The Entrepreneur Vacation Paradox

It’s kind of a paradox—when you own your own business it can be really hard to find time to get away and go on vacation.  I mean, sometimes I can barely find time to eat 3 meals a day, let alone leave town to enjoy myself.  But … entrepreneurs tend to lead stressful, over-scheduled lives and are the most-in-need of taking time off to recharge and rest.  Why is it so hard to detach ourselves from our businesses when we’re the ones who will benefit most from taking time off?

Like most entrepreneurs, I don’t take a lot of vacations—or a lot of time off for that matter.  It’s not that I can’t take time off.  My team is running my studios and I’m not needed for day-to-day operations—just the big stuff, like strategy and money.  Oh yeah, they still need me to sign their paychecks!  It really boils down to not making vacations a priority.

But starting this year, I’m hoping to change my bad habit of not getting away.  In fact, I just bought a plane ticket and booked my hotel for a trip to Australia.  I’ll be gone for three weeks in August … and I can’t wait!  I’m going to Hamilton Island, which is right on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.  And then, I’ll be in Sydney for the rest of my trip.  Did I mention … I can’t wait?!  I’ve never taken this much time away from the studios before.

How did I manage to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat?  Well really, I just made taking this vacation a priority.  And to ensure that I would follow through and actually book the trip, I hired a travel agent, which turned out to be a pretty smart move.  Have you ever tried to figure out how to fly from here to Australia?  It’s like a 2-day trip!

This year, I challenge you to start making your down-time count and actually take some vacation days.  Make resting and recharging a priority so you don’t get tired and burnt out in your business.  And finally, hire someone to take care of the details, if you know you’ll have trouble following through.

Check out these great books that helped me plan my trip:

Lonely Planet East Coast Australia Travel Guide ($24.44)

Lonely Planet Best Trips Australia Travel Guide ($16.99)

Foder’s Essential Australia Travel Guide ($10.19)

She's On Her Toes Australia Trip Books

My New Favorite Booties to Wear In-Studio

I’m kind of a creature of habit when it comes to clothes and shoes.  I just like what I like!  And I really like flip-flops and Uggs.  I can’t help it—both are so easy to slip on and off when I’m working in the studio, not to mention the comfort factor.

But … Uggs can be a little … you know … ugly.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I was so excited to find this pair of Ugg McKay Water Resistant Booties ($149.95) because they keep the comfort but take the style up just a few notches.  I think these Beasts approve!

IMG_4742

I love, love, love these booties!  I’ve received compliments every time I’ve worn them.  Check them out and get your size!

UGG McKay Bootie

VIDEO: Using Paid Social Ads to Generate Leads

If there is one thing that has totally transformed my business over the last year, it’s the way we changed our approach to advertising.

Instead of simply running ads and hoping people will see them and come into the studio, we’ve created a lead generation campaign, which helps us grow our list AND bring us predictable leads every single day!

Check out Tuesday’s post to learn why it’s important to build your list and generate leads.

How does it work?  I recently interviewed David Phillips, my online marketer.  He does all the paid social and online marketing for my 2 Pure Barre studios.  Watch the video and learn more about how you’re literally leaving money on the table by not using paid social to generate leads and grow your list.

We also talk about specific things that both worked … and flopped … for my studios over the course of 13 months of advertising.  I’d hate for you to make some of the same mistakes I made–although each mistake lead to our current advertising strategy, and it is definitely working!

David created a special page for anyone interested in contacting him to learn more about how to generate leads.  Simply click here.

Or use this link: https://www.gymengine.io/soht-questionnaire

 

 

Why List Building is Better than Advertising for Your Fitness Business

We all know that advertising is essential to running a successful fitness business.  To keep growing your studio revenues, it’s nothing more than a numbers game—you’ve got to keep getting in more new clients each month and then convert as many as possible to grow.

But isn’t paid social where it’s at?  Why should I worry about building an email list?

1. Email Subscribers Are More Likely to be Buyers

Why?  In our scrolling society, we aren’t too picky about who we follow and what we look at on Facebook and Instagram.  Um … exes, random people you haven’t seen in years, random people you only met once, weird looking dogs and cats, the list goes on.  But … we flip out if someone emails us too much or we get on some spammy list.  Am I right?  Bottom line, if someone signs up for your emails, they want to receive and read them.  They have given you the green light into their inbox and eventually into their wallets.

2. People Check Their Email Every Day

As Facebook and Instagram make regular tweaks to their algorithms, your posts may not reach all your followers.  But … everyone checks their email.  Like every day.  Even if they don’t admit it.  If you’ve got something really important to tell your clients (or future clients) you can bet most of them will at least glance at your email in their inbox before deleting.

3. Social Is a Rented Platform

Since none of us is fortunate enough to own Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Google, we just have to settle on using them to build followers.  But even if the mere thought of finance and accounting gives you hives, you know that owning an asset is far better than renting.  When you build a list of email subscribers, you build an audience.  This audience is an asset.  As you offer and develop new products and services, you can sell them to your list over and over again.

So how do you build a list?  You can actually use paid social to build your list … and your business.

On Thursday, be sure to check out an interview with my online marketer, David Philips, Founder and CEO of ONEMarketing.  That’s right!  It’s a video!  David and I will be discussing how to use paid social to generate leads for your business and build your list.  You won’t want to miss this!

 

Video: Let’s Talk More About Networking

Ok, on Tuesday, I wrote about networking and gave you my 3 ways to maximize your networking opportunities beyond attending lame receptions.  When I graduated from college, I worked in Washington, DC on The Hill, and I had to go to a lot of receptions.  I mean a lot.  But, just showing up and standing around with a drink in your hand doesn’t always ensure you meet the right people that can help your career or your business.

But, since you can read the post, let’s get a little deeper …

Networking Is So Lame: How to Make Connections That Don’t Waste Your Time and Actually Benefit Your Business

Networking.  Why does it always seem so lame?  A bunch of people in a room trying to connect and figure out if they can help each other out.  Receptions offer limited time, so your goal is to determine fairly quickly if talking to someone is worth your time or if you need to move onto the next person.  And then sometimes you get stuck in those dreaded conversations with people you don’t really want to talk to, but just can’t seem to find a polite way to get away from.  Um … I think I’ll go get another drink.  Great, I’ll join you … Ah, perfect!  Damn!  Foiled again.

It’s kind of like freshman year for adults—everyone’s a little awkward, except for that one guy who is totally running for Rush Chair of his fraternity (Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman, damn glad to meet you). 

And if you’re not careful you can pack on 15 lbs. from eating all that bad reception food and drink.  So fun!

Unfortunately, networking and creating relationships are what business is all about.  So, networking isn’t something you can skip out on.  Building true business relationships isn’t done in 30 seconds while standing around with a drink in your hand.  There’s got to be another way!

I’ve found 3 ways that turn networking on its head.  If you’ve reached the point of never wanting to attend another reception again, keep reading …

Be the Main Attraction

Being the main attraction means the following:

Speaking to a group

Teaching a course, seminar or class

Participating in a panel discussion

Basically, doing anything where you are considered an expert and people are attending the event to see you.  Being the main attraction is my #1 way to effectively network—because it works!

As a fitness studio owner, there are many ways we can create opportunities to become the main attraction at an event.  I recently spoke to The Professional Women of Winston-Salem, where I talked about the importance of building a great team to help you run your business and discussed several reasons why we, as business owners, don’t act quickly to hire employees—I call it the Employee Risk Myth.  Check out @shesonhertoes on Instagram for a video clip.

This was a great opportunity because everyone attending the event was interested in hearing what I had to say.  I had a captive audience interested in my business and the message I was delivering.  To turn this into an opportunity to attract more clients to my business my manager, Emily, and I did the following:

We got everyone’s contact information:  By holding a drawing for 1 free month of Pure Barre classes, we were able to collect about 40 names, emails, and phone numbers that we can follow up with in the next few weeks.  It’s January!  If you’re wanting to workout, this is a great month to start, so our odds of getting these women in the studio to give Pure Barre a try are pretty good.

We told everyone what our goal was:  In my speech, I worked in some great language telling everyone that our goal was to get them all signed up for their first class before leaving.  And we didn’t quite get all of them, but we signed up about 10 women with about another 10 wanting to look at the schedule on their own time.  Wow!  Half the group was eager to convert.  And … we made a contact to schedule another event where Pure Barre will be the main attraction.  Did I mention, we can still contact all the others in attendance, because we got their information?  #winning

Here we are … waiting for everyone to rush the table and start the year off committed to fitness!

She's On Her Toes Networking

When you’re the main attraction, you get to run the show.  You can easily introduce yourself to everyone—they are all there to meet you.  You can get contact information to thank them for attending and invite them to try out your business.  And you can explain why you’re there in the first place, what your goal is—and it’s amazing, people will help you reach that goal.

Join a Mastermind Group

A mastermind group can take many forms.  Some are paid, some are free.  But they all seek to provide members with a way to meet, share ideas, and learn from each other in business.  The concept of a mastermind group was created by Napoleon Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich, which is a She’s On Her Toes must read, as well as the more modern Think and Grow Rich for Women.  Check them out below:

Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill ($11.41):  While you might be tempted to skip this book and just read the newer, modern, more woman-focused Think and Grow Rich for Women, you’d really miss out.  This is a classic business book that almost every successful business mind has read.  I think it really emphasizes the point that the fundamentals are long-lasting and always the first place to start when looking to build or grow any business—whether it was back in 1937 or at the present in 2018.

 Think and Grow Rich for Women, Sharon Letchter ($14.17):  I really enjoyed hearing Sharon Lechter speak and her book was just as insightful.  When Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937, he included 13 Steps to Success—but at that time all the major business minds and heads of companies were men.  Sharon goes through each of the 13 Steps and applies them to the lives of modern women.  I love her concept of living “one big life” instead of trying to find the elusive “work-life balance” that never quite seems attainable.  A must-read!

But back to masterminds and how they can help you network … joining a group of like-minded business professionals can really help you out in your own business.  One of the reasons traditional networking (think wearing a name tag at a reception) just doesn’t work for everyone is that not everyone in attendance is of the same like-mind as you.

In order to get the most out of attending events and interacting with people, they all have to be on the same page as you.  That’s why masterminds can be so effective—everyone in attendance is usually there to help each other, make connections, and simply get help solving business problems.  The whole “two heads are better than one” and “sometimes you need to step back from the problem” philosophies at their best.

Take Matters into Your Own Hands

In this world of trying to amass the most followers and likes, it’s easy to dismiss the value of a single relationship.  In networking, quantity means nothing.  It’s the quality of your business relationships that matter.  Instead of relying on receptions and networking events hosted by others, take matters into your own hands and simply invite the person or people you want to meet to meet with you.  What?!  Actually, reaching out to someone and inviting them to meet you?!  It’s so crazy, it just might work.

Since everyone’s time is valuable, it’s important to explain why meeting with you would help the other person.  You’ll have to do a little research …

What is their business mission?

Do they support any charities?

Do you both have similar interests?

Figuring out how you can add value to what they’re doing can generally help you secure a meeting.  Who knows, maybe this person has been wanting to get together with you too?!

If you’ve found networking lame and a huge waste of time in the past, it’s time to look at other ways to make quality business connections.  Attending events where you and your business are the main attraction, joining a mastermind group, and then simply working to cultivate quality relationships one meeting at a time can help you build a better network that will help support your business.  Think beyond lame receptions and evaluate attending events where you know you’ll meet other like-minded business owners and quality leads.