By: Stella Orange
This past Tuesday morning, I suited up in my wool leggings, legwarmers, snow boots, poofy coat, mittens, hat, neck warmer and walked a half mile in a snow storm to my favorite coffee shop.
As the snowflakes fell on my shoulders and backpack, I felt warm, toasty, and fired up.
Because I was about to write a website for one of our private clients, Dr. Nadia Brown.
Dr. Brown – or as we sometimes call her, Dr. Spice – is building a global sales and sales training company. She originally started working with us the summer of 2017, when she hired us to answer the question: What is my right work in the world, and how do I build a profitable business around it?
Side bar: prior to Sarah, Rebecca, and me starting a business together in the summer of 2017, Dr. Brown was one of the people who hired each of us separately. So when we told her that she could now hire us for coordinated, concierge-level service, Nadia laughed and told us, “I don’t know what took y’all so long – it’s about time!”
The first set of actions that shook out of our work together was what organizer extraordinaire Marie Kondo calls “tidying up.”
Nadia is good at a lot of things – leadership development, speaking, sales, inspiring others in her community to take the leap and follow their bliss (as mythologist Joseph Campbell called it).
But this abundance of skills and willingness to be all things to all comers was actually holding her back.
It was diluting her market position, overcomplicating her marketing strategy, and sapping her life force, because she had to work four times as hard to push her marketing message through.
So, we advised Nadia to let go of all actions, activities, tactics, busy work, clients, and pet projects that didn’t line up with her right work of building a world class sales and sales training company.
This put Nadia – a masterful, consummate doer – on her growing edge.
Instead of a TO DO list, we gave her a DO NOT DO list.
This made her itchy and restless.
But she understood what was at stake.
So Nadia reached out to clients who had hired and paid her for work other than sales, and wrapped up work with them, or in some cases referred them out.
She stopped spending as much time on social media channels where her core customers weren’t.
She took a hard look at her business relationships and let some people go.
She cancelled a live event that wasn’t going to help her build her sales and sales training company, negotiating for a partial refund.
Make no mistake: sustainable expansion and growth only comes after we get clear on who we are and what we want, and then bust out the machete of truth and hack away the underbrush and overgrowth.
And this is rarely easy work.
But Nadia did it. (And Sarah, Rebecca, and I all have a practice of doing this, too).
Long story short: after doing all this tidying up, Nadia started seeing people respond to her in a new way.
She got her first sales clients through her existing network and referrals. Instead of using broadcast marketing, she tapped in to her community and her relationships. Interestingly, she also made the decision to stop flying across the country to attend events with the intention of meeting new people – instead, she spent her focus and time in conversations with people who already knew her, updating them on her clear new vision for her business, and asking who they knew who could make good use of her expertise.
All because she claimed her right work, and let go of everything else.
Can you feel the power in what Nadia has done?
Can you catch a glimpse of how exquisitely, how strategically this sets her business up for the future?
It’s almost as though the money is an afterthought. But I’ll tell you anyway. She made more money the first two quarters of last year than she made the whole year before. She paid herself more, and took more time off. And in 2018, Nadia closed more than 1.3 million dollars in business for her clients.
Now, as capable and ambitious as Dr. Brown is, she would be the first to tell you: she did not accomplish this alone.
She met with the three of us every month to set priorities and identify and address obstacles.
She met with Sarah and Rebecca to review her revenue and expenses – something past business coaches had never done with her (as she put it “so long as I could pay my coaching bill, they were good.”)
Rebecca and I co-wrote her website and LinkedIn profile summary. We outlined the flow of her talks and webinars. Sarah advised her on her marketing strategy. We helped her set her prices. Discern which opportunities were for her – and which ones weren’t. Serve her clients in a deeper, more robust, and more valuable way.
Nadia and Sarah just vetted, interviewed, and hired three new members of Nadia’s team – two sales people and a new assistant. Sarah sat in on the interviews with Nadia over winter break, and they just wrapped up work on a training manual and continued education plan for Nadia’s sales team.
And when she feels like she needs it, Nadia sets up a call with Rebecca to ground her in the vision of what she’s building and who she’s becoming, so she can get back to it.
When I tell you all of this, I get a bit choked up.
Because yesterday, I wrote the first draft of a website for a woman who I have watched step up and into her right work in the world, again and again and again.
And because I my right work is to write people into the future and who they are becoming, so that they can see it, have words for it, and ultimately become it… I do not take my work lightly.
Nadia hasn’t seen what I’ve written for her yet.
But I already know it’s gonna roll her socks up and down.
I already know it’s gonna take the top of her head right off. (In a good way!)
And I already know she’s gonna reach out for a session with Rebecca because what we’ve written for her is gonna take her breath away and give her the butterflies, with the bigness and yesness and holy-smokes-am-I-really-gonna-do-this-yes-yes-I-am-ness of it all.
But this is what she’s hired me – hired the three of us – to do.
Walk with her as she steps up and into what Melani Marx calls her ‘one true spot’ in the world.
And dance and sing and celebrate and care as each of the four of us – Nadia, Sarah, Rebecca, me – build a business that doesn’t look like any business that’s ever been created before, because it centers Nadia, and her right work in the world.
Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.
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