THIS is the question.

question

As my business has been transitioning lately (read: growing pains, and the weird rabbit-in-the-headlights feeling of so many possibilities, all of which are truly exciting and terrifying at the same time), I’ve been exploring different ways of finding clarity, peace and direction.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been coming back to the same question:

Who do you want to BE in this business?

Somehow, at this point, it seems to be less important that I define the outcomes – and absolutely crucial that I experience and witness my own growth and expression in the day-to-day running of the business.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always been journey-driven rather than destination-driven, but dealing with intense anxiety and depression lately has forced me to confront this truth with absolute certainty:

I will become who I am on a daily basis.

I’ve given up wanting things. I realised some time ago that wanting a defined outcome isn’t healthy for me. (And I stress for me there – I have no judgement whatsoever against wanting things). I have absolute faith that I could have anything imaginable – if I wanted it enough, and was prepared to do what it takes to get it.

That’s not the kind of life I want to live, or the kind of business I want to run.

So having is secondary. But being? That’s a whole other story.

Who I want to be has a depth that what I want to have could never quite hold for me.

As usual, my Archetypal Blend – my inner Alchemist and Sage – is happy to point me in the right direction.

Among other things, I want to be useful.

I want to be catalytic. (Yes, I want to be catalytic for sure).

I want to be generous with my insights – not because it drives more readers to my blog, but because it satisfies the first two parts of my criteria.

As I come to plan out new offerings and new ways to be of service in the world, and things just aren’t quite sticking – I realise I’ve been asking the wrong questions.

Purpose. Contribution. Values. Clarity. Confidence.

You get a whole different view of these things when you ask the right questions.

I know I’ve written about this before, but I was inspired to share it with you again today when I read this awesome post by Hillary Rain over at LushFolk.

Who do you want to be in your business?

THIS is the question to ask. 

Until you are able to answer this question, you might be looking for the answers in all the wrong places.

Or as Rumi so eloquently put it:

“Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.”

 

[bctt tweet=”Who do you want to be in your business?”]

 

It’s none of your business.

business2

I don’t know about you, but I often worry that my work isn’t ‘enough’.

Although I’m a lot closer to ‘enoughness’ since working closely with my Archetypal Blend, I still have moments where I look at what I’ve created or written and think…wow. Is that the best I can do?

Self-doubt has many things to say in my mind.

“That’s not what people want from you”

“What gives you the right to have that opinion?”

“That’s been said before”

“They’ll hate it”

“What if people have less respect for you after you’ve posted that?”

“You have no idea what you’re doing”

And on it goes. (I’m sure you can relate).

A little while back, I stumbled on a comeback that I now know guarantees to shut my inner critic up faster than it can whisper “you’re a loser”.

(I actually think it was something my Chief Joylogist Erin said to me a couple of years ago, when I was feeling sorry for myself due to my immense inadequacies. Thanks Erin).

Here’s the comeback:

It’s none of your business.

I think it’s so easy to get hung up on…well, everything…and forget that our task is very clear: focus on what’s right in front of you, and forget the things you can’t control.

For example…

Mind: “That’s not what people want from you”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

My task is to make a valid contribution to the world. Whether or not that’s what people want from me is none of my business – my business is purely to do the work.

Mind: “They’ll hate it”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

It is none of my business whether people love or hate my work. Being afraid that someone will dislike what I offer is a waste of time, because all that means is that my work wasn’t suited to that particular person.

Mind: “What if people have less respect for you after you’ve posted that?”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

I can’t control whether people respect me, or not. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and their opinion is absolutely none of my business.

If you struggle with self-doubt, perfectionism or procrastination, make “It’s none of your business” your new mantra for the next couple of weeks, and see what happens.

The truth is: you can’t control what you can’t control. So, make it your business to focus on the things you CAN control…because everything else is, well, not. (Your business, I mean).

It works wonders for me…I hope it helps you, too!

[bctt tweet=”It’s none of your business”]

5 ways your Primary Archetype can help you get unstuck in your business.

5ways

In an interview recently, I was asked a really interesting question:

 

How can archetypes help people get unstuck in their business or brand?

 

As I tried to form a response in my mind, I realised that I’ve become so used to using archetypes as a cure for all sorts of inflictions in my business, it’s been a long time since I thought about the answer to this question. 

The truth is: your Primary Archetype (and especially your Archetypal Blend, if you know it) can help you overcome almost any challenge in your business, simply by providing you with a shift in your mindset.

So often, the challenges we face are perceived challenges – not actual challenges. It’s the story we tell ourselves about the situation that creates the challenge – not the situation itself. 

Thinking about your challenges through the mindset of your archetypes is often all it takes to shift your mind into a different gear – a gear that’s more aligned with who you really are in your heart – and write a different story.

 

Here are five examples of ways that your archetypes can help you get unstuck in your business:

 

(Please note: if you know your Archetypal Blend, apply both of your archetypes to these methods for even better results. If you only know your Primary Archetype, use that as the basis to think these examples through. If you don’t know your Primary Archetype, you can take my test here – it’s free).

  

1: When you don’t know what to write about.

 

When you’ve run out of things to say, it can be incredibly difficult to break the silence in your own head. Try brainstorming different words and topics that are connected to your archetype. Use your Archetype Guide PDF to help you (there’s even a section in there full of connected words to get you started). 

For example: if you’re an Alchemist, some of the words you write down could be ‘transform’, ‘powerful’, ‘manifest’ or ‘connect’. What potential blog post topics can you think of that fit with these words, in the context of your business? Even if you don’t use these words in your post, use them as the basis for what to actually write about. Could you help someone transform their life in some way? What could you write about that would help them step into their own personal power in some way, or manifest their dreams?

Hint: When you actually begin to write your piece, try to ’embody’ your archetype as you think through what you’re trying to say. Go to that place in your body where you ‘feel’ your archetype the most, and stay connected to that place as you write. It sounds a bit crazy, but it works wonders for me!

 

2: When you can’t choose the right imagery.

 

There’s nothing more frustrating than searching through hundreds of images to find the ‘right one’ that expresses who you are, and the message you’re trying to convey (unless you’re me…and actually find it intensely therapeutic). 

Rather than search for images using a noun (searching for a specific object or subject), try searching with an adjective, instead.

Brainstorm a list of words that you would use to describe how your archetype makes you feel, and try using those words as search terms. For example: if you’re an Explorer, you might like to search using words such as ‘free’, ‘wild’, ‘expansive’, or ‘vast’. 

Hint: Choose imagery based on how it feels, not whether or not you think it fits with your ‘brand’.

Bonus Hint: My favourite place in the world to find imagery is here.

 

3: When you don’t know what to offer.

 

If trying to decide on what products or services to offer in your business is stressing you out, it’s likely that you’re overcomplicating things. In general, the advice out there is to create offerings based around the desires and fears of your ‘ideal customer’ – but I often find that this is a restrictive angle to approach this from, and can lead to overwhelm and perfectionism. 

Try thinking this through from a different angle. Ask yourself the following question:

What comes SO easily and naturally to me, that I just can’t believe I could actually be PAID to do it?

When thinking through your answer, think about it through the lens of your archetype. If you’re a Sage, for example, think about the things that come so easily for you as a Sage. This could be writing, sharing information, reading, researching, thinking rationally, asking questions…etc. 

Rather than start with what you think others want, start with your inherent strengths, and work up from there.

Hint: I have a whole module on Offerings that you might inspire you here.

 

4: When you don’t know what your purpose is.

 

I believe that you don’t find your purpose – your purpose finds you. 

But, in the meantime, it can be incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to feel into your place in the world, and be met with confusion and uncertainty. 

In times when you feel like you don’t know what your purpose is, go back to basics and keep it really simple. 

What is your archetypal purpose? What are your strengths and gifts when you look at yourself through an archetypal lens? 

Use your Archetype PDF Guide to help you think through this. 

Choose one ‘strength’, and create a simple purpose statement that has only one true intention: to keep you sane.

For example:

I am an Alchemist. My purpose – right now – is to help others transform their lives.

I am a Creator. My purpose – right now – is to inspire others to create opportunities for themselves.

I am an Explorer. My purpose – right now – is to encourage others to expand their horizons.

I am an Innocent. My purpose – right now – is to help others appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

I am a Jester. My purpose – right now – is to simply to find joy in my work.

I am a Nurturer. My purpose – right now – is to take better care of myself, so I can be of better service to others.

I am a Realist / Regular Gal. My purpose – right now – is to provide opportunities for like-minded people to connect.

I am a Revolutionary. My purpose – right now – is to ask the big questions that aren’t currently being asked.

I am a Romantic. My purpose – right now – is to help others experience more passion in their lives.

I am a Ruler. My purpose – right now – is to be a leader, and set an example.

I am a Sage. My purpose – right now – is to share information as I discover it.

I am a Warrior. My purpose – right now – is to create awareness.

Hint: Don’t worry if this purpose statement feels too simplistic, or too vague. Its purpose (yep, even purpose statements have purposes) is to get you unstuck, and open the channels for forward motion again. 

 

5: When you don’t know what your ‘brand identity’ should be.

 

Whether you’re DIY’ing your own brand identity, or hiring a designer (like me), trying to decide what your ‘brand identity’ should look like can be an incredibly stressful task for even the more seasoned solopreneur.

The truth is, you can’t expect to express who you are creatively if you don’t know who you are to begin with.

Archetypes can help you with both of those things. They can help you get clear on who you are, and how to express the ‘essence’ of you in a visual way.

I recommend that you start by creating your Archetypal Blend Board – a visual representation of your brand, that effortlessly communicates who you are (even if you can’t answer that question yet in words). 

Once you have your Blend Board, you can use it as the basis for developing your brand identity – whether you’re designing it yourself, or outsourcing to a creative professional.

For example:

micala

Your Blend Board can provide inspiration for colours, textures, graphics and imagery choices. The amazing thing about approaching your brand identity in this way is that it feels expansive…yet your Archetypal Blend ensures there’s a thread running through it the whole time, no matter how much experience (or confidence) you have in this area of your business.

 

These are just five examples of how archetypes can help you get unstuck in your brand or business – but the truth is, there are infinite ways that you can use archetypal information to help you move past any boundary or sticking point you may be facing. 

 

There are no right or wrong ways to use your archetypes. All I have ever done is simply look at my challenges through an archetypal lens, and considered the potential solutions from my Alchemist/Sage mindset.

 

I really hope that this post has given you some inspiration for how you can use your archetypes in your business. 

 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. How have archetypes helped you become unstuck? What is the most random, crazy way that your archetypes have showed up and given you a hand? What methods have you tried for connecting with your archetypes, so that you can tap into your intuition and find the answers you needed?

 

[bctt tweet=”Five ways archetypes can get you unstuck in your business. #strategywithsoul”]

 

Pay-what-you-can pricing. My experience.

 

I made my Initiation Kit pay-what-you-can – permanently. 

Not a flash sale. Not a limited-time special offer.

Pay-what-you-can is now – for the foreseeable future – its official price tag. 

I’d been thinking about making this move for quite some time – maybe a year or more. But every time I tried to follow my heart, fear (masquerading as ‘common sense’) got in the way.

I switched the pricing around two weeks ago, and have seen a dramatic rise in income during that time. 

 

So many people have written to me to ask if I would share my experience. So, here it is. 

 

What you need to know:

  1. The Initiation Kit is my flagship product. I created it almost three years ago, and it’s the foundation of all the work that I do – including mentorship and brand identity design.
  2. The Kit has been on sale for $99 (with a few pay-what-you-can offers along the way) for the last three years, and has generated over $50,000 during that time.
  3. The Kit is tried and tested. Over 1000 solopreneurs have completed the Kit, and we have hundreds and hundreds of testimonials that validate its effectiveness.
  4. I rely on the ‘passive income’ (God, I hate that phrase) from the Kit to keep the engine of my business running smoothly. When sales for the Kit slow down, I usually crack open the valium. (Kidding…but only just 😉 ) 

 

So WHY ON EARTH would I make this product – the foundation that my business stands on – available to buy from as little as $1?

 

I was thinking about how I would answer this question – without seeming like I’m a strategy-less dreamer with no business sense.

 

But the truth is? I made this decision because my heart told me to. 

 

Does it make commercial sense? On the surface – of course not. Could people take advantage of the situation? Of course.

 

This resource has taken an immense amount of time to create. Erin – my Chief Joyologist – and I have been working on making this the BEST it can be for three years. Blood, sweat and tears? You bet. 

 

So, I kind of understood when everyone told me I was crazy to make the pricing pay-what-you-can (as little as $1, with a recommended price of $99). That it was a risk I couldn’t afford to make.

 

So how did I bring my brain round to my heart’s level of thinking? 

 

I remembered why I started this in the first place. Sure – I need the money. But over the years, I’ve started to see that money is just money. It comes and goes – it’s nothing more than a form of energy that ultimately I cannot control.

 

I remembered that I started all of this because I believe that there’s a better way – a more fulfilling way – to communicate who you are in business. It means something to me to share what I know – and it frustrates me to know that my work is available, and those who probably need it most can’t afford it.

 

Logic told me to be worried that my value-packed baby would be taken advantage of – that I’d never earn more than $1 for all the hard work, commitment and creative effort.

 

But that’s not how things have gone down so far. 

 

The average amount people have paid for the Kit is $38.

 

Some sales come through at $20 or less – but the majority are of $50 or above. I’ve even had sales of OVER the recommend retail price of $99.

 

The few sales of $1 I’ve had have mostly been accompanied by a beautiful note of gratitude, and a heartfelt story of a broken spirit who suddenly has found a pocket of hope.

 

The bottom line is: I’ve earned MORE income since choosing to follow my heart, and I’ve learned so much about my personal beliefs around worth…and compensation.

 

Making this move was the one thing my heart has been nudging me to do, but I’ve been too scared to act on it. But once again the Universe has illustrated that the things we’re most scared to face…are the things that hold the key to exactly what we need. 

 

[bctt tweet=”Following your heart is the only business strategy you need”]

 

The truth about how my community has grown.

stock images for social media

I remember when I decided to completely change direction at the end of 2013, I was TERRIFIED that I wouldn’t be able to find an ‘audience’. 

I’d struggled to get to 100 subscribers in the course of a year in my previous business, and I just couldn’t see how it would be any different with the new business.

Oh…how wrong I was! 

I’ve been reflecting lately on how I’ve managed to grow my community to over 16,000 in just over two years, and the truth might surprise you:

I’ve spent less than $150 on advertising in that time.

I’ve never done a list-building drive, webinar or challenge.

I don’t even post on social media about my opt-in.

So…how do I do it?

 

I focus on providing immense value – with absolutely zero expectation.

 

Many people focus on the first part of the equation, but I believe wholeheartedly that it’s the second part of the equation that holds the magic.

When I created my Primary Archetype Test, I poured in everything I had into making it…purely because I wanted to create something truly valuable. At the same time, though, I’ve never considered it as a ‘bribe’. 

It’s a hugely valuable tool…and if people want to learn more about this work, or take the next step, they’ll naturally want to stay on my mailing list.

But just because that’s the case, it doesn’t mean that I expect them to. 

It’s been said to me before that I ‘got lucky’ with my opt-in.

That I ‘happened’ upon a ‘viral opt-in’, and that that just doesn’t happen to most people.

I find that kind of hard to swallow, because the truth is – I don’t think it’s anything to do with luck, or a fluke.

I put HOURS and DAYS and WEEKS and MONTHS into creating it.

I’m still developing it now (the new test and PDFs will be released with my new website). 

I demanded that of myself. 

I decided I wasn’t going to go down the easy route with my opt-in. I decided I was going to give it more than my all…and the results paid off (and continue to pay off). 

If you’re struggling with how to grow your audience, take a deep breath and think about what would be so completely and utterly valuable to those you can serve right now.

Then create it.

It will take time. It will stretch you in ways you didn’t imagine.

But it CAN be done simply, organically, and without compromising who you are.

[bctt tweet=”Intention + effort + heart = THE most effective marketing strategy. Ever.”]

 

Don’t look at me. (I have a lazy right eye).

eye

I have a lazy right eye.

I’ve always had my suspicions, but trying to take the obligatory, half-decent post-haircut selfie a couple of days ago confirmed it.

Thirty three attempts later, I managed to get a shot where Right Eye looked relatively normal.

A lazy eye.

Add it to the flabby stomach and double chin – and what have you got?

(Hint: The antithesis to Marie Forleo).

So…you can imagine my sheer horror when my right-hand woman, Erin, gave it to me straight yesterday:

 

“Yep, this new concept for the website looks GREAT. But…I can’t see YOU. How can you expect people to trust you, if you won’t let them see you?”.

 

I felt my back muscles tense.

Defense mode: engaged.

My mind had a canned response at the ready.

 

I don’t do photos of me because I’m an Alchemist. It adds to the mystery. Curiosity is part of my brand. And anyway – that’s the whole point of our work: honour who you truly are. I’m truly not a lifestyle-shot kinda person.

 

But my mouth had other ideas.

“Yup. I know”.

The admission stung.

The truth is – I used to blame the fact that I had nothing worthy to contribute to others – amongst other things – on my not-so-baby weight (she’s four now, so I’m not entirely sure I can legitimately use that excuse).

But now? Now, I have so much belief in my work that I’m anxious that my less-than-polished appearance will do it an injustice.

So, Erin suggesting that I need to face my demons and actually start allowing people to SEE me, understandably made my eye twitch. (Let’s imagine my left eye, just for visual effect).

But Erin hadn’t finished.

“It’s also about not wanting to. It’s a mini temper tantrum”.

Ouch.

“It’s not that I don’t want to be seen. Just so long as people don’t look at me”.

(I was hoping here that my dry sense of British humour would be enough to shift the discomfort. It was an epic fail).

“I can’t sit and talk you out of any of that. It’s your journey and really, there’s nothing to do but take the journey. You’re going to have to start living what you teach”.

 

This really got me.

 

Living what I teach.

If there is anything I consider to be virtuous about myself, it’s my integrity.

I pride myself on my willingness to be vulnerable. On being an open book.

When someone suggests that I’m not walking my talk, it hits hard. That’s exactly what I teach, and believe without question: branding can be the most beautiful journey to self-acceptance…but if you want to be seen, you have to get naked.

 

But what happens when you’re covered in scales…and you’re just not ready for the world to see them?

 

What happens when…no number of YouTube videos can actually make your curling wand do what it’s supposed to do?

 

What happens when…you just don’t translate well on camera?

 

What happens when…you know your work has immense potential, but you’re not sure that you can do it justice?

 

What happens when you have a lazy right eye?

 

Well-meaning cheerleaders may tell you to get over yourself.

That it doesn’t matter what you look like. That beauty isn’t skin-deep. That you’re never too old. That you’re perfect, just as you are. That all you need to do is tap into your brilliance, and hit the meditation cushion.

(Namaste).

On the surface, this all sounds…delightful.

But it’s not much comfort when you come across yet another website of a solopreneur who seriously has it going ON…and you can’t help but wonder whether you even stand a chance.

 

I don’t have the answer.

(I’m still comforting myself with rice cakes over my gravity-defying right eye).

I could tell you that you are so needed, just as you are.

That what you have to offer deserves more than comparison and self-doubt.

And whilst all of that is true…I know that if I said that, it would have to be my truth, too.

 

My gift may be the ability to see true archetypal beauty in my clients, and translate it into a brand identity that reflects every facet of their irresistible personality…but I’m being honest when I say it’s a whole lot easier to work magic on others than it is on yourself.

So…it isn’t my truth. Not just yet.

But I’m working on it.

Can you relate? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment here on the blog.