Podcast Episode 10: THE Thing Successful People Do

It turns out that what you do every day really does matter.  The most successful individuals on this planet have daily rituals to keep them at the top of their game.  And, overwhelmingly, the most successful and wealthy, read books.  Like, actual books.  Every single day.

She's On Her Toes

Ok, ok.  Some of them listen to books AND podcasts.  But reading the written word directly correlates to higher education and thus higher income.  Studies have shown that reading 7 or more books per year makes you 122% more likely to be a millionaire.  Why is that?

Maybe it’s because reading expands the mind and encourages creativity.  Maybe it’s because so many of us don’t read, that this type of continuous learning gives regular readers a huge advantage in business and in life.

Today, we’ll talk about all that AND share our favorite books and podcasts to help you develop a strong habit of reading.

Listen as we discuss why we all read, why reading is critical to developing a life of learning and curiosity, and our favorite books that had a profound impact on our lives.  We also share what we’re reading and listening to now … and of course some fun, beach reads.

Check out the She’s On Her Toes Podcast on Apple Podcasts and iTunes.  Click here.

As promised, here’s the list of what we’re reading and listening to …

Harry Potter Complete Book Series ($61.14) If you listened to the podcast, you know that these are the books that turned Emily into an avid reader.  And, even though I kind of made fun of her for being obsessed with this series, it makes complete sense that she loves this whimsical, fantastical series because she’s super creative.

Baby-Sitter’s Club Box Set ($29.16) – So … I’m a little older than both Emily and Christina.  I was in college when the first Harry Potter book was published, so I never got into that series.  But … I absolutely loved the Baby-Sitter’s Club when I was in grade school.  I could rip through like five of these books in a day.  This is a series about a group of girls that start their own business baby-sitting … hummm … seems fitting.

The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body ($5.80) – Christina shared that this book, written by Cameron Diaz, was really important to her after college because it helped her embrace healthy habits like working out and eating healthy, and really respecting her body and a balanced life.  It sounded like a great read, so I just ordered it myself.

Other books that have been important to us in life and work …

Never Lose A Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days ($17.32) 

How to Make Friends and Influence People ($9.60)

The Compound Effect ($10.71)

All of Malcolm Gladwell’s books … The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference ($12.67)Outliers: The Story of Success ($12.29) David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants ($10.71) Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking ($8.98)

The Checklist Manifesto ($11.37)

Think And Grow Rich ($7.99)

Think And Grow Rich for Women ($13.60)

The Road Less Stupid ($18.56)

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself ($7.67)

Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight ($15.24)

Fun books we recommend …

Jillian Flynn’s books … Gone Girl ($10.69) Sharp Objects ($8.99)Dark Places ($9.16)

Girls in the Garden ($9.54)

The Girl Before ($10.04)

Big Little Lies ($13.71)

What Alice Forgot ($9.80)

Podcasts we love to listen to …

Goal Digger Podcast

Side Hustle School

MFCEO Project

TED Radio Hour

How I Built This

Mind Body Green

Rich Roll Podcast

Serial

Up and Vanished

Whew!  That should keep you busy reading and listening for a while.  We’d love to hear if any of these books or podcasts helped you find clarity in your business or in life … or just helped you chill out on the beach!  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Ordering books from Amazon is super easy, but click here to get everything for your Kindle or Kindle App for your iPad.  You can also get audio books and magazines.

Or try Audible to listen to your books in the car, in the gym, or wherever you are.  They currently have a promotion to get 2 books free when you try it out.  Click here.

Podcast: Episode 6, When Are You Done in Business?

When are you done in business?  There seems to be an unsubstantiated rumor out there that there is some finish point when you’re building and working on your business.

In a lot of things, there is a beginning and an obvious finish.  But, business is a little different … the finish line isn’t always obvious, or within reach.

She's On Her Toes

When you’re building your business, you’re always tweaking things, making adjustments.  You don’t just start, open the instruction manual, follow the directions, and get to the finish line.  There’s always something new to be done.  There’s always a change to be made.  The finish line is always moving out ahead of you.

In the She’s On Her Toes Podcast, Episode 6, Emily, Christina and I talk about when you’re done in business.  Meaning, we ask and answer the following questions:

  1. How do you know when something isn’t working and move onto something that does work?
  2. How do we accept change in business?

And we talk about the idea of pivoting.  Because sometimes you have a great idea, but it’s just not working the way you wanted.  So … you pivot, or turn on your heel, and move in a different direction.  We talk about some case studies including how we approach clothing sales and client retention–actual problems we faced in the business and how we adapted and changed course to correct the problem.

 

If you haven’t already purchased the book, Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days, by Joey Coleman, buy it now.  It took me 2 days to read because the book had valuable, actionable information on how to improve your client retention.

She's On Her Toes Never Lose A Customer

Never Lose A Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days ($20.80): One of the questions this book poses is “How big would your company be if you still did business with every customer you ever worked with in the past?”  Holy sh$t.  Um yeah.  Customer retention is the single most important thing your business needs to focus on, yet we often spend the majority of our time and money on client acquisition instead.  Author, Joey Coleman discusses how you have 100 days to keep a customer for life and the 8 phases of this timeline.  The book walks you through all 8 phases and shows you how to implement them in your own business.  Pure gold.

Listen to the She’s On Her Toes Podcast on iTunes and Apple Podcasts here.

When Opportunity Knocks, Answer the Damn Door!

“In every area of effectiveness within an organization, one feeds the opportunities and starves the problems.

– Peter F. Drucker, The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Earlier this year, my business coach, Mary Ann, asked me “What is your one word to describe your business this year?”  Without hesitation, I replied, “Opportunity.”

At the time, I was thinking about how my managers, Emily and Christina, were settling into their new roles of actually managing.  And I was just beginning to enjoy my time focusing on business strategy and how we were going to grow.

We had a lot of big, amazing ideas of what we wanted to accomplish, and somehow they were all coming together!  In fact, it seemed like opportunities were just popping up everywhere!

One of our most successful ways of meeting new clients is through free community classes—we call them Pure Barre Pop Ups.  And there was one place that we considered the holy grail of Pop Ups—the Winston-Salem Dash Stadium.  The Dash are the local minor league baseball team and the stadium is downtown with gorgeous views of the city.  And … we just happened to meet the Dash Community Relations Manager at a luncheon.  Now we’re scheduled for not 1, but 2 Pure Barre at The Dash Pop Ups!  Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 3rd and Thursday, June 14th to lift, tone, burn on that beautiful green field.

Last week, I unexpectedly received a request to teach a class to my Leadership Winston-Salem group during our monthly program day.  This was a fun opportunity to show 70 of my Leadership classmates what I do and what Pure Barre is all about.  When I say “unexpectedly” I mean, I got the call at 6:00 AM before our program day started at 7:45 AM—fortunately, our equipment was easily accessible and my team was able to mobilize.  We pulled it off!

But do opportunities really just materialize out of nowhere?  Business owners talk about “luck” a lot, but what distinguishes “luck” from hard work and good leadership?

I’ve been reading a book called The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done, written by Peter F. Drucker.  It was first published in 1967, so it’s a little old-school, however, the message is on point.  Including the following quote:

 “The effective executive looks upon people including himself as an opportunity.  He knows that only strength produces results.  Weakness only produces headaches—and the absence of weakness produces nothing.” 

I completely agree—results occur by recognizing the strengths of your employees and helping them develop what they’re good at.  Results are also produced by your strength in leadership.  Weak leadership only creates confusion and more problems in your business.  And the absence of leadership means you’re not producing anything—your business is at a standstill—you’re stuck.

But the first part is truly the most profound … “The effective executive looks upon people including himself as an opportunity.” 

As business owners, we ultimately create all the opportunities for our businesses.

We network, develop relationships, cultivate a reputation of being dependable, committed, and professional … the list goes on.  So, while it seems like things just fall into your lap, you’ve really been creating those opportunities all along.

When opportunity knocks, you’re the one who sent out the invitation.  Trust that you’re a strong enough leader to open the damn door!

 

Check out the book …

Peter F. Drucker, The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

 

 

I’m Not a Business Genius, I Just Don’t Quit

One of the most interesting things about owning a business is, eventually you realize your success isn’t defined by how smart you are.  It’s true—you could be the smartest person out there and fail spectacularly in business, or you could be of average intelligence and just crush it.  Why?

Success in business isn’t about who’s smarter.  It’s about persistence.  If you have above average intelligence, then good for you!  But, intelligence alone, won’t predict whether your business succeeds or fails.  Your daily habits and approach to building your business are what determine its soundness.

This is really important to think about—in business, you will never be limited by your intelligence.  The only limits you’ll face will be the result of your own bad habits, poor organization, or lack of mental toughness.  Wow.  That’s pretty powerful.

So, what do the best in business do that others don’t?  Whether you’ve been invited to join MENSA or struggled to make it through high school, doing these 5 things can dramatically increase your business success …

 Brush Off the Word “No”

Most people might think being successful in business is the result of great marketing, smart financial decisions, or maybe just “luck.”  But I think it’s more about persistence.  Specifically, being able to brush off hearing the word “no.”  As a business owner, you will hear “no” ALL THE TIME.  Like maybe every other word.  There is always a reason, be it valid or an excuse, for a client or prospective client to tell you “no.”  And hearing the word “no” over and over again can get really frustrating—if you let it.  The best in business don’t let “no” get them down.  In fact, they don’t even hear “no.”  They hear “not now” and move on.

 Become Goal-Oriented

If you don’t have a goal, you’ll never succeed.  END OF STORY.  Why?  Because without goals, where are you going?  What are you trying to accomplish?  You don’t know!  It doesn’t matter if you have small goals or big goals.  Without something to work towards in your business, you won’t have a focus and your business will remain stagnant or start to decline.  The best in business set goals and create plans to reach them.  They are always working towards a new target and moving their business forward.

 Read Books—Yes, Actual Books

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, if you’re not reading books—yes, actual books—you will really struggle to succeed in business.  As in, you’ll fail.  Y’all, seriously.  MAKE TIME TO READ.  It’s important.  Why?  Because being a business owner requires a lot of mental focus.  When you read, you are training your brain to focus and process information.  You are also learning, continuing your education, and making yourself better.  Think about it—if you read 10 pages a day, which is not a lot, you would read 3,650 pages a year.  If the average business book is 250 pages, you’ll have read 14 books.  Do you think your competition reads 14 books a year?  If you do, then you’ll have to read more.  If you don’t think they’re reading, then how much better off are you for putting in that time?  Like light years better.  The best in business are always looking to improve.  And improving means continuing your business education by reading actual books.

Right now, I’m reading The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael A. Singer.  I just finished The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story, by Michael Lewis. 

I highly recommend The Compound Effect, Success Principles, and The Little Red Book of Selling

Listen to Podcasts

I thought about not including this one because I’m sure some of you will take the invitation to not read and just listen to podcasts.  You’d be doing yourself a huge disservice.  Listening to podcasts should not replace reading because listening doesn’t allow you to train your brain to focus and process information like reading a book does.  So why listen to podcasts?  Simple, podcasts give you access to business information in real time.  Most of the business podcasts out there discuss what’s happening in business right now.  There are some great practical applications and ideas being discussed that could be significant for your own business.  The best in business keep up with new ideas and aren’t afraid to learn from others and apply what they’ve learned.

Here are the podcasts I listen to each week:

The MFCEO Project

Girlboss Radio with Sofia Amoruso

Self-Made Man

Side Hustle School

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

TED Radio Hour

 Eliminate “Can’t” from Your Vocabulary

As soon as you eliminate “can’t” from your vocabulary, you replace it with “How can I.”  What would it mean for your business and frankly your life, if you stopped placing limits on yourself and stopped saying “I can’t.”  What if you instead started asking “How can I?”  Hopefully you can see how powerful this one little word is.  Instead of shutting down ideas, you will start thinking of possibilities.  The best in business are always looking to innovate and create.  They have a curiosity that isn’t limited by “can’t.”

While being smart gives you plenty of advantages, in business, your success is defined by your habits—mainly your persistence to just keep at it.

The last page of my book She’s On Her Toes, includes this poem.  I’m not sure who wrote it—there are at least two different authors attached to it and the book I first read it in didn’t attribute it to a known author.  I’ve read it hundreds if not a thousand times.  And I think it pretty much sums up what business is all about.

 

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit—

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

 

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a person turns about

When they might have won had they stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—

You may succeed with another blow.

 

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

 

Success is failure turned inside out— (This is my favorite part!)

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,—

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

 

I’ll leave you with that … success is failure turned inside out.  Success isn’t always about who’s smarter, has the best marketing campaign, or is better funded, it’s about turning every opportunity into a way for your business to get better.  It’s when things seem the hardest that you know you’re onto something.

The Fitness-Focused Guide to Avoiding Holiday Crush

Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t radiate cheer and festiveness during the holiday season.  And that’s ok.  With increased exposure to major stressors, like crazy family members, work deadlines, extra school demands, shopping marathons, drivers that desperately need to review their road skills (Since when did passing on the right become a thing?!  It’s called a blind spot for a reason, folks—I literally can’t see you.), you’re bound to lose focus on why this is the most magical time of the year.

Fortunately, the Fitness-Focused (that’s you and me!) already possess the skills needed to cope with what some call, the holiday crush, or that feeling of immense pressure that sets in during the months of November and December.  You know—pressure to have the most amazing decorations, the perfect meal, and the most thoughtful presents.  To attend all the parties with a smile and the cutest outfit.  Finish the year strong with your business.  Not to mention keep it all together so your family has a special holiday.  Whew!  That’s a lot for one person to handle!

But, as I said, the Fitness-Focused already have the necessary skills to make it through the holidays and actually enjoy themselves.  How?  Simple.  By incorporating the discipline and organization you use to plan your workouts to your holiday tasks, you can avoid the holiday crush and actually start the New Year with a smile on your face.  Here’s what I’m talking about …

Decide What’s Most Important

You set fitness goals and decide in advance what is most important to you before you start your workouts.  Take that practice and apply it to all the events and tasks ahead of you this holiday season.  Ask yourself, what is the most important thing that I want to accomplish before the end of the year?  Or, what is most important to me this holiday?  What do I want to get out of all my holiday experiences?  How do I want to feel as I head into the New Year (rested, fulfilled, energized, happy)?

When you prioritize your goals in the gym, you have something to work towards.  Same with your life—if there is something you want to achieve before year’s out, be it less stress, more time with family, saying “no” to unimportant things, or even cooking more, make it a priority and work towards it.

Whenever I decide that something’s important, it’s crazy—I always figure out a way to achieve it.  Always.  Once I make the declaration that it’s important, my mind immediately shifts into figuring out all the ways I can get to my goal.  But, you have to take the first step and decide your priorities.  Declare them out loud to your friends and family or write them down.  Whatever works for you—but take the first step and you’ll be that much closer to actually getting what you want.

 Make Your List and Check It Twice

Super practical.  Lists keep simple tasks organized so we don’t accidentally skip a step in our haste or hurriedness. (Go back to read a previous post about check lists here.)  When you have 800 things to do it can be overwhelming.  All the shopping, preparing and cleaning.  No worries!  Combine list-making with some of the lessons from The Compound Effect and all of a sudden life just got more manageable.

What is The Compound Effect?  This book, written by Darren Hardy, literally changed my life.  (Um, I am going to a conference where he’s speaking in February and I’m just a little bit excited about that!)  This book is all about making small changes that “compound” to effect bigger more amazing changes.  And it really works.  If you are in the fitness industry you can attest, like I can, that just making one change to workout on a regular basis leads to making other smarter choices about eating and drinking.  Then all of a sudden, you’ve lost weight or are stronger and people are commenting about how good you look.  Anyways, get this book immediately, if not sooner.  Read it.  Implement just one suggestion—after all it’s called The Compound Effect.  See what happens.

Exactly!  Make your list of 800 things to do and then pick one or two to accomplish each day.  Work back from your deadline to create a manageable schedule of accomplishments and you won’t feel so rushed.  And chances are you won’t forget things—or if you do have a last minute “oops” you have plenty of time to take care of it.

I’m putting this into practice right now.  Since I’m hosting our annual Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons holiday party at my new home this year, I have lots to do to prepare.  And last week, I freaked out a little by all the work I had to get done.  Now I’ve got my list and I’m working on just one or two things each day—starting with festive decorating.  Can’t wait to share the party pics with you!  Since I don’t have a lot of furniture, decorating is going to be strong this year.  Haha!

Reward Yourself with Rest

This is the most important part of working out and living life, yet it’s the most neglected and overlooked.  So sad.  When you stay on track with your goals and tasks, give yourself time to rest.  And reward yourself!  After a hard workout, you need time to rest and recover, so you can do it all again.  Same with a busy life—plan some downtime so you don’t get burned out and start to resent all of humanity.

The rewards don’t have to be big or expensive.  Grab coffee with friends, enjoy a nice walk with your dogs, watch a show on Netflix—all of these things count as rest.  Just make sure you use this time to do something you enjoy!  Doing laundry doesn’t count—make sure your rest and reward time makes you feel rested and rewarded.

It’s amazing how those who prioritize their health and fitness are just better at winning life!  Take those skills you’ve been using to motivate you through your workouts and apply them to your life this busy holiday season.  There’s no need to get so frazzled that the holiday crush comes crashing down on you.  No way!  Take the time to decide what’s most important to you, make a list and just do a few things at a time, and finally reward yourself with rest and you’ll set yourself up to avoid some of the stress most people face during the holidays.  Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself!

 

Invest in yourself!  Link to purchase The Compound Effect, written by Darren Hardy.  Click here.

How to Make a Simple Checklist a Powerful Tool

Last week, I told you about a book I just finished called The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande.  I read this book in one sitting.  It was so fascinating.  It’s all about how the simple idea of a checklist can take away the complexity of our lives and have a huge impact on how efficiently and safely we can accomplish tasks.  Atual Gawande is a doctor, so the majority of the examples and stories in the book are from the medical field and how adding checklists can literally save lives and reduce healthcare costs.  The idea of adding a checklist somewhere in your business is so simple, yet so powerful.   A larger discussion of what checklists can do for any business seemed appropriate.  So here goes …

On the surface, checklists seem overly simple.  As smart business owners, do we really need something as simple as a checklist to improve our overall business performance and better serve our clients?  We sure do!  If someone told me they had a tool that was simple for all my employees to use, yet ensured accuracy and consistency across our processes, I’d say, sign me up!  And the best part is … creating a checklist requires time, but it’s totally free.

So why are we so skeptical of checklists?  If they’re so effective and useful, why don’t we use them more often in business?  Why do we overcomplicate things or try to create fancy multi-colored flow charts in PowerPoint?  This is one of my favorite sections of the book found on page 177.  I think it sums up any checklist skepticism and also explains why checklists can be so effective:

“The fear people have about the idea of adherence to protocol is rigidity.  They imagine mindless automatons, heads down in a checklist, incapable of looking out their windshield and coping with the real world in front of them.  But what you find, when a checklist is well made, is exactly the opposite. The checklist gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn’t have to occupy itself with (Are the elevator controls set?  Did the patient get her antibiotics on time?  Did the managers sell all their shares?  Is everyone on the same page here?), and lets it rise above to focus on the hard stuff …”

So basically, incorporating checklists into your business won’t give your employees a pass on thinking critically.  The opposite happens—once employees no longer have to worry about the many details of a simple process, they can actually work towards solving more complex problems.  Checklists provide a structure to complete simple, everyday tasks leaving our minds free to focus on more complicated matters.  But do they really work?

This week, my manager, Emily, created some checklists for all of our front desk associates to ensure they are never without a project during their time working in the studio.  I’m interested in learning the following:

  1. Did the checklists simplify any of our daily tasks?
  2. Did more work get accomplished?
  3. Did we sell more?
  4. Did we retain more clients?
  5. Did I hear any compliments from clients about my employees going above and beyond?
  6. Did the employee have a better understanding of what work to complete?
  7. Did the employee feel more empowered to help our clients?
  8. Did employees pick and choose which tasks to complete?  Why?
  9. Could the checklists be improved?
  10. Was anything missing from the checklists?

Since I employ several different personality-types in the front desk associate role, I’m very curious to see if we will need to create individual checklists or if we can create something that works well for everyone.  I’ll give it a few weeks and report back.  In the meantime, start thinking about how you can incorporate checklists into your business.

The best businesses solve problems that matter—have you ever thought about whether solving a problem that’s been holding you back, could help your clients?  On Thursday, I’ll discuss just that:  how solving my own problems with consistently working out and eating healthy led to some big changes at my studios.

On Friday, I’ll share my newest life hack—how to make a smoothie without bananas or avocados.  I am allergic to bananas and avocados, which makes smoothie consumption pretty difficult—but I finally figured out how to substitute those elusive fruits and now feel like I’m winning at life—or at least breakfast.

Until then, stay on your toes!

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande

 

Lessons from Billionaires, the Power of Checklists, and How to Say “No”

It’s been a busy few weeks of reading for me.  Check out my top suggestions to help you run your business and life more efficiently …

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, Tim Ferriss: When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it.  I’ve always thought Tim Ferriss was a little wacky.  I mean, he advocates not using a top sheet on your bed to save time—I mean who cares?  Try owning 2 fitness studios, you won’t care how many sheets are on your bed, you’re so tired every night.  The introduction didn’t really lay any of those fears to rest.  However, once I got into this book, I couldn’t put it down.  There was some great advice!  Basically, Ferriss took the highlights from the most influential people he’s interviewed on his podcast over the years and created a book about all of their best advice for business and in live.  I found myself dog-earring pages to go back to review or to buy a book recommended by the person profiled.  Tools of Titans is designed so you can skip around or not read some of the profiles if you don’t want to.  I did a little skipping, but found at least a few paragraphs of each person profiled extremely interesting.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande:  I read this book in one sitting.  It was so fascinating.  It’s all about how the simple idea of a checklist can take away the complexity of our lives and have a huge impact on how efficiently and safely we can accomplish tasks.  Atual Gawande is a doctor, so the majority of the examples and stories of the book are from the medical field and how adding checklists can literally save lives and reduce healthcare costs.  The idea of adding a checklist somewhere in your business is so simple, yet so powerful.  After reading this book, you’ll feel a call to action to see where you can implement checklists in your business or other areas of your life.  This is a must-read!

The Power of NO: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness, James Altucher:  I sped through this book in a few days as well.  Since I tend to over-commit or over-schedule myself, I was hoping to learn a lot from the pages of this book.  And … it didn’t disappoint.  I have James Altucher’s other books on my reading list now.  The big problem with refusing to say “No” to things you don’t have time for or don’t want to do, is that committing to things you don’t want to do takes a huge toll on your remaining time for the things you need and like to do.  The lesson here is the more you say “No,” the more you can say “Yes.”

Next week, I’ll write more about how important checklists are for creating a consistent experience in your business.  I’ll also share how I’ve worked to solve one of my biggest problems, prioritizing my health and healthy eating, which ultimately is better serving my clients.  And finally, I am allergic to bananas and avocados, which makes enjoying a smoothie pretty difficult—but I finally figured out how to substitute those elusive fruits and now feel like I’m winning at life—or at least breakfast.

Until then, stay on your toes!

When Things Just Don’t Go Your Way in Business

Have you ever reached a point in your business where things just weren’t going your way?  I’m struggling with that right now.  Nothing is happening fast enough and some things just aren’t happening the way I want them to.

I’m at a point in my business lifecycle where I need to think about how the studios are going to continue to grow.  In my Winston-Salem studio, we currently offer 48 classes each week and have been experiencing capacity in all classes of about 75%.  This means that almost all of our classes are full and our most popular times have long wait lists.  Some people might call this a “good problem to have,” however, I’m not so sure.  If new clients want to start taking class with us, they might have a hard time signing up for the class times they want, which would in turn make them unhappy and not choose to become long-term members at Pure Barre.

I thought the best way to move forward would be to open a third location, but I’m running into some obstacles.  What kind of obstacles?  Well, I thought I found the perfect space to lease, however, the convenient parking just steps away is not available for public use anymore.  In addition, the buildout to create the interior of the studio is cost prohibitive.  So … then I found another space that isn’t perfect, but could work.  Now I’m running into some pretty significant problems with that space too.  And this is barely the beginning of the process.  Like not even the beginning—before the beginning.  The preamble, the preface, the prelude.

Should I accept that things just aren’t working out and move on?  Or should I just be patient and keep working towards this goal?  And also important, should this really be this hard?!

Coincidentally, I’m reading a book called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance written by Angela Duckworth.  Duckworth set out to determine what sets high achievers apart from everyone else.  She asks: “What makes the highly successful so successful?  How do they do it?”  She explains that a special combination of intense passion and perseverance (beyond determination, more like steadfast direction) creates the thing that makes all high achievers special.  In other words, they have grit.

She even includes a test to determine your level of grit.  I’m sure it’s no surprise for anyone that knows me personally, my grittiness score was pretty high.  So why aren’t I just charging ahead on this third location to make it work, like I have with everything else?

Good question.  I’m not sure I have the answer right now, but I think it falls somewhere in the middle of: “I really don’t have to do this” and “There are a lot of other things I’d like to do with that money instead.”

I’ve got some decisions to make.

Unlucky for me, my TV broke this weekend.  But lucky for you, that gives me more time to write until I figure out which model to buy as a replacement.  On Thursday, I’ll give you the in’s and out’s on a very serious topic: what mascara I wear when I teach and take class.  Trust me, you’ll want all the details on that!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Check out Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance 

The 66-Day Habit

We’re heading into the 2nd week of February, where apparently 80% of New Year’s Resolutions start to crumble and fail.  After about six weeks, willpower is compromised and we can lose focus on what seemed extremely important on January 1st.  Researchers now believe that a habit takes, on average, 66 days to develop and cement in our daily routines.  So how do we get from ringing out around the 6-week mark to forming a life-long habit a mere 3 ½ weeks later?

I just finished an amazing book, The One Thing, written by Gary Keller, cofounder of Keller Williams Realty, which is currently the largest real estate company in the world.  Keller believes that in order to achieve success in work and life, you must find your “one thing.”  In other words, we’ve all been placed on this Earth to do one thing—and if you can narrow your focus to achieve it, you’ll live an extraordinary life.

Keller argues that “you can become successful with less discipline than you think, for one simple reason: success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.”  Identifying your “one thing” and then selectively developing one habit at a time will ensure you stay focused only on your “one thing.”  Allowing enough time for each habit to develop into a routine is critical—remember it takes 66 days for a habit to form.

So what’s your “one thing” for the year, month, week?

My one thing is to teach management and leadership.  Since I want to grow my business, I have reached a point in the business lifecycle where I cannot do everything myself and I need my Team to run the business for me.  This doesn’t mean that I’m not involved in running my business or not working, it means I’m assuming a new role of supporting my Team and then my Team is supporting our clients.  I’ll be working with each member of my Team to help them reach their goals.  Together we’ll figure out what I can do to help make each one of them more successful.

What am I doing to transition into this new role and support my Team?  First, I am no longer assuming responsibility for creating their sales or teaching goals—they are.  That’s right, each member of the Team is responsible for developing their “one thing” for each month and 3 quantifiable ways that they will track and reach their goal.  At the time of our next Team meeting, everyone will have been working on reaching their self-made goals for just about 66 days.  I’m really interested in finding out the following:

  1. Has setting your monthly goal, or your “one thing” become easier? By focusing on “one thing” do you know what you need to work on the most to become more successful at teaching or working at the front desk?
  2. If you failed to reach your goal was it because you weren’t focused? Or did you find your 3 ways weren’t easily quantifiable?
  3. Did working with another member of the Team help you reach your goal? Did the expertise or advice from someone on the Team to help you to re-focus your goal?
  4. Do you set easier or more difficult goals for yourself since you are responsible for creating them?

Second, I’m devoting time and money to develop my management and leadership skills.  I take at least one hour a day to read business leadership books and I’m registering for more business leadership seminars.  Creating a budget for training is in the works.  I’m actually going to Houston later this month to attend the Business Excellence Forum with my business coach.  I’m up for an award—Best Business with over 10 employees.  Good times!

When you sit down and define your “one thing” it becomes more clear what habits you’ll need to form to make achieving your “one thing” easier.  You won’t be wasting time trying to create habits that aren’t going to help you.  The habits you do form will become routine and instead of losing steam during week 6, you’ll reach that 66th day to make the habit lasting.

I’m only going to be posting once each week on Tuesdays going forward, because I have actually started writing a book.  So, next Tuesday I’ll share with you something that I learned at the Business Excellence Forum and hopefully a picture of my newly-won award-Ah!

Until then, stay on your toes!

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller

Does Your Business Have a Steady Source of Leads?

When I opened my first studio about 4 ½ years ago, I chose a location that was amazingly perfect for the two groups of clients I was trying to attract.  Clients literally did the marketing for us by referring friends and we were constantly seeing new faces in classes throughout the day.  And the business grew.  It was amazing.  But this was not typical and certainly did not include any type of business plan to generate predictable, solid leads.

Fast forward to when I opened my second studio and right before it opened, I got really sick—like couldn’t leave the house because I had shingles on my face.  It was not amazing.

Because I was struggling to simply take care of my basic needs (thankfully I had some amazing friends who brought me meals every day), I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to execute a lead-generation campaign and … the studio did amazing.  No, actually the opposite.  We really struggled building our client base.  I’ve since redeemed myself and will share how I created a way to bring in steady, predictable leads to both of my studios.

Are you skeptical?  If you are, that’s cool.  I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say that if you are skeptical, you haven’t been tracking your existing marketing campaigns.  Am I correct?  It’s ok.  But, you need to start tracking–like today.

First Things First, Start Tracking Your Marketing Campaigns 

Before we jump into things, it’s important to discuss the concept of tracking your marketing campaigns.  First, ask yourself: Where do I get my clients from?  Newspaper or magazine ads, Facebook, Instagram, ads on Facebook and Instagram, referrals, walk-ins?  Make a list and try to give a percentage to each source.

Second, ask yourself: Am I currently paying money to advertise and I haven’t received any clients from that campaign?  If the answer is yes, then stop spending that money.  Cancel the ad or whatever it is.  It’s not working.  If you’re not sure if you are gaining leads from a campaign, start tracking and see what you find out.

I used to have an advertisement in a local monthly magazine.  At first, it was great and probably brought in close to 30 new clients over the course of two months (not too shabby), but after a while, it didn’t work and nobody mentioned that’s where they had heard about us.  So, I don’t run that ad anymore.

Find Out What Does Work to Reach New Clients

Now that you have eliminated any marketing campaigns that aren’t working for you, you’ve freed up some money to redirect towards the things that do actually work to drive new leads to your business.  Now ask yourself: What’s working to bring new clients to my business?  Should I do more of that?  Or should I investigate something new?

I have discovered that there are really only 2 marketing initiatives that work to bring new clients to my studios: client referrals and Facebook ads.  Client referrals are great because you’re pretty much acquiring a lead for free and that lead almost always (like 90-95% of the time) buys our introductory offer, which is the $99 New Client Special.  That’s like tastes great and less filling!  It’s a no brainer—keep those client referrals coming all day long.

So how do you encourage client referrals?  Below are all the ways that my studios encourage clients to bring their friends and family in to take class.

  1. Referral Fees: Offer a small amount of money for existing clients who bring in friends.  We offer $10 in store credit to any client who brings in a friend who purchases the $99 New Client Special.  If you could acquire a new client for $10, or 10% of what they just spent, would you?    That’s a pretty reasonable Cost to Acquire a Customer (CAC).
  2. Free Class to Client Friends: Offer a free class to the client’s friends.  I am a firm believer in not offering first class free—it doesn’t provide any incentive for people to buy packages and continue taking class and it devalues the service to zero.  If any of my clients are reading this, sorry, free just doesn’t work—it’s something that has been proven time and again at both studios.  Anytime we offer free classes or some kind of Open House with free class, those people taking advantage of the event pretty much never make a purchase—they are unqualified leads that just want something for free.  But … a friend of an existing client with a membership?  That is a qualified lead.  This friend has heard how great class is, how great the studio is, how clean it is, how friendly everyone is, how great the workout is and most importantly has seen how great their friend looks now that she’s been taking class.  Offering them a free class simply provides no excuse for them not to come to the studio and then purchase the introductory offer because they already understand the value of the service provided.  The CAC here is essentially $0.  You’ve already scheduled the class and the other existing clients taking that class are covering the cost of the teacher, electricity, music etc.  It doesn’t cost you anything to offer this free class to a client’s friend.
  3. Sell Gift Cards: Offer gift cards to encourage gifting your service.  This is pretty simple.  Clients can buy their friends a gift card and introduce them to the studio.  Again, CAC is $0 or the nominal fee for each plastic or paper gift card/certificate.
  4. Sell Friend-Centered Promotions: Offer a promotion to encourage clients to purchase for their friends or the friends to purchase for themselves.  Again, pretty simple.  At key times during the year—think Holiday, or Summer, when it’s a little slower—we offer a special promotion (3 classes for $33) designed to bring client friends into the studio to try class.  If you spent any money advertising this promotion your CAC would be the ad spend divided by number of people purchasing—or if you just emailed your list CAC would be $0.  So again, CAC is likely pretty low.

Awesome, right?  Sure.  This is all great.  At most, you’re spending 10% of the purchase to acquire a new client and these leads are qualified, meaning they have a high likelihood of purchasing.

The only problem is—we’re leaving out thousands if not tens of thousands of potential new clients by only focusing on client friends and referrals.  What if the person has never heard of my business?  How do I reach them?

Fast Lane Leads vs. Slow Lane Leads

I hope you’re getting excited reading this because what lies below pretty much blew my mind when I first implemented it.  And it’s totally changed the way I look at marketing and spending my advertising budget.

Before I share the special sauce, we need to review 2 concepts.

  1. I have no idea who said this, but I’ve read it in a few books and articles written by Mike Dillard and Russell Brunson—when they cited it they didn’t know where it came from either. But here goes … Nobody wants to buy a drill.  They want to make a hole.  So, you shouldn’t advertise drills.  You should advertise how to make a hole.  You need to sell the end product or RESULT.  Any light bulbs going on?  Any hamsters spinning on that wheel?  If you’re in the fitness industry, this is such a critical concept, it’s not even funny.
  2. We also need to define the “fast lane” client and the “slow lane” client. Fast Lane leads are the ones we talked about above—friend referrals.  They’ve heard of your business and are ready to buy. They already understand the value and will purchase immediately because they understand the result your product or service will give them.  Remember, they saw their friend get stronger or look better and more fit from taking class, so they’re ready to buy right away.

Slow Lane leads are not ready to buy.  In fact, they probably don’t even know your business exists.  If they do know you exist, they don’t understand the value of your product or service.  Maybe they don’t care about working out, or they think walking is a better workout, or they get childcare at the Y—doesn’t matter, they’re not sold on you.  But … that doesn’t mean they won’t buy in the future.  How could you introduce your business to those Slow Lane Leads?  How could you get them to buy from you?

Using Facebook Ads to Reach Slow Lane Leads

You can use Facebook ads to reach Fast Lane Leads, but Facebook ads are the ideal way to reach Slow Lane Leads—at least that’s what I’ve learned.  So how do you do it?  How do you create a Facebook ad to reach Slow Lane leads?  Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Free Offer: You need a free offer that will have value to Slow Lane leads. This is not a necessarily a free class—these people are unqualified (as of now) and a free class won’t always work to teach them about your business.  You need something that will “wow” them and make them think, “Huh, if this business is willing to give this away to me for free, what will I get when I make an actual purchase?  That must be f*cking amazing!”  Trust me, you have something to give away already, or you can easily make something and will “wow” these leads.  Obtaining the free offer is dependent on this Slow Lane lead giving you their email address.  How else are you going to reach out to them after they click on your ad?  This is how you are going to grow your email list and convert these Slow Lane leads to purchase.
  2. Facebook Ad: Next, you need to write your ad.  The more simple the ad, the better.  Make it clear.  Choose one action and make that action clear—you want these Slow Lane leads to click on your ad and download your free offer.  Tell them to do this in clear, concise language.
  3. Targeted Audience: Now, you must find your targeted audience.  If you have a killer offer and a clear ad, but don’t advertise to the right group, you won’t have any clicks and you won’t get any leads.  Where to start?  How about your existing client base?  Do they have any over-arching common interests?  Did you know that Facebook can create duplicate audiences?  You can take your existing client base and Facebook can find people similar to that list—pretty cool.  Or maybe you just target those who have liked your Facebook page and their friends (I mean, we already know friends are more apt to buy).
  4. Split Test the Ad: You’ve figured out your offer, created your ad, found the audience and you’re ready to go.  Split testing the ad is an important step because, well, you just don’t really know this audience, right?  After all, they haven’t bought from you and don’t know much about your business.  You don’t know what makes them tick.  You’ll want to run a few different ads with different pictures or different copy.  Maybe try testing the ad with different audiences and see which gets the best results.  These tests should just be small buys—I did about $10 a day for 1 week.  After you try a few things, you’ll start to see some patterns or success with one ad or one audience.  Then you can adjust or go full throttle and increase your ad spend.  I actually spent about 3 weeks split testing and learned some valuable information along the way.  I tried 2 different offers, several different audiences and about 8 different ads.

 What were my results after completing these 4 steps?  After only running about 2 ½ weeks, my ad has over a 40% conversion.  That means 40% of all the people clicking on it have submitted their email address and downloaded my free offer.  That’s pretty f*cking awesome and means my offer is resonating with my audience.  So far, from those leads we’ve had approximately 24% purchase our $99 New Client Special, which is also a great conversion.  You have to remember, however, that these leads are Slow Lane leads, so many aren’t going to purchase right away.  You will likely have to reach out to them or email them multiple times to reach a sale.  You’ll need to create compelling and informative email content to educate these leads on why your business, product or service is something they should buy.  It’s harder to earn these Slow Lane lead sales because you have to sell them on the RESULT of your product or service and most importantly, earn their trust.  Slow Lane leads are not quick to make decisions or give something a try unless they trust the result.

So, there you go.  You now know the secret to successfully generate steady leads to your business.  Below are a few resources you can check out to create your Facebook Lead Generation Campaign.  I used all of them to create mine.  If you’d like more information, give me a shout with a message or comment.  Follow the blog by submitting your email and I’ll send you more detailed information on how I created my ads.

Next week, I’ll talk about to-do lists and multi-tasking.

Until then, stay on your toes!

AdEspresso: This tool makes ad creation easy.  You can also make several versions of your ads for your split testing.

Click Funnels:  The video on the first page of this site is totally stupid.  Don’t let that fool you.  Once you understand what a sales funnel is, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without one.

Magnetic Sponsoring: How to Attract Endless New Leads And Distributors To You Automatically, Mike Dillard: This book was originally written for those in the network marketing business, but it’s applicable to every business.  Read it.  That’s all.