Here is the audio version of this post. Thanks so much for listening. Enjoy.
So here I sit. In a new place, in a kinda new town, well, at least for LA it’s considered a new town. Even though I am 8 miles from where I lived for over 13 years and in the city I was born in and have lived most of my life, when you move in LA, particularly to DTLA, you might as well be in another state.
As I continue to settle in, only 4 big boxes left, I am reflecting on the process that got me here, and the process for how I am getting settled in my new space and “town”.
How did I get here? I used YELP, Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist and lots of Google searches. All digital platforms.
Yes, I know, some may tire of me writing about the power of engaging on social + digital platforms, but it’s not the platforms I am in love with, it’s the power of the platforms and how they empower people & businesses, if we choose to let them.
Food, Shelter, A Nail Salon And More…
I found my loft on Craigslist via Google search then hit YELP to see if I even wanted to make an appointment to view it. And before I found my space, I looked at about 10 other spaces on Craigslist and YELP. My loft had some really good and really bad reviews, yet I still moved in. Why? Just because a business has some bad reviews, does not always mean its a bad place. But it did allow me to ask all the right questions, and move forward with open eyes.
I found my new nail salon on YELP. It has mostly great reviews, a few mediocre ones, but it was very convenient. I can walk there. Did I love the experience? I’m not 100% sold, but may try it one more time.
I found the best sandwich shop, which just happens to be 2 doors down from me, on YELP. It has killer reviews, and they were right, it was the BEST! Marie’s on 7th. Give it a try when you are here.
I found my pizza place on YELP and via Eat24. Ugh, yes, 2 foods in a row, but you know, a girl has gotta eat. OMG, wish I never found this place. But if you love pizza, check out 9th Street Pizza in DTLA.
I found my Internet service via referral from the building and then YELPED it just to be sure. So far so good, since you are reading this blog, my Internet is working, and they are some of the nicest people for an Internet company. Bel Air Internet, a small but mighty company that seems to really care. So much more awesome than my experience with the BIG internet companies. Happiness.
I found a couch cleaner and an installation service to mount the TV on my wall, both on YELP.
When was the last time you moved? When was the last time you needed to find a new service? Whether you have or have not, people like me are moving, and searching, or wanting a new experience. Where are they going to find that service? More and more, they are hitting search engines, and yes, YELP. A good offline referral program coupled with awesome online reviews have the potential to really super charge your biz.
If you want YELP to work for you, you have to work it. What does that mean? Create systems and processes for gaining reviews. The more reviews you have, the more you will show up in search engines and in YELP searches. And Google search LOVES active YELP pages. Provide an exceptional experience offline. Always. And ask people to share their experience on YELP.
Worried about bad reviews? How do you handle them now, offline? It’s really no different. And trust me, if you have 10 great reviews and 1 shitty one, and you handle it well in your response, nine times out of ten, the prospective new clients will love you even more, knowing that experience matter to you, even if it’s some nut case just stirring up trouble.
Wouldn’t you rather know someone was disappointed with their experience than just telling a bunch of their friends and not allowing you the opportunity to make it better? I think we all know the honest answer to that.
If you are looking to create more awesome in your biz, it’s time to begin to better see through the clients eyes. Want new clients to find you? Engage. Show up, online and off. You never know, the next new kid in town could be your best new client.
“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
J.M Barrie, Creator of Peter Pan
Here is the audio version of this post. It’s my first time recording on a new computer in my new space, so its a bit wonky, it will get better. Thank you so much for understanding and listening. Enjoy.
For the last 7 months, I have been overwhelmed with the process of selling my house and deciding where I would be moving myself, my canine babies and Passion Squared. Talk about an experience in patience and trust. OMG, there were days and weeks I was not sure I would survive.
Being overwhelmed by all the stops and starts and mistakes. Not knowing when or if, or as my therapist says, being in a forever “hallway”. Ugh, hallways, seriously one of the worst places to be. So why am I sharing this in my blog?
For months I have been thinking about how I would share my experience once I came out the other side. So here I sit today, finally out of the hallway and into my new space, and new chapter.
So what did I learn?
A delay is not always a denial.
When I think back on my life, I am so grateful for the things that did not go my way, as much as I am for the things that did. And many times, the things I wanted so badly, were not actually the best things for me. I trust that the Universe or what ever you want to call it knows. The more I learn to trust and pay attention, the more I see this as truth.
Life is one series of lessons.
When I choose to look at it that way, things get a little bit easier and actually become funny in a way. Cause seriously, many times, all I could do was laugh, in between tears of course. What makes life so awesome is the lessons, if we can see them and learn from them. Isn’t that why we are here?
Wants and needs are very different.
What I wanted was my house to sell in 5 seconds so I could get on with my life, no interruptions, nothing. Realistic? Hell no! What I needed was to trust that the people I put in charge of selling my house knew what they were doing, and that the perfect buyer would come, eventually. Patience is still not my strong suit. And I made a huge mistake choosing my first realtor. So I own my decision, make better choices, and move forward. And trust that if I do my part, my needs will be met. Even when it’s not on my perfect timeline.
What is right for you is not necessarily right for me.
This is one of the biggest reminders for me during this process. You see, I had to sit for a long time in my decision to buy a house in the first place. Looking in the mirror is never easy. I purchased a home because that is what I thought I was supposed to do. So many people told me that was what I was supposed to do. You know, the American dream thing? Well, guess what? That is total BS.
In looking through years of decisions I have made, I realized many of them were based on what other people thought. What other people said. Not on what felt right for me. So here I sit, realizing again that so much of my life was built based on others thoughts and opinions. Not everyone is meant to be a homeowner, or a business owner for that matter. For reals. We all have a path. We all have skill sets. But to assume what is right for you is right for me is what gets so many of us in trouble. With life, leadership, and even home ownership.
So today, as I sit in my new loft space in downtown LA, with all the sights and sounds, the energy, the aliveness, I am finally at peace. Knowing that this was all just another awesome lesson, in this crazy journey called life. And today, I am grateful for the delays and denials. I am grateful for everything.
Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy!
According to one of my go-to awesomeness creators on all things marketing and business, Seth Godin, he states “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
So, when we think of creating, building and growing a brand, such as a salon, Pilates studio, or education business, we must begin with defining our WHY and our promise, which are the foundation of our brand story. Without a story, and I am not talking about an old school mission statement, we are not a brand; we are just another business that can be easily replaced with another.
Your brand is not your name, logo or the colors you choose for your business card, the words you use or wall paint. That is your brand identity and ultimately become your brand image. And while those choices you make are very important and critical, having an awesome logo or name and no clarity around your WHY or promise, will not matter in the end. You see, its your WHY and promise that once defined, help guide you into the best name, logo, colors and words, not the other way around.
Here is a series of questions for you to ponder to begin to define your brand.
1. What is your WHY?
Why are you in business? Why should I choose you over someone else? What problem are you trying to solve? Passion Squared WHY is to help empower the people I love through providing proven ideas, systems and processes to help create awesome in biz + life. The problem I want to solve is small business failure for beauty and wellness professionals.
2.What business are you in?
Hint: Its not haircuts or exercise classes. Passion Squared is in the empowerment business.
3. What is your promise to your team, clients and community?
After engaging with your business, what will the outcome be? Passion Squared promise is to share honest ideas, insights and inspiration that will empower the community to take action on those ideas and create awesome in their business, with love.
4. What three words best describe your experience?
If you can get it to one word, even better. Passion Squared one word is empowerment. My three words are awesome, create and empowerment.
5. If a client were writing a 5 star YELP review about your business, what would it say?
If it matches or comes close to your why and promise, you are awesome. A client of Passion Squared would say after engaging with my business, my client had more clarity around what steps they needed to take to grow and felt empowered to create awesome in their business.
Begin here. Take the time. Get the team involved. Listen to what your clients say about your business today. Read your YELP reviews and Facebook page comments. Rome was not built in a day and neither are real, sustainable brands.
PS: Your brand is not the product lines you choose to carry or use. It’s actually the other way around. Based on your brand why, promise, story, identity and image, you choose the product line that fits your brand.
Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy.
Change. It’s one of those things that is always tossed around as inevitable yet so many still try to avoid it, whether we are conscious of it or not. I recently experienced something that made me really stop and think about how we many times fear change, or see it as such a negative thing it almost paralyzes us.
This is what happened.
When the new iPhone iOS7 came out, from my perspective, it seemed as though everyone hated it. Typically when Apple launched as new iOS, people got so excited. Including me. New features. New toys. Awesome, right? But with iOS7, all I heard was what a nightmare it was and be ready to have a ton of time on your hands to relearn how to use just about everything. The issue that stuck out most to me was the changes in iCal, which basically runs my life. Every move I make is on iCal, even trash day.
Life has been a little upside down and nutty for me the last several months, and the last thing I needed was my iCal messed up. Seriously, in my mind, if that happened, I would have to crawl into a hole, for real.
The update could wait. It was too dangerous and scary. At least that is what I thought, based on all the noise on the social web. So I waited. And waited. Until…
Facebook launched the new app called Paper, which is actually a really cool & new way to experience Facebook. But, I had to have iOS7 to get it. OMG. Are you kidding me? So it happened. I decided it was time to update my phone. The thoughts running through my mind were crazy. But I took the plunge. And pressed update…and waited.
What comes next is truly where the lesson was for me. After several months of fearing the update, fearing losing all of my information, fearing not being able to use my lifeline called iCal, I turned on my phone and to my total disbelief, it was awesome. Everything was essentially the same, only a bit more awesome looking. More intuitive. More seamless. More new. That was it.
In business and in life, we can see change as negative, or we can see it as opening up more space, creating new opportunity, creating more awesome. Whether its making that long overdue change in your team, systems, or programs, whether it’s a relationship that’s run its course, not all change is negative. Once we accept that, it is truly amazing how much time we can save and awesomeness we can create.
“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”
(image via Google)
Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.
Anxiety sucks. And its real. It can rob of us so much joy. It can paralyze us and isolate us. I am continually asked about this topic as I have shared openly that I live with anxiety and panic disorder, and on Saturday, a beautiful member of the Passion Squared community asked that I share some ways that I have been able to deal with it.
First and foremost, I am not a doctor. Duh. But I am in treatment and continue to battle this crippling condition, successfully (most of the time), thus, my ability to speak on the topic from MY experience.
Lets begin with the definition of generalized anxiety disorder explained by The National Institute of Mental Health…
“All of us worry about things like health, money, or family problems. But people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are extremely worried about these and many other things, even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. They are very anxious about just getting through the day. They think things will always go badly. At times, worrying keeps people with GAD from doing everyday tasks.”
So yes, it is all in our head, and for us, the fear and worry are very real.
The following are the ways that I treat my anxiety today…
I consistently see a therapist. Knowing that I have a mental disorder, I have accepted that one of the best ways to keep my head straight is to treat it. When we have a physical health issue, we see a doctor. Mental health is no different.
2. Eating + Exercise
One of the best pieces of advice I was given that works for me was about keeping my blood sugar regulated, meaning, eating some type of protein every 3-4 hours. In addition to that, I am very mindful of how much I mix caffeine and sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE espresso and drink it every morning. But I do not drink Venti Iced Mochas (sugar mixed with caffeine). Now on the exercise front, it works. And while I am not yet to the point where I do it consistently, when I do, my anxiety is greatly reduced.
3. Vitamin B
Again, I am not a doctor and am not saying what works for me will work for you, but keeping loaded up on B vitamins has absolutely helped me. And when I am not staying loaded up on B’s, I can feel the difference.
Whenever I am absolutely freaking out, I throw in my ear buds and listen to meditation music, Zen type stuff. It seems to really help calm down my heart rate. At the same time, if I am getting ready to present in front of an audience and cannot catch my breath, which is often, I will listen to my fave hip hop song, it seems to work for me as well.
5. Gratitude + Meditation + Prayer
One of the things I have learned about anxiety is that it can go from bad and to worse the more we focus on it and all the things we are fearful of. When I make my gratitude list, for just that moment, I get out of my head. It works. Same goes for meditation and prayer. Now, I am not religious, but I do my own kind of prayer. The meditation thing, I do by listening to meditation music as mentioned in #4.
6. Take A Walk
I know, I get so angry when people are like…”Just take a walk, you will feel better.” OMG, do you have any idea what I am going thorough right now? But in all seriousness, removing myself from the current environment, just for a few moments, helps. So if you are at work, walk outside. At home, move to another room. Anything you can do to change your environment can help.
7. Give Someone A Hand
This is a big one. The more we focus on our fears, the more fearful and anxious we become. So again, like the gratitude list, its good to get out of our own heads. Helping someone out, a co-worker, a boss, a friend or neighbor helps me get out of my head, and move past the anxiety I am feeling in that moment.
Now again, I am NOT A DOCTOR. I am only speaking from my experience and plead with you to go back to point 1, see a mental health professional and together, decide what the best treatment for you is. I have chosen not to be consistently medicated. Reason being, I tried, and I had disastrous results. My choice has been to work my ass off to battle this disorder the most natural way I can. However, I do have a prescription for a medication that I take ONLY when I am in a serious and debilitating attack. I am proud to say, I only have to take this 1-2 times a month, at most. And it is always a last resort for me.
Living with anxiety blows but we do have a choice of how we are going to let it control our lives. And like anything worth having in life, it takes work.
A big shout out of love + gratitude to Duke Strange, who inspired this post.