Is Decision Fatigue Sabotaging Your Business?

Is Decision Fatigue Sabotaging Your Business?

Are you too tired to make money?

Hear me out on this…

So I am always trying to eat healthier. I wake up at the crack of dawn, have some tea with lemon, go to the gym, then come home and have a big protein shake with organic veggies. (Organic because I’m bougie) Come lunchtime, I may poke behind the lettuce in the fridge to that kale dip I got from Trader Joes that’s supposed to last me all week. Then I might walk down the street to the corner store and get a bag of chips to go with the dip. Then I’ll probably eat the whole bag of chips and finish the dip. Come dinner time, I’m just like bump this, and I stop by KFC for a 3 piece with a side of mashed potatoes and a biscuit. Welcome to my Tuesday.

Have you experienced something like this before? Does your eating plan fall off as the day goes on? Do you get less productive at work after 3:00 pm? Are you reading emails and saving your response for the next morning when your head is clearer? How do you feel after comparing prices on Amazon all afternoon?  Have you felt exhausted after shopping or even just scanning items for your wedding or baby shower registry?

That’s called decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is the idea that choices become harder to make as the day goes on. It’s not only our decision quality that declines throughout the day, but our discipline, willpower, and self-control as well!

In a 2009 study a psychologist at Florida State University ran an experiment where he asked students to sit next to a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

He allowed one group of students to eat the cookies, and he asked the second group to avoid eating any of the treats.

Afterwards, both groups were asked to solve difficult puzzles.

The students who resisted eating the cookies found these puzzles more difficult to complete, and they abandoned the task. Their brain was tired from all the energy it took to resist the cookies!

On the other hand, the group students who ate the cookies worked on the puzzles for longer. They were able to focus for longer because they had more mental resources.

So how can this affect your business?

As side hustlers, solopreneurs, and new small business owners,  we’re often trying to figure out and implement something new.  This takes energy and brainpower. A tired brain affects our ability to be creative and causes our productivity to suffer.

So if you find that all the business projects you planned to complete after coming home from your 9-5 are taking longer than you planned, perhaps your brain is just tired from making decisions all day. It’s difficult to move a train along when there’s no more fuel.

Decision fatigue also has paralyzing effects. As we become more and more fatigued from making decisions, we become less likely to make a decision at all!  Our brain just shuts down. We push deadlines, drag out projects, and become less productive. Does this sound familiar?

While we can’t eliminate decision fatigue, we can minimize its effects. That’s why I’m sharing 3 strategies to help fight the effects of decision fatigue on your businesses. Dig in below:

 

Rework Your Day

I always thought that I should get the simpler tasks out of the way first, before tackling the harder ones. I was so wrong! It’s actually the other way around!

I have a marketing agency where I serve clients all day. I also have this blog which I love! Despite the fact that I enjoy this platform, I find that I struggle to create content because I’m just tired. Who wants to write a long blog post or do a Facebook Live after working with clients, putting out fires, and doing Facebook Ads all day?

So I started to wake up at 4:30am. Before the day starts I do what’s important to me. I write, pray, meditate and work on my more creative work. I write my blog posts and create resources first thing in the morning instead of after the workday. Reworking my day to prioritize this type of creative work before I step into the office at 9am (can I say “office” if my desk is in my bedroom?) has helped me give my best to the projects I love the most.

I’ve started to implement this strategy for my marketing agency as well. Before I even check emails I’ll do the more brain intensive tasks such as writing new email sequences or designing Facebook ads. When I’m done with the creative projects, THEN I’ll start on the simpler work.

So if you have a side hustle, consider waking up early to work instead of waiting until after work. Also, look into rearranging the way you tackle projects. Start with the more creative and brain intensive tasks first, before focusing on the simpler ones.

If you have trouble waking you’ve got to check out my Grind Group Program

 

Automate Your Life

Structure your life to conserve your energy. The less choices you make during the day, the more energy you’ll have for what’s most important. That’s why we see folk like Mark Zuckerberg or Barack Obama who wear almost the same thing every day to reduce the choices they have to make.

Obama explains during a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair why he only wears gray or blue suits: “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

You can do the same by limiting your time on social media, (yes, all those likes are choices), automating your social media activity, completing specific tasks on certain days, or planning out tasks at the beginning of the week.

You can also create habits that eliminate the mental effort of making a choice. Whether that means creating an exercise schedule, waking up at the same time everyday, or buying the same groceries every week. Whatever you can do to simplify your life, do it. It will provide you with more energy resources for the most important decisions and projects.

 

Take a Break For Food

You can get a second wind of energy from a nutritious snack. Emphasis on nutritious!  A bottle of Diet coke won’t do the trick.

There was a study that looked at the parole decisions of a group of judges. It showed that the parole board was more likely to grant parole at the start of the day — a decision that needs careful thought. As time went on and they got more mentally fatigued, they were more likely to deny parole, which is the default decision. That was until they got back from lunch. After their meal, the likelihood of granting parole jumped back up to morning levels.

Food can can restore your energy resources. So if you’re having trouble focusing or making a decision, grab a snack.

Geeky post right? I know, but I really enjoy using science to help improve work performance, especially if I feel these finding are affecting entrepreneurs of color.  I’ve been reading study after study that shows how low self-control correlates with low income as well as with a host of other problems, including poor achievement in school, divorce, crime, alcoholism and poor health. The ability to successfully manage your energy for what’s important could have a positive impact on our entire community!

Did this post interest you? Let me know your experience with decision fatigue in the comments below.

Get Unstuck: 7 Ways You Could Be Keeping Yourself Stuck

Get Unstuck: 7 Ways You Could Be Keeping Yourself Stuck

I’ve noticed that many of my friends and I recently hit a place in life where we felt frustrated with our current situation. We weren’t happy or depressed — just not content with where we were or sure of how to do something different. I want to share my experience to see if it could help you get out of a similar rut.

Almost two years ago I wrote in my journal that I wanted to own a company that allowed me to travel and work from home. The company had to make at least 10k/month and not require me to manage many people. I’ve never wanted to be rich, just comfortable enough to travel, save, and live a life where I’m not looking at my bank balance.

Just a few months ago, I looked around and realized I was living the life I wrote about. I just hit my 12k/month goal while sitting on the couch of a friend in LA. I was supposed to be happy. Instead, I called my best friend and cried my eyes out.

Sometimes, there’s just something about life that can make us feel unsatisfied, filled with doubt, or like we’re not living exactly how we’re meant to. The worst part of this feeling is that you can’t really pinpoint what’s wrong or what you can do to change it. We feel stuck.

My friends regularly congratulated me on my success, but I always found some way to minimize their statements, because I was not happy. I was tired. I was stressed. I wished I were doing ANYTHING else, but what I was doing at that very moment. It wasn’t until later, did I get some sane advice from a friend who set me straight. I was telling her how frustrated I was with where I lived, with my work life, with my dating life, with ERRRTHANG and floated the idea of running off to Bali to write a book for a few months.

Her advice. Dayo, I love and support you, but if you don’t write now for enjoyment, what makes you think that you’ll enjoy it if you run away to Bali. YOU are unhappy in general.

Hmmmm. Homegirl had a point.

This got me to ask myself some important questions. What is it about my life as it is right now, that I am so unsatisfied with? Why is nothing ever enough? Why am I so scared? Why does work suck? Why do I hate where I’m living. Why am I always disappointed? Why am I upset with my friends? Why am I lazy? Why am I negative? Why am I lonely? And most importantly… How can I get unstuck?

I know many of you have felt similarly. In fact, I’ve gathered some of the most common characteristics of those who are stuck. Note, that these are general tendencies and not absolutes. See if you can find yourself in any of the following 7 Traits of The Stuck.

 

Difficulty Taking Action

Do you find it difficult to actually DO something? You have many desires, dreams, and goals, but freeze up when it’s time to actually execute something. Either you talk yourself out of the new direction, you convince yourself that this wasn’t the right fit for you, or you may even procrastinate until the opportunity passes. You always seem to be on the outside looking in as people take advantage of amazing opportunities. Whether it’s learning a new skill, taking on a challenge, or starting a new business, you know you can do it too, but it’s so hard for you to mobilize yourself to actually take action.

 

Negativity

Be honest. Are you full of excuses? When a new idea or opportunity pops up are your first thoughts about why it won’t work, how difficult it is, or the hundreds of people who have tried and failed? Or maybe you feel drawn to the bad in every situation? This is all you and your friends talk about. Everyone is stupid, no one ever does it right, and people are generally bad. Or perhaps, you’re overwhelmed with how unlucky you are or even obsessed with how terrible the world is? (Trump is bad, so I’ll let that one slide.) Even when friends or coworkers try to point out the positive in a situation you can’t help but think of the negative.

 

Your Life Is Cray

Does your life feel chaotic? Do you find that you’re always in the middle of some crazy drama in your personal life or work? It’s like crazy experiences just seem to find you. You’re impulsive and emotional. You cuss people out. You have difficulty sticking to a plan or managing money. You can’t go a month without a disaster occurring such as a car problem, overdue bill, or trip to the hospital. Things are cray!

 

Inability To Relax In A Healthy Way

Do you feel stressed but can’t find a way to relax. When you’re not at work you’re thinking about all the things you have to do at home. When you’re at home you’re thinking about work. You don’t feel comfortable asking for help from friends or family. You feel guilty when you actually take a break. Or maybe your only breaks are unhealthy. You smoke weed every day, or drink ½ a bottle of wine on a weeknight, or perhaps you’re eating an entire pizza by yourself. Maybe you’re participating in some other compulsive behavior like stalking someone, trolling and leaving nasty comments on the internet, even going over a problem in your head for hours!

 

Isolation

You don’t want to be around friends or family. You feel like they can’t understand you or what you’re going through. Or maybe you’re isolating yourself because you know you’re in a funk. You’re not in the mood to be shamed by friends or family. You don’t want people to motivate you right now, so you’re flaking out on the bday parties, opting out of social events, and spending a lot of time alone.

 

Looking For External Sources of Value

What’s most important to you is status, looks, and the latest Gucci bag. Your goals revolve around seeking fame, money, or sex to prove your are worthwhile. Your week is made when you hit 300 likes on an Instagram post.  You love to talk about how amazing it is to be in a relationship with your single friends even though your partnership could use some work. You cuss out Toyota Corolla’s that take too long at the green light. You take perfectly curated pictures to show the brand name of your clothes. You travel for the pictures and not to enjoy the destination. You need other people to see that you have it in order to feel that you’ve done anything at all. You’re struggling on the inside, but everything looks nice on the outside.

 

Repeating The Same Behavior With The Same Outcome

You seem to find yourself in the same situation over and over again. Every man you’ve dated has cheated. You’re getting written up at work for the same reasons. Your friends are complaining about your continued flakiness. You’ve done the same diet a hundred times. You overwork yourself. You don’t speak up for yourself AGAIN. You’re just stuck doing the same old thing hoping that by magic things will be different this time.

 

Did you see yourself in any of these descriptions? You’ll probably find that some fit while others don’t.  Just notice which traits you most strongly identify yourself with.

So how do you fix it? The first step to getting unstuck is to understand what being stuck looks like. If you see yourself in the traits above then you’re on the right track, but now what do you do? I’m not a guru, but I’d love to share a bit more of my journey that I’ve broken down into a 5-Step Process to getting unstuck. Here’s a quick runthrough

  1. Understand What Being Stuck Looks Like
  2. Ask The Hard Questions
  3. Show Up – Turn Understanding Into Action
  4. Take Care of The Basics
  5. Stay Open

 

These concepts are nuanced so it makes them a little difficult to write about. That’s why I’m teaching a free masterclass on September 14th entitled… you guessed it… How To Get Unstuck! During the class I’ll walk you through an ACTIONABLE 5-Step Process to help address those nagging feelings. Visit https://thesixof7.com/get-unstuck-class to register. See you on the class.

I Made A Lot More Money This Year… Here’s How I F*@#ed Up

I Made A Lot More Money This Year… Here’s How I F*@#ed Up

A little over a year ago I was in France trying to pick up extra work while I tried to be an “entrepreneur.” In truth, I quit my job too hastily, without enough savings, and too many motivational gurus in my inbox. I was struggling. But thankfully, I was blessed with a partnership from my old job that allowed me to start my own business, a marketing agency for doctors and holistic practitioners. In a year. I grew from 7 clients to 27. It’s been amazing, fulfilling, and hard as hell. Here’s where I f*@#ed up.

Getting Help

I got busy fast. Where I messed up was hastily hiring friends to help me out. Here’s the problem. I was so used to doing everything myself, that I failed to delegate and teach. When my friend made a mistake, I would fix it myself and the next time a similar project came around I’d just finish it for fear he would make more mistakes. Eventually, I was just doing EVERYTHING and making up busy work for him to do. I was ill prepared to manage someone and set no expectations about due dates, communication style, or assignments. I was the sucky boss! As a result, my friend was unsure how to measure his success or improve. It didn’t work out.

Parked My Behind

With more work, came more hours in front of the computer. I would sit for 12-16 hours a day for weeks! As a result, I developed some crazy back pain that I’m still working on now. I do yoga and make sure to take a mid afternoon walking break. It helps, but I’m still not 100% yet. (If you have any suggestions on treating back pain please send them my way!)

Saying “No” Too Much

My clients appreciate my work, so they often requested my help with simple projects outside of what I offer in my monthly packages. These requests would vary from creating their Facebook pages to teaching them how to use Facebook Live. I always said no because I was too busy, even though I knew I could complete the consulting call and charge for it. Looking back now, I feel like a crappy business owner that says no to everything outside the box. I should have explained my time constraint to the client and referred them out. Instead, I said no and offered no alternative. I’m sure I even had a little attitude on the phone. Now that I’m less stressed, I am so embarrassed at how difficult I was being.

Making Time To Learn

Like I said, I was (kinda still am) working 12-16 hour days. I spend so much time working that I struggled to stay up to date on the new stuff with Facebook and Instagram marketing. Couple that with the constant “GROW YOUR AGENCY” marketing ads, I was a sucka. The ads were hitting all my pain points. YES, I had no time. YES, I wanted better results. YES, I will buy your expensive ass course and not implement it because I have no fricking time! So, I would buy things and never make the time to learn or apply it. Lots of wasted coins.

Saying “Yes”

I know earlier I said that saying “no” too much was a mistake, but I also said “Yes” too much as well. I usually take on one client/week so I can focus on getting their campaign completed. However, the new clients were so eager to get started. They would always ask, can’t you get me in a little earlier? And you know what I’d say? YES! And you know what I’d be doing? UH HUH. Working them damn 16 hour days. Not anymore sis.

 

Those are the 5 things I did wrong, but I’ve been working really hard to self-correct. Looking back, I do see a lot of things that I have done right.

 

Get Help

Even though working with my friends didn’t work out, I didn’t give up the search. I now have two team members who are going through a real on-boarding process. I have a training website and everything ya’ll! If at first you don’t succeed, don’t be afraid to try again.

 

Scheduling Downtime

I cannot unwind at home because I work from home. I always feel like I should be tackling one of the 100 things on my to-do list even when it’s the weekend or the TV is on. So I’ve been scheduling in fun. I sign up and PAY for social events, plan weekends with friends, and even have a staycation set up for later this month where I’m just going to read, eat, and binge watch TV. I feel 100 times happier since picking up this habit.

 

Good Customer Service

Stressed people make mistakes. I am so thankful that I have been able to develop a rapport with my clients so that when results were lackluster or they are unhappy, they give me the benefit of the doubt. I am friendly, personable, and invested in all of my clients. It shows in the way I communicate and has helped me create loyalty in a market where people jump around a lot.

 

Reading

I started reading fiction again. I used to never be able to read a self-help or business book, but as I started to enjoy them on Audible and apply the strategies to my business, I became consumed. I felt so guilty reading for fun when I could be reading a book that would help me make more money. Thankfully, I ditched that habit a few months ago and went back to reading what I enjoy. I read because I like it. Fiction or nonfiction. Reading for fun fills me up in a way all the business books can’t. It’s funny the number of ideas and solutions we can come up with when we’re relaxed!

 

Soaking

What do I mean by soaking? I guess I’m trying to say that I took some time to not be a guru and just soak in my experiences. I shut down my Six of 7 Facebook Group, chilled with the daily Instagram posts, and weekly newsletters. I feel like there is a lot of “START YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS” noise out there and I didn’t want to add to it. I want to provide clarity and results. I couldn’t do that when I was all stressed out. So I took some time away to soak in my experiences and figure out how to navigate. I feel clearer and like less of a me-too online personality. I feel like more me.

 

That was a long one, wasn’t it? I hope my experience was able to help you in some way. If so, drop a comment below. I’d love to know your thoughts.

Why I Stopped Setting Goals – And What I Do Instead

Why I Stopped Setting Goals – And What I Do Instead

6 months ago I stopped setting goals.

I used to be a prolific goal-setter. I had income goals, website traffic goals, social media goals, FB group goals, client goals, weight loss goals, you name it and I had goals for it.

So what changed?

Well for one, even though I was a goal setting queen, I was desperately unhappy. The more goals I set, the more goals I didn’t accomplish. So I was constantly evaluating and criticizing myself. I spent more time feeling bad than good. I was always not disciplined enough, or working hard enough, or likable, or any other negative reason I could attribute to not meeting my goals.

Those who know me well, know that under all this discipline, I’m forreal forreal a low key hippie chasing positive vibes and good karma. Last year, I felt like each day was defined by how much money I did or didn’t make, how many likes, followers, and views I got. All things that had meaning, but were not “meaningful” to me. I want joy. I want more ways to be kind. I want to teach and share with my whole heart in it. I want to contribute to the well-being of people my community.

So, where before I used to delight in a new sale, or lots of engagement on a post, or a new group member, now every new blog request, question, or a day spent not engaging felt like a heavy burden. In fact, each month that I  ACTUALLY achieved a goal by going up in followers or meeting my income aspiration felt like an empty celebration. It didn’t feel like a step forward. It didn’t feel like a step anywhere… (Sorry for the ungrateful rambling but I want to be honest here.)

So I stopped setting those damn goals. Here are my new crazy thoughts about it.

Setting goals is a big waste of time. WAIT! Don’t x out of the screen yet. There’s some reasoning here! Setting goals is a waste of time IF you don’t have a vision for yourself. Here’s what I mean by vision.

Imagine if I invited you to go on vacation with me. I say “HEY I just bought us an all-inclusive trip for 2 and we leave Monday. You get all excited and start making moves. You request off work, buy a bathing suit, get some new flip flops, get your hair done, start a 5-day juice fast to fit in the bathing suit, and sign up to list your place on Airbnb. So you’re running around spending your time, energy, and resources. Come Sunday you’re like “I DID THAT!”

Now, what if I told you we’re going backpacking in Utah for 3 weeks. Now you’re thinking all those new clothes you bought, this juicer, and new sew-in may not really be all that important anymore. You need hiking shoes, and braids, and to Google what black women take on a backbacking trip through Utah!

The point I’m trying to make here is you can set goals all you want, but they don’t make sense unless you know where you’re going and WHY. The goal of getting your hair done did not help you. In fact, it only wasted your time and brought no satisfaction.

Now if I said we’re going to Jamaica for 2 weeks, the goals sort of just make themselves? You know what to pack, what days to request off work, you can look at the weather, plan activities, get your passport together, etc.

Operating any other way is just hustling backward.

I discuss a practical way of creating goals that are defined by a vision in this post. I suggest you read it, download the goal setting sheets, and hit a sista up with your comments.

Hope my experience helps you.

xoxo

 

How Customer Research Can Grow Your Business

How Customer Research Can Grow Your Business

How do you come up with blog post ideas? How do you decide which new products or services to create? How do you find the right words to convince someone to purchase from you? How do you know if your product or service will be helpful? How do you know if people will buy it from you?

The answers to these questions and many others like it can be found in the results of your customer research.

Customer research is the process of identifying similar characteristics across your potential clients and their needs.  It takes no special equipment or money and will only benefit your business.

I know you might be thinking, “But Dayooooooo. I didn’t do any customer research.”

That’s okay. I gotyouuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

Check it. I’ve been doing online marketing for doctors for a long time.  This means they tell me the type of patient they want, whether it’s back pain, weight loss, knee pain, etc. and I create a marketing campaign for them. After a few days, VOILA, patients in the waiting room.

CHA CHING!

Needless to say, I know what I’m doing when it comes to doctors, but not so much for myself…   You see, a few years ago I started to lose my hair due to stress and a nutritional deficiency.  After successfully regrowing my hair, I created a hair growth system called Fulfillity Hair.

I was sure I would knock it out of the park. I mean who better to sell this stuff than the girl with the results right? I created a brand new website, filled my house full of product and big dreams about getting rich AF in the natural hair game.

I created some Facebook ads (MY FORTE) and $50, $100, $150 later and not a single purchase!

Okay…

I tried again, this time sending online traffic to blog content.

Again, $50, $100, $200 and not 1 purchase!

I was about to pull out what little hair I had on my head!

I mean, I’ve done this for clients before!  I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t it working for me

So after a day of ugly crying, deep life contemplation, and a season’s worth of Scandal, it dawned on me.

Maybe I am not my customer.

It was so easy to do marketing for my clients because the doctors have been treating these specific conditions for years.  They know EXACTLY who their ideal patient would be.  Age, interests, activities, pain points, etc.

For myself, I just assumed everyone was like me.  Sure, I like hair.  Sure, I like nutrition.  Let’s just say that my ideal client is me. Right?

Noooooooo.

I was building the wrong audience based off of my assumptions and lack of data.

So, I started over from the beginning and began asking questions.

I did real research instead of guessing what women who buy hair growth vitamins want.

Low and behold… Money in the bank, FINALLY

Honestly, if more money isn’t reason enough to conduct customer research, then I don’t know what is. But in case you still need convincing, read on.

 

Why Should You Do Customer Research

Here’s how the data you collect about your potential customers will help you be successful in business.

Create Better Products – If you are able to identify the specific challenges, goals, and needs of your customer, then you can create products or services that solve them. Your data will help you create better blog content, write advertising that sells, create products that people want, come up with opt-ins, and market in a way that encourages clients to buy from you.

Save Time – Instead of guessing what works, you’ll be able to quickly identify a marketing strategy that connects with your ideal client. You’ll also be able to write effective content FASTER, spend less time brainstorming social media content, and use your time more wisely by addressing topics that people want answers for.

Increase Income – People will pay you for what they need. So if you build a product that addresses a desire of your client, create content that shows you know what you’re talking about, and create an ad with specific language about how your product or service addresses their need, then you’ve got an easy sell (a.k.a. more $$$)

Decrease Costs – All the data from your customer research will help you spend less money on marketing and pushing dud products. The more you know about your customer, the easier it will be to target them with paid marketing and identify where to place your ads. The more specific your marketing, the less money you’ll spend on advertising that doesn’t work. In addition, you won’t waste money creating and marketing a product that no one wants.

The reasons to conduct customer research is endless, but I wanted to point out some of the ones that matter the most. You’ll make more money, in less time, with better results.

 

How To Do Customer Research

The best way to conduct customer research is to connect with your customers to ask them what they want. Simple right? Yeah, it can be. The only difficult part of this process is choosing the method to connect and deciding the questions to ask. So here’s an easy guideline.

 

Step 1: Find Your Customer

The first step is to find your customers or potential customers.  Look for your ideal clients or people who you are trying to market to. 

If possible, you should also reach out to those who have purchased your product/services or other similar products before. You can email your list, find strangers in Facebook groups, or talk to friends. It all works.

Step 2: Ask The Right Questions

Your questions are very important. You’re looking for answers that help you identify common desires, phrases, and needs.  That’s why your questions should be open-ended. When you create questions that are yes/no or multiple choice you will skew the results with answers based on your expectations as opposed to your potential client’s desires.

So what do you ask? Here are my 5 favorite.

 

What is your biggest challenge or problem with ______?

If people knew how to solve their own problems they wouldn’t need to pay you. With that in mind, this question will help you create products or services to address the problems that your customers are unprepared to address.

Ex. What is your biggest challenge in growing your hair? How about your skin or nails?

What have you already tried in this area? What has worked? What has failed?

The answers to this questions will help steer you away from dud ideas. If everyone has tried a planner to set goals, but didn’t stick with it, then you know that the traditional planner is not a method that your customers will respond to. This allows you the opportunity to reinvent a new goal setting method that works.

Ex. What products do you use for hair growth?  What worked? What didn’t work?

What do you dislike about _____ ?

I love this question because it helps me provide the best service and product. Once you know what others are doing wrong you can work to improve your own product/services to avoid the annoyances.

Ex. What don’t you like about [insert product]?

What is your goal for __________ ?

This question is great too because it gets people talking. This answer will help you frame your product/service in the big picture of your customer’s ultimate goal. Look for language or phrasing that you can use in your advertising or sales letters. When you speak the language of your customer, you will create a connection that builds trust.

Ex. What are your goals for your hair, skin, and nails?

How would you feel if your [insert problem] was gone?

This is another question that will help you identify language to use in your content and advertising.

Ex. How would you feel if you had longer hair? How about better skin?

 

Step 3: Collect Data

The best way to collect data is in-person or over the phone. This can look like a coffee date or just a phone call.  If you’re a bit shy like me, you can take a less intimidating route.

I first started TheSixof7.com in part because I didn’t have a community of female entrepreneurs of color. Coupled with my shyness to ask for help, doing customer research sounded scary as hell. So I did two things. In one of the Facebook groups I was in, I scrolled down the list of all the members and sent cold messages to 100+ women.

Seriously.

 

I also made a post on my Instagram asking a few questions. You can use any online medium to connect with your potential clients and ask your 5 questions. Of course, now I find it much easier to get on the phone with people, but I share this for those who may feel intimidated by the customer research process. Send a few messages to start off or post one of your questions on social media. Int terms of tools, I like to use Typeform or Google Docs to collect the information.

Don’t be afraid to get creative. (In fact, I’m doing a contest this week to do some customer research. If you want the low-down on this process, sign up for the newsletter on the bottom of this post. I’ll be sending out the deets next weekend.)

I also suggest interviewing 10 or more people. You don’t need hundreds of answers because 90% of your target customer base basically thinks the same. If you interview 10, you can make some pretty accurate assumptions of what most of your group wants. But HEY, the more the merrier.

 

How to Interpret Your Customer Research

Once you have the answers to the questions, copy and paste them all into a Document.

Then list them all in an excel sheet. This makes it a little easier to analyze.

Look through your document for duplicates or similar ideas and group them together. I also highlight phrases that commonly used. These are perfect for writing ads and blog titles.

After distilling the feedback down to some pretty core ones I save this list and refer to it to create content.  You can also use the information to inform a brainstorm about new products ideas, target on Facebook, or plan your social media. The possibilities are endless!

What’s most important is that you are giving your customers what they want. That’s why I’ve started to automate my customer research. Every welcome email includes a Typeform that asks questions to new opt-ins on my list. This ensures that I always have fresh perspectives coming in.

If you need a little help, reach out to me in the Private Six of 7 Facebook group here. As mentioned above I’ll also be sharing the Customer Research Contest that I’m doing for Fulfillity and Six of 7 in my newsletter. Jump on the list below so you don’t miss it!

I can’t wait to hear about your results!

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Buy Anything

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Buy Anything

You need to stop buying stuff.

Not just you, but me too!

[Story Time] This summer I moved to France.  Before I moved I struggled with making a large purchase.

See, I have an awesome desktop computer where I do most of my work.  I also have an old laptop that still works but tends to get super hot and has an embarrassing loud hum.  So I decided that with this new life abroad I was going to get me a new laptop too! A Macbook Pro! I deserve it right?

As the time for the move came closer and the budget became more real I was starting to have doubts about the big purchase.  I mean a grand on a laptop?  That was 2 months rent! I kept searching and searching for a deal but nothing felt affordable enough to unclench my fists.  I assumed it was just fear so I did what any other rational human being would do, I posted my dilemma on Facebook!

Half the folks said “Yaaaaass girl! Go get the MacBook Pro.  It is so worth it! Ever since I changed from PC to Mac my life has changed!” *side eye*  (I’ve had a MacBook Pro before and it is NOT that serious).  But there was one response that though caught my eye.

 It seems like you have something that works and even makes you happy.  The only point of unhappiness I’m hearing is that others have a  better computer than you…  

 Instead of focusing on other people and what they have focus on YOUR goals.  You’re going to France to grow your business.  Will the new laptop do that for you?  Instead of buying a new laptop, you can use all that money on something that will directly impact your business like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, even rent!  

 Reevaluate what you want.  You want something that works, that will help you grow your business, that is reliable and it seems you already have that.  Yeah you won’t be able to go to the coffee shop and look cool with your sleek Macbook, but you’ll be doing what’s right for your needs and that’s all that matters.   Focus on you and use what you have.  You’ll be much happier with that extra $1500 in your pocket.

Can I get an Amen?

I won’t tell you to never buy anything new!  You will need training and tools, so here are 5 tips to help you make a decision whether you should buy something or not.

 

 Can It Wait?

I do this trick with clothes but the same goes for business tools and courses.  For example, I want to start a podcast next month.  I have iPhone headphones, but those professional podcasting mics look soooo good.  I know it’s not necessary NOW, but it would be nice.  The podcast is more in the idea stages so purchasing an expensive microphone right now may not be the best idea.  Yes, it can wait.

 

Can I Get It For Free?

Seriously,  it’s odd how life can gift us when we ask for what we want.  Take some time and think about how you can get your purchase for free or even discounted.  I’ve been shopping around for a co-working space here in France and boy are they pricey.  I shared my problem with a new friend and she offered up an empty office at her job.  Hey heyyyy!  Even when I was in Salt Lake City, I managed to get a volunteer position at my local co-working space in exchange for free membership.

 

How Often Will I Use It?

Now this is a good question.  Are you buying a super expensive product that you only plan to use once or twice?  Then maybe pass on it.  On the other hand, will this purchase be used everyday? Will it bring tons value to you and your business?  Then go for it!

 

Will This Purchase Help Me?

Sounds like a silly question because I know your answer is yes, but go a little deeper.  Are you buying a Facebook ads course before you even have a product?  Then the answer is no because right now this product won’t help you.  On the other hand, if you are having trouble finding time to post to all your social networking apps, a scheduling tool would be a purchase that will save you so much time and stress.  Evaluate the effect of your purchase based on the return you will get from it down the line.

 

Can I Return It?

I’m serious.  Read the fine print.  A lesson I had to learn a long time ago is that returning a product doesn’t mean that I’m cheap.  It means I’m self-aware.  You know what your needs are and when a product or service does not meet that need.  This is what 30-day trials are for.  I signed up for an email automation tool and after 2 months of tinkering it was just a headache.  So canceled and asked for my money back.  Guess what? No one called me cheap, poor, etc.  They said sorry this didn’t work out for you, your money will be in the bank in 3 business days.  Easy peasy.

 

Moral of the Story: You don’t need every shiny object.  God, the universe, or whoever you believe in has gifted you with everything you need to make your business work.  It’s important that you take the time to recognize and appreciate the tools and talents you have now by using them.

So chill out.  It may be time for you to stop learning from others, stop buying new things and stop preparing.  It might be time for you to just step out and be great as you are.