“I am not a marketer.”


Do any of these refrains sound familiar?

“I don’t know what I don’t know about brand. Why do I need it?”

“I hate marketing, I’m not interested in being the star of the show. It feels slimy.”

And my favorite (and the most common):

“I’m not a marketer.”

Don’t get me wrong. The fact that folks have these beliefs is why I have steady employment and I’m more than happy to serve.

But let me be clear: You are a marketer. (Tweet me!)

You may not know the ins and outs of writing a killer blog post, or how to do Facebook ads correctly or why you need a messaging platform…..but you are a marketer.

Marketing, in my view, is about sharing the passionate truth of your story to the right people so that they know you solve a problem they have – or you can deliver something to them that they really, really crave.

When it comes down to it, your work either helps people avoid pain or find pleasure. Whatever that “pain” might be: struggling in business, feeling lonely, spending too much money. Or…whatever that “pleasure” might be: saving money, losing weight, gaining confidence, etc.

Marketing is NOT: Lying, coercion, extortion, bragging, selfish or cruel. While many soda, food companies or politician may not subscribe to this is beside the point.

FACT: Marketing is communication.

If you enjoy what you do, if it provides value for people and if you’re excited about talking about it, then guess what? That’s marketing.

Whenever you overdeliver for clients, delight customers, or tell someone about your cool new offering or snazzy new product with all the zeal of a tween at Bieber concert, you are marketing.

Doesn’t mean you still can’t grow and learn exactly which steps to take and how to get to success.

Never again let me hear you say, “You are not a marketer.”

There is a brand and marketing genius inside you, bursting to get out. You just need Glinda to the Good Witch (a.k.a, me) to show you how to use those ruby slippers you’ve been wearing all along and guide you down the right road to get home.

3 ways to teach your old ebook some new tricks

Today’s guest post is from Dina Eisenberg, AKA the Info Product Doctor.  Dina is all about turning your expertise into a passive income stream that will help you scale and promote your brand far and wide – how much do we love that?! Follow her @DinaEisenberg.

There’s a problem that no solo business owner or coach ever mentions: Excess ebooks.  These are the ebooks that you began but didn’t finish.  The ebooks that represent your last digital product or your work before your business pivot.  Right now, they are sitting on your hard drive waiting to be used.

Kinda like that amazingly beautiful dress you bought because, well,  it was gorgeous and you’ll need it someday (natch). I still have an adorable fuschia silk waiting in the back of my closet for my next cruise.  Never mind that I’ll look like a pink round tennis ball. It’s there to inspire me to get in better shape and dream of new travel adventures.

This post will, hopefully, be your inspiration to repurpose your under-utilized ebook content.  After all, you already spent the time creating it.  Why not put that energy to good use and make some cash from the content?

Recycle your ebook into a new online offering & gain a new income stream (Tweet this!)

What can you do with an aging ebook?  Here are three ideas How about you share your ideas in the Comments, ok?

3 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Ebook

1.Turn your ebook into social media content

Finding more valuable content to share on social media can seem like a job, can’t it?  Even using all the great curation tools like Scoop.it or Google Alerts which bring news to you, it still takes a lot of time to sort, compose, create an image and share.  Gosh, I’m tired just writing that.

Upcycle your ebook by using excerpts as social media posts.  Boost engagement on Google Plus.  Dab a little on your Facebook status.  Pick out a provocative question to ask in your G+ community. Quote an excerpt on Twitter with a link back to your blog.  Share a graph or chart as an infographic.

Hello. I can almost hear your eyes rolling back in your head.  No, this isn’t more work.  Quite the opposite.  Recycling saves you time, provides content and gives you a second shot at brushing up your writing.  By the way, you can find help to get all of this done for you.

2. Give your ebook a makeover

I love to get a few new clothes for spring to refresh my wardrobe and get ready for summer (yeah summer!!!)  Your ebook might do well with a makeover, too.  How about changing your ebook cover?  Their styles go in and out of fashion, too.

Upcycle your ebooks’ looks, inside and out. Most ebooks are created simply without a lot of book design, which is fine. But sometimes the wrong title or cover can impact sales.  An older book with less than stellar sales could be a blockbuster with a new look. One place I see well-intentioned authors go wrong is with  book interiors that are poorly formatted and look amateurish.

Interiors are tough, for sure, if you’re not an inDesign expert.  I’m not. I found two solutions for this.  Joel Friendlander is the book designer who created Book Design Templates  and he’s a genius!  He took what I consider the hardest part of being an independent publisher- book design- and made it dead simple.

You simply select a template.  I’m partial to Focus for non-fiction business books. Nice and clean. Purchase it.  Templates are very reasonably priced for one print-on-demand or one ebook template.  Check the Tool Time here. Try a single license and if you like it you can get a multi-license to use more templates.  You’re not limited to business.  I have my eye on a children’s book template to capture the stories my kids and I made up at bedtime when they were kids.

As for the cover, no worries.  I’ve gotten very good ebook covers on Fiverr.com, the online work marketplace. It’s all about understanding how Fiverr works, setting your expectations correctly and being precise.  I talk more about that in my course Outsource Easier (new release soon)

3. Transform your ebook into an online course

Online learning is very hot right now and it will be for a while.  Smashwords reports that indie publishers will represent 50% of the ebook market by 2020.  As an authority, you can be part of that.  You can teach your online course on a variety of online platforms like Udemy, Lynda.com and Ruzuku.  Don’t have a course?  No worries.

Upcycle your ebook into a new online course offering and gain a new income stream. Your ebook was written to solve a problem or help your tribe achieve a goal. Well, that book can be turned into a self-paced  learning experience. Each chapter could become a module that you further develop to include exercises and tools.  By the way, you don’t have to be a geek.  I made my first course last year with simple tools like Powerpoint, Screenflow and Vimeo.  And whatever technical piece I couldn’t do myself, I outsourced affordably.

To be sure your course is effective and students actually learn I recommend using the ebook, Bottle your Wisdom by Dr. Kelly Edmonds.  Her book solves the problem of crafting your course.  She helps you determine what to include, how to avoid content-crammin, and ways to really engage your students for learning.

What are some other ways you’ve reused ebook ideas? Would your ebook make a good course or webinar? Please share in the Comments!

The Good “If” and the Bad “If”

“If” can be a powerful word.

I recently watched a documentary about a football coach who lost his parents and sister in a car crash. Years later, he was still blaming himself. “If I wasn’t playing in that game, they wouldn’t have been in the car to come see me and maybe they’d still be here.”

This comment made me so sad for him.

The bad “If” is when you use the word to lament the past. When used to berate yourself over things you can’t control or change, “If” can lead to damage and torture.

“If I had taken that other job, I would have been happier.”

“If I had not spent all that money on that trip, I’d have the money to buy a new computer.”

“If only I’d been home, he would have survived the stroke.”

This is neither helpful nor productive. True, we need to learn from our mistakes so we don’t repeat them, but 9 times out of 10, this type of “If-ing” is just ridiculous. How can you predict the future? How can you think you can stop a speeding train or the death of a loved one or an unexpected layoff? You can’t.

I think we do this to fool ourselves into thinking we have control over certain events. But the truth is we don’t. All we can do is prepare for the future as best we can with the information we have at hand. That’s where the Good “If” comes in.

Good “If’s” are those that help you plan for future opportunity:

“If I buy emergency supplies, we’ll be safe during the power outage.”

“If I plan all my errands, I can make the most efficient use of my time today.”

“If I create a strong brand and marketing plan now, I can reach my business goals this year.”

See? Much more productive, proactive and useful.

“If” looks much better in front of you rather than behind you (Tweet this!)

Be mindful of how you use the word “If.” Those two little letters can cause a whole hot mess of despair– or they can open up infinite possibilities.

Photo credit: TheNext28Days on Flickr

Your Big “If”

If you create a strong brand and marketing plan now, you can reach your business goals and create a loyal following. Let me help! Please sign up now for Brand Bootcamp, a self-paced and stress-free way to build a strong brand strategy and bring it to life, with more ease, confidence and clarity. 7 videos, a fun Playbook and tons of advice from yours truly. Hurrah!


Stuck in neutral? 4 ways to reboot your business and rekindle your fire

Ah, the first blushes of entrepreneurial love. The romance! The energy! But what happens when the passion fades and the reality of demanding customers/clients, overwhelming marketing options and painful tasks (QuickBooks, anyone?) creeps in? Suddenly, your business becomes a grind and you find yourself working harder for less reward, less return…and less joy. Your once appreciative and dreamy-eyed business starts angrily demanding more of your time and energy – but in return, rewards you with the wrong customers, a weak profit margin and just doesn’t take you salsa dancing or wine tasting anymore.

I’ve been where you are. I know what it feels like to have your business success lead you down the wrong path. How choices innocently pile up – each one seemingly rational – paving a perfect road to discontent.

So a few years ago, I took a step back. I sought the objective counsel of colleagues, a wise coach and a wondrous wordsmith and tweaked my business model and messaging – core brand elements. I started doing more of what I loved and ditched what wasn’t working. And you know what? My heart (and success) soared.

If your business (and heart) feel stuck in neutral, here are 4 ways to reboot  – and check out my big announcement at the end on how I can help…

  1. What do you hate doing? STOP IT! If your business offerings have kept piling on so you can simply cater to every single need under the sun, you need to take stock and simplify your business model. What activities bring you the most joy? Do you love teaching and strategic planning but hate detailed tactics? Then start doing more workshops or retainer projects  and don’t offer hourly project work. Do you love doing massage and energy work but hate giving facials? Then cut down your services list. This also translates into how you talk about yourself (i.e., maybe you’re no longer a “full-service spa” but a “body care studio”)
  2. Play with pricing or packaging to attract the right customers/clients: You may find that the people you are attracting pay little but demand a lot, offering little profit margin in the end. How about adding more value/quality to your offerings and increasing your prices to deter more budget-conscious folks and attract a more affluent market? Or offer a tiered set of products or services to give more cost-conscious folks a self-service option, while freeing up your time for deeper, higher-value work that you adore.
  3. Revisit your messaging: Take a good, hard look at your web copy, company descriptor or even job title. Are you saying you do everything for anybody? Are you too vague and not focused on clear, crisp benefits? Does it sound boring, even to you? This could either a) be attracting the wrong type of work or b) confusing the prospective people that you really want. Remember, when you try to create a brand that is all things to all people, you end up being nothing to no one. Detail out your ideal customer or client and only focus on content, services or products – and the appropriate messaging – to attract those people. Don’t worry about pleasing (or offending) anyone else but that target. Trust me, they’ll be fine without you.
  4. Audit your visual brand: OK, this one may require an investment to make some changes. Based on the people you really, really want to attract and the kind of work you really, really want to be doing, is your visual branding way off base? Do you need to modernize your colors, select bolder fonts or change out your imagery to better appeal to those people? I once consulted with someone trying to attract high-powered Alpha-male executives – and yet her website was all pastel colors and flowery script fonts. She was beating her head against the wall and wondering why those powerful male executives were not hiring her. She needed to update her look and feel to match her new offerings and target clients. Side benefit? Updating your visual look and feel might also get your heart racing with pride again about your business and give you a new opportunity for some word of mouth buzz.

With these tips, you can shift out of neutral and into overdrive again. In a good way, of course. Don’t drive yourself crazy. OK, I’ll stop with the driving metaphors….

Photo credit: Vincent O’Keeffe, Flickr

Has business boredom ever happened to you? What actions do you recommend to reignite your business – or your own personal passion? We’d love to hear so please leave a Comment below. Your wise words could help someone else!


If you want less heartburn when trying to attract new customers…

Here are the most common marketing challenges I’ve heard when clients call me….

“I spent $5,000 at a booth at this event and I got diddly squat for it.”

“I know there are people who need my product or service but they can’t seem to find me.”

 “People don’t really understand what I do. They end up asking me if I know anyone who offers the exact same thing I do. And I’m like, ‘Hello?! I’m RIGHT HERE!”

“Prospects don’t understand why we’re better than our competitors.”

“I get lots of website visitors but not many of them turn into sales.”

“I struggle with articulating exactly what value I can provide for people.”

“What the *$#@! are we supposed to say on our blog/Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest?

 “I get lots of calls but they are always from people who can’t afford my services.”

” We used to do x and now we do y, but people still associate us with our old brand.”

“I’m just launching a business/project/non-profit and don’t even have a website yet. I’ll work on the brand after I get things going.”

“I already have a business/project/non-profit but it seems to be stuck in neutral.”

Sound familiar?

I’ve talked about this in various forums as a marketing speaker and in media such as MSNBC and Entrepreneur Magazine. The solution to many of these challenges is a simple two word phrase that is easier said than executed:


See, you can’t build a strong house without a good foundation, you have to crawl before you can walk…insert your fave saying here. Point is, there are two scenarios in which the headache plays itself out:

  1. You already launched your business in scrappy, guerilla, entrepreneurially-action focused fashion and while you got everything going, it’s time to take a step back and clarify your brand story so you can “clean up” what you’ve got out there and make it work better together.
  2. You have not yet launched your business idea, but are going to spend time and money on a website, or social media, or marketing programs without a clear strategy or story to make those investments perform and pay off for you.

If you are in either camp, I am passionate about helping you save misery, money….and migraines.

Please stop the hamster wheel of random execution that gets you no results except making vendors and agencies oodles of cash that you’ll then spend all over again when you need to undo everything. This is not hyperbole. I’ve seen it. It makes me angry. Very angry. I feel like Braveheart or something, trying to rally everyone into taking back their freedom.

I’m unveiling a brand new 4-week virtual course to help you stop this cycle, focus your efforts, and build a solid foundation that will ultimately make your marketing – and life – so much easier and more effective to boot. I’m here to guide you step by step into the bliss of brand clarity.

I invite you to consider the Red Slice Virtual Branding Bootcamp. Four weeks of resources, content, exercises, tough love and guidance on your brand and your message. This is not a DVD set you’ll never play. It’s roll up your sleeves, personal guided time with me for a fun, insightful and informative journey via phone and online so you can stay focused from the comfort of your desk/beachhouse/bed/igloo – I’m committed to making sure you source and shine your story the right way from the start – or clarify the one that’s not working for you.

Early bird rate is in effect until Friday, June 15 (that’s tomorrow). Spots are limited to 8 so I can offer custom feedback and guidance – and some are already gone. I would love to help your business boom so check out the detailed agenda and bonus goodies you get and then take action.  Yes, sessions will be recorded if you have to miss one.

Please register today. I’m so not about sleazy sales pitches or infomercially crap that gets your business nowhere. This is real, juicy, practical content. I’m committed to you. I’m ready for you to shine brightly. Now the bigger question: Are you?

When it’s appropriate to lock yourself into a room: Come join me…

That calendar meeting stares at you like an accusing parent. You said you would make the time, Maria. You said you were going to clear your schedule and focus on me. And here I am again, being shoved to the following week.

Admit it. You’ve had this conversation with yourself. It’s the time you carved out of your week/month/quarter/year to focus on your brand and marketing strategy. The time you were going to devote to better articulate your benefits for stronger communications; to laser-target on your ideal customer so you could stop trying to be all things to all people and spinning your wheels; to hone that succinct and delicious elevator pitch; to focus your marketing activities on a few efforts done RIGHT rather than throwing your money away on things that don’t work.

But you get so busy in your business, the first thing to go is the time you devote to work ON your business.

Well, I’m done. Are you?

This April and May I am offering 3 Brand Strategy Retreats: San Francisco, CA: April 28; Kirkland, WA: May 18; Downtown Seattle, WA: May 25

Our motto: Make the Time. Focus on the Strategy. Execute Flawlessly. No. excuses, no distractions. For 4 hours, I will lock 12 lucky entrepreneurs into a comfy, funky conference room to get schooled in branding, positioning and marketing, doing exercises IN CLASS that I do with my full-time clients. You will have 4 delicious hours working on your brand strategy, focusing on your ideal customer, honing your elevator pitch and clarifying what makes your business unique  – all with my advice, resources and objective feedback from the group. Bring any question you have. Pick my brain.

My goal is that you leave with a brand strategy that will attract rabid fans, differentiate your company, and save you time and money on marketing activities that work.

Heck, I may even join you as I work on my own planning….

Three dates. Twelve people per location only so you gotta reserve your spot pronto. This is to keep it custom and interactive. Don’t delay….or you know you will never make the time if you don’t commit!

Check out details, dates, benefits and my video invitation to you. And you can register here as well.

Stop making excuses. Start reinventing.. If you’re serious about creating a successful business, then see you there.

Two great upcoming SBA events

Seattle folks, hope you can join me tomorrow, Thursday August 19 from 8 to 10 am at the SBA office downtown for a dynamic and interactive workshop Build Your Brand and Build the Buzz: Make Your Business Irresistible on Any Budget.  It’s through the WNET program, but men are welcome and do attend these sessions as well.

Discover the secrets of effective branding at this fast-paced workshop.  Follow some simple rules that will ensure your marketing and sales efforts are targeted and more effective than your competition.

You’ll learn how to easily create a strong brand strategy to: 

  • Inspire loyalty
  • Increase sales
  • Outrun your competition
  • Make smarter marketing investments 

Brand is more than just a pretty logo.  It impacts your bottom line.  It is your core promise, personality and the value you deliver to customers.    

Register now and join me. And coming up in September, looks like friend of Red Slice Stacey Anderson will be helping you get a handle on all the paper in work and home lives . Wasn’t technology supposed to make things easier? Sigh…I may need to attend that one…..!

Seattle: Make smarter marketing decisions with this 4-week course

If you are in or near Seattle and are tired of beating your head against the wall to gain new customers, connect more fully with those you have, and generate more revenue, let me calm your troubled mind. The “secret” (OK, I hate the word) is taking the time to create a strong Brand Strategy before investing another dollar in marketing programs that get you no where.  If you’re tired of committing “random acts of marketing” that produce zero results, then I cordially invite you to this fresh, motivating and practical course – it’s like having a marketing consultant in your pocket for 4-weeks at a hugely valued price.


  • Would you like a clear way to decide which of the many marketing investments out there are the right ones?
  • Want a better understanding of how social media fits into your strategy?
  • Interested in cleaning up your messaging and crafting a more powerful elevator pitch?
  • Want loyal repeat customers, not just flashes in the pan?


Then get your business in shape ASAP at…

Brand and Marketing Bootcamp

April 1, 8, 15 and 22

2:00 – 4:00 pm

Wallingford’s Good Shepherd Center

Detailed course info and registration here. Sign up by March 19, 2010

Cost: $425 plus a complimentary copy of Branding Basic for Small Business (Summer 2010, Northern Lights Press) and a digital Marketing Jump Start Kit with useful content and templates.  But since you are a Brand Slice reader, just enter code RSFRIEND at checkout for a discount of $40.

Sign up today as this will sell out and space is limited to 15, so don’t delay on this important investment in your business.

During this intensive and interactive four-week course, you will:

· Learn the basics of branding and messaging and what it can do for your business

· Get practical advice on how to apply brand basics to your business and attract more customers

· Craft a completed Brand Strategy to guide your marketing decisions and keep you focused

· Create a winning elevator pitch

· Get tips on how to choose consultants, designers and writers that will help you reach your goals

· Generate unique ideas for how to get in front of your target audience more effectively

Sign up already….sheesh!  What more can you ask for?