The Goals Workshop: We’re in this together

I’ve been hearing from people about how much they’re loving the 2017 Goal Workshop. Have you taken a look at it yet? What do you think?

I also heard that a couple people didn’t get the announcement email that the course was even open, so in case you missed it: 2017 Goals Workshop

I’m so excited to hear how the course is working for people! It’s wonderful to see people getting started with some bold choices in their lives. My friend Cindy wrote this in our Facebook group (which you should totally join):

“I’m watching some of the classes and Danielle says this thing – that if you can think of a goal – you can achieve that goal – no matter how out of reach it seems. and my whole self rebels – thinks, ‘No way man, I have all of these goals, and I don’t know they’re so crazy, how could that even be?’ – and so on. Here it is 30 minutes later and I’m still chewing on it. And then – in a moment of serendipity – on my Pandora station comes a [singer name removed] song. Back in 2007, I bought this album from Amoeba. I fell in love with [her] voice, bought all of her records, got my bandmate also obsessed with her music, and basically spent a few years with her being my favorite musician. My dream goal was to play with her just once someday. Well – one night at band practice we’d been drinking – and I decided to send her a myspace message about playing a show in the Bay Area next time she’s on tour down here. Long story short – she’s now one of my best friends, we’ve gone on tour together whoa maybe almost 10 times?, I stay at her house, she stays at mine, and that goal that seemed bonkers insane is now just the commonplace news of the day around here. So I guess it all is possible. Even if the steps / road isn’t clear yet – maybe it really is possible.” (edited lightly, emphasis mine)

And if you’ve watched the first video, you know that I also have a really huge goal of how many people I impact positively in 2017: 152,000 people! So if you feel compelled to share the course with friends, I’d really appreciate it.

Why is my goal to positively impact 152,000 people in 2017? Because times are complicated. It’s a rough time for optimists these days. It’s easy to be optimistic when things are going well, but 2016 has been a pretty rough year for a lot of people. It seems like every day, we hear something new and awful – whether it’s a tweet from the president-elect, or the death of an inspirational icon, it has been a very rough year.

It feels like people are more discouraged than ever about the future of our country and our culture.

And how many of your friends are discouraged, struggling, frustrated, and maybe even hopeless?

But I don’t think it has to be that way. I think we can collect ourselves and be mighty. I think if we become our best possible versions of ourselves, we can make a real difference.

I feel like it’s our responsibility and our duty to stand up and be our best selves right now.

Because the world needs us to be as mighty as we can be.

So that’s why I want you to share the goals workshop. It’s important. It’s helpful. It’s a way you can make a difference in someone’s life.

And I’m always open to hearing suggestions about how to improve and increase my impact, since 152k is a heck of a goal (right?). If you have any ideas on how to spread the message further and create measurable positive impact, please do share them with me. We’re all in this together.

The bizarre and and somewhat sideways launch of the 2017 Goal Workshop – or – the rocky road to goal mountain

It was so simple. It was so simple: I teach a free workshop on a thing I have done twenty some-odd times, just before the new year, when everyone’s ready to set some goals, and people will be able to use this awesome goal-setting technique and HECK YEAH! LET’S ALL BE FRICKEN’ AWESOME!

And I went through this time-honored practice, noting down each step so I could capture my own way of doing it… but then I thought, “You know, I should research what other experts teach about goal-setting…” and “You know, I should also build something that calculates priorities, kind of like my project prioritizer, but for goals…” and then my mom reminded me of this great exercise we used to do to calculate the pros and cons, weighted by values, and I thought “oh my gosh! I should include that!”

My notes grew and grew.

I got more and more worried about the class.

And the timing that seemed so perfect turned into a massive nightmare as our Outlaw Soaps Ships were smashed against holiday atoll after holiday atoll.

Side note: typing “holiday atoll” led me to wonder what a holiday atoll would really look like. And I found these amazing photos. I want to go there.

Holidays at atolls aside, we had a magnificent great Outlaw Soaps holiday season – certainly nothing to complain about at all, except that I had foolishly scheduled this goal workshop, which was turning into something that was more suited to 5 months than 5 days.

Just look at all those individually wrapped items going to Amazon to be fulfilled! Tremendous!!!

And the date of the course kept sneaking closer, and I kept wondering exactly how I was going to pull this off, since now I was venturing into territories where I’d have to study how to make printables, and maybe not everyone would have Excel, and people would complain on Twitter… wait, did I remember to queue my Tweets and Instagram and Facebook posts? Did I literally launch a social media course and get so swamped I couldn’t spend the hour it takes to stack my Tweets? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, DANIELLE.

It was about that time when I had a come-to-Jesus with my friend and recorded that video about being overwhelmed.

His advice was to regroup and figure out what could be cut, but in my mind, nothing could be cut. Mozilla was important. Outlaw was critical. The courses are already scheduled, and plus, how often do you get to actually fulfill your life purpose? Don’t ever cut those projects. Ever.

I went back to meditating daily, a practice which had fallen off since I got swept up in the season.

And somewhere in there, probably shortly after I realized I couldn’t do anything about Amazon or Christmas orders anymore, I realized people weren’t signed up for the goal course to get some other person’s goal-setting methods, people signed up for my goal class.

MY GOAL CLASS USING MY METHODS

I regrouped. I went back to basics.

It was surprisingly easy, almost like going back to muscle memory.

I started putting together the modules and making the handouts on Friday and recorded all the videos on Saturday.

The course came together, and when I called it a day on Christmas Eve, I felt proud of what I had done: I had created a system for the method that had worked for me for most of my life. I had somehow summarized years of experience into this tiny little goal course.

After I called it a wrap, I kept thinking of things to add. I kept thinking of things that I could have recorded better, or said more clearly, or defined in a different way.

At the end of the day (that day being yesterday, Christmas), I decided to just re-record the intro and affirmation #2, which were giving me the most trouble, and leave the rest.

People have liked it.

There have been some notes, but for the most part, response has been positive.

Most importantly, one of my long distance friends, Belinda HellYeah!, booked a flight to come all the way from Australia to (among other things) meet me in person! And if that’s all that comes out of the whole course, that will have been enough.

I really have no idea what else will come out of the workshop, but my sincere hope is that people are inspired to take steps toward their own goals, to define them, and to put them to use. Even just for a little while, because progress is always progress.

When it comes down to it, I really am just doing this because I believe in people. I believe in my friends. I believe that they — more than most other people in the world — are capable and worthy of MASSIVE GOOD, both for themselves, and for anything or anyone one they touch.

If I can do anything at all to facilitate that, it doesn’t matter how scared I am or how weird I feel, I have to stand up and do it.

So, anyways, that’s the goal course.

If you have signed up for it, I hope you use it to take over the world. If you haven’t, hey, give it a try. It’s free and kind of a big deal to me.

 

My Secret to Continued Productivity? The Checklist of DOOM! (by popular demand)

Some things are quick, one-time things: you fill an order or you respond to a customer query.

But some things can’t be achieved in a few days or weeks: organizing all your finances for taxes, working with press, and writing a book.

These require tireless persistence, focus, and dedication. I have none of these things. Not. A. Single. One.

When I was on Adderall (prescribed for my ADD, not recreational), my lack of focus wasn’t so bad. But that made me irritable, and in the interest of keeping peace in the household, I had to give up the Adderall.

Enter: THE CHECKLIST OF DOOM

I’ve developed a weirdly non-technical way of managing these tasks over long periods of time, but it works, so now I am on something like version 8 of The Checklist of Doom. Every time, I refine it a little to account for my changing priorities and lessons I learned from the previous checklist.

Sometimes the checklist includes personal things, sometimes it includes only business, sometimes it includes fitness. It’s so personal both to the individual, and to the individual in that time. I have created a worksheet to create your own, since I love how fancy that is.

Here’s the philosophy behind the The Checklist of Doom:

We all have long to-do lists that we carry around with us, either physically or digitally. These are good for managing short-term tasks that can be achieved and crossed off.

The truly Great Things, however, require months of dedication.

Like eating an apple, if you try to shove the whole thing in your mouth at once, you’ll choke. The only way to eat the apple is bite by bite.

You have stuff to do!

Accounting is the perfect example of this. How many of you scramble around for the week before taxes, frantically itemizing everything before you can send it to your accountant? (Probably more applicable to small business owners than W-2 employees.)

Not me. I exported my Profit and Loss (P&L) and sent it to my accountant in about 5 minutes. BOOM.

I also manage my press and retail contacts as items on the checklist, because there is no immediate reward for writing press (it takes literally weeks of follow-ups to even get a response, if you get one at all). Without the checklist, this activity feels endless and futile.

But they aren’t endless and futile. Press seems to be a numbers game, and to get one hit, you have to send about a hundred queries. But you still have to send that hundred queries. The checklist keeps you on task even when you feel most adrift.

You have to do some stuff more often than other stuff.

Depending on your priorities, you might have to update Facebook and Twitter several times per week, whereas you only have to send out your newsletter every two weeks.

The checklist is cool with that.

I’ve created a couple worksheets to help you create your own Checklist of Doom. Sign up for my newsletter to get them:*

{"error":null,"error_message":"Unauthorized"}

* Look, I know people use handouts like this as a lure to sign up for their mailing list, and this is absolutely no different. However, you don’t really have to download the worksheets to get the benefit, and the newsletter is really great, so… please sign up.

For complete instructions on how to create your Checklist of Doom, I created an instructional video:

How to survive panic attacks

Fear is a ridiculously insidious thing.

“But it’s all in your head,” as the saying goes … well, that may be true, but inside our heads is the absolute worst place for it, because we can’t escape!

It’s like that moment in the movie when you realize the killer is inside the house.

Grant Cardone (and maybe others, but he’s the one who I first heard it from) says FEAR stands for False Events Appearing Real. Basically, your mind creates scenarios that feel like you’re about to be eaten by a tiger, but in actuality, there’s only the slimmest of possibilities that you’ll really be eaten by a tiger (or face any other mortal danger).

This time of year – and I’m not exaggerating here – I feel like I am constantly having a heart attack. Like, a real, honest-to-God heart attack.

The first few times it happened, I wasn’t sure what was going on, and I was pretty sure I was actually dying. I wrote a couple of my entrepreneur friends on the third day asking, “Um, is this normal? because… it can’t be normal.” But now I know it’s just end-of-November,-beginning-of-December panic attacks.

And despite feeling like I’m going to die, I have somehow failed to die for the past four years.

Panic attacks are not fatal.

It’s OK to be uncomfortable. It’s OK to have panic attacks. It’s OK to be scared.

It’s OK to feel paralyzed…

… as long as you remember that you are not literally paralyzed. You can still move. You can still walk. You can still write. You can still make calls.

“But I’ll be so much better at it when I don’t feel like I’m dying.”

Yes, that’s probably true. You may absolutely suck at it because you’re freaking the fuck out. But the only way that you’ll get better at it while you feel like you’re dying is by actually doing the thing while you feel like you’re dying.

But you’re not dying. You’re living.

Because life is sometimes scary. And to people like me (us?), our body sometimes has inappropriate physiological responses to fear… specifically, panic attacks.

But we have to remember that this truly is just an inappropriate physiological response. It’s not real. The only thing that’s real is the effect of not doing the thing (which is likely something like not getting the sale, not making the product, not writing the blog post, or whatever).

And that’s something to be afraid of.

I’m not telling you that panic attacks or depression or anxiety doesn’t exist — I’m absolutely never going to tell you that, since I know how real they are — but I am telling you that sometimes you have to force yourself anyways, because retreating from that scary thing has more real-world bad effects than the False Events Appearing Real.

Have you successfully overcome FEAR? Share how you did it, so that we can all get better at it!

Free Worksheet: Time Management Starts With Priorities Management

In this Sunday’s video, I talk about my three foundations for an awesome life:

  1. Excellent time management
  2. Prioritizing your tasks for impact
  3. Building great relationships with amazing people

The first step in managing your time is deciding what projects are most important to you (so you can decide where to spend your time).

I’ve created a handy way of prioritizing your projects so you can see mathematically where your time is best spent. Because numbers don’t lie.

Download the Excel file here

Want to go a little further? Sign up for my (free) Goal Setting Workshop.

If you want more like this, sign up for my newsletter:



What kind of a goal-setter are you?

“Set wildly ambitious goals, and you’ll get results beyond your wildest ambitions!” – lots of self help books

How many times have you heard that? If you’ve ever read a book on achievement or goals or life, you’ve probably heard it tiresome numbers of times.

qtq80-6XwszZSo you went about setting your wildly ambitious goal — make $200,000/year, let’s say — and you read the affirmations — “I make $200,000/year!” — and yet there was a little voice inside your head that said “Wait a minute! No I don’t.” And pretty soon that big crazy goal seemed just plain stupid and maybe a little delusional, and definitely out of reach, and so you quit.

Wrong goal style, wrong results.

There’s nothing wrong with you. This doesn’t mean you’re “not a goal person” or “just not cut out for that kind of thing,” it just means that the person who wrote that inspirational book had different motivational style than you do.

Personally, I love impossible dreams. Impossible dreams motivate me and make me work harder, because I truly in my heart am an optimist and I believe anything is possible.

But if you’re a realist and you need a fairly realistic trajectory, I’m not going to try to convince you that the universe is infinite. You will still benefit from written goals.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do believe that the universe is infinite and we can achieve amazing things if we are sufficiently motivated, but you don’t have to believe that in order for goals to be an important and practical part of your life.

Here’s why: without written goals, life is just a big ol’ pile of to-do lists.

You may shuffle through them, crossing off tasks and getting stuff done, and meanwhile the things that you have in your heart — like riding a horse, or having a weekend with your best friend — don’t get done. It’s important to keep these bookmarked and present in your life.

I’ve been setting goals for years upon years, and I know it’s so important to have a well-rounded life. I think part of us knows that, and that part will sabotage any single-minded focus if we haven’t fully rounded out our goals.

If you’re interested in setting some really amazing goals that are right for your personality, sign up for my totally free goal-setting course.

Just do the next right thing

Each of us was put on this planet for a reason. Each of us is a catalyst for a change in the world.

And even if you don’t have a persistent ringing in your heart (or ears) telling you what your life purpose is, that’s ok. Because your responsibility is to just go and do the next right thing.

So ask yourself: What is the one thing I could do today, right now, that would make a change in the right direction to the world around me?

It could be something as small as sharing this post so your friends could do their next right thing. It could be grabbing an envelope and brainstorming the next 5 “right thing”s you can do to execute your big dream. It could be literally picking up the phone and making a sales call. It could be asking your boss for a 10% raise so you could contribute to charity.

And then watch, because amazing things start to happen when you do that one next right thing.

In the comments, tell me what your one next right thing is, and I’ll do my best to support you in it.

Banished from the Kingdom: Why Google sends some sites into the frozen tundra of not-first-page

“Where’s the best place to hide a dead body?”
“Where?”
“On the second page of search results!” – Old search engine optimization joke

It’s a testament to Google’s accuracy that few people ever will see the second page of search results, because the perfect result is usually right at the top.

In an effort to give searchers (their customers) the most interesting and relevant results, Google updates how it decides which pages are most relevant. This is done automatically. An algorithm “reads” the pages (including the code) and ranks it. When someone searches for keywords, the search result pages show the most relevant results at the top.

Periodically, Google changes what they think is important, and the SEO (search engine optimization) world is shaken to its foundation with alarm and stories of people being banished from the kingdom (the first page!).

Their sites have violated some Google rule, and Google has punished the offending company.

For example, in a recent Google update, sites without mobile-friendly pages were banished. Google decided that so many people browse pages on their phones, that it’s a universally bad experience to have non-responsive (responsive = mobile-friendly) sites.

So how can you keep up with these updates and avoid being punished?

Google wants to provide the best possible experience to anyone who is using their site, and part of this is providing the absolute best results.

Google’s robots (also called spiders) read pages in certain ways, and understanding those ways is helpful, but not necessary.

The important thing to remember is that Google is just trying to provide the coolest experience to their customers.

It’s not personal. You don’t have to “game the system.” You just have to provide relevant, interesting, updated content, in a format that is pleasing to readers, and Google will take care of the rest.

Ok, so there you have it.

If you’re interested in learning more about search engine optimization (aka SEO) from me, I happen to have a course on SEO for small business (lookit that!). I personally love SEO because it’s half magic, half sleeves-rolled-up nitty gritty.

Google itself has tutorials and resources that are (mostly) updated with the most recent news.

How to sell to 122,000 times as many people as you do today (and totally not worry about the competition)

I was trying to make an infographic to show how many more people you could reach by making your online presence stronger, and I came up with this:

where-are-your-customers-infographic
(see bottom of article for numbers used)

I was trying to show the relative size of your market if you’re selling in each of these places. Pretty neat idea, right?

Except the size of the customer base of “friends and family” and “farmer’s market” were so small that they don’t even register on the infographic.

Why confine yourself and your business to such a small pond?

If you’re like most makers, you didn’t start your business to become an internationally distributed power-brand. You enjoyed making something, you made it well, and people loved it, so they bought it from you.

Eventually, some switch flipped and you thought, “You know what? I could do this for a living.” And – VOILA! – you started a business!

And you started dealing with things like costs, and the economies of scale, and your business grew and grew, and then you had to sell a certain amount now that you’re depending on the income and you’ve made all this investment…

… and then someone local moves in a couple booths down from you, and you see other people going to their booth at the farmer’s market, and GAH HOW COULD THEY?

It bothers you, of course, because there’s scarcity.

There are only so many people coming to your market, and so many dollars to go around. So if someone spends money over there, they’re not spending money with you.

Online, people are spending $294 billion. That’s what the new-age gurus might call “limitless abundance”

In 2015, 200 million digital shoppers spent an average of $1,700/person.[3]

If you’re feeling frustrated with your local sales, don’t just feel frustrated and rue your competition, walk yourself to a bigger pond.

And this particular pond doesn’t require any schlepping at all. Heck, you don’t even have to change out of your pajamas on most days.

Consider these stats (provided by this source):

Only 28% of U.S. small businesses are selling their products online.

60% of adult Americans are happy to know they won’t have to shop in a crowded mall or store.

Almost 20% of U.S. retail sales come during the Christmas shopping season.

The average U.S. shopper expects to spend $718 on holiday gifts.

41% of independent retailers rate social media as a “very effective” marketing tactic.

44% of online shoppers begin their product search using a search engine. (find out how to best show up in search engines in my “6 Weeks to Search Engine Superstar” class)

91% of eCommerce retailers saw a lift in their search engine rank thanks to social referrals.

(As a side note, your success on Amazon will be greatly bolstered by your search engine optimization skills, since Amazon is pretty much just a gigantic product search engine).

Whether you’re online already or are just getting started, you can build your business with some quick and easy online marketing. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates about classes, tools, and more.

cup of awesome skills


Potential Customers:
Friends and Family: 700
Farmer’s Market: 20,000 (generously)
Etsy Shoppers: 25,000,000 [1]
Shopify Shoppers: 35,000,000 (guess)
Amazon Shoppers: 244,000,000 [2]

[1] Source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/amazon-statistics/
[2] Source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/etsy-statistics/
[3] Source: https://www.nchannel.com/blog/retail-data-ecommerce-statistics/