Monday, December 31, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.31.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"All glory comes from daring to begin."

- Eugene F. Ware

Friday, December 28, 2012

How Not to Let Work Take Over Your Life



I'm sure you've heard (or maybe even live) the classic stereotype of a successful entrepreneur: He or she works hard, around the clock, until they reach success. While it's true that you have to be dedicated to your business to avoid failure, Zach Cutler, CEO of The Cutler Group, says that "getting consumed by your work isn't good for you or your business. Working too hard can be unhealthy, and your work will suffer as a result."

That means you have to figure out a way to balance your business/work and your life. Here are five steps Cutler shares to do just that:

  1. Maintain your boundaries. You must have a clearly defined boundary between your work and personal life. This goes for your daily routine and making time for yourself on the weekend. For instance, you could close your computer and leave your office at 6:00 every evening or choose not to work once your family gets home. When you separate work time from home time, you'll better associate your office with being productive and your home with rest and relaxation.
  2. Eat healthier. Junk food and fast food may seem like a quick fix to hunger since you can just grab something to go, wolf it down and be back to work quickly. However, a constant diet of junk is bad for your health and your productivity. According to some studies, eating balanced meals help increase concentration, and the chemicals found in foods like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower improve memory and retention. Just making a few small changes to your diet, like eating brown rice instead of white rice or wheat bread instead of white can give you more energy and get you ready to tackle your projects. 


For three more tips, check out my source here.

[Photo Credit]

Monday, December 24, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.24.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life."

- Jack Canfield

Friday, December 21, 2012

7 Ideas for Bootstrapping Your Business

By Ali Brown



Of the hundreds of business owners I've worked with personally over the years, I see many of them get carried away with the "image" of entrepreneurship. They want the big team, the latest software, new computers, a pretty office and the like right off the bat. And many of them tell me they truly think they NEED them in order to make it.

Well, as someone who started her own business with less than $20 in my bank account, I can tell you, it's simply not true. In fact, I'd say it's a sabotaging thought that puts even more hurdles between you and success. Because let's face it, when you're first starting out, that's what those extra expense are.

So, if you're on a tight budget (and who isn't when they get started solo) then you need to, what we call, "BOOTSTRAP" your business. To "bootstrap" your business means to start on a small budget and use the revenues to reinvest in your company. In other words, it's following the philosophy that you don't spend the money before you make the money. It's a sensible way to make your dream of entrepreneurship a concrete reality, complete with an assistant, a sunny office, etc. : )

So, let's take a look at some easy ways you can do this...

1. Save on Rent. You'll save hundreds of dollars right up front by choosing to work from home. Just make sure you create a delegated workspace so you can be productive. Start with an old kitchen table if you must, like I did. But if you can, get a decent desk and chair.

If you don't do your best working from home, then set up in a corner at a local coffee shop. (Our Platinum head coach of the Millionaire Protege Club -- James Roche -- practically lives at Starbucks!). Or try your community library. Both of these options typically offer free or paid WiFi too. (Just make your phone calls outside, so you don't bother the other patrons. (And get the evil eye from the cranky old librarian. There's always one).

2. Don't Start Broke. Many people simply cannot focus without a steady paycheck. They have a vision of entrepreneurship, quit their job and spend so much time worrying about how they will survive, that it dampens their productivity and their business never makes it off the ground. So if you know you'd rather not completely uproot your life, then stay at your current gig and work on your business idea part time until you get a few clients, have saved enough to make a prototype of your product, etc. When I quit my full-time job, I did take a part-time job as a copy editor at an online news company. It was just 10 hours a week, and I didn't love it, but it covered the rent.
   
If you already left your gig, then focus on projects that will pay you the fastest and are the easiest to do. This will bring in money quickly and support your longer-term projects. (If you need some ideas, check out my 21 Cash Flow Strategies CD for solving a short-term cash crunch).

3. Think about your "ROI." This is your "Return on Investment," and when you're bootstrapping, you need to think about these three letters every time you make a purchase. Every business expense you make should somehow tie into your bottom line. So, for example, if you want the hot new smart phone and you're a few steps away from your landline most of the day, it's probably not worth the expense. But, if you travel a lot or are on the road throughout the day, it could help you be more responsive to clients and will likely bring you a good ROI.

4. Find Affordable Help. These days, it's easy to find quality workers online, from freelance virtual assistants to graphic designers. Hiring contract workers will save you a ton because you don't have to get involved with the complexities of hiring a full-time employee, setting up benefits, salary, setting up their workstations, etc. And it lets you hire help on an as-needed basis, which might be all you need when you're just starting out. Try www.assistu.com or www.craigslist.org to get started.

5. Barter. A really fun way to put your skills to use is to trade your services/products in exchange for others. A copywriter could write web copy for a graphic designer's online portfolio in exchange for a basic website. I know of massage therapists who barter free massages in exchange for haircuts at trendy salons. The opportunities are endless with this one! Just make sure you are working out an even deal. Most business barters I see end up with someone feeling they got the short end of the stick, and that's not fun.

6. Work Social Media. With Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can quickly get the word out about your business without spending a dime. It might take hours a week, but it's an ROI that will pay you back if executed properly. (If you need a step-by-step guide on how to use social media profitably, check out my digital course "Social Media Bootcamp" and learn how to use the top 10 free online tools to gain new clients fast).

7. Get to Know Your Finances. Keep a solid eye on your income and outflows, using a simple accounting program and online business banking. Track your projects with invoices, so you can follow up when necessary to get paid for the work you've done.

Another advantage to being truly aware of the money you have is that you can start to find "hidden" money and decide if you want to use it to invest in your business  Many people use savings, stock, home equity or retirement accounts to fund a few startup business costs. The more interested you get in your net worth now, the more likely you'll be able to make it work for you.

Millionaire entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD "Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women" at www.AliBrown.com.

[Photo Credit]

Monday, December 17, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.17.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"The secret of success in life is for man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes."

- Benjamin Disraeli

Monday, December 10, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.10.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"The first principle of success is desire -- knowing what you want. Desire is the planting of your seed."

- Robert Collier

Friday, December 7, 2012

Self-Defense for the Slasher Lifestyle

By Leslie Forman



Do you ever find yourself on a client call, while simultaneously organizing basketball practice, brainstorming a blog post and daydreamng about lunch? You might be a slasher in need of some serious self-defense.

The lifestyle of a slasher -- a term popularized by Marci Alboher in her book One Person/Multiple Careers -- can be invigorating. As a guest lecturer/researcher/translator/web designer/writer, I love playing many roles and connecting with people from many industries and countries.

But it can also be stressful. When you work with people who have committed a larger part of their own "pie" to a certain task, sometimes they demand more than you have to give. Deadlines can overlap. Weekends can disappear. And the slashes that let you use your diverse skills and interests can become slashes that slice into your sanity, stability and mental health.

The word "ninja" gets used in a lot of discussions about working independently -- and it makes complete sense. To successfully sustain a slasher lifestyle, you must take self-defense seriously, just like a martial arts pro. But here, self-defense doesn't mean preparing for physical attacks, it means building and maintaining a strong core, to give you the agility and flexibility to rise to the slasher challenge.

Give these slasher self-defense techniques a try:
Create a day-righting ritual. As someone who might work on several projects in one day, how do you start your morning on the right foot?

Try "day-righting," a term coined by Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone. He says it's "The 15-Minute Secret for Individual Effectiveness:"

Almost all of you, I'm willing to bet, have a "morning ritual." But how many of you have created one by design? This is so important for individual effectiveness, for everyone but especially for entrepreneurs who work independently or at home. 
I first became aware of this idea when interviewing a pair of salesmen for Who's Got Your Back. Together, they did an early morning gym session followed by a brainstorm, a process they called "day-righting." After a month of this routine, the team told me they saw dramatic improvements in their business and their lives.

Ferrazzi goes on to suggest exercise, journaling, meditation and breathing as day-righting options.

My day-righting ritual has consisted of coffee and newspaper reading with my partner, followed by a quick gym workout, a hearty home-cooked breakfast, and then going into the office to start the workday. In the days when I've followed at least part of this ritual, I've been able to balance my slashes. The days when I've skipped the newspaper, workout and breakfast to immediately sit down in front of my computer, a few hours later I realize that my neck is sore and I've been clicking around on the computer without getting much done.

Be conscious of stressors in your environment. Is your office filled with the sounds of colleagues talking on the phone, other people's music or buses and honking outside? Even low-level noise has a subtle but insidious effect on our health and well-being. The best solutions can be the simplest: earplugs, headphones, and if possible, choosing a quieter place to work.

Do one thing at a time. If you're a surgeon/violinist, you obviously cannot pursue both slashes at the same time (at least not if you want to have any success at either!). But if you're an event coordinator/editor, the distinction between might be less obvious.

When your slashes involve the same tools, you might find yourself trying to reserve a room and edit a blog post at the same time, perhaps while also reading the news and chatting with a friend. This makes each task take longer, and you're more likely to make mistakes.

There are dozens of tools to help. For writing, I like OmmWriter, Microsoft Word's Full Screen mode and Gmail pop-outs, which let me write an email without having to look at all my other emails or all my friends who might want to chat.

Say no. The main reason to pursue a slasher lifestyle is to do what you love. But if you're overwhelmed with commitments, it's time to scale back. Once a week or so, perhaps as part of your day-righting ritual, make a list of your priorities and consider whether the way you have been spending your time fits with those priorities. There will always be more events and projects that you can possibly commit yourself to. Learning to say no is perhaps the most important self-defense tactic of all.

What about you? What self-defense tactics work best for your slasher lifestyle?

Leslie Forman is entrepreneur connecting Chile, China and California. She blogs at Beyond Chile's Single Story.

Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work -- this isn't your parents' career advice blog. Be Brazen. 

[Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos]

Monday, December 3, 2012

Motivational Monday - 12.3.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure."

- Mary Kay Ash

Friday, November 30, 2012

7 Amazing Zig Ziglar Quotes


Known as "The Master of Motivation," Zig Ziglar (who passed away on November 27, 2012) has been described as "One of America's icons," "the salesman's salesman" and "A legacy that will forever impact our history." He helped people achieve long-term balanced success based on his philosophy of character, attitude and skills and impacted more than a quarter billion people (from zigziglar.com).

Check out seven amazing and motivational quotes from this great man:

  1. "Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days."
  2. "When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there."
  3. "You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want."
  4. "Attitude, no Aptitude, determines Altitude."
  5. "What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."
  6. "A goal properly set is halfway reached."
  7. "Put all excuses aside and remember this: YOU are capable."

Stay motivated! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Motivational Monday - 11.26.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination and dedication. Remember, all things are possible for those who believe."

- Gail Devers

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Commit Brand Suicide

By Sean D'Souza


A graphic designer spoke to me last week. His graphic design firm -- let's call it XYZ Design -- was numero uno in designing labels for a large wine company. Let's call that ABC Wines. Now ABC Wines had some really super wines. They loved the incomparable graphic design on XYZ design and continued to use them for several of their major brands. This one client alone generated tons of work and income for XYZ design right through the year.

Then It Happened...
ABC Wines sold out to another wine company. This new wine company had its own in-house graphic designers. That effectively meant XYZ Design's income and work flow were severely hit, causing them to scramble for new clients to fill the gap.

"If only I had done what you said," said the owner of XYZ Design, "and not line extended into web design and other forms of graphic design and communication, I would have gone down the gurgler too."

Not true.

Line extension doesn't mean you just run one business or have one product.

No, it doesn't mean that at all.

Multi-tasking existed long before the advent of computers, and the more skills you have, the better off you are in today's world. However, you have to name each 'twin' differently to give it a very distinct identity. When you do that, your client recognises the differences and chooses that 'twin' for its own individual personality and character.

How Do You Line Extend Without Line Extending
In the case of XYZ Design, it would have to work in this manner. To all wine companies, they would enter the door as a 'wine label design Specialist.' To every wine company in the country and overseas, they would be known, not as XYZ design but more so, as XYZ Wine Design Specialists.'

This would give the wine companies a specialist to deal with. It would help XYZ Wine Design specialists to build their reputation in the wine industry to a point where if any wine company decided to design a label, XYZ Design would be one of the main contenders.

Now, wine companies don't do just labels. They do brochures, leaflets, annual reports, websites and tons of other stuff. Your question would be, how can I afford to lose out on that market?

Why You Never Lose Out On The Rest Of The Stuff
It's called backdoor entry. Everyone (including your competition) is banging on the front door, trying to get in. You, on the other hand, quietly slip in through the backdoor, pick up your goodies and slip out.

This is how it works in practice. If you do really good work designing wine labels, it's almost inevitable that clients will ask you if you can design other associated material. That's when you introduce your other company, "JKL Graphic Design" and "PQR Web Design." Same company, different positioning and certainly different brand names. What this does, is it helps clients compartmentalize their thinking. They now think you have specialist groups working on specialist projects taking extra special attention.

This Does Two Things...
1) It helps each of your businesses take on a 'character' of its own without affecting the other, much like Air New Zealand is premium and Freedom Air is budget.The public knows they're one company but still compartmentalizes them into two. You can change the character of each company and help it boil down to the smallest possible niche, making you an expert in the category.
2) The client sees your multiple brands as different brands. When they need web design services, or when they need to recommend them, they call the web design experts. And so on with graphic design and wine labels or just about anything that you are handling.

Everyone Loves A Specialist
Would you allow a GP to work on your triple bypass? OR would you prefer a heart specialist? Even better, a doctor who does only triple bypass surgery? If you feel the difference, so does your client and to ignore this basic human instinct is to do so at your own risk.

How It Works Not Just In Business But In The Workplace Too
If you're working in a job, the same rule applies. Be known as a genius for something. Know how several things work. But branding yourself in one skill makes you the expert. Every time the company has a fire in that section, you will be known for your fire-fighting skills.

On an ordinary basis, most employees are not known for any particular skill and wonder why they are on top of the redundancy list. Bosses don't know what you do and why you're special because you haven't been doing the 'branding bit.' It's better to be a specialist than the 'safe unknown.'

As Dire Straits sang in one of their songs, "Sitting on the fence is a dangerous course: You could get a bullet from the peace keeping force."

Funny (But True) Phrases When You Forget To Obey The Rules
Jack of all trades, master of none. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. And the best one of all: Keep it simple, stupid!

Keep putting these principles into action, and you will see a marked improvement in your business.

Copyright 2001-2001 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D'Souza

Wouldn't you love to stumble upon a secret library of small business ideas? Find simple, yet electrifying ideas, on website strategy, marketing strategies, copywriting, public speaking, article marketing, sales conversation, psychological tactics and branding? Head down to www.psychotactics.com today and judge for yourself.

Photo Credit: ebusinesspress.net

Monday, November 19, 2012

Motivational Monday - 11.19.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Start believing today that things are going to change for the better. Your best days are still out in front of you."

- Joel Osteen

Friday, November 16, 2012

Go the Extra Mile For Greater Success

By Jack Canfield


If you want to really excel in business, school and life, go the extra mile. Give the people around you -- your customers, your team, your family -- more than they expect, and you'll be handsomely rewarded with loyalty, referrals, opportunity and money.

Successful people go the extra mile -- and they stand out as a result. They get the promotions and the loyal customers. They grow their businesses twice as fast and attract the best employees. The receive financial rewards and job security. Best of all, they go home at night feeling satisfied and bursting with self-confidence.

Don't Focus on WIIFM
In Marketing 101, you learn that customers are always thinking "What's In It For Me?" Although this might be common thinking, it's the kiss of death when it comes to success.

If you want to excel, stop focusing on what's in it for you. Don't worry about whether it's fair to give more when you're not being compensated or recognized for it. Don't adopt the "it's not my job" mentality. This type of attitude shows that you're focused on yourself, but you'll see bigger results more quickly if you make other people the focus of your attention.

Going the extra mile shows that you pay attention to detail, that you consider all the small things that really make a business successful, that you care about your image and that you belong with all the other people who work hard to achieve. You will attract new business and new opportunities.

4 Questions to Ask
Here are four simple questions that can help you evaluate how well you're putting this principle into play in your life:

  1. What do most people expect? To know how to exceed expectations, you first have to know what expectations are. What level of service do customers expect? What do your vendors want? How about your employees or mastermind partners? Look at every important relationship you have, and discover what the minimum expectations are. 
  2. Take a candid look at your performance. Do you exceed expectations? Do you surprise people with more than they were expecting from you? Do you look for ways that you could be of more service or for projects that you could help out on? Or are you skating by, meeting expectations and providing average value?
  3. How are you willing to go the extra mile? What kind of extra service are you willing to provide in order to stand out from the rest? If you aren't 100 percent willing to deliver service above and beyond expectations, why not?
  4. What can you do to exceed expectations? What added service would your customers love, but don't expect? How could you better serve your boss and company? How could you provide more value to your students? When Mike Foster ran a computer store, he never let anyone walk out of the store without a box of components. He delivered the computer, printer, modem and other components. He then spent two hours setting up the system and training the customer how to use it. He wildly exceeded customer expectations, and his store dominated his local industry as a result.

Hard Workers Become Success Stories
Listen to any success story and you will hear of someone who worked exceptionally hard to get what they wanted. You'll learn how they put in the extra time, did what wasn't part of their job description and over-delivered on what was asked of them. You'll hear how they stuck at it until they broke through and usually, you'll hear how it only took them a couple of years to do it.

What have you been doing for the past couple of years? The same thing? How quickly have you advanced? How quickly has time gone by? Think of what you could accomplish if you made it a habit to exceed everyone's expectations. Imagine what doors could be open to you if you decided to be of better service and value.

Be willing to treat everyone like you'd treat your dearest friend. Don't skimp on service. Don't be mediocre or run of the mill. Show people what you are capable of. Show them that you care about your image and reputation. When it comes to success, the people who are willing to go the extra mile get there that much faster!

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul(c) and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

[Photo Credit]

Monday, November 12, 2012

Motivational Monday - 11.12.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"If you'll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives."

- Vince Lombardi

Friday, November 9, 2012

7 Quotes to Inspire Happiness



This week, November 8-14 is Pursuit of Happiness Week! According to the U.S.'s Declaration of Independence, we are endowed with certain inalienable rights: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Since being happy is a choice you make, here are a few quotes to inspire you to do so!

1. "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

2. "Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama XIV

3. "The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts." - Marcus Aurelius

4. "The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the best out of everything that comes their way." - Unknown

5. "Happy people have two things in common. They know exactly what they want and they feel they're moving toward getting it. That's what makes life feel good: when it has direction, when you are heading straight for what you love." - Barbara Sher

6. "Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances." - Martha Washington


Monday, November 5, 2012

Motivational Monday - 11.5.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

- Mary Anne Radmacher

Friday, November 2, 2012

5 Tweet Formulas to Engage Your Clients and Customers

By Ali Brown

Every day, Twitter is abuzz with clever comments from the likes of everyone from Rihanna to Martha Stewart to Seth Godin. It's an equal playing field where people are free to share and discuss any topic under the sun. And, with 140 million users, it's a great way for entrepreneurs to get known and connect with potential customers.

But, many business owners fall into the trap of using Twitter as a soapbox, rather than a tool for conversation. Below are five Tweet formulas to try that will engage your clients and customers.

Tweet Formula #1: Ask a question
This is one of my favorite ways to engage my audience online. People love to share their opinions, recommendations or stories, so asking questions is a great way to spark a fun conversation. Let's say you own a jewelry boutique. You could ask your Twitter fans for suggestions on what new products they would like to see in the boutique. Or ask them to share photos of how they wear jewelry they've bought from you (which gives you something fun to retweet!). Or share a story on what a special piece of jewelry meant to them.

If you're a marketing consultant, you could tweet after the Super Bowl asking which ads your followers liked best. Or if you're traveling to a new city, ask locals what yoga studios or cafes they recommend. Checking out the types of places your customers like to frequent could not only open the door to new connections, but you can also get a better understanding of what attracts your customers. (I just asked followers to share their worst old job moments, and between Twitter and Facebook, got over 100 replies!).

Tweet Formula #2: Give 'em a "behind-the-scenes" glimpse
Your job online is to show that you are not just a business, you are a person who owns a business. So posting tweets that show some personality and some behind-the-scenes "footage" are always a hit.

During my recent launch, I tweeted about one of my team members whose three-year-old son kept saying his mom "works for Charlie Brown" ... How can you not smile at a tweet like that? People respond to small "slice of life" tidbits that are fun and relatable, but be sure to mix it up with more business-focused tweets, too.

If you're getting ready for a live event, you could snap a photo of you getting hair and makeup done or prepping behind the scenes and post it with a clever caption. (I do these all the time because they are fun and candid). They not only show you're a real person, preparing for a personal moment, but they also remind your audience to watch.

Here's another idea: If you're flying to a client meeting, you could tweet about the delicious cupcakes you tried at the airport. Include the bakery's Twitter handle so they'll see it and possibly retweet it to their fans, giving you exposure to an entirely new market! I try to do this often, giving a "shout out" to clients, people and businesses I love.

Tweet Formula #3: Share useful tips and content
In addition to sharing your promotions and content, share tips, articles and resources you think would interest your online audience. I love tweeting inspirational quotes that get me (and my community) fired up for success.

Don't be afraid to share other resources with your community. It helps position you as an expert in your field, especially if you add your own commentary. Just make sure you always credit or link to the original source.

Tweet Formula #4: Start a Twitter chat
Most chats happen weekly or monthly at a regular time with a predetermined topic and typically last about an hour. It's a great way to make new contacts and attract a specific type of audience that's interested in your topic. Do some Q&A or have a particular theme.

You can start a chat on a site like TweetChat.com. You just need to choose a descriptive hashtag so participants can follow along, and promote your chat at least a few weeks in advance. If hosting a monthly or weekly Twitter chat is a bigger commitment than you want to take on, find an industry-related chat and pop in as a special guest expert.

Tweet Formula #5: Respond to @ mentions
How you respond to your customers online can be very telling about your business's customer service philosophy. That's why it's so important to be responsive to your customers' and clients' tweets, especially if they mention you. For positive or neutral tweets, feel free to respond and/or retweet as appropriate. If a client or customer tweets something negative, try to mitigate the situation by inquiring for more information, or by deferring the complaint offline to your customer service department. But always post a public response so others see you take care of your customers! For example: "Thanks for letting us know. Susie from our service dept. will be in touch today."

Question: Have you tried any of the above Tweet formulas? What's worked best for YOU? Leave a comment below and tell us your favorite Twitter strategies.

Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her Free CD "Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women" at www.AliBrown.com

Monday, October 29, 2012

Motivational Monday - 10.29.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

- Thomas A. Edison

Friday, October 26, 2012

Help Me Help Women Entrepreneurs!



I'm very excited to announce that in February 2013, I'll be launching a magazine, flyy, female & fabulous! The magazine is geared toward current and aspiring women entrepreneurs and will profile various women in small business -- from various fields -- who encourage and motivate women who either aspire to become entrepreneurs or those interested in growing their businesses. flyy, female & fabulous will also include feature lifestyle articles that cater to other areas of women's lives like health, beauty and business.

To help get this project off the ground, I've created a fundraising campaign via Kickstarter! If you don't know, Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects, and it's an all-or-nothing campaign; if the goal is reached by the time the campaign expires, funders' credit cards are charged at that time. If, on the other hand, the goal is not reached, no one is charged.

So, you may be wondering why you should help me launch this magazine. Well, here are a few reasons:

  • You get something in return! Each donation point listed comes with a fabulous gift or gifts.
  • Over the last two decades, small and new businesses have been responsible for creating two out every three new jobs (from the National Economic Council).
  • You'll be helping other women achieve their dreams of successful business ownership (and possibly helping them create new jobs!).

To learn more, check out my video, and visit my Kickstarter campaign page. Thanks in advance for your support! : )


Monday, October 22, 2012

Motivational Monday - 10.22.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Put blinders on to those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head."

- Meryl Streep

Friday, October 19, 2012

4 Tips for Women Entrepreneurs to Achieve Their Goals

October is National Women's Small Business Month! According to SBA.gov, women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing segments of the small business community. Today, about 30 percent of small businesses are owned by women, compared to about five percent in 1970. To learn more about what the SBA is doing to honor this month, click here.

Here are a few tips on achieving your goals as an entrepreneur:

  1. Set goals. To start the process of accomplishing your goals, you first have to figure out where you want to go. Do this by setting goals. When you set your business goals, make sure they are specific, have time frames and that they are attainable by you.
  2. Actively go after your goals. Take some time to think about each particular action step you need to take to reach your business goals, and use your skills and resources to their fullest. Think of all the possible ways you can achieve your goals, and be proactive.
  3. Create goal-achieving plans. Make a step-by-step plan for each of your business goals. And when you are detailed in your planning, you increase your chances for successfully accomplishing your goal. 
  4. Create a daily to-do list. This helps you organize your day so you can achieve what you need to when it comes to your business goals. So, at the beginning of every day, see what you need to accomplish, then focus your energy toward your goals.


For six more tips, check out my source, 10 Tips for Women in Business to Achieve Their Goals.

[Photo Credit]

Monday, October 15, 2012

Motivational Monday - 10.15.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream."

- Lao Tzu


Friday, October 12, 2012

Do You Own a Business -- Or a Job?

By Brad Kendall



So you have recently decided to go out on your own, start your own business and be your own boss. Or maybe you have run your own business for years and are a seasoned entrepreneur.

Whatever your experience, you want to be careful not to fall into the trap of owning a job. I have been there myself, fooled by the misguided notion that I was an entrepreneur and all my "hard work" would pay off in the end. The reality was that I had built a job for myself, not a business.

The differences between owning a job and a business are many. People who own a business work "on" their business -- not "in" their business. In my experience, the end goal of starting out on your own is the freedom being your own boss, the ability to generate higher levels of income than you could make employed and building up a tangible asset that can one day be sold so you can retire or move on to something else.

You may never want to sell your business (and if you don't, that is awesome, do what you love!), but that doesn't mean you don't want a valuable asset. You may never want to sell your home either, but you still want the value attached to it.

So how do you work "on" your business instead of "in" your business?

1. Create systems for every function of your business. Systemic, well laid-out processes, are the life blood of any successful business. You need the ability to train people in a brief and inexpensive amount of time to produce similar results as everybody else in the organization.

These people should be replaceable (not that you want to replace them!) because you have well documented processes in place. The processes will become the cornerstone of your business and its value.

2. Leverage other people's time instead of yours. This can be a tough process for the work-a-holic type. You'll have to learn to rely on other people if you want your business to grow beyond being just a job. You cannot and should not be doing everything.

Your job should be to inspire your employees, gain new business and improve your processes. This takes time to accomplish; most of the time, it is just coming to terms with the idea that the business doesn't need you as much as you think.

3. Have the right structure and vision to achieve your goals. A mindset can make or break a business. By this I mean you have to think like a true entrepreneur to grow your business. Take the time and the risk to build your processes properly that will help you achieve your goals.

You do have goals, right? Remember when we were talking about freedom? How are you going to achieve that without the proper structure and goals carefully laid out beforehand?

4. Try some business or leadership coaching to boost your management skills. Not all entrepreneurs are born leaders. Leadership is often a learned skill.

Hiring a business coach can be a good way to accomplish this. They can help you stay on track and not get too bogged down in the day-to-day business minutia. Get some advice on how to formulate your operation.

An entrepreneur's income is independent of their inputted time. This doesn't mean you can't sell your time or skills, but making a business of it is really just owning a job.

Brad Kendall is a serial technology entrepreneur from Winnipeg, Manitoba with an obsession for entrepreneurship. He is the co-founder of multiple companies including CCR Technology Group, Enlite Digital Advertising Solutions and Digihedron.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship and resources that support each stage of a business's development and growth.

Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work -- this isn't your parents' career

Monday, October 8, 2012

Motivational Monday - 10.8.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan."

- Alfred A. Montapert

Monday, October 1, 2012

Motivational Monday - 10.1.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity."

- J. Sidlow Baxter

Friday, September 28, 2012

6 Easy Ways to Revive Your Business & Your Passion

By Ali Brown



Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that to stay passionate about your work, you must infuse new life and purpose into your business on a daily basis. It's not always about throwing out your old ways of doing things. Sometimes, all it takes are a few small changes.

Read on for six ways you can revive your passion and purpose in your business.

  1. Appreciate your peeps. Take a break from number-crunching and ground yourself in an equally valuable and tangible asset: your clients and customers. Think of ways you can show them you value them, whether it be a gracious Tweet, a customer appreciation sale or a coupon to your loyal clients. You'd be surprised how your mood will change when you acknowledge what you DO have in your life.
  2. Get your team excited. It's important for you to be excited about your business, but your employees should also be equally invested and excited in the future of the company. Share often with your employees about new developments, where the company is going and what can be done to get there. Make your team feel like an active part of company culture and lead by example. To keep your team engaged, try to uncover hidden strengths by matching employees to new projects out of their usual roles. 
  3. Take a risk. Yes, it can be scary to break away from a model that has proven successful, but you have to realize something important: It's your own passion for business, rather than any particular model, that drives its success. You don't have to throw out your #1 revenue generator, but think of some add-ons you can create to enhance your current offerings or new ways to package your services or products. The bottom line is, when things are getting a little dull, don't be afraid to shake things up!
  4. Invest in yourself as you would your business. Many business owners forget to take care of themselves because they spend so much time taking care of their business. But, if you aren't feeling your best, how can your business be expected to grow and thrive? Take the time to feed yourself with daily exercise, proper nutrition and plenty of sleep. You'll be ready and able to approach your business with the necessary passion and commitment each day.
  5. Get networking! There are few better ways to get excited about your business than by forming new business relationships or simply meeting fellow entrepreneurs in your local community. Join a local nonprofit, attend a conference, or go to a networking event in your town. Talking about your business to others might help revive your spirit, and you might learn some new strategies from your new connections (not to mention potential clients or leads).
  6. Look to the future. When you get bogged down in the day-to-day details of running a successful business, it's all too easy to lose sight of the big picture. Learn to look past the present obstacles and see what the future holds. Ask yourself if your business strategy is centered around your personal business values and mission statement. Visualize the future you'd like to see for your company, and map out the action plan you need to get there. It might not happen overnight, or exactly the way you planned, but your persistence will pay off, as long as you stay the course. 


Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD "Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women" at www.AliBrown.com.

[Photo Credit

Monday, September 24, 2012

Motivational Monday - 9.24.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Goals. There's no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them."

- Jim Rohn

Friday, September 21, 2012

What Does Your Business Need to Succeed in 2013?

By LaKesha Womack


2013?!?

Yes, you read that correctly...2013.

Now that September is in full swing, most business owners know that this year is virtually over. If you don't already have a strategy for the holiday season and a roadmap of what you will be doing for the fourth quarter, then you are really behind the eight ball.

For those of you who understand the importance of business planning, which is not the same as writing a business plan, you know that now is the time to start making some assessments about what your business is going to need in 2013. This is the time of the year to start reflecting on what you have achieved in 2012, what you wish you could have or should have done differently and to start creating some goals for next year.

"Why so soon?" some of you may be asking...

Business planning takes time. It should not be something that you jump up today and say, "I want to add a new product to my mix," or "I want to start offering xyz service." If you are going to make changes to your business then you need to think about how those changes will be integrated with your current offering. You need to have an idea of how it will generate revenue, if it will be profitable and how you will market to your customers.

What are some things to consider when planning for 2013?


  1. Human Resource needs - Do you need to add or remove any team members? Are there roles that need to be redefined in order to make your business more efficient? Are there resources such as a policy manual or code of conduct that needs to be drafted? The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to put such changes in effect because it allows you to start the new year fresh and with a clean slate. Rather than hastily try to implement these changes during the holidays, which, for must of us, will be extremely busy or our downtime, spend the next few months crafting your plan and be prepared to execute on January 1, 2013.
  2. Marketing Strategy - I know you did some things really well this year in terms of getting the word out about your business, but I am sure there are some things that you wish you had done better. Take an honest look at your marketing plan from 2012, the strategies that you were able to execute and contrast them with the results. Where did most of your business come from in 2012? Is this consistent with where your marketing efforts were focused? The answer to those two questions should give you some idea of what you can do to improve next year as well as what you should continue and/or ramp up. It's great to create a laundry list of things we would like to do to promote our businesses, but we have to be realistic and focus on the things that are generating revenue and building our brand.
  3. Cash Flow Projections. You should be tracking your monthly cash flow so that you know exactly how much money is coming into your business and going out each month. Based on that information, you should be able to identify some trends. Which months were more robust? Which months were slower? Which months did you spend more money? Which months did you spend less? Take those numbers and create some projections for 2013. Consider some things that you can do to increase revenue during the months that sales were low (take into consideration that the strategy should be implemented at least one to two months prior to the month that you want to see the results). Cash flow projections differ from budgets because they are usually drafted on a month-by-month basis. Your revenue and expenses are probably not consistent each month, and you should be aware of those trends.
  4. Networking - There were a lot of events that I wanted to attend this year. I was able to attend some and missed quite a few. Each year, I create a wish list of conferences and events to attend along with a budget of how much it will cost, including registration, hotel, travel and entertainment/food. As the event draws near, I assess my budget to see if it is feasible for me to attend. In some cases, it is not, but in many cases, it is. Having this type of plan for 2013 will help you to assess the opportunities in advance rather than waiting until the last minute and wasting money on an advance registration to an event that you may not be able to attend or attempting to spend money that you don't have. Make sure you have identified at least three organizations that you want to be involved with - whether locally or nationally - and focus your efforts on building relationships with those groups rather than trying to be all over the place and not cultivating any relationships. Networking offline is vital to the success of your business. Many people want to put a face with a brand. 
  5. Processes and Systems - Take a step back and look at how your business is operating. What are some things that you can do to become efficient? Do you need a scheduling assistant to better manage your time? Do you need to spend more or less time on social media? Do you need a better system to manage your leads? Whatever those things are, you should spend the next few months making some assessments and then creating a strategy for implementation. This includes adding or subtracting products/services. Create a timeline of the product/service roll out and make sure that it is consistent with your marketing and cash flow projections while ensuring that you have the team members available to make it a success.

The end of September marks the end of the third quarter of 2012. At this point, you should be preparing to implement your fourth quarter strategy and creating a plan for 2013. If you feel overwhelmed or as if you need some help, contact me for a complimentary consultation to help get your business on track in 2013.

LaKesha Womack is the author of My Money Matters, Success Secrets for the Young & Fabulous, Building a Brand without Spending a Bundle and Is She The ONE; host of The Lakesha Womack Show; and business consultant with Womack Consulting Group. 

She has over 10 years of management, training and consulting experience in a variety of industries, including financial services, publishing, retail and real estate. Womack Consulting Group is your one-stop source for business development and marketing services. Their professional and friendly team helps individuals start businesses, grow an exisiting business and/or create an easily identifiable brand that enhances your visibility and profitability. Contact WCG today for a complimentary consultation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Motivational Monday - 9.17.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat and despair and are the tools God uses to show us the way."

- Paulo Coelho

Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivational Monday - 9.10.12

Motivational thoughts to inspire you!

"Even if things don't unfold the way you expected, don't be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end."

- Daisaku Ikeda 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chunk-Down that Goal

By Jack Canfield



Sometimes, our biggest life goals seem so overwhelming.

We rarely see them as a series of small, achievable tasks, but in reality, breaking down a large goal into smaller tasks -- and accomplishing them one at a time -- is exactly how any big goal gets achieved.

After you have decided what you really want, with specific deadlines, the next step is to determine all of the individual action steps you will need to take to accomplish your goal.

How to Chunk it Down
There are several ways to figure out the action steps you will need to take to accomplish any goal. One is to consult with people who have already done what you want to do and ask what steps they took. From their experience, they can give you all of the necessary steps as well as advice on what pitfalls to avoid.

Another way is to purchase a book or manual that outlines the process.

Yet another way is to start from the end and look backward. You simply close your eyes and imagine that it is now the future and you have already achieved your goal. Then just look back and see what you had to do to get to where you now are. What was the last thing you did? And then the thing before that, and then the thing before that, until you arrive at the first action you had to start with.

Remember that it is okay not to know how to do something.

It's okay to ask for guidance and advice from those who do know. Sometimes you can get it free, and sometimes you have to pay for it. Get used to asking, "Can you tell me how to go about...?" and "What would I have to do to...?" and "How did you...?"

Keep researching and asking until you can create a realistic action plan that will get you from where you are to where you want to go.

What will you need to do? How much money will you need to save or raise? What new skills will you need to learn? What resources will you need to mobilize? Who will you need to enroll in your vision? Who will you need to ask for assistance? What new disciplines or habits will you need to build into your life?

Another valuable technique for creating an action plan for your goals is called mind mapping.

How to Use Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a simple but powerful process for creating a detailed to-do list for achieving your goal. It lets you determine what information you'll need to gather, who you'll need to talk to, what small steps you'll need to take, how much money you'll need to earn or raise, which deadlines you'll need to meet and so on -- for each and every goal.

When I began creating my first educational audio program -- a breakthrough goal that led to extraordinary gains for me and my business -- I used mind mapping to help me "chunk down" that very large goal into all the individual tasks I would need to complete to produce a finished product.

To mind-map your own goals, follow these steps as illustrated in the example:

  1. Center circle: In the center, jot down the name of your stated goal -- in this case, Create an Audio Educational Program.
  2. Outside circles: Next, divide the goal into the major categories of tasks you'll need to accomplish to achieve the greater goal -- in this case, Title, Studio, Topics, Audience and so on.
  3. Spokes: Then, draw spokes radiating outward from each mini-circle and label each one (such as Write Copy, Color Picture for Back Cover and Arrange Lunch).


On a separate line connected to the mini-circle, write every single step you'll need to take. Break down each one of the more detailed task spokes with action items to help you create your master to-do list.

Next, Make a Daily To-Do List
Once you've completed a mind map of your goal, convert all of the to-do items into daily action items by listing each one on your daily to-do lists and committing to a completion date for each one. Then schedule them in the appropriate order into your calendar, and do whatever it takes to stay on schedule.

Do First Things First
The goal is to stay on schedule and complete the most important item first. In his excellent book, Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, Brian Tracy reveals not just how to conquer procrastination but also how to prioritize and complete all of your action items.

In his unique system, Brian advises goal setters to identify the one to five things you must accomplish on any given day, and then pick the one you absolutely must do first. This becomes your biggest and ugliest frog.

He then suggests you accomplish that task first -- in essence, eat that frog first -- and by doing so, make the rest of your day much, much easier. It's a great strategy. But unfortunately, most of us leave the biggest and ugliest frog for last, hoping it will go away or somehow become easier. It never does. However, when you accomplish your toughest task early in the day, it sets the tone for the rest of your day.

By chunking down your goals, and then taking daily action on them, you create momentum and build your confidence, both of which move you farther and faster toward the achievement of your goals. 

Now go take some action!

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul (c) and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Monday, September 3, 2012

Motivational Monday - 9.3.12

Motivational thoughts to inspire you

"Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit."

- Conrad Hilton

Friday, August 31, 2012

4 Ways to Promote Your Blog Without Spamming


One of the keys to blogging successfully is knowing there's a thin line between self-promotion and spam. It's important to remember that you need to build relationships instead of spreading links everywhere. If you just place links, you'll likely turn off potential readers; if, however, you take time to particpate in conversations and get to know people, they'll want to know more about you and what you do.

Check out these tips for promoting your blog without spamming:

  1. Read and visit other blogs. The other blogs in your niche aren't your competition or enemies -- they're your colleagues. So, instead of worrying about another website taking your traffic or who's higher on Google, use other blogs to your advantage. Take part in the comments, and provide a useful viewpoint. If you leave a thoughtful comment, other people may be inclined to visit the link in your signature line. One other thing to keep in mind: It's considered spam if you put your links anywhere but the appropriate space. So don't put links in your comment post unless you're invited to do so.
  2. Join and participate in Facebook groups. Whatever topic you blog about, there is, more than likely, a Facebook group about it. There are a couple of reasons to join: You can share news and tips with others in the group (which will likely lead to ideas for new posts);and as you build relationships and friendships, they'll go to your profile and check out your other links.
  3. Guest post on other blogs. Find the top blogs in your field, and offer to write a blog post. Or, consider doing an exchange with other bloggers -- that way, you can each benefit from each others' traffic. (Just don't mistake guest blogging for supplying someone else's blog with content for free).
  4. Post frequently. The more you post, the more likely people will come back to your blog on a consistent basis. If you leave people to wonder when you'll post again or only post sporadically, readers will respond the same way. They may bookmark your site to read later, but they probably won't stop by frequently. But if you're known for posting often, readers will come by more frequently.

For 13 more tips, check out 17 Tips for Promoting Your Blog Without Being Spammy.

How do you promote you blog? Please share below by leaving a comment! 

[Photo Credit]

Monday, August 27, 2012

Motivational Monday - 8.27.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you

"The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it."

- Mark R. Douglas

Friday, August 24, 2012

Social Media Sharing: 3 Questions to Ask Before You Post

The good and the bad about social media is that there aren't any firm rules. You can choose how you want to use it, post whatever you want, connect -- or not -- with whomever you want. For example, some use LinkedIn to connect only with those they already know, and some use it to expand their network and are willing to accept invitations from anybody. Both approaches are totally valid and the best one for you depends on the goals of your business.

But, just because there aren't any firm rules doesn't mean there aren't some best practices you should be following. If your intention is to use social media to build your business, then focus on activities that advance your cause, and stop doing or minimize everything else. If you're killing hours of time playing games or watching videos of kittens, and then complaining that social media takes too much time and doesn't work for you, you should re-evaluate what you are doing.

And this lack of rules leaves some people a little lost. In every social media workshop I've attended, those who aren't active yet say they haven't jumped in because they really don't want to post what they've had for breakfast that morning. And yes, if you feel compelled to post things like that, then please don't bother. But there's so much information that you could be sharing.

What you need to do is ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What can I share to enhance my credibility? The majority of your posts should be intended to increase your reputation as an expert in your field. That means sharing articles and resources -- your own and from others -- that your followers would find helpful. It's perfectly okay to share something personal every once in a while, that's what adds dimension to your profile and helps people connect with you on other levels, especially if they share your same interest.
  2. What can I share to help me stay in touch? Social media makes it easy to keep in touch with so many people in your network in just minutes a day. On Facebook, you can see which of your friends is having a birthday. On LinkedIn, you can see who just got promoted or changed jobs. It takes just seconds to say "happy birthday" or "congratulations" or to "like" a post. It's like tapping someone on the shoulder and saying, "Hi, I noticed you today."
  3. What can I share that will help someone else? Again, it takes seconds to share a link or retweet a post on social media, which means that in seconds, you can help someone in your network spread their message. No matter how busy they may be, they'll notice you in a very positive way because you've helped them. Every little touch point helps strengthen your relationship over the long term.

Hopefully, this simple but powerful framework will help you become more visible and relevant in your industry and to the people in your network, and spark many more opportunities to advance your goals.


(c) 2012, Liz Lynch International LLC
Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online, shows accomplished business professionals how to connect to the right people and attract the opportunities they deserve. To become a more visible leader in your organization or industry, visit www.LizLynchOnline.com.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Motivational Monday - 8.20.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success."

- Dr. Joyce Brothers

Friday, August 17, 2012

5 Types of Stories to Tell on Your Blog



Are you a blogger who's stuck with no ideas? If so, here are a few stories to try on your blog:

  1. Personal Discovery Stories. Tell your readers how you discovered a lesson. This will show them how similar you are to them, and it may provide practical advice on how they can learn from your experience as well.
  2. Success Stories. Share how you achieved a goal. These can be motivating or inspiring for your readers.
  3. Failure Stories. These stories can be very powerful, especially if you can show some of the lessons you learned from your setback.
  4. Biographies. Choose a key person in your niche, and share that person's story with your readers. Pull out the valuable parts that can be applied and used to improve your readers' lives. 
  5. Reader stories. Ask your readers to share their stories/experiences on a particular topic. You might start things off with your own short story, but then quickly give it over to others to share. 
For nine more ideas, check out 14 Types of Stories You Can Tell On Your Blog

Need some inspiration in your life? Check out my shop, The Motivation Station

Monday, August 13, 2012

Motivational Monday - 8.13.12

"The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself."

- Bo Bennett


Friday, August 10, 2012

9 Simple Solutions for Procrastinators

By Christine Kane



Irony: As I started to write this article, I thought, "I'll just go play one Sudoku game first." I caught myself in the act and marched to my laptop.

People who say that procrastination is about laziness are probably the same people who think that anorexia is about not eating enough.

Procrastination isn't about laziness. It's about fear. It's about perfectionism. It's about overwhelm. We all experience it, and there are some tricks to help you get moving again.

Here are nine ways to break the procrastination habit:

When you get an idea, do some little thing to begin. When I read Stephen King's book On Writing, I noticed something. I noticed that when Stephen King gets an idea, he writes it. Immediately and imperfectly.

Most people get an idea. Then they sit there. They wonder if it's a good idea. Then, they wonder if it's a good idea some more.

Got an idea? Begin it now!

2. All hail small chunks of time! Lots of us complain about having no time. My guess is that we all have lots of time. It just doesn't happen to be all at once.

Are you waiting for many hours of spare time to begin your idea, your project or your taxes? Stop waiting! Learn to use the spare half hour that comes up here and there. (I gave myself 45 minutes to write this article just to take my own advice).

3. Agree to do it badly. Set a goal to do it badly. Set a goal to show up. Let go of doing it ALL or doing it WELL.

Some of my coaching clients' biggest victories have a lot more to do with getting over perfectionism and fear than they do about getting it all done perfectly.

4. Commit aloud. Call a friend and say something like this: "I'm going to spend the next half hour working on my Law School Essay." Then go do it.

Call the friend after the half hour and make her congratulate you. Repeat daily.

5. Define quantities. Nebulous goals make for nebulous results. "I'm gonna get my office organized" is a lot like saying, "We oughtta do something about Global Warming."

Most procrastinators have a hard time defining quantities. We think everything needs to be done NOW. When are you going to do it? For how long? Which part of your office? The file cabinet? Or your desk? Define the goal and acknowledge its completion.

6. Install this System Upgrade into your Mental Hard Drive: Less is More. Have fewer goals. Have no more than three priorities for a week.

Why?

Because you're not lazy. You're just trying to do too much.

Find out what it feels like to accomplish one thing instead of not quite getting to everything. Wow -- what a difference this makes!

7. Do it first. My first coach made me write songs first thing in the morning. He told me to schedule the two-hour chunk as my first activity upon waking.

Why?

"Because you're telling the universe that this is your priority. And then the universe lines up everything to align with your priority."

Action grounds your priorities. It makes them real. It also makes your day easier because you're not wasting energy thinking about this thing you're supposed to be doing.

8. Avoid nose-bleed activities. Email, voicemail, web stats -- any activity that bleeds itself into your whole day becomes a non-activity. It becomes a nose-bleed.

When you do it all the time, you never complete it. You just let it slowly drain the very life force from you. Define times for these activities. Then, turn off your email, your cell phone, your web stats until that time comes.

9. Don't ask how you "feel" about doing the activity. Have you ever committed to getting fit? And then when the alarm goes off, you lie in bed, thinking, "Do I really feel like going to the gym?" (Like you even have to ask!).

Change this pattern. Make your decision the night before. Commit to getting up and going right to the gym, the computer, the blank canvas. Don't have coffee and sigh and think, "I'll probably feel more like it at lunch time." You won't!

If it's a priority, don't waste time asking yourself how you feel about doing it. Feelings are an easy out.

___________________________________________________

There. I did it. I wrote this article. And now, I don't even want to play Sudoku! How about that?

Christine Kane is known as the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She is the president and founder of Uplevel You(TM), a million-dollar company committed to the growth and empowerment of entrepreneurs and creatives around the globe through teaching not only high-level cutting-edge authentic marketing business strategies -- but also transformational techniques to shift mindsets and wealth. To get started with the very basis of upleveling your life and your success, download Christine's popular "Create Your Life Kick Start," which includes her eBook "The Complete Guide to Vision Boards." It's totally free. 

[Photo Credit]

Monday, August 6, 2012

Motivational Monday - 8.6.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!

"Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful."

- Mark Victor Hansen

Friday, August 3, 2012

3 Ways You're Wasting Time (And Don't Realize It)


Feeling overwhelmed? It might be time for you to reconsider how you're using your time. Check out three ways you could be wasting it (without even knowing):


  1. You put quick tasks on the back burner. If you can schedule an appointment or pay a bill in a few minutes, do it right away. Putting tasks to the side for later (no matter how dull) is a common way small business owners waste time. 
  2. You don't have a clear social media strategy. Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media will definitely help your productivity. However, even if you set aside only an hour a day for social media activity, you'll still waste time if you don't have a game plan, according to Cathy Sexton, productivity coach. "Social media is a part of your marketing plan. You really need to understand what your desired results are."
  3. You do the same things over and over. Yes, customer communication is important. However, if you're always answering the same questions from different clients and customers, you're wasting time, according to Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. So, instead of starting from scratch every time, Sexton suggests making a template for routine tasks like email replies to common questions, client letters, invoices and meeting agendas.

See four more ways you could be wasting time by checking out 7 Ways You're Wasting Time and Don't Even Know It

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Motivational Monday - 7.30.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!


"While most are dreaming of success, winners wake up and work hard to achieve it."

-Unknown

Friday, July 27, 2012

7 Brilliant Businesswomen Who Were Way Ahead of Their Time



Since the dawn of civilization, women have played a major role in the working world, helping out with farming, toiling away in guild workshops and taking on heavy-duty labor in factories, even as the leading thinkers of the time labeled them as little more than delicate, hysteria-prone housekeepers. In fact, it had only been in the last century, and especially the past few decades, that women have really been able to play an open and independent role in building and leading their own entrepreneurial ventures, with many women today owning, running and establishing major businesses.

While hard work and determination obviously played a major role in getting today's female business leaders to the top, a debt is also owed to the women who pave the way, bravely forging ahead when the odds were stacked heavily against them. Here, we've selected 11 amazing businesswomen who made a living, and in some cases a fortune, through their own ideas and business ventures in times when women were afforded little power, voice or independence of their own.

1. Christine de Pizan: What do you do when you're a medieval woman who's been left widowed and in need of a way to support your three children? If you're Christine de Pizan, you start writing. De Pizan was light-years ahead of her time, both in her chosen profession (she is widely regarded as Europe's first professional woman writer) and in her public repudiation of the domination misogynistic views of the time. Throughout the 1400s, de Pizan would support herself and take a strong stance against prejudiced literacy depictions of women. While she is more of an empowered intellectual than a businesswoman, her ability to make it on her own and establish a career in a time when some women were barely allowed to leave their homes is inspirational in itself, and she may have been history's first recorded working single mother.

2. Mary Katherine Goddard: After moving to Providence, R.I. in 1762, Mary Katherine Goddard would join her mother in working in a printing shop her brother had started. Little did she know, this would spawn a successful career for her, and throughout the 1770s, Goddard would run print shops throughout New England. In 1775, she became the first woman to have a paper published under her name and would serve as the chief editor for the Maryland Journal in the early stages of the American Revolution. Goddard wasn’t just printing papers, however. It was her presses that would produce the first printed copies of the Declaration of Independence. Goddard, ever the savvy businesswoman, would later become the first female postmaster and would continue to operate the bookshop (a spin-off of her printing business) until her death at the age of 78.

3. Lydia Pinkham: Women who needed health advice and home remedies in the late 1800s needed only turn to this businesswoman. Pinkham built her home remedies business into a thriving enterprise, largely through savvy marketing of her products to women. Her most successful product was a menstrual cramp relief tonic called “Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound” which would remain one of the best-known and most widely used patented medicines during the 19th century. It must have been doing something for Pinkham’s devoted customers, as it helped build the fledgling company into a big business. Though the company was purchased by Cooper Laboratories in 1968, a few of Lydia’s products still appear on American shelves today.

4. Sarah E. Goode: While the first woman would patent an invention in 1809, it wasn’t until 1885 that an African-American woman would reach that landmark. Born a slave, Sarah E. Goode moved to Chicago after the Civil War and opened a furniture store with her husband Archibald, a carpenter. Under her management, the store grew to be quite prosperous, but her clients were coming in complaining of a lack of space in their apartments. That led to her invention, a desk that turned into a bed, an ideal innovation for the small-space, tenement living that was a reality for many working-class Chicago residents at the time. This idea would evolve into the Murphy bed that we know today, and while the patent would never make Goode wealthy, it would help keep her and her furniture business quite successful until her death in 1905.

5. Hetty Green: Hetty Green was nicknamed “The Witch of Wall Street,” largely because of her dour taste in fashion but also because she possessed a certain sort of magic when it came to investments. It goes without saying that women weren’t exactly a common sight on Wall Street during the late 19th century, but Green wasn’t shy about making her own investments, following a well thought-out strategy of investment. She would use her inheritance, already a sizable sum, to build a huge fortune, spring-boarded by her early investments in Civil War bonds and later in rail bonds. Of course, her infamous frugality, which some called stinginess, didn’t hurt her in building her fortune, which was estimated at about $200 million ($3.8 billion in today’s dollars) at the time of her death.

6. Maggie L. Walker: African-American teacher and businesswoman Maggie Walker was a pretty amazing woman, both in business and in the community. As early as 14, Walker was already a leading member of the Independent Order of St. Luke, a humanitarian organization. It was there that she would start her career in earnest, establishing a newspaper for the group and chartering a bank, for which she served as the first president (the first woman to hold a charter and run a bank in the U.S.). When the bank merged with two other area banks, becoming The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, she would stay on to serve on the board of directors until her death in 1934.

7. Elizabeth Arden: It was always Elizabeth Arden’s (born Florence Nightingale Graham) dream to build a cosmetics business, and that’s just what she did. Arriving in New York at age 30, the enterprising Arden worked with a chemist to develop a beauty cream, something that surprisingly didn’t exist in the early 1900s and would prove to be quite a success for Arden. The company still sells a wide variety of creams today, though business has expanded to include fragrances and makeup. She was the first to introduce eye makeup and makeovers in her salons and helped to make cosmetics acceptable for all women to wear, not just performers. Arden passed away in 1966, but her business still thrives today, bringing in just over a billion dollars in 2009.

Check out four other businesswomen ahead of their time, check out my source, OnlineMBA.com

Monday, July 23, 2012

Motivational Monday - 7.23.12

Motivational quotes to inspire you!


"Life is just a blank slate, what matters most is what you write on it."

- Christine Frankland

Friday, July 20, 2012

Three Easy Basic Marketing Strategies With Time Left Over to do Your Work

By Barbara Saunders






When it comes to marketing, creative Solo Pros tend to get way too complicated. It's easy to become overwhelmed with a lot of fancy ideas and clever strategies. How important are they to your business success?

Take a step back and consider whether you're actually using the marketing basics. Then, I'm going to give you four tips on how to find time to market consistently. Marketing doesn't have to be complicated!

Basic Marketing Strategy #1: Master the Basic Tools First
Invest in learning these three basic marketing strategies and get them consistently into play. Save the more complex campaigns for special offers. You'll find they're much easier to launch when the basics are on line and doing their job. Consistency is key.
*Conversations - Are you confident in talking with your potential clients about what you do? Out of every five conversations, do at least three turn into paying clients? If not, then it's time to master this crucial skill. The faster you get it under your belt now, the easier growing your business will be.
* Email - As your list grows, you need to connect regularly with your current and potential clients. Let them know what you're up to, share your expertise, and -- most importantly -- make offers. Make it a habit to consistently communicate with your list. Just sending a simple newsletter with a few tips, client success stories and more info on who you are and what you do will build trust and keep you on top of their minds. Be sure to include an offer in each of your newsletter broadcasts.
* Networking - Attending a niche-targeted networking event is a great way to meet potential clients, practice your "basic message," and connect with referral partners. Solo Pro business is a relationship-based experience. Developing your face-to-face marketing skills has benefits beyond bringing in new clients.


Basic Marketing Strategy #2: Consistency is Key
No marketing strategy is effective if it's not regular and consistent. Develop a habit of sending your newsletter on a schedule. Promote your programs and services regularly. Always offer clients the option to move to the next level as their projects with you near completion. You'll become more comfortable with marketing, and your clients and potential customers will have more opportunities to respond to your offers.

Basic Marketing Strategy #3: Take Small Steps Every Day
"Done is better than none." Continually tweaking and fiddling with your marketing pieces to make it perfect results in slow or no sales. Use one of the basic marketing tips every day to develop your skills and you'll have a solid marketing system in place quickly.

Don't let yourself be overwhelmed by the latest marketing techniques. You can build a successful business by focusing first on these basic marketing tools. You'll have more time to enjoy creating and working with clients. Those advanced techniques will still be there when you're ready!

Four Simple Tips for Consistent Marketing

Tip #1 Stop Second Guessing Yourself
Instead of constantly swirling around in self-doubt, develop the habit of 'Decisive Action.' Focus on the end result that you would like and create the plan to achieve it. Then confidently put it into action. So many Solo Pros 'vibrate' back and forth instead of picking a direction and going. The roadblock is in the indecision and vacillating -- not in the actual choice. Don't worry so much about what others are doing. Chart your course and set sail. It's the forward action that creates the desired results.
Tip #2 Use Your Calendar Like a Six and Seven Figure Entrepreneur
How much time you spend isn't as critical as how you INVEST that time. Millionaire entrepreneurs use a simple technique called Time Blocking to make sure they have regular, consistent time built into their day for marketing and business-building activities.

Schedule a "marketing appointment" in your daily planner. Even if it's 15 minutes, you'll be surprised at what you can get done, especially if you invest this time BEFORE answering email, tweeting or posting on Facebook. Stop focusing on everyone else for just 15 minutes, and start focusing on your marketing, and you'll see immediate results.
Tip #3 Set Small Goals For Success
Break marketing tasks down into small, specific activities and always assign a number to each activity.

For example: On Monday, your goal is to write five follow up thank you cards and mail them out. Tuesday's goal is to call three potential clients. On Wednesday, your goal may be to attend one networking meeting, then follow up with each prospective client you meet with a thank you card, mailed that same day. Be sure to celebrate every action you take so you feel energized to do more.
Tip #4 Calculate The Pay Off
Take a moment to calculate how much money is at stake. The result is instant clarity about what is -- and what isn't -- a priority. Here's a simple formula:
* Estimate how many clients you want over the next 12 months
* Then multiply the average amount of income each client brings to you

What's your total? More importantly, what would having that amount of money mean for you?
Final Thought: Think of Marketing As Connecting To And Serving

Solo Pros love to help, to serve and to make a difference for their clients. If you approach marketing as a way of doing that, you'll find that marketing isn't something you avoid.

Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Solo Pro Success Coach and the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Solo Pro Academy. She also hosts the Solo Pro Radio Show every day at 10 AM Pacific and 1 PM Eastern. Her company's mission is to build community and help creative solo pros build and run successful businesses by providing support, innovation, tools and strategies. Their goal is to liberate their members from the feast and famine cycle.


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