A Burrito, A Parking Lot and DLO

A constant challenge for expert entrepreneurs is turning ideas into income. Oh sure, we have plenty of ideas. That’s not the problem. The problem is focusing on one idea at a time, and actually transforming that idea into a money-maker.

If you already receive my weekly ezine, you know that I’m crazy about analogies, metaphors and visuals – those handy tools that provide mental anchors that help us process new information and remember it better later. Not only that, mental anchors can provide a framework for our goals. Another way to put it is that when you’ve set an intention to make something happen, mental anchors can help keep you on track.

So how can a burrito, a parking lot and DLO help you turn ideas into income this year? By providing a simple framework so you can sort through the million distractions in your mind (that might not be much of an exaggeration, right?), zero in on one product, program or service that you can monetize, and clarify what you’ll need to do to make that one thing happen.

This simple exercise is something I do on a regular basis to turn ideas into tangible, money-making products.

  1. Fold a piece of paper like a burrito (if you’re not sure what that means, watch the video.)
  2. Write these headings at the top of each of the 3 columns on the paper: Parking Lot, One Thing, DLO
  3. In the Parking Lot Column list all the project, product and program ideas that are spinning around in your mind.
  4. Write ONE of those ideas in the One Thing column. (There’s actually an exercise to help select which idea you should focus on now, but that’s another blog post.)
  5. In the 3rd column, list all the things you must do, learn or outsource (DLO) in order to turn that thing – that idea for a product, program or service – into a reality.

That’s it! If you’re like me and you need to see a visual example, be sure to watch the video. Sometimes the simplest of strategies are the most effective to keep you moving ahead and focused on your big successes coming up in 2012!

Oh … and be sure to comment or post a question below!

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Your Marketing and My Mom’s Quilt

(Be sure to leave your comment or question below!)

My mom and dad were recently visiting (love that!) and my mom has been working on a beautiful scrap quilt for us made with a diamond pattern. (Yes, she does the quilting by hand!) As Mom and I were crawling around the floor arranging diamonds (fun!) I learned several “quilt lessons” that apply to your marketing!

I know it sounds a bit crazy, but it’s true. There are 3 very important lessons – straight from my mom’s quilting project – that you can use in your marketing plan right now.

You see, too many people are making these 3 mistakes:

  • MISTAKE #1: NO consistent “pattern” to their marketing campaigns. Most people are haphazard in the marketing approach, They write a blog post today, send out an ezine next month and spuratically post in social media sites – no consistency, of course, equals no strong results.
  • QUILT LESSON: Create “quilt pattern” consistency in your marketing. That means perpetually using certain vehicles for sharing free content with your audience – blog posts, videos, podcasts, teleseminars, webinars, articles, Facebook posts, LinkedIn discussions, etc. etc., etc. (Watch the video for more info)
  • MISTAKE #2: No “zinger” in their marketing plan. People frequently promote their products, programs and events, but they don’t take the time to campaign them.
  • QUILT LESSON: Campaigns are a series of value-based communications that you send out to your audience. They should be used periodically (like a quilt “zinger”) to garner attention and to “teach” your followers about your products.
  • MISTAKE #3: Outsourcing their expertise. Many people have gotten carried away with outsourcing to the point that they’re actually paying others to create their “expert” content!
  • QUILT LESSON: Cut your own quilt shapes and they will all be consistent, and your finished quilt will “line up” right. The same holds true when you share free content to campaign yourself as an expert! It’s super important – in fact, crucial – that you’re the one creating that content. (Watch the video for more insight on this point.)

Having a Crummy Day?

It’s a new year filled with new possibilities, but some days it might be difficult to feel the optimism. Being an entrepreneur can be a crazy, worrisome, exhausting venture. It’s easy to get discouraged – to even feel sad and defeated.

Everyone, now matter where they are on their entrepreneurial path has crummy days, so here are 4 things you can do right now to make sure those crummy days don’t get the best of you:

  1. Pay attention to your body. If your crummy day includes a headache, backache, neck-ache – or all of the above, it’s often (duh) because you’re operating on overload. Pinpoint the cause of the worry, and deal with it NOW. My friend and  expert educational consultant, Mary Peterson, says if the cause of her neck-ache doesn’t have a simple solution, it gets eliminated entirely, if at all possible.
  2. Practice rituals. Rituals are important because they provide an island of calm in a turbulent sea. Author, artist and creativity expert, Diane Cardaci, has a fabulous tea ritual that she practices daily. Diane turns tea-sipping into a special event. If you have such a ritual, take the time NOW to practice it. If you don’t yet have a ritual, create one. (A special tea-time is a lovely place to start.)
  3. Surround yourself with things that stir your soul. It might be one special item or many – a picture, an object, flowers, artwork, a view – that brings you joy, excitement or peace. In the midst of a crummy day, those reminders can shift your thoughts from sadness and disappointment to happiness and hope in an instant.
  4. Plan something extraordinary for yourself. Looking forward to something special is a sure-fire way to give your crummy day a good swift kick in the butt. What extraordinary event, trip, vacation, seminar, retreat, etc., is on your calendar this year? What reward are you giving yourself for all your hard work? Nothing on the calendar yet? Then it’s time to start dreaming and planning!

Look, crummy days aren’t optional for entrepreneurs. They come with the territory. They’re a trade-off for all the joy, passion and love we pour into what we do. But be sure you’re taking action – such as the 4 suggestions above – to make sure those crummy days don’t get the better of you!

~ Pamela Haack, host of the The Italy Retreat for Women Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs.