Today’s How Does She Do It? Mentor is Barbara Bellissimo of How to Ask for Money, LLC
Provide a brief description of your business a) who do you love to work with? b) what is the #1 greatest benefit they get from working with you? 7 years
Asking for money is not just about the words you use. You can download tons of sales scripts off the Internet, and you still might not be successful. Over the ten years I’ve been working with women leaders, sooner or later the same issues come up around asking for money:
* Am I (or my organization) really worth that much money?
* How do I know the right amount to ask for?
* What do I do if the prospect says no?
Do I know what I’m talking about? You betcha. I’ve raised over $26M dollars for startups and nonprofit organizations. I’ve dealt with all of these issues and more. I often wonder how much more I could have done, and how much money I left on the table, if I had tackled these issues earlier in my career.
How do I know I’ve overcome these challenges?
I raised over $3M for a nonprofit organization during 2008, during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Now I’m sharing my expertise and mentoring with women who need to successfully ask for money…right now! I specialize in teaching women to overcome their fears and old beliefs about asking for–and getting–the money they need to be successful. My special gift is reflecting my client’s power back to her in way that she can see it, embrace it and wear it comfortably.
What does being a woman in business online mean to you and what is your favorite thing about it?
I love being in business online. It allows me to reach women I never would have the opportunity to reach otherwise. I have met so many exciting, powerful and wonderful women–colleagues, partners, clients, and friends–by doing business online. One of my “big missions” is to create a movement of women who are confident to ask for what they want, and I’m finding that being online is the new model for movement-building. So much faster and more convenient than knocking on doors!
Who has been your greatest mentor and how have they impacted your success?
Interesting question. I don’t think I could identify one person. There have been many women who have come into my life at fortuitous times. Right now I am in a mastermind group of heart-based entrepreneurs. What I love about this group is the way we truly care about each other’s success, and we set aside all the other distractions in our lives to focus on each other. Each of us gets time in the group for the other members to wholeheartedly support and advise. I really appreciate the multiple points of view, and the feeling of grounding and foundation that I get from this group of incredible women.
What is the one achievement are you most proud of as an entrepreneur so far and why?
Another tough question! I am really proud of building a base of clients who have been truly helped by working with me. I love coming across my clients online, and seeing them implementing the strategies we worked on together! I am also incredibly proud of creating a business that fits my lifestyle, and capitalizes on my strengths and passions. Finally, I am proud to have built this business while my child has grown up…to show her that a woman can create and be successful as whatever she is passionate about.
What does “authentic in business” mean to you and why is it important?
To me, “authentic in business” means acting in business as you would act anywhere else. Your voice, whether live, on the phone, in a blog, or in email, should be the same. You shouldn’t have to feel like you have to put on your “business hat” when you are working in your business.
Being authentic is important because being inauthentic wastes time and energy. Authenticity allows you to attract more of what you deserve–ideal clients, ideal pricing, ideal relationships.
What is your favorite & most effective marketing strategy that you use to grow your business?
I hate to admit it, but I love Facebook. And Facebook ads are a great, cost-effective way to build your list/fan base. You can get really targeted with your ad audience, and set clear limits on how much you want to spend.
Once I build a fan base, I start offering teleseminars. I am much better “live” than in writing, so the more “in-person” contact I can have with a group, the better conversion is for me.
How do you stay off of (or minimize the extremes of) the proverbial cash flow rollercoaster?
I am still challenged by the “cashflow rollercoaster”! Lately, I am creating new types of products and services, designed to minimize the extremes of cashflow. I also try to plan out my marketing and product launches for the whole year (I do this in September, because I never quite got out of the back-to-school cycle), and revisit quarterly so I can adjust as necessary. Finally, I’ve tried to focus my offerings on longer timeframes (3, 6 and 12-month programs) to even out the cashflow.
What’s your best advice about how to achieve work-life-self balance?
As soon as I achieve it, I’ll let you know! Seriously, what works for me is to treat life/self commitments with as high a priority as work commitments. I try to unplug from the business for at least all of Saturday and most of Sunday. I also reward myself with life/self treats for business successes.
What is your favorite technology that supports your online business and why? (i.e. how does it support you?)
I dig 1shoppingcart.com for all things payment, product and autoresponder related. I like the way I can manage these aspects of my business from one place.
I also like Time Driver for scheduling. Makes it really easy for clients to self-schedule, without having to share my entire calendar.
And finally, I love Instant Teleseminar for teleseminar management. It is so cool to see where people are calling from, and their voting/interaction capabilities are great.
What is your best productivity tip? i.e. how can our readers get more of the right things done quickly and with less struggle?
It’s OK to say no. And once you say no, you do not have to explain why not.
What has been your biggest breakthrough, mindset shift or top lesson learned so far?
It’s *my* business, and I actually do know best what will work for me/it. I don’t have to implement every new program or blueprint, I can pick and choose what feels right for me/my business at the moment. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!