Women business owner encouragement and advising with Ideations in Sweden

YOU’RE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK

I look at the women I work with, the clients who hire me, and the friends and family in my life who just kick ass.

Only, sometimes – a lot of the time – they don’t see how far they’ve come or how close they are to realizing their dreams.

And, maybe that’s the way it is; the feeling that it’s just too hard, it’s taking too long, it isn’t turning out as first conceived.

So, if there seems so little reward to show for all of the effort, it’s easy for me to empathize with these precious and beautiful souls when they knock themselves down with self-recriminations and negative self-talk, because, baby, have I been there.

I think it’s only normal, though, this inability to chart our own progress. We’re so in the thick of this thing called “life” that it’s hard to look at how far we’ve come.

There’s a lot about this that we could unpack, but for today, and for this weekend, when many of us look to a higher place to find our solace, let’s offer the same to those women we know who may not share our faith but do share our humanity.

Encourage someone today and let them know you see their progress and you’re so stinking proud of how hard they’re trying to become the version of themselves they see in their dreams.

Speak life into their lives.

Believe for them, with them, through them and know your doing so, your act of faith in serving another is exactly why you’re here and is a part of your journey as well.

Happy collaboration with Ideations and Leanne Stewart in Sweden

DID YOU KNOW?

In addition to being super strategic and business-growth focused, I am also pretty funny?

I mention this because it’s one of the most surprising and DELIGHTFUL parts of the work I do with my brilliant clients and business providers.

For all the time we spend on getting things “just right”, we also find ourselves breaking into hilarious laughter over some of the funniest things that have nothing to do with the actual business of work.

But, without that, without the humor and the joy of letting our “funny” out, I doubt our results would be as strong. Humor binds us together as strongly as our shared struggles.

I don’t ever want to get to the place where I have to choose otherwise.

start up Sweden work collaboration with Venture Cup and Ideations

FEEDBACK FLOW

Today I participated in a feedback breakfast aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs turn their ideas into solid businesses.

It. Was. A. BLAST!

And it reminded me of that saying about how knowing you’re in FLOW is when all you’re doing is so natural to how you’re wired that you could do it for ever without even breaking a sweat.

My friends, I was flowing today as I sat next to some brilliant people who were just as motivated to help others as I am.

We all hunkered down and read through pitch decks and use cases and business proposals from some of the top creative and innovative minds in Sweden and gave our suggestions for how they could reach their goals.

This, I could do forever.

What about you?

What gets you FLOWING?

Business woman in Sweden working weekends at Ideations

SATURDAY MORNINGS

I work on Saturdays.

Contrary to the sacredness of weekends in Sweden, it’s something I offer because I have clients who need it.

They’ve worked all week on their business and they’ve set aside the weekend to grow and learn and develop.

It’s also a time when everything is still and quiet. I am un-rushed, un-hurried, and un-stressed.

Having such peace allows me to offer such flexibility to the wonderful women I work with.

What about you? How do Saturdays look for you? Are you working or not?

Collaborating with women business owners in Sweden

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Strength. It’s a quality often cited as important when building a business.

It’s also an indicator that if you possess it, your chances of survival increase exponentially (business-wise and personally).

But, what we rarely talk about in this “Boss Babe” world is how very, very crucial it is to have help.

For me, some of the hardest times I’ve gone through as a business owner were when I believed the lie that because I was strong that meant I could, and should, power through all of the challenges, fears, frustrations, and failures alone.

For those of you who come from the same background/mindset that to be strong means to do it all, let me lead you down a different path.

  • Find help.
  • Find partners.

Find ways to work with other people to help them achieve their business goals and watch them help you achieve yours.

If you only knew … the women I’ve found – and who have found me … they’re gifts that continue to strengthen me every single day.

Have you found your group yet? Do you have people in your life that you know have helped to make you stronger?

Woman whiteboard business strategy plan

WRITE IT DOWN

You just came back from the best training conference ever. You’re mind is so full of thoughts and things to start implementing to build your business that you don’t know whether to take a break and let your body and brain recover or you to push through so you don’t lose momentum.

HERE’S WHAT TO DO.

Get a piece of paper – the bigger the better – and write down EVERYTHING that you can think of.  Think of this as a massive brain dump where you list or scribble or write down •every •single •thing that is in your head.

  • Write what you learned.
  • Write what you liked.
  • Write what you are wanting to implement for your business.
  • Write what you think you need and want to do now.

If something comes up that seems unrelated (stressors, grocery lists, people you miss, etc.) add that to the sheet of paper, too.

The goal of this exercise is to get your mind clear. Once you’ve got everything you can think of that’s been swimming around in your head down on paper (or a whiteboard if your as lucky as this woman in the photo) then I want you to allow yourself time to SWITCH OFF.

  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Take a walk.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Phone a friend and arrange a meet up.
  • Take a nap.

Your brain will thank you and your body will welcome the rest. A day or two later, go back to what you wrote down and see it with fresh eyes.

What still works? What can be crossed off? Where does it make the most sense to start?

From this frame of mind comes clarity and focus.

This is where true strategy and execution are found.

But first, WRITE IT DOWN.

Strategic Business Advisor in Sweden

STUDY THE EFFECTS

When receiving advice for growing your business – be it through social, content, or any other type of digital marketing – make sure you study the effects after implementing them.

Seriously, I say this because what may be great advice, in general, could be a terrible move for your business.

It’s smart to see if there are new ways to work but it’s even smarter to make sure those new ways work for you.

Two women in business in Sweden finding new customers and clients with Ideations

How to FIND New Customers & Clients

What’s the number one way to FIND new customers and clients?

Look at your competition.

Now, before you recoil in horror and think I’ve turned into a sneaky, non-collaborative, cut-throat marketer, hear me out.

I am telling you to look at your competition because chances are there is an overlap between what you offer and what they do. They may be in the same industry but offering different services. They may have a similar product but a different audience.

There may be things they’re doing that make people follow and buy from them like crazy.

If so, study it!

See what they’re doing that works so well and then try the same things with YOUR customers.

They also may be missing opportunities that you spot.

If so, reach out. Create a connection. Engage with them and offer to SHARE YOUR IDEAS.

When you do this, what can happen is that your own business grows along with your professional reputation.

People WANT to work with people who understand that collaborating and combining strengths is way better than competing or working with a scarcity mindset.

And when you collaborate with others, you have the opportunity to provide better service to your customers and clients because you’ve built a network of trusted partners you can count on to help you offer all the good things your customers and clients need.

Let me know how you FIND new customers. Would trying it my way work for you?

NOTE: Three weeks ago, I started a series for my newsletter subscribers on how to FIND – ENGAGE – CONNECT. This week’s post is the third and final tip on how to FIND new customers and clients.

Interested in the previous two tips? They can be found here and here).

Picture Perfect

I’ve just read an article from Andrew McDermott with Grade.us who says that now more than ever, people are judging you on the quality of your content and the photos attached to them.

In fact, McDermott says there are five things customers evaluate – automatically – when they come across one of your photos. Are you curious to know what they are and how you stack up?

1. Ingroup/outgroup.
Simply put, customers ask themselves the question, “Are you like me?” If the answer is
yes, the conversation continues.

2. Social class.
Sadly, classism is viewed by many as the last acceptable prejudice
in the world today. Customers use this to vet/validate the social standing of
those they associate with.

3. Ethos and values.
Every group has its own culture, its own set of values and norms.
Customers expect your Ethos and values to align with theirs and the ethos and
values of the group to earn their business.

4. Trustworthiness. “Will you hurt me?” Customers want to know they’re safe with you. They’re looking to decrease risk, pain, and suffering.

5. Social status.
Businesses with high social status and high social capital command a considerable amount of respect and prestige. As people, we’re drawn to those around us who are exceptional in some way.

So, when it comes to you, your business, and the photos you’re using to represent yourself is what you’re doing hitting or missing the mark? I wish I could say that all you need to
worry about is quality but as Andrew points out, there is a ton of backstory to
be applied to the selection of photos you post.

Watch Those Hands!

So here’s a tricky one. See the fingers this woman is holding up? As an American, this is the nonverbal way to say, “peace”.

In England, it’s the “V for Victory” if the palm is facing outward but something considered very rude if the hand is turned the other way.

Which, if you’re creating content for a global audience (something you should be doing) means when you use stock photos you need to be especially careful to not send the wrong signal.

In fact, quickly Googling “hand signs around the world”, I found that there are so many ways you can get yourself into trouble that you need to seriously be careful when you select your stock photos!

Don’t believe me?

Read this article and then tell me what this photo means to people from Latin America.

Catching Their Eye

Where do you stand when it comes to standing out?

I’ve got to admit, personally, I’m the least likely woman I know to need or want the spotlight and yet … what I realize when I look at this photo is the same thing I realize when I look around my home.

Beauty, personalized and meaningful, stands out and grabs my attention every single time. If you come to my place, you’ll find things you might not see elsewhere that I’ve surrounded myself with. Things that have meaning and memory – even if not “designer”. That, to me, is the ultimate expression of beauty.

Translating that back to this picture, you may see a woman holding a plant. If that’s all you see and it does nothing for you, no harm, no foul.

But, if, like me, the first thing you saw was an “offering” or the giving of a gift, then maybe you also looked even closer and saw this wasn’t your ordinary plant and these weren’t your ordinary hands.

If so, then the standout part for you might be, like me, that you approach the viewing of things (and people) differently.

Which is where I’d encourage you to focus when you think about your business, your customers and how your content, social and digital marketing efforts are having the impact you want and shining a spotlight on what you’re offering to others.

If You Build It, They Will Come

There’s a line in the movie, A Field of Dreams, that I’m sure you’ve heard. “If you build it, he will come” is what Kevin Costner keeps hearing in his head as he contemplates turning his corn fields into a baseball field for people his daughter assures him will travel from all over to come see.

 

To me, the movie is about stepping out in faith, even when you have no idea of what it will look like. Over a year into my Swedish life, where I had taken step after step of faith,  I realized one of the biggest things I needed was to connect with other women in business.

But, no matter where I looked, there just wasn’t a group for women in business that fit my needs.

What were those needs?

  • English speaking
  • International Experience
  • Intercultural Acceptance/Competence
  • Forward Moving-Action Oriented
  • Warm, Supportive, Inspiring and FUN!

That’s not to say Sweden doesn’t have several networking groups and clubs, because they do. Some of them look very active and seem to work very well for those who have found a way to master the language faster than me.

But, I needed something more and no matter how many after-work gatherings I went to our how many ladies groups I joined (which I adore for making new friends), when it came down to having a tribe of women I could connect with professionally, I wasn’t having any luck.

Maybe some of it had to do with the ridiculous sense of cultural insecurity I  had developed since living overseas (no matter how hard I tried, I just wasn’t able to be Swedish), or maybe it was my need to make sure I didn’t come across as stereotypical American, but I realized that to keep waiting and looking for someone else to create what I needed was a bit stupid. Almost as stupid as trying to hold myself back from expressing the truth of who I am in order to not ruffle any feathers in this country I so love.

Floating the idea at an international cocktail event, every woman I spoke with responded with such enthusiasm that I realized maybe I wasn’t the only one who needed this.

I decided to put my big girl panties on and start my own group.

Within one week, I had fifteen members from fourteen countries signed up. That same week, I created a last minute event that six of the fifteen members were able to attend.

Women Cocktails

And this is what I learned:

If you build it, they will come. Maybe not everyone and maybe not exactly in the way you expected, but if you’ve identified a pain point in your own life, chances are it’s a shared need for others.

 

And if you get over your fears and insecurities long enough to share yourself with others authentically, you’ll find your tribe.

Hint: This transfers across sectors and industries, by the way. If you’re in business and looking for something that you can’t seem to find, chances are, you’re probably the one that needs to create it.

Whether that means you need new clients and increased sales or whether that means you want to find a way to take what you’re already doing and improve upon it, if you build it, they will come.

Contact me to learn more. I’m happy to help show you some ideas for creating exactly what your business needs.