How Do I Find Clients?

This is perhaps the #1 question I get asked.

  • How do I find clients?
  • Where can I find them?

I often laugh in my lighthearted way and want to say –

“Here’s the secret no one told you…”

“There they are! Over there! Right behind the potted plant!”

And then there would be a mad rush…

Except it doesn’t work that way.

How Do I Find Clients?

So many methods teach that you need to go find clients, like you are on some treasure hunt and if you just look hard and long enough a windfall will be bestowed upon you. Unfortunately this is not a hunter-gatherer mission.

Neither is it a sit back and wait for ideal clients to magically manifest like a genie in a bottle. Poof! There they are!!

The truth is that it is more organic than either of these frequently taught approaches. [Read more…]

Even Whales Know if It Isn’t Working, You Need to Do Something Different

Business lessons from whalesWe’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. What most of us don’t think about (or are too busy working hard to notice) is how innate and intuitive it is to recognize when things aren’t quite right and then make a subtle shift for new results.

It’s more than just a success tactic; it is actually a basic survival instinct of mammals. Here’s what I consider to be a beautiful example of that.

I took a whale watching tour on a small zodiac boat in Victoria BC. As I was bobbing and weaving in the ocean and watching a magnificent display put on by a mother and baby humpback whale, our guide explained more about the humpback’s mating rituals.

Each year the male whales sing a song to attract a mate. What’s fascinating is that all the males sing the same exact song. Not only the males in one geographic location but all the males of the species around the world. The whales in Mexico sing exactly the same tune as those in British Columbia.  They sing and sing and when a female likes what she hears, she chooses her mate.

Here’s where the “doing what works” part comes in. If and when the males keep singing but it doesn’t seem to be working anymore (meaning they are not being chosen by the females), one male will change the tune ever so slightly. All the other male whales change their tune as well, and they do this until it starts to work again.

These subtle changes ripple throughout the local waters and beyond for the species until the mating season ends.

The lessons these whales have for us are:

  • Doing what everyone else is doing might work for a short-term but not forever.
  • Be attuned to the need for a subtle shift in what you are doing to achieve much greater results.
  • Don’t wait for someone else’s permission to make a change if you aren’t getting what you want.

There’s a natural rhythm to things and our ability as business owners to tap into that and embrace the subtleties is extremely powerful. Sing a beautiful song, but don’t get attached to it. Don’t get caught up in the insanity of just “working harder” when it isn’t working. Know that by changing your tune ever so slightly you might just get what you want.

Ready to make a subtle shift that yields great results?  Click here to meet for a discovery session and see how working together can help you create a clear path to the results you want.

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:


How to Choose a Good and Reliable Web Designer

How to Choose a Web DesignerOne question I receive all the time is: “How do I find and then know if someone is good and reliable and frankly worthy of building my website?”

This is an important question because a website is meant to enable your business. Unless technology IS your business, you just want it to work effectively for you and your marketing. You aren’t a technology expert so you don’t necessarily know what to ask and how to evaluate whether the answers someone gives you are accurate or just BS.

This article will help you cut through the BS and avoid the losers and less than stellar vendors out there. It will empower you with specific questions to ask and the permission to trust your instincts.

Here are the 5 Must-Have Characteristics you should demand of any web professional you work with.


Solid Business Understanding

Yes, that’s right, does the person you are talking to actually understand how businesses work or are they only technicians?  There is nothing wrong with hiring someone who is only a technician IF you have someone you can count on to run the strategic end of the project and communicate effectively with the technician.  It’s like having a coach/consultant/technical project manager run interference between you and the technical staff.  I’ve played this role on more than one occasion and it can work quite well.  What I know about techies who don’t have a ton of business acumen is that they love to build stuff. The underlying architecture and gadgets mean more to them than the business application. They get giddy about building things whether or not they actually meet a business need.

As a small business owner, you can’t afford that. You need an effective marketing tool and online presence that supports the bigger business strategy. It’s not about the technology; it’s about what it can do for you.  Work with someone who can bridge the business and technology gap with you.

Willing to Explain Things to You in Plain English

You should never walk away from a conversation with a potential vendor feeling like they are talking so much Greek that you just need to bow to their higher powers and abdicate your power.  That is just crap. It’s like smoke and mirrors – ‘behind this poof of fog lies things that will forever remain mysterious” stuff.  I’m not suggesting you need to learn the nitty-gritty technical details, but you should know and understand what you’re getting, why it’s important, and what it means in layperson’s terms. The person you are meeting with should be willing to do the “techie to English” translation for you until you are satisfied you understand.

Technical Chops Beyond One Popular Tool

I call this the “technical expertise beyond the GUI” factor.  What that means is that the person you hire should actually know and understand what is going on “under the hood” of your site and any platform they build it on.  For instance WordPress is an awesome tool on which to build a website.  However, when WordPress got easier to use (compared to say 10 years ago) all of a sudden everyone was an expert.  The problem is there are an overabundance of “experts” that don’t actually have any idea of what is happening “under the hood” and therefore can’t really help you in the best way possible.  It’s like how people throw around the term SEO but don’t get specific about what they are really meaning by “SEO services”.  Yes you want your experts to do things in the easiest, most effective way AND you also want them to have the technical chops to know what all those easy visual interface settings actually DO. [Read more…]

5 Ways to Leverage Content in Your Marketing Efforts

When you own your own service based business, it can feel like you’re on a treadmill of content creation as you seek to market your business and serve your customers.  Just think about all the possible marketing avenues that require quality content: blogs, videos, audio programs, free reports, e-newsletters, articles, and more. The list goes on and on…

So, how can one person or even a small team create fresh, compelling content for all these things?  The answer is leverage.

Just like a pulley creates a lifting advantage enabling you to lift exponentially more weight than you could without it, leveraging your content acts as a pulley within your business. In the physical world this is called a “mechanical advantage”. In business, it empowers you to make one investment of time, energy, and effort and then yield a high return over time in relation to that initial investment.

How to Leverage Content for Marketing Your Services
Image: Leo-setä via Flickr

Translated – more effective, more productive, and saner.

Let’s be clear about something very important.  Leveraging is not about creating a high quantity of low-quality content.  It is not rubberstamping and copycatting what you’ve already done.  It isn’t an excuse to be lazy; just the opposite in fact.  With conscious and proper leverage, you can deepen your work, reach a greater number of people, and serve your clients in a very rich and satisfying way.

Here are 5 ways to leverage your efforts.

1) Use articles in multiple places

If you write a wonderful newsletter, that article also belongs on your blog.  Same holds true for those in-depth blog posts (they should make an appearance in your newsletter).  While you don’t want to copy and paste your articles all over the web on different sites because you don’t want to be penalized by the search engines for duplicate content, you do want to use them to their fullest potential.

2) Use same content in multiple mediums

Have a great article?  Tweak it a little and turn it into an audio recording. Get in front of the camera and bring that content alive in a video.  Turn it into a free class or talk to generate new prospects. For example, I took a topic from a prior speaking engagement, put a new spin on it (and a bit more depth) and turned it into a free teleclass full of success secrets for self-employed business owners.

3) Expand and monetize content

Expand content used in your marketing and turn it income opportunities.  Create an information product, e-Book, Kindle book, tips booklet.  Expand it even further and make it a paid workshop or program. [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

Get the 7-Day Solution