Confidence and Confidants

Photo by Farah Kanaan, www.KeepExploring.co (High Stakes Mastermind Group member)

Do You Have Confidence and Confidants?

The subject of confidants came up in our #HighStakesMastermindGroups today, because within the groups we grow to have such a great deal of trust between members, that they really tell each other things that would not be said to anyone else.  They know that what they say stays in the room because everybody signs a confidentiality agreement. But it does go farther than that, the members of the groups develop really close bonds and they become very comfortable in their ability to tell each other things that they would not be able to say to anybody else.

As their leader (and observer) that feels great because I know that I’ve been the catalyst in bringing these people together that become so close to one another. It is a little different for me because I don’t confide in them, so they really don’t have a lot of knowledge about my own personal life – and it needs to be that way.  Although I feel very comfortable in the fact that if something really went ‘south’ and I needed them, I know they would be there for me.

Why it Matters

The journey to the top of your game, no matter what industry you are in, can be a very lonely one. Sometimes, it will seem like nobody really understands, from the professional challenges you face to the personal and social sacrifices that are sometimes involved with such a heavy time commitment.

As you climb the ladder, it’s important to build your personal network of support and confidants.

Confidants can help you in a number of ways. People that you meet in High Stakes Mastermind groups, for example, understand what challenges you’re facing because they are in the same positions and know those challenges to be true. Over time, a relationship and trust builds, which allow for the sharing of ideas and advice.

Confidants become even more important when you are self-employed because for much of the time, you’re likely working independently, or with your staff, without the aid of a corporate headquarters.

Often, this means that you have no peers to bounce ideas off of for solutions and strategies. Those you are working with are often not on the same level, so it’s a good idea to have confidants who are as successful and trained as you to discuss things with and to help you find solutions to unique problems.

Who Has Your Back?

One final argument for having confidants in a Mastermind group: because these people are often in other lines of work, they can become true confidants with nothing to gain from your industry secrets.  And they “have your back”.

I’ll never forget how a former mentor of mine once said that Mastermind groups are to grow “confidence and confidants” – and I am very confident that we have successfully done both.

Masterminding Better Communities

Photo by Alexandria Whitefeather: https://www.alexandriawhitefeather.com/

By Stephanie Angelo

Unforgettable Mastermind

I’ll never forget the moment in our High Stakes Mastermind Group meeting when one of our members, Dala Al- Fuwaires, who is the principal of FJI.design specializing in interior design of food and beverage locations, was telling the group about her desire to do something so that she could give back and make her community a better place.

But what to do? When you’re starting a business, and funds are limited, it’s hard to just donate. She also wanted to do something in which her own work could be showcased. Because, after all, she was trying to build her business and get people to know her throughout the community for the quality of her work.

One of the other members, Jessica Corral of Headfarmer said, “Yeah, it’s really important to pay it forward. That’s what I do in my business. We do a new giving plan every year so that we can find a new way to give back to our community.”  “Pay it forward?” said Dala.

Then in an instant she came up with the idea: she wouldn’t just pay it forward, she would design it forward. That moment – that second of true epiphany, was mesmerizing. It was emotional and it was profound. We knew this was no small moment.  Collectively we knew something big had just happened and we were all there to witness it.

Flash of Inspiration

That’s where the idea began. Dala created a contest on her website where aspiring local restaurant owners, a person who wanted to expand their already existing line of local restaurants, or even a person who had a food and beverage related retail location could submit an application. The application period was for one month from June 15th to July 15th. At the end of that, Dala would choose a winner. That winner would receive Dala’s expert design services completely pro bono. What an amazing gift to the community! Most fledgling restaurant owners cannot afford designers and they struggle to make their ideas come to life.  Dala was there to make that happen.

Last year’s winner is a pizza restaurant inside a former shipping container at a location in downtown Phoenix where all of the retail and restaurant spaces are previous shipping containers. Freak Brothers Pizza will open this fall of 2018.

It’s worth mentioning that two of the 2017 non-winning contestants we’re so impressed by Dala and the high quality of her work that they hired her for their restaurant designs, her even though they wouldn’t be pro bono. She’s just that good!

The Design it Forward project is now in its second year. Applications will close in just a few days. This year Dala has an ensemble of six industry related professionals who will select the winning application.

This is an incredible gift to the community.

Masterminding Better Communities

For me, as the Chief Focus Officer, and the members of #HighStakesMastermindGroups, we can’t wait to see who will win this year.  And to have a celebratory dinner at the opening of Freak Brothers Pizza.

The Design it Forward project is special.  And this is exactly the kind of idea that is born out of High Stakes Mastermind Groups. It starts with something small or an issue that’s noodling around in somebody’s mind and comes to life because of the power of the people behind it, and the support of the fellow members who are all also entrepreneurs succeeding at building their own businesses.

We exist for unforgettable small moments that become successful business ideas.  Could yours be next?

What Can Skillshare do for You?

Stephanie Angelo

Guest Post by Adrianna Huff

Disclaimer: I have paid for my own Skillshare membership, and this post is not sponsored by Skillshare. (#NotAnAd)

Lifelong learner

I call myself a lifelong learner, and when I find a great learning resource (at an affordable price), I have to share it. I’ve heard about Skillshare for a while now in various articles and blog posts over the years, but it wasn’t until our CFO (Chief Focus Officer) Stephanie Angelo from the High Stakes Mastermind Group started presenting Skillshare videos that I picked up a membership and started watching.

Skillshare is an online learning platform where teachers post videos that students can watch. Typically there are also projects that can be completed. What is great about Skillshare, is that anyone with a membership can watch videos that are of interest. Learners do not have to enroll in classes, and there is feedback from instructors. New videos are posted constantly, and as of this blog post there are over 21,000 classes.

Videos on all topics

There are videos on all topics, from Photography to Productivity, and I found myself being drawn to and watching videos relating to Entrepreneurship, Passive Income, Productivity and Efficiency Measures, and Developing a Great Workplace.

Stephanie currently has two classes live on Skillshare, “How to Make Workplace Accountability Cooler Than Your Competitors Do” and “Mastering Strategic Thinking Skills for Maximum Impact in Your Organization”. I watched both lessons (they were about 45 minutes each), which provided me with good information without leaving me committed for hours.

As a finance person, I found the workplace accountability lesson to be valuable in that Stephanie explained how workplace accountability can hurt companies in both productivity, but also the bottom line. For entrepreneurs especially, workers without accountability can de-rail a really successful company and make the already difficult entrepreneurial journey more challenging.

Strategic thinking

Additionally, the strategic thinking lesson was a great reminder to me to do two things in my own life and career work: think proactively and spend some time just thinking. I can sometimes get mired into the small details making my life very reactionary. By remembering to actually look at my goals and my entrepreneurial horizon I can develop new opportunities. As well, instead of just jumping (sometimes without thinking) I should take a step back and actually look at the whole picture.

What Stephanie teaches in her videos, is the same way she approaches our High Stakes Mastermind Group meetings. We have accountability from her to meet our goals as well as proactive work to keep our businesses moving forward. I would highly recommend both of her videos and to start taking Skillshare classes.

Have you heard of Skillshare? What are your favorite learning resources?

Stephanie Angelo creates #businessmastermind teams that make more money, blow away the competition and have better businesses as a result. Talk to Stephanie about #HighStakesMastermindGroups either by phone (480) 646-2400 or email at Stephanie@StephanieAngelo.com .

 

 

 

Fear and the Entrepreneur

 

Photo from Nordwood Themes – Unsplash

Guest Post by Adrianna Huff

I had been talking with #HighStakesMastermindGroups about signing up for the classes and getting my license for months, possibly years, but as my cursor hovered over the “Submit” button I was still full of fear. Thoughts like: Can I do this? Is this the right move?, What if I mess up?, ran through my head.

According to Psychology Today,

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger — if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.”

Fear is a normal human reaction. It originally protected us from lion attacks, but is still present in our everyday lives. I’m not exactly running from wild animals in my home in the suburbs, so why do I (did I) feel fear in this situation? In reality, it is because I was jumping into an unknown situation.

According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, “How Fear Helps (and Hurts) Entrepreneurs”, for many entrepreneurs, fear is a constant companion. Not only do you have fear of losing business, but all of your employees could also be hurt if the business is not successful. However, if entrepreneurs get stuck in this fearful mentality, they may find a more challenging climb for their business.

So, that begs the question, what should an entrepreneur do? Have a healthy level of fear. Simple enough, below are a few suggestions.

  1. Reach out to peers in business or your fellow High Stakes Mastermind Group These individuals have either been in a situation of fear or are feeling fearful. Either way, a supportive and understanding peer advisor or colleague can talk you through possible scenarios and brainstorm situations. Sometimes the hardest part of entrepreneurship is being responsible for all of the decisions. Talking with a like minded individual can be powerful support.
  2. Recognize the fear that you have and acknowledge the worst that could happen. Use this fear and understanding to propel yourself forward and push the business in a positive direction. By looking for all the potential issues in the company, you can fix these issues and greatly reduce the fear involved. Consider including steps to mitigate issues and fear in your High Stakes Mastermind Group goal plan.
  3. Power through. Sometimes fear can lead to paralysis by analysis. When there is such a fear of failure (or success for that matter), it can be easy to analyze over and over again. Instead of getting into this loop of analysis, preventing any actual work, make a decision and move forward. It is likely that most decisions can be modified and reversed if necessary.

Fear is a double edged sword. It can propel entrepreneurs to greatness, or it can prevent them from getting any work done. How do you handle fear?

Your Facebook Questions Answered- Part II

Photo by William Iven

Guest Writer: Adrianna Huff
At our last High Stakes Mastermind Group session, a few more Facebook questions came up. I love researching, so here are the answers to the best of my knowledge.
Now on to the questions:
1. How often does Facebook change its instruction book?

This is a great question, and important for us in our Business Mastermind. I’m making the assumption here that instruction book means algorithm. Based on the article, “Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm History” which has all of the updates since 2006, Facebook makes small updates several times a year. From a general perspective, the updates work to increase user engagement and authenticity across the platform. Recent updates have been to: verify news sources, remove click bait, and focus on personal interaction between users.

While Facebook is constantly making changes, it is still a valuable resource for businesses and marketers to use. It may just take some time to figure out the new layout.

2. Would it help if we “like” each other’s Facebook pages and interact with them?

Yes, it would be a great first step to “like” each other’s Facebook pages. To make sure that all of the posts are seen, under Notifications on the professional pages select “All Posts”. When All Posts are selected, you will be able to see all posts.

While “liking” the pages is a good starting point, it would be even better to share Facebook posts and comment on those posts. Sharing and commenting drives engagement which moves the posts higher up the News Feed.

3. Tell me more about Facebook advertisements. Can you customize them or target to different audiences?

Yes. What is great about Facebook, is that users voluntarily provide demographic information about themselves which can be used for marketing purposes. When developing Facebook advertisements, you can create custom audiences to receive your advertisements. These are created by uploading your current contact and lead lists. Facebook also allows for “Lookalike Audiences” who allow you to create an advertisement audience based off the custom audience. The article, “5 Ridiculously Powerful Facebook Ad Targeting Strategies”, outlines more about advertising with Facebook.

4. What is the average dollar output for targeted advertisements based on various breakdowns with size, reach, etc?
Facebook has a great help section all about advertisements here. Unfortunately, there is no one figure on the average dollar output for targeted advertisements, but according to the AdEspresso article “The Complete Resource to Understanding Facebook Ads Cost -2016 Benchmarks” the average cost per click for Q3 2016 was 27.29 cents and the cost per 1000 impressions was $7.19.
If you decide to use Facebook advertisements, you can select the budget you are willing to spend to run your advertisement. With that budget in mind, Facebook advertisement costs are also dependent on the following factors: the targeted audience (the more competitive the audience, the more the advertisement may cost), the quality of the advertisement (the relevance to the target audience), and the time of year (holiday seasons for example have higher advertisement costs).
5. Is Instagram or Facebook used to validate and hire a professional?
Having strong Instagram and Facebook pages are definitely used when looking to hire a professional. It is always a good idea for small businesses to invest in strong social media presences, because it is a way to affordably display the product or service. Facebook is a great tool, as its reach is huge, and depending on your business, Instagram can also be tremendously beneficial. Artistic professional or service businesses are a good fit for Instagram.
When using Instagram or Facebook, some ideas for marketing your business are to: demonstrate your product or service, go behind the scenes of your product (make it personable), include the whole team, and have your customers show off your work. For us, this is valuable in our peer advisory group.
6. Are advertisements useful or beneficial for service based businesses?

Facebook advertisements can be useful for service based businesses. Based on several articles, including “Choosing the Right Facebook Ad Types for Your Business” by Disruptive Advertising, Facebook advertisements can be a great form of lead generation for service businesses on Facebook. One way to craft this lead generation is provide useful information for the Facebook user that they can only access by providing their email. With this email, the service based business can now interact with a potential client.

7. What type of content is most appealing to potential clients? Company culture? Service based deals?

Both. Although that doesn’t narrow down the content scope, for Facebook business pages, a mixture of both company culture and service based deals can round out the picture for potential clients. When thinking about your overall content for Facebook, the most important aspect is to make your content engaging. The more discussion on the content, the more likely it is to be visible in potential user’s news feeds.

This wraps up your Facebook Questions Asked Part II. How do you use Facebook in your business?