I want to tell you a story...

How the crazy-ass dreams of a 12-year old girl can help YOU unlock hidden genius, build a profitable business and make competition irrelevant!

Over the last 40+ years, I’ve helped more than 30,000 entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and grow their business ideas into media-worthy success stories. Using the lessons I learned from a 12-year old girl. And the 5 strangers who saved her life.

Every single success story, no matter how big the dream, was the direct result of using just one thing to drive incredible results.

EVERY. SINGLE. SUCCESS. STORY.

Meet the 12-year old girl with crazy-ass dreams

From an early age, this girl dreamed of becoming a computer scientist. Just like her Aunt Annette and their hero, Beatrice (Trixie) Worsley, who had studied at the University of Cambridge with Alan Turing as one of her advisors. Trixie was the first female computer scientist in Canada and had made many legend-worthy contributions prior to her early death from a heart attack at age 50. And her Aunt Annette had just started her dream job when she was killed at 21, along with her parents, in a tragic car accident that happened on the way to a wedding.

In 1967, when this young girl was 12 years old, she applied for admission to a prominent tech school with a computer science program so she could get started on her crazy-ass dream and pick up where her favourite aunt had left off.

But, there was a problem.

One of several requirements for admission was a high school diploma and this girl, at 12, was still in middle school. Her application was rejected. She reapplied when she was 13. Her application was rejected. Again. And it was really hard for her to be patient and wait until she was 14 to resubmit. But there was no way she was giving up on her crazy-ass dream, knowing everything her aunt had gone through just to get there.

Then this girl’s mom got the call …

… from the Dean, no less.

The Dean noticed this same girl had applied for a spot 3 years running and wanted an explanation as she clearly did not meet the criteria for admission.  Her mother didn’t know what to say and put the girl on the phone. She stood close, eyes narrowed in that glaring stare only mothers can do. You know the one. It silently screams “What the hell have you done now? 

An intense conversation followed. By the end of it, a deal had been struck. If the Dean allowed the girl to take the qualifying entrance exam and she passed, the admission criteria would be waived, and she could get started on her dream of becoming a computer scientist immediately. And, if she failed that exam, she promised to finish high school first before applying again.

That’s when fate knocked on the door the first time.

She took the exam. A week later, she found herself sitting in class with people almost twice her age. Most ignored her. An angry few tried to make her classes as miserable as possible so she would quit and go home. But her instructors? They saw something in her.

That was just the start

It was a busy time for the young girl. She went to high school by day and attended tech school nights and weekends. She was still in Grade 11 when she graduated at the top of the class having worked at the tech school as a teaching assistant for the final six months.

Summer break was coming up. It was time to get out there, diploma in hand, and land her first job in tech. Many disappointing job interviews and rejections followed. No one was willing to give her a chance. Maybe you’ve been there too at one time or another in your own career.

One day she got tired of all the waiting around and took matters into her own hands. She called up the manager who had interviewed her the week before and asked him point blank, “Are you going to hire me or not? I can do this job, I want this job, and I need to know right now… yes or no?”

That’s how she got her second yes! In the summer of 1971. Years later, her boss told her he had been so taken aback by her directness on that call, he had to give her a chance. He saw something in her!

It was an entry-level position of course. But that did not matter. The important thing was… She. Was. In.

Now she had an entire summer to wow her first employer. She had to convince them to keep her on full-time come Fall. Switching to the evening shift in September meant she could finish Grades 12 and 13 during the day while earning money needed for rent and to pay back her student loans at night.

The following Spring, having been selected to present her plans for self-directed education and performance assessment to the admissions committee, she was offered a spot in the Programme for Integrated Studies at the University of Waterloo – one of the best places to study computer science at the time.

But her high school principal refused to grant her an early release so she could get started on her post-graduate work asap. He threatened to withhold her diploma if she didn’t attend her Grade 13 classes. And, he made sure she knew he did not approve of women in tech.

But she did not care. Even at 16 she could see he had no vision — no sense of where the world was headed. But she did. And she already had the dream job she wanted so badly and had worked so hard for. He couldn’t steal that away from her.

Never let anyone steal your dreams.

She worked in a data centre tucked away in the suburbs, and lived and breathed “the soul of a new machine ”. With no interest in anything but her work. She didn’t just learn how to do her own job; she learned how to do every single job in that data centre. On her own time. Just because.

Less than two years later, this girl would become the youngest systems engineer in the history of finance and banking to lead a major technology change for a large global financial institution. She was 17.

Every banking system and business process was impacted and had to be redesigned and reprogrammed. There was no one who could advise her — the technology was so brand-spanking new, it hadn’t been fully implemented by any other bank or company in Canada or the USA yet.

She was provided with all of the new machine’s technical specifications, an office on mahogany row, and had 3 months of free reign to design, test, and train her staff of 10 to implement everything needed.

There was only one mandate: it all had to work by the due date. And one non-negotiable restriction — all communication with the bank’s top senior management at Head Office could only be done in writing and the signature must be initials only — there was never to be any mention or indication of her first name.

That’s when the haters arrived.

In 1972, the feminist movement was just starting to gain traction in the mainstream. But the prevailing attitude was women didn’t belong in tech. Despite the fact female computer scientists had been making awesome contributions to the field since 1842 when Ada Lovelace published the algorithm intended for the first modern computer. And many talented women had proven equal to the challenge since the mid-20th century.

Still, most of the men on her team had been systems engineers for years. Some had daughters her age! It was not easy winning them over. Especially the ones who felt her job was more rightfully theirs. She had more than a few haters. But, in reality, doing something new requires you to weather the storm. It’s the storm that provides your path forward and prepares you for being able to handle the challenges and responsibilities ahead. (You will face many such storms as you work on building your own business.)

Together, they made it work. That pivotal project led to her first-ever testimonial. The head of the company she worked for, William R. Wade, wrote:

Despite being the youngest employee in the company, she was assigned responsibility for designing and re-programming all of our client systems using completely new computer technology. The quality of work and seamlessness of the implementation under her leadership was such that not a single customer of the bank knew there had been a change of any kind.”

How did all this happen? Well, her boss, whom she never called anything but Mr. Wade, saw something in her. Something she could not see.

By September, Mr. Wade had his success story. She was over the moon to have been a part of it. She returned to school having been rewarded with an even bigger office and a promotion. A promotion that should have brought great joy. Instead, it brought crippling depression. The depression lasted several years.

Finally, after almost 10 years of delivering one successful project after another for Mr. Wade, she realized it had been a mistake to accept the promotion, as wonderful as it was. Not only had it distracted her focus on the original vision, she had outgrown her role at the bank and needed a bigger challenge.

Several crazy-ass dreams followed

Now in her early twenties, our girl needed a new crazy-ass dream. She set her mind on entering the male-dominated world of management. In the seventies, the idea of women playing powerful roles in the boardroom was not widely accepted. And in some circles even feared.

The old school bank she worked at wouldn’t even consider it. So she quit her job and risked everything to join a more modern-thinking company willing to give women a shot. And started working for its top executive, Andrew Prozes. Her friends and family thought she’d gone completely insane.

Andy saw something in her. And so did his Vice-President of Systems.

She was not a great manager. One day, this particular Vice-President called her into his office and gave it to her straight. She was smart. Hard-working. Ambitious. But, she was screwing it up big time. Talent only takes you so far. Passion and burning desire are not enough.

(This could be your story too. You may have great ideas for your business. And even more sales than you imagined possible. But having creative talent and killer marketing doesn’t mean you know how to run a company or manage your team.)

In the early days, she sucked at being a manager because she hadn’t yet honed her influencing and people skills. This VP stepped in and changed that by spending an entire afternoon telling her just how badly she sucked. And why. He didn’t have to do it. He wanted to do it. Because he saw something in her. A hidden genius. That she still could not see.

She was never the same manager after that. She’s never been the same person since then either. And she never looked back with anything but gratitude for that devastating, brutal day in his office. Then fate stepped in again. In a totally unexpected way.

A gap was forming between systems developers and user communities due to their inability to communicate effectively with one another. She saw no one stepping up to help companies deal with the pain this problem was creating for them. Solving that problem would be a great way to future-proof her business. The field for capitalizing on this opportunity was wide open. But she knew it wouldn’t stay that way for long.

When you delay taking action on your business ideas, you sacrifice your chance to be a leader in your market.

She left her career as a computer scientist and became a professional writer. Getting there hadn’t been easy. She had tried for over two years to get this posting at the bank where she worked. The hiring manager insisted she didn’t have what it took to be a writer. But, she just couldn’t let it go. Ultimately, her persistence paid off. Today, she is still a writer. And a very successful one at that. Because someone else, not the hiring manager, saw something in her. And had the power to override the hiring manager’s decision and put her in that role.

Never let others impose their limits on you or be afraid to pivot and change direction! It can be the best thing for you and your business.

Shortly afterward she was at a conference in Toronto. A publisher overheard her talking about technical writing in the lobby outside the Vanity Fair ballroom of the King Edward hotel. He saw something in her too. And made an offer she couldn’t refuse. Before she knew it, she had started a multi-million dollar career as a professional speaker and educator. Even though she’d never given any kind of speech in public before. And she didn’t even see that one coming!

Less than two years later, she was named by Financial Post magazine as one of the top five entrepreneurs in the nation. She wasn’t yet 30. All because others had seen something – the hidden genius – in her.

System design. Project management. Strategic business development. Executive leadership. Writing. Speaking. Teaching. International management consulting. Multiple industry awards and accolades. Elected terms as President of international industry and professional associations. These strangers saw it all. But she didn’t. And they showed her how to use her unique genius to make any crazy-ass dream she had come true.

Opportunities are everywhere. Train yourself to recognize them. And never let a lack of experience hold you back! I can help you with that.

But this one is the craziest dream of all …

Hello there! I’m Linda Lopeke, the Founder of SMARTSTART. Most people know me as smartstartcoach. And the story I just shared with you? That is my story.

Yes it’s true. I have been working for just over 50 years now — almost 40 of them in my own business helping people bring their crazy-ass dreams to life every day. Using the lessons learned from the five strangers who saved my life. Because they saw something in me.

I was born with Klippel-Feil Syndrome. It’s an extremely rare physical deformity of the spine responsible for my unusual appearance. I was bullied, beaten, and ridiculed every single day because of it in school. Instead of protecting me from harm, my parents only added to the violence, rejection, social isolation and shame I dealt with every day.

My story could have ended very differently. But five strangers changed that by teaching me the traits that make you strange are the gifts that make you special. And that’s what I’ll be teaching you.

Fast forward to 2002. The year SMARTSTART was born.

Linda M. Lopeke

I found myself in a swanky hotel in Los Angeles, having lunch with the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s wife and daughter, in a room full of high profile entrepreneurs and visionaries. Our host, Mark Victor Hansen, the author and creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul,  had challenged us to set big, hairy audacious goals (or BHAGS) for ourselves that very morning.

Before I knew it, my crazy-ass self stood up and said, “Well, I’m about to turn 50 and to celebrate I’ve just decided I’m going to donate $50 million in support of helping other entrepreneurs succeed in realizing their dreams. ” No one said a word.

I finished lunch, left for LAX, and flew home. I had no money, no partner and two children to provide for on my own.

In the beginning, I had absolutely no idea what it would look like or how in the hell I was going to make it happen. I certainly did not have $50M sitting in the bank. But that was my next crazy-ass dream and SMARTSTART is the direct result of it. I wanted to honour the five men who gave me the awesome opportunities for success I had enjoyed throughout my career. And to help people who had their own crazy-ass dreams be able to go after them and succeed as well.

That’s all I knew. I had no game plan. Or resources. Just a new crazy-ass dream. Fortunately, that dream had a compelling reason. And a compelling vision.

That’s really all you need to get started on your big crazy-ass dreams too.

The next few years would be a frenzy of creativity. I let my imagination run wild as I created my vision for SMARTSTART. I continued working with corporate clients and many other small business owners as well. The most incredible things were happening. SMARTSTART projects and courses were popping up everywhere!

MBA students at Queen’s School of Business (where SMARTSTART first launched), Columbia Business School, Rotman School of Management, Wharton, Schulich Business School, Stanford Business School, London School of Economics, Richard Ivey School of Business, Sauder School of Business, Degroote School of Business, and Harvard Business School were loving the masterclasses designed especially for them.

I was having the time of my life creating new and exciting programs for my small business clients, fellow entrepreneurs, and MBA students. In fact, it was my very first group of MBA students at Queen’s, overflowing with brilliant minds hell bent on pursuing entrepreneurship and asking for my help, that led me to what has since become my life’s work! And it was only a short while later that small business owners everywhere were fully on board too.

“Refreshingly different from most speakers! Blunt. She makes me believe I can do it! SMARTSTART really engaged me. I am truly motivated to use my skills and experience for marketing. WOW!”

R. ZimmerDECA Leadership Conference

“The six P lecture: passion, preparation, performance, people, persistence and purpose was an epiphany. Just what I needed to structure my success plan. All my questions were completely answered.”

S. SamuelsQueen's School of Business

“Linda is an inspirational and innovative thinker, leader and speaker. SMARTSTART inspires me to think about my direction to success and the synergies and goals I need to get myself there.”

K. HoangQueen's School of Business

“Applying some of the professor's rules helped me nail the promotion I wanted in just a couple months’ time! The classes I have taken with Professor Lopeke are always interesting and exciting!

A. GomezDream BIG Conference

“Ms. Lopeke’s program is truly admirable with respect to its direct relevance and currency. I would encourage anyone interested in the field of commerce to take her powerful program!”

A. JivrajQLEAD Conference

“Having Ms. Lopeke explore different possibilities with me as well as the success strategy was most helpful. I feel truly empowered. She inspired me to go forward with confidence.”

T. KolesnikQueen's School of Business

“To be honest, this was the most motivational, influential stuff I’ve ever heard. Linda made me want to stop sitting back and do something with my life. She truly showed me how I can be something great!”

A. MandelQLEAD Conference
Greg Kyde - Kyde Capital Strategies

The first entrepreneur to benefit from SMARTSTART was Gregory Allen Kyde of Boulder, Colorado. His crazy-ass dream was to build a multi-million dollar financial planning practice — Kyde Capital Strategies. He was studying for his MBA at the University of Colorado at the time, so my first job was to help Greg get that degree done, while simultaneously working on building and implementing the vision for his start-up. I flew out to Denver to meet him and we got to work.

Greg played an important role in what SMARTSTART is today and not just because he was its first client, fully embraced its power, and worked hard building his business. He was special. His enthusiasm kept me going. As you may already have experienced, entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. And every entrepreneur must be able to survive both extremes. You will not be the exception.

Time to up my online game

I had started my internet marketing using a generic website template and my own name. But it quickly became time to kick things up a notch. So, on March 1, 2007, I bought the domain smartstartcoach.com  and a book about Dreamweaver. That weekend, I sat down at the kitchen table to build our first custom website. With a cup of fresh brewed coffee (generously infused with Bailey’s Irish Cream) and a clear view of my tulip gardens — all of which needed a good weeding!

That’s when I found out web development was not my jam. 🙁

I did build something decent and functional but I knew it could be so much more if I had the right person helping me. A friend introduced me to the whip-smart web developer I’m still working with today. He prefers to remain anonymous. Fortunately, he saw something in me and in the value of SMARTSTART too. Which was a very good thing since I couldn’t afford to pay him for his services at the time and had to do some creative deal-making to bring him on board.

By Fall 2009, things were in full swing online. Our member programs and online courses were light years ahead of competitor offerings. Thousands of SMARTSTART members, many of whom are still with me today, were crushing it long before Gary V, Tim Ferriss and others came along. Including Greg who was still working with me and whose business was experiencing off-the-charts exponential growth in the program.

So, naturally, it was time for fate to step in again. And it did. But this time, it stopped me right in my tracks!

Everything grinds to a halt

The accident damage

On October 5, 2009 an impaired driver crossed the highway centre line, drove straight up my hood, and came through the windshield. Unconscious, internally decapitated, and trapped under the dashboard, I was nearly burned alive. And, if I hadn’t had the good fortune of being born with Klippel-Feil Syndrome, I wouldn’t have survived.

This near-fatal accident brought challenges of a different kind.

The kind that come with catastrophic brain and spinal injury. I couldn’t walk, speak, read, write, or think as I had done before the accident. My five languages? Didn’t remember a word. My voice and musical gifts? Gone. My hands were useless. I couldn’t feed or dress myself, shower, brush my teeth or do my hair. Worst of all, I could not remember how to do any of the things that used to be effortless for me in my work.

Everything ground to a halt. My 101st book, SMARTSTART Pricing: How to Put the Right Price on Anything You Sell, had come out just 10 days before. But now I didn’t understand a single word in it. All I knew was it was my name and picture on the cover.

I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to deal with my new reality. But, you never know how strong you can be until being strong is the only choice you have. Greg Kyde never let me forget that. And, as I fought my way back from catastrophic injury, while enduring countless humiliations, failures, setbacks and losses of every description, I needed reminding more than once.

The insurers refused to pay my income loss benefits or cover my medical care and treatment costs. I was doing 18 different types of rehab full-time to aid my recovery so I could return to my work. I was as broken as a person could be.

I had to re-learn everything all over again. And re-wire my brain. Without knowing if it would work. All the while dealing with a crap-ton of nastiness I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. (We’re not going to go there.) That’s why I have not released any new SMARTSTART programs in 8 years. But. What. A. Ride! (No pun intended.)

Now there is so much more I have learned and can share to help you bring all of your crazy-ass dreams and business ideas to life. Our new business builder, accelerator, and advisory programs: Genius, Velocity, Executive and Luminary respectively, our Digital Business Leadership School, Boost Camps and the Vanguards make you absolutely unstoppable!

After several forensic audits by insurers fighting my personal injury claim, I know SMARTSTART has helped over 54,000 entrepreneurs in 93 countries of the world. Their success stories were (and are being) created from that one crazy-ass idea hatched over shrimp cocktails in California!

I also learned I had crossed the 22% mark in achieving my crazy-ass goal in less than 2 years online! I had no idea we’d grown our programs so big, so fast! I was just doing work I loved best — making a ministry out of mastery — and having a really great time.

This is exactly the kind of joyous experience I want you to have with your business! And now you can.

Here’s the really BIG news …

Gregory Kyde

On May 21, 2017 I released the first new SMARTSTART Business program: DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS. And I dedicated its launch to Greg Kyde.

Greg was a remarkable entrepreneur who discovered his genius working with me back in 2002. He built a hugely successful business, Kyde Capital Strategies, in less than two years using what he learned in SMARTSTART and quickly became one of my dearest friends.

Despite the severity of my injuries and cognitive impairments, Greg saw something in me. He continued to see me as I was before  the accident. The me I could no longer see and, realistically, can longer be.

Greg refused to let me lose sight of who I am and always will be. Regardless of the limitations imposed by adverse circumstances beyond my control.

Sadly, he passed away a couple of weeks before my birthday (in 2015) before we could get together again to celebrate his success and mine, now that I’m finished rehab, have rewired my brain, and recently returned to independent living. But, if Greg was still here, he’d want you to ask yourself this …

What if you could DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS too?

You and I are not very different from one another. I know you have hidden genius in you. Everyone does! Greg had his. I have mine. Not only that, I KNOW YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE GENIUS TOO! There are no circumstances that can take it away from you. You are unique and have something special to offer the world. Do you know what makes you special?

Now the answer to that can be a little difficult to find. My greatest genius is the ability to see that something special in you.  Even if you don’t. Or can’t.

When you work with me, I help you find your hidden genius and unleash the small business hero in you. So you can build a better business and achieve your own crazy-ass dreams. Whatever they are! Using what’s special about you – your unique genius – to get your best work out into the world.

I’ll show you exactly how to use your genius to build a better business faster, even if you’ve never built a business before. I’ll prove to you working with your genius, instead of chasing what everybody else is doing, is the best way to make competition irrelevant. Once you know what your genius is, nothing can stop you from achieving your crazy-ass dreams.

Greg, his fellow SMARTSTARTers and I are proof of that! Here are two of them who want you to know more about their experiences working with me …

Houseknecht

“Linda stands out as a highly intelligent, ethical and moral person who practices her work to exacting standards. She has a distinct ability to think and see strategically and then implement tactical applications unique to the client being served. Linda is also a polymath who is able to come up with a correct answer to any situation in a short time. Her professional consulting, teaching and mentoring have covered many changes in the business world over decades.

As well as carrying the client load for her extensive management consultancy, Linda created a number of business education and mentoring programs in addition to lecturing MBA students at several different graduate programs as part of her commitment to global philanthropy. Her ideas and the SMARTSTART programs she pioneered have had far ranging influence through her students, and the small business clients and entrepreneurs in developing countries she has helped around the world. Linda is a force to be reckoned with.”

— Stephen Houseknecht, Artist, Educator, Historian

Sawyer

“I first met Linda in 1983, when I was in the early days of building up my company Information Plus, a consultancy with branch offices in the United States and Canada. She was already a successful and accomplished consultant and strategic business development advisor, and I found her suggestions and encouragement invaluable. Any time I had a tricky issue to deal with, Linda offered clear and ethical advice on dealing with the problem.

Linda is an extremely intelligent, perceptive and hard-working individual and organizations which retain her services have made a wonderful and wise choice!”

— Deborah Sawyer, Chief Designer, Harobed Designs

Why work with me?

Sometimes life has a cruel way of trying to break us. And when you’re broken, it is very difficult to feel special. But the reality is your past (and everything that’s ever happened to you to date) is the perfect preparation for becoming all of who you are and need to be as you build your business.

I know what it’s like to work night and day to achieve a dream. And I know what it’s like to work for years to get better at something no one believed you had the talent for. I know what it’s like to not have enough money in the bank. And I know what it’s like to worry when the bills start coming in.

I know what it’s like to have to stay strong enough to keep on working and raise your children when your heart is hemorrhaging pain. And to have to work too many hours or with clients from hell because your kids need a home and you have to put food on the table.

I know what it’s like to see others making money online selling poor quality products and bad advice with zero conscience about it. And I know these bullshitters are confusing the hell out of you. The crap they are shilling is killing your crazy-ass dreams and breaking your spirit. And when you feel broke, lost, confused, broken and overwhelmed by it all, it’s not difficult, it’s nearly impossible to feel special.

I want you to have unconditional love for your work. I want you to have great people in your life. When you have great people in your life, no matter how broke, how lost, or how broken you become, they can piece you back together. They see something in you.

They can help you find your genius. Even if you have no idea what it is. That’s what great leaders, coaches and advisors do.

They help you find a compelling reason to keep going in your darkest moments. My compelling people did that for me. And that’s what I can do for you. Without a compelling reason, you can’t do your best work. You can’t be a gift to the world. You can’t share your wonderful gifts with the world. And the world becomes a lesser place because of that.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see a vision of success for yourself when you’re feeling down and out. You might have a compelling reason, but that vision of success isn’t coming to you. You can’t break through the noise. And when you’re lost and confused, when you’re feeling broke and broken, you can’t see yourself as successful. You’ve lost the thread of your own story. A story meant to be woven with your unique genius.

After you find your compelling reason, you need to have a compelling vision of success for yourself. One that takes you from feeling overwhelmed and burdened to being a gift to the world. And you have to surround yourself with people who have a compelling belief in you. Having people who believe in you can transform you from a person being held back to a person who is a gift to the world. The question is how?

How will YOU be a gift to the world?

The truth about online business

When most people think about building an online business, they think they need to get themselves out there in the biggest way possible. They jump into social media, blogging, podcasting, producing content, guest posting, selling courses, running paid advertising and chasing influencers so they can be everywhere and everything to everyone. There’s so much learning. So much work. It all takes an exhausting amount of time. And it costs money too. All to learn the hard way you can do all of this work for months and even years and still not make a dime selling anything from your website.

Doing it that way does not work.

Because when you’re chasing after a crazy-ass dream, when you’re chasing after a goal, no one tries to sabotage it more than yourself. And, sadly, the internet is full of a lot of nonsense, misinformation and often total BS about building a business.

Selling things does not mean you are in business. Making money selling things means you are in business.

It’s not an easy thing to do online. Or offline. But, it’s not impossible either …

Your creative ideas can be turned into a success story — however you choose to define it. And, more importantly? You can love your work. And you can attract your perfect people. They’ll love your work too. You can sell more stuff. You can keep more money. Thousands of smart business owners already have!

They had a compelling reason. They held a compelling vision. They surrounded themselves with people who have a compelling belief in them. And they used their genius to build a solid foundation for their stand-out business. That’s the first step in your journey of business transformation …

Building your foundation

There are 12 critical areas all successful business owners have to master to build a solid foundation and future-proof their businesses.

Many people know the importance of having a solid foundation, but they tell themselves:

I don’t need to spend time on that now, I just have to find one thing that works to make all the money I could ever want yesterday. “

Why do they self-sabotage this way?

Because it’s easier to believe in magic solutions than to accept building a business is hard work. Then they tend to attack one or two areas at random.

For example, you’ll see people rushing into Facebook ads and jumping onto Instagram without even knowing why they are on social media in the first place. That sort of behaviour sabotages your success.

In reality, all 12 of these foundational requirements must function as a whole, as one cohesive and well-integrated system, to drive meaningful positive results for your business.

SMARTSTART Framework

Each area has a different purpose and countless ways of approaching the work of building your solid foundation. That’s why downloading all the generic blueprints in the world does not help you all that much. The best way for you depends on who you are, what you need to achieve, and who you want to reach.

If you want to succeed in business, you have to start at the beginning. To make sales, you need three things: a market, an offer, and a message. When you jump into marketing and other activities prematurely, with no clarity on the big three, you just end up burning daylight and wasting your time and money.

As a smart business owner, you focus on three critical things:

1: FINDING YOUR PERFECT PEOPLE

This involves:

  • choosing a strategy for entering your market and reaching the target customer,
  • planning what success looks like so you’ll know when you’ve achieved it,
  • building relationships that support your journey as you launch, grow and scale your business, and
  • defining a business model and creating irresistible offers for generating revenue.

2: CREATING COMPELLING PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

That means:

  • raising awareness of your offer(s) and increasing your perceived value through branding,
  • skillfully selecting, implementing, and using relevant tools and technology,
  • setting up processes that make both your business and doing business with you a joyous experience for your clients and customers, and
  • pricing whatever it is you sell not just so your offer converts to a sale but so that it converts at the right price.

3: BUILDING AND GROWING YOUR STAND-OUT BUSINESS

Which requires:

  • communicating your marketing message(s) and answering your prospective customers’ most important question, “Why should I choose you?”  consistently through your product, service, website, and marketing program design,
  • learning how to use social media as a listening, research and community-building station,
  • being able to generate consistent buzz by creating excitement that has others talking about and sharing more of what you do and, finally
  • managing all of these activities, yourself, and your team efficiently and effectively for maximum productivity.

Bottom line? It won’t matter what method you choose to base your future on if you don’t learn how to think strategically and deal efficiently and effectively with the 12 areas required for building a successful business that stands out and rises above the noise. Like these SMARTSTARTers have:

“Linda is a highly experienced professional and she consistently delivered the types of programs and solutions necessary to achieve our objectives. She was also a great inspiration to me and the rest of the team and always provided the right guidance and support. Linda is an exceptional resource and I strongly recommend her to anyone who may need her services.”

Kishanth SeevaratnamToronto, ON

“I hired Linda to help me grow my business. She was invaluable and showed me how to define my mission, business objectives and increase revenue. She brought me back into focus every time I strayed. The work we did together made a huge difference in how I marketed my business an resulted in a 30% increase in revenue. I highly recommend Linda to anyone wanting to grow their business and learn cutting edge business tools.”

Mardi HughesBoston, MA

“In my experience with Linda, which goes back many years, she knew her field of specialization remarkably well, was great to work with, and exhibited a commitment and work ethic few were able to match. She will be a valuable asset to whomever she helps and works with.”

Andrew ProzesNew York, NY

“Linda has extensive knowledge in a wide variety of management techniques and expertise in multiple professional disciplines, as well as remarkable business acumen. She has the unique ability to envision superior success as the only possible outcome. She is an absolute pleasure to work with and I hope I will have the opportunity to do so again.”

Lisa LarsenToronto, ON

“Linda has been a tremendous help to my Pilates studio, Modern Pilates in Brookline, MA, and also to my growing social media business, Healthy Dose Media. She provides clear insight into problems and most importantly gives me a roadmap to get to the next stage. Whenever I take her advice I immediately get results. Within 24 hours of speaking with Linda I had a client and a stream of revenue I wouldn't have otherwise had!”

Lisa JohnsonBoston, MA

“I worked with Linda as a book coach and consultant and was impressed with the sheer output of work she created, as well as with her incredibly quick mind, breadth of experience, and willingness to help others. I have over the years kept her in mind as someone to call on for her expertise and vision, as well as ability to rise to even extreme challenges. This woman is a true gift!”

Jill NagleSan Francisco, CA

“Linda is a very talented professional, a front-line management consultant and strategic business advisor. Her advice is on target and straight from the trenches. I have monitored her activity for several years, heard several of her radio interviews, and have enjoyed and learned from what I have heard. If you need to grow your company, her advice is always top notch. ”

Mark AmtowerWashington, DC

Their success is the result of having done the work needed to make serious progress in these 12 areas. It simply does not matter how outrageous your crazy-ass dream seems to others. The truth is you can achieve anything you want if you:

  • have a compelling reason,
  • create a compelling vision,
  • are prepared to do the work,
  • get the right help along the way, and
  • use your unique genius.

You should also know …

I’ve done things that worked and things that didn’t in my own business over the last 35+ years. Quite frankly, I’ve learned more from the things that didn’t work than from those that did.

My own successes and failures, diverse client experience, and extensive professional expertise have benefited more than 30,000 people just like you. I’m particularly known for being direct and honest with my clients and for upholding a high standard of professional excellence.

More importantly, I never pretend to know something I don’t and can (and will) refer you to other experts, including my competitors, when needed. Still, sharing what I do know and have learned from experience easily shortens your learning curve quite a bit.

Some of the people I’ve helped in my career are well known — like George Lucas and his company Industrial Light & Magic, Steve Jobs back when he launched his company Next after leaving Apple, and Christopher Reeve in promoting his work through The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation following his own catastrophic injury.

And there are others you see and admire online and offline and many more whose names you wouldn’t likely recognize — Bilaal Rajan, the young global philanthropist for example. He was the youngest person ever to join SMARTSTART (when he was 12) and continues to work on his entrepreneurial dreams at Stanford today. I’ve no doubt he’ll be an instantly-recognized name one day.

These people all have three things in common. Crazy-ass dreams, a willingness to embrace their unique genius, and a passionate commitment to excellence in their work. That’s ALL you need to work with me. If that sounds like you, and you’re ready to explore your potential further, the DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS assessment is a great next step.

My methods tend to be unconventional and some of my ideas might seem off-the-wall. However, they are so effective at getting results, they’ve appeared in Harvard Business Review (twice) and in many other well-known business publications too. But that’s hardly the point! And not at all what you should be focusing on. Your business is about YOU!

Having read this far, you know a little bit about my own story. What I focus on when we work together is helping you create a story for yourself that’s better than mine and the best reflection of you!

What’s most important to any business and business owner is growth. Personal and professional growth. Everyone starts at zero. Everyone. Zero $. Zero clients. Zero visibility. Zero credibility. Zero people listening to them. And anyone can go from zero to hero IF you know how and have the right people helping you.

How I help you accelerate success

We can’t always see our own genius. But when someone else sees something in us and points us in the right direction it can make all the difference to our results. That’s why DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS is one of the best investments you can make in yourself and your business. Here’s how I help you accelerate your success.

STEP 1

First, you complete an in-depth online assessment. There are no wrong answers to the questions, so don’t worry about that. (Your responses are sent to me automatically.)

STEP 2

After reviewing your responses, business and online presence, I research your market and competitors, investigate your options and prepare your Genius Profile Report.

STEP 3

Finally, we have a follow-up call to discuss your genius profile and how to use it in your business, and your best next actions for moving forward. I also answer any questions you have.
SMARTSTART STATS Aug 2018

Knowing more about your unique genius and how and where to use it puts you way ahead of other business owners working without the benefit of this insight. And this information serves you for years to come whether you choose to use it on your own or while working with a business coach.

Just three things stand between your crazy-ass dream and successfully bringing it to life.

1. Knowing Your Unique Genius

2. Knowing What You Want to Achieve

3. Knowing How to Get There

Can you build a stand-out business?

Yes! If you do the work and give yourself permission to succeed. And, to be honest, you have 3 options for building your business …

OPTION #1: You can try to figure it out yourself.

There are a lot of resources available on the web. Some of them can help you; others not so much. Much of the advice available for free (and even for sale) isn’t worth what you pay for it. And sadly, sometimes the advice you pay a lot of money for isn’t worth much either. This method is hit-or-miss and can be dangerously expensive.

OPTION #2: You can buy one of those done-for-you solutions and build your business that way.

And you know what? You might save a little time but you will look ridiculous. You might also find there are some issues with implementing done-for-you solutions that their sellers didn’t tell you about. That can also get real expensive, real quick. Is that really what you want? (I didn’t think so.)

Which leads me to the last option …

OPTION #3: You can build a standout business faster and accelerate your success using your unique genius.

I love helping people step into their own brilliance and reclaim their power. Quite often we simply can’t see past our own limiting beliefs and conditioning. That leaves us mired in self-doubt. But, when we work with our deep genius, instead of ignoring or fighting it, our confidence blooms. Each small success leads to greater success and even more confidence. It’s a win/win for all.

And here come the “What Ifs” …

“But what if I’m not good at anything?”

Everyone is good at something. Everyone has hidden genius. Even Einstein believed that. And he was a pretty smart guy. I was not a great manager in my early days. But someone saw something in me and showed me how to tap into my genius. The rest is history. You can learn new skills and do this too. Anyone can.

“But what if I’m not ready to start my business yet?”

No problem. Once you know what your genius is, you can build a business by design and take advantage of it right from the start, when you are ready jump in. This investment saves you time and money by short-cutting your learning curve, helping you understand all the necessary building blocks needed for creating a successful business, and knowing which of those blocks to tackle first and how.

That’s why I’m excited to introduce you to SMARTSTART’s newest program!

Here’s what you get with DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS

DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS shows you what your genius is, where it’s been hiding, how to put it to work in your business, and how to grow it further. This reduces your risk of failure, helps eliminate stress by making better use of available resources, and increases your pride and joy in yourself, the business you build, and the results you obtain from it.

You particularly benefit from it if you think you’re not good at anything. And also if you think you’re not ready to start your business or that it’s too late for you.

Here’s how it works:

After you purchase DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS, you receive an assessment to complete online with questions covering several different areas of your life and work. You can take as long as you need to think about the questions, but don’t stress over them. There are no wrong answers. When you’re finished, your responses are automatically sent to me for review. (No other person but me sees your answers.)

I map out your genius, analyze your genius-related opportunities, check out your competitors, and research potential courses of action based on what you’ve told me.

Then I schedule a 90-minute follow-up call to talk about your results and my findings and recommendations. (That’s about as much as most people can handle after being blown away by their own awesomeness!) Before this call I prepare and send you your Genius Profile Report (GPR).

The genius profile report (for business owners and entrepreneurs) includes:

  1. a scientific analysis of your personal genius, and
  2. detailed explanations of your personal genius results and how they impact your business.

The leadership profile report (for executives) has 3 additional sections:

  1. a heat map showing where and to what effect you are currently using your unique genius in your business today but, more importantly, where untapped genius is hiding in your business waiting for you to put it to work for better results,
  2. a summary of my analysis of your current situation and your genius-related opportunities, and
  3. recommended best next actions you can take to move your business forward based on your current situation, your competition, and your unique genius.

Every person is born with specific genius. My own Personal Genius Profile  is shown below. (Click it to see a larger image.) Your genius will map differently because it’s unique to you.

Next to it, you’ll see an example of a Business Genius Heatmap  available in the premium version of the report. This business is 5 years old, has solid revenue, client growth, and great products and services on offer. The green areas show where the business owner’s genius is being used to positive effect.

The coloured sections show where untapped genius is hiding — just waiting to be discovered and put to work in this business. Working on the best next actions can potentially 10x this person’s bottom line in less than a year with no unmanageable stress or effort.

Lopeke - Genius Profile
Sample Genius Heat Map

Follow-up Support

You can work on any resulting projects that interest you independently (as Greg Kyde did) or with a good business coach (as others often choose to do).

If you have a follow-up question after your call … you’re just one email away from an answer.

When you purchase DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS you receive 5 business days of additional access via email from the date your Genius Profile Report is sent out. During this period you can send me an email with questions you might have about your genius profile, heat map, business development plan, or to clarify anything discussed on your follow-up call and will receive a personal reply.

Your benefits last a lifetime!

You can do the DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS assessment once and use the results over and over and over again to build any aspect of your business. Using your untapped genius gives you a competitive advantage in every way. For life.

Remember my own story I just shared with you? None of those things would have happened if someone hadn’t seen something in me or taken the time to help me see it for myself. Sometimes I used that genius to advance my career. Other times I used it to create new and successful businesses, products and programs. More recently, I was able to use it to get better results from cognitive rehab than should have been possible given the nature and extent of my catastrophic injuries. Working with my uniqueness has always served me well.

Now imagine how great that would feel, how much it can mean to you if you spend a little time answering the DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS assessment questions and have a private call with a leading expert to talk about the potential of your business dreams …

… and were able to benefit from what you learned for the rest of your entrepreneurial life.

Is there really a better way to invest your time?

Believe me. It feels damn good. I should know. Everything I’ve achieved was built on my unique genius. Once I was shown what it was by those who saw something in me, I never had to be anything else other than who I am. In turn, I have helped thousands of others find and use their unique genius too! Wayne, Judith and Jim even made videos about their experience with SMARTSTART just to help you get a feel for it.

Ask yourself these questions

QUESTION 1
Are you looking to launch, grow or scale your business dreams?

QUESTION 2
Are you going to be selling things potential clients and customers can purchase from others?

QUESTION 3
Are you sitting on a new business idea or personal dream wondering how to make it happen?

If you answered YES to any question, DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS is perfect for you!

Here’s why:

You can’t compete online or offline without being really smart about how you approach your business and market. It’s hard to be seen and even harder to be heard. There’s a lot of competition for attention out there. You need a standout business that rises above the noise to succeed.

Don’t bother quoting all those depressing statistics about the failure rate of new businesses. Those are not business failures, they are business owner failures – and most failures can be prevented. You won’t make rookie mistakes once you know and are using your unique genius.

Life is too short to not pursue your dreams and create an income from your creative ideas. You can make it happen, once you know how to get started. The only questions left are HOW CAN I HELP YOU BE MORE AWESOME? SELL MORE STUFF? KEEP MORE MONEY? LOVE YOUR WORK? and …

When will you DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS?

The earlier you sign up, the sooner you can take full advantage of the DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS assessment. It is a vital component of our business accelerator and advisory programs (Velocity and Executive respectively) but does not obligate you to participate in or purchase them. You’ll have everything you need to move forward independently or with your own business coach (if desired) when you purchase Discover Your Genius separately.

And, having completed Discover Your Genius, you’ll obtain even more benefit from any other program you might have invested in or plan to purchase from others, e.g., 90-Day Year (Todd Herman), B-School (Marie Forleo), Legacy (Lewis Howes), The New Consulting School (Pamela Slim) etc.

FAIR WARNING: SMARTSTART products never go on sale. But I do review and raise our prices each year.

VELOCITY

$ 3,500 - 6,000

Business Accelerator
*pricing includes online assessment

DISCOVER YOUR GENIUSNo obligation to purchase coaching

$ 2,500

Online Assessment & 90-Minute Call

EXECUTIVE

$ 12,500 - 30,000

Business Advisory
*pricing includes online assessment

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What if I'm not ready to start a business yet?

You can still benefit from participating in DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS if starting a business is on your bucket list. Then, when you are ready to rock and roll, you’ll know exactly what to tackle first and why and you’ll be twice as productive!

Does it matter if I sell services and not products, programs, or courses?

No. What you sell does not matter. Any business owner, with any type of business, online or offline, can benefit from DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS. The insights gained serve you for a lifetime. And you can work on your genius-related projects independently or with a business coach afterward.

How much time do I need to dedicate to DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS?

DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS is an online assessment. Some people spend less than an hour or so on the assessment questions, others two or possibly more if they haven’t thought about them before. Most of the questions are radio button answers that can be completed quickly.

I recommend setting aside 1 to 1.5 hours for the follow-up call. And you’ll want to spend some time reading and thinking about your Genius Profile Report. That’s it! It’s the work I do on my end that takes the most time (3 to 5 days per assessment).

Is DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS right for me?

Only you can answer that. DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS was created with two types of people in mind. Those who have crazy-ass dreams and want to achieve them as quickly as possible and those who are serious about building a standout business, rising above the noise and making competition irrelevant.

DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS can help either way. I share everything I’ve ever learned with my SMARTSTARTers. I can only say having my mentors and supporters help me discover my genius has been pivotal to my own business success.

More questions? Want to chat first? eMail me at smartstartcoach [at] gmail [dot] com

3 good reasons to DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS

REASON #1: Because passion for your business is not enough!

Hard work does not guarantee your business success. Having a great product or service does not guarantee your business success. Having access to unlimited capital (if you should be so lucky) does not guarantee your business success. And a steadily growing list of customers does not guarantee your business success.

Your business success requires: self-knowledge, a hungry market, a clear message, irresistible offers, intelligent strategy, proper planning, effective marketing, reliable tools, personal and team productivity, cost-effective systems and efficient processes, dependable products and services, an ongoing supply of happy customers, and well-managed financial performance and profitability.

REASON #2: Because you deserve to be more than another failure statistic!

Lots of small businesses come and, unfortunately, go. According to the Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year, 95% fail within the first five years and 80% of those left fail in the next five years. The #1 reason for failure? Lack of business management experience.

“The problem with most failing businesses is not that their owners don’t know enough about finance, marketing, management, and operations—they don’t, but those things are easy enough to learn—but that they spend their time and energy defending what they think they know.” — Michael Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited

REASON #3: Because when you know better and use your unique genius you do better!

A very wise man, Anthony Greenbank, wrote this in The Book of Survival:

To live through an impossible situation, you don’t need the reflexes of a Grand Prix driver, the muscles of Hercules, or the mind of an Einstein. You simply need to know what to do.

If you’re doing the wrong work, working the wrong way, or working on the wrong things you won’t get the results you want. But if your business is worth working on, if you want it to thrive, if you are ready, willing, and able to make it work, I can help you discover your genius and work differently, with a true understanding, and teach you how to use the appropriate and necessary tools required to succeed.

VELOCITY

$ 3,500 - 6,000

Business Accelerator
*pricing includes online assessment

DISCOVER YOUR GENIUSNo obligation to purchase coaching

$ 2,500

Online Assessment & 90-Minute Call

EXECUTIVE

$ 12,500 - 30,000

Business Advisory
*pricing includes online assessment

Still wondering if DISCOVER YOUR GENIUS is for you?

No one succeeds alone. I didn’t get to the top of my professional game by myself. And you won’t either. We all need (and benefit from having) someone to help us build the critical skills of looking honestly at what’s working and what’s not working while learning how to get better at whatever it is we do.

We need this outside help because we are severely limited by our own frames of reference, hampered by our biased perception, and held back by the experiences we’ve had and beliefs we’ve held on our business journey thus far.

I had (and still work with) many great teachers and mentors on my own business success journey because the learning is never over. It’s always moving you forward. I’m just further along the journey than you are. And now I work hard as an accomplished teacher and mentor myself, giving back to my clients what was so generously shared with me.

As your teacher, business coach or strategic advisor, I help you eliminate guesswork when you are creating new opportunities in business for yourself. My job is to change your random acts and attempts at practice into purposeful, deliberate, and meaningful practice. I am able to do that because I can clearly see what you cannot.

In our work together, you receive business ideas you don’t already have and likely wouldn’t come up with on your own. I’ll share perspectives, experiences, methodologies, resources, models, and solutions you are not yet aware of and cannot see or conceive. Together we solve problems, address challenges, and blaze new trails in ways you can never experience when going it alone.

This work helps you create opportunities to produce results you otherwise might not produce without the help I provide by eliminating your blind spots, and introducing you to new models, strategies, and ways of thinking. And it radically shortens the time it would otherwise take you to figure things out through expensive experimentation that often leads nowhere.

My methods blend process with incremental progress. My approach leverages your unique genius, strengths, current skills and core competencies, and experiences. This program isn’t “one-size-fits-all” work.

Think of me as a catalyst for your best action, a partner who is happy to work behind the scenes, in the shadows of your success. I am the quiet to your loud; the loving, guiding force behind your bold confidence. My real job is to set you straight cheering you on as you get out of your own way.

I love my job. I love my clients. And I love the great work they put out into the world! I’ve been doing this sacred work for a long time now. Quite frankly, there’s a lot to be said for the wisdom that comes only with experience. I’ve learned a lot in my 50 years of working and running a business. Why not take advantage of it?

LAST CHANCE TO START NOW!

VELOCITY

$ 3,500 - 6,000

Business Accelerator
*pricing includes online assessment

DISCOVER YOUR GENIUSNo obligation to purchase coaching

$ 2,500

Online Assessment & 90-Minute Call

EXECUTIVE

$ 12,500 - 30,000

Business Advisory
*pricing includes online assessment