Creative Pathfinder- Learnings, Weeks 13-16

Posted on | February 15, 2011

I’m actually on Week 20 of the course, but catching up w/ my reviews. These four lessons are all about one of the most important aspects of your business: money – marketing, selling, negotiating, and managing. This is valuable guidance so Thank-You, as always, to Mark McGuinness for offering it.

Lesson 13
Topic = Marketing in the Web

Insights

  • When working on marketing, as an entrepreneur, it’s so important to “know thyself.” Because,

If you don’t know why people should be paying attention to you, it’s hard to persuade them to do so.

-Mark McGuinness

  • Good headlines are what grab readers’ attention, and short, succinct, helpful paragraphs are what keep them reading.
  • What I’m hearing time and time again is: in order to build a name for yourself/your business, to get people interested, it really helps to give away some things (of Real Value) for free. When I think about some of the products I’ve benefited from (like this course, and Chikara-Reiki-Do’s Sunday chat, for example), these are now trusted and respected resources, and the first places I will go when I want to make a purchase in their area of expertise. Free e-books are a popular, and effective, way for web businesses to give a “taste” of their offerings.
  • Getting on the radar of influentials will grow your reach organically. Just like I ask those who visit my sites to take a moment and comment/share, I need to (and am beginning to) reach out and connect with those whose sites I visit/learn from/enjoy. Energy flows both ways!

Actions

In order to get the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior online, you need to become an authority that others cite (link to) in their online content. Which means, of course, you need a content-rich website that demonstrates your authority in the first place.
-Brian Clark

  • Publish more! Get that editorial calendar up and running again and follow it. Since last month’s BABS (Bay Area Bloggers Society) meeting, Suzanna Stinnett’s white board daily calendar method has been a recurring vision for me. I’m very visual so a physical daily schedule I can write on in colorful markers, and look at whenever my eyes need a break from the computer, sounds appealing and fun! (I’ve got my eye on a nice one at Staples.)
  • Keep working on the first e-book concept (in conjunction with the new site which we’re developing.)
  • Offer to write a guest blog post.

Lesson 14
Topic = Selling, What and Why

Insights

  • When we are clear about our interests and passions, and align our work accordingly, it is much easier to stay motivated and committed.

…before you start worrying about products and services, benefits and features, offers and objections, stop and ask yourself: “Why am I doing this? Who am I here to help? What problem can I solve for them?”
-Mark McGuinness

  • Discovering our purpose comes through combining those interests and passions with problems we see around us and want to solve.

What I am interested in/enjoy + What is meaningful + People/Problems needing help= My Purpose

  • Whether we’re an employee, entrepreneur,or artist, we all need to sell our products/services/brand in order to generate income. Knowing our audience/clients/customers, really listening to them, and understanding their needs/desires (through asking plenty of questions), is essential to the sales process.
  • Know the features of your products/services but then move beyond that and emphasize and illustrate the benefits. Mark suggests a good way to do that, by asking these questions:

What’s in it for them?
Why should they care?

  • In order to sell, we have to make an offer and give people an easy way to make a purchase. Don’t expect it to happen automatically

Actions

  • Regularly remind myself of the problems I am solving and people I am helping.
  • Problems I am solving:

Ineffective/poor/unproductive/negative/lacking: communication and project management/coordination/facilitation

People not recognizing their personal power and ability to be holistically healthy and happy, not opening up and embracing their best and brightest potential.

  • People I am helping:

Individuals/groups/orgs/teams/communities who will benefit from my communications/project management and personal empowerment assistance

Lesson 15
Topic = Negotiating Through Life

Insights

  • We are continuously negotiating in life, not just at work but also with friends, family, and the people we encounter in a given day. The better we understand the process, the more we get what we want, And make other people happy too.
  • It is always important to have multiple options – the power of choice. Viewing the situation from the other sides/perspectives, and with an open mind, can open up new options.
  • Know the value of your products and services. This involves researching the market and distinguishing yourself.
  • Look for common ground, areas of agreement, and start there.

The key to a successful negotiation is to ferret out everyone’s interests so you can maximize the outcome for everyone. This is easier said than done, since most people hold their interests close to the vest, believing this gives them a stronger negotiating position. But oftentimes this strategy is misguided, because in actuality what you want might be right in line with what the other party wants.
-Tina Seelig

Action

  • Keep all these pointers in mind as I negotiate through life.

Lesson 16
Topic = Healthy Cash Flow

Insights

  • In order for cash to flow positively, you must have an effective means of keeping track of it. The more you understand the sources and trends of its inward and outward flow, the better you can manage it.
  • I agree with Sarah Selwall (guest author for this lesson) that a monthly review/reconciling session is a very good idea. I have a recurring appointment for that on my google calendar, the last Sunday of the month. During that time I add all monthly business expenses to my spreadsheet. (Once a week, also on Sundays, I process the week’s receipts and file them accordingly.) I find it much easier to manage at that frequency.
  • And I also heartily agree that being organized with receipts (I use an accordion folder with slots for each month, separating business and personal receipts) cuts down on headaches when you review/reconcile.
  • By analyzing the flow (where’s the money coming from, where’s it going, etc, etc) we can develop smart action plans.
  • Taking control of our finances via a well-organized, efficient, user-friendly system, and clear goals and action steps, gives us the power to be financially healthy and strong.

Goals are the fundamental building blocks of success, not just in personal finance, but in every area of life. Without goals, you are living reactively, letting life push you around. With goals, you can live a proactive life, steering toward a destination. When you have an end in mind, it’s easier to see when you’ve made a wrong turn. You know where your path is supposed to lead.
-J.D. Roth

Actions

  • Continue researching/trying out financial management software/tools and transition to a system which integrates with my bank accounts and incorporates analysis, which my .xls spreadsheet does not. (I use Mint and really like it as a cloud based tool, but I need to play around with it more for tracking business specific expenses. Another issue is there’s no invoicing option…)

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