The Baker’s Dozen Marketing Plan: 13 ways to build your business in only 12 months

When I was little, my mother would take me and my sister to the Amspachers’ bakery in downtown Waycross, Georgia. The glass cases which ringed the room were filled with beautiful cookies and pastries. My mother would order a dozen cookies in a variety of shapes and colors, and I particularly remember the two-toned ones, small green and brown leaves, and the cream horns. My mother would cut hers into tiny slices so we each could have some. Then we’d save one for my grandfather, so he could have one, too.

Mrs. Amspacher would lean in from the kitchen door watching from the hustle and bustle out front. Mr. Amspacher, in his black horn-rimmed glasses and white apron, was always smiling. When his wife wasn’t looking, he’d always slip a 13th cookie in the dozen. A baker’s dozen, my mother said.

“A little something extra” is a great marketing strategy, whether we’re onboarding a new client or appreciating an existing one. In 2018, there’s a clear baker’s dozen of actions entrepreneurs can take to make certain theirs is the best year yet.

  1. Send a regular ezine

Your email newsletter should go out no less than monthly. That way, you can consistently engage people who have asked to receive updates from you. I suggest munching macarons and sipping hot tea during this adventure.

  1. Update your blog monthly.

Make a list of the topics your clients are most interested in, and decide which aspects they’ll value most. These will make great blog topics. Once the blog is created and posted, grab the header, first couple of paragraphs, and a link to the original, and make this part of your ezine. Blogging goes beautifully with chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa.

  1. Develop a distribution strategy.

These days, it’s difficult to get all those free shares and likes of yesteryear. Last week, Facebook announced a new algorithm which demotes any user which asks for a like or a share. Instagram is the favored pick of millennials, while other women prefer Pinterest. Twitter continues to be preferred by men – and their audience targeting differs significantly from that of other outlets. The key is to figure out where your people are on social and post there. At first, limit yourself to 3 platforms. From there, choose one distribution strategy to master at a time. That way, you’re maintaining a presence, focusing your energy and conserving resources. Sugar cookies and coffee help you power through.

  1. Make Your “Free Taste” Really Tasty

Take a good look at our pink spoon. Does it still attract the type of clients with whom you wish to work? If you’ve moved on from startups and on to content marketing, then your free taste needs to reflect that. Plus, the world is now flooded with online coaches. If you’re going to offer a pink spoon, it needs to be really, really good and offer inherent value.

If it’s a great threshold piece, and it whets the client’s appetite for more of the good stuff, then don’t be shy. Add a pop-up offer at about 10 seconds into the reader’s experience. For this one, let’s eat cake! Vanilla with vanilla frosting, yes? With a latte.

  1. Draft a marketing plan for the year

A program or package launch normally takes about 6 weeks, so I usually recommend one launch per quarter. A launch requires benchmarks be met, writing be complete, and that the online mechanisms for sign up be created and tested. So a 3 month window for planning and execution and kick-off series sessions is just about right for most entrepreneurs.

Your marketing plan should include this launch calendar. Then, frame your launches with your ezine, blog posts and other marketing outreach. This simple strategy will increase your likelihood of success. Nibble an Italian wedding cookie while you write. French press the coffee.

  1. Support Your Objectives with a Content Plan

Once you know what you’re selling in terms of programs or packages, then it’s time to flesh out your content plan. Where will you publish in addition to your blog? Whether you go with a video channel, online article placements, or a Linked In article, make certain the topic is absolutely right for the medium and audience. Nothing screams “amateur” quite so much as a LinkedIn article that really should have been a Facebook note.

I usually recommend publishing in one or two places in addition to the blog, for a total of 2-3 publications each month. Each article should showcase an aspect of your unique approach to solving clients’ problems. And each article should be leveraged with your distribution strategy. Why not sample those pecan filled thumbprint cookies your friend’s been raving about? And a chai.

  1. Insist on an integrated, inbound approach to social media

Your website is the hub of your online operations, and the job of your social presence is to get people to your website. If your web designer doesn’t understand how to create an integrated, inbound approach to social media – and doesn’t know how to track it – then you need to weave a new web. We recommend oatmeal cookies for web weaving. They go with everything.

  1. Enact a networking protocol

Mark 3 interesting networking opportunities on your calendar monthly. One of those might be a group of peers, but the others need to be places where you’re simply out meeting people. If the person could be an ideal client, reach out afterward with a personal note. Offer a resource. Mention your conversation, and ask if they’d like it to continue. These follow up conversations are bakery worthy. Ask them to meet you there – but buy your own if it’s a business meeting.

  1. Commit to a great discovery conversation

Whether someone chooses to move forward with your offer or not, commit to leave them with resources or understandings that improve their experience. You’ll want your awesome discovery session to lead them through the four stages of value: what they have now, what they want instead, what not having that thing is costing them, and how you can help. This is a gingerbread moment. Add lemon ginger tea for a lift.

  1. Closing strategy

Not everyone will be an immediate yes. However, the goal is for the person to say “yes” to their own heartfelt desire with the knowledge that you can help them get there. Your closing strategy should be crafted in a way that leads them to the yes. If it’s a stretch for them, but the commitment is there, you’ve already served them by modelling the possibility of growth and change. Sugar cookies cut into hearts with white icing trim should do it! Add an espresso for get up and go.

  1. Commit to a Calendar and Reminders

Whether you have a virtual assistant or not, you’ll want a system for client appointments, cancellations, reschedules, and reminders. Not having one will make you crazy. Go with a truffle for this task. Pause to enjoy it mindfully.

  1. Value Your Time as a Resource

Time is a non-renewable resource. Start your year by marking out the personal time you want for yourself and your family, then schedule your business goals around it. Once that’s done, commit to leverage your time in a way that maximizes the return on investment of your life force energy. Go for a walk, and burn off some of those cookie calories!

  1. Work with a Coach or Consultant

The right coach or consultant is a modest investment in the future of your business. Jumpstart 2018 by reaching out to individuals you think you would like to work with, and find out what they have in mind for the year. Plan now to create the income for the financial commitment you need to make to yourself and your business success. We like bachelor buttons dusted with powdered sugar for this step. Good old fashioned drip coffee with evaporated milk, sugar, and a splash of cinnamon is perfect and warm.

In 2018, this “baker’s dozen” suggests the actions you can take to make certain your business enjoys its best year yet. Let me know if you need help with the recipe?

Abundant blessings,

Sherri

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a presence-based business coach and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International, www.professionalmoneta.com, a boutique marketing public relations consultancy helping exceptional entrepreneurs and executives grow their multi-platform brand influence locally and globally.

Is Self Doubt Sabotaging Your ‘Infinite Potential?’

Years ago, I had a beautiful picture hanging on my wall, which I enjoyed throughout my pregnancy. It was called “Infinite Potential,” and it simply glowed with the unfolding of new life within the womb of the archetypal mother. 62c2d25ffc655deb43d309fbc7e921d8

At right is a photograph of Mara Friedman’s original as it appeared in Mountain Astrologer 2003.

Infinite potential is easy to see in a newborn, so close to spirit, so present in the now. But when we want to grow something new in our business, is’s more difficult to see the unlimited potential which lies before us. The spark of something new emerging from our creative centers can easily become overwhelmed by our life experience, our insecurities, our doubts, our fears. We allow these falsities to become limiters of our potential, settling for what we know over what we know we can do.

Together, let’s kick self-doubt to the curb with decisive action. Below, we’ll identify the top 3 serious, self-defeating doubts conscious women tell themselves when the going gets tough, and share “coachable moments” designed to move us on and through.

Self-Defeating Doubt #1: Taking Action is Too ‘Hard’

As a coach, I have a reputation for being able to get people to take calculated risks to grow, to accept on faith the small yet transformational actions which move them from where they are to where they’d like to do.

So I wasn’t prepared when I encountered the up and coming practitioner who said “yes,” but did not set a priority on taking the actions that would generate new business for her practice. Month after month, she kept finding excuses, placing her calling on hold, waiting. The commitment was “too hard.” When I checked in with her at the beginning of this year, 5 years after our first conversation, she was still saying “yes” while her choices were still saying otherwise.

The fact is, it’s hard to grow your business – if that’s what you believe. The economy is bad – if that’s what you believe. And clients are scarce – if that’s what you believe.

Coachable Moment #1: Renew Your Commitment. Move quickly toward realizing your infinite potential by committing fully, making decisions and following through with immediate action on specific tasks. Helping clear space for leaps of faith to occur within your self is one of the greatest gifts a coach can offer.

Self Defeating Doubt #2: Beliefs Cannot Be Changed

Of course, you can choose to change a belief which does not serve your highest and best expression of your life force. How do I know? I’ve done it. I’ve hit the absolute dregs of self doubt, and come back from less than zero in my self worth account.

Coachable Moment #2: ‘Be the Change You Wish to See.’ Here’s how: Write down the negative belief, then reverse it into an affirmation. Take on the affirmation as an opposing, equally true belief. Write or repeat it often. Then, act as though the belief is real to you as though it is already your truth. This effect is what is meant by the oft-paraphrased Dalai Lama statement, “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.”

Self-Defeating Doubt #3:  I am “not enough”

My friend, Fatma Zaidi, says it well. “To lead is to be the active creative force of your own world so you can serve the larger world.” I couldn’t agree more. But many of us don’t realize that we are enough, just as we are. The key to infinite potential in one’s business as an expression of our higher self comes directly from the ability to reach out to others consistently and offer meaningful support for their journey. Being in service is not about you, it’s about humanity and honoring the humanity of your client. This one simple, heart-centered action of reaching out in support is the first rule of feminine leadership.

Coachable Moment #3: I already have everything I need. As a feminine leader, choose instead to reframe your entire situation and your response to it. By changing your mindset, moving your body, and addressing underlying beliefs and perceptions that are holding you back, you can grow your business, create new, sustain-able economy, and attract plenty of new clients. Sharing your experience to support the growth of others exemplifies the right relationship needed to create and manifest infinite potential through our business.

Thankfully, each of us gets to choose which beliefs we hold. May those you choose as your own serve the realization of your infinite potential.

So be it.

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a conscious business coach, magazine columnist, marketing public relations and content strategist with Professional Moneta International, http://www.professionalmoneta.com. (c)2016, Sherri L. McLendon, All Rights Reserved. Reprint with credit.

Bidsketch: An Honest Review for You

One of the things I do regularly – that makes my team a bit crazy – is test new online business solutions to see whether they do what they say. This month, I’ve spent a chunk of time reviewing Bidsketch, the online proposal software. If you’ve ever wished there was an easier way to crank out a proposal, this post is for you.

I ran across Bidsketch back in January when I was drafting an extensive content marketing proposal for a client. It gobbled up a ton of time and energy. I’m a fan of using the least amount of time and effort to produce the best result, so I decided the next time I needed to create a formal proposal, I’d give Bidsketch a try.

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The sign up was easy – and free – for a month. I jumped on and quickly reviewed the available proposal options. In my  business, I’m often asked to consult on branding, public relations, content marketing, copywriting, and web content. Everyone’s a “pro” these days, so those areas where earstwhile digital marketers are most likely to enter the entrepreneurial world are present here.

Happily, the proposal templates provided are well organized and value driven, easy to customize, and simple to replicate. It’s a little “old school” of me, but a tiny little voice inside my head says that people don’t actually have to know what they’re doing in order to whip out a nice proposal that looks like they do.

I squelch it as best I can. I know that by the time I get to the proposal and contract stage, both the client and I have had opportunity to engage and know whether we’re the mutual right fit. If I’ve done a good job of pre-selecting my clients, then the proposal and contract are a formality that ensures we’re both on the same page moving forward.

Decision makers in a business have a responsibility to evaluate whether or not the solution proposed will actually create the effect they wish to see. When they don’t, I tend to hear from them when they can’t figure out where they went wrong.

Back to Bidsketch. I reviewed the “consultant,” “content marketing,” and “branding” templates. Each section is “chunked” so the logic is easy to follow. As the constructor of the proposal, I have the ability to pick and choose what I add. So my sample “content marketing” proposal had additions drawn from “copywriting.” A bit of editing is needed to make things flow nicely, but all in all, the proposal springs fully formed from a stock of available choices. Each of the three resulting proposals I reviewed was reasonable, decisionable, and actionable. Dropping the extension of the copywriting tasks into the body of the “content marketing” proposal worked just fine.

The features I liked best were accessible from trusty blue, typed links for “advanced” choices. These allow the compiler to do things like customize the proposal date and add a limiter, or make changes to the fee structure which are earmarked for the current client version without altering the original content. Though I would prefer those options not be treated as asides, I like the capability to track the life cycle of the proposal and attach a number value to the fee structure so the close-to-propose ratio is easily monitored. However, I have a similar function on my social CRM software, Nimble, that tracks lead stages and deals, so I’m not terribly inclined to duplicate efforts here.

Additionally, I noted that the terms and conditions sections closely mirrored those in my existing contract, which I liked. However, my intellectual property agreement has more specificity. I also initiate a non-disclosure, non-compete agreement with a scope not covered within the Bidsketch proposal template. If I plan to use Bidsketch regularly, those would be elements I need to add to the proposal package.

The thing I miss most is a hyperlink option to send an email to someone or place a link on a spreadsheet or in the notes section on a kanban board. An option to quickly reference my proposals using a designated hyperlink would also allow me to anchor a quick link to the proposal onto the client’s card on my Nimble deals board. My only options, however, are to download the proposal as a pdf and save it to my hard drive, to a third location in the cloud, or to stay logged into Bidsketch.

The question of whether or not Bidsketch is “worth it” boils down to the (1) volume of proposals, (2) level of customization, and (3) how we assess the value of our time. If your time is worth more than the monthly fee, and you do a minimum of one proposal for month, then you’ll want to take a look.

Personally, I’d like to work with it a bit more. I sat down today to draft a public relations proposal with an emphasis on influencer/image marketing, and there was no PR template. My first impulse was to adapt a “branding” report to describe what it’s like to build image through pitching to journalists, raising the individual’s profile online, and similar tasks. The amount and substance of the editing would have dictated an even trade for the amount of time to create the proposal I actually needed. So the effort wouldn’t be worth it for a one-off type of proposal, but I certainly understand the benefit of creating it, loading it as a template, and refining it for future, repeated use.

Industry professionals who want to set themselves apart in a sea of pitches will want to customize or individuate proposals closely. Heaven forbid that two consultants turn in the same proposal with minimal changes; if that happens, the client’s decision doesn’t come down to value or finding the best match for its goals, it comes down to cheap, and that’s bad for business.

My final assessment: Bidsketch is a useful tool for sales and marketing professionals who are actively networking and engaged in regular, repeated lead generation activities. They are also unafraid of asking for the business. Money likes fast action, and with Bidsketch it’s possible to deliver proposals in about 1/3 to 1/2 the time of a traditional, built from scratch document. If your bottom line could increase proportionally to the time freed up by using Bidsketch, then checking out the trial version is a no brainer.

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a nationally published U.S. journalist and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International, www.professionalmoneta.com, a boutique marketing public relations consultancy helping exceptional entrepreneurs and executives grow their multi-platform brand influence locally and globally.

 

The Value of a Simple List

Life is too short to ignore that which brings us joy. We deserve to engage with our hearts within the context of our lives. This core belief points directly to the value of a simple list.

A list means the path is opening before our eyes. The words that come to us immediately, fleetingly, are enough. Deeply insightful opportunities await. An array of ideas, from which we can choose.

Elegant by way of its simplicity, a list means our best is always good enough. A simple list affirms that we already carry the knowledge we need to move our soul’s purpose forward in the present.

Here are 23 ways that I bring consciousness to the art of simple listing to:

  1. Focus attention for manifestation
  2. Brainstorm anything
  3. Yield a set of finite results
  4. Explore a thematic approach
  5. Establish the realm of possibility
  6. Narrow a range of options
  7. Reinforce positive potential outcomes
  8. Function as a checksheet
  9. Identify problems or pain points
  10. Track work flow by process and team member
  11. Keep myself in “Choice”
  12. Explore potential solutions to a problem
  13. See fears and blocks
  14. Affirm positive beliefs about self or situations
  15. Identify next steps or options
  16. Render big ideas more manageable
  17. Know what is sufficient
  18. Exhaust a topic
  19. Examine probable scenarios
  20. Consider the road less traveled
  21. Establish group mind for collaboration
  22. Yield unforseen insights for individuals
  23. Move forward with ease and clarity

A simple list, once created, can be:

  • Ranked
  • Checked off
  • Circled “best of”
  • Step by Step
  • Categorized
  • Prioritized
  • Tasked
  • Assigned
  • Shared
  •  Chronological

One I have a simple list, I use it as a proactive, living, creation tool to activate the next steps in my heart’s desires while on my entrepreneurial journey. Here are 5 things I do with my lists:

  1. Transfer the actionable items to my calendar
  2. Make optimal choices for future action
  3. Rule out options that have low return on investment
  4. Make decisions based on pros and cons
  5. Generate new knowledge

For me, the value of the simple list is that it ultimately establishes order out of chaos, to find silence in the chatter, to capture our thoughts with immediacy, and systematically make sound decisions.

What are the ways you value the simple list?

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a presence based marketing public relations pro, conscious business coach, and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International,http://www.professionalmoneta.com.

(C) 2017 BY SHERRI L. MCLENDON, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINT WITH PERMISSION.

Owning Manifestation, Money Shadows, and Personal Power

Unwritten rule #1 in the conscious business world is to never, ever reveal to clients that cash flow is an issue. However, those of us in business – whatever our vocation or calling – are in business presumably to make money. When cash flow is stymied, so is our ability to create and serve the collective through our business. Our autonomy is compromised, as is our ability to care for those we love. It’s not pretty.

Truly, the situation a lack of cash flow creates isn’t good for anyone. Lack constitutes the shadow side of entrepreneurial ventures, and most of us don’t like to air our shadow side nor our dirty laundry in public. Whether we admit it or not, when we work with clients who repeatedly don’t honor commitments, we invite difficulty. Lack is often caused by boundary issues that each coach or consultant receives coaching around in some form or fashion.

Thankfully, our greatest problems are also our greatest opportunities for unprecedented breakthroughs:action in the face of our greatest fears requires unprecedented courage – and that courage is always rewarded.

This month, I am focusing doubly on manifestation. Not only so I can model what that looks like for my clients, but also because 66% of my client monies for this month remain outstanding. Just let that sink in. That’s a serious boundary issue, and though I’m doing the “right” things to resolve it, the block doesn’t appear to moving. Something has to shift, and it’s got to be me.

Most of us understand that we can’t do more of the same and expect a different outcome.

So this weekend, I worked consciously with The Creative Mode of Manifestation, a set of understandings derived from and clarified by my work with the writings of Rick Jarow. Here’s what that looks like, and I’ll follow with my real life use of these concepts.

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The Power of Articulation

First, I was able to release clients to clean up their own messes while I cleaned up mine. These “messes” on their part include repeated late or missed appointments or reschedules, cash flow issues, avoidance behaviors, or other obstacles where the work we do together isn’t making a dent. On mine, the clean up entailed revisiting client agreements, clarifying the items in my welcome kit, updating contracts, and a check in with my executive assistant to make certain I’m accountable and the decisions I’m making are carried through.

Releasing clients when the money isn’t there seems counter-intuitive, but in reality it opens space for the clients who are ready and able to do move forward in a big way.

After releasing the energetic drain created by long term late payments or the time wasted by dragging out simple processes, I began to focus on attracting new work that would fill the void. Within a couple of hours, I was approached by a talented musician about working with her on publicity for her hip band. How cool is that?

The Power of Allowing

Second, I sent out one corporate proposal and 10 query letters to former clients who love my work. Then I took a step back and waited. Opening to receive instead of pushing to get is a characteristic of the Power of Allowing. I’m giving the offer time to settle, the clients time to percolate. Releasing attachment is key, because I know in my bones that not all things serve all persons at all times. Truly, I wish to be in service to those who are ready to fulfill their commitment to their business in the present, conscious Now. But if they do not need what I offer at this time, I’m okay with that.

The Power of Action

Third, if we take small, aligned actions representing the larger change we’d like to see, it’s easier to manifest that reality. Before deciding on my course of action, a walk in nature changed my perspectives, now informed by the elements around me. When I got home, I crafted those offers and sent them out.

At home, I began clearing clutter in my living spaces, clearing the remnants of the holiday season, and literally making space for the next right thing to appear in my world. Because I am physically moving in the doing of these things, I am changing my personal landscape and bodily energy from stuck to flowing.

When energy is flowing through the body, and through the space, it becomes significantly easier to manifest ideas into form, and form into (cash) flow.

Accountability is an important part of any manifestation process, so I also asked my assistant to take the next steps needed: scheduling discovery sessions, sending out a client letters, and posting new articles and leveraging new  content.

Manifestation is a process which turns ideas into income through the inherent powers of articulation, action, and allowing. Best of all, it’s a creation process that works. In a few days, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Abundant blessings,

Sherri

Please share below your own experiences with these aspects of personal power and how you access those in your business.

That’s Entertainment: Tap Dancing Around the Issues of Everyday Life

Miss Barbara, my neighbor, leans over the fence to watch me chase chickens every chance she gets. I’ve got a variety of routines. Her favorite is the one in which I wield a big black umbrella, flap it back and forth, and make hawk noises to scare “The Girls,” six beautiful fluffy white-and-tinted hens, hand raised by yours truly, back into their cozy condo.

She missed the show yesterday when a real hawk showed up and swooped down into the chicken corral. The feathers flew, but he went away with talons empty. My routine varied to include a floppy yellow dust mop and percussive “shoo” noises. My girls performed beautifully, running for cover just as they’d been trained.

My fear? Someone’s going to install a hidden camera and my 6-year-old will see me on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Heaven forbid. Of course, my pied piper clucking and my grandmama’s fail safe “chick-chick-chick-chick-UN” calls are worthy of a You Tube video or Grand Ol’ Opry appearance.

I’m known for my studious nature, but the time I spent in dance, theater and entertainment industries means I value showmanship and a good laugh in a variety of circumstances. That’s why this week when the plumbing dissolved into a swimming pool in the basement, I chose to laugh about it. That’s why this week every time the roofing job gets post-poned, I look for the sunny side up instead of dwelling on the Humpty Dumpty side of things.

Entertaining women are anything but boring. We can tap dance their way around any subject, or spotlight a personal passion. We consciously create memories weaving the fabric of the meaning in our lives. The most entertaining women, who we may know as lifelong learners, dancers, potters, weavers, painters, dreamers, and do-ers, have perfected the arts of reckless abandon, personal expression and manifestation.

Whether sharing a pot of perfectly brewed tea as we cultivate our friendships, or hanging over the garden fence with the woman next door, entertaining the important women in our lives may be as simple as recognizing the significance in our everyday dramas, then finding what makes the serious parts laughable.

But a subject we shouldn’t tap dance around is the need to respect and protect our uniqueness in our businesses. A hard-won lesson I’ve learned first-hand as an entertaining woman, whether performing, speaking, or writing with a client or collaborator, is the need to “get it in writing.” No matter how simplistic, contractually defining the responsibilities and ownership of any work for hire agreement or collaborative venture is important. The terms need to be spelled out by individuals who enter into creative partnerships of any kind.

I learned this lesson the hard way. In the early ‘90s, I pioneered a publication series which gathered and aggregated data for sale to business owners within a specific industry as a service. My co-collaborator offered to do the computer work if I’d create the information stream and do the marketing. As soon as the first month’s edition was ready to go, she copyrighted my work under her name, grabbed my marketing strategy (I’d trained her), and earned a living off the fruits of my intellectual property.

I didn’t see it coming.

Yesterday, a writer friend of mine told me the same thing happened to her. She recently collaborated on a movie script with a colleague, and the colleague took the entire work – including my writer friend’s significant contributions – cut her out of the mix, and claimed the work as her own. Now her colleague is collecting the royalties, and my friend’s significant writing contribution? Immaterial.

She didn’t see it coming, either.

So here’s the moral of this slightly scrambled and anything but over easy tale. When we know what the expectations are, it’s easier to mix business and pleasure, to share laughs and build businesses, to create networks of support and community around our work. When those expectations are in writing, and both parties have agreed, we eliminate the same-old-song-and-dance routine and raise the curtain on a new evolutionary leadership that entertaining women consciously craft.

Believe me, any actor worth her salt since Katherine Hepburn became the first woman in Hollywood to manage her own career and contracts knows that necessity is the mother of re-invention: “I have not lived as a woman, I have lived as a man. I’ve done what I damn well please, made enough money to support myself, and I ain’t afraid of being alone.”

Katie would be appalled if she knew ours is a 21st century United States in which women are not guaranteed equal rights under the law. That after burning her bridges and setting new, high standards for feminine leadership, we continue to be historic and social minorities, without equal pay for work product, or adequate legislative recourse for creative copyright violations.

She’d likely have something pithy to say about the whole mess. On camera.

Until women require contracts which favor their rights under the law, we’ll continue to give up our power to the benefit of others – a decision which makes about as much sense as running around with an umbrella trying to convince chickens you’re a scary hawk while the neighbors watch you instead of television.

Yeah, right.

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., owns and operates Professional Moneta International, http://www.professionalmoneta.com, specializing in mindfulness approaches to marketing public relations and feminine leadership. This article originally appeared in WNC Woman Magazine in November 2012. All rights reserved. Reprint with permission.

In January, She Dreams: An Invitation to Wisdom

In Appalachia in winter, the days dawn with a bright yellow white light that glistens off the damp ground. Snowfall, an invitation to deep insight and inner wisdom, encourages us to shift from planning to doing, from note taking to writing, from inaction to action. As the Epiphany window closes, the door to the next phase of our path and work opens with Capricorn new moon, then unfolds with the sun in Aquarius, followed by a Leo full moon.

Beginner’s mind belongs to the fool, the one who is ignorant of what the future holds, but remains filled with optimism at the journey ahead. As initiates, we enter anew the journey toward Sophia, the divine feminine experience of wisdom.

The Tao Te Ching tells us, “Experience is a river bed. Its source hidden, forever flowing: its entrance, the root of the world. The Way moves within it. Draw upon it; it will not run dry.”

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A Stand of Cypress on the Satilla River, Georgia

In my mind’s eye, the tannin-amber mirror of the rivers of my native south Georgia wend their ways through my veins, carrying me back to source, back to the wisdom of my own experience. Wisdom, then, is an initiation into our relationship with Source. Within the wisdom of our experience lies our path, our unfolding journey within the flow of source energy.

Moneta Movement: An Invitation to Inner Wisdom
This year, I invite you to join me for a journey into abundance, prosperity and mindfulness to deepen and expand our relationship with our inner self and what we manifest in the outer world. This is a cyclical process to strengthen our relationships with spirit and money in business. I hope you, too, will participate in the dance. Here’s what you’ll need:
  • An uninterrupted block of time
  • 2 pieces of music for dancing
  • Optional background music while you work
  • The Initiation Questions (below)
  • Your Journal and favorite pen
  • A Candle or Incense
  • A Glass of Water
Gather everything together into a space where you have room to move and a place to write. Start by preparing the space, lighting the candle or incense, and working with any inspiration or guidance you chose. Put on the first piece of music, and dance to clear space in your body and mind. Then, as the music closes, sit with your journal and answer the questions until each one feels complete. Drink your water, as it will help your thoughts flow. Allow it to nurture you deeply. Pay attention to the places where you feel resistance, and put a STAR by those, as these feelings mask the greatest opportunities for growth in the New Year. When it’s time to put down your pen, dance in the new with the second piece of music you’ve chosen. Dance until you feel inner alignment with the understandings which have emerged.
Moneta Manifestation Questions
Remember, in every end there is a beginning, so the first stage in the “Invitation to Wisdom” is reflection. Your answers may reflect on your personal or professional lives, in whatever way these answers show up.
1. What trials have I met in the previous year?
2. What gifts have I gathered through my experience?
3. What new knowledge have I obtained through coaching, training or education?
4. In ways do I express gratitude for these experiences?
5. How did I celebrate my successes?
6. What tools do I need to navigate the change which lies ahead?
7. Which tools do I already have, and which might I acquire?
8. What do I need to release? (Use the coming Leo full moon to release in order to expand.)
9. What needs to be re-membered, or made whole?
10. What is the transformation I dream of this year?
 Sherri L. McLendon, MA, @SherriMoneta, is a conscious business coach, marketing PR consultant, and content strategist near Asheville, N.C. http://www.professionalmoneta.com

Memos Regarding Mindfulness – Or, the Things I Say Again and Again

Applying mindfulness practice means those taken for granted beliefs we carry around in our back pockets no longer serve. These outmoded ideas about  the way the world works, and the business world in particular, must be shifted or release to make room for new growth.

BE-ing, Not DO-ing13A

A focus on BE-ing through our work rather than DO-ing our work also requires a shift in experiential reality. In other words, it feels different to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset which creates change rather than maintains the status quo. It feels different to be the person creating and manifesting resources and income rather than collecting a check. To adapt to this changing emotional landscape in our vocation, we also have to change our thinking.

Mindfulness Memos

The following seven statements are drawn from memos I write to myself about the things I say to my clients again and again. These are business insights drawn from my own mindfulness practice and its interface with business clients of all sorts, men and women, entrepreneurs and corporate shareholders, and the occasional freelance consultant. As a feminine business leader, you’ll find these are indicators of what I’m learning about what that means, too, in the context of working with other women who are also emergent leaders in their own businesses.

Here are my “Memos Regarding Mindfulness:”

1. Tactics change, strategies last. 

In short, decide who you address and what you want to accomplish before deciding how you’re going to reach them. Strategies drive tactics, not the other way around. Learn more about this in my October 1 post, “Carts, Horses & Tail Wagging Dogs: How Tactics-Driven Business Creates Failure,” at http://www.sherrimclendon.com.

2. There’s more than one way to do everything. 

The “my way or the highway” approach doesn’t do it any more. And mindful marketing public relations practice is not one size fits all. Which brings us to the next point. Pick the way that’s right for you.

3. Your work style and learning preferences matter.

Frankly, if something doesn’t feel right to you, it isn’t. If you’re a visual person, Pinterest is your friend, not a long-winded blog. Why does this work? Because your ideal clients are a natural fit. If you preference marketing that feels in alignment with who you are relative to the work you do, then you attract more of the people who are meant to work with  you.

4. You don’t have to know it all.

You need to know what you want to accomplish, or begin with the end in mind. Then ask, “Where do I need help?” When it comes to tactics, you need to know enough to understand where you need support, and where you do not. That’s it.

5. Simplicity is the goal.

The simplest answer that gets the job done is often the best. Beware of bright shiny object syndrome and guru hoodoo.

6. Money is a mirror into the self.

Think about how a tactic will return before you spend the money. Nine times out of 10, no- or low-cost options can be preferenced in your marketing public relations planning with no negative effect on a small business. Look at tactical expenses as investments. If there’s not a discernable advantage for the investment, you don’t need to spend the money.

7. When  you’re stuck, ask for help. 

This one has two parts. First comes help by way of support. Build a team you can trust, and have a contingency plan in case you’re needed elsewhere.  Second, ask for INSPIRED help. Dance, go for a walk. Write yourself into the truth. Listen. When you pay close attention, the answer you seek will come to you, literally out of thin air.

Sherri L. McLendon, @SherriMoneta, is a feminine business leader, content strategist, and marketing public relations practitioner in Western North Carolina. 

Words Like Stones – Mindful Creation, Monkey Mind and Beginnings

We can all throw words like stones, but it doesn’t really help our clients.

My clients work with me because they want to build something authentic, create something from the uniqueness of their lives. They see the need for strategy, for creating an inbound system of relationships, so they can maximize their energy, whether expressed as money or life force.

In a mindfulness approach to marketing public relations, the goal is to start where you are. If you need to go from zero to hero, and want to do it all yourself, starting where you are often means using what you’ve got and refining as you go. If you wait until things are perfect, you’ll never move forward. For this approach to work quickly, integrating simple systems designed to grow outreach across platforms is created one piece at a time, layered content around a central message. A lotus, if you will.

Yes, I could sit down with any website and make a list of what’s wrong. I can make a list of what the client “must” do, or how their consultant isn’t serving them based on the way I would do it. I could say, ‘don’t do anything until X is perfect.’ But I don’t do that. It feeds the “not enough” monster, the one with the bottomless appetite and the monkey mind. Instead, I take a deep breath and help my clients clear the clutter and move the next step forward.

Always forward.

Criticism is rarely constructive. It creates fear, overwhelm, anxiety. It forces decisions out of that lack of confidence in one’s self, through negativity. It destroys, fans flames, creates dramas. All of which are counter-productive to building and moving forward. Criticism is not critical thinking, which is about discernment. However, criticism is a powerful tool for convincing others spend money by creating a sense of fear of “not enough.” That we, and our work, are “not enough.”

Enough. We are enough.

Beginner’s mind in Buddhism suggests the potentiality in looking at each day anew. In the ‘new’ business model, there are no mistakes, only the conscious practice of our business as a part of our soul journey. Each movement along the path yields valuable information which allows us to adjust as we go. Cleanly, clearly, and with clarity.

We watch perfection, and we let it go. We start where we are. We begin again. We improve. We learn. We grow. And so does our business. One beautiful unfolding at a time.

Do you have what it takes to be a Spiritual Entrepreneur?

When Frodo set out to destroy the Ring, he prepared for the journey as best he could. He packed his trusty Elven sword, the impenetrable chain mail gifted by his uncle, and basic necessities. But he, Sam, and the others of their party could not know all the challenges that would lie ahead, and likewise, neither does any entrepreneur. But for a Spiritual Entrepreneur, whose vocation is chosen in answer to a higher calling and a sense of their soul’s contract or purpose, the path fraught with meaning becomes allegory, and the challenges, symbol. In the search for spiritual meaning and higher truth, Spiritual Entrepreneurs must, like Frodo, come to the task at hand in sincere service to others.Image

Here are some of the challenges you can expect on a modern day spiritual path which leads deeper into your calling.

Are you prepared for the journey? Are you…

Ready to decide who you serve?

Because we want to help others and to serve the highest and best outcomes for our clients, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking we have to serve everyone. Instead, to make this work, you’ll actually want to narrow your focus and identify the specific characteristics of people you want to work with.  You’re entering a relationship with these persons, and you want to love working with them, so pretend they’re a prospective mate and make a list of what you want.

Prepared to ask others to invest in their own success?

Bartering and trading are regrettably, rarely an even exchange of life force energies for both parties. If the client says they want what you offer, but aren’t ready to pay for it, chances are they’re not invested in themselves at the level you’d like. How many times have you said you’d like to attract clients “who are willing and able to do the work?” If the client isn’t invested, chances of their deep commitment are limited. Plus, if we’re really honest, there’ s nothing spiritual about not being able to support yourself.

Willing to trust even if you don’t know how the story is going to end?

The journey of the Spiritual Entrepreneur is never boring, but that also means it’s not predictable. What I’ve learned is that when the next step isn’t apparent, there’s actually a choice between sitting with the situation and allowing the path to unfold and leaping into the abyss of the unknown. Different situations call for one or the other. The trick is accessing your intuition so you can learn which is which.

Unwavering and faithful in your focus and vision?

Sometimes, you won’t be able to see the forest for the trees. That’s why knowing your core values and acting from that ethos in all situations, holding your vision for the future in alignment with your actions, is a crucial factor for moving ahead. The Roman money goddess, Moneta, from whom we take the Professional Moneta name, carries with her the archetypal modelling of unwavering focus on the abundance you seek.

Open to ask for what you need, and to receive it when it comes?

If you’re not willing to ask for what you need when it comes to support for your entrepreneurial journey, you won’t be able to stay the course. How do you know when it’s time? If you find yourself forgetting how you got yourself into this mess, then it’s past time to ask for help. But once you do, it’s of paramount importance to receive it in the manner in which it comes. If you’re asking for help, but saying “no” to every possible answer, it means you’re probably way too attached to the status quo. The only thing that’s constant in the journey of a Spiritual Entrepreneur is change.

Discerning in the company you keep?

Listen, really listen, to the messages you’re getting from your companions on each leg of the journey. If you’re hearing lots of persons talk about the bad economy, lack of affordability, scarcity, discounting, and difficulty, it really doesn’t matter how spiritual they are. What we focus on grows, and that goes for our friends, too.

Ready to grow at every level of your being?

When you’re a Spiritual Entrepreneur, you will find you will not be able to sustain yourself or your business without balanced attention in the physical, mental and spiritual practice realms. If you spend too much time in one or the other, the business will suffer and it will show up in the money. If you’re going to continue the journey, good self care, diet, exercise, attending your own emotional, physical or financial healing, and learning new ways of thinking and doing will fill the well from which you draw the inspiration to grow your business.

Invested in your own success?

Be willing to model the change you wish to see in the world by investing in your own success. This may be investing in support from experts, coaching, acquiring new skills through education or training, creating a team to lighten your load so you can develop from your uniqueness, or adding specialized tools, tactics and strategies to enhance your ability to serve. How do you expect your clients to invest in you if you don’t invest in yourself?

If you feel resistance to these ideas, you may be on the path, but not yet committed to the journey or prepared for its rigors. If you need help with charting a course with vision and action, let me know.

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., O.M., is also known as ‘Sherri Moneta.’ She specializes in helping exceptional entrepreneurs with a higher calling accelerate their money-making communication strategies and deepen their mindfulness practices in business so they can help more people, grow personally and professionally, and improve their sense of value and worth. Her clients need the expertise and support necessary create the change they want to be in the world and close the gap between their unlimited growth potential and their current limitations.