Sometimes when we talk about money, weight, fitness or relationships, it’s hard to take in critical lessons because we’re subconsciously defensive. They can be touchy subjects, especially if you’re in place where progress feels so hard and like such a battle.
In those situations, I like to introduce the critical concepts with examples that have nothing to do with the sensitive areas we’re struggling in.
Let me tell you a story…
I’m in a business mastermind because one of my priorities is to keep learning and growing. A couple weeks ago, as part of this mastermind, I sat through a presentation on data. Yeah, just thinking of it kind of makes my brain cramp, but hang with me. It’s worth it.
The presenter shared how most business owners go through launches, or just their work in general.
It’s like they have this arsenal of ideas in their mind and when something isn’t going well, they jump to pulling things at random from their arsenal of ideas.
I probably need to do more lives!
I should have a presence on TikTok
It looks like webinars are converting pretty well…
Maybe my email subject lines need work
I should start a podcast
I need to be more consistent with social media posting
They work furiously, trying anything that seems like it’s worked for someone else or it worked for them at some previous point in time. They try it because they read about it or listened to a podcast about it. It’s unstructured effort. It’s frantic effort. But it’s not precise. It’s not accurate. It’s not a direct result of digging in to identify the real problem.
I’m in the home stretch…stay with me.
Let’s say this hypothetical business owner launched a new product and the sales were a lot lower than she expected. She dips into that arsenal of ideas and starts posting more on social, going live on Instagram and sending more emails. She’s working her rump off but it’s barely moving the needle.
The problem is…she’s not solving the actual problem.
The actual problem is that no one is scrolling past the first 10% of her sales page. If she took the time to diagnose and respond to the real problem, she’d have updated the top of her sales page first and really put effort in to make that connect with her target customer.
But she was in such a rush, she didn’t even know that was the problem.
We do this too. All the damn time.
If you have a weight loss goal, maybe you’re furiously grabbing at every possible strategy.
I should count macros
I should intermittently fast
Should I try keto?
Is carnivore what my body needs?
Maybe a detox?
Let’s add some supplements
If you slowed down, you’d probably see that you don’t have a strategy issue, you have a mindset issue. The same excuses talk you out of everything you commit to.
Maybe you’re trying to build a business and you’re trying absolutely everything.
You’ve read books on email marketing
You’ve bought a course on starting a podcast
You hired a coach to help you with branding
But progress feels so hard because strategy isn’t your problem. Mindset is. You keep telling yourself stories to justify delay. You play the game of “I’ll start tomorrow” or you let fear of judgement hold you back.
We’re solving for the wrong things and that’s why progress feels so hard.
I was there, too. At 350+ pounds I thought for sure I had a food problem. I tried every diet under the sun. But food was only the symptom of the problem. The problem was how I was thinking about my life, my circumstances, my goals, my time and just about everything else.
So what do we do? How do we shift this broken pattern? Is there a way to make change easier?
The thing I constantly work on (for myself and with my clients) is paying more attention to how you THINK. We disproportionately focus on what we DO or feel we should do. But that overlooks the critical fact that those behaviors flow from how we think.
Are we making excuses? What kind of excuses? Are they true? Are they the whole truth?
Are we putting off what we said we’d do today in favor of tomorrow or some other future point? Are we conscious of this pattern?
I fully understand that this “mindset work” can sometimes seem silly, pointless or plain difficult, largely because it seems that a lot of these thoughts are happening on a less-than-fully-conscious-level.
THIS is why I knew I needed to create 10x Mindset. At the end of the day, every decision you make is a result of how you THINK about your options, goals and circumstances. So, when you become a better thinker, you become a better, more accurate problem solver.
For years, I assumed there must be something wrong with me. I had these clear goals and intentions and they were super important to me, but I kept shoving them off and making choices that ran directly counter to what I said I wanted.
It could be as simple as wanting to get up early to get a workout in or get ahead with my work. I really wanted that productive start, but as soon as my alarm went off in the morning, I’d begin storytelling.
I’m too tired
I’ll do it later
I’ll start tomorrow
It’s really not that big of a deal
That pattern showed up in many different areas of my life. I really wanted to lose weight and I knew what behaviors and habits didn’t support that goal, but I’d choose them anyway, using the same stories I’d tell myself when my alarm went off. I’d commit to a promising new plan or protocol, but would continuously talk myself out of action by arguing for each and every inconsistency.
I’m so stressed
This one thing won’t hurt
I’ll get it out of my system and start fresh tomorrow
I really believed something was wrong with me. I did the hard things whether I wanted to or not in my work, so why did I have such a hard time keeping my word when it came to my health or how I used my time?
It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the work, because sometimes I would. I’d make a little progress but it never lasted. Something always got in the way – usually one of my tried and true excuses.
I hear this all the time from my clients. A lot of them even call it self-sabotage, though I don’t think that’s what it is. They really don’t understand how they can desire a goal so badly, have a clear plan to make progress and then continue to put off doing the work.
They start strong and do well for a little while, but the wheels seem to always fall off the bus. They get frustrated or life gets in the way or they end up simply convinced that nothing works for them so what’s the point.
Most importantly: there’s nothing wrong with you.
I’d love to share with you a metaphor that explains these patterns very precisely.
Let’s say you own a little boat. You love to go out on the water in your boat, but it’s hard to enjoy yourself because it always seems to fill with water! No matter what you do, the majority of your time on your beloved boat is spent bailing water.
No matter how much water you bail, it seems like your work is never done. There’s still water. You’re doing all this work but it never gets you the results you want. Not surprisingly, frustration and overwhelm soon take over.
Here’s the problem:
You’re addressing the symptom of the problem but not the problem itself.
Many are surprised to hear that the water in the boat isn’t actually the problem. We’re drawn to it because we can see it. We fee the effects of it. It stands out as an issue. And so, we don’t look for the true issue and instead we start bailing the water.
The true problem is the hole in the boat. But you’re so focused on getting rid of the water that you don’t stop to fix the hole. So, the work is never finished and progress is incredibly hard to come by.
The “water” is your overeating.
The “water” is your overspending.
The “water” is your hitting snooze.
The “water” is your skipped workouts.
These aren’t the true problem. They’re the symptom of the problem. But, because they’re so obvious on the surface, we dive into trying to fix them.
The true problem isn’t as easy to see but I’m about to make it a whole lot easier for you. It’s the way you think.
See, every single choice we make and action we take (or don’t take) is driven by how we think. When your alarm goes off in the morning, it’s less about how motivated you are or how clear your goals are than it is about what you tell yourself in that moment. That’s mindset.
When you committed to eat clean today and are standing before a tray of fresh baked cookies, your behavior doesn’t come down to how good your plan is. It comes down to how you think about your options. It’s mindset.
As a business owner, every quarter I go through a series of questions that help me make sure I’m taking my business in the right direction. One of the questions I ask myself it, “If I had a magic wand, what would bestow upon all my clients and listeners?“
About a year ago, the answer was immediately clear: I’d 10x their mindset.
I’d wave my wand and make them all 10x better thinkers because I know that means immediately better results, improved consistency and fewer excuses.
From there, I start to ask myself how I can grant that onto my listeners without a mystical wand.
So, for the last year, I’ve been working on a new program called 10x Mindset. I knew it had to meet a few important criteria:
It had to be action-oriented. People often avoid “mindset work” because it seems too vague and hard to act on. 10x Mindset was going to have to lead with specific action steps, not theory.
It had to be a fairly short-term container. When programs or challenges run for a long time, a couple things can become problems. Participants perceive that they have plenty of time to do the work, so they put off starting. Often, that means they never start. The other common challenge with long programs is that people start strong and then fizzle out at the 20 or 30% mark. Neither are great for results. (And yes, programs can certainly be designed to overcome those challenges, as The Consistency Course is, but those are a couple of the reasons I wanted to keep it a short container.)
It had to be super accessible. I wanted the price to be under $200.
It had to be something people could use as a tool over and over, an infinite number of times. Nothing one and done.
It’s a 30-day, action based approach to upgrading your mindset.
Each day, you’ll receive one daily action item that produces a meaningful mindset upgrade. You’ll have the option to listen to the email or read it and it will include a daily image to help keep the action-item top of mind.
It starts as soon as you do. If you sign up today, you’ll immediately receive a welcome email and then within a couple hours, you’ll get another email with your first of 30 daily action items.
There’s no Facebook group, no course site to remember to login to. It all goes directly to your email. The material is yours to keep so you can return to challenges over and over again.
10x Mindset is $197 but if you start within our first week of launch, you get a special discounted price of just $147.
If there was a drinking game or a bingo card inside The Consistency Course, you’d win (or get wasted) if you had “successful people ask for help”.
The dramatic majority of us aren’t doing it enough.
If you’ll bear with me, I want to tell you a quick (important) story.
For the last year or so, Primal Potential has been a 1 woman show — me. For many years, I had a team helping me. I had help with tech stuff, administrative stuff and project planning/execution stuff.
After Dagny died, I realized I just wasn’t in a place where I could lead a team. Mentally and emotionally, I couldn’t put my energy there. Over time, I scaled back until I was the only one on the Primal Potential team.
Over that time, I’ve told myself this limiting story that there are certain things I can’t do “because I don’t have a team“.
There have been new things I wanted to try and things I wanted to change but I told myself I didn’t have the skills or the time.
Have you ever done that? Said “no” to growth, change or improvement because you don’t think you can do it, you don’t think you have the time or you don’t have enough help?
A few weeks back, as many of you know, I said “yes” to a course that would help me build some systems in my business. I was SO CLOSE to saying “no” because:
a) I didn’t think I had the technical ability to do the course work b) I don’t have a team to help/do it for me c) I didn’t think I had the time
I did it anyway and it’s been the BEST THING EVER. Not only because of the results it’s helping me create, but because of the limiting story it has helped me re-write.
My only commitment to myself was that if/when I felt stuck or I didn’t understand something, I’d ask for help. And, I’ve done that.
Let me give you an example of how it changed things. Using what I built through the course, I had a post on Instagram that blew my previous results out of the water. We’ll use the number of comments on my posts as an example:
Before the course, the number of comments I had on my last 5 posts were: 1, 5, 1, 10, 21.
Using what I learned in the course? 583
(In the first 24 hours. And those 583 comments brought over 250 email addresses into my business. Email addresses are one of the most valuable ways to grow your business. Again, this was in the first 24 hours).
But, that’s not all.
Just this week I asked for help from a personal trainer.
I had been thinking about it, but I continued to workout alone at home because I didn’t feel like I was fit enough to work with a trainer. 🤨
I wondered what she’d think of me, if I’d be able to do the workout she programmed for me, and all sorts of other insecure thoughts.
But I reached out anyway and asked for her help getting my fitness back after having a bunch of babies.
When the insecure thoughts started bubbling up in my mind, I reminded myself: this isn’t about what she thinks. This isn’t about her. It’s about me.
I have a choice: I can hide or I can grow.
I can ask for help or I can try to get through alone.
Sometimes, we just need to get our ego out of the way so we can get better.
In my business course I decided that I would be the instructor’s best student.
With my trainer, I decided that I would be her best client.
And you know what? That mindset will set me up for success.
If you’re anything like me, struggling with consistency is frustrating. It used to drive me crazy that I could want a goal so desperately, establish a clear plan to get there and then continue to make excuses and let myself off the hook.
Not long ago I implemented a new strategy that is helping me a ton with my consistency in every area of my life, and I want to share it with you!
Here’s how this came up for me most recently.
I wanted to take a new course but I was feeling nervous that I might pay for the course and not do the work. Have you ever been in that situation?
It’s happened to me a number of times – I start out strong, I’m dialed in, paying attention and doing the work, but I fizzle out. Often, I run into a roadblock which I use to justify stepping back or slowing down and before you know it, I’m totally disengaged.
There’s no doubt that this pattern is behind a lot of the times when I’m struggling with consistency.
So, though I really wanted to take the course and I knew it would benefit me, my pattern of inconsistency was holding me back.
I asked myself a lot of questions to process the decision and potentially create a new pattern. One of the most helpful ones was:
What if I established a feedback loop?
You might be wondering what a feedback loop is. Instead of defining it, I’ll give you an example.
It’s incredibly valuable to use past experiences, especially past unsuccessful experiences, to improve future strategy. So, I let my “unsuccessful” past experiences with courses improve my future experiences with courses, which begins with a closer look at my past patterns.
Often, I’d begin consuming the course materials, begin implementing, get stuck on some aspect of implementation and then dis-engage.
What if I established and committed to a feedback loop that addresses where I’ve withdrawn before:
Submit questions or challenges
Act on feedback
I asked myself if I was willing to keep a list of all my questions and challenges and submit them, within the course, once every week. Not only was I willing, that felt like a really valuable strategy.
Then, I asked myself if I was willing to act on the answers to the questions within 72 hours. That felt more than reasonable.
That became my feedback loop and I joined the course.
As I worked through this process, I recognized why so many people are still struggling with inconsistency. I could see, for example, that my husband Chris didn’t complete his 75Hard in large part because he didn’t have a feedback loop in place.
There was no accountability. No plan for setbacks or frustrations. No strategy for making sure a slip doesn’t become a slide.
Inside The Consistency Course I have a module around customizing your own feedback loop for different goals in your life. It’s not enough to know what a feedback loop is – we have to personalize them and practice them.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click through and purchase, I might earn a small commission. Also: I’m sharing my experience and this should in no way be considered medical advice. Consult your doctor for all medical issues.
If you’re interested in hearing about my journey with my functional medicine doctor, what we’re working on, how we’re addressing it and the recent results, make sure you don’t miss episode 1101 of the Primal Potential podcast!
In the episode I give the backstory of why I felt it was important to work with a functional medicine doctor and how we realized we needed to focus on inflammation.
In this blog, I want to outline the main points of the episode and put all the resources in a single, easy to access place. For the details though, you’ll want to listen to episode 1101.
While there are many ways to measure and monitor inflammation, the marker we’re focusing on is C-reactive protein.
Before we get to that, I want to make sure to emphasize that inflammation is not bad. In fact, without it, we’d die! It’s one of the most effective defense mechanisms our body has! Unfortunately, there are a lot of lifestyle, environmental and dietary factors that trigger an inflammatory response, sending our systems into overdrive where there is too much inflammation. (I talk a lot about those factors in episode 1101 of the Primal Potential podcast.)
C-reactive protein (CRP) is, not surprisingly, a protein that works to clear dead and/or damaged cells from the body. Elevated CRP can indicate anything from mild localized inflammation to chronic systemic inflammation or acute infection. For example, at the height of a serious infection, CRP could rise 50,000 fold! But, that would be a very short-lived spike.
Mild or moderately elevated levels often indicate systemic inflammation.
Why do we care about systemic inflammation?
This is really important to discuss and understand because I think a lot of people still think of headaches or swollen joints when they think about inflammation. Inflammation is much, much more than that.
For example, mild inflammation in the brain might feel like brain fog, slow thinking, fatigue, anxiety or depression. Additionally, over time this inflammation can lead to neurodegenerative conditions.
Beyond brain health, chronic inflammation leads to weight gain, trouble losing weight, insulin resistance, impaired appetite control, impaired immune responses, infertility, bowel irregularities, headaches, skin issues and a whole lot more.
After my 3rd c-section (and 3rd + 4th babies) in less than 2.5 years, I knew there was a lot of inflammation in my body. I knew it was impairing my weight loss, damaging my health, and threatening any future hopes of additional pregnancies.
It’s important to note that when looking at any laboratory value involved in the picture of your health, there’s almost always a difference between what’s considered a “normal” value and what’s considered a “healthy” value. Many practitioners only want to note the absence of disease (which they refer to as normal). In a world where “normal” is often overweight, overtired, anxious and pre-diabetic, I’m not interested in “normal” labs.
My functional medicine doctor and I are targeting an “optimal” CRP value of less than 1 mg/L (or 0.1 mg/dL).
Six months after my c-section with the twins, my CRP was measuring just over 10 mg/L. This didn’t surprise me as I was still healing, massively sleep deprived, and coming off tremendous emotional strain of their 93 day NICU stay (not to mention any healing I hadn’t done from my other 2 sections just one and two years prior.)
I made a few changes and 4 months later my CRP had dropped over 6 points to 3.6 mg/L.
I talk about how the supplements impact inflammation in the episode if you’re looking for those details. Also, if you give the last 3 supplements a try, the code BENTON at checkout saves you $10 on your first order.
So, those shifts brought my CRP from 10+ to 3.6 mg/L over a few months. The next goal is to get it under 1 mg/L over the next few months. There are a couple of adjustments I’m making to support my further progress:
I’m going completely gluten free (I explain the molecular mimicry at play in episode 1101)
I’m increasing my all natural anti-inflammatory from 2 capsules daily to 3
I promise to update you in a few months when I do my next lab test, but I feel really amazing about the progress.
If you’ve read through all this and still feel like you have a lot of questions, make sure you listen to episode 1101. If you already have, shoot me a message with your questions and I’ll do a follow up episode!
You know what to do but you just aren’t doing it. Or, maybe you’re doing it sometimes, but it seems impossible to get consistent. Your schedule gets thrown for a loop, you have to work late, the kids are sick, you’re in a bad mood, it’s a holiday, vacation or special event…the reasons are endless and you just have no idea how you can possibly stay consistent.
It sounds great though, doesn’t it? Even if it sounds unlikely, out of reach or even impossible, it sounds heavenly.
What would life be like if you didn’t constantly feel bombarded by temptation?
Or if you weren’t always faced with something that makes execution so darn hard?
What would your results be like if you were actually consistent for several months instead of several days (or at best, weeks)?
One of the biggest issues with inconsistency is the way it can erode our confidence and belief in ourselves.
So many times you’ve thought “this” was “it”. This was the thing you were going to stick with. But it wasn’t.
You got so fed up with your past patterns and really believed you wouldn’t return to them, but you did.
For decades, I thought that another plan or process held the key the prior ones hadn’t. If I just tried this new thing, I’d be able to stick with it. Most of the clients I meet feel something similar. Here’s the thing though: whether we’re talking about consistent habits for weight loss, consistent habits for fitness, consistent habits for getting out of debt, building a business, maintaining your home or anything else, the plan doesn’t matter if you keep talking yourself out of it.
There are countless ways to lose weight and countless ways to create financial flexibility, build a business and maintain your home. The majority of the things you’ve tried would have worked if you hadn’t kept talking yourself out of consistency.
Too many people are jumping from one plan to the next, without recognizing that consistency is a skill we need to build and it begins with how we think.
Consistency requires that we overcome our all-or-nothing patterns of thought.
Consistency requires that we develop honest responses to apathetic thoughts like “I don’t even care”, “this one thing won’t hurt” and “what’s the point?”
Consistency requires that we upgrade our mindset so we don’t continue to sell ourselves the story that we’ll start tomorrow or that some future date holds promise and follow through that today doesn’t.
I’m telling you – when you upgrade your mindset, you no longer fall prey to the 1,000 ways you’ve been talking yourself out of the work required to make progress toward your goals.
With an upgraded mindset, you won’t continue to tell yourself that you’re too stressed to eat healthy.
With an upgraded mindset, you won’t fall for the line that you’re too busy to take care of your body.
With an upgraded mindset, you’re not the kind of person who puts all the less important tasks before the most important ones.
It’s not that people don’t know how to create a budget. They just aren’t holding themselves accountable to sticking to it. They make excuses and accept them.
It’s not that people don’t know that overeating won’t help them lose weight. They just lack the skills and the practice of overcoming their tried and true excuses.
It’s not that people don’t know they should workout. They just need the tools to become someone who looks for what they can do instead of focusing on what they can’t do.
People need tools for managing feeling of overwhelm. They need skills that will help them quickly hone in on what they can’t do instead of being distracted by what they don’t yet feel ready to take on.
Within The Consistency Course, we start with a straight forward intake form. No one person’s journey is the same as another’s so you take a few minutes to tell me about your goals, your most common excuses and the new patterns you want to establish.
Instead of leaving you to sort through all the options you have for getting started, I recommend a singular, specific starting point that is personalized to your journey and your goals.
I plug you into our private Facebook group where all our tools and resources live. There are coaching audio clips on everything from all-or-nothing mindset to travel, eating out, spouses who aren’t supportive, work stress, dieting mentality, fear of missing out and pretty much everything you can imagine.
There are problem solving worksheets, replays of our past coaching calls, trainings on how to be less general and more specific, how to deal with periods of low motivation and more.
I go live with the group members regularly to answer all questions and provide real-time coaching for whatever you’re working through.
I also add tools and resources every single week so you have what you need for your journey to consistency.
One of my favorite tools is The Consistency Calendar! When you get started, I mail you a physical calendar that is an incredible visual representation of your consistency in the areas that matter most to you!
Most importantly, I’m incredible accessible and responsive. If you’re having a hard time, I want to know about it and I want to support you through it. I want to point you to tools in the group that exist to help, and if there aren’t tools, I’m going to create them and add them.
Best of all, your access to The Consistency Course does not expire! There’s no rush to work your way through the material. It’s there as long as you want or need it!
My friend Suzie and I have bonded over many conversations about what not to say to a person who is grieving. A lot of these conversations have been marked with a bonding laughter and others with raw emotion and frustration.
In episode 1095 of the Primal Potential podcast, Suzie and I have a candid conversation, packed with practical suggestions, about the best (and worst) ways to show up for someone who is going through a hard season.
What Not To Say
First, let me establish that everyone is different. While Suzie and I share our perspectives, we aren’t sharing “right” and “wrong” ways to show support. Definitely tune in to the episode for the full scope of this nuance!
Suzie and I have both experienced infant loss and the range of emotions that come with it. Suzie was a critical part of the Primal Potential team when my daughter Dagny died and she’s remained a friend as my husband and I navigated the aftermath and then experienced the traumatic 27-week delivery of our twins.
I’ll never forget sitting in my hospital bed and getting a text from Suzie that said, “This is awful. It’s unfair and I’m sorry.”
When so many people jump in to tell you it’s going to be okay, it felt so supportive for someone to acknowledge that it sucked.
When Suzie had her youngest daughter, she shared a text message she received from a friend. It said something like,
This is a big week for you! I love you and am here to support you. Would you rather:
A) I take the girls to a playground for a few hours
B) I come sit on the couch and hold you hand
C) I have food delivered from your favorite restaurant
I loved it and now use a similar approach myself. Here’s our suggestion:
Don’t say, “Let me know if I can help.“
Of course your intentions are great, but it puts the responsibility on the other person to not only reach out to you, but to reach out for you and make a specific request.
Our twins spent 93 days in the NICU and I spent at least 4 hours each day in the car during their hospital stay, on top of my NICU time, on top of pumping, and on top of having a one year old at home. I can’t count the number of people who said, “Let me know if you need something!” What I can tell you is that I never reached out to those people with a request. Never.
However, if someone asked which night was better to drop off a meal, Monday or Tuesday, I let them know.
When someone asked if we preferred gas cards or Amazon cards, I answered.
Of course the options to show support depend on a lot of factors like the type of relationship you have with the person, their circumstances, your proximity, your resources, etc.
Recently, an acquaintance shared that her husband was in the hospital. While many people replied with, “Let me know if I can help!“, I reached out and asked how I could help with her young kids.
When a family member was recovering from surgery, I gave her options via text. I asked her which she’d prefer: a home-cooked meal delivered, takeout from her favorite restaurant, a gift card or for me to take her daughter to the park for a couple hours.
Don’t Say “God Needed Another Angel”
I cannot tell you how many people used this as a way of, I guess, making me feel better about the fact that my daughter died. First: it’s likely not your role to make someone feel better. It’s your role to show support.
Second, and Suzie explains this beautifully in episode 1095, be careful what you say about God.
While offering prayers, especially when you actually pray for that person, is lovely, proclaiming that you know a) that God make it happen and b) why God made it happen, is dangerous. That’s your belief, but you don’t “know” that’s to blame and you’re risking doing permanent damage to someone’s relationship with God during a fragile time.
Don’t Assert That Someone Will Be Okay
Literally hundreds of people told me that our twins would be okay while they were in critical condition. Lots of people told me Dagny would “pull through” also. Someone even told me she had a vision that Dagny would live. Spoiler: she didn’t.
When people told me the twins would be okay and that they “just knew it” I wondered, “So, did you know Dagny wouldn’t be okay?”
I understand that you’re trying to make someone feel better, but again, the job of someone showing support isn’t to make someone feel better. It’s to walk alongside them as they feel however they feel.
The bottom line is: you don’t know who will or won’t be okay. You don’t even know what “okay” means to a person who is suffering. There are lots of things you can say, but I suggest not proclaiming a satisfactory outcome.
Don’t Stay Silent
You won’t want to miss the part of the episode where Suzie explains how vividly she can remember those who said nothing at all. I get it, it’s hard to know what to say, but saying nothing is the worst option.
You can say, “I don’t know what to say.”
You can say, “I’m not sure what to do.”
You can say, “I don’t know how to help.”
You can say, “I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing.”
But: say something.
There’s so much more to this conversation, so please head over to the Primal Potential podcast and take a listen to episode 1095.
We will all have many opportunities to show support to someone navigating a difficult season in their life. Our relationships and our communities benefit when we get a little better as we go. These conversations matter.
*This post may include affiliate links. I may be compensated if you purchase through one of my links – this does not impact the price to you.*
No matter who you are, no matter what you do for a living, I believe absolutely everyone should have affiliate marketing as an income stream. Honestly, you’re kinda silly not to! There’s zero downside and unlimited upside. I also think that most people don’t have a complete understanding of affiliate marketing, so today I want to break down what it is, how it works, the different types, pros, cons and how you can get started.
What is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a type of advertising that rewards individuals or companies for providing their audience with exposure to a product or service. At the simplest level, affiliate marketing is recommending a product or service to someone in your network.
It used to be that products and services were marketed primarily through television and radio ads, print ads and billboards. However, the explosion and accessibility of social media opened doors for a new, more effective approach.
Companies are shifting dramatically (and often completely) to compensating individuals for promoting their products or services directly to their own audiences, where relationships exist. If I follow someone on Instagram, even if I don’t know them personally, I likely trust their recommendation for mascara more than I trust a random print ad. Plus, seeing this person on Instagram apply the mascara provides me with a more honest experience of the product than a highly produced television commercial.
Jewelry companies used to rely on print advertisements or expensive television spots. They’d pay a premium whether the ads were successful or not. Now, they’ve realized it’s a lot more effective and affordable to connect with individuals who share their target audience and compensate them for wearing or sharing the goods.
Sometimes the payout is a flat fee for exposure and other times it’s based entirely on conversion. Sometimes affiliates are compensated with product, other times their compensated with currency and sometimes it’s both. There are countless models for affiliate marketing and different levels of accessibility.
That’s one of the things that most companies adore about affiliate marketing – the option to only pay for advertising that is successful. For example – I’m an affiliate for Fatco (my discount code is PRIMAL) but they only have to pay me if I bring them a customer. It’s a much more attractive proposition for companies than paying out even if the campaign flops!
We’re all part of this engine. Every single one of us. The difference is, not all of us are getting paid for it (yet). I’d like to change that! I believe that absolutely everyone should have affiliate marketing as an income stream!
Here’s something important to keep in mind as we explore this further: affiliate marketing is for everyone. While not every company or product has an affiliate program and some have lofty requirements for participation, there are tons of affiliate opportunities that exist even if you have no audience! There’s money to be made no matter who you are!
Why it Makes Sense
The old way of marketing is OUT. Sure, television commercials, billboards and magazine ads still exist, but they’re no where near as impactful, effective and profitable as affiliate marketing.
How many times have you bought an outfit because you saw someone on social media wearing it or you loved it on a friend from church and asked her where she got it?
Are you more likely to buy a book because you saw an ad in a magazine or because your friend raved about it?
People trust people more than people trust companies, so as social media has grown in it’s use across all demographics, affiliate marketing has replaced old school advertisements. I was just telling a girlfriend that I basically only buy clothes when I see someone on social media wearing them, especially if it’s someone who is about my same size. Affiliate marketing has changed how we shop! I’m curious: how many times have you been “influenced” to buy something because of the recommendation of a friend, of someone you follow online or a family member? Whether they were compensated or not, that’s affiliate marketing!
Imagine if Coca-Cola ran a commercial during the Super Bowl but they only had to pay based on the number of people who bought Coke as a result of the commercial. Affiliate marketing allows that kind of confidence in your ad spend.
Beyond that, every one of us need additional streams of income. I don’t care if you’re making multiple 6 figures and are debt free or if you’re a struggling single mom. Having multiple streams of income has moved from a “nice to have” to a “need to have”. The winds of change will impact all of us at some point; gone are the days of having all your financial eggs in one basket.
Besides, you’re going to refer products anyway! You’re going to tell your friends, family or co-workers about products and services you love. Why not get paid for it?!
Different Types of Affiliate Marketing Deals
You might think that you can’t possibly take advantage of affiliate marketing because you don’t have an audience. You’re wrong! Sure, there are audience requirements for some affiliate opportunities, but certainly not all of them!
It’s true; some companies only establish affiliate relationships with individuals or companies that meet certain audience exposure requirements. I remember when I first reached out to Levels because I was recommending their product anyway, they told me they only worked with a select few individuals with huge social media followings. Based on their criteria, I was out. That’s okay! Not everything is going to be a fit with where you’re at. Interestingly, because I did a podcast anyway (I talk about things I love whether I have an affiliate relationship or not), the company saw my ability to influence for their product, and they offered me an affiliate partnership.
Other companies have very low or no audience requirements. For example, GreenStalk (the vertical garden I use) had an audience requirement when I started with them, but it was extremely small. As of when I’m writing this, companies like Amazon and Audible don’t have any audience requirements. Rest assured, there are lots of affiliate programs with no audience requirement because there’s little to no risk to the company. If you don’t bring them new customers, they don’t pay you, so they have nothing to lose. When in doubt, ask!
Type of Compensation
This is where you’ll see a lot of diversity and where it’s important to get all the information. There are many different deal types. You will find:
compensation via product credit
compensation via free product
flat rate deals where you’re paid $x for a post, story or blog
flat rate per new customer (here you’d get a flat rate no matter how much a customer spends)
percentage of sale (you’d get a set percentage of the amount of revenue your relationship brings in)
payment on new customers only
payment on any customer that shops through your link
one time payments
You could see any number of different types of compensation arrangements or any combination of multiple. Let me give you a few examples.
Some affiliate relationships offer a benefit to your customer (like a discount code or link) and other times there’s no perk to your customer base. Both of those deal types are very common. Amare allows me to offer you a discount by using my code (BENTON) but with Amazon, you don’t get any kind of discount by using my link.
Many years ago, I was on a Viking Waffles kick. Viking Waffles are pre-made low carb, high protein waffles and I really loved them for a while. After being a repeat customer for months, I reached out to see if they had an affiliate program. They did, and their offer was for product credit. Essentially, if I brought them new customers, they’d reward me with free waffles. Their process was kind of clunky, so it didn’t end up being a good fit for me. But if there’s a product you love and purchase anyway, product free product relationships can be awesome!
Fatco offers a pretty common affiliate program. They give me a unique coupon code (PRIMAL) and when customers use that code, I get paid a percentage of the sale.
Amazon works in a similar way, but via links and not discount codes. If you sign up as an Amazon affiliate (they call it “associate”, you gain the ability to grab a special link from any product and are paid a teeny, tiny commission if someone purchases through that link. The other day one of my girlfriends asked me what potty training toilet seat we were using for Roman. I sent her the link using my affiliate link, and if she purchases, I’ll earn a small commission.
I love the products and use them daily. Roman and Chris use them daily too, which makes for lots of opportunities to share about them. (It’s more profitable to have affiliate relationships with products you genuinely use regularly than those you might use every once in a while)
I earn in multiple ways and I simultaneously earn: money, product credit, completely free products, prizes and trips. It’s literally all these things at the same time
I earn more than 20x more via Amare than other affiliate partnerships because:
If I bring them a new customer, they pay me EVERY SINGLE TIME that person purchases, not just the first time
The % of commission I earn increases as I bring them more business. So, while I might start out earning 10%, I can earn up to 38% commission based on how much business I bring (to give context, 38% is insane. Most other affiliates max out around 5% and the rate often doesn’t increase with your performances or effectiveness)
They have products that appeal to almost everyone. I love my vertical garden, but not everyone is interested in that, so the income is limited. But with Amare, they have kids products, they have protein powders, they have probiotics, vitamins, natural energy drinks, natural pain relievers and more. The wide array of products makes earning easier.
What Most People Don’t Get 🙄
Let me first say that I don’t expect everyone to know or understand affiliate marketing, especially if they haven’t invested a lot of time, energy or experience into it. However, it chaps my a$$ a little bit when someone who doesn’t have an understanding throws out inaccurate judgements as if they know what they’re talking about. Just because you think you’re right doesn’t mean you are, ya know?
There’s an important difference between multi-level-marketing and affiliate marketing. There are companies who offer both, but that doesn’t mean you need to participate in both. And again, for the people in the back: they’re not the same.
I’m not an expert on multi-level-marketing so I won’t pretend to be, but as an affiliate, you don’t need anyone “on your team” in order to make money. So, while Amare has a model for multi-level-marketing, they also have an affiliate program, which is what I take full advantage of (and love).
Do you know how many people I need to have “on my team” to make multiple 6 figures annually from Amare? Zero. That’s right. Zero.
So how many people would you need on your team to make money as an affiliate with Amare? Zero.
Anyone who wants to make uneducated statements is welcome to do so, but my energy and time isn’t available for that. 🤷🏻♀️
Most people think you need to be an influencer to take advantage of affiliate marketing. Well, I’d argue that every single one of us are influencers. When my mom asks me what book I’m reading, I’m an “influencer” in sharing it.
When my friend at church asks where I got my cute green pants, I’m an influencer for those green pants.
We are all influencers. Influencing doesn’t require intentional audience creation.
Yes, I have a podcast audience. But you can take advantage of affiliate marketing without ever intentionally building an audience.
Remember when someone asked you where you got your adorable potholders? You can text them your Amazon link and earn a small commission.
Affiliate marketing is for everyone! We all do it, we just aren’t all getting paid for it (yet).
Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing as an Income Stream
I’ve used the same skincare products for about 10 years. At least a few times a month, a family member or friend comments on my skin and asks what I use. After a few years of eagerly recommending Fatco, I reached out to the company to see if they had an affiliate program. Sure even, they did! They gave me a discount code (PRIMAL) to share with my friends and I’ve been getting paid every time someone uses my code ever since.
Sure, it’s not a ton of money because it doesn’t come up hundreds of times a day, but, as you create more affiliate relationships, it adds up!
I did the same thing after trying Levels. Many of my friends and colleagues were using the continuous glucose monitoring program from Levels. I purchased it, loved it, found myself telling my friends about it and then reached out to see if they had an affiliate program. They offered me a personalized link. Just the other day, an acquaintence posted on her social media asking if anyone had experiences with a CGM. I shared my experience, let her know I had a link, she decided to try it and I get paid!
As I said earlier: we’re doing this anyway! We’re just not all getting paid for it!
The goal (as I see it) isn’t to get paid from products you don’t love. I think we’ve all seen enough influencers promoting Magic Spoon cereal to understand that not everyone takes only only products they genuinely love and use, but that’s the approach I strongly recommend. When your recommendation is genuine and enthusiastic, it shows!
Of course not every product or service has an affiliate program (yet) and you might not always meet their criteria, but there’s something out there for you, so start looking!
As of when this is being written, I believe almost any adult can be an Amazon affiliate. That way, if someone asks you what laundry detergent you use for your newborn, you can send them your Amazon affiliate link. Or, just yesterday, I asked a friend where she got her pool furniture. She got it from Amazon. If she had an affiliate link, she could have sent me her unique link and she’d have gotten paid for her recommendation!
Audible is another company that has minimal requirements for an affiliate account.
When in doubt, reach out! Connect with the companies you love and ask if they have an affiliate program! If they don’t, ask if there’s an interest list you can be placed on to be notified if one becomes available.
Are you an avid reader? Share your own links for those books!
Do you love finding great deals on Amazon? Get that affiliate/associate account.
Are you always raving about your probiotic or nail polish? Monetize what you’re already doing.
Where multiple streams of income may have once been a luxury, it’s now a necessity.
Is there such thing as “balance” as a work from home mom? Or, for that matter, as a stay at home mom? A mom working outside the home?
Let me start by telling you that I think the typical impression of “balance” is horse shit. I don’t believe balance is about making sure that work, self, home and kids get equal time or equal attention. If that’s how you view balance, I’ll argue that no, it’s not possible.
I see balance as responding appropriately to perceived imbalance.
Think about it: if you’re walking on a balance beam, your ability to balance is about recognizing as you start to lean too far left and being able to appropriately counter to the right, without going too far. Responding appropriately to imbalance.
I am a work from home mom. I also consider myself a stay at home mom. I run multiple businesses, a non profit, I’m a landlord, I’m an investor, I have 9-month-old twins, a newly 2 year old, a husband, 13 chickens, 11 goats, a dog and I’m also committed to taking care of my health daily.
Nothing on that list gets as much attention, time or effort as another thing. They’re all in flux, all the time. I also don’t believe in easy-to-say generalities like “put yourself first”. It’s a gross over-generalization and over-simplification that lacks practicality. There are moments when I put myself first. There are moments when I put my kids or my marriage or a friend first. It doesn’t matter that we rank things, it matters that we are feeling capable, empowered and (most of the time) fulfilled.
My pursuit of “balance” is all about paying attention to any perception of things being “off” and course correcting without overcorrecting.
In episode 1093 of the Primal Potential podcast, I’m breaking down what my day-to-day flow looks like, so if you enjoy that kind of content, definitely tune in!
What Works for Me As a Work From Home Mom
First, I’ll say that what works for me this month might not be what works for me next month and almost certainly won’t be what works for me next year. But, here are some of the most important strategies I’m implementing:
Get up before the kids (and use the time wisely)
I understand that this doesn’t always happen because kids are unpredictable, but when you can, wake up before your kids and use that time really well. For me, that means waking up about 2 hours before the kids, reading my Bible, walking and working out, emptying the dishwasher, folding the laundry, starting breakfast and getting the kids’ stuff ready for the day (diapers, bottles, outfits, etc).
Watch (way) less TV
I love a good mindless show as much as the next person, but I also feel so much less stressed when I’m staying on top of my work, my health and my house. That generally means I don’t sit down to watch an hour or more of TV daily. If/when I do watch a show, it’s on my phone during a workout or while I’m folding clothes or making a meal. Good time management is essential and I contend that we can all improve in this area! It makes a huge difference.
Do at least one full load of laundry daily (and yes, that means folding and putting away!)
Keeping up is way easier than catching up. When I am picking up at night, I toss in a load of laundry. My husband switches it to the dryer before bed and I fold it first thing in the morning. With each trip upstairs, I carry what I can carry and put it away. This prevents me from having a mountain of laundry that feels overwhelming. Many days I do two full loads, but at least one daily feels really manageable.
Know how you’ll spend your work time
When I sit down to work, it’s precious time. I don’t waste it trying to figure out where I’m going to start or what I’ll work on that day. I define ahead of time what I’ll tackle daily and the order in which I’ll tackle it.
Plan for breaks
We all need mental breaks and this is especially true for me when I’m working. Instead of heading to my office to work and then spending 15 minutes scrolling on social media, I plan for my mental breaks. Literally, on my to-do list, it’ll say “task 1” followed by “10 minute mental break” or “task 3/task 4” then “15 minute mental break”. I know I’m going to scroll, but I’m going to control that behavior instead of letting that behavior control me.
Avoid treading water
This might be the most important one. Years ago, I saw something on social media that said, “the most beneficial thing you can do for your future is block off 1 hour a day (minimum) for building a project that will give you more freedom”. Now, I’m not sure that the time increment matters as much as the point does. So often, we create Groundhog Day-esque lives. We wake up, do what needs to be done, collapse in bed and then repeat. I want to challenge you to invest your time, every day, in something that sets you up for increased freedom down the road. That could be improvements in your physical fitness and health, it would be financial flexibility, it could be both or it could be something different, but remain consistent in this pursuit. Don’t just tread water!
Are you a work from home mom? A stay at home mom? A single parent? A business owner? What do you think of the idea of balance and what are some of the things you do to make sure you, your family and your business thrive?
I hope you’ll take a few minutes and listen to episode 1093 of the Primal Potential podcast!