Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

POLL: Would you like more free time in your business and life?

I have a new class coming up in August on the topic of biz management and productivity. I’ve set up my business in a way that not only allows me to provide fantastic client support, but I always have time for my life. With rare exception, I’m never working like a slave everyday, I’m not scrambling to get things done or keep up with my workload, and I have a tremendous amount of time for my life, vastly more than I see most other people in our industry having. I make more money than 90% of those in our industry AND I’m not working with clients like a substitute employee to earn it.

So, this class is a way to share with others how I have things set up so that they, too, can have this kind of biz and lifestyle… so they are working to live rather than living to work.

As a follower of my blog, you know that I give a ton of information and mentoring away for free. So I’d like to ask you for a favor in return. Whether or not you plan to attend this class, I’d like to know if this class piques your interest or not and whether it’s a topic you are interested in.

This is a completely anonymous survey so I don’t know who answers what. However, if you wouldn’t mind sharing with me where the trouble spots are when it comes to productivity and managing your biz and client expectations and the like, it would be very helpful to me as well and I would very much appreciate your assistance (I won’t post your comments so you can share freely). 🙂


Power Productivity and Biz Management for the Administrative Consultant

Okay, gang, class is ON!

I’m holding the Power Productivity and Biz Management for the Administrative Consultant intensive clinic on August 22, 2012. This will be a one day, two hour session where I’ll share with you all my tricks and tips for effectively managing a full retained client practice for FANTABULOUS client care and greater freedom, flexibility and time for your own LIFE.

Registration is $147, but register now and you’ll pay only $97.

Check out the registration page for the full details!

What Folks Have to Say About My Value-Based Pricing and Packaging Training

Besides not charging properly, another reason people aren’t earning well in our business is that they are selling hours instead of pricing for solutions. This is called value-based pricing and it’s a methodology I introduced to our industry back in 2004 and have been teaching since then.

I recently conducted this class in June and I wanted to share with you the exciting testimonials I received from some of the attendees:

“Your classes are always fun and informative. I have been on calls before for webinars, and it seemed as if I was the only person on the call. But not with you. You give such awesome information and examples that it is hard not to get excited about how you are going to apply all that you have learned. You make it easy for everyone to ask questions and not feel as if “oh, that was a stupid question.” That is why it is hard to get off your calls. I learn a lot from the other people on the call as well as the information and templates you provide. I now have a clear picture of why I should have packages instead of charging by the hour.” —Tracy Carson, Te L – Us Business Solutions, LLC



Thank you so much, Tracy! I was especially thrilled by Tracy’s feedback because I know she is a very discerning customer and has been disappointed in the past by other teleclasses she’s attended from others, which makes her feedback even more meaningful. I’m so glad I was able to help, Tracy! There is nothing better than that!

“This program is amazing, and I am so glad I was able to participate.  I dreaded spending the time for billing each week because it took up way to much time that I could be spending with my family.  Since participating in the webinar and implementing the pricing plan with two new clients, it has taken all the stress out of billing.  That alone has made this program worth it.  I have advised all my clients that as of the new quarter (August) all billing will be switched over to this program, and even a few are excited about it.  Not having to worry about weekly billing and increments of 15 min they, too, feel it will be less stressful when trying to read their invoices.  I have one client who decided to not wait and we are working on his support plan to get him started right away.  Thank you for sharing you knowledge and simplifying the trials and errors that you have endured to create the impossibly easy billing!  I can’t wait for your next webinar because I will make sure I have signed up for it to attend.” —Teri Williams, Sidekick Assistants



Oh, what wonderful news to wake up to!! This is just so thrilling and I am ecstatic for Teri and her business! What I love even more is that she was fearless, took action right away and just DECIDED to implement things (and didn’t sit around waiting for clients’ permission).

She knew it would help her and she knew it would definitely benefit her clients and help them see that they could both be more focused on the client’s goals and dreams and achieving objectives instead of counting hours. I so LOVE THIS!

Now here’s the bad news… The class I held in June was the last live class I planned on doing on this topic. I have many more new and exciting projects I want to focus on, as well as a big adventure I’m planning to start late 2013 or early 2014.

The good news is that you, too, can get the entire training RIGHT NOW with my comprehensive Value-Based Pricing & Packaging Toolkit.

Click on the link and you will be taken to the product information that will let you know all that is included in the guide, some sample images and a video explaining why pricing by the hour and selling hours is killing your business.

I am proud as punch of this program, and as evidenced by all the testimonials of customers and attendees, it has really and truly transformed the income and businesses of those who have purchased the toolkit!

It’s Not About the Hours

Here’s a question posted on a public forum that came to my attention via Google Alerts:

I have a client who just opened a new business. He wants to utilize our support options, but isn’t sure how many hours per month he would need us. He is asking about buying a bank of hours that could be rolled over to the next month if unused. Also, we bill in 15 minute increments and he is concerned that a lot of time would be eaten up with us replying to emails. Has anyone dealt with a situation similar to this?

This is just one of the many issues you encounter when you price your services based on selling hours. You don’t know how long things will take going in and clients worry about their hours being frittered away and what their bill will be afterwards.

Do you see how the focus is all on the time?

Achieving results for clients should be the focus of your work, not watching the clock, having your hands tied behind your back and having to stop in the middle of things because time has run out.

Guess what? When you learn how to utilize value-based billing in your business, hours don’t matter!

No one needs to know upfront how many hours will be needed or used… because the focus is on accomplishing the work and achieving the goals and objectives it is in support of, not the hours.

With value-based pricing, it doesn’t matter how many emails are sent back and forth with clients or how much time is spent reading them… because they aren’t paying for time and you aren’t selling hours.

EVERYTHING from your conversations with clients, to your work, to your administration is soooo much simpler and more streamlined when you utilize the value-based pricing methodology.

And clients are more attracted to this way of billing and working together. When you utilize value-based pricing, it’s much easier for them to say “yes” to working with you!

This is what I’m teaching this month in my Value-Based Pricing & Packaging class on June 27 & 28: How to Price & Package Your Retained Support Based on Value and Expertise—NOT Selling Hours!

I’m going to show you with step-by-step instruction how to price and create value-based packages custom-built for each client’s unique needs that make working together a breeze (not to mention help you earn better)!

The Early Bird discount is over, but you can still get in on some savings. Register by June 9 and pay the special rate of $147 (a savings of $50).

Click here to register and get more details >>

I’d love to see you there!

Dear Danielle: How Do I Improve My Skills?

Dear Danielle: How Do I Improve My Skills?

Dear Danielle:

What do you recommend we do to keep on track and improve our skills? Conferences (online or in-person), classes? Do you have personal recommendations of some? —Stephanie Bateman

Great question!

A lot of times people will take classes willy nilly. They aren’t sure what they need so they sign up for anything and everything that comes along in case they might need those skills some day.

Or they’ll fall prey to manipulative marketing that tells them such-and-such are the “hot skills” that ALL clients need and if you don’t know how to do this or that, you won’t be as valuable, or you won’t be able to charge as much, or you will otherwise be a failure or just a “generalist.” (Complete BS and I hope you are smart enough not fall for those kind of sleazy sales tactics and messages.)

I’m a HUGE proponent of lifelong learning and always being in curiosity mindset! But going about things that way can get expensive fast, you may end up not even needing to use the skills you learned this way, and it’s the worst way to determine how to support clients.

Here again is where having a target market can really keep you focused and save you a TON of time, energy and money, all of which you have finite stores of and need to be smart about where you invest them. 😉

When you have a target market, you know what kind of work you do for clients, how their businesses are run, what their common goals and objectives are, and you can get training to elevate, improve or modernize your skills accordingly. Let your target market needs and the work you do for them determine where you spend your skills training and continuous learning time and dollars.

For example, if you work with attorneys, learning all the various e-filing ropes is a wise investment of your time and attention because that’s knowledge that’s of great use in your support work. If you don’t work with bankruptcy attorneys, taking bankruptcy training would not be a good use of your time and attention. See what I mean?

Also, remember that just working with clients keeps you on your toes. All the time that you are working with them, you are learning new skills and improving upon existing ones as you learn new and better ways of doing things and new tips and tricks for the tools and software you use.

I think conferences can be fun, and they’re certainly good for networking, meeting new people and forging bonds and maybe learning some snippets. It’s really a personal preference, but I haven’t ever seen or attended any conferences that imparted any real learning. That’s not to say you shouldn’t  attend them. You may get some valuable business learning. I just doubt that you’re going to get the kind of skills training we’re talking about here. That’s not really the function or purpose of a conference.

It’s better to take skills training when the need arises, when you see there is going to be a meaningful use or purpose in your business and for your target market in the immediate future. That is, sort of like I mentioned above, you can waste a lot of time and money just taking classes you only think you might use later on. So, it can be a way to manage and be more discerning about where you spend that time and money by letting your business and client needs dictate any skills training you decide to take. You’ll take to and retain what you learn much better this way, and it will certainly help take the pressure off you thinking you have to learn everything RIGHT NOW.

Looking at things from another angle, it can also be energizing to take certain skills training just because it interests you and you get joy out of it.

For example, I really enjoy learning the ropes of video editing. Maybe it’s due to my love of filmmaking, but I just love putting video together and learning how to use editing tools to create nicely polished and professional transitions and effects.

I have not used this skill for any clients as yet and it would be a side, project type offering anyway (this would never be something they would get included in their administrative support, but rather be charged separately since it is both project work and a completely separate service and skillset). But the energizing effect it has on my creativity carries over into my business. Those things that enrich our spirit enrich our businesses by proxy. And there’s everything good about that!

Personally, I tend to do a lot more self-taught learning, at least in the beginning. I enjoy figuring things out myself. But even then, there comes a point in my learning curve where I need the help of someone more knowledgeable to attain higher expert levels or when I need to learn something faster than I can figure it out on my own. That’s usually when I take a class.

So keep in mind that self-paced, self-study is an option as well. There are all kinds of online, free and paid training and tutorials options out there for just about everything you’d like to learn.

The main thing to remember is this isn’t something you need to be stressed about at all. I find that everything always falls into place just as it’s meant to. Take what you need, when you need it. Take what you enjoy. Ignore the rest.

Hope this helps!

Help! I Would Have No Clients If I Didn’t Rollover Hours

I’m holding a class on Consultations that Convert! on October 25 & 26, 2011. One participant writes:

“My consults seem to go great, but they are not resulting in actually getting the client. I struggle with actually asking for their business. I leave them to think about it, no pressure. I would like to learn how to effectively ask for business and how to fill my practice with more monthly paying clients rather than hourly. This has been a long-running isue in my business. Making this type of transition has been very difficult for me. It’s been a struggle to find clients who are willing to pay my rates. I have several clients who prefer my model of hourly rates in which unused hours rollover. If I didn’t offer this, I would like have no clients. The rollover model has been most appealing to clients, but I have to continue to seek out new clients just to make my expenses each month.”

There are two things going on here:

  1. You are telling yourself a self-fulfilling prophesy–that you would have no clients if you didn’t rollover hours. But the problem isn’t that clients wouldn’t retain you if you didn’t rollover hours–the problem is in how you framing your fees in your conversation with them. I can just about guarantee that the way you are talking about fees, you are selling hours to clients instead of the value and results you will bring to their business. We need to change your message and how and when you are talking about fees and that’s going to change the game for you entirely.
  2. The other thing that’s going on, as you recognize, is how you are following up (or not, as the case may be). We are going to delve deep into this during the class. There are definitely specific steps you should be taking upon conclusion of your consultations and we’re going to cover those in class. You may be surprised to know that there are also certain things you need to be doing before a client ever contacts you that will definitely affect your success in following up and getting the client’s business.

If you struggle with similar issues in your business when it comes to consultations, I invite you to join us for my Consultations that Convert class on October 25 & 25. It’s gonna be a lot of fun AND most importantly, you’re going to learn LARGE. Love to have you there!

PS: Since we still have seats left, I’m going to extend the registration deadline to October 21, which means there’s still time for you to join us!

Help! I’m Shy and Conducting Consultations Is Scary!

I’m holding a class on Consultations that Convert! on October 25 & 26, 2011. One participant writes:

“I’m definitely a shy one so just getting out there is a big step for me. Also, convincing small business owners that they don’t need to and shouldn’t be doing it all themselves is the other area holding me back. I guess I feel like I need a giant poster to hit them over the head with to show them why a lot of small businesses fail and how not to be one of them by utilizing my services. And then I start doubting mysefl, if I’m really all that. HELP!!!! I know they need someone like me. I know I can do it. So what’s wrong with me?”

Well, first, there’s nothing wrong with you! (But don’t go bonking anyone over the head, lol)

We all go through this when we first start out our businesses. It can be really scary and intimidating to put yourself out there, step outside your comfort zones and talk to what are essentially strangers.

Here are two quick thoughts that will really liberate you:

  1. If you are someone who is shy or introverted, having a plan–a process, a system–for conducting your consultations is going to be a HUGE confidence booster. It’s going to make things really easy and by leading your process, you instill a ton of confidence and trust in your potential clients.
  2. Conducting consultations is not about selling or convincing. It’s about drawing out and bringing to light and clarity that which your potential client struggles with and showing them how you can really help them. It’s all about the conversation. Once you let go of that idea, it will help you have more heartful, human-to-human connection in your consultations.

Of course, there are a lot of details and learning to fill in here which is why, if you struggle with conducting consultations and clients aren’t retaining you, I invite you to join us for my Consultations that Convert class on October 25 & 25. It’s gonna be a lot of fun AND most importantly, you are going to learn LARGE. Love to have you there!

PS: Midnight tonight is the last chance to save $50 on registation so be sure and register now!

Money Does Equal Success

Our success does indeed hinge upon money.

No, it’s not the sole or perhaps most important reason we do what we do. BUT you can’t be in business to work for free.

If you aren’t making it… if you are struggling and not doing well financially, you will not be truly successful in helping clients. You’ll be able to help fewer of them, and the fate and sustainability of your business will constantly hang in the balance. Yes, money–earning well–is an absolutely critical component of success.

If you are earning poorly, it will keep you preoccupied and constantly scrambling for money.

It will cause you to make poor decisions that can have terrible, long-term implications for your business.

It will keep you from developing a healthy professional self-esteem, which creates its own self-perpetuating negative dynamic.

Money desperation puts you at a disadvantage. It will attract the wrong clients who will take advantage of that desperation. And filling your practice with those kind of wrong-fitting clients will keep you from attracting your right-fitting ones.

This is why earning well has got to be one of your goals in business. Making money is not evil. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, if you look at it like this, it’s absolutely necessary in order for you to take fabulous care of your clients.

One of the ways you can begin to earn better and create more ease in your business is to work with retained clients–clients who pay you a monthly fee for your support.

Working with retained clients allows you to improve your cashflow. With a roster of retained clients, you don’t have to constantly chase after nickel and dime project work. The pace of your work becomes more relaxed, which creates more choice for you in your business. You can make better decisions for your business from that space. It’s easier to grow your business, and not at the frenetic, soul-draining pace that project-chasing forces you to be in.

If you would like to learn how to create a retainer-focused business model and conduct consultations that convert your prospects into retained clients, I am teaching a class this month on October 25. There’s still time and room for you to sign up. I’d love to have you there!

Why You Need More than 30 Minutes for Your Consultations

I frequently hear from folks who are having trouble converting prospects into retained clients. Now, there are lots of reasons why they might be having trouble. One of the most frequent (and easily rectified) reasons is that they just aren’t spending enough time talking with potential clients in a consultation. Thirty minutes just doesn’t cut it–at least when you are seeking retainer clients–and here’s why.

A retained relationship is one where you partner collaborative with the client to provide ongoing support on a month to month basis. It represents a much closer, more personal one-on-one dynamic. It has a higher value, and, in turn, requires more of a commitment from clients. Because this is a bigger, different kind of relationship than a simple one-off project, it requires a bigger conversation.

You can’t possibly get any meaningful, detailed level of information and understanding about anything in only 30 minutes. It’s just not enough time in which to ask the right questions, much less listen actively to the answers and mentally process them.

Clients also need context in order to understand your fees. You simply can’t do that in just 30 minutes.

And it takes clients–anyone, really–at least 30 minutes to let their hair down and really start feeling comfortable talking with you, a relative stranger, about something that can be one of the most deeply personal and important things in their lives–their business. The real conversation really doesn’t start until after that first 30 minutes.

A longer consultation is simply mandatory in order to give clients the space to get relaxed and turn what they perceive to be an “interview” into a conversation. And you need longer than 30 minutes in order to glean all the information you need to determine if this is someone you can help and would like to work with. You may even find that it’s better to spread your consultation out across two appointments (one for the initial Q & A and another for the analysis and recommendations).

In my practice, I tell clients to block out an hour and a half. If you get in a groove and really find yourself connecting, I like to stay in that moment and personally find it beneficial to do my consults that way. But I also don’t expend this time for just anyone and everyone. I prequalify potential clients so that I’m only spending my time with the most likely, best-suited client candidates.

You know, I’ve written a guide that consistently gets rave reviews and praise from folks in our industry about how much it has helped hundreds of them improve their consultations and gain retainer clients. It’s called “Breaking the Ice” and it gives you a complete, step-by-step process for navigating the consultation conversation, from the time they arrive at your website until after the consultation (the follow-up).

REGISTER FOR THE CLASS! This is just a tiny tidbit of the learning I will be sharing in my upcoming teleclass on October 25 & 26, Consultations that Convert: How to Convert All Your Prospects into Retained Monthly Clients and Make Boatloads More Money (Not to Mention an Infinitely Easier Business to Run.) If you struggle with how to seal the deal and build a roster of retained clients, I can help you! AND if you register by midnight, October 9, you’ll pay only $97 (a $100 savings). I’d love to have you there!

Consultations that Convert

Do you identify with any of these scenarios?

  • Do you need to earn more in your business and project work just isn’t cutting it?
  • Are you completely worn out with always having to chase after the next projects and more clients even as you struggle to focus on the clients and work already on your plate?
  • Would you LOVE to have a full roster of retained clients who pay a high-level fee for your support each month, earning you a lot bigger, easier money and more dependable cashflow?
  • Do you wish you had retained clients, but find it difficult getting them to sign on?
  • Do you get inquiries, but find they lose interest as soon as you tell them your fee?

Every year the ACA conducts an annual industry survey of those in the administrative support business. And year after year, the results when it comes to earning are really saddening. The overwhelming majority of people are earning less than $10,000 a year. Nobody can live on that alone, much less support a family!

We have all these wonderful, talented, highly skilled people in our industry–including you–who are working themselves to the bone delivering huge amounts of value to their clients and helping them grow and make more money, yet are themselves barely scraping by on what their business brings in. It is my absolute passion to help YOU turn this around!

One of the problems is that while they would like to provide support, most of them are only working project by piecemeal project. And it’s keeping them in the poorhouse. Project work traps you into a constant hamster wheel of chasing after the next projects, the next clients, even as you are trying to focus on what’s already in front you. It’s also not the true definition of support–which is exactly where the bigger, better results are for clients and the bigger, easier money is for you.

Working on a support basis (as opposed to a piecemeal, task-based project basis) will also allow you to create a much simpler, easier business to run and manage with far less marketing involved. And when you have that, you have a lot more flexibility, time for life, and room to grow at your own desired pace.

Ongoing support is a much higher value that comes with a higher price tag and more of a commitment. It necessarily requires a completely different, more in-depth conversation than you would have with project work. There is a very specific sequence and process to follow in order to properly frame things and help clients see that value and commit to paying well for it. And that’s what I’m going to show you how to do this month!

How to Convert All Your Prospects into Retained Monthly Clients & Make Boatloads More Money (Not to Mention an Infinitely Easier Business)

DATE: October 25 & 26, 2011 (1.5 hours each session)
TIME: 12p PT /1p MT/ 2p CT/3p ET
(Need time zone help? Go to: TimeAndDate.com)

For this teleclass, we’ll get together for two sessions, an hour and a half each day. This is going to be a tight, jam-packed informative class where you’ll learn about:

  • How working with a base of monthly retained clients helps you earn more and manage your business more easily while working LESS
  • Why the consultation conversation is so important and how it helps persuade
  • What should happen before the consultation
  • Pre-qualifying clients so your time is spent only with the most qualified prospects
  • How long to spend in consultations
  • How to lead and conduct the consultation
  • What questions to ask and why
  • When and how to talk about fees (and why this order is vitally important)
  • What to do with Yes, No and Maybe clients
  • How to follow-up the consultation and seal the deal!
  • And so much more!

We’ll touch on some marketing aspects of conducting “consultations that convert” as well, including:

  • How to pre-educate clients before the conversation
  • Dealing with client objections
  • How a target market helps attract the right prospective clients
  • Why talking to the right people is so important

You’ll also go home with my client consultation process guide, Breaking the Ice, as well as other materials and a full recording of the entire class.

Plus…

You’ll also receive a personal one-hour coaching session with me to go over any parts of the training that you need additional help with.

Taking this class could very well change the entire direction of your business and fortunes!

If you struggle in this area, I can show you how to stop struggling, lead your consultations with ease and confidence, and seal the deal! I would LOVE to see you there. I am so passionate about this topic and there is so much I can teach you that can change everything around for you.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Deadline to register is October 19, 2011, or until all available seats are filled, whichever comes sooner.

COST: The cost of this class is $197, but you can get in for only $97 (a savings of $100) if you register by midnight, October 9.

Register and save your spot today!