Does Anyone Know You Are an Expert?

February 19, 2010 at 3:26 PM | Posted in goals, leadership, opportunities | 1 Comment
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We all want to work with experts. We all consider ourselves expert in some area. How do we help our clients, who want to work with experts, discover that we are experts?

Luckily, with the internet, there are any number of venues for building your expert status. You do have to create that status. You can’t simply expect people to know you are an expert. Wouldn’t it be great if that was the way it worked? I have a technical background in Project Management, I’m a PMP, and I find many of us with technical backgrounds just assume everyone knows we are an expert. Not so!

While initials behind your name might be impressive to peers and people ‘in the know’ many people may have no idea what those initials signify. As someone who has a few initials I can put behind my name, CTACC and PMP for example, I know others with those same initials whose skills I don’t consider the same as mine. I’m sure you ALL have examples of your own!

You need to showcase exactly what your expertise is. A PMP is a Professional Project Manager; it doesn’t mean that I am an expert at the end-to-end process. There are some pieces I am better at than others. When you showcase your expertise and build that platform people understand where exactly your expertise resides.

It is no longer necessary to write and publish a traditional book to build your status. It helps greatly to have a book published and there are options like self-publishing and eBooks. Both options are viable and produce good results.

The Internet opens a world of opportunity for those who want to share their expertise with the world. Whether you are a coach, speaker or business owner your potential clients need to believe you are the expert that can help them with their issue.

What remains important as you share your expertise is that you continue to do it in your authentic voice. There is room for every expert and we are not a fit for every client. Individuals can immediately sense if someone is not being authentic. Sharing our expert status helps those clients who resonate with us find us and helps identify those who are better served working with others.

A few ideas on how to build your expert status:

  • • Hold a seminar
  • • Write a blog
  • • Share tips/tricks on social media
  • • Collaborate with other experts on a program

Do you have an advisory board?

February 8, 2010 at 3:32 PM | Posted in goals, leadership | 2 Comments
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I was talking to my advisory board about a business decision I need to make in the next week. One of the best things I ever did was put together my board. When I have a decision I am struggling with, for whatever reason, these are my go to people. They respect me so much they will tell me the truth, ask me to think through all implications of my actions, require that I tell them the truth and hold me accountable for everything I do and say.

What is my advisory board? I quickly realized that as a solo-preneur I need people to support me. When you work in a corporation you have peers and managers you trust that will help you with difficult decisions and choices within you career.  As a solo-preneur you don’t always have people you trust enough to ask for help or who will be honest and forthright with you. Your advisory board is that group of people (call them whatever you want- board of directors, go-to-people…).

An advisory board may become a critical support mechanism for your business. My board is a loosely held together group of individuals I trust. Their expertise lies in various areas and they are all successful in their own right. Some I have been friends with for years others are new friends and mentors. Regardless they are individuals I respect and who want to see me successful.

Your advisory board doesn’t have to be a formal group that gets together on a regular basis and hashes out your business. I don’t think I’ve ever had all of my board in one place at one time. There are 3 people on my board. I don’t take every decision to all of them. I discuss certain decisions with some of them some of the time.

For a while I didn’t have a board- I found myself struggling with decisions wishing I had some go to individuals. Then someone mentioned putting together an advisory board. I never looked back. It’s been one of the greatest most effective ways I have found to support my business.

If you haven’t put together your board I suggest you give a try.

Your Red Cardinal Rising

January 21, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Posted in goals, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
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I was walking downstairs when a loud crash startled me. I looked out the window to see a beautiful red Cardinal lying on its side on the porch. Apparently, he had flown into the window and knocked himself senseless. I sat beside the window trying to decide if I needed to hold a Cardinal funeral or if he would come around and fly away.

Mr. Cardinal tried to push himself on to his feet, he flopped around for a bit, laid still, tried again. He finally got back onto his feet. Then he stood there not moving except to blink. He was so close I could see the individual feathers, how the colors melted in to one another, and the fold in his eyelid when he blinked. He stood there for 15- 20 minutes, sometimes closing his eyes for 4 – 5 minutes at a time.

I started to wonder what he was thinking about. From a physical perspective he certainly could have been stunned, cartoon stars running a circle around his head, he might have had a concussion. And he had the fight to get back on his feet.

I’ve been there before. Thinking something was going to happen, flying blissfully along only to have it ripped away completely. It feels like you’ve run into a window. You can be stunned. Standing their blinking, trying to figure out what just happened. Just getting back on you feet is a bit of an issue.

I think most of us have had this happen at some point in our business. It’s easy to feel stunned when something doesn’t go exactly as you had planned. Like the Cardinal you need to get back on your feet. Take a few minutes to regroup, shake the stars out of your head.

Those who have taken some kind of hit, gotten back on their feet, found another way and triumphed exemplify true character and courage. Leaders do this every day. You can do this.

For every one of us that seemingly disastrous moment will look different. What is a disaster to you is a bump in the road to me and vice versa. You don’t have to do it alone. Friends and peers can provide support and encouragement.

Get back on your feet and take one step at a time. After a bit that ‘disaster’ won’t look so awful, it may actually feel like a gift. A gift that has allowed you to use courage, cunning, leadership and character to reach your goal! Think about all that you have learned from that moment.

I sat watching Mr. Cardinal. Slowly he started to turn his head from side to side. He moved around to face the front yard. With a loud chirp he flew off!

Do you make lemonade?

January 16, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Posted in change, goals, opportunities | Leave a comment
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Some of you know I was going to run a training session today.  Fri. morning the class was cancelled. Not because of participants, there were plenty of those. But because of some last minute scheduling issues. The scheduler and the location had a miscommunication, at the last minute the class had to be cancelled.

I had my Saturday planned around the class and was looking forward to meeting a group of local solo-preneurs. The training was going to address many of the topics I address with my clients on a daily basis.

The great news is that time opened up for other things on Fri. and Saturday. Yet, I felt badly for the folks that had signed up for the class. It had been on their calendars for quite a while and now at the last minute it was cancelled.

I decided to make lemonade out of lemons- is that the right saying?? The point is I wanted to figure out another way to share this information with group. I put together a conference call for a few days later, sent an email to the group and folks are already responding to come to the conference call.

What originally felt like a bad thing has now turned around to something great. The conference call is open to the entire group- not just the folks that originally signed up, I still get to meet some wonderful people and share information I know they can use.

That’s the beauty and the challenge of being a solo-preneur- you can either accept a situation that doesn’t feel good or you can find a way to turn it into something great. Either way it is up to YOU.

This goes directly to your attitude. Think opportunity; believe there is opportunity regardless of the situation. All you have to do is identify the opportunity and a way to make it happen.

Your attitude makes all the difference. If you are thinking about opportunities, not in an obsessive-compulsive way, but in a way that leaves you open to change, they will certainly show up. When the training class was cancelled I immediately started to think about how I could get information to the attendees and still have a bit of interaction with them. WALA! The conference call was born!

I’m looking forward to the conference call; to meeting the solo-preneurs and sharing information that will help grow their business. I made lemonade! Join me at the lemonade stand?

Change your assumptions

January 13, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Posted in change, goals, opportunities | 2 Comments
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I was talking to my coach today, as a business owner I have a coach. Her insights, intuition, ability to push me and test my ideas are truly invaluable.

I was wrestling with a decision this morning and contacted my coach for some assistance. We discussed the decision, potential outcomes, drawbacks, etc. and assumptions. That is the key word- assumptions. I realized that I was using a very limited set of assumptions to attempt to make the decision.

Note I was making assumptions. I was taking something for granted, specifically that certain events had to follow one another in a very specific order. That assumption was making my decision very difficult. My coach challenged me to change the assumption. After all, I wasn’t using facts I was just guessing.

As soon as I changed my assumption my attitude about the entire decision changed.   All of a sudden it was much easier to see a very positive outcome and the fit within my business.

I didn’t have to check my assumptions with other people, to make sure that they met other goals; I had the power to change my assumption. We don’t always have the luxury of changing our assumptions without checking with others. That is, also, the beauty of assumptions- you can go find the information so your assumption is no longer a guess- you then have a fact with which to work.

Back to my morning decision-

I changed my assumption and it felt like an entire world opened up to me. Do you have assumptions you could change? Look at things from a different perspective. Turn your assumption upside down. Maybe there is a much easier way of getting from point A to point B- there certainly was for me!

The King of Bursts of Action

January 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Posted in goals, time management | Leave a comment
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[tweetmeme source=”jen_conaway”]

I was listening to an old Susan Hite radio showBuild Up to Breakthrough April 18, 2009, and it really drove home the need for consistent action. We frequently hear about folks that are an ‘overnight success’. Rarely is there anything ‘overnight’ about their success.

If you dig into the stories you find they have been chugging away at some business or idea for years and, suddenly, it broke through to the mainstream. Another thing I’ve found is that the latest ‘overnight success’ worked 20 hours a day for the last 6 months to create their ‘overnight’ success, to the detriment of relationships, health etc.

There are some individuals who go from nothing to magnificent over night and they are very, very rare. We all dream of being that person! Who knows it might be you!

Most of us must Build Up to Breakthrough- a term Jim Collins uses in his book Good to Great. Consistent, steady, focused action over a period of time will lead to the results you desire. The keys are:

  • consistent action
  • steady action
  • and a well defined goal

One of my clients was the King of Bursts of Action. (Note: This is not a title you should strive to achieve!) He did have well defined goals. For 3 days he would work like crazy to reach his goal. Then he was off to the next goal. He never followed through on the actions to reach the original goal.

Spurts of action don’t create the momentum with your clients, the name recognition with meeting planners or the consistency needed to reach your goal. They do create a sense of failure and a herky jerky feeling to your work that can be exhausting.

The ‘King’ changed his plan of attack. He started focusing on his original goal, created a plan of action that he followed over an extended period of time. His actions were consistent and focused. Within a relatively short amount of time he started to see results. He had a strong sense of accomplishment and found that he could continue following through with actions to meet the original goal while implementing actions to meet another goal. He even up-leveled his original goal!

He was utilizing his time in a more effective, efficient manner, seeing results and feeling a strong sense of accomplishment. Now he is the King of Consistent, Steady Action. (Note: This IS a title you should strive to achieve!)

The consistent, steady action he takes creates the build up that leads to his breakthrough. It’s a similar concept to getting ready for a large test. You can prepare a bit at a time over a few weeks or you can cram for 8 hours the night before the big exam. Cramming leaves you exhausted, stressed out, drained and certainly doesn’t ensure a positive outcome on the test. Studying just a few hours a week over time helps ensure that you digest the information, decreases stress and you don’t have to pull an all nighter!

My personal choice is steady, consistent action. Build Up to Breakthrough!

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