Wow, I don't know about you, but January was crazy in our house! We had two birthdays (our oldest son turned 17 and our youngest daughter turned 10) and we traveled to Florida for some great fun vacation time in the sun. Our music school enrolled 40 new students and we passed a new milestone: 560 students are enrolled in our school and take lessons every week!
I just finished teaching a 5 Day Mini Course on Online Marketing and the response was outstanding.
Here's what people are saying:
"Thank You Jen and Chris! Over a year ago I hired Never Alone Business Services to redo the website for my business The Bayport School of Music...all I can say is that everything presented in this mini workshop will help your business reach more potential customers...Bravo!"
"So I watched the videos—very informative and clear, thank you, Jen!"
"Thank you for your investment in ALL of us!
Thanks for your consistent encouragement.
You DEFINITELY are fulfilling your calling, and we appreciate you much!"
"Thanks! You gave me a lot to think about."
"Hi Jen! Thank you so much for this very helpful mini course! You are awesome!"
If you missed out on the course this week, but would still like access to the free mini course, just email me and I'll get you access to the 5 videos! ALL the videos disappear on February 9, so you have one week to jump in!
Too busy to watch all the videos? I get it! Life can get crazy! Even if you just hit play and passively listen, you'll get ideas and clarity for your business. You don't have to do all the homework right away to still greatly benefit from the content!
So what's next for you? As January fades away and we walk into February, I find that now is a great time to finally fix your website and get those print materials finished. As I catch my breath from a busy January, my calendar is now open and ready for YOU. Just book a call with me if you need help with:
What is a business? A business is simply seeing a need and filling it. Having a solution for a problem.
If you sell something or provide a service for something that people need, and are willing to pay for it, you have a business.
That's it in a nutshell. When you boil down what we do, we find a need and we fill it.
How do you grow your business? Well, people need to know about your solution! You have to express that you understand their problem and clearly explain the solution. But this is complicated, isn't it? Sometimes it's hard to relate to the people we are selling to. Sometimes we don't like to promote ourselves. And sometimes we are so busy providing the solution, we actually don't have time to promote at all!
Here's where systems come in. You have to have stable, dependable systems to promote the solution to the problem that your people are facing. You can use your website, email, Facebook, direct mail, word of mouth, etc. But you can't decide to promote your business only when business is slow. Honestly, your marketing and advertising needs to be a system in itself! Do you have a repeatable process that is a checklist that you complete every single week?
If you don't have enough people seeking the solution that you offer, then focus on your marketing. Focus on improving your messaging. Make sure you are speaking to the need that your customer already knows they have. They have pain--and you have the solution. Simply put, that is marketing and advertising.
If you need some feedback on your marketing message, for a very limited time (only until February 5th) I am offering website and Facebook Page assessments. Book a 30 minute call with me here and for only $97, I'll get you my honest, knee-jerk reaction to your website and Facebook page. You'll come away with actionable items and steps to tweak and improve your messaging and your marketing. Normally, I charge $300 for this assessment. But I feel very strongly about you getting this done. So grab your time slot (it must be booked before February 5th) and take advantage of this super low price. Only $97. Here's the link again: https://www.neveralonebusinessservices.com/coaching-call.html
Let's make sure you're speaking your customer's language. Let's make sure they clearly understand the solution you provide to their problem. Let's do this together!
It's December. You're feeling a little antsy. Sales are down. The phones are (relatively) quiet. You're tempted to bomb your email list with a December special or run an expensive Facebook campaign.
I've been feeling the same way, and while my intuition has been whispering, "Wait," I still have been chomping at the bit. I'm ready for 2017. I'm ready to grow my music school. Let's do this!
And yet, I need to finish my Christmas shopping and wrap the presents I've hidden. I need to make cookies for our family get-together, but before I can do that, I have to buy the supplies to make the cookies. Before we actually get to baking, I need to wash all the dishes (our dishwasher is broken, boo). It's an overwhelming time of year--not only for me, but for our customers! This is precisely why you need to be patient and wait to run your 2017 marketing campaign. Give your prospects some space. Respect their crazy. Let them shop and wrap and bake and enjoy the season. There's plenty of time for marketing!
Now, where to put all your nervous energy (as you're procrastinating on wrapping those gifts)? You can PLAN your January marketing. Write those emails. Map it out. Line up some great photos for your Facebook campaigns (remember: smiling happy faces looking AT the camera!).
If your staff is pacing nervously, let them make plans to spruce up your location. Do paint touch-ups. Get those cobwebs high in the corner. Move some furniture around. Let this "slow" time be a time of improvement before the New Year's rush.
And the best use of your time and energy this month is definitely giving back. Who can you bless? What need can you meet? Send that check anonymously. Buy a new winter coat for that family in need. Do a food or new toy drive at your business. Leverage your position and your company to be a force of good in the community and in the world.
Enjoy the season. Breathe. (And listen to some wonderful music!)
All week I've been talking to my coaching clients about the importance of a monthly newsletter. It seems so old fashioned, doesn't it? But I actually count it as one of the most important elements of my marketing!
A newsletter is a fun, casual way to stay in front of your customers and prospects. It's not "salesy" and it's predictable. When you add someone to your newsletter list, you know they are going to hear from you every month. For prospects, it's a gentle reminder that you're still here, ready for them to sign up/join/buy when they are ready. For current clients, it keeps you on their radar, and when you ask them to refer you to their friends, they will!
Let's face it. Your current clients may use your services, but they may not know you are taking new clients. You have to actually say, "Tell your friends! We have room for more!"
When your prospects request more info, call you, or email you, they may not be ready to buy yet. You don't want to hound them forever, do you? Yuck. So you reach out a couple times and then put them on your newsletter list. It's a very easy way to systematically reach out to them, without them feeling like you're chasing them down.
Here are some tips for connecting with your clients via newsletters:
Don't be formal, be fun!
No reason to use a professional voice--be casual, like the tone of this blog. Write FUN articles about you, your family, the weather, the changing seasons, your dog (seriously!), sports, or anything else you love to write about!
Blast your message on multiple channels
When you write your newsletter each month, you need to send the message on multiple channels: Post it on your website, send it as an email, post it on Facebook (use the website link), and also mail it to their mailbox! Don't worry--you aren't bombarding people. Some will read it via email, others don't even check their email! Some will catch it on Facebook, and others will be surprised to get some fun mail (instead of just bills!)
Be Real and Be You
In the social media age, we are all hungry for people who are "real" and authentic. We don't need stiff and formal. (Seriously. Even if you're an insurance agent or dentist!) Write a really fun front page article (or ask your spouse to help you). The goal is to touch base with your clients and prospects in a friendly, engaging way. You want them to LIKE you, so they will buy from you!
Entertain your reader
Please, for the love, do not write about technical things. If you're a dentist, don't tell me how to clean my teeth! If you're a chiropractor, don't write about subluxation. Just entertain me! Add a funny comic strip or pictures of your pets! If you're not fun or interesting, they won't read it, and you'll be wasting your time, and that will be a bummer, now won't it?!
Use lots of pictures (and pull from your Facebook page)
A GREAT idea for filling your newsletter is to pull content that you already posted on Facebook! Whoo hoo! Reusing material is a great idea! You already posted those pictures--now go grab them and add them to your newsletter. Most people didn't see them on Facebook the first time around, and even if they did, things move so quickly now days that they can see them again. No problemo.
Listen--I'm an avid reader, but most people aren't. They love to SCAN and they love pictures! So fill your newsletter with fun pictures!
Get your newsletter in the mailbox
I know. It's a ton of work to actually mail a paper newsletter to your list's mailbox. But you know what? NO ONE is doing this! Do you want to stand out? Do you want more clients? You do? Then it's worth all the work and effort to design a newsletter, print it, address it, and send it in the mail! (You can pay companies to help you with this, too.)
If you really, truly want to grow your business, you need to ramp up your newsletters. Put reminders on your phone for the first of every month to start writing your front page article. Put another reminder to send it to the printers on the 10th of the month.
Get your office staff to do the bulk of the work for you! You can even write several articles at once for the next couple months! (Totally ninja, I know!)
It all comes down to systems. You have to make a system for getting your newsletter done every month. It takes discipline for sure. But if you want to grow your business, you have to make this a priority! It works. I promise.
(You can see my newsletter link on my website HERE.)
It's a common complaint. People get soooo much email. So, as business owners, how do we still use email but not drive our customers crazy?
1. Keep it simple.
No need for multiple columns or fancy designs anymore. People are reading their email on their phone and you need to keep your communication to a one column design.
2. Once a week
Try to keep your communication no more than once a week. Be simple and use bullet points, when you can. Think of busy people checking their email on the go. You want to be clear and concise!
3. Be entertaining!
Have a lighter tone in your email (not corporate or formal) and make people want to read your emails. If you're always boring or rude or forceful, they'll delete it without even opening it.
4. Be conversational
As you're writing, think of one person in your mind. Write like you're writing to a friend. It will be so much more enjoyable for everyone to read. Drop the formal tone. Just be yourself!
4. Use a BIG font!
You can't always control how your email will look on a mobile device, but you can help by making your font BIG when you send it. When the font is too tiny, it's frustrating to try to squeeze and pinch and try to read all the words!
4. Use a REAL email provider.
No more Outlook. No more gmail. If you are running a company, and sending bulk emails, you must use a real email provider, like Mail Chimp (our favorite). First of all, it's much easier to keep track of your lists and email contacts. Secondly, it's the law that people must be able to opt out of your list. You must have an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of your email.
(Obviously I'm not talking about emails to one person. I'm talking about your mailing list, advertisements, sending out your blog, or emailing your newsletter. Yes, still use gmail for every day emailing!)
5. Be consistent
If you're running a company, I know things get busy and crazy. But make it your goal to email your list at least once a month. Once a week is better. When you disappear and go silent, it can be very confusing when you show up in their inbox again. "Who is this again??" they will ask. And if it's been awhile, come right out and introduce yourself again! It will help.
6. Open Rates
If you're watching the open rate statistics in your email provider, don't get discouraged. The numbers aren't always accurate for people reading your emails on their phones (which is almost everyone). One tip to increase your open rate is to use a very causal subject line, like you are writing to a friend. This makes people curious and they want to read what you've written.
7. Broadcast on multiple "channels"
When you send an email, be sure to send the SAME message in multiple ways. Post it on Facebook, post it on your blog, hang up flyers in your brick and mortar location, or hand out flyers. People need to see a message multiple times, and plus, there's always that one guy with 2,000 unread emails. Send your info in multiple ways and you're more likely to be heard.
Remember--our world is noisy and filled with information and messages. Be interesting and conversational and keep it simple. Focus on connecting with your reader! Then your message will be heard!
Social Media has changed the way we all do business! It's astounding that we can show up in the living rooms of our ideal clients and connect with them right on their phone or laptop!
You can choose to be frustrated that marketing is always evolving and changing or you can be grateful for the amazing opportunity to leverage what is new and right in front of us!
If you haven't cracked the code on making Facebook Ads work for you, you need to purchase my training! I'll walk you step by step through making Facebook ads work for your brick and mortar business. (Hint: it's very different from how online businesses use it.)
Before you purchase my training, here are a few things you need to know!
Have a Business Page
You need a personal profile, of course, to navigate Facebook. But you must also have a Business Page. It's very simple to start a page if you haven't. (Just Google it.) Make sure your header photo is fun and engaging (build a collage here: www.picmonkey.com). For your profile picture, use faces, NOT your logo.
Use Facebook ads during your peak response times
Spend your money on Facebook marketing at your peak response times. Once you're getting good responses, then you can experiment during your "off" season. But when you first get started, make sure your clients are actually thinking about your product and what you are selling.
Facebook is NOT a place to be "professional." It's for connection. You're going to have to deliberately change your "voice" on Facebook and make sure you are connecting with your audience in a fun, light, social way. Drop the formality. Be casual, just like you would when you're talking to a close friend! Trust me--you'll attract more business.
Fill out your About Section
Make sure all your contact info is current and filled out on your business Page. Fill out all the sections so people can find you! Change the "button" to say "Contact Us" and link up your website so people will be guided from Facebook to your website.
Do FB Live!
Video is king right now on Facebook. (Facebook is trying to rival YouTube for videos.) The BEST engagement you can get on Facebook is through Facebook Live. Yes, it can be intimidating to "Go Live" but just jump in and try it! Be fun and interesting and show people "behind the scenes" of what your company does.
Get Training on Facebook Ads
If you're thinking, "Facebook just doesn't work for me" you're wrong. You just haven't cracked the code yet! Contact me and request my Facebook training for brick and mortar, local business. People are reporting wonderful results. I'd love to help!
By the way, Facebook is one of my top referral sources for my school of music! We got 93 new students just from Facebook last year. Does Facebook work for advertising? Oh yes, it does.
It's a simple fact: people want connection. They want to know a real, living, human being cares about them. This is such an easy, simple thing to implement into business or ministry, and yet most of us are missing the mark.
Through connection, you can grow your business with 3 simple systems: using your website, email, and Facebook. (Chances are, you’re already using these 3 things! Whoo hoo!)
The #1 mistake that 90% of websites make is not capturing the reader’s attention with BENEFITS for the reader on the home page. Why should people choose your business? What sets you apart from other businesses just like yours?
Home page rules
The average visit on a website is 1 minute! To make matters worse, between 21-79% of your readers only look at the first page they land on. They won’t even attempt to click through your other pages.
You have only seconds to grab the attention of your reader and give them the answers that they are seeking. Are they looking for pricing? Contact info? Directions? Information? Do you have the answers to THOSE questions on your front page?
If you have sentences like: “Thanks for stopping by our website. We hope you will browse around. Let us know if you don’t find what you are looking for” then you are WASTING an opportunity to connect with your audience! You need to GRAB your reader’s attention with a headline (or a question) that they are already asking.
If you have a very beautiful "cool" website without the pertinent information, you will frustrate your reader. If your website is not on a responsive theme, they may not be able to see anythingbecause your site originally designed for a desktop computer. It’s hard to keep up with all the changing trends! If you haven’t updated your site in the last year or two, it's time for a redesign.
The right Pictures
Make sure you have pictures on the home page of your site! Your site should reflect your audience, so pick pictures that look like real people (not like fake models or stiff stock photos). Portray the clients you are trying to attract! The best thing you can do is take real pictures of your real clients!
Answer the questions they are asking
Make sure you have text on your home page. Answer your audience’s questions quickly and swiftly, and let them know why they should choose YOU.
Search engines love text (and can't "read" images with words on them) so this will help when users are searching for what you do.
Call to Action
The very last item on your home page should be a Call to Action. Do you want them to call? Stop by? Request more information? Make it clear. People are in a hurry and want to be told exactly what to do!
Next week we'll talk about email and Facebook!
I was the editor of our school newspaper in high school. It was supposed to be a rotating position, but right away it was clear that I was the one who loved editing, correcting grammar, and cracking the whip on deadlines. I remember sitting in Government class, secretly editing articles and passing them back to my fellow newspaper contributors. It was a position that I loved so much that my plan was to pursue Journalism in college. (Until God made it clear that I should major in music. But that's a story for another day.)
An important consideration for any newspaper team or editor is the article that is "above the fold." You know the newspaper that's folded in half, lying on the stand at the end of the counter at Starbucks while you wait for your grande latte? You scan the headlines, right? You might pick up the paper and look underneath. But the most attention goes to article above the fold.
The same is true of your website. First impressions are everything and "above the fold" is valuable real estate. For websites, we want to maximize the first few seconds the reader is on your website. Is it clear what your business is all about? Does the reader know what to do next? Are the pictures visually clear on who the target audience is?
PLEASE don't waste the top half of your home page with announcements: "Enrollment ends soon. Hurry!!" or "We will be closed on Labor Day." These announcements are for your current clients. Use email for your announcements, not your website. Your website is mostly for new visitors. Potential clients. You have only seconds to win them over and to keep them reading. Please don't waste those seconds on "insider information."
If a reader can't decide in 3 seconds that "this is the place for me," then you've probably lost them forever. Use only 2 different fonts on your page, keep your colors clean and appealing, and use photographs that are happy, smiling, and that draw in your reader.
Make sure your address, phone number, and email address are front and center! This is super important for both current and prospective clients. Please don't make the reader search for this important information. Also, be sure to have a link to your Facebook page in the upper right hand corner. (Social Media is how clients can peak into the life of your business and decide if they want to work with you.)
First impressions are everything. If you are stuck on how to improve your site, ask a friend or co-worker to give you their opinion. Then listen and make changes!
If you're a creative person, like me, you probably spent hours choosing your business name. You probably asked all your friends and relatives, took a poll, made lists, doodled, brainstormed, agonized, called your best friend, agonized some more and FINALLY the big reveal! You created a logo and the perfect font and announced your beautiful business name! And then people gave you "the look." The look that said, "I don't get it. What do you do? What's your business?"
Oh beautiful creative people. WE know the meaning behind all the words and the beautiful journey we took to arrive at this amazing name. But other people don't. Other people (yes, sad, but true) are logical and literal (but don't get down on them too much--they do our bookkeeping and we love them!). They just don't understand our amazing creative ways. (That's why they need us in their lives! To make all the beauty appear!) The problem is when our clients are actually the more left-brained, logical type. They are the ones that need to understand our brand, our logo, and our business name, and yet that's who we are confusing!
Story time: When I named my company a million years ago (OK, 20 years ago. But feels like a million years ago) I agonized over the name. I had lists and ideas and doodles--the whole works. I finally landed on Signature School of Music. Because duh--time signatures and key signatures and just like our signature, we are all unique and individuals. Except all that inference was lost on everyone. So I was continually asked, "Why Signature? What does that mean?" So I would explain and expound they would look at me like, "OK, yeah. Sure." So I finally resorted to saying, "A teacher of mine suggested it. I liked it." Response: "Oh."
Fast forward 15 years. It's time to get serious about growing my little music school. I'm tired of make ZERO money. I'm tired of working super hard but never moving forward. So I hire a business coach. And he -GASP- suggests I change my name to the name of my town. Here's the dialogue that ensues in my (freaking out) mind:
"I can't! I'm so attached! I love my name. I've always been Signature School of Music. I live in ROGERS. Rogers is a terrible name for a music school! I can't do it. I won't do it. I can't do it." Oh the drama.
After a year or two of hemming and hawing, I finally decided that I wanted to be THE music school in my town. I wanted the town to have ownership of my business. I wanted my clients to definitively know where my business is located. I wanted the surrounding areas to know where my school is located. So I did it. I filed a DBA (doing business as) and changed my business name to Rogers School of Music.
No one died. I didn't flip out. I cried a little (and saved the sign in my garage for the next 3 years) but you know what happened? My business GREW. People started exclaiming, "I didn't even know this school was here!" (What?? With all my advertising, you didn't know I existed? But I change my name and NOW you notice??)
Yep. The fall that I changed my name (and made a big to-do about it on Facebook and in our newsletters and emails and even got in the paper and invited the Chamber of Commerce to do a ribbon cutting) we got more noticed than ever before. And we GREW. And I've never looked back. No one (except friends in other parts of the United States) asks me why my company is named Rogers School of Music. Nope. It's clear. It's not clever, it's not beautiful, but it's clear and I've gotten so many new clients because of it!
If I can do it, you can too. Sure, you'll cry a little. But then it won't matter because you'll be so happy about all your new business. (And people will find you more easily online because your city name is in your business name! Boom!)
When I finally threw away my old sign that I had stored in the garage for 3 years, I chuckled a little. Besides the day that it came down, I've never looked back. I've never regretted the decision. I only have one regret--I should have done it sooner.
In 2003, I had a two year old and an infant and a husband in the hospital with a ruptured appendix. While he was recovering from an internal infection explosion and spending a week in the hospital, I was busy taking care of my babies and running back and forth to the hospital. Getting the mail, and taking over paying the bills, I found credit card statements that I did not know we had. I discovered we were $20,000 in debt from credit cards alone.
The world stopped that day.
I looked around at our brand new townhome that we had just built and a brand new SUV that we had just purchased and I realized the very, very deep pit we had dug for ourselves. Soon after my husband was home from the hospital and the weight of our situation settled on me, I laid in bed feeling trapped and confused and angry and alone. I imagined grabbing my two young boys out of their cribs and leaving my husband. How did we get here? How did this happen? What does our future hold?
I didn't leave. Instead, we declared that this was our turning point. We made the hard decision to sell our car and our brand new, beautiful house. We worked very hard and deliberately over the next 5 years to get out of debt. The budget was sliced and diced until it felt like nothing was left. It was time to stop ignoring the budget and the numbers and the mess. We had to tackle this head-on.
I bought food that would stretch as far as possible, using recipes with the word frugal in the title. One day in the grocery store, an older gentleman saw me using a calculator as I placed each item in the cart. Every decision mattered, and he could tell. Very gently, he pointed out the discount bin in the meat section—it was the meat that was set to expire in a day or two, and deeply discounted in price. I stocked my freezer each week from that bin, and we filled in the gaps with pasta and rice. I cut coupons for everything, and drove to several stores each week, just to find the best deal for milk and toothpaste. I vowed to not purchase anything without a coupon. I treated myself to a gourmet coffee only on Tuesdays, when the mochas were discounted to $2.00. In the drive through window, I handed the barista my assorted change, embarrassed that it came from crevices in my couch and the change drawer in my minivan.
In the summer, I only shopped at garage sales, and even then, my husband begrudgingly handed over a limited amount of cash and change for me to use. (I think my mother-in-law saw what our predicament—because she offered to buy the kids shoes every year. What a blessing!)
The entire whole time that we clawed our way out of debt and attempted to re-wire our brains and lifestyle, I was growing my small business. The motivation to make more money to support our family was overwhelming. I did what I knew how to do, and I relied on books and friends and other business owners to fill in the gaps. I was desperate to make my little company grow.
At that time, I taught piano lessons and I hired other piano teachers to teach lessons as well. To make more money, I knew I had to multiply myself. I handled all the billing, scheduling, and administration. People called me for lessons, and I matched them with a teacher who would come to their home for lessons.
I worked every afternoon, while my kids napped, working on developing new systems and new organizational tools for my staff. I wrote emails and newsletters late at night, when my kids were finally asleep. I kept business books I wanted to read on the back of the toilet and read a few pages in the bathroom every day. I took walks with the stroller and the tricycles and prayed for wisdom and direction and ideas. I had a separate cell phone for the business, but because I was so busy with the kids, it sat in the drawer until I could answer the calls while my husband gave the kids a bath at night. I was so embarrassed to make follow up calls at 8:00pm, but my prospective clients were grateful that I had gotten back to them. I was good at what I did and I closed nearly every sale, steadily adding new clients and growing my business.
During this whole time, we were also church planting. My husband was a youth pastor and then an associate pastor, and because the churches were brand new, they couldn’t afford to pay very much. I desperately wanted to grow my business to supplement our small ministry income.
The darkest days of this journey was when my husband switched from one church to another and the new church couldn’t pay him at all. He has amazing techy skills, so he was hired right away as the computer guy at a fairly large company. However, with the commute in traffic every day, he was gone from 7:45am to 6:30pm. He would arrive home exhausted, and collapse on the couch. As he lay on the couch, and the kids begged him to play, my eyes would shoot daggers at him as I finished prepping for dinner. I had been home all day with a new baby, 3 year old, 5 year old, and 7 year old and wanted to collapse on the couch, too. He was exhausted and I was exhausted and I didn’t know if our marriage would make it or if we could survive this season. I found myself in tears daily as I tried to do tasks that I wished he were home to do for me: assemble the bike rack on the back of the van, kill the spider in the basement, shoo the bee out of my kitchen, change lightbulbs, and replace water filters.
Daily I would think: this is not what I signed up for. This is not what I wanted to do with my life.
I knew that the job of a mom was important and I wanted to be with my kids. But I also wanted to work and make more money for our family. I would stare longingly at my computer and count down the hours until the kids were napping or having screen time so I could work on my business.
Over and over, I thought: “If I could just make more money…if I could just grow my company…if I could just work harder…then things could change. If only I could enroll more students in my lessons and classes…if only I could figure out this marketing stuff.”
I read every book I could find. I scoured the internet. I talked to anyone who would listen to me at the park while my kids played. I tried so hard.
In 2008, my dad was laid off and suddenly the problem was bigger than just me and my small family. I saw my parents suffer and panic. I had to do something. Around my dining room table, we brainstormed, and together we launched a theatre company. They had been teaching music and theatre for years, and I had been running the administrative side of my music lessons business, and together I knew we could form a powerful partnership. But now I really had skin in the game. I was absolutely desperate to learn more practical skills for my business so I could make more money for myself and my parents. I dreamed of my husband being able to quit his job and work with me on my company so we could church plant without needing a salary from the ministry.
One day, while searching for answers online, I found a business coaching program, describing the answers exactly as what I was looking for. The price tag was absolutely shocking, so I quietly shut my computer and didn’t tell my husband for a couple months. I thought about it constantly and prayed desperately and fervently. How would I come up with the money for this program?! But how could I say “no” to the very answers I was so desperately seeking? I knew that taking this step would catapult me to the next level. I knew I had to figure out how to say “yes” to this opportunity.
When I finally got up the nerve to spill my secret to Chris, he was quiet. Finally, he looked at me steadily. “We can do this. We’ll figure out a way.” I was shocked. We had JUST climbed out of debt. I didn’t think there was any way we could swing the cost of this program. We couldn’t go backwards into debt. But my very frugal, very conservative, safe husband said, “We have to do this. We have to get answers. This isn’t debt—it’s an investment.”
This coaching program wasn’t just a purchase—it was a trip to a conference. We had to buy plane tickets and reserve a hotel room, plus pay for the coaching program. I thought I was going to be sick. But as I sat in that gigantic conference room, pen scribbling furiously with all the notes I was taking, I knew we had made the right decision. All the questions, all the gaps in my knowledge, all the wondering vanished. Here I had found answers. Here I found help. I found hope.
Fast-forward 5 years. My husband was able to quit his job—because our music school grew enough to more than replace his salary. We have a commercial location, three employees working our front desk (I don’t even answer the phones anymore!) and we have 30 teachers who work for us and teach over 400 students at our studio each week. Our lessons and classes grew, like I prayed! In fact, we had to knock down walls and build more rooms for more lessons!
My parents’ theatre company grew so much that they spun off with a different name. We share students and marketing, but we are two distinctive companies now. Both are thriving and growing!
I don’t have to shop in the discounted bin of meat anymore. In fact, I order groceries online and they are delivered to my doorstep. Just the other day, I visited my old coffee shop where I used to hand over my fistful of change. This time, I had $100 in cash in my purse. I started to get tears in my eyes. How things have changed in only a couple years!
We have NO credit card debt, we travel at least 3 times a year, and we enjoy the freedom of working and schooling from home. We have been to Washington, D.C., North and South Carolina, Texas, California, and Arizona in the last two years. We travel because we love it. We love showing our kids different cultures and giving them experiences that they will remember forever. The money we invested in the coaching program was quickly recuperated as my business immediately started growing and thriving with the answers that I had been seeking. We’ve continued to invest thousands of dollars in classes and coaching and conferences. Never once have we regretted our purchase.
As our business has grown and been streamlined, one of the most important things we’ve gained is time wealth. As we have worked through a very specific, deliberate process to re-define what we want for our life, eliminate time wasters, and automate processes in our business, we have fallen in love with life again. We have time to spend with our kids, have friends over for dinner and deep discussions, and time to help other business owners. We love helping and serving at our third church plant (without having to ask for a salary!) and raising and homeschooling our kids.
The number one question that people ask me is "How do you do it all??" My answer is found in the acronym “REAL.”
Redefine where you are going.
Eliminate time wasters
Automate everything you can
Love what you do and do what you love.
This formula has transformed my life and now I’m focused on helping others change their life, too! Together, Chris and I help business owners take the important, proven steps to improving their lives and their businesses. I’ve done it for myself, and I’ve helped many others achieve the same results! It’s hard work, it’s intentional, and it’s not overnight. But the results are worth it! Your family and your business need you to make this change. And I’m going to show you how. (Read more in my book, Happy Kids Growing Biz. Click here and get it for free.)
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!