Monday, July 11, 2022

Do You Lead with the Greater Good As Your North Star?


To quote Matthew Kobach (@mkobach), "Twitter is a key that unlocks thousands of doors, some of which you never even knew existed." As a member of the Twitterverse for almost 13 years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. I recently connected with Cynthia Trevino and invited her to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A format. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.

Based in San Diego, California, Cynthia Trevino is a marketing mentor, content coach, recovering corporate staffer, small dog mom, self-published author of an Amazon #1 best seller, blogger, wife, evil stepmother, and espresso lover. She went from working 70-hour weeks as a marketing director for a Silicon Valley startup to, along with half the company, being unceremoniously laid off. As she explains, "Without a plan, (which I don’t recommend) I dove headlong into starting my own consulting company. Hey, it’s just like they say. Build the plane as you fly. After tons of bumps, fumbles, and hard-won lessons about marketing myself and enrolling clients, I became a happy, busy, self-employed consultant for small businesses and startups. [But] sadly, in 2018 I uncovered enraging statistics about the earnings gap between women and men entrepreneurs.The well-documented corporate America gender earnings gap, is alive and well amongst entrepreneurs. In just one study (Freshbooks), women business owners earned 28% less than men did for the exact same services. That was unwelcome news! [So] to do my part to level the playing field, I shifted from consulting to mentoring, teaching, and coaching women entrepreneurs so they can better market their businesses to ideal clients. At the time, I fervently wanted more women to close the entrepreneurial earnings gap. And that’s still my biggest mission today."

QUESTION: You wrote a post on your blog entitled, “9 Ways to Improve Your Blog Writing Skills (So You Can Engage Coaching Clients).” What were your three favorite ways, and why?

(Read the post here:

CYNTHIA TREVINO: Here are my three favorite ways:
FIRST: Write the way you speak.

Here’s the deal, as a business owner, your primary goal when creating content is to engage dream clients, right? So remember, you’re not creating your blog post for Harvard Business Review, you’re writing to let dream clients know that you understand their pain. That you believe in them. That you know they can become the better people they want to be. Avoid writing your website pages, your blogs, or podcasts like you'd write a college term paper. The truth is, you want to be conversational when writing anything for future clients.

Pro Tip: To tap into your dream client's mindset, write as though she’s sitting across the table from you.

SECOND: Adopt the best copywriter's favorite rule: “The You Rule.”

The ability to talk with your dream clients in your written (or recorded) content is the holy grail. It means you’re re-creating what it’s like to have an in-person conversation with potential clients. In order to do that, be extra-intentional about using "you" in your content. That includes you, your, you’ll, you’re, yours, etc.

THIRD: Make your posts long enough so you can engage your readers.

Online marketing experts say that search engines prefer blog posts with at least 800 to 1200 words. Experts also say that posts with 2,000 words or more are shared most often.

It breaks my heart when coaches, looking to get their voice out, write super short blog posts (less than 500 words). What if the website visitor doesn't know you yet? Are you sharing enough in blog posts about who you are as a coach, so potential clients are fascinated to learn about your services? Will website visitors, blog readers, remember you after reading your post? Will blog readers be engaged enough to subscribe to your list?

No question, you can break the rules and write short content. After all, you’re the boss. As you decide which rules to break and which to follow, consider this: You want future clients to think this, after reading your blogs and website content: "Wow, she understands where I'm coming from. I love how she explained my problem. Wonder what her packages are like."

QUESTION: You wrote a book entitled, “She Markets.” What are three take-aways you hope readers have?
CYNTHIA TREVINO: I loved writing my book and followed the marketing advice I share with women entrepreneurs.

Take-away #1: Always create content as though you’re sitting at a table, having coffee with your dream client. Think of your dream clients as the North Star for your business. Develop your content, your marketing, your website, and your programs based on the problems your ideal clients want to solve. Imagine that she’s just poured out her heart to you about a huge struggle. What do you say? What baby steps can you share to give her hope? How do you share snippets of your expertise to guide her?

Take-away #2: Don’t leave marketing and content creation to chance. Put together a plan for creating your unique content, publishing it, and sharing it online.

Take-away #3, is a bit like the first one: You don’t have to become a marketing expert to bring in dream clients and grow your business. You only have to be the expert in who your dream clients are. Invest your energy in discovering what are your specific ideal clients’ fears, hopes, dreams, and challenges.

QUESTION: If you could dine with three women leaders - from history or business - who would they be, and why?
CYNTHIA TREVINO: Here are my three:
(1) Oprah Winfrey because she’s a trailblazer at starting amazing movements and businesses. And she does it all with empathy. Oprah is a powerful leader who is an incredible audience (community) builder. She knows where her community is going, what we’re going to be fascinated by next, and helps us make sense of the constant moral dilemmas that the fast-moving world dumps at our feet.

(2) Sarah Blakely, founder CEO of Spanx, not just because she’s on tons of “Most Powerful” lists, a philanthropist, a relentless supporter of startups founded by women, but because she was turned away by every hosiery company in North Carolina when she initially tried to introduce Spanx. Happily, she persisted.

(3) Tina Fey because she makes me laugh, and I'd like to have some humor added to the moment. She’s hugely talented as a performer, author, writer, and a producer/entrepreneur, so she’s developed the business side as well.

QUESTION: When President Obama introduced Janet Yellen as the new Federal Reserve Chair in October 2013, he said, "Janet Yellen is a proven leader who knows how to build consensus, the kind of person who makes everybody around her better." President Biden celebrated this when he nominated her as the first woman Secretary of the Treasury, and today, she serves as the 78th Secretary of the Treasury. What three characteristics do you think are necessary to create a consensus-builder?
CYNTHIA TREVINO: The truth is, our community, our country, and our economy needs every last consensus-builder we can get. Three characteristics necessary to create a consensus-builder are:

(1) Listening skills must be their top superpower. Everyone at the table deserves to have their voices not only heard, but taken into account as organizations explore potential approaches and execute the optimal solution.

(2) Empathy. My hope is that we all tap into our abilities to infuse empathy in our lives, government entities, and businesses. That means spending time “walking” in our customers, clients, constituencies, and family’s shoes. And as Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit, famously said, “First we must take off our own shoes.”

(3) Leadership that prioritizes both listening and empathy. Consensus-builders must have the kind of leadership that sets aside our own egos and self interests and places the greater good above all else. I love women and men who behave and lead with the greater good as their North Star.

QUESTION: What is your favorite quote from former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and why?
CYNTHIA TREVINO: My favorite Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote is one that I’m going to paraphrase because I can't recall it exactly. It was I believe when she was arguing a case in front of the Supreme Court.

The Ginsburg quote is this: “He’s never been a 13-year-old girl.”

The context was when a male justice had asked a decidedly non-empathetic question.

My backstory for this quote is that when he posed the question, the patriarchal, male justice did not for one split second, consider the impacts to the victim. He simply could not/would not put himself in another’s shoes, even for a moment. Not even in a child’s shoes.

(Read the details about this case from 2009:

QUESTION: One of my favorite leadership quotes is from author and consultant Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter): “Leadership doesn't require you to be the smartest person in the room. It requires you to block and tackle for others.” What does this quote mean to you?
CYNTHIA TREVINO: This quote highlights the need for empathy, again. Blocking and tackling for others means to me that, as leaders in every situation, we owe it to everyone to be on alert for times when under-served people need us to hold space for them. Or when the people who aren't in the room, still need their rights, needs, and interests considered when decisions are made for an organization of any kind.

Blocking and tackling for others particularly applies in public sector situations where those with entrenched power rush to preserve the status quo, because it benefits them.

As leaders in ALL sectors of our society, the under-served need us to create space for their viewpoints to be heard. We must constantly create space for their problems to be acknowledged and a fair hearing for the ongoing issues of women, children, and People of Color to be elevated to a level where they can be solved. I wish schools and colleges taught blocking and tackling leadership skills!

TWEET THIS: As leaders, the under-served need us to create space for their viewpoints to be heard. ~@ConnectUrGenius #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My thanks to Cynthia for sharing her inspiring leadership and equality insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Check out Cynthia's links:


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