Did a friend forward this to you? Thank that person then click here and sign up to receive your own copy.
Your Company
January 26, 2011


* Steve’s Field Note
* Idea – Are You Solving The Wrong Problem?
* Resource – My Incentive To Give You An Incentive
* Resource – Tapa Palapa Podcast Menu
* Advisory Board – Spread the word!

Steve’s Field Note


After last issue’s video of Birdward, I’m afraid I’ve set the bar unreasonably high. I happened to record him to show him to some friends and colleagues who only know me through the internet and can’t see him live. Alas, there won’t be a bi-monthly video circus.

In December I started taking a class that teaches a format for small business coaching. It’s been a while since my last formal coaching class so I’m having to get used to the rhythm of weekly classes plus homework and practice. But I’m also getting to enjoy the energy of fellow coaches improving their skills in specific areas and encouraging and guiding each other. This is definitely a field that attracts warm, friendly people. So how in the world did I wind up here?

I put together a couple of complimentary resources to offer to people who sign up for The Traveler. Since you’re already on the list, you don’t have to go through the squeeze page to get them. If you’re interested, go to my Worklife Liberation site to download a copy of the Worklife Liberation e-book and to stream or download an audio recording of a presentation I gave on Worklife Liberation in November of 2010. That talk was in front of an audience of participants and presenters at a workshop on designing the next chapter of your life. I hope you enjoy these resources

If you like the products and want to recommend them to a friend or family member, please have them go to WorklifeLiberation.com so they can sign up to be on my subscriber list. You can also suggest they listen to the Tapa Palapa podcast I do with life coach Francie Cooper. All this month our discussions have been about Worklife Liberation. If you haven’t done so already, you should check them out.

Enjoy the scenery on the Twisting Road!

Are You Solving The Wrong Problem?

Rudyard is a talented video production guy with a growing reputation. He works for a company that does all sorts of video shoots so he travels around for his work, which he likes. The production teams for each project are a little bit different, so he’s collaborating with different people, which he likes. However, his pay isn’t going up very quickly, and he’s recently been doing a lot of higher-end training videos that are used internally by large corporations. It only took two of those kinds of projects before he was completely bored by them. He feels stifled and stuck. He’s thinking about becoming a freelancer and trying to start his own small production company.

Dana opened a shop in the historic section of her town a couple of years back selling gift baskets and floral arrangements. Her sales show a predictable pattern after two years, but sadly the prediction is they’ll stay steady. She’s making enough to cover her expenses and earn a modest income, but she can’t hire more than one employee or invest in new ideas. She’s burning out. Now she hears she has to market on the internet or wither away. She signs up for a free trial with Constant Contact and puts a legal pad on the counter by the register to let people write down their e-mail addresses to get on her list. She sends out a couple of messages with a discount coupon and gets exactly one sale from her efforts, so she decides to cancel her membership.

Mandy had a serious relationship with a guy for over two years that ended when she found out he was cheating on her – with an old girlfriend. It’s been a couple of years and now she’s dating Jeff, who has a lot of the qualities she’s looking for. But he doesn’t pass her secret 7-item “trustworthiness test” she developed before she started dating again. If he can’t pass the test, she figures he won’t be trustworthy so she’ll have to dump him.

Rudyard’s real problem

Rudyard’s real problem is that his work isn’t challenging and he isn’t making enough money. Self-employment might solve both those problems, but it might not. It’s possible Rudyard would wind up doing even more repetitive, less interesting things as a freelancer, because a freelancer starting out usually takes whatever gig comes along. And after doing a certain kind of gig, he would be more likely to be asked to do another of those or be recommended for a similar gig. So his quickest path to bringing in steady income might be to stay in a rut. Self-employment might give him a chance to earn more money by working directly with clients instead of having a production company taking its share of the profit. But his clients will probably expect him to charge less as a freelancer, especially one who is newly self-employed. His work might be good enough to get people to notice him so he can grow his reputation and raise his fees, but he’s going to find out that “word gets around” a lot of times because someone is helping it. He’s going to have to spend a lot of money on marketing and PR or get good at it himself. Unless he has more compelling reasons than variety and more income to start his own business, he probably shouldn’t. He’s as likely to wind up more stuck as he is to enjoy more variety and affluence.

There are better solutions for Rudyard to consider. He could start learning about what it takes to get chosen for different kinds of projects in the company and start taking steps to get noticed. He could demonstrate what he’s learned from other kinds of shoots when working on the repetitive kind so people are aware of his experience and abilities. He could tell key people in the company his long-term plan is to master his skills in many kinds of applications so they know he wants other assignments. He could even start looking for a different employed position where he could have more variety and greater income potential if his company couldn’t offer those to him. But being an employee is not an impediment to his goals.

Dana’s real problem

Dana’s real problem is she doesn’t know how to develop and implement a comprehensive marketing plan. Let’s say her first year she relied on storefront signage and local print ads to get the word out that her shop was open. Then the next year she did a lot of giveaways in the store and for charity auctions, and she signed up for a booth at all local events. People generally know her shop is there and traffic is steady, but not bountiful. She doesn’t need to try another marketing tactic, or means of communication, before she has a clear idea of how to use it effectively for her business.

Dana needs to learn how to get the attention of people who are not yet ready to buy her products. The e-mail list would be ideal for that if she could find them and entice them to sign up. She needs to develop messages that dribble out the benefits and uniqueness of her products over time, so people on the list are learning more about her shop. By the time they finally need to purchase a gift, they’ll have heard from her plenty of times and have ideas about what they might want to buy. Dana needs to learn how to find people who aren’t yet customers, how to get them to sign up – and she has already done drawings so she has a good idea already – and how to craft a compelling message and deliver it a little bit at a time. She needs to get clear about who her audience is and develop a strong message first, and that will help her choose the right kinds of marketing tactics for delivering her message to them.

Mandy’s real problem

Mandy’s real problem is that she’s been seriously burned in the past so she has a hard time trusting. She was hurt so deeply she’s afraid it will happen again, so she is prone to exaggerate every potential problem and be extremely sensitive to anything short of full transparency. The thing is, most people, including the emotionally healthy ones of sound character, aren’t fully transparent all the time. They edit things based on audience, holding back things even from a spouse or partner if they think the other person would be bored or burdened. They don’t immediately report that they bumped into an old flame at the gym or at lunch with workmates. They don’t reveal the occasional minor things that annoy them about their partners, waiting instead until there’s a pattern or recurring problem to bring it up. But for Mandy, not telling everything ASAP is akin to deceit, because her old boyfriend hooked up with his previous girlfriend and blamed it on Mandy because of annoying little things she did. If Jeff doesn’t immediately reveal any of these things to her, she labels him as untrustworthy.

Mandy needs to learn how to trust again. Yes, it’s reasonable for her to tell Jeff what she’s been through and ask him to be mindful of how scared she gets. But her past experiences don’t give her the right to impose strict rules on Jeff or blame him for her inability to trust. She needs to explore the betrayal and loss of her old relationship with a good friend, a religious guide, or a counselor. She needs to see what the real red flags of deceit were in the previous relationship so she can look for them in the future. She needs to come to a point where she can admit there were signs she ignored because she didn’t want to see it and end the relationship. She needs to forgive herself and take ownership of her responsibility for trusting other people again.

What’s your real problem?

When you’re facing a challenge or dilemma, be aware that a lot of us come up with a solution that goes too far or completely misses because we tend to solve the wrong problem. Maybe changing jobs isn’t necessary, because the nuisances at your current workplace are common in a lot of workplaces. Maybe what you need to do is find a way to navigate those nuisances. Maybe you don’t need to move to a different city to start over, because all the baggage and self-doubt and self-defeating habits will move with you. Maybe you don’t need to join a gym to get more exercise. Maybe you can solve the problem of boring, solitary exercise by putting together a list of exercise buddies you can call.

Get to the core of the problem. Identify solutions that address the problem in a targeted way. Implement a targeted solution and see if it works. Rinse and repeat.

My Incentive To Give You An Incentive

I want to extend a great offer to you because, well, I need your help. If figure if you help me and I help you we’ll both be better off. Let me explain.

Since finishing my first series of coach training classes, I have debated whether or not to pursue certification. On the one hand, certification won’t make me a better coach. Ongoing training and additional experience will. But on the other hand certification will encourage me to seek additional training and experience. Certification doesn’t mean much to most coaching clients today, but in the future as the field becomes more established it might be required. I’ve been on the fence for a while, but now I’ve decided to start gathering all the requirements for certification.

Why would any of this matter to you? Because now that I have decided to set myself firmly on the path to certification I need to document hours of coaching with clients. Since I will be asking clients to let me report our coaching sessions to my training school MentorCoach and to the International Coach Federation, in return I will be offering coaching at a greatly reduced rate. I don’t have to report the content of the sessions, just the client’s name and the dates the sessions took place.

I am discounting my full monthly fee by 50% for anyone willing to allow me to report the number of sessions we have together in my certification packet. This discount will apply to my package of four (4) full sessions per month. Anyone who takes up my offer will be eligible for this discount for up to six (6) months of coaching. It won’t apply to a brief sessions package or single sessions. I’m offering the discount only with the full monthly package in order to accrue my hours more quickly. The incentive for you is the discount. The incentive for me to offer the discount is to coach and record a lot of hours. Wins all around!

Call me at (817) 416-8971 or e-mail me at Steve@TwistingRoad.com for the details.

Tapa Palapa Podcast

For January our menu theme has been “Worklife Liberation.”
Enjoy the episodes with Francie and me as we discuss…

Work is a 4-letter word (Jan. 4)
Life first, then worklife (Jan. 11)
Find your calling (Jan. 18)
Work at what you love (Jan. 25)

Click here to listen to the latest episode.

For February our menu theme will be “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

Look for our discussions on romantic relationships and lifelong partnerships…
especially the part about how to get them to overlap!

Advisory Board

That’s you. If you like what you read, please tell your family and friends. If you don’t like something, please tell me!

Thanks for Joining Me on the Journey,

Steve Coxsey

The Twisting Road Traveler is a publication of Twisting Road Media and Stephen Coxsey

Copyright (C) 2011 Stephen Coxsey and Twisting Road
* All rights reserved *

Consider forwarding this newsletter to a friend!