This is a transcript of episode 28 of the OMGrowth podcast, published May 26, 2021
We’re headed into the halfway point of the year and I know – I KNOW! – you’ve been primed, pitched and promoted to achieve “the next level” for your business and your results… but I have to tell you, I feel some type of way about this so-called “next level” because what-the-hey are we even talking about here? What does it mean to “crush your next level” and are the people making these promises to you even qualified to help you do that? These are totally fair questions to ask and today, we’re answering them!
WHAT IS YOUR “NEXT LEVEL”?
If I had to put together a sales page bingo card, I’d be sure to include the words “next level” because it seems like sales pages are its natural habit.
Fair enough, too, because if you’re going to buy something, chances are that you’re looking for a transformation, you’re looking for advancement, you’re looking to be further ahead than you are now.
Depending on the target audience, that “next level” may be called “your best life”, “your higher self” and any time anyone is talking to you about “your journey”.
When people are talking to you about your “next level”, they’re feeding into your aspirations of where you want to be without actually defining what that is for you.
In one sense, it’s lazy terminology because the person using it is making YOU do the work of figuring out what that means for you, instead of actually telling you what they can help you become.
But in another sense, well, you’re the boss, apple sauce! It’s your job to know where you’re going and you should already have your “next level” defined.
It’s all very Alice and the Cheshire Cat, talking about how if you don’t know or care much where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which direction you take. When you know and are clear about what you’re working towards improving, the FOMO over sexy sales pages becomes a thing of the past since it’s easy to see if their “next level” even aligns with yours.
So let’s look at what you can do and think about to bring clarity to what your “next level” is.
NO MORE SHINY OBJECTS
Now, you know I’m going to say you have to know your numbers, but we’re not going to start there. In fact, we’re going to start at the beginning, which is always a great place to start!
Your “next level” starts with your brand messaging: what does your business stand for? What are the themes, benefits or selling points of your business?
I recently read Chillpreneur by Denise Duffield-Thomas and she kept clarifying that yes, she was the money mindset queen, and no, that did not include how-to tech or software tutorials. If a product idea, a speaking engagement or a collaboration did not fit into her little box of “money mindset”, it wasn’t for her.
Being crystal clear about your brand messaging is – and what it isn’t! – makes it easy to identify what you are – and aren’t! – aligned with.
My brand messaging is all about helping creative bosses see business processes in a way they “get” and feel inspired to take action on. I got my start in the online world creating workflows – diagrams and all! – and setting up automations. Then I integrated Airtable, the ideal project management system for people who really want to visualize their planning. And of course, I can’t shut up about dashboards because they’re the greatest tool when it comes to visualizing your online performance.
When people ask why I don’t have a Google Analytics course, it’s because teaching you data technology doesn’t align with my values and messaging around business visualization.
This is a worthwhile exercise, though – especially if you’re easily woo-ed by shiny objects – because having this type of clarity eliminates all types of distractions.
WORK WHAT YOU HAVE
And that’s the truth behind all this “next level” speak: unless you do this clarifying work for yourself, the aspirational grey zone will always feel like a siren song of possibility.
It’s not anyone else’s job but yours to be clear about who you are, what your offers are and in what direction you’re taking them.
So let’s talk about your offers – both paid and free – because these are the resources you’re working with, and they’re the resources that are working for you.
Or are they? They may! They may not.
Which is why you want to have an inventory of what those offers are, a way of tracking and seeing how they’re performing, and some honesty as to how invested you are in promoting them.
Before you start investing in improving anything or adding more elements to the way you’re marketing your offers, it’s a good idea to establish some type of baseline as to what they are and what they’re doing for you.
Because – sure! – you could invest in that “next level mastermind”…
But before you pull the credit card out, consider taking a time-out to know what your CURRENT LEVEL actually is.
Instead of always pushing for more, higher, better, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at exactly what we want to have an impact on.
If we’re talking about “next level-ing your business”, you have to believe that your current level matters a whole lot. In fact, it’s what you’re building your next level on.
You won’t know you’ve reached your next level unless you define the numbers that represent where you currently stand and what those next level numbers look like.
Once you know what you’re working with, you can more easily identify what outcome you’re looking to achieve. Let’s face it, if you’re investing in your “next level” it’s because you have expectations for what those results are.
Set your expectations for the “next level” to make sure that the investment you’re considering is a good fit for desired outcomes.
My friend Nechelle Bartley from @herfuturewealth has this amazing – AH-MAY-ZING! – presentation called “So you wanna invest $10K in a Mastermind… here’s the real 411!” that is very much worth reaching out to her to get access to.
But this is hands down one of the best, most actionable and enlightening talks I have EVER watched when it comes to planning out and making investments into “next level masterminds” where you are strategic and intentional about seeing a return on that investment.
That’s what your “next level” is: shaking more money, time or resources out of what you’re already working with.
If someone is asking you to invest in them to help you achieve that “next level”, it’s only reasonable for you to have a cost-benefit analysis in place before you do.
OK, so this is a good place to start talking about your ACTION ITEMS when it comes to making investments towards hitting your “next level”:
1) CONFIRM AND AUDIT
Make sure you know what your brand stands for: what themes, benefits, selling points and points of view do you stand for?
Like Donald Miller’s tagline for StoryBrand says, “clarify your message so your customers will listen”. But also, clarify your message so your offers align, so what your marketing is cohesive and consistent, so your investments are relevant.
That means once you have your brand message and values, hold those up to your offers; hold them up to how you’re marketing yourself; look at whether this “next level” investment you’re considering connects.
Being multi-passionate and creative means you have a million great ideas – many of which you act on – but just because they’re good, doesn’t mean they fit.
And just because something is someone else’s “next level investment” doesn’t make it yours.
By auditing your messaging and your offers, you’re behaving in true “check yourself” fashion and having this level of clarity makes it easy for you to identify where YOUR next level actually is.
2) MANIFEST, LIKE, FURREAL
Because there’s a lot more to manifesting than sticking cut-outs on your vision board, right? It’s not just about looking at the outcome you want and it definitely shouldn’t be about the outcome someone else sells you on; once you’ve clarified what you’re working on, start clarifying your intent.
How does what you have stack up to where you want to be? What or where are the gaps that you need to close in on to bring your current level up to your next level? Do you actually need to sign up for a mastermind to do that, is this something you just have to put your nose down and do the work for, or would you actually be better off hiring someone to work with you 1:1?
Here’s the truth of the matter: there’s no silver bullet solution.
And a lot of times, when you’re being sold on a vague concept of hitting your “next level”, this is a Fairy Godmother scenario promising you to the ball… yes, you can get there but you – and maybe your contractor mice friends – are still going to have to sew the dress and put the pieces together that will get you there.
Sometimes you already have to the tools to get yourself from point A to point B, but you like the way it sounds when someone else tells you. Sometimes you know what path you have to take but don’t have the tools and want to sign up for something that will shorten your learning curve, and that’s great, too!
The point is – as the boss, you need to be self-aware about not only yourself but your business as well – and it’s your job to know, understand and clarify what you need, and where exactly the “next level” is for you.