Monday, December 22, 2008
I love my VA buddies from www.vanetworking.com! Thanks for putting a smile on my face today! You guys rock! (even if you can't carry a tune...)
Friday, December 12, 2008
I don't know how many times this week I have heard clients and potential clients and others say things like I just want to survive this year, I just want to get through, I don't have to make a profit I just need to make enough to get by. I always stop them and say you can can make a profit. It is okay to be prosperous.
While watching the news tonight and hearing all the doom and gloom again a thought popped in to my head, "the money is still out there it's just a matter of getting it circulating again". And that thought reminded me of the book I read years ago called Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson.
I highly recommend reading the book.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
This month's feature is on Toni Tierney. Toni is a fashion designer for children's clothing. I decided to pick Toni this month because of her mission and how it relates to the current state of affairs with the American economy.
"A passion of Toni’s is to help mothers be at home with their families. She feels strongly about this and as much as possible, hires mothers who can work from their homes to be with their children while making the pieces of clothing she designs. Her mission is to help parents be at home creating so a new generation of children can see their moms (and dads) working with their hands. Her ultimate goal is to help spread this philosophy across the country so people all over the United States can get back to their roots, slow down and bring back those traditional ways of earning a living." - www.tonitierney.net
In addition to fashion design, Toni has also just released a new line of art work for children's room.
In the spirit of giving I am hosting my first official blog contest. I am going to give away one adorable brand new outfit created by Toni Tierney. The winner can choose between an infant size 6 boy outfit or an infant size 12 girl dress (see pictures below).
To enter the contest you must be a US or Canadian resident (because of shipping costs) and all you need to do is comment on my blog and let me know which outfit you want to win.
Also, it'd be much appreciated if you tell others about this contest by blogging about it but blogging about this contest is not a requirement to win.
On December 10th, 2008 I will have my daughter (who never reads my blog) pick a number and whoever has the comment that matches that number will be the winner. (For example... she picks number 7 and you are the 7th poster then you are the winner kind of thing.) I will then post the winning number and ask you to contact me to let me know which outfit you want and to get your mailing address. Winner must respond by December 12th, 2008 or we will pick a new number. The package will arrive before Christmas if you want to use it as a gift.
Toni Tierney's adorable clothing is sold in baby boutiques all over the country.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I have been using Trust Fax for about eight months now and wanted to let you know that I've had no problems with it. It's been great! I can receive faxes from all different fax machines. The faxes arrive in my email in box as pdf attachments.
If you are looking for a virtual fax service you can trust. I highly recommend Trust Fax.
Just in case you are wondering... I am not getting paid for this recommendation. The Trust Fax people do not even know I've written this review. I think it is important to share when I find a good product/service because having reliable tools is very important to running a thriving virtual business.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
It's the most wonderful (I mean busiest) time of the year...
- Creating Mailing Lists
- Purchasing Holiday Cards
- Addressing, Stuffing, Stamping & Mailing Holiday Cards
- Researching Gifts
- Ordering Gifts Online
- Travel Arrangements
- Getting Your To Do List Done!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I think everyday should be thanksgiving! Do you practice gratitude everyday?
I read an article in USA Today a few days ago that talks about how gratitude can make you healthier. The only catch is you need to practice gratitude on a daily basis not just once a year.
Do you have a gratitude journal? A gratitude journal is something as simple as a notebook where you write down what you are grateful for. The important thing is to make writing in your gratitude journal a daily ritual.
Read more about what others have to say about the benefits of gratitude and gratitude journals:
Sarah Ban Breathnach
What are you grateful for? (Feel free to post what you are grateful for here)
Today I am grateful for my health, my family, my friends (local and virtual), my dog, my computer, my blog readers, Twitter, my company, my clients... and the list goes on and on.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
By the way, I know of Yoga_Mama and found this article because she is someone I follow on Twitter.
Be a Model Twitizen: A Twitter How-To
by LaSara Firefox, MPNLP, www.lasarafirefox.com,
(Follow me: http://www.twitter.com/Yoga_Mama)
I was skeptical at first, but now Twitter is my golden city. As a busy mom and entrepreneur, I can take a few minutes and digest a handful of posts from my favorite Twitter friends, or post a bite-sized delight about my own day – all condensed to 140 characters or less. Who doesn’t have time for that?
Yes, often those posts will contain a link that may lead to an off-site exploratory mission, but so far it’s the most organic and dynamic way I’ve found to keep to my finger on the quick-beating pulse of the magical and diverse interwebs, and at the same time keep a constant stream of interest in what I have to offer.
If you’re new to Twitter, or have yet to join the chorus, here are a few ground rules that will help you to make your tweets harmonious.
1. Follow me, and I’ll follow you…and vice-versa:
If I follow you, please do the community-oriented thing and follow me, too. That way it becomes a conversation, a collaboration, a community. For us dedicated tweeters, Twitter is about building relationships. Build one with me!
Most of us don’t tweet to hear the sound of our own voice. No one wants to be shouting into a well. Consider my follow an invitation into my world, as well as a tip of the hat to your skill in presenting a doorway into yours.
2. Write a good bio:
In the beginning, this tiny bio is all we know about each other. 160 characters of character. The bio is often an under-utilized aspect of Twitter. I’m encouraging a bio revival! Make me want to know you. (It’s great practice for your elevator pitch, too, right?)
I encourage you to include something about your openness to new followers, or the reason you’re on Twitter. I put “Follow me, I’ll follow you,” in my bio. If you only want people you already know to follow you, you can protect your updates. In addition, you could say “I only follow people I know.” This little step will save both of us time, energy, and pride.
In addition to the bio, there’s a spot for a url. Add a link to a place where I can find out more about you; your blog, your website, an article you’ve written, your facebook profile.
3. Building your “Twitterverse”:
The way to build your network is to follow people. Yet, you ideally want a good balance between following and followers. So there’s a rhythm to building your twitterverse. Here’s how mine goes:
a. Find prospective Twitter friends (see step 4 on some tips on that), and follow them.
b. Allow a few days for the prospective community member to follow me in return.
c. If they follow me back, I make personal contact through a direct message (aka, “dm”, see section 6 for more info) and all is good. If they don’t, I evaluate whether they’re worthwhile to follow without the benefit of a two-way conversation. If they are, I keep them on. If not, I unfollow them.
4. Finding your twitter-posse:
You want to follow people you find interesting. You want to be followed by people who will find you interesting. Whether this is for work, fun, community building, or all of the above, your skill in creating your personal Twitterverse predicts how rewarding your Twitter experience will be.
There are worlds of possibility in every moment, but even more so in Twitter. Bloggers, and moms, and marketers, oh my! Really, you can find followers and followees from all walks of life, and with interests that run the gamut. These people are going to be getting into your head, and introducing you to new worlds day by day. Choose accordingly!
First off, click on the Find People tab on your home page (upper right, see it? good!) you might want to follow your irl (in real life) friends. You can search them by name or e-mail address. You can also invite them to join twitter, if you think they’d enjoy the experience.
Next, you’ll want to choose a few terms that indicate shared interests. For me, those terms were mom, mommy, mama, momma, and the dad variations, too. Then yoga. You can either search by terms at http://search.twitter.com/, or you can use the Find People tab again.
When you search your terms, the search will bring up profiles that list terms in the Twitter user name, in a tweeter’s bio, or even sometimes in a tweeter’s tweets. I found pages and pages of members listed on most of the terms I searched.
I chose selectively from the tweeters listed. Some of the parameters I used to decide whether I should follow someone or not were;
- The date they last tweeted - if someone hasn’t been on in months, what are the chances they’ll respond to a follow alert from a stranger?
- What their most recent tweet said; for example, if the tweet said “Why the hell are all these strangers following me? Creepy!?!”, that member is not a likely candidate for community building!
- Their bio, and whether it sounded like we’d be a good match.
Most often I would choose not to follow people with protected updates, but in rare cases I’d risk it and request permission to follow. I recommend that you judge that one on a case-by-case basis.
Another way to find like-minded tweeters is to go to a like-minded tweeters page, and follow the tweeters they follow, and those who follow them. You can see bios by placing your cursor over a tweeter’s name.
I would follow as many tweeters as I felt inspired to in one fell swoop (I think my “following” list got up to around 2000 once), and see who followed back. After a few days, I’d go back check out which tweeters had responded, and go through the evaluation of whether I would keep following tweeters who had followed back, or not.
Through this strategy, I built my list of followers up to over 700 in a matter of days.
5. Ethics for business (and personal) networking:
Some disagree with me on this, but I believe that even - or perhaps especially - if “you” are a business, you should follow in return. Yes, Twitter is free advertising, and it’s SMART advertising – JetBlue, Zappos, Vans and thousands of entrepreneurs can’t be wrong!
But, as always, there needs to be some buy-in. In this case, imnsho (in my not so humble opinion), the buy-in is this; I’ll pay attention to your posts, but I expect you to pay attention to mine, too. It’s a give and take, baby!
Besides, think of the marketing information you’ll be able to gather. Two-way communication with your demographic is just plain smart business sense.
Also, it’s not good manners to follow me, and then turn around and unfollow me when you think I’m not looking. I will come back and check from time to time, to see if those I follow are following me. (I do the same for those who are following me, too. I go and check my followers and make sure I’ve returned the follow.)
Not only that, there are tons of third party systems coming into being that are created to augment the Twitter experience. One of these even helps twitterers keep track of their follower activity. And, there are sure to be more of them as time goes by, and Twitter’s popularity continues to soar to new heights.
There are a few exceptions to the rule, but I generally don’t follow those who aren’t willing to follow me in return. I cast a line out, and if you grab hold I’ll hang on too. However, if there’s no resultant tug on the rope, I’ll reel it back in and cast in another direction.
If you have something amazing to say, and I just can’t live without your voice, I’ll stick around. But I tell you, it’s so much more fun when we can all sing out together!
6. A few easy commands that will be useful to know:
@username: this creates an automatic link to a tweeter’s profile, and alerts the user that you have sent a public post that cites them. If you’re replying to a tweet, including @username (like @yoga_mama) is great. It both promotes the tweeter, and creates a connection between you and the tweeter in question.
#tag: (like #gratitude, #palin, #debate, etc.) makes it easy to search an item, and get all the tweets that are relevant. It’s also is an easy way to see relationships between tweets by multiple tweeters.
rt, or retweet: when you repost someone’s tweet, it’s proper to add “rt @username” and then the retweet. Basically, it’s a way to give credit where credit is due. And again, it promotes tweeters who are tweeting things you appreciate or agree with.
d username message: direct messages are the way to send a private note to another tweeter. Remember, it’s “d(space)username(space)message”. You’re only able to “dm” tweeters who are following you.
Twitter is a community. In some way more profoundly than any other networking site I’ve ever been part of, the tweeters I follow have worked their way into my heart.
Maybe it’s the often unguarded, haiku-like quality of the “microblogging” experience. Maybe it’s the frequency with which I see the words of a given tweeter. Maybe it’s the fact that the Twitter experience has the contour and context of a conversation drifting in through the kitchen window.
And this in a country (the USA) where we often don’t have a sister or best friend living next door, or a neighbor we could easily ask for advice on a moment’s notice. Much less, hundreds of neighbors, many of whom might send well wishes when you need them, and heartfelt advice when you ask for it. (Or, just like any family, sometimes even when you don’t!)
Twitter has brought us into one another’s living rooms. It’s allowed us to share our vacations, our kid’s Big Game, our successes and heartbreaks.
It’s opened a window into a community that never goes to sleep - tweeters live all over the world, as one tweeter tweets her last missive of the night, another wakes up to a brilliant new day. A community that is always willing to give a shout out, send a smile, talk about politics, and lift one another up in a challenging moment.
Remember this as you build your personal Twitterverse. You are creating a new world, from nothing. Build it, grow it, nurture it with intention and care. And you know, everything will be just right.
About the author:
LaSara FireFox, MPNLP, is a coach, trainer, and published author. LaSara helps clients find balance in their lives, and alignment with their personal and family-held values. She teaches and coaches internationally. She's wife to an outstanding man, and mom to two brilliant girls.
You can find out more about LaSara at www.lasarafirefox.com. While you're there, be sure to check out LaSara's weekly conscious parenting podcast; Yoga Mama Satsangha.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
How has Twitter changed your life?
I blog less now that I have Twitter. I know I participate less in the forums too and I don't go to as many e-seminars/websinars/chats/tele-classes as I used to. I also use Skype a lot less.
Today I am feeling nostalgic for the good old days of online networking forums, Skype group chats and blogging. I miss having endless room to babble on and on and on and not being limited to 140 characters to get my point across. I also am missing the intimacy of private Skype chats and private online forums where everything I say is not put out there for the whole world to read.
Has Twitter changed your life? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Twitter! In fact, I think I am addicted to Twitter. I am tweeting or reading tweets 24/7 thanks to my iPhone.
Today I just took a moment to step back from this fast paced world, breathe and think about the good old days of technology.
Did you hear about the awesome sale on our book Managing Your Thriving Business for Success! If you enter the keyword: productive you will get the book for only $9.95
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
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Saturday, October 25, 2008
Want to do something fun this weekend? Something that could help bring your business to where you want it to be?
How about make a vision board?
Do you have a vision board? If not, why not?
You probably have some form of a business plan and have at some point written down your goals but seriously how often to you review your business plan or look at your written goals?
A vision board makes your goals visible. If you hang your vision board in a prominent place in your office you will see your goals everyday even if you aren't consciously looking at them.
A vision board can be whatever you want it to be. It can focus on how many clients you hope to have by the end of next year, the kind of car you want to drive, a peaceful relationship with family members, the amount of money you plan to make in the next year, five years or ten years, etc.
It's all about you and what direction you want your life and business to take. Make it fun and something you would enjoy looking at. I made one back in 2006. It's on pink construction paper and actually has iridescent sparkles on it because the sparkles remind me to believe in magical things happening. It's time to update mine because I've met just about all the goals on it.
Besides putting pictures of things on my board I also put positive words on my board. Words like family, friends, peace, health, fun, prosperity... you can put whatever words you want to be the main focus of your life.
For instructions on how to create a vision board check out Christine Kane's Blog.
Friday, October 24, 2008
She does a great analogy on thinking bigger and getting out of your comfort zone.
Click here to read the blog post How Big is Your Bowl?
It has been awhile since I have picked a blog of the week so this week it goes to the VAnetworking blog!
Are you a member of VAnetworking?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Chase, the thing I liked about WaMu was their customer service. I was not happy to see my latest statement that had a $10 charge on it for making too many transfers online. Apparently I am only allowed to make 6 transfers online in a one month period. I can go to the branch or the ATM and make as many transfer as I like but if I want to do it online I am limited to six. What is up with that and why did nobody ever tell me this before? Or was it written on one of those tiny inserts that come with your statement that you need a magnifying glass and a lawyer to read it and understand what it says. Okay six does seem like enough transfers but last month I had a lot of things going on (plumbing emergency, flat tire, etc) and I have multiple accounts with you and I like/need to move my money around sometimes. Yesterday, I called customer service and got a representative who confirmed that yes I did get that charge and then started reading that legal babble to me confirming that yes the $10 was a correct charge. I told her I was not aware of this new rule and asked her if she could please waive the charge this time as a courtesy. She said, "No I can't do that. It was not our mistake it was yours." I then asked to speak to her supervisor who basically said the same thing. No apologies, no courtesy waive of the charge, nothing. I told them I was very disappointed in the way they were handling this and that I was going to consider looking for another bank. He then said "okay". I said, so you are willing to lose a customer over $10, he said yes because it was not their mistake it was mine.
So this week I am going bank shopping. I'm sure in this economy most banks would be happy to have a new customer. I'm surprised that the new Chase/WaMu is not sorry to lose a customer.
If someone from WaMu/Chase were to waive the $10 fee and comment on my blog I might actually consider keeping my accounts there.
11/8/09 I've turned off the comments for this post because it's been getting a ton of spam lately.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Personally, I'm tired of all the negative chatter about money. Let's start some positive dialogs about money and finances.
If you are feeling scared or unsure what to do with your money at this time you might want to watch this Suze Orman video.
Monday, October 13, 2008
However, there is one white guy that can really dance! Have you seen this video? My good friend Coach Emily sent it to me today and I thought it would be a fun video to pass around this Indigenous People's Day (a.k.a Columbus Day).
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Are you a Twitter addict?
I know many of you are on Twitter because I see your tweets. Here is a quick little time saving tip about Twitter.
Don't let Twitter take over your life! Twitter is awesome and it is fun! It's a great way to keep up with the masses and to meet new people. But... it can take over your life if you are not careful.
One little bit of advice I heard from someone at a VAnetworking seminar (I can't remember his name at the moment) was to treat Twitter like the water cooler at the corporate office. You know how you walk by the water cooler and hear the end of a conversation and join in if it is interesting. Well... that is what you should do with Twitter. Like the water cooler you don't get to review the last 15 minutes (or 24 hours) of the conversation that you missed you just get to jump in where it is at.
I hear many of you saying you are catching up on your Tweets. When I hear that I get nervous. I think oh that person is going to wonder where all their time went. The people that catch up on all their missed tweet's are probably the same people complaining they don't have enough time to finish their client work, they don't have enough time to spend with their family, and that there just never is enough time to do everything they want to do.
It's okay if you miss a few tweets.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Are you listening to the news everyday and freaking out? Or are you focusing on your business and on being prosperous.
If you lost a bunch of money in the market do you think watching the news, complaining and worrying about it is going to help get the money back?
At times like these I try not to let the mass hysteria get to me. Instead of watching the nightly news and reading the headlines I pick up books such as Barbara Stanny's OverComing UnderEarning or I read prosperity minded information online.
I'm not suggested that you put your head in the sand and live in denial. Just suggesting you pay attention to where your thoughts are focused these days.
Wishing you prosperity!
Friday, October 03, 2008
What does your voice say? Have you ever heard it say anything like this?
- I'm not good enough.
- I'm so stupid.
- Who do I think I am trying to run a business?
- Nobody cares about what I have to say.
- I can't do this.
- I'm not smart enough.
In summary, stop the negative chatter and replace it with positive, affirming statements.
You are a successful business woman (or man)!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Do you thank that someone? Do you give them a referral gift? Do you let them know how things are going with your new client?
I'm just wondering what the etiquette is around referrals. When someone refers a client to me I thank them and send them a referral gift if the client signs on.
Since my business has gotten busier I've been referring clients out a lot. Some people thank me, some send me me a gift, some send money and others just respond with a quick thanks and never report back to me whether they got the client or not.
I personally want a thank you and an update if I refer someone to you and you get the client. I've had to find out from my clients, friends and acquaintances that they are working with the person I referred them to.
What are your thoughts on referral etiquette?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I'm wondering if they know where all their money is going? If they have taken ownership of their spending habits?
Money is always a sensitive subject with people so I don't want to my push myself on them with my thoughts and opinions but if they ever asked here are the questions I would ask them to think about.
- How much money do you make each month?
- How much money did you make over the last 8 months?
- How much money do you spend each month?
- How much money have you spent over the last 8 months?
- What do you spend your money on?
The first step to getting out of debt and becoming financially independent is getting out of denial and facing your financial reality.
If you are interested in reaching financial independents here is the first step/challenge: track every penny you spend over the next 7 days.
- Get a little notebook or create a spreadsheet in Excel.
- Write down how much money you think you are spending each week
- Start saving those receipts and tracking those expenses daily (without judgment).
- After you do this let me know if you were spending more or less than you thought.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, questions or tips about facing finances.
Some things to think about (possible money drains).
A 12 pack of Coke costs $6.00 X 52 weeks = $312.00
Big Mac: $3.50 X 52 weeks = $182.00
Starbuck’s coffee: $3.00 X 365 days = $495.00
Credit Card interest average = 16% - 18%
Late Payment fees: $25.00+
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I comb through mine line by line every month and I often find unauthorized charges and mistakes. Usually little charges here and there... small mistakes that add up. I always take the time to call and get the charges corrected. This month, I'm thankful that I took the time to check my statement and balance my account. I found a charge of $295.00 that I did not make.
In August I stayed at a hotel in Orange County. The La Quinta Inn Costa Mesa. (By the way if you like to breathe don't stay there, it is located right on the 405 Freeway... literally.) You walk out the door of your room and your view is the freeway - the noise and the smog level are toxic. The service was great and the people were nice but the location is horrible!
Back to my credit card story... I paid for the hotel in advance via Travelocity. Everything went smoothly until now, when I opened my credit card statement. The La Quinta Inn charged me $295.00 on a random day during the middle of my stay. I called La Quinta they had no record of the charge and didn't know how to help me with the problem. I called my credit card company and they offered to reverse the charge and deal with La Quinta directly. My credit card company (United Visa - Chase Card Services) has great customer service. In the end after about an hour of phone calls, transfers and being put on hold I got my $295.00 back.
Just thought I'd share this story as a reminder to check and balance your credit card statements every month. You might be losing money you aren't even spending.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I've been noticing lately when I visit friend's that their homes & offices are completely filled with clutter. People often ask me how I keep my house/office so clean. I tell them I get rid of stuff. It's a lot easier to clean when you aren't constantly picking up stuff. Some people I know have so much stuff their stuff doesn't even have a home. If they wanted to organize they wouldn't be able to because there would be no place to put their stuff
Take a look around your office. Do it. Right now. What do you see? Are there piles of paper everywhere? Are there things in your office that don't belong? If so, how about scheduling 15 minutes today to de-clutter your office. See how much you can do in 15 short minutes.
Rules for de-cluttering:
1. Set timer for 15 minutes (and don't give me the excuse that you do not have a timer. You can use this one: http://www.timeme.com/timer.htm just reset the preferences to 15 minutes).
2. Stay in your office the whole 15 minutes. (I learned this trick from reading Elizabeth Hagen's book Organize With Confidence. She suggests anything that goes in another room to put in a pile to put away after the 15 minutes is up.
3. Toss/Recycle everything you do not need or love.
4. File any paper that needs to be filed.
Now that wasn't so bad was it?
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Extraordinary Women Dilemma: You're beating yourself up because you can't seem to turn off when it comes to your business. Whether you're excited about a new project and you're thinking about it while you're out having dinner with friends or you're trying to have the day off and your thoughts are dominated by the next thing that you need to do for your business, it's a strange mix of guilt, excitement, sometimes-worry and always a constant ants-in-your-pants feeling. You've tried "letting go", but that almost never works and then you just feel like an over-obsessed spaz.
What There Is For You To Know: The general sentiment for us passionately-driven entrepreneurial women is that we need to "balance" and tone down the obsession with our businesses. We hear it from friends, loved ones and we beat ourselves up for it. But here's the thing: being passionately-driven about your business is great for your business! It's when you come from a place of seeing that never-ending drive as "bad" and then trying to stop it, that you get into trouble.
You see, there is nothing wrong with you when you take a day off and you're not able to stop thinking about your business. It may not be the experience that you want to have, but you are not a workaholic or failing at balance. This is why when you say, "I've got to stop thinking about my business", it doesn't work. Because you actually can't stop that flow and you don't need to. In truth, it's a wonderful thing for your business that all this juice for it is pulsing through you.
It is nice, however, to be able to take a break from it! So here's how without having to stop the flow...
Think Like An Electrical Outlet: Picture a standard electrical outlet - the kind that has two places to plug stuff in and shows up in every room of just about every house ever made. Think about how there is always electrical current available in an outlet. It's present 24/7 and you can tap into it whenever you want by plugging something in.
As a passionately-driven entrepreneurial woman, your thoughts, "obsessions" and constant focus on your business are the same as the current in that electrical outlet - present and flowing all the time. It's on-tap juice for your business 24/7! But as go-getting women, we tend to naturally plug into that current all the time. The thing to remember is that, just as you do for your toaster or any other appliance, you can unplug from the current at will. The beauty of unplugging from the current is that you are not trying to stop the current and you're not feeling bad that the current is still flowing. You are allowing the current to keep doing it's thing AND you're unplugging so you can take a break.
Try It On The Fly: Experiment this week with unplugging from the constantly-flowing current of energy that you have for your business. When you're with your family or friends and your business is dominating your mind, rather than trying to stop this juicy flow of business energy, instead imagine yourself unplugging from it. Know that, while you're unplugged, the current is still there - full of energy and forward movement and ready to go once you decide to plug back in.
It's the trying to stop the flow of thoughts and energy for your business that gets you into trouble. And thinking there's something wrong with you for not being able to stop it. But you can't stop it because it's naturally "on" all the time! You can, however, unplug for stretches at a time. Play around with it and let me know how it goes...
* * * Go-getting women: Be sure to check out The go-getting entrepreneurial woman's essential 5-session series starting in October!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
What's holding you back from reaching financial success?
I learned a little history about women and money while reading Barbara Stanny's book, Secret's of Six-Figure Women.
Here are a few excerpts from Stanny's book:
Psychotherapist Olivia Mellan, coauthor of Money Shy to Money Sure says, "this fear of power is perfectly understandable. It's embedded in collective unconscious. Powerful women were burned at the stakes"
Did you know the word money is derived from the Latin feminine noun moneta?
"Moneta was the name of Juno, queen mother of heaven. Making money is part of our heritage, a legacy it's time to embrace."
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Have you heard of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor? She is the Harvard trained neuroanatomist (brain scientist) who had a massive stroke and studied and remembered what was happening while having the stroke.
Here is the Youtube video from when she spoke at TED.
(It's about 20 minutes)
She had some amazing insights from her stroke experience that she talks to Oprah about during the interviews.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Hi, my name is Sally and I am a workaholic.
I'm not sure when it happened but it did! All I do now is work, work, work.
As much as I love the work I do I would also like to bring some balance back into my life.
I'm tired of saying no to friends and family every time they extend an invitation.
I'm tired of not having time to participate in my favorite online forums.
I'm tired of being a grouch.
And, I'm especially tired of not having time to blog!
It is time I start practicing what I preach. It's time to set new boundaries and communicate those with my family, friends and clients.
If you have been feeling anything like I have lately (or resemble the strange looking photo above in any way) I have a suggestion for you.
I've found the days I am most productive are the days I actually take a few minutes to plan and not just follow the emails on a wild goose chase.
Let me explain the wild goose chase analogy. I have a couple of clients who feel every task they need assistance with is urgent and must be done ASAP. So, if I don't take the time to look at the big picture of my business and to look at each clients individual needs and projects I end up focusing on the squeaky wheels and not the wheels that are moving along quietly and smoothly. Hence, I end up on a wild goose chase trying to keep up with the "urgent" requests of those few clients and forgetting about the quiet, stable ones that plan ahead. My day ends and I feel no sense of accomplishment, just a whole lot of frustration.
Instead of diving head first into email I am now reviewing all my clients and projects to see what needs to be completed first and committing to doing that project first.
I then do that A1 priority project and don't check email or answer the phone until it is complete.
After I complete the project I check email and voicemail and follow up with anything that I have to follow up on and then review my projects again and decide which project I am going to fully focus on next.
I'm amazed at how much more productive and how many more billable hours I get in a day when I stop multitasking and start seriously focusing.
I'm excited to say I'm on the road to recovery and will keep you posted on how my work/life balance is progressing.
Let's not even discuss that I am blogging about being a workaholic on a Saturday... yes it's going to be a long road to finding the perfect balance.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Then a few days ago Yvonne posted about the funk she was in and I commented on her blog saying, "Funny this post somewhat resembles my last blog post… seems we have been on the same funk cycle but we are back!" That comment prompted Yvonne to read my latest post and a big light bulb went off for her.She had also forgotten about her goals. She didn't exactly forget but she had reached all her goals and had not set new ones. So we spent some time yesterday reviewing our old goals and setting new ones. We got to pat ourselves on the back for reaching goals that seemed like "big dreams" a year ago. In Yvonne's process manual workbook, The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Thriving Business there is a section under the goal setting part which says "What dream do you dare to dream for your business?". Every time I review my manual I update that dream and date it. I'm thrilled to say I've actually achieved most of those things that I dared to dream a year ago. (Still waiting for the 2nd house on a beach - but I know that will come soon).
In celebration of Yvonne and I getting our groove back we are offering a special on our book Managing Your Thriving Business for Success. If you enter the code word: productive you will receive $10 off the cost of the book! If you are in a funk or have lost your groove we hope you will join us in getting your groove back and let us know about your light bulb moments.
For the next 10 days we will be offering this $10 discount. Go to http://www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com/managing and enter the code: productive to start getting your groove back today!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Earlier this week, I was listening to an interview with Barbara Stanny, the author of Secrets of Six Figure Women and I got very inspired. In fact, I plan to buy her book this weekend. She talked about how once you make a decision on what you want and commit to it things will just start falling in to place. While listening to the interview I started writing my goals. Within 5 minutes of the interview ending a client who has been MIA appeared in my email in box wanting to start up work again. Then the next morning I got a new client with exactly the kinds of projects I love doing.
Then today while participating in the VA Revolution’s Process Manual Accountability class led by Yvonne Weld we were reviewing our business goals. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had met most the BIG business goals I wrote back in May 2007.
Just like Barbara Stanny said... things started falling in to place – serendipitously. All these events were a great reminder to me to practice what I preach.
1. Write down your goals.
2. Write goals in positive present tense (ie. I am a six figure business owner. My desk is always clean and organized, etc).
3. Read your goals everyday.
4. Update your goals as you meet them.
Don’t do what I did. Don’t forget about your goals.
Remember to dream!
Suggestion: Stop what you are doing right now and write down where you want to be a year from now. Think about what kind of clients you want to work with, how many hours a week you want to work, how much you will be making an hour. Remember to date those goals so next year at this time when you find that sheet of paper you can give yourself a pat on the back!
I'm off to go purchase this book! Have a great weekend!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Setting Boundaries when you work from home is probably the most important thing you can do for your business, your family and yourself.
Do any of these descriptions sound like you? If they do it is probably time for you to set some boundaries:
- Workaholics: never get off the computer and loved ones feel neglected and begin to resent their business
- Doormats: family, friends, neighbors and others needs are always coming first and our business ends up getting pushed to the back burner… which means the income stops flowing and once again our loved ones feel neglected because we are not providing the financial support we are capable of providing, we get bitter towards our family and begin to resent them because we have no time to focus on our business. When we say yes to being the president of the board or heading the auction at our child’s school what are we saying no to? Free time with our families, time to work on our business, what else?
- Online Addicts: we become addicted to forums, chat rooms, blogs, emails, IM, online networking and volunteering, we don’t know when to say no. We think we have to do this to build our business, we feel guilty being away from our computer, afraid we might miss something, keep volunteering, chatting, posting hoping it will turn into business… what it really turns into is all of our time being eaten away, no billable hours to show and a resentful family and quite possibly a feeling of isolation. I’m not saying that any of this is bad, but there has to be limits… if you are spending 8 or more hours a day doing this and seeing no income or getting behind on client work, feeling overworked and stressed and know that your family is resentful, you may have a problem.
Before we can begin to set boundaries that are going to be of any success we first need to figure out our priorities in life.
Steps You Must Take to Run a Successful Business from Your Home
1. Know your goals and see where you want your business to be today and in the future
Knowing what you want is necessary before you can begin to set boundaries and limits. Do you know where you want your business to be in 1 month? 1 year? 5 years from now? How much money will you be making? How many hours a week will you be working? How much flexibility do you want in your schedule? What services do you offer? If you don’t know the answer to these questions…then before you do anything else you need to stop right now and take the time to figure it out. Sit down and brainstorm, write the story of your dream business. After you write your story, go back and read it and think about what steps you need to take to get to that point.
2. Figure out what your boundaries and limits are
Now that you know what you want and what you need to do to get it, you need to determine your boundaries. How are others going to respect your boundaries if you don’t even know what they are?
For instance, if you can’t get anything done because your kids or significant other’s needs always come first… you need to set some boundaries with them. This goes both ways, if you are neglecting your loved ones and spending all of your time on your computer you need to set some boundaries with your clients, colleagues and yourself about when work time is and when it is not.
Do you have office hours set so your clients know when it is okay to call and when it is not? Do you have certain times set aside when it is your time to work so your kids know not to interrupt you during that time (unless of course it is an emergency)?
3. Let everyone know your boundaries – communication is key!
- Be prepared to repeat your new rules frequently to your kids, your significant other and your clients. They have all been used to the old you… it will take them some time to respect and understand the new you. Be patient and be firm.
- Visualize a big line that you draw so you know when someone is stepping over it
- Make a schedule
- Make a plan
- Create financial boundaries/limits
- Be consistent
Sally Kuhlman, owner of Virtual Simplicity and Yvonne Weld, owner of Able Virtual Assistant Services combined their knowledge and wrote the book, Managing Your Thriving Business for Success” which gives you the tools to successfully manage your own thriving business. For more information about getting organized, setting goals and managing your thriving business, visit http://www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com/managing.
Monday, June 23, 2008
This almost happened to me last night. I almost stayed in the corner. My friend invited me to go listen to some African drumming at a dance studio. When we got there I was surprised to see a dance class going on. I just assumed it was going to be a drumming performance. It was a drumming performance/dance class. The instructor, Naby Bangoura was an amazing dancer. It was obvious the 12 students in the class done this before. My friends and I stood quietly in the back of the room watching and listening. At one point the instructor noticed us, smiled and with a gesture of his hands invited us to join the class. We shook our heads no... and I literally backed in to the corner wanting to be invisible. Then I had a conversation with myself. I never dance because I don't dance good, I have no rhythm and that's just how it is. Other people have confirmed this belief. But then I thought, I've always wanted to dance so why don't I just go for it? Who cares what these people think? If they think I am a dork that can't dance, so be it.
My friends must have been having the same conversations in their heads because at the same time the 3 of us decided to go for it. We jumped in the back of the line and started dancing. Legs, arms, heads, everything moving. I decided I wasn't going to worry about what I looked like to others and just focus on what the instructor was doing and do my best to copy him. He was nice and even came over and showed us slowly how to do the moves. I danced for about a half an hour and I enjoyed it. I just assumed I looked like a dork out there and decided it was okay to be a dork. But when I was done a few people actually came up and told me, "wow you figured out those moves fast! and you're really good at this". Despite letting go of my worries about being a dork I have to admit I was happy to hear that I didn't make a complete fool of myself.
I realized that standing in that corner I was not invisible I was standing out like a person lacking self esteem. Actually joining the group made me blend more than standing in the corner did.
As Heather and Becki said, "In fact, lack of self-esteem stands out like a sore thumb at parties, meetings, conferences and social or official functions. Individuals with low self-esteem avoid introducing themselves to others. They prefer to stay in the shadows, away from the sights of others."
I'm glad I didn't stay in the corner and that I decided to dance like nobody was watching.
When you go to business networking events do you stand in the corner or do you get out there and dance (ie. mingle, introduce yourself, ask questions)?
"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." - Mark Twain
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Virtual Assistants and clients often ask me, “how can I get more clients?” My answer is always a series of questions… do you network online or in person? do you follow up with your potential clients? I’ve found that a lot of people think if you put up a Website the clients/customers will come. In fact, that is usually not the case. A Website is a place for someone to go find out more information about you once they have met you somewhere else (either online or in person).
If you are trying to get new clients/customers I’d like to offer you a challenge this week. Follow up with at least one person before the end of the week. If you are not sure how to go about following up, I highly recommend reading The Art of Follow Up written by Jaime Lee Mann.Be sure to let me know how the follow up went.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Virtual Assistant Social Networking Community Boasts Two Award Winners for 2008. There are many Virtual Assistants (VA) who have helped to not only build recognition of the VA industry but also to provide invaluable insight and assistance to their fellow VAs. VAnetworking has become a popular social networking community online since 2003 to many Virtual Assistants sporting over thousands of members. Founder Tawnya Sutherland states, "Inside VAnetworking we are just like one big happy VA family offering advice, support and answers to many business issues at any time of the day and even in the wee hours of the morning. As a family unit we share and work together trying our best to get the word out to corporate America about the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant".
It isn't a coincidence then that two members of this online social network just so happen to be winners of the most prestigious awards available to VAs.
For Tawnya Sutherland (founder of VAnetworking.com) and Kylie Short (Tilda Virtual Services), they received the biggest honor during the recent third annual IVAD (International Virtual Assistant Day) celebration. Sutherland was honored as the recipient of the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction award and Kylie Short was honored as the recipient of the Janet Jordan Achievement Award. The award ceremony was held on May 16th at the OIVAC (Online International Virtual Assistants Convention) and was attended, virtually, by dozens of VAs from around the world.
The Thomas Leonard Award recognizes a Virtual Assistant that has been in business for at least five years, and who has contributed to the industry in a way that leaves a positive impact on many others, helping them build successful businesses. The Janet Jordan award recognizes a newcomer Virtual Assistant who has been in business for less than 5 years and has reached a milestone in their short career in the industry. This milestone needs to be an accomplishment that has helped to boost their new business to an overwhelming success.
During her acceptance speech, Tawnya said "I have practiced my three 'P's of success within my own VA business and wish to share these ethics with the VA community. They are: Persistence, Passion and Populace. A persistence to never give up and keep pushing through your business plan no matter what obstacles stand in your way. A passion and solid desire to reach the vision you have for you and your business. And populace, the networking with likeminded people in the VA industry."
"To be awarded The Janet Jordan Achievement Award is the greatest honor and recognition of what I have built. I am humbled by this award even more-so as it has been awarded to me by my peers," said Kylie Short during her acceptance speech.
A long-time active member of the VA community, Tawnya Sutherland founded VAnetworking.com in 2003. In a few short years, VAnetworking.com has become the largest online global social network for aspiring and successful Virtual Assistants. Tawnya has had a huge, positive impact on hundreds of VAs over the years. Her most recent project benefiting VAs worldwide is The VA Talk Show which informs, educates and entertains virtual achievers around the globe. Tawnya is the producer and host of the popular Internet radio show. In addition to her Virtual Assistance forum and her thriving businesses, Tawnya is also the creator of the internationally acclaimed Virtual Business Start Up System: a comprehensive kit that provides all the information, tools and resources a person needs to build a viable Virtual Assistance business in just 30 days.
For Kylie, Tilda Virtual Services, which is named after her daughter, began as an answer to Kylie's desire to have flexibility in her life as she actively participated in raising her children and nurturing her family. Her passion to help others is fueled by the immense joy Kylie feels in being a business owner herself. As a virtual business owner, Kylie understands the special challenges associated with establishing an online presence. Tilda Virtual Services specializes in providing administrative, online marketing, e-newsletter design, Web site design and technical support to small business owners working from home.
The International Virtual Assistant Day Awards (IVAD) has been in existence for three years now and you may view past winners at their website at http://oivac.com/vadayawards.htm States Tawnya Sutherland, "It brings a glow to my heart to see that every winner of the IVAD Awards is a member of VAnetworking.com. Obviously we are filling a hole at our social network that every VA could use to help them take their virtual business to that next level of success!"
Monday, June 09, 2008
6/11/08 VA Networking Seminar - Creating The Spark - 3 Secrets to Creating Passion For The Work and Life That You Will Love
6/13/08 Jaime's Birthday! (Happy Birthday Jaime!)
6/16/08 Estimated taxes are due in the US
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Today was a better day. Although, it's not easy... I'm back!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
I'm so excited to see she has a blog that I wanted to share it with all of you!
Lisa is my coach and she is awesome!
She happens to be offering a special 5 session coaching package to spirited, go-getting, (possibly stressed out) women who want to thrive.
Stop right now and listen to that chatter inside your head.
What do you hear?
A. I'm a failure. I can't do this. I don't think I can handle this. I'm so stupid.
B. I am a successful business owner. I love learning new skills. I am smart. I can do this!
If you are hearing things like A then you are having poopy thoughts. Next time you catch yourself having a poopy thought stop right then and change that thought to a positive/prosperous one.
If you are hearing things like B - Congratulations! You are having prosperity thoughts! Keep up the good work!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Have you ever stopped to think about what you really want to do with your business?
How many hours a week do you want to be working?
How much money do you want to be making by this time next year?
What kind of clients do you want to work for?
How many clients do you want?
How much do you want your monthly income to be?
How about doing something for yourself this week? Or better yet, right now! Take a piece of paper or open a Word document and answer the questions above (or post your answers in a comment right here). Don't forget to write the date on your list of goals. A year from now I will bring this post back up to see how you did with your goals.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
“When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.” - Erma Bombeck
"The best academy, a mother's knee." - James Russell Lowell
“When you feel neglected, think of the female salmon, who lays 3,000,000 eggs but no one remembers her on Mother's Day” - Sam Ewing
“I know how to do anything - I'm a Mom.” - Roseanne Barr
"We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up." - Phyllis Diller
“Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young” – Unknown
"I'd like to be the ideal mother, but I'm too busy raising my kids." - Unknown
Today is the last day to get $10 off Managing Your Thriving Business For Success . Enter the word "productive". Offer expires at midnight tonight. Great book for business moms! Learn new ways to balance work and family.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Co-Authors of the book "Managing Your Thriving Business for Success", Sally Kuhlman and Yvonne Weld have each been recognized by their industry as nominees of these awards, Kuhlman for the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction and Weld for the Janet Jordan Achievement Award.
The Virtual Assistant industry is gearing up for the 3rd annual Online Virtual Assistant Convention (OIVAC), which will be held from May 15, 2008 through to May 17, 2008. The highlight of the event will be the International Virtual Assistants Day (IVAD) celebration on Friday, May 16, when the announcement of the winners of the prestigious Janet Jordan Achievement Award and the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction will occur.
The OIVAC website states that the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction is to "honor a Virtual Assistant who has been in business for at least 5 years and who has contributed to the industry in such a way that it has provided a positive impact on many others and helped them to build a successful business." The OIVAC website also states that the Janet Jordan Award is to "honor a newcomer Virtual Assistant who has been in business for less than 5 years and has reached a milestone in their short career in the industry. This milestone needs to be an accomplishment that has helped to boost their new business to an overwhelming success."
These nominations prove that Weld and Kuhlman truly know what they are talking about and they also give their book credibility. Many books on the market today are filled with repetitive materials that are unsubstantiated. In other words, not too many authors "practice what they preach". The fact that these authors have been nominated for these awards goes to show that they are truly running successful businesses and are being recognized by the industry as leaders and role models.
"My goal in writing the book was to share with business owners the elements of my business that have attributed to my success such as goal setting, boundary setting and good time management", Weld stated. "Many business owners struggle to determine why their business isn't working without first looking at themselves and the management style they bring to their business."
Kuhlman believes "most people can be taught good management skills and, by utilizing those skills, run a successful and thriving business." "We don't want others to make the same mistakes we have and wanted to provide a resource that would give entrepreneurs the tools they needed to run a successful business." Both Kuhlman and Weld have learned their management skills through trial and error and life experience.
About Yvonne Weld
Yvonne Weld is the owner of Canadian based ABLE Virtual Assistant Services which opened in April 2004. Yvonne brings knowledge from a number of resources including personal experience (8 years in her previous employment as an Office Manager), education (graduate of several courses at the Small Business Centre, London, Ontario) and her love for information through reading and internet research. For more information visit the Web site at www.ableva.com.
About Sally Kuhlman
Sally Kuhlman is the owner of Virtual Simplicity located in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been providing virtual support to entrepreneurs since 2002. For over 15 years she has been professionally engaged in business management and administrative work. Sally has a bachelor's degree in Social Ecology specializing in Psychology and Human Behavior. For more information visit the Web site at www.virtualsimplicity.net.
About Managing Your Thriving Business for Success
For more information about Managing Your Thriving Business for Success and how to start organizing your time better, visit the Web site at www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com/managing.
The 3rd annual OIVAC is to be held from May 15-17, 2008 and will include several training teleseminars and workshops as well as an opportunity to network with Virtual Assistants from around the world. For more information visit the Web site at www.oivac.org.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
-excerpt from Managing Your Thriving Business For Success
$10 off now through May 11, 2008. Enter the code word: productive at Managing Your Thriving Business For Success