I did not want to talk about this. I have been avoiding this topic for years, even though it's something my listeners and clients ask all the time: WHY do I keep sabotaging myself?
If you feel like you sabotage your own success, today’s episode is for you.
So last week I put up 5 different podcast ideas for the Starship to vote on what they most wanted me to talk about…and you know what got the most votes? Self Sabotage!
Even though I've been asked this a lot, I've avoided talking about it because…I think it's possible you are NOT sabotaging yourself. Sometimes the things that look like self-sabotage are actually just you taking care of yourself!
For example, if you wake up with a headache, like I did last Friday, and you decide NOT to work on your To Do list, even though it's very big and you have a deadline…is that self-sabotage? Or self-care?
Now, since we're talking about ME, I bet you'd say: Tara! You have a headache, take the day off, your business will be OK!
But if we are talking about YOU, you'd say: Oh, I really should have worked, I have things I know I am supposed to do! I totally sabotaged my list by not working!
And girl, that's just wrong.
So before we talk about REAL self-sabotage, we gotta get clear that every time you don't work, every time you take a break, every time you decide NOT to show up for something, it's not necessarily ruining everything – sometimes it is you taking care of yourself, or giving yourself what you need.
When I asked you (on instagram) for your examples of self-sabotage you told me:
When I get an opportunity, but believe I can’t do it, so I don’t follow through.
Setting a big goal and then getting sidetracked or not planning, and deciding: “well, all hope is lost!”
When I’m scared. I plan a big thing, and then don’t follow through (like a big launch, where then I only send a couple emails instead of doing everything I had planned).
You don't think you deserve it. (Imposter Syndrome)
You actually don't want what you're working towards.
You'll notice that each of these reasons is actually…self-care! You're protecting yourself from what you think you can't handle or don't want.
What you can do about it:
1. Get really specific about what the self-sabotaging activity is and why you did it.
Ask yourself: What am I trying to protect?
What am I afraid of?
This is important because a lot of women TELL me they are sabotaging themselves and when I ask for specifics, they hem and haw, “Well, all the time. I'm just never following through, I never do.”
Girl, that is a belief you have about yourself. It's a belief, not because it's true, but because you keep saying it to yourself. As long as you keep repeating this and believing it, you're never going to be able to move forward.
Until you can believe the opposite (“I show up for what matters. I can do what it takes”), replace it with the truth, “I'm not sure what's up, but I'm doing my best. I'm protecting myself.” Move towards trusting yourself to show up by getting clear on exactly what you do and when you do it. Get clear on why you're doing it (what you're protecting yourself from).
2. Let go of the fear.
The next step, after you know what you're afraid of, is to look at that fear head on. I like to do fear-setting (from Tim Ferris):
What's the worst that can happen?
Do you think you can handle that?
If not, how likely is that to happen? (Usually, not very likely, or at least not for very long.)
What is the much more likely (smaller) thing that may happen?
Can you handle THAT?
This is the time to use all the tools you have to release fears – therapy, journaling, essential oils, tapping – whatever works for you!
3. Notice all the ways you DO show up for yourself.
Do you buy groceries and cook meals?
Do you read sometimes?
Do you spend some time crafting?
Or doing anything you love?
THAT is showing up for yourself. YOU ARE DOING IT.
And it's transferrable! If you show up in this way you can show up in others.
4. Show up for yourself, even more. And make note of it when you do.
Self-sabotage isn’t something to beat yourself up about. It’s something to take care of yourself in the face of.
Are you ready to dive back into your business after a summer break? Did you take time off for the summer? Or did you just feel less productive because of the nice weather, the travel, the kids home from school? Whether you took a proper break or not, a lot of you asked me: How do I get back to work?
Take a fresh look at your goals.
It's possible your life shifted over the summer – maybe your kids entered school or maybe you entered a new relationship or maybe your had a great moment in your business (like a big show or wholesale account?) that's shifted how you think about your business.
It's normal for what you wanted then to not be what you want NOW. So pull out your most recent goals (you do write them down each quarter in Map Your Business, right?) and ask yourself: Do I still want this? How do I want to go about moving towards it?
Take a fresh look at your days. What worked before might not work now.
When do you have time to work? When do you want to work? When are you most focused? When is the best time to do each task? Would you rather batch types of work on certain days? Or in certain hours?
Take a fresh look at your expectations.
How much do you expect to get done in a day? In a week?
How are you feeling about your productivity? Do you need to lower your expectations? Do you need to shift your productivity towards a more impactful work?
Give yourself grace.
It takes a while to get back in the flow of things. If you are working more now than you have been, you may need to ramp up slowly. Coming back after a break NEVER goes how you plan, so get comfortable with that.
What do you need to be gentle with yourself about?
I dramatically simplified my business this summer. Today I'm going to share what I did and more importantly, how you can simplify your business in just a few questions (but a lot of heavy thinking).
As you know if you’ve been listening for awhile, we’re getting ready to become foster parents and one way we’re preparing is by getting very clear about what our priorities are.
Now, before you start worrying, my business is a big priority. Not only because it pays 100% of our bills, but because I LOVE IT. I love the podcast, I love helping you guys, and I love what I do.
But, over the 8 years since I started creating my courses and books, my site has just kept expanding and expanding and I have kept added new stuff (something every 6 months or so!) without editing anything down and looking at it all in one go. So if you’ve been business in a while, your business might need a spring (or autumn) cleaning as well! I’ll share what I simplified my business into and will suggest some questions that can help you simplify if you need to.
My mission: Help women make empowering decisions in their income, their enthusiasm, and their emotional help.
First, I identified my favorite bits + my long term goals:
My mission means I really just want to do two things:
Helping people build businesses (Starship and mentoring through my doTERRA business)
Helping people take care of themselves via emotional wellness.
I most like to:
Create community and culture that encourages support and friendliness.
Second, I got clear on what are the BEST ways I can do those things:
(I did this with the help of Joeli, of JoeliCreates.com, who does 1:1 sessions if you need some clarity.)
Podcasts allow me to communicate important, helpful stuff clearly
Instagram gives me interaction and connection and allows me to provide daily bits of encouragement.
My classes are MOST helpful when they build on each other, when you're focusing on what matters, as opposed to one-by-one, so I put them together in the Starship Program.
Community is my favorite place to be and let's me go deeper with clients. I have the Starship Community to help makers and artists and students in the Program, and the Enthusiasm Builders community to help people who have wellness based businesses with doTERRA.
I'm still working on the best way I can help people take care of themselves, via essential oils (ie, in-person classes, webinars, FB groups, etc). I'm measuring the impact, both in the moment and ongoing. So far in-person classes and video consultations are the best, but I'm still experimenting around this.
Third, I stripped all my offerings down to the work that does the two things I want to be doing (helping women build businesses, and take care of their emotional wellness):
You can get my classes and my help via group coaching inside the Starship (not open now), and that's it – you can't buy my classes separately anymore (because I'm stripping down to what's most effective)
I don't sell books from my website anymore. My books are the easiest way to get started working on your goals or your marketing, but ME shipping them is the least effective way to get them to you. Amazon is super efficient.
Only 1:1 consultations (which are free!) to help you make a daily plan for self-care and emotional wellness, using essential oils.
Workshops and group coaching for people building a doterra business.
The even more boiled down version is this: I just do a few things now: Podcast, IG, consult with people about self-care and help people build businesses via group coaching – either in SS or for their doterra business.
Questions to ask yourself to simplify, re-calculate your path, or just get some clarity:
What is your mission? (Who are you here to help? How do you do that?) (Learn more about your Mission here)
What do you long term want to be doing?
What actions do you most like?
What are the specific ways you do that?
What are the most EFFECTIVE ways you do that?
What can you let go of to focus more that?
Is this guiding you towards where you want to go?
I hope these questions help you simplify your business and I hope you enjoy all that I’ve got here at TaraSwiger.com.
I follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list with me on Facebook and find all the posts here.
Everybody knows it's too risky to have a business. Everybody is following their passion and making a million dollars doing it. Everybody knows you need to be on Instagram. Or have an email list. Everybody knows you can’t grow on Instagram on anymore.
Which of these statements is true?
It depends on your own personal “everybody”. Today we're going to talk about who “everybody” is and how upgrading your “everybody” can improve your life.
Today we're going to talk about how your concept of “everyone” is shaping your biz and life and happiness, and how you can trade it all in for a better “everyone”.
We'll get into the specifics in a minute, but before we do I want to remind you that the Starship, which is a brilliant way to improve your “everyone” is open now. You can find it at Taraswiger.com/Starshipbiz. It's a 90 day program that will help you uncover your mission, your profitability and your best marketing plan.
I first came across this idea of a personal “everybody” in Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star, but psychologists have been studying it for awhile – they call it “the generalized other”.
All of us have a concept of a (or many) “generalized other” – it's what you think other people think about you. It's what you mean by “other people” or “everyone”.
We use this concept of “everyone” to determine our actions and to figure out what's expected of us.
However, it's faulty. Because obviously there is no uniform “everybody”. Everybody doesn't come to the same conclusions or have the same beliefs or live the same life.
But your personalized idea of “everybody” can feel large and overwhelming and uniform.
Martha Beck writes, “everybody’s Everybody is composed of just a few key people.” You may have a few different groups of “everybody” – everybody believes this is the best way to parent, everybody says this is what you have to do in business.
But this is really just a few people.
You consider these few key people's opinions when you're making your own decisions. And this is how your “everybody” holds you back – if your “generalized other” is the wrong people it'll keep you from feeling like it's safe or “right” do something. The wrong everybody is people who haven't done what you want to do or just don't know about the things you care about.
In order to fit it, belong and stay safe, you won't do what “everybody” disapproves of, or what “everybody” fears.
The solution: Upgrade your Everyone.
This doesn't mean you break up with the people in your life, it's just that you don't let their opinion shape YOUR opinion. You pick who's opinion and examples you're going to pay attention to.
It can be really simple to start – you just get to know people who have done and are doing what you want to do. You get to know people who have really different lives than you.
You've already upgraded your Everybody a few times in your life – when you started going to friend's houses. When you started your first job. When you met other makers.
To grow the next stage of your business or dream, you may need to upgrade your everybody.
This is why the Starship, my online community for makers and artists, and other groups like it, can be so powerful – because you meet a whole bunch of others you can adopt into your “generalized other”.
So instead of believing “everybody knows you can't make money with art,” you will meet people who DO make money with art. You will realize that there's another set of Everybodys who believes the exact opposite of what you originally thought.
You can also solve this everybody-problem by becoming conscious of who is in your “generalized other and consciously choosing someone else.
For example, if everybody believes you have to have a huge Instagram following in order to make your business profitable, you need to find people how have smaller followings and who are still succeeding at what you want to do. And then when you're thinking about how you’re going to grow, think about them!
They may not be doing exactly what you’re doing, but go find those people. And then when you’re thinking about growing, make sure they are in the “generalized everybody” that you’re thinking about.
Whenever I’m doing my New Year planning, or Mapmaking I take a minute and I ask: Who is going to be on my advisory board? This is your internal advisory board. It’s basically staffing your generalized other.
Just ask yourself: who do I want to give me advice? Who has the kind of life I want? Or the kind of attitude I want to incorporate into my business this year, or next three months?
This can be anyone you want. You want to staff your advisory board with people who you admire – their business, or what they’ve accomplished, or their personality. Ask yourself: who do I want to be on my advisory board and write them down.
Then when you find yourself asking: what should I do here? Or what direction should I go in? Sit down, get quiet, and ask your advisory board. Ask yourself: what would “business owner who I super admire” do in this situation?
You don’t have to have met them, to guess what they would suggest. It’s just a fun way of getting out of your own head, and getting out of the generalized other of your family or your community, and into the generalized other of people who are doing what you want to be doing.
If you'd like to upgrade your everybody with a bunch of makers, designers, shop owners and teachers who are building amazing businesses, and you'd like to explore your own dream, plans, profitability, and marketing, check out the Starship Program – taraswiger.com/Starshipbiz. You can sign up in the show notes to meet some of those everybodys in a short series of emails.
Where should you spend in your business? What actually matters for a profitable, thriving business? And how in the world do you get there? Today we’re going to discuss the foundations of a healthy business.
Today we’re going to talk about what really matters in your business. Now, these are the foundations, but this isn’t just for new business owners. In fact, if you’ve got your business together and you’re wondering how you can scale it, or make it more profitable, or make more sales, the answer is almost always in these foundations. But before we go into foundations, I want to remind you that Starship is open right now.
The Starship was just overhauled and GOOD NEWS, when you join, you are walked through these foundations, in a series of classes that serve as deep dives into your business. Over the course of three months, you’ll be guided with weekly lessons in these foundations, plus you’ll get access to our community, where you can ask your questions 24/7, our weekly check-in to hold you accountable, and monthly group coaching calls with me – where I will go deep on whatever your question is.
In the past, I’ve just given you access to the classes and told you “take what you need”, but I’ve learned over the last 6 years that the biggest transformation happens when work on your foundations in a specific order, and when you have access to ask your questions, when you’re held accountable and when you get coaching help as you go.
And now, when you’re done with the 3 month program, you can choose to stay inside the community at an affordable price. As I mentioned, we go through the foundations, but the Starship is for a business that’s set up – that knows what it sells and know how it will sell it. Maybe you don’t have sales yet, but you’re committed to this business and to doing the work to make it thrive.
Now, let’s talk about what those foundations actually ARE!
There's so much you *could* focus on, but there are a few areas where, if you focus, you can dramatically improve your results. They are:
Clarity of your own biz dreams (as opposed to what other people have or want)
Honesty about where you ARE
Breaking down the gap into goals, and the goals down into actions
Profitability (you gotta know your products will make money)
Marketing (someone's gotta buy your work – marketing is how you communicate with those buyers)
These can be split up into 4 main areas:
Mission and Mapping (everything from big-picture to this-month goals)
Effectiveness (not just doing things quickly, but doing the right things, and feeling good about your workday)
Here’s the good news: Just knowing that these are the areas that matter can help you defeat the “OMG WHAT DO I FOCUS ON” overwhelm. You can just come back to this list: Which area needs work? And then work on it!
What’s super cool is that these areas actually all build on each other – you can’t get a clear picture of your marketing if you don’t what your mission is and you don’t want to do marketing until you KNOW your item is profitable. And you can’t reach your number goals (which we talk about with profitability) unless you actually, ya know, share your work with the right people, using the right language.
In other words, working on ONE area is working on ALL areas. It’s like a fractal. Everything you do is reflected around your business. When you work on how you want to communicate with your people, you’ll see the same words and feelings show up in your Mission. Or… exponential: working on one area improves that area (and often improves sales), then improves the other areas, which improves sales.
When I got really clear about my Mission – what I wanted to do in the lives and businesses of makers and artists, my marketing became so much more clear. From the words I use, to the topics I talk about, to the images I use. I suddenly know what to say, because I know what the end goal is; I know what I want my work to do in the person’s life. And that has improved my sales – it doubled within a year of getting ultra-clear!
So how about you? Which foundation of your business needs work right now?
As you think about that, you may feel really frustrated that you’ve wasted your time on other things, that you didn’t focus on the main foundations and instead got swept up in figuring out the perfect hashtag for your photo – that is ok! We all do it. We all read a blog post or listen to a podcast that is about a specific tactic and without asking “is this what matters to my biz right now?”, we dive into learning about it and trying to implement it.
A while ago a few friends started talking about Facebook ads. So they’ve been talking about it in our group and I have to admit, even though I KNOW advertising isn’t where I want to spend my energy right now, it was tempting! It’s so tempting to work on something that’s outside of my strategy.
On the other hand, a lot of makers tell me that they’ve avoided thinking about ANY of this. They just make their thing, put it in their shop… and hope it turns into a business.
And you know what?
If that’s you, you’re not alone either. That is absolutely where to start. You haven’t done anything wrong if you haven’t started working on profitability or marketing yet. There is a tiny tiny percentage of artists who just make their work available and it all sells out. They don’t have to do any marketing and the numbers magically work out.
But those are the unicorns. And you may be a unicorn, but if you have big dreams for your business, I don’t want you to waste your precious life waiting around to find out.
Instead, I want you to do the work that makes your biz successful, so that you KNOW it will be. So that you don’t have to rely on outside circumstances, or being “discovered” or wait for someone else’s approval before you build the business you want.
And how do you do that?
You build each of your foundations. Here’s a few things that each foundation needs.
For the foundation of Mission and Mapping, you may need to:
Define your dream biz
Get clear on your Mission
Identify your assets and support
Choose a goal
Create a plan to reach that goal.
For Profitability, you may need to:
Know your numbers and how to get them.
Identify the profit margin for each item and your Break Even Point
Variables to experiment with
For Marketing, you may need to:
Improve how you talk about your work
Make it easier for strangers to find you
Look at how you build a relationship with potential customers
Identify how customers buy + make it easier for them
Work to keep customers happy and coming back
For Effectiveness, you may need to be:
Doing what matters each day
Keeping track of all your tasks
Streamlining all of your recurring tasks
Getting the level of accountability you need in order to get it all done
So which one of these, in your business, needs your focus? Which one of these matters MOST for you right now?
If you want to work through each one of these and discover everything I listed for each one, join us in the Starship, it’s open now and it closes in a week. Learn more at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz
In the new Starship, we cover every one of these foundations, and we explore your answers to these questions: What are your goals? Who are your people? What is your ideal workday like? And instead of feeling overwhelmed about figuring it all out at once, you work on each area, one at a time, over the course of three months.
And all along the way you have support, encouragement, group coaching with me, and accountability.
How do you keep going when everything is GOOD? Or FINE?
What if you met your goal, so you're not feeling super motivated? Or you've gotten excited about a new project? How do you keep your consistency on what's already going well?
Today's question comes from a Starship Captain who asked, “How do you stay focused on the parts of your business that are already going well, when you've got a new project you're excited about?”
I'm going to answer her question in a minute, but first I wanted to tell you that the Starship is what makes this podcast possible. I don't take advertisers and I don't spend a lot of time on this podcast selling my stuff because of the Starship. Also – the Starship gives me almost all of the topics I cover here – either the questions and conversations come up naturally, or I ask the Starship once a month: what do you want me to cover?
If you want to ask your questions and get them answered, the Starship is going to open next week! It has changed up a bit, so if you’d like to be the first to hear about the changes, sign up at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz!
Now let’s get to the question, when everything is great, how do you keep going?
How to keep going:
You can systematize and streamline everything (so you have more time to focus on fun stuff!) by…
We talk a lot about this in the course on Taking a Break, we guide you through each step. The course is now only available in the Starship community, you can find out more about that when it opens, by signing up at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz
Decide on the results and the effective minimum dose.
What do you really want to accomplish in the area that you’re not focusing on? What is the minimum you want from it? Being really clear and decisive on what you’re willing to accept from the area of your business but doesn’t have a lot of focus, is so important to your own peace of mind. It’s fine that not every area of your business is your main focus at a given time, but we often beat ourselves up later, once we see the results. So determine the results you’ll be ok with, and don’t fret if things decrease while you’re working on the new thing.
When you know the results that you want, experiment with what is the minimum effective dose of effort required. Answer the question: What do I need to do to get those results? It’s entirely possible you’re doing a lot of things you don’t need to do, to get the exact same results you’re getting. We often talk about doing more and trying more and adding more, but it can be even more effective to reduce what you’re doing, to do less.
The great news is, identifying the results you want and the minimum effective dose that it takes to get those results is SO helpful when you go through a period of time when you can’t work as much on your business – maybe your kids are home from school, maybe a parent is sick, maybe you’re about to have a baby. But knowing what it takes for your business to survive at the level it needs to survive can give you a lot of peace of mind and clarity when you need to step away from your business… or when you just want to go in a new direction or try a brand new thing.
Even if you've been doing it for years, if you feel yourself start to slip, get accountability.
You can do this casually with a friend, or you can do this more officially inside a group like the Starship where we have weekly accountability check ends and accountability partners. But often, when people aren’t doing what they want to do, the easiest solution is just to build in some accountability. Get someone who is expecting them to do what they want to do, someone outside their own brain, who won’t accept any excuses.
I talked more about this is episode 73, how accountability can help you reach your goals
And about how accountability can help you be more productive in episode 122.
I want to end by giving you permission to follow your enthusiasm!
It will lead you in exciting new places and new opportunities. Don’t be afraid to let yourself out of your box and into something new!
What's your brand? Is worrying about it going to increase your sales? What is translating marketing on Instagram into sales?
Today we're going to talk about the difference between branding, marketing and sales, as it's related to your small business.
A few weeks ago we talked about increasing sales through marketing on Instagram and then I was talking with a Captain about being sure they were spending their time on SALES, not just on Branding. It got me thinking, there's an important distinction between Branding and Marketing and Sales, and we don't talk about it a lot. In a big a business, these three things are clearly separate, there are different people in each department. But in your small business, you're doing it all. And in different businesses, they have different weights, ….
The vibe of your business. Your brand is the answer to the question: “How do people think about your business? How does your business makes people feel?” When they see it, they know it's yours, because it's your branding. It's the visuals, the tone of voice, the kind of media you use, and how you show up.
This is super important in a business that sells commodity – in other words, the same thing as similar businesses.
For example, a comic shop sells the exact same comics and uses the exact same distributor as every other comic shop. So the branding is EXTREMELY important to help it stand out. For a shop, the branding is going to be how the shop makes you feel – the customer service, the vibe of the shop, the events and activities going on. Everything from the staff you hire, to the comics you highlight, to the way you treat customers – that's all going into the way your customers feel about you.
Now, before we dive into this, I want to be clear about something. In all areas of your business, you're going to be authentic and honest. Just because you THINK about something and decide something, doesn't make it inauthentic. I think makers get confused about this because they think: I'm going to be myself and any amount of being strategic isn't authentically myself. No no no. The goal of effectively branding your small business is to find the brand that flows authentically from you. But to also be aware of it and intentional with it.
So you're not just providing amazing customer service in your shop because it's what's your brand about it, you're doing it genuinely and authentically.
If you (or a branding expert you hire) try to push a brand that isn't who you really are, it's going to fall apart. For example, the knitwear designer Frenchie behind Aroha Knits – her business has this very beautiful, elegant, styled in natural materials and soft colors brand, and when she talks in her videos, you can feel it's all very authentic. But if I tried to pull that off? If it would be fake and be So. Much. Work. I just can't be airy and elegant and styled. My branding is bright colors and being honest and being my goofy self.
While that's authentically me, I have to actually remind myself of that, especially when I compare myself to others or I feel like maybe I should be X or Y.
A few more examples: If you're in a direct selling company, like doTERRA, the company brand stands for something already. But you have to build your own brand – not with a fancy website or anything, but through how you treat every customer, through how you sample people, invite them to learn more. If your brand is aligned with the bigger brand, and if you use the bigger brand to give you focus, you'll do better. Your brand of education and support is going to be what builds trust and creates a community.
A yarn dyer is creating a brand with every skein of yarn she dyes – the colors she uses, the yarn she uses, all of it. What also impacts your brand: the label, the shops or shows where you choose to sell, what you focus on about your yarn (is it the material? Fun? Community?)
A few things to remember about Branding:
If you're making your thing and putting it out there, you're going to have a brand. You don't have to “make” one, they occur naturally. Your brand is going to come from your IG, your products, photography, way you write your descriptions.
Since you're going to have a brand anyhow, spend a little time thinking about it. The questions I ask in my marketing classes guide you through this. You can get access to my marketing class that goes into Instagram and email in the Starship, which opens in a few weeks. Sign up to learn more at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz.
Branding is really important in a business that sells commodities, and if you want to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Be consistent. Choose some colors, your tone of voice, and stick with it.
Brands (and businesses) evolve and change, that's ok.
Marketing is communicating with your customers. It includes your brand (what do people think of when they think of you), but marketing is the ongoing communication of both that brand + feeling, and of the products you have. Marketing is everything that creates, keeps, and satisfies the customer.
Branding is the feeling, marketing is what you DO that creates that feeling.
Marketing is alllll the things you're doing in your business. It's putting things on sale, it's photography, it's what you post and how you say what you say. We talk a lot about marketing, but after we talk about sales, I'll give you a few examples where people get confused about if they need to focus on marketing or sales.
Sales are: HOW YOU MAKE MONEY. It's the final step in the relationship that starts with marketing, contains your brand, all of that should lead to people making the sales.
It's where you say: Click here to buy this. Here's how you can get this. Would you like to join?
You can have the best branding and marketing in the world, but if you don't follow through and focus on sales – nothing. It won't matter. This is ESPECIALLY important in the online world. All your marketing might never be seen, until you focus on sales and you get in front of people.
For a crafter this includes:
Sell to retail shops (you close the sale to them and they close sales to many consumers)
I feel like I've been in an intensive training school for sales since joining doTERRA. Their branding is perfect. They already have marketing figured out. The products are amazing and pure and there's research projects that back it all up. In order to share the oils, I have to focus not on marketing (which is where I've spent a lot of my time in my other businesses) or in product creation, but in sales. How do I talk about these in a way that communicates clearly? How do I educate people so that they understand how they'd use them (because I don't want you to buy something you won't use?)
These are the questions you ask yourself to improve your selling –
Do people know this exists?
What do they need to understand or know before they will want to buy?
Am I making it clear how to buy? (So many people skip this part!)
Understanding these questions has made me better at sales in every area of my business – from the Starship, to book sales, to classes.
I want to reiterate what I said earlier – you're going to do ALL of this with authenticity. People have such stereotypes about “sales”, that they think you have to leave your integrity behind. Of course not! Sales is a natural outgrowth of your brand and marketing. If you make it NOT a natural outgrowth, you're going to be really bad at it.
As I said before, just because you're thinking about it and getting better at it, doesn't make it inauthentic.
If you feel like it does, or you are thinking “I don't want to do sales”, then honey, you don't want to have a business. A business is sales.
So let's look at some examples of where people get confused about which of the three they need to focus on:
If you have started an online shop and you haven't gotten sales or traffic, my #1 recommendation is that you focus on making sales, before you worry with anything else. Get your products in front of people – go do a craft show, do a local farmer's market, approach local shops or galleries. Spend all your time on sales, and in the in-between times, post to Instagram, or start to build your online marketing. But I see a lot of makers spend hours and hours on their online marketing, which takes MUCH longer to turn into sales. So when they don't have sales after 2 or 6 or 12 months, they stop their business and say, “people didn't want what I sold”. Nope, it's that people didn't know what you sold.
The social media world has confused us by thinking a big following = a steady business. Nope. Steady sales = a steady business.
Now, if you've GOT a big social media following, you can absolutely start a business and start making sales, but my friends and students who have done this tell me that they're shocked by how SMALL percentage of their audience actually buys their thing.
If you are making some sales and you're getting real customer feedback, absolutely build an online following, but realize that a small following that actually buys is 100x better than a big audience that doesn't.
I'm pretty passionate about this topic, because I've seen so many business owners spin their wheels online instead of going out there and making sales. I have 2 businesses that earn over six figures a year, and you can see on my Instagram, I don't have a huge audience. This podcast isn't in the top 10 or even 50 on iTunes. I don't even have 5,000 email subscribers.
So why do people focus more on marketing than sales?
Sales is scary. You can be rejected. When you focus on marketing, you're just “putting it out there” and people can either opt in or not opt in. That feels much less risky.
When you focus on sales, you're giving people the opportunity to say yes OR NO. And we're afraid of hearing no.
But as my mentor told me in the first few months of my doTerra business: You have to get a lot more comfortable being rejected. Ha! Yes! Also, ouch.
So how do you know what you need to work on?
Almost always you can spend more time on sales.
If you've been building piecemeal over the last few years, take a step back and look at your branding. Does your site and Instagram and tone “match” your products? Does it make sense? If you threw your product (and tag) in a pile with others, would people know which is yours? It may be time to think through what you want your brand to be and how you're communicating that.
Everything is marketing. If you are posting online regularly, updating your shop, putting labels on your products, you're marketing. Like we talked about in episode 217, focus on your right people and on communicating clearly.
If you'd like to work on all three and get my feedback on your branding, marketing and sales, join the Starship! It opens in a few weeks and you can learn more about it by signing up at the bottom of today's show notes or at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz.
I follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list with me on Facebook and find all the posts here.
How do you translate passion into sales? Today I’m answering a question from an Instagram friend!
On Instagram, I asked for your questions and IMDCreates asks, “I am scared to ask but here goes I am a crocheter and I am proud of what I do but it doesn't seem to translate into sales how can I change this for my business?”
Sales don’t just happen, sales are a result of clear communication.
Sales happen because the person who wants what you sell, clearly understands (because you communicated it) what is special about your work and how it will serve her needs.
Remember, there are a bunch of needs: need for self-expression, need for belonging.
How do you clearly communicate?
First, understand that this is a lifelong process. You are going to get better and better at each of these steps with time, the main thing is to start working at it now, and keep paying attention as you go.
This takes time and thought the first time you do it, which is why I’ve put this in classes, so you can dedicate a few weeks to figuring this out.
Identify who is the person your work is for. Where/how does she use it? What stage of her life is she in? What is she wanting to do? (Express herself? Feel great? Be funny?)
Talk only to her – in your Instagram posts, in your shop descriptions, in whatever you do.
Get clear about how your work serves her need. In my book Market Yourself there are a lot of worksheets to help you figure out – what makes your work special, how to communicate that, and how to speak in the language of your customer. You want to be sure that you’re talking about what she cares about (ex. she doesn’t care about what stitch you use, she wants to know why you made that decision, what that stitch does for her.)
Keep her coming back. Email list. Keep communicating
Now, I mentioned that this is a lot of steps and that it takes time. I walk you through all this, along with how to translate it into email lists and Instagram, in the class Elevate your Business, which will now come with your Starship membership – you’ll be guided through:
Identifying your goal
Making a plan
Tracking your numbers and profitability
Figuring out your marketing and how to use the tools effectively