Health & Wellness Coach Mikayla Colthirst-Reid on Protecting Your Vision and Launching Naturally Whole

It’s my first Interview!  So Excited!

Hey welcome back for another week of The Bootstrap Boutique, super excited you’re here because I’ve got something a little different this week.

Earlier on in the week, I was able to interview Mikayla of Naturally Whole, she is the person, if you remember a few weeks back, I was helping her do some coaching and get practice and she told me I needed to buy a lampshade so I could sleep better at night and then that sent me on this whole spiral of how we inadvertently hold ourselves back.

So that’s Mikayla and her and I sat down and talked about what it feels like to build a new business, how she got started, how she got interested and there’s some great tips for you if you’re also beginner looking to build a business.

A couple of things that she said that really stood out to me.  One that I love, listen for this in the interview, guard your vision, and why that’s so important.  So pay attention to that one.

Also got a few awesome book recommendations for you so those are linked down in the comments in the description below make sure you check those out if they are of interest to you.

I’m going to stop talking.  Let’s go to the interview.

Megan: So Mikayla, thanks for joining us here at the Bootstrap Boutique.  You know that what we really focus on is beginners building businesses, and I know that you are starting a new business, so why don’t you just kick us off by telling us a little about yourself, who you are, what you do, I know you have a day job and your side job so could you just talk a little bit about that for us?

Mikayla: Awesome, so I am a communications and marketing professional by day, but on the side I’ve created what I call my baby which is a health coaching practice and blog its called Naturally Whole.

So the mission of me building Naturally Whole is to help young professional women who really want to make an impact and change the world but feel like they have so much on their plate all the time and they can’t handle it all and keep themselves healthy physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and all that good stuff.  So that is kind of the focus of the business and what I want to build from the ground up.

Megan:  Cool, and so what you’ve got right now, you’ve got your blog, that I’ve seen and it looks awesome, its got some really good content on it, and is that it for right now or how do you plan on building and adding to it?

Mikayla: So it is a blog right now.  Right now I’m focusing on building out a thirty day signature coaching program as well as building some kind of, I don’t know what you’d call it, on demand content as well.

So hopefully what’s coming down the pipe in the next year is a video course, a couple of survival kits, little resources that people can purchase and some will be offered as bonus for free as well.  But little resources that people can tap into, to really help themselves balance their lives properly.

And also a huge goal of mine is to create an amazing community of support for people like me, because I did create this with myself in mind and had a need for something that I found I didn’t have.

Megan:Yeah, so I’m kinda finding the same thing, like I’m my best client.  When I think about what kind of content should I create, its like, well what do I wish that somebody would just tell me about? And then I just shoot a video on it.  So I think its important that you know you can kind of start close to home, you don’t have to go out and try to do something big and crazy, you can just solve a problem that you have for yourself and that will translate to other people that feel the same way.

Mikayla:  Exactly.

Megan: When you said people that have too much on their plate I’m like, ME! That’s me!  And it’s all self imposed.

Mikayla:  Yeah, and that’s exactly the thing too, I feel like you’ve hit the nail right on the head.  It is self imposed and often times we feel like its other people that are putting all these different burdens on us but if we really took an honest look at our life and our schedule we’d realize that we actually do have a lot of choice about how we spend our time and it’s about taking that control back and taking that power back and deciding ‘ok these are my boundaries and this is how I’m going to spend my time in order to grow and become a thriving person.’

Megan:  Yeah, that’s awesome.  So, you may have already answered this, but how did you get the idea to start Naturally Whole?

Mikayla: well I think it was kinda a work in progress over the last couple of years.  Over the last 5 maybe 6 years I took more of an interest in fitness.  Like, I was always an athlete at school and stuff but I took a more focused interest in fitness as it relates to nutrition and the whole mental health aspect of it too and it was developing spiritually and I had this conception of this idea that I want something holistic to meet  everybody’s needs because there are a lot of talks about health but those things are focused on ok well let’s have smoothies or lets make a buddah bowl or something but they don’t concentrate on fitness the way that I like to do fitness which is lots of high intensity stuff and recently I started running long distances as well, so that combined with the spiritual aspect of my life.

So I found that I really wanted a community and a place where people’s interest and love for all of those things could kind of mirror each other and they could find a spot for themselves in a community that cared about all of those different things because I really do think that in order to thrive, you got to take care of all those different areas, you can’t just be kind of obsessed with your diet or you can’t just be obsessed with getting to the gym on a regular basis or just obsessed with studying the bible or any kind of spiritual book that you are pursuing, you need to have all those different things in one to make you a whole person.  Hence the name Naturally Whole.

Megan:  And a lot of times too people do get, you get really out of balance in one of those areas and you don’t even realize it, right, so you can get, like when I used to run, I would just run.  I didn’t do anything else, I didn’t worry about how I eat and stuff like that, because it’s like “well, I’m going to run ten miles tomorrow, so what’s it matter?”  but it does still matter because you can’t really eat like pizza and ice cream and drink a beer and then go run ten miles the next day.  I mean you can, but its not fun.  Not very sustainable.  Ask me how I know.

So, when you decided to start Naturally Whole, you said its something you had been thinking about for a few years that you wanted to do, did you have any fears or obstacles or limiting beliefs that you had that were holding you back from getting started?

Mikayla: Oh totally.  I actually had started a few different blogs before deciding to go forward with that because I think my ideas were really just developing and changing.  You know I would start something and then kind of do it and then it would fall off a little bit.  So eventually it kind of evolved into a place where I mean my skills to build a website and to build a brand around it had developed to a point where I could actually launch something that looked cohesive.

But before it was just kind of a personal blog where I would just kind of throw up a recipe or just kind of talk about what was on my mind.  It wasn’t very focused or anything.  I do think that I had a lot of reservations about putting my work out there in the world and starting a personal blog, its kind of like a diary, like the old days of live journal or whatever.  Where its kind of, you know its still your thoughts but you’re not, I don’t know you’re not trying to promote it, you’re not trying to promote yourself, and this whole self promotion, I think that that’s a huge barrier for me.  Because you have to kind of, switch your thinking to I’m promoting myself to there may be someone like me who really needs this and this is what I’m giving to them.

So it’s not necessarily about promoting yourself as it is you know, getting over yourself enough to provide someone with something that they need.  And I think that was a huge thing that I had to overcome. And I still have to overcome it on a pretty regular basis but my mindset shift has dramatically improved the amount of things that I’m able to create and put out into the world, which is awesome.

Megan: So you said two things there that I love.

One, the first one was when you talked about the other little blogs that you had built out there and it was just a matter of developing your skill set, and that is something that I’ve also struggled with, I think that’s probably pretty common that you see a lot of people have these little projects that they work on or something like that, that maybe you learn one aspect of something in one and then you move on and you learn another aspect and then you get far enough down that path enough times and you’re able to put something together and now you’ve got a business.  That you never would have if you just made yourself say ok well I’m going to go out and do it perfect the first time.  Because its not going to happen so that was awesome. I love that.

And then the other thing that I love that you said was that you had to get over yourself in order to promote yourself.  Because that’s true, because you feel, I mean, I won’t put words in your mouth, but I feel like, who am I to go out and tell these people how to do whatever.  And you know, it is kinda a, you got to get over that about yourself and realize that you do know things that you can put out there that can help somebody.

Because I know, I google how to do really dumb basic stuff that you should know how to do.  I have seen youtube videos on how to fry an egg, and somebody had to put that out there and share it, and I mean, I don’t fry eggs but thats not dumb to the ten thousand people that watched that video.  So you’ve got to get over yourself to promote yourself, I love that.  I’m stealing it, it’s going on my quote wall.

Mikayla: Yeah!

Megan: As a new business owner just getting started, what advice to you tell people that haven’t, or do you give people that haven’t yet made that jump, that are still sitting on the sidelines?

Mikayla:  A few things.  One is to just not worry about doing things perfectly the first time, like you said.  Because you have to start somewhere.  And it’s just like you were telling me a moment ago about your youtube videos and how you force yourself to keep them up so you can really see that journey.

And it’s not just for you but keep in mind that’s for other people who maybe want to start a youtube channel but they’re like, oh no but I have to have it as perfect as this, well no.  If they go back and look at your first ones they’ll realize ok well I can do this and then I can build up to a level that I’m happy with.

Because the only reason why we criticize ourselves so much is actually because our standards are very high.  Which is good, so it’s a good thing to want to work up to that.  And I think that perfect is the enemy of good and perfect is the enemy of done.  So you’re not going to get anywhere unless you start first of all.

Megan: Yeah, yeah and people that have the oh sorry, go ahead

Mikayla:  are you sure?

Megan:  yeah, go ahead, this is your interview.

Mikayla: Remember your thought, remember your thought and I want to hear it.  I was going to say the second piece of advice is definitely to invest in a coach, or some sort of mentorship program or mastermind or something where you can be in a safe place with people that have your back and that want to see you succeed.

Because, you know as someone thats trying to build a business or a ministry or blog or whatever, theres always going to be people that are going to echo that voice in your head saying who do you think you are?  You can’t do this, this is stupid.  Just negative talk and it is a reality that some people will react that way if you try to tell them what you’re doing so you need to kind of guard your, not guard your ideas in that you can’t share them with people but guard them, guard your vision.  You know?

And having a coach or a mastermind or a support group is a great way to do that because everyone is in the same boat, they’ve likely been where you are and everyone is just championing everybody on and its so empowering to have that support group.  And we met in one of those groups.

Megan:  we did!  We did. Do you have any other coaches or mentors that you work with?

Mikayla:  Yeah, I’m working with a business coach right now as well and she is just fantastic and we have another mastermind group as well that I work in and we have some group calls and a video course that we go through as well so I do think that its one of the best moves that I’ve made for myself in terms of personal growth, not just for business but just to, to make a step that demonstrates even to your own self that you’re worth the investment and its the best form of learning that I’ve ever had so far.  It builds off book knowledge and stuff but I think that everyone should do it at least once.

Megan:  Right. You’ve got to invest in yourself, otherwise I mean, it just saves you so much in the long run and you gain so much from it.  So absolutely agreed with that. When you said guard your vision, I don’t know if you saw but I was like (sucks break in) because I love that, that’s so good.  I love that, that’s a really good one.  Let’s see, you’ve got a bookshelf behind you I see.  So tell us a book that everybody should read.

Mikayla:  Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson, and I don’t know if you guys have ever seen  Dragon’s Den, I know in the states its Shark Tank.

Megan: Yeah, we have Shark Tank, yeah.

Mikayla:  So Dragon’s Den is the Canadian equivalent and Arlene Dickinson she owns a communications company based in Calgary and Toronto, and I’m going to fact check that so before you put it in the video, let me make sure that is correct.  But she did write this book and I admire her as a judge or a Dragon on the den and I was really interested in entrepreneurship, this was my last couple of years in university, so I bought the book and I read it and its, its a little bit of her story and about being a woman in leadership, being a women entrepreneur and its very inspiring.  So I would recommend that to anyone starting out.

Another book, I’m always super into the Bible, I grew up with faith so that’s something that I’m always kind of reading and looking into and searching for those bits of wisdom there.

The other book that I want to say and I can’t see it on the shelf right now but its called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  And that was a great book that I use, actually when I was launching Naturally Whole, I was, I was in that book pretty much every day motivating myself and its all about how we need to just keep showing up.  So Steven Pressfield he’s big about being a professional at whatever you want to be.  So if you’re a blogger, you show up at your computer and you write something every day.  Even if you think that its garbage, you fight the resistance, you fight the voice that’s inside of you saying whatever you’re going to write isn’t good enough and even if you get out one line or if you get out 800 words that day, you’ve shown up, you’re a blogger and that’s the job that you’ve done.  So I do think that’s really great, its a couple hundred pages, its not even very long so its a great read, its very motivating.  I still refer back to it sometimes.

Megan: Love it, awesome. So that’s probably one of those that’s highlighted, doggy eared….

Mikayla:  Oh yeah.

Megan: Yeah, I’ve got a few of those on my shelf also.  Alright Mikayla, tell everybody where they can find you.  Where they can find you on social, find your blog, where you’re hanging out online?

Mikayla: Yeah, so you can find me at www.naturallywhole.ca, thats naturallywhole.ca.  Naturally Whole.  I’m also on Instagram, that’s my favorite social place to hang out, so that’s @naturallywhole777.

Megan: So really exciting stuff, what you’ve got going on and I’m excited to continue to watch it and will keep track on what you’re doing so feel free to come back any time and chat an thanks so much for your time tonight!

Mikayla: Of course, really good being on Megan!

Amazon Sellers Account: Professional vs. Individual

amazon sellers account: individual vs professional
When creating your Amazon Sellers Account, you can have either an individual or professional account. Which is right for you?

Watch the video here.

Amazon Sellers Account – Which One?

Now why would I pay for something that I could get for free?

Hey, welcome back to another week of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses. My name is Megan and I’m glad your here because this week we are going to talk about the first thing you have to decide when you go into Amazon to create a new sellers central account.

Now, Sellers Central we have talked about before, that is the back end system in Amazon where sellers can go in and manage their account.  When you go there for the very first time to create an account, you’ve got a decision to make.  You have to decide, do you want a professional or an individual account?

Now you’re probably thinking, “I don’t know, I don’t know which kind of account, which kind of account do I need?”  And that may even be why you’re watching this video.  You’re in luck.  So at first glance the main difference is really just price and if you don’t dig in too much to it, that’s really all you’re going to see.

So here’s the breakdown.

Individual vs. Professional

An individual account has no monthly fee, however Amazon is going to charge you 99 cents per item in addition to all the various charges that come along with selling.

Or you can sign up for the professional plan, which is 39.99 a month.  Now thats a flat fee, there are again lots of little charges that Amazon gets in there, but that’s the account level fee.

But if you want to sell Private Label on Amazon, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling one a month, fifty a month, whatever, you just can’t do it with an individual account.  That individual plan does not allow you to create a new listing on Amazon, you can only sell what is already there.

So if you wanted to go an sell a cell phone case, you’d have to sell something that is already on the market, you cannot go out and create your own product under a private label and then upload that as its on listing.  But if you’re doing online or retail arbitrage, yeah you can do that with the individual plan, I don’t think there’s any issues there.  I think you would be totally fine to do that. But if you want to sell private label, forty dollars a month for the professional account, thats the way to go.

Professional Accounts for Private Label Sellers

Professional accounts give you some other features and benefits too.  For one you can upload a spreadsheet to Amazon with a whole bunch of listings.  For most of us doing Private Label, we’re going to pick up new products kind of here and there and going in and creating them once at a time isn’t that big of a deal.  But say you had something else already going, say you had a brick and mortar retail store or you had an ecommerce store somewhere else on the internet and now you want to move those items onto the Amazon platform also.  If you have hundreds of SKUs and you’re having to do that one at a time, that’s going to take forever.  So just the ability to upload that spreadsheet all at once with all the information that you need for your different SKUS is a huge benefit to people that are in that situation already.

That’s just a quick overview as to why you should choose the professional account over the individual account if you’re going to sell Private Label on Amazon. I know it doesn’t seem very bootstrappey to pay forty dollars a month when you also have the option to just pay a per item charge, especially when you’re starting out.  That was my thought too, but you just can’t do it as far as I can tell.

You just can’t sell Private Label on the individual plan, so we’re going to have to suck it up and pay that forty dollars a month.  But it’s not the end of the world, its just motivation to go out there and make it up, make sure you’re getting to where you are selling more than forty a month and hey, you’re coming out ahead anyway, so there we go.

Wrap Up

Thumbs up to this video if it was helpful to you, I certainly hope it was.  And feel free to subscribe to this channel, we post new videos every Wednesday, that way you will never miss one.  And I know that is a big priority for you.

If you have any other questions about Amazon or FBA stuff, just leave them down in the comments, I’d be happy to dig in and do some research so I can try to answer them for you.  Other wise, have a great week, we will talk next time.  Take care.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

Business Balance Wheel – How Do You Feel About Your Business?

I know you can’t see it yet, but this is the ugliest pie chart ever drawn.

Hey welcome back to another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique.  I am so glad you’re here because this week we’re going to do a balance wheel exercise.

Now balance wheels are typically thought of in the self help or self improvement space, I know Tony Robbins has put this out there and is very popular among his followers.

So if you don’t know a balance wheel is a circle this is divided up into a pie, and with those different pies you’re going to have all different areas of, typically its your life.  So your social, your relationships with friends, family, your career, your spirituality and so on.

But we’re going to one that applies more to business and how you feel about your business and your ability to grow it.  Now this is something that I did earlier in the year in my day job and it showed me something about myself that I didn’t know and a way that I was holding myself back, and it’s really been interesting for me as I’ve gone thought this year and I’m just aware of that, so I’m able to compensate for it and it has really helped with my improvement in my day job and I think that doing this as you start a business and really using it to analyze your feelings about that business and about yourself as you start it, is helpful.  Its just good insight, its a good way to check in and see how things go over time.

So, let’s move to the board behind me, I’m going to start filling out my balance wheel and talking about the different areas and I hope that you will also go through this activity.  Tell me what you think in the comments, I want to know if you are in balance or not.  Let’s go to the board.

Ok now you guys all know that we operate The Bootstrap Boutique by our bootstraps, which also could be called on a shoestring budget.  So there are no fancy cameras holding up over there, there is no good way to do this so you can see everything, but I’m going to talk through it all, and then we’ll go through and make it so you can see it when I’m done.  How’s that sound?

Ok so let’s get to our circles and I will again talk through them and we will color them in at the end to see if we are in balance or not.  Now this is going to be on a scale of one to ten.

So the first area is competent.

How competent do you feel at running your business?  Now where you are on this scale is going to depend on a few different things.  One, do you have a lot of background in it, or are you trying to learn something totally new? Also, how long have you been doing it? Do you have success factors that lead you to believe that you are going to be more competent than maybe someone else that has never experienced that little bit of success before?  So for me, I’m going to say that I’m about half way, I’m at about a five maybe.  So I don’t feel like I have a lot of great competency in running a business because I’ve never done it before.

The second one is confident.

Do you feel confident that you can succeed?  Do you feel confident that you can run a business?  I actually feel that I have more confidence that I can do it than I have competence than I think can actually support that confidence right now.  So I might give myself a seven for confidentness. Confidence, not confidentness, that’s not actually a word.

The next section is resourceful and now we’re probably getting down to where you can’t see quite yet.

But for resourceful, do you believe that you have the resources to do what you need to do?  If you don’t have them, do you believe that you can find the resources that you need to have?  So for me, with running The Bootstrap Boutique or the Amazon private label product business, yeah, I would say I believe that I have a lot of resourcefulness.  One of my first jobs out of college actually involved being in research and I loved it.  And I still to this day love not many things more than really digging into a project or a process, using resources and finding out what I need to know.  So, maybe I’ll say seven and a half on that.  There’s always room for improvement on this, right?

Connected.

How connected do I feel as a business owner, as a member of the Amazon FBA facebook groups that I’m on for instance, um, other facebook groups that I’m on, other ways that I connect with other people that are trying to do their own thing through out the day?  I don’t, I don’t do too good on this to be honest, I’m going to come down here and call that like a four, maybe a three and a half.  That is an area that I really need to work on and I know that.

Growth minded.

Well, I have so many plans of ways that I want to grow this.  However, it comes back to this competent thing, I don’t really know how to evaluate those things, or see which ones are going to do well, its really just kind of a test and adjust model that I’m going with.  But I think that I have a lot of ideas up my sleeve so I’ll go ahead and give myself maybe a five on growth minded, I think I’m doing ok.  Could be doing better.

The next one is way down here at the bottom so you definitely cannot see it right now is client centric.

So here’s the thing about that.  I am really focused on you guys believe it or not.  And what can I do to bring to help add value to your day.  To help you feel like, yes, this is something that I can go out and do.  Why do you think I spend all this time and all these videos talking about all the things that I’ve done wrong?  Its because I want to be super honest and super transparent about the fact that you can make all these mistakes that I’m making and you can still succeed.  For client centric, I’m going to give myself a seven, because like I said, always room for improvement.

Ok the next one is inspired.

Are you inspired by what you are doing to build your business?  And I have to tell you guys that this one is almost like off the charts for me.  I am so excited about what I am doing here with The Bootstrap Boutique and I am so excited about the engagement that this community is starting to have.  It is really awesome and I appreciate so much you all being here.  I have like notebooks full of idea and things that I want to talk about and cover here at The Bootstrap Boutique.  So much so in fact that I am seriously considering changing my posting schedule in 2017 from one day a week on Wednesdays up to two or maybe three times a week and that’s a lot.  So yes, I am feeling very inspired.  So I’m going to give myself like a nine.

Intentional.

Am I intentional in building this business?  Now, those notebooks full of ideas that I just mentioned are a little bit all over the place if we’re being honest.  So I really have to narrow down and focus on my intention and one of the big things I’m going to be thinking about is a value statement, a mission statement a mantra, whatever you want to call it.  But getting really intentional on what we’re going to focus on here at The Bootstrap Boutique.  So, I don’t think I’m quite where I want to be on that one yet, I’m going to give myself like a six.

Accountable.

What do I tell you guys?  I’m going to post every Wednesday.  And so far I have been very successful at posting every Wednesday.  What are you doing to build your business to hold you accountable?  I will tell you that making a public proclamation can do the trick.  It makes it  really hard to not follow through when you tell people what you’re going to want to do.  So if you are having trouble holding yourself accountable, make other people hold you accountable.  I am going to give myself for accountability a six and a half.

Now the last piece of the pie here that you can probably see again is change ready.

So are you ready for change in your business?  Because if we know one thing for sure its that change is going to come, so you’ve just got to be prepared to meet it.  The last two weeks I’ve posted two videos about major updates that Amazon has made to its terms of service and there’s just going to be more coming because its a big company and they are just going to change their minds a lot as they test things.  So on that private label business its really important as long as you’re on someone else’s platform that you are ready for change and ready to meet it as it comes.  Now if you’re on a different platform, if you’re a blogger or a CPA things may not be so change ready necessary but always know in business you’ve got to be ready to handle change.  So I’m going to give myself a lower score on that, I’m going to give myself a four, way down here ok?

So you can’t see it right now but I have all the different areas of the balance wheel filled in.  I’m going to come down and color them all in so we can see a little bit better what this actually looks like.

Ok so here it is, this is my business balance wheel for the businesses that I’m working on running for myself.  So if your wheel, what you’re supposed to ask yourself is if the wheel of your car looked like this, how well would it run?  Not very well.  That’s fairly obvious.

So, it shows you the areas that you need to work on and improve so you can try and get more in balance.  So for me the big ones that stand out are connected and change ready.  Now change ready will come with time, it will come from being in business and adapting to change.  I think that it’s one of those things that the more you do it, the more you’re going to be ready to do it more.

Connected, that’s something that I can work on right now.  So my goal for myself needs to be to find ways to get more connected with the online business community, and also probably need to meet some people offline that are doing this stuff too.  Because the more connections you make the more connected we’re going to feel, right?  That makes sense to me, hopefully that makes sense to you too.  So I know what my homework is, I would love to see you take a picture of your balance wheel, post it in the comments or shoot it to me via email.  And let’s talk about what it is that you need to do to make sure that you are keeping your business feelings, because that’s kind of what this is about in balance.

Please thumbs up to this video if that is something that you thought was cool, like a neat little exercise and taught you something new.  Also don’t forget you can connect with me, I am easiest to find on twitter these days @megloftin.  I will talk to you next week, take care!

Are To Do Lists Holding You Back From Taking Action?

But I need them!

Hey, thanks for coming back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  My name is Megan and I am super glad you’re here.

Had a weird thought today, just kind of came out of nowhere.  Should I stop making to do lists? Sounds crazy, right? I think it sounds a little crazy to even entertain that thought because without a to do list, I don’t know what I would do all day.

But what I’m starting to realize is that having a to do list is a crutch.  I’m a very task oriented person, I get a lot of joy out of crossing items off a to do list.

Have you ever made a to do list and the very first thing you write is write a to do list because you know you can can cross it off when you’re done with that list?  Nod.  Everybody nod.

I find that I make to list when I don’t know what else to do.

When I don’t know what my next step is in a process.  I will sit down and write out a to do list of all the things that I have to do.  Because I work from home, that ends up being things like yes, check email, respond to message, work on project but also make up bed, do laundry, wash dishes, that just don’t belong on my to do list at all.

To do lists are great for getting everything out of your head and into one place.  It’s like off site memory storage or something like that.  But the problem with that is that it tricks your brain into thinking that you’ve actually done something and you really haven’t done anything.  You just wrote down all the things that you have to do.

Not good enough.

The problem is that a to do list is not prioritized.  It’s just literally a list of all the crap you have to do.  And so your brain will automatically pick the easiest thing to do.  So if I have make up my bed or work on a project both on my to do list, I’m going to go make up my bed first because then oh I can get that hit of crossing something off my list and it feels good, like I did something important. But i didn’t, I made up my bed, which didn’t really have to be done.

You ever had one of those days where you know you were busy all day but you can’t tell anybody what you did?  That’s because you were not focused on important tasks.

It’s like, yeah, I should know that, I do know that, but I do it anyway.  And then what happens?  The project is still there.  So the hard stuff, the big stuff, the important stuff, that you should be working on, it just gets carried forward every day and just sits on your to do list.  And if you ever keep a notebook and you go through and you look through all the pages of all your to do lists, you’ll see that one item that was on there for like two weeks, because you just keep carrying it over.

Here’s what I want to challenge you to do, and I’m going to work on this also.  When you make a to do list, just, you know, lets not make big crazy changes here right now, but let’s just continue to write down everything we have to do.

But then go back and prioritize within that list.

What are your number one priorities? what are your number two priorities?  What should you probably not be doing today but you put it on the list anyway because its on your brain and its bugging you?  Let’s focus on doing those first things first.  That’s not going to be easy, for me its going to be a change in the way that I operate, but I really hope that it’s going to make me a lot more productive and able to actually get more stuff done.  Both in my day job and in starting this business.

Let’s move it away from being such a crutch back to being an actual useful tool that can help us.

Alright, thumbs up to all my fellow to do list makers on this video.  Leave me a note in the comments, let me know if you have a really good way to use a to do list, not as a crutch but as something that actually helps you get more things done during the day.  I would love to hear it!

Thanks so much for coming back again this week, as always, would love to hear your thoughts, you can find me on twitter @megloftin.  Make sure you’re subscribed to this channel so you never miss a video, we post new ones every Wednesday. I will talk to you next time.  Take care guys!

Stop Creating Roadblocks For Yourself

You know who’s been really getting in my way lately? Me.

Hey guys my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  Glad you are back.

So I was doing a coaching call with a friend who is launching a coaching business one night earlier this week.  Hey Mikayla!  And we were talking about mostly how I just have not been getting enough sleep lately.  So I asked her for as a take away one really small bite sized action item that I could do to get better sleep.

So we were going through and she’s asking me all these different questions, we’re talking about all these different things as you do with a coach and she asked me to describe my bedtime routine.

Here’s what I told her.  Normally what I like to do to wind down at night is to get in bed a little early and read a book for thirty minutes or so.  But ever since we moved to this new house, I haven’t been doing that, and here’s the really dumb reason why.

I threw away my lampshade.

Sounds crazy, right?  So what have I been doing instead? Taking my phone into bed and reading it for thirty minutes or so and then trying to get a good nights sleep.  We all know thats a terrible idea.  That the light from your phone screen some how messes with your sleep and it doesn’t let you get into those good deep sleep cycles like you want to do at night.

Yeah, sometimes it just really helps to say things out loud and make you realize, oh, I’m being stupid.

So we’re in this coaching session and I’m like wait, Mikayla, are you going to just tell me that I need to buy a lampshade?  So I can go back to reading at night and get better sleep?  And she laughed and she’s like, “You know that’s probably not a bad idea.”

So that really just got me thinking about roadblocks that we throw up for ourselves, ways that we get in our own way, in all different areas of life but especially in starting a business.  It is so easy to let a small roadblock completely detour you and take you off your progress.

Ok so here’s an example. You know that I am working on launching a private label product to sell on Amazon.  Well, there’s the Amazon that you see when you go in to shop, and then there’s the back end of Amazon called Sellers Central which is where people that sell on Amazon log in to manage their account.  Here I am all ready to set up a shipping plan with Amazon, get a FNSKU which is their identifier, going to do all this stuff in Sellers Central right? I am excited, focused and ready to go.

So I go and I log in and I get this error message and I still, it’s been like two days I still can’t figure out what it is trying to tell me or what I need to do.  I’ve reset my password, I’ve done all the things that it’s telling me to do and I cannot get into that account.  In the grand scheme of things it really shouldn’t be a big deal but holy crap it has now derailed me for two days.

So what am I going to do for the rest of this afternoon?  Probably continue to work on that which is really frustrating because it just kills momentum, right?  Just stops you dead in the tracks.  But what separates people that are successful from people that aren’t?  Think about it.  It is preservering in the face of big, insurmountable odds, yes, but also just the daily grind of stuff.  Just the nitty gritty getting through the grind of it all.  If you can’t get through that then you can’t face the big obstacles down the road.

So let’s make sure that no matter what, they we find a way.  Don’t let it throw you off.  That applies to Megan, that applies to you.  Identify your roadblocks, recognize them and do everything you can to get them out of your way so you can keep moving forward and making progress.

That’s what I’m going to be working on, would love to hear what you’re working on.  I want to hear about any roadblocks that you have, even things that are stupid as not buying a lampshade that keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep.  Because you’ve got something like that in your life too.

Thumbs up to this video if you’ve ever realized that you have something stupid like that standing in your way and there was an easy way to fix it.  Hey I’d love to know what you think about this video and if you’ve ever had an issue similar to mine with the lampshade where you just kind of had a realization, that’s a really stupid thing I’m letting hold me back.  Leave it down in the comments or find me on Twitter @megloftin.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this channel so you never miss a video, we post new ones every Wednesday.  And hey, I’ll talk to you next week.  Have a great one, take care.

Learn more about Mikayla at Naturally Whole!

Amazon No Longer Allows Reviews For A Discount. Now What?

no more reviews for a discount at Amazon
Amazon no longer allows sellers to offer discounts in exchange for an honest review.

Watch the video at YouTube here.

Well this changes everything.  Or does it?

Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  My name is Megan and I just wanted to put out a quick video because yesterday Amazon dropped some really big news.

No More Reviews For A Discount

And that is that they are no longer going to allow incentivized reviews on product.  Here’s the background on why that’s important.

There are a lot of people online teaching you how to launch private label products on Amazon, which is one of the reasons I don’t really get into that to much.  I’ve told you before, you can listen to Scott Voelker he does an awesome job telling you how to launch a private label product on Amazon.  But pretty much everybody follows a step by step by step process.  And one of those processes is the launch process, by which you give out a number of free or substantially reduced products to people in exchange for their honest review.

So why is that important? Because reviews are social proof.

They help people make buying decisions, one product versus the other. And these discounted products have never been a problem, there’s just a few requirements that you have to follow.  One is that you cannot offer a product at a discount in exchange for a four or five star review.  So you couldn’t say, “hey buyer, I have this twenty dollar product, I’ll sell it to you for one dollar if you leave me a five star review.”  You couldn’t do that, you could in no way influence the way that people review your products or the star rating that they give you.

Now on the reviewer side, you had to give an honest review and you had to disclose that you had received the product for a discount.  So a lot of times at the end of these reviews you will see something that says, I don’t know, like, “I received this product  for free or a discount in exchange for my honest review.” Simple enough, right?

And there’s a ton of groups that you could use that would give you those reviews, so you could have anything from a free group on Facebook to paid services like ReviewKick (now called JumpSend) or GetBSR.com.  Here’s the problem with those reviews: Amazon was noticing many customers, and I’ll be honest, myself included, didn’t really trust those reviews, because when you are incentivized through a free or discounted product, studies have shown that you are much more likely to give a more positive review than you otherwise would.

So I know when I would shop on Amazon, and I always look at the reviews, I would kind of scroll past the top five or six or so because you know that those are going to be the discounted ones.  When you have these overwhelmingly positive reviews that don’t seem very well rounded it does create a lack of trust.

Amazon takes issue with that because Amazon is an extremely customer focused company.  I don’t know if they were coming under criticism for allowing this type of review system or what, but at the end of the day, they’ve decided they are just no longer going to allow it.  Of course they are still going to allow you to use Amazon Vine which is their own internal review club basically, but this is their sandbox, we’re just playing in it.  That’s what they are going to do.  Ok, we’ll find another way.

How To Get Reviews on Amazon Now

So what does this mean if you are an FBA seller or thinking of becoming an FBA seller?  A few things.

Number one, Amazon has said in a Tech Crunch article I read this morning that they will go back and delete prior reviews if they are deemed excessive.  Now who knows what “excessive” means or if they’re actually going to do it, or if they are just going to get rid of anything that has that disclaimer in it.  But at the end of the day that is going to help established sellers with established products because even if they have a thousand of these reviews, if Amazon doesn’t deem that excessive that means they are still going to be there while you as a new seller or a less established seller are going to have to kind of claw and scratch your way back up the review chart.

Number two, it is going to be more difficult to launch more products.  Everybody that I have read that’s talked about this new policy has said that yeah, it’s going to become a lot harder to get new products launched.  And that is because its going to be harder to get that social proof.  You have to rely on people that are not discounted or not incentivized buying a product, using it, coming back and reviewing it.  The conversions for that are very small.  So it is going to be a lot more difficult to get those reviews going forward.

Review Request Emails

There’s a couple of pieces of software that can help you with that, one is Feedback Genius another is SalesBacker, I’m sure there’s others, but they will send out auto-response emails to people that purchase your products and ask them to come back and leave you a review.  So I predict that those two companies are going to become a lot more popular going forward.  And I’ll put links to those down below so you can go check them out if that is something you think you need to start using now.

We’re also just going to have to find other ways to market.  A few ideas would be Facebook ads, blogger outreach, have bloggers do reviews of your products and link back to Amazon, youtube marketing could be a new way to do that.  I’ve seen someone say that they used to just back in the day write thank you cards to every person that purchased their product.  That’s a little time consuming but its not a bad idea, I like real mail.  Could be fun.

But at the end of the day we’re going to have to find new ways to do it because this incentivized review program is no more.  And here’s the main thing that I really want you to take away because I have read this in a lot of different Facebook groups over the past 18 hours or so.  Do not try to find a way around this and continue to offer discounted reviews.  Amazon is going to go Liam Neeson on you.  They will find you, and they will ban your account, and then you’re going to be really sad.

My Launch Strategy

Can I tell you a secret.  I was never planning on using reviews in order to launch a product.  I know.  I know that sounds kinda crazy when this has been in the past a proven way to do it, but I just wanted to try something different.

You’ve been watching my videos for a few months now.  You should know, if you don’t know anything else about me, that I’m a little bit hard headed and have to kind of do things the hard way.

My plan was always going to be to use a mix of pay per click within the Amazon platform and also YouTube marketing.  This is a big part of why I’ve been doing these videos, is because I want to practice getting better on camera.  Still needs a lot of work.

The challenge now is that a lot of other people are going to be using these tactics also, and so that’s just going to make it a little more crowded.  However, I think there’s also going to be a lot of people that just drop out, hands up, “This is a step too far Amazon, I’m just not going to do this private label thing anymore.”  See ya.

Here’s the thing guys, it is important in business to be optimistic.  Haven’t you read Good to Great by Jim Collins? What is one of the most common traits among those successful companies? Undeniably optimistic leadership.  So when the game changes, change with it.  It didn’t go away, its just, yeah some of the rules have changed.  But is there still opportunity? Yeah, there is.  Is it going to be harder?  Yeah, it is.  But that’s life.

Leave me a comment in the description below let me know what you think about this new policy by Amazon.  Is it totally screwing you up or are you excited about the opportunity that is to come?  And hey, it can be a little bit of both, we’re not so black and white here, right? But I look forward to hearing what you have to say, I look forward to seeing what changes are going to come and what new innovations people are going to have.  It’s just a new opportunity guys, let’s grab it.  I will talk to you next week, take care.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.