In this episode, James and Phoebe are joined by entrepreneurial business coach and small business consultant, Amber McCue. With another new year almost here, she shares the things that we can do now in order to have an extraordinary tomorrow!
Amber says that waiting until it’s January is too late to start planning, and you need to take the time to plan well in advance. Having plans in place will set you up for better results throughout the upcoming year. James notes that doing this is the difference between being proactive, and being reactive.
6 strategies for an extraordinary new year:
1. Set effective goals
Amber recommends having a goal that you’re working towards right now, as well as setting when you intend to meet it. What effort will you give to receive or attain this, and what financial target (or metric) will you use to gauge your success?
Reflecting on prior years is a powerful tool, as well as assessing what is working, and what isn’t working, throughout the current year. She adds that you can have one over-overarching goal, which then can be broken down into smaller ones.
Almost anything can be turned into a tangible goal, but Amber notes that these goals have to align with your values, your beliefs and how you show up in the world. She feels that it’s important to believe that the goal will happen, and if you don’t believe, you’ll end hustling and that’s when the overwhelm occurs.
2. Manage your time
If you let yourself work 60 to 80 hours a week, the work you have to do will expand to fill the available time. Amber recommends creating a “time budget” and make adjustments; she says that this will lead to the realization that you really don’t need to work a lot of hours each week.
3. Focus on what matters
Consider if what you’re doing is a revenue-generating activity, or just something that is draining energy. Bigger projects that lead to more revenue often take longer to complete than smaller items on your to-do list, but are necessary to grow your business. To determine if you should be doing a certain task, review your goals and see if completing it will get you closer to where you want to be.
If something is able to be repeated, Amber recommends setting up a system so someone else will be able to do that activity. If you have your brand voice documented, another person can still write copy for you, even without a script.
4. Constantly check your energy
You should be checking on how you’re feeling moment-to-moment and daily. Creating a time log that you can review can help determine why you’re feeling a certain way. If something on your to-do list keeps getting pushed back, ask yourself why this is happening and clear some mental space by making a decision to delete, delegate or just do it.
5. Create a revenue plan
Small business owners that have a revenue plan in place grow 60% faster than those that don’t. Amber says it doesn’t have to be complicated, and can just be a simple calculation of how many products/services you intend to sell, to how many people. When we do this, we start to get intentional about where we spend our time and the revenue plan is a tangible way to see how our goals are going to be achieved.
Look at your product suite holistically to see what worked last year and ask yourself what is happening in the marketplace. Consider who you want to serve, and if there are there gaps that you’re noticing where you can introduce new offerings.
Amber believes in a “margin for magic” when building plans, and when she determines her own goals, she always looks at both the best-case and worst-case scenario.
6. Do the road map for the year
Amber writes out her road map for the year on an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper, showing which activities to focus on and when. She adds that this road map is very high level, and she doesn’t go into a lot of details; those will come when she does her 90-day, monthly, weekly and project plans.
Finally, be flexible and don’t take planning too seriously. Whatever planning you get done now is a perfect start and Amber says that you can always evolve as you go!
In this latest “Listener Question of the Week” episode, James and Phoebe explore the issue of negative feedback. When is it legitimate, and when is it just about someone else’s “stuff”? They share tips of how to handle criticism, specifically if you’re a creator in the online space.
James shares that it’s a fallacy that we need to be all things to everyone, and he’s spent a lot of time over the years determining who his ideal customer is. As the saying goes, if you try to be everything to everyone, you really end up being nothing.
Dealing with criticism is a skill that takes time to develop, and when you’re a creator putting your work out to the world, it can leave you very vulnerable.
“You’re literally birthing something that is symbolic to who you are”
It’s only human nature that you’re going to take things personally, and Phoebe adds that the Internet has created a layer where people can get a sense of entitlement to say whatever they want to, even if it would never happen in person.
Tips to deal with negative feedback:
1. Understand everyone has their own “stuff”
Everyone has a perception, or a lens of reality. Is it an interpretation, is it a story or is it real though? You could be doing or saying something that is causing people to push against change, or step out of their comfort zone, and their egos are just trying to keep them safe.
2. Look for real feedback
Realize again that if it feels personal to you, it really has nothing to do with you. To determine if the feedback is real or not, get rid of the adjectives, assumptions and interpretations that the person is using. Is there something that you can do better? For example, if someone wasn’t able to attend your webinars, could you have done a better job of reminding them by sending more notifications? If this is the case, their feedback could be legitimate and there may be room for improvement in your product or service.
3. Find the consensus of the group
You should be looking for trends in the feedback received. You may find something easy to add or amend, like a table of contents or more examples within your course if this is a common theme coming from participants.
4. Have a “buffer”
If you have a team member that can give you his or her interpretation of the feedback, it can be helpful. This third-party person will not be as vulnerable as you are as the creator or personal brand.
We tend to let the negative things said control us with fear. We may fear rejection, humiliation and the hatred of others, but in reality, these things really can’t hurt us. If you care, it really shows that you’re after continual improvement and quality in what you do and that you care about your customers.
“Even the best stuff is getting criticized; we can’t let it stop us from doing what we’ve been doing”
There’s such a huge opportunity when we receive any type of feedback, and staying open to it really is a choice that we can make. If your commitment and intention is pure and is designed to help people and provide value, you’re heading in the right direction!
In this episode, James and Phoebe discuss the power of the mind-body connection, and explore how our emotions truly can manifest themselves in physical ways.
In this episode, James and Phoebe discuss the power of the mind-body connection, and explore how our emotions truly can manifest themselves in physical ways.
James recently experienced what he considers his greatest miracle, when he was able to cure a severe back pain that occurred while he was on his honeymoon. He says that nothing has given him more tangible proof of the effect you can have on your own body.
In Steven Ozanich’s book, “The Great Pain Deception”, he talks about “TMS”, or the “Mind Body Syndrome”, which can show up in many ways but often as lower back pain in men.
His healing work is based on the studies of John E. Sarno, MD, and he doesn’t say that pain is imagined or doesn’t exist, but it’s just that we may have diagnosed the source or the cause of it. A person often goes to a doctor, who reinforces the belief of where the pain originates. However, is the source of the pain that structural damage, or is it something else? His book proposes that the source of the physical pain is simply repressed emotional pain, and to link it to the emotional state is the opportunity for you to heal yourself.
Ozanich also talks about the Freudian concept of the id, superego and the ego. He likens the id to the “kid” or selfish child within yourself, as well as the part that has primitive urges and desires. The superego is the part of you that is a perfectionist, and wants to conform to society. It is referred to as the “false self” and seen as the “respectable parent”, or the antithesis to the id. Naturally, when put together, there is conflict. The ego becomes the “referee” in a sense, or a buffer to balance out the id and superego. This is the face that the individual shows to the world.
Based on these concepts, the sources of TMS, or chronic pain, is this conflict within ourselves, when the ego pushes the id’s needs and desires into the background.
Perfectionists tend to suffer, such as in the case with personal brands, as they want everything they put out to be better than everyone else’s.
Even something that happens years ago can stay repressed and hidden for our entire life, and the ego will place the pain for you in your body. The thought is if you won’t feel this pain emotionally, then it will manifest in the physical form.
For James, this is all about creating or fostering that deeper level of awareness for what’s going on in your body, as well as what’s happening emotionally. When he experiences a pain now, he takes a step back and reviews his past week to see if he’s stressed or not dealing with something.
The Chakras are various points that are connected to our internal and external organs. If there is a blockage of energy at any of these points, it tends to get manifested physically.
Ozanich’s book has examples of pain appearing to stop someone from doing something that they didn’t want to do, acting as a sort of protection mechanism.
If you’re rejecting this information, this is simply the ego and what is really needed is a discipline of mindfulness in your life!
In this latest “Listener Question of the Week” episode, James and Phoebe share 21 tips for successful podcasting that they’ve learned in the first year of The Mind Your Business Podcast. If you have a show, or you are thinking of starting one, this is one episode not to miss!
James has made a transition from content distribution with video on YouTube to primarily podcasting. He says that this decision had nothing to do with the platform, but everything to do with the type of content he was producing, which is now mainly his thoughts on mindset. He still uses YouTube, but more so for anything technical or “left-brained.”
Pros of podcasting:
1. Content is quick to create
James and Phoebe have an outline, go over it quickly and record over Skype. Both of them want the podcast to be conversational, and as content creators, sometimes we just want to get that info out of our heads and into the hands of others as quickly as possible.
2. It provides a higher “log time” with potential clients
If making more sales is your goal, you increase your chances of attracting customers in direct proportion to the amount of time logged with them. Where podcasts only require listening, people consuming them can be doing other things like cleaning or walking while consuming the content.
3. There’s been a higher demand for podcasting in recent years
People enjoy podcasts and identify with their favorite shows and hosts. There’s a lower barrier of entry, or lower cost to consume for the listener, again, as less attention is needed compared to when watching a video.
Cons of Podcasting
1. It can be harder to get discovered only using podcasts
Podcasts aren’t indexed in the traditional online searches, and as a result, it can be harder for new people to find your show. Often it takes multiple steps to search for a show, and the benefits of SEO aren’t the same with podcasts as they are with something like a video or blog.
2. Driving traffic from a podcast isn’t extremely effective
A video allows for at least four different ways to link directly to content (pop ups, link in description, etc.). On a podcast, if a link is mentioned, it’s easy for the listener to not write it down as the person is often doing something else while listening.
3. Time required
The scheduling of guests, preparation for the interview and other podcast related tasks can take a lot of time, if you don’t have somebody helping you.
4. Cost of equipment
Cheap equipment can lead to poor sounding audio and is often distracting to the listener. James and Phoebe spent about $1,600 total for both of them, on microphones, headphones and mixers. A host site, like Libsyn, is required for your show, and is ongoing cost (Libsyn packages start at $5/month and depending on storage size, go up accordingly). Recording software, like Adobe Premiere, will require a monthly subscription. There can also be a learning curve for using the equipment and software.
Before deciding on whether or not to do a podcast, you need to understand who your audience is and how people are going to be consuming your content. Entrepreneurs love personal development and podcasts can be used to inspire them and raise their vibrations.
21 podcasting tips to take your show to the next level:
1. Create a core premise
This is the big idea and theme for your show, which is important. James and Phoebe started this podcast with a bold claim: hustle and hard work are not essential ingredients for success. Your core premise should attract or repel people, and get them curious. You don’t want to be boring, or “middle of the road.”
2. Have a solid intro and outro
Your intro and outro should communicate that core premise that you’re trying to prove, or re-iterate the key message of your show.
3. Hire someone to manage/edit your podcast
You can’t make it your full-time job to be doing everything with the show. Make sure things like show notes, if done by a third-party, flow well and are written in your style.
4. Batch your episodes
Set aside time to record multiple episodes at once, which allows you to get into a rhythm and stay on schedule for release dates.
5. Keep it conversational
There needs to be a blend between the content or value you’re creating and the natural, everyday chatter of life; people want something they can relate to!
6. Record 10 episodes before publishing
This will help you get into the flow of recording, and also helps as iTunes requires a certain amount of content to allow subscriptions, rating and reviews, and to qualify your show for its “New and Noteworthy” rankings.
7. Get in iTunes New & Noteworthy
See above; by launching with a good number of episodes, listeners will be given the opportunity to “binge listen” to your show.
8. Ask people to subscribe, rate and review
By subscribing, listeners will automatically receive each new episode that is released. For ratings and reviews, 5 stars are ideal and will help with iTunes New & Noteworthy rankings. As well, the comments you receive will give you valuable feedback about your show.
9. Use numbers in your episodes
By having their own numbers, each episode will be easy for people to find and share. When possible, numbers should also be used in the episode title, such as in this episode with “21 Tips.” By doing so, you create structure for the listener.
10. Place and advertisement at the start, middle and/or end of each episode
This is especially important when going into a launch. You can drive people to a landing page or promotion. Although a lot of talk in the podcasting world today is about getting sponsorships from companies, if you’re a business owner, you should be sponsoring your own show and promoting your own products and services.
11. Don’t make the episodes too long, or too short
A longer episode will allow you to go deeper on specific topic. If it’s too long though, listeners won’t finish it, or won’t listen at all. A good length to aim for is 35 to 45 minutes.
12. Track your stats
It’s standard for business owners to watch their numbers, and it’s helpful to do the same with your podcast. Monitor, but don’t obsess over these stats!
13. Quality over quantity
Although it can be tempting to release more episodes to get more downloads and exposure, this can be a mistake. Look at your stats to see which episodes are getting the most downloads and to get a feel for which topics are working. As well, be careful about what you name the episode, as the title can make a big difference.
14. Ask and listen to what your audience wants
Listeners can give valuable feedback for what topics to discuss, but also for how often to release your episode. James and Phoebe saw a demand for more than one show a week. You can ask for feedback during the show, and also include a link for listeners to submit their questions in the show notes, as they do each episode.
15. Create custom url links with episode numbers Doing this will make each episode easier for you to share, and your listeners to find.
16. Use Libsyn to host your podcast
It’s user friendly, affordable and provides stats that can help you make valuable decisions regarding your show. Other podcast platforms (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, etc.) can pick up your RSS feed directly from Libsyn, which makes having your show in multiple places automatic. When you find something that works, just go with it!
17. Have a strategy in place to promote each episode
Make sure each episode is easily sharable, and don’t just publish it and hope you get downloads. If you’re going to put in the work to record each episode, you might as well get it to as many people as possible. You can add your podcast to many places, including your email auto responder.
18. Consistency is key
Consistency breeds momentum. If you’re going to create a schedule for releasing shows, stick to it. Start with one episode per week, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Have the patience to see where you show can go over a full year.
19. Have show notes and mention all links and resources from the episode in them
You will create value by offering listeners one place where they can find everything that was discussed in the episode.
20. Go easy on yourself
It could take the first 20 to 35 episodes for you to really find your footing and voice as a podcaster! It is recommended that you go back and listen to your first set of episodes, and you can even edit those few yourself in order to become more aware of the filler words you are using.
21. Have great equipment
Audio quality is so important, and poor sound is often the top complaint from listeners.
In this episode, James gives the five key lessons that he has learned from 7-figure business owners, starting with a high level of belief in yourself, your product and your plan.
In one year alone, James shares that he went to 15 live events and credits them for helping him never give up and to help him get to where he’s at today. Here are the lessons:
You must have that “knowingness” level of belief, which will carry you further than anything else. Once you know what you want, do a gut check to assess whether you truly have this belief in you.
“You can’t sell something you don’t believe in!”
In recent years, the level of belief in the online marketing industry has shifted considerably, with there being so many examples of people who have achieved success.
2. Power of relationships
Joint venture and affiliate relationships give you the potential to dramatically increase your revenue and impact.
“When you can align yourself with the right people, it can make a world of difference”
It works both ways, in that you should also be looking for ways to align yourself with people that you can promote.
3. An invitation to play bigger
The events you attend will bring you around the right people, ones who are at a whole other level. When you do this, you will be naturally pulled to that level as well.
“What does playing bigger look like to you? Are you playing small?”
You don’t know the audience on your list, and when you want to play big, you invite them to play big as well. There’s a massive shift that happens when you’re able to make any offer to them and feel good about it.
Phoebe adds that partnering with a charity can really let people know that they are making a difference, and that business and charity can go together.
4. Community and support
Support from others will give you an awareness of what’s working and what isn’t, so much faster than if you were just doing things on your own. By seeing other peoples’ success, you’ll continue to stretch yourself towards what’s possible.
5. Have empathy
As an entrepreneur, you need to know your audience better than they know themselves. This includes knowing their internal and external pains and problems they want solved. It’s about making an attempt to understand the situation they are in, and truly, genuinely caring about them.
In today’s “Listener Question of the Week” episode, James and Phoebe discuss how you can filter through the opportunities that present themselves to decide which ones you’ll go after, and which ones you’ll let go.
To James, “opportunity” is a dangerous word because when you hear it, you only think of positive outcomes. However, no two opportunities are created equal.
It’s so easy for us to default to “Yes” when asked to do something, for fear of what might happen if we were to say “No.”
“Your time and energy is precious, and so valuable”
Opportunities are dangerous if you’re a personal brand, considering you are your product and also your most valuable asset.
“If you’re not guarding yourself, then you’re not growing because you’re not leveraging your product effectively”
James declines 90-95% of the requests he receives, but very rarely is it personal for him. He notes that when you put everyone else first, you’re putting yourself last.
People approaching you are trying to leverage your content and knowledge for their own use, or for their audience’s use.
“You need to be really mindful that what you are doing in your life and what you’ve created needs to be protected”
Three questions to ask when considering an opportunity:
1. Does it align with my vision and goals?
You need to not only consider if it’s worth your time, but also trust your instincts to decide if it’s something that’s in line with what your brand and what you’re doing.
2. If this were a wild success, what results would it have for me?
To do this, play it out with actual numbers when deciding if the opportunity is a good one that you can leverage for yourself.
3. What is the opportunity cost?
When considering what it would actually cost you to say “Yes”, don’t just look at financial cost; consider how much time, effort and energy it would take as well.
Introverts like James have limited energy and things will drain them easier. He shares his thoughts on how he handles podcasts, summits and speaking requests, as well as the way he has conditioned his team to act as a filter when they are approached with opportunities for him.
In today’s episode, James and Phoebe share easy to implement tips that can be used to become more productive on a daily basis!
It’s important to create a distinction between just being busy, versus actually being productive.
To James, the word “success” means understanding that you can get what you want, easily with as little effort as possible.
You must be crystal clear on the vision for what you want. People are often overwhelmed because they don’t focus their time and energy on what is relevant. To help her decide what to do, Phoebe looks at if the task is “on target” or “off target” with the goals that she wants to accomplish.
James says that there are two ways to get clarity about what you want. First, decide what is the essence of what you want and remember that you can change this at anytime. Second, you can look at what you don’t want to get more clarity.
18 hacks for getting to your results with less effort and energy
1. Identify that MVP (Most Viable Project, or Promotion)
Perfectionism often gets in the way of our productivity and effectiveness. This is really just a fear of not being good enough, and if we come from this belief, we’ll never get things done. You should be asking what is the least amount of work that needs to be done to get your message out to the world.
2. Work less
Try giving yourself the gift of a 3-day vacation and on the first day back, document everything you do. Odds are, it is going to be the most productive day that you’ve had in weeks, or even months.
3. Leverage activity
It’s all about spending your time on action items that be used in multiple ways!
4. Write out the top five activities for the week
James and his team calls it a “will do” list, not a “to do” list. This list contains action items that must completed before the end of day Friday each week.
5. Identify the one or two most important things to do daily
Phoebe does her list the night before, so she knows what to do when she wakes up the next morning.
6. Don’t work when you don’t feel like it
If you’re not in a flow state, don’t try to power through it as this isn’t going to produce your best work, and you won’t be as efficient as you can be. Stop and rest so you’re fully charged to pick back up when you start again.
7. Automate as much as possible
Productivity and effectiveness decrease when our brains have to dwell on things. James automates as much as he can in his life, including shopping and recurring payments he has to make.
8. Document and delegate
You should always be aware of what can be outsourced, and by documenting the process, you will have instructions to provide to others that will be doing the work.
9. Remove social media notifications
By having notifications pop up on your phone and computer, it’s easy to get distracted from the tasks that you should be completing.
10. Leverage Parkinson’s Law
This law states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” James schedules time to complete activities, such as to spend 30 minutes in a Facebook group supporting others. You can also book times in your calendar to meditate and work out, just like Phoebe does.
11. Say “No” more often
Remember that even 30 minutes of your time is valuable when being approached by others presenting opportunities. Set up better boundaries to protect your time, and feel confident when doing so.
12. Integrate a mindfulness or spirituality process
You should incorporate things like mediation and visualization into your daily routine, which will help you stay aware. Ultimately, you will be more productive.
13. Don’t let your email list be your “to do” list
Your email is something that you should schedule time for, but only after your essential one to two items for the day are complete.
When multi-tasking, you can’t be productivity. Focus on one thing at a time, and when finished that item, you can then move on to the next.
15. Get more sleep
By doing so, you will feel more rested and have more energy. As well, you will be able to wake up earlier and your morning won’t feel as rushed.
16. Have 15-minute daily meetings, or “sprints”
In these short meetings, ask yourself three things: What did I do yesterday? What am I doing today? What’s getting in the way?
17. Make your bed
Making your bed in the morning correlates with a greater sense of wellbeing and higher productivity. By giving you a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning, it will build momentum for the rest of the day.
18. Exercise and move
You don’t necessarily have to be in the gym to do this. You could do yoga, or surf like James does. Even stretching will help keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
By implementing even a few of these hacks, you’ll move towards whatever your goals may be, without sacrificing your current level of happiness in doing so!
In this episode, James and Phoebe talk rest, play and relaxation and show how these things can all lead to inspiration and more money, not less.
To understand how working less can actually make you more money, you have to understand that most people are employees, where they have been brought up thinking that their value is directly proportionate with the number of hours that they work. This isn’t how it works as an entrepreneur, which is why a different mindset is required.
Abraham-Hicks has a quote that states, “Reduce your workload by 30% and increase your fun load by 30%, and you can increase your revenue by 100%.”
Tim Ferriss says, “Being busy is a form of laziness; lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
James adds that we find ways to just be busy, thinking this is a way to guarantee our success.
Phoebe believes people almost get a sense in pride when telling others how busy they are. She remembers doing this herself when she was working 14-hour days while living in Berlin.
To James, this is a way to convince others of our value, and that we feel we need to put in a certain amount of “sweat equity” to deserve happiness.
“The thing is we work and then we forget why we’re working so hard”
A study by The University of Melbourne in Australia shows that working more than three days a week, or 25 hours, is bad for cognitive functioning.
In Jeff Sutherland’s book “Scrum”, he mentions the value of having a 36-hour workweek, with any more resulting in a lack of productivity.
James’ mantra is “less is more”, and you can’t be happy and grateful when you’re completely burnt out. Sometimes the simplest advice is the hardest to take, and often the issue of guilt will come up when you’re not working.
“For a lot of people, being still and resting is not an easy thing”
He notes that the feeling of guilt is an indicator that we do not believe that we are enough.
We need to realize that the very act of not working is actually a part of working, as during this time, your next big idea could come to you.
Phoebe shares that so much inspiration can occur when your environment has changed, like when travelling.
Parkinson’s Law talks about how work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
“There’s always something else that has to be done; it never gets 100% completed”
James says that when you start basing your satisfaction on how many items you can check off your to-do list, it creates a vicious cycle. The way to break this cycle is to schedule rest.
James plans a retreat or vacation before and after each launch. He also regularly gets massages, surfs often and makes sure he sets his own hours for when starting and stopping work.
“I’m prioritizing my lifestyle, my hobbies and the things that I want to enjoy”
Phoebe blocks off time each week with a personal trainer, and does the same for time to enjoy cooking, which is also part of her weekly calendar.