Lisa Robbin Young

Whether you are established and looking to grow your business, or you are just starting to think about the future of your company, your market matters.

Regardless of your industry, your market needs to be big enough to support the health and wellbeing of your company. The larger your company, the larger your market needs to be (because you'll need more money to pay those bills!). Sometimes that means you'll need to broaden your audience and serve a different "slice of a slice" in order to get that market coverage. Apple started as a computer company and has diversified over the years into music and media to serve a larger market. You may not be the next Apple, but it might be time to broaden your market reach. If so, read on!

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If you are keen to find a broader market for your business, here are a few ways to reach more people:

Widen Your Niche

I know. Business coaches like me tell you to "niche down" and focus on one thing (or one collection of things). That's to help you gain momentum and traction in a market. When you're clear on who you serve, it's easier to create marketing that resonates. But once you're established, or if you truly do have a wider market potential, it makes sense to open things up a bit and serve more people.

Here's a pretty basic example: I taught direct sellers for years. That was my niche. But folks that weren't direct sellers kept showing up to my training and, eventually, I had a throng of non-direct sales business owners that made up an entirely new market for me. Over time, I shifted almost completely away from direct sales-specific training, and had a wider focus on entrepreneurship for creative entrepreneurs. And even now, I'm shifting my focus again to micro business owners who know they want to be the celebrity in their niche. It's a wider audience than just creative entrepreneurs, even though it's a much more focused area of support.

Start to explore the sub-realms within or alongside your niche. Leverage the audience you already have, if possible. If you're a photographer, for example, maybe instead of doing just weddings, you'll also do boudoir. You're widening your offerings to attract a slightly different audience, but an audience that probably overlaps at least a little with the folks you already serve.

Bring In More (Web) Traffic

Whether you've got a brick and mortar location or you're solely online, having more of the right people coming through your "doors" means the potential for increased sales and repeat buyers.

Physical locations make a difference (location, location, location!), but so do the ways you invite people to those locations. What kind of attraction marketing are you doing? Are you partnering with nearby shops to capitalize on traffic already in the area? There are a variety of ways to bring more bodies into your establishment. What are you currently doing and what needs to change? Hiring a marketing agency or a business coach can help (ahem. hint hint, nudge, nudge!).

In the online world, you may want to use a professional SEO agency to help you to bring in more web traffic. You can also do your own bit towards increasing traffic - including creating compelling content that is going to draw people in.

With more web traffic comes a broader audience and greater opportunities for sales, so this is something that you will certainly find useful to focus on.

Partner Up

Sometimes, a very effective way for a business to broaden its market share is to actually partner up with another company. It goes without saying that this other company won’t be a direct competitor, but one that is working in a similar kind of area of work, and in such a way that you should be able to work together towards similar goals. Think: a tax accountant who has a referral relationship with a financial advisor. With the best partnerships, you end up in a situation where you are going to both benefit much more compared to being alone.

Be choosy about your partners and who they are, but it’s the kind of thing that can help grow a business more quickly because you're leveraging the power of the networks of TWO businesses, instead of one!

Sell A New Product

Like the Apple example above, sometimes it’s as simple as just trying to sell a new product and seeing how that fares. Don't spread yourself too thin - that's the issue that often happens when someone tries to sell a bunch of different offers right out of the gate in a new business! Instead, think of another offer you might sell that's a logical "next step" for your existing audience and start putting it out there. You might find that this is enough to start things growing again.

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Looking for better ways to manage your business and keep things under control?

Easier said than done! You need to identify the best ways to make your business more manageable - and it's different for every business. But here are five tips to prime the pump.

High-Quality Branding 

Sometimes you have to design things yourself. That makes sense if you're a small business and you're floating a first-time idea into the world. No need to plunk down a ton of cash on a design you're going to change later anyway. In fact, my designer, Tracy, has a quick and easy e-course to help you get your logo looking awesome for less if you're still in DIY mode. But for your core brand pieces, designing yourself, is often time-consuming and ineffectual. You want brand materials that will benefit your business. Even having a designer build business templates for you can help improve how you run your business. You'll have a brand-standard way of getting your message out without spending too long developing them yourself.

Hire People You Trust 

As your business grows, you'll hire more people to handle the workload. But you won't do well hiring any old warm body off the street. You may need to design a hiring process that ensures you hire the best candidates every time. They should understand what you want for your business and be ready to offer as much as possible to help it achieve and exceed its goals. 

Use Agencies For Big Demands 

There are some issues you may not be able to handle in-house, especially as your customer base grows and you experience more demand. Rather than risk falling behind your competition, leave it to agencies to automate and operate your marketing needs. You can work with an email marketing platform to maximize reach and exposure to maintain customers and obtain new ones. Additionally, working with outsourcing companies for written content and other essentials will enable you to focus on parts of your business that require more attention.

Encourage A Positive Culture 

Toxic company cultures can severely impact how productive your team is. Although you hope everyone will be professional enough to put differences aside for projects, this is not always the case. Therefore, encouraging a positive company culture and fixing any issues between your employees is vital. You need to be on the ball with what’s happening within your office and create an environment where people will happily voice their concerns without fear of reproach. The more communicative your office is, the easier it will be to keep everyone on the same page.  

Control Your Budget 

Finally, all entrepreneurs must learn to control their budget by setting goals and tracking expenses to ensure they can improve overall management. While you can’t be too stringent with costs, you shouldn’t overspend, as this can put your company in a precarious position. As long as you make the best investments in equipment, people, and marketing, your company will thrive as expected. 

Mischief Managed!

You can always find better ways to manage your business and ensure things run smoothly. Focusing on these critical areas will make everything else much easier, which puts your business in a better position to achieve its goals and achieve success.

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Whether you're a new business or you've been around a while, achieving some level of established growth is an important ultimate goal for most companies. To get there, however, you need adequate research, proven strategies, and targeted actions to produce results. You must connect deeply with your audience and seek to understand and fulfill their needs - in ways that only you can. Ways that make you the obvious choice for what you offer. Since competition is rampant in every industry, it is important to stand out fiercely and ensure you capture the attention of your market. Here are some effective techniques to achieve success. 

  1. Affiliate marketing 

Affiliate marketing has been popular for some time, as it is an effective marketing strategy for growing your business. It has introduced a new way of promoting your products and services digitally. To put it simply, it involves collaboration between you and other businesses to advertise your merchandise in exchange for a commission whenever there is a sale or lead. One of its main advantages is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money as opposed to traditional marketing techniques like advertisement campaigns. This is because it is a performance-based model which allows you to only pay when there is an actual lead or sale.

  1. Blogging 

Although blogs provide valuable information, they also help businesses stand out as an authority in their industries. If you have a website, adding a blog to your website can help you drive traffic, build your brand and showcase your expertise. Consider sites like sofiaseo.com to hire SEO experts who will employ the right keywords to attract your target market.

But... SEO tools are only part of the picture. Curate quality and useful content that can educate, inform, and attract your consumers. Because if it ain't quality, people ain't payin' attention!

  1. Branding

Branding lets the world see your business personality. Brand is more than a logo or marketing slogan, it's the stories, perceptions, and ways your company influences emotions. How your audience views your business is important! Personality matters! Can a customer decipher who you are and what you represent through your brand materials? Do you hav a consistent "look and feel" in all your marketing across all your platforms? If not, you may need to hire help. I lean on Tracy Lay at Digivisual Design for all my branding help. Don't be afraid to change your brand strategy when needed. I've gone through multiple iterations over the years because I have changed. The same may go for you, too.

  1. Video marketing 

It is vital to get into the space of marketing through high-quality content that grasps the attention of your market and provides valuable information. Video marketing has become an innovative way to tell consumers about products and services through storytelling. For instance, if you sell makeup products, you can tell a tale of how applying your products have helped women feel beautiful and gain confidence in their looks. This will appeal to people who want to get a confidence boost and encourage them to buy from you. Ensure you invest in a good camera and brainstorm on creative advertising campaigns so you can stand out. 

  1. Referrals

Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful techniques that can increase your profit and elevate your company. First, you will need to provide top-notch goods and services as well as great customer service to your pre-existing consumers. Doing this will motivate them to tell others about your business and build your clientele. You can also offer incentives like discounts, freebies, or start referral programs that urge repeat consumers to refer your business for rewards. Apart from being effective, referrals can help you save money and expose your company to new opportunities and markets. 

Growing a business requires a collection of strategies and practices. With these types of marketing techniques, you can propel your company to great success. 

Image Credit: Nastuh Abootalebi from Unsplash.

Business security is an area every company needs to look after. While every entrepreneur already knows this, many don’t put enough time and effort into it. They’ll often just do the basics, which mightn’t be enough.

You’ll want to make sure your business is properly protected, after all. Once you do, you can potentially see benefits like:

  • Lower insurance premiums
  • Happier employees
  • Decreased risk of hacks and thefts
  • Better legal compliance

And... it doesn’t need to be nearly as overwhelming as you think. Instead, it’s a matter of being practical about it.

Easy Ways To Improve Your Business Security

1. Perform A Risk Assessment

Every company has its risks, with some of these being relatively obvious. Others wouldn’t be, however. Instead, they can be easy to overlook, despite how much they can threaten your business. You’ll need to know about these from as early as possible to keep your business safe.

Perform a risk assessment to figure all of this out. Not only does this tell you what risks you’re likely to come up across, but how likely you are to run into them. With this in hand, you’re in a much better position to figure out how to mitigate and overcome them.

2. Put Up External Lights

Thieves and other malicious actors always scan for places that look unprotected. If a building looks dark, especially at night time, then they see it as more of an opportunity. Don’t let that happen with your business. Put up external lights, and these can act as a deterrent for potential thieves.

Even ones equipped with motion-detection can be a great help. You’ll be less likely to have any robberies or other circumstances during the night. It’ll even keep your employees safer if they have to leave the premises during the later hours. You’ve no reason not to put the effort into it.

3. Don’t Overlook Data Loss

You’ll bring in quite a bit of data as your company operates. A lot of this could be vital to operations, so it’s worth protecting it at all costs. Making sure your systems can’t get hacked is a great start with this, but it’s often worth doing more than that.

Systems could come down at various points, risking your data. There are tools, like Office 365 DLP by Spin AI and other sites, that can help make that one less thing to worry about. While you’ll still have to put time and effort into securing things on the front end, you’ll be in a much better position going forward.

4. Set Up CCTV & Alarms In-Office

You’ll already know you’ll need some basic protection when you’re trying to improve your business security. One of the first things you should do in your physical space is set up appropriate alarms and camera surveillance. Even in a home office, they can act as a deterrent for any thieves that try to break in. Then, if anything does happen, you’ll have footage of it, and the authorities should be immediately notified.

5. Secure Your Parking Lot

If your business premises has a car park, then make sure you don’t overlook its security. The external lights mentioned above can be a great help with this. They’re far from the only things you’ll need to consider when you’re looking after it, though. You could implement a few other measures.

Ideally, you’ll want to keep unwanted intruders out. Parking barriers, gates, and similar options can all help with this. With employee badges, you can make sure only the people supposed to park in the car park can. It’ll improve your business security quite a bit, making it worth the investment.

Improve Your Business Security: Wrapping Up

You’ll always need to keep your company as safe as possible. For many people that seems complicated, and they’ll often just do the basics and leave it at that. Don’t settle for that. Improve your business security as much as you can, and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

The benefits of putting the work in outweighs the time and effort it’ll take. You could even end up saving money because of it. You’ve no reason not to put some time and effort into making your company as safe as possible.

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Accidental entrepreneurship is more common than you might believe. So often, the creative entrepreneurs I talk with started their business out of a desire to move away from something else, and only after they'd seen some success "selling their stuff"... whether it was profitable or not.

Whether you want to create a clothing brand, become the next music sensation, or open a therapy school, in order to have a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, you need to know how to build the business - in ways that work for how you're uniquely wired to work, as well as ways that work for your best customers. Most of the time those things are pretty similar, but not always identical.

Using this guide, you can understand the best ways to make your own business a hit.

Get help during start up

So many creative entrepreneurs start businesses with little business knowledge, then they wonder why they are experiencing all kinds of issues. Trying to go it alone is a one-way ticket to stress, frustration, and a lot of trial and error.

One of the places I see most creatives trip up is worrying about the type of business to form. LLC? S-Corp? C-Corp? Sole proprietor? Non Profit?

While on some levels, this isn't nearly as important as, say, figuring out who your best buying audience is, it's still not something you want to try to do on your own. Even setting up a sole proprietorship, while easy, comes with risks that you should understand before committing to that type of business.

And if you want to start a non-profit here in the U.S., knowing how to start a 501(c)(3) is key if you want to avoid obstacles. Without the right support, you'll likely have a bundle of problems come tax time.

Don't be afraid to get piecemeal help if your budget doesn't allow you to keep professionals on retainer. Have an attorney review a contract, or hire an accountant or tax pro for an hour to explain the differences in start-up types. Arm yourself with enough clarity to help you make more confident business decisions.

Wild ideas are often the best ideas

To grow your business, new may be better, but WILD can be the best way to go. Out of the box approaches and innovators in the market face some uphill struggles in the beginning - Walt Disney built his playground in a swamp, for pity's sake! But once the idea takes hold, you'll be miles ahead of what any competitor could do to play catch up.

Being an entrepreneur requires a willingness to take risks anyway, so why not go after what you REALLY want to be doing? Your quirky thought could turn into something big and wonderful. You might manage to build an incredible business from a "silly", yet effective, idea! Be that brave person and start doing what feels right. Honor what you feel called to do with this one precious life of yours!

Create an Environment of Empowerment

Some folks can create massive empires from a humble kitchen table start. But wherever you start, it needs to be a place that empowers you. Having a comfortable and functional workspace will help you stay focused. Filling that space with inspiration, motivation, and encouragement will keep you going even when things get hard - and they WILL get hard! That's business!

Your environment at home, at work, and even the folks you associate with all matter. Jim Rohn once said you're the average of the 5 people you hang around most. I don't entirely agree with that notion, but I do believe that you're a product of whatever nourishes you. If you're feeding your mind, body, and spirit things that empower, energize, and lift you up, you'll be farther ahead than folks who are stuck in demotivating and uninspiring situations.

If it's not feeding you, it's not helping you. Nourish your mind and spirit as much as you can. Create a "sanctuary" for your work, and do everything in your power to keep that space sacred to sustain you.

Always sign the checks... and trust the process

Bootstrapping isn't a badge of honor. Trust me, I've lived that lifestyle and it's stressful. Being "self made" is a myth anyway. Yes, watch your pennies, and be mindful of what's coming in and going out. Debt is a tool that's more like a scalpel than a hammer: it can cut you if you're not careful or knowledgeable in its use.

Oprah once told Queen Latifah to "always sign the checks" - meaning, if you're putting your name on the checks, you'll always know where the money is going, and be able to spot things that are amiss before they become a problem. But minding your pennies is only half the equation.

Sometimes wonderful, miraculous things DO happen - and we need to be open and willing to receive them. Yeah. I know that sounds a bit woo-woo for my tastes, too, but it's true. You just never know when that next client will pop in, or a new offer will arrive - out of the blue - to provide the financial blessing you've been looking for. Like that first point - sometimes just getting the right help at the right moment can be a godsend!

It may seem obvious, but Fusion Creatives are notorious for trying to do everything themselves and save the world in the process. Asking for help is our growing edge. Chaotic Creatives are good at the "trust the process" part, but often struggle with the "sign the checks" part. And Linear Creatives have the opposite strength.

Everyone can use a little help from time to time. Be willing to ask for and receive it. Create an environment that allows you to thrive as a creative entrepreneur and put your wild ideas to the test. Then, keep your eyes on the finances, and trust the process. You're doing the hard work, you're sharing your brilliance with your right audience. It's only a matter of time before success is yours!

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As a business owner, you probably don't want one-time customers. I mean, you probably won't turn them away, either! But, having loyal repeat buyers creates stability in your business. Plus, it helps you build your credibility and establish your reputation in the marketplace.

If you’re feeling a bit stuck when it comes to client retention and customer happiness, here are a few ideas to stimulate customer loyalty.

Travel & Visit Them in Person

Visiting your clients in person and have a conversation with them as often as possible. Catch a plane, hop in your vehicle and travel around to meet with them individually and get to know them better. Be sure you're staying safe out there. You don't want to end up calling a lawyer or a tow truck after a fender bender on your road trip.

Reward & Thank Them

Another way to keep happy and loyal clients is to reward and thank them often. A thank you will go a long way in helping you to make certain that your customers continue to choose to do business with you over the competition. There are many ways to reward your customers such as by offering special promotions or even sneak peeks of what products or services you may soon be rolling out before they go public. It may also help to acknowledge your customer’s birthdays and to send out a holiday card.

Solve Problems Quickly

If you’re going to have a profitable and sustainable business then you must be a good problem solver. Make sure you train your customer service team and that they know how to handle a wide variety of matters that may arise. It’s important that you not only address these complaints but that you find suitable solutions in a timely manner too. You should avoid pushing issues aside for another day or hoping that they will just go away. You’ll have happier customers when you tackle matters head-on and can collect more positive online reviews for your business as well. 

Maintain your premises and equipment

Of course, if you want your customers to want to return to your business, ensure all keep your equipment (and premises) well-maintained. That means anything your customers might interact with - websites, countertops, door handles... all of it! It's a detail often overlooked, especially when all that equipment is shiny and new. For example, if you're an ophthalmologist, maintenance means timely ophthalmic equipment repairs as well as basic computer updates. Prioritizing equipment maintenance demonstrates your commitment to delivering quality service or products, thus safeguarding your business's long-term success.

Be A Good Listener

Your customers are eager to be heard and want to know they have a voice when it comes to how they’re feeling about your company and your products or services. Therefore, make it a point to be a good listener and give them the platform they need to let their thoughts, opinions, and insights be shared. Ask the tough questions and then lend an open ear so you can gather some tips as to what you can be doing better at your company going forward. Use this information you gather as a learning opportunity to fix what might be broken in your business. These are valuable tips and pointers from your customers that you can’t afford to overlook as a business owner.

If you're a freelancer, you probably understand the importance of having a strong online presence. Your website is central to being able to market your business and establish yourself as a successful freelancer. Indeed, a well-designed website serves many functions, including:

  • Showcasing your skills
  • Attracting potential clients
  • Standing out from the competition
  • Engaging with your audience

Here, this article will explore not the reasons why you need a website — we can safely assume that you already know them by heart and have probably discovered some new ones too — but the essential elements you need on your website. First of all, let’s tackle the obvious ones: You want a strong SEO-optimized presence as well as clear and obvious contact data. 

We’ll jump straight to the lesser obvious aspects of a freelance business website, and why you need them for growth. 

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Professional-looking intro video

Video content has become increasingly popular due to its engaging nature and ability to convey information effectively. In fact, a video is more likely to engage your audience than a long text. That being said, you want to keep some crucial facts in mind: 

  • Not everyone watches videos with the sound on, so you want to turn on captions
  • People want sweet, short, and informative videos. You are unlikely to retain many viewers past the 1 minute mark. 
  • You want to strike a balance between video content and written content, as both are necessary

A professional crafted video will help showcase your personality, skills, and passion for your work. It is also a great greeting for new visitors. Believe it or not, but there are plenty of inexpensive and high quality Ai video generators that can do the job for you. 

Payment platform

Selling your services or products online has become a logical choice for freelancers. By integrating a payment platform into your website, such as the hosted payment form from PayTrace, you can streamline the process of receiving payments from your clients.

From a freelancing perspective, this not only saves you a lot of time and effort that you don’t spend preparing invoices and chasing payments, but it also offers a seamless and secure payment experience for your customers. This makes it easier for them to hire your services, or purchase your products, and for you to manage the transactional part of your relationship. 

Newsletter sign-up button

Building a loyal audience and maintaining a strong connection with clients is vital for every business. The belief that only established companies can have a newsletter is wrong. For freelancers, the newsletter can be a fantastic tool that allows them to send exclusive content, keep the audience in the loop, and share latest offers and activities. 

Even though newsletters may sound old-fashioned, they still help build loyalty and keep your customers in the loop. Therefore, adding a sign-up button on your website can help you build a group of potential leads. Regular (but not too regular) newsletters can nurture a loyal following, establish a sense of trust and credibility, and ultimately lead to repeat businesses and referrals. 

As a freelancer, your website serves as a powerful marketing tool that can attract clients, establish your brand, and demonstrate your USP. As such, you want to seize the opportunities to make your website work harder for you with the tips shared above.

At the end of March, I had the honor of speaking at the TEDxBloomington Salon and it was amazing.

Salons are generally smaller scale TED-style events that are locally curated, like any TEDx event. Unlike a larger, full-day event where the talks can range pretty widely, Salons are generally on a more focused topic. Our topic was (sustain)ABILITY.

The theme still lends itself to some pretty wide-ranging topics, including a sonnet on sustainability, the importance of preserving indigenous language for future generations (and the tech to make it accessible to everyone), how kindness and generosity can sustain us, the 3 steps to find healing in business, and more. I look forward to sharing the talks once they're all uploaded, but for now, I can share my talk on How the Marginalization Tax impacts finding Enoughness for micro businesses. You can also access the bonus resources for my TEDx talk here.

My life is a paradox. As a business coach and entrepreneur, I rely on Capitalism to keep food on the table. And I help my clients to do the same. But as a human being, I also rail against what it seems like Capitalism has become: a money-grubbing, soul-crushing free-for-all for the wealthy elite that would rather leave our big blue marble than invest in healing, protecting, and sustaining it.

About 40% of my clients are multiply marginalized, many with a chronic illness, disability, or other capacity-limiting constraints that have essentially forced them to leave traditional employment and go out on their own because it works for how they're built. Forced, because capitalism asks more of us than we can consistently give, and no one feels this quite as much as the marginalized people of the world.

Entrepreneurship then, becomes a way for them to "leverage" the capacity they DO have - but not everyone is equipped to meet the challenges of entrepreneurship.

The incessant invitation to grow for growth's sake is a siren's song that hypnotizes entrepreneurs into the trap of adding one more zero to our revenue… and then another… and then another. But that "MORE" doesn't include room for things like more rest, more play, more ease - unless you hustle your face off first. There's this persistent myth that if you just work hard enough long enough and do your best, you'll make it to that "some day" where you can retire in style.

But Capitalism asks for more than many of us can give. And it has a bad habit of moving the goal posts on us.

With so many companies shooting for the moon - both literally and figuratively, this incessant drive for "More" isn't a sustainable path. How do we find the sustainable path in business? We strive for Enoughness instead.

When we look to nature, a cactus can thrive on very little water and a lot of sun. That is Enoughness for the cactus. If you flood the desert, the cactus rots. If you take away the sun, the cactus starves.

So Enoughness looks different in different situations.

For the folks that I work with, Enoughness is a result of building a business that works for their unique situation.

They are not corporate behemoths. They are parents, artists, travelers, authors, healers, activists, and more. They want a living wage that allows them to retire a spouse or provide for their families, and be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors - even when Capitalism tries to ask more of them than they can give on their own.

For years, I've taught what I call your Enoughness Number. It's essentially the revenue your business needs to bring in on an annual basis in order to have an experience of Enoughness. Not excessive, but appropriate. Not just subsisting, like so many marginalized folks do, but thriving.

But then one of my non-normative clients pointed out that I had not taken into account the additional resources required to navigate a world that asks more of you than you can give. We dubbed this added cost The Marginalization Tax.

At that time I was still under the spell of meritocracy. Just work harder. Keep working, and eventually you'll get there…. however long THAT is. I had always been able to keep working… until the day I needed back surgery. For eleven days I was unable to walk, stand, or otherwise move my body without substantial pain and significant help.

I was lucky I had help at home and owned my own business. If I'd been in a traditional job, I probably would have been fired or forced to use all my time off. And then where would I be for the rest of the year?

This tax is a spectrum of disadvantage based on a number of things like skin color, religion, gender expression, geography, age, body shape, economic status, social status, and basically any circumstance where there's a power imbalance that puts one group of people at an advantage to the detriment of others.

For example (and this isn't exhaustive, but you'll get the idea): I'm a cis, straight, neurodivergent, mixed-race, black woman that presents as white and able-bodied. I'm almost 50 and my body shape is not the socially accepted norm. I have a mix of privilege and disadvantage that impacts the resources I need. The more resources I need, the greater the marginalization tax I pay to participate in this world.

So let's look at what Enoughness looks like both with and without the Marginalization Tax applied so you can see how this works.

First, what are your total living expenses? Let's say $60k

Now add to that your growth. Maybe you've got a nice-to-have or a want that you'd like to see happen in the next year. That's your take-home pay requirement.

If you're a business owner, on top of your take home pay, what are the other "living expenses" of your business?

Then add your business growth to that. Maybe you want to launch a new offer and need to invest in infrastructure or support. Put it in your total.

Now add all that up and add a 10% cushion for unplanned surprises. They happen.

That's already a large number for a small business.

But, now we add the Marginalization Tax.

Based on where you fall on the spectrum, this could be anywhere from zero to as much as 50% of the total. Think that's steep? According to a 2021 report from the national women's law center, black women make a million dollars less over their career than white men. That's 37% less. That is the Marginalization Tax in action.

So we total this all up and there it is - one Enoughness Number that's drastically different than it would be if you didn't have to pay this tax.

Unlike the taxes you pay to your government each year, the bill for the Marginalization Tax comes due each day. This weekend my husband bought some cookies for $4. But I can't eat those cookies because some of the ingredients will hurt me. If I wanted to have a comparable amount of cookies that I can eat, I'd have to pay nearly 3 times as much - or I could spend just a few dollars more for all the ingredients and make them myself. Which would take an additional 45 minutes out of my day.

He can just open a package of cookies and go to town! The Marginalization Tax means I pay significantly more either in time or money - resources I may or may not have - just to enjoy a cookie.

Now you might say, "But Lisa, that's a cookie. A treat. You don't NEED a cookie. You can live without a cookie."

Yes, but why should I have to settle for less just because my body is built differently than yours?

But, let's say you're right and look at another case: One of my clients applied for medical disability long before we started working together. She had a profitable business that she'd built around her chronic illness which was so severe and variable that she never knew what her capacity to work would be like from one day to the next. Once she got approved for disability, she shut it all down. She said to me, "I can't jeopardize my disability payments. What if I go off disability and then my business has a down year? I'll have to re-apply and go through all of this all over again - and I might not survive!"

I don't blame her for wanting to protect herself and know that she can survive in a world that makes it hard for her to just exist. I blame the system where the deck is stacked against some of us and not others. That is the impact of the Marginalization Tax.

Everyone should be able to experience enoughness - a fully belly, a warm bed, and the safety of knowing they have what they need to thrive. There's certainly plenty on this planet to make it possible. But the playing field isn't level. What's worse, Capitalism keeps moving the goal posts.

But I believe that the best way to change a system is from the inside. That's why I'm a business owner. That's why I help other business owners - who aren't trying to hustle their face off to be a squijillionaire. They just want to find the balance that allows them to be paid well, within their capacity constraints, and have the time and energy to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

We don't need more rockets into space. We need more business owners striving for Enoughness for everyone.

When we have Enoughness it's… well, it's enough.

Like I said, it's a paradox.

For years, I've held connection calls where I hop on zoom for 20-30 minutes to get to know a new networking connection. Invariably, a business question pops up and most of the time I can spot a solution to their issue before the end of the call.

In many of these cases, I was able to help them see a way to open up a new income stream, refine a system or process, or just make their business easier in a matter of minutes. Not long ago, I was talking with a guy and by the end of the call we'd mapped out a new approach to one of his existing offers.

That new approach landed him a $15,000 deal later that same day.

I know that might sound a bit unbelievable, but I have receipts. This was both a blessing and a curse for me. A blessing, because I've been able to help hundreds of people over the years. A curse because, for years, I didn't really know how I was doing it.

So, I finally sat down and spent time examining how my brain works... the questions I was asking in order to get those kinds of results for total strangers.

That's how the Creative Freedom Business Model Equation was born! Once I had it worked out, I tested it with a few of my clients before rolling it out in last year's CashFlow Creator Workshop.

I'm excited to announce that we've re-opened the doors to this popular workshop and I'll be hosting it again this month!

The Cashflow Creator Workshop is designed for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to create a business that reflects their personality, voice, and style and connects with more of their ideal clients and customers with greater ease. More money, more time to enjoy it. A business that works for how you're wired to work.

Whether you're just starting out or looking to rebrand and redesign your business, this workshop will provide you with the guidance and support you need to succeed. By the end of the workshop series, you'll have a personalized roadmap for building or refining your business, based on your unique lifestyle and goals.

What can you expect from the workshop series?

This 5-day workshop series, running from April 17-21, will provide you with the tools and guidance you need to design a business model that works for how you're wired to work. Each day, we'll focus on one part of the Creative Freedom Business Model Equation. By the end of the workshop, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of what is and isn't working in your business and how to fix it.

You

Day one of the workshop will focus on the first part of the Equation: You. We'll dive deep into what really matters for you, including your values, personal context, and the mission/vision for your business. We'll look at how those things play together and what your non-negotiables are to actually feel successful. At the end of the day, you'll be able to communicate clearly the strengths that you bring to the table through your company, and what's most important for you - both personally and professionally - so that you can have a business that supports you to have more of what you want and less of what you don't!

Why

On Day 2, we'll dive deep into the "why" of your business. Not YOUR personal "why" - although that's important, too. Instead, we'll explore why you're in this line of work, what motivates and inspires you, and what makes you uniquely qualified to do what you do. We'll also examine the core purpose of your business, the change you want to see in the world, and the impact you want to have on your customers or clients. By the end of the day, you'll have a clear understanding of the driving force behind your business, which will help you create a brand message that resonates with your ideal audience and sets you apart from the competition.

Who

On Day 3, we'll dive into the "who" of your business model equation. We'll take a deep dive into your ideal clients from a different angle - those who already resonate with your "you" and "why" elements. Instead of trying to conjure up some niche market out of thin air, we want to connect more deeply with people who already resonate with who you are and why you do what you do. We'll explore who your ideal customers are, where they hang out, what they want and need, and how your business can best serve them. By the end of the day, you'll have a clear picture of who your business is for, and how to speak directly to their needs and desires.

What

On day four, we'll dive into the "what" element of your business model. We'll explore the transformation your offer provides for your clients or customers and identify any gaps or areas for improvement in your current offers. This day is all about fine-tuning your offers so they are aligned with your unique value proposition and the needs of your ideal clients or customers.

How

Day five will be dedicated to the "how" of your business model. You can deliver the same "what" in different ways - different "how's". A book, a course, and a video, for example are different ways to delivery the same "what". We'll examine the delivery and pricing of your offers, as well as your marketing strategy. By the end of this day, you'll have a solid understanding of how to package and promote your offers in a way that resonates with your ideal clients or customers, and generates the cash flow you need to sustain and grow your business.

What others have said

This is one of my favorite testimonials from our workshop last year:

photo of Teresa Romain

"This workshop is POWERFUL! And Lisa Robbin Young is a MASTER at the concepts and practices she teaches - not to mention a great coach. I got a level of clarity of purpose and strategy for going forward that had been missing for me. And it's a strategy that EXCITES me and had me saying 'YES! That's ME! I can do that!' Thanks Lisa!"

Teresa Romain - Founder of Access Abundance

Other attendees said they also experienced:

  • A better understanding of their unique strengths, skills, and values, and how to leverage them to create a profitable and sustainable business.
  • Increased confidence and motivation to take action and make positive changes in their business.
  • Clarity on their ideal client and how to best serve them with their offers and pricing.
  • A new direction for their business that feels fresh and meaningful
  • New offer ideas to roll out and make (a LOT) more money with greater ease

So if you're serious about having a business that works for how you're wider to work, get your buns over to my info page and register for the CashFlow Creator Workshop series and take the first step towards a fulfilling and sustainable business.

I'm capping registration at 20 people. If financial accessibility is an issue for you, please reach out. Partial scholarships or grants may be available.

My husband and I were talking about the movie Grease the other day. While I was conjuring up lyrics from "You're The One That I Want", Jim piped up and said, "The moral of that story is that you've got to change yourself if you want a man."

I was not seeing it. I mean, he's right that you shouldn't have to change yourself in order to be with someone you care about, but was that really what was going on with Sandy? Or was she finally letting herself be more of the person she wanted to be?

Throughout the movie, Sandy was this buttoned up bobby sockser - watching everyone around her living their lives out loud, while clutching her pearls and saying "I couldn't possibly!" at everything going on. Rizzo and the other Pink Ladies tried to get her "Sandra Dee" to loosen up, but she was too scared and possibly ashamed to do anything about it. Until that drag race showed her what she was missing out on by staying buttoned up.

Buttoned-up or Badass?

Let me be clear: there's nothing wrong with being a "Sandra Dee" type - if that's who you really want to be. But you could tell, at the dance, that there was more to Sandy than the buttoned-up persona she had been sharing with the world. She liked being in the spotlight and was miffed when Cha-Cha pulled Danny away from her and won the competition.

Once she got over herself, her next evolution was a more confident, fun-loving person. Yes, she stepped awkwardly at first, but it was someone she WANTED to be. Not something she HAD to do. Sandy chose a path that worked for her and finally let the rest of the world see more of who she really was.

If you ever feel like your brand isn't doing a good job of telling the world who you are - or that you're being ignored by your ideal clients and customers, you might still be trying to show the world your "Sandra Dee" self, when you've actually evolved into a stronger, more charismatic leader. It's time to step out and shine!

How Brand Resonance Works

Your brand is more than just a logo or a tagline. Your brand is the total experience that your customers have with your business, from the way you communicate to the quality of your products or services. It's the emotional connection that you build with your audience, and it's what sets you apart from your competitors.

So, if you're talking one way when you show up in person and your visual brand or marketing copy doesn't match, there's a disconnect that your right audience won't take the time to figure out. They'll just shrug their shoulders and move on. A confused mind says "no" - or at least, that's what I was taught decades ago when I started my online marketing journey. If your brand isn't feeling like you anymore (or maybe it never really did), then it's time for a tune up!

How do you go about building a brand that truly reflects your personality, voice, and style, and connects with your ideal clients and customers?

Clients hire me when things get out of alignment. The first place I look is their business model. You've heard me talk before about the Creative Freedom Business Model Equation: (You + Why + Who) + What + How. Every business needs a model that works, which is why I love this Equation so much. It's flexible and adaptable to any situation.

But how do you put this into practice?

Dolly Does Branding

Take a cue from Dolly Parton, another famous blonde from musical history. She's a true master of her brand and an undisputed celebrity in her niche. Dolly has built a brand and a business empire that reflects her personality, voice, and style, and has connected deeply with her fans for decades. Her music, fashion, philanthropy, and overall persona have all contributed to her success and enduring popularity. Dolly's unique style and personality have made her a beloved icon for decades. But beyond her music and fashion, what makes her so successful?

Using the Creative Freedom Business Model Equation, let's analyze Dolly's business model!

Know Yourself

The Equation begins with the importance of knowing yourself in order to connect with your ideal customers.

Dolly knows herself. She has a strong sense of self. She embraces her roots and values, and incorporates them into everything she does. She has never been afraid to embrace her unique style and persona. From her flamboyant stage outfits to her signature blonde hair and southern drawl, Dolly has created a persona that is instantly recognizable and beloved by her fans.

Understand Why You Do What You Do

Dolly's "why" is to spread joy and uplift others, which she does through her music, books, and philanthropic work. She's no Pollyanna. She's not afraid to talk about painful things, but she's also quick to look to the sunny side. Dolly has a deep connection and commitment to her audience. She's been open and honest with her fans, sharing personal stories and experiences that resonate with people on a deeply emotional level. Dolly makes it clear that she cares deeply about her fans and wants to make a positive impact on the world.

Your brand should be a reflection of who you are as a person and what you stand for. Don't try to be something you're not just because you think it will be more marketable or popular. Authenticity is key, and your audience will be able to sense if you're not being genuine.

You need to know what you stand for. Take some time to define your brand values – the principles and beliefs that guide everything you do. Then, SHARE them with your audience! These values are the foundation of your brand and can help you stay true to your authentic self.

Who Needs You Most?

To create a brand that resonates with your ideal clients and customers, you need to know who they are. What are their needs, desires, and pain points? What do they value? What motivates them? What kind of language and tone do they respond to? Once you have a clear understanding of your audience, you can tailor your brand messaging and marketing materials to speak directly to them.

Dolly understands that her fans value her sincerity, so she speaks from the heart - and isn't afraid to share hardship and poke fun at herself! She also knows how to adapt and stay relevant without compromising her values, such as when she collaborated with EDM artist Galantis on a remix of her hit song "Faith."

Your brand should tell a story – the story of who you are, what you stand for, and how you can help your audience. Use your brand messaging and marketing materials to share your personal journey and connect with your audience on an emotional level.

What Are You Selling? How do you deliver it?

This isn't just about your product, but the deeper benefits your audience gets from experiencing your work. Dolly is a singer and songwriter, so she's selling stories - in musical or written form. But what Dolly actually sells (the deeper benefit) is joy, connection, belonging, and hope. Whether it's music, Dollywood, OR any of the other "offers" that Dolly has for sale, the ultimate goal is the same - to put a smile in your heart and make the world a better place.

Dolly knows how to deliver her message to her audience. Her infectious personality and magnetic charisma make her a natural performer, and her business savvy has helped her build an empire that includes Dollywood theme park and her own record label, and numerous projects for film and television. Dolly has created a brand that has wide reach. And while she delivers it to you in a variety of ways, the "what" that Dolly delivers is the same every time.

Don't be afraid to let your personality shine through in your brand. Embrace your quirks and unique traits – they're what make you stand out from the crowd. Whether it's a love of 80's musicals, country music, a passion for hiking, or a quirky sense of humor, incorporating your personal interests and hobbies into your brand can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Consistency is key when it comes to building a strong, authentic brand. Your messaging, visuals, and overall tone should be consistent across all your marketing channels, from your website to your social media accounts. Use the same color scheme, fonts, and tone of voice to create a cohesive brand identity that's instantly recognizable. Make sure they reflect the current you - not who you were 10 years ago! If it's time for an upgrade or update, talk to a brand design professional who can help your materials better reflect your awesomeness.

Building a successful business isn't just about branding - it's about having a solid business model that supports your unique strengths and skills. That's why we invite you to join us at our Cashflow Creator Workshop, where we'll dive deeper into the Creative Freedom Business Model Equation and help you create a business model that works for how you're wired to work. Register now to secure your spot and take the next step towards building a business that aligns with your values and goals!

Remember, building a brand takes time and effort. But with the right Equation - and a little inspiration from Sandy and Dolly - you can create a brand that has your fans singing "You're the one that I want!"