By Evan Carmichael on November 11th, 2012
Kaya Singer is a Gold Author on EvanCarmichael.com – to view her articles click here. We asked her how she made her first sale – here’s what she said:
Waking Up to My First Sale
Nine years ago I moved back to United States after living in New Zealand for 12 years. I left on a warm summer day, saying goodbye to the crystal clear seas of Aotearoa, and arrived to one of the coldest, most bitter winters Oregon has ever had. The roads were so icy, it was impossible to drive and the furnace in our house stopped working.
Those challenges were hard, but they didn’t even begin to equal the difficulty of reopening my consulting business in a new country. The age of the Internet hadn’t quite emerged in New Zealand, but it was in full throttle here in the USA. I had to get a website up quick and figure out what I was doing.
I joined a BNI group thinking that it would be a good way to meet people and begin to find clients. I chose a large group and was looking forward with hope, but also with some dread, to connecting with all these new strangers. Every Friday, I got up in the dark, cold, winter morning, put on my professional clothes and stood up and gave my elevator speech.
Week after week, I would look around the room as I spoke and see blank faces. People weren’t getting it; they weren’t connecting with me and what I was sharing. In New Zealand I had a high profile because as an American I stood out, but here in Portland I had to dig way deeper into myself in order to find that place where I could meet people and they would get who I was and the value I was offering.
It forced me to really hone my core marketing message which included targeting a very specific niche group. Up until then, I spoke to “small business owners,” which had worked well for the small population of Nelson, New Zealand. But here in Portland, small business owners were a gigantic group who were looking for experts and specialists, not a generalist, so I needed to find my niche.
After some soul searching, I realized that my heart and soul were with solo business owners who had started their service businesses from their passions or professions. This included health and wellness practitioners, website developers, designers, coaches, editors, writers and more. They all had a similar problem. They were experts at what they were offering, but they were overwhelmed and confused about how to attract clients and get their businesses going.
Once I had this insight and made this shift in my own marketing plan, my elevator speeches began to transform as well. Gradually, people started to pay more attention and connect. One week, as part of my speech, I told my own story and how I woke up. I talked about how I, like so many other people, was struggling because I knew what my expertise and passion were, but I needed to get past my own blind spots in order to get more clients and have a successful business. People could relate and became excited about hearing what I had to say.
At the end of the meeting that day, one of the members of the group approached me and said, “What you shared today really affected me because I am also going around in circles in my own business.” She went on to say, “I assume if you can get to that awareness in yourself, you could certainly help me.” I ended up working with her for over a year. Later, she also attended one of my mastermind groups and referred many clients my way.
One of the things I learned in that process was the power and importance of telling your own story. When you’re authentic, transparent and open, there is no better way to build relationships.
© Kaya Singer 2012 AwakeningBusiness.com
My business was birthed in 2004 after I moved back to the United States from New Zealand, having lived there for 12 years.
Although I had been helping people overcome obstacles to success for many years, I knew it was time for me to develop a small business that would reach way more people and provide opportunities for me to give people tools and support on a much larger scale.
My masters is in counseling and I was a family therapist for 20 years, however my business skills come from owning five businesses, including a pottery business, health food venture, a bicycle shop and a publishing company.
I shifted from a family therapy practice into professional development and facilitated leadership training and team building seminars for corporations, organizations and non-profits, translating all I learned from working with families into the business model.
I started working with small business owners in 1997, while still in New Zealand, and I realized that this was my passion, helping solo business owners to stretch and grow in business acumen and prosperity.
My strength is my ability to create processes and tools that make it easy for people to understand business and to overcome mental blocks and make permanent shifts from the inside out. I discovered that running a business is fun and creative.
I now live in Portland, Oregon with my husband. We are dual citizens and although my family roots are here in Oregon, New Zealand is my soul home.
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Tags: aotearoa, blank faces, challenges, clothes, cold winter morning, consulting business, core marketing, dread, elevator speech, full throttle, furnace, generalist, hadn, high profile, large group, living in new zealand, niche, nine years, population, small business owners