Pricing Your Products

When you are running your own business, pricing is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make. Our decisions not only impact our income, but they also bring up all sorts of fears and doubts and blocks.

I’m raising some of my prices at Bridging the Gap, and in today’s video I share why. I also talk about what’s bubbling up for me mindset-wise so you can get a better view into your own inner dialog around pricing…and how it might be holding you back from making more money in your business.

(Be sure to watch through to the end when I share my top 2 pricing tips that will help ease some of the anxiety around deciding what to charge for your products.)

What really happened during my last launch…

I don’t think entrepreneurs talk nearly enough about what really goes into building a successful online business, particularly their failures along the way. Today I want to share with you what really happened during the last launch and what lessons I learned.

I’d love to hear your take-aways. And as I mentioned in the video, I’m thinking of making this an ongoing series, where I share what’s happening in my business (the ups and the downs). What would you like to learn more about? Please comment below.

Powerful women empower women

For the last two years, my word of the year has been “POWER.” Shortly after embarking on this adventure to help mom entrepreneurs find more freedom, flexibility, and financial reward in their businesses, I realized that my real goal was to empower women. And then I realized that if I wanted to do this work, I needed to step into my own power.

I still can’t help but feel the negative connotation of this word…how power is seen as a tool to control other people, rather than a space we step into on our own.  And that’s why it’s still my word. Because in many ways, I’m very much not-there-yet. I’m empowered and, yes, powerful. And I work every day to empower other women.

But this doesn’t feel comfortable. It’s not yet my new normal. I’ve got work to do.

When I shared this message with the Momstyle Your Business community a few weeks ago, it really resonated. And so we asked the women of Momstyle to share what this message means to them. I’m blown away by their answers – YOUR answers. Please take a read and add your thoughts below.

***

Darci Lopez, Life Unplanned

I feel like I am part of something greater than myself, that is a sisterhood of women. In running my business, my focus is always to help other women first…the rest will come. It takes a confidence and a peace and a knowledge that we are in this together to empower each other.

Jennifer Rue McLellan, Plus Size Birth

By supporting other women, I not only help them to grow their business but it feeds my soul and enriches my own business. 

Julie Daigneault

Many of the women I know are business owners. We support and encourage each other without fail. Many other women I know are educators of various kinds and are respected in all that they do every day. Ladies, you are strong, beautiful and capable.

Aparna Parinam

It reinforces the fact that women support and encourage each other. This is very much essential for the success of every woman!

Karin Beery, Write Now Editing

I think one of the reasons I like teaching so much is because I’m not just writing something for someone else – I’m teaching people how to do it for themselves so they don’t have to rely on anyone else. I want to empower them to not only write their own content, but to write killer content that gets noticed.

Robyn Johnson, Baby Kale Health

This strikes me on so many levels…today, especially, as a mom of a hormonal 4th grader who is very nervous about her first b-ball game! Trying to empower her, but still let her feel what she’s feeling!

On another level, my own, stepping into several new roles and changes…trying so hard to transform fears and anxiety into excitement and gratitude for new adventuresThank you, Laura.

Katy Moses Huggins

Starting out in the film photography era, the industry was very male dominated. It was hard to learn from my peers – most learning was done in a more traditional classroom type setting. In the last 13 years, things have changed dramatically with the introduction of the affordable Digital SLR.

Suddenly, pro photography became accessible for women who didn’t know if they wanted a photo career, but they could now afford to play and learn, and with the digital camera, there was an immediate feedback loop, fast learning curve, huge improvement in a short time.

What I’ve seen come out of this, is a constantly growing community of women photogs, who are helping each other learn, both technical as well as the business and creative aspects. They’re cheering each other on, they’re referring clients to each other. It’s amazing.

This community is growing – and thriving – more and more every day. Because of women choosing to help other women.

Rebecca Phoenix, Productive Preschool with Rebecca Phoenix

To me it means you support and celebrate! Call them out when they’ve done well, let the sun shine on them equally (not stay in your shadow).

Kate Ditzler, Practicing Empathy

Empowerment can be really, really abstract. I think of it as a transaction — either from one woman to another, as you framed it, or as an acquisition if you’re empowering yourself.

But what is being transacted or acquired?

It can’t just be the knowledge that things are possible. That leaves people with “should” and “need to” which stresses but doesn’t allow for action and growth. It has to be skills, and strategies, and gentle accountability and coaching. It has to be no judgement, it has to allow people to solve their own problems in a place that’s safe.

Diana Griffin, Diana Griffin Photography

Give what you have so that others might have more to give!

Amelia Warfield

Working together to make something special for ourselves.

Deirdre Eberhart

For me, it means showing women the power of their minds and how to focus their energies on more positive ways of thinking. We have a lot to take on sometimes and so many societal pressures. We need to unite our efforts by banding together.

Monique Alvarez

Powerful women are secure. They own their brilliance and invite other women to do the same.

***

I love the story these words tell. Stories of powerful women who stepped in to share their empowering words with us – with you. Let them seep in. Let them inspire you. Take them with you on your journey to step into your own power. Pass them along to the women in your life.

Because we will all be more powerful together. Powerful women EMPOWER other women.

Have a thought to share? Please leave a comment below.

The books that have shaped me

Laura-with-Kindle-BooksI recently became an Amazon affiliate – for the second time. Amazon discontinued the program in Colorado just as I was about to receive regular payouts back in 2009. I was bitter. And then I decided that any ethical pathway to money was a good one, so I applied again and here I am, writing a post to you about the books that have shaped my year.

(Yes, the images link to Amazon and they are affiliate links. And yes, I totally stand by all of these books and can personally recommend them.)

Because I do not do this alone. Building an online business requires continual growth – personally and professionally. I’m constantly learning new skills and also working on my mindset. And that’s part of what I love about what I do.

So without further ado, here are the books that have shaped my year.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

I discovered this book in 2015 and it was THE book I had been craving for years. I wanted a feminine approach to growth that my analytical mind could actually hold onto. Playing Big was that book for me. Tara blends intuition with practicality, and I found myself taking big steps forward into my callings. In fact, the first Digital Product Workshop I hosted in 2015 was a direct result of taking what Tara calls a “leap” and was the first step I took to build Momstyle Your Business.

 

 

Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes Please by Amy Poehler


Even though these are very different books, they fit into the same category for me. These books were fun to read, and about women who own their lives. They set a great example for what it means to write in your own voice, and go after careers, motherhood, and visibility without compromise. They’ve both inspired me to show up more as me.

 

 

 

 

The Big Leap by Gay Hendrickson

There is a fairly steep hill leading up to our house in Colorado. Until I read The Big Leap, I’d never run up the hill. Ever. I always walked up and rather slowly.

After reading the first chapter of this book, I was out on my run. The words “I am strong” pulsed through my entire body. I started running on the downhill and picked up speed. I decided not to stop and the hill steepened upwards. I just kept thinking “I am strong” and I just kept running. All of a sudden I was at the top and I felt wonderful.

I realized I had set my own inner thermostat about what was possible when it came to my body and running. It was one small example of all the upper limits I’ve set for myself – or what I assumed to be unalterable constraints on my life. Ever since reading this book, I’ve been much more conscious about what limits I set upon myself and realizing those limits has led to the following books below. I’m re-reading it now to dig deeper into my own “zone of genius” and find the best possible work to be doing going forward.

Secrets of a Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

I read this book during the summer of 2016, mostly on the beach at our Michigan lake house. What I learned has changed my life: If you believe any negative qualities about rich people (for me, it was that they are stuck up and snobby), then you will probably never be rich yourself. You will literally sabotage yourself from becoming who you think you want to be, because you believe negative things about who you will be when you achieve those goals.

This book opened up my awareness to just how much mindset work I needed to do if I wanted to continue to up-level our financial picture and lifestyle. And it led me to the next book.

 

 

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas

I read this book in October of this year, mostly on the beach of North Carolina, where we spent 3 wonderful days scoping out possible locations for our future home on the water. In between August and September, we decided to we wanted to live on the water full time, not only during Michigan summers.

Denise’s book sent me on a path of decluttering, forgiveness, tapping, and getting really clear about what I wanted. It also helped me realize that we could actually afford our dream, and that moving to the ocean was more a matter of logistics than finances.

Seriously, if you haven’t analyzed the price tag for what you really want next, I encourage you to do it. A lot of upgrades are much more affordable than we make them out to be. Often there are other blocks in play, which we can only find once we take the money issues out of it.

(As an aside, the book led me to Denise’s Lucky Bitch Bootcamp, which I can’t recommend highly enough. Not even accounting for the personal growth, I experienced a huge month in November after going through the bootcamp, and December is shaping up to be even bigger.)

Here’s my affiliate link to Denise’s Lucky Bitch Bootcamp

So there you have it! These are the books, and one online program, that have shaped me recently. I am grateful to be more self-aware, confident, and rich (in every sense of the word) person because of my time with each of these authors. And I know there are only better things to come.  I know next year will be full of more learning, more growth, and more books. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

What books have shaped you recently?

What makes you unstoppable?

Early on in my online business evolution, I remember thinking that after this one tweak, this final adjustment, things would be perfect. That somehow everything would magically fall into place and I’d be done.

Then one day I realized that done was an illusion. I began owning the fact that I would always have the right to change things. And that I would never be finished growing and tweaking the business.

Sometimes the changes are big, like switching from an instructor-led model to an on-demand model. This is a change that took me 2 years to implement. And now I’m back to experimenting with live sessions.

Sometimes the changes are small, like adjusting the email series for up-selling, adding a bundle, or changing the name of an existing product. Or, like I did this week inside the Momstyle Your Business Facebook group, implementing new prompts and letting go of the old ones that weren’t working.

But there is always, always change.

There is a difference though, because this is not change for change’s sake. It’s change based on learning. It’s change geared toward growth.

Yes, this is about change, but it’s also about passion. About guts. About listening to that voice inside you that absolutely must get out. It’s about creating, and creating in bigger and bolder ways. It’s about listening to your market, your customers, and matching up their desires with what the best of you has to offer.

Building an online business is a messy organic process. There is no formula for success, except to keep on learning and taking action.

And you learn through change. You learn by experimenting, watching the results, and experimenting again.

  • Every launch you run is an experiment.
  • Every digital product you create is an experiment.
  • Every email you send out or social media message you post is an experiment.

You become unstoppable when you effectively put your work out there again and again and again, so you can learn and learn and learn.

You become unstoppable when you integrate everything you learn to improve your offers, adjust your positioning, and tweak your strategies.

You become unstoppable when you commit without question to a single market and decide to never stop adjusting until you figure it out.

If you think my approach to Momstyle has been all over the place lately, you wouldn’t be wrong. I’ve gone from in-person workshops, to virtual on-demand workshops, to a group coaching program to smaller tools and swipe files.

On the outside, it might even look like I don’t know what I’m doing.

But you are not seeing the inside, where I’m listening very, very carefully. Reading in between the lines of what you are responding to, what you are buying, and the resistance that’s coming up. Digging deep into my own personal gifts and being honest about what I have to offer and what I don’t.

Then integrating all of this together to come up with a new idea. Making a new offer. And again learning from the response.

My confidence comes not from believing I’ve gotten it right, but knowing that I won’t stop until I get it right. And even then I’ll still be adjusting.

And this is what makes you unstoppable.

Your kids can’t be your entire why

My 4-year-old daughter fell asleep during this year’s fireworks. This is the daughter that stopped napping 2 years ago and didn’t sleep a wink during our 21-hour road trip. Yet, during the loud booms of one firework after another, I look over and there she is fast asleep in my husband’s arms.

I fought the desire to wake her up. After all, we’d stayed up so late to make this happen and I’d been building up the anticipation for days. Then I fought the feeling of guilt that I was a bad mom for keeping a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old up for the fireworks when they were obviously tired enough to sleep. Then I gave in and decided to snuggle up with my half-asleep 2-year-old and simply enjoy the fireworks myself.

After all, it had been 5 years since I’d seen them, always putting my children’s sleep and comfort ahead of my desire to go out and see the fireworks.

I see a lot of mamas today talking about how their children are their “why” behind their online business. While I definitely believe your children can be part of your why and your desire to show up as a mom in a certain way will impact the type of business you create, your children absolutely cannot be your entire why.

Your why has to come from YOU, from somewhere deep inside, not touched by anyone else. Not your parents. Not your partner. Not your children.

This is why the first component of a momstyle business is your creative spirit. That’s what lights you up. That’s what drives you. That’s why you choose to show up the way you do inside your business. You might think of this as your passion or calling. It’s why I chose first to start a blog about business analysis. And it’s why I chose to start the journey you are part of here at Momstyle Your Business.

The second is freedom and flexibility. That’s the piece that enables you to show up as you choose as a mom.

The third is profitability, which gives you the financial resources to make decisions from an empowered place, rather than one of constraint and need. Options like absorbing the cost of a virtual assistant, in-home child care, and housekeeping become viable.

If you’ve been believing that your children are your entire why, I’d challenge you to re-evaluate. Look at exactly what aspect of mothering and your children is driving you, and towards what. Then take personal responsibility for what you are doing above and beyond that, for you and only you.

There are dozens of ways that we neglect ourselves as mothers. Let’s not add to that problem by shifting the burden onto our children of why we do what we do in our businesses. For sure, becoming a mother and raising daughters has inspired me to show up in a completely different way, but they are not my entire why.

Your kids can't be your entire WHY

5 things to do before vacation when you own an online business

Most of us are building online businesses because we want the flexibility that comes with it. We know we can do our work anytime, anywhere. But how about those times when we don’t want to work at all, because we really want to be on a tried-and-true vacation?

Here are the 5 things I do before vacation time, and they help me be sure I can relax, enjoy my family, and make the most of my time off.

(By the way, if you are looking to build your business the momstyle way so you can actually take a real vacation, be sure to check out 10 Tips for Building Your Business the Momstyle Way – it’s free.)

#1 – Several weeks or months before vacation, block out the time

This might sound obvious, but you’ve got to block out the time. This means that I don’t plan any launches right before or after my vacation. It also means that I make sure that it won’t be necessary for me to deliver support, like 1-1 consulting or facilitating a live session.

There are times that my vacations seriously cramp my launch windows. I’ll find myself racing to get a new course or product out and a product launch started 2-3 months ahead of time, just to be sure the work doesn’t creep into my vacation. Other times, I make the hard decision well before vacation to defer ideas until after I get back.

#2 – 2-3 weeks before vacation, map out marketing communication

About 2-3 weeks before vacation, I map out my marketing communication plan. This gives me time to write the extra content and my virtual assistant time to review it and ask me any questions she might have about setting it up.

I don’t try to keep up with all of my normal marketing communications during vacation, but  I do like some messages to go out to maintain the hard-earned awareness I’ve built for me and my brand.

#3 – 1 week before vacation, reconcile finances

The last thing you want to be worrying about on vacation is whether or not your business expenses are covered. If my time off happens over the 1st of the month, I either plan to complete my monthly reconciliation process while on vacation (see #5) or do it ahead of time.

Learn exactly how to complete this simple, financially-freeing process in the 6-Figure Cash Flow System.

#4 – 1 week before vacation, plan the work week after vacation

I’m a planner. I go into every week with a to do list. The week before vacation, I plan out the week I return to work. This might be 3 or 4 weeks in advance, but typically there are commitments I’ve made and action steps I know I want to take to reignite my marketing communications.

By doing this, I can make sure these action items aren’t lingering in the back of my mind,  and focus on my family and having fun. I know my well-thought-out to do list is waiting for me when I get back.

As an aside, I’ll often leave a little extra space in this week. It’s not uncommon to come back from vacation with new ideas that you want to vet out or intentions to readjust your bigger picture plans. Your business will get the most out of your rest if you give yourself space to integrate these new ideas.

#5 – 1 week before vacation, map out the must-do tasks for during vacation

Finally, before vacation, I make a list of any items I absolutely must do during vacation. These are the tasks that can’t be deferred and that I haven’t delegated yet.

For example, last summer we took a 3 week vacation and I knew I needed a half hour every 3 business days to check in and answer any course participant emails. This year, I’ve eliminated and delegated nearly all of this activity, and so I’ll only be checking in for a smaller set of must-do items and, of course, to be sure there aren’t any emergencies that need my immediate attention.

I think it’s really important that we’re kind to ourselves about how flexible our businesses are. Most of us are in this work because we love it, and so checking in here and there isn’t a big inconvenience.  As long as your vacation doesn’t become all about work, you are doing better than the vast majority of online business owners.

Want to learn more?

Join us for more support over at the Momstyle Your Business Facebook group, where we empower one another to build flexible, profitable, online businesses that nourish our creative spirits and empower us economically.

5 things to do before vacation when you own an online business (1)

Raising daughters

Raising daughtersFrom the very moment I found out I was pregnant with our second child, I expected to have a boy. First, there was the fact that we already had a daughter, so a son seemed like the logical way to balance out our family. Second, the conception timing led me to believe that the faster swimmers were likely to have won out.

In some ways I really wanted a son. I wanted my husband to have a boy to play sports with. And as our children got older, I wanted equity when it came to things like bathroom trips and sex talks.

We didn’t find out the gender of our first child during my pregnancy. Actually, we didn’t find out until a few minutes after birth when the little new human bundle almost slipped out of my arms into the birth tub and I saw – GIRL!

It took awhile for the reality of being the mother of two girls to sink in. It completely shifted my perspective about the work I had to do to raise my children and the person I wanted to be.

In the days after our second daughter’s birth, I read Lean In. I love Sheryl Sandberg’s work, but read with the weight of postpartum hormones and in the overwhelm of embracing a life of raising two daughters, I found it disheartening.

In those early postpartum days, I realized with all my heart that I didn’t want my two daughters growing up in the same corporate world I had to deal with. I realized that my work was more than simply my work.

My work is and was and will be about changing the opportunities my daughters will have. Opportunities to have careers, businesses, children, experiences…whatever it is they want from the deepest places of their heart and decide to go after with all of their soul.

In the slightly less blurry months and years following my second daughter’s birth, I’ve realized that raising daughters does call me to step up in new ways.

  • First, I’m their chief role model of what we can do as women. They will learn to honor their creative souls by watching me honor mine. As I build my Momstyle Business they will see me eclipse my own expectations of what’s possible and do work that matters to me in an economically empowering way.
  • Second, I’m their chief encouragement officer. Already, I see my first daughter step back from risks, quiet her own voice, and dim her light. I call her out. She throws a tantrum. We move on. But we’re working on it and I know this is my special work to do, to help both of my girls step into their own power, find their own voices, and simply be themselves.
  • Finally, I’m their mom. I get to love them and nurture them. We get to go to parks and read stories and do craft projects. I get to hug them and, yes, sometimes correct them.

More than this, raising daughters has challenged me to be the woman I want to be. To find the courage to be their best example. To find the words and actions to empower them on their journey. And to create the space to love them with all my heart.

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, becoming a mother has empowered me to be more me than I ever thought possible. And, in case you were wondering, it turns out my husband is totally paying his dues with bathroom trips now. I know my turn is just around the corner.

5 steps to easing up on all the hard work

Today I want to talk about a very real fear that pops up on your business growth curve, and how it can create way too much hard work in what’s supposed to be a profitable business that nourishes you and your creative spirit.

You’ve been in business for a little while and things start to work out, perhaps even better than you could have imagined. All of a sudden, people want to buy what you have to offer. And buy more of it than they ever have before, maybe even at slightly higher prices too.

You are receiving more money than you ever have in business, perhaps than you ever have in life.

But something is wrong.

You are stretched too thin. And what started as a creatively nourishing adventure starts to feel like ridiculously hard work.

There are many changes that you can make to fix the situation, like raising your prices, taking on less clients, or changing how you structure your offers.

But you fear that any change could break the cycle of financial abundance you are in. And you fear that if you break what’s working, you’ll never get success back.

I know this fear is real, because I’ve been there.

When my online business finally took off in 2012, it felt like something magical had happened. And there was this definite internal pressure to keep doing everything I had been doing just to be sure I didn’t break the cycle of success.

Luckily, I was working with a coach who helped me pull apart the strands, run some strategic experiments, and also create a cash flow system (which I walk you through in the 6-Figure Cash Flow System) that allowed me to absorb setbacks.

Because as very real as the fear feels, it’s actually holding you back from enabling you to build the business you dream of. The one where you get to do bigger, more creative work. The one where you can work less and earn more.  The one where multiple 4, or even 5 figures flow into your checking account each month without stress.

If you find yourself in this space today, here are some steps to take.

  1. First, get crystal clear on your monthly expenses, as well as what it takes to sustain your business and your paycheck.
  2. Second, start saving up each month for unexpected expenses or low revenue months. This will be your safety net that gives you permission to experiment.
  3. Next, create a revenue plan for the coming month. Identify exactly what you think you need to do to meet those numbers.
  4. During and at the end of the month, track your financial results against your plan. Watch for assumptions you made that didn’t hold true and areas where you received more revenue than you were expecting. This system allows you to learn from what’s happening inside your business, so you can do more of what works and eliminate what doesn’t.
  5. Finally, run an experiment. For example, you might raise your prices for a month and see what happens. Or you might eliminate an activity, such as posting to a social media outlet, that you don’t think is having too much impact. Then watch your revenue numbers. Do they dip? Stay the same? Or even go up? Based on the outcome of your experiment, adjust assumptions and your go-forward plan.

You’ll run through steps 3-5 again and again…and again and again. I run through these each and every month in both of my businesses. I’m constantly experimenting, learning, and adjusting. I watch my revenue numbers for unexpected successes and failures and I use my cash reserves to manage any dips in revenue.

And when I experience a big financial success, I build my reserves back up. Once that big success becomes a pattern, I look for new ways to invest in my business, such as hiring more help, choosing even more “risky” creative work, or raising my salary.

What I’ve learned through this process is that I’m attracted to hard work. It makes me feel good about earning the amount of revenue I do and living my momstyle lifestyle. But it’s not always the hard work that generates the financial results in my business. In fact sometimes the less I work the more I earn.

I can’t tell you exactly what you need to do to make your business thrive, but I can help you through this process of managing your cashflow in an abundant way so you can figure it out.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use this process in your own business, to ease up on the hard work, check out the 6-Figure Cash Flow System. You’ll learn simple money management techniques that will empower you to attract the money you want and create more financial stability in your business, as well as techniques for learning from what’s happening inside your business.

Click here to learn more about the 6-Figure Cash Flow System

When you feel it’s all been said before

Yesterday I was talking to my coach, Gary Barnes, about the work I’ve been doing to help women with their money mindset. I had put off getting some much-needed help with my launch because I was embarrassed to tell him I was running this class.

You see, on my money mindset journey, Gary was the one empowering me to create new financial systems and up-level my money mindset. He’s heard about every guilt trip, every fear, and every doubt and helped me work through each of them.

He even has written a book, Spend and Grow Rich, that helped me create my money management system.

When I think about offering this class, after I see the faces of the women I can help empower economically, it’s his voice that is loud and strong in the back of my mind. Sure, there are pieces I’ve added to the system, ways I’ve applied his teachings so they work specifically for me as a momstyle business owner, and especially specific money mindset struggles I’ve faced as a woman, wife, and mom.

But still, I didn’t want to bring it up for fear he’d think I was reselling his stuff.

But then I did.

Would you guess what his reaction was? Was he upset with me for doing this work?

Not at all.

Instead, he was excited. I could actually hear his voice lift up as soon as I started talking about the masterclass to him. I was relieved and I received the help I needed.

And then I brought up all my doubts to him, about why I almost hadn’t told him why I was running this class.

Here’s what he had to say:

  • Laura, this is coming through your filter, your voice, not mine.
  • Laura, there is no greater honor than someone you teach becoming the teacher.
  • Laura, this work is so important and I want it to reach more people. My message is reaching them through you, and that’s part of my legacy.

I share this with you not only to point out what a stand-up guy and amazing business coach Gary is, but also because I hear so often from other women that one of their fears about selling digital products is they don’t feel like they have something unique to say. We can make our teachers our worst critics, when chances are their voices would be much kinder to us, and probably even excited to see us carry on their work.

When you think about what you have to share, what lives you want to touch, and how you want to be of service to others, please do not let go of the voice of “it’s all been done before” stop you.

If you haven’t said what you have to say in your voice to your people, it hasn’t been done before.

If you are feeling called to teach, teach. Use your own words. (It’s definitely not cool to copy and paste someone else’s words or graphics exactly as your own.) Give yourself the creative space to pass those ideas through your filter.

Just be sure to step into the space and say what you have to say.

You might even honor your best teachers.