Keeping Prosperity on Track: Time for an Alignment?

It’s been nearly five months since the idea for Prosperity’s Kitchen hit my brain.

And it’s been five months of ups and downs and wild rides.

For those of you just coming to the party, allow me to recap a few of the highlights:

1. Kim and I worked tirelessly to recruit the right Guest Mentors — folks we believed in, who had some status as experts or authorities, and who we felt could be beneficial to our contestants and to the overall marketing efforts.

Asking an A-lister to join your party is no small task. And there were many days we wondered if we’d ever be able to assemble the right “cast” of people.

2. Kim decided after much reflection to step down as co-producer. There just wasn’t enough time left in her schedule between family and pre-existing commitments. For her, it was the right decision.

3. I then decided — after a mini-meltdown and some reflection of my own — that I would continue this adventure. Thankfully, a team of volunteers stepped up to help me spread the word far and wide.

4. When we got to Round Two of applicant eliminations, it looked like we might not get enough video submissions to make a quality selection for Season One. Again, I contemplated throwing in the towel. Thankfully, more than 50% of those who made it to Round Two submitted their videos. Nothing like a nail biter at the 11th hour!

What most of you don’t know (or may have only guessed at), is that in the last month or so, I’ve also endured a bit of an identity crisis.

As with most crises, when you come through the other side, you see things in a totally new way.

For me, this meant changes in how I viewed my industry (marketing consultants, coaches and mentors) as a whole.

When I left the corporate marketing world many years ago, I thought I was done with deceptive practices, scare tactics and PR spin. After all, I’d drawn a line in the sand and told all prospective clients that I would only use my marketing powers for good.

Unfortunately, my perspective didn’t keep out bad clients, and a few years into my entrepreneurial adventure, I found myself taken advantage of to the tune of about $20,000. It hit me hard — probably more so mentally and spiritually than financially — and I thought I was done with self-employment for good.

But time heals all wounds and after a little over a year as an employee, I came to the realization that I made a much better business owner. I reconnected with what I loved about marketing and reinvented how I would deliver my services.

This time around, I began to build a location-independent operation (e.g. an online business). And that meant creating joint ventures and innovative programs with people I met on the interwebz.

This is part of how and why I decided to build Prosperity’s Kitchen — I knew that we needed a different way to deliver quality online business education and keep it accessible to as many people as possible. What’s not to love, right?

But anytime you involve other people in your project, you MUST be careful that you choose them for the right reasons. It’s not just about their reputation or how many Twitter followers they have. An Influencer (or an A-lister) can sometimes do more harm than good.

As I dug deeper into the world of Influencers, I liked what I saw less and less.

I began to understand why Erika Napoletano refused to be identified as one of our “experts.”

And the more I looked at everyone’s sales pages, the more I saw language and ideas repeated ad nauseum.

These were some of the things that sparked some ranty blog posts on Internet Marketing (i.e., The Un-Sexy Side of Internet Marketing; In Favor of Slow Marketing; The Elephant in the Online Training Room; and Warning! May be Hazardous to Your Business).

Don’t get me wrong, there are millions of fabulous people doing business on the internet. I know that not everyone who’s selling online courses falls into the “douche bag” category.

Unfortunately, for awhile, all I could see were the douche bags.

And THAT? Made me want to quit marketing for good.

I questioned myself and my purpose. I questioned whether I had anything new to add to what’s become a real echo chamber in the small biz online world.

I questioned the curriculum I’d already developed for Prosperity’s Kitchen.

I thought seriously (again) about throwing in the towel.

After all, I couldn’t change things NOW.

Could I?

Time for an Alignment

Just like rotating your tires and keeping them aligned are good safety practices, we often need to check the alignment on our business plans.

I could see clearly that it was time to get the wheels on this bus all pointing in the right direction. I just wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

Epiphanies can mess with your head sometimes. They can make you doubt yourself and your intended destination.

That was certainly the case with me.

But after spilling my guts to my mastermind group (and answering a gazillion questions), clarity arrived in a simple realization: I’m the only one driving this particular bus.

I can decide who rides and who doesn’t. And I can make sure the destination is one that I really believe in.

My Promise to You

The Prosperity’s Kitchen program will happen. We’ve all come too far and worked too hard to give up now.

But there will have to be some changes. To the curriculum. And to the line-up.

What you learn here will NOT be something that helps you build 10,000 fans or create an effortless six-figure success.

There will be no blueprints, no recipes, no templates and no roadmaps.

There will be no insider secrets revealed. No tips on how to “game the system” or turn your website into a “cash machine.”

You also won’t be asked to do anything that isn’t in alignment with who YOU are.

Your business success will remain firmly in your own hands — where it’s always been anyway.

You will have to make changes and take action — not just download PDFs and watch videos.

You will have to push beyond your comfort zone and challenge your own expectations and ideas about what’s possible for you.

You will have to focus on what matters and spend the time and do the work.

And I will be here to guide you and help you find your way. Myself and the mentors will be here to encourage you and ask you the right questions.

And if you stick with it — if you follow through on your commitments and the advice — you will see results.

Until We Meet in January

Take a close look at your personal values. If you’re not feeling enthusiastic about something in your business, that’s a pretty good indicator that your wheels are out of alignment.

Take some time and just set it all down for a day or two. Create some space in your head to consider the coming year.

What parts of what you’re doing feel crappy? What do you wish you could give up? What would you like to quit doing?

You CAN give that stuff up. How do I know? Because you’re the one driving your business.

You have the power, so own it.

Let’s all recommit to building a business that fits our ideals and not someone else’s, okay?

I’m ready and willing. Are you?

photo credit: striatic via photopin cc

About Tea Silvestre

Executive Producer of Prosperity's Kitchen, author and marketing coach to solopreneurs.

Comments

  1. Elizabeth Todd says:

    I don’t know if this post is about me or written for me, whichever it is, it resonates with me 100%. I have gone through the re-alignment process during the past week and feel that I now have a very clear path forward. I would encourage all your Prosperity Kitchen participants to take careful note of this post and take action now to avoid getting lost in a maze.

  2. Awesome Tea! I really respect you for continuing to make this happen and it makes me that much more interested and hopeful to be a contestant in season 1!!

  3. Bara Sapir says:

    I agree with Peter – - It’s courageous to recognize that in order to stay authentic to true north/one’s voice and vision, that the road map may need to change. I suspect with new alignment, that the results will be more spot on to your vision and potent. congrats!

  4. Great, Tea! I’m in and I agree with you. I have seen people pulled in by marketing that didn’t use WARNING or LIMITED # OF SEATS just by reflecting what the people needed and what the person had to offer to help them. I am interested and hope to be a contestant in January. By the way, I loved the Marshmellow song you sent out yesterday. :-)

  5. Bonnie Bruderer says:

    Welcome to being an entrepreneur! To me, this is how owning your own business feels. The ups, the down, the hopes, the dashed hopes, the picking yourself up again, opps, declined credit card, possibility of the “big win”, I am so glad you are continuing, and know that this experience you had had will bring more richness to what all of your contestants are dealing with on a daily basis. :-) It will be GREAT!!!

  6. Tammy Vitale says:

    I hit the “no more gurus” phase about 3.5 years ago. And have sort of hung out with myself treading water and making do with what I already had at hand. Then about 2 months ago, the clarity I had been seeking arrived in pretty much one fell swoop. I could not have done the video had I not already had the “aha” – it made everything coherent. I love that you wrote this and all of what this program *won’t* be doing. If it were doing those things, I’d be heading in the other direction. As it is, I’m delighted to wait and see what comes next. Because I am learning daily and experientially now that what is right comes to you. And when you’re clear, you see it. The process *always* works out in the end except there isn’t an end, it’s just a journey, so it’s always working itself out. Which is a lovely way of saying, “If it hasn’t arrived, there’s still time….trust it!”

  7. I am grateful to be benefit from your wisdom and experience. I’m ready and willing to build a business that fits my ideals!

  8. Gina Freize says:

    Great post. It’s too easy to get stuck in a rut, do things the way everyone else is doing them & forget why you got into business in the first place. I always look forward to the first of the year for our annual alignment – building on things we love, getting rid of things we don’t. It never ends, but it sure keeps you fresh. Cheers & happy holidays…

  9. Absolutely. In 2009, when I started the Digital Gunslingers – it was to show anyone who would listen that social media was not a silver bullet.

    The gurus have been picking up steam and it’s time to assemble for good again :-D

  10. drivesaferidesafe says:

    DriveSafeRideSafe continues to have its ups and downs and to be profit or non-profit and to be
    authentic and straight-forward – thanks for telling us about your journey. and yes, I’m ready and willing!!!

  11. All that is not essential is a distraction in business. In fact, business becomes impossible without acting from the reasons why you do it in the first place, trusting your judgment, getting decent mentoring, and developing what Ernest Hemingway calls “a shock-proof, sh-t detector.” Now, THAT’S value. Congratulations, on distinguishing yourself by concentrating on the real value you have to offer. At least there is one person out there who will actually help with developing a business from solid practices and principles rather than selling people on the false hope that they’ll find some magic trick in running a successful business. I am glad your decided to go with your strengths and true gifts. (I like your commitment and work ethic, too.)

  12. Patrick Eichhold says:

    Tea, thanks for being so open and honest. You probably could have just went ahead and made changes without saying a word, and no one would have noticed. But because of this little rant I’m even more excited about how this project will turn out!

  13. Real positive message Tea. You are so honest, who would not want to follow you. When I wrote my recipe for success, I only had one thing in mind, help people discover what wonderful life is in store for them. You know what, nobody read it but me. It is not because I only select low hanging fruit. It is because the media has not caught up to me yet. Life is a strange place, however, it is not over yet, and as long as we can breath air, our destiny awaits us. You see, everything we do has a purpose. We may not see it yet. You are a visionary. Look at all the people you reached in the Prosperity’s Kitchen challenge.

    When the right time comes, everything that we have done up to that point will matter. Thank you for hanging in there with the challenge. If I can help in any now or when the challenge is over, please let me know.

    Michael Provitera, Prosperity’s Kitchen contestant

  14. Thanks for the update and advice Tea…I’m definitely ready! {•;

  15. I love this. Thank you so much for sharing your journey of discovery… or is that re-discovery? Either way, so very helpful!

  16. Lisa Johnson says:

    It’s funny how perspective changes over time isn’t it? What was bad becomes appealing and vice versa. Entrepreneurs need to be flexible about the direction of their business I think, otherwise you could miss out on a great opportunity. You might also find out that what looks good on paper executes really poorly. I wanted a bunch of Pilates studios a few years back and I built myself up to four … and egads I hated it, couldn’t wait to get rid of them! Back down to one, teaching load back up to nearly full-time and I’m happy … just adding a social media twist and a healthy perspective to what I used to find ho hum. :-)

  17. Nancy Boyd says:

    Tea thank you for having the courage to do this, to write this, to believe this. In my experience if you don’t realign the wheels you hit a ditch real hard and real fast. Better to do the hard maintenance work even if it means taking ALL the wheels off and figuring out what the engine really does before thinking about moving forward or anywhere else. As one of my friends “down under: says, “Good on ya!”

  18. Cheri Ruskus says:

    Tea, First thanks for your transparency and honesty in sharing your struggles along your journey thus far. I think that if more marketeers were more honest those of us that look to them for guidance would not be so alarmed after spending thousands of dollars and not seeing results. And yes I have done it a time or two.

    One of the reasons I feel so in alignment with this program right now is that I know I need a kick in the butt when it comes to marketing. And that it does in fact require the action on my part – not just waiting for the magic moment of truth when the guru’s message sinks in.

    I hope we make it to the first round of this game and know that we (me, myself and I) are ready to give 150% in 2013.

    My best,

    Cheri

  19. Megan Everett says:

    I really appreciate how you’ve been working with your vision for Prosperity’s Kitchen as it continues to evolve, Tea,

    I have been wrestling with these concepts this year as I build a website that defines what I do and why for the people I so want to serve. I’ve resisted doing all those marketing things I “should” be doing because of my ambivalence surrounding how I see these methods used. — And yet, I do need to communicate to the world what I do and how in order to help the people I want to help, and in order to support myself as an entrepreneur.

    I respect how you’ve been walking your talk of re-discovery and re-alignment. Prosperity’s Kitchen will help so many people and businesses in ways you never dreamed because of it!

    • It’s a fine line to walk, Megan. I think we’ve always got to stay aligned with our values if we want to be successful in the truest sense of the word. But this isn’t a black and white world. And just like a lot of things, marketing tools and techniques can be used for both good and ill. We’ve got to remember that and keep moving forward.
      If you haven’t already, you might want to also check out the burgeoning Slow Marketing movement (http://slowmarketing.org). We’re stirring things up over there!
      Thanks for chiming in and following this process. It means a lot to have you here.

  20. Kristin (Doodie Pack) says:

    First off, I love the way you write. Straight from the heart and that really resonates with me. I find myself often feeling different “from the rest”. I am not one of those “claw your way to the top” , “dog eat dog” kinds of person. I developed a product because I needed it, people needed it because I felt some sort of option had to be brought to the marketplace. (I actually started out by making them and giving them away. Then I realized there is business under there and I scaled it to be one) I feel like serendipity was washing all over me because I wasn’t cognizant of the many facets of my product, Doodie Pack, that would lend itself to the success it is today. Interestingly, my definition of “success” is quite different that some others’. There in lies the challenge. I am a bazillionaire if it is measured in relationships, experiences, community involvement, and personal growth. On paper, the “financials”, well- like all start-ups…. I am still making a go of it because I am tenacious. I refuse to let this amazing company go, and I have agonized when outsiders (financiers) have told me to quit. NO WAY. And so, once again I say,”Here I am, Prosperity’s Kitchen”….and once again, I celebrate another opportunity to surround myself with greatness, because great minds make great company!

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