Hardly a day goes by when someone working in corporate life wishes and hopes to escape the nine-to-five career to pursue the idea of lucrative self-employment. That is why Pam Slim’s 2009 book Escape from Cubicle Nation touched a huge nerve to become an award-winning best-seller.
Today, many self-described corporate prisoners and frustrated aspiring entrepreneurs spend time wishing and hoping for their own version of The Shawshank Redemption. They are looking for a way out to create a lifestyle they can love with an income to match.
I am a former publicist who has created a reasonably lucrative laptop lifestyle in service to independent business owners around the world who want to get found, noticed, and hired by the clients they most want to serve.
In business since 2001, my boutique publicity agency transformed into an online business in 2009 in the aftermath of The Great Recession. With clients disappearing quickly in the tough times, I found myself in need of an immediate business reinvention. By taking a dare from a friend — thank you Kathie Nelson of ConnectWorks — I wrote and debuted my self-published book Bye-Bye Boring Bio within three weeks of accepting that challenge.
Today my products, services and online training programs guide clients to say bye-bye to their boring bios and get known and paid for their expertise. The company is on track to welcome revenues in the low six figures for 2014 – by working from a home office with the support of a part time virtual assistant.
Mine is not a ‘breakthrough to seven-figures to create world domination kind of story.’ It’s a small business success story about making a great life while contributing to the success of others kind of story. And, it sure feels like redemption and success to me given the hard times that the Great Recession served up for me and so many others in 2008.
What Happened in My Life and Work is Proof that One Good Thing Can Lead to Another
== In 2008, I gifted the DRAFT copies of the quickly created workbook to business owners who attended one of my do-it-yourself publicity workshops in exchange for their promise to review it to make it better within 10 days. The feedback was favorable, so I made upgrades, put a pretty cover on the book, and shared it with just over 1000 electronic newsletter subscribers. Much to my delight and surprise, online sales started almost immediately — even with a small list of subscribers.
== I created a live workshop around making boring bios better for client attraction and shared it via free local tea houses, co-working spaces, and my own dining room and backyard deck to prove the concept. Then, one of my friends and colleagues – Tad Hargrave of Marketing for Hippies — was leading a 3-day live workshop at Bastyr University. I offered to present a 90-minute segment during his event and received an enthusiastic YES response.
== That live event at Bastyr University was attended by a decision maker in the career development office who invited me to lead a live Bye-Bye Boring Bio workshop for alumni and graduates. Director of Career and Alumni Services Susan Farley promoted the event to fill an auditorium of appreciative students who raved about their experience and results.
== That inspired me to create a live and home study VIRTUAL workshop that could serve people around the world. The first event took place in July of 2013 to rave reviews. Since then, well over 500 business owners serious about attracting clients with a sizzling first written impression have graduated to welcome new clients, speaking gigs, and media interviews.
The World’s Leading Trainer to Online Trainers Alex Mandossian, Permission to Charge Mentor Jessica Riverson, Certified Financial Planner Amy Shappell , and Caregiving without Regret Expert Michael Bloom — among hundreds of others — have since attracted clients, speaking invitations, and media interviews as a direct result of the stories created with my tools, resources, and support.
I successfully reinvented my business to serve a worldwide audience of business owners who are serious about solving a very specific problem in a world-class way. I have deployed my publicity expertise to build big buzz for my know-how. A “Google” search for “Business Bio Expert” returns hundreds of favorable results. I am the walking-talking-typing example of my own Get Known to Get Paid methods.
As I anticipate Labor Day 2014, I breathe a happy sigh of relief that I took Kathie Nelson's dare and made the leap to create my online business in service to those serious about getting known and getting paid for their specific marketplace brilliance.
Here are my best tips from the trenches to inspire other business owners in some stage of reinvention to succeed with their own big ideas and compelling stories.
== Don’t build a better mousetrap. Rather, create a solution to a problem that is deeply felt, and get proof of your concept. Millions of business owners struggle describing what they do in a way that captures attention. The solution I created eases this pain. We really do transform ‘bio cringe' into ‘bio pride.' That is very rewarding for my clients and satisfying for me.
== Test your concept live and in a virtual format. Hold live workshops, teleclasses and webinars to gauge interest, participation, and results.
== Build buzz for your event. Use tools that enjoy widespread use – Speaking, Facebook advertising, joint venture partnerships — (I am speaking about this topic today for PJ Van Hulle on her popular List-a-Palooza 90-Day List Building Challenge, and you can join us live by teleclass!) — solo email campaigns, social media, blog posts, ezine articles, meeting announcements, and do-it-yourself publicity.
== Fill your events in creative ways to build social proof and confidence in delivering your offering. For example, gift participation to those who invest in other programs, give away VIP tickets as prizes, and encourage graduates to invite business partners, colleagues, and friends.
== Use the power and influence of education based marketing to create trust in your expertise.
== Be thoughtful and strategic in creating offers and invitations that meet a need and compel clients to say YES.
== Collect participant testimonials in a systematic way. This helps build a tribe of champions who can advocate for the program and lend social proof that it pays off.
== Learn advanced strategies to build buzz once proof of concept is clear. This can include the formation of strategic partnerships and joint ventures – once proof of concept is clear.
I am very glad I took the leap to successful self-employment by creating a solution to a problem that so many business owners feel so deeply. As I often say, “Bye-Bye Boring Bio — Hello Opportunity.”
My fondest hope is that readers of this post are inspired to take the leap and succeed with their own big ideas and compelling stories that open the door to creating success on their own terms.
Start the journey by listening in to the upcoming LIVE webinar — the 3 biggest bio blunders even smart entrepreneurs make that prevent their ideal clients from hiring them. Learn more and claim a gift copy of Heal Your Boring Business Bio to Attract Clients and Cash Now at this link.