5 Resolutions to Bring About Your Next Business Breakthrough

Why do some businesses seem to “tip” over and over again while others never quite seem to break through? I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure that out.

Often their businesses look identical on the outside. Many times, the difference boils down to a misunderstanding about what’s going on beneath the surface and how they engineer the success they achieve.

You can’t possibly hope to recreate a business’s success by recreating what you see at the surface level. You’ve got to dig in and figure out what else is happening.

In this post, I’d like to reveal some of the actions that are causing big business breakthroughs for the entrepreneurs you’re admiring and how you can apply them for yourself as New Business Year’s resolutions—now, or anytime throughout the year.

If you’re trying to engineer a tipping point or breakthrough in your business right now, you’re not alone. It probably goes without saying, but everyone I work with is in that situation: they’re ready for change.

They’re tipping from part-time to full-time, one-to-one sales to leveraged sales, paying the bills to creating wealth, going at it alone to growing a team, moving from one business model to another to generate exponentially more revenue.

They each tell me, “I know what got me here won’t get me where I want to go.” And, I wholeheartedly agree.

What tipping point are you at? What breakthrough do you want to engineer for your business in the next year?

Maybe you’re ready to break through to a new revenue threshold. You’re ready to hire a new team member. You’re ready to expand operations or roll out new offers. You’ve got growth on your mind and you’re busy putting the pieces into place to make that happen.

Here’s what is going on behind-the-scenes of the businesses that are constantly making it happen. What can you incorporate into your next plan?


5 Resolutions to Bring About Your Next Business Breakthrough

1.) Put boots on the ground and find new customers.

It might seem like your next revenue breakthrough is just a traffic-building tactic away. You’re probably regularly on the look out for new ways to get more eyeballs on your blog posts, Facebook page, or sales letters. Maybe you’re looking at running Facebook ads, or the finer points of JV webinars, or constantly building new welcome gifts to entice people to your email list.

But the most effective community builders and salespeople know that nothing beats putting boots on the ground to find new customers. Literally. They’re at conferences, hosting events, picking up the phone, and meeting with prospects.

It might be slow going but the results are staggering. These people land bigger gigs, sign better contracts, and create strong relationships with influencers that put them in front of hundreds or thousands of more customers in the end.

2.) Set prices based on goals and hard data.

Sales solves most business problems. Except, when it doesn’t. Sales can’t get you to your next business breakthrough if the prices of your products or services just make things worse every time you sell something.

Breakthrough business owners use hard data to set their prices. And, they set prices based on what they want, instead of what they have.

How do they do it? They figure out how much it costs to run the business they want (not the one they have) and they figure out how much it costs to live the life they want (not the one they have). Then they break it down. How much can they reasonably sell? What does that knowledge lead to in terms of price points? Where do those price points lead you in terms of positioning?

To have a big breakthrough, you need to think of price as a way to reach all of your goals—not just revenue. Price tells a story that can position your brand, woo the right customers, and lead to big life changes.

3.) Decide to spend more.

I’m all for finding the leanest, meanest way to make your business run. But I’m so tired of hearing business owners always looking for a free solution to their problems.

You see, free solutions have a cost. Every time someone dials your conference line and hears, “Service provided by Free Conference Call,” they make a judgement about your business. Every time you can’t use an important feature of an app because you’re not paying for it it costs you effectiveness and functionality.

You’ll never hit a breakthrough that makes you feel comfortable spending more. It’s a decision you make that you are worth it, your customers are worth it, and your business is worth it. This kind of worth doesn’t come from revenue—it comes from intense focus on what the vision of what you’re creating.

4) Don’t try so hard.

Business breakthroughs rarely come from working harder. In fact, working harder can make your breakthrough far more difficult to achieve. Why? Because innovation doesn’t come from working harder, it comes from creative constraints.

Whenever you feel yourself pushing to make something happen, take a step back and reevaluate. What’s really going on?

  • Is there a skill you’ve avoided learning?
  • Do you need help from someone more experienced?
  • Is your current business model holding you back from earning more?
  • Is there a fatal flaw in your plan?
  • Are you avoiding the temporary discomfort of growth by relying on what you know (working harder)?

If working harder is your usual MO, put new constraints in place by answering these questions. Give yourself a limited number of clients to reach your revenue goal (price accordingly). Learn a new skill (stop spinning your wheels). Connect with a mentor (stop trying to figure it out yourself).

5) Take advantage of a solid support network.

Stop trying to grow your business in isolation. Stop waiting for others to catch up. Stop cultivating relationships that feel safe.

There is no more pressing time to break out of your comfort zone than when it comes to building your support network. You need to connect with people who intimidate you, use different methods, and work in different industries. You need people in your corner who are making things happen at the same—or faster—pace as you are.

Sometimes, you need to pay money to establish these relationships quickly. That’s okay. Other times, you need to make serious investments of time. That’s okay, too. Relationship-building has a cost. But the return on investment is incredible. Stop waiting for people to come to you and start building a network that catapults your business forward.

No matter how you choose to set resolutions (or not) for the new year, integrate these ideas and watch them transform your business.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. What’s your big business goal for the next 12 months? Click here and tell me—and please be specific!

How to Build the Next Phase of Your Business When This One is Paying the Bills

At some point, you decide to make a change. Deciding to change the way your business delivers value or the type of services that your business offers isn’t the hard part.

The hard part is deciding when to stop what you’re doing now.

How do you plan for the next phase of your business when this one is paying the bills


What you’re doing now pays the bills. It’s safe. It’s (fairly) comfortable. People expect it. It’s shaped the way people see your business and how they think of you as a leader.

Even as you start to envision what’s next, it seems like all outside forces are pushing you to double-down on what you’ve got.

This is a problem that many of our clients face and a question I regularly ask myself: How do you build the next phase of your business while you’re working the current phase?

Business model innovation is a key activity of any business.

Okay, that’s jargony. Evolving, adapting, and optimizing the way your business creates, delivers, and exchanges value (i.e. transformation and results) is something you need to do on a regular basis.

That means testing prices, adjusting sales messaging, and iterating on existing products. But it can also mean sweeping change in the what your business offers or how it offers it.

The prospect of this is often exciting.

The reality of making it happen can be terrifying and paralyzing.

When something is working, it’s incredibly difficult to find the motivation—let alone the time—to change it. But change it you must.

Stagnation simply isn’t an option.

If you want to move from 1:1 coaching to group programs, at some point, you need to stop offering 1:1 coaching. If you want to move from physical products to digital products, at some point you need to stop offering physical products. If you want to move from small retreats to large conferences, at some point, you need to stop offering small retreats.

There are two main ways I work with clients on this big change—both of which I use myself in steering my own company.

Option 1: Shadow Offers

If the work you do is paying the bills, but you want to stop doing it, stop marketing it. The good news is that just because you stop marketing it doesn’t mean you have to stop getting paid for it.

Last year, Whitney Hess, a leader in the user experience field, worked with me to back off of her corporate gigs and add more coaching (both individual and group) to her business model. She stopped marketing her corporate consulting and started positioning her business for these new coaching offers. After a taking a few months off at the beginning of 2014, she put the plan into overdrive taking on enough corporate clients to pay the bills while welcoming a whole cohort of coaching clients. That led to her best year yet.

Often the businesses that employ this technique are getting their clients on a referral basis. Their happy former clients are sending them eager new clients, regardless of their sales pages or outside lead generation strategies. That means those sales pages can come down and their lead gen activities can stop while the revenue keeps flowing—right up until they decide to say “no” to it.

Once you take down the offers and stop actively marketing them, they become what I call “shadow offers.” They’re a part (even a big part) of the way your business generates revenue—but they’re not in the light anymore. Your business isn’t defined by them.

Often, the hardest part of making a change in your business model is teaching people a new way to see your business. By employing shadow offers, you can start the process of repositioning your business much sooner without damaging your revenue stream too early.

Option 2: Progressive Business Model Planning

In Quiet Power Strategy, one of the highlights of the program is creating a Business Model Plan. It’s not just the framework for how the business creates, delivers, and exchanges value, it’s a plan for how it will do so when all the right pieces fall into place.

However, even a forward-looking business model plan isn’t the solution for some business owners and the changes they want to make. In this case, we make 2 plans.

The first plan is a framework for how the business will create, deliver, and exchange value in the interim. It’s generally heavy on the offers that are currently generating the most revenue and incorporates an offer or two that indicates the direction the business is heading. It allows the business owner to see how she can start making decisions that support her future positioning without jeopardizing the safety of her current revenue streams.

The second plan is a framework for how the business will create, deliver, and exchange value in the future (often 12-18 months out). This is the goal plan. It reflects the projected changes when they are complete.

Moving between the first plan and the second plan isn’t like flipping a switch. It’s progressive and incremental.

We set milestones (number of sales, dollars in savings, etc…) that signal the time to make a single change from one plan to the next. Eventually, the enough milestones occur that the business model is transformed from the original plan to the new plan.

This is always how my business has evolved its model. I make a plan with a smaller change first, then make a plan for what it will look like eventually. Then, I set milestones and benchmarks for when those bigger changes will be made. That’s allowed me to transition my brand multiple times while leading my audience toward the next set of offers I’ll make.

Is it time to make a change in your business model? If that question makes you think, I guarantee the answer is yes.

Both of these options allow you to mitigate risk as you move from one business model to the next. Which one is right for you?

Like a Machine: How Randi Buckley Created a Cohesive & Effective Business Model

You’re a passionate pro. Customers and clients love your work. You help people achieve their goals. But… your business seems stuck in a rut.

Mind you: it’s not a bad rut. You’re bringing in pretty consistent revenue. You know you can create new offers and sell them. You feel like people are listening.

But getting to your next big milestone? No clue.

Well, you have a clue. And that clue seems unpleasant: way more work, way more sleaze, way more money. So what do you do?

I’d been watching Randi Buckley for a long time before she came to us. Oh, how I longed to get my hands on her business. The situation I described above is the situation Randi found herself in. The answer to me was clear: Randi needed a machine.

Randi’s business model was nonexistent. Sure, there were offers (great ones!) and marketing (effective!) but there was no system.

Your business model is the way your business creates, delivers, and exchanges value. But what’s more, it’s a system by which you create exponentially more results from less work. You put effort (say, marketing for an entry level product) in at one end of the machine and lots of little cogs (say, revenue from your high-end program) spill out the other end.

When you have a complete business model, you understand how all of your offers work together to create something better than the sum of those parts.

That leads to profit. More than how much you take home, more than how much you’re charging, you can finally start to see how your business is going to generate the profit you need to grow, feel comfortable, and get excited about the future of what you’re creating.

Here’s Randi’s own words:

Randi Buckley, Truth, Depth, and Beauty School

Randi Buckley, Quiet Power Strategy alumnaI’m pretty dang pleased with how my business is evolving, or dare I say growing up, after interpreting and applying my learning and insights in Quiet Power Strategy™. It’s been a shift from a feeling of scramble, to a feeling of grace. So what’s new?

The concept of profit. 

The idea of “charge what you’re worth” has always been hallow and empty to me.  Not only is it impossible for me to try to put a price on someone’s, much less my own, talents and gifts, it doesn’t provide a framework for what to charge.  It’s nebulous.

Looking at my offerings through a profit lens woke me up to the realities of why my business was never feeling like it was getting ahead, despite solid offerings, reputation and an exquisite tribe. Without considering profit, I always felt like I was in hustle mode.  And that didn’t jive, because I’m not a hustler.

Note:  if something doesn’t jive, it’s not going to happen.

What does jive is the creation of a new business model that houses my various offerings and provides structure and continuity for my clients to deepen their work with me. With the new structure of Truth, Depth, and Beauty School, I no longer feel like I am scrambling to care for the diversity of my offerings. Now, everything is under one roof:  Healthy Boundaries for Kind People alumna can now become trained facilitators of the work; Viking Woman Workshop alumna can graduate to the Wise Women of the North Retreat in Norway, and my Maybe Baby, workshop, and my-one on-one clients can find their next step with me, in my school. It’s a structure I love, and supports my next step, writing my book.

There’s more to come.  DIY won’t support long-term growth or sustainability of the spirit.  Naturally, systems and the building of my team are next.  And that’s both surreal, a relief… and full of grace. (Thanks Tara!)


Thank you, Randi.

If you’ve been wondering whether there really is a “next step” available to you, I can assure you there is. But it does take strategic planning.

If you’d like to find out more about Randi and her work, check out her Healthy Boundaries for Kind People program.

If you’re ready to make the time to create your own machine and a strategic plan for reaching your “next step” and a few beyond that, join me for 5 Ways to Make Time to Work on Your Business, a free training I’m offering with Brigitte Lyons. Click here to register.

The Biggest Sales Objection: Trusting Yourself

Have you ever crafted the perfect offer, put a perfectly reasonable price tag on it, sent it out to all the right people, and still come up empty-handed in the sales department?

I know I have.

One technique you’ll hear over and over again for combatting this problem is to address your customers’ objections. Are they worried about the time commitment? Show them how to fit it in. Are they concerned that your product is right for the kind of person they are? Explain why it’ll work for them, too. Are they concerned about price? Demonstrate what kind of return on investment they could get.

But the biggest sales objection I’ve run into over the years—and from conversations with our Quiet Power Strategy™ strategists-in-training last week, I’m in good company—has been an objection that’s exceedingly difficult to combat.

How to Combat the Biggest Sales Objection

It’s trust.

But not trusting you. The biggest objection to buying is trusting themselves.

As providers, makers, and marketers, we spend an exorbitant amount of time helping our prospects trust us. We share personal stories, create valuable free content, and demonstrate through testimonials that we can be trusted.

But many times your “ask” doesn’t require any more trust in you and requires your customer to trust their own ability to get the kind of results you know you can deliver.

Getting value out of a product or service requires personal responsibility. Unless you’re a snake oil salesperson, you’re not saying that your product is the magic formula. You’re not the kind of marketer that promises that “one weird trick” is going to reduce the number on the scale by 20lbs or that this secret formula will result in triple the sales.

Even if you design clothing or make jewelry or create paintings, your customers need to feel that they can put your work to good use in order to buy it. People generally don’t buy things they don’t have the confidence to wear or put things in their homes they don’t have the attitude to match.

An Example

Let’s look at an example: Amy is a career coach. She knows she can help people manage career transition, discover a new path, or land a big promotion. She’s done it many times.

On her website, she talks about the clients she’s worked with, the successes they’ve had, and spells out specific outcomes new clients can expect when working with her. She doesn’t make promises—she knows better than that—but she does clearly articulate what she can coach you to if you’re willing to put in the work.

Amy’s practice sustains her own career but it’s not thriving the way she would like it to be. She has a hard time closing new clients. They start with long drawn out emails, they evolve to long initial consultations. They come back and ask more questions. Maybe then she can close the deal.

Yet, her existing clients rave about her. They keep coming back to her even after their initial packages complete. They ask her advice (and pay her) on the little bumps in their careers.

So why don’t more new prospects sign on the dotted line? And why can’t she, for the life of her, get people to sign up for the awesome career change program she put together?


As a potential client, when you’ve had some career missteps, maybe a bad boss or a difficult-to-work-for company, you’re hopeful but cautious. That caution leads to the long sales conversation Amy is having to have to land each new client. It also means that even those who feel like she’s the right person for the job won’t pull the trigger. It’s them, not her.

And if they’re not willing to trust themselves enough to get results from working with her 1:1, they’re not going to trust themselves enough to get results working with her in a program.

Again, it’s them, not her. (It might be them, not you.)

This Sales Objection is Also a Question of Risk

We are exceedingly bad at understanding risk. And a majority of your prospective customers think they themselves are a sizable risk to their own futures when it comes to spending money on goals that can’t be guaranteed. Every time you make an attractive offer, your customers are weighing the risk that they won’t be able to put it to use.

We, of course, think they’re considering whether it will be good enough or not, whether we’re smart enough or not, or whether we’re experienced enough or not. And that may be the case, but it’s far likelier that they’re asking themselves whether they are good enough, smart enough, or experienced enough to get the results they really want out of what you’re offering.

Breanne Dyck, who started this conversation on our Quiet Power Strategy strategist training call last week, explains that to help people feel more comfortable with perceived risks, you need to help them gather more information. More information comes from experimentation (action), not from more data (inputs).

Most of your marketing strategy to this point is about data. Blog post after blog post you’re explaining concepts, telling stories, and sharing experiences. But it’s all just data until someone takes action on it. The result of their experiment becomes true information that allows them to better understand and predict future outcomes. It allows them to better assess their own personal risk and increases their level of personal trust.

That means that in order to combat this stickiest of sales objections, you need to build action and experimentation into your business model—not just data.

Knowing is not enough. Knowing too much can encourage us to procrastinate. There’s a certain point when continuing to know at the expense of doing allows the mess to grow further.

— Abby Covert,  How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody

The best way to ask your prospects to act is to ask for a commitment.

Trust (and True Information) Comes from Commitments

Think about the way you develop a romantic relationship. If you meet your special someone online (as I did), you start with committing to email them—it’s an initial experiment. This is about as low of a commitment as you can go. Then, hopefully, you commit to a first date. It’s probably just a coffee or drink date. Then, maybe you do a dinner date. And then a day hike.

Yes, this is a process of learning to trust the other person. To suss out whether they’re the one for you or not. But it’s also a process of learning to trust yourself. Do I like myself when I’m around them? Do I trust myself enough in this relationship to know I won’t make stupid decisions or follow them blindly?

Each commitment helps you learn to trust yourself as much as it does the other person.

As you’re building your business the same process needs to apply.

People generally don’t jump from discovery to purchase—especially not high-end products or services. You need to establish a series of commitments first.

Here are some commitments you might ask for:

  • Like your page on Facebook
  • Join a webinar
  • Exchange an email address for a welcome gift
  • Share a post with their friends
  • Regularly open emails and read content
  • Attend a workshop
  • Buy a book
  • Read a detailed case study
  • Visit your booth at a show
  • Purchase an entry-level product
  • Engage in an initial consultation
  • Book a short-term, project-based package

If you want to seriously combat this huge sales objection and dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes you to close a prospect, don’t pick one or two of these. Pick 3, 4, 5, or more of these smaller commitments. Create systems around them. Build them into your marketing calendar.

Relentlessly ask for small and escalating commitments so that when you’re ready to make a much larger offer, your prospect trusts herself enough to say yes.

Now you might be asking, “Isn’t this why I’m blogging every week?

Sort of. The thing is, blogging isn’t enough. Content strategy is huge, don’t get me wrong. But marketers who are only blogging (even blogging and sending it out through email) aren’t establishing that trust spiral that allows their readers to get closer and closer to feeling really good about making a purchase.

In my own business, I’ve built action and experimentation into all levels of my marketing:

  • I write ebooks that have built-in workbooks. The action is both the purchase and the results.
  • I host webinars that promise results during the call. The action is decision-making and discovery.
  • I teach workshops that build action steps into strategic concepts. The experiment is committing to watching and doing the homework.
  • I offer Goal Discovery sessions as part of my on-boarding process. The experiment is vulnerability and commitment.

Together, these pieces work together so that I don’t have to worry about the “trusting myself” sales objection. If you’ve made it that far in my business model and still don’t trust yourself, you’re probably not a good fit for my programs.

Amy’s Strategy

Remember our career coach Amy? I would ask Amy to think of 3 common scenarios that send people looking for career help. They probably don’t know they need a coach yet (and maybe they don’t), but they know they need to consult Google, a friend, or the network to get an answer. Those 3 common scenarios are:

  • I’m bored at work. I want a new challenge. I’m ready for a promotion.
  • I’m tired of this career. I want a new one. I’m ready to figure out a new direction.
  • I’m not making enough money. I want a raise. I’m ready to ask for one.

Then, I’d ask Amy to create a commitment trigger for each of those scenarios. Maybe she has a free ebook on asking for a raise, a free audio & workbook that helps you pinpoint your interest so you can figure out a new direction, and a checklist for preparing for a promotion. Each of those she puts behind an email wall. The “ask” is for an email address.

Now, let’s follow the free ebook on asking for a raise. The ebook shares exactly how to put together your pitch. The prospect finds that extremely helpful–but now she has a new problem. She needs to combat the fear of asking for a raise. Amy knows this, so she’s got a free webinar that she invites people who downloaded the raise ebook to. It’s all about getting over the 3 biggest fears you face when you ask for a raise.

Of course, asking for a raise is personal. So every month, she leaves 5 spots open on her calendar for a free initial consultation. Once a month, she asks this same group who is ready to work with her privately and invites them to this no-hassle consultation. She books all 5 appointments effortlessly. On that 30 minute call, she equips the prospect with at least one tactic they can use to suss out the possibility of getting a raise.

Finally, she follows up and asks if they’d like to book her Get That Raise coaching package. She offers to guide them through the next 6 weeks so that they’ve got a helping hand for each part of the process. She can’t guarantee a raise, but she can guarantee they’ll feel really good about the procedure.

Each part of Amy’s process has helped to build the prospects’ trust in herself. She’s taken action and already gotten results. Now it’s just an easy assessment of risk (what risk?!) to determine whether the information she has makes her feel good about working with Amy. Does she trust herself enough to really make use of this? Of course! She already has.

Sale closed.

Now it’s your turn.

How will you ask your audience to act, experiment, and commit in order to build their trust in themselves? There’s likely something you could do today. So do it!

How to Create $10k in Unplanned Revenue: Breanne Dyck Case Study

One of the most fun parts of being an entrepreneur is the ability to generate revenue from nowhere. Of course, it’s not really coming from nowhere. You need to be able to spot an opportunity, create the right conditions for success, and make it all happen.

It’s not that it’s easier said than done but that it takes a type of perception that needs to be worked at. The good news is that anyone can learn this type of perception and learn it quickly. It’s one of the things that I teach our clients in Quiet Power Strategy™.

  1. They learn that opportunities are most often driven by their customers’ evolving needs. In other words, you’ve probably nailed one need at this point so now you need to ask, “What do they need next?”
  2. Then they learn how to create valuable experiences that require very little work to produce. Instead of trying to get everything right, they only prioritize what their ideal customer truly cares about. They also take into account what is going to make them as both a business owner and a value deliverer most effective.
  3. Finally, they create a plan to make it happen. We focus this around their Chief Initiatives so that they have the kind of focus that not only transforms the way they work on a day-to-day basis but transforms the way others perceive their businesses.

Breanne Dyck: learning strategist & coachBreanne Dyck, a brilliant learning strategist who has helped me craft my last two CreativeLive workshops, used this system to generate unplanned revenue and seriously up-level the way her business is perceived in the market. Not only that, but the way she perceives herself and her business has changed. Here’s her story:

“Create a plan to generate $8000 in un-planned for revenue during the course of the program.”


That was the challenge that Tara gave us in September, at the start of Quiet Power Strategy™.


My gut response was, “$8000? Unplanned?! In four months!?!”


It’s not that I didn’t want the revenue; I just didn’t see how it could be possible. My plan for the rest of the year had included no new sales cycles, offers or clients. Just taking the program.


What I didn’t realize at the time was that this “plan” was really just me holding myself back. Over the next few months, the coaches helped me strip away that false complacency and lack of confidence. Nothing was sacred; everything I thought I knew went under the microscope.


I thought I helped online entrepreneurs who wanted to create online courses. Turns out, “my people” are business owners who want to be recognized as best-in-class, every time they show up in the world.


I knew they liked my experience, smarts, and ability to apply theory to the “real world.” But I learned that they love  my drive for excellence, my ability to quickly zero in on opportunities, and my dedication for making them – and their work – stand out.


Quiet Power Strategy™ didn’t create this knowledge. Instead, it helped me to articulate it and bring it together, so I could stand firmly and confidently in the overlap. In doing so, I found a brand new business model, a new way of talking about my work, and a set of all-new offerings.


Looking back now, I can hardly believe that so much could change in such a short period of time. There was a lot of unlearning to do; a lot of stepping outside of my comfort zone; a lot of trusting myself and my instincts. But every step moved me closer and closer to where I want to be.


And that insurmountable-feeling challenge?


I knocked it out of the park, with more than $10,000 in new, unplanned revenue. My January 2015 sales alone exceeded 1/3rd of my total prior-year revenues.


What I’m most excited about, though, is that I know the best is yet to come.

If you’re looking to develop a best-in-class workshop, program, or course, I cannot recommend Breanne more highly. She has helped me infuse incredible value into my teaching and create experiences that are grounded, measurable, and truly beneficial to my students. You can find out more about her Elevate sessions and get access to over 9 coaching videos by clicking here.

And if you’re ready to learn how to start applying these principles to your business, I invite you to check out my free training on creating your Chief Initiative and finding the focus that not only transforms the way you work but the way people perceive your business. Click here to register–FREE.