Brilliant idea? See if it fits with their story.

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A few years ago I got a brilliant idea for a summit program, the kind where you invite well-known people in your field to join you. The idea was so good, I had no trouble enlisting people to join. I ended up with a star-studded lineup (well, stars of the world of digital marketing).

A couple of days after I’d signed up the last speaker, I decided to write the sales letter. That meant I had to figure out what people wanted to learn about.

That’s when I realized that writing the sales letter for a program was the first step, not the last.

A few hours (or days, in…

Prospects respond to your message, not the words it’s wrapped in.

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When I first started with copywriting, I got the advice to “Find your voice.” I was encouraged to help my clients find their voices. I even wrote a few articles on how to find your voice. Hopefully, they’ve all been deleted by now.

“Find your voice” is really lousy advice, right up there with, “Be vulnerable.”

As Tom Kuegler wrote in an article in Medium: “You don’t read your favorite writer because they’re a master wordsmith. You read your favorite writer because their ideas are mind-blowing.

You may…

The old rules of career change no longer apply.

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Let’s say you join a company, degree in hand, at entry-level. You move up the ladder for fifteen, twenty, even twenty-five years.

Now you’re a senior manager in your mid-forties or early fifties. And you get laid off.

Or you’ve established a high profile. You may be a politician, a senior bank official, or a broadcaster. Following your much-publicized firing, you can’t just show up on a corporate doorstep to apply for a job. If you’re not invited in, you’ll be left in the cold.

Despite the siren call of business…

The way you talk about time will show how you think about your business.

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Mark Twain supposedly said, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.”

These days everybody talks about time…usually because we could all use more of it. But unlike the weather, we can do a great deal about time — in fact, we can change our productivity just by the way we talk about it.

Business owners tend to view time differently compared to those who work in corporate America.

I recently realized this difference when I casually told a friend from the corporate…

Serendipity can be the best career coach.

One of my favorite pop song lines is from John Denver, where he sings about returning to a place he’d never been. Listen to the first four lines and substitute any age for “27th year.”

That’s what coming home to a career feels like — finding a home and a “key for every door.”

Sometimes you find your new career only when you make a geographical move.

Janet had lived on the East Coast for many years. …

The best career advice comes when you leave your comfort zone.

As someone who used to change careers almost as often as I changed my signature t-shirts, I’ve sought my share of advice about life decisions. At some point, I began giving advice as well.

Career advice can be a minefield.

Most people begin with their nearest friends and dearest family members. Before you know it, you’re in a serious state of confusion. The ideas you had seem to dissolve as soon as you put them into words.

It’s not about listening to people who tell you, “You’re great.”

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As a die-hard New Yorker, I didn’t take driver’s ed in school. I figured I’d always live in a city with buses and subways.

Then I found myself in California as an elderly twenty-one-year-old. I needed a car. I needed to drive.

Driving didn’t come naturally to me. I’d never ridden a bicycle, so steering in a straight line was something new. I couldn’t believe other cars would do what they were supposed to do, i.e., stay in their lane and let me in when I wanted to merge…

Being an entrepreneur can feel like being a distance athlete.

Sports psychology has a lot to teach us about managing the business mindset. Both arenas make emotional demands and both impose performance requirements that don’t stop.

Whether you’re an athlete or a business owner, you’re always “on.” You work even when you’re tired. You constantly motivate yourself; a coach can help, but ultimately your drive comes from within a deep place. You constantly remind yourself of your “why.”

Both athletes and entrepreneurs encounter strong highs and lows, which take a toll mentally and can affect every area of their lives…

Entrepreneurs find storytelling can be their critical marketing tool.

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If you’re in a small business, you know your customers today are smarter than ever. They’re also easily bored. They have more choices (which often means they’re too confused to choose anything at all).

From a marketing standpoint, we know they’re also less tolerant of hype, sleaze, and “old-school” copywriting. They respond to scary headlines with scorn. They rarely believe that if they miss this one opportunity, they’ll be stuck forever in whatever their problem is.

Shane Snow is the CEO of Contently, a New York company that connects freelance journalists…

Entrepreneurs choose a target market, but they need to choose you, too.

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You may not know that Philadelphia’s slogan is “The City That Loves You Back.” Until 1997 we were the “City Of Brotherly Love,” based on the city’s Quaker heritage.

The slogan has been very successful for Philly. And it’s a nice reminder that a relationship — even a short one, even with an abstract entity — goes two ways.

When you’re starting out or when you pivot your business, you’ll be encouraged to evaluate your niche.

You’ll be encouraged to ask questions like, “Are they hungry? …

Cathy Goodwin

Helping entrepreneurs and independent professionals grow their businesses one story at a time. http://cathygoodwin.com

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