Tag Archives: LEXI


5 Keys to Define Your Niche – with Debra Trappen

If you’ve been around True Life Coaching or LEXI Leadership for any length of time, you’ve likely heard the name Debra Trappen. Debra is a dear friend of Shandel’s and co-produder of the LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit.

As you read in our post last week, our team is helping out with the blogging for a few weeks while Shandel prepares for her upcoming wedding. It’s our way of showing how much we love and support Shandel and John!

Just like Shandel, Debra has a passion for living out her purpose – and for helping others discover their personal brand and then putting it into action! This post is part of her series on Defining Your Niche. Please visit her site for more greatness!

Debra, we thank you for investing in our team in so many ways, and helping us support our dear Shandel as she gets ready to begin her newest adventure!

With thanks,


Here’s Debra…..

“Becoming known for one thing is not hard… It is saying NO to all of the other distractions that is the hard part.”

Too many entrepreneurs and small business owners start out believing they can or should be all things to all people. They believe they are “leaving business on the table” when they focus on a target market.  However, businesses owners taking on this EVERYTHING attitude risk many issues including burnout, exhaustion, confusion, and failure.  By defining a specific niche (a well-defined segment of a larger market), both the business owner and their customers know exactly what to expect.

Because it is difficult to be all things to all people, business owners must craft niches to suit their business needs and resources.  Creating your niche will give your business the greatest chance of success, but where do you start?

Simply put—> DEFINE IT.

Here are 5 key ways to get you on the path to defining your niche:


Get focused… this is who you are going to work with every day.  What type of lifestyle does your target audience live?  How old are they?  What are they passionate about doing, solving, or being?  Rather than choosing a broad category, narrow your target customer down, think about things like: gender, geographical location, married or single?, hobbies, employer or occupation, etc.  When you define your ideal customer you are also defining the language you use, pin pointing the platforms you use to engage and promote on, and allowing yourself to focus in and learn all you can about that specific demographic.  BONUS: All of these help in strengthening your brand as “THE Go To” in the niche.


Ask yourself a few questions to help you choose:

What industries do you know?  What industries do you love?  What industries do you have influence in?  Is there one industry that is the answer to all three questions?  If so, start there!  Remember, it is important to have a passion for what you do. As an entrepreneur, you get to choose – so choose wisely.  You might know a ton about the wine industry and you may have influence in it, but if you don’t get up every single day with an electric attitude to make, taste, and sell more wine… Well, you get the idea!


Many small businesses make a big mistake here, and try to offer every type of service or product they can for their market. Remember, the concept is being known for a specialty.  For instance, saying  “I sell real estate in Seattle” is just too broad.  “I sell bungalows (or condos or multi-unit buildings) in the Capitol Hill area” is specific.  When you state your speciality, people are able to catalogue it and can refer you business much easier.


There are always groups of people who have specific conditions or needs that automatically make it difficult to find service providers.  Maybe a “generalization” has caused your competitors to label a specific generation “not interesting yet”…  When this group of people find out THEY are your specialty, you will have secured clients for life.  If you market well and provide them a platform to share the story of your business, they will also help you build your business with referrals.


There are many ways to find out trends in your niche of choice.  Get rolling with these:

  • Google or Bing IT!  If you want to start selling personal training services, do a quick online search to find out how many others are in this space, in your area.  This quick snapshot will teach you a lot about the industry you are interested in, how others are marketing themselves, and possibly even show a gap in the space.
  • Set up a RSS Feed to keep up on top industry blogs and bloggers.
  • Work the hashtag searches… and LISTEN on social media platforms!  Over a billion people are on Facebook alone, so social can no longer be ignored.  It provides insight into what your target demographics wants and loves – for FREE.  Join a G+ Community or LinkedIn Group…  set up listening lists on Twitter… If your business matches the Instagram platform/demographic – make sure you are searching for top hashtags around your niche – and use them!

Last, but not least:

FORMULATE YOUR NICHE STATEMENT (ooohhhh… you know how I love formulas!)
In a nutshell, a niche statement formula looks like this: niche + problem + solution + promise = success.

Start by writing down these four elements:

  1. Your niche (I work with _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ) 
  2. Their problem (who want/need to _ _ _ _ _ _ _) 
  3. Your solution (If you are ready to or it is time to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ) 
  4. Your promise (I will _ _ _ _ _ _ _ )

Here is an example:

“I work with entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to leverage social media to achieve their goals; (niche) those who know they need a strategy and have no idea where to begin (problem). If you are looking to build your business, find a new job, or build your sphere of influence (solution), I can help you clarify your story, define what social media platforms would be best for you to share it on, identify your target niche, and achieve your goals (promise).”

Are you ready to set your business up for success?

Work through these 5 keys, they will help you get clarity.  

Create your niche statement with the formula to help you share your unique selling position. 

Go out boldly, get your target niche’s attention, and ROCK your vision!

What will YOU do first?

- Debra Trappen

unnamedDebra Trappen is the Chief of Sass, Moxie and Experience of d11 consulting.  She founded the firm to help growth-minded women in business, and companies who want to serve them, SHINE online by firing up their personal and business brands – along with their attitudes.  If you want to start a business, attract more ideal clients, build influence, or amplify your voice – but have no idea where to start, Debra can help.  Get ready to: clarify your values, purpose and niche; define what social media platforms are best for you; and ACHIEVE your goals… All with lots of tech tips, oodles of moxie, and tons of fun along the journey.

Learn more about her purpose, experience her sharing style, and connect with her on social channels: d11consulting.com.  Sign up to have her “FIRE UP” messages delivered to your inbox: d11consulting.com/signup


Acclaimed Photography

Why Women Struggle with Confidence and Courage

Women leaders have unique skills and abilities that allow them to drive results, lead high performing teams and find meaning in their work. Yet they often feel isolated with the juggling of their conflicting priorities. The pressure can often take a toll on one’s confidence and courage. That is why we want to inspire them to be FEARLESS! Women you have what it takes! You can find your passion, live with purpose and use your superpower to leave an impact on the next generation.

Slide11My passion is to equip leaders to get to their next level. For the last 6 years, I have invested my give-back energy into the LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit. LEXI’s mission is to connect, equip and mentor women in their professional, personal and community endeavors.

May 2nd was the 6th annual LEXI summit in Seattle and we are having our next live summit in Reno on October 24, 2014.  HOWEVER – DRUM ROLL – we are doing a pre-event on May 23rd in Reno and all women are invited to attend. Here is the Facebook event page – please come.

Below is a recap from LEXI speaker, co-producer, and personal branding diva, Debra Trappen, as it was originally published on the d11 blog here.

Here’s Debra…

2014-05-02 08.29.21-1

Friday, May 2nd, I participated in, and co-produced, a women’s leadership summit called LEXI.  LEXI stands for Leaders Engaged in the eXchange of Ideas.

I am often asked “What do you talk about and hear at those women’s events?”.  This question always makes me smile and reflect on all of the fantastic moments experienced over the years.  #LEXI14 was no exception… there were ooooodles of amazing tips, trick, and truths shared throughout the day, by passionate, powerful, fearlessly vulnerable women in leadership.  So, I thought I would put together a recap blog post to share some of my favorite shares/quotes of the day, from each LEXI woman – and maybe dispel a myth or two along the way.

2014-05-02 08.49.04-1The morning was kicked off by the summit’s founder and President of True Life Coaching, Shandel Slaten.  Her keynote talk was entitled: The Quest for Valor

Some of my favorite takeaways:

  • “85% of what we worry about will never actually happen!”
  • “What risk would you take today if you were fearless?”
  • “Being fearless is not the absence of fear, it’s being brave in spite of it!”
  • “Being vulnerable is not a weakness, it’s a strength.”

Erica Coogan (with Moss Adams) shared her talk titled: Be A Fearless Superhero

A few quotes from her session:

  • “Don’t forget to give YOURSELF grace and latitude.”
  • “Own your fear and use it as ammunition to drive yourself forward.”
  • “When women band together – we move mountains.”

If you EMBRACE your authentic self…. YouMy talk was next… “Fire Up Your Personal Brand… with a sprinkle of FEARLESSNESS.”

A few fun takeaways :

  • “A key to being FEARLESS is knowing yourself. Be sure to define your purpose, passions & values.”
  • “Stop asking people what they do for a living. Start asking what they do for fun, and really connect.”
  • (and my personal favorite) - “If you embrace your authentic self, you have no competition.”

2014-05-02 11.25.38

Anne Marie Faiola (founder of Brambleberry) shared her story during her session entitled: Fortune Favors the Brave

  • “Never let your fear decide your fate.”
  • “Whatever transition you’re hoping to make, you need to communicate it to others.” 

..she also shared a super cute visual on OPTIMISM–>

2014-05-02 11.54.56-2

Mary Beth King‘s (of True Life Coaching) talk title: Create the Life You Want to Live
She took us through a fantastic visualization related to our “LIFE WHEEL”… and creating S.M.A.R.T. goals!  Top tidbits:

  • “What steps do you need to take today, this week, and this year to meet your life goals?”
  • “What would it feel like if you had 10′s inside your wheel?”
  • “Success is more likely to happen when we TELL SOMEONE ELSE to help keep us accountable.”

Kim Crumpler Peterson (owner of Uniquely Savvy) knocked it out of the park with an amazing, raw personal testimonial entitled: From Fear to Freedom: Challenging the Lies, Championing the Truth

  • “If you shrink back and play small, you rob your team of your unique contributions! Lead with your strengths.”
  • “You were born with a purpose! You are savvy. You are unique. You are worthy.”
  • “We have an ongoing story in our minds. A lot of it is not true. What lies are you believing? Challenge those lies.”


Theresa Fette (CEO of Provident Trust Group) was up next with her talk:
“I Am Fearless Because I Have Been Afraid”

  • “To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it will look like destruction.”
  • “Spend far less time worrying about others’ expectations of you.”
  • “Consider and embrace the worst case scenario.”


Living Takes Learning: Becoming a True Life Long Learner was the final talk of the day from the magnificent Jeanette K. Winters (Corporate Talent Management Executive)!

  • “How do you achieve success? Go with your gut — it’s attached to your brain!” 
  • “Our brains are wired to produce negative messages… we have to LEARN to fight them.”
  • “NO is a complete sentence.” :)

My mantra from the day was simple.  Feel free to read it out loud and declare it for yourself too:

“I will tap into my personal bravery to become the woman/man of valor I am meant to be!”



(Oh, and you truly are vulnerable if you tell a room of 150 women you are wearing SPANX… from the stage!)


Why Do We Worry about Things that Won’t Happen?

Fear, worry, anxiety. Emotions the most successful leaders in the world face every day.

Do they serve any good purpose?

Wired to Worry

Fear is not bad in and of itself. It is a survival emotion (if you will) that ignites our amygdala to prepare our body for a fight or flight response to impending danger. The problem is our body doesn’t know if the threat is real or perceived. Thus, the brain is predisposed to find the negative (the threat) and alert us.

There may be 99 possibilities for greatness — but our brain will fixate on the 1 potential threat.

Thus, we must be disciplined to learn what is a real threat and take action, and let the other 85% of what will NEVER actually happen stop robbing us of our life, our health, and our joy.

What Are the Odds?

I’m not just making up these numbers. In the mid-1990s, researchers Drs. Adrian Matthews and Gerald Wells found that 85% of what we worry about will never actually happen. Furthermore, of the remaining 15%, we effectively handle the situation effectively 79% of the time!

Basically, for a lousy 3% probability, we allow fear and worry to rob our joy, steal our creativity and compromise our purpose.

You wouldn’t make a business decision based on 3% likelihood, would you? Today, join me in choosing to face whatever MIGHT happen with courage and confidence!

Invest in your women

Oh and one more thing – This entire epidemic of fear is the reason our theme to the 6th Annual LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit is FEARLESS. Send your women to it – seriously you need to invest in the women in your life in this area of being courageous and bold in all areas. It is Friday, May 2nd, and here is a special link for my personal discount. SEND YOUR WOMEN!

Let me know your thoughts below.

Fearlessly Your Coach,



Playing Nicely on Social Media Pays Off

When Jacqueline Jensen relocated her brand new business to Las Vegas, she was able to connect with a thriving start-up community by playing nicely with other entrepreneurs … on Twitter. In her LEXI 7-on-7 talk, Jacqueline shares some tips on how to leverage Twitter to connect with your community.

I met Jackie while visiting the downtown project in Las Vegas.

There was something special about her that I wanted to get out to the world. You will be hearing more about Jackie in the months and years to come that’s for sure! Her company Ticket Cake was an incredible solution for LEXI registrations and I look forward to using them at our next event.

In her talk, she offers tips that will challenge you to use twitter at a new level. #sherocks

When using Twitter to Connect:

  1. Have a personal identity on Twitter – not just business.
  2. Seek out community hashtags that are relevant to you.
  3. Grow a Twitter list of community leaders you admire.
  4. Observe, jump into the conversation, and then meet in real life.
  5. Use Twitter to connect before visiting a new city or community.
Jacqueline is a Founder and the COO of TicketCake.com, a natural born doer, and an enthusiastic member of the #VegasTech community. She has been a relationship builder, problem solver, social marketer, project manager, and finance nerd. She was on the path to becoming a standout in the business banking world, but left to take a shot at following her own entrepreneurial ambitions. Today, she is inspired by serendipity and other entrepreneurs she meets.

See slides from this talk here.

I am excited to announce that Jacqueline will be joining us for the very first LEXI Las Vegas! Hope you will join us!

Your Coach,




LMK what you think twitter.com/shandel

Stay connected to LEXI:

Get Your Mojo Back

Reconnecting with Your Authentic Essence From the Inside-Out


Have you ever gotten so caught up in life – climbing the corporate ladder, runnin’ as parent on the go, or following all the trends in fashion magazines that you find yourself disconnected from the essence of who you are? Perhaps you find that life’s unexpected challenges have you out of touch with your true self – living on auto pilot and out of touch. Maybe you’ve been striving to be something that you thought you were supposed to be and now that you’re not working, you’ve lost confidence in who you are and what you’re really about?

If you’ve ever said, “I just don’t know who I am anymore” or “I don’t even feel comfortable or confident in my own skin” you may have lost your MOJO!

Kim Crumpler believes that your MOJO, your magic or secret sauce, is largely reflective of your authentic confidence based on your true essence and is enhanced by aligning your personal truths with your personal statement of style …But, how can you develop this when your authentic self is disconnected somewhere deep inside? Continue reading

Creating the Life You Desire

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day” … “If only there were two of me” … Have you ever stopped to think how many people would it actually take to live your life? In the case of True Life Coach, Mary Beth King’s clients, the answer was three – THREE people to do all that there was to be done. Can you relate? Continue reading

A Day To Remember – LEXI Women's Leadership Summit

LEXI Sold Out Crowd

Connect ~ Create ~ Innovate

was the theme of the 4th Annual LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit. With a sold out crowd of over 100 of Seattle’s top female leaders in the room and over 370 watching the live stream the energy and vibe was electric from beginning to end.

The Mission

Leaders Engage to eXchange Ideas is what LEXI stands for and the mission is to connect, equip and mentor women in both their personal and professional lives.

We had a new format this year that included a total of 12 dynamic speakers. Each woman was amazing as she offered her wisdom and experience to the other leaders in the room.

I had the honor of kicking off the morning with the challenge for each woman to connect with her purpose and write down one intention she had for the day to take her one step closer to its fulfillment. Next we did an exercise and answered the question, “What would you do if you were not scared?” Great answers fueled more passion.

Our opening keynote speaker was Rebecca Pomering, CEO of  Moss Adams Wealth Advisors and Co-founder of Influence Her. Her wisdom and experience was so inspiring that I had one woman come up to me at the break and said, “If I get nothing else out of today that speech was worth it.”  Here is a snapshot of what she shared.

Continue reading

The Cost Of Living Your Passion

I just got confirmation that tomorrow we are streaming our 4th Annual LEXI Women’s Leadership Summit live online.

LEXI stands for Leaders Engage to eXchange Ideas. Our mission is to connect, equip and mentor women in both their professional and personal lives. We have 12 speakers and over 100 women leaders ready to exchange ideas and grow to their next level. The fact that we sold out and able to offer the live stream is amazing to me mainly because of all the obstacles we encountered along the way.

The Cost of Passion

I woke up inspired to share with you about passion and the cost of living a life with purpose. Everyone wants to know their purpose. This becomes more and more clear to me everyday as I work with leaders across the United States. In the last 10 days, I worked with 4 EO chapters. The common theme when you get down to the vulnerable space is purpose, legacy, and passion. What if you don’t know it? What does it take to find it? What does one do to define it?

What I want to discuss is the price tag to live it.

My purpose is to help others live their purpose. It is why I wrote Clarity: Focusing on What Matters and frankly why I write this newsletter. It is why I get up out of bed. It is why I am passionate about offering myself to everyone I can to help them along the path to that authentic truth and abundant life. The joy of connecting with people and then watching them catch glimpses of the light coming on is unbelievable.

However, there is also great pain in the process because you have to get real and peeling those layers back causes people to run and short-cut their journey. Others commit to the process, but the progress can be slow as the proverbial two steps forward, one step back is a reality.

Obstacles Are Not Stop Signs

With LEXI, I hit so many obstacles that I considered canceling it at least a dozen times. For one month, we experienced every imaginable problem there could be, including a location change just 10 days before the event! Obstacle after obstacle had to be overcome and I am so busy with my real job of running my company that it has been 30 days of living on fumes. WHY?

EO Reno Tahoe MegaMinder Group Gets Award

Why not just cancel it? Because I am passionate about it. I believe in it. I feel like I must do it to help people become leaders of purpose. When you believe in something strongly, you can’t see obstacles as stop signs you must believe in the end game. Gratefully, I had a partner in this endeavor, Debra Trappen, who has the same passion and complimentary gifts who was able to step in when I was weak. I couldn’t have made it through those weeks without her.

Who Shares Your Passion?

Living your purpose results in living with passion. What I find is my purpose has not changed but what I am passionate about during a certain season of life does. In this season, who shares your passion? It is truly necessary to have partners that share what you are passionate about to carry you through the tough times.

Here is the truth…

There will always be tough times. Pursuing your passion and what matters most will always come with a cost. There is a price to pay. Because nothing that matters comes easy. Sure it might be simple, but it simply isn’t easy. Overcoming adversity is a requirement. Sometimes we fare better than other times. However, there is no better reward in all the world than knowing you are making a difference in the life of another. What I have found is that the more clarity I have, the more passionate I get. Therefore, the bigger the assignment thus the higher the price. It is how we build character and prepare for the next big thing. 

Saturday is my next big thing!

LEXI is something I would like to do in other cities. I have vision for it to be “TED‘s Girlfriend” if you will. We will have video content available for all leaders and this group of women leaders on Saturday will trail blaze the path. Please join us online at 8:30am PDT sharp and/or join in via the twitter hashtag #LEXI13.  If you want to take the EQ assessment which I will be debriefing at 1:00pm PDT, then email me now and we will get you set up for a discounted fee.

Please live your passion! Please pay the price! It’s worth every penny!

The world needs your leadership – so LET’S DO THIS!

Your Coach, 

Why I'm at #TED2013? I want to introduce him to his girlfriend #LEXI13

Bono’s Tuesday’s Ted Talk

Hello from California where I am attending TED 2013. I am surrounded by fascinating people who want to make a difference in their sphere of influence from over 70 countries around the world. “Why do you come each year to TED Active?” I asked my new friend DAN, a CEO from Silicon Valley?  Without skipping a beat he said, “Every year I leave a better leader.”

Why am I here? 

The Top Five Reasons I am at TED

#5  I want to host a TEDx and have a huge entrepreneurial vision for its success.

#4  A bucket list completion

#3  Meet fascinating and engaged people with big vision and purpose

#2  Its sunny in Palm Springs with flowers everywhere

#1 REASON is LEXI … TED‘s new girlfriend

LEXI stands for Leaders Engage to eXchange Ideas.  

LEXI is the Women’s Leadership Summit I have conducted for 4 years and this year it is March 23rd at Starbucks HQ in SODO. This year we are going to a TED style in that we will have a variety of learning opportunities. Including 2 keynotes, 3 fifteen minute talks, 5 speakers for 5 minutes and then small group lunch with one of the speakers leading the conversation. 

Each woman will take the TTI Emotional Quotient and after lunch I will be using the data to help women take their leadership to the next level. Check out Lexileadership.com for the top 5 take aways.

WHY LEXI IS FOR YOU: Continue reading

10 Days of Growth – 2 down 8 to go!

Howdy from AZ!

I am in Phoenix for two days of certification in a new strategic growth model. It is an incredible new tool and I can’t wait to start using it with my clients. Tomorrow the class will use our new skills and knowledge to analyze the growth plan for True Life Coaching and my own leadership style and modalities. 

Then Sunday morning I jump in my rented convertible and drive across the desert to attend TED Active in Palm Springs. For one week, I am spending my vacation with 1000 other avid learners from all over the world to hear over 50 Ted Talks.

My intention is to stretch my mind and creatively grow in new areas I have not yet discovered I need growth.

When TED is over I am putting the top down on the black mustang and head North on Interstate 5 to spend  the last 2 days of my journey in San Francisco. After all this head knowledge, I will grow further by sheer fun and relaxation. I really want to go to Alcatraz at night – scary! 

What I wonder is where will I truly grow the most?

  • Will it be from 2 full days of new brain knowledge?

  • Will it be 6 days of experience knowledge?

  • Will it be 2 days of processing all the knowledge?

I will be off email but will be on twitter and facebook posting thoughts from TED if you want to follow. Oh and while I am away I would appreciate if you would help me grow the awareness of LEXI. LEXI is new name for the 4th Annual Women’s Leadership Summit on March 23rd at Starbucks. It would be delightful if you would spred the love via twitter and like us on facebook or invite your friends via the website. THANK YOU!

Where will you grow in the next 10 days? Please share below.

Your Coach,