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.

Ready for a Breakthough Decision? Do this!

A couple of days ago, I made a clear, conscious decision.

The decision itself was simple: to redirect my work that I might bring more joy and celebration to “business” this upcoming holiday season – for other women as well as myself. (Stay tuned for more about that!)

Following that decision, I chose an action. I would call a few wonderful women in my world and play catch up. That would bring me joy and a feeling of celebration as we share life events, and that would help set the tone for what I want to create. I made a couple of calls and left messages.

Then it happened.

Within minutes, wonderful, magical  – and completely unrelated – happenings began to occur, and I found that a bit amazing. One woman read an article I wrote online and reached out.  Another asked the universe for guidance, then realized I could help realize her vision and goals for an upcoming launch. And so forth and so on.

Don’t you love the way that works?

The power of decision is one of our most valuable assets as conscious women entrepreneurs. It’s not enough just to want something or to think about it. As Yoda would remind Princess Leia, “Try not do.” In other words, there’s only decision followed by aligned right action. Nothing else will do if you want the force to be with you.

But it’s hard to make a decision then follow through. Some of the decisions we too often put off until tomorrow include things like:

  1. Dealing with debt or tax burdens or collecting past due accounts
  2. Finding new clients so we have consistent cash flow
  3. Narrowing our focus so we can help more people and step into our bigger work
  4. Starting to put money into savings or investments or a college fund
  5. Taking the trip we’ve dreamed of for a lifetime or buying a home

Whether it’s one of these common issues or not, when it comes to having what you really need or want, you need a breakthrough decision.

Try this.

To find your breakthrough decision, drill past your wants to your NEEDS. Be specific, and place a monetary value on each item on your list. This action tells you what you MUST create in order to meet your base level survival needs. Make a decision to take action immediately to create in the present whatever meets those needs.

Next, make a list of your desires. What might it take for you to realize those?

This type of decision is different, because it requires a personal commitment to transform your way of being in the world. Because we don’t create a new reality with the same thoughts, habits, and behaviors that created our present one.

In order to have what you want in addition to fulfilling your basic needs, what is it that you must learn, know, or do differently? In other words, how do you act, choose or be in the world today?

When making decisions consistently as though the reality we desire is already within our grasp, it becomes possible to close the gap between our present situation and our future outcomes.

What decisions are you PAST ready to make?  Feel free to share your thoughts.

Abundantly,
Sherri

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.

Why Journal as a Spiritual Practice?

Why would anyone keep a journal?

I use mine to whine, to rail, to complain… to call in change.
I use mine to chronicle, sort through, dig deep… to call in change.
I use mine to talk directly with Source, or to balance my inner selves… and call in change.
I use mine to workshop my relationships, grow my business, grow myself… and call in change.

Journalling is a text of the self. And the way I do it, it’s a text of the higher self. It’s about letting my lower self, my monkey mind, my cortisol laden brain clear out so my higher self and my purpose can get through.

Plain paper, an inspiring writing implement, the page, and you. What a beautiful way to start each day.

Start each day with Journaling as a Spiritual Practice.

Here is what I know is true:

I cannot lie on the page
I cannot commit to straight lines or neatness
I cannot always use words
I sometimes skip journaling as an avoidance tactic (see #1)
I sometimes journal when I have nothing to say just to clear the way
My journal is my refuge and solace

It’s the place where I write letters to my Mama, who isn’t here any longer. I write to my guardian angels and my divine feminine leaders. I write to my child and to my inner child. Blessings, prayers, poems, blurts, plans, welcome all.

I also write things I don’t intend others to see. My mother kept a journal where she “dumped” big blobs of worry. In everyday life, she was an optimistic person. I believe in my heart that she was able to see the bright side of things because she got them out of her psyche and onto the page.

I journal to cope. For decades, I’ve struggled with stress and seasonal blues. Journaling is my pathway through the dark months and back to light.

Due to the recent political climate, I have returned to my journal as a way to find a stillpoint in the chaos, a touchstone, a way to hear myself think and feel without the cacophany of monkey minds we encounter online and in life these days.

Taking this right action led to almost instantaneous infusions of energy and clarity. As my favorite poem by Max Ehrmann says, “Go out amidst the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Find the silence where your inner voice resides with Journaling as a Spiritual Practice

This kind of silence isn’t the one of “keeping quiet.” It’s the place where we find our voices and meet our truth. It’s a place that’s above or beyond the commonplace in resonance. It’s the sacred space where journalling takes place.

My favorite way to journal is to prepare the space. I clear the table, lay out my tools as though I’m creating a formal place setting for a special dinner with a lover. I light a favorite candle: orange or nutmeg with coffee beans or spice. Ground and center. I open my eyes and begin to write. Stream of consciousness, the words spill over the page in blobs and blurts. I write without lines and without limits. Whatever comes, comes.

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Sherri McLendon offers Journaling as a Sacred Practice, first Mondays monthly through June 2018.

I write in different ways at different times of day. At night, I may write about why I cannot sleep, why the owl hoots at the dog who barks back, or I may make a list of gratitudes. Gratitude journaling at night is a beautiful way to close a day.

So you’ll find different types of journals scattered all over my house dedicated to different types of journalling. For most meanderings, I recommend an 8 1/2 by 11 sketchbook journal with no lines. Should you need boundaries, you’ll be the person defining those. If you choose an artist’s pad with spiral binding, decorate the front cover with fabric or special paper and trim to make the journal special to you.

Over the next 12 months, a beautiful group of women and I will work with a range of journalling techniques, tactics and tools gleaned from more than two decades of writing my way back to center. Learn more by clicking on the Journaling tab or one of the links in this post.

It’s my honor and joy to share this work from a place of gratitude and pure love of Journaling as a Spiritual Practice. 

So be it.

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.

A Call to Wholeness: Solar-Lunar Pathways to Evolutionary Change

The old, patriarchal paradigm as expressed in the U.S. hinges on ideas of dominance and difference. It’s a highly destructive, unsustainable system and many of its citizens’ constant call for a re-evaluation. However, critique itself is destructive. I hope for something less damaging, less polarizing.

This idea of being out of balance, or need to achieve balance, would require moving away from a bilateral model of good-bad, right-wrong, my way or the highway thinking. That is, we shift from an either-or position to one of both-and, according to Howard Teich, Ph.D., a professor and therapist whose work “Solar Light, Lunar Light: Perspectives on Human Consciousness” has begun to deeply inform how I view myself and my work in conscious business coaching.

Generally speaking, Teich tells us that we carry within both solar and lunar archetypes we can retrieve from the collective unconscious (he’s a Campbell and Jung scholar). Whether we identify as masculine or feminine becomes less important than the balanced presence of solar-lunar traits in our psyche. When we activate these traits, he suggests, the results include a range of expanded possibilities for solutions to real-world problems.

In the “out of balance” paradigm, the solar traits of a person who lacks lunar traits is described as ego-driven, dominating and disconnected or isolated from others, abrasive, inflammatory, obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist, authoritarian, rigid and unable to adapt, and cocky. In other words, it’s the “masculine” model, and it’s broken.

In this reality, lunar without solar is described as: self-deprecating and doubting, appeasing others and not taking a stand for values, lenient or lax, lacking in focus and willpower, living in a fantasy world, following the herd, aimless, and a helpmate. In this case, the “feminine” model, and it, too, is fragmented.

Many of us today are resisting these old paradigms, Patriarchal models because they are unhealthy for individuals and the society at large. But individuals who embrace these either-or tendencies are exhibiting traits which stop evolution individually and for the collective. Teich’s work may then be understood as a type of archetypal re-membering, of putting the lost pieces of solar and lunar back together again so we can evolve.

Whether our outer world gender identity is masculine or feminine, each of us with has both masculine and feminine, solar and lunar qualities. If ours is a path toward wholeness, this reintegration of our missing pieces needs to occur.

In this new “achieving balance” paradigm, the solar traits and lunar traits replace the out of balance, gendered stereotypes with a “both this and that” solution.

In the solar, traits we may cultivate include: confidence or the courage to enact our ideas, strength in our convictions and a willingness to take action; responsibility, a desire to achieve and maintain high standards, orientations toward goals, and a sense of self that’s powerful, structured, and carries conviction.

The lunar traits co-exist alongside the solar, complementing the active elements while covering the different ground. The lunar traits we may wish to cultivate in the search for wholeness and balance include a willingness to admit limitations or mistakes, cooperative and collaborative endeavors to achieve results, empathy, the ability to connect the dots, to fail and be vulnerable. The lunar realm is visionary, compassionate, flexible, receptive.

Ultimately, Teich’s view of the solar-lunar archetype and its effect on consciousness is co-creative, asking each of us to participate in the creation of new reality. This present time  requires that we reject polarization as “unnatural.” Instead, we may choose to integrate and prepare for an initiation into a new mode of consciousness through specific types of actions.

The Act of Naming

“How we name and describe ourselves, how we tell our stories, shapes our intellectual consciousness as well as our emotional lives,” says Teich.

Whether recounting family history, sharing our experience, or watching television news broadcasts, the stories that we hold as true shape our thoughts and feelings. We are individually and collectively responsible for the stories we tell, the mythologies we reinforce, and the stereotypes we perpetuate.

The Act of Initiation

Women’s mythologies should perhaps be at the forefront of the discussion of initiation. The women’s movement is often described in “waves,” but may also be understood as a recurring pattern of initiation cycles which find their source in original archetypes.

“Culture can repress an archetype, but it cannot kill it,” Teich writes. “The archetype will return with a vengeance and burst forth with renewed strength.”

Certainly, today, the day after the inauguration of a President who brags openly about his deeply objectionable treatment of women, the archetypes of women warriors and sovereigns burst forth with a vengeance and renewed strength. As I write, women are pouring onto the streets in hundreds of cities across the United States to protest the unmistakable and omnipresent War on Women.

The Act of Relating

In Western culture, there is a tragic “disdain of the solar feminine, in how a woman relates to herself, to other women, and to men,” Teich writes.

The maltreatment of women on the basis of gender or gendered identity is perhaps the greatest tragedies of our time. This once great nation now falters, its future in the hands of a patriarchal figurehead the citizens will likely refuse to follow. In personal, political and professional arenas, I believe our greatest trials are now our greatest opportunities for triumph.

May each of us claim our wholeness and strength for the journey ahead.

Sherri

 

Guest Author: Morgan Dragonwillow Reveals ‘Soul Prompts’

I am pleased to reveal the cover for Soul Prompts: Finding and Hearing Your Inner Voice.

Soul Prompts Book Cover2d

Soul Prompts is a spiritual writing experience that gives you a direct line to the source of inspiration.

If you could communicate with your soul would you?

If you could hear what your soul’s plan is for this life, would you want to hear it?

What if learning to communicate with your soul could help you get your words on the page?

Soul Prompts will help you connect to that voice within whether you want to have a deeper spiritual life, a better understanding of your purpose, discover which path to take next or to help you get your stories written.

Are you open to the possibilities?

It’s time to have a conversation with your soul.

This book is for you if you want to:

  1. Take your writing to a deeper level.
  2. Explore your connection to your soul.
  3. Live a more spiritual life.
  4. Have a better understanding of your writing journey.
  5. Figure out your next step.
  6. Discover where your words come from.
  7. Learn why your soul chose this life.

And so much more.

Soul Prompts: Finding and Hearing Your Inner Voice – Paperback and ebook – coming out this October!

This beautiful cover was created by the artistic and wonderful Andrea Moore! Working with her was a pleasure and she was very patient with my questions and suggestions until we were both happy with the results! If you are working on a book and don’t have a cover yet, I highly recommend you have a chat with her!

Andrea Moore a

Cover Artist

Andrea Moore grew up in a town so small, on top of a marsh, that the mosquito was considered the city bird. She uses her degree in computer graphics and her artistic abilities to sprinkle joy throughout local consignment shops and Etsy. Andrea is now breaking out of the box further as she explores the adventures of book cover creating.

Fun Trivia Game

What’s a party without a game? In this game you will hop from one blog to the next, finding the clues and when you think you have the answer, go back to Morgan Dragonwillow’s post, Soul Prompts Book Cover Reveal Party, and put the answer in the comments. The first person with the correct answer will win a signed copy of Soul Prompts and a $10 Amazon gift card. Have fun!

Question:

Where in the world is one of my favorite places to sit or walk and connect with the source of creation and to remember we are all one?

This is the last stop in the Soul Prompts Book Cover Reveal Party. Have you figured out the answer to the question yet? Here is your last clue! There is a famous tree on this trail and it is part of the trail’s name. Take a guess if you haven’t figured it out and put your answer in the comment section of Soul Prompts Book Cover Reveal Party

Thanks for playing along!

Me aAuthor

Morgan Dragonwillow is a poet, survivor, lover of all things magical, dancing with words, recovering perfectionist, and indie author that (mostly) doesn’t let her fears get in the way of her passion for writing and creating. She is team leader at @StoryDam and creatrix of #OctPoWriMo. She lives in Marietta, Ga. with her loving and patient partner, their dog that thinks she’s a princess, and the cat that reminds her that she isn’t.

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Soul Prompts by Morgan Dragonwillow

Soul Prompts

by Morgan Dragonwillow

Giveaway ends September 27, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win