Financial Liberation

(WARNING: profanity in first line of post) Do you have any idea what you are getting yourself into?

Faaaaaahhhhhhck.

That’s my general feeling about business right now. And, I put it right up front to weed out those of you who are too sensitive to be part of my Eyes Wide Open community and don’t actually want to hear what’s real.

[If you don’t like it, you can still benefit from my work through people I have trained as Personal Family Lawyers, Family Business Lawyers, Creative Business Lawyers, or Money Map Masters, most of whom would never use a “bad word” right up front in an email like this.]

eing Afraid and Doing it Anyway…Not Anymore

I’m done pussy-footing around trying to make everyone happy.

I’m building businesses to support people who want to live life and do business awake, aware and on their terms, with their eyes wide open.

I’m putting in a HUGE amount of effort to make the work I’ve created accessible to people without requiring the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of dollars of investment I’ve made along the way to learn how to do the things I teach.

I once invested $25,000 for a DAY of coaching with Lisa Sasevich on how to structure my business model.

I once invested $100,000 for a year long mastermind with Ali Brown. Out of that mastermind came my willingness to teach my LIFT System so you can be smart about the legal, insurance, financial and tax parts of your business.

Would I have created that system if I hadn’t made that investment? No.

As I was making these investments, I promised myself I would make my programs accessible to more people than just those who could afford $25,000 and $100,000 investments in their business.

It’s right about now, when I’ve circled back for a 4th time in the life cycle of these businesses to build the next level systems necessary for scale that I begin to wonder — have I chosen the wrong business model?

What the heck have I gotten myself into?

Currently, I sit behind my computer for 12 hours a day writing copy for sales funnels, reviewing opt-in sequences, creating autoresponders, talking to my team members, coaching my team members to make it through the conflicts, firing people, hiring people, writing job descriptions, creating organizational charts.

Training sales teams.

Considering new governance models.

Should we implement holacracy or keep the traditional hierarchy based governance structures in place?

Daily, I wonder if I should just say fuck it and stay a high-end coach, delivering expensive one-to-one services and going seriously deep with private clients.

I know how to do that, and I do it well.

As I am re-building the systems for both companies, I am working with two private clients and woah, the work is deep.

Both of these clients came to me to discover their own foundation of Enough, and who they are and how they be in the world from the spaciousness of Enough. They both happen to be navigating divorce settlements.

In one situation, I am supporting the entire multi-generational family dynamic, working with the young adult children, and the elder parents in addition to my client.

I LOVE the work.

And, I know it’s not yet time for me to do it full time.

I am compelled to build the systems in New Law Business Model and Eyes Wide Open for them to serve at scale.

All the components have been created.

The only thing in the way is my own ability to stay focused, keep my eye on the ultimate vision, and keep saying yes.

The resistance is alive and well.

I want to write my book. I want to post on Facebook. I want to be done with this part already. My mind tells me I should have done this years ago and tries to convince me I won’t be able to do it.

I know it’s a lie.

I know I can.

At least, I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

If I had known what I was getting myself into with the Star Creator Archetype path would I have chosen another way?

I can’t say yet. I’m not at the end. I’ll have to let you know.

For now, I am in it.

I am doing the work that I’ve discovered only I can do.

Each time I have tried to hire this work out to others, an interim CEO in one case, marketing funnel automation specialists twice (to the tune of $40,000), a promised Chief of Staff … what I discovered is that this part requires me.

If you could just hire it out, everyone with money would have successful, sustainable, make a difference businesses.

But it’s not as easy as that.

It requires determination, focus, grit, persistence, willingness, learning, growth, evolution.

I’m in.

And I’m going to do a better job of communicating and sharing from here.

I’ve been hiding out a bit.

Because I wasn’t sure I could keep going and frankly didn’t want to share from my uncertainty.

But when I got this message from Facebook yesterday, from 4 years ago, literally the month before I filed bankruptcy, I remembered ….

I chose this. I want this. I don’t HAVE to do this, I want to do it.

And I can share my uncertainty. It’s okay. Valuable and helpful even because you are probably uncertain about whether you can do it too (whatever your “it” is.)

Where I got trapped back in my last iteration of “success” that ultimately led to my giving it all up was that I stopped sharing vulnerably.

I listened to the voices that said “you can’t do that, you can’t say that, you can’t write that, you’ll hurt the business.”

So I fired everyone, let it all go and traveled around in my RV, lived on the farm, and said whatever I wanted for a couple of years. Remember the Whole Truth Show? I loved that show! I loved speaking my truth.

But I missed the businesses.

I missed knowing that when I am being all of myself, and speaking at events, and writing what’s in my mind and heart and soul and people are inspired that they can easily flow into business structures of support that can help their learning, growth and evolution.

I want the both/and.

I want to be a free spirit with business systems to support my freedom.

Ali and Alexis, integrated.

And to have that, I need to put in the effort and focus to truly build the next level scalable systems that work to support it.

So I am.

What are you building  that’s forcing you to face all of your resistance, all your old patterns, all your places that you just want to play small?

Are you compromising your life just because it seems easier to do that than to stretch?

It’s time to stop doing that. I’m stopping with you.

Love beyond,

Ali

PS — On July 7, I’m hosting my first live training in 6 months, specifically for those of you who want to stop compromising and start building your life and income awake, aware and on your terms — with clarity about what you are doing and what you really want so you can choose the “how” strategically and wisely, instead of just throwing money at problems like I’ve done so many times in the past OR being stuck in your head wondering what your next steps should be. Sign up here.

How my $100,000 tax bill helps you

The year was 2006 and I had hit a $1,000,000 in revenue for the first time. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to have reached that magic business number that so many strive for, but part of me was terrified because I knew that I had done it with a broken business foundation and at some point that would catch up with me.

You see, I hit a million in revenue by focusing all my energy on sales and marketing.

Even though I was a lawyer, I didn’t have my legal, insurance, financial and tax systems lined up. And, truth be told, I didn’t even really know what I needed to have in place.

How my $100,000 tax bill helps you

If you’d like, watch a video where I share each of the $1,000,000 worth of mistakes that made up my broken business foundation and how I fixed them one by one, you can check it out here.

I knew I would be facing a big tax bill in April of 2007, but I didn’t think much about it as I was so focused on the sales and marketing side of my business and, frankly, I didn’t really know there was anything I could do about it.

Each month, my bookkeeper would put reports on my chair and I would glance at them, but I didn’t really know what I was looking at or what I was looking for, so I just tossed them into the stack of papers on my desk to look at later. Of course, later never came.

The big, bad news came a few months later when my CPA contacted me and told me that I had $105,000 due to the IRS that year. $105,000 that I didn’t have.

I had to take out a loan to pay my taxes. Back in 2007, taking out a loan was fairly simple as the banks were lending and I had a great credit score, so I did it, but it hurt.

And, today, getting a loan isn’t quite so easy. (If you have a big tax bill you can’t pay this year and you cannot get a loan to pay it, look into payment plans with the IRS — they’ll loan you the money. Or consider whether you may need to work with someone to negotiate down your tax debt. Via our Eyes Wide Open membership, we have trusted providers who can do this for you.)

The worst part was that once I made the commitment to get my legal, insurance, financial and tax systems handled and learn what I didn’t know about how to build a solid foundation beneath my business, I discovered I could have decreased my tax bill by at least $50,000, if I had planned in advance.

That would have been an additional $50,000 in my pocket, which I could have used for my kids’ private school tuition, a trip to Bali with the family, or re-invested back into the business.

But, back then, I didn’t even know how to ask my accountant the right questions. And I knew my bookkeeper wasn’t handling things the right way, but I didn’t know what handling things the right way even meant. So, I paid big time. (We’ll be offering a training for our members later this year on how to work with your bookkeeper the eyes wide open way, watch for it.)

For those of you who are facing a big tax payment this April, first of all congratulations. I say congratulations because it means you have figured out how to bring in the money. That’s great news and before you go beating yourself up for overpaying the IRS, congratulate yourself for knowing that you’ve got one of the hardest parts of business down — bringing in the cash flow.

Now, commit to doing things differently next year. If you want to keep bringing in the big money, it’s time to learn how to create the foundation to hold it all, otherwise, you’ll be likely to lose it just like I did and have to start over from scratch. Stay tuned here for some resources we’ll be sharing with you next week to support you.

Or start here and watch my video on the $1,000,000 worth of mistakes I made while building my businesses the first go round.

If you are ignoring your taxes or getting a refund this year (because you are still a W-2 employee), it’s time to make a shift and start focusing on how you can step up your personal responsibility for how you earn your income and what you do with the money, when you do.

Ignorance is not bliss. You can step into personal sovereignty and full control over your financial future by implementing the entrepreneurial principles we teach here at Eyes Wide Open (even if you do work for someone else).

I want that for you. And I know you can have it, if you choose to build your life and income awake, aware and on your own terms — with your eyes wide open.

For years, I built my life and business with my eyes squeezed shut, ignoring so much of what I knew was an issue because I couldn’t face it. I didn’t know how to face it. Simply, I was scared.

That’s why I’ve created Eyes Wide Open … to support you in learning, growing and evolving by facing the scariest parts of life and business with open eyes and an open heart. It’s all here for you.

With love beyond the beyond,

Ali

PS — soon I’ll share with you what happened when I had a big tax audit in 2007 and how I handled it in such a way that I ended up building my second million dollar business as a result. Yep, I turned a terrifying tax audit into a million dollar business. If you want to hear how, make sure to read tomorrow’s post.

The Bad Advice About Credit That’s Kept You Stuck

I’m a little riled up as I write this.

I’m part of a private Facebook group and someone posted a request for guidance about taking out a business loan to support the next evolution of her business.

The immediate response she got back from 4 people was don’t take out loans for your business, don’t go into debt, and no debt = freedom.

This is the exact thinking that keeps so many people, maybe you, stuck in work they don’t love, chasing false financial freedom and wondering why they don’t have the lives they want.

Debt is not the source of your slavery.

Credit is a gift.

Used wisely, it can and will finance your learning, growth and evolution. And it can support you to create far more in the world than you can without resources.

In fact, part of the reason most of our country’s wealth is captured and held by the 1% while the rest get poorer and poorer is because we’ve been conditioned into focusing on saving instead of on leveraging debt and other resources to invest in ourselves and creating more wisely.

If you would love support with accessing credit and using it wisely, hit reply and let us know. We’re currently planning our next training on accessing and using credit with joy and we would love to know your biggest questions about this topic.

To your eyes wide open life,

Ali

PS — Tell me your story of using credit and being in debt by hitting reply so I can help you take your next steps beyond fear and conditioning. Better yet, give this one some thought and then tell me what came through: if you had access to $50,000 of credit at 0% for a year, how would you use it? What would you invest in? What would you create?

Package Your Services: You are priceless

Hey y’all,

I just got off a training with my members on Pricing and Packaging your services.

We’re creating ease of enrollment and wanted to offer you some of the juicy parts. Why? Because it is the #1 thing I repeatedly see most people in service-based businesses are missing the boat on and was the 1st step toward building my professional practice into a million dollar business.

#1. Be really clear about who you serve. Most business owners start off in business trying to serve way too big of an audience.

My law practice took off big time when I narrowed my focus to serving families with young children and was able to become the go to lawyer in my community by educating families with young children in a way no other lawyers were doing at that time. I later expanded to serving business owners with young children at home, when I began offering legal services for business.

Up until I narrowed my focus, I struggled to get clients in the door and when I did, they often had to think about whether to hire me or were shopping around. Once I narrowed my focus and designed my service to meet their needs, I became unshoppable.

 

#2. Drop the free initial consultation and instead create a first meeting that provides tremendous value, has a name, and a specific purpose or outcome.

No one really values a free initial consultation and it’s most often seen as a sales meeting in which people really just want to know how much you charge so they can shop you.

When you shift away from the free initial consult and instead create a meeting that has a name, a purpose, and a value, your ideal clients want it, value it and whether they hire you or not, will tell all their friends and family about you.

Plus, you’re delivering value right from the start and when this meeting is done well and you prepare your prospects for it well, they aren’t focused on price, they are focused on the outcome of the meeting.

Make this meeting so awesome that you could charge for it and people would be happy to pay, but see below for how to use it in your marketing by offering it for free or discounted.

 

#3. Use your marketing to educate, educate, educate and give people an easy way to get your now named and highly valuable initial meeting for free or at a significant discount.

For example, if I served folks one-to-one, I would offer a pricing and packaging strategy session or Money Map Life and Income Planning Session at the end of this message, either at a discount or free, depending on how many new clients I wanted and where I was in my practice.

#4. Make a list of all the services you can possibly provide to your ideal clients by focusing on the problems they solve using outcome based language.

I see too many people trying to offer their services in terms of time or number of sessions (3-hours or 4 sessions) rather than in terms of the outcome provided.

Your pricing should be based on the value of the outcome you provide to the people you serve, not at all based on the number of hours or sessions it takes to get there.

#5. Base your fees (at least in the beginning) on the LEAST you can charge, rather than buying into some idea of charging what you are worth.

You are priceless.

You couldn’t possibly charge what you are worth, even if you tried. What you can do though is charge what you need so you aren’t sacrificing your life in service to your work AND once you’ve got confidence with your enrollment structure (which will happen quickly if you follow my guidance here) and your practice is full or close to full, you can increase your package fees based on the true value you are providing to the people you serve.

In order to ensure that you are not under-charging for your services while at the same time knowing the least you can charge, make sure you understand your Money Map Numbers at five levels — min to be happy, min to be of service, preferred, no limits, and now — so you know what you are working towards.

These numbers are calculated based on the life you want to have, what it will cost to have that life at your next number, the amount of time you have to earn in exchange for your services — which is less than you probably think given all the other things you need to do in your business.

If you found this helpful, check out our Money Map Life Planning Series. You can get it here.

Does your business need a LIFT?

Today’s love letter is all business.

March 15 is the deadline for you to elect S-Corporation status for 2016 for your LLC or Corporation.

This is an important determination because it allows you to pay yourself a salary via payroll (thereby giving you a W-2 as if you worked for a company) and to only pay self employment taxes on the part of your income that is your salary.

If you have an LLC and do not elect S-Corporation status, you pay self-employment taxes on all of your income!

This could add up to a several thousand dollar difference for you come tax time next year.

If you need support with getting your legal, insurance, financial and tax systems set up, you may want to consider our LIFT Foundation System + Toolkit.

The LIFT Foundation System covers issues like:

  • How to incorporate your business
  • How to maintain your business entity
  • How to protect your intellectual property
  • How to set up your team members properly
  • How to get legal agreements in place
  • What types of insurance you need
  • How to set up your financial systems
  • How to save loads of money on your taxes

You can read about the full system here.

Your investment in the system gets you the education + the agreements + the implementation maps you need to get your legal, insurance, financial and tax systems in place and will easily save you tens of thousands of dollars on taxes, ensuring you don’t get sued, and that your business is LIFTed with the foundation you need for success.

Whether you get the LIFT System or not, please make sure you’ve got the right legal entity in place to protect your personal assets and ensure you don’t overpay on your taxes.

The LIFT System comes with 60 days of Eyes Wide Open membership AND if you are one of the next 5 people to enroll and pay in full in either the digital OR deluxe versions before March 12 (to give you time to make the deadline to file for your S-Election), I’m going to get on the phone with you personally to answer your questions about legal, insurance financial and tax systems in your business.

If you have any questions about whether this System is the next best step for your business, hit reply and let us know. We are always here to support you in making Eyes Wide Open investments in your next evolution.

Love beyond,

Ali

PS — having the wrong tax setup in my business cost me over $100,000 back in 2006. I created the LIFT Foundation System so this wouldn’t have to happen to anyone else. You can hear that story plus several more in my presentation here + get a coupon code for an immediate $500 discount on the LIFT Foundation System:

http://www.myliftfoundation.com

The Spinning, Worrying Mind + Why This May Help You

One of the things I love about Facebook is that it reminds us about memories from prior years. I tend to live so much in the moment these days that I can forget how far I’ve come, how much things have shifted.

This time last year I was in the midst one of the most challenging times of my life, by far.

I was cleaning up a huge business mess after my former partners turned out not to be the women I thought they were. My daughter was deep in the midst of the hardest part of her teenage years, by far. And, I was beginning to recognize that the man I had hired as CEO of my lawyer training company wasn’t a strong long-term fit and I’d likely have to step back in as CEO, which I have since done.

Facebook sent me this memory, which reminded me of all of it and how much things can shift in one year.

This year, I’m back in Costa Rica, CEO of both companies, and my relationship with Kaia has completely transformed.

The Spinning, Worrying Mind + Why This May Help You

While in Costa Rica for Envision last year (with my then boyfriend Michael, my videographer Robert and Kaia) I made a last minute decision to send Kaia back without us and to stay on for an additional week and go to the Roots Gathering in Punta Mona.

If I had really known what was going on with her at the time, I would not have sent her back. But I didn’t. I thought we were on an upswing in our relationship, and we were. What I didn’t know is that it would have to get worse, much worse, before it got even better.

That’s often the case, and if you are in the midst of a tough time, I encourage you to know and understand that. Just keep showing up, moving forward, and taking care of yourself.

I often remind myself of this quote by John Lennon:

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

I just read the book The Surrender Experiment and it once again reminded me of this truth. If you haven’t read it, it’s a game-changer. Check it out.

So, what does all this have to do with Water + Earth, Integrity and Authenticity?

Well, here I am back in Costa Rica again. This time, as I mentioned in the Love Letter I sent last week, I sent back the guys who traveled with us this year (my new guy friend, Kaia’s boyfriend, and my son) and Kaia and I stayed on for retreat.

Yesterday, in the retreat, we explored the elements of Water and Earth.

Here’s what I noticed that may be relevant to you and your life and your business.

First of all, so often my mind doesn’t want to do the things, but once I do them, my other parts (body, heart and soul) are so happy I did it!

For example, we started the day at the ocean with bodypaints. My mind was judgmental. Didn’t want to get painted. Didn’t want to go in the water and get my hair wet.

Didn’t want to, didn’t want to, didn’t want to.

But I did it anyway (a huge teaching of the surrender experiment, by the way) and my body, heart and soul were thrilled!

A reminder to not listen so much to my mind, as she is often running old programming that doesn’t truly serve. She’s great at solving problems, not so great at running my life.

What that means is it’s my job to give her the right problems to solve and not listen to the stories she spins thinking she’s solving problems that often don’t even exist.

It’s easier said than done, for sure. But the more I practice, the better I get.

Can you relate?

It’s the reason I created the Money Map program. My mind needs me to give her the right questions to ask. For so long, the only question I asked and the main problem my mind focused on was “do I have enough money?” and “how can I get more?”

The wrong questions to ask. My mind would spin for hours upon hours seeking the answers.

I created the Money Map so money would no longer be the compass of my life, and instead become the fuel for my creative dreams. It worked.

Today, my mind no longer spins on money. Not because I have millions in the bank, but because I know where my money is coming from, how I’m using what I have, and because I’ve given my mind the right questions to ask. That’s the power of the Money Map.

Today, I’m able to be in integrity around money and my work in the world, the use of my time, energy and attention, in ways I simply couldn’t before.

I couldn’t be in integrity around any of that before the Money Map because I didn’t actually know what I needed, so I was always focused on getting more. And sacrificing time, energy, attention and even relationships for it.

I thought I needed millions in the bank to be free.

I thought I had to put money first to be responsible.

I thought the ability to earn money was the most important skill to learn.

I did a lot of thinking back then.  My mind constantly spinning, worrying, questioning.

Now, I get to put play at the top of my list and spin poi, instead of my mind.  This picture from Envision captures my very first time spinning lighted poi and I hope to do a lot more of it. It’s way more fun than the mind spin.

This was not imaginable 6 years ago. I was chained to work. Play was not at the top of my list. Self care was barely on the map. And relationships definitely took the back seat.So, I’m curious about you …

What does your mind spin on? Where does worry about money fit into the equation? Are you ready to shift from the question of whether you have enough to clarity around how to use the resources you do have to create the life you really want?

I’m curious about you and where you are on this journey. Send me a note at alexis@eyeswideopenlife.com, I read all the responses I get. Knowing you better fuels what I share here; it is the best way to support you in building your life and income awake, aware and on your terms.

Love beyond,

Ali

PS — I have a cool gift for you. My friend Joanna Lindenbaum asked 25 women to contribute their personal rituals for life and business to this guidebook and she’s giving it to you free. My ritual is something you can use each time you send an important email and I know it will help you have more of the outcomes you desire. You can get the whole guidebook here.