My Great Uncle Leslie Jerman, who was a journalist and broadcaster said to me when I was 10 years old,
“Julie if you want to be a writer you have to write”
I’d asked him how he became a writer, while sitting next to him shortly at a family wedding, one of the few times I actually ever spoke to him face to face.
Shortly after we became pen pals. Corresponding for more than a decade.
I would ask him that question many times, in different ways, and each and every time he would answer it the same.
“If you want to be a writer, Julie, you just have to write”
One time he even sent me a copy of the artists and writers yearbook….to get me off his case. But it all looked too hard.
What would I write, who would take me seriously, surely it takes too long to make any money as a writer.
I wanted someone to give me a leg up, a shortcut, the easy option.
He was right though.
I just had to write.
In 2010 I set up a wordpress blog to write about me experiences as a plus size runner, I knew nothing about blogging and in truth didn’t even see this as real writing…somehow it didn’t count.
In 2013 I self published my first book.
It was a shit book
The ones that come later would be better.
Writing a book is like running a marathon, you can do all the prep you like, but when it comes down to it, you just got to write the damn thing.
I mean I know people get ghost writers, but if you are truly writing your own book there are no shortcuts.
I have been working on a book for 18 months, the focus of it changed when COVID hit in March, and a 40K word manuscript got trashed.
I knew I wanted to publish a book this year but during lockdown it was never going to happen, I could barely think, let alone find time to write.
Yesterday I submitted a 47,930 word manuscript to my editor, but not before having two complete days of throwing my toys out of the pram, and literally crying through the last few chapters.
At the start of October, I relocated to the Greek island of Rhodes, initially for 3 weeks to write this book, my plan to decompress and write in peace, turns out I needed more than 3 weeks to rest and recuperate, and so my trip has now turned into one of 8 weeks.
There are no shortcuts.
As a writer, as a business owner.
There are some tasks that you just have to crack on and get done, and the sooner you face that, the sooner you will get out of your way, stop looking for some golden fucking ticket, and you will indeed grow your business.
It’s exhausting seeing all of the “hacks” and “Secret sauce” and “7 step process” offers pop up on Facebook, promising the 6 and 7 figure dream with a £9.99 product, when the truth is no amount of systems and outsourcing can replace a bit of focus and graft.
YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK
The Mindset Work
The Strategy Work
The Content Creation Work
The application of the tactics you are learning
And here’s a truth bomb for you on this Thursday afternoon, while you are buying all of these mini products, and reading all these get rich quick books, or attending every free webinar, watching all the free shite on YouTube, or sitting around scratching your heads trying to work it out yourself, other people are simply getting on with the work.
And you know the hardest piece of work you will ever do in your business?
It is working out who you are.
You…the BIGGEST asset in your business.
And I bet that is a big piece of the puzzle that you keep putting off. Oh, knowing how to do Ad’s that’ll be the thing, hiring a great VA that’ll be the thing, having the right funnel that’ll be the thing.
NO…YOU ARE THE DAMN THING
The other stuff it helps, but it’s not the thing.
And as frustrating as all of this sounds I say this all with love, because I know how much this matters to you, I know how much you want this to work.
But the reality is, it doesn’t need to work
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and business mentor from East London, who specialises in helping small business owners step us as leaders so they can scale their businesses.
Her book “Leading from the Back, how to grow a profitable business without selling out, burning out, or behaving like a dick” is available for preorder now.
I used to think that kindness was for people who were just a bit soft…in fact for the longest time I didn’t even realise I had a kind side…like seriously, I couldn’t see that side of me.
I think kind gets a bad rap.
Its a bit cringey to say “yeah I’m big into kindess”
And maybe that’s why so few people use this value in their business, or maybe I am just being mean and judgemental, and folks are kinder than they are letting on, and maybe I’m not so kind after all for thinking that.
As a business owner, as a business coach, I am often described as no bullshit, I am an East London based, say it as I see it, get shit done kind of gal…BUT…this is actually my way of being kind to the world.
What people from the outside don’t always know about me however is that I am also a massive empath….I seriously want to change the world. My clients are sometimes surprised that it’s not all about kicking they’re butt, or pushing them to be more productive. EVERY. DAMN. DAY.
I had some new brand photos taken last week and the photographer let slip that she reckons I am actually a little different offline to online, in a subtle way…she thought that I was a little softer, a little kinder perhaps in the flesh.
The German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described kindness as “the golden chain by which society is bound”, my Nana simply said, “being kind never cost no one nuffin” and for someone who rarely went to school I think they were some quite profound words.
But don’t take my kindness for weakness people, there is a real business case for my kindness, and I would suggest you take a look at the 5 reasons I think we should all be just a little kinder in our day to day dealings as business owners, especially business owners navigating the online space.
Kindness is FREE
So let’s start with the obvious. With resources being stretched, and there always being new things to spend your time, money and effort on, any free business hack that is going to affect recruitment and retainment of clients works in my book.
People don’t always remember what you say, or what you did…but they remember how you feel. And this is what brand loyalty is all about. So many business owners focus on getting that first sale, and then they are looking for new folks, rather than nurturing and supporting their existing clients….the ones who are most likely to buy from you again…and tell all their mates about how awesome you are. Which leads me nicely onto my next point
Kindness is CONTAGIOUS
Its called the ripple effect…of modeling behavior, I do something nice for you, and this gives you renewed faith in the world, and you go out and do something nice for someone else. Before you know it we are all nicer people, making more money, and having a greater impact on the planet. Sounds utopian…but seriously kindness is like a virus (ooopss not a great analogy) its contagious, and OK some people are immune, but most people get it after a while….and eventually we are all the stronger for it.
Ok lets move swiftly on shall we?
Kindness is good for MENTAL HEALTH
Daily acts of kindness can seriously have an effect on your mental and physical health, both as the giver and the receiver. Often when we do something mean or from a lack mindset, it stays with us…and we can’t shake it off, being kind stays with us too, but in a warm Ready Break kinda glow…making it almost addictive. When we have other people to consider it takes our mind off our own woes, and often karma sees to it that we get rewarded, by other random acts of kindness…we just notice more of the good stuff perhaps.
Kindness makes you and your business MEMORABLE
I always say personal brand is what people say about you behind your back when you are not listening. Do you really want to be known as a bitch (sorry mum), or as someone who behaves badly? Now this is not about doing things that always serve others over and above your needs…having good clear boundaries that are communicated clearly and kindly, even if at the moment of saying NO, can end up being a great lesson for the person on the other side of that no. When a business or a brand does something super kind, clients and customers remember…long into the future, just imagine what that referral marketing is worth to you and your business.
Kindness to self is likely to help with BUSINESS RESILIENCE
Remember, you are at the heart of your business, and I bet you, you are not as kind to yourself as you could be. I bet you say mean things to yourself when you make mistakes, I bet you beat yourself up when you are not as productive as you could be, and I would even go so far as you probably punish yourself by working long hours, saying YES to more than you can handle, and not outsourcing where appropriate.
Being kind to yourself in business isn’t a nice to have, its a necessity. Having an awareness of where you are not being as kind as you could be, having a support network who watch out for you, and remind you when you need to give yourself a break…thats super important to your business success and sustainability.
Burnout is real, and it is costly.
So where do we get started with kindness? Do we have to change everything we do? Nope. We just need to start small. Kindness is like a muscle…use it or lose it.
Small…daily…regular acts of kindness towards you, your clients and the wider world will go a long way. Surrounding yourself with others who are committed to kindness helps.
Seriously…I truly believe that without kindness we are limiting our capacity for increased health, wealth and happiness…and isn’t that why we go into business?
Why not join my #100daysofkindness campaign.
It’s simple really, join my FREE Facebook community, commit to getting involved, and be seen to get involved by pledging your support, and then get daily prompts and inspiration, share your experiences, ask for and give help and support to others, and each week I will do a FREE training session on a Tuesday morning that will help you build a more productive and profitable business.
Can’t say fairer than that hey?
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and business mentor. She has spent the past 20 years building and leveraging communities, both online and off. She knows how important it is to create cultures of cohesion, collaboration and care for one another. She also knows how to build profitable online businesses…the two are not mutually exclusive.
If you are a small business owner trying to scale your business right now, I have something I need to break to you which you might not like.
Something you might not be ready to hear, especially if you are interested in building a tribe.
That phrase “tribe” it does get banded around a bit these days doesn’t it?
Along with all those BossBabe, Slaytheday hashtags, and images of women working from laptops in Bali, and blokes standing in front of snazzy white boards sharing their latest advice on funnels.
Right, you ready for this?
Whether you buy into the hype of internet marketing or not, the fact remains that most of us are operating in the online space now.
Most of us do not have the luxury of just doing the thing we are passionate about, hairdressers, plumbers, yoga instructors, parenting experts, hypnotherapists, life coaches, stylists…it kind of doesn’t matter what you do for a living, what you are skilled in…
These days you must also become a skilled marketeer AND a business leader.
Yep I said it.
If you want to build a tribe you need to be leading them somewhere, you need to have a vision, and you can’t be afraid to share it.
“But I just want to do the stuff I’m passionate about”
OK love…but listen to this.
While you are there focussing on how to sell your one hour sessions, based on how good you are at “your thing” your competition is thinking strategically and building a real business.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but some folks are basically employees on a minimum wage working for their own business under the pretence of being in business, and others are ACTUALLY building a business….one that pays them, and not just for the hours they work.
To lead means to be a route or access point to something, and from your clients perspective they are looking for you to take them from one destination to another…their desired outcome…that my friends is called transformation.
But I bet you, you are also looking to transform.
You want your business to do all those things you dreamed it would do, you know things like…
Live work balance
The ability to not have to work long past retirement age?
But what if you don’t want to lead, what if you are not ready, what if you are afraid?
I get it, I really do.
Leadership gets a bad press, and from the outside it can look scary.
But when you find a way of leading that fits who you are, the kind of person you want to be, it can be exciting and fun. When you find alignment and acceptance of who you are, rather than having to change to fit in to some bullshit idea of what leadership is…now we are talking.
As part of my 12 week business incubator Tribe Builder, I take all of my clients through my Tribe Leadership Archetype Assessment process, identifying from 12 different leadership styles which they are most aligned to.
I also help them to understand which of the archetype traits they need to develop to become a master tribe builder…it is a game changer of a process, and unlocks so much insight in regards to how to use your voice as a leader and how to unlock a mountain of content that your clients are going to not only consume, but take action on.
The doors for Tribe Builder close for the year this Friday…well Thursday evening really.
If you want to build an audience of buyers and not browsers, if you want to become a leader in your field, if you want to increase your income alongside the impact you make through your work then check it out www.juliecreffield.com/tribe
The real work on stepping into you power as a leader starts on Monday.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and business mentor with more than 20 years experience of building and leveraging online and offline tribes.
In 2020 alone she has worked with more than 1000 small business owners to help them scale their businesses.
She is currently working on her 8th book, Leading from the Back which will be available from the 1st December.
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is NOW
Well this couldn’t be more relevant for growing your business audience.
I am not talking about followers, I’m not talking about people on your email list (although they can be useful) I am talking about giving people permission to want to be in your world.
I set up a plus size fitness blog a decade ago…I never intended for it to make me any money, but when the shit hit the fan and I found myself having been made redundant for the 4th time in 10 years…this time with a baby on the way…at least I had my blog.
Then I had to find away of leveraging and monetising it.
I see so many business owners going round and round in circles because the shame and embarresment of not being further ahead. With feelings of, I should be further ahead by now or I can’t compete with the other people in my niche because they are more popular they have more followers.
It’s a form of self sabotage.
Whats the point in starting, it will take me too long to catch up
It’s never about catching up, its instead about taking people with you, at wherever you are in your business now. Those emotions of guilt, shame, embarresment, fear, jealousy…they keep you stuck.
When you focus on staying in your own lane and building your business honestly, without the hype or vanity metrics, it takes the pressure off you to be anything other than who you are.
You can stop with the pretence, you don’t have to pretend to be further ahead than you are…and you find exactly the clients you need to find.
But bloody start.
This year has been so shitty for so many people, but around 1200 small business owners have bitten the bullet and worked with me to grow their tribe.
And they are further ahead of all of those people who considered it but decided for whatever reason not to.
You don’t have to have a massive tribe to have a profitable one. Size does not matter. The depth of engagement is what counts. We all hear of people with thousands of followers who can’t even sell out a limited edition tshirt print run.
Tribe building is NOT about having a FREE Facebook group
Tribe Building is NOT about funnels and webinars
Tribe Building is NOT about having a million social media followers
It’s about you stepping up as a leader, and standing for something. Taking people somewhere, taking yourself on a journey to a destination worth going.
For sure we can learn tactics and have strategies for growth in place, but without the basics of self leadership, authenticity and mission in place, and a business model that allows for growth…it will always feel like hard work.
Let me share something.
When COVID hit and the world went into panic, I allowed myself one day, 24 hours…and then I pulled up my big girl pants (and I do have big pants) and I trusted that my tribe would come through for me.
I had something they needed, and I knew they would not go elsewhere for it, because they trusted me.
THAT IS THE POWER OF BUILDING A TRIBE
I’ve had my most successful year in business, despite having some pretty uncomfortable personal challenges, and in part this has because I have built a wonderful tribe that supports me as much as I support them.
If you are interested in how you scale a business ethically during these challengeing times, we should talk.
Doors are now open for the October cohort of Tribe Builder, and the early bird rate is valid until Monday
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and business mentor with more than 20 years experience under her belt. She helps coaches, experts and consultants to grow profitable and impactful tribes, and is passionate about improving the health, wealth and happiness of business leaders the world over.
Of course I know how. I sold a range of online programmes and took on a number of one to one clients, so apologies for the click batey headline…but I really want to talk to you about something super important.
On Friday I ran a VIP mastermind with some clients and we were discussing our plans for next year, setting targets, looking at the mindset blockers that might get in the way of achieving all of our goals…especially our money ones.
And what I often experience with these kinds of expansive days…even when I go on them myself with my own mentors and coaches…is that it’s all exciting, and inspiring, and wonderful dreaming, scheming and playing make-believe about what could be until you get to that big old bummer of a question…
The idea of what and why when positioned in the right way can always help my clients to tap into their biggest resources of magic…they start to imagine the life they can build for themselves and their family AND the impact they can have for their clients, and they feel powerful…like super powerful. UNSTOPPABLE even.
But when they start thinking about the HOW, their energy drops, panic sets in, and all of a sudden they start reviewing their goals to make them more realistic.
Oh, but I’ve never made that kind of money before
I’ve never delivered that kind of programme
I don’t know how to work that bit of technology
I’d have to hire staff
I’m busy now…I can’t imagine having to work twice as hard
At the start of 2020 I sat down in a swanky hotel off Covent Garden in London with my business coach, and my mastermind buddies 16 awesome ladies who I’ve been sharing this crazy year with, and we set our goals for the year.
I can remember the panic in my heart as I boldly said,
“I want to double my income”
I found it so easy to tap into the why, I want to move out of London, I want to impact on the lives of a million small business owners, I want to change the trajectory of my families lives…create real legacy. So yeah…I’m all good with that stuff.
But then the how?
I sat in that room frantically scribbling different ways of doing it, I used the processes I teach my Tribe Builder clients, a process that I’ve used myself a hundred times, but with every different way I laid it out, I got more and more tangled up in the logistics, the tactics, all of the moving parts that do need looking at when you run an online coaching business…and before you knew it that doubling of my income goal not only didn’t seem possible, but it didn’t even seem worth it.
But my coach reminded me to trust myself, to trust the process, to trust that I would work out the how, as long as I focussed on the feelings I wanted to create in my life…FREEDOM being the main thing actually.
And so that was that.
I had my goal for the year, I had a baseline amount of what I wanted to make each month, and I left the how a little bit fuzzy round the edges for the time being, trusting that the right products, services, opportunities, lightbulb moments would come.
And they did.
The fact we were all in a global pandemic didn’t help…or perhaps it did, perhaps it was that which kept me going, focussed on the outcome rather than the process.
And this month?
I set my income goal like I do most months.
For September it was £20,000…other months this year it has been less.
I had of course done some of the maths in terms of what was going on in my business. I was in launch. Well pre-launch. And I was introducing some new ways to work with me. But other than that…I wasn’t able to account for where all of the money would come from.
Sitting down a few days ago I realised I actually managed a £30K month…not all cash in the bank, and not all profit, but I invoiced for over £30K in a 30 day period….well 28 if I really want to show off.
Yep, I’m kinda impressed with that even if I do say so myself. I used to go to work all month, all year for that kind of money in the public sector… it’s all a bit bonkers.
Half way through the month of course I had my normal panic.
“I’m never going to do it”
“Everyone hates me”
“I’m off to get a job in Tescos…I hear they are recruiting”
But that wobble lasted all of 24 hours and in fact coincided with my time of the month (so there is that!!!) and then I cracked on with the job in hand, and I brought in more sales.
The 3 main things I did this month
One ➡️ Invited folk to stuff…paid for challenges, free challenges, facebook lives, masterclasses, chinwags AKA sales calls but without the ick
Two ➡️ I followed up with everyone who had been in my world…I simply asked them if they wanted to work with me, and laid out the options…I mainly did this by DM
Three ➡️ I continued to share on social media what I am bloody good at…AKA community engagement and tribe building…yes I blew my own trumpet so to speak.
The other thing I did was I listened to the stories, the niggling little narrative that explains why hitting my goals are not possible…and after hearing them, I told em to piss off.
And so here we are.
And I get to do it all over again in October.
Now whenever I sit down to write these articles I often wonder if I come across as a smug mug (oooh just made that up), whether in this climate it is ethical or even kind to be talking about making so much money online.
But I want to show my clients what it possible.
I want to show how I do it.
I want to show that Tribe Building isn’t some buzz word, isn’t about fame and having a bazzilian instagram followers…I have 2839 in case you were wondering (come follow me)
I just want to give hope to the folks who have been doing this stuff for a while and feel like…”When’s it my time?”
I felt like that for a long time.
Waiting for the right strategy, the right coach, the right clients…when in fact I just needed to believe in myself more, and stop effing around.
I decided this year I would double my income…and I have, even though I didn’t know how I would do it.
So my questions to you are…
Are you ready to double your income?
Are you ready to give up on the how, for a bit?
Are you ready to trust yourself?
I am wishing you every success in the month of October.
Surround yourself with people on the same journey as you, silence or declutter the voices of the neigh-sayers…and keep your mission close to your heart.
Thats the thing that trumps the how…over and over again.
Let’s do this.
Now of course I am going to tell you about my signature programme Tribe Builder which starts on the 6th October.
It is a 12 week incubator for coaches, experts, therapists and consultants who want to grow a profitable and impactful tribe around their business, and fast.
It’s for small business owners who are done waiting, who are ready to step up, who are ready to create freedom in their life…or whatever it is they long for right now.