The Power of Focus: How Stacey Howe-Lott is Giving Her Husband a Run For His Money

It might be cliche; but it’s truly amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. A huge part of Quiet Power Strategy is knowing what to focus on and taking action on those things and those things alone.

I knew Stacey Howe-Lott, the founder of Stellar Scores, was making progress on the plan she had created during 10ThousandFeet. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that I happened to see something truly extraordinary.

Scrolling through my Facebook stream, I noticed a post from her saying she’d just done 500% better in July 2014 over July 2013. And, in fact, that while July was normally her slowest month of the year as an SAT tutor, July 2014 was her highest grossing month ever in business.

Wow.

I had to know what shifted for her.

The first thing was complete focus on her new identity in business: CEO. She isn’t a technician anymore, she’s the powerhouse behind an SAT strategy revolution. Instead of going client to client, she’s seeing her business and how she plans for it in a whole new light.

The second thing was focus on her own special sauce: strategy. For Stacey, tutoring the SAT is about identifying strengths and playing to them. (Really, it’s a beautiful metaphor of the whole theme behind 10ThousandFeet.) When her special sauce became evident, the ideas for scale and leverage became unrelentingly apparent.

What’s more, she hasn’t even had digital products on the market very long. Just knowing her special sauce and repositioning her business around it has kept a steady stream of clients coming in, even in the off months, ready to pay higher prices than Stacey ever dreamed of charging.

Stacey’s new focus has helped her create a plan that will grow with her, products that will introduce whole new markets to her methodology, and positioning that puts her on the top of her industry. But enough from me, let’s hear it from Stacey:

Stacey Howe-Lott’s Story

400px-wideSince taking 10ThousandFeet, I’ve doubled my revenue in 7 months and am on track to triple it by 12 months.

I’ve completely become the CEO of my business–first recognizing it as a business, and then stepping into the CEO role. I am a teacher, so I was always focused on the kid in front of me instead of stepping back and looking at my business as a whole.

Tara dragged me, with me kicking and screaming the entire way, from being convinced that the only way I could serve is in one:one sessions which didn’t scale, to seeing how I can teach on a much broader scale.

I’ve figured out what I’m great at, what I’m terrible at, and how to leverage my strengths and manage others in order to accomplish my vision.

It was hard to break out of my old mindset. But being on the other side is so easy–I’m able to teach more kids, in less time and with less stress because of all the systems I have in place.

I love the fact that I’ve got a business plan to give my very-well-paid-computer-programmer husband a run for his money as to who can be the top earner in the family. On what planet do teachers ever out-perform computer programmers in income? I love the fact that I’m showing my daughter that she can dream up something out of nothing and make it happen. I love the fact that I am funding my daughter’s college education AND donating money to donorschoose.org to help fund educational projects for other schoolchildren as well.

But mostly I love the fact that I am able to help hundreds of more students learn more efficiently, more effectively, and accomplish their dreams.

***

That’s what focus can do for you. Less stress, more money, more impact, and action that gets results. You in?

Find out more about Stacey and Stellar Scores, click here.

Discerning the Path Forward When You’re Just Starting Out: How Megan Roop Landed Big Opportunities Fast

Decision-making is making a choice between 2 or more alternatives, right? In business, it can often seem like your choices are loud or quiet, big or small.

Discernment, on the other hand, is “the ability to see and understand people, things, or stituations clearly and intelligently.” When you engage your power of discernment, you can see that you don’t have to choose between this or that but that you can integrate what you really want into the options in front of you.

Essentially, when you leverage discernment you fully understand all the possibilities. It’s not just between this or that–but what you can create to make you feel how you want to feel, impact your business the way you want to impact it, and create an experience for the people who matter most that makes them feel great, too.

Discernment requires real insight into who you are, what you want, and the experience you’re creating for your customers. Then decision-making becomes second nature.

Today’s story is about Megan Roop, a coach for women who are ready for complete freedom from their eating disorders. She came to 10ThousandFeet as a brand new business owner. In fact, she hadn’t even launched her website yet.

But that didn’t stop her from creating some amazing results simply by taking focused action on what she really wanted: to give women who feel less than free a voice.

Megan Roop’s Story

M14-682x1024Let’s go back to May 2013 when I had recently found Tara’s work. I immediately loved and appreciated Tara’s no-nonsense, thoughtful approach to building a business. Everything about her felt refreshing to me, so when she opened registration for 10ThousandFeet I considered joining.

But because I was just starting out I decided against the program. I thought it was for people with “real businesses” and the thought of joining without a solid base terrified me. So, I sat on my ideas and while I made important progress behind the scenes, I still wasn’t building a sustainable business.

Throughout the next 9-months I took several coaching and business-building programs designed for people just starting out, but I always finished disappointed. When I saw registration open for 10ThousandFeet in March, I immediately signed up. I was ready to find clarity, move into real action and evolve my ideas. I knew Tara’s program was just the thing to support me.

I worked hard and gave 10ThousandFeet my all. In return, it saved me months of time, frustration and hassle. The solid structure of the program provided me with tools and systems that I’ll be using in my business for years to come. It also cut a big part of the learning curve for someone like me, who was just starting out.

During the program, I launched my website, created an outreach plan, solidified a business model and so much more. But most importantly, everything I’m creating is aligned with who I am and what I value most. In a sea of blueprints and cookie cutter methods, 10ThousandFeet taught me how to build my business in my own unique way.

Now, just a month after finishing the program I’m welcoming new members into my community every day and I’m creating my first product and in-person mini-retreat. I’ve landed placements on MindBodyGreen, an interview with a leader in my field that I truly admire, and more opportunities are coming my way daily. The best part? I feel inspired, energized and more confident than ever.

Tara and Brigitte are an incredible duo who have so much to offer. Tara gets to the heart of the matter like no one else and is someone you can trust with something as important as the legacy you’re creating. She is the real deal, folks. Brigitte has a gift for coming up with outreach ideas that will be meaningful and impactful to your community. She really helped me feel more confident and comfortable with the world of outreach.

If you’re just starting out and worried like I was about being in a program of people with “real businesses,” don’t be. This community is one of the most welcoming and supportive I’ve encountered. You’ll get support and so much more from this program!

***

Megan is a perfect example of what can happen when you’re willing to leave the research phase behind and plow into the results phase. Sure, you can keep searching for answers or you can start acting on a personalized plan for your success.

Your choice. Megan made hers.

For more on Megan and her growing community, click here.

Results Make You Radiate: How Melissa McCreery Created a More Attractive & Compelling Business in Just 16 Weeks

Results Make You Radiate: How Melissa McCreery Created a More Attractive & Compelling Business in Just 16 Weeks

“When it rains, it pours.”
— Liz Lemon

There’s an episode of 30 Rock–my go-to television show–where Liz Lemon attracts quite a lot of male attention because, according to blonde & beautiful Jenna, she finally has a boyfriend.

Liz is radiating. And it’s attracting attention.

Business is no different. I believe in the power of small wins because even a small win puts a sparkle in your eye and a hop in your step.

When your business is radiating, it’s much more attractive. It’s not forced, it’s not desperate, it’s not even stretching.

And small wins can add up to big wins. Too often, entrepreneurs make the mistake of stretching for big wins without building a foundation of small wins below it. You see, I’m not suggesting in the least that you throw away your big dreams.

Instead, I’m suggesting that it’s a heckuva lot easier to attain those dreams when you’re radiating with the results of small wins.

Last week, I talked about the power of filling living rooms on the way to filling stadiums. That’s the kind of strategy that can set you up for big wins. Each living room concert you preform will make you more confident, more attractive, and more compelling when you step on stage in the stadium.

Which means you’ll put on a better show.

See, the extra great part of this is that when you’re achieving small wins and radiating with results, your customers will have a better experience and getter better results, too. And that in turn, will make you even more radiant.

Beautiful cycle, isn’t?

Let me introduce you to a business owner who is radiating brightly right now: Melissa McCreery, founder of TooMuchOnHerPlate.com. Melissa came to 10ThousandFeet because she didn’t want to hold her own business back anymore. While things were growing, she wasn’t seeing the kind of consistent results she wanted to see.

So we created a plan to do just that. We tweaked her business model, adjusted the positioning on a few of her programs, and developed a message that resonated with her right people.

Her wins (big & small) are piling on now. Her clients are thrilled. And her business is radiant.

Here’s her story in her words:

Melissa McCreery’s Story, TooMuchOnHerPlate.com

Melissa McCreery, toomuchonherplate.comI joined 10ThousandFeet because my business was growing and I was rapidly becoming the bottleneck.

TooMuchonHerPlate.com was established and doing well, but things had reached the point where growth was limited because there wasn’t enough of me to go around. I wanted to serve more people and continue to grow my profitability without sacrificing the life balance I value so highly (and teach my clients to create).

I knew what I wanted was possible, and that I needed someone smart and savvy who could provide the structure and the direction to give me the perspective and strategy I was looking for.

I’ve worked with a fair number of coaches and business building mentors and Tara offered me both a perspective and a path that was unique, refreshing and so helpful. I am in awe of all that I accomplished in 16 short weeks and all the little and big changes that are now underway in my business.

Key for me was the clarity I got from Tara on my message and how to communicate it. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, but with some simple adjustments, I’m seeing a noticeable difference in the effectiveness of my marketing and I’m now attracting more of the clients that I work best with.

Tara also helped me take a program that just hadn’t caught on, and reposition it in a way that made marketing (and enrolling) easy. Running that program (which I launched in less than a month), has been one of the highlights of my year.

Clarity has helped me simplify a lot of what I do and focus on what’s really going to serve my business and my clients. I now have a big picture view of how all the parts of my business and each program and product fit together.  I have a plan for the next 18 months (and beyond) that feels solid, do-able, and that I am confident will allow me to continue to grow my business AND my peace of mind.

***

“Running that program has been of the highlights of my year.” Filling a living room not only brought in great revenue but created an amazing experience for both Melissa and her tribe.

What small wins could you go after & achieve in the next week or two? You might be surprised just how much you can accomplish and how radiant you could become.

For more on Melissa, visit TooMuchOnHerPlate.com or check out Where Thin Begins and see that kind of radiance in action.

The Power of the Living Room Strategy

“So, what I’m hearing you say is that I don’t need a big list to make money.”

One of my audience members realized that incredibly liberating fact on Friday during my CreativeLive course.

No, you don’t need a big list to make money. You don’t need a big list to release a great offer. You don’t need a big list to garner attention or leverage your true strengths.

Sure, list-building is a (perhaps, the) key marketing activity. But you can create a lot of success for yourself if you’re willing to sell while you’re building your list.

You can implement the Living Room strategy. The idea being that it’s a heckuva lot easier—and often much more rewarding both financially and energetically—to fill a living room instead of stadium.

Bear with me.

Imagine you’re a singer/songwriter. You’ve got a few backing instrumentalists and you’ve ready to start performing. Maybe you’ve already been performing for years.

What’s easier to sell 12 tickets to an exclusive, intimate performance in a living room?

Or to sell 5,000 tickets to fill a stadium show?

The correct answer is the former. Yet, I see business owners aim to fill the stadium, stress about the logistics of such an endeavor, and then feel defeated when their efforts don’t match their expectations.

Living Room strategy isn’t about playing small.

Click to tweet.

It’s about understanding how to get results now—and how those results set you up for Stadium-style success when and if you want it.

If you follow my Facebook page you’ve started to see my writing on Quiet Power Strategy. Quiet Power Strategy is all about perceiving, discerning, and focusing on what is going to create the greatest opportunity for service while allowing you to leverage both how you work best and what you want most.

When you choose to fill the Living Room instead of the Stadium, you can have more control over your outcomes, more money in your pocket, and more confidence in your mission.

And at the same time, you’re setting yourself up to fill the Stadium later on. Soon, even.

So what does this look like in practice? Knowing you want to create a conference but creating an intimate salon first. Knowing you want to create a New York Times Bestseller but selling your methodology to corporations one at a time first. Knowing you want to create a product & idea empire but sitting with women in actual living rooms first.

You see, it’s not just entrepreneurs who want to serve small groups that leverage Quiet Power Strategy to fill Living Rooms first. It’s bona fide creative rock stars who were intentional about getting their ideas in the hands of the people who mattered most first, and then developing the infrastructure that could take their ideas to the masses. It’s the confidence, control, and working capital that filling Living Rooms provides that allows for filling Stadiums later on.

And that’s quietly powerful.

It takes the perception to realize how you can be of service to a small group of incredibly committed customers, the discernment to know how your unique skills, strengths, and passion will create amazing experiences for them, and the focus to actually execute the plan.

The entrepreneurs who will be filling Stadiums in 2015 and beyond are filling Living Rooms today.

Are you?

***

P.S. A new session of Quiet Power Strategy—my business coaching program—starts March 16 and I’d like to offer you a sneak peek. Click here to register for a free training on one of our favorite tools, the Chief Initiative, because focus looks good on you.

This Is Why You Run the Risk of Always Thinking Small

Three years ago, I found myself in a peculiar position. I had just reached the biggest goal I had ever set in my life: making over $100,000 in less than 12 months. I was thrilled. And also confused.

I didn’t know where to go from here. I asked my mentors what I should aim for next. Honestly, I don’t even remember what they told me. Nothing stuck. So I did the only thing I knew how to do.

I aimed lower. Specifically, I aimed for working as little as possible and maintaining my revenue.

I was able to do that too. And this year, when I did my end-of-year bookkeeping and realized that I had achieved yet another year of stagnant revenue, I found myself no closer to having a new goal. Sure, it’s great to work 20 hours a week and bring in $150,000.

But I wanted more.

I just didn’t know what that “more” was.

I’m not in it for the money. Yikes, that sounds like a humble brag. Yet, money is a key way I create plans for growth, efficiency, and product development. Not having a new money goal was holding back my ability to plan.

As I’ve written about before, I got it into my head at some point down the line that the kind of work I could do was worth about $40,000 per year, max. It’s why I stomached working 60 hours a week for $28,000 per year at the Borders I managed for nearly 5 years.

Having a 6-figure business was inconceivable at 25. Yet, with over half a million dollars in revenue between the ages of 28-31, I’ve achieved it over & over again. But where to go from here?

The obvious answer might be a million dollar business. But when “what’s possible” doesn’t jive with what you can conceive, you can’t set the goal.

I have a very difficult time seeing big jumps forward—new possibilities—in terms of the kind of revenue my business can generate. And small jumps just don’t motivate me. More work than it’s worth, right?

So I’ve spent the last 3 years in search of a new goal, a new way to shake the foundations of what I know and push me into the realm of what might be possible.

We are all raised with different capacities for envisioning what’s possible. Some of us have a great capacity for seeing what’s possible with money. Others can see what’s possible with social change. Others can see what’s possible with software. Still others can see what’s possible with organization or logistics.

If you don’t expose yourself intentionally to those who see possibilities in areas other than you, you run the risk of always thinking small. Click to tweet!

You can uncover new possibilities in lots of ways. You can hire a coach, spend time with a mentor, or read lots of books. But the place I’ve had the most new possibility aha! moments has been at conferences or live events when lots of people with different capacities for possibility thinking gather in the same place.

Last week, I was at Pioneer Nation in Portland.

Tara Gentile at Pioneer Nation

Photo Courtesy of Chris Guillebeau & Pioneer Nation.

I realized that it had been over a year since I was part of a big event. And I was so glad I went and fully engaged with what the event had to offer.

And sure enough, new possibility thinking abounded.

We heard from Rena Tom, founder of Makeshift Society, whose parents brought her up to believe that her career possibilities were doctor, lawyer, or engineer. After receiving a degree in both engineering and English, Rena discovered the new possibility of working for herself.

We also heard from Laura Roeder whose vision for her company was originally limited by the thinking that she was limited to hiring independent contractors. She worried that she couldn’t find talented full-time employees to work for her. But somewhere along the line, she was introduced to the new possibility that potential employees would jump at the chance to work from home for a company that was committed to success and creativity.

And we heard from Lori Allen, who shared that her original possibility was weaseling her way into a marketing position at a direct marketing company. Later, she was introduced to the possibility of developing a million-dollar line of travel products for that same company. She now oversees a business that produces 6-figures per month.

These 3 women broke through their original goals to see the possibility of something so much bigger.

I’m happy to say that I had that moment last week, as well. I’m already hard at work on those plans and you’ll see the fruits of them soon enough.

If you feel like you’ve stagnated, or like you’re wandering the Microbusiness Earning Plateau, sure, there are lots of business strategies I can teach you how to implement. I can help you build plans and execute them. If you feel like you’ve stagnated on your mission or bottomed out on the power of your organization, I can connect you to coaches that will help you plan and brainstorm.

But if you aren’t intimately connected with what’s possible, those plans won’t pull you out of your hibernation. You’ll ooh and ahh, but you won’t act. Because it just doesn’t seem real.

Today, I invite you to connect with new possibilities. Maybe it’s with a new coach, a new friend, or a new community. Or maybe it’s just with some targeted Google research.

Take the time today to find out what new possibilities are waiting for you.

You Always Have a Choice

One of the major breakthroughs I had in my business very early on was realizing that my earning potential wasn’t written in stone. It was a choice.

For a variety of familial and community reasons, I believed that my earning potential was capped around $40,000 per year. So I planned my business to generate about that much revenue.

At some point I realized that this was an arbitrary number–sometimes I am less bright than others–and that I could set any goal that I like. So I set a higher goal. Wouldn’t $80,000 be nice? Maybe $100,000? Maybe $150,000?

Once I realized that my earning potential was up to me (sky’s-the-limit, please and thank you), I could make different (read: better) decisions.

One of the chief lessons I want people to take away from my new book, Quiet Power Strategy, is:

Treat everything in your business as a choice.

Whether it’s the amount of revenue you want to generate, the way you want to promote your products, the model you use to construct your business, or the channels you use to communicate with your customers, everything is a choice.

It’s easy to get bogged down by what you think you need to do to succeed. It might be pricing your products or services a certain way. Or it could be creating a certain set of offers.

For instance, I can’t tell you how many times clients have said “I’ve been seeing clients for a year now so I know it’s time to write an ebook and then create a program.” Really? Is that the best thing for you? How do you know?

Constantly looking for the best practices and “right ways” is tantamount to backing yourself into a corner. And that’s when the mistakes happen. Following someone else’s lead can be great, but not without careful personal examination first.

When you allow others’ previous success to guide your actions, you ignore the insanely creative voice inside your own head. You might also ignore the fact that your customers are quite different or that you have different goals for your business.

Generally, I don’t encourage business owners to reinvent the wheel. But some of the best marketing, branding, and business model ideas have come from when business owners just like you have disregarded what “works” in favor of trying something out of left field.

Think Netflix, Dropbox, Nespresso. Think coworking spaces, clothing subscription services, doctors-by-skype.

Consider what works for your personality, your business’s personality, and your customers’ motivating values. Consider what will be memorable, welcome, and gratitude-inducing.

scavenger_huntYou don’t have to set a certain price.
You don’t have to use a certain marketplace.
You don’t have to use a particular business model.
You don’t have to use social media.
You don’t have to do anything.

Arm yourself with information, engage in strategic thinking, and make a choice.

***

The Mission

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to choose to do your content marketing differently by writing a blog post that only you could write. How? Focus on your unique point of view in your field: your design philosophy, your methodology, your personal pet peeves, your guiding principles, etc…

Don’t be afraid to say things that have been unsaid or might prove unpopular with some people. Invest yourself in your unique point of view and choose to powerfully communicate the individuality of your business.

When you’ve completed the post, share the link on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #contentdirectionmission and #quietpowerstrategy.

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Don’t know what this is? Join in Lacy Bogg’s Content Direction Agency scavenger hunt: click here.