Want More Clicks & Shares From Your Video Posts? The ONE Thing You Need….

iphone-1603478_1280-1I’m going to cut to the chase, if you’re an entrepreneur serious about growing your business online, you need to be doing video.

We live in a world of Snapchat, Periscope, Facebook live-streaming, YouTube and many other platforms all moving to video. If you’re not getting your face in front of a camera, you are sooooooo going to get left behind.

I’ve been asked to critique many videos over the past few months for clients and colleagues and the number ONE thing I’ve noticed is this:

(Click to tweet)

If you have too much information, too many stories, too much movement and too many calls to action, you are going to lose people. What you need is an easy process to remember. Keep It Simple Sweetheart:)

If you want to get more engagement, clicks and shares, follows this easy 3-to-1 formula:

1. Speak to ONE person-Know who your ideal client or perfect audience member is and speak ONLY to them. Even though you may have thousands of people watching your videos, your message should go directly and only to that ONE ideal person. Period. This makes everything you say more targeted and powerful.

2. Have ONE point-Understand the main or underlying point you are trying to get across and have everything you are saying drive to that ONE point only. If you include more than one story to illustrate your point, make sure each story also supports and directs back to ONLY the point you are trying to make.

3. Have ONE call to action-Decide ahead of time what you want your video to do for you. If you want to grow your list, send them to your opt-in or landing page url. If you want to build your podcast audience, tell them to hit the subscribe button. What you DON’T want to do is ask people to do several things, “Like me on Facebook, visit my website, download my free report…etc.” Choose the ONE main course of action you’d like people to take, explain very clearly how they can do it and say it with authority.

*The ONE exception to #3 is, you always want to ask people to share your videos even if you are making another call to action. You are trying to build a following, so the more eyes on you, the better.

Remember, if you’re trying to create a strong brand presence online, you’re going to be doing a LOT of videos so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to tell your stories, articulate your brilliant insights and direct people to all the various, wonderful offerings you have. Don’t try to cram it all in at once, it will only overwhelm and confuse your audience.

Just ONE things at a time, baby:)

If you’d like to know how to create a rockin’ brand presence online so you can attract ideal clients and establish your celebrity expert status, apply for a Free Strategy Session here=>Profit From Your Message

Until next time, here’s to hitting all your  high notes!

Is Your Business Organized For Profits?

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a neat freak. Personally, I know it makes me feel calmer and more clear headed when I walk into a space that’s clean and tidy. There is also a lot of research to back up the physical and psychological benefits of keeping things organized.

Here are just a few…

You reduce stress.
You are happier.
You eat better.
You have better relationships.
You are more productive.
You sleep better.
You even reduce your risk of heart attack!

However, there are also important financial reasons to being organized, especially in your business.

When you have systems and structures in place, you create space, ease and flow for money to come into your life.

Think about the physical space of your office. If it’s a mess, your mind is distracted every time your eyes fall on something that isn’t pertinent to your priorities. Distraction equals lost time, mental focus and creativity. How are you going to create the next amazing project if every time you walk in your office, you see piles of unfinished tasks.

If you work online to any degree and even if you don’t, you also have to think about the flow of your business model. Is it organized for profit?

If you don’t have a very clear sense of how your business model should be set up, it is a lot harder to bring in and keep money flowing through your business. Whether you call it a funnel, a pyramid, a money mountain or anything else, you need to know where and how to funnel leads and clients through your processes. If you don’t, you are leaving money on the table.

When you are just starting out, your business model will be simpler and in some ways, that’s a very good thing. Having fewer options makes it easier for you to get very skilled at selling the offerings you do have. However, as your grow, you’ll want to develop a more robust menu of products and services, not only because it will allow you to express your genius and creativity, but because it will also allow you to bring in and keep more clients.

However, more options requires more clarity. You need to know how the pieces fit together and the flow of your funnel. Doing so will make you life so much easier for you and provide more value to your clients.

Here are few things to think about to set yourself up for maximum profits:

1. How/where do the majority of leads come into my funnel?
2. Do I have enough options to sell different levels of clients into my programs?
3. Do I know how to present my offers in creative ways without lowering prices?
4. Do I have up-sells and down-sells ready for sales calls?
5. Do I have lateral options available that might be attractive to current clients?
6. Do I know the best logical order to move clients through my model?
7. Do I know how to bundle services to give juicy sales incentives?

Building business models can be very overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, things get really, really fun. Suddenly, you feel more confident and grounded in your business. You recognize who is right fit for you much more quickly and sales calls get a heck of a lot easier.

What I know for sure is no model=no money. It is so worth the time to get organized in this part of your business. I can’t promise it will prevent a heart attack, but it just might. After all, what is a better stress reliever than knowing your profit house is order?

If you’d like to know more about how you can maximize your business model for profit, apply for a free strategy session here=>Session Application

Until next time, here’s to hitting all your notes!

How To Make More Money 2016

When we look forward to a new year, we have hope it will be better than the last, that there will be less violence and poverty in the world, that we will weigh less and have clearer skin (ok, that one is definitely me:) and that we will make more money in our businesses than last year.

Hope is a beautiful thing when it comes to staying positive, but it is a terrible strategy for increasing your profits.

If you are serious about increasing your revenue in 2016, you need a clear PLAN.

When the path is clear, execution is successful.

Look at the New England Patriots. Love ’em or hate ’em, they have been a consistently great over the past several years with eight trips to the Superbowl since 1985. That kind of success does not happen on a wish and a prayer. Each season they show up with a detailed strategy for winning and so should you if you want to make more money in your business.

Here is your game plan for more money in 2016: [Read more…]

Are You Doing Whatever It Takes?

Do you have a big dream? What is it? Exactly. Can you articulate it right now in great detail? How does it make you feel when you see your vision in black and white? Pretty awesome I bet, excited and raring to go.

Now let me ask you how do you feel when you think about all the work it’s going to take to bring your vision to fruition? Do you suddenly feel scared or overwhelmed wondering how the heck you are going to get from where you are now to where you want to be?

The next time someone asks you what you do, say “Whatever it takes.”- Lewis Howes.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, if you want to achieve anything great, you have to learn to love the pain. Now before you shoot darts at me, let me explain.

Entrepreneurship is a battle zone. There are challenges at every corner AND it is the most exhilarating ride of your life. If you only love the highs, you are going to come down crashing, hard, and more than likely quit before you get to paradise. You have to learn to embrace the lows for what they will DO for you in the long run.

Even though I’m not an athlete or in stellar shape, I’m big into exercising. I go at least 5 times a week to the gym. I’m up every morning at 5:00 am and on the treadmill or at the weights by 5:30 am. Do I love getting up in the middle of January when it’s 10 degrees outside and the sky is black? Well…. actually, I don’t mind it. I know I am going to feel way better about my day if I go. I know in an hour, I’m going to be on a runner’s high or feeling tight and pumped after doing double sets.

But it’s not just the “what I’ll get afterwards” that makes me feel good. It makes me feel good to know I am doing whatever it takes to get what I want. When I am sweating, out of breath and my legs are burning, I know I am doing the work that needs to be done.

If staying in shape were easy, everyone would be thin and fit, but it takes work. And if it were easy to build a successful, profitable, meaningful business, everyone would be doing that too. However, it IS possible. There can be a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow, you just have have to keep at it.

You may be thinking, “I am already doing whatever it takes and I’m still not where I want to be.” Well then, I’m sorry to say,  you’re are not doing whatever it takes. I’m not implying you are not working hard, I’m sure you are, but unless you’ve achieved your goal already, what you’re doing either isn’t working or it isn’t working yet. There may be more you have to do.

Before you throw in the towel, here are some tips to keep you on track for success: [Read more…]

Want To See Your Name In Lights?

From the time I was a very young girl I wanted to be famous. My first dream was to be an Olympic gymnasts, then a concert pianist, then an Olympic volleyball player and finally a singer. (Actually, I think there was a brief stint in college of wanting to be a politician, but when I realized their clothes were kind of boring, I said NO way!:)

Now days I still want to be famous. I want to touch a LOT of people with my message and inspire them to unlock their full potential so they can live out their dreams. I am building my business every day to reach that end leveraging the internet, speaking, writing and very soon launching my podcast. I see it in my mind’s eye. I see reaching thousands, perhaps millions of people and I am on a crash-course with that vision.

And there it is…. VISION.

If you want to achieve anything great in your life, you have to have a clear vision of what you really want. I recently heard a child behavior expert speak and he said one of the things that makes the biggest impact on a child’s success is called “future predicting.” Essentially you talk to the child as if the future goal is a certainty. “Well, Honey, when you start singing at the Met, you’ll want to carry a shawl because I’ve heard back-stage gets pretty drafty…”

As soon as the future predicting is in place, the child starts to see themselves in that realty and the brain reorganizes to search out any link or opportunity to manifest that vision. Pretty cool, huh?

The same is true, of course, for adults. When you speak to yourself as if what you want is already a done deal, it completely changes the game. Suddenly your personal investment shoots through the roof and the results start to line up in your favor.

The problem is, [Read more…]

How To Overcome Detours In Your Business

Road Closed…Under Construction…Detour…

Every single time I get in the car these days, I hit a road block, literally. In my town alone there must be 4 different road work projects going on. I know it’s summer and in New England that’s the time you work on roads. I get it, but I hate it.

More than once this week I was late. I had to call in a mommy favor to have someone make sure my daughter wasn’t stranded at camp because I hit a detour and was stuck in gridlock. Rrrrrr…

It’s such an awful feeling to be trapped. You really feel helpless. A car to the front, one behind and it’s 90 degrees outside. Something’s going to blow!

Thank goodness for street savvy and GPS. For the most part, you don’t have to stay stuck, you can usually find a way around. It might take longer, but at least you are in motion again and more importantly, you regain a sense of control.

In building your business there are bound to be times when things get in the way of your progress. It can be a small thing, like accidentally deleting a post you’ve been working on or it can be a much bigger obstacle like a tax issue. These things are bound to happen. They WILL happen. The key is to not let it stop you.

How do you keep your forward momentum when you hit a road block?

First of all, when you accept that obstacles will come up, it is way less debilitating when it happens. Sure it’s a pain in the neck, but most often, it’s not a crisis. If you are a home-owner, you understand this very well. There is ALWAYS something needing your attention, a broken sprinkler pipe, re-tarring your driveway, fixing the window-boxes. As soon as those things get addressed, the next wave of improvements will capture your attention. It’s part of the deal owning a house and it’s part of the deal owning a business.

Second, do not get entrenched in how you thing the problem should get solved. Maybe the highway is the easiest way to get to your destination, but it’s not the only way. There are usually several options available to you at any time. Try to stay flexible in your approach to problem-solving.

I recently set up a new online shopping cart and found out it couldn’t do all the things I wanted it to do, but there were lots of work-arounds available in the form of apps and plug-ins that did the trick. What originally looked they a deal-breaker suddenly become totally doable. 

However, the doing was not done by me! I had help which is key.

Ask for help when you get stuck.

I tapped my Mommy-Mafia to help with camp pick-up and I called on my business team to help me with the technical difficulties with my shopping cart. When you have support and a network, there is no need to struggle alone. You have people who can turn your mountains into mole-hills. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Asking for help does not show weakness, it shows you are smart.

If you don’t have a team in place yet, start now. Put together a personal and a professional support team. Who do you want and need to have in your corner to keep things together when you hit a road bump? Make a list. Do you need techie support? That’s a biggie for me. Do you need AAA for your car? Or how about a mentor to call on when you have a difficult client issue?

Whatever you see as potential vulnerabilities on your path to success, identify who you could call on for help with those issues. Having a support team in place is the best way to successfully manage unexpected challenges.

Just like road-work life happens, but if you take it in stride, stay flexible and ask for help, you can get back on track much more quickly so you enjoy the ride!


Your feedback is music to my ears!

What are your strategies for bouncing back from unexpected challenges?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:

Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, image consultant, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.


I Thought I Was Doing Great…And Then I Learned How To Sell

When I first started my business, I wasn’t sure how to market. I had just finished my training as a certified brand strategist and I thought, “Awesome, I’m ready to roll.” The only problem was I had NO idea how to get clients, none. When I was singing, I would audition for shows and the company sold the tickets. All I had to do was show up, look pretty and nail the high notes. If I was going succeed in business, I knew I had a lot of learning to do so I began my entrepreneurial education.

Along the way, I heard about speaking to grow your audience and I thought, “Perfect, this will be a piece of cake. I know how to work a room, I’ve sung for thousands of people.” But I quickly realized, I still know what I was doing. What was I suppose to talk about? What exactly was my topic? I knew about branding, I knew about image consulting and I was very enthusiastic, but I had no clue how to structure a talk to sell a room.

Not wanting to give up, I created something I thought was informative and interesting and hit the road speaking for local networking groups. I was way more nervous that I had expected, but I pulled from my performance training and showed up like a pro. Much to my delight and relief, people responded. I got all kinds of compliments. “Heather, you are so dynamic, I loved what you said!” Wow, I was a hit!

The only problem was, I came home empty handed.

I was inspiring people, teaching them, giving them great information and touching their hearts, but I wasn’t converting. My ego was huge, but the pockets were empty. Back to the drawing board…

I knew there was more to learn. I saw other speakers and coaches give presentations and watched with envy as people lined up at the back of the room to buy their products and services. I was at one event where the offer was a $30,000 program and in less than a minute that were more than 40 people in line to sign up! Wow, I realized there is big money to be made from speaking and I wanted in, I mean really in this time. I wanted to know HOW they did that.

Over the next several months and years I was on a mission to learn as much as I could about how to turn an audience into paying clients. I worked with some of the best people in the industry and eventually started understanding what magic elements need to be in place to transform any speaking gig into selling bonanza.

Here’s some of what I learned:

1. Sales don’t just happened, they need to be engineered. You have to have a plan and backwards engineer your talk to leverage your strategy.

2. You must think of yourself as a salesperson. I know, I know, sales…. yuck, right? But get this, selling and delivering real value to your audience are not mutually exclusive activities. You can be inspirational AND profitable at the same time.

3. You must have a clear message. We’ve all heard the saying “A confused mind never buys.” Here’s a news flash, the first mind that has to be clear is your own. You have to know what you bring to the table and stand your ground.

4. Confidence is a selling aphrodisiac. If you really want to sell a room, sell them on you. You don’t have to be the next Tony Robbins, but you do need to have charisma. You do need to have your own flavor of charm and magnetism which comes from knowing your value.

5. Not all stories are created equal. You have to engage emotionally with your audience and we are often taught to do this with our story, but not all stories convert. You have to be able to connect your story to the sale or else you’ll leave the room with lots of new friends, but no new credit cards.

Once, I shifted my perspective and started being more strategic about how I structured my talks, things turned around. My conversion rate sky-rocketed, not only from the stage, but also on sales calls.

I’ll admit it takes a shift in perspective, but once you embrace your role a selling speaker, you will start to make a lot more money from the stage too.



Your feedback is music to my ears!

What confuses you most about speaking to sell?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:

Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, image consultant, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.

Magic Mike Path To Success

It’s hot out there and along with the high temps come the steamy summer box-office hits. This year Magic Mike XXL takes the cake, beef-cake that is. You have to be living under a rock not to know this sexy sequel is in theaters now. The pictures have been EVERYWHERE. (Hey, I’m not complaining!)

Now whether or not a male-stripper romp is your cup of tea, one thing you have to admit is those fellas are r-i-p-p-e-d. No one, not even Magic Mike himself gets washboard abs without extreme dedication and sacrifice.

We often overlook the hard work actors put into these roles when the final product is so campy. We only see them at press junkets and premiere parties and we think they have it sooo good.

The truth is, they do have it good. They’re living large, making a LOT of money, staying at the best hotels and rubbing shoulders with other smart, beautiful and creative people. However, success didn’t just fall into their laps, they made their own magic.

I read an interview in People Magazine recently with Channing Tatum and he talked about some of the challenges he had to overcome on his journey to Hollywood fame. In high school, he struggled with ADHD and dyslexia which made academics harder for him than most. He went to college, but ended up dropping out when he started getting modeling opportunities.

What Channing did however, that was wicked smart was he leaned into his strengths and KEPT TRYING.

“I was playing the lottery left and right, I just accidentally kept running into a winning ticket.”–People Magazine

Of course he kept running into a winning ticket! He kept putting himself in positions where he had the greatest chance of having his assets noticed and appreciated. One opportunity led to the next and eventually his momentum started snow-balling.

As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to look at industry leaders and envy their successes, but there’s no need. YOU can have massive wealth and recognition as well. It won’t be Easy-Street, but if you’re smart and persistent, you can make your own luck.

“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”–Seneca

Here are few tips to help get you center stage: [Read more…]

Structured For Profits

We all love the relaxed vibe of summer. We don’t have to rush everywhere. There’s no homework to get done, no carpooling to coordinate. Our schedules are less strict and life is easy-breezy. As much as we love the laid-back feel of summer, however, we still need structure in our business.

A lot of us bristle at the idea of structure and organization because it feels rigid and constraining, but structure actually allows for massive creativity and improvisation. We often think of great artists as being spontaneous, riffing on sparks of inspiration. The truth is, talent must be cultivated first, brush strokes perfected, scales mastered before true freedom of expression is possible. You must learn the alphabet before you can write poetry.

Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.–Pablo Picasso

Think of a dam, it is put in place to harness the power of the water. It captures and leverages the flow of the current. Your personal energy needs to have direction as well. As entrepreneurs we have so many ideas, ideas for products, programs, partnerships, but what we don’t have is a PROCESS. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but without execution there are no profits. You have to have a way to organize your thoughts so others can understand and implement them. This is structure.

Structure is not a cage, it is a vessel for your genius. @HeatherPoduska (tweet this)

When I work with clients on creating signature products and programs, the first thing I ask is, “What is your process?” The answer is often, “I don’t know, I just work on whatever my clients needs at the time. We play it by ear.” That answer is fine if you have a one-on-one coaching client, but if you want to create leveraged income, you need to have a repeatable system. You can’t sell a product or program to thousands of people that is customized to one person. When you do that, you are not following your process, you are following the needs of one that client.

If you don’t have repeatable systems in your business, [Read more…]

The Summer Of Desire

“The Summer of Desire” It sounds like a steamy romance novel and well, it is sort of… Or maybe I should say it could be. It could be YOUR sultry story.

As entrepreneurs we are hard-wired to be ambitious. It seems like every waking hour is dedicated to thinking about how to build our businesses. “How can I reach more clients? What products should I develop? What training course will help me get to the next level? Should I use Infusionsoft or Ontraport?” And the list goes on…

This may surprise you, but thinking too much can be detrimental to your success. Being overly analytical stymies creativity and leaves no room for the heart. Of course, you need strategy to stay on track and you need grit to get the work done, but all work and no romance leaves Jane a boring and mediocre fem-bot. What you need is a little intrigue. Oh, la, la!

Passion is the fuel for all great endeavors@HeatherPoduska (tweet this)

Passion takes your breath away. Passion gives your vision wings. Passion makes your feel alive.

Passion can also help you feel fully expressed when doing something you love. When you love what you do, your imagination can kicks in to high gear and you become wickedly innovative. That’s how great brands are birthed and fortunes made.

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of Light against its being; otherwise we all remain too frightened. -Hafiz

For many of us, the idea of leading a more passionate life sounds great, but we get stuck in our heads. We want more joy, but we don’t know how to access the part of ourselves that will lead to greater fulfillment. I’ll admit, even for the most enlightened pleasure-seekers, navigating a path to our molten core can be challenging in a world filled with iphones and incessant alerts. Thankfully, we have summer.

I invite you to take advantage of the heat and sun to allow your desires to percolate. Use this time to massage your deepest longings and give credence to their callings. If you do, you may find answers to questions you never even thought to ask and your business will take on new life and meaning.

Here are a few suggestions to help you ignite your flame this summer: [Read more…]

How To Successfully Pitch For Big Money

This week I had the chance to attend the Boston Women’s Venture Capital Summit. It was an amazing experience to see and hear both successful entrepreneurs and angel investors talk about what it takes to attract big money into your business.

During the summit, eight entrepreneurs had a chance to pitch and get feedback from 2 panels of investors. I was so impressed by the entrepreneurs, each one giving a thoroughly prepared presentation in front of two hundred people. Talk about pressure. They all did very well, but not all of them nailed it. There was a clear distinction between those who scored and those who didn’t.

What was it that made one presenter stand out over the others…?

It was CHARISMA baby!!!

Definition: compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. “she enchanted guests with her charisma” Synonyms: charm, presence, personality, force of personality, strength of character; magnetism, attractiveness, appeal, allure

It was their ability to “hook” the audience which in this case was the angel investors. Hooking them meant the difference between potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars…. or nothing.

It is absolutely crucial to create an emotional connection with your audience. You could have the most beautiful power point in the world or the most convincing business plan, but if you cannot communicate your personal value, you’re not gonna get the gig. Sorry, but just isn’t going to happen.

I asked the angels on break what they looked for most when deciding to invest in a new venture and consistently their answer was “It comes down to the person or the team. I would take an A person with a B market any day over a B person with an A market.” Whoa, that’s intense. “We have to know why YOU are the right person to solve this problem and you better make a compelling case.”

It just shows that people bet on people, not models. There has to be a connection, a STORY, your story. And that story had better highlight your strengths and unique value. And, and, and… you need to be able to tell that story in a clear, confident and compelling way. You know why….?

Because you only get one shot and there is someone right behind you waiting to give his pitch! Maybe he has his story down cold, is going to melt the audience and end up with their big fat check in his pocket.

Of course, you have to do your homework, you do have to have a killer business plan and know your numbers, but if you don’t set the stage, you will never have the chance to let your brilliance shine. Whether you are pitching to an angel investor or a potential client, you must be able to demonstrate you are the perfect person for the job.

Here are a few tips to help you become more charismatic:

1. Smile. Ok, this is a no-brainer, but it’s so important. There is all kinds of research that shows people who smile are perceived as being more attractive, more confident and more likely to get promoted. If it does not come naturally to you, especially under pressure, make a conscious effort to do it. Practice in the mirror if need be, but remind yourself to do it even if it feels uncomfortable at first. You will soon relax as you see others smiling back at you:):):)

2. Use humor. Don’t be afraid of seeming unprofessional by using appropriate humor. The more people like you, the more favorably they will view your presentation. People like people who make them feel happy!

3. Connect the dots for your audience. Know your story and how it connects with your idea. The connection may be obvious to you, but not your audience. You may have to spell it out. I have been asked many times about the connection between my operatic singing background and my branding/business consulting. The connection is obvious to me (sopranos are great at telling other people what to do;) see, made you laugh!

4. Be real. You may not be the most polished person in room. Maybe you are naturally shy or reserved. You don’t have to do a soft-shoe routine to get attention, just be yourself. One of the presenters at the summit was very pregnant and very out of breath. Instead of trying to be stoic, she pointed it out and went on with her presentation. No need to put on airs. If you really lean into who you are, it will be quite charming.

5. Practice. Come on, you knew this was coming. The more you practice, the more confident you will get. Practice if front of as many audiences as you can. You will get invaluable feedback from doing this, not just about your presentation skills, but about your whole pitch, the offer, the product, the market etc. You may hear one idea from someone that could change the whole course of your company.

Do not be fooled into thinking your performance doesn’t matter, that you can get by on your intelligence and talent. There is just too much competition out there. You have to find a way to connect and make an impact. Not doing so could cost you millions.

If you want to nail your next pitch, I can help. For a Complimentary Consultation, click here: http://bit.ly/1Oj2qmC



Your feedback is music to my ears!

What makes you most nervous about pitching to potential clients?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:

Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.


Mind the Gap

I need more clients. How am I going to make more money this year? I’m stuck. Maybe I should try calling myself a success coach instead of a brand strategist or a business coach…wait, what I really am is a healer, but what about the money part… got it, people will really like profit strategist…

Gosh, I don’t know. What I do know is everyone else seems to be doing so wwwweellll. What’s wrong with me??????

Have you ever had those feelings? Come on, fess up. If you are an entrepreneur, I’m sure your brain has been flooded with monkey chatter at different times. I know mine sure has. And I know it happens to beginners and veterans alike. “Look at Suzie Q over there, she just crossed the 7-figure line and I’m stuck here at $500K. What wrrroonnggg with me?”

Well, the good news is, there’s nothing wrong with you. You are not broken. There is no mortal defect in you make-up. You are just fine. In fact, you are right where you need to be.

“Yeah, right. I’m stuck and this sucks. Don’t tell me I’m where I need to be.”

Sorry, but it’s true. If you are stuck and feel shitty, that’s great! It means things are working as they should. Life, the universe, your higher-self whatever you call it is telling you it’s time for a change. If you felt fantastic all the time, you would never GROW.

Let me repeat that: g-r-O-W-WW-WWW!

Think back to when you were a young teenager. Things started to feel very uncomfortable. You’d get cranky. Your clothes didn’t fit the same way any more. Your face would break out and your body started erupting in all kinds of crazy ways and places. Let’s face it, it’s not the prettiest time of life. But going through puberty did not mean there was something wrong, it was exactly what was suppose to happen to prepare you for the next phase of development.

It’s so easy to immediately point the finger back at ourselves. We are less-than, not enough. Not smart enough, fast enough, connected enough, thin enough, pretty enough. We’re not with the right coach or in the right networking circles. We’re not writing the right kinds of blog articles or creating the right kinds of products.

Chill out. Just give yourself a break.

What if instead of beating yourself up for not being where you want to be yet, you decided to be kind to yourself? What if you started to honor yourself for being tuned-in enough to know you want something different? What would that look like?

Maybe you would sleep more so you have more energy or find a new mentor to get a fresh outlook. Maybe you would go to a florist to soak up the beautiful fragrances to feed your inner artist. Or just maybe you would just allow yourself to cry into your pillow, grab a bowl of ice-cream and watch Keeping up with the Kardashians. Who cares! You would be listening to your inner voice to see what needs are surfacing. 

The point is to mind the gap from where you are now to where you think you want to be with love. Self-chiding only brings constriction. What you want to do is mine more of yourself. Bring forward more of your gifts. Hone and refine your skills. Why would the genius of your inner child want to come out and play if you are screaming at her all the time?

So here’s your mission should you choose to accept it:

1. Bless the gap. Say a little invocation for feeling so crappy. It’s a sign you are ready for an up-level.

2. Look for the misalignment. What part of you feels like it’s not being expressed at the highest level to support your goals?

3. Make an invitation to play. Create a fun and safe environment to allow for your creativity to surface. Criticism squishes creativity which is where all the answers lie.

4. Get what you need. If you are stuck it’s only because there is something you don’t know or don’t know how to do yet. You can complain about it and stay a victim, or you can advocate for your dreams.

Everything you need is within your reach. You just need to open your hand and accept it.

Thus endeth the lesson:)




Your feedback is music to my ears!

How do you deal with your inner critic? Would love to hear your strategies!

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:

Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.


How to Survive A Personal Earthquake

Have you ever had one of those phases in your life when you feel like the earth is shifting under your feet? Like you are walking the same path, but somehow the ground underneath feels different? Actually, instead of walking on a clear path, if feels more like trudging through mud.

That is the kind of year I have been having…

I don’t know, maybe it’s the massive amounts of snow we’ve had in New England, or maybe it’s just the winter of my discontent, but it feels like there has something hibernating inside my heart for along time and now it is trying to wake up. It just hasn’t made its way to the surface yet. It’s like one of the dreams you have when you know you are dreaming, but you still can’t bring yourself to full consciousness.

Ah, and there it is, consciousness. Wouldn’t life be awesome if everything we wanted or needed was immediately obvious and ready at our beckon call? There are powerful manifesters out there who might argue, but for the most part life doesn’t work that way. Instead, it’s like the blessed snow, you know the grass is under there, that in a few months the sun will be shining and the birds will be chirping, but right now you’re looking at 90 inches on your lawn.

(Oh beloved Boston, I love you, I really do, but enough is enough!)

No matter how much we wish for immediate clarity, we have to be patient.  Plants and trees use the winter season to break down and re-make certain proteins so they are ready to germinate in the spring. We humans use this time of dormancy for the re-ordering of our souls. We must break down old beliefs about who we are to allow the next incarnation of who we will be to take form. Trying to rush this process can have disastrous results.

It’s like sleep. Our bodies need that time to rest and repair our cells and to give our brains a chance to process the day’s events. If we don’t get enough sleep, we’re groggy and grumpy. We can’t think clearly and our performance suffers. Interrupting our sleep damages the necessary healing process our bodies need to function at their best.

Yet when it comes to our evolution, we want nothing more than to skip the recommended 8 hours of repose. To hell with dormancy, we want transformation NOW! We think by getting up at 2 o’clock in the morning the sunrise will come more quickly. It does not. If the plants and trees tried to bloom in January, their new buds would quickly die. Our nucleus needs time to crystallize.

One of the things that makes our growth so painful is we often feel we are alone, that everyone else is moving forward and we are stuck. It is a lie. Everyone is metamorphosing all the time. It’s just that we are not all going through the same stages at the same time. You may be working away in your cocoon while someone else is about to take flight. It can look like they are soaring and we are sinking, but we are each doing the work needed at that time in life to develop.

Do not compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.–Jon Acuff

Going through a transmutation can feel like an eternity, but take heart. The sun will shine again and you will come out the other side reinvigorated.

In the meantime, here are some tips for surviving your own personal earthquake.

1. Find a supportive frame. When the earth is trembling below your feet, it’s important to find stability around you so you feel safe as your internal plates shift. Lean on people who love you and care about your expansion.

2. Do not stay in a crumbling structure. You may be tempted to cling to the old paradigm. It’s natural to want to revert back to familiar ways, but doing so jeopardizes your well-being. There is no safety there, only stagnation.

3. Pay attention to the tremors. You know the saying, first God whispers, then shouts, then knocks you over the head with a 2 by 4 to get your attention. (Ok, maybe that’s not exactly how the saying goes…) Those little rumblings in your gut are trying to tell you something big is on the horizon. Those murmurs are clues to your next step.

4. Go outside & sit on the grass. I’ll be honest, a personal earthquake can feel really crummy at times, like your banging your head against the bloody wall. It’s really, really, REALLY important to be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself the time and space to find a reflective refuge so you can listen to your heart.

5. Expect aftershocks. Even when you get complete clarity on your next move, you will experience contractions. The excitement of a break-through is intense and we tend to recoil several times before a permanent change takes hold. This is completely normal and doesn’t mean you have not succeeded. If you know that’s how it works, you can move forward with more ease.

Finally, the most important piece to survival is having faith. When the earth is literally undulating beneath you, taking even a tiny step can feel like trying to walk on water. You fear as the earth opens up in front of you, you will fall right into the abyss. But instead of a wild, eternal descent, your better self rises up to meet you. You are rewarded for your courage and the prize is a clearer, richer and fuller version of an authentic you.

As for me, the ground is still shaking, but I know there is something wonderful brewing. As I get more clarity, I’ll keep you posted.

Until next times, here’s to hitting all your high notes!



Your feedback is music to my ears!

Have you ever experienced a personal earthquake? What were the lessons you learned?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:

Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.




Love Yourself Rich

I’m in the mood for love…and here’s why.

It’s Valentine’s Day, the day for sweethearts and romance, but the real reason I’m in the mood for love is because it’s the best, fastest way to create a truly abundant life.

I have found over and over with both myself and my clients the biggest impediment to reaching the next level of success is always linked to some aspect of not  fully loving yourself.

It may sound mushy, but there’s just no way you can show up as a magnetic, dynamic force if you are not embracing yourself. You know why? Because human beings are feeling creatures.

Our emotions dictate our thoughts and our thoughts dictate our actions, so if we are being critical of ourselves or not honoring who we are, it shows. And where it shows the most is in our results.

On the other hand, when you are in alignment with your authenticity, you feel comfortable expressing yourself and enjoy being in your own skin, that shows too. You begin to make major strides toward your big goals.

You also experience more confidence, a greater sense of personal power and much more joy. And here’s the kicker, more people want to be a round you. It’s a no-brainer. When you love yourself, you’re more attractive on every level.

We all have our ups and downs, but it’s crucial to protect our self-worth. If we do not value ourselves, neither will anyone else.

Here are some tips to keep the fire burning in your relationship with the most important person in your life, YOU! [Read more…]

You, a Hot Tub and More Clients…

One of my dear mentors recently posted a very provocative video on YouTube. No make-up, hair undone and filled with raw emotion. It was crazy deep. In all honesty, it made me a little uncomfortable at first, but as I watched, I got completely sucked in.

I was not the only one moved. She touched the hearts of THOUSANDS of Facebook friends (read potential buyers) who responded to her post. No special lighting, no polished editing…it was her vulnerability that did it. When you are vulnerable, you allow other people to feel, share and express their own feelings more easily. What was once uncomfortable suddenly becomes tolerable or even preferable creating an ease of being that is priceless.

The result is a deeper connection and a deeper level of trust with your audience which is what happened for my mentor. Obviously, her vulnerability struck a chord with a lot of people. And here’s where it gets interesting for your business. Connection is the best, most secure way to profit.

If you feel connected to someone, it’s usually because they make you feel a certain way when you are with them. For example, when I saw my mentor’s video with all it’s deep feeling I thought, “Wow, when I am with her, I feel safe to have deep feelings too. I know I can open up to her and she won’t judge me.” That is hugely valuable to me and makes me feel more desire and loyalty towards her. The same will be true for you as well when you begin to open up. Your best, most perfect customers will LOVE you.

Don’t think have to break down and cry to be vulnerable though. Being vulnerable just means [Read more…]

15 Actions To Blow 2015 Out Of The Water

Every year we try to do better than the last, at least if you are a success-driven entrepreneur like me. Below are my best tips for moving towards your goals in 2015 with joy and ease.

One quick note, all these steps are based on the bedrock of having healthy, nurturing relationships so be sure you prioritize your love lines as you start the new year.

Here we go…

15 Actions to Blow 2015 Out of the Water:

1. Decide what you want and put it in writing.

2. Exercise hard and get your sleep. (and of course, eat good food to fuel your energy)

3. Find an accountability buddy.

4. Put deadlines in your calendar for the entire year NOW.

5. Schedule your down time.

6. Find good help to support your home life.

7. Join a high-level mastermind.

8. Set specific financial goals.

9. Make a list of the least money generating activities you did last year and stop doing them.

10. Make a list of the top 3 money generating things you did last year and triple your effort in those areas.

11. Find or deepen a positive creative pursuit.

12. Connect to at least 3 new people every day either in person or online.

13. Read constantly.

14. Do whatever you need to do to keep a daily positive attitude, books, movies, quotes, friends, exercise etc.

15. Put more of your authentic self on the line in everything you do.

Feel free to add to the list. You can post your thoughts on my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ClearVoiceBranding

Until next year, here’s to hitting all your high notes!



You’ve got to believe…

Ah the holidays…

As much as I moan and groan about the frantic pace of this season, there always comes a wonderful moment that makes it all worth while.

It usually happens when the kids are home playing games, Christmas music is playing and I’m making cookies. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s the feeling we all long for around this time of year, something magical.

Who knows, maybe it’s an illusion. Maybe I am kidding myself into thinking life is grand when really I have just fallen into a candy-coated haze that is blinding me to harsh reality, but I don’t think so.

I know I worked hard to achieve this moment. The tinsel didn’t hang itself. I did it and now we get to enjoy it.

Sometimes it can feel frantic in our businesses too. We worry we’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel and wonder if what we’re striving for is an unattainable fantasy. Is all the hard work even worth it?

It is worth it. The sugar-plum ending is possible, but you’ve got to believe, Virginia. You’ve got to BELIEVE!

Most of us stop short of our dreams because we lose faith. Things get difficult, we hit a rough patch and start to doubt ourselves. We don’t see results right away and start to think they will never come.

You’ve got to have faith.

Faith requires us to believe in things we cannot yet see. When you imagine what you desire, your subconscious goes to work on your behalf. Like a kid putting an order in to Santa Claus, your mind releases a minion of tiny elves to make your dreams come true.

However, your dreams are powered by consistent belief. Turn off the belief and you cut the plug to the magic. Think about farmers who plant crops in the spring. If they gave up because they didn’t see immediate results, the seeds would never grow. They have faith in the process however, so they keep watering and tending their fields and end up with a bountiful harvest.

As anyone who has dared face the mall in December will tell you, keeping a positive attitude can be difficult, but don’t give up too quickly. Your dream may not turn up exactly as you had envisioned, but it will still be wonderful. You wished for a pony, but Santa knew you’d never clean the stall. Instead, he brings you a Porsche. Don’t you just love Santa?:)

My dream was and still is to sing at the Met some day. It’s unlikely to happen at this point, but I’m not giving up hope. What has come as result of keeping this wish in my heart has been a deeply fulfilling business and new opportunities to use my voice I could have never anticipated.

What is your dream? Are you holding it fast to your heart? Or do you need a dose of inspiration?

Here is my recipe for a truly magical business:

  1. Think like a kid.
  2. Imagine your dream in vivid detail.
  3. Ask for what you want.
  4. Work your patootie off while you wait.
  5. Believe it will come to you.

*A pinch of eggnog never hurt either:)

Do those things and who knows where you’ll be this time next year!

Until next time, here’s to hitting all your high notes.




Are You Satisfied?

I heard a really interesting interview recently with Oprah and the comedian, Kevin Hart, where they were talking about success. Now clearly both Oprah and Kevin Hart are already successful, to the tune of a billion dollars, thank you very much. Oprah asked Kevin if he felt successful and he said, “Yes, of course, but there’s always something more.” More? More than $25 Million? More than $1 Billion??

Actually, yes. Kevin and Oprah both agreed each one of us is always aiming for the next highest expression of ourselves. Wow, that is awesome. THAT is creativity. THAT is BRANDING!

It doesn’t matter if you are making $100,000 or $10,000,000. We are all human beings. We are all reaching for the next thing. The problem is many of us don’t know what that next thing is. And the reason we don’t know is because we are looking for external  answers.

The answer to our greatest success comes from knowing ourselves. When we understand what we value, what our passions are, what our vision for the world is, then the pieces start to fall in place. There is no guessing. Instead, there is an inner compass that guides our path, that makes our decisions seamless because they are in alignment with who we are at the core.

When you are making millions of dollars, you are past the point of worrying about whether or not you can put food on the table. You are financially successful, but does that mean you call it a day? I don’t think so. If financial success were enough for total fulfillment, we would not be hearing from the likes of Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg anymore. Beyonce and Jay-Z would just pack up their yacht and sail off into the sunset.

As human beings there is an inner drive for self-actualization, to become the highest version of ourselves. There is a need to be seen and heard and to feel relevant. And most importantly, I believe there is a need to express ourselves and to have that expression create connection.

Let’s play a game, shall we. Pretend you are the richest person in the world. You can buy anything you want, go anywhere you want, do anything you want. What would you buy? Where would you go? What would you do? This is a fun game, isn’t it? Now ask yourself “Why?” Why would you buy the Ferrari? Why would you go to Africa? Why would you create a charitable foundation?

For the way it would make you FEEL.

If you went on safari, you’d be on an adventure, you’d be learning, you’d see beautiful animals and landscape. You would experience awe and beauty. It would feed your soul. If you bought a Ferrari, you’d gain status and recognition, you’d be expressing your wild and fast nature, you’d’ FEEL sexy and powerful. If you started a charity, you’d be giving of yourself, connecting to a cause you care about deeply, you’d gain a feeling of gratitude and generosity.

Do you see a pattern here? It’s’ about feeling, connection, passion, expression. It’s not just about the money. It’s about being wildly ALIVE. Of course, the money is vital to the equation. You need the money to actualize, but understanding what the drive is behind the desire for money is critical to both success and happiness.

We tend to think the next level of financial success is going to make us fulfilled, but that is back-asswards. When we understand what fulfills us, we make better decisions about how to make our money. We are happier, more open, we connect more freely and we have more to give. Our creativity skyrockets and we become more innovative and energized. Who doesn’t want more of that?!

If you are not feeling those things in your business now, there is room for improvement. The more you can connect deeply with who you are and how you want to show up in the world, the easier it will be to know your next move.

If you are yearning for a more meaningful version of success, I invite you to apply for a Complimentary Consultation with me here by CLICKING HERE=> http://bit.ly/1pHt7FC


My New Least Favorite Word

JUST (3)I have heard something a lot recently that has started to really bother me. It’s not a phrase or even a sentence. It’s one little tiny word. But this one little, tiny word has a huge impact. The word is “just.”

“Just” has become my new least favorite word. I don’t mean in the “It is just and right to have laws” kind of way. I mean in the “Oh, I’ll just do…” It seems to be in the air a lot lately.

Here are some of the ways I’ve heard it:

“My sister-in-law’s brother is a photographer, I’ll just wait until the next time he’s in town and have him take some shots for me.

“I know I need help with this, but I’m just going to see if I can do it myself first.”

“Why don’t we just find someone who will volunteer to do the work.”

“Why don’t you just hire her and see how it goes.”

Ugh, ugh and double ugh!

When we say “just” we are essentially saying we know there is something better available, but we are choosing not to try to attain it. We are letting ourselves off the hook and settling.


Why, why do we do that?

Why, unless he’s Ansel Adams, would you settle for your sister-in-law’s brother to take your picture?Why wouldn’t you determine your budget and find the best photographer you can to meet your needs? And why not put proper thought and effort into scheduling the shoot, getting enough rest, planning your wardrobe and hiring a make-up artist to boot?

Why would you try to find a volunteer to do professional work? Are you not a professional? Do you want to volunteer your time for other professionals? I think not!

Why would you try to do something on your own that you know will probably not yield the kind of results you need? Why would you spend precious time and energy struggling through something on your own when would get you a much bigger ROI with support?

One of the reasons we do these things is because we believe we cannot have what we truly want or need. There is an underlying feeling of unworthiness. Who are we to ask for and get the best quality?

When we want to barter or get volunteer help, settle for a hire that is not a good match, or resist investing in ourselves when we know we need to, these are all symptoms we do not value ourselves.

We pinch our pennies because we fear we won’t be getting more dollars in the door. However, when you recognize and embrace your own worth, you start to develop trust in your ability to generate income. And as a result, you start to make decisions and take actions that honor your needs.

When you value yourself, you do not settle. You develop and stick to higher standards and life becomes more abundant. It’s not always easier to to get what you want. It may taken more effort, in fact, it probably will, but it’s well worth it.

So next time you catch yourself saying “I’ll just…” stop and say:

“I freely ask for and receive what I want and need.”

If you are ready to stop saying “just” and start saying “yes” I invite you to apply for a complimentary Brand Consultation.

Click here to apply=>http://bit.ly/1pHt7FC


Your feedback is music to my ears!

Where in your business are you settling?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:

Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.

How to Lose a $40,000 Deal in 10 Seconds.

How awesome would it be to have a client walk in your door ready to lay out $40,000 for your product or service?Now imagine how bad it would feel to lose that same client within seconds. That’s exactly what happened to several car salesmen last weekend.

Our family is in the market for a new car. We’ve had the same mini-van for the past 9 years. Even though I’m a little nostalgic about getting rid of the car we brought our babies home in, I’m pretty psyched to be getting something that doesn’t have gummy bears lodged in the seats.

For me, part of the fun of getting a new car is doing the research. I love watching the sleek marketing videos, imaging what it would be like to zip down the road in one of those shiny new rides.  My kids are a little bit older now, so maybe we can get away with something besides a mini-van. Maybe…

Whatever we end up with, I want to be wowed. If it’s a mini-van, I want it to be decked-out so I don’t feel so much like Mommy-from-the-Block. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. I just wish there was a way to look slightly more cool driving back and forth to soccer practice.

I also want to be wowed by the actual experience of buying the car. It’s not something you do everyday, so I want it to feel special. With our short list in hand, we went off to do some test driving.

It would be an understatement to say we are motivated buyers at this point. We’ve probably waited a good 6 months longer than we should have to get this project going. The old girl has served us well, but her time has come. I am ready and excited for an upgrade.

As we head out the door, [Read more…]

What are you waiting for?

When I was a kid, my mom had this very cool pink pajama set. It had palazzo bottoms and a filmy top a la “I dream of Jeannie.” You can imagine,  as a girlie girl, I used to love putting that thing on and playing all kinds of make-believe. Even though it wasn’t something my mom really ever wore, I still always had to ask permission to play with it.

Because it wasn’t something I could grab on a whim, I would covet that pinkalicious guise. It would make me sad or even angry that my mom was keeping it from me. After all, if she knew how wonderful it made me feel, why wouldn’t she just give it to me? I guess maybe she imagined wearing it to some cool retro pool party in them there hills of northern Wisconsin.

Don’t you just hate it when you have to wait for what you want? Or worse yet, when you have to ask someone one else to give you something you crave? I know, I sure do. I hate it. I hate the feeling of being at the mercy of someone else’s judgment.

As kids, we need to have our parents monitor our decisions. Believe me, I have three kids and the words “You need to ask permission first.” have passed my lips many, many times. For example, “You have to ask permission before you use my Channel lipstick to paint flames on your face for action figure day at camp.”

Most of the time when I require my kids to ask permission for something it is to keep them safe. I wouldn’t want them going off where I didn’t know where they were or using a really sharp knife and risk cutting themselves. It’s all well-intentioned, but here’s the thing. Kids need that kind of supervision , adults don’t.  However, as adults most of us are are still waiting for others to give us permission to do and have what we want.

For entrepreneurs all this waiting can be deadly. [Read more…]

Would you like a pool by the ocean?

Just imagine waking up to see a beautiful pink and purple sunrise glistening over the ocean as soft waves brush the shore. That was my view last week when I was in Fort Lauderdale for a business conference. I was staying at the Trump Towel and spent my mornings doing yoga in the pool. It was bliss.

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up every morning and do yoga ocean side in your own pool? Believe me, it would be:) Does it sound like a pipe dream to you?

Hmmm, why is that?

Why does having your own oceanside pool equipped with a private yoga instructor sound like an impossible dream? Is it because we think of it as an expensive luxury? If that’s what you thought, I want to share a little insight that has shifted my mindset around dreaming big. [Read more…]

5 Smokin’ Hot Tips to Insanely Increase Your Creativity

Hey, whad’ya think of this blog title? Pretty slammin, huh? I hope it captured your attention!

What do you think of these little guys?

“7 Steps to Grow Your Business” Yawn…

“7 Easy Steps to Increase Your Revenue” Better…

“7  Sexy Secrets to Create an Irresistible Brand to Explode Your Profits” Cha-Ching!

The last thing you want to do is bore your audience. There is already enough boredom in the world. Taxes and treadmills pop to mind. How long do you think your audience will stick around if you come across as an entrepreneurial Eor? You have to spice things up to keep the love alive. And not just in your sales titles, but in everything from how to package your services to how to write your newsletter.

You may think being creative is nice, but not really necessary to your success. You work hard, you’re smart, so what if you’re not the next Picasso or Steve Jobs? Wait a minute, that Steve Jobs guy did pretty well.

Being creative in your business gives you superior products and can enhance your productivity. It certainly makes things more fun and interesting for you. And most importantly it allows you to stand out in a crowded marketplace. When you are creative, you bring new ideas and greater value to your audience which sets your apart from the competition. Who needs creativity now? Starting to look more important, isn’t it?

You may already buy into the importance of being creative in your business, but sometimes for all of us the well runneth dry. It seems the harder we try to come up with new and better ideas, the further genius feels. There’s a reason for that:

A creative mind lives in the realm of play(TWEET THIS)

When you are in the trenches of running a business, having fun feels like a luxury. But the truth is, if you want a more luxurious life  and wildly profitable business, you are going to have to make friends with your inner puppy.

Want to know how to pump up the volume on creativity? Here are a few tips: [Read more…]

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

What did you dream of becoming when you were little? I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. Then I wanted to be a pastor’s wife, because my pastor’s wife was beautiful and an excellent musician. In high school, my dreamed changed to wanting to be on the Olympic volleyball team. At 5’7″ I don’t think there was much hope for winning gold on the balance beam…

How did your dreams change over time?

In college, I started as a double-major in music and poli-sci and was determined to be a politician. And then in grad school my attention focused on making it to the Metropolitan Opera. Did any of these dreams come true? Well, yes and no. Did I go on to be an Olympic athlete? No, but I did play competitive volleyball for many years and I have sung for thousands of people.

Our dreams and passions are indicators of what we want out of life. Depending on where we are in the moment, our brains come up with visions of how those urges might be fulfilled. For instance, [Read more…]

Are You Wasting Your Most Valuable Resource?

The other day I was listening to an interview with a lawyer who was talking about the strategies big companies employ when doing large merges and acquisitions. He described an incredibly complicated process which included moving sizable sums of money to off-shore accounts and partnering with and sometimes buying other companies in Europe to avoid tax implications.

I was fascinated by the complexity of the maneuvering he described. As I listened, I just kept thinking, holy-moly this guy is smart. I mean to keep track of all of those moving pieces must take incredible knowledge and organization. How can one person know so much? Where did he get the time to amass so much knowledge? And then it hit me…he made the time.

In order to master anything, you must make time to perfect your craft.

We all have the capacity to be masters, but very few of us have the discipline. This lawyer had obviously worked hard to become an expert in merges and acquisition law. How many hours had he spent at the library? How many law books and case studies did he read? And here’s the biggie. What did he have to give up to in order to do so? Where did he find the TIME? [Read more…]

Is Self-Doubt Killing Your Business?

Ever wonder why heart disease is called the silent killer? It’s because from all outside appearances everything looks fine, but under the hood things are all jammed up. There is a potentially deadly disease lurking under the hood of many entrepreneurs as well and it’s name is self-doubt.

Self-doubt leaves a sticky residue which builds up over time. In order to keep the cash flowing  into your business, it’s essential to find ways to clear it out. Of course, that’s sometimes easier said than done. Let’s face it, if it were easy to give up junk food, Mars Incorporated would not be a multi-billion dollar company.

Self-doubt is an insidious little bug that gnaws at your entrepreneurial health. And contrary to what you might think, it is not something that only afflicts newbies. Even seasoned entrepreneurs struggle with it. That’s because beyond every success achieved lies a new level of development and a new set of challenges. You go from feeling like a big fish in a little pond to feeling like a minnow in the ocean.

So how do we remedy self-doubt so it won’t be a buzz kill in our business? [Read more…]

Are you giving 100%?

Have you ever heard the saying “Just showing up is 80% of success?” That may well be true, but we don’t want an 80% successful life or business, do we? We want a fully successful life. So what about that other 20%?

Let’s face it, we all know people who just show up. These are the people we see at networking events or co-workers who show up to their jobs day in and day out. They may even be our own clients. They show up. They make it to work, they make it to their calls and they get out of their houses, but are they wildly successful? Most are not.

Perhaps you are one of these people. You are showing up and you can’t understand why you have not hit the big leagues yet.

You are sending out your newsletter regularly, you show up on social media.  Heck, you are even hitting the gym 5 days a week, but you’re still not where you thought you should be by now. What’s going on?

Maybe you are missing another cornerstone of success, consistency. You must be consistent in order to achieve lasting results, right? So you would think showing up and being consistent would really cover all your bases. Except it doesn’t.

I’m sure you’ve heard this one too.

Q: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
A: Practice, practice, practice.

While it’s absolutely true, being consistent in your practice is a critical to achieving your goals, practice alone is not enough either just as showing up alone is not enough. If you really want to be successful, you need to be more strategic in your activities. 

You can show up all day, every day, but if you are not engaged in the right activities, you will never be successful. You can go to work and hang out at the water cooler all day. You can go to the gym and barely break a sweat. Even if you are consistent, if you are not pushing yourself, you will stay stagnant. 

I’m going to give you some credit here. It does take extra effort to show up and it does make a difference to be consistent. I have been to and promoted many events that have been poorly attended even though it was clearly in the best interest of the audience to show up. I’ve been to events where fantastic and important information has been given that those who stayed home missed out on. I’ve been to events where I’ve made new and meaningful connections in the form of collaborators and even new clients that I would have missed out on had I skipped.

However, we’re still faced with the extra 20%. That is where the difference is between good and great.

Consistency matters too. If you go hot and heavy in your marketing for 3 months and then slack off, you will see a dip in your business. If you start missing days at the gym, your body will start to soften. Those who are consistent definitely see better results.

But still…that 20%. What’s the special sauce?

Last saying, I promise: Practice does not make perfect, perfect practiced makes perfect. Now before you get all hot and bothered, I am not suggesting you try to be perfect. That is not the point. This point, is however, that you cannot do that same thing all the time and expect different results.

We all have plateaus. You may very well be working really hard in your business, but if you are not getting the results you want, you need to change something. That last 20% matters. You need to ask yourself what else you need to do. What do you need to change? What do you need to improve? What do you need to sacrifice?

If you are making 10 sales calls a week and still not converting leads into clients, you need to change something. Maybe your pricing is off. It could be too high, it could be too low. Maybe your program or product is not relevant to your audience. Maybe your audience is not relevant to your brand! Maybe you stink at sales calls and you need some coaching.

You see, you must be willing to look at the details. You must be willing to dig and then you must be willing to do what needs to be done. If you are not sure what you need, ASK someone. Get feedback from a coach, a colleague, a friend, even your clients.

But don’t fool yourself. When you see someone else who is at the top of their game, it’s not just because they showed up. It’s because they paid attention to last 20%. If you want to join them, you need to do the same.

Your feedback is music to my ears!

What do you think the key to success is?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:

Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.



How to Choose the Right Coach

I think I was 5 years old when I had my first piano lesson. That was the day I (ok, my mom) hired my first coach and I have had a coach in some form or another every day since then.

There are lots of names for coaches. Some people call them teachers others call them gurus, consultants, managers etc., but basically a coach is anyone who helps you improve or move forward in some area of your life. It could be a tennis coach, a golf pro, a spiritual mentor, even a birthing dula! It really doesn’t matter what the title is, what matters is the relationship between mentor and mentee.

Working with a good coach is one of the very best things you can do to move forward quickly in your business. They can guide you, push you, support you, give you outside perspective, keep you accountable and provide expert  information, tools and resources. Having the right coach can dramatically speed up both your learning curve and your earning curve!

Earlier in my career my coaches were in the form of voice teachers, directors and conductors, but now [Read more…]

What to do when you don’t see results.

Here is a picture of my front yard. Today is the first day of spring in Boston. You’d never know it by the looks of things. There are still piles of 2-foot snow drifts sprinkled around my neighborhood. Gross.

Last year at this time there were 2-inch crocus buds popping up by my walk-way. Yesterday, I actually got down on my hands and knees in the mud to see if I could find even the tiniest beginnings of a sprout….nothing, absolutely nothing. What the heck is going on? Where is the warm weather?

Waiting for flowers to bloom is one thing, waiting for your business to bloom is quite another.

Whether you are just starting out or you have been in business a while, we all have periods where we wish our progress was faster. In the beginning, you are just trying to get clients in the door, but even as we move forward [Read more…]

How to know if you’re playing small?

Do you want to be a winner? Hey, so do I! I guess that means we have something in common with about a billion other people. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a winner? Do we dream as children of failing or not getting what we want out of life? Of course not.

We dream of winning Olympic gold medals or being famous ballerinas. We picture ourselves in mansions driving fancy cars and having a butler bringing us a peanut-butter jelly sandwich on a silver platter. Ok, maybe that last one was just me…

But what happens when we grow up? Do we stop dreaming? No, our dreams just get more sophisticated. We want a house in Aspen or to build a multi-million dollar company. Everybody has dreams. Why is it that some people succeed at achieving their goals while others have to settle for less? [Read more…]

How to Make An Oscar-Worthy Brand

It’s awards season and this week marks the Big Kahuna of all awards for Hollywood, the Oscars. It’s the night that marks the pinnacle of success for actors and actresses, directors, editors and all those associated with the movie-making business. Actors dream their whole lives of winning this award.

I love watching the awards show. Who doesn’t love seeing all those beautiful people dressed to the nines? It’s total eye candy. But in all honesty it’s not my favorite part of the show. I actually love the acceptance speeches. I love seeing the pure joy of the actors, their excitement and nerves. I find it fascinating how flustered they get, these pros who live their lives in front of the camera, performing, suddenly becoming all a flutter when their name is called.

For all the coolness of Hollywood, this is a moment where the humanity of the stars shine through. They seem to be truly effected by the experience. It means something to them. I believe because it is a moment of great validation. They are being recognized for their superior talent.

We tend to think of stars and starlets as being famous only because they are beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, beauty plays a huge part of getting a shot at an acting career. However, people who win the Academy Award are generally excellent artisans and have given stellar performances.

Believe it or not many of the same ingredients that go into winning an Oscar are the same needed to create a successful brand. Here are few tips from the winner’s circle: [Read more…]

Why everyone needs a good nurse.

I love nurses. They are my absolute heroes. If you are a nurse, I worship the ground you walk on. Truly.

If you’ve ever had a baby, you know how important nurses are. When I was in the hospital to give birth to my first baby, I was understandably scared, as are most women. I knew childbirth was not going to be easy, but I had been to all the prenatal classes and had been prepped on the beauty of an epidural. Unfortunately for me, by the time I was ready for the epidural during the delivery, there were three emergency c-sections at the hospital which meant no anesthesiologists and no epidural for me. WHAT!!???

Ramp up scared to holy-mother-of-god terrified. I was going to have a baby with no meds. This was not in the birthing plan! Enter Nurse Joan… [Read more…]

Follow Your Bliss. Period. End of Story.

Follow your bliss. Turn your passions into profits. Follow your heart and the money will follow. Have you heard phrases like these? What do you think? Does it make you feel excited to think about following your passion? Or do you think it’s all a bunch of new-age hype?

I’ve heard a lot lately about how following your passion is just a bunch of hooey. Yes, I said, hooey. What these nay-sayers suggest is following your passion is not a sound business approach. It takes hard work to be successful. If you are passionate about what you do, great. If not, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is putting your nose to the grind stone and getting it done.

Again, I’ll ask you. How does that make you feel? Do you believe success is hard work? Are you  nodding your head in agreement? Or do you feel slightly pinched in the throat? Well, I’m going to tell you, [Read more…]

Did I just say that?

Jan 2014 blog.Every year during the holidays I do something stupid. It’s not the same thing every year, but it does happen every year. I may say something inane. I might accidentally blow-off an appointment. This year it was getting getting my kids dressed in their holiday outfits, loading up the car and heading to Christmas brunch with the grandparents only to realize after 20 minutes of driving that brunch was the next day.

I hate making these mistakes. It’s embarrassing, disappointing and I’m sick of it happening. So I’ve decided to figure what the heck is going on and come up with a plan to minimize my gaffs.

Five minutes later…

Ok, I’ve got it completely figured out. It didn’t take months of research to identify the problem. It was staring me right in my worn down face. [Read more…]

Do You Want Next Year to be Better?

This is the time of year when we do end-of-year reviews. We look at what went well and what we’d like to do differently moving forward. After all, we want next year to be even better than this one. What often happens, however, is January 1st comes and goes and before we know it, it’s March and things don’t look quite how we’d hoped. Why?

The answer is simple. We tend to follow the same patterns over and over again. We get comfortable with what we know, who we know and how we operate. Although repetition can be wonderful tool in business, it can also become a crutch which stymies our growth. Further, it can make our businesses and brands stale.

So how can you break the repetitive cycle to infuse your business with new life in the new year?

Here are a few tips to help.

1. Decide what you want. Do you want more money? [Read more…]

How To Get A Handle On Your To-Do List

It seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs doing, not to mention things we’d actually like to do.

As entrepreneurs, there are always more tasks and challenges coming our way. This is a good thing! If we finished all our work quickly and easily, we probably wouldn’t be growing.

However, there’s a difference between pushing yourself and pushing yourself over the edge. In order to be successful, and yes sane, we need to find a way to manage our to-do list in an efficient and productive way.

Here is my Top 10 List for checking things off your to-do list: [Read more…]

Fish Where the Fish Are Jumping

Successful branding is based on the idea of being aggressively individualistic, however, there are times when it pays to be a copy cat. Well, not exactly a copy cat, perhaps more of a voyeur or maybe even a little bit of a barnacle. I’m talking about emulating and even leveraging your competition to grow your own business .

As important as it is to be original in your branding, it is not always necessary to be a maverick in your efforts to find and attract ideal clients. We often think of competition as a negative thing, but there are many advantages to having good competitors. Competition keeps you on your toes and challenges you to continually improve and innovate. It forces you to continually define and refine your niche so you can claim a unique position in the marketplace. Competitors can also be great friends and referral partners.

However, one of the greatest benefits to having good competitors is [Read more…]

The Fastest Path To Big Success

“I want a 7-Figure business and I want it NOW!” Great, so glad to hear it. I’m right there with you Sister. Let’s make that happen. I mean it. LET US make that happen.

Today I was listening to an old episode of the Oprah show on the radio. It was a very touching story, aren’t they all, about a woman who took in an 11 year old boy relative to live with her. She was a single woman who had applied to and was preparing to go into the Peace Corps when relatives approached her about this little boy who had no where else to go.  Around the same time she saw an episode of the Oprah show about another woman who had taken on the task of caring for a sick elderly relative. It was that episode that tipped the decision for her to take the boy in.

At the end of the sound bite, Oprah chimed in and said “I love the power of television.” What she was was referring to was the power of television to connect people. Because the woman in the story saw someone else being open and brave, she was able to dig deep into herself and find her own courage and conviction which in turn not only saved the boy, but also gave her life great joy and meaning.

Your business is not an episode of the Oprah show, however, [Read more…]

You Gotta Connect!

In order to grow your business, there is one simple fact. You have to connect with people. No matter what you are selling, 100 times out of 100, you are ultimately selling to another person.@HeatherPoduska (Tweet this) And in order to sell to a lot of people you have to get in front of a lot of people. Which means whether you are speaking to a group or attending a networking event, you’ve got to get your people chops in order.

It’s not always easy or comfortable to engage with strangers, but you have to learn how to do it. All business is built on relationships and the better relationship you have with your audience, the easier it will be to sell your services. This does not mean, of course, to go out with the intent of buttering up prospects for the sole person of selling to them. However, it does mean you should be trying to establish genuine connections with those you meet on the journey of entrepreneurship.

Not only does it make good business sense to establish positive relationships, [Read more…]

I Am Woman Hear Me Brand!

There are more women entrepreneurs now than at any other time in history. According Forbes magazine, female entrepreneurship will create over half the small business jobs in the U.S. by year 2018. However, according to the US Census Bureau, we only generate 4% of the revenue. Ouch. Why if we are so industrious are we not creating more profits?

After all, as Stuart Smalley always said, “We’re good enough, we’re smart enough. And doggone it, people like us!” We have what it takes to be successful, but that is not necessarily translating into actual profits. Here’s the rub. Being smart, talented and hard-working may not be enough to really grow your business. Of course, without those traits, you don’t have much of a chance at anything, but the marketplace is littered with struggling business owners who work hard. There is something missing in this equation. [Read more…]

Is Your Brand Stuck in Neutral?

If you are like most entrepreneurs, you have a fire in your belly to do great things. You want to impact the world in a big way and build a successful business. The only problem is, you’re not quite sure how you’re going to do it.

You probably started your business just trying to get clients in the door. You went to networking events, built relationships and eventually started getting referrals. Now, however, just as you’ve passed the stage of getting your business up and running…things have stalled. No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to generate the momentum you need to kick your brand to the next level. What’s happening? [Read more…]

How To Keep Your Brand Sizzling This Summer

For many entrepreneurs, summer can be a slow time. Many of our clients and potential customers travel during the warmer months which makes it harder to generate business. It’s easy to get discouraged when the numbers aren’t coming in, but there are some things you can do to keep your brand sizzling this summer. 

Yes, it’s true, a lot of traditional networking opportunities vanish in the warmer months. Many clubs and organizations shut down completely, but that doesn’t’ mean there are no opportunities to make connections. You just have to go where other people normally go in the summer. Now I’m not about to encourage you to pull up your beach blanket and try to hard sell your neighbor, however if you are warm and authentic in your approach, you can expand your brand foot print in some unexpected ways. 

Here are a few tips to maximize your networking potential this summer: [Read more…]

Is Indecision Killing Your Business?

Is Indecision Killing Your Business?Do you ever feel like you are spinning your wheels? If you are an entrepreneur my guess is you have felt that way more than once in your business. You may feel like you are doing your best, but you keep bumping up against obstacles. More often than not, however, what seem like obstacles are really just decisions you haven’t made yet.

Unfortunately, failing to make good, swift decisions in your business can have serious implications. Clients are lost, money is wasted and precious, precious time is squandered. As author of Rich Dad Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki says so clearly, “The only difference between a rich person and a poor person is how they use their time.” If you are spending your time hemming and hawing about what decisions to make, you are not spending your time accumulating wealth.

A common mistake in decision making is [Read more…]

Why You Need An Obnoxious Brand To Succeed

If you were raised anything like I was, you were taught to be polite and proper, especially if you are female. “Say please and thank you, keep your clothes neat, don’t interrupt others when they are speaking.” The last thing your parents wanted you to be was obnoxious!  However, teaching good etiquette to children can leave a residue that makes it difficult to market a business effectively.

In order to grow your business, you need to be able to reach and communicate with your audience on a regular basis which means you need to be persistent. The problem for many female entrepreneurs is they don’t want to bother anyone. They don’t want to come across as too pushy. How many times have you heard business coaches say they teach how to do sales without being “salesy”? Salesy has become the new “F” word. What happens in an effort not to be seen as obnoxious is lack of growth and loss of potential income.

Did you know it takes an average [Read more…]

Do You Have An Inspired Brand?

mallYou have business cards, check. Your website is up, check. You are networking, check. You even have some clients, check. You’ve done all the things you’re suppose to be doing to get your business  up and running and now it’s running, but that’s about it. You don’t feel the way you thought you would at this point. Things aren’t as fun and exciting as you imagined they would be.

It happens to most entrepreneurs at some point. In the beginning you have all the enthusiasm of a kid on the last day of school. You can’t wait to open the doors and get out there, but something happens along the way and you lose steam. While it’s true, there is a lot of foot work to be done to lay a strong foundation for your business, you mustn’t lose the spark that set you on the entrepreneurial path in the first place in the process.

That spark is the core of your brand. It’s not the snazzy business cards, the zippy new tagline or even your great services or products that is going to attract people to your brand. How enthusiastically people respond to your brand is in direct proportion to the level of passion you exude towards what you do.

But what’s a girl to do if she’s lost that lovin’ feeling? It is essential you find ways to stay excited and inspired about your business. Here are a few ideas to get you back into your groove: [Read more…]

I’m Off That

“If you off that, it means you don’t mess with it
But if you love that, it means you mess with it
Let me tell you what I mess with…”

I recently added a new song to my iPod called “I’m off that” by Pitbull.  I downloaded it because it had a good beat, but really didn’t pay much attention to the lyrics until I went for my run and had a chance to listen more closely.

“Dirty money, I’m off that
Cleaning money, I’m off that
Phony money, I’m off that
Getting money, I love that”

Pitbull says over and over, “I’m off that, but I love that” listing all the things he no longer likes or desires and then declaring what he does love now. Even though the frame of reference is very different from my own experience, I LOVE the inference.  It’s a song of letting go and upgrading. I thought it was such a great lesson. [Read more…]

Turn Fantasy into Reality and Start Living the Dream

“When I grow up, I wanna be famous
I wanna be a star, I wanna be in movies
When I grow up, I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars, I wanna have boobies

When I grow up, be on TV
People know me, be on magazines
When I grow up, fresh and clean
Number one chick when I step out on the scene”–The Pussy Cat Dolls


What did you wish for when you were a kid? Did you want to be famous? Did you love music or horses or maybe painting was more your thing? When I was a kid, I wanted very badly to be an olympic gymnast. I would practice hand stands for hours and hours, but alas, the closest I ever came to olympic glory was doing cartwheels for the half-time show of a donkey basketball game at our local high school. For those of you unrefined heathens out there, donkey basketball is played by grown men riding real donkeys up and down the court. True story, I could not make this up!

As a chubby grade-schooler living in rural Wisconsin, I had about as much chance of becoming an olympic gymnast as Courtney Love has of being elected president. I eventually let go of that dream and moved on to others. In 3rd grade I wanted to be an astronaut, in high school I wanted to be on the olympic volleyball team, in college I wanted to sing at the Met. None of these fantasies [Read more…]

Are You Afraid of a Little Dirt?

Photo by Isabella PoduskaSpring is officially here. Even though in some parts of the country it still looks like winter, there’s no denying the calendar. Soon enough the temperatures will rise and the birds will be singing again. As much as we appreciate the warmth and freshness of spring, it is also a time of hard work preparing the ground for new growth. The same is true for you business.

Let me ask you a question: [Read more…]

Is Your Business a Booty Call Or a Bride to Be?

Young woman with telephoneIn my last blog post, I talked about how wonderful it is that we women entrepreneurs love to share and collaborate. However, there is a down side to this generous spirit. Because we tend to be such natural givers, many of us give away our value without even realizing it.

Does this scene sound familiar to you? You are chatting with another business person or perhaps a potential client who upon hearing about your expertise, starts peppering you with questions about their particular situation or problem.  You respond by trying to help solve said problem and before you know it, you’ve spent a significant amount of time coaching this person for free. You have just experienced a business booty call.

I recognize this scenario because I used to be an active participant in many similar situations. The result of such a conversation had a strange effect on me. First, I would feel a sense of deep satisfaction knowing I had made a positive influence in someone else’s life or business. It also boosted my confidence seeing I had enough knowledge and expertise to be impactful. Then, however, I would start to feel kind of sick to my stomach.

I would realize I had just [Read more…]

Are you Successful or Just Busy?

As women we are often praised for being good multitaskers. Remember the old song “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never, ever let you forget you’re a man?” Did this woman also remember to help with the homework and run to soccer or ballet? I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t be singing after all that!

Unfortunately, we as women buy into the idea multitasking somehow makes us better. We compare schedules like men compare war wounds. He says, “I got this one in Nam” and we say, “I have to go to the grocery store and then pick up Susie from her playdate so we can get the supplies to take over to the fundraising committee and then…bla, bla bla.” The more you can jam into that sentence, the more street cred you think you get.

Here’s the sad truth, [Read more…]

Give and Grow Rich

iStock_000004892219LargeI have probably read over a thousand books on how to improve yourself, create a better mindset, attract more abundance, live with more energy or increase your creativity. You name it, if there is a book about how to make yourself or your life better, I’m on it. And while I’ve learned and applied many great insights about how to up my joy factor or increase my wealth, there is nothing like real life to teach you the most important lessons, the ones that make a real, lasting impact. Here is a biggie I learned recently that I’d like to share with you. [Read more…]

How to Make 13 A Lucky Number For Your Brand

“You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?’–Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry

Doesn’t it seem like some people are born with a horseshoe over their head? Good things just seem to come their way. Ah, if only you could tap into some of their good fortune…

Perhaps some people are just born lucky, but for the rest of us, we have to make our own. The good news is, you don’t have to carry a rabbit foot in your pocket to turn the tides in your favor. Here are a few tips to make 2013 your luckiest year yet: [Read more…]

5 Tips for Stripping for Success.

This is the time of year when everyone looks back on the good, the bad and the ugly of the past year. We review the top 10 news events, sports events, movies and songs. Some things thrilled us and some things floored us. It can be fun to reminisce, and it also a gives us an opportunity to understand what is working and what isn’t in our lives and businesses.

The past gives us the clues we need to make better decisions moving forward. The problem for most of us though, is we tend not to change our behavior or change it enough to elicit a different outcome. In order to get real traction, we need to be willing to let go of things, but this can be difficult and scary.

All too often, we look at a situation we know isn’t perfect, perhaps we have a difficult client or vendor, but instead of addressing what needs to be changed, we trudge along in the same manner and tolerate the results. Next year at this time we will be thinking the exact same thing, “I really should do something about this situation.”

When you carry forward those things which aren’t working, you lose time, money and FUN! You may not even realize how much these irritants are weighing you down until you get rid of them.  When you do strip away what’s not optimal, you create a more streamlined, on-brand and enjoyable business.

 To help you lose your inhibitions about stripping down, here are a few tips: [Read more…]

Is Your Personal Brand Ready for Promotion?

Have you ever wondered why sometimes really smart, qualified people are not promoted?  Why is it that some entrepreneurs are able to grab the spotlight while others stumble around in anonymity? Two articles I read recently in the Harvard Business Review and Marie Claire magazine address this issue by talking about something called “executive presence.” All other things being equal such as experience or education, the person with the strongest executive presence, or what I call good personal branding, will get the promotion or in the case of the entrepreneur, the business.

“You’re smart, driven, and good at what you do. But that alone won’t be enough to score you a promotion or corner office. A slew of other factors that constitute “executive presence”–from your wardrobe to your ability to inspire colleagues–will also play a huge role in how far you will go.”– Marie Claire Magazine

A study conducted by Sylvia Ann Hewlett of the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) concluded that having executive presence “accounts for as much as 28 percent of a woman’s success.”  That means almost a third of what goes into your success is not based on how well you actually do your job! So what makes up executive presence?  According to Hewlett, there are three basic factors:  how you look, how you speak and how you behave. “It’s all three things and nailing them makes you a contender.”

Let’s take a closer look… [Read more…]

I Challenge You To Do 100!

This is a picture of me after my morning workout. I’m tired, but happy and very grateful. A couple of  months ago I wrenched my back and was unable to exercise for several weeks and even then it was slow going. Today was the first day since early September I was able to do my normal full workout and it felt really good. I was so grateful to be able to move my body again.

It’s funny how much we take for granted in life, especially things that can sometimes take effort. However, the moment those things are taken away, you realize how important they are and it gives you a whole new appreciation of their value. When you value something, you are more motivated to pay attention to and care for it and that in turn makes it flourish. If you care for your body, your health flourishes and if you care for your business, it will flourish too.

Cultivating a sense of gratitude is essential for [Read more…]

Do you have a Ping Problem?

Have you ever wondered why the phone is not ringing with clients asking to work with you? Are you frustrated because your business is not growing as quickly as you’d like it to? Do you wonder why no one is asking you to partner and do business collaborations together? If so, you may have a ping problem.

If you’ve been following me a while, you know I’ve talked about ping before. Ping is what gives a singing voice shimmer and edge so it can carry and be heard over the orchestra. A voice without ping sounds flat or fuzzy. The sound quality is diffuse because it lacks clarity and focus. As a result, it has difficulty reaching the audience.

If you are having difficulty propelling your business forward, more than likely you too are  [Read more…]

Know When to Say “No”

Sometimes the word “no” gets a bad rap. It sounds harsh or limiting. As children we were often told no when we asked for things we wanted. We may have wanted to buy a cheap toy or stay up past our bedtime. As teenagers we may have wanted to go to a party that “everyone” else was going to. When we were younger, we could not appreciate that our parents were protecting our health, keeping us safe and safe-guarding our future by saying no. As adults, however, we recognize their insistence on setting limits was a great act of love so we could grow into thriving, successful adults.

As entrepreneurs, we must also learn to say “no” so that our businesses can thrive, though it’s not always easy. As parents, we know it’s often very tempting to just give in when our children beg and plead with us. It takes a lot of strength to stand our ground, but we do it because we know it’s in our child’s best interest. It’s the same with your brand and in your business. It is hard to say no when there are so many people and opportunities vying for your attention and energy. However, you must learn to do it if you are going to succeed.

Here are 3 Tips to help you know when to say “no” and feel good about it! [Read more…]

3 Tips for Finding a Good Niche

Finding the right niche for your business is extremely important. It’s one of the things that can make a really big impact on your success, or lack thereof. It’s also one of the areas people struggle with most in their branding process. People are confused or unsure about what niche to focus on or perhaps they’ve tried one niche already and feel frustrated and disappointed because it did not create the results they were looking for. Finding the right niche can be challenging, but if you pay attention to a few key points, you can find the right match for your business.

Here are 3 qualities a niche must have to be right for you.  [Read more…]

Put the Wind in your Business Sails

Have you ever felt stuck in a the doldrums? You just feel a little off. You feel unmotivated to pursue your goals as passionately as you once did. Or your last little defeat has turned into a downward spiral and you can’t seem to stop the negative momentum. It happens to all of us from time to time. Sometimes it’s a small blip on the screen. Other times negativity digs in its heals and stops you in your tracks. Whether big or small, negativity left unchecked not only erodes your sense of well-being, it also pokes a hole in the sails that propel your business.

Think about it. If you are frustrated you might become impatient with a client who then feels less inclined to refer you to others. If you feel jealous and inferior because a competitor wins your ideal contract you might start to get discouraged and put less effort into prospecting for leads. If you let small technical difficulties fluster you, you may start to develop self-doubt. All this negative energy can effect not only your productivity, but also your pocket book and even your health! Fortunately, there is a cure. It’s called Positivity. [Read more…]

Is Fear Killing your Brand?

If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of one thing that plagues most human beings, it would be worry. I hate worry, HATE IT!  It is an evil that must be challenged at every turn. Worry stops dreams before they start. Worry poisons passion. And worry is one of the leading causes of a malady that strikes down many otherwise healthy business owners. It’s called weakbranditis. Weakbranditis is a condition that occurs when people worry too much about what other people think. They worry whether or not people will like them. They worry they will come across too strongly, too girly, too anything and everything. In an effort to avoid the discomfort of possible rejection, they pull back, tone down or dilute the very things that would make their brands special and memorable. [Read more…]

Is your Business Between a Rock and a Hardplace?

This morning I decided to plant a lovely red geranium I received as a gift recently. I’m not much of a gardener, but I thought I could handle the simple task of digging a hole in the dirt. I retrieved my clean, pink gardening gloves (first clue I am not an avid gardener) and the toy spade from my daughter’s gardening kit (second clue I’m not a gardener). With tools in hand I set out to dig. [Read more…]

Is Your Brand Missing the Mark?

Do you ever feel like you are spinning your wheels in your business? You feel like you are working, working, working, but nothing, nothing, nothing is happening? You’ve been a good doobie. You’ve developed a good service or product. You are tweeting and posting on Facebook. Perhaps you’ve even stepped out of your comfort zone and started doing some pubic speaking, but still nothing is happening. You just can’t seem to get any leverage. You start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you. Why aren’t people responding? [Read more…]

The Treadmill Altar

If you are a woman entrepreneur, your plate is full. More than likely you are running your home, your business and possibly a gaggle of children to boot. In all the flurry of activity it is easy to put your own needs on the back burner. However, taking care of yourself should be priority number 1. Without your health and energy there will be no business, your house will be a mess and the kids will end up eating chicken nuggets most nights. Ok, so a few chicken nuggets is not the end of the world, but a regular diet of sub-par nutrition is not optimal. Neither is walking around in a haze because your mind and body are in a slump.

I have been active my whole life, but until recently I looked at exercise as a way only to keep my body healthy. I have now come to look at exercise as [Read more…]

Nurture your Business

For Mother’s Day this year our family spent a fun the day at the beach. It was a warm, sunny day so many other families were also there strolling in the sand. As I looked around, I saw moms changing diapers, chasing toddlers and playing frisbee with their teenagers. It struck me how good parenting is constant even if the specifics of the job description changes over time. Obviously, the immediate needs of a 3 year old are very different from those of a 13 year old, but the fundamentals do not change over time. Kid of all ages need love and guidance to thrive. They need to be nurtured. [Read more…]

Is Your Brand a Winner?

This past weekend was the running of the Kentucky Derby. I really didn’t give much thought to it until I ran into another mom who told me she was going to attend a Derby party that night. At first I had no idea what she was talking about, but once she explained it was a Kentucky Derby party I was really fascinated. I started peppering her with questions. Will you wear a hat? Will there be betting? Will there be a signature drink? “Well, of course!” she replied. Hats, wagers and mint juleps were all on the menu.

In recent years it seems like more and more people are throwing these kinds of home spectator parties. No longer do people just gather for the annual Superbowl. Theme parties spread the gamut from erudite election parties to glitzy Oscar parties complete with red carpet. All this partying has me thinking. Fun and frivolity aside, what is the deeper appeal of the spectator party and what does it have to do with branding? [Read more…]

The Pace of Business

Today is Marathon Day in Boston. Thousands of runners from around the world will come to run the 26.2 mile course from Hopkinton to Boston. This is the 116th year of the race, but in all those years I doubt the runners have ever encountered the heat they will today. The temperature is suppose to reach the high 80’s. Even the most seasoned runners have been advised to pace themselves carefully. Upon hearing the warnings, my young daughter asked me what it means to pace yourself. [Read more…]

Open Wide

There is a very funny phenomenon that happens when people first start taking voice lessons. They have a tendency to try to sing with their mouths closed! It’s a very strange thing. The whole point of lessons is to open up the instrument and learn how to let the voice soar. You would think if someone is willing to invest the time and money to actually take singing lessons it would be natural to open up and sing.  However, I have seen the contrary many, many times in my own teaching and watching other singers in master classes. Why is this so?

First, people are NOT AWARE they are not opening their mouths fully. Often when one sings with a partially closed mouth the voice actually sounds quite large on the inside. The sad truth is, however, the sound is getting trapped inside the singer’s body, rumbling around inside their throat, their mouth and their ears. It is not being projected out. As a result, the sound from the outside is small and muffled.

Secondly, in spite of the fact the student has invested in lessons and thus shown a genuine interest in learning to sing, they are AFRAID to let their voice out. Again, I have seen it many times, especially in young singers. The first time they open their mouth and let their voice really rip, they instinctively recoil at the bigness of their own sound.

Finally, a reason some singers do not open their mouths when they sing is they do not have the strength or coordination built up in their bodies to support their sound fully. Therefore, they are forced to “hold on” to their sound. They do not have the support mechanism in place to sustain the opening and project out. It is a technical and structural issue.

As budding business owners we are trying to find and project our voices too. Our stage is the marketplace. However, both the singer and the entrepreneur are trying to reach and entice their target audience. [Read more…]

Think Like a Woman, Act Like a Woman

This month marks International Women’s Month where we celebrate the accomplishments of women and inspire women to be their best. This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at an Empowered Women’s Seminar where we all shared our expertise and encouragement. It was very satisfying and exciting. However, one thing that stood out to me was the topic of safety. As many of the women in the group were business women who consult and sometimes travel to different locations for work, the issue of keeping yourself safe on the job came up. It struck me in that moment once again, how different men and women really are. I somewhat doubt an issue of personal safety would have been at the forefront of a business seminar for men. For women, however, no matter how successful you are, it is still a real concern. When I came home I mentioned that part of the seminar to my husband and he said, “That’s something I don’t usually think about.” Of course not, it’s just not something men think about as much.

Have you ever heard or seen the slogan “Think like a man, act like a woman?”  I have always been slightly uncomfortable with that slogan, but it wasn’t until I heard my husband’s response that I figured out why. As women, we are NOT men.  We are not female versions of men. We are women, completely different beasts. We do not have the same issues, the same bodies, the same minds, or exactly the same drives. Sure we share some things, but there are many, many things we don’t share. I love men and I don’t think women are better than men. On the contrary, I think it’s important to honor and leverage what makes each of us unique. Therefore, it is not my goal to think like a man, but rather to think like an intelligent woman. A man doesn’t worry so much about personal safety, however, a smart woman does. [Read more…]

Water your own lawn.

My morning routine usually consists of an hour workout at the gym. When I’m on the treadmill or elliptical machine I have on my ipod and bring along something to read if I’m not doing a hard run. Usually, my reading material is some kind of marketing, business or personal development book. Sometimes, however, I’ll turn on the tv if I really need to be distracted from my workout. I don’t watch the news when I run because I’ve noticed it slows me down, however, at 6 a.m. there aren’t a lot of options. I usually end up catching something on Bravo. Yesterday it was the “Real Housewives of Orange County.” Ok, it’s a far cry from The Power of Focus which I’m reading now, but believe it or not, I came away with a really good piece of advice from the show. [Read more…]

Are you holding on by a thread?

If you are a woman entrepreneur you are probably very familiar with the feeling of being overwhelmed, especially if you also happen to be a mom. There are so many things to keep track of, sometimes it feels like your head is literally going to spin off.  Not only are you in charge of your business, you are also the CEO of your house and family. You may be handling everything from doing the books for your business to trying to excavate your yard for rocks for your kid’s big penguin project. ( We got an “A” thank you very much.) How on earth can you stay focused and feel productive when you are being pulled in a hundred different directions?

Here are some suggestions I give to my clients and that I also follow to stay sane. [Read more…]

Are You Churning Butter?

In his book The Slight Edge author Jeff Olson tells the parable to two frogs who get stuck in a bucket of cream. Once in the bucket they realize they are in literally over their heads and have no way to get out. The first frog resigns himself to his fate and gives up voluntarily sinking to the bottom of the bucket to drawn. The second frog says, no way not me. He paddles his little heart out going in circles until he is too tired to continue. Just as he is about to allow himself to sink to his death his foot touches something hard and he is able to push against it to just out of the bucket.  Unknowingly, the little frog has turned the cream into butter with all his paddling.

When we first decide to pursue entrepreneurship we often feel like we’ve hit pay dirt. We’ve maybe left an unfulfilling job to follow our dream or maybe we are enticed the by idea of financial freedom. We jump in feet first to the big luscious bucket of entrepreneurial cream and feel drunk with possibilities, but when reality of our choice starts to sink in we panic. What at first seems like a windfall, now seems like a trap. We are flooded with “what if’s” and “how on earth.” How are we going to make a profit when all our money is collateral? How are we going to keep a solid connection with our kids when we are now need to work on weekends? How on earth are we going to get every damn thing done!! [Read more…]

Plan for Success

IStock_000012686196XSmallAs the new year starts, our heads are full with resolutions of looking better, feeling better and being better. Imagining how we are going to look when we drop those nagging 20 pounds or how great we will feel when we finally get our home office cleaned out and organized, we are filled with energy and enthusiasm. However, come March we look back at the previous two months and wonder what happened? We are still hanging on to our not-so-beloved love handles and our home offices still look like a tornado passed through. What happened to all our good intentions?

Now I am a tried and true believer in the power of intentions, but having a clear intention is only half the equation to reaching your goals. Most of us have very clear ideas of what we’d like to see happen in the new year (usually, that clarity has something to do with a size 6 dress!), but something gets lost in the actual manifesting of the vision. The problem usually lies in not having a clearly laid out PLAN to follow outlining all the necessary steps to actually achieve your goal. [Read more…]

Rest, Reflect, Rebrand

Rest, Reflect, RebrandAs I’m sitting here on my sofa after much celebrating, visiting, baking, eating, and gift giving I am feeling fat, happy, relaxed and exhausted. It has been a wonderful time for our family and I feel incredibly blessed. I also feel super tired. When I asked my friends what they were doing for their holiday vacation, many were heading to the slopes for some family ski time. While the idea of heading to the slopes with my crew seems like fun in theory, the reality is I just don’t have the energy. I could rally to do something more ambitious, but I know that would be a mistake. I know it’s important for me and my family to rest and regroup no matter what everyone else is doing.

This is something I have learned over time. In the past I would have pushed myself to do something more. After all, other people are doing more, or so it seems from the outside. However, I’ve learned at this point that in order for me to enjoy my life and my work I have to respect my own boundaries. If I don’t take the time to recharge my batteries I know my mood and creativity will plummet and ultimately, so will my productivity.

[Read more…]

The Labor of Brand Success

The Labor of Brand SuccessIn my last blog post I mentioned the fact that nurses and teachers are my heroes, and it’s true. After giving birth three times, my appreciation of nurses has grown exponentially. Having a good nurse makes all the difference in the world when it comes to those times when you really need to rely on someone to help you push through. Most of my maternity nurses were very sweet, but there was one who was tough as nails. At one point I seriously wanted to slap her, but in all honesty she was probably the best nurse I ever had. This was my nurse for my first baby. I think her name was Joan.

When I got to the hospital to deliver my first daughter I was understandably nervous and excited, but I was also a little bit cocky. I had read all the baby books, been to all the lamaze classes and had watched all the way-too-graphic birthing movies. I knew what to expect. I knew and had practiced all the breathing techniques and I definitely knew all my drug options of which I had fully planned to take advantage. However, when the time came during my labor to ask for my epidermal there was a mad rush of other emergencies in the maternity ward.  All THREE anesthesiologists were unavailable to give me my meds. How could this be? This was not one of the contingencies I was prepared for. The pain was quickly intensifying and panic set in. All my preparation went right out the window. I stopped my “hee, hee, whhoo, whhoo” and started something more along the lines of “What the ****!”

[Read more…]

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?Have you ever wondered why some people are successful while others are not? What is it that separates the haves from the have nots? While some people toil away at unfulfilling jobs, linger in overweight bodies or struggle with difficult relationships, there are a select few who seem to sail through life. They write the great American novel, create wildly successful businesses or strut their rock hard abs. What is their secret? Successful people take action.

You may be saying, "Wait, that's the answer to the great big secret to success? That's too simple." Yes, it is simple, however, simple does not mean easy. Take for, for example, weight loss. Loosing weight is not rocket science. We all know to lose weight you have to eat fewer calories and expend more energy. Of course, there are different methods to this process, but it all pretty much boils down to calories and energy. So if it's so simple why are we not all walking around in super svelte bodies? It's because knowing something and DOING something are completely different. You must take ACTION to see results. You must get your ass to the gym!

If we know what to do, why are we not all racing out of our houses to get to aerobics class? Because it's hard and makes us uncomfortable. In order to be successful you are going to have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You will have to do things you don't feel like doing. Many people think they will do something when they get properly motivated. They hire coaches or read inspirational books. And while those things are all great helps, YOU are still the one that has to do the work. But here's the good news. Once you START to take action, you DO start to feel like doing the work. You DO start to feel motivated.

Most people think the emotion will come and then they will take action. That's backwards thinking. When you start taking action you start to create a cascade of positive emotions that keep you motivated. You start to see progress and glimpses of your success which gives you even more energy to take more action. It's an upward spiral. 

Here are three tips to get you and keep you on PAR with success:

1. PREPARE-What do you need to do to set yourself up for success? Are there supplies you need? Do you need to put things on your calendar? Are there people you need to contact? When you know WHAT you need to do, it will be easier to get started.

2. ACT-What one thing can you do each day to move you closer to your goal? DO IT. Make a phone call, write your outline, buy some damn carrots! Do SOMETHING. Even doing one small thing will help you feel motivated to take the next step. All action is physical. Even if you think for a living, you still need to physically write down your thoughts. So get out of your brain and into your body.

3. REBOUND-If you try an action and it fails, GET UP AND TRY AGAIN. Imagine you were running an important race on a track with hundreds of spectators. Now imagine you tripped on your shoelace and fell flat on your face in front of all those people. What would you do? Would you just lay there? No, you would get up and finish the race and hopefully, you would have learned to tuck in your laces for the next race. The only way you really fail is if you stay down and let the world trample on you.

Stop waiting to feel ready to act. ACT like you are ready succeed and soon you will be the one winning the race.