It's been a long week.
It's been a long month.
My grandpa, 91 years old, died one week ago.
He spent his whole life on his Iowa farm, working the land, growing produce and corn and beans and farming his pigs. I never once heard him raise his voice and he was as steady as the sunrise. He worked hard, loved to read and think and discuss ideas, and he was the patriarch of a huge family.
The oldest child of 8 kids, his own father died young, leaving my Grandpa to walk his sisters down the aisle when it came time for them to marry. When we visited him a few days ago, he told us, "I'm not afraid to die. I just don't know how."
My Grandpa was eager to pass on his heritage. He spent countless hours labeling photos and making copies for all the branches of his family tree. He didn't want any of us to forget where we came from.
On the day of his funeral, all 18 of my cousins were the pallbearers. I looked into the faces of the grown adults that I had once played "house" with on the farm. We ate Freezes and ran in the sunshine together. We picked apples and strawberries and ate countless holiday dinners together. And now we are grown. And we are the parents of the 47 great grandchildren who flanked the walkway of my Grandpa's last journey to his final resting place. We all sang The Doxology around the gravesite one last time, with my Grandma in the middle of all our love and tears.
My Grandpa will never be forgotten.
And it leaves me to wonder if I'm leaving a legacy.
Am I doing enough? Am I leading my children? Am I loving like he did?
Today my heart is tired. Tired from the tears and from the travel to Iowa and home again. Tired of the big family gatherings, even though they filled my heart with joy and thankfulness.
So how do you go on when you're tired? How do you keep pushing forward when your heart needs to grieve a little?
I am choosing to watch a movie in bed and be gentle with myself.
I'm choosing nourishing food and walking a little slower.
I'm letting the chores pile up a little and I'm hugging my kids a little tighter.
We keep sharing memories of Grandpa and I think that's exactly what he would want us to do.
It's a new week and it's almost a new year.
Be kind to yourself.
Step back and notice what really matters: family.
That's exacty what I plan to do.
One of my coaches and mentors sent me a birthday gift this week. It's a book called "Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results." Right away, it has resonated so deeply with me. I find myself reading and nodding my head. Such a simple, but powerful concept.
Grandiose gestures ("I'm going to change my life!") are often met with collossal failures (i.e. falling flat on my face and feeling like a failure). Conversely, making tiny little changes in my day and in my routine, actually stick around, and over the long term, make the biggest impact.
I think sometimes we look at other people and think, "They have it all together" when instead, they have just changed one tiny thing at a time. It's so much easier to decide to clean up your desk once a week than to decide, "From now on, I'm not going to be messy!"
It's amazingly simple to clean out my car just once a week and grab items every time we exit the vehicle instead of yelling at my kids: "We cannot live like this!"
Laundry doesn't pile up when we have a routine of always doing it on the same day each week. We also fold and put it away on that same day (yes, it's possible). I love slowing down, turning on a movie, and folding laundry. I love the rhythm and sense of order. It blesses my family to not run around the house in the morning, searching for clean socks.
It's the very simple things that add up to peace and order in our home. And we built these habits just one at a time. You don't need January 1st to make resolutions. You can decide today to just start ONE thing. In fact, don't start more than one. Just work on one tiny habit for a month. If you did this every month, you would have 12 new positive habits in your life!
This month, in our Never Alone Inner Circle, we are discussing ONE tool that can organize your daily task lists. Already, people are loving it. One simple, tiny habit can change everything.
You can do this. I believe in you. And if you need some extra help, grab the book Mini Habits (I found it on Amazon here. Let the words get deep in your heart and mind. 2019 is coming. This can be your year. Just start with one tiny thing at a time.
It's My Birthday Week!
We are halfway through November and Thanksgiving is upon us. Because I'm grateful for YOU (and I love celebrating my birthday) I'm going to give you a gift. If you enroll in the Never Alone Inner Circle before November 30, you'll get these bonus gifts from me:
You can jump in the Inner Circle here: https://www.neveralonebusinessservices.com/join.html
We had so much fun celebrating my birthday downtown Minneapolis! A wonderful dinner, hotel, and Cirque du Solei. It was relaxing and rejuvinating. You can connect with us more regularly by following us on Facebook. Every day I post encouraging and funny stuff, and pics of me and my family!
Find us here: www.facebook.com/jenhickle1 (The page is called "Never Alone in Business.")
I've been talking to a lot of business owners lately who are absolutely stressed by the feast and famine of their business.
One month will be a record month and the next they are wondering if any money will come in.
It's super stressful and causes them to PUSH their marketing (desperate for something to work and bring in new business!) and then, when things dry up, they have to start PUSHING again. Plus, they find that it is super hard to even pay for marketing when no money is coming in!
I've been there. I remember times of digging in the bottom of our freezer to find whatever food was still there to feed my family and avoid the grocery store completely (because it was the end of the month and we were out of money).
So how do you avoid the ebb and flow of cash problems?
1. Set your clients up on autopay. What could they pay for every single month (like Netflix) and then you can consistently deliver a service or product? You would only have to get their credit card ONCE. No more selling, selling, selling. One and done.
2. Sell once and continue the relationship. It's hard to keep selling something over and over. Instead, build a relationship and have them stay for years. Really lean into what they want, what they need, and how they will feel cared for. This relationship piece is the secret sauce to keep people with you for a long time.
3. Do your marketing strategically, when people are most likely to respond (hint: this does not mean advertising on every holiday, like every other business out there). You have to track when are people buying from you. When are they responding? And when are they distracted by other things? By tracking this, then you can put your marketing money in place when you are most likely to get the most responses. Farmers plant in the spring, not in the early fall when they are desperate for a good harvest.
4. Really, truly understand your audience. People are busy! They don't want to have to consistently re-evaluate and keep saying "yes" to you. They want to say YES once and then keep the relationship with you. Then, they cancel when needed.
5. Creatively package your services so that people have an all-inclusive feel. I LOVE Disney vacations where everything is included. I can just relax and enjoy the vacation when I know all our snacks and meals are rolled into the price. I don't have to freak out about buying one more water bottle. I want my clients to feel the same way. Free recital. Free picture day. Free awards and trophies.
If you are still selling one item at a time, how can you implement this concept? (If you sell retail, how could you get creative and set people up on memberships? I know you can. Listen--I have my toilet paper and paper towels on auto ship so I know you can do this!)
I'm so thankful that my YMCA doesn't ask me if I want to continue every month! I would say "forget it!" Instead, we bought a membership and whether we go or not, we still pay. It reminds me of the importance of fitness and makes me prioritize the commitment I made to myself!
How can you incorporate this into YOUR business model?
By setting up programs or packages, you can sleep better at night.
Then, by putting your marketing on auto pilot (like I teach in The Strategic Biz Marketing System), you truly will have a business that is not feast or famine, but a steady flow of income for your family.
Sometimes all it takes is looking at things slightly differently for everything to click into place.
If you need some help with this, join our free Facebook community. Let's brainstorm this together. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1715473611806455/
You're smart. You're talented. You can do this. I believe in you!
Welcome to all of our new members to our Never Alone Inner Circle!
What they're saying: "I'm incredibly excited about this group. I have already read the Happy Kids, Growing Biz book and have already done some work with Chris and Jen. This Inner circle is SO what I have been needing."
"I have been working with Jen and Chris for about a year now. They created an amazing website for me and have helped with my marketing as well. I look forward to learning more and gaining insight and direction as I implement new services. "
"Jen and Chris created my website. I am so SO thankful for this group and being able to fully understand what to do next. I've felt a little lost lately! Happy to meet all of you."
Regarding the November training video in the Inner Circle:
"This will help me tremendously to focus! I'm doing this today."
"Oh my gosh Jen! I am setting this up right now and I am LOVING it even more than I thought I would!!"
A BIG Congrats to those who have recently published a new website! We are so happy for you!
Daisy at Steamboat Academy of Music
Klondike at Orpheus Music Academy
Rick at Los Angeles Music Teachers
Renee at Valley Conservatory
Do you need a new website?
Is your site 2-3 years old? Out of date? Can't edit it? Web person is MIA?
We can help. Now is a great time to get this project done before the January rush!
Book a call here and let's get this done. I promise that we make this a PAINLESS process for you!
Our full time mission is helping YOUR business grow!
Have you ever felt so completely alone that you were convinced no one understands you?
Have you ever felt like the outsider, not even sure how to blend in (or if you even want to)?
I've felt this way many times in my life.
Honestly, it's an awful feeling.
Like you're flying alone. An eagle, in the sky, soaring, but lonely.
I used to feel like this all the time. (In fact, it's why we named our company "Never Alone.")
But I don't anymore.
Want to know what changed?
I found a community of support that gets me. They don't look at me like a strange bird. They don't question the thoughts I timidly express. They nod in sympathy with the things I'm going through. They don't judge. They don't look at me quizzically. They just get it.
I think everyone deserves a tribe like this.
Absolutely no one should feel completely alone and ostracized.
The problem is trying to find the people who are your people.
It can feel like the childrens' book, "Are You My Mother?"
We poke into group after group (at church, at a homeschool co-op, in our neighborhood, at the Chamber of Commerce, with various friends groups) asking, "Are you my people? Are you my people?"
And when you don't find your tribe, it's pretty tempting to just assume there is something wrong with you.
It's simply not true.
You were created ON purpose, with a purpose. (Yes, I know that phrase is over-used. But it's true!)
GOD created you the way you are. Wrinkles, funny laugh, quirky expressions, faults and gifts and strengths....all came from God, the maker of heaven and earth. And if you don't believe that, I'll gladly debate you. I KNOW each of my kids came out of the womb with personality. In fact, IN the womb they were all different! Ethan was active and kicking all the time. Elias was snuggly and barely moved. Abigail went crazy when I ate chocolate or coffee (she still loves both today!). Lydia LOVED music, even inside of me (she now plays 4 instruments!).
It's CRAZY, but true. You came into this world pre-programmed to be uniquely YOU.
But just because you are unique does not mean you have to be lonely!
You just need to find your tribe.
That's why I'm opening the doors to my Inner Circle.
If you need focus, strategy, and support to make your REALLY BIG dreams a reality, then you will find your people in this group.
We are all determined to make a difference in the world.
We are supportive of each other.
We are encouraging.
We are cheering each other on.
We all own businesses and we want to celebrate YOUR wins and commiserate with you on the low, dark days, too. Because this CEO/Boss life is HARD, man. It just is! But it's also AWESOME.
We need each other to keep going and to celebrate the really super awesome moments.
If you're looking for community, focus, strategy, and support, let's talk. Let's see if this group is right for you. Schedule a call with me. Let's see if this is your tribe.
All my love to you.
I share a very personal story in today's video. It was the lowest point of our marriage and the turning point for our business.
When our boys were just babies, I almost grabbed them and ran. I was hurt, angry, sad, and disillusioned and I almost ended our marriage.
I didn't leave, but it was a very dark day.
Watch this video now:
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!