Archives for October 2012

Core Values: Why Do We Care?


Why waste your time defining your core values?

As a solo-prenuer it’s important to know your core values, so you know who you want to reach, who your tribe is. They help you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing when you hit hard times.

They also help you remember how you’re doing it. They keep you on the straight and narrow path so you’re not trying every idea that comes through your inbox.

Core values become a high leverage asset when you are building a team. They help you hire the right people, and ensure everyone holds the same compass points when the flurry of work would blow you off course.

Core values are universally true. Speed, for example, isn’t a core value because sometimes we want things to go slow. Simplicity isn’t either because sometimes we want things to be complex. They might be standards for certain processes, but core values are always true. This is why they are so important for teams, they are the flag you hold out ahead of the charge. This is what everyone keeps their eye on at all times. And without it, everybody is running around like a cowboy following their own code of values. You can have as few as three, but ten is hitting the upper limit.

Until we made this list, we were clear about the core values of transparency, accountability, sovereignty, and evolution. They are values that Ali and I hold for our lives. When our core team met with Giovanni, we unpacked these first four, and added a few more.

  • Show up naked. Be transparent.
  • Do your soul's Great Work.
  • Lean into your edge. Invite feedback.
  • Bring your A-game, and make a positive impact.
  • Take ownership & stand accountable.
  • Be a model of sovereignty.
  • Get the important things done. Everyday.
  • Make it better. Yes, everything.
  • Pursue growth & learning.
  • Put the planet first.

Core values have played an instrumental role in some extremely successful internet companies. Here are a couple of examples:


  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble


  1. Support and Trust
  2. Results Generating
  3. Community
  4. Innovative
  5. Quality

We spent an hour and a half with Giovanni creating the first draft of our core values, and set a six month horizon line for finalization. Ali had a lot of resistance to the process and taking the time, because we’ve done these exercises before. But ultimately she saw how they fit into a larger vision of getting our work into the world.

The next step is to share these with our team, get their buy in, make sure we are a match, and make any adjustments needed to ensure we are building from our core. And then we will  integrate them into our hiring process, and develop questions and test assignments to screen for these core values.

Hopefully this gives you a broader perspective on creating and championing core values in your company. It's more than rah-rah team spirit. It's a way of being in the world, and with each other – both team & clients – that can make an incredible difference.

Do you have a set of core values? If so, please post them. If not, what are your initial hunches?

What to Do When Your Company Won’t Make Payroll

bunniesBuilding two businesses at the same time is not something we would recommend to anyone. Both businesses are growing more slowly than they otherwise would as a result. One, on the brink of death.  As of now, we do not know how we will make payroll for the next month.

As Craig frequently asks “how do you chase two bunnies without losing them both?”

With the Eyes Wide Open business, we serve creative visionary entrepreneurs. With New Law Business Model, we serve lawyers.  Two bunnies.

So why are we doing it?

Because we love both of these darn bunnies, the people who work for them and the people they support.

Tonight we were out to dinner with one of the greatest online entrepreneurs we know and he asked the question that every smart entrepreneur asks when they hear about what we are doing — “why don't you just focus on the lawyer business? That's clearly the smarter financial choice.”

Yes, it is. But, neither one of us has ever been primarily motivated by money. And, our hearts won't let us just drop Eyes Wide Open, even though it's really hard right now to chase both these bunnies.  We love to support entrepreneurs up to great things in the world.

As a result of a challenge with our merchant account, and a big overhead because we've built a team so Ali can focus on what she's best at and give up running the business and doing all the work herself, Eyes Wide Open is struggling to make it's next few payrolls.

In the past, Ali would just whip out her credit card or dip into the line of credit to save the day, but that's no longer an option.  And no one else is swooping in with big bucks to do it. So, it's time to get resourceful.

It's sure easy to think about throwing in the towel when it gets hard like this. But, we see it as an opportunity for innovation. And the truth is that it's provided a tremendous chance for the Eyes Wide Open Biz Dev Manager, Danielle, to step up and show us all what she's got.

So we've cut our payroll to the bone, eliminated all non-essential expenses and Danielle's been charged with innovating an offer or two that can bring in enough income to get the business through 11/27 when the merchant account releases funds again and the money from the Nov. 1 LIFT Live Implementation launch hits the bank.  Her limitation is that the offer cannot involve Ali's time and all payments must run through PayPal so the money gets into the bank and the business can make payroll.

So, in the name of innovation, if you subscribe to the Eyes Wide Open newsletter (enter your name and email in the box up there in the right column) watch your email inbox very carefully over the next week for an email giving you the chance to get in on something that will never be offered again (Craig and Ali don't even know what it is for sure), that will help you tremendously and will bring us the revenue to make payroll.

Warning: “F” word inside

I sent out an email with the subject line “I'm in a shitty mood. You?” and the responses I received in return have instantly elevated my mood even though half of them were not kind.

They ranged from messages of love and care to, “Do you have to say ‘shit' in the subject line? No need to answer — I've unsubscribed,” and, “Off-putting and not classy.”

And I realize at least one reason I've been feeling so shitty. I have been holding my tongue and not expressing all of who I am so I can cater to those who would be offended by my putting the word “shitty” in the subject line of an email.

Well, fuck that. I don't believe in the concept of “bad words” so why am I restraining myself to cater to the conditioning?

Because my own conditioning says I have to. My conditioning says because it's better for business.

I filed bankruptcy specifically so I could get freedom from making my choices based on what was best for business and, yet, I find myself still doing it. Until now.I can't do it anymore. So look for a lot more edge. I'm not going to hide anymore.Here's the things I don't want you to know:I practice orgasmic meditation to keep me juiced, use plant medicines and psychedelics on occasion to spark my creativity, have an open relationship with my life partner, started a community that failed and after building two million dollar + businesses, I filed bankruptcy to get free of my conditioning.

I graduated first in my law school class and I'm leading a revolution in the way legal services are provided to families and small business owners, but I've rejected the lawyer part of myself for the past couple of years and I'm now re-integrating her back into my life.

I'm frequently on the mood roller coaster, but I do always try to bring a positive attitude to it. And while I teach things like agreements, and intellectual property and insurance, and business models, and financial systems and tax strategies, it's only because I've screwed them up so badly in my own businesses and dealt with the fall out as a result.

Oh, and I use “bad words” sometimes.

Ah, relief, it feels good to say all of that. Please unsubscribe, unfriend or otherwise “un” from my life if you don't like it. I'm. done. hiding.

[This post originally appeared on Ali's personal Facebook profile where it received the most response of any post she has ever written, so we decided to post it here so it can be easily referenced in the future.]

Yep, You Can Write a Killer Sales Page (With These Copywriting Secrets)

orange-avatar-stressed-writer-01One of the most important skills you can have in business is copywriting. But I hear from so many of you that you think you aren’t great writers or that you struggle with what to say on your sales page, so you don’t feel like you can promote your product or service.

I’ve been there. There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank screen without a clue about where to begin.

That’s why I am so excited to share with you some secrets to killer copy from my friend, and copywriting expert, Vrinda Normand. Vrinda’s copywriting formula makes it easy to write sales copy that works for everyone, every time, even if you don’t think you can write.

Vrinda dropped in on a recent Eyes Wide Open All Access call and reviewed our LIFT Foundation opt-in and sales pages and spent almost an hour sharing her best copywriting secrets. And let me tell you, it was eye-opening.

If you have been avoiding marketing because you just don’t know what to write, then check out Vrinda’s best copywriting tips for creating killer sales pages.

• Avoid multiple links on one page. Give them one place to go – one page = one option.

• Make your opt-in box is visible from the very bottom of your page. If someone scrolls to the end of the page, will they still be able to opt-in?

• Your banner should have emotionally awakening words that express results. Keep it simple, powerful and impactful (and that's no easy task).

• You want your headline to capture attention. Hit a pain button, then a pleasure emotion.

• Copy inside the opt-in box should be simple with a short hooky title of what they will be getting and a clear call to action. It’s got to be something good for most people to give up their email address, so take the time to create something they would love to have.

Bold key words and phrases so they stand out and make the page easier to read.

Stress-free Copywriting Tips for Sales Pages That Convert

• Sales pages should answer particular fears and questions that people have around your topic or keywords. Now, don’t be all doom and gloom, but by letting them know that you get where they are and you understand their pain, you gain their trust and build curiosity for your solution.

• Bring people in with an urgent gateway problem – solving an issue that they are already aware they have. Then, introduce them to all of the problems/issues that they didn't know.

• Take them through the transformation and experience that will happen with your product/service, not just the nuts and bolts of the program. Focus on the stages that someone will go through to transform and be more results oriented. Vrinda used a great example of taking people from Pain Island to Pleasure Island on a boat. Most people describe the boat (your product/program), when they should be talking about how awesome it is on Pleasure Island. Get the picture?

• Testimonials should include measurable results – amount of money earned, number of hours saved, percentage increase in clients, etc.

Make your product easy to buy. Don't confuse them with multiple buying choices. Just offer them one option. When you give people two choices, they get confused and go away without buying.

We will be implementing several of her suggestions over the next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout for a new and improved LIFT Foundation opt-in and sales pages soon.

I’d love to hear what you think about these killer copywriting secrets. Which ones can you put into play right now that could help your conversion rates? What would you add to this list?

Please post your questions, comments, tips and ideas in the comments below. I'm looking forward to seeing how you take this information and use it for your own success.