Weclome Clients With an Onboarding ProcessRead How To Implement A New Client Onboarding Process And Set Expectations
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How To Implement A New Client Onboarding Process And Set Expectations

Yesterday I spoke at the East Bay WordPress Meetup about onboarding new clients, setting clear expectations, and creating systems.

When I published a post announcing the talk, I received inquiries — through Twitter, Facebook, direct email, and our website contact form — asking if the session would be recorded or if I would be sharing the information.

Clearly this is a topic that many in our community are interested in!

As I shared during my session with Chris Lema in the 2014 WordCamp LA business track, we have spent countless hours creating, refining, testing, and tweaking our own multi-step processes for several different service offerings.

This talk, recapped in detail below, was an overview of the new client onboarding process we use for our custom WordPress web design projects, including:

  • What new client onboarding is and why it is critical to the success of the project
  • How to create added-value for clients before even getting started
  • What components are encompassed in a successful onboarding campaign
  • Why setting clear expectations early and often will improve your client relationships
  • What most service providers overlook when creating an onboarding process
  • How to create your own process and strategies for implementation

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Prestige ConferenceRead Prestige Conference Recap: When Like-Minded People Get Honest
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Prestige Conference Recap: When Like-Minded People Get Honest

Imagine a small, intimate setting where you’re surrounded only by like-minded people willing to invest in their careers, businesses, and success. Imagine all of those people working in the same space you are, but in different capacities and different ways, with different types of clients. Imagine being able to talk with them openly and honestly, to get real feedback and fresh perspectives, and to really have the opportunity to talk shop and learn.

Sounds amazing right?

This is exactly what I experienced at Prestige Conference. Prestige is a business & career development conference geared towards freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small shops operating in the digital marketplace.

I was thrilled to have been invited to speak alongside some ridiculously talented and accomplished business owners, and I knew the event would bring the value with Kiko Doran and Josh Broton at the helm. But what I didn’t expect was how different the event felt in comparison to a large WordCamp.

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"The question is not whether your will be successful, but whether you will matter. Are you going for votes or are you seeking to matter?"

Seth Godin
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“Success isn’t an event, it is a process. It isn’t a one time thing, it is a lifetime thing. It isn’t one beginning and one end, it is an endless adventure of beginnings.”

Aline Hanle
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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."

Henry Ford
Copyblogger Authority Intensive Speaker Seth GodinRead Copyblogger Delivers A Content Buffet At Authority Intensive 2014 (#Authority2014)
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Copyblogger Delivers A Content Buffet At Authority Intensive 2014 (#Authority2014)

Throughout Authority Intensive, I shared some of the wisdom being shared by speakers and Copyblogger staff on Twitter, and received quite a few requests (and a threat) from friends to share my notes and what I learned at the event.

When I sat down to write my event recap post, it became quite clear that this event would need more than one post to do it justice.

Yesterday I published the first post about the event, pointing out the brilliant strategy behind the meals and parties that kept all of the attendees together, creating more networking opportunities, more new conversations, more connections being made, and more business being done.

Today I’m sharing the wisdom (and there is a lot) served up from the panels and keynote speakers throughout the event and tomorrow I’ll be name dropping like crazy and introducing you to some of the awesome people I met and hung out with.

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Raving FansRead Authority Intensive 2014: Create Raving Fans Without Content (#Authority2014)
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Authority Intensive 2014: Create Raving Fans Without Content (#Authority2014)

I’ve been investing in attending professional events, conferences, seminars, and workshops since graduating from college and today attend at least 5 every year.

Now, I’m not talking about local networking events. I’m talking about plane rides, hotel stays, food budgets, and conferences tickets ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars (just for the ticket).

Overall, most of the events I have attended have been professional produced with big budgets — and most are pretty great. But, sometimes the speakers aren’t as great as you would have hoped, sometimes there is barely any time for networking, and sometimes the food is lackluster at best. The latest event I attended was different — and in a good way.

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"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."

Woodrow Wilson
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"Power isn't control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn't someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own."

Beth Revis
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"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."

Mark Twain
Today's Innovative Woman RetreatRead Where do you get your business advice?
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Where do you get your business advice?

I am a firm believer that no one knows everything about building and growing a business — at least I know I don’t! In fact, most business owners and entrepreneurs (like me) start businesses not because they know how to run a business, but because they are exceptional at what they do and seize an opportunity.

In my experience, learning about business and how to run one effectively comes along the way. A few years into my business, I received a great piece of advice: Know the path you want to take and surround yourself with people who are farther down the path. In other words:

  • Find the people who have achieved what you want to achieve and learn from them.
  • Find out what they did wrong and what they did right; what worked and what didn’t work; what they wish they had done differently.
  • Find a mentor or mastermind group who can answer your questions and guide you in the right direction when you need it.

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Same Strategy Different ResultsRead Same Tools, Same Strategy, Different Result
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Same Tools, Same Strategy, Different Result

I see it happen over and over: A coach or expert sells “how they did it” or their process for achieving results. A business owner wanting to achieve the same results hires them to learn how they did it. The business owner learns tactics, uses the same tools, and applies the same strategy… yet they don’t achieve the same results. In many cases, they don’t even come close to achieving the same success. Why is that? Why can you do everything exactly the same and not enjoy the same success?

There is one major difference that wasn’t accounted for.

You are not them! The person, the expert, the history, the experience, the story, the brand, the positioning, the relationships — the person at the center of everything is different. So while you can use the same tools and the same strategy, and you can achieve the same results, you can’t just copy a cookie cutter formula. You must adjust your approach and customize it to fit you, your brand, and your business.

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Take a VacationRead How to take a real vacation (tech-free), even if you own a business
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How to take a real vacation (tech-free), even if you own a business

Entrepreneurs and business owners are the hardest working, most dedicated and committed people I know. With a vision in mind, and a goal ahead, they do whatever it takes to achieve success, often sacrificing their own personal well being along the way and never taking a break or a vacation to recharge, refuel, re-energize, reinvigorate.

I used to be that business owner. In the first few years of my business, I worked 14-16+ hours a day, at least 6 days a week, and I NEVER took a vacation — because I didn’t think I could.

Eventually I began to take vacations, but the weeks leading up to the vacations, and the week after returning were so awful, that I often wondered if it was worth it. Plus I often pulled multiple all-nighters to finish everything before leaving, so I was exhausted and cranky the first few days of the trips! And, if I am really going to be honest, my vacations weren’t really vacations, as I took my computer with me to check email and work if I needed to (which I always did).

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Making Decisions For The Future Of BusinessRead Making Decisions Based On Where You’ve Been vs. Where You Want To Go
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Making Decisions Based On Where You’ve Been vs. Where You Want To Go

The ability to make decisions in business is critical to your success — as long as you’re using the right frame of reference, and frame of mind for your decision-making. For the sake of this article, I’ll assume that you are not a business owner satisfied with the status quo, but an entrepreneur striving to improve, evolve, and grow.

The Wrong Decision-Making Mindset

There is a popular phrase often tossed around by business coaches: “What you focus on expands.” With that belief in mind, one surefire way to stay where you are and stunt your business growth is to focus on the past — what has happened before, what was true before, what worked before — and let it hold you back.

Focusing on where you’ve been will result is staying where you are. The same is true for your decision-making mindset. To move your business forward, continue to grow, and achieve your goals, it is imperative that you stop making decisions based on where you have been.

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Sutters Fort Living History DayRead Take Your Business Into Your Own Hands
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Take Your Business Into Your Own Hands

After a three week staycation, we got back to back to business as usual in January, back to the trenches, and back to being crazy busy with new projects — But we’re never too busy to keep learning! If you want to be a leader, you must continually improve your skills and take your future into your own hands with action.

Above is a photo I snapped of the kids on the Sutter’s Fort cannon crew! Natalie is in fourth grade this year and since she is learning all about California history and the California Indians, I took the kids to the California State Indian Museum — and lucky for us it was also a special historical re-enactment day at Sutter’s Fort. The kids loved it, they learned new things (like what a thunder mug is), laughed a lot, and Natalie brought back some great information and souvenirs to share in class.

The schools no longer have the budget to take students on fields trips like they did when I was a kid, so now it’s up to the parents to provide the hands-on learning experiences that come only with experiencing history first hand. We have to be proactive and take education into our own hands and take action.

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Lego Winter VillageRead Letting Go: Clients and Customers Always Have Final Control
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Letting Go: Clients and Customers Always Have Final Control

Check out my Lego Winter Village! It took hours, upon hours to build and it’s the only Christmas related decor that we haven’t put away. I just don’t want to break it down yet!

This Christmas, we trimmed the tree, decked the halls, hung the stockings on the mantle … and built the winter village. Think this was done by my kids? Think again. The winter village is all mine. As soon as I was done, I photographed it and called the kids in to check out my hard work. The layout was carefully planned, each scene was set, each mini figure was placed, and then …

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Point of DifferentiationRead Capitalize on Your Uniqueness
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Capitalize on Your Uniqueness

In the book,Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill shares a story about Henry Ford charging a company a large sum of money (for the times) to solve a problem the company had been struggling to untangle. Ford completed the task quickly, received his payment, and then proceeded — immediately — to share his solution. Seeing how fast Ford had worked, the folks who hired him became angry. They felt hoodwinked.

But, Mr. Ford replied, “Whether it took me five minutes or five months, you got the result you were looking for when you hired me. You didn’t hire me for how long it would take. You hired me for the expertise and value I bring to the table and those qualities have taken me my entire life to accumulate.”

In other words, Ford’s unique level of expertise and experience — expertise and experience that the business owners did not have — is what gave his work its value.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to have enough confidence in our goods and services that we can ask for the price they are worth. And we need to know that our customers are comfortable with the value they receive from us. Setting a fair price for both parties will require reflecting on what goes into your goods and services in the first place.

So, what are your knowledge, experience, expertise, and the products and services built from them, really worth?

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Work For Me For FreeRead Work For Me For Free, For a Limited Time
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Work For Me For Free, For a Limited Time

The nerve of some people absolutely amazes me. Well, let me rephrase. The poor and completely inappropriate application of marketing principles and strategies amazes me.

Recently a woman — we’ll call her Susie — contacted us for a quote on the design and development of a completely custom WordPress theme. She wanted the sun and the moon and had high expectations as most of our clients do. But she clearly wasn’t ready to invest in the up leveling of her brand and was a bit miffed at our quote. She made it clear that she wouldn’t be hiring us.

Then, Susie paused for a moment and spoke very seriously. Hello! Didn’t we know? Susie is a BIG deal. She has a giant list and she is an influencer.

Susie then made us an offer — She was going to make a special opportunity available for us, to design and create her custom WordPress site for FREE, in exchange for some promotion by her to her list. Oh, and we better act fast, because this opportunity to have our name in the same sentence as hers is only available for a limited time.

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Take a Vacation and Detach From BusinessRead How to Take a Vacation And Detach From Your Business Without Freaking Out
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How to Take a Vacation And Detach From Your Business Without Freaking Out

I used to hate vacations. Not the actual vacation itself mind you, but everything before and after them — and sometimes just getting through them. That sounds horrible right? I know it does.

But as a business owner, and more specifically, as a solopreneur or entrepreneur, taking a vacation is extremely difficult. And taking a vacation where you completely detach from your business is even harder. This may be because you don’t have the support you need or the systems you need, or you may just be in a phase of your business that requires constant attention.

I’ve experienced all three. I went through times in my business where I had no support and tried to do everything myself. I started my business and got through several years of it with absolutely ZERO systems in place. And, when actively trying to grow parts of the business or launch something new, I’ve needed to be in my business 24/7.

Thankfully, I’ve taken big steps to make big changes in my business to support the kind of lifestyle I want.

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Gary VaynerchuckRead Gary Vaynerchuk Keynotes Infusioncon 2012 and Asks, What’s the ROI of Your Mother?
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Gary Vaynerchuk Keynotes Infusioncon 2012 and Asks, What’s the ROI of Your Mother?

One by one, I’ve been recapping my favorite parts of Infusionsoft’s 2012 annual user conference Infusioncon. I’ve shared my thoughts on Pam Slim and Ali Brown’s keynote presentations, and Tim Ash’s breakout session.

Today I’m sharing some insights from probably the most popular and most talked about keynote of the entire conference by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary, author of The Thank You Economy, is an undeniable force to be reckoned with. He speaks with such enthusiasm and emotion that you can just tell he’s got fire inside and great passion for life and business, and the power of relationships in every aspect of them both.

In his Infusioncon 2012 keynote, The Thank You Economy: What’s the ROI of Your Mother?, Gary let us know everything we are doing wrong with out businesses and our marketing and what we need to be doing to fix it. He shared his vision of the future of business and what we need to do as small business owners to position ourselves for success.

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Ali BrownRead A Recap: Ali Brown, Entrepreneur Mentor Keynotes Infusioncon 2012
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A Recap: Ali Brown, Entrepreneur Mentor Keynotes Infusioncon 2012

Infusioncon 2012 was by far one of the best events I have attended for entrepreneurs and business owners. The speakers not only delivered great value in their content, but also in their message.

After Pam Slim’s Keynote, my mentor Ali Brown took the stage and delivered a powerful keynote presentation titled How I Did It: Mindset & Marketing Secrets for Entrepreneurial Success in the New Economy, but the core of her message was about moving from success to significance and sharing her story about participating in ABC’s Secret Millionaire TV Show where she ultimately gifted $100,000 of her own money to the charities Beauty Bus Foundation, Harvest Home, Common Ground, and St. Josephs Center – Bread and Roses Cafe.

In an SFGate article, Ali said, “Filming Secret Millionaire caused me to step back and look at how I can give more EVERY day, and I think it will do the same for those who watch it.”

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pam-slimRead A Recap: Infusioncon 2012 Keynote by Pam Slim, Author of Escape From Cubicle Nation
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A Recap: Infusioncon 2012 Keynote by Pam Slim, Author of Escape From Cubicle Nation

On day three of Infusionsoft’s 2012 annual user conference Infusioncon, the ladies made their mark. Millionaire entrepreneur and Mentor, Ali Brown, and author of Escape From Cubicle Nation, Pam Slim both delivered though-provoking keynotes, and later in the day, social media expert Laura Roeder and I both delivered breakout sessions.

Pam Slim’s keynote, Amplify Your Expert Status was clever, quick-witted, and profound. While Pam’s keynote title may lead you to believe she’d be speaking about ways you can get in the spotlight and be recognized, that wasn’t the case at all.

Instead her message and focus was on leading by example and lifting up others before yourself. She shared a couple of her own stories and some of her clients’ stories, and woven through them all was a common thread — one that positioned Pam as an undeniable expert by featured and highlighted other business owners she works with. While Pam did mention media was a factor in her rise to expert status, she told the audience, “I’m more proud of the media stories where I’m never mentioned and my clients are featured.”

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Be The ChangeRead A Recap: Be The Change Event with Suzanne Evans 2012
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A Recap: Be The Change Event with Suzanne Evans 2012

At Bourn Creative we get to work with amazing business owners and entrepreneurs. One of our clients, Suzanne Evans recently hosted her annual Be The Change Event in Orlando, Florida. Suzanne is a bonafide marketing expert. I love working on the design and development of marketing materials for entrepreneurs like Suzanne because I get to learn at the same time by getting a peek into their marketing and sales strategies.

Bourn Creative sponsored the 2012 Be The Change event. This was our first experience as an event sponsor and it went well. We’re still in follow up mode and we’re catching up on our sleep! Brian took charge of manning our booth and I networked with the attendees and other sponsors. I wish you could have bee there to stop by our sponsor booth because we did a couple cool things:

First, instead of collecting business cards in a fishbowl, we created an iPad optimized opt-in page, so attendees could sign up to receive two of our ebooks FREE by typing in their name and email on right on the iPad — This also eliminated the need to manually enter all the cards into our database for follow up when Be The Change was over.

Second, we rented a television monitor from the tradeshow company and throughout the event samples of our work rotated on the screen so attendees could view our portfolio. Several attendees recognized work we have done for other business owners they knew, so it helped start conversations.

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Terranea Resort LA ViewRead Your Good Isn’t Good Enough…
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Your Good Isn’t Good Enough…

I know this headline doesn’t sound very nice, but it’s true. This weekend I was in LA for my client, Suzanne Evans’ LA Tour Stop for the Stop, Drop and Decide Tour, and while in LA, I got to hang out with my friend Cathy Alessandra, publisher of Today’s Innovative Woman Magazine. Here’s us enjoying a oceanside walk after brunch at a gorgeous resort right on the cliffs.

At brunch we got to talking about “good.” Now, I’m sure you’ve heard it, see it, read it too — marketers and coaches seem to revel in the idea that:

  • Good is good enough
  • It doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be for sale
  • Done is better then perfect
  • Just get it out there and fix it later

I call B.S. on all of those phrases. That approach may have worked in past but it isn’t going to work any more. Business is changing, especially for entrepreneurs.

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