it out the other side, years ahead of your competition.
How Power Partnerships Can Benefit Your Business
Instead of thinking of your competition as the enemy, think of them as an ally! Here’s what I mean. Make a list of 100 entrepreneurs and businesses that serve the same market that you do. Look for creative ways that you can work together to help each other.
Here are a few partnerships I’ve helped foster over the years:
- House painter and window washer: The painter had an established business while the window washer was just getting started. The window washer offers his services for free to the painter’s clients.
- Chiropractor and the athletic director at a local high school: The chiropractor didn’t have funds for traditional advertising. I introduced him to the athletic director at the high school, and he offered free adjustments to the kids.
When I first became a Certified Partner of Keap, I looked for ways to offer value to their partner community by holding free training for partners and clients. I also helped out at events, and my graphic design business provided free graphics to partners. Those activities opened the door to becoming a Preferred Servicing Partner. When Keap sells its software to its customers, they send some of those customers to us to help them learn the software.
The point is don’t just look for partnerships that you benefit from. Look for ways you can provide value and serve others first, and that will open the door to opportunities beyond what you ever would have expected.
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
While it’s true that you can sell online, sometimes you have to get a little old school. So, don’t get caught up in hiding behind your computer – be willing to get uncomfortable.
Can you sell through social media – yes.
Can you sell through email – yes.
Can you sell by creating an evergreen funnel – yes.
But reaching out, connecting, and making sales calls is the simplest and fastest way to get a real revenue boost in your business. You’ll need to get on the phone and talk to the people on your email list – or hire someone to do it for you.
Don’t get caught up in thinking, “If I build it, they will come.” That’s not true. You have to get in front of your audience. Can you get people to come to you? Yep. But if you need money now, waiting and hoping is not the best strategy.
Do the work.
The Importance of Options and Mindset in Entrepreneurship
Whenever I feel fear, anxiety, and doubt creeping up, I give myself 15 minutes to feel the fear, to have an “emotional breakdown,” to throw my pity party, to paint a picture in my mind of what it would look like if the thing I fear the most actually happened, and to feel all the emotions in that moment.
In that 15 minutes, things can get pretty freakin’ ugly.
But then I realize…
It’s never as bad as I think it is.
I’m still alive.
I still have options.
At this moment, none of that is real.
Nothing has changed.
My emotions are just trying to persuade me to stop and throw in the towel. Then I also realize that if I give up, it’s way worse. That’s when my brain goes into problem-solving mode. I start to see opportunities everywhere, and I come up with a plan.
Let me give you an example of what most people do:
Years ago, I was driving home from a sales call late at night. The call didn’t go well and I was having one of these “moments.” Thinking…
- This is stupid.
- People won’t want to buy from you.
- It would be easier if you just got a job.
- There’s nothing wrong with a job – lots of people have them.
And then something hit my windshield. I thought it was a bird; it was so loud! So, here I am, driving on the highway in the middle of nowhere, Michigan, with no street lights, and the only thing I can see is the 20 feet ahead of me where my headlights ended. I’m fighting to keep our massive suburban on the road as I’m trying to figure out what hit my windshield.
And that’s when it dawned on me…
This is exactly what I (and most people) do: they get hit with a problem and get so fixated on it that they lose sight of the road. They forget that they are driving a suburban on an open road that can lead them to all kinds of amazing places. But instead, they choose to shift their attention to the bug instead of the possibilities.
Here’s my advice…
Stop the drama and get focused. Entrepreneurship isn’t any harder during a crisis. But it is easier to find a reason to stop. Don’t buy anyone’s excuses – not even your own. It might be tough, but you’ll survive – it’s the only way to get what you want.