Q&A Monday: Member Questions Answered Live (Mar. 3, 2014)

Welcome to a new Q&A Monday, dear Loungettes! I hope you have a fabulous and mindfully productive week.

If you’re ready, let’s begin with our weekly live Q&A session!

There are no small or unimportant questions. Ask about your business. Ask a question that will help you take another step forward. Since we are a big group now, let’s ask only 1 question per member. (Until 4:00 PM EST.)

  • Ask about something that will invite more clarity.
  • Ask about something that’s been annoying you in your business.
  • Ask about something you’ve been wondering about.
  • Ask about something you don’t know how to solve.

As usual, I’ll do my best to answer your questions and make suggestions. And I invite you all to also share your ideas and suggestions!

Use the comments section below to ask your question. Also, please share your ideas and suggestions about other members’ questions by replying to their comments below. We grow our knowledge and experience combining our wisdom.

When you want to tag someone, do the same thing you do on Facebook: write an “@” sign and then the name of the person you want to tag (no space between the sign and the name.) The system will find the related member from the list and tag her inside your post.

IMPORTANT: If your question requires one to take a look at your website, blog or sales page, make sure you provide the related link. Having a link to the subject in question will make participation easier for everyone who wants to contribute to the discussion.

P.S. These are the images related to the question Kathleen O’Brien asked today. Since she won’t be able to post images in the comments, I’m posting them here for you. When you want to share images in the comments (and if it’s needed to discuss a product), you can also upload them to your website and then share the link of the image here in the comments.

kathleen-offer1  kathleen-offer2

Comments

  1. Donna Druchunas says

    Follow up to last week’s question:

    I’m having a live writing retreat weekend this month, and I’m wondering about offering those attendees a follow up with a similar online retreat where they would have more time to go in depth into the topics we will go over in the weekend, and offer them a chance to revise the materials we will go over in one-on-one sessions and have me re-read them.

    I’m always chicken about upselling people who have just paid me for something. I know that’s stupid because they are my perfect people! So what’s the best way to present this invitation and what would you think of as a realistic price point for offering a variation of this as a follow up as I’ve described above?

    https://ruzuku.com/courses/4326/about

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Donna Druchunas, the best method that always works is to be honest, genuine and very clear about what they will get and how it will help them so that those who will benefit the most and who have the funds can jump in.

      The way you described the value above is perfect:

      An online retreat where they would have more time to go in depth into the topics we will go over in the weekend, and offer them a chance to revise the materials we will go over in one-on-one sessions and have me re-read them.

      In marketing there is a formula about upselling that works most of the time:

      Product B, which you want to upsell to the current customer who has already purchased Product A, must cost at least 60% less than Product A but not more. For example, if you just sold a $100 product, you can feel comfortable about upselling a $20, $30 or $40 product but not one that costs $75 or $250.
      That is a ratio that is based on many studies. Research shows that customers feel comfortable about the %60 zone but are not willing to pay more for an upsell offer.

      Another rule in upselling is that Product B must be very relevant to Product A. In your case, this is already in place.

      I see that you’re charging $350 for the course. How much are you charging for the in-person weekend retreat?

      If your pricing does not currently fulfill Rule #1 for upselling, how can you further highlight the worth of the e-course and make the offer a no-brainer?

      • Cigdem Kobu says

        Addendum:

        Donna Druchunas, upselling is often defined as offering another relevant, complementary and less expensive product to a customer who has just purchased a product or is about to purchase it.

        However, when we’re building our businesses we also use a different type of upselling which involves first offering a less expensive product or service as a way of entry for new clients or customers, fulfilling and delivering (or even overdelivering), and building trust and nurturing a relationship so that the same customer or client becomes ready for a more in-depth, comprehensive, and naturally expensive product or service. In that case, the less expensive investment serves as a pleasing sampling that makes the new customer want more.

        I think the offering you mentioned in your question is more like that. So you just have to decide which type of upselling you want to do: from small to big or big to small?

        • Donna Druchunas says

          Cigdem Kobu, (and I’d love input from Cynthia Morris and anyone else who may have ideas and wants to chime in!

          Well, of course I want to make money but my primary goal is that I want to help these people have their books come into the world. So I don’t know. I don’t know that I ever want to work with a bigger (or any size) group of strangers. I want to spend my time helping these people who have amazing projects in the dream stage, but I can’t afford to do it without getting paid (and they’re not asking me to). I am thinking the follow on course would cost more than or the same as the registration fee for the live weekend, but then the participants won’t have travel and lodging costs on top of that. I don’t have the time to do one-on-one coaching. There are one or two people I’ll work with more closely but really that will be as a mentor or confidant.

          I just got done helping a friend with a book and she was going to pay me $1000 a month and I just could not take the money after the first couple of months. It seemed like too much for the small amount of time I was spending on her project and I knew how much she had already put into creating the book, how expensive it is. Maybe that was stupid, I don’t know.

          Maybe the self-study version is for the other people who still might want my help but I don’t feel as passionate about their specific projects.

          I have no idea how to price online things in my genre. I don’t think that the prices other coaches and online teachers are charging will fly. I can’t imagine anyone paying more than $350 for my online course, no matter how great it is. When I see the thousands of dollars people spend on coaching and online classes, I just about croak. I mean, I make a living, but from another viewpoint, I barely get by considering what is considered middle class in the USA. And I am doing better than 95% of the people working as solopreneurs in the knitting field. And at any rate, I don’t want to provide classes and services that only rich people can afford.

          Just thinking out loud. Because this kind of mentoring/coaching/in-depth training is new in the knitting field, maybe I just have to play with it and see what works. Maybe I’m a pioneer in something that will be happening more and more in the future. I hope so, because I want the knitting genre to be taken more seriously and to break out of being granny’s crafting books into something like what has happened in the foodie genre, where it’s everywhere and for everyone, not just cookbooks for new wives (1950s)….

          I hope that’s making some sort of sense.

          • Cindy Lusk says

            I appreciate you thinking out loud, and I’m a little confused, or perhaps naive about the “up selling” (which is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE the progress lounge, I’m so naive about business). I am facing the same thing, and referencing back to you question on the FB page about the domains in which we work, I wonder if it is different in different fields. My hopes with my current eCourse was to do an “intro” course then up level to a “deep dive” which would be more money for a longer course.

  2. Donna Druchunas says

    Follow up to last week’s question:

    I’m having a live writing retreat weekend this month, and I’m wondering about offering those attendees a follow up with a similar online retreat where they would have more time to go in depth into the topics we will go over in the weekend, and offer them a chance to revise the materials we will go over in one-on-one sessions and have me re-read them.

    I’m always chicken about upselling people who have just paid me for something. I know that’s stupid because they are my perfect people! So what’s the best way to present this invitation and what would you think of as a realistic price point for offering a variation of this as a follow up as I’ve described above?

    https://ruzuku.com/courses/4326/about

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Donna Druchunas, the best method that always works is to be honest, genuine and very clear about what they will get and how it will help them so that those who will benefit the most and who have the funds can jump in.

      The way you described the value above is perfect:

      An online retreat where they would have more time to go in depth into the topics we will go over in the weekend, and offer them a chance to revise the materials we will go over in one-on-one sessions and have me re-read them.

      In marketing there is a formula about upselling that works most of the time:

      Product B, which you want to upsell to the current customer who has already purchased Product A, must cost at least 60% less than Product A but not more. For example, if you just sold a $100 product, you can feel comfortable about upselling a $20, $30 or $40 product but not one that costs $75 or $250.
      That is a ratio that is based on many studies. Research shows that customers feel comfortable about the %60 zone but are not willing to pay more for an upsell offer.

      Another rule in upselling is that Product B must be very relevant to Product A. In your case, this is already in place.

      I see that you’re charging $350 for the course. How much are you charging for the in-person weekend retreat?

      If your pricing does not currently fulfill Rule #1 for upselling, how can you further highlight the worth of the e-course and make the offer a no-brainer?

      • Cigdem Kobu says

        Addendum:

        Donna Druchunas, upselling is often defined as offering another relevant, complementary and less expensive product to a customer who has just purchased a product or is about to purchase it.

        However, when we’re building our businesses we also use a different type of upselling which involves first offering a less expensive product or service as a way of entry for new clients or customers, fulfilling and delivering (or even overdelivering), and building trust and nurturing a relationship so that the same customer or client becomes ready for a more in-depth, comprehensive, and naturally expensive product or service. In that case, the less expensive investment serves as a pleasing sampling that makes the new customer want more.

        I think the offering you mentioned in your question is more like that. So you just have to decide which type of upselling you want to do: from small to big or big to small?

        • Donna Druchunas says

          Cigdem Kobu, (and I’d love input from Cynthia Morris and anyone else who may have ideas and wants to chime in!

          Well, of course I want to make money but my primary goal is that I want to help these people have their books come into the world. So I don’t know. I don’t know that I ever want to work with a bigger (or any size) group of strangers. I want to spend my time helping these people who have amazing projects in the dream stage, but I can’t afford to do it without getting paid (and they’re not asking me to). I am thinking the follow on course would cost more than or the same as the registration fee for the live weekend, but then the participants won’t have travel and lodging costs on top of that. I don’t have the time to do one-on-one coaching. There are one or two people I’ll work with more closely but really that will be as a mentor or confidant.

          I just got done helping a friend with a book and she was going to pay me $1000 a month and I just could not take the money after the first couple of months. It seemed like too much for the small amount of time I was spending on her project and I knew how much she had already put into creating the book, how expensive it is. Maybe that was stupid, I don’t know.

          Maybe the self-study version is for the other people who still might want my help but I don’t feel as passionate about their specific projects.

          I have no idea how to price online things in my genre. I don’t think that the prices other coaches and online teachers are charging will fly. I can’t imagine anyone paying more than $350 for my online course, no matter how great it is. When I see the thousands of dollars people spend on coaching and online classes, I just about croak. I mean, I make a living, but from another viewpoint, I barely get by considering what is considered middle class in the USA. And I am doing better than 95% of the people working as solopreneurs in the knitting field. And at any rate, I don’t want to provide classes and services that only rich people can afford.

          Just thinking out loud. Because this kind of mentoring/coaching/in-depth training is new in the knitting field, maybe I just have to play with it and see what works. Maybe I’m a pioneer in something that will be happening more and more in the future. I hope so, because I want the knitting genre to be taken more seriously and to break out of being granny’s crafting books into something like what has happened in the foodie genre, where it’s everywhere and for everyone, not just cookbooks for new wives (1950s)….

          I hope that’s making some sort of sense.

          • Cindy Lusk says

            I appreciate you thinking out loud, and I’m a little confused, or perhaps naive about the “up selling” (which is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE the progress lounge, I’m so naive about business). I am facing the same thing, and referencing back to you question on the FB page about the domains in which we work, I wonder if it is different in different fields. My hopes with my current eCourse was to do an “intro” course then up level to a “deep dive” which would be more money for a longer course.

  3. Kathleen O'Brien says

    Cigdem Kobu I would appreciate feedback about the announcement of Sunwise Celebrations, yearly events at our farm, and the first event flyer “planting seeds for soil and soul”. I had been drawing the sun mandala during last weeks long discussion started by Donna Druchunas and working on my dearests, with a prompt from Cynthia Morris it all spilled out & is starting to integrate. I realized thanks to Romy Maillard that I could start with the Vernal Equinox. There are 7 other events spaced through the next year. I changed them a bit from yesterdays FB post.

    How do I add photos?

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Kathleen O’Brien, you’re giving birth to a powerful offering. You can actually do this four times a year and celebrate both equinoxes and solstices.

      Why are you charging only $5. That seems way too low to me for all of your efforts and the amazing experience I know you’ll have people live.

      Are you doing it as an activity that does not aim for profit? If that is the case, it looks and sounds great. Otherwise, I suggest increasing the ticket fee. Sometimes when an offer involves a very low price, people perceive it as not worth pursuing. Sad but true.

      Another idea is doing an online one-day event and charging for that too. In that way, you can allow many women from different parts of the U.S. and the world to join your event while you do the live one. You can even do it one day before the live event and give the live participants access to the online gathering too.

      You could do it through a closed Facebook group where you share the prompt, invite people to journal, invite them to share, and then join them in the discussion online for the day. You took my Winter Joy Retreat program. You could follow that format for one day. You can also give the participants a pdf that has the seed prompt accompanied by the beautiful image of a painting you do just for this.

      (There is an “n” missing before the word “origami” in the second image.)

      • Kathleen O'Brien says

        thank you, Cigdem Kobu, I have decided to charge something in addition to materials instead of donation. I agree, people value what they pay for.

        I have created 8 events for the year, based on the Solstices and cross-quarter times. For instance, my Open studio is always first weekend of November, Samhuin, Halloween, and I host a Winter solstice event each. I am just going to expand on these times and add appropriate activities that involve art, healing and the earth.

        I like your idea of the one day online event. I don’t know if I’ll have time for this first one, but for the next…

  4. Kathleen O'Brien says

    Cigdem Kobu I would appreciate feedback about the announcement of Sunwise Celebrations, yearly events at our farm, and the first event flyer “planting seeds for soil and soul”. I had been drawing the sun mandala during last weeks long discussion started by Donna Druchunas and working on my dearests, with a prompt from Cynthia Morris it all spilled out & is starting to integrate. I realized thanks to Romy Maillard that I could start with the Vernal Equinox. There are 7 other events spaced through the next year. I changed them a bit from yesterdays FB post.

    How do I add photos?

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Kathleen O’Brien, you’re giving birth to a powerful offering. You can actually do this four times a year and celebrate both equinoxes and solstices.

      Why are you charging only $5. That seems way too low to me for all of your efforts and the amazing experience I know you’ll have people live.

      Are you doing it as an activity that does not aim for profit? If that is the case, it looks and sounds great. Otherwise, I suggest increasing the ticket fee. Sometimes when an offer involves a very low price, people perceive it as not worth pursuing. Sad but true.

      Another idea is doing an online one-day event and charging for that too. In that way, you can allow many women from different parts of the U.S. and the world to join your event while you do the live one. You can even do it one day before the live event and give the live participants access to the online gathering too.

      You could do it through a closed Facebook group where you share the prompt, invite people to journal, invite them to share, and then join them in the discussion online for the day. You took my Winter Joy Retreat program. You could follow that format for one day. You can also give the participants a pdf that has the seed prompt accompanied by the beautiful image of a painting you do just for this.

      (There is an “n” missing before the word “origami” in the second image.)

      • Kathleen O'Brien says

        thank you, Cigdem Kobu, I have decided to charge something in addition to materials instead of donation. I agree, people value what they pay for.

        I have created 8 events for the year, based on the Solstices and cross-quarter times. For instance, my Open studio is always first weekend of November, Samhuin, Halloween, and I host a Winter solstice event each. I am just going to expand on these times and add appropriate activities that involve art, healing and the earth.

        I like your idea of the one day online event. I don’t know if I’ll have time for this first one, but for the next…

  5. says

    Hello. I’ve just launched my business and trying to discover where my ideal clients are hanging out online. I help people that are done with being chronic people pleasers live empowered as their true self. My newly created signature program, Live Empowered as You is designed for you to learn a new way to give and love from your signature soul self. If it’s helpful to read more about my program, please go to http://www.createbeyondlimits.com. I’m estimating that my ideal clients are between the age of 35-55, male or female. I want to target my advertising and start building my tribe; however, uncertain where to discover them and would appreciate any advice.

  6. says

    Hello. I’ve just launched my business and trying to discover where my ideal clients are hanging out online. I help people that are done with being chronic people pleasers live empowered as their true self. My newly created signature program, Live Empowered as You is designed for you to learn a new way to give and love from your signature soul self. If it’s helpful to read more about my program, please go to http://www.createbeyondlimits.com. I’m estimating that my ideal clients are between the age of 35-55, male or female. I want to target my advertising and start building my tribe; however, uncertain where to discover them and would appreciate any advice.

  7. says

    Hi

    I’d be interested to know how you’ve grown your business and raised your profile. I lost some momentum last year and I’d like to start growing my business again. I’d really value some pointers and suggestions as to how I might kickstart the process.

    Many thanks
    Nicola

    • Sandra Pawula says

      Great question, Nicola Warwick! I’m curious about this too, Cigdem Kobu since you seem to have people pouring into the PL, but aren’t posting on your blog much – presumably because you pour so much of your energy in the PL. I wonder: how are they finding you and am curious about Nicola’s question.

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Hi, Nicola Warwick. There are a few factors about the way I do business that have probably played a role.

      * I build connections first.

      Email is my medium. I receive and write numerous emails every week – mostly short but meaningful ones. I write to mentors, people I admire, colleagues, peers, clients, students, participants in my courses, subscribers, people who take the same courses I take etc.

      I take notes about people and try to inquire about the important events in their lives. Most of my clients have become clients after such a nurtured relationship. And this has also made it easier for me to agree with collaborators or guest experts for my courses and other events.

      I build relationships by email, but everyone can do this ‘relationship nurturing” in a different way.

      People remember how you make them feel. Someone who does this well is our Cynthia Morris. She sends hand-written notes to peers, mentors, and clients. And this makes her different in the way she connects.

      * I don’t follow or rave about shiny online personas.

      And don’t become a satellite in their online presence. This has allowed me to stay at a distance from others’ voices and “-isms” and prevented my unique identity and image from being “tilted toward” someone else’s branding elements.

      Instead, I make friends with the kind of influencers I admire and help them in ways that are useful and unexpected. When I know through social media or blog updates someone has a problem, I write and offer help.

      Most often, it’s an information, resource or link I have and they don’t. Or I may introduce and connect two different people to each other in email and help both solve a problem etc.

      Or it may be a tiny surprise gesture. As an example, last year I realized that Jen Louden, with whom I already have a friendly relationship though not too close, hadn’t purchased the domain “savorandserve.com.” I think that was a mistake because that phrase is deeply connected to her online brand, and anyone could buy and use it. I simply purchased it and gifted it to her through a domain transfer. I also wrote to her how it could be redirected to her own website. It cost me under $10, but she was surprised and very touched.

      * I start all of my projects in beta.

      This means I start everything as a minimum viable product. I include other people as beta testers (i.e the Charter Members of the Lounge.) This allows me to create, test and improve as I go along. I know that if I linger for too long before I ship a cherished idea, I get bored and it never gets out.

      So, if I care enough about an idea for a product and if it’s a great fit for my unique business and value proposition, then I launch it in beta with a few customers or members and then perfect it slowly.

      * I constantly learn, experiment and transform (myself and my business.)

      I constantly read, study and learn. And I research not just my industry but other industries and look for methods that I can implement in my own business. I constantly revise my website (the hub of my online platform) and try to make it better each time (even though I know it’s always an ongoing process.)

      * I allow myself to fail and also to change my mind.

      Some of those beta projects didn’t make it and disappeared from the face of earth after a while. But that’s OK because you cannot be sure about some things without actually giving them a try.

      And I’m OK about changing my mind about decisions which turn out to be not so right for me. Making a different decision doesn’t mean being flaky or unprofessional. It means you’re smart enough to perceive and honor what you need and what you don’t.

      * If I create something, I make it extremely valuable, and also different from any similar offering.

      People who work with me or who purchase from me know that they will have best quality. And that I’ll put my whole self in it. And that I care about the deeper details. In the end, they have a good experience. That’s why I have repeating clients and people who take multiple courses etc.

      ***

      In addition to the above, I can say that I made the biggest leap when I narrowed my ideal target audience (aka my Perfect People) and sharpened my Point of Difference. That has helped me feel more connected to what I’m doing, struggle less when creating content and promoting, and spreading the word and becoming known in the crowded web space.

      • says

        Wow! That is so insightful, Cigdem Kobu, thank you! It’s given me a lot to think about and I love the way you connect with people by email. What a great idea, too, to gift a domain name to Jen.

        I really like the connecting and that’s something I can definitely incorporate.

        I must admit I have done the shiny online persona thing. Although recently I’ve stopped following a few of them so that I’m not being influenced by other people’s ideas and can formulate my own independently.

        This is so helpful. Thank you! Off to ponder a little now!!

      • Donna Druchunas says

        Cigdem Kobu said, “I build relationships by email, but everyone can do this ‘relationship nurturing” in a different way.”

        So true!

        Even if you simply reply to people’s tweets and Facebook posts, that’s making connections. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told how amazing it is that I actually take the time to reply to people who “talk” to me online. What does it take? 10 seconds!

        Apparently a lot of online personalities/writers/designers/etc don’t do this. Why be online if you’re not going to interact? I guess some people are just broadcasting. That’s noise to me.

      • Sandra Pawula says

        Very insightful! Thank you so much, Cigdem Kobu. I know I’m weak at reaching out to build connections. I do have quite a few positive connections in my niche from the past, and I am very responsive to readers who contact me. But, I haven’t kept reaching out to create new connections and I see that this is holding me back or at least not moving me forward. This is giving me a renewed perspective and encouragement for being more proactive.

        I’ve reached out twice this week already so I must have been getting the psychic signals!

      • Patty Bechtold says

        This is very inspiring Cigdem Kobu! Thank you. What I especially like is how you honor the process and time it takes to build deep relationships. We really don’t need to get there all at once, do we? I also love that you share that Cynthia Morris sends notes to people. I’ve often considered sending a snail mail note to someone I admired, but I worried that it might seem off-putting if I didn’t really know the person. Ooops, I think that was my inner critic talking!

      • Romy Maillard says

        I agree with Nicola Warwick, the insights into your ways are such valuable information and plenty of food for thought, thank you for sharing. “Making something extremely valuable and different from similar offerings” has been on my mind a lot as well the past days in regard to the magazine and the blog.

        I like how you give yourself permission to “fail” and change your mind, something I’m becoming more aware of lately and I love how you build relationships.

        Cynthia Morris I’d love to know a bit more about your card sending practice, if you care to share; what a fabulous idea! This immediately resonated big time with me as I’m always extremely delighted when I receive a card in the snail mail.

        Good question, Donna Druchunas!

        • Cynthia Morris says

          Romy,

          Thanks for asking! My mission/purpose in life:

          Love what I love, share that love, and inspire others to love.

          Love is all there is.

          So, I LOVE cards and notes and mail. I love stamps and envelopes and pretty much anything paper.

          I also love getting mail!

          Concurrent to realizing this, we’ve seen a huge decline in postal mail.

          Love + rare thing = differentiator and wow-inducer.

          I have cards and stamps on hand – global ones too – so I can easily send a note. I also make my own card paintings and send those.

          The hand-made gift and the card sent around the world really blows people away and it makes me happy.

          I have an online friend, a collage artist in Canada, who sends me cards and notes of love and appreciation. It’s SO wonderful to be on the receiving end of it.

          When I did marketing at a bookstore years ago, we sent 5 postcards a day. I’m not quite that organized and I would like to send more cards. But I don’t squelch the love with ‘shoulds’.

          So, what does this inspire in you? Tell us when you have an idea of how you might play with this yourself. :)

          • says

            Cynthia Morris I love this card idea – I collect cards and make photo cards and then don’t send many out.

            Thank you for the inspiration. I’m wondering: do people usually have their addresses on their websites? I haven’t really looked!

            I’m inspired to do this – I love it when someone sends me a card.

            Thanks for the question Donna Druchunas and your response Cigdem Kobu. As with Sandra Pawula it’s holding me back not to reach out more.

          • Cynthia Morris says

            Yay, Vicky! Send the love!

            You can often get someone’s address from the bottom of their newsletter if you are a subscriber. Or google it.

            This isn’t fail proof but it’s a start.

          • Sandra Pawula says

            Cynthia Morris I love all the positive energy you have around sending cards. Love is beautiful! I loved hearing about this. I don’t know whether I’ll adapt this or not, but I so appreciate the way you are circulating love in the world.

          • Cynthia Morris says

            Thank you, Marcie! It’s funny, I knew it wasn’t the norm but I had no idea it would be so resonant.

            I have a nearly-finished article I NEED to get out there:

            Five Ways to Blow People Away in Life and Business.

            This is on the list. :)

      • Tara Leaver says

        Really loved your response Cigdem Kobu ~ I can’t imagine many of the ‘big shiny’ people talking like this or thinking about it in this way! And it makes perfect sense to me, and feels so much better and more in alignment with how I want to live. It also prevents the separation of work and life; I’d rather have it all just be living, and being able to live my values across the board feels a million times better than the ‘trying’ I’ve got a bit tangled up in lately.

        I realise also that your way of connecting one at a time via email is actually also my way, I just hadn’t really thought of it like that. I’m part of another group and we were recently given a challenge to connect with someone we admire or a peer. I loved doing it so much I am now doing it whenever I feel moved to contact someone. Sometimes they respond and are delighted, sometimes I don’t hear back, but I feel glad just to do it, knowing that even if they don’t have time to respond I have sent something good out into the world. :)

        I’m not sure that anyone I connect with in this way is really a potential client/student, but they do often help me spread the word, and although I’m not connecting with them to ‘get’ anything, it’s lovely to have heartfelt endorsement without having to ask for it.

  8. says

    Hi

    I’d be interested to know how you’ve grown your business and raised your profile. I lost some momentum last year and I’d like to start growing my business again. I’d really value some pointers and suggestions as to how I might kickstart the process.

    Many thanks
    Nicola

    • Sandra Pawula says

      Great question, Nicola Warwick! I’m curious about this too, Cigdem Kobu since you seem to have people pouring into the PL, but aren’t posting on your blog much – presumably because you pour so much of your energy in the PL. I wonder: how are they finding you and am curious about Nicola’s question.

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Hi, Nicola Warwick. There are a few factors about the way I do business that have probably played a role.

      * I build connections first.

      Email is my medium. I receive and write numerous emails every week – mostly short but meaningful ones. I write to mentors, people I admire, colleagues, peers, clients, students, participants in my courses, subscribers, people who take the same courses I take etc.

      I take notes about people and try to inquire about the important events in their lives. Most of my clients have become clients after such a nurtured relationship. And this has also made it easier for me to agree with collaborators or guest experts for my courses and other events.

      I build relationships by email, but everyone can do this ‘relationship nurturing” in a different way.

      People remember how you make them feel. Someone who does this well is our Cynthia Morris. She sends hand-written notes to peers, mentors, and clients. And this makes her different in the way she connects.

      * I don’t follow or rave about shiny online personas.

      And don’t become a satellite in their online presence. This has allowed me to stay at a distance from others’ voices and “-isms” and prevented my unique identity and image from being “tilted toward” someone else’s branding elements.

      Instead, I make friends with the kind of influencers I admire and help them in ways that are useful and unexpected. When I know through social media or blog updates someone has a problem, I write and offer help.

      Most often, it’s an information, resource or link I have and they don’t. Or I may introduce and connect two different people to each other in email and help both solve a problem etc.

      Or it may be a tiny surprise gesture. As an example, last year I realized that Jen Louden, with whom I already have a friendly relationship though not too close, hadn’t purchased the domain “savorandserve.com.” I think that was a mistake because that phrase is deeply connected to her online brand, and anyone could buy and use it. I simply purchased it and gifted it to her through a domain transfer. I also wrote to her how it could be redirected to her own website. It cost me under $10, but she was surprised and very touched.

      * I start all of my projects in beta.

      This means I start everything as a minimum viable product. I include other people as beta testers (i.e the Charter Members of the Lounge.) This allows me to create, test and improve as I go along. I know that if I linger for too long before I ship a cherished idea, I get bored and it never gets out.

      So, if I care enough about an idea for a product and if it’s a great fit for my unique business and value proposition, then I launch it in beta with a few customers or members and then perfect it slowly.

      * I constantly learn, experiment and transform (myself and my business.)

      I constantly read, study and learn. And I research not just my industry but other industries and look for methods that I can implement in my own business. I constantly revise my website (the hub of my online platform) and try to make it better each time (even though I know it’s always an ongoing process.)

      * I allow myself to fail and also to change my mind.

      Some of those beta projects didn’t make it and disappeared from the face of earth after a while. But that’s OK because you cannot be sure about some things without actually giving them a try.

      And I’m OK about changing my mind about decisions which turn out to be not so right for me. Making a different decision doesn’t mean being flaky or unprofessional. It means you’re smart enough to perceive and honor what you need and what you don’t.

      * If I create something, I make it extremely valuable, and also different from any similar offering.

      People who work with me or who purchase from me know that they will have best quality. And that I’ll put my whole self in it. And that I care about the deeper details. In the end, they have a good experience. That’s why I have repeating clients and people who take multiple courses etc.

      ***

      In addition to the above, I can say that I made the biggest leap when I narrowed my ideal target audience (aka my Perfect People) and sharpened my Point of Difference. That has helped me feel more connected to what I’m doing, struggle less when creating content and promoting, and spreading the word and becoming known in the crowded web space.

      • says

        Wow! That is so insightful, Cigdem Kobu, thank you! It’s given me a lot to think about and I love the way you connect with people by email. What a great idea, too, to gift a domain name to Jen.

        I really like the connecting and that’s something I can definitely incorporate.

        I must admit I have done the shiny online persona thing. Although recently I’ve stopped following a few of them so that I’m not being influenced by other people’s ideas and can formulate my own independently.

        This is so helpful. Thank you! Off to ponder a little now!!

      • Donna Druchunas says

        Cigdem Kobu said, “I build relationships by email, but everyone can do this ‘relationship nurturing” in a different way.”

        So true!

        Even if you simply reply to people’s tweets and Facebook posts, that’s making connections. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told how amazing it is that I actually take the time to reply to people who “talk” to me online. What does it take? 10 seconds!

        Apparently a lot of online personalities/writers/designers/etc don’t do this. Why be online if you’re not going to interact? I guess some people are just broadcasting. That’s noise to me.

      • Sandra Pawula says

        Very insightful! Thank you so much, Cigdem Kobu. I know I’m weak at reaching out to build connections. I do have quite a few positive connections in my niche from the past, and I am very responsive to readers who contact me. But, I haven’t kept reaching out to create new connections and I see that this is holding me back or at least not moving me forward. This is giving me a renewed perspective and encouragement for being more proactive.

        I’ve reached out twice this week already so I must have been getting the psychic signals!

      • Patty Bechtold says

        This is very inspiring Cigdem Kobu! Thank you. What I especially like is how you honor the process and time it takes to build deep relationships. We really don’t need to get there all at once, do we? I also love that you share that Cynthia Morris sends notes to people. I’ve often considered sending a snail mail note to someone I admired, but I worried that it might seem off-putting if I didn’t really know the person. Ooops, I think that was my inner critic talking!

      • Romy Maillard says

        I agree with Nicola Warwick, the insights into your ways are such valuable information and plenty of food for thought, thank you for sharing. “Making something extremely valuable and different from similar offerings” has been on my mind a lot as well the past days in regard to the magazine and the blog.

        I like how you give yourself permission to “fail” and change your mind, something I’m becoming more aware of lately and I love how you build relationships.

        Cynthia Morris I’d love to know a bit more about your card sending practice, if you care to share; what a fabulous idea! This immediately resonated big time with me as I’m always extremely delighted when I receive a card in the snail mail.

        Good question, Donna Druchunas!

        • Cynthia Morris says

          Romy,

          Thanks for asking! My mission/purpose in life:

          Love what I love, share that love, and inspire others to love.

          Love is all there is.

          So, I LOVE cards and notes and mail. I love stamps and envelopes and pretty much anything paper.

          I also love getting mail!

          Concurrent to realizing this, we’ve seen a huge decline in postal mail.

          Love + rare thing = differentiator and wow-inducer.

          I have cards and stamps on hand – global ones too – so I can easily send a note. I also make my own card paintings and send those.

          The hand-made gift and the card sent around the world really blows people away and it makes me happy.

          I have an online friend, a collage artist in Canada, who sends me cards and notes of love and appreciation. It’s SO wonderful to be on the receiving end of it.

          When I did marketing at a bookstore years ago, we sent 5 postcards a day. I’m not quite that organized and I would like to send more cards. But I don’t squelch the love with ‘shoulds’.

          So, what does this inspire in you? Tell us when you have an idea of how you might play with this yourself. :)

          • says

            Cynthia Morris I love this card idea – I collect cards and make photo cards and then don’t send many out.

            Thank you for the inspiration. I’m wondering: do people usually have their addresses on their websites? I haven’t really looked!

            I’m inspired to do this – I love it when someone sends me a card.

            Thanks for the question Donna Druchunas and your response Cigdem Kobu. As with Sandra Pawula it’s holding me back not to reach out more.

          • Cynthia Morris says

            Yay, Vicky! Send the love!

            You can often get someone’s address from the bottom of their newsletter if you are a subscriber. Or google it.

            This isn’t fail proof but it’s a start.

          • Sandra Pawula says

            Cynthia Morris I love all the positive energy you have around sending cards. Love is beautiful! I loved hearing about this. I don’t know whether I’ll adapt this or not, but I so appreciate the way you are circulating love in the world.

          • Cynthia Morris says

            Thank you, Marcie! It’s funny, I knew it wasn’t the norm but I had no idea it would be so resonant.

            I have a nearly-finished article I NEED to get out there:

            Five Ways to Blow People Away in Life and Business.

            This is on the list. :)

      • Tara Leaver says

        Really loved your response Cigdem Kobu ~ I can’t imagine many of the ‘big shiny’ people talking like this or thinking about it in this way! And it makes perfect sense to me, and feels so much better and more in alignment with how I want to live. It also prevents the separation of work and life; I’d rather have it all just be living, and being able to live my values across the board feels a million times better than the ‘trying’ I’ve got a bit tangled up in lately.

        I realise also that your way of connecting one at a time via email is actually also my way, I just hadn’t really thought of it like that. I’m part of another group and we were recently given a challenge to connect with someone we admire or a peer. I loved doing it so much I am now doing it whenever I feel moved to contact someone. Sometimes they respond and are delighted, sometimes I don’t hear back, but I feel glad just to do it, knowing that even if they don’t have time to respond I have sent something good out into the world. :)

        I’m not sure that anyone I connect with in this way is really a potential client/student, but they do often help me spread the word, and although I’m not connecting with them to ‘get’ anything, it’s lovely to have heartfelt endorsement without having to ask for it.

  9. Cigdem Kobu says

    Here is a question Jacki Hayes asked by email since she will be away all day for jury duty. I’m posting on her behalf.

    =======

    I currently run two websites. One is a personal blog at Dare 2 Dream Dare 2 Do (http://www.dare2dream-dare2do.com). It focuses on becoming who you might have been by following 10 key steps to Health & Happiness.

    I also have an online personal training business (incredibly small business at the moment) with an associated website at Beauty In Strength Fitness (http://www.beautyinstrengthfitness.com). This is currently a registered LLC.

    I have a much larger readership on D2D, but a larger mailing list at BISF. Neither are really something to write home about.

    I have an idea for a 21 day course called reFresh – digging yourself out of the muck to find the authentic you, which seems to fit well with Dare 2 Dream Dare 2 Do. But I really feel like I should be focusing on the BISF site to generate more paying clients.

    In addition, I have been encouraged to create a social media virtual assistant and blog creation “helper” business. I love this idea as it taps into my love of blogging and social media and I can see this generating decent income.

    I would like to generate a substantial income from an online business, but three separate focuses are too much. I haven’t even started the social media site/business and I already feel overwhelmed.

    My perfect people are women in their thirties and forties who feel the pull to be better than yesterday but have been unable to commit to action due to an inability to tap into their genuine selves from years of giving up and giving in. I see fitness and health as a great first step in starting their journey. As for the social media business, I want to support women starting their own online businesses.

    Right now I feel scattered and lost, as if I can’t see the big picture or the connections that create my unique points of difference.

    When I joined Progress Lounge, Cigdem suggested that I my help people stay fit in life and business – which I used as my tag line at JackiRHayes.com (http://www.jackirhayes.com). This is a site that I use as a way to sell myself as a brand. But I’m stuck on how this really all fits together into a cohesive whole and how I can streamline this so I don’t feel so overwhelmed and scattered.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    • Donna Druchunas says

      I love the theme I am seeing here:

      Kaitlyn Mirison: I help people that are done with being chronic people pleasers live empowered as their true self.

      Jacki Hayes: My perfect people are women in their thirties and forties who feel the pull to be better than yesterday but have been unable to commit to action due to an inability to tap into their genuine selves from years of giving up and giving in.

      Kathleen O: “planting seeds for soil and soul”

    • Sandra Pawula says

      Jacki Hayes ~ Love the name for your course! I appreciate your sense of overwhelm as that can happen to me too. I look forward to Cigdem’s response to you and wish you the very best in coming to a clear direction.

    • says

      This is interesting, Jacki Hayes, my business is very much about helping women grow their business online. I certainly see a need for help with technology/showing people how easy it can be with the right pointers, and doing the work for people who don’t have the time to do it themselves.

      If I can help with any of my experiences, just let me know!

      Nicola

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Jacki Hayes, I wish you would read the announcement at 37signals.com. http://37signals.com

      This is what they wrote:

      Two big announcements.

      February 5, 2014.

      This year marks 37signals’ 15th year in business. And today is Basecamp’s 10th birthday. We have a lot to celebrate, and two exciting announcements to share. But first, let’s set the scene with some history.

      37signals was founded back in 1999 as a web design firm. With the release of Basecamp in 2004, we began our journey to become a software company. Once Basecamp revenue surpassed web design revenue in 2005, the transition was complete.

      Since then we’ve launched Ta-da List (2005), Writeboard (2005), Backpack (2005), Campfire (2006), The Job Board & Gig Board (2006), Highrise (2007), Sortfolio (2009), the all new Basecamp (2012), Know Your Company (2013), and We Work Remotely (2013).

      We also created and open sourced Ruby on Rails (2004), wrote a few books (Defensive Design for the Web (2004), Getting Real (2006), REWORK (2010), and REMOTE (2013)), and published thousands of blog posts on Signal vs. Noise.

      Fifteen years into it, we’re proud of the work we’ve done and the business we’ve built. And business has never been better.

      However, because we’ve released so many products over the years, we’ve become a bit scattered, a bit diluted. Nobody does their best work when they’re spread too thin. We certainly don’t. We do our best work when we’re all focused on one thing.

      Further, we’ve always enjoyed being a small company. Today we’re bigger than we’ve ever been, but we’re still relatively small at 43 people. So while we could hire a bunch more people to do a bunch more things, that kind of rapid expansion is at odds with our culture. We want to maintain the kind of company where everyone knows everyone’s name. That’s one of the reasons why so many of the people who work at 37signals stay at 37signals.

      So with that in mind, last August we conducted a thorough review of our products, our customer base, our passions, and our visions of the company for the next 20 years. When we put it all on the table, everything lined up and pointed at one clear conclusion. We all got excited. We knew it was right.

      So today, February 5, 2014, exactly ten years to the day since we launched Basecamp, we have a couple of big announcements to make.

      Here’s the first: Moving forward, we will be a one product company. That product will be Basecamp. Our entire company will rally around Basecamp. With our whole team – from design to development to customer service to ops – focused on one thing, Basecamp will continue to get better in every direction and on every dimension.

      Basecamp is our best idea and our biggest winner. Over 15 million people have Basecamp accounts, and just last week another 6,622 companies signed up for new Basecamp accounts. Ten years into it, Basecamp keeps accelerating. We’ve had other big hits, but nothing quite like Basecamp.

      When we meet people, and they ask us what we do, we say we work for 37signals. If they aren’t in the tech world, they’ll squint and say “what’s that?”. When we say “we’re the folks who make Basecamp”, their eyes light up and open wide. “Basecamp! Oh I love Basecamp! My wife uses Basecamp too! Even our church uses Basecamp!” We hear this kind of response over and over. People just love their Basecamp.

      So that got us thinking… While 37signals is well known in tech circles, far more people around the world actually know us for Basecamp. And since we’re going to be completely focused on Basecamp moving forward, why don’t we just go all in on “Basecamp”.

      So here’s the second big announcement: We’re changing our name. 37signals is now Basecamp. “37signals” goes into the history books. From now on, we are Basecamp. Basecamp the company, Basecamp the product. We’re one and the same.

      With this change, we renew our long-term commitment to all things Basecamp. Basecamp on the web, Basecamp on iOS, Basecamp on Android, Basecamp via email, and Basecamp wherever else it makes sense. Each one of us will be dedicated to improving Basecamp, extending Basecamp’s reach, expanding Basecamp’s capabilities, and making sure our Basecamp customers are treated like royalty.

      And we’ll never forget what made Basecamp so popular in the first place: It just works. It’s simple, it’s easy to use, it’s easy to understand, it’s clear, it’s reliable, and it’s dependable. We’ll continue to make it more of all of those things.

      The last fifteen years have been a blast, but with every future moment focused on Basecamp, the next fifteen are going to be even better. We’re fired up! We’ve already got loads of new Basecamp stuff cooking.

      Please visit our brand new site at http://basecamp.com and have a look around. If you’re not a Basecamp customer yet, give us a try. We’d love to have you. If you already are, we thank you for your business.

      Standing by to serve you for decades to come.

      Thank you from all of us at Basecamp.

      JF signature
      -Jason Fried
      Founder & CEO Basecamp

      Amazing!

      These guys are big. You probably know their work. And they’re making a lot of money with their products. They’re hugely successful. And yet, they are eliminating everything they have created only to become the best in one single thing. They badly need that focus.

      This made me think of you (and me.) We have many similarities, like I wrote in my email message. We have multiple interests and multiple skills. This may seem like an advantage to some, but we both know that it can also be a curse.

      So, my suggestion is:

      Sit down, determine your biggest strengths, what you can give best, and determine whether people will pay for it. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it. Just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean it should become your business. But you need one single focus to make this happen.

      You are the first and last person who can decide where to focus. But since you asked for my opinion, I’ll tell you.

      I see that your online identity (as well as your focus) is very fragmented. If I were you, I would:

      – focus on the “happiness through fitness and health” (dare to be fit and happy) concept.
      – put away the idea of online business and social media help.
      – purchase the domain jackihayes.com without the “r” in it and make it your one and only website and blog. (I checked, it’s available. People will search for you as “Jacki Hayes” not “Jacki R. Hayes.” And you’re lucky to have a memorable name unlike mine.)
      – get rid of the dare2do-dare2dream site. (the domain is not good there and any similar name is taken.)
      – do a 301 redirect of the Beauty in Strength Fitness site to jackihayes.com.
      – transfer all posts of Dare2Dream and Beauty in Strength sites to jackihayes.com
      – your photos with the green top are very vibrant. The photo in jackirhayes.com not so much in terms of alignment with your concept.
      – focus on creating great content around the idea of “fitness and health as the first step for creating happiness.”
      – rewrite the copy for your about and work with me pages.
      – work on creating your signature freebie with that single focus.

      Your perfect people are almost clear. And the “dare to be fit” concept is very open for expanding. If you can find an umbrella idea/topic, you can start with developing the happiness through fitness topic under it.

      You can even cover some related topics you currently talk about on the dare2do site because the reason we women fail to reconnect with our bodies is not one but many. You can write about work-life relationship, mindfulness, eating, psychology, relationships, stress, midlife etc by building personal connections through your own story.

      That umbrella idea could still be “dare to do.”

      As you grow your business, and once you’re an established authority on the “dare to be fit” concept, you can choose to (or not to) expand that idea to other realms such as “dare to be creative” “dare to build a biz” etc.

      But you must begin with a single focus first and conquer that zone in your own way without being pulled into so many different directions. Having one and only website at jackihayes.com will allow you to play bigger when the right time comes.

      First go deep, then go wide.

      • Jacki Hayes says

        Cigdem Kobu As I was reading 37Signals announcement, I had chills. This was exactly what I needed to hear.

        I am interested in so many things, mostly because my passion in life is learning. Which leads to the insane stack of books scattered around my house at the moment. I’ve been attempting to focus on my root chakra as of late, so I’m narrowing myself down to two subjects – money and nutrition. Narrowing down to two was horrible.

        Your suggestions were much needed. I felt pushed to move toward the social media aspect because I’ve had a number of friends request that I do so. Honestly, I saw the dollar sign in it more than anything.

        I’m still processing the suggestions, although I did immediately go out and purchase jackihayes.com.

        You mention the picture of me in the vibrant blue shirt. I wonder though about that vibrant color. When I worked on my perfect person, I found that she would be attracted to retro coffee shops and a library-like feel. Some place cozy and quiet where she could have an intimate conversation with her best friend. This leads me to more natural tones rather than the bright colors.

        Just one question while I let the rest absorb. Which I will have plenty of time to do while I wait to get selected for a jury :).

        • says

          Jacki Hayes, I’m attracted to retro coffee shops and a library-like feel and I love vibrant colors too. I haven’t seen the photo in question, but I’m not sure why the two wouldn’t go together…

          I also love this “fitness and health as the first step to creating happiness” and think it would really speak to a lot of people.

          It’s so exciting to read all of this. I can’t wait to follow what you do with it.

          • Jacki Hayes says

            Lisa Zahn Thank you for the feedback.

            And to everyone, thanks for the positive words. Letting go of several years work to move toward what is truly right for me is the best move I can make, but it is still quite scary.

            I’m sure there will be a lot of Monday questions as I move forward.

      • Romy Maillard says

        Wow! I am so impressed how you just take it all apart and put it back together in a beautiful way that immediately lets one see the bigger picture Cigdem Kobu. And not to mention all of those amazing resources you always seem to have up your sleeve.

        Jacki Hayes I’m excited to see how this will all come together for you. I love the “dare to” concept. Dare was my word of the year last year and it sure shook things up:)

        • says

          I love this too – there is something very attractive about simplifying down to one thing – I too have that love of learning and interest in endless things. But to have one focus that can be expanded out over time – that feels very spacious. Jacki Hayes – I too am excited to see how all this comes together for you. Love it.

  10. Cigdem Kobu says

    Here is a question Jacki Hayes asked by email since she will be away all day for jury duty. I’m posting on her behalf.

    =======

    I currently run two websites. One is a personal blog at Dare 2 Dream Dare 2 Do (http://www.dare2dream-dare2do.com). It focuses on becoming who you might have been by following 10 key steps to Health & Happiness.

    I also have an online personal training business (incredibly small business at the moment) with an associated website at Beauty In Strength Fitness (http://www.beautyinstrengthfitness.com). This is currently a registered LLC.

    I have a much larger readership on D2D, but a larger mailing list at BISF. Neither are really something to write home about.

    I have an idea for a 21 day course called reFresh – digging yourself out of the muck to find the authentic you, which seems to fit well with Dare 2 Dream Dare 2 Do. But I really feel like I should be focusing on the BISF site to generate more paying clients.

    In addition, I have been encouraged to create a social media virtual assistant and blog creation “helper” business. I love this idea as it taps into my love of blogging and social media and I can see this generating decent income.

    I would like to generate a substantial income from an online business, but three separate focuses are too much. I haven’t even started the social media site/business and I already feel overwhelmed.

    My perfect people are women in their thirties and forties who feel the pull to be better than yesterday but have been unable to commit to action due to an inability to tap into their genuine selves from years of giving up and giving in. I see fitness and health as a great first step in starting their journey. As for the social media business, I want to support women starting their own online businesses.

    Right now I feel scattered and lost, as if I can’t see the big picture or the connections that create my unique points of difference.

    When I joined Progress Lounge, Cigdem suggested that I my help people stay fit in life and business – which I used as my tag line at JackiRHayes.com (http://www.jackirhayes.com). This is a site that I use as a way to sell myself as a brand. But I’m stuck on how this really all fits together into a cohesive whole and how I can streamline this so I don’t feel so overwhelmed and scattered.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    • Donna Druchunas says

      I love the theme I am seeing here:

      Kaitlyn Mirison: I help people that are done with being chronic people pleasers live empowered as their true self.

      Jacki Hayes: My perfect people are women in their thirties and forties who feel the pull to be better than yesterday but have been unable to commit to action due to an inability to tap into their genuine selves from years of giving up and giving in.

      Kathleen O: “planting seeds for soil and soul”

    • Sandra Pawula says

      Jacki Hayes ~ Love the name for your course! I appreciate your sense of overwhelm as that can happen to me too. I look forward to Cigdem’s response to you and wish you the very best in coming to a clear direction.

    • says

      This is interesting, Jacki Hayes, my business is very much about helping women grow their business online. I certainly see a need for help with technology/showing people how easy it can be with the right pointers, and doing the work for people who don’t have the time to do it themselves.

      If I can help with any of my experiences, just let me know!

      Nicola

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Jacki Hayes, I wish you would read the announcement at 37signals.com. http://37signals.com

      This is what they wrote:

      Two big announcements.

      February 5, 2014.

      This year marks 37signals’ 15th year in business. And today is Basecamp’s 10th birthday. We have a lot to celebrate, and two exciting announcements to share. But first, let’s set the scene with some history.

      37signals was founded back in 1999 as a web design firm. With the release of Basecamp in 2004, we began our journey to become a software company. Once Basecamp revenue surpassed web design revenue in 2005, the transition was complete.

      Since then we’ve launched Ta-da List (2005), Writeboard (2005), Backpack (2005), Campfire (2006), The Job Board & Gig Board (2006), Highrise (2007), Sortfolio (2009), the all new Basecamp (2012), Know Your Company (2013), and We Work Remotely (2013).

      We also created and open sourced Ruby on Rails (2004), wrote a few books (Defensive Design for the Web (2004), Getting Real (2006), REWORK (2010), and REMOTE (2013)), and published thousands of blog posts on Signal vs. Noise.

      Fifteen years into it, we’re proud of the work we’ve done and the business we’ve built. And business has never been better.

      However, because we’ve released so many products over the years, we’ve become a bit scattered, a bit diluted. Nobody does their best work when they’re spread too thin. We certainly don’t. We do our best work when we’re all focused on one thing.

      Further, we’ve always enjoyed being a small company. Today we’re bigger than we’ve ever been, but we’re still relatively small at 43 people. So while we could hire a bunch more people to do a bunch more things, that kind of rapid expansion is at odds with our culture. We want to maintain the kind of company where everyone knows everyone’s name. That’s one of the reasons why so many of the people who work at 37signals stay at 37signals.

      So with that in mind, last August we conducted a thorough review of our products, our customer base, our passions, and our visions of the company for the next 20 years. When we put it all on the table, everything lined up and pointed at one clear conclusion. We all got excited. We knew it was right.

      So today, February 5, 2014, exactly ten years to the day since we launched Basecamp, we have a couple of big announcements to make.

      Here’s the first: Moving forward, we will be a one product company. That product will be Basecamp. Our entire company will rally around Basecamp. With our whole team – from design to development to customer service to ops – focused on one thing, Basecamp will continue to get better in every direction and on every dimension.

      Basecamp is our best idea and our biggest winner. Over 15 million people have Basecamp accounts, and just last week another 6,622 companies signed up for new Basecamp accounts. Ten years into it, Basecamp keeps accelerating. We’ve had other big hits, but nothing quite like Basecamp.

      When we meet people, and they ask us what we do, we say we work for 37signals. If they aren’t in the tech world, they’ll squint and say “what’s that?”. When we say “we’re the folks who make Basecamp”, their eyes light up and open wide. “Basecamp! Oh I love Basecamp! My wife uses Basecamp too! Even our church uses Basecamp!” We hear this kind of response over and over. People just love their Basecamp.

      So that got us thinking… While 37signals is well known in tech circles, far more people around the world actually know us for Basecamp. And since we’re going to be completely focused on Basecamp moving forward, why don’t we just go all in on “Basecamp”.

      So here’s the second big announcement: We’re changing our name. 37signals is now Basecamp. “37signals” goes into the history books. From now on, we are Basecamp. Basecamp the company, Basecamp the product. We’re one and the same.

      With this change, we renew our long-term commitment to all things Basecamp. Basecamp on the web, Basecamp on iOS, Basecamp on Android, Basecamp via email, and Basecamp wherever else it makes sense. Each one of us will be dedicated to improving Basecamp, extending Basecamp’s reach, expanding Basecamp’s capabilities, and making sure our Basecamp customers are treated like royalty.

      And we’ll never forget what made Basecamp so popular in the first place: It just works. It’s simple, it’s easy to use, it’s easy to understand, it’s clear, it’s reliable, and it’s dependable. We’ll continue to make it more of all of those things.

      The last fifteen years have been a blast, but with every future moment focused on Basecamp, the next fifteen are going to be even better. We’re fired up! We’ve already got loads of new Basecamp stuff cooking.

      Please visit our brand new site at http://basecamp.com and have a look around. If you’re not a Basecamp customer yet, give us a try. We’d love to have you. If you already are, we thank you for your business.

      Standing by to serve you for decades to come.

      Thank you from all of us at Basecamp.

      JF signature
      -Jason Fried
      Founder & CEO Basecamp

      Amazing!

      These guys are big. You probably know their work. And they’re making a lot of money with their products. They’re hugely successful. And yet, they are eliminating everything they have created only to become the best in one single thing. They badly need that focus.

      This made me think of you (and me.) We have many similarities, like I wrote in my email message. We have multiple interests and multiple skills. This may seem like an advantage to some, but we both know that it can also be a curse.

      So, my suggestion is:

      Sit down, determine your biggest strengths, what you can give best, and determine whether people will pay for it. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it. Just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean it should become your business. But you need one single focus to make this happen.

      You are the first and last person who can decide where to focus. But since you asked for my opinion, I’ll tell you.

      I see that your online identity (as well as your focus) is very fragmented. If I were you, I would:

      – focus on the “happiness through fitness and health” (dare to be fit and happy) concept.
      – put away the idea of online business and social media help.
      – purchase the domain jackihayes.com without the “r” in it and make it your one and only website and blog. (I checked, it’s available. People will search for you as “Jacki Hayes” not “Jacki R. Hayes.” And you’re lucky to have a memorable name unlike mine.)
      – get rid of the dare2do-dare2dream site. (the domain is not good there and any similar name is taken.)
      – do a 301 redirect of the Beauty in Strength Fitness site to jackihayes.com.
      – transfer all posts of Dare2Dream and Beauty in Strength sites to jackihayes.com
      – your photos with the green top are very vibrant. The photo in jackirhayes.com not so much in terms of alignment with your concept.
      – focus on creating great content around the idea of “fitness and health as the first step for creating happiness.”
      – rewrite the copy for your about and work with me pages.
      – work on creating your signature freebie with that single focus.

      Your perfect people are almost clear. And the “dare to be fit” concept is very open for expanding. If you can find an umbrella idea/topic, you can start with developing the happiness through fitness topic under it.

      You can even cover some related topics you currently talk about on the dare2do site because the reason we women fail to reconnect with our bodies is not one but many. You can write about work-life relationship, mindfulness, eating, psychology, relationships, stress, midlife etc by building personal connections through your own story.

      That umbrella idea could still be “dare to do.”

      As you grow your business, and once you’re an established authority on the “dare to be fit” concept, you can choose to (or not to) expand that idea to other realms such as “dare to be creative” “dare to build a biz” etc.

      But you must begin with a single focus first and conquer that zone in your own way without being pulled into so many different directions. Having one and only website at jackihayes.com will allow you to play bigger when the right time comes.

      First go deep, then go wide.

      • Jacki Hayes says

        Cigdem Kobu As I was reading 37Signals announcement, I had chills. This was exactly what I needed to hear.

        I am interested in so many things, mostly because my passion in life is learning. Which leads to the insane stack of books scattered around my house at the moment. I’ve been attempting to focus on my root chakra as of late, so I’m narrowing myself down to two subjects – money and nutrition. Narrowing down to two was horrible.

        Your suggestions were much needed. I felt pushed to move toward the social media aspect because I’ve had a number of friends request that I do so. Honestly, I saw the dollar sign in it more than anything.

        I’m still processing the suggestions, although I did immediately go out and purchase jackihayes.com.

        You mention the picture of me in the vibrant blue shirt. I wonder though about that vibrant color. When I worked on my perfect person, I found that she would be attracted to retro coffee shops and a library-like feel. Some place cozy and quiet where she could have an intimate conversation with her best friend. This leads me to more natural tones rather than the bright colors.

        Just one question while I let the rest absorb. Which I will have plenty of time to do while I wait to get selected for a jury :).

        • says

          Jacki Hayes, I’m attracted to retro coffee shops and a library-like feel and I love vibrant colors too. I haven’t seen the photo in question, but I’m not sure why the two wouldn’t go together…

          I also love this “fitness and health as the first step to creating happiness” and think it would really speak to a lot of people.

          It’s so exciting to read all of this. I can’t wait to follow what you do with it.

          • Jacki Hayes says

            Lisa Zahn Thank you for the feedback.

            And to everyone, thanks for the positive words. Letting go of several years work to move toward what is truly right for me is the best move I can make, but it is still quite scary.

            I’m sure there will be a lot of Monday questions as I move forward.

      • Romy Maillard says

        Wow! I am so impressed how you just take it all apart and put it back together in a beautiful way that immediately lets one see the bigger picture Cigdem Kobu. And not to mention all of those amazing resources you always seem to have up your sleeve.

        Jacki Hayes I’m excited to see how this will all come together for you. I love the “dare to” concept. Dare was my word of the year last year and it sure shook things up:)

        • says

          I love this too – there is something very attractive about simplifying down to one thing – I too have that love of learning and interest in endless things. But to have one focus that can be expanded out over time – that feels very spacious. Jacki Hayes – I too am excited to see how all this comes together for you. Love it.

  11. says

    I’d love a little more information on how to get myself in the best Google spot for the simple term “life coach st cloud minnesota”. Right now nothing even applicable to life coaching comes up, and there are only a few of us in my small city so I think it should be doable (whereas there are thousands of life coaches in the Twin Cities an hour south of us). I’d like just a tip or two on SEO so I don’t have to hire an outside person to help me with this, if it’s possible for you to recommend some things to me, Cigdem?

      • says

        I use both but maybe should check my location on them…not sure. I also started a Yelp page for my business hoping that would help. I suppose I should have some people review it…

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Lisa Zahn, that’s a good tip Jacki Hayes gave.

      When I do a search for “life coach st cloud minnesota” these are the only links I get even though they are not life coaches exactly.

      http://www.newdirectionsct.com
      http://www.designedforpurposecoaching.com

      This directory comes up on the second page and they have a St. Cloud section. You can ask to be added – one listing seems to be free:
      http://www.bodymindspiritdirectory.org/MN.html#SaintCloud,MN

      The most important things you can do to appear in the results:

      – Add “life coach st cloud minnesota” life coach minnesota” (more searched key phrase, “life coach mn” “life coach st cloud mn” and “coach st cloud minnesota” to the homepage settings of your website theme. Specifically to the Home Meta Keywords section, and if being found locally is of primary importance for you, to the Home Meta Description section too.

      Also, mention on your About page that you work as a life coach in St. Cloud Minnesota. And also say on your Work With Me page that you also offer life coaching services locally in St. Cloud Minnesota.

      – Create a separate page on your website (which you don’t link from your homepage but from your About and Work With Me pages – linked from the “life coach in St. Cloud Minnesota” phrases. And on that sales page explain how you work with clients from St Cloud Minnesota. Make sure you use “life coach” and “St. Cloud Minnesota” in both the page title and the page permalink.

      – Share that page often on social media when you’re promoting your local services so that it gets indexed on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and if possible LinkedIn.

      – Every now and then mention how you work as a life coach in St. Cloud Minnesota in a blog post. Maybe when you’re sharing an experience or an anecdote. And then link from that section to the individual life coaching page for your local prospects which I have mentioned above.

      It would take a while until Google indexes your site, but it will surely help. I trust that you’ll do the mentioning on the blog not too frequently. Also make sure that you use variations of the phrase and not just link from “life coach st cloud minnesota” each time. You can separate the words or use different parts in different way like “coaching” as opposed to “coach” or “sessions” etc.

      How else do you think potential local clients would be searching for a life coach in St. Cloud? What other words and phrases would they use on Google to search?

      Also, are there any other online or offline local magazines or newspapers you can guest-post for?

      • says

        Thank you for these tips! I will start using them. It is a good question re: how much I want to be known locally. I need to think more about it. I think I do want to, and at the same time I’m not sure how important it is. My clients have come from all over the place, about 1/3 to 1/2 have been local to me. I do like being able to meet in person with some people so I think that counts for something. You’ve got me thinking, at any rate….

    • Patty Bechtold says

      Hi Lisa Zahn! I don’t know much about SEO but I have a pretty good google spot for “life coach sacramento ca” and a lot of people find me through google. I’m not sure how this happened but I’m very grateful for it.

      I do think that if your business is location-based in any way you need to have your title and location on your home page for google to pick it up. That info appears several times on my home page, in different places. The other thing is I have a fair amount of text on my home page, geared to my ideal client. I think google likes that. I know the trend now is to have less text on a home page but when I redo my website (hopefully soon) I’m not going to follow that trend. Don’t want to mess with the good luck I’ve had so far!

      Finally, it may help google find you if you have what you do as part of your url or biz name, like Lisa Zahn Life Coaching. I’m going to be changing my biz name soon and have decided to keep counseling and coaching in the title, as well as integrate it into my new url.

      Hope that helps!

      p.s. here’s my site if you’d like to see what I’m talking about: http://bechtoldlifework.com/

      The weird thing is it’s an old, clunky Go-Daddy site that I’ve been wanting to dump for WordPress for years. I wouldn’t think it would have good SEO at all. So go figure.

      • says

        Thank you, Patty! My business isn’t location dependent but I do like to coach locally if it happens. As I commented to Cigdem’s post, it’s something to think about–how much this matters to me.

        On Facebook I am Lisa Zahn Life Coaching but I’m not sure I love that name. Eventually I think I will do more than coaching but for now it works for me. I think I mainly like being known for my name.

        At any rate, I will happily go look at your website to see what you’ve done.

        • Cynthia Morris says

          One thing I notice is that online entrepreneurs like us think we’re not location dependent, but that’s not the way a lot of people think.

          Since 1/3 – 1/2 of your clients are local, I’d say location is very important to your business.

          Whether you see them in person or not isn’t so much the issue. To me it’s that a local connection is a strong connection. It’s another way someone can think ‘wow, she’s like me’ and it draws you closer.

          It’s shifted for me that most of my clients are at a distance but I have seen over the years that one’s location is VERY important to potential clients/buyers. It says a lot about you, where you live, that you may not even be aware of.

          Hope this is helpful. It’s something I’ve wrestled with quite a bit. (The unexpected impact of my location, that is.)

          • Patty Bechtold says

            So true that others don’t think that way. I read recently that something like 80% of people looking for goods and services are looking locally via google. That’s an astonishingly high number. And they’re also doing it on their mobile phones. They want to see a phone number right there and be able to click through and make the call.

          • says

            Wow that is very interesting Cynthia Morris. Reading Lisa Zahn‘s question, I kept thinking ‘why would you want to limit yourself?’ But I’m looking at it differently – you are right, we see ourselves as global – or I do – but often clients don’t see it the same – which we need to take into account.

            I do feel challenged by this though – I like to think of myself as global – because I like to move about – if I moved back to NZ and put myself out as a NZ Feng Shui Coach – I don’t think that would be to my advantage – coaching is a few years behind here. And right now most of my clients are from the States even though I live in Canada. This is one of my challenges about coming back here – my belief is that Americans are less likely to work with a NZ coach – if they even know where NZ is! But that could be my story.

          • says

            That’s a very helpful perspective, Cynthia Morris. I love all the help here and below! Thanks all.

            I know I want a location-independent business so that I can take it with me anywhere and coach people everywhere, and at the same time I am very much interested in making an impact in the community in which I currently live. The fact that there are so few life coaches here makes it even more interesting and intriguing to me. I want more people to know about coaching! (And, of course, hire me.)

            I love how what I think is a simple question becomes this wonderful philosophical discussion in this group. The feedback from all of you is amazing.

          • Cynthia Morris says

            Lisa,

            Do you do any in-person events?

            You’re lucky to live in a place without a lot of coaches! In Boulder, where I began, there were a lot of us and often you’d get suspicion and derision when you mentioned you were a coach. Because everyone suddenly seemed to be.

            Have fun with this exploration!

      • Cigdem Kobu says

        These are great tips, Patty Bechtold! Google does like home pages with more text rich with relevant words and terms. That’s one change I’m making with my own site redesign.

        • says

          I love my simple, visually rich home page so I’m not thrilled about this, but will be planning for future changes based on this information. Ugh.

          • Tara Leaver says

            Haha Lisa Zahn ~ I was just thinking along these lines! I love my new homepage; it seems the things I love are never quite in line with what Google loves, or what I ‘should’ be doing if I want xyz to happen for my biz! I’ve also realised my tagline is hopeless in that sense too, but since I’m in transition I’m leaving it as is for now. There’s always something to evolve! :)

  12. says

    I’d love a little more information on how to get myself in the best Google spot for the simple term “life coach st cloud minnesota”. Right now nothing even applicable to life coaching comes up, and there are only a few of us in my small city so I think it should be doable (whereas there are thousands of life coaches in the Twin Cities an hour south of us). I’d like just a tip or two on SEO so I don’t have to hire an outside person to help me with this, if it’s possible for you to recommend some things to me, Cigdem?

      • says

        I use both but maybe should check my location on them…not sure. I also started a Yelp page for my business hoping that would help. I suppose I should have some people review it…

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Lisa Zahn, that’s a good tip Jacki Hayes gave.

      When I do a search for “life coach st cloud minnesota” these are the only links I get even though they are not life coaches exactly.

      http://www.newdirectionsct.com
      http://www.designedforpurposecoaching.com

      This directory comes up on the second page and they have a St. Cloud section. You can ask to be added – one listing seems to be free:
      http://www.bodymindspiritdirectory.org/MN.html#SaintCloud,MN

      The most important things you can do to appear in the results:

      – Add “life coach st cloud minnesota” life coach minnesota” (more searched key phrase, “life coach mn” “life coach st cloud mn” and “coach st cloud minnesota” to the homepage settings of your website theme. Specifically to the Home Meta Keywords section, and if being found locally is of primary importance for you, to the Home Meta Description section too.

      Also, mention on your About page that you work as a life coach in St. Cloud Minnesota. And also say on your Work With Me page that you also offer life coaching services locally in St. Cloud Minnesota.

      – Create a separate page on your website (which you don’t link from your homepage but from your About and Work With Me pages – linked from the “life coach in St. Cloud Minnesota” phrases. And on that sales page explain how you work with clients from St Cloud Minnesota. Make sure you use “life coach” and “St. Cloud Minnesota” in both the page title and the page permalink.

      – Share that page often on social media when you’re promoting your local services so that it gets indexed on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and if possible LinkedIn.

      – Every now and then mention how you work as a life coach in St. Cloud Minnesota in a blog post. Maybe when you’re sharing an experience or an anecdote. And then link from that section to the individual life coaching page for your local prospects which I have mentioned above.

      It would take a while until Google indexes your site, but it will surely help. I trust that you’ll do the mentioning on the blog not too frequently. Also make sure that you use variations of the phrase and not just link from “life coach st cloud minnesota” each time. You can separate the words or use different parts in different way like “coaching” as opposed to “coach” or “sessions” etc.

      How else do you think potential local clients would be searching for a life coach in St. Cloud? What other words and phrases would they use on Google to search?

      Also, are there any other online or offline local magazines or newspapers you can guest-post for?

      • says

        Thank you for these tips! I will start using them. It is a good question re: how much I want to be known locally. I need to think more about it. I think I do want to, and at the same time I’m not sure how important it is. My clients have come from all over the place, about 1/3 to 1/2 have been local to me. I do like being able to meet in person with some people so I think that counts for something. You’ve got me thinking, at any rate….

    • Patty Bechtold says

      Hi Lisa Zahn! I don’t know much about SEO but I have a pretty good google spot for “life coach sacramento ca” and a lot of people find me through google. I’m not sure how this happened but I’m very grateful for it.

      I do think that if your business is location-based in any way you need to have your title and location on your home page for google to pick it up. That info appears several times on my home page, in different places. The other thing is I have a fair amount of text on my home page, geared to my ideal client. I think google likes that. I know the trend now is to have less text on a home page but when I redo my website (hopefully soon) I’m not going to follow that trend. Don’t want to mess with the good luck I’ve had so far!

      Finally, it may help google find you if you have what you do as part of your url or biz name, like Lisa Zahn Life Coaching. I’m going to be changing my biz name soon and have decided to keep counseling and coaching in the title, as well as integrate it into my new url.

      Hope that helps!

      p.s. here’s my site if you’d like to see what I’m talking about: http://bechtoldlifework.com/

      The weird thing is it’s an old, clunky Go-Daddy site that I’ve been wanting to dump for WordPress for years. I wouldn’t think it would have good SEO at all. So go figure.

      • says

        Thank you, Patty! My business isn’t location dependent but I do like to coach locally if it happens. As I commented to Cigdem’s post, it’s something to think about–how much this matters to me.

        On Facebook I am Lisa Zahn Life Coaching but I’m not sure I love that name. Eventually I think I will do more than coaching but for now it works for me. I think I mainly like being known for my name.

        At any rate, I will happily go look at your website to see what you’ve done.

        • Cynthia Morris says

          One thing I notice is that online entrepreneurs like us think we’re not location dependent, but that’s not the way a lot of people think.

          Since 1/3 – 1/2 of your clients are local, I’d say location is very important to your business.

          Whether you see them in person or not isn’t so much the issue. To me it’s that a local connection is a strong connection. It’s another way someone can think ‘wow, she’s like me’ and it draws you closer.

          It’s shifted for me that most of my clients are at a distance but I have seen over the years that one’s location is VERY important to potential clients/buyers. It says a lot about you, where you live, that you may not even be aware of.

          Hope this is helpful. It’s something I’ve wrestled with quite a bit. (The unexpected impact of my location, that is.)

          • Patty Bechtold says

            So true that others don’t think that way. I read recently that something like 80% of people looking for goods and services are looking locally via google. That’s an astonishingly high number. And they’re also doing it on their mobile phones. They want to see a phone number right there and be able to click through and make the call.

          • says

            Wow that is very interesting Cynthia Morris. Reading Lisa Zahn‘s question, I kept thinking ‘why would you want to limit yourself?’ But I’m looking at it differently – you are right, we see ourselves as global – or I do – but often clients don’t see it the same – which we need to take into account.

            I do feel challenged by this though – I like to think of myself as global – because I like to move about – if I moved back to NZ and put myself out as a NZ Feng Shui Coach – I don’t think that would be to my advantage – coaching is a few years behind here. And right now most of my clients are from the States even though I live in Canada. This is one of my challenges about coming back here – my belief is that Americans are less likely to work with a NZ coach – if they even know where NZ is! But that could be my story.

          • says

            That’s a very helpful perspective, Cynthia Morris. I love all the help here and below! Thanks all.

            I know I want a location-independent business so that I can take it with me anywhere and coach people everywhere, and at the same time I am very much interested in making an impact in the community in which I currently live. The fact that there are so few life coaches here makes it even more interesting and intriguing to me. I want more people to know about coaching! (And, of course, hire me.)

            I love how what I think is a simple question becomes this wonderful philosophical discussion in this group. The feedback from all of you is amazing.

          • Cynthia Morris says

            Lisa,

            Do you do any in-person events?

            You’re lucky to live in a place without a lot of coaches! In Boulder, where I began, there were a lot of us and often you’d get suspicion and derision when you mentioned you were a coach. Because everyone suddenly seemed to be.

            Have fun with this exploration!

      • Cigdem Kobu says

        These are great tips, Patty Bechtold! Google does like home pages with more text rich with relevant words and terms. That’s one change I’m making with my own site redesign.

        • says

          I love my simple, visually rich home page so I’m not thrilled about this, but will be planning for future changes based on this information. Ugh.

          • Tara Leaver says

            Haha Lisa Zahn ~ I was just thinking along these lines! I love my new homepage; it seems the things I love are never quite in line with what Google loves, or what I ‘should’ be doing if I want xyz to happen for my biz! I’ve also realised my tagline is hopeless in that sense too, but since I’m in transition I’m leaving it as is for now. There’s always something to evolve! :)

  13. Sandra Pawula says

    Dear Cigdem Kobu,

    In one of our Monday Q and A sessions, you suggested writing my next course in sections that could double as blog posts. I find this idea brilliant since time is a challenging factor for me. I have a few questions about that.

    I know that I will edit and probably add to the course a bit, especially exercises that make it more course-like. But, generally speaking:

    Can I give it all (most of the course; all of the sections) away in blog posts? Will people still buy the course if I do? Or is it better to hold some of it back? And, if so how much?

    It seems like one of the main topics of interests from my reader survey is mindfulness. It would be easy to get started writing blog posts on that topic that could become a course. I would probably post them 2x a month; not every week. That gives me space to address other topics people are interested in as well.

    Anything else I should keep in mind?

    Thanks so much!

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Sandra Pawula, you shouldn’t give all of it away. It would adversely affect the sales, in my opinion. Depending on the length of your course, one-fourth or one-fifth would be reasonable. Or you could share a bit more but not share any exercises – just the lesson sections maybe?

      Before you start posting them, make sure you have a simple image created as the course graphics so you can add it to the post for people to get used to the idea that, yes, a course is coming up and it’s something that can be purchased.

      If you’ll share just a few sections, make sure you share the best parts that would really attract the attention of those members of your community who need this course.

      Also, I would find a way to define very well why your mindfulness course is different from other mindfulness courses and articulate it on each related post.

      You could also make it possible for people to pre-order the course by paying less than they would when it is launched. The end of each post would be a great place to promote a pre-order and also provide a link for the waiting list for those who don’t want to order yet but want to be informed. If you don’t want to do that, you can just give a link/form of the waiting list.

      Posting every week might be too much. Every two weeks sounds like a good plan to me!

      • Sandra Pawula says

        Thank you! I must have misunderstood you the first time around. Then, I’ll wait a bit to post about mindfulness until I have thought this through more, started writing the course, and am closer to releasing it. The challenging one will be why my mindfulness course is different! I’ll reflect on that.

  14. Sandra Pawula says

    Dear Cigdem Kobu,

    In one of our Monday Q and A sessions, you suggested writing my next course in sections that could double as blog posts. I find this idea brilliant since time is a challenging factor for me. I have a few questions about that.

    I know that I will edit and probably add to the course a bit, especially exercises that make it more course-like. But, generally speaking:

    Can I give it all (most of the course; all of the sections) away in blog posts? Will people still buy the course if I do? Or is it better to hold some of it back? And, if so how much?

    It seems like one of the main topics of interests from my reader survey is mindfulness. It would be easy to get started writing blog posts on that topic that could become a course. I would probably post them 2x a month; not every week. That gives me space to address other topics people are interested in as well.

    Anything else I should keep in mind?

    Thanks so much!

    • Cigdem Kobu says

      Sandra Pawula, you shouldn’t give all of it away. It would adversely affect the sales, in my opinion. Depending on the length of your course, one-fourth or one-fifth would be reasonable. Or you could share a bit more but not share any exercises – just the lesson sections maybe?

      Before you start posting them, make sure you have a simple image created as the course graphics so you can add it to the post for people to get used to the idea that, yes, a course is coming up and it’s something that can be purchased.

      If you’ll share just a few sections, make sure you share the best parts that would really attract the attention of those members of your community who need this course.

      Also, I would find a way to define very well why your mindfulness course is different from other mindfulness courses and articulate it on each related post.

      You could also make it possible for people to pre-order the course by paying less than they would when it is launched. The end of each post would be a great place to promote a pre-order and also provide a link for the waiting list for those who don’t want to order yet but want to be informed. If you don’t want to do that, you can just give a link/form of the waiting list.

      Posting every week might be too much. Every two weeks sounds like a good plan to me!

      • Sandra Pawula says

        Thank you! I must have misunderstood you the first time around. Then, I’ll wait a bit to post about mindfulness until I have thought this through more, started writing the course, and am closer to releasing it. The challenging one will be why my mindfulness course is different! I’ll reflect on that.

  15. Liz Crain says

    This is a question that has come up a few times with friends, at thoughtful after dinner conversations, and especially when there are physical challenges to us or those around us, or the evidence of ageism is undeniable.

    And seems to be a stumper.

    “What are the positives/advantages/benefits of getting old(er)?”

    I thought to bring this question to our lovely group of kind, thoughtful and wise folks because I am finding that as

    1. A person who has been an artist her entire adult life, but is seen as “emerging” in the ceramics arena, there is sometimes a very real dissonance between my art and myself – as one booth visitor put it: “you’re cool, but you have a Mom vibe.” (And yes he was a 20-something young man and this struck me as very funny even at the time, but there it was.)

    2. An Introvert, who enjoys hiding behind my art and my words, I need a bigger bolster of understanding that it’s not all about losses and missed opportunities, to feel my best putting myself out there is any format, but especially in person.

    It is somewhat distressing to me that after childhood and teen years, trying to attain age 18 or 21, our culture really puts on the rueful brakes about getting older. Ask any 25-year old how they feel about being (gasp!) a Quarter Of A Century old, and they usually look aghast and a bit regretful.

    Besides Senior Discounts, as best as I can sift out is the benefits of being older are quieter and more interior: satisfaction, wisdom, that sort of thing, which are also fluid and subjective, easily rattled by deaths, illnesses, losses and challenges.

    I have always been more of a late bloomer, so it makes personal sense that I find myself exactly where I am. And I am not feeling defeatist about this, or even particularly sad. But I am more curious why there is little ability to supply answers to this question.

    With your responses, links, and whatever else, perhaps i can start to round up a way in, maybe even a better question.

    Thanks!

    • Donna Druchunas says

      Best parts of being older (I’m 52). I hope that many of you share these traits and accomplishments with me.

      You know yourself, your likes and dislikes, your style, your preferences.

      You don’t give a crap what anyone else thinks about you.

      You often have the money and freedom to do what you want.

      If you have to make choices based on time and money, you generally make better choices than you did 10, 20, and 30 years ago.

      You’re past making your dumbest most impulsive and destructive decisions.

      You’re not overly emotional and over reacting to every situation that arises, you know “this too shall pass.”

      You don’t have to spend so much money buying new clothes, furniture, make up, jewelry etc every season because you know what you like and you have more than enough of it because you take care of your things and they last a long time.

      You don’t have to have your period every month any more.

      You are not living (or dressing) to please or impress others.

      You know how to cook Thanksgiving dinner without a cookbook.

      You have enough wisdom and experience to help others.

      You have enough stuff to be generous and give things away.

      You can become a crazy cat lady!

      The biggest downside to me is that the people from previous generations who meant so much to you throughout life start to die. I miss my grandparents and I don’t even want to begin thinking about how much I will miss my parents when they are gone. Otherwise I don’t really give a crap about being older.

      As far as relating to a younger audience, I haven’t found that to be a problem so far. Maybe because I don’t have my own kids I don’t have a “mom vibe,” I don’t know. I naturally like to keep up with new pop culture stuff and I listen to some of the new music and I watch popular TV shows and movies and I have a tattoo and I curse a lot (on Twitter and in real life depending on the situation I’m in). I talk to everyone, even children, in the same way–as though they are intelligent human beings.

      I love working with younger people in my field to help them get started, but also to keep my own ideas fresh. I am just trying to think of things about me that might appeal to a younger audience. These things have nothing to do with my work though. It’s my personality.

      Until recently, I have almost always hung out with people who were younger than myself. Now I don’t hang out with anyone because I live in the middle of nowhere LOL. As far as online goes, mostly I interact with the younger crowd on Twitter, which is the most fun social media forum for me. My followers on FB on the other hand I think are mostly older than me.

      When I go to live knitting events, depending on the type of event and location, I would say the audience is 60-75% my age or older. But I love seeing younger people attend these events and they are the future so I am really excited to see what they are doing.

      Just some thoughts.

      • Liz Crain says

        Thank you Donna! These are great, exactly what I was hoping for. I feel the energy turning as well!

      • Cigdem Kobu says

        Liz Crain, I also love Donna Druchunas‘s list and I love your question. I might steal it for the blogging prompts for next month. :)

        Growing older rocks because:

        – You know and accept yourself more.
        – You don’t care about petty problems.
        – You become unapologetic for your choices in life, in business, in relationships, in everything!
        – It’s easier to make fun of yourself.
        – You have more time and money for yourself and only yourself.
        – You recognize crap as soon as you see it.
        – You don’t need to do crazy things to feel alive. ;)
        – You know what/who is really precious for you.
        – You crave less but enjoy more.
        – You’re more at ease with your body.
        – You can be as silly as you want!
        – It’s easier to forgive.
        – You know what it really means to be grateful.

        • Liz Crain says

          Another great take on this, Cigdem Kobu! Not only do I enjoy recognizing crap immediately, I super like calling it out. I never used to do that, being a people-pleaser and feather-smoother and all that dissembling that goes with it.

    • Cindy Lusk says

      I’ll bet Jennifer Boykin would have something to say about this!

      In a word for me: perspective. I see a bigger picture, I see where I fit. I see that other people’s stuff is other people’s stuff. I see more clearly what really matters.

    • Patty Bechtold says

      What an interesting question Liz Crain. I especially like the story of the 20-something who told you you’re cool and have a mom vibe. I actually think those two things can go together and create a benefit for our clients or at least a deep connection to people who are younger.

      Here’s a quick example of what I mean: when I first started my biz 14 years ago, most of my clients were around my own age. Now that I’m older, more than half of my clients are 30-something women.

      There’s definitely a big sister/mom/parental/mentor/sage vibe that my clients seem to want. At first it sort of freaked me out but once I really stepped into it and owned it things got really good. The depth of my work got better too.

      So while you may be a late bloomer, that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve experienced a lot of life and can be an inspiration and role model to others. In my book that’s a huge benefit of getting older. In fact, who better than us to empathize and put ourselves in the shoes of younger people? After all we’ve all been there, having our own quarter life crises and whatnot. Mine actually happened right before I turned 30. Seemed like the end of the world to me ;)

      • says

        I agree with Jennifer Boykin. Seems like I continually have conversations with women my age and we all agree we wouldn’t want to be 20 or 30 or 40 again. Even 50! Life is way more interesting and fun now – and on a deeper level.

        • Tara Leaver says

          This topic seems to be very much in the air at the moment Liz Crain ~ Susannah Conway recently compiled an ebook all about the positive aspects of growing older {it’s free, you can find it on her website; I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to share that here}. Thanks for bringing up such an interesting topic! I love the responses here.

          • Liz Crain says

            Hi Tara Leaver I will go find the Susannah Conway ebook. I am a dedicated researcher when I have a niggling question that persists. Thanks for pointing me *over there.* ;0)

  16. Liz Crain says

    This is a question that has come up a few times with friends, at thoughtful after dinner conversations, and especially when there are physical challenges to us or those around us, or the evidence of ageism is undeniable.

    And seems to be a stumper.

    “What are the positives/advantages/benefits of getting old(er)?”

    I thought to bring this question to our lovely group of kind, thoughtful and wise folks because I am finding that as

    1. A person who has been an artist her entire adult life, but is seen as “emerging” in the ceramics arena, there is sometimes a very real dissonance between my art and myself – as one booth visitor put it: “you’re cool, but you have a Mom vibe.” (And yes he was a 20-something young man and this struck me as very funny even at the time, but there it was.)

    2. An Introvert, who enjoys hiding behind my art and my words, I need a bigger bolster of understanding that it’s not all about losses and missed opportunities, to feel my best putting myself out there is any format, but especially in person.

    It is somewhat distressing to me that after childhood and teen years, trying to attain age 18 or 21, our culture really puts on the rueful brakes about getting older. Ask any 25-year old how they feel about being (gasp!) a Quarter Of A Century old, and they usually look aghast and a bit regretful.

    Besides Senior Discounts, as best as I can sift out is the benefits of being older are quieter and more interior: satisfaction, wisdom, that sort of thing, which are also fluid and subjective, easily rattled by deaths, illnesses, losses and challenges.

    I have always been more of a late bloomer, so it makes personal sense that I find myself exactly where I am. And I am not feeling defeatist about this, or even particularly sad. But I am more curious why there is little ability to supply answers to this question.

    With your responses, links, and whatever else, perhaps i can start to round up a way in, maybe even a better question.

    Thanks!

    • Donna Druchunas says

      Best parts of being older (I’m 52). I hope that many of you share these traits and accomplishments with me.

      You know yourself, your likes and dislikes, your style, your preferences.

      You don’t give a crap what anyone else thinks about you.

      You often have the money and freedom to do what you want.

      If you have to make choices based on time and money, you generally make better choices than you did 10, 20, and 30 years ago.

      You’re past making your dumbest most impulsive and destructive decisions.

      You’re not overly emotional and over reacting to every situation that arises, you know “this too shall pass.”

      You don’t have to spend so much money buying new clothes, furniture, make up, jewelry etc every season because you know what you like and you have more than enough of it because you take care of your things and they last a long time.

      You don’t have to have your period every month any more.

      You are not living (or dressing) to please or impress others.

      You know how to cook Thanksgiving dinner without a cookbook.

      You have enough wisdom and experience to help others.

      You have enough stuff to be generous and give things away.

      You can become a crazy cat lady!

      The biggest downside to me is that the people from previous generations who meant so much to you throughout life start to die. I miss my grandparents and I don’t even want to begin thinking about how much I will miss my parents when they are gone. Otherwise I don’t really give a crap about being older.

      As far as relating to a younger audience, I haven’t found that to be a problem so far. Maybe because I don’t have my own kids I don’t have a “mom vibe,” I don’t know. I naturally like to keep up with new pop culture stuff and I listen to some of the new music and I watch popular TV shows and movies and I have a tattoo and I curse a lot (on Twitter and in real life depending on the situation I’m in). I talk to everyone, even children, in the same way–as though they are intelligent human beings.

      I love working with younger people in my field to help them get started, but also to keep my own ideas fresh. I am just trying to think of things about me that might appeal to a younger audience. These things have nothing to do with my work though. It’s my personality.

      Until recently, I have almost always hung out with people who were younger than myself. Now I don’t hang out with anyone because I live in the middle of nowhere LOL. As far as online goes, mostly I interact with the younger crowd on Twitter, which is the most fun social media forum for me. My followers on FB on the other hand I think are mostly older than me.

      When I go to live knitting events, depending on the type of event and location, I would say the audience is 60-75% my age or older. But I love seeing younger people attend these events and they are the future so I am really excited to see what they are doing.

      Just some thoughts.

      • Liz Crain says

        Thank you Donna! These are great, exactly what I was hoping for. I feel the energy turning as well!

      • Cigdem Kobu says

        Liz Crain, I also love Donna Druchunas‘s list and I love your question. I might steal it for the blogging prompts for next month. :)

        Growing older rocks because:

        – You know and accept yourself more.
        – You don’t care about petty problems.
        – You become unapologetic for your choices in life, in business, in relationships, in everything!
        – It’s easier to make fun of yourself.
        – You have more time and money for yourself and only yourself.
        – You recognize crap as soon as you see it.
        – You don’t need to do crazy things to feel alive. ;)
        – You know what/who is really precious for you.
        – You crave less but enjoy more.
        – You’re more at ease with your body.
        – You can be as silly as you want!
        – It’s easier to forgive.
        – You know what it really means to be grateful.

        • Liz Crain says

          Another great take on this, Cigdem Kobu! Not only do I enjoy recognizing crap immediately, I super like calling it out. I never used to do that, being a people-pleaser and feather-smoother and all that dissembling that goes with it.

    • Cindy Lusk says

      I’ll bet Jennifer Boykin would have something to say about this!

      In a word for me: perspective. I see a bigger picture, I see where I fit. I see that other people’s stuff is other people’s stuff. I see more clearly what really matters.

    • Patty Bechtold says

      What an interesting question Liz Crain. I especially like the story of the 20-something who told you you’re cool and have a mom vibe. I actually think those two things can go together and create a benefit for our clients or at least a deep connection to people who are younger.

      Here’s a quick example of what I mean: when I first started my biz 14 years ago, most of my clients were around my own age. Now that I’m older, more than half of my clients are 30-something women.

      There’s definitely a big sister/mom/parental/mentor/sage vibe that my clients seem to want. At first it sort of freaked me out but once I really stepped into it and owned it things got really good. The depth of my work got better too.

      So while you may be a late bloomer, that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve experienced a lot of life and can be an inspiration and role model to others. In my book that’s a huge benefit of getting older. In fact, who better than us to empathize and put ourselves in the shoes of younger people? After all we’ve all been there, having our own quarter life crises and whatnot. Mine actually happened right before I turned 30. Seemed like the end of the world to me ;)

      • says

        I agree with Jennifer Boykin. Seems like I continually have conversations with women my age and we all agree we wouldn’t want to be 20 or 30 or 40 again. Even 50! Life is way more interesting and fun now – and on a deeper level.

        • Tara Leaver says

          This topic seems to be very much in the air at the moment Liz Crain ~ Susannah Conway recently compiled an ebook all about the positive aspects of growing older {it’s free, you can find it on her website; I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to share that here}. Thanks for bringing up such an interesting topic! I love the responses here.

          • Liz Crain says

            Hi Tara Leaver I will go find the Susannah Conway ebook. I am a dedicated researcher when I have a niggling question that persists. Thanks for pointing me *over there.* ;0)

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