Advice, support and encouragement to stop being a corporate prisoner and start your own business
How to go from vague idea to concrete business concept22/05/2007 Duration: 06min
A blog reader recently wrote an email and shared his frustration at being stuck in a corporate job and hating it, but not knowing how to begin a new business in a new field.To answer this question, I outlined a number of steps you can take to go from vague and fuzzy idea to concrete business concept, highlighted here:Step 1: Wrap your arms around the field. Learn as much as you can about all the ways this field is expressed in business, so that you know which area to focus on.Step 2: Choose a small "neighborhood" to explore. Once you see all the different possibilities in the field, choose a particular area of interest.Step 3: Identify the hotshots that are doing the work successfully. These should be people who not only have technical expertise that you admire, but also complimentary values and thriving businesses.Step 4: Carve a niche. Choose a particular area to work in that represents your best work, and a particular group of people to work with that would energize and engage you (and would pay you
Use classes and workshops to get stuff done07/05/2007 Duration: 03min
Most small business owners have big plans to develop new services, re-invigorate marketing efforts or enhance online offerings. But if you are working alone, sometimes the tasks seem overwhelming. Participating in a group class or workshop can be a great way to: Develop a supportive network of peers that can provide insight, encouragement and motivation for your projectGet expert advice from your instructor which can ensure you don't make costly misakes and do things right the first timeBuild in some accountability to get things done, since you have specific assignments and deadlines Personally, I am hopeless without a deadline, so the final point is of particular importance. Some resources mentioned in the podcast: Google your topic of interest, + teleclass or workshopCoachville's www.teleclass.comClasses at www.passionforbusiness.com If you want to share your own experiences as a participant or know of good classes or directories of classes for small business owners, let me know at www.escapefromcubiclenat
Controversy is good: go ahead, disagree with me!24/04/2007 Duration: 06min
If you were raised in a conflict-averse household like I was, you may find that your early training seeps into your business and you are afraid to upset anyone with a controversial product or service.Big mistake!The most successful (and interesting!) businesses take a stand and create something different, unique and meaningful for their target market. You should be no different. In this 6-minute episode, I outline why I think it is so important to take a stand and do the following things when designing your business:Create from the heart and soulSpeak clearly and speak the truthKnow your nicheEmbrace your detractorsDon't backpeddle Share your thoughts, or passionate counter-arguments, at the blog - www.escapefromcubiclenation.com.
Cash flow is king19/03/2007 Duration: 07min
For all of you who have just made your first sale, congratulations! You should jump up and down and dance a jig at your accomplishment. Very soon, however, you will discover that a closed sale does not equal money in your bank account. Based on personal experience and that which I have learned from smart friends, I share some guidelines for making sure that you plan and contract for a stable cash flow in your new business. They include things like: Carefully study your client's financial terms, conditions and processes Plan contracts carefully, with payment milestones clearly identified and contingency plans developed if the scope changesTreat your accounts payable contact with ultimate deference and respect, lest you reap the wrath of an accountant scorned Please share your horror stories, best practices and tips at the blog: www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
Networking tip: Use the phone!05/03/2007 Duration: 04min
We all get comfortable using email to introduce ourselves to people we find compelling or share common business interests with. It is a quick and painless way to connect with people all over the world. But with the influx of email in everyone's inbox these days, as an alternative, why don't you try picking up the phone? In this episode, I cover some tips for phone networking so that you: Know how to professionally and quickly get to the point of the callRespect the other person's timeMake sure it is a mutually beneficial conversation Share your thoughts about this at the blog: www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
Cut through work paralysis by replacing "perfect" with "good enough"21/02/2007 Duration: 06min
If you are anything like me, you sweat the details of your business, wanting to make sure that everything is flawless and of the highest standards. The problem is, in a rapidly moving world and life, it is impossible to be perfect at everything you do. In fact, you will most likely stress yourself out and get little done if your standards are so high that you get paralyzed.In this episode, I invite you to redefine your relationship with perfectionism and invite "good enough" as a new standard for releasing work and getting things done. In order to do this, you will have to:Define different standards for your workPrioritize your tasksMake tough choices By doing so, you will not only get more done, you will have more fun doing it. And learn more!If you have struggled with perfectionism and have some insights, please share them at the blog at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
Small business marketing advice from expert John Jantsch12/02/2007 Duration: 33min
Intrigued by questions from many of my blog readers about small business marketing, I thought I would get answers from John Jantsch, one of the most well-respected small business marketing experts in the world.Do any of these questions ring true for you?If I have never marketed myself before, where do I begin?What are the pieces of a total marketing system?Why is it so important to define a specific target audience or niche for my services? Won't this narrow my opportunities?What if I loathe marketing?Should I launch my brand name if I am not 100% sure I love it?Should I start a blog or podcast to market my new business? John answers these questions and more, as well as some more specific ones like ideas for independent software developers who want to market their products, or how to promote a book.Please share your thoughts on your interview here or at the blog! www.escapefromcubiclenation.com John's website: www.ducttapemarketing.comJohn's blog: www.ducttapemarketing.com/weblog.php
Take the brute force out of your fears by dissecting them29/01/2007 Duration: 06min
All aspiring entrepreneurs have fears about starting a business. Such as:No one will ever buy my product or serviceI do not have enough experience to start a businessAll my competitors have superior products (besides which, they are smarter and/or better looking) Some people stay paralyzed and never move forward, while others find ways to overcome their fears and experience success.In this episode, I walk you through a specific exercise that you can use to diagnose and alleviate your fears. You may want to listen to it when you are sitting at a desk where you can scribble notes, or in front of your computer where you can create a simple table.Enjoy and let me know your own results by dropping me a line at email@example.com or leaving a comment on the blog at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
Interview with Martha Beck: Your left toe holds the clue to your right life15/01/2007 Duration: 44min
Departing from the regular, brief bursts of information in this podcast, this interview is a 40 minute conversation with Martha Beck, author of the New York Times bestselling book Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live and monthly columnist for Oprah's O Magazine. Martha provides lively and insighful information about how to figure out the work you are meant to do, a critical step in deciding which business to start as a new entrepreneur. Her approach may surprise you, and I guarantee it will make you think. If you have comments or observations about this podcast, please leave them at the blog, www.escapefromcubiclenation.com. Or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find Martha at www.marthabeck.com. From this point forward, I will be publishing longer interviews like this one once a month. I welcome your feedback about this format change.
Stop playing small01/01/2007 Duration: 04min
It is easy to get in the habit of being the "person behind the curtain," creating fame and glory for charismatic clients, executives and spouses. But when we choose to play small, we limit our lives to "next best" and miss the opportunity for great contribution to the world and personal joy and satisfaction.In this episode, I share some of my own experiences with playing small and the tremendous surge of energy and abundance I experienced when I decided to play bigger.Why not decide to play big this year?
When is your brand "good enough" to start marketing?18/12/2006 Duration: 07min
If you are just starting to market your business, you might feel a little exasperated when trying to choose a perfect brand name. It may feel like until you do this, you can't move forward with any marketing plans and you feel stuck and frustrated.In this episode, I cover:What a good branding process should look likeWhich marketing activities you can undertake before your brand is fully bakedWhich marketing activities you should hold off on until you are 80% or more satisfied with your brand I also mention a few resources:My second podcast First plan your life, then plan your businessGreat brand naming resource: namedevelopment.comExample of a great brand: Legal SanityGuy Kawasaki's book Art of the StartMarketing/branding resources for coaches:Andrea Lee's book Multiple Streams of Coaching IncomeSuzanne Falter-Barns' site getknownnow.comPlease let me know what you think about this topic on the blog! escapefromcubiclenation.com(I know at least a few of you will really disagree with my approach - let's hash
Proud member of the Island of Misfit Toys04/12/2006 Duration: 07min
Do you often feel like the oddball in your family, your job or your profession?Drawing on inspiration from the "Island of the Misfit Toys" from the 1964 classic movie Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, I outline ways to:Celebrate your unique quirks, differences and personal historyTie them in with needs in your marketBe proud of the misfit you are and reflect it in an authentic and kickass brand! For those that are fans of the movie, I found a really fun link with some of the back story of the characters and how it was made: Rudolf: Behind the Scenes
The customer likeability factor20/11/2006 Duration: 05min
Knowing what business to start is a huge question for many aspiring entrepreneurs. Aside from examining your own passions and interests, you can gain great insight into this question by thinking about your ideal customer in the following dimensions:Who would I genuinely like to work with? What characteristics do they share?What impact would my product or service have on their life? How does it feel to know I am having a positive impact?How would I feel talking about my business with these customers? See how the "customer likeability factor" impacts your decisions about what business to start. Please share your thoughts on the blog! www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
The curse of competence06/11/2006 Duration: 04min
Do you do something very well, get recognition and rewards for it but feel very burned out and dead when you practice it? You may suffer the curse of competence, a deadly trap for aspiring entrepreneurs. This episode discusses how to avoid starting a business based on a skill or ability you are burned out on. It can seem the easy path to money, but often leads to real frustration and apathy. Some strategies discussed: Disconnect the ability from the job descriptionCreate a personal development plan to give yourself time to learn new skillsConsider a mix of "curse of competence" and new skills to kick-start your business I'd love to hear your comments on the blog - www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
Beat negative self-talk when starting a business23/10/2006 Duration: 09min
Two of the most critical elements of becoming a successful entrepreneur are developing a positive mental attitude and defeating negative self-talk. This is important to not only produce great business results, but also to enjoy the day-to-day process of building your business. In this episode, I discuss two elements of a postive mental attitude: Distinguishing between your "essential" self and your "social" self to ensure you are doing work you are meant to doUsing a simple 4-question process called "The Work" to overcome negative self-talk Sources I refer to are Martha Beck's book Finding Your Own North Star: claiming the life you were meant to live and Byron Katie's Loving What Is: Four questions that can change your life Leave comments at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
Reduce your marketing dread09/10/2006 Duration: 06min
In this episode, I cover three things that help new entrepreneurs overcome their dread of all things marketing: Readjusting your marketing mindsetClearly defining a nicheSelecting and creating a marketing plan I reference two helpful marketing experts: Robert Middleton from www.actionplan.com and John Jansch from www.ducttapemarketing.com
How do I choose which business to start?25/09/2006 Duration: 06min
Many people have questions about which business to start. But most approach the task from the wrong angle, believing that if they just think about it enough that the answer will magically appear. In this episode, Pam covers: A myth about the process of deciding which business to startInsight into why it is such a difficult quest for veteran corporate employees A (fun) homework assignment to get some insight into the best business idea for you
Escape Podcast - Plan your life then your business11/09/2006 Duration: 04min
This episode covers the importance of thinking about the kind of life that would make you happy, healthy, stable and fulfilled before you run down the road of creating a business plan. I include an easy-to-complete exercise with just enough "woo woo" to make you relax in your cube.
Escape Podcast - First episode28/08/2006 Duration: 07min
This episode introduces the purpose and intent of the Escape from Cubicle Nation Podcast. It will build on content I write on my blog www.escapefromcubiclenation.com as well as include interviews with interesting, informative, passionate and creative people who know more than a thing or two about entrepreneurship.