Category: What Lori’s Passionate About


The 12 Most Purposeful Things You Can Do This Christmas (Re-Post)

Two Christmases ago, I found myself coming out of a year and a half long period of limbo in my career.

I had been struggling all that time to figure out what direction I should go with my business.

Should I continue what I was doing? Should I quit and go back to working for someone else? Or should I do something altogether different?

After having done the life-changing and career-changing activities I’ve outlined below, it all became clear to me what my next move was: shift the mission of my business to support my personal mission.

Once I did this, everything started falling into place!

As a result, I created a personal branding program using the same approaches I used on my own to get unstuck in my career.

Now it’s become my most popular program among my clients and audience. I’ve had the opportunity to present it to a variety of groups including freelancers, artists, other coaches, corporations, and even pastors from remote villages in the Amazon jungle!

Here’s some very nice feedback from one of my program participants:

“Hi Lori, I met you last year when you spoke at a coaches training event and I have to admit your session was by far the best. I love how you blend your passion for adventure and helping people find passion in their work life. After you spoke I felt more confident and enthused about my own career path.”

The 12 Days of Purpose

The holidays are a great time to discover what your purpose is in this current season of your life. Especially if you are contemplating a big change for 2018, including a job or career change or promotion, a start-up business, a retirement, etc.

Because the program I’ve created has helped so many people, I’m sharing an outline of it as my gift to you this holiday season.

(NOTE: To purchase the on-demand video program in its entirety, go to Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. 45% of the proceeds go to support the non-profit Justice & Mercy International.)

You can work through it over the holidays in order to start your new year off right, or at any other point in the year when you need it most. Enjoy!

purpose
 

 

Phase I: Clarify Your Purpose

Day 1:

Spend some time reflecting on what kind of person you want to be and to be known for (think in terms of traits instead of accomplishments).

What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?

And most importantly, why do you do the things you do? (Recommended reading: Start With Why by Simon Sinek.)

Day 2:

Take an inventory of your strengths, limitations, accomplishments, and how your skills benefit others.

List the things you’re good at, the things you’re not good at, your biggest failures and the lessons you learned from them, and your reasons for why you like to do the things you do best.

Day 3:

Be open to constructive criticism.

Ask your friends, family, co-workers, clients, etc. what they perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses.

Note the things that show up as patterns and the things that surprise you.

Day 4:

Based on your own personal inventory and the feedback from friends, write down what you think makes you unique from other people who do what you do.

See if you can think of additional things that make you unique.

Day 5:

Determine what makes your audience unique.

Who are they (recruiters, potential clients, fans)?

What do they care about?

What’s their biggest challenge or need?

How do your skills meet their need?

How can you serve them with your abilities?

Phase II: Articulate Your Purpose

Day 6:

Once you’ve determined why you do what you do (Day 1), write out your “WHY” in the form of a vision statement.

A vision statement is your goal of what you want to accomplish with your skills and abilities.

For example, the paNASH vision statement is:

“I believe you can find the courage to discover and pursue your passions despite the obstacles you may face. I want to see you actively pursue your passions with flair (‘paNASH’) and confidence, along with responsibility to your purpose in life.”

Day 7:

Write your mission statement.

Your mission statement is HOW you plan to carry out your vision/your WHY.

For instance, the paNASH mission statement is:

“To serve, educate, and encourage you by assisting you with the discovery and pursuit of your passions in a way that honors your purpose and your own vision for success, while amplifying who you are personally and advancing you professionally.”

Day 8:

Craft your Unique Selling Point (USP).

In 140 characters or less, create a statement that summarizes the unique impact you have on your audience.

The paNASH USP is:

“Putting your passion into action!”

Phase III: Package & Present Your Purpose

Day 9:

Make sure you’re able to back up your message with a summary of your credentials and accomplishments.

This can be in the form of a resume, a LinkedIn profile, client testimonials, reviews, letters of recommendation, etc.

Day 10:

Post your message on your social media platforms, your web site, your business card, and other professional collateral.

Day 11:

Foster and maintain relationships with strategic partners and your audience.

Share your purpose and expertise in a variety of outlets, including blogs (your own and others’ where you can guest blog), article posts on LinkedIn and Medium, media interviews (print, online, radio, and TV), comments on others’ posts, etc.

Day 12:

Most of all, learn how to present your message and purpose with confidence and professionalism.

This is something that of course takes practice. Ask for feedback on your presentation with friends, close colleagues, and mentors. Then apply that feedback to improve your message.

To purchase the on-demand video program in its entirety, go to Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

45% of the proceeds go to support the non-profit Justice & Mercy International.

Let’s All Go Around and Share What We’re Thankful For!

I wanted to take this time to share my thankfulness and invite my readers to do the same in the comment box below.

I am thankful for:

  • Work I love and find joy and purpose in.
  • My clients, not only for the opportunity to teach them, but also for the lessons they teach me.
  • The gift of encouragement and the ability to encourage others.
  • A flexible schedule that allows me time to pursue my own personal passions outside of work.
  • My health – ever since I left a job working for someone else to start my own business, I’ve been the healthiest I’ve ever been in my entire life, aside from the two eye surgeries I had earlier this year. And those surgeries have made me thankful for and appreciative of my sight, though it is limited.
  • My family and friends.
  • The beauty found in nature.
  • My sense of adventure and willingness to learn and try new things.
  • Opportunities to serve others.
  • Joy and peace.
  • A warm bed and a roof over my head.
  • And most of all, God, who is responsible for all of the above!

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Please share in the comment box below!

10 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Freelancing

Last week I posted an announcement about the celebration of paNASH’s 10-year anniversary. In it I told how I started my freelance business, the fears I faced in leaving a secure job to go out on my own, and how my business’s mission has evolved.

Today, I want to share some of the freelance lessons I’ve learned over those ten years in working for myself. I hope they will serve as an encouragement to those who are thinking about starting their own thing, are new to the freelancing world, or have been in it long enough to have faced some common struggles.

Freelance Lesson #1

I had to be disciplined. Being your own boss requires A LOT of discipline. Why? Because there’s no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re showing up on time or getting your work done. Discipline has always come naturally to me, and I was raised by a former Marine Corps officer who further instilled this trait in me. This is not to say that discipline can’t be learned later in life. But the discipline required to work for yourself will make things easier if you’ve already mastered it through other methods such as playing a sport, sticking with a commitment, etc.

Freelance Lesson #2

I had to use my love for life-long learning. I’ve always loved learning new things. And I realized the need for constant learning when starting a business because “a skill does not a business make” according to my friend and colleague Melody Bowers, co-owner of VirtualCollective.

You need to either already have some business sense, or be disciplined enough (see lesson #1) and have the ability to learn it as you go while managing your other responsibilities. If there’s something you can’t learn, there’s always someone else who has the knowledge you can pay to either teach you or to do it for you.

Freelance Lesson #3

I learned it was normal to question my decision almost every single day. I also realized it was normal to feel like giving up on a regular basis when things got hard. But, once I began working in a way that was true and authentic to my own personal mission in life, those doubts and insecurities started to diminish. I became okay with the discomfort of a process that isn’t linear. Instead, it looks more like this:

freelance lessons

Entrepreneur Darius Foroux further explains the figure above in his encouraging article Don’t Quit When It Gets Hard. I love it when he says, “If you never feel like quitting, that means life is too easy and you need to take action in your life.”

Freelance Lesson #4

I learned I had the ability to figure out the logistics. It turns out the things that seem intimidating at first (i.e. getting a business license, paying for your own health insurance, tracking your income & expenses/P&L, etc.) aren’t really all that scary. In fact, a lot of this not-so-fun part of having your own business is easier than you think.

And Freelancers Union has made a lot of it very simple. They provide tips and resources on the logistics of running your own freelance operation and even provide access to affordable insurance.

Freelance Lesson #5

I learned what I’m worth. The toughest thing for me was figuring out my pricing. At first it was hard to know how much to charge. And even when I thought I knew, I then had to figure out which pricing model worked best. An hourly rate? A day rate? A package or retainer rate?

Like most people first starting out, in the beginning I was devaluing my skills and expertise. But, after I started getting clients and began listening to their feedback on the services they received, I started to better understand my worth.

Yes, it helps to look at your competition and the average rate others charge for the same service or product to get an idea of what you should charge. But, what helped me most was asking current and past clients if they would’ve paid more based on the value they’d already received. To my surprise, most of them said yes, and even some told me flat out I was undercharging.

Now, most people (both potential and current clients) say my pricing is reasonable and fair. It took some tweaking and trial and error, but now my pricing structure is in harmony with the service I’m providing.

Freelance Lesson #6

I learned when to say no. This included being selective of potential clients, turning down certain speaking gigs/presentation requests, not wasting my time with potential contacts who only wanted to talk about themselves but never wanted to listen or make the relationship mutually beneficial, discontinuing professional relationships when trust had been broken, etc.

This is difficult to do when first starting out. Especially when it comes to turning away money. But, I can tell you the times I listened to my gut and turned away the opportunities that weren’t the right fit for my business, I was always glad I did. And the times I didn’t listen to my gut, I always regretted it.

Freelance Lesson #7

I learned not to compare myself with others. My pastor’s wife always says, “Comparing yourself to others makes you either small or smug, and neither of those are good.” I realized because I do what I do in my own unique way, comparing myself to my competition is a waste of time because it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

The same is true for you because you also have your own unique way of delivering your service or product that no one else can duplicate. Instead of comparing, focus on what makes you and your brand solely yours. This is what becomes your selling point!

Freelance Lesson #8

I learned (and am still learning) when it’s time to shift gears. When learning to drive a stick, you start to develop a feel for when it’s time to shift gears. This doesn’t mean you won’t grind your gears on occasion.

The same is true in running a business or working as a freelancer. You’ll start to learn when to give something a little more time to grow before uprooting it. When to pull the plug on what’s not working. And when to simplify if you’re trying to do too much or be too many things.

This type of self-awareness can mean the difference between success and failure.

Freelance Lesson #9

I realized the real risk. At first I thought the obvious risk of starting my own thing was leaving the security of a full-time job with benefits. I was wrong! Since leaving my job at a prestigious university where there were constant hiring freezes and multiple firings, I’ve had more job security than ever before.

I’ve been able to develop the grit and skills required to work for myself and bring in a steady stream of clients, to supplement my income at times when the stream was unsteady, and to eliminate the salary cap I had at my previous job.

The only real risk I faced was potentially losing any or all desire to work for someone else again. Let’s face it. It’s pretty hard to go back to working for someone else after having worked for yourself. But if I ever had to again, I’d be very selective in who I worked for (see Lesson #6).

Freelance Lesson #10

I learned fear is inevitable. Fear is not a reason to not venture out on your own if it’s what you truly desire. Instead, it’s often an excuse. Everyone who’s ever done this has had some level of fear.

Do your research. Prepare (but don’t wait until you feel fully prepared because that will never happen!). Then push through the fear.

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paNASH is Celebrating Its 10-Year Anniversary!

Ten years ago today, I walked into the Davidson County Clerk’s office to get a business license for paNASH. I had no idea what I was doing since I’d never started a business before.

It was scary to say the least. But, I put one foot in front of the other, filled out the form, and paid my fee.

When I walked out I thought to myself, “Okay, this is real now. I have to do it.” My business license was more than just a little piece of paper. It was something tangible that was holding me accountable.

I started working hard on my business part-time while still working full-time. Nine months later I took a leap of faith and quit my cushy career advising job with benefits to pursue my business full-time.

paNASH’s Beginnings

paNASH originally began as an image consulting business working primarily with up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. I used my skills from my previous experience as a college career adviser to teach new artists how to present themselves in media interviews, to labels, and more. The additional wardrobe styling piece of the business served as a creative outlet for me at the time.

But after eight years, I started feeling restless in my business and it no longer felt right to me. I couldn’t yet put my finger on why, but I knew it was about to undergo some big changes.

I loved working for myself and knew I didn’t want that to change, but I was burned out on the original concept of the business. And, I’d become extremely frustrated with the way the music industry works. I loved my clients, but I was done with the constant frustrations.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being called back to what I loved most and was best at, career coaching. Only this time, it was taking on a new approach. For the full story, read From Fashionista to Passionista.

paNASH

paNASH Today

Since making the change to my business nearly two years ago, I’ve been much happier. It thrills me to see my clients gain the confidence to pursue their own passions that have been lying dormant for so many years.

Although they face a series of common challenges while going through the process of pursuing their passions, they start to sense an excitement in the transition to a new life and career. They have a light in their eyes again.

And while I’m also happier, I still face some challenges in my own transition of the focus and mission of my business. One of those is still being thought of as an image consultant. I guess I did a really good job of establishing paNASH’s brand early on. Too good of a job! When you Google paNASH, there are still some things that pop up indicating image consulting. I’ve had to turn away several people seeking image consulting services.

But, I’m using the same branding strategy now that I did then to eventually replace my former brand. And it’s working. Just like it works for my new clients whom I’m teaching how to develop their own personal brand for their career and their lives.

The Importance of a Mission Statement

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s so important to have a brand and a mission statement for yourself. My personal mission statement is:

To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.

This mission statement helps me to make better decisions regarding both my business and my personal life.

My business’s mission statement also aligns with my personal mission statement. When I changed the mission of paNASH nearly two years ago, it became:

To serve, educate, and encourage you by assisting you with the discovery and pursuit of your passions in a way that honors your purpose and your own vision for success, while amplifying who you are personally and advancing you professionally.

No matter what your goals are, I encourage you to also develop your own mission statement. To learn how, check out my on-demand program on personal branding (45% of proceeds go to Justice & Mercy International). You’ll be glad you did because once you’ve completed the program, you’ll be able to make better life and career decisions. Decisions that are true to your unique passions!

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5 Reasons I Sacrifice Security to Be My Own Boss

Last week I wrote about ways to increase your job security. In addition to investing in career coaching, another suggestion I made was to quit your job and start your own thing. But not everyone can do that, at least not right away. And the ones who can usually don’t think it’s a feasible option. (Most of them are wrong.)

But as I stated in last week’s post, I feel like I have more job security having my own business than I ever did working for the state’s largest private employer where there were constant hiring freezes and multiple firings.

One of my colleagues who also now works for herself said the same thing to me. She left a high-level position at a multi-national power management company without knowing yet what her next career move was. She later started her own consulting company and now feels more in control of her career than ever before.

So, while the title of this post says I sacrifice security to be my own boss, I don’t really feel like I’m sacrificing that at all. Instead, I feel like I’m gaining job security by being my own boss. But, I still get asked the question all the time, “What made you decide to sacrifice a full-time job with benefits to be your own boss?” There are several reasons why.

#1

I get to be the boss! I get to call the shots and decide how I want to run things, which allows me to use my creativity and I don’t have to go through a bunch of red tape just to get an idea approved. If I want to try something new, I can. If it doesn’t work, I can tweak it or try something else. It’s so refreshing to be able to have carte blanche over my own work.

#2

I get to choose who I work with. No longer am I stuck working for a micro-managing boss, a slacking co-worker, or a non-committal client. I get to be selective in who I work with. My work thrives when I can work with those who are open-minded, curious, adventurous, respectful, and professional.

#3

I get to choose which hours I want to work. I’m the type of person who gets spurts of energy at various times throughout the day. Some days I’m a morning person. Other days I’m a night owl. Because I have control over my schedule, I can work at the times when I’m most productive, and take breaks whenever I need to recharge by going paddle boarding or for a walk. Also, because I get to make my own schedule, I can go get groceries when the store is least crowded!

#4

I get to determine my own worth and value and set my own rates. Never again do I have to work a job where I’m underpaid for my education and experience.

#5

I can work from just about anywhere. I often meet with clients in person, but several of them are out-of-state or unable to meet in person so we do so over the phone or computer. This allows me to work from anywhere with an Internet connection. In fact, next month I’ll be presenting a webinar to people in Nashville while I’m on a beach trip to Florida. The beauty of this freedom is I can work from home if I want to, from a coffee shop, and even from a hammock!

If working for yourself sounds appealing and you want to know if it’s a possibility for you, let’s talk! Together we can determine if you possess the skills needed to be successful working for yourself. Or, if you just want to explore the possibility of working from home for your current employer, we can discuss how you can make that happen as well.