Experiment #1: No TV, No Netflix + No Hulu for 1 Week

Let’s experiment a little.

It’s that time of year when I start reflecting on the journey and results of this year and thinking about what I want to accomplish next year.

This time is otherwise known as “freak-the-eff-out” time.

The fact that I’ll be 30-years-old in less than 90 days has inspired many a “what am I doing with my life?!” comments and infinitely more “dying a little inside” sessions. This time of the year coupled with other current personal challenges, has me resisting my greatest hits of go-to “freak out” actions:

1. Tail-spin into an “I can’t do anything right!” belief (…because a few things aren’t ideal) AKA the abyss of overreaction.

or

2. An ineffective and ultimately short-lived “I’ll totally forsake what I really want because it’s too scary to address and just dive into an identity that isn’t completely me.”

If you couldn’t tell by now, this post is about to get real. Really real.

I believe, my dear readers, it is time to do something a little different.

I woke up this morning with the profound urge to experiment and the conviction that life HAS to be more fun if you look at it like one big experiment to get to the perfect YOU recipe.

By the way, I think the perfect YOU recipe is a matter of distillation not addition. #Boom

So that’s what I’m doing: distilling until I get back to who I am via one big public experiment…because, let’s face it, part of who I am is a lover of all things digital. I’ve known that since my first bright pink digital diary.

First experiment on the books: Stop seeking escape and start seeking life.

I realize that sounds all complex and WTF-ambitious-first-experiment-much, but the truth is, my process for this first experiment will be simple.

10-20-2014-Experiment-No-TVWant the rules? Here they are:

No TV, no Netflix, no Hulu, etc. for one week.

Holy Olivia Pope withdrawalsHow am I going to live without Kerry Washington for a week? But wait, I didn’t finish watching How To Get Away With Murder (fave line in the whole season so far) from last week. Am I supposed to miss TWO episodes? And so on and so forth….

I like to imagine that my highest-self is inside my mind responding to these frantic musings with something like this.

Those are the rules and I’m sticking to them.

Now, there are only two allowances to this rule.

1. Watching the NEWS is acceptable in the case of a national emergency, disaster or if it is DIRECTLY related to some of the work I’m doing (e.i. you have a client who is featured on TV).

2. If you want to be (insert Russell Crowe Gladiator voice) entertained…read a book, boo.

So that’s experiment #1 and I’m starting it today. For you, it starts whenever you like, but now is always a good time. :-)

Want to join me?

Comment below or tag your social posts with #pursuitofme + #mylifeexperiment and feel free to share this post with others who might be interested.

xo,

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Your Money Model – sample of “7 Keys to Creating a Profitable Online Brand” class

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This is content from my “7 Keys to Creating a Profitable Online Brand” class.

Your money model is the baseline of your business.

Because making money strategically is what makes it a business.

You’re in the business of experience creation. That experience is a direct result of your product. You’re monetizing your spoken and unspoken promises in the form of products that people can buy and enjoy.

The point of this article is to give you a bird’s eye view of how your brand makes money — or could make money.

Let’s dive in.

People-funnel-web

I like to talk about the idea of a sales funnel as the basis of the money model. At a basic level, a sales funnel is the structure you create to produce revenue for your business.

It looks like a funnel — wide at the top, smaller at the bottom — and it’s shaped that way because, in sales a lot of people go into the top of the sales funnel, but not many come out the bottom because there’s always some sort of investment to be made at the bottom.

That said, it’s a numbers game. The more people you put into the top of the funnel, the more people you will have come out the bottom.

When it comes to your business, I suggest turning the sales funnel on the side and dividing the funnel into four parts in order to create a structure that looks something like this:

Free | Exchange | Low-cost | High-cost

What this means is:

Free (offer): What you give away for free

Exchange (offer): What you give in exchange for an email address

Low-cost (offer): What you give in exchange for a low-cost

High-cost (offer): What you give in exchange for a high-cost

The FREE offerings represent the wider end of the funnel – meaning, for most people, this will be an entry point to your brand. Not many will get to the high-cost offer, but each step along the way is designed to build trust with them to funnel them to that point.

Remember, the price point for the low-cost and high-cost offers depend on your brand.

Now, don’t get too caught up in the mechanics of the structure, but just know that a sales funnel needs to be designed to gradually funnel people towards the goal you want them to take.

So here are some examples of possible offers:

“Free offerings” might be: website/blog content, chapter excerpts on amazon, free samples.

“Exchange offers” might be: exclusive content via an email newsletter, an email coupon, deleted scenes from a previous work.

Low-cost offers might be: a $.99 novella, a $25 guidebook, a subscription service.

High-cost offers might be: a book bundle, consulting services, an online program.

Why are the levels important? Why not charge for everything?

Giving away an experience with your brand for free gives people a no-cost way to see if they will like you. I can’t express how essential this is — nor how simple this is. Yes, providing valuable/entertaining content on your website or blog counts!

Giving away an experience in exchange for an email address is a low-risk way for people to see if they are willing to invest their dollars, plus it gives you a way to contact them about your paid offers.

When it comes to the other keys to creating a profitable online brand, they each work to drive the right people to your sales funnel and each step within the funnel should strategically point to the next to create a seamless experience.

It’s not enough to just have content that hits each point in the funnel. The content has to work together to get people to your end goal — making money.

THINK: What content can/do you share at each step in your sales funnel?

The Basics of Online Branding

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Obvious statement: I LOVE digital branding.

I love the idea of being able to craft an online personality for your business, because that’s what branding means to me.

I began teaching branding in 2010 when I first launched my business, so once I year I take a serious look at what I understand branding to be as I begin a new season of teaching branding to small businesses and brands.

This article is an overview of my latest online branding teaching.

Enjoy!

The Basics of Online Branding

So what exactly is a brand? It’s a concrete description. It’s an esoteric term. It’s a feeling. It’s a connotation. It’s an image. It’s a word. It’s an idea. It’s a notion. It’s a completely capitalist idea designed to fool you into spending money on something you really don’t need… #apple

A brand is a lot of things, but it is also very unique to you and your particular products.

When you’re trying to put a finger on what exactly your brand is, you want to think about three things: 1. Your WHY; 2. Your uniqueness; and 3. The problems you solve for others. These important parts of your business all feed into your brand strategy.

And you want to be as honest as possible with yourself when you’re thinking about these things. My mission is to help you accomplish the goals of your heart. Sometimes those goals are warm and fuzzy and sometimes they are green and papery.

Let’s start with the basics of your business.

Note: This information is a brief overview of what I go over in my Creative Marketing Strategy Development Learning Lounge.

Your WHY – Your WHY is the reasoning behind why you do what you do in the way that you do it. There is always a bigger WHY encompassed in the million little WHYs.

Your USP – Your unique selling point (USP) is the thing that YOU do better or different than other people. Don’t overthink this. Sometimes it’s your wit, sometimes it’s your attention to detail, or your perspective. Whatever it is, identify it and brag about it, because it could be the reason why someone picks up your product vs the competition.

The Problems You Solve – Every product solves a problem for people. Even if it’s a creative product. Yes, products that provide beauty, entertainment, etc. solve problems!

All this information is essential to your brand.

While a traditional definition of a brand is:

brand: an identifying mark burned on livestock or criminals or slaves with a branding iron.

A mark of ownership made by branding.

A particular type or kind of something.

…and that was the branding of the distant past — simple identification — what’s important to note is that everything starts with a product. If you don’t have product, you can’t create a brand. Your product is the seed from which everything grows.

What is a brand? My definition:

The combination of a product, the character traits of the creator of that product, an unspoken promise, a spoken promise and strategic marketing.

But, remember, there’s a reason why most people say “branding,” because it’s a verb. It’s action and it’s a never-ending process.

But let’s break this down.

-Product

-Character traits of the creator of that product

-Unspoken promise

-Spoken promise

-Strategic marketing

Let’s break down the elements:

1. Your product is easy — or it seems that way. I believe your main product is the experience you are selling through your products.

2. The character traits of the creator – relate back to your why and your USPs (unique selling points). Think about how these elements are infused in your brand to make it unique.

3. An unspoken promise – this is your brand essence. It’s core to your art. It’s not tidy or neat, but it is essential for you to create the works that you want to create.

4. A spoken promise – this is more of an outward expression of your brand. It can be outlined in your tagline, etc. I call this your brand identity – it’s the face you put on for the world.

5.Strategic marketing – this is everything you do to support the four previous elements.

How to Identify Your Brand Essence:

So what is your brand essence? How do you identify it?

A brand essence in most cases is related to the satisfaction someone feels after they finish using your product. What does that satisfaction relate to? The brand essence is much more emotional than a brand’s spoken promise.

SHORTCUT: You want to get closer to you brand essence? Remember in the section on “What need you fulfill for others?” In most cases, if this isn’t your brand essence, it’s a close cousin. Revisit that to jumpstart your brand essence.

Keep reading to discover how to discover your spoken promise. The key to effectively communicating for your brand.

Your Brand Identity – The spoken promise

Now, in traditional business circles, a brand identity is considered the overall outward, visual and verbal expression of a brand. Most of the time, I call the outward expression of your brand your brand’s online identities – or the devices and vehicles you use to support your brand. All of these elements work together to create the “identity” of your brand.

If your brand essence is the foundation of your brand, the basis, the most important element, your brand identity statement is like the framework for building the house. It creates the shape the public will see. Your brand’s online identities are the walls, windows, etc.

A brand identity statement is a short sentence or phrase that describes what your brand is.

A brand identity statement is developed by taking your brand essence and refining it from an unspoken promise you deliver to readers to a concrete, measurable statement that readers can keep top of mind and something marketers can use when marketing your works.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Although these two promises may have different functions, both your unspoken and spoken promises should work together to represent your brand to the world. Think about it this way:

Your unspoken promise is what you show the world.

Your spoken promise is what you tell the world.

And both create your brand.

{lead photo by Derek Gavey}