Escape from Cubicle Nation Podcast
Advice, support and encouragement to stop being a corporate prisoner and start your own business
Embrace synchronicity in your business and enjoy the results You may notice that the closer you get to your right life and business, the more frequently coincidence, synchronicity and serendipity occur. Once thought the purvey of mystics and dreamers, more and more business people are embracing insight and intuition as a critical business skill. In this episode, I share:
  1. My own frequent experiences with synchronicity
  2. Some "rational" reasons why it may occur
  3. Resounding encouragement to stop being so stuffy and embrace the benevolent forces of the universe on your way to creating a great business.
Don't worry - you won't have to buy a Grateful Dead album in order to enjoy the concepts, just have a listen and tell me what you think at the blog: www.escapefromcubiclenation.com.

Technical note: This is the first podcast I am recording with my new iMac, and I saved the audio file in a different format than usual. Let me know if you have problems listening by leaving a comment here, and I will make sure to address it. Thanks!
Direct download: synchronicity2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

What to do when you hit the "starting a business is too hard" wall Even the most optimistic and motivated aspiring entrepreneur will reach a point where frustration or anxiety grinds progress to a halt.  This is otherwise known as "hitting the wall."

It can happen when doing things you hate such as:
  1. Making sales and marketing calls
  2. Trying to crank out a first draft of a book or product
  3. Filling out government or legal forms
  4. Creating a business plan
What can you do to not let frustration derail your dreams?  My five recommendations include:
  1. Scream, whine, wail, swear and complain
  2. Step away
  3. Find a source of immediate beauty or calm
  4. Reconnect with the reason behind your entrepreneurial endeavor
  5. Make a very clear and specific goal to complete one task
Let me know your ways of dealing with "The Wall" at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com

Direct download: hittingthewall.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:43pm EDT

How do you know when it is safe to call yourself an expert? It is often tricky to know when it is safe to call yourself an expert in your field.  If you have done any research in marketing and PR, you know the benefits of an "expert" designation:  free press and the trust and credibility of potential customers, leading to more sales.

But it can feel a bit presumptuous to call yourself an expert, right?

This episode provides questions you can ask yourself to test your expertise, which go beyond the traditional formula of years of experience + number of academic degrees + number of books written = level of expertise.

Please share your thoughts about when it is safe to call yourself an expert on the blog at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com.
Direct download: whenareyouexpert.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:29pm EDT

Soul-wrenching insight on creative blocks from The War of Art I was stunned and awed this weekend when I read a great book on creative blocks called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Best known as a novelist of books such as The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, Tides of War, and The Last of the Amazons, Pressfield writes a short but exquisite analysis of the source, purpose and solution to creative blocks.  It was published in 2002, but is a timeless classic for anyone who feels blocked from starting anything.

I chose a few key concepts to explore, including:
  1. What is resistance?
  2. What is its aim?
  3. What is a quick way to overcome it?
I share some juicy passages from the book, which REALLY got me fired up to stop procrasinating and get moving on long-stalled creative projects.  Here is a little taste:

"Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.  It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole.  Resistance is protean.  It will assume any form, if that's what it takes to deceive you.  It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man.  Resistance has no conscience.  It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned.  If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get.  Resistance is always lying, and always full of shit."

I am very curious what your experience has been with creative blocks, and what you have done to move past them.  Please share at the blog! www.escapefromcubiclenation.com

P.S.  Yes, you heard a little bit of 2-year old screaming in the back of this episode ... I didn't have the time to re-do or edit the recording, so forgive my imperfection as a sign of DO-ING to slay the dragon.  :)
Direct download: warofart.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:42pm EDT

Striking a balance between being rich and being famous People are drawn to entrepreneurship for a variety of reasons including work/life flexibility, the opportunity to contribute something meaningful to the world, the chance to make a lot of money or the platform to get known as an expert in your field.

Regardless of your intentions, chances are you want to make money at what you do, and use the benefits of press and publicity to market your efforts.  In my shorthand, I call this getting rich and famous, even if in your humble definition this means being able to pay your light bill on time and getting a one-line mention in your local paper.

Many first-time entrepreneurs struggle to balance the effort it takes to get rich with the effort it takes to get famous.  So in this podcast, I share 5 tips including:
  1. Spend time defining your niche
    So that you know exactly who you are trying to target, and which problems they have.
  2. Create a product road map
    So that you define what you are going to develop in what order and focus your efforts.
  3. Create the infrastructure to support your product from first contact to product delivery and follow up
    So you don't alienate your hard-won customers with crappy service.
  4. Tie your fame-garnering efforts to your niche
    So that you don't become known as the boring, generic person who knows a little about a lot of stuff.
  5. Always direct people to your product page
    So that you leverage media exposure to make sales AND get famous.
Please share your getting rich and famous stories at the blog -- www.escapefromcubiclenation.com.
Direct download: richandfamous.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:58am EDT

How to go from vague idea to concrete business concept A blog reader recently wrote an email and shared his frustration at being stuck in a corporate job and hating it, but not knowing how to begin a new business in a new field.

To answer this question, I outlined a number of steps you can take to go from vague and fuzzy idea to concrete business concept, highlighted here:
  1. Step 1:  Wrap your arms around the field. Learn as much as you can about all the ways this field is expressed in business, so that you know which area to focus on.
  2. Step 2:  Choose a small "neighborhood" to explore.  Once you see all the different possibilities in the field, choose a particular area of interest.
  3. Step 3:  Identify the hotshots that are doing the work successfully.  These should be people who not only have technical expertise that you admire, but also complimentary values and thriving businesses.
  4. Step 4:  Carve a niche.  Choose a particular area to work in that represents your best work, and a particular group of people to work with that would energize and engage you (and would pay you -- we are talking about a viable business!)
  5. Step 5:  Shake a tree.  Get moving with a marketing plan, selling services and meeting with potential customers.
If you break things into steps and deal with one at a time, the prospect of entering a new field won't be so overwhelming.

Please share your thoughts on this topic, and what has worked, or not worked, in your own businesses at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com.
Direct download: vaguetoconcrete.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT

Use classes and workshops to get stuff done

Most small business owners have big plans to develop new services, re-invigorate marketing efforts or enhance online offerings.  But if you are working alone, sometimes the tasks seem overwhelming.

Participating in a group class or workshop can be a great way to:

  1. Develop a supportive network of peers that can provide insight, encouragement and motivation for your project
  2. Get expert advice from your instructor which can ensure you don't make costly misakes and do things right the first time
  3. Build in some accountability to get things done, since you have specific assignments and deadlines

Personally, I am hopeless without a deadline, so the final point is of particular importance.

Some resources mentioned in the podcast:

  1. Google your topic of interest, + teleclass or workshop
  2. Coachville's www.teleclass.com
  3. Classes at www.passionforbusiness.com

If you want to share your own experiences as a participant or know of good classes or directories of classes for small business owners, let me know at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com.

 

Direct download: teleclasses.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:03pm EDT

Controversy is good:  go ahead, disagree with me! If you were raised in a conflict-averse household like I was, you may find that your early training seeps into your business and you are afraid to upset anyone with a controversial product or service.

Big mistake!

The most successful (and interesting!) businesses take a stand and create something different, unique and meaningful for their target market.  You should be no different.  In this 6-minute episode, I outline why I think it is so important to take a stand and do the following things when designing your business:
  1. Create from the heart and soul
  2. Speak clearly and speak the truth
  3. Know your niche
  4. Embrace your detractors
  5. Don't backpeddle
Share your thoughts, or passionate counter-arguments, at the blog - www.escapefromcubiclenation.com.


Direct download: controversy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:36am EDT

Cash flow is king

For all of you who have just made your first sale, congratulations!  You should jump up and down and dance a jig at your accomplishment.

Very soon, however, you will discover that a closed sale does not equal money in your bank account.  Based on personal experience and that which I have learned from smart friends, I share some guidelines for making sure that you plan and contract for a stable cash flow in your new business.  They include things like:

  1. Carefully study your client's financial terms, conditions and processes 
  2. Plan contracts carefully, with payment milestones clearly identified and contingency plans developed if the scope changes
  3. Treat your accounts payable contact with ultimate deference and respect, lest you reap the wrath of an accountant scorned

Please share your horror stories, best practices and tips at the blog:  www.escapefromcubiclenation.com

Direct download: cashisking.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:49pm EDT

Networking tip:  Use the phone!

We all get comfortable using email to introduce ourselves to people we find compelling or share common business interests with.  It is a quick and painless way to connect with people all over the world.

But with the influx of email in everyone's inbox these days, as an alternative, why don't you try picking up the phone?

In this episode, I cover some tips for phone networking so that you:

  1. Know how to professionally and quickly get to the point of the call
  2. Respect the other person's time
  3. Make sure it is a mutually beneficial conversation

Share your thoughts about this at the blog:  www.escapefromcubiclenation.com

Direct download: networkingbyphone.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:58pm EDT

Cut through work paralysis by replacing "perfect" with "good enough" If you are anything like me, you sweat the details of your business, wanting to make sure that everything is flawless and of the highest standards.  The problem is, in a rapidly moving world and life, it is impossible to be perfect at everything you do.  In fact, you will most likely stress yourself out and get little done if your standards are so high that you get paralyzed.

In this episode, I invite you to redefine your relationship with perfectionism and invite "good enough" as a new standard for releasing work and getting things done.  In order to do this, you will have to:

  1. Define different standards for your work
  2. Prioritize your tasks
  3. Make tough choices
By doing so, you will not only get more done, you will have more fun doing it.  And learn more!

If you have struggled with perfectionism and have some insights, please share them at the blog at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com


Direct download: Replace_perfect_with_good_enough.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT

Small business marketing advice from expert John Jantsch Intrigued by questions from many of my blog readers about small business marketing, I thought I would get answers from John Jantsch, one of the most well-respected small business marketing experts in the world.

Do any of these questions ring true for you?
  1. If I have never marketed myself before, where do I begin?
  2. What are the pieces of a total marketing system?
  3. Why is it so important to define a specific target audience or niche for my services?  Won't this narrow my opportunities?
  4. What if I loathe marketing?
  5. Should I launch my brand name if I am not 100% sure I love it?
  6. Should I start a blog or podcast to market my new business?
John answers these questions and more, as well as some more specific ones like ideas for independent software developers who want to market their products, or how to promote a book.

Please share your thoughts on your interview here or at the blog!  www.escapefromcubiclenation.com

John's website:  www.ducttapemarketing.com
John's blog:  www.ducttapemarketing.com/weblog.php

Direct download: johnjantsch.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:23pm EDT

Take the brute force out of your fears by dissecting them All aspiring entrepreneurs have fears about starting a business.  Such as:
  1. No one will ever buy my product or service
  2. I do not have enough experience to start a business
  3. All my competitors have superior products (besides which, they are smarter and/or better looking)
Some people stay paralyzed and never move forward, while others find ways to overcome their fears and experience success.

In this episode, I walk you through a specific exercise that you can use to diagnose and alleviate your fears. 

You may want to listen to it when you are sitting at a desk where you can scribble notes, or in front of your computer where you can create a simple table.

Enjoy and let me know your own results by dropping me a line at pcs@ganas.com or leaving a comment on the blog at www.escapefromcubiclenation.com
Direct download: Take_the_brute_force_out_of_your_fears.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:01pm EDT

Interview with Martha Beck:  Your left toe holds the clue to your right life

Departing from the regular, brief bursts of information in this podcast, this interview is a 40 minute conversation with Martha Beck, author of the New York Times bestselling book Finding Your Own North Star:  Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live and monthly columnist for Oprah's O Magazine.

Martha provides lively and insighful information about how to figure out the work you are meant to do, a critical step in deciding which business to start as a new entrepreneur.  Her approach may surprise you, and I guarantee it will make you think.

If you have comments or observations about this podcast, please leave them at the blog, www.escapefromcubiclenation.com.  Or send me an email at pcs@ganas.com.

You can find Martha at www.marthabeck.com.

From this point forward, I will be publishing longer interviews like this one once a month.  I welcome your feedback about this format change.

Direct download: Interview_with_Martha_Beck.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:23am EDT

Stop playing small It is easy to get in the habit of being the "person behind the curtain," creating fame and glory for charismatic clients, executives and spouses.  But when we choose to play small, we limit our lives to "next best" and miss the opportunity for great contribution to the world and personal joy and satisfaction.

In this episode, I share some of my own experiences with playing small and the tremendous surge of energy and abundance I experienced when I decided to play bigger.

Why not decide to play big this year?
Direct download: Escape_Podcast_-_Stop_playing_small.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00am EDT