[Featured: The Wholehearted Woman] The Real Truth About Pursuing Your Passion

This post is originally published on the "Wholehearted Woman".  Visit their web site & sign up for their email to get your FREE copy of the magazine! [http://www.wholeheartedwoman.org/

I had my quarter-life crisis at age 24.  Don’t get me wrong, things on the outside looked great.  I was newly married, living an adventurous lifestyle abroad in Beijing, China, and landed a dream job teaching at an international school.  But things on the inside weren’t so dreamy.  I was struggling with the paradox of passion.  If I’m passionate about teaching, then how come I’m frustrated with my job?  If I’m meant to mentor others, then how come I can’t seem to find those opportunities?  If I’m here for a reason, then why can’t I create a well-integrated, passionate life?  

If I could go back and tell my 24-year-old self one thing, it would be this: Passion is working towards living out your Purpose.  It’s up to you to be intentional with it.  

There’s a lot of not-so-helpful tips about Passion out there.  “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  “You only live once!” The essence of these mantras are to inspire you to do great things.  But if we’re not careful, we can struggle with Passion as we strive to chase it, rather than create it.     

Pursue Your Passion by Shi Chen

So today I wanted to share with you 3 Lies about Passion, and 3 Real Truths about pursuing it.  Hopefully, the truth will set you free. 

Passion Lie #1: “I need to be passionate about what I’m doing.”  

People get tripped up with this misconception because they associate their work with something that should fulfill their ultimate purpose.  The thing is, work is WORK.  People freak out when they can’t see the connection between where they are now, and where they’d like to be.  Your career and your business has different seasons.  It comes with challenges and opportunities for growth.  Putting your focus on things beyond your control, like circumstances, job title and description and where you can lose motivation.  Instead, you have it within your control to do the self-discovery work of identifying your passion, even if it’s just for the short-term..  Ask yourself: what’s important to me in order to create great work?  What’s my purpose for this season of my career?  What strengths do I have to offer to make a meaningful contribution?   Passion can consist of your gifts, your strengths, and your purpose, so when you can pinpoint these components, it’s easier to create opportunities to pursue them.  Passion starts with your attitude, your work ethic, and your outlook on creating positive outcomes so your initial passion can multiply into even more passion.  

For me, it was easy to lose sight of the big picture of helping these young kids grow their minds, confidence, and skills when I was caught up in the student drama, difficult conversations with parents, and administrative work.  Once I realized that my teaching job is equipping me with the leadership skills of communication, creation and execution, and working with different types of people (that would prepare me for whatever was next), I could engage better in all aspects of my work and infuse passion into everything I do.  

The Truth is: Pursuing your passion means you can be intentional about bringing passion into your work, instead of relying on your work to bring you passion.   



Passion Lie #2: “If I’m passionate about it, it should be so easy and FUN!”

The problem with this mentality is thinking passion = joy.  But the real definition of passion is doing something that’s bigger than yourself.  When you’re committed to doing something that really matters, like finally stepping out in faith to follow your dreams, go against the norm, or stand up for what you believe in, you’ll start to experience a bit of fear and resistance.  Change is tough -- and you could be mistaking those challenges and obstacles for a lack a passion.  For example, you will encounter self-doubt, people who naysay and don’t understand your vision, and things that won’t go as you expected.  Yes, pursuing your passion CAN be easy and fun, once you’ve learned to embrace your fears, face the resistance, and do what you set out to do anyways.  

During my teacher years, I noticed that I have a natural affinity for educating kids, but even more so, for mentoring and coaching emerging teachers.  As a young professional myself, who was I to teach best industry practices?  But when I recognized my desire to help other teachers with professional development, I had to face my fear of caring what others think, fear of failure, and a bit of fear of success in order to create a series of workshops, team building meetings, and one-on-one mentoring relationships.   

Truth: Pursuing your passion comes with learning to embrace your fears and face any resistance.


Passion Lie #3: “I need to turn my passion into profit.”

It’s certainly a noble goal to turn your passion into profit, but it’s a personal choice.  There are many  business owners who got to where they are today because they were good at something, helped people, and figured out a way to make it into their full-time living.  That’s what happened to me.  I got bit by the coaching and mentoring bug and wanted nothing more than to coach as as many people as possible.  

The thing to keep in mind is: there’s a difference between being a passionate creative/service provider and being a savvy business owner.  Meaning, I am a great coach but being a great boss lady requires a different skill set.  One that includes marketing, selling, product development, management, etc.  So, if you’re passionate about something, you get to choose whether or not you want to go through the learning curve of business building, or just keep it as a creative outlet.  Both are fine choices.    

Truth: Turning your passion into profit is a personal choice.  There’s a difference between being a passionate creative and a savvy business owner.  

When you pursue your passion, it’s important to recognize the hard work, the fear and the resistance, and the learning curve of new skills in order to continue to do work that matters and live a life of contribution and purpose. The truth is: passion starts with who you are, where you are.  You have the choice and the ability to infuse it into everything you do.  

If you're working on turning your passion into profit, then my 1:1 3-month "From Calling to Clients" business coaching package will help you lay a solid and sustainable foundation for your business.  Apply for a discovery call today to chat about if this is the right opportunity for you to receive the support to reach your BIG business goals.  

With joy, 

5 Must-Read Life + Business Books

Dear leader who’s a reader,

In this week’s letter, I wanted to share with you 5 of my favorite recent reads on life and business, as an addition to my recommended reading list.  I believe there’s nothing more powerful than connecting through story, and I’m pretty obsessed with learning more about psychology, personal development, and making more money.  I’m so grateful for these authors who share their knowledge and wisdom in such an accessible way.  I consider authors to be a form of “passive mentoring” because their books are a great way to learn from their experiences and expertise.  So, without further ado, here’s my list of recent favorite reads!  

1. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Brene Brown has SUCH a gift of articulating complex emotions and experiences so you can *finally* identify the truth of what’s really going on.  In Braving the Wilderness, Brene talks about how true belonging extends from connections and having the courage to stand alone.  She shares about her early experiences of not feeling like she belonged in her family and the impact that had on her.  As women, as entrepreneurs, it’s so relatable when we find ourselves in situation where we feel different and not worthy of belonging, but this book gives you the tools to be able to find the courage to stay true to you.   

On a political note, there have been so many divisive issues so this book helps you to navigate how to have tough conversations in a civil way.  I believe you can apply this same concept to your business because it’s important to stand up for your values AND respect other people who may differ from you.  We have so much we can learn from each other.  



She also breaks down the components of TRUST so you can have the language to know how to build better relationships with other people AND yourself.  For example, when a boss tells you that “she doesn’t trust you”, that’s a HUGE claim and not helpful feedback in knowing what you change.  So, her 7 components of trust is super helpful in knowing what area you can improve upon.  It’s actually what inspired me to choose “Trust” as my word for 2018 (and given me a framework on how to build it).  If you’re a Brene Brown, read this book!  

2. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz  

When it comes to business finances, we’ve heard that Income - Expenses = Profit.  But when we spend MORE than what we make, we’re just hoping that we’ll make a profit.  In this book, Mike Michalowicz challenges you to put profit FIRST so your Income - Profit = Expenses.  This books is a super helpful (and funny) guide to help you take control of your business finances.  It’s like Dave Ramsey’s envelope system for your business so you have a plan for your income, expenses, profit, paying yourself, tithe, and taxes.  

It’s one of my goals this year to fully implement this system, and so far, it’s helping me feel like I have MORE freedom in my finances because of this type of plan for my money.  I also like how he gives examples of how this works for different types and sizes of business, and how flexible it can be to meet you where you are currently and help you work towards those goals.  If you’re looking for a business book for your money, I’d recommend this one!    

3. The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile

I’m pretty much a personality type junkie, so I become obsessed when a friend told me about the Enneagram.  It’s an ancient personality typing system with a spiritual bent to it.  It’s different than the Myers-Briggs or StrengthsFinder because it’s based on 9 different personality types, and describes each type in terms of what truly motivates you, what sin you struggle with, and how you behave when you’re healthy, or unhealthy.  

This book is an introduction to the Enneagram and gives a description to each one so it was helpful in giving more insight to my personality (I’m a 7!).  If you’re interested in learning more about your strengths and shadow side, then go read this book!  

4. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

Want to get more effective with your marketing?  Donald Miller shows you how to incorporate the elements of storytelling into your brand message so you’re clear on how to communicate the value you provide in the eyes of your customers.  I’d HIGHLY recommend this book, especially if you’re a service-based solopreneur who has trouble answering the question, “What do you do?”

It’ll help you hone in on your message, help you to see yourself as the guide (and not the hero) of your client’s story, and know how to simplify your words so it makes sense and makes sales.  

5. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

With the tagline, “Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be”, how can you go wrong?  After reading this book, I’d definitely want Rachel Hollis to be MY life coach.  She’s a successful entrepreneur of a media company and mama of 4, so I loved how real she was about her journey to get to where she is today and dispelling the lies she *used* to believe.  

I could definitely relate to ALL of the lies but the ones the stand out to me are, “Something else will make me happy,” “I’m not good enough”, and “I’m should be further along than I am”.  She lovingly (and hilariously) shares her embarrassing stories and talks about things we’re all thinking but afraid to admit, so I found it really refreshing to read this book.  She's been through some TOUGH stuff (rough childhood, brother's suicide, fostering kids) and still has a perspective on life that will encourage you to take ownership of it and rise to its challenges.  She also includes tips on “what helped her” with practical tips to help you chase your dreams, raise a family, let go of fear and get out of your own way for YOUR life.  

These are my favorite business books that I've read recently that covers the span from mindset, money, marketing, and leadership!  I'd love to know YOUR favorite books in the comment below. 

Don't forget, if you would like support in building your business to change your life and the lives of your clients, then book a discovery call with me to chat about how I can help you reach your business goals!  

With joy, 

What You Need to Know About Creating Compelling Content

You posted about your new coaching or creative business on Facebook to friend and family, letting them know about your new endeavor and that you're taking on new clients.  You share about your passion on Instagram and get a few likes, but nothing more.  You send out an email to some former colleagues asking if they can be your beta client or be a model to start your photography portfolio. 

Those are all great ways to get started on your entrepreneurial journey, but creating compelling content is key to consistently attracting the right clients what will want to work with you.  The truth is: if you're a service provider -- the clearest and most compelling marketer wins the client.  Your strategic marketing is what will empower you to do the work you are created to do. 

So, today, I wanted to get you the low-down on "what you need to know about creating compelling content."  Because if you're getting starting or committed to getting established, a creative and strategic marketing plan is what will help you "put yourself out there" and get noticed by the people who matter. 

But first things first: content is the value you provide to potential clients up front so they can get to know, trust, and like you.  When we're talking about an online business, this could be anything from your Instagram photos and captions, Facebook posts, email newsletter, blog posts, and webinars and live calls.  If you're a coach, I like to think of it more like a curriculum of topics and tips you can use to teach and educate your prospects, peers, and clients about who you are and what you do.  If you're a creative, I like to think of it as the written, illustrated, visual expression of your craft to appeal to your potential buyers. 

Okay, so now that we're clear, let's chat about the challenges.  If you have a ton of brilliant ideas and not sure how to implement, then creating content could feel overwhelm.  Where do I post?  What do I say?  Will people even pay attention?  How do I grow my audience?  How LONG is this going to take? 

Whoa, slow down.  I got you.  Here is a simple step-by-step framework into honing your message into a marketing plan of action. 

1. Start with "why".  The first step is ALWAYS getting clear on your "what" and your "why."  What's the purpose of your online presence?  To get clients?  To build a relationships with potential vendors?  To share your story and message to the world?  Your purpose is what will guide your plan, so take a few moments to get clear on your "why" and the goals you have for putting in this work. 

2. Get clear on your expertise.  As a starting point, it's important to identify your main message, your audience (their desires, needs, and challenges), and what you want to be known for.  Pick a few specific topics that you take a stand for. 

For example, if you make one-of-a-kind custom jewelry made entirely of recycled materials, some topics could include: your inspiration design process, your mission to save the earth and environment, and tips on how to wear the jewelry.  Or, if you're a health coach who helps busy moms with nutrition for their families, it could be: quick and simple meal planning and recipes, exercise for the whole family, or holistic health care with body, mind, and soul. 

If you're getting started and not quite sure yet....that's okay!  Brainstorm a few ideas, and then COMMIT to trying out your message for 90 days.  That will give you plenty of feedback to test to see if it's working for you. 

3. Pick Your Social Media Platforms.  Get strategically in front of your audience by choosing the right platforms.  You can even start with 1-2 platforms, get really confident for it to work for you, and add on from there.  Here's a quick start guide for you from Typenine Creatives:

 

4. Create Your Content Headlines.  Now that you know your top 3 topics, and the platform you're focusing on, you can start to flesh out your content.  For platforms like your blog and newsletter, you can think of 12-13 "headline" or topics that could fall under your top 3 topics so you plan out your content out in advance. Keep in mind that these headlines should focused on how your expertise meets your audience's needs and desires. 

For example, the health coach's headlines could be:

- A week's worth of nutritious recipes for the family in 30 min.
- How to Choose the Seasonal Vegetables
- A Gluten-Free Guide to Eating Out at Restaurants
- Free, Fun, Active Family Activities to Do in the Fall
- 5 Meal-Planning Tips from a Health & Wellness Pro

Get the point?  Having your top 3 "Buckets" of themes to write about can be helpful to give structure to brainstorming ideas for blogs & newsletters you could write about. 

The social media twist: You can apply the same principle to your social media platforms by brainstorming images and captions of specific topics that you could post about.  Or, you can repurpose your blog content into social media sized chunks and post it on there. 

5. Get Organized.  Schedule it!  Now that you have your headlines and topics to write about, you can create a content calendar by using a tool like Trello, Google Docs/Calendar, or a Wordpress plugin to schedule when you'd like to post these blog posts.  Then, you can set aside time in your schedule to create and write out the content of those posts.  For me, I like to spend Fridays creating content.  So I'll write the next week's Facebook posts and blog content & newsletter that will be schedule to publish the following week.  My typically repurpose my content in a different way for each platform, but have a theme for the week focuses what I'll be writing about. 

For social media, scheduling tools like Hootsuite, CoSchedule, Later (for Instagram), or PostPlanner (for Facebook) are great ways to schedule your posts all at time so you don't have to spend time posting them manually. 

The key is here: to plan ahead and give yourself some time to actually write out the content to post so you don't feel like you're scrambling to do it last minute. 

6. Commit, Track, and Evaluate.  Growing an online presence takes time and consistency.  So choose a level of commitment that you can stick to.  For example, a blog post once a week and posting on Facebook 2x/week may be a good starting point.  Whatever you choose, stick with it, track your results in terms of engagement and ultimately # of inquiries to evaluate to see how effective your content strategy plan is. 

Once you put into practice this structure, you'll begin to streamline a process that works well for you.  Create compelling content is what will help you get visible and build a strong foundation for your online presence.  If you'd like some 1-on-1 support in this arena, then check out the 90 min. "Income + Influence" Intensive, where we will focus on YOUR strengths, YOUR message, and YOUR audience so we can create a personalized content marketing plan to grow your online presence.  Check out these details here: http://www.shichencoaching.com/intensive.  Snag your spot today! 

With joy,

 

 

 

4 Empowering Money Mantras for Entrepreneurs

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my Facebook community,  “What’s one thing you WISHED more women in business talked openly about?”  

An overwhelming response was, “Money.”

That it’s okay to WANT to make more money.  That it’s okay to charge for your services.  That’s it’s okay to invest in getting support to help you lead the business you desire.  

Money can be a taboo topic, but as entrepreneurs, it’s super important to know your numbers and the financial health of your business.  I believe the more we talk about money (ex. mindset, tips, and best practices) the more comfortable we can be about developing healthy habits in our lives and businesses.  

4-Money-Mantras-for-Entrepreneurs.jpg

So this week, we’ll engage in a conversation around money as I share with you my favorite money mindset mantras to empower you to earn, invest, save, and give your money in a way that you feel comfortable with.  

1. Earning Money Mantra: The greatest service I provide my clients is in a paid capacity.

As entrepreneurs, we have the power to set our own rates and prices and earn as much or as little as we would like.  

When I first started out in this coaching business, I actually felt guilty for charging people to hire me.  “I’m so passionate about this, I’d do it for free!”  “This comes so easily to me, and I have to work HARD to earn money!”  These were some personal money stories that held me back from my earning potential in my business — as if work, enjoyment, and true service had to be mutually exclusive.  

Earning-Money-Mantra.jpg

That’s when I realized that money is just an exchange — I provide an excellent service to serve my clients and in exchange they pay me for my guidance towards their desired result.  This allows me to be okay with earning money because it’s a vehicle to support my clients with my expertise and my family with additional income.  

Let me know below, does this mantra resonate with you?  What’s your take on earning money?   

2. Investing Money Mantra: The risk now is worth the return later.

You know the phrase, “You have to spend money to make money”?  This is true when you’re running a business because often times, we have to invest in education, equipment, and team members in order to keep things operating and help us get to the next season of business.  

Now I’m not an advocate for reckless spending, but I am a proponent of making wise choices to receive the support, structure, and systems you need so you can build a sustainable business EVEN IF it feels scary or outside of your comfort zone.  

investing-money-mantra.jpg

Sometimes what holds us back is waiting until we have things perfectly BEFORE we get help or delay investing in education until we have clients when the whole point of education, equipment, and team members are to help you make more money to work with more clients.  As long as you stay consistent and set things up properly, you will see a return on your investment.  

So whenever I *know* the next right step is to invest in the right coach/program, online tools, and team member, I remind myself: “The risk now is worth the return later.”  

How about you?  Does it feel scary or exciting for you to invest in what your business needs?  

3. Saving Money Mantra: The more savings I have, the more choices I have.

Your business profits are like your business savings accounts so they more money you have put away the more resources you have in case of emergency and the more options you have for your future growth.  

Savings-money-mantra.jpg

Setting aside money for taxes, paying myself, and profits are money habits I’m cultivating so every dollar has a purpose.  The more savings I set aside, the more empowered I can be about the choices I make.  

4. Giving Money Mantra: Giving back my money blesses others AND keeps me grounded.

A common fear in business is the fear of success, or feeling like loads of money will change you and your character.  I believe the best way to kick this fear in the face is to be generous and give back a percentage of your business money at ALL income levels.  

The mantra, “Giving back my money blesses others AND keeps me grounded” motivates me to earn more money so I can give more away and ultimately see money as a tool and not an idol.  

giving-money-mantra.jpg

Money is a magnifier so what you do with little you can do with a lot so building a generosity habit helps you to be and stay heart-centered with your business.  

Money, money, money.  It’s an important facet of our businesses and as we evaluate how we think about it, how we interact with it, and how we feel about it, we can be more empowered to build habits to help us earn, invest, save, and give in our businesses.

If you’d like to dive deeper into making more money in the business you desire, then I encourage you to book a discovery call to see if working together would be the next right step.  

With joy,
 

signature-small copy.png




 

4 Steps For Simple Content Creation

Content marketing is a powerful way to spread the word about your business and connect with your growing audience.  From social media, blogging, email newsletters, videos, and podcasts, there’s never been a more accessible way to share value with your potential clients.  

The purpose behind content marketing is to create ways to educate, entertain, and bond with your audience, so they can get to know you, like what you’re all about, and trust you enough to hire you.  

Now, creating the content itself can be a challenge — especially if you’re committed to being consistent with you it.  Writer’s block, visibility, organization, and repurposing can keep you stuck from producing content that converts.  So this week, we’ll talk about how to create content in a way that’s simple and strategic so it engages your audience and leads to more sales.  

Simple-Content-Creation.jpg

1. Make sure your mindset supports you to CREATE!  

When it comes to creating content, there can be major mindset hurdles to overcome.  For me personally, one block I had was feeling like I have nothing original to say.  This thought kept me staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page for wayyyy too long!  

The truth is, I DON’T have anything original to say…because it’s all been said before.  BUT — I DO have original experiences, perspectives, and stories that I can use to teach MY audience and relate to them in MY way.  

One of my mentors would say, “You are SOMEONE’S messenger” which gave me the permission to take my knowledge and use my words to teach the content, because it may be the way someone needs to hear it.  

Letting go of the pressure to be perfect, original, smart, or whatever may be a great first step in allowing yourself to show up to be YOU and cultivating more inspiration for your words.  

2. Know What You’re Selling So Your Content is Strategic

In order for us to create content FOR our business, we need to know what specific product or service we’d like to sell.  This helps us be intentional that our content is leading our audiences to a way to work with us.  

This is also a great opportunity for us to educate our audiences on topics that may what to learn about, address concerns they may have, and ultimately attract the RIGHT people and repel the wrong ones.  

For example, if I’m intentionally filling my 1:1 business coaching practice, I’ll specifically create content around CEO/leadership mindset, sales strategy, and client experience tips so that I’m giving value around the work that I do.  

Another example could be an Essential Oils educator who would like to sell out a workshop.  She could share about the different products, before/after results, and answer FAQs.  

When you know what you’re selling and create content around that, it gives you a framework or filter to write about which can actually lead to even more inspiration.  

3. Get specific with your expertise.  

What do you want to be known for?  

Your content is the cornerstone for sharing your expertise.  So instead of overwhelming yourself and your audience by writing about EVERYTHING you know (because I know you know a LOT), let’s narrow it down to 3-5 content categories so you can write a weekly theme for each.

Let’s use business coaching again as an example with CEO mindset, sales, and client experience as my content categories.  Under CEO mindset, I can go even further and write about clarifying your mission and message one week, hiring your dream team the following week, and identifying your income producing activities the week after that.  

It helps my audience as well because they can go deeper into learning about a topic.        

4. Share it across all platforms

Once I write the content for each theme, I want to share it everywhere and repurpose it so it reaches the right people.  

Each weekly theme allows me to write social media posts.  This can be turned into a longer blog post that is published on my web site and sent out to my Letters For Leaders e-newsletter community.  

This way, I can engage with my audience and do my best to make sure my content is making a difference in people’s lives.  One of my favorite things is to answer comments and emails from people to hear more about their challenges and how I can serve them.  This type of engagement inspires me with more ideas for content so I can continue to create things that resonate with people.  

Content marketing doesn’t have to be intimidating once you find a rhythm that works for you.  When you get specific on what’s holding you back, what you’re selling, what you want to be known for, and what your favorite platforms/type of content are, YOU have the power to connect with your audience in a way that works for you.  

Let me know in the comments what was your biggest takeaway from this week’s blog post!  

With joy, 

signature-small copy.png