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Have you ever been stuck in a maze?

Here in Iowa, every fall we have these weird, quirky things called corn mazes.

(I’m sure they have them elsewhere in the world, but, you know….IOWA.)

my kids in a cornfield

My kids LOVE the corn mazes. It’s actually kind of weird. I call them “Children of the Corn” but they just stare at me. Blankly. Whatever.

We have to go through a maze at least once each year or the Daddy Stock drops about a million percentage points.

They usually whiz through them with no trouble. They haven’t met a maze they couldn’t match.

But last year, my little Evie got stuck.

See, Finn (my son) and I went into the maze and, thinking Evie was safely close by, zoomed ahead.

Left. Right. Sprint. Rest. Think. Move.

It wasn’t until about 5 minutes in where I looked back behind me and….NO EVIE.

Two thoughts popped into my mind:

ONE: Oh my goodness, Kerry (my wife) is going to kill me!

TWO: Oh my goodness, Kerry is going to KILL me!

THREE (I lied): WHERE IS EVIE??

…And then I heard it in the distance… A tiny, shrill, frantic little scream:

Daddy!

Daddy!

DADDY!

I knew instantly it was Evie.

I could hear the fear in her voice. It was time to move fast and take action.

I shouted back between the rows and rows of corn paths obstructing my view….

Evie! Daddy’s here! Don’t be scared! Just follow my voice!

…and then…

Evie! Daddy’s almost got you! I can hear you! It’s okay!

…and then…

GOTCHA!

I caught up to her just as some fellow maze-goers were about to call the police and report a lost little girl and, quite possibly, haul me off to jail.

I scooped her up and navigated the rest of the maze with her in my arms.

I wasn’t letting go–plus, I don’t think she would have given me an option!

We exited the maze and sat down as a family to the customary post-maze picnic of apple cider donuts and cider.

GLORIOUS!

Now…

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon.

I was talking with a small businesses owner, let’s call him “Jed”.

Jed is a 35-year-old man with a bricks-and-mortar business he loves dearly.

He’s a far cry from even remotely resembling my 3-year-old daughter, except for one thing…

Panic. Dread. Fear. Anxiety.

See, Jed knows digital marketing (a.k.a. website, blog, email, and social media) is a must. He just has no idea where to start.

I heard the panic as he described the frustration of building his email list.

The dread as he described converting his social media followers into customers.

The frustration of no one reading his blog posts.

The futility of sending out one enewsletter after the next with no traction.

In short, he feels stuck. Maybe you do too.

Thankfully there’s a way out of the maze (and it doesn’t even involve me scooping you up in my arms!).

Jed doesn’t have to stay stuck. Neither do you. If you feel like you’re stuck in the social media maze, click the button below to find your way out.

Click Here to Escape

I hear you. I know what you’re feeling. Let’s get you out.

One of the most formidable foes an entrepreneur will face is fatigue. It can sneak up on you, and when it does, it can pull you down for long, long periods of time.

Earlier this week we discussed the importance of building in breaks to our daily, weekly, and monthly routines to keep our rhythm fresh and fatigue-free.

Now we’re going to tackle the practical side: the impact that our lifestyle choices can have on our energy and motivation levels!

Regular Exercise

The importance of getting regular exercise may seem like a no-brainer, but how many of us actually work out regularly? Working out has been one of the lifesavers in my battle against fatigue. It’s become a key non-negotiable. It must happen!

Working out clears mental clutter, gets out aggression, and oxygenates your brain. It also spikes endorphins which, generally speaking, makes you feel better throughout the day.

As goes the body, so goes the mind. Exercise will keep you on point mentally which will lead to overall rejuvenation.

Nutrition

I’m still learning how huge this component is. Up until 2 years ago, I didn’t give much thought at all to what I put in my body.

I’ve always had a pretty mean sweet tooth and would just cram as much junk as I could into my daily diet. And until I turned 30 there were no physical ramifications; my metabolism let me eat what I wanted to.

But as I get older, I know it’s important to eat better not only for metabolic reasons, but it also contributes to my overall energy levels. What you put in is what you get out. The food that you eat will contribute to your energy levels, which has a direct relationship with fatigue.

Cutting down significantly on carbs and sweets and upping my intake of protein, fruits, and veggies has become my regimen. In essence, clean eating! The importance of nutrition cannot be overstated.

Fighting the fatigue with diet can be as simple as having protein (nuts, sunflower seeds) in the afternoon instead of a sugary snack or coffee in the afternoon. Protein will keep those energy levels going instead of something sugary that will make you crash!

Talk It Out

Some of you may scoff at this, but talking about what you are feeling is one of the quickest ways to fight mental fatigue. Truthfully, not talking it through will add the weight of nobody knowing what you are going through. That is a heavy burden to bear.

By having mentors that I can talk to and say “Man, this is what I’m feeling – burnt out, frustrated, like I can’t push – you have been doing this longer, what did you do when you felt like this?” Even if the answer is something like “keep pushing,” it helps me greatly to know that somebody else knows what I am going through and has made it to the other side.

My mentors have been invaluable to me in helping me shape my thinking around fatigue. That there’s this thought that as entrepreneurs we’re supposed to be invincible; we never get sick or tired or frustrated or lonely. The reality is that isn’t true. Having people you can talk to who have experienced it and know the steps you need to take to push through is key to fighting fatigue.

Final Push

The fatigue is almost always mental. Very few of us work in jobs where there is a physical fatigue. Most people in 2015 have a job surrounding a desk and computers – that leads to mental fatigue. It’s pointless to try and push through fatigue; it’s like beating a dead horse.

Your mind is already fatigued – the horse is already dead – there’s no sense in pushing forward. You might actually do further damage if you don’t take time to recharge!

There’s a dangerous notion of “the hustle” and there are certain times and places for you to push. But if you pull a muscle when you’re working out, sometimes you can push through, but sometimes you need to rest and recuperate.

The difference in terms of longevity is to know the difference between discomfort and injury. You can push through discomfort. If you try to push through injury you will only make the situation worse. That is true of our muscles and of our mental capacity.

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely battle. I want you in this for the long haul. I need you guys to take care of yourselves so that we can change the world together!

 

S02E26 Image

Doing business = selling something, right? Whatever you’re offering (products, services), you need an efficient sales funnel to turn leads into conversions. My sales funnel wasn’t as rockin’ as I wanted it to be, so I developed a 4-step method to eliminate leads that are never going to actually convert. It will help you out like it’s helped me.

This week on the Think Digital Podcast, I am testing out my road studio for the recording. That way I can bring you funky fresh digital goodness, even when I’m traveling the globe. Check out the show resources for links to my studio tools. If you’re looking to start a podcast, these will help.

Expert Interview

First, we have our expert guest joining us. Glen White comes back for a final week to talk about effective business communication. Glen is the Founder & CEO of brand new professional communication and collaboration tool, businessfriend. The world has gotten smaller, but most of us are busier than ever. This week, Glen tells us about the increased efficiency and other benefits that come from executing effective communication.

Get Those Conversions

Alright, so if you’re in business in any capacity, you are selling something, right? You might offer products or services, or a combination; regardless, you have to have a sales funnel to turn potential clients/customers into actual clients/customers.

In this podcast episode, I’m coming from the perspective of an agency that offers consulting services as well as education products. But it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, because these four steps will help you no matter what. I call them BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe).

BANT your way to success.

1. Budget

Know your audience and know what their price points are. Avoid the pain of leaving money on the table; keep experimenting with your pricing until potential clients say, “No way; I’m not paying you that much for what you just offered me!” Then you know it’s time to pull back.

*Important note: This is first on my list sheerly to make the acronym work. Don’t talk about it first, unless you’re going for “extremely rude.”

2. Authority

Are you talking to the person who has purchasing power—who can write you a check today? If not, you need to figure out how to get to that person. You should do two things:

  1. Tweak how you offer your product so that you’re targeting the authorities as much as possible.
  2. Anticipate the questions that the authority is going to ask the go-between guy that you’re talking to. Eliminate the need for back and forth, and make sure the go-between isn’t speaking for you. To do that, create an FAQ sheet.

Giving an FAQ sheet, created with your carefully chosen language, to the go-between takes away the guesswork and gives that person the ability to easily deliver your message to the authority who can actually give you dollaz.

3. Need

Does this potential client actually need what you’re offering, or something different? When I first started my business, most of the leads I had were people I knew—people who supported me and were happy to listen to what I had to say. But they didn’t necessarily need what I had to sell them. Do yourself and your potential clients a favor: Don’t try to sell them something they don’t need.

Instead, at Think Digital, we try to meet real-time client and market demand based on the capacity of our team. Meaning if a potential client needs something we don’t offer, we either figure out how to offer it, or we refer them to someone else (who we know and trust).

4. Timeframe

Are they ready to buy nowIf not, what’s their timeframe? If the potential client has gotten through the other three steps, all that’s left is timing. Don’t lose a sale because you don’t have a followup system.

I’ve automated my followup system, because going on memory alone does not work! Don’t do it! I use Boomerang and Infusionsoft to make sure I don’t miss out on business by forgetting to reach back out.

The fortune is in the followup, my friends. 

There are your four steps to identifying true potential clients. Anybody who isn’t matching up with all four is not going to buy what you’re selling, so you need to move on. Don’t waste any more of your valuable time; they are not going to make it through your funnel. Period.

You know what to do! Give the podcast a listen for all the juicy details. After, hit me up on Twitter to let me know one thing you’re going to do differently now that you’ve got these tools at your disposal.

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