Category Archives: Michelle Villalobos – Secrets of Success

Michelle Villalobos teaches business concepts and skills to professionals – especially women – in a fun, entertaining way.
Her most popular programs include: How to Communicate More Powerfully (Without Being A B****h); The Perfect 10 In Sales: The First 10 Seconds, The Next 10 Minutes & 10 Days Later; You´re Not Crazy, It´s Just Your Personality Type; and You: The (Online) Brand, among others.
Michelle specializes in topics of interpersonal communication, productivity and personality type, and how to apply them effectively for marketing, sales, networking and team-building.

Michelle’s Story

Michelle first became known in the magazine publishing world. She turned around Emilio Estefan and Ocean Drive Media´s struggling print magazine (with zero marketing budget or new hires) by identifying new revenue streams, developing innovative sales and marketing strategies, and employing email and newsletter marketing tactics (before they were all the rage.)

In early 2007, Michelle left and launched Mivista Consulting, Inc. to help small businesses achieve their own turnarounds. On the side, she began providing live educational programs, online articles and videos to help those who couldn’t afford or didn’t desire full-blown consulting/coaching to learn the same business concepts and skills in a fun, interactive and hands-on environment. Mivista Workshops & Seminars was born.

Since then, MIVISTA has developed a series of workshops open-to-the-public, which has captivated thousands and generated a large and loyal following. This success has drawn major sponsors and clients like Constant Contact, HSBC and Costco, who either hire Michelle to train their teams or use her events as a platform to engage a professional, high-level audience.

Criticism for You

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Have you ever struggled taking constructive criticism like I do? I just found a clever way to learn from it and wanted to share it with you.

Last Monday I gave a presentation and felt I had done a really good job. But when it was over, a colleague asked if I could handle his honest feedback. You probably know what was next.

He proceeded to tear me apart. Normally, I would try to defend my actions. But this time, I tried to find additional reasons on why he was right! And with that little trick, I was taking the feedback in stride and finding ways to improve.

The next time you are being criticized, try the same strategy. Don’t think of ways to defend yourself, instead think of ways to support the criticism. It may do the same of you as me and open yourself up for big time improvement.

Just Say No

For the first few years of my business, my default answer to most ANY request – requests for favors, free advice, “picking my brain,” meeting for coffee, unpaid seminars, writing proposals, “exploring potential synergies” or partnering on new projects – was “YES.” I was a “yes” MACHINE.

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All those yeses got me into trouble. First off, I ran myself ragged – oftentimes for people and projects that wasted my time and didn’t pay. At one point I was working 90 and 100-hour weeks – without much to show for it. Second, I had far less time and energy to spend on the clients that DID value my time and WERE paying for the privilege of working with me.

Something had to give. I was forced (thank goodness!) to put systems in place to protect my time.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this challenge, so I’ve put together a few of the processes my team and I have implemented, perhaps they’ll inspire you:

  • First and foremost, I switched my default answer from “yes” to “no.” This doesn’t mean that I don’t take on new opportunities, meet new people or embark on new projects, but it does mean that I’m muuuuuch more discerning about how and who with.
  • If a substantial request is and I’m leaning towards “yes,” I instead say “let me think about it and get back to you tomorrow.” This technique buys me the time I need to evaluate the opportunity (because some requests DO merit a big, fat “yes”) and, when appropriate, to formulate a thoughtful, and respectful (yet FIRM) “no”.
The Media Kit that saves us from spinning our wheels…
  • Rather than meeting with and sending proposals to all whoexpress interest in working with me (the “old” way), we now use a media kit so potential clients can see what we offer and decide if they want to move forward. Showing price up front filters out those who aren’t serious or whose budgets are unrealistic.
  • Have you met Toma yet? I’ve hired her to manage my calendar and ensure that important meetings and client work get scheduled. Delegating this simple task has released HOURS every week to allow me to focus on what’s really important.
  • I set aside one whole day a week to do exploratory phone calls with people and prospects. This limits the amount of time I spend on potential time-wasters.
  • I no longer work for free. Period. And I’m much more willing to let business “walk away” because I know that the space that remains will be filled with activities that bring real value to our bottom line.
  • I get so many requests for one-on-one meetings with people I really want to connect with – but I just don’t have enough time. So now I invite them to a small group lunch (max 8 people) that I host every month. If they come, GREAT, we chat and get to know each other, and if they don’t, well then I figure they weren’t that interested in the first place.

The upside since implementing the above?

Way better clients, way cooler projects and waaaay more free time for FUN. I actually have a LIFE!!

Plus now I have quality time to spend on the clients that really deserve it. Just one example is GKIC who I just came back from visiting in Chicago (with Badass Business Woman Jessica Kizorek). You’ll be hearing more about that project for SURE.

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Remember: Just say NO!!
Who loves you?

Michelle Villalobos

(veeyalowbos)

www.EmpoweredWoman.info

www.MichelleVillalobos.com

www.Twitter.com/mivi

Not Sure If You’re Ready To Make Them BEG?

Think back to 1983 (if you’re old enough… if not you may know this business legend anyway). It was Christmastime and there were lines, no hordes of people, waiting, clamoring and paying top dollar for… a doll.
A Cabbage Patch Kid, to be exact.

As one store manager put it “…people were grabbing at each other, pushing and shoving. It got ugly.”
Dolls were nothing new, so what explains the hysteria that exploded during the Cabbage Patch Craze?
What happened was a unique combination of viral marketing (word-of-mouth) and scarcity. There were only so many dolls made and a lot more demand than manufacturer Coleco ever expected.

Couple that with the Christmas frenzy, and voila!! People were literally begging for dolls. A black market arose – dolls were going for $200 sometimes $300!

What do Cabbage Patch Kids have to do with you, here, today? It’s all about demand. It’s about that fairy dust, that magic potion, that elusive “something” that makes people WANT something really really badly.
And it doesn’t just apply to dolls.

Look around at some of the most successful people we know: Oprah, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart. Love ‘em or hate ‘em… you have to admit, they have strong brands that keep them in business. Do you think Oprah goes around “looking” for opportunities? Hell no!! Opportunities find Oprah! Why? Because she has a strong brand that draws the right opportunities to her.

[ Imagine If… ]


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Imagine if you had a strong enough presence that opportunities, clients or customers were clients clamoring to buy from you, so much so that you would actually have to turn some of them away…
Wouldn’t that be more fun than what you’re doing now?

The principles are the same whether you’re selling so-ugly-they’re-cute vinyl orphan dolls, haircare products, consulting services or anything else. The principles of “irresistibility” are the same and they apply ALWAYS.

These days people are saturated with advertising, burnt out on being “sold to” and seek out brands and people they connect with. If you can become a person that other people talk about, look up to and refer to, you can stop selling and start seducing.

The idea is to build a strong enough brand that you become “top of mind” among the right people for whatever it is that you offer. Becoming top of mind means generating streams of referrals – highly qualified potential buyers or clients – who will come to you, who will seek you out, rather than you going out to push, peddle and promote to them.

Referred business is more qualified and less price sensitive, so on top of having more potential clients, you’ll also be able to charge more.

Having an irresistible personal brand is something you can do in any industry, whether your self-employed or have a job, whether your 15 or 65. When you have a solid, authentic, appealing personal brand, work – and life – just gets better all around.

[ Our Story ]


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If you’re reading this and have connected with us, then it’s probably something we’ve talked about resonates with you. Perhaps you’re not as successful as you want to be, dream about being or deserve to be.

You probably work HARD, maybe even too hard, and are still not making the kind of money you’d should be. You feel like you’re on a hamster wheel… going, going, going, struggling to get clients, or looking around wondering why that breakthrough you’ve been waiting for is taking so LONG!

We understand you because we’ve been there. We are Jessica Kizorek and Michelle Villalobos. We have each built successful businesses working with clients we love while having lots of fun in the process (our videos are a testament to how much fun we have!). But business hasn’t always been this easy, lucrative or fun.

In fact, we spent years knocking our heads against the wall making mistakes, wasting time, wasting money and getting emotionally “beat up.” Each of us spent our fair share of time getting frustrated, fed up and yes, even shedding a LOT of tears. And we were embarrassed about it, wouldn’t talk about it, we pretended everything was “GREAT!!” while inside we were freaking out about next month’s bills – and whether or not the money would show up to pay them.

But we made it through the same tunnel and emerged into the light at the other end. We’re still going and the journey has only gotten better.

What did it take to get here?

[ What We Did ]


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We have put in untold hours discussing (and now documenting) what it was that turned things around so dramatically for both of us. What did we do that started drawing in business? Why did clients start coming to us and paying us more than before?

Ultimately what we realized is that each of us finally hit a “tipping point” in our personal brand that spread the word and started generating solid referral, word-of-mouth business, allowing us to charge premium prices and walk away from the crappy work that sapped our energy and paid too little.

Each of us had been working on our brand for a long time before hitting that tipping point, however. But the interesting thing is, now, looking back, we know we could build it all up back up again from scratch again in just a few months. For real.

Consider this: you’re here reading this page, which means somehow, some way, our branding drew you to us. We only started actively putting this project “out there” about 1 month ago. In other words, in one month we’ve been able to deploy a brand that has you sitting here, reading these words. Pretty amazing, huh?

Exactly.

In the years we spent building our businesses and our brands, we discovered lots of things that worked, but maybe even more important was what we learned about what didn’t work, about what was a huge waste of our time, energy, money and resources.

We’ll never make those mistakes again…
And now we want to share everything we’ve learned with you.

[ Why Us? ]


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Over the last couple of years, we’ve delivered hundreds of workshops, seminars and live training programs, to thousands of people to help them transform their brands and their businesses.

We’ve helped people with marketing strategy, personal branding, online presence, sales skills, negotiating skills, strategic planning, networking, body language, social media strategy, video marketing, email marketing, pricing, referral marketing, guerrilla marketing and a slew of other things…

And for this, we charge good money. To attend a one-day workshop with the two of us will set you back at least $1,000. Want more personalized help? Our retainers start at $10,000/month.

We know that not everyone who wants to work with us can afford our workshops and private training, so for the very first time, we decided to create a complete, self-contained training program that anyone could do, anywhere, on their own schedule. For a lot less money.

[ The Creation Of Make Them BEG ]


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We spent months backtracking and documenting every single thing we did along the way to get from there to here. We wondered if we had to do it all over again, what would we do? If we could go back in time and give our younger selves the benefit of our current knowledge, what would we give them?

That’s how Make Them BEG was born.

Amazingly, we determined that if we had to do it all over again, with this program we could recreate in a few months what took us several years the first time around.

We honed in on what had changed in our businesses, what methods were making such a beautiful, powerful, welcome difference in our careers, and then we broke it all down into a step-by-step program that shows exactly how to do what we did.

It’s all organized in ultra-specific steps. We’re talking nitty-gritty-nothing- left-to-chance-no-guessing type of steps that will breeze you through the same path we tripped and stumbled down because we didn’t have someone to shepherd us along the way.

Here is what Make Them BEG teaches:

• How to combine your passions, talents, skills, experience and unique personality into a powerful, compelling, personal brand.
• How to deploy that personal brand online and dominate the Internet in your area of expertise.
• How to resonate with the right clients for you – and how to grow to the point where you can turn away less-than-ideal clients or buyers (i.e., cheap ones).
• How to get those clients to find you – both online and off.
• How to become “top of mind” – even famous! – in your market, and how to command fees or prices that you may think are unrealistic right now.
With Make Them BEG:
• You’ll drastically cut the time it takes to succeed big.
• You’ll never wonder what you’re supposed to do next.
• You’ll avoid costly mistakes.
• You’ll skip over frustration, self-doubt and the urge to quit.
• You’ll know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
• Your success becomes a a matter of “when,” not “if.”

Best of all, as you progress through the program and develop your personal brand, you’ll see your brand and marketing strategies shaping around your own personality and values and goals. Not ours. Not anyone else’s. Yours.

By the way, when that starts to happen, it’s magical.

[ Who This Program Isn’t For ]

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Before you get too excited, we’re going to do something that may seem a little odd. We’re going to tell you why this program may NOT be for you.

Why? Because we are 100% committed to successful results for the people we work with. Our principles require us to make sure this program is right for you because if it’s not then we simply don’t want you to waste another precious minute on the wrong track.

So how to know if you’re a good candidate? The number one trait you need to have is ambition. You have to want to succeed. We mean really really want to succeed. You have to want to do big things. Now you don’t have to want to be famous—but quite honestly, it doesn’t hurt.

Next up, you have to be committed. This program will change your life. Literally. You won’t even recognize yourself in three years… maybe even one year. Your present-day self would be so envious and proud of your one-year-in-future-self if she could just see what awaits you at the other end of the tunnel.

However (and this is a BIG however), you have to be committed to using it and following it. You don’t have to whip through the program in three days (though you totally could, depending on where you’re starting out), but we’ve seen that those who do best are the ones who set aside time and make steady headway. So, if you’re the kind of person who will get excited for a moment, join this training program, then never look at it again… don’t bother.

Third, you need to be open-minded. Much of this stuff is new and you may be tempted to ignore certain advice. The more open you are and the more you allow yourself to follow the program wholeheartedly, the better your results will be.

Okay, so to sum up, if you’re…
• Ambitious, and not always playing it safe…
• Committed and hardworking (not half-assed or lazy)…
• Open-minded and ready to invest in yourself…

Then Make Them BEG will transform your business, your career and your life.

Michelle Villalobos

(veeyalowbos)

www.EmpoweredWoman.info

www.MichelleVillalobos.com

www.Twitter.com/mivi

Freaking Out Onstage

I’m a ham. I love getting on a stage and presenting. The bigger the audience, the more exciting, the more exciting, the more adrenaline, the more adrenaline, the better my performance.

But it wasn’t always that way. That same adrenaline that today fuels my performance used to have the opposite effect (forget “fight” or “flight,” it was more like “freak out” and “freeze”).

First, I used to try to memorize presentations. The problem with memorization is that the moment I’d get stuck, it would completely derail me. Another thing I did was create slide shows full of bullet points so that I wouldn’t forget anything… problem is then I’d end up reading slides. That would have been fine – if my goal had been to BORE my audience to death.

I knew that getting up in front of an audience and being a COMPELLING speaker would have a huge impact on my business. So I made a real effort to learn how. I took improv acting classes for over a year, I attended Toastmasters, I read books. I practiced. These days speaking is a huge driver of both revenues and leads to my business.

I tell you this so you understand what went into creating what I’m sending you right now. It’s a slideshow of my Top 20 Tips To Being A Compelling Speaker (top left of page): http://bit.ly/hh7LaI

Happy Speaking!

Michelle Villalobos
(vee – ya – low – bos)
http://www.MichelleVillalobos.com

 

Have you ever struggled with friends or family while trying to grow business (or achieve something)?

I had some issues along these lines a while back. There were people (who shall remain nameless) who constantly doubted me. And it made me doubt myself.

So I made the tough decision to dump them.

Some of them were impossible to actually “dump” completely from my life, but I shut them out of my business vision, planning and decision-making processes, choosing only to tell them about results (like the success of the Summit, articles in the Herald or other media).

Guess what? It was a tough decision and even tougher to stick to it, but clearly it was the right move. I hear “Michelle did this” and “Michelle did that” when they don’t think I’m listening. What a difference – my former “doubters” are now some of my best PR.

Not to mention, business is growing faster then ever because I’m surrounded by supporters and always focused on results (‘cause that’s what I get to share).

I encourage you to do the same. Surround yourself with the motivators and ditch the detractors. You have worked way too hard to let THEIR junk get in YOUR way.

Michelle Villalobos

(veeyalowbos)

www.MichelleVillalobos.com

Happy New Year!

Right now I’m in my favorite place on earth – Colorado – enjoying my annual ski vacation.

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Last year while on my “vacation,” I struggled to disconnect and enjoy myself – I was waking up early every day, working, working, working… and getting stressed out.

Not this year! 

What’s changed? First off, I learned to say “no” – to requests, commitments, favors and other demands on my time that interfere with my plan. This is probably the single most effective skill that I developed in 2010. Well, to be honest I am still in the process of developing this skill…

Second, I prepared everyone for my long absence, particularly the people on my team and those with whom I collaborate. I “enrolled” them in my vision for having a vacation, and now they are as protective (if not more protective) of my vacation “integrity” as I am!

Speaking of team, that’s the third magic ingredient. Not just having a team, but also empowering them to make decisions and get things done on their own, with minimal input from me. A team doesn’t have to be employees, either. I use independent contractors for everything from sales to assisting to graphic design, and lots more in between .

I encourage you this year to make sure you plan your downtime and prepare for it – as much as you would for any big project, client or job. We all need to recharge our batteries and have “playtime,” it’s what makes us human.

Wishing you much success in 2011,

Michelle Villalobos

(veeyalowbos)

www.MichelleVillalobos.com

Balancing Act: The branding challenges of today’s businesswoman

Popularized by Virginia Slims peddling cigarettes back in the ‘80s, the phrase: “You’ve come a long way, baby” perhaps most succinctly illustrates the tightrope that we professional women walk every day. On the one hand: strong, progressive, advancing. On the other… well actually, getting called “baby” is the least of our challenges.

The problem goes much deeper than condescending pet names. Despite mounting evidence that having women in senior management positions is linked to higher ROI, women are woefully underrepresented in those roles, running only 3% of Fortune 500 companies and filling only 20% of top management positions in the US – even though we are half the workforce. What’s the problem?

The many problems are too complex and too varied to enumerate in this short letter, but one of the biggest is that we undermine ourselves. We do it by being “the nice girl,” by not speaking up enough, by saying “yes” to everything, by apologizing for things that aren’t our fault, by taking on low-glory, high-workload assignments that others don’t want, by overloading ourselves with commitments, by not negotiating effectively, by neglecting to ask for what we want, by shying away from self-promotion… need I go on?

Not sure yet? Consider this: studies show that women who exhibit more “masculine” (read: aggressive) characteristics in business actually make more money and get more promotions. So all we need to do is “man up” and get aggressive, right? Not quite. There’s a backlast that most of us have experienced at some point or another when we cross the line into “aggressive” territory. You know what I mean: we’re slapped with that dreaded label: Bitch.

And while men tend to get a bad rap for being the ones who call us that, just as often (even more often?) it’s our fellow women who do it. Though we don’t like to acknowledge it, address it or discuss it, a recent study by the Workplace Bullying Institute showed that while men are more often bullies than women, when women do bully, they choose other women as targets 71% of the time!

Now what’s interesting about that statistic is that it could be interpreted in two ways. #1: that women do, indeed, tend to bully other women more, or #2 (less obvious): that women are more likely to perceive aggressive behavior in women as being “bullying.” Either way it’s clear: something’s got to give.

What do you think? Prefer working with women or with men? Have you experienced bullying by a female boss? Do you find it difficult to walk the fine line between “assertive” and “aggressive?” Let’s hear YOUR stories…