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3 Step “Success Factor” Exercise

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I love the month of December.  Many years ago, I decided to give up any aspects of the holidays that caused stress or a feeling of “I don’t want to be doing this!”   As a result, I gave up shopping for gifts, attending any parties or events that I truly didn’t want to attend, and sitting in Southern California traffic.

Instead, I enjoy holiday music and surround myself with it often.  I delight in the beautiful light displays that so many lovingly create for our enjoyment.  I attend all the holiday activities in my town of San Juan Capistrano where I can mingle with my neighbors and watch the wonder in children’s eyes.   I do some baking and warm up the house with smells of pumpkin and cinnamon. And I volunteer with local agencies who are aiding those who need a helping hand. Those are things I love about the season.

And for me, December is time to take some time off for reflection and planning for the upcoming year.

In that spirit, I want to share with you a 3 Step “Success Factor” exercise that can help you remember your successes…this will boost your confidence as you plan your goals for 2012.

1.  Think of a success you’ve had in the past -can be long ago or recent.  Write out a few lines about it.  For example, here’s one of mine.

I was the first in my family to get a college degree -while I proceeded to get several -the first one, the bachelor’s degree, was in many ways the most challenging.  I was attending college while working one full time job, a part time job and a Saturday morning job in the career counseling office of the university.

2.  What did you have to do to achieve this success?  Here’s mine:

Prior to starting on the degree, I investigated possibilities, made appointments to talk with people at the university, attended an open house, researched financial aid and took the big step of enrolling.  I set goals, got excellent grades and graduated.

3.  What skills did you use to achieve your success and what qualities did you possess that supported your success?  For my example:

Courage to change, Research skills, Set goals, Studied, Read, Wrote, Discipline, Initiative, and Organization.

Feel energized?  These skills and qualities are always with you and can be applied to your next goal and desire! If you do this exercise with someone else, you can tell them about your achievement and let the other person jot down the skills and qualities you used.  This exercise is a powerful energy raiser… Give it a try.  I’d love to see your posting here about your previous success and how you will build on it for your next one!

Letting Go

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There is really no such thing as time management.  We all have the same 24 hours a day.  What you can manage is where you put your attention.  Where you spend your energy and time.  And for many of you, you may not be spending your precious time doing things you love or being in environments that support you in fully developing your true self.  One key is to let go of habits, commitments and even people who are not contributing to your life in a positive way. Here are a couple of tips to get you started.

1.  Name what’s most important to you.  Jot it down.  Is it time with your family, reading to learn new things, travel to new places, making a difference in your community?

2.  Take a good look at your calendar for a week and watch where you are spending your time.  Gently observe your routine habits – some habits that I know many of you may have that are not supporting your goals and passions are checking email too often, surfing the internet for too many hours, maybe too much t.v.?

Don’t beat yourself up -just see where you might want to make some changes to free up your time for those things that are most important to you.

3.  Start small.  This is huge.  This has been key to every success I’ve ever had.  Pick just one thing to change at a time.  Break it down into smaller pieces if you need to.  Then do it regularly for at least 21 days -for me 30 is better.

Here’s two examples.  Reading email too often.  Choose to look at emails twice a day -maybe right before lunch around 11:30 a.m. and then near the end of your work day -maybe at 4:30 pm.  Get a calendar and mark off each day for 21-30 days that you succeed in doing this.  Take a deep breath if you’re tempted to open those emails first thing in the morning.  The urge to fall back into your old habit will pass.

Second example is to look at your current commitments and see which ones are supporting what’s truly important to you and which ones are draining you of energy and/or time.  Choose one small one that you can let go of.  Then contact whoever you need to and let them know that you no longer have time for the commitment.  Stand steady -in addition to freeing up your time, you will be giving someone else an opportunity to do what may be important to them.  Then decide carefully what you will do with your new free time.

I hope these tips help you to get closer to living YOUR life -the life you choose.  Let me know by commenting here on this blog if you are making changes -we’ll cheer you on!

Interview with Kim Kapellusch of Academy of Staging

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Kim Kapellusch

 
Kim Kapellusch of Academy of Staging (http://www.academyofstaging.com)

Learn how Kim started her home staging business with no money, how she is expanding to a nationwide model with no financial investment up front, and tips on how being persistant, getting informed and learning trust were key to her financial success. Click here to listen…

Are You Too Scattered?

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How are you feeling at the end of your work days?  Like you’ve accomplished the most important things or wiped out and feeling like you’re spinning your wheels?

It can be easy to spread your attention to a million things that are not even remotely related to your business goals and money making strategies.  Here are a few of my secrets for staying focused on what’s important.

1.  Start your day the day before.  At the end of your workday take a look at your calendar for the next day and see what you’re committed to.  Be sure you identify the most important thing that needs to be done -and you’ll want to make that important activity something that will bring in income.  Commit to doing that most important thing first.  Give yourself the gift of at least one concentrated stretch of time to work on it -might be an hour -if that’s too much for you maybe 30 minutes. 

2. Start with the end in mind.  When you sit down to your desk, make a quick visualization as part of your workday ritual.   Read your written vision (you do have your vision written down, right?).  Imagine the day going perfectly -you deserve to have a perfect day!  See yourself acting confidently, accomplishing your important goals, and anticipating unexpected opportunities.  Then jump in and start living that perfect day.

3. Create deadlines for yourself.  Goals without deadlines remain dreams.  You need to get your goals on your calendar.  Even better, share your commitment with others.  For example, if you’re thinking of giving a teleseminar, the very first thing you do is choose a date and time (no more than 4 weeks out).  Then write a brief paragraph with a few bullet points about what participants will learn in your teleseminar and then put it out into the world.  Email your list with a save the date notice.  Now you’re committed!  This will pull you forward because you won’t want to let folks down.  

4.  Take a break.  The joy of self employment is that you get to set where and when you work.  You might want to take your work outside.  Don’t expect to be able to concentrate on one thing for too long -we each have our limits.  I like to focus on one project for up to an hour and then switch to another.  I can often come back to the first one after I’ve had a break from it. Take a walk if you’re feeling stuck or beginning to feel drained.  Go ahead and surf the web for topics that make your heart sing -just give yourself a time limit so you don’t fritter away your time.

5.  End your work feeling great.  When you work from home, it’s too easy to check emails after hours and on weekends.  Create a ritual that says “I’m done for now.”  I like to leave my desk clean and ready for the next day’s work.  I check my schedule for the next day and then leave it behind.  Oh sure, you  will no doubt have creative ideas about your business after hours…just jot down those ideas and get back to enjoying the life you’ve created for yourself -it’s more than just your work.

Would love to hear any tips you have for staying focused. Post  yours here.

Building Your Business Income Streams So They Provide You a Continuous Flow Of All The Money You Need

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If you’re just starting out with your business, you may not have a clue as to where your money will come from.  Or maybe you’ve given it a go and are not bringing in the income you need and deserve.  The topic of how to have multiple income streams is a murky one for most people. 

I find that there are five huge mistakes entrepreneurs make when thinking about their upcoming income.  Are you making any of these?  (Don’t worry –I did too –until I was coached by the best to expand my thinking and to translate my big visions into doable steps!)

1.  You don’t set income goals.  You just toil away at this and at that maybe bringing in dribs and drabs of money but not enough to be confident that you can make a living.  You’ve got to create a clear blueprint of where the money will come from.

If this is you, you probably don’t like thinking about money and tend to stick your head in the sand.  The need here is to make it very practical.

2.  You don’t think about the idea that you can bring in several income streams.  I coach my clients to decide on 3 income streams at a time.  This allows you to offer different services/products, in alignment with your purpose and mission of course.  It also takes away the risk of having all your eggs in one basket.  You don’t want to have one client that you depend on for the bulk of your income.

3.  You don’t create an action plan for each income goal.  This is probably the biggest mistake I see.  You set some great goals, you’re excited about them, but then you don’t spend your daily actions working in baby steps towards them.  You need to know, step-by-step how to reach your clients and sell your products or services to meet each income goal.  And then you need to move forward each day.

4.  You don’t have a calendar system that lets you know what to focus on each quarter/month/day.  This alone changed my life from one of confusion to one of extraordinary focus and clarity.  I now have a good sense of what the entire year looks like as far as my major projects.  I have a clear, detailed plan for the next three months.  This helps me stay focused and helps me to say no to those opportunities (and there are plenty of them!) that don’t fit in with my current values and goals.

5.  You don’t track your results.  I was guilty as charged on this one for way too long.  I didn’t think I’d like the detail oriented task of tracking…I was wrong.  It’s empowering to know exactly where you are in reaching your income goals and gives you the ability to make adjustments as needed so you don’t completely derail or look back at the end of the year saying, “what the heck happened!”

You need to look at the money coming in and out each week.  You need to track specific reports (they are simple not complicated) each month to see if you are on target with each of your three income streams and to make sure they are bringing you profit -not just revenue.

So now is the time to get your business on the right track.  Take  these steps to set your income goals, to create three income streams, create your action plan for each, calendar the steps and track your progress…you are on your way to doing the work you are here to do while making more money than you ever imagined.

Let this next decade be YOUR time to live YOUR life.

Your Goals

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What are your goals for 2010?  Should we even set goals?  That’s been on my mind this month, and I’ve finally come to some conclusions that satisfy me.  See what you think.

I believe that we are part of something much greater than ourselves…you can call it God or Spirit or the infinite flow.  And because we are made of the substance of this infinite flow, we are whole, perfect and complete…just as we are…warts and all.

I also practice mindfulness meditation, in sitting practice and also throughout the day…bringing my awareness to observe myself acting, thinking, doing, judging, feeling.

And sometimes, I’ve felt like living a “goaless” life.  Just waking up and doing what feels right…and sometimes I do that.

BUT…I also recognize that I have the gift of this life to express my unique self fully in service to others.  And no matter, what…my day is going to be filled up with SOME kind of activity…I  might as well choose wisely.

By setting goals, I give myself direction…hopefully towards becoming more of who I truly am and serving and loving others as deeply as I can.

I’ve studied many time management and goal setting systems.  And from all of them, I’ve gleamed what works best for me and created my own system.  If you’d like to set your goals for 2010 with some guidance and support, on January 6, 2010, I’m holding a gifted teleclass called ” Breakthrough to the Best You in 2010: Create Your Powerful Yet Simple Goal Setting and Time Management System That Works!”

Get the details and dial in info here: http://budurl.com/goals2010

Igniting your entrepreneurial spirit,

Ann

Meaningful Conversations

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In this time of planning and enjoying the holiday, slow it down feeling, I’m reprinting an article from the past…that I think is especially appropriate at this time of year, when you may be spending time with family and friends… enjoy… and post a comment about what you’re doing this holiday season on my blog…would love to hear from you!

Meaningful Conversations

Lately I’ve spent time slowing my life down, thinking about and observing what absolutely delights my heart, knowing that in these activities, I am in touch with my essential self. As I spend more time in these activities, I flourish, bloom and live in joy. I recently fell in love with the word “exquisite” and here’s how I played with it: “My life is exquisite…of intricate and beautiful design of such beauty and delicacy as to arouse intense delight.” And I wish that for each of YOU!

One of the activities I value and treasure is “real” conversations. I thoroughly enjoy listening deeply to the heart of another. To share conversation where we each have a chance to speak and feel truly heard without being judged. I recently read a book by Margaret Wheatley “Turning to one another: simple conversations to restore hope to the future” that moved me greatly. In it she states: “We have never wanted to be alone. But today, we are alone. We are more fragmented and isolated from each other than ever before… we move at frantic speed, spinning out into greater isolation. We seek consolation in everything but each other. We’ve forgotten the source of true contentment and well being.”

The intent of her book and the intent of this article is to encourage and support you in beginning conversations about what’s important to you. Here are a few conversation starters that Margaret offers. Go ahead, start a conversation with someone you trust about any of these topics:

1. What do I believe about others? 2. When have I experienced good listening? 3. Am I willing to reclaim time to think? 4. What is my unique contribution to the world? 5. When do I experience the sacred?

Another author who gives us great ideas for meaningful conversations is Parker Palmer. In his book, “A Hidden Wholeness” he states “the soul wants truth, not trivia.” That is such a powerful statement to me. He outlines a process called circles of trust. In these circles we trust the soul and its capacity to speak the truth, we trust each other to have the intention to create a space that is safe enough to welcome the soul, we trust that having a no “change agenda” will allow the soul to have transformational outcomes.

Become curious about others, slow down and talk together, over time, in a place you love. When you’re comfortable, begin to invite new people into your conversation. You can meet physically or by telephone…I’ve had some wonderful, meaningful conversations with people all over the globe through teleconferences.

To your meaningful conversations!

Want to Make Money While You Sleep? Start Affiliate Marketing

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I’ve made several thousand dollars this year through affiliate marketing. What the heck is affiliate marketing you ask? It’s promoting other people’s products or services in return for a commission. It’s easy to do and can quickly bring in extra income for very little effort. Your affiliate will give you your own unique “url” (that’s a webpage address). When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, the affiliate records the sale as credited to you. Most send checks to you monthly.

I’m telling you…it feels so great to open my mailbox and see checks…that took little or no effort from me to get after the initial set up on my webpage.

Here are 4 simple steps to getting started. And in the interest of full disclosure…the affiliate links I’ve given you as examples are my actual affiliate links which bring me commissions.

1. Decide which products/services you’ll promote. I am very choosy…I am proud of the excellent quality of my products and services AND the amazing benefits that my clients/customers experience… flexible lifestyle, more income, and greatly expanded beliefs in what is possible in their lives. A good reputation is your most valued asset…so don’t compromise it.

Here are some examples of what I promote and why.

Site Sell’s Build It System. This system teaches you, with a very doable step-by-step manual (videos too if you prefer watching to reading) and website about how to create websites, around topics that you are passionate about, that are true profit centers…bringing in $3,000+ per month. I’ve bought it, and am building a new profit center for my business. I’m amazed at how easy it is, and how much I’ve learned about search engine optimization…painlessly…something I’ve been resisting forever. My work in progress is www.providencelover.com. Once I’ve got more content and my monetization methods in place, I’ll create a new website…this for me is so much fun…no kidding…am I officially a geek?

Amazon’s Kindle. I LOVE my Kindle book reading device. I gave myself the first generation Kindle as a birthday gift a year ago November…the new versions are way better but I just don’t want to part with my beloved gadget yet.

What do I love about it? Instant downloads (and gratification) of books when I want them and the ability to tote 200 books around without breaking my back (the latest generations hold 1,500 and 3,500!). When I travel or even just hang out at the Dana Point harbor, I love having all kinds of books with me. I dip into a business book, then a dose of spirituality, and then maybe a good mystery.

There really is no limit to the amount of Kindle books you can own…you can keep some on your Amazon website account and transfer them back and forth to your Kindle when you like.

I can’t go into all the amazing features here…but do know that you can bookmark, highlight and take notes. I save all these as “clippings” and then upload them to a Word doc and create my presentations from them.

I take it everywhere…and soon discovered that people are curious about the Kindle and want to hold it and check it out. At the car wash, the harbor, and airports, I ALWAYS have strangers ask me if they can check it out.

It finally dawned on me that I’m a walking sales person for Amazon…enthusiastically promoting their product…AND they offer a commission. So I wised up, joined their affiliate program and had biz cards made with my Amazon affiliate link on it. After I share my Kindle with a new person, I give them the card and ask them to purchase their first one there and then I tell them to set up their own affiliate link! You get 10%…you can receive between $20-$49 each sale, depending on the version folks buy.

American Writers & Artists Institute. These folks provide high quality, home study kits on several realistic ways to make money from home including resume writing, travel writing, copywriting and much more. I’ve purchased several of these for my own use and can highly recommend them. Here’s an example of their home study kits: http://www.awaionline.com/go.php?Clk=3363528

2. Create a blog or website where you will promote your affiliates’ products. You can start with a free blog using blogger.com or wordpress.com. If you’re serious about making money with your website, I highly recommend Site Sell’s Build It…they tell you why you need more than a blog.

SBI! Monthly Billing Option

3. Send regular notices to your client email list about your affiliates’ products. You ARE building a list right? If not, join our Success Circle now so you can learn how.

4. Write, and post on the internet, articles on topics related to your affiliates’ products and include a link to your affiliate webpage in the “resource box” of the article. Google “article directories” to get ideas about where you can post them (it’s free!).

Consider making affiliate marketing part of your marketing plan for 2010. You’ll thank me! Post a comment on our blog when you get your first affiliate check so we can all “Whoo Hoo” with you.

How to get to “Love My Work”

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I’m at a Dave Dee and Alexis Neely conference this weekend. I caught myself comparing myself to others -and in some cases thinking that I was coming up short.

Do you do the same? I think most of us do.

Best thing to do when this happens?

Be aware of what you’re doing
Stop it
Remember what makes you unique

I started to love my work when I embraced
my own unique quirks. It’s those quirks that
attract ideal clients who love me -quirks and all!

Do you have a story about comparing yourself to others? If so, would love to see your comment here.

Free Business Help for Entrepreneurs

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Great new post from my coach on several resources you might not have thought about when you get stuck or need info:   Check it out here http://3.ly/Entrepreneur

Igniting Your Entrepreneurial Spirit,
Ann

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