Think it up. Feel it in. Act it out. These three steps are crucial on the path of realizing your vision for your life—personally or professionally. Every entrepreneur starts with an idea. For successful dreamers, this vision drives action aligned with achieving the end result. Oftentimes the process is automatic. And, to amplify the probability of success, you can make this a mindful method.
Let’s look at each one a little more closely.
Step 1 — think about it. Be conscious of your thoughts and manage them. Intentionally think about your dream in productive ways. Create your thoughts. Then let your thoughts create your plan. Ponder openly and confidently about your vision. Consider the highest good that will come from your goal.
In your daily life, think of ways to step into what you aspire to create. Write down these ideas and the milestones on your path to realizing your vision. Make a map of the journey. Think through each facet of your adventure. Your thoughts are very powerful, because they affect how you feel.
Step 2 — feel inside it. Allow yourself to feel what it is like to experience your dream. What does it feel like to be on the path to achieving your dream? How do you feel doing the work you long to bring forth in the world? Touch the textures. Smell the aromas. Taste the flavors. Listen to the sounds. See the results. Take your thoughts and feelings very seriously.
Meditation is a great tool to assist you. Meditation is a game-changing practice. For just a few minutes each day, take the time to cultivate the feeling of what it is you desire, and experience it. Allow yourself to dwell in the feeling, the excitement, the joy of realizing your life’s vision. The feelings that come forth in meditation manifest in your life—whether only in the meditation or echoing it in your experiences when you take action.
Step 3 — act on it. Take action from a place of alignment with your vision. Many who pursue big dreams take action from a place of ego. They push with the force of “I’ve got to make this happen!” Or they fall prey to beliefs such as “I’ve gotta hustle and work hard.” Or they come from lack and think “I need to do this.” Or they shut down and play small wondering “Who am I to do this?” So they never do anything. Align with your vision and recognize limiting beliefs to thwart them along the way.
Acting in alignment with your thoughts and your feelings, engage others. Support from friends will boost your confidence beyond the limits of your logical mind. Connect with your dream personally and this equips you to notice when you are out of sync so you can quickly realign with your vision.
Take a pen and paper and jot down the three steps. Note your thoughts. Write out your feelings. And list the actions you take every day toward living that vision, personally or professionally! This is a plan for your business and a plan for your life!
The pitch is critical to every startup. It’s your story; your identity; your compelling reason for being. And you have to get it in the strike zone in order to keep your company alive and to ensure that it thrives. Pitching your startup to investors—or to potential customers—can be overwhelming.
You have to know your stuff—your budget, your offerings, your advertising, your brand story, and more. This is your lifeline to resources. And, your future rests on the success of your delivery. To assist you to perfect your pitch, here are a few tips to get your story straight.
Know your why.
Storytelling is all the rage in advertising, and now in business branding. Sharing your story in the most compelling, powerful manner builds connection and credibility among potential customers and with investors.
Once you have your why—the reason you do what you do—it is much easier to find those interested in that passion. And, it is often said that when you are focused on your why, the how shows up and the what doesn’t matter.
Have a plan—a booming business plan.
The greatest idea in the world will not have a chance in surviving execution without proper planning. A solid business plan that clearly expresses your strategy and tactics, including how capital will be used, plans to scale the business, and reasonable anticipated growth will give an investor confidence that there will be a return on their money.
A solid plan shows the investor that you are knowledgeable about your product, the competitors, the market opportunity, the industry, and the future of your business. Reinforce your business plan with the critical details. Determine your break-even point, then customize the plan to demonstrate monthly cashflow. When the business is your baby, your pitch is especially essential to build a community of credibility and support.
Sustainability is continuous viability and longevity. It is key to obtaining funding from VCs and angel investors. It is also critcal in earning respect from industry professionals and gaining credibility among potential customers. There’s a difference between a flash-in-the-pan and an idea that inspires early adoption.
Customers and investors are savvy enough to know when a product has the potential for longevity. Everyone who will invest, purchase or support your company needs to know that you will be around for the long haul and you have a plan for how to do that successfully.
Know thy audience.
Tailor your pitch to your audience, whether itâ€™s potential investors, a sea of customers, or a panel of judges. When speaking to investors, focus on the numbers, viability, and sustainability of the company. Let them know what’s in it for them—in the short term and in the long run.
If you are competing in a startup battle, presenting to a panel of judges, focus on your business as a whole. This will be the broadest pitch you give. Don’t leave out important details when you cast a wide net. If your investors are new to the industry, be sure that you speak in clear terms—don’t lose them in jargon and acronyms. Regardless of how well a panel understands your business, remember that you are in charge of the effectiveness of your pitch. No excuses.
Rehearse, a lot.
It may seem obvious, yet people often neglect proper practice. They may feel too much practice could make them seem stiff. While actually, the more you practice, the more relaxed, comfortable, knowledgeable, and “natural” you’ll be. This gives the impression of expertise. And, the better you know your stuff, the less likely you’ll be thrown off course by questions or derailed by nervousness.
The mere thought of public speaking makes many people nervous. The good news is that presentation skills can be honed, making the experience less worrisome. Practice is the secret to elevating your skills. Create and rehearse a variety of pitches so you can readily respond in different situations. From a one-minute elevator pitch to a thirty-minute talk, preparation and practice are the keys to communicating your message powerfully.
Show your stuff.
Give your audience a reason to remember you. Create a memorable phrase or give your audience hands-on time with your product (if possible) are a couple ways to be remembered. Consider what distinguishes you and what differentiates your product. Communicate that clearly and powerfully to ensure that, at the end of the pitch, your audience won’t stop thinking about your business.
Pitching your business starts with the proper wind up. It’s about the mechanics. It is like casting a fishing line with the appropriate bait into the hungry crowd and then waiting patiently for the bobber to dip with a fish on the hook.
Take all of the advice you have studied, ask for feedback, perfect your pitch, practice, and learn from every experience to improve with each and every presentation. Hone it and own it. And know that when you simply deliver your well crafted, well rehearsed elevator pitch, you have got the room interested in what you have to say.
Live on purpose. Select your scenes! Don’t leave your life to chance. You don’t have to be caught up in trauma and drama. And you don’t have to allow your self to be pulled along by every character that pops on to the scene of your life! Write your story—your Life Script!
Realize that you are the Star of your life story. You are the Producer. You are the Director. You are the Screenwriter. Write the script (thoughts, beliefs, actions) in a way that serves your stardom (or get assistance to do just that!).
Give your word and live your word (the Life Script). Write your way in and out of the experiences you desire, require, and deserve to enjoy—professionally, personally, and potentially! Be the Star Performer of your world, the center of your universe, and play your part for an award-winning experience!
4 Steps You Can Take To Star In Your Own Life Story
Listen. Tune in to your inner voice, notice what you are saying to your self. Consider what your thoughts say about what you believe. How do your thoughts affect your actions? Awareness is a key step in change. Become and observer of your self. Then, continue doing what serves you and adjust otherwise.
Align. Get in accord with your self. Pay attention to your thoughts, words, and deeds. Do they support and nurture how you desire to live your life? If not, change your internal message. Again, continue doing what serves you and adjust otherwise.
Prepare. Make a plan, a guide, and let it be the script to your live. By considering potentialities and the outcomes desired, you set up your self to act in accord with your desires. You will be in a position to recognize and act on opportunities that serve you.
Act. Live intentionally, on purpose by creating habits that align with your desires. If your goal is to be fit, make it a habit to exercise daily. Create a habit of eating to fuel your health. Be the Star Performer in the experiences you create for you. To build your business, hone your message and consistently uphold it.
Starring in your story takes focus and intention. It starts with writing down your goals. Most people don’t bother to write down their goals. They wind up drifting aimlessly through life. Is this you? Are you wondering why your life lacks purpose and significance? Are you willing to give your self an aim? Committing your goals to writing is the beginning of creating the life of your dreams. The key to accomplishing what matters to you is committing your desires in writing. This is important for at least four reasons.
It forces you to clarify your desires and set your destination. Writing down your goals and milestones compels you to select something, to get specific… to choose the outcome you desire for your life.
It motivates you to take aligned action. Write down your goals, articulate your intention, and execute in alignment with them. Writing down goals and reviewing them regularly keeps you mindful of the destination and prompts you to take action. It provides a filter for opportunities that could otherwise become distractions. The more successful you become, the more you will be presented with opportunities. Maintain a list of written goals by which to evaluate opportunity, take appropriate action, and stay on course with your goals.
It fortifies you to face challenges and overcome resistance. Every meaningful goal encounters resistance. When you focus on the resistance, it will only get stronger. Overcome it is with focus on the goal. Write it down and review it often.
It enables you to recognize and celebrate progress. Life is particularly difficult when you don’t see progress. You feel like you are going nowhere. Your written goals act as mile-markers. Review them to see how far you have come. Outline steps for where you require to go. And take the opportunity to celebrate when you attain a milestone.
If you are overwhelmed … or if you are focusing on your star performance and desire for assistance with the other stuff, get in touch with me to script your shift so you can shine! And if you are looking for a place to start, consider these tips.
Focus on your desired result in each area of your life (fitness, health, career, finances, intellect, relationships, and spiritual).
Write your story in the present tense—as if you are living it now.
Engage all of your senses and make it active—walk through your home and surroundings, note the things do, what you see, sounds you hear, scents, what you touch, and how you feel.
Be the main character in the visualization—dream big and make it as realistic as possible to convince your self and to believe it is a potentiality for you.
The process of writing your Life Script brings opportunities to you just by changing your focus to what you desire. This benefit from shifting your focus from what isn’t working to your dream experience takes place during the creation of your Life Script.
Many are challenged with describing what it is we desire to create. We have an easier time describing what we do not want, which isn’t a bad place to start; but don’t leave your focus there. Instead of wishing to be less fat, focus on how good it will be to feel more fit.
Social media doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it can be your best sales associate and your favorite marketing tactic. The key is to focus so you don’t get overwhelmed. It all begins with your message. Here are five steps to go from strategy to scheduled for social media success.
#1 Create Your Social Media Strategy.
For your Brand, you have a strategy. Now, align that with Social Media. Determine your niche—your target audience. Consider pain points and interests; and your solution for them. People seek solutions and benefits!
Brand strategy is a long-term plan for development to achieve specific goals. It is your playbook. Goals, strategies and tactics are outlined to give you a game plan.
Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name. It is much more than that. It is tangible and intagible, purpose driven, mission focused attributes that are your reason for being. It’s a feeling that separates powerful versus mediocre brands.
Your brand strategy considers:
1. Your industry & design trends
2. Your ideal client’s desires
3. Your brand personality
Distinguish your brand — how do you differentiate yourself and speak to your audience in a way that attracts them? There are many ways to give your brand a personality. From your logo and colors to tone of voice, messaging must align with your audience while remaining consistent in delivery style. Imagine your brand talking with one customer. And then, replicate that conversation consistently in the marketplace. This is where the social media strategy comes in.
Now, create a plan for social media that addresses your target audience where they are. Design a communication and messaging strategy to deliver information that is helpful to them and of interest. Relate to other topics that they are engaging with across platforms.
Know what makes you different from your competition.
Define your target audience and the solution you provide.
Translate this to your Social Media strategy.
#2 Choose Your Social Media Platform(s).
You aren’t required to be on every Social Media platform to be successful. Pick one, possibly two to start. Avoid overwhelm!
In the beginning, fewer and BETTER is the focus. Facebook is the logical first choice for most brands. Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or YouTube are strong second choices, depending on your niche.
With Facebook, create your personal Profile then set up your Business Page. From quotes to images to video, you can dominate presence in your niche. Facebook Live amplifies the possibilites. You can benefit from low cost, highly targeted Facebook Ads to generate leads and build your list.
Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest along with LinkedIn and YouTube are great online real estate for your message. Your strategy will assit you in selecting the one or two places to start so that you speak to your tribe and align with your message.
Develop an Editorial Plan to guide your content with purpose. And then you can repurpose the information across your social media channels. This reinforces your presence.
Create a calendar — three, six, nine, or 12 months out. For each month, brainstorm themes and then topics within that theme that would be of interest to your audience. Look at information that will establish you as the “Go To” person in your arena.
Choose themes and topics so you can weave information from one post to another. Look at the map of content so you know what you are sharing each and every day. Content can easily be “re-purposed” and used in a variety of ways, and across multiple platforms.
Now comes all the write stuff. Tailor the words to fit the channel. A blog post can be pulled apart for fodder you can upload to Twitter or Facebook. Specific messages can be developed for each channel and your audience there. If you desire assistance with this, let me know.
There are a number of ways to deliver information—your brand strategy will assist you in selecting the style(s) best suited to your message.
Photos; Infographics; Videos (Live and Native); Blog Posts and Original Articles by you; White Papers; Blogs and Useful Articles by other thought leaders in your niche who do not compete. Make Video a priority as it gets the MOST engagement!
Once you determine the style of information delivery, create your content. Outline it. Find photos and images to add impact. Consider using Piktochart or Canva to create images and infographs. Look at Notegraphy for creating impact with your words. And, find free photos and images at Pixabay.
Check in every day for 30 minutes to boost activity and interact with your tribe.
Share posts from others who attract your niche.
Define your brand strategy and your message. Choose which delivery method will be best for your message. Make a list of themes and topics of interest. Create your content. And schedule it.
Congratulations! You now have the steps required to command Social Media and dominate your niche for business awareness, lead generation, client contact, and nutured relationships that lead to SALES! For assistance in creating your content, get in touch with me.
So many venues. So little time. Marshall McLuhan once put forth that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. So, the brand of the channel has a halo affect on your message. Lets take a quick peek at some of the main social media haunts, and some possible associations.
LinkedIn: This is your resume and c.v. channel. Here, it’s like saying: “I’m on an interview and this is what I wish to project of myself professionally and personally.” Post an article to showcase your experience and expertise. Share an article of interest — and add a comment to give it your perspective. And, you could share these to Twitter, too.
LinkedIn Company Page: This is like offering up the annual report. Or, perhaps a billboard along with content that leads back to our website, or to a site of interest.
Twitter: It’s like a work-related party where you’re feeling rather chatty… “I’m in a conference room at the office with colleagues and clients, and this is what I wish to share because it is of interest, informative, or appropriately entertaining.”
There are many Twitter post options that you can share.
Text: These are the most basic — simply a 140-character or less message.
Link: Add a link to your own or other website that users can click through to visit.
Image: Include an image with your messages — you know, it’s worth a thousand words that help to expand on your 140 characters.
Video Posts: Upload a video or a GIF with your post — here is where you can include your talents via VINE (see more below)
Replies: start your message with the @HANDLE of customer or fan or other who posted or reached out to you on Twitter to further the engagement.
Snapchat: You had to be there! (or Wish You Were Here) and this is a glimpse of what is so special. Like an inside joke, you can do a variety of things to personalize the moment, including video slo-mo or speeded up for effect! While the snap won’t last, the impression(s) likely will. So make them add up to an image you wish to uphold. And, you could share an appropriate saved snap on Twitter or Instagram…
Instagram: Sharing interesting moments thematically for business or personal memories. There is a great opportunity to portray an image … or bounce all around like life does. These could be featured on Twitter if for business, or on Facebook if personal.
Facebook: Connecting to family and friends … can be like the high school hallway or a kind of reunion. Here is everything from breakfast to politics and a few happy birthday shout-outs.
Facebook Page: Like ‘bring-your-family-to-work’ day, show off all that’s cool about what you do. These could be repurposed on Twitter (but not vise-verse because Twitter posts are more frequent and could be spam-like on your Facebook Page).
Vine: Here we go loop de loop. Vine is intended to create short videos that repeat themselves. Over. And over. In six seconds.
Periscope: Use Twitter’s live video streaming app in the moment to keep Twitter connections up-to-date … experiential opportunity to share a presentation or a walk in the park — in real time. Make sure to turn on Twitter sharing so your broadcast is shared in a tweet that follows the formula: LIVE on #Periscope: [Video Title] [Link to Video]. Like with Snapchat, the broadcast expires after 24 hours.
YouTube: Everything that’s fit to film … and then some. Here is where you can share your story or webcast or data visualization. Storytelling with sight and sound that you can create and upload with ease. Or embed on your website. Create a landing page for each video. Tweet ’em. Show them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Lots of mileage from the footage.
Google +: Articles and posts relative to all the search terms you want associated with your brand. And, running around in circles.
Medium: So, you want to be a writer. This is a great place to blog and tell your stories — or repeat them.
Tumblr: Tumblr is useful in many ways—inspiration, scrapbooking, communication, portfolio… an overall blogging platform, create original content or curate (re-blog) posts—great venue for bloggers, brands, trendsetters, and tastemakers.
Ello: Share art and inspiration, connect with creators around the world, all ad-free. This one is still in nascent stages for me. Here I post things in black & white.
And so, again, like Marshall McLuhan says, “The medium is the message.” The medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but also by the characteristics of the medium itself. Well, sometimes those characteristics demand traits of the content. Hmmm. In any case, whether you create something specifically for one venue or the other, there are many ways to share. Edit. Share. Edit. Share. Etc. Have fun. Be interesting.
Know your audience. Your message for new customers might vary from that of a repeat customer. Reward loyal customers. Always make a returning customer feel they are being treated well. Word of mouth from a happy customer is your best marketing message.
Make your benefit clear for your customer. Show them and tell them what your product or service can do for them. Answer your customers’ question: “What’s in it for me?” Tell it in a way that distinguishes your offer from all competitive options.
A concise message is to the point. In other words, don’t make your customers think. State your message in the most simple terms and in the most memorable way. Brevity will help memorability of your proposition.
Be compelling. Help the customer picture themselves receiving the goods or service. An image or a narrative can help them imagine selecting your offer and enjoying the benefits. Show the customer the “payoff” they will get by choosing your brand. Create contrast with other brands to amplify the point of difference your product or service provides. Contrast helps create value around your brand, giving customers a reason to choose you over a rival. And, it can help create a sense of urgency. Show it with a visual or paint a picture with words.
Positioning is a facet of the marketing strategy that aims to give your product or brand a distinct perception—relative to competing brands—in the mind of the customer. An historic campaign for Avis reflects this: “Avis Is Only No. 2, We Try Harder.”
In developmental stages, determine the positioning you intend for your product or brand. Research and market feedback will help you discover if it is aligned with actual consumer attitudes. If not, then marketing messages can help close the gap or change perception.
The positioning process begins with identifying a market problem or opportunity, then developing a solution—often based on market research, segmentation and supporting data. Once positioning is determined, it will help align and guide marketing efforts and business objectives. The perfume I use is the indulgent scent for pleasure seekers. Thus, the tone and manner of messages, images, events and PR are created to consistently express this in all communication.
Again, positioning is the perception of your product or brand in the mind of the customer. Perception is reality. Aim to establish the highest and best use for your brand among your audience. And, be open to emerging alternate audiences, too. Here are some examples of common positioning strategies and how they might translate in the marketplace.
Thanks for meeting with HIM AND ME. (Thanks for meeting with ME. Thanks for meeting with HIM. Thanks for meeting with US.) vs HE AND I appreciate your time. (I appreciate your time. HE appreciates your time. WE appreciate your time.)
It is bigger than YOU AND ME combined. (It is bigger than ME. It is bigger than YOU.) vs YOU AND I are smaller than this idea. (I am smaller than this idea. YOU are smaller than this idea. WE are smaller than this idea.)
To YOU AND ME, this idea is big. (To ME, this idea is big. To YOU, this idea is big. To US this idea is big.) vs When YOU AND I succeed (When I succeed … When YOU succeed… When WE succeed…)
They will praise YOU AND ME for this. (They will praise ME for this. They will praise YOU for this. They will praise US for this.) vs The praise YOU AND I receive will be stellar (The praise I receive will be stellar. The praise YOU receive will be stellar. The praise WE receive will be stellar.)
Between HIM AND ME there is chemistry. (Between US there is chemistry. Between HIM & ME. Between ME & YOU. Between ME & HIM.) vs HE AND I share an office. (HE shares an office with me. I share an office with him. She shares and office with HIM AND ME. WE share an office.)
He took a photo of HIMself AND ME. (He took a photo of US. He took a photo of HIMSELF. He took a photo of ME. He took a photo of US.) vs HE AND I posed for a photo. (HE posed for a photo. I posed for a photo. WE posed for a photo.)
Do you have an underlying story for your brand? Is there a consistent message threaded through everything you do Determine the core concepts that resonate with your customers—and with your fans—to create the foundation of your brand story.
Here are some key areas you can investigate to unlock compelling threads that are engaging as your story unfolds.
Discover what your audience is interested in. A quick scroll among your followers will reveal repeated terms. Identify top keywords used to engage with your brand. Consider looking at areas of influence on Klout. And take a look at the competition, how are they talking about their brands? This can help you distinguish yourself, recognize important attributes that bring a customer to your brand rather than to a competitor. Grab on. Follow the topic as it relates to your product and as it extends in other areas. Have fun with it—even topics that are “unspeakable” can be addressed in a tale or two. Consider the antics of PooPourri.
Capitalize on the trends. Seasons. Holidays. Events. News. Fashion. Sports. There’s an opportunity to hook your brand story on to what’s happening—as appropriate and applicable—and continue to unfold your story as it relates to current events and timely happenings. When you hook onto a trending concept with your product or offer, you gain awareness among those interested in the trend while staying relevant with your message. For instance, take a look at the Dough Boy taking the the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Many other brands capitalized on the trending event.
Develop content themes based on trends and topics relative to the goals of your company and your customers. Find the most universal theme to carry your story to the widest relevant audience. For instance, happiness. Show how your product inspires and spreads joy. And then, tell it like it is—with pizazz. Make it memorable. Here is where creativity conquers. Get your audience involved in your story and you will have a life-long fan. A great example of this is the Dancing Guy who was sponsored by various brands, beginning with Stride Gum.
With this, you can build a compelling message that unfolds consistently while continuously telling the tale that is at the core of your brand.