My Biggest “Ah-ha!” Moments from Attract Clients Like Crazy

Michelle Shaeffer (Me!) with Adam Urbanski
Michelle Shaeffer (Me!) with Adam Urbanski

You know how sometimes you get the feeling that a light bulb in your head just lit up and something made sense?  I had those moments constantly at ACLC last weekend and thought I’d share just a few of them.

I’ve been doing what I do for more than 10 years now.  I love what I do and I love my clients.  But my business has been more in day to day survival mode than big picture growth mode.  This was the first time I ever took time away to really focus on my own business.  What a perspective shift!

#1 My business is my playground and I get to choose who plays in the sandbox.

I’ve always allowed myself to feel guilty when saying “No” or enforcing any policies or contracts.  I realized that not only am I allowed to have rules and require people to play by them in my business, but that if I really want to have a successful business and help more people it’s necessary.  By not sticking to the rules and choosing who I’m willing to work with and how, I’m not helping those I bend my rules for, and worse yet, I’m keeping myself from being able to help more of the people who I can help.

#2 I don’t have to give away my time to the people I want to help in order to help them.

This one might make more sense in my head than anywhere else but let’s see if I can explain that.  There are certain groups who I have a very soft heart towards.  And so much of me wants to help them and spend all my time doing that.  But I realized throughout the weekend that I can help more effectively in ways other than what I’m doing right now.  By reaching a higher level of success in my business, I’ll have the resources and freedom to be able to help.  And that can be one of the motivations I build on to grow in my business.

#3 It’s okay to screw up.

It’s really a freeing thought to be told that not only are you allowed to screw up and fail, but that you’re going to, so you might as well go ahead and do it now and get through it.  Then just keep going.

The perfectionist in me tends to keep me from releasing things (you don’t want to know how many “draft” blog posts I have waiting for just “one more” proofreading).  But the idea of not chasing perfection and striving for excellence instead is a really great mindset.

#4 My business can only grow as fast as I grow personally.

Sent my roommate a tweet at one point during the bootcamp that I guessed I was going to have to act like an adult and face some things/people/fears/ghosts/whatever you want to call all those things that come up inside you and tell you to hide.  Have you ever been there?

Those who have known me online for years know that my family has gone through some unique circumstances.  I don’t share it all online, maybe one day I will, but it slowly turned me from an outgoing, confident person into a very shy and reclusive person.  Fifteen years ago I was actively involved in competitions at local, regional and state levels in public speaking, debate, and drama.  Loved every minute of it.  I loved being on a stage in front of people and seeing them laugh (not kidding–when your role in a play is to be a teacher who is sincerely in love with Curly from the Three Stooges and you’re quoting his poetry about a fly on a wall, well… people can’t help but laugh at that one).  I gave a solo piano recital with works from Chopin, Rimsky-Korsakov and other inspired composers.  I tutored, I taught piano lessons, and I was confident in who I was and what I knew that I could teach others.  Somewhere along the path of the last 15 years, I lost that person.

And I realized last weekend that I’m tired of being stuck where I’m at.  It’s time for me to stop caring what life has thrown at me, or what other people are going to look at me and think, and get over it already.  If I want my business to grow, I am going to have to do the personal work required to face myself and grow.  I’m fantastic at what I do and it’s not wrong to say that out loud.

I took a huge step last weekend and walked up to the microphone to share the things I’d implemented during ACLC.  There were only 120 or so people there.  15 years ago it wouldn’t have phased me at all (I’d been in front of crowds 5 times that to give speeches and as part of plays).  But this time I was shaking like a leaf and could barely think.  To be honest, I don’t even remember what I said (I fear it’s saved on video somewhere though).  All I know is that somehow I got up there and did it.  And I know that one step at a time that’s what I have to do.  Just keep moving forward and not looking back.  I’ll screw up plenty I’m sure.  But I’m going to take a deep breath, and go for it anyway.  So, here’s the journey of rediscovering myself!

And with that, I’m going to hit post before I lose my nerve.  If you’ve been where I am, are where I’m at, or are almost there, I’d love it if you’d hit the comment box below and share.  Or if you’re just a fan of the Three Stooges and know which episode and poem I referred to above, you can comment, too.  :)

Spread the Love


  1. I’ve recently had one of those Ah-ha! moments. I volunteer with several groups and had a hard time saying No. But I realized my family and my business was suffering as I tried frantically to meet all these commitments I had agreed to. It has been liberating the past few months to say ‘No’! It gave me the strength to resign from a few things that I really didn’t have the time to adequately do and deep down I’m hoping it gives someone else the change to step up and take on a more active role in each of the organizations that I am reducing my role with. The plus side from this has been that I am more productive, I’m spending more time with my kids – my goal from the beginning when I left my full-time job, and I have more free time. Sometimes it takes a major event, a good shaking or someone else telling us that we need to make changes for us to see it!

    Congratulations on your Ah-ha! moments!

  2. Michelle –

    (hug) You go girl!

    Pulling for you all the way….


  3. Wow Michelle. what an inspiration you are, You deserve every success that you are creating.
    I have also started to take action on my business and stop procratinating.

    I am looking forward to an Adam event,I saw AliBrown at SHINE this time but Adam is on my wish list…
    Best Wishes
    Tracy UK

  4. All pretty much true for me too. I would add an aha that its okay to let go of preconceived ideas about what I have to do or what my business has to be. For instance, for years I was a “knife and fork” member of a service club i.e. I showed up for lunch but did little to contribute. I finally realized that showing up did no one any good and my time was better spent elsewhere. But until the ACLC course I still felt guilty about quitting the club – I realized “its my sandbox”. More directly in the business context, my aha was that I can sell whatever products or services I want – they don’t have to be the fully featured offering that I came on the course to learn how to market.

  5. Michelle!
    It was great to meet you and your ideas are amazing!! Courage is not the absence of fear, but the grit to be scared and to still do what you are comitted to anyway. That makes you a hero!!

    Thanks for sharing as much as you did of your story. A lot of what you said is true for me too and I suspect for many who read it.


  6. Michelle, you have so much in you that is an inspiration to so many. The wonderful thing is that you can keep all of the relatebilty, recover your authentic self and show others the way out IS possible as you are the proof. I am very excited to watch you as a person bloom and your business boom!

    Love and Brilliance,

    Heather Meglasson
    The Brilliance Coach

  7. Good morning Michelle,

    What an amazing article! You wrote from your heart and it truly touched mine! Thank you so much for being so willing to be vulnerable and REAL!

    Love and joy to you,



  8. Thanks for what you shared. I related to so much of it! And it came at just the right time, too. Other “voices” (such as the book I was just reading, Say Yes to No), have been giving me some of the same messages. You’re inspiring!
    –Diane Eble, “Your Book Publishing Coach”

  9. Michelle,

    Thank you for sharing your insights and revelations. They are very inspiring! I’m glad you took your place back on stage again.


  10. The past several years have been difficult ones for me also. I could really relate to what you wrote about how you have changed due to your unique cirumstances. I too decided to work on myself and get past all those fears and past events and focus on sharing my talents and knowledge for the rest of my life. This past year things have transformed so much for me since I began taking action and planning my life. Now life is far happier and fulfilling. I’m excited each day to be making a difference in my own life, my family’s life, and those I encounter. Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration to so many.

  11. Wow, thanks so much for all the comments!

    Gail – That’s so very true, and hard to do at the same time. Way to go. :)

    Rebekah – Thank you, you’ve been a huge encouragement to me. Are you sure you aren’t destined to be a coach?

    Tracy – I’d love to attend Ali Brown’s events sometime. 100% recommend anything Adam Urbanski presents. He’s inspirational, presents even complicated things so they’re easy to follow, and a marketing genius.

    Adrian – I love this part of your comment: “its okay to let go of preconceived ideas about what I have to do or what my business has to be.” Yes! I’m making some big changes in my hosting business similar to what it sounds like you’re doing – what’s best for us and our businesses is very likely not what we’re “supposed” to do.

    Lisa – Thank you. I hope people can relate to it. I know that if *I* can do this, even slowly and one step at time, anyone can. :)

    Diane – Things came together for me at ACLC with things I’d been reading/hearing/etc and it all just combined and made the light bulb come on. I’ll look that book up.

    Heather – It was a pleasure to meet you, and I’ll aspire to do that. Showing others the way out, in more ways that what I’ve shared so far.

    Alicia – Thank you for your comment, I appreciate that.

    Rachel – Slowly I am. I know it’ll be a process and take some time but acknowledging what needs to change is the first step in changing it, so this is that moment for me.

    Beth – I appreciate what you shared – life can be tough. We’ve just got to be tougher. :) If not for ourselves, for our children.

    To everyone, thank you for commenting and sharing with me. I hesitated to post this on my blog and never dreamed it’d end up where it did. But if it can be an encouragement to others who are going through the same things, I’m honored to be a part of that.

  12. Michelle, I have only just come across you. After many years of struggle and procrastinations I have made major changes in mylife to allow time to find “me”. I could say its been an uphill battle for along time and I feel so much happier working on the things that matter. I will be hanging out here a lot more because it feels a very honest place. Thank u all. Shiro

  13. Yes, it can feel very much like an uphill battle some days. I spent a lot of time working alone in my business for the first few years and am finding in the last few years that support makes all the difference!

Leave a Reply to Rachel Bellamy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge