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Does the Idea of Selling Yourself Make You Sick?

SellingYourselfI get extremely motion sick. Literally, in anything that moves. Bus, boat, airplane, New York City cabs, regular cars (sometimes when I’m driving), and yes, even the train, that gentle old aunty of land travel. Some people take lip balm with them when they leave for the day; I pocket a few loose Dramamine. In fact, I need to take one sometimes just to plan my travel.

And yet, I go places anyway. I’ve taken a bus around rickety hairpin turns in Israel, a leisurely riverboat cruise through the Netherlands, and even a cruise through the Greek Islands (though I almost lost it all at the blackjack table, and I don’t just mean my chips).

I know plenty of people who get the same head-spinning, gut-churning nausea at the very notion of promoting themselves. It’s true.

Guess what? Doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it. Any more than I can get somewhere in real life without moving. I find ways to make it palatable, even enjoyable (yay drugs!). If I said, hmm. I’d like to avoid nausea at all costs, so I guess I won’t leave my house, well, I wouldn’t have much of a life.

And you can’t have much of a business, brand, or career without being able to tell people why YOU—why someone should listen to you, bet on you, invest in you, choose you.

Here are the three things people say to get out of selling themselves:

“But…testimonials! Can’t other people say it for me?”

Testimonials have their place. We all want third-party reassurance. But that doesn’t mean you get to go mum about who you are and what you offer.

“But…my work/reputation/experience speaks for itself!”

It stands for something, no doubt. It’s incredibly valuable. Your brand is in part what you’ve done, but also what you say about what you’ve done. It’s also your brand PROMISE—what you will do, deliver, create for the person who invests in you. Do you know what this? (Sorry, “great service” doesn’t count.)

“But…I don’t want to be salesy. It’s not who I am.”

The words “salesy” and “sleezy” sound suspiciously similar. It’s a shame that a few bad salespeople and sales tactics have spoiled the lot. Fact is, anyone who’s not in sales tends to, well, hate sales. Or think they hate sales. (Even some of the people who make their LIVING in sales think that.)

So, forget sales. Think of it as something you have no problem being: A better, clearer, more compelling communicator. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?

There’s one surefire cure to alleviate the nauseating effect of trying to put yourself “out there”:

Know what makes you different, and worth knowing, and share it from a place of giving, not getting.

Simon Sinek has famously said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Yes–100 percent.

But you also need to know how to explain to someone why they should choose you, based on who, what, and how you can help them, make their lives easier or better than they were before.

Do you think a first-grade teacher is worried the kids in her class will think she’s trying to “sell” them on reading? Of course not! You better believe she has to sell it. She has to make it appealing and fun and worth doing, to reward them for it, because it will change their lives.

That’s what you have to do. Get outside of your head, your ego, your fear, and focus on That One Thing that you know you can deliver, something the other person cares about (not just you).

Put THAT into words. And you’ll never loathe the “Why you” question again.

I’m about to launch my first-ever virtual workshop on JUST THIS TOPIC. It’s called the Why You Workshop, and it’s running for three consecutive Wednesday evenings: 8/10, 8/17 & 8/24 @ 7:00 p.m. ET. It will be held via phone (low tech!), and the calls are recorded (so you don’t have to be live on the call).

 

….Now, do I feel nauseous about the fact that I just asked you to check out something that I’m selling? That I just promoted a thing to you? Meh. Mild, tummy rumbling, but that’s ok. We should always have that inner gut check. After all, I had to get over this fear myself!

But I’ll tell you this: This work, helping people figure out their thing, which I’ve previously only done 1:1 with my clients, has been so rewarding and helpful, for me and them, that who am I NOT to tell you about it? It’s what I do, and I do it well. What am I going to do? Sit on it and hope you ask me about it? You won’t! I have to say it.

So I just did. And you can do the same thing in your business.

If this strikes a chord in you, seriously, sign up now—the calls include live Q&A and on-the-spot laser coaching and walk you through this process to land the right positioning. You’ll not only feel more confident every time you explain what you do…you’re less likely to lose your lunch or suffer fits of dizziness, loss of vision, you know. The usual.

Join me and get yourself a hot seats while they’re…still hot!

 

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The Real Definition of Entrepreneur

Man jumpLet’s face it: There’s nothing sexier than describing yourself an an entrepreneur. It’s like a hot leather jacket that everyone is trying on for size, including me. If it’s not a fit, maybe you like this simpler style, called solopreneur. Or maybe this tiny little handbag, called micropreneur instead. Or, this briefcase-slash-diaper bag called “mompreneur.”

Point is this: We are bending the term to make it mean what we want it to, need it to. I defined myself as a solopreneur, even had a video show and podcast by that same name…and then Grant Cardone called me out on Twitter and was basically like, that term sucks. “It’s too small.”

He’s right.

(And forget freelancer. Don’t get me started on what a horrible term that is.)

So what IS an entrepreneur, really? An editor at Shopify reached out to me to ask me what I think (and he wrote about it in this thoughtful piece here).

Fact is, there is one definition of it, and it’s this: a person who operates/runs a business, and takes on considerable risk to do so. Traditionally, we think of the entrepreneur as a person who finds and exploits a need in the marketplace, and either invests his or her own money, or more likely someone else’s, to fund this vision, product, service, company, and if it goes well, everyone makes a ton of money. It traditionally entails hiring people and renting office space and negotiating big pricey deals with vendors, etc.

You May Be One Yourself

Fact is, entrepreneurship has changed so much in the past decade that you may not do any of these things. You may never have an office or a staff, you may never raise funds from investors or regular people. But chances are you, don’t do this all yourself. All you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and a bank account to do business and rightfully call yourself an entrepreneur, and many do.

So if I am going to take liberties with the term, or at least tease the nuances, I would say that an entrepreneur is less defined by the business she runs or the amount of money they raise, and more defined by vision, risk, and character.

An entrepreneur leads with the solution to a problem, not with just a need to make money. An entrepreneur doesn’t just “organize” a business in my mind, but fuels it, directs it, and creates it. I hesitated to call myself an entrepreneur for a long time because I thought you had to have a Harvard MBA. I was so wrong.

Entrepreneurs are: scrappy and disruptive, creative and unruly, strategic and unstoppable. Sometimes they make lousy students and difficult employees. Some literally propel themselves on the force of their personality and the appeal of their promise, and other people help them carry it out and make it happen.

I’ve heard more than a few people say that entrepreneurship means “freedom.” I don’t know that I agree with that as the defining element. Maybe you don’t want debt. You know who else doesn’t have debt? A homeless guy. Is that what you want? You know who has a lot of freedom? An unemployed person. There are lots of ways to be free, and in fact, taking on the risk and investing yourself in something the way an entrepreneur does may be exciting and empowering, but “free” is not what I’d call it.

You’re free of the constraints of a corporate job, sure. That’s what people love. Look, we live in the land of the Lone Ranger. We love the idea of this rabble rouser, out conquering a new frontier. That’s romantic, and yes, many entrepreneurs slave away in solitude. But plenty don’t. The smart ones never dream of doing it on their own.

The entrepreneur is a maestro, a leader, but knows the value of team, too, and can lead and inspire. To my mind, I am not so hung up on the “prerequisites” for being an entrepreneur. Because I believe most can’t help themselves. And that’s why they do it.

In this way, they’re more like artists: They are compelled to make, create, connect—and that is why we are in love with them, aspire to be one or be like one. I can’t think of a better reason.

So. Is that you? I’m thinking I’m liking the fit myself.

 

Interst out the Creative>>Founder Lab at NY Media Center - applications due 5/23/16

Interst out the Creative>>Founder Lab at NY Media Center – applications due 5/23/16

…By the way, if you DO dream of pursuing a business idea and becoming an entrepreneur, check out the Creative>>Founder Lab at NY Media Center. They’re accepting applications now for their 8-week intensive running June-July 2016. I’m one of the instructors, leading a session on vision and mission, which I’m psyched about. Check it out!

How Being Busy Is Costing You Business

Man using Mac laptopI’m going to break something to you right here and now: No one actually cares how busy you are. Honestly. No one. And telling people how busy you are is very likely costing you business and opportunities.

I do a lot of events for freelancers and solopreneurs (including this one hosted by the lovely Kate Gaffin’s Connecting to Greatness Group, at WeWork September 30th in Manhattan), mostly telling them why they need to STOP referring to themselves that way, and most importantly stop thinking like one. Most freelancers I know busy—doing stuff they don’t like for not very much money. They endlessly yammer about needing more work, and yet when I’m in a position to share or offer some, I get the Heisman—”Oh I’d love to take it on, but I’m not sure I have the bandwidth,” or “I’m just way too busy,” or “I’m all set for now.”

And they wonder why they’re not making more.

(Just ask Grant Cardone, the beloved author of The 10X Rule, and creator of grantcardonetv.com where I have my show, Solopreneur, which he and I have decided is a lousy name, because you don’t get more credit or money for doing it all yourself.)

I have more work than I know what to do with, yet I never stop seeking out opportunities. Everyone has the same hours in a day, but that’s not how I choose my work. I don’t see myself as just one lowly freelancer whose plate is full. I’m a business; I’ll add more plates if I have to.

It never ceases to amaze me that the people who push away work are often the lowest paid, and who admit to me they don’t have much else going on. One woman I spoke with recently about work I had to offer her said that she just wasn’t sure if she’d have time to take on the work because of her job…a job she admitted she doesn’t like and is planning on leaving.

Will someone please explain this to me? I wasn’t offering her a six-figure job…but there’s potential for ongoing paid work, growth, and the opportunity to show me how great she is, while she keeps her other job or searches for a new one. I can’t think of a better way OUT of a job, in fact, than to show off how great you are to someone new who might recommend you somewhere, or hire you herself! She’s going to think about it.

I would still consider working with her, but she’s hesitant, and thus, so am I. Because this isn’t the first convo like this I’ve had. Other people will tell me a million reasons why they can’t do this or can’t meet that deadline. So many people (women mostly) who are busy pumping the brakes and then wondering why their careers are going under 35 mph.

This is what it means to think small, people. So if you’re looking for work and want ways out of what you’re doing or ways to grow, say yes. If not to me, than someone. Say yes and find a way to do it if it appeals, even a little.

Your clients, as much as they love you, also don’t care how busy you are. As a client, managing your business isn’t my job; it’s yours.

Think of the client/contractor relationship as an open marriage—who and what else you “do” on your time is not my business. I only care about what you and I have going on.

If you continually give off this air of being “so crazy busy,” fact is, I might pass on you altogether for other stuff that comes up. Not only because I don’t want to deal with that drama, but you’ve essentially told me in no uncertain terms that you’re “busy,” which either means you don’t see working with me as a priority, or you can’t manage your time well. And I want someone who does.

Now, my clients don’t think: “Ah, I’ll call that Terri. She’s probably not up to much.” No way. Having higher demand for my services doesn’t mean I make less time for people I want to work with—it just means I can charge more. By making sure you have enough “time” for the clients you have (work that go away like that), you decrease demand, in fact. The only stuff I don’t have time for are the things that I’m either not interested in, are not in my wheelhouse, or don’t pay off in any real way. But that’s stuff no one should have time for.

Your business can be as big as you want it to be—if you’re willing to think and act like one. Find resources. Find a way. You can’t gain momentum in your business if you keep hitting the brakes.

Stop Trying to Get Paid What You’re Worth

You and I have fallen under the sway of a misled idea: that in order to advance our careers, we must persuade people to recognize our worth and then convince them to pay it. When negotiating salary or figuring out what to charge for a service, the first question we often ask ourselves is: What am I worth?

But that question disempowers you.

It calls into question something personal that goes beyond the actual value of your skill or service. There’s also a dangerous connotation — particularly for women — that links price with love or acceptance. (“If you like me, you’ll pay what I’m asking. If you don’t, you must not like me because I’m not good enough.”) It’s a slippery slope and ineffective.

Instead of asking “what am I worth” or “am I getting paid for what I’m worth,” the question to ask is: “What are my products or services worth to this person right now?” In other words, what will the market bear?

For years I struggled to reconcile what I thought I was worth with what I was getting paid. At one point, all I wanted was $40K. I believed that was where I needed to be and that I was worth it (damn it). It killed me when the company told me they couldn’t do it. I went down the rabbit hole: Am I not worth that?

The magazine was in the red! They couldn’t pay the bills! It had nothing to do with me. And I needlessly made it harder on myself.

The turning point for me was a recent episode of my show Solopreneur. I interviewed Ilise Benun, founder of Marketing Mentor, who has been helping creative professionals go into business for themselves for more than two decades. “My clients always ask me, ‘Why can’t I convince people to pay me what I’m worth?’” says Benun. “This is the wrong question, because it sets this up as a pricing problem, which it isn’t. It’s a marketing problem, and it has a marketing solution.”

The key, says Benun is to separate what you do for other people from what it means about you. In other words, take your ego out of it. This blew my mind, and the doors off everything I used to think about rates and salary.

It was also a huge relief because I’ve spent too much time worrying that either I wasn’t worth much, or I was so good no one could afford me. “The conflation of personal worth with professional acumen is also very childish,” adds Benun. The “love me daddy” approach to winning business infantilizes you — it treats the proposal (or salary or raise) like an allowance, one that you “deserve” because you were a good girl. Ick.

Don’t use worth as a determiner of value or price. Your true worth doesn’t have a price, so stop wasting time trying to appraise it.

Want more? Watch this episode of #PowerLunch, my weekly webinar for entrepreneurs with an appetite, where I talk about when and how to work for free (and get something great out of it).

Pick a Niche: Why You Need to Specialize

Red umbrella among black umbrellas
The days of the generalist are long gone. Your niche is your key to better clients, better work, better business all around.

And yet, you’re afraid. You think: “Oh, I don’t want to limit myself or limit my prospects” or “I’m good at so many things.” No denying it, you’re a multi-talented and infinitely brilliant person. However. The challenge of carving out your niche isn’t about being smaller; it’s about being sharper and having the capacity to go deeper into what you do for more people.

I recently interviewed Ilise Benun of marketing-mentor.com, one of my fave experts in the world of solopreneurship, on my show Solopreneur. And she said, “If you don’t go looking for who you want to work with, you have to take what comes along.” She couldn’t be more right.

The solution? Pick a niche—which also happens to be the name of her new program (The Pick-a-Niche Kit, which is worth checking out). It’s not about limiting yourself or your business. Quite the opposite. It’s about driving your business in a direction, rather than standing on the side of the road with your thumb out, hoping someone, anyone, will pick you up.

I like to think of it not as limiting your scope, but deepening it—and at the same time, sharpening your edge. How can you get good when you’re being a jack of all trades? You can’t. You’re also a lot harder to market.

Start honing your niche

Think about the one thing you’d spend all your time doing if you could…that has payoff for the client. Say you’re in PR, and you don’t love booking media, but you do love—A LOT—reaching out to your network and seeing where promotional opportunities are. You haven’t found your niche yet, but take a look at where that network lives. Maybe it’s in health, wellness and medical. There’s your niche. It doesn’t make any sense to market yourself to anyone wanting publicity—you’r enot going to get many musicians. But doctors? Yeah. And there are a ton of them who need your skills.

You can find your sweet spot by thinking about the problems you love to solve, too. How do you like to solve them? What solutions make you pleased and happy? Your answers illuminate what you’re especially suited to do.

Get a second opinion

This is where your network is a huge asset. Your friends, colleagues, former coworkers and clients, and mentors can help you zero in on your sweet spot in a way you just can’t on your own; they see you without the limiting filters you put on yourself.

Check out my brand new FREE eBook, “Take the WORK Out of Networking”! It helps you turn network-building from total suck-fest into the best thing you do.

I find it works best to send out a survey (Survey Monkey or Google Forms are both fine) that people can respond to anonymously. These questions have served me well in the past

  • What would you say are three of my greatest strengths?
  • What kinds of issues/problems are you most likely to ask for my help with specifically?
  • What’s one thing that you believe you can always count on me for?
  • What do you think I do better than most other people you know?
  • What’s one area I could stand to improve the most?

Give it time

It’s thrilling to tap into what you do well and want to do more of, so exciting that you might want to launch a new website in the next five minutes. Take a breath! Meaty creative change like this come from noodling around and trying things out. Start by revisiting and rethinking some of your marketing materials or website language. Maybe shift some of your messaging, or try prospecting with a different crowd. As you get clearer about your niche, you can do a few free sessions to get feedback or testimonials.

Not only will your niche be more robust, but by taking your foot off the gas a bit, you’ll get to see if there’s demonstrated interest in what you have to offer. The work and time will pay off, because once you have a good sense of what you’re selling and to whom, you’ll jump with confidence at the right opportunities and clients.

Why the Freelancer is the F-Buddy of the Business World

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 8.22.37 AMI just gave a talk to a roomful of people who work for themselves. I said, “How many of you define yourselves as freelancers?” and a whole slew of hands went up.

And then I said, “Never, ever call yourself that again.”

Why? Because freelance is low-rent, low-budge, low-stakes. Freelancing means you’re a pinch hitter, a cheap way for a company to meet its needs when it has them.

In other words, if we’re being honest, the freelancer is the F-buddy of the business world. Which, let’s face it, isn’t in and of itself a bad thing—if you’re getting what you want out of it. But it’s not always the path to a steady gig or mutually beneficial relationship (especially if you were hoping for more). Maybe you get excited when you get that work booty call (“You free?”)—but maybe after a while you get bored (or go broke waiting).

Check out this episode of #PowerLunch, the free, weekly, bite-sized business and branding webinar that I do every Thursday at 12ET, where I tackled this whole issue!

Now. I have worked as a freelancer, and for a while thought it was a sexy thing to be, noncommittal and freewheeling and all that.  And, by the way, I hire freelancers too on occasion! I’m not saying NONE should exist, but the question I’m asking YOU is, is that all you want?

Because what I realized as a freelancer was that while I wasn’t beholden to anyone, no one was beholden to me, either. Sure, your clients may love you and cherish you and not want to use anyone else. But when someone says, “Hey, who was that you’re were just on the phone with?” Their response: “A freelancer.”

As in, one of many. Another person on the list.

And yes, I am well aware there are plenty of people who make a healthy living as a freelancer, and they love it, and it works for them—great. Good. I’m telling you that you can be more than that. Why? Because a freelancer never quite knows where her next meal is coming from; she’s hoping for that call. Maybe you like that kind of adventure. But I like to know I’m going to eat.

(Read more about why calling yourself a freelancer works against you.)

Think Like a Chef

Let’s stick with the restaurant theme for a moment (yes, I know I’m mixing metaphors in this post). I truly believe that to devote yourself entirely to freelancing is to to decide you’ll live by whatever falls from someone else’s table. You’re literally waiting on tables. Sure, a little freelancing is great if it gets you into a relationship with a new client, and gives you the chance to try each other on for size—by all means. Maybe it helps you add to your skill set, learn something different or explore a new industry. But freelancing is side hustle. It’s what you do to finance the thing you really want to do and grow.

I want you to think like a chef. Servers, after all, are utterly replaceable. A chef, however, is the one creating the food, the experience, everything. She’s the mastermind. It’s her expertise that determines what’s on offer to begin with. The waitress says, “What can I get you?” while the chef says, “You’re going to love this.” A chef has a sense of what her client needs, and creates something valuable, unique, and utterly her own.

I can find a waitress anywhere. But a chef—that’s worth seeking out and sticking with—and, by the way, paying for.

I told that group of people what I’m telling you now: You’re more than “just” a freelancer; you are a business owner. You have something unique and valuable to offer, the result of years of experience, honed skills, and powerful intuition—and a flair for knowing what your customers are craving. And you they come seeking you out—because they can’t get what you have anywhere else.

3 Rules of Thought Leadership (by Someone Smarter Than Me)

DanielDiGrizDaniel DiGriz is so smart that after a few minutes of listening to him, you can actually feel yourself getting smarter. Now that is a gift. (Let’s hope it worked.)

The founder of Madpipe, author of All Marketing Is Dead, and self-titled “digital ecologist” (a term he’s had trademarked) has lots of titles, and believes everyone should have a bunch, too, since all social media sites (including LinkedIn) are search engines. Oh, and also because titles don’t matter.

A word about what exactly DiGriz does: He helps clients become thought leaders and create a successful marketing presence in their space—which changes depending on the company. As an external marketing director, he does this through one-on-one coaching, supervision, and training of in-house teams to meet their own marketing needs, which are unique and different from everyone else’s.

Rule #1 of Thought Leadership: Get Over Yourself

The biggest mistake of thought leadership, he says, is this belief that the onus is on everyone else to come to us, read our sites, care about us and what we have to say. In fact, this isn’t about you at all, which is why DiGriz doesn’t spend all that much time talking about himself. It has to do with how you change the world.

“What you are isn’t relevant,” he said. “This is one of the first lessons of thought leadership: It’s not about you. It’s about…what creates a response in the end user.”

Daniel-WIT

Click here to watch interview.

Rule #2: Have An Original Idea

Anyone can be a thought leader, says DiGriz. But thought leaders don’t say, “Yeah, what she said!” You have to have a fresh take and original ideas and insights about the industry right now, and how to make things better.

Knowledge after all, is replaceable, he says. It’s why he doesn’t mind sharing it freely via his blog, his podcast, what have you. Experience, however, is not. And the mark of a pro, he says, brings all of that experience to the table with a defined, intuitive skill set.

Rule #3: Know the Difference Between Being in Charge and Owning the Conversation

Another misconception (and an arrogant one to boot) is that whether you’re in charge of a big company or work for yourself, you’re “the boss” and that makes you important. You’re not the boss: The economy is. That ground is always shifting beneath you, and your success depends on how you can adapt to it.

Which brings me to his book, All Marketing Is Dead—because in fact, he says, it is. And this is where a discussion about marketing becomes one about mortality: Because what holds in the Walking Dead is true for business owners: Traditional marketing tactics, even as we use them, are zombies: stiff, slow, awkward, easy to outrun, consumed only with feeding themselves, and must be killed on the spot.

But that doesn’t mean marketing is going away, or that you or I are in any way above it. If you try to excuse yourself from marketing and all its aspects (social media, outreach, etc), you quite simply aren’t a business owner. In other words, marketing is not a tap you turn on when you need it, but a consistent effort, one that you should make for yourself just as you would if you had thousands of shareholders to answer to.

Thought leaders know this, and thus must continue to adapt and update their efforts, annihilate the stumbling zombies from their strategies and instead find ways to make their marketing elastic, intelligent, human, integrated.

To be a thought leader, says DiGriz, ask yourself: “How can I make the world more effective, raise the bar in my industry and improve the way I communicate about it?”

“You can be a thought leader, introduce new concepts and ideas without getting anyone’s permission. If we can do that, we can lead in our fields, change our industries and grow our business together.

(Watch the full interview with Daniel DiGriz on Solopreneur.)

(Also check out DiGriz’s podcast—on this episode, he had me on to talk about why brands need a spokesperson.)

 

 

 

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Make Uncertainty Your Friend: Meet Farnoosh Torabi, Award-winning Financial Strategist

torabi_farnoosh

Farnoosh Torabi, award-winning financial strategist and host of the daily podcast, So Money.

When Farnoosh Torabi got laid off from her job as a journalist at TheStreet.com, it was in many ways the day her real career began. Instead of going the safe route and finding another job, Farnoosh ran with her big idea—and it changed the course of her career.

Today, Farnoosh is an award winning financial strategist, best-selling author and sought after speaker. She’s the host of the daily podcast So Money where she interviews financial luminaries, entrepreneurs and influencers about their personal stories around money.

I recently had Farnoosh on my show, Solopreneur on the Whatever It Takes Network, where she shared why she thinks living with uncertainty is the key to successful entrepreneurship—and fear of failure shouldn’t stop you. Here’s more of Farnoosh’s hard-won wisdom.

How did you make the decision to leave your last job or go out on your own? What was that job, and how did you know it was time?

I got laid off! So, the decision was made for me. And sometimes those are the best decisions. I didn’t resist the fact that I was unemployed. I turned it into an opportunity to finally break out on my own and take the little freelancing I was already pursuing alongside my 9 to 5 to go completely rogue and venture out on my own full time.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

A talk show host.

When did you realize this was (or wasn’t) going to happen?

I’m still hoping it will happen! My podcast is sort of making that dream come true.

What is it about your life now that you can’t believe you do, and wouldn’t believed if someone told you 5-10 years ago?

I can’t believe I get to work with companies and help them with their media strategies and educating their clients and employees about personal finance. I always assumed journalists work with newspapers and TV stations…but I’ve also worked with companies like TJ Maxx, Macy’s and Mass Mutual (and they pay better!).

Where do you think most of us waste our time? What do you recommend doing to change it?  Responding to emails right away.

I must get over 100 personally directed emails each day and if I were to actually respond to all of them that instant, I’d never get any real work done. As one of my podcast guests Chris Brogan told me, “email is the perfect delivery system of other people’s priorities.” I write back to people who are on deadline first but all others hear back from me 24 or 48 hours later…sometimes a LOT later.

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given (did you take it?)

You might want to consider changing your name. A news director once told me this after learning I had aspirations of being in front of the camera. It’s funny because all I ever wanted as a kid was to have a different name. I wanted to be Ashley or Christina. Farnoosh was weird and the kids made fun of my name. And by the time I was in high school and college I really appreciated being different. ANd then BAM! I start a new job out of college and some old white guy is telling me to be the same again…I laughed. Of course I didn’t follow his advice.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time 10 years?

Start an email list. Period.

What lesson(s) did you learn the hard way (could be your career, or life in general):

When you write a book, no matter how awesome, there’s a really good chance that it won’t fly off shelves.

Any other advice you want solopreneurs/entrepreneurs to know? Resources you recommend or folks you like (think: books, brands, programs, services, anything you read/used and were like “YES!”)

-ScheduleOnce for setting up appointments
-TinyScan for scanning documents (I use this ALL the time as I sign a lot of contracts every year)
-A great CPA
-A great financial advisor
-Podcasters Paradise

For more about Farnoosh and how to create a richer, happier life, visit farnoosh.tvsomoneypodcast.com and @farnoosh on Twitter, and pick up her book, When She Makes More

Watch a new episode of Solopreneur every Tuesday at 4pm on the Whatever It Takes Network. 

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If You Hang Up On Gary Coxe, He Calls You Right Back

Gary doesn't give up. He just doesn't. Click here to find out how he can make your thoughts up and disappear.

Gary doesn’t give up. He just doesn’t. Click here to find out how he can make your thoughts up and disappear.

Gary Coxe never takes no for an answer—and it’s why he’s killing it in business and in life (and called into my show from some tropical island). It’s also how he got on my show! Because he and his staff just keep at it. Turns out, he’s also charisma personified.

For the record, I did not hang up on him. But plenty of people have. No skin off his back. “How do I know they didn’t drop their phone in the toilet?” (That has happened once. But he’ll assume that’s the case if you hang up on him.)

This guy not only started his own business and was making six figures IN HIGH SCHOOL, he negotiated a deal with the principal that allowed him to drop out and focus on business without consequence (watch the episode to hear this guy’s unbelievably ballsy story). Since then, he’s made millions—which he credits to not only providing value, but also following up more than most people are willing to.

Today, Gary is an accomplished author and speaker who’s sought out by individuals, companies, and media to improve their lives and businesses. I recently had him on my show, Solopreneur on the Whatever It Takes network, where he shared his biggest lessons: Your own head games are getting in the way of you making the sale or landing the client, and persistence and follow-up are the two key actions you need to be taking every day. Here’s more from Gary on how he made it big.

You gotta catch this interview. Click to watch.

You gotta catch this interview. Click to watch.

Do you have another day job? If not, what was your last one and when did you make the decision to leave it?

I have been self employed since I was 11 years old.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

Had no idea and I haven’t grown up yet. 🙂

What is it about your life now that you can’t believe you do, and wouldn’t believed if someone told you 5-10 years ago?  

That companies pay me up to $20,000 for my advice and I get to personally fly my clients on my Beyond First Class Program in the Bahamas. This gives me the opportunity to intimately work with people to improve their lives and their businesses. And, probably meet amazing people that I’ve had the opportunity to meet in my travels as well. (Find out more about the details of the program).

Where do you think most of us waste our time? What do you recommend doing to change it?

We waste most of our time with unnecessary emotions and thoughts. If we don’t know psychologically what stops us from taking the action to get what we want in life, we continually take one step forward and 10 steps back. When we figure out our own head games, we can get ahead. A lot of the time we’re telling ourselves negative stories. We’ve got to stop the negative self-talk about ourselves.

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given (did you take it?)

Financially, to make suggested investments from people who don’t know what they are doing.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time 10 years?

Believe even more and have more emotional control.

What lesson(s) did you learn the hard way (could be your career, or life in general):

Just business overall. I didn’t take enough to understand business models and educate myself early in my career.

Any other advice you want solopreneurs/entrepreneurs to know?

I don’t believe the average person really appreciates how powerful our thinking is. If we did, we’d invest so much time in mastering it.

MAKE YOUR THOUGHTS DISAPPEAR!

This, says Gary, is the key to pushing through your inner obstacles and achieving more than you imagined. Because those thoughts really are the problem. Find out more about how to gain emotional control in your life by banishing thoughts.

For more about Gary and how to create lasting results in your business and life, visit www.garycoxe.com and @garycoxe on Twitter, and pick up his book, You Can’t Fillet a Nibble: It’s the Catch That Counts

Watch a new episode of Solopreneur every Tuesday at 4pm on the Whatever It Takes Network.