Why I’m burning down my website, and what I’m doing next

It’s true… I’m making some big changes here and I want you to come along with me (but only if you want to!).

First off – let me tell you what’s up around here.

As I shared in a short video  this week,

I am firing up the pyrotechnics and burning down my current website and changing email marketing providers as well.

Why I am changing

Well, my child has been growing. So as you might have done with your children (or your mother did with you), you extend a little pant hemline here, take out a seam there, and make things work because you know that next growth spurt is around the corner. Except at a certain point you realize all this patchwork has overcomplicated things and left you with plaid pants that aren’t doing it for you. That is what has happened to my site in the last bit of time.

Another good reason to do this now is because I do this very work with my own clients and it is high time I stopped the “cobbler’s family has no shoes” effect and fixed things.

Why I am excited

I am excited (and to be honest a bit terrified) because what I am doing will radically simplify my online presence and save me money (and a few headaches). I’m also thrilled about how it will significantly change my website visitor’s experience making things clearer, easier, and more useful. Think more white space, more zen.

What’s Next?

You might also see a little herky-jerky communication and blog posting in the next two weeks or so because all this is happening on the fast-track. You can expect to see a new site and newsletter within this month. Call it super-charged, call it crazy, or consider it ripping off the bandaid quickly to get on with things… but things are happening around here.

Curious? Questions?

I always want to add value to you and your business. So, if you have specific questions about this process, hit reply and let me know! While I can’t answer all your questions real-time (moving all this stuff while serving clients takes time), I will do my best to answer as many questions as I can in upcoming blog posts and newsletters. Stay tuned.

Create a Great Day!

Paula

What I Learned from Hosting an Event

Paula Gregorowicz with Andrea J LeeI had the great honor of partnering with and hosting my mentor Andrea J Lee for a live event in Philadelphia in September (2014). While I have hosted mini workshops of my own before, I had never hosted a larger all-day event before.

Here’s what I learned from my experience of running a successful event.

Give Yourself Time (Start Earlier Than You Think)

Everything takes longer than you think it will. Even though the event collaboration was confirmed in late June, much of the action didn’t really get started until August. Part of the challenge was coordination across vacation/travel schedules and time zones. Another was the fact that many people weren’t thinking about their businesses or commitments while in “summer mode”. The bottom line with any event is that you can always start earlier than you think. Give yourself at least double the time you think it will take to do any one task and you will be much happier.

How You Feel Matters (Go with Your Gut)

Black Walnut WineryBeing in charge of the venue was an interesting experience for me. I had certain parameters to follow in terms of requirements but otherwise the choice was mine. For several weeks I found myself visiting venues that friends and colleagues had recommended and where I had attended events in the past. Nothing quite felt right. Many of the spaces felt sterile, like the typical corporatey meeting room, or downright confining (think windowless dungeon). I was getting pressure from local colleagues to “just decide” and “do what others do”. It didn’t sit right with me. So in the end, I found a funky, cool space at The Black Walnut Winery that became our venue. Off the beaten path? Yes. A fun place to be with a comfortable, intimate energetic? Yes. Bottom line: how you feel about where you are spending your time and money matters.

Promote Early & Often

Paula Gregorowicz & Andrea J Lee Wealthy Thought Leader Event PhiladelphiaThis piggybacks on the start earlier than you think advice but has a twist. If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to bombard people with invitations to things. You don’t want to be “salesy”. Yet the reality of it is, it used to take 5-7 “touches” for someone to notice you and possibly take action (buy/register). Nowadays it is taking even longer. 7, 10, 13+ times of someone seeing or hearing from you to notice and take action. As a result you want to be able to drip out information about an event in a meaningful way over time. Combine it with some time-sensitive action points to create urgency. Otherwise, nothing happens!

Get creative. I noticed an uptick in registrations when I started to create content like “top 10 reasons to attend” and “how to decided whether an event is worth your time”. These were valuable pieces of content in themselves and could be combined with invitations to the actual event. Personal invitations to friends and colleagues, while time intensive were also very effective. Most importantly, don’t panic. Most people wait until the last minute to register, but you want them thinking about it and clearing their schedule before the 11th hour.

Don’t Take Things Personally

Wealthy Thought Leader PhiladelphiaWhen registrations aren’t what you hoped, venue contracts get stalled, or some other snafu pops up, it can be very easy to slip into a funk. I definitely hit a few of those “I’m a loser! I suck at this!” moments. It’s human nature. The trick is to avoid or at least quickly bounce out of the funk and back into balance an action.   It’s also important to realize that people you thought would definitely come may not attend. It’s not personal. Everyone is in his or her own world and chooses accordingly. It really doesn’t have anything at all to do with you or your value. Keep moving forward.

Details & Being Organized Matters

There are a lot of moving parts to an event, even a small, intimate one. Details unattended to can derail you. The more organized you are, the better things will run and the easier it will be for people to help you. Checklists are your friend.

Enlist Help (It Takes a Village)

Teamwork, Roberta Fortune and Karen JettYou cannot and should not try to do this all alone. It just won’t work. The earlier you can enlist the help of volunteers and team members, the better. I waited until the home stretch. Even though I knew I wanted and needed help, for whatever reason I waited a little longer than I hoped. Fortunately for me talented and generous colleagues surround me. Before the day of the event I had the help I needed and everyone did an awesome job. I couldn’t’ be more grateful. Another helpful hint is to make sure you truly thank each and every person who helps you. It simply feels good and it is what you would want if you volunteered, right?

Be Fully Present

Paula GregorowiczWith all the different things that need to be handled, you can easily get swept into distraction, overwhelm, and exhaustion. Take care of yourself along the way and then relax and let go so you can be fully present to lead and enjoy the event. Unless you can be in the moment, all your hard work will just slip right by you. Be here now, you deserve it!

Photo Credits:  Terree Yeagle, The Moment Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll with the Punches [Business Flow Video]

Sometimes stuff just happens.  The client doesn’t pay, registrations for your event aren’t what you hoped, cr*p hits the fan.  In today’s installment let’s talk about rolling with the punches because that is sometimes the soundest strategy.

See how an almost nixed trip turned into something great and how you can apply the same principles to your business to experience more flow versus just getting whacked upside the head.

How to Have a Steady Stream of Leads (vs. Feast or Famine)

Continuous Planting Yields Abundant Leads

photo credit: krossbow via photopin cc

What business owner doesn’t want to avoid the roller coaster ride of feast or famine when it comes to having quality leads? Yet it can seem so hard to avoid. Solving this problem feels like the elusive Holy Grail.

It used to seem very mysterious to me too, but no longer. I learned something from my garden this year that directly impacts creating a steady stream of prospects. Here’s what that is.

I’ve been gardening for a number of years now, but I always experienced the plant, wait, harvest all at once, left with nothing approach to agriculture. In the spring I would plant starter plants, usually all at the same time. I’d wait for them to grow, deal with having more zucchini, tomatoes, etc. than we knew what to do with all at once, and… then as fast as it came, it was all gone. Nothing left. Used up and wanting for more.

It puzzled me to understand how the “real farmers” got such a steady and ongoing stream of crop for the duration of a particular vegetables growing season. The answer? Continuous sowing of seeds.

What the pros do (and what I attempted to do better this year) is to plant and then at regular 2 week intervals plant some more. Farmers repeat this for the duration of the growing season. As a result, they have a nicely tiered version of a harvest with a steady supply. There isn’t just one big tremendous peak followed by a crashing nothingness. Sure there is some variation, but nothing dramatic.

Continuous planting is also the answer to the business owner’s dilemma. We often talk about taking action in terms of building relationships, marketing, and sales as “planting seeds”. The problem for most people, though, is that they don’t plant these seeds as consistently, frequently, and deliberately as they could. It becomes hit or miss because they are busy with client work, aren’t sure what to do (so they do nothing), or use a haphazard approach. As a result, at any given moment they may or may not have (enough) clients or leads. So then when the famine hits, they go frantic planting seeds because of a desperate need for cash flow and then the cycle starts all over again.

If our farmers took this approach we would likely starve because they planted the wrong vegetables for the climate, at the wrong time, didn’t bother to put the seeds in the ground once they purchased them, or didn’t tend to the seeds along the way. If you are honest it about it, as business owners, if we don’t do what the farmers do, we could starve too!

Now is the time to take a look at what you are doing in your business to see if you’re poised for a continuous harvest of leads or only random bites. Then based on what you see, take new, inspired, and consistent action for better results.

Not sure where to start? What actions to take? The Business Health Worksheet will help you diagnose, focus, and prioritize so you can have regular, satisfying harvests in your business! Check it out here: http://www.thepaulagcompany.com/businesshealth

 

From Storms Beauty Emerges [Business Flow Video]

After a storm, it is always calm, beautiful, and glorious outside. Yet within that storm it can feel like you will never make it through. In your life and business when you hit stormy weather – financial challenges, difficult clients, lack of clients, problem with your team – the same holds true. Navigate wisely to emerge on the other side.

What have you noticed about navigating the storms in your life or business? Comment below…

Do You Know or Are You Guessing at How Your Business is Doing?

  • Does your strategy look a bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks? (And has anyone ever really thrown spaghetti at the wall?)
  • Do you keep doing what you’ve been doing even if you’re not 100% sure if it is working (for you)?
  • Would you rather do just about anything else rather than confront the sick to your stomach feeling you feel when you think about looking more closely at the return on investment of your efforts?

While there is a lot of inherent uncertainty in running your own business (like a LOT), there are also a good number of things you can actually know for sure.

Look at Your Business MetricsPhoto Credit: Flickr

Wouldn’t it feel good to know for sure?

I would think so, but I’m discovering that a lot of business owners would rather guess than know. Why is that?

Here are the top 3 reasons I find business owners avoiding the actions that would empower them with more certainty and business growth.

1)    Assume This Doesn’t Apply to Me

People make assumptions about everything; it’s the way you and I operate. Sometimes it works well (like assuming the rest of the cars on the road will also follow the traffic rules); other times it creates a gaping black hole in the way we make choices.

Whether you assume your business is too unhealthy or growing too nicely to take a look at what’s really going on, either way it is an assumption that limits your power and potential. Guessing isn’t knowing. Challenging your assumptions is a good thing. Challenging them doesn’t make you wrong, it makes you more confident and empowered in your choices because you have some data and knowledge to support your intuitive guidance.

2)    Feel Too Bad, Scary, Sick to Your Stomach, or Generally Icky to Take a Look

I’ve had more than one client tell me “it makes me sick to my stomach to look at my numbers”. In fact I’ll admit that there have been numerous occasions over the years where I would feel a pit in my stomach even thinking about looking at my financial numbers or business operations; that feeling where a root canal would be more pleasurable.

And do you know what? In the end it wasn’t remotely as painful as they (or I) feared. It created a sound starting point for strategy and action. Almost without fail it creates opportunities for income growth, saving money, and ultimately more profitability. If nothing else it gives you concrete clarity and certainty from which to navigate. That alone is worth its weight in gold.

3)    Don’t Even Know Where to Start

It can be hard to know where to start. When you’re in your business, you’re so close to it that you lose perspective. You may not have the business background or know-how to understand how everything works. There’s no shame in that! After all, most people start a business not because they love the business of doing business, but because they have a service, product, or skill that they are passionate about offering and want more freedom and flexibility from their career.

You start by looking at what is right in front of you (cash in and cash out for instance) and build from there by learning more or getting help from someone who finds this sort of thing second nature.

So What?

Business can be risky just like life is inherently risky. Calculated risks create growth (most of the time) but random guessing is a crapshoot. Which odds do you prefer when it comes to the viability and sustainability of your business?

Wonder what might be possible with a little “peek under the hood” of your business? This stuff comes second nature to me, which is why I created the easy to use business health checkup – it is applicable for all stages of business from startup to mature businesses because the basics never change. Go here to grab your copy and get started: http://bit.ly/bizhealth-pg

 

 

 

Start Where You Are [Business Flow Video]

Sometimes life hands you “stuff”, so you have to make choices from right where you are vs where you wish you were. You have to start right where you are (the only place you really CAN start) and go from there.

So in business you might want to do a flashy launch or event when what you really need to do, what would be most nourishing and life-affirming to you and your business health would be to simply make invitations to sales calls. Sexy? No. Useful? Yes.

So take notice of where you are right now… and choose from there rather than where you wish you were.

What experiences have you had with this type of discernment? Share in the comments below…

What if You Knew Then What You Know Now?

Have you ever said, gosh if I only knew then what I know now…? Who hasn’t right?

We know we can never turn back time (no matter how much Cher sings about it) and the full picture hindsight gives you is never quite possible while you are living the moment.

But, what if you could take just a bit of that wisdom and knowledge and use it now, not after the fact? How might that change things for you?

Business intelligenceA recent sad event made this clear for me. You see just a few weeks ago my beloved garden was producing cucumbers in abundance. I was happy to my core. Since we make green juice every day in our house, we blow through cucumbers in bulk. It was heaven. And then, all of a sudden, I noticed something very subtle about the leaves and buds. When I went to the local nursery to inquire, their vegetable specialist told me the plants had a fungus due to the extra rain we’ve had. She assured me it was nothing we did “wrong”.   She suggested an organic fungicide to try and preserve the new growth (old growth would die regardless).

So far, this remedy isn’t helping and I am just beside myself about the cukes. I think- if I only knew a few days or even a week beforehand, maybe I could’ve done something to prevent this? But I didn’t know what to look for, or how to assess what I saw.

You might not be a gardener or care about cucumbers as much as I do, but certainly you’ve experienced a similar moment in your business, right? Where you’re humming along, taking the days as they come, and then bam! You’re hit by surprise with something – an overwhelming tax bill, a quick exodus of clients, a sudden upsurge of growth that strains your team and systems (or makes you wish you had them). You wish you could’ve seen it coming.

Well, what if you could see it coming? Maybe not 100% of the time, but what if the vast majority of “surprises” could be predicted before they happen?

If you routinely look at data – of the holistic health of your business and what’s happening around you, you can. This isn’t magic. It doesn’t have to be hard either. Big companies use big data and predictive analytics to figure out what is going to happen in the future – on a macro level and with individual customers. This is how online stores like amazon know what you are likely to buy next. How big companies decide when to expand and when to wait.

Unless you’re a mega-corporation, you don’t have to get that complicated to reap the benefits of knowing NOW instead of in hindsight. As a small business you are more nimble and can make huge strides with less effort.

Here’s how you do it.

You do this is by simply taking time to look at the key indicators of the health of your business and then focusing on the one most important thing you need to do right now. Not 10,000 things. Not the 40 things you learned at the last conference you attended. ONE THING.

You do this at regular, consistent intervals and then repeat.

Success is determined by focusing on the right things at the right time. Wouldn’t you rather move forward with the power of knowledge coupled with intuition rather than looking back with a sigh of regret? I thought so!

Need help quickly assessing the 6 indicators of health for your business? Grab your business health checkup here.

You have my personal guarantee that you’ll get great value from this.