I’m excited to share my fourth creation in the nutshell series, clarifying my website strategy!
I’ve created this exercise to support you in clearly identifying why you are building your website and who it will serve.
The workbook is 31 pages and includes 15 probing questions to expanding your thinking on your web presence. Here’s a peek at what you’ll explore:
BUY it here…
made with love for you,
Other workbooks currently in the nutshell series are exploring brand me, developing my communication strategy and defining my market niche. Each book focuses on a specific aspect of your marketing communications and provides guidance on discovering and designing sustainable strategies that are uniquely right for you and your business.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve created another workbook for the Nutshell Series, defining my market niche. This workbook takes you on a fun adventure in looking at your market and specifically identifying who your ideal client is in it, and what they need to hear from you.
The workbook is 19 pages and includes 9 probing questions to expanding your thinking.
made with love for you,
Other workbooks currently in the Nutshell Series are exploring brand me and developing my communication strategy. Each book focuses on a specific aspect of designing your marketing communications and provides guidance on discovering the strategies that are uniquely right for you and your business.
Christine Dionese and I are Peer-to-Peer Mentoring each other. Here’s what we’ve been asking each other about lately…
“Generally I’m the one handing out relationship advice, but looks like I need a fresh take on this one! I have always had great success working with friends. I’m in the beginning stages of a new project with a friend and I’m already thinking I may need to dissolve the business side of it. I move fast and work fast… and they don’t. I can appreciate every effort a snail makes, but not in this case. How can I continue to move ahead, pursuing the project, but solo? Any advice for tactfully going about this with my friend?”
Read my answer here
“You have multiple skills and talents that you bring together to shape your unique service offerings; in the face of this diversity of skills, do you have techniques for clearly articulating each offering (and how they might fit together) to someone who is not familiar with your work? What is your approach when (and if) your offerings are not clearly understood by that person?”
Great question and one I work toward answering on a regular basis. My main hub christinedionese.com tells my multi-faceted story so I tend to readily refer strangers there all the time… in the about section I start off in the first person by saying, “Everyday I straddle the dimensions of multiple worlds.” Right from the get-go I’m letting folks know that I offer multi-faceted skills and services. But, what I think you’re asking about is when people inquire face to face. I can answer this question best with personal experiences!
The answer that I offer inquiring minds, while at the core is the same, is shaped depending on my audience at hand! A little linguistic shuffle is my technique I suppose. For example, a few weeks ago I spoke to a psychopharmacology class, so my answer was tailored initially to the western sciences. If I’m in a health care & wellness setting I always pull it together by sharing that at the heart of what I do is offer people a glimpse of what total health can be like. When I’m consulting to socially conscious businesses I let them know I’m helping create tangible tools for modern living. Luckily, having been asked this question countless times, the answers seem to flow!
I think it’s important to ask yourself, what is that I do, provide, create, write, serve, invent, etc. The deeper you get, the better you can self-describe, and when people ask, the more genuine and authentic your descriptions will sound. What resonates about design to an artist will be different than to say a packaging engineer.
There will always be someone who flat out asks, “what does that mean?” or “I don’t quite get it, can you tell me more?” Remember, it’s easier for people to subconsciously bring in information they are already aware of to finish coloring in the lines. Occasionally I’ll pipe out my answer and the reply will be, “so you’re a this” or “so you do that.” I don’t mind using people’s own thoughts to help act as a familiar resonation, but I definitely take the “I don’t get it” folks and turn it into an opportunity to help my new audience build awareness of what I really do.
I’ve had to troubleshoot the question so many times that I tend to have all the answers on-deck by now. Hearing, “I’m an integrative health care specialist” is part of my answer and not everyone gets that or some people have an idea of what that might mean, yet not fully. I take this opportunity to fill in the blanks for them- instead of letting the audience pick the colors, my answer fills in the lines for them.
When you think about it, if my answer was, “I’m in health care” or “I’m a consultant and a writer” that sounds boring and not particularly unique. Those answers tend to leave it at that- my audience isn’t intrigued and doesn’t care about asking more.
The answer fully, “I’m an integrative health care specialist, medical journalist & food writer and involved in socially conscious business development” is the most intriguing answer to people and gets them asking more curious questions. You asked how I might explain these facets fitting together. Following up with, “each of these endeavors is an extension of the other, always helping each one to evolve.” And, hopefully, you will further captivate your audience with a comment like that (I am not patting myself on the back right now, it just works!) to get them asking more!
Anecdotes offer visualizations- I always try to color the story vividly. Explaining how the private practice is multi-faceted and not like others is always helpful. Talking a bit about how my writing and journalism is diverse is an effective tool. Letting people know that the consulting I’m involved in is to raise human awareness on a local and global level always intrigues.
When you’re actually out and about, practice talking about yourself! The more you do, the more genuine will your connections become! And, take that opportunity to hand out your biz card or invite someone to enter into a discussion at your website. A simple, “I would love to continue the conversation, definitely email me your thoughts on this” brings more people to your website. Here they get to absorb you and fully understand what you’ve just talked to them about. And boy, from there, they will visit your blog and be hooked! I know I was!
Authentic, creative, audience-driven, heart-felt, genuine and spontaneous are the ingredients to helping people organically engage with you!
This is the sixth installment of Christine and my Peer-to-Peer Mentoring series.
On her blog, I answered her question:
“As a consultant I’m always creating fun methods for my clients to reach their target markets. I think I have a knack for anticipating needs and have been able to develop and design tangible solutions to connect my clients’ philosophies, products and services to their desired consumers. I’m considering courting a company in Los Angeles to hire me as a patchworker (coined by Dr. Kristin Cardinale) to fulfill several areas they’re looking to enhance. I’d like to create a proposal that presents the idea: instead of hiring two separate people for two separate positions, that they hire me as a consultant to fill and bridge the gap between the two positions. Currently they’re listing two positions traditionally. I’d like to create a mind-blowing presentation that convinces them that my experience as a business developer, owner, health care specialist in private practice and journalist will offer them far more versatility than hiring two separate people could… I’ve already considered your advice from last month about preparing an interactive CV/resume, but what else can you suggest for this specific task? I’m open to any tools you might have in mind”
My Question to My Mentor:
“My big focus of 2012 is to shift the adversarial relationship I have with writing. I want to ease the conflict within myself — I completely resist doing ‘it’, despite the deep love I feel when I actually do ‘it’. To give myself a chance of outsmarting my resistance, my solution is to further develop and entrench my writing practice/method in my daily life. It would be inspiring to me to learn of your current writing method/practice. Can you share it? What did you need to work through to get it to where it is now? And, how do you desire for your practice to evolve?”
I can relate to your “dilemma” that other tasks might need to take the place of writing or take precedence over it, yet once I immerse myself into the process I literally don’t want to stop either! Sometimes we convince ourselves that other things are more important. And this convincing, this hierarchy of importance we assign to tasks is likely ten percent substantiated by survival needs along with our integrity to fulfill needs of clients.
Finances: Beliefs & Behaviors
A thought to consider that many of us have had to at one time or another- how finances influence our decision making. Many of us believe that the work we’re getting paid for- at least the work we’re performing in the moment, week or upcoming month is more important than the un-known potential reward (financial or otherwise) of self-developed projects such as writing! If this is the case, ask yourself, if a publisher paid me an advance on my book would that inspire me to re-prioritize my schedule to fit writing in as much as possible? It’s a really fair question to ask ourselves to set the perspective for self-reflecting on finances.
If our behaviors are manifestations of our belief systems, it’s only fair to look at how the “anatomy” of our beliefs* surrounding money shapes and influences our decisions.
But hey, perhaps you’re independently wealthy and finances aren’t a concern at all! You asked what I had to work through- that was part of the process for me for a long time. I dissected the anatomy of my beliefs surrounding finances and discovered that I had the power to develop my own reward system.
I asked myself two simple questions:
- What happens when I write more?
- What happens when I write less?
Funny enough, I discovered that not only did “I’m happier in general” hit the top of the list of … when I write more, but so did, “my finances are improved” – there was a positive direct correlation between output of writing to in-flow of finances.
If you read my bio it literally says, “I’ve dedicated my career to the science of happiness” – I’m big on emotional gratification! Understanding how happy, relaxed and enriched I was during the times I was writing more was enough evidence for me that it was necessary to make it a priority in the hierarchy.
All throughout the week I engage in different types of journaling activities. Each of these is a little bit different, yet all mutually accentuate one another in some way. While the day of the week tends to be different based on my schedule, I’m always sure to allocate one or two “big” writing days to bring all of these writing experiences together. I use some for my blog, some for interviews I’m preparing for and the majority for my book projects. By constantly being engaged in the writing process, theoretically I’m always in the flow… so I have little trouble “making” myself do it. And, as I mentioned, the more I write, the happier I am, so this positive “side affect” makes it completely worth the devotion.
Here’s my system for keeping myself in the writing flow.
- Embracing on-the-go spontaneity. Being the natural social observer that I am, I keep a little journal to jot down notes on the go and get snap-happy with my camera as I’m tooling around town. I also like to use the notes app on my iphone- type up a note, email it to myself and presto, it’s in my database to add into greater bodies of work at any time. Sometimes I come up with title ideas, other times concepts and always strings that tie ideas together as I generate more and more throughout the week.
- End of week reflection. At the “end” of each week I either voice record or jot down a journal entry to reflect about my week. I include what I’ve observed, learned, read, overheard, talked about.. from there I infer how all of this relates socio-culturally. Because my greater work involves how people evolve through health, lifestyle, mindfulness and self-realization, I find this reflective time creates a rejuvenated sense for all I do. I can see that what I’m creating has purpose personally and professionally.
- Meditate intentionally and the words will follow. I do a lot of self-guided meditation to enhance awareness in all areas of my life, personal and professional. I know that self-cultivation leads to my ability to share ideas and help others grow which is the intention of my writing.
- Once a week “field-trip” writing. At least once a week I get out of the house, head down to one of my favorite coffee shops or the beach and write away. I try to bring together all of the pieces I’ve been working on throughout the week. This is where I blend the ideas I generate during my self-reflection time. I also look at the photos I’ve taken and mini-journals I jotted down while I was about and about during the week. This synthesis of the smaller pieces is a fun motivating force!
Maybe at this point you’re thinking, “hey, great ideas, but still, how do I make myself do it?” Try this meditation if so…
Refer to number two for the end of the week reflection. I said, “I can see that what I’m creating has purpose personally and professionally.” Get yourself a really good visual that represents the purpose of your creations. See it, feel it, believe it, live it. Repeat. Try it, it works!
How do I desire for my practice to evolve you ask? I want to become a better copy editor! I read your writing and it inspires me to create beautiful copy!
It wasn’t so long ago that I thought…
I came from a Modern upbringing where art was appreciated but certainly never encouraged as a profession. I attended business school, worked in corporate marketing (albeit in tech, music and the performing arts) and was driven to write only when my world seemed to be falling apart.
Until a little over a year ago, I would have never identified my Self as Creative for I felt I lacked the talent, the ideas, the whimsy. I saw my Self as level-headed and practical girl and because I was basically good at everything, I felt I had a gift for nothing.
My mind just didn’t work in the way I thought a Creative person’s should. I thought creativity was something you either had or you didn’t. Case closed.
Now I get stuff done, my way.
Just as our cognitive (thinking, intelligence) and affective (feeling, personality) energies can be measured, our conative (doing, creativity) energy can too. Everyone has an equal amount of conative energy (aka creativity) for engaging the thinking and feeling parts of the mind to produce purposeful action.
This dividing line that we have placed between the artistic and the not is a restriction we place on our Self and others. We are all Creatives, it just looks different on different people. And not all of us equally exercise our ability to act on instinct.
Do it your way
Kathy Kolbe developed the Kolbe Index, a tool that measures the unique way we each do things. The Kolbe Index measures your natural instincts, your Modus Operandi, your way of taking purposeful action that encapsulates your distinct brand of creativity.
Your conative abilities, your creativity, is a unique set of innate strengths and talents that remains unchanged from birth. These instinct-driven behaviors are represented in four Action Modes.
My MO or TJinabottleTM
Fact Finder – the instinctive way I gather and share information is to Explain – I like making things clear. Removing the unnecessary pieces. I feel like my blog is a reflection of that.
Follow Thru – the instinctive way I arrange and design is to Maintain – I like to keep things running well. That’s why I love website structures (aka information architecture). Organizing is a passion.
Quick Start – the instinctive way I deal with risk and uncertainty is to Improvise – This is where I get my most creative energy. I love the unknown. And leaving things to the last minute…
Implementor – the instinctive way I handle space and tangibles is to Restore – I like to protect what has been built. But improve it some how.
Maybe you already know what makes you so awesome but if your still learning like me, this Index could bring some cool insight. Either way shape your business around exercising your instinctual gifts. I bet you it will bring much abundance.
photo credit: Mother_Flickr