Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs

3 Questions to Help You Find the Right Mastermind Group


Join the right mastermind group - start by asking yourself these 3 questions. *PIN* this resource and use the power of a mastermind group to help you grow and thrive in ways you didn’t think possible.

2016 is already zipping by. I mean, a whole quarter is already gone and in that 12 weeks, I feel like I lived a whole year in business.

Yes, I know I’ve been a bit quiet here on this blog, but to be honest, I’ve put this blog on hold as I tried to figure out exactly what I wanted it to be. What kind of content I could create that would be helpful, useful and valuable, and not just content to have something to publish.

After all, who doesn’t need a little sabbatical or reset after 30 months of blogging?

The launch of my new company, Scoop Industries, meant that I needed a clear delineation between what I blog about there, and what I blog about over here.

And here we are. Maggie, Unlimited where I blog about the intersection of building a business, entrepreneurship and how that all meshes up with life.  All with a heavy dose of straight talk as I really don’t know how to do it any other way.

Which brings me to today’s topic. Masterminds, aka, my secret weapon in business.

If you’re not familiar with a mastermind group, it’s a mix of accountability, support, and idea sharing to help one another achieve success.

In the past three years, I’ve been a part of paid, and then informal, mastermind groups and they’ve been critical to my sanity and my success.

As a female entrepreneur, especially living in the middle of small town Canada, they’re my business life line. They’re people who get “me” and what I’m going through.

If you’re not in a mastermind, it’s time for you to find one as it gives you a structured way to help you reach your goals.

Before you decide you’re fine without one, there are no gold stars for doing this entrepreneurship, business owner thing on your own.

Imagine having a sounding board when you need it, a place to go when you’re stuck and having other people you know, like and trust that you can contribute to their business vision and success.

It’s pretty awesome.  So, how do you get started?

1. Who Do You Want to Surround Yourself With?

The key to a mastermind being a good fit and a valuable use of time is being with the right people. For me, that’s been with people that have business values that are aligned with mine and are at a certain stage or level of experience.

As you consider this, do you want to mastermind with other people who do what you do? A variety of industries? Also think about who you mesh with and where you’ll be a-okay with sharing the ins and outs of your business.

2. What’s your Mastermind Goal?

Don’t just join a mastermind to check it off your list! Take time to get clear on your intention and goal from masterminding.

At each stage in your business, this may be different. When I was first starting out, it was to get connected and have support with different challenges. Now I rely on my mastermind group to push me and call me out on my shit.

What you need may be different, so put some time into figuring out what you need in the next three, six months or even a year to support your business and personal growth.

3. Free or Paid Mastermind?

I’ve been in several paid masterminds as well as a number of ones formed with business friends/collaborators.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both, so let’s quickly walk through them.

With paid masterminds, a lot of it comes down to the leader of the group and how they structure things. Is everyone at the same level, or are you going to be miles ahead or behind of everyone else?

Many times a paid mastermind requires a chunk of change, so definitely dig into all of the details before you commit.

Things I like to find out to help make my decision:

  • How many people will be in the group?
  • How are they screening people for fit?
  • How often do we meet?
  • What are the requirements for participating in the group?
  • How is the group structured?

Even if it’s only a minor investment, asking these questions upfront can save you a headache later.

Maybe you’re not in the market for a paid mastermind, so a free group is always an option too. For best results, I recommend brainstorming who you’d like to mastermind with and are connected to and go from there.

Starting a new group is always easier than trying to find an existing one and then trying to get invited. People generally are pretty tight lipped about who they mastermind with and these groups tend to be a little bit secretive. (At least in my experience, it’s like some type of online entrepreneur version of the Skulls.)

The biggest thing with an unpaid mastermind is to ensure that there are clear rules of engagement and expectations from the get go. Establishing how often you’ll meet, how new members get added and more can save a lot of back and forth later.

Having this all laid out makes it easy for people to say yes or no when you invite them, and if you’ve got everything organized, it’s an easy yes.

To give you an idea of structure, my current group is one with 7 fellow female entrepreneurs and we meet monthly by Google Hangout. We also meet twice a year in person, and then have our Facebook group for support.

Armed with these three questions, you’ll be on your way to finding the right group for you and using the power of mastermind group to help you grow and thrive in ways you didn’t think possible.

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs customer experience marketing strategy PR for small business

The Real Secret of Running a Successful Online Business

blog 7.9

Friends, fellow entrepreneurs…lend me your eyeballs. For just a few minutes, and then you can get back to biz.

This hasn’t been an easy post to write. Not by a long shot, but it’s weighing on me. Literally nagging at me day after day after day. So here we go.

Something is seriously broken in our industry. I’ve written on this before and  shared my feelings about six figure talk, and it’s not about the money talk or sharing results, but rather, the fact we’re being conditioned like a bunch of mice in a science experiment to use that as our yardstick of success.

Don’t get me wrong, making six figures in your biz is a big deal. I know exactly how it feels to see it happen – having done it myself and for my clients.

But it’s a number. A number that may or may not work for you. Maybe your version of success is a $50K year or a $350K year. Whatever you want, decide for yourself and own it. This is your business, so don’t let it become a shorthand for how you measure success.

The truth is my six figures isn’t your six figures. I live in a town in rural Ontario, Canada. I likely have higher taxes, but an overall lower cost of living. I have socialized medicine by virtue of being Canadian and a husband with the Cadillac of benefits plans to cover the rest.

What’s worse than the fact that six figures is all relative is the fact that the six figure obsession in our industry has a dark side.

Cue the dramatic music. (I’m thinking some Star Wars Darth Vader type music would do nicely.)

There’s a laundry list of dark side issues, but here’s a few worth considering:

1. Six Figure “Success” is Quickly Becoming Meaningless

If you’re on Facebook, you know exactly what I’m talking about. When you do the newsfeed scroll you are inundated with promises of six figure success all day long.

Build your six figure social media business.
Create your six figure sales funnel NOW.
Learn how I made over $100K with this one marketing trick.

The list goes on and on and on. The real issue here is that even if you have real six figure success, this steady barrage of six figure promises devalues it. It makes us think that we can all ride in our our unicorns and party it up on our piles of sweet six figure cash that we made while we were sleeping.

This is SUCH a big challenge that as I’ve been writing a sales page for my new course (more on that coming soon), it took me days to be okay with pointing to some big client successes I’ve been a part of that are in the six figure zone. Quite frankly, it pisses me off that I need to labor over what are simple facts because I don’t want to be one of THOSE people.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very proud to have been a part of these successes but owning that for my own marketing made me feel icky. Because six figure success is now a tired cliché.

I did decide to include them, but I crafted that copy with painstaking thought and detail so it made sense. This type of marketing preys on people and I’m unwilling to be a party to this. (We can see if I hit the mark when I launch in late August!)

There’s proof and then there’s promises. Often, I follow the trail to check out these people running ads with big fat promises and find out that they’re extremely thin on legit examples of who they’ve done this for.

Which brings me to my next point…

[clickToTweet tweet=”Six figure success talk is one big fat cliche. New blog post from @magspatterson” quote=”Six figure success talk is one big fat cliche. New blog post from @magspatterson”]

2. Real Success is a Pattern

Success isn’t one six figure year.

Or even creating your own six figure business.

What the true pattern of success is being able to do it again and again. It’s having the experience and skills to replicate that for your customers.  And six figures aren’t mandatory.

What’s more important than the money made is the concept of mastery. So much of our industry is based on the concept of “you need to only be a few steps ahead” thinking.

Sure, for some things that makes perfect sense, especially when we’re talking a new social platform or something that’s evolving all the time.

On the flip side, I’ve always had problems with this concept. And not because I think we need to know everything, but rather how this idea is taken to extremes. Being a step ahead doesn’t meant you can take a course or read a blog post and then turn around and regurgitate it all as an expert.

I’m all for moxie and being bold, but proclaiming to be the expert when you’re as fake as they come and sliding on shit does no one – most of all you –  any favors.

The intent behind being a few steps ahead is for you to internalize what you learn, then apply it, test it, tweak it and refine it over time, then share it.  And not just do it in your own biz. That’s too small of a sandbox to really figure out how to make something work, and it takes a narrow view of what success really is.

Do you need 10,000 hours? Probably not. But you need a lot more than 10 hours to be selling it as a service. If you’re new at something, get practice clients, beta your offering, then test and test and test some more.

Then you can point to consistent results. And consistency is the sweet spot in a world where half of small businesses fail.

As someone out there spending your money in this industry, pay attention to consistency as the mile marker.

Not the new person on the scene with one big launch that everyone’s celebrating, but the coach with 5 launches where you’ve seen them improve incrementally. Or the person with multiple successful businesses that’s quietly doing their thing in a way that’s to be admired.  Or the consultant you’ve been following forever that shows up in your inbox every Wednesday without fail.  Or the graphic designer who’s been creating amazing brands forever and is so good that her business is 100% referral based.

Those are the people to look to: the quiet leaders, the unsung heroes, the super solid people you’d be proud to call your friend. Not the latest overnight success story, IT girl or fast talking guru, as they will come and go.

The consistent ones may not be sexy, but they’ve mastered their craft and are the right people to help you create success that sticks for the long haul.

And if you’re not sure about where to invest your money, remember that…

3. People Tell Big FAT Lies on the Internet

You’re shocked, right? We all know that people lie on the Internet, which is why you can bet your bottom dollar that many of these people shilling their six figure fix/solution/magical potion to you via Facebook and other mediums are full of shit.

Don’t believe me? I had a rather eye-opening conversation with some entrepreneurial friends not that long ago. (Places and names obscured as I’m not here to out people or point fingers.) More than one example of trumped up success stories and promises were discussed and this is NOT the first conversation of this nature I’ve had. From grossly exaggerated income to out-and-out lies, it’s happening out there. ALL.THE.TIME.

There’s many reasons people lie about stuff, from a serious lack of integrity right through to feeling that this is how it’s done. Whatever the reason, it’s not okay. Any time you feel the need to stretch the truth or push beyond the limit of what’s actually true, please stop. (And if anyone tells you to do this – fire them immediately.)

The goal should always be the strongest verifiable claim. That is, the best evidence you have that you do what you say you’re going to do. Sure, polish it up and make it look good, but don’t cross the line.

For those of you that are now questioning your faith in the online business world, this isn’t meant to be alarmist.

It’s the Internet, people lie all the time – so it’s up to us to turn up the BS radar and figure out what’s what.  You’d do the same if you were online dating, right? So do yourself a favor and get a healthy dose of skepticism to protect your bank account and biz.

Embracing the dark side and being wise to it may seem unpleasant or negative, but the reality is it exists. It’s real. And it’s not going away.

If you’re going to succeed and do it on your own terms with an online business, you need to be aware of the dark side. That gives you the power to consciously choose to create something genuine and true as you work on running a successful online business. For you to not fall into the lure of those that choose to play this way.  The online world needs MORE people with high integrity and low BS.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Embracing the dark side of online biz from @magspatterson” quote=”Embracing the dark side of online biz from @magspatterson”]

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs Grow Your Business Online

Quit Dabbling, Start Doing: Creating Your Online Marketing Action Plan

blog 7.2

In honor of a new quarter, I want to ask you a question…are you a dabbler?

Specifically, a dabbler in marketing….and if you’re not sure, here are some signs that you’re dabbling:

  • You’ve paid for a pile of marketing courses that languish on your hard drive for someday. Or you’ve taken them but have applied very little of what you learned to your business.
  • The typical modus operandi is to start a marketing project with LOTS of excitement, only to fizzle out in a few weeks.
  • Ideas: you’ve got ‘em. Lots of them. Tonnes of them…but you don’t actually know how to separate the good, bad and super ugly.
  • You feel like you’re doing ALL of the things, but you’re not sure what’s working and what’s a waste of time.
  • Most of all, you can’t figure out why some people are SO freakin’ successful and you’re still stuck in park.

While dabbling happens to all of us at one time or another, we’re half way through 2015 and it’s time to get our shit together. Dabbling doesn’t get results; dabbling holds us back from success and tricks us into thinking we should be way further ahead than we actually are.

In short, dabbling is distracting and dangerous to your business’ bottom line.

If you’re ready to stop dabbling with your marketing and create an online marketing plan, here’s a few ways to make that happen:

#1. 90-Day Marketing Plan

For most of us, we have a business to run and clients to serve. And while marketing is important, it’s not our full-time gig. It’s just the thing we use to grow the biz and it fits in around everything else we’re doing.

Which is why I love the idea of a 90-day marketing plan. You may have heard me talk about 90-day plans for your business in the past (I’m officially obsessed, thanks to my friend and client Amber McCue), but invariably for me, marketing is always a big part of my plan.

The idea of the 90-day plan is that you can focus on bite-sized chunks, which is exactly why I’m creating one specifically for marketing for this quarter. This creates clarity around ongoing marketing activities and a new initiative related to my program launch later this Summer.

With my marketing strategy set for the year, this plan is tactical in nature and breaks out activities and actions by month.

So, what do you include in your 90-day marketing plan? That’s up to you, but here’s what’s in my ongoing marketing plan for Q3:
90 day marketing plan

You can grab your own 90-day marketing plan template here.

#2. Test & Fine-Tune

There’s not a single marketing tactic or program that you can set and forget. Everything needs to be tested and fine-tuned over time.

Without an eye on experimenting to see what works for you and watching for signs that things just aren’t cutting it anymore, you’re missing out on ways to make your marketing more productive and profitable.

What should you test? Here’s a few ideas of things you can have some fun with in the next few months:

  • For your email list – Split test your email subject lines. Most services will allow you to easily do this.
  • For your blog – Try offering a content upgrade (worksheet or PDF) that your readers can opt-in or add a signup box at the end of your posts. (Oh wait, I’m trying that on this post!)
  • For your social media  – Try using different media, such as a video or audio, to increase engagement. Or experiment with images.
  • For your sales page – Change your calls to action and add more social proof, such as quotes or media logos.
    For your interviews and  guest posts – Create a custom landing page to direct listeners or readers to.

#3. Measure Business Impact

Success is a funny thing. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can easily miss it.  Which is why for each of your activities you want to be looking for ways to measure how your marketing programs are impacting your business overall.

Did you just think: Ugh, numbers. Double ugh, math. Yeah, I totally get it. But if you’re not going to set up some basic measures, it’s pretty hard to figure out if your time and money are being well used.

This doesn’t need to be complicated or require you to turn into a data nerd. Start by tracking some basic numbers, like these:

  • Number of sign ups to your email list per month.
  • Open rate and click through rate on your weekly email.
  • Monthly blog traffic or podcast downloads.
  • Goal completions via goals you’ve set up in Google Analytics.
  • Social media follower counts by month.
  • Number of bookings/sales per week or month.

Figure out what’s most critical in your 90-day marketing plan and map out the measures you need to define success. Actively tracking and monitoring these numbers can help you celebrate your successes and do more of what works, while ditching what isn’t getting you where you want to go.

Are you going to stop dabbling and start doing?


Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs marketing strategy sales

Your Official Guide to Selling Without Feeling Sleazy

blog 6.11

You’ve probably heard it before: “I’m bad at sales” or “Oh, I’m just not really a sales person.”  Hell, you’ve probably uttered it from your lips or at least said it in your head.

And it needs to stop. It’s the worst form of self-sabotage as the boss of your business and it will wreak serious havoc on everything in your wake. If you don’t sell anything, you’re not going to have a business for very long.

For years my mother has joked with me that I can sell anything and is completely mystified by this magical sales ability I seem to possess. So, do I have a special superpower? A natural talent for being able to sell?

While I’d like to think I have superpowers and am some type of modern day business Wonder Woman, I really don’t in this department. Which is good news for you, as you, too, can become an amazing salesperson. Best of all, you can engage in selling without feeling sleazy.

Here are some ideas to make sales so much easier:

It All Starts with Confidence

Don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about learning how to walk with swagger. The confidence I speak of is in the product or service you’re selling.

If you think what you’re selling is a complete and utter piece of crap, it’s going to be hard to actually convince anyone they need this.

If you’re selling yourself or the services you provide, you’re going to have to work hard to figure out why exactly you’re not confident and fix it. Easier said than done, I know, but if you’re not confident all the flippin’ time in what you have to offer, maybe it’s the wrong thing or you’ve got to work on your value proposition.

Over the years, I’ve sold everything from rubber stamps to high-end consulting services, and the real reason I excelled at this is that I believed 100% in what I was selling.

If I don’t believe in a product, I can’t sell it. End of story. And I’m willing to bet you’re the exact same.

Over the last year, I’ve stopped product launches for things I didn’t entirely believe in or that weren’t quite right. I’ve decided that until I can sell it enthusiastically, I won’t sell it at all.

Life’s too short to sell shit you hate.

That’s why by the time I launch my course this Fall, I’ll have spent 9 months working on it. (Cue the pregnancy parallels, because some days having a baby feels like it would be way less work!)

So, if you’re struggling to sell your thing, take some time to figure out if you can improve it so you’re confident offering it up. And if you’re struggling with overall confidence, do what it takes to get to a point where you believe in yourself and your offering enough to make it a success.

[Tweet “Life is too short to sell shit you hate. New blog post from @magspatterson”]

Selling Doesn’t Have to be Sleazy

The way selling is done on the Internet has a distinctly masculine energy to it at times. It’s bold, ballsy and in your face.

When we’re consuming a consistent diet of high pressure, make money while you sleep, dude-tastic sales tactics, it’s no wonder that we start to think that selling is sleazy.

It’s not. It doesn’t have to be. Not for a second.

Flaming, flashing red buy now buttons aren’t mandatory to do business on the Internet.

How you sell can be done in a way that’s service-based and with good intentions. You can take the same proven persuasion principles and conversion strategies that work for the dude entrepreneurs and make them entirely yours. All with your soul intact.

Two of my favorite examples of people who do this incredibly well in our industry are Natalie MacNeil and Racheal Cook. They sell beautifully and do it in a way that’s clear, thoughtful and highly effective.

So instead of declaring sales as sleazy and making it way harder than it needs to be, become a student of people that you do vibe with and how they are selling their thing. Watch and learn so you can make it your own and not feel like you need to jam your business into a soulless formula that doesn’t serve you ﹘ or your potential customers ﹘ well.

Make Systems Your Sales BFF

Selling is only one part of your role in your business, which is why you need to create systems to support your sales process.

Whether you’re selling a product (such as an e-course) or a one-on-one service, your systems can do a lot of the heavy lifting to make sure the details are taken care of.

While this seems like the most obvious thing to say, if you can remove yourself from key pieces of the process, you actually will have fewer chances to sabotage it.

Key places you can create systems for in your sales include:

  • Booking
  • Billing/Invoicing
  • Contracts
  • Consult calls
  • Payments
  • Email communications
  • Proposals and quotes

Take a look at each of these to see where you can remove yourself with either a system, tool or a team member to ensure that you’re focused on the area where you’re most valuable. (Hint: That’s usually in the part that involves talking to people or sealing the deal.)

Finally, a big part of your sales system needs to be your marketing, which is a whole other cup of tea, but take some time to figure out how you’re going to get people from discovering you to buying. And posting your wares randomly in Facebook groups under the guise of feedback is NOT a sales system. (More on Facebook groups and good manners in this guest post on Jackie Johnstone’s blog here.)

Map out the steps it typically takes for a client to go from finding you to purchasing from you. If you aren’t sure, ask your newest clients for their insight, including how long they’ve been following you. Those blog posts, emails and everything else that you think no one reads or aren’t working may be your sales secret sauce after all.

If you need a helping hand with systems and customer experience, watch out for next week’s post that will share a new (free) resource that you won’t want to miss.

So, where do you need help to make your sales process feel and flow better? Taking action in this area, no matter how uncomfortable you may be is critical to your biz success in the long run.

[Tweet “You can sell online and not be a total d-bag. New post from @magspatterson”]

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs conversion rate strategies

Why You Need Conversion Rate

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs The Marketing Moxie Show

Episode #67 – Are You Pushing or Pulling?


Do you feel like marketing sucks up all your time, but your business is kind of flatlining? It may be a case of too much push and not enough pull in your marketing. If so, it’s time for you to push outside the safe zone so you can share your story and message with a wider audience.

Items Discussed in this Episode:

  • Marketing can be such busy work where we spend all our time working on our business and not in our business
  • To get the highest possible value out of your marketing, you can’t just push your content into the world and expect something to happen
  • How do you actually grow a platform? You have to start pulling!
  • I share some examples of how to pull people to your site by stepping off your own platform
  • If stepping outside your comfort zone seems scary, start small and work on one thing at a time

[Tweet “Stop trying to push and start pulling people instead to your biz. #marketingmoxie @magspatterson”]

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Links for this Episode:

Guest Posting Platinum Package

Link to Free Marketing Moxie Facebook Group

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs

How Saying No Saved My Sanity and My Business

blog 4.9

Today we’re doing things a bit differently, as I’m part of the amazing Racheal Cook’s Business That Loves You Back Blog Tour. It’s no secret that I’m a Rachael super fan ﹘ she’s a client and friend ﹘ but what I love about her most is that she’s 100% the real deal. Follow the #BizLoveBlogTour and don’t miss a post!

If you’re just joining us, check out Megan Flatt’s post from yesterday (she’s my go-to girl when I’m having a major mom/business meltdown), and tomorrow you can head on over to the always awesome (and fellow storyteller) Tea Silvestre.

And with that, I give you my post all about saying no in your business.

I’m a hustler by nature. I don’t know if it’s because I’m part Irish and Italian and that’s just baked into my DNA, or because I’ve always been hell-bent to prove everyone wrong. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

Growing up, I was never the superstar, the lead in the school play, the soloist in band, or the one who got noticed. This served to be a blessing in so many ways, as I could do exactly what I wanted and gave little concern to the rules or expectations. Pretty much anything I did was considered solid.

On the flip side, that also was a complete curse. By the time I had arrived at college to study communications, I was seriously being underestimated by the people who mattered.

The message from my program coordinators? I wasn’t good enough for the type of career I wanted. (To this day, I don’t think that was malicious, but more that they didn’t see my potential.)

That was a turning point. Suddenly, the stakes were too damn high, as I had a mountain of student debt and I wanted the BEST possible job upon graduation. Good enough simply wasn’t good enough any longer.

A Hustler is Born

Shit got real in that moment (debt will do that to a girl), and a hustler was born.

Over the years, that hustle has served me extremely well. I was able to land the position I wanted at a fast-growing PR agency and climb my way up to Account Director. I worked on coveted accounts and learned everything I needed to know to strike out on my own. Hustle is what helped me build the 1.0 version of my business quickly and keep a steady roster of clients for many years.

But with my online business (aka business version 2.0), that hustle was proving to be to my detriment. As my business grew, I said yes to more and more, until I started saying yes to everything.

To clients. To opportunities. To shit I really had no business doing. To continuing to run two other businesses on top of what I was already doing. To putting everything else ahead of myself.

Late in 2014, I realized that the problem was that my hustler woman had become a yes woman. And not in the goes-along-with-everything, people pleaser kind of way; rather my default answer for everything was yes.

It had to stop if I was going to stay sane.

I knew if I was going to grow a business that loved me back, I had to love myself enough to say no. Why could I say no to making beans for a church supper while the business version of that request felt freakin’ hard?

[Tweet “Love yourself enough to say no. New post from @magspatterson #bizloveblogtour”]

Most of all, I had to stop trying to prove to the world that I would be successful. The brutal truth was that at this point in the game, I’ve exceeded every expectation I’d ever set for myself, or that anyone had ever set for me. I was already successful beyond measure, and there was really nothing left to prove ﹘ except maybe to that voice in my head.

My life, my family, my health and my sanity are more important than proving to anyone ﹘ especially that nasty bitchy voice in my head ﹘ that I was good enough. Because I am simply awesome, thank you very much, bitchy voice be damned.

So now, my first answer to everything is no. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no every. single. time.

By serving myself better, my business loves me back so much more. I’d say we’re having a bit of a love affair at the moment. And don’t worry, my husband is fully aware. He sees the change in me and how I do things, especially when I actually go to bed with him at night instead of burning the midnight oil until 2 a.m. (Full disclosure: I do stay up late still sometimes working, but by choice, not out of necessity.  I still do my best work when the world is quiet.)

I’ve made space for growth in a way that has me doing things in a way I’ve never done before. Not everything has to be rushed. Amazing clients are showing up in that space, and I see a bright future where I’m not running off little sleep and lots of caffeine.

I won’t lie. Saying no is hard. But every time I say no, it gets a bit easier. No. Two letters, a small word that has helped me build a business that loves me – because it’s my business at the end of each day, not someone else’s. If I don’t love it and it’s not loving me back – then what the hell is the point?

[Tweet “Build a biz that loves you back. Otherwise WTH is the point says @magspatterson #bizloveblogtour”]

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs the ugly bits

4 Things About Online Entrepreneurship That Are On My Last Nerve

blog 2.12

Less than 24 hours back from my annual Winter break where I pump myself up with vitamin D and family fun, and I gotta say. I’m tired.

Not in the usual I need a “vacation from my vacation” type of way, but in the whole “crap, I’ve had two weeks off and have a new lease on life” kind of way. Perspective is everything. And this perspective I have is from the outside – from the real world away from the computer screen  – means that certain parts of online entrepreneurship are on my last nerve.

Before I let it rip, it’s worth saying that I still adore my amazing clients, community and business BFFs, but there’s some things afoot that need to be said.

You may not agree, and that’s fine by me. Because in my world, we can disagree and still respect one another, that’s how grownups operate. Speaking of which, that’s a nice intro into my first point.

#1. Be Grateful for Feedback. Not Ridiculously Hard Headed.

The online world is probably the only place I know of where it’s okay to dismiss feedback automatically as someone being a “hater” or a “troll”. The lack of honest, straight forward feedback to people who seriously suck and need a slap up side the head for their own good is mind boggling.

I’m not talking about the feedback that is rude, obnoxious or insulting because that should be dismissed. There’s no need to be careless or thoughtless, but feedback too many times isn’t given out of fear of reprisal. And when it is, too often there’s way too much drama, along with passive aggressive Facebook updates and tribes of friends pulling the mean girls routine. (I kid you not, I’ve seen it all first hand.)

In the real world, feedback is a thing, especially from your paying clients.  So we all need to harden up and be grateful for it when we get it. It’s not easy for people to give, and you should be thankful when they do. I’m willing to bet, that there’s a big old kernel of truth in their feedback if you’d just get over your ego for one minute, so stop being hard headed and see how you can use that to improve and grow.

And yeah, I don’t like negative feedback either. It sucks. It hurts. But I know this one thing for sure. It makes me better. It fires me up and pushes me harder, which makes me better at what I do every single day.

#2. Being an Entrepreneur Doesn’t Make You a Superior Person.

I’ve had a business for nearly 10 years, and for 8 years I didn’t identify myself as an entrepreneur. Because, well, that was for startups in my mind  – not small companies in even smaller country towns in rural Canada.

Now, while I do use that terminology, I’ve got to say, I still see so much BS around being an entrepreneur that it makes me want to count myself out many days.

Newsflash. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t make you a superior human being. Not everyone should be an entrepreneur. And having a “normal” career doesn’t mean you’re wasting your potential.

Yes, the economy is trending towards more and more independent workers, which you know I love. But the entire workforce can’t be that way. It’s a terrible idea.

Take my husband for example who works for Canada Border Services at a land border with the U.S. What the dickens happens when they all decide to quit and fulfill their “purpose” as entrepreneurs?  We just open up the border and good luck?

What about your family doctor who decides she’s throwing in the towel and frolicking on the beach in Bali? How long until you’re able to find a new doctor – months, years?

Your faithful barista at Starbucks at your office away from home? Who’s gonna make your tall soy milk latte now?

My point exactly. There’s undercurrent in entrepreneurship that we think everyone should join the party. Please stop it. Not everyone should be at this party.

[Tweet “Not everyone should be at the online entrepreneurship party, so stop inviting everyone. New blog post by @magspatterson”]

I don’t know if it’s because we’re so freakin’ excited about our work, or we want people to justify just how entirely loco this ride is sometimes by having them come along with us. But we need to cut this out because entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.  We’ve discussed this at length at my house and how you’ve got to be a special breed of crazy to take this on.  Plus, the economy needs workers and employees.

It’s not a bad thing, it’s reality, because I take my safety, healthcare and cappucinos seriously.

#3. Please Speak English. Seriously.

For a about one million years I worked in the software industry, which just in case you haven’t had the pleasure of reading a product data sheet or whitepaper is all about the jargon. From your whozitwhatsee to your SAAS, they speak their own language.

When I left the tech world, I was so excited to not have to deal with jargon anymore. Wrong. I was SO wrong.  Online entrepreneurship is actually worse.

I have a big side eye on you coaches, especially life coaches. Speak English please. I have no idea what the chuck you’re talking about 99% of the time. I’m a relatively intelligent individual who works with words day in, day out and I’m stumped about finding my authentic purpose and passion so I can soar.

Yes, you should speak your audience’s language. But I can guarantee that your tribe really doesn’t understand what you’re saying either. You may have a dynamic enough personality that they like you and follow you anyways. But, this is why so many coaches are struggling. They’re stuck in their coach speak while the rest of us want English or our language of choice.

Clear will always trump clever. Which is why the coaches I know that are crushing it have clear value propositions that anyone off the street can grasp in a heartbeat. If you can’t nail in a single sentence what you can do for me and how, you need to reboot your messaging immediately.

#4. Cease and Desist on Kissing Ass.

Influencer marketing. Connecting with the big guns.  Call it what you will. I call it kissing ass. My friend who shall remain nameless calls it the social BJ.

Network. Connect. Build legit relationships. But if your sole purpose is to connect with someone to get ahead, you’re doing it my friend and hopefully you get out with your dignity intact.

Now, this may seem super rudimentary like networking 101, but online and social media makes this SO much easier for people to do. It’s so much, much worse online because you don’t need to look someone in the eye.  So you push the envelope and name drop, kiss ass on Twitter and see if they will notice you.

It’s sort of like trying to get invited to an A-list party in High School.

I graduated high school a long time ago, and quite frankly, I give zero fucks if you make $10k or $10 million. How much you make, how many followers you have doesn’t make you the kind of person I want to connect with automatically. No one gets more value in my book because of how much money they make. It’s much deeper than that.

Yes, I may want to learn from you if the opportunity presents itself if you’re a successful business owner but I am not going to treat you any differently because of it.

I think people do this because they think that’s what they are supposed to do. And really and truly it’s not. You’re good enough.

This type of thing is sad and delusional because these people that you’re trying to socially sleep with, they know exactly what you’re doing.  So stop degrading yourself and start acting with some integrity. Stand on your own merits and not the fact that some “big name person who matters” likes you or buys into your schtick.

This entrepreneurship thing is hard some days and if we can all just raise the bar and cut this crap out, we can make it much simpler. And so much more enjoyable because we’ll be improving our businesses, being clear about what we do and quit acting like everyone should quit their job this very second. That in my mind would make this world a MUCH nicer place to be.

[Tweet “4 Things on My Last Nerve About Online Entrepreneurship – post from @magspatterson”]

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs The Marketing Moxie Show

Lessons from 50 Episodes

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This week is a milestone episode so I’m sharing my lessons from 50 episodes! We’ve hit the mark of 50 shows, so I’m sharing my favorite moments, shows, and lessons with you.

Items Discussed in this Episode:

  • My top lessons I’ve learned about myself from podcasting:
    – Who knew I would have an inner block for explicit language?
    – How being a writer translated to podcasting
    – Things that surprised me about audio, and the unique relationships you develop with your listeners
  • My top lessons I’ve learned from guests on my show:
    – Natalie Eckdahl s lessons from 100 episodes
    – Val Geisler’s take on follow through with your customers
    – Makenna Johnstone and her solid advice for doing it your way and not following the ‘shoulds’
    – Zsofi Koller on everything you need to know about working with a web designer
    – Jessica Kupferman’s ridiculously fun interview about online dating and online business
  • My top lessons I’ve learned about podcasting:
    – I’ve joined the secret club and I love it because it’s all kinds of geeky
    – How surprisingly low-tech podcasting has turned out to be, and how I use my ‘secret weapons’
    – I love interviewing, and I love being interviewed
  • The absolute best thing about podcasting: the fans. You guys are awesome!
  • What’s coming up next on the show and the new series that will follow

[Tweet “The Marketing Moxie Podcast celebrates 50 episodes. Listen in on @magspatterson’s party. “]

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Links for this Episode:

Nathalie Eckdahl’s Episode

Val Geisler’s Episode

Makenna Johnston’s Episode

Zsofi Koller’s Episode

Jessica Kupferman’s Episode

Link to Free Marketing Moxie Facebook Group

Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs content marketing strategy

2014’s Greatest Hits

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Whoa, 2014 is ready to leave us already? I feel like things are just getting started!


It’s a natural time of year to reflect and reset, which is why I’ve probably been over thinking this post for days…if not weeks. Should I blog about what I learned? A recap? A report. Honestly, I don’t think any of those things would do this year justice as I grew, stretched and reached in so many ways.

Not to mention, right now I feel like an entire post about me, me, me would be super self-indulgent. (Um…not to mention, I’m feeling kind of lazy as I want to read a delicious novel and snarf down some sugar cookies.) As much as I love those types of posts from other people, I think I’ve done quite a enough of that in the last few months….so instead, I bring you, my Greatest Hits from 2014.

Here’s some of my best “pulling back the curtain” posts:

Behind the Scenes of My Big Ass Branding Project

Three Lessons from My Brand Identity Crisis

Don’t Flush Your Brand’s Reputation

Are you Suffering from DIYits in Your Business?

Summer Lovin’: Giving Lifestyle Entrepreneurs the Middle Finger

Looking ahead to 2015, I’m working on new things and getting ready to let some things go, which is freaking me out more than I’ll ever fully admit.  Which is why my focus word for 2015 is FEARLESS. I talk about having moxie, being bold, acting with chutzpah every single day and I need to live that truth even more, especially away from my business.  Here’s to trying new things and making 2015 whatever you want it to be.

But enough about me…what’s your focus for 2015? I’d love to hear from you AND I’d love to know where you need help with storytelling, content and promotion as part of that master plan.