work at home

Do You Charge What You’re Worth?

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There’s a good chance you don’t. You may think you don’t have enough experience. You may fear that you can’t deliver high quality services. You may just not feel “good enough.”

If you are a true beginner you might want to charge a lower fee in order to gain experience; however, before you do this, I urge you to talk to a coach or a trusted advisor to do a “reality check.” You may not be able to see clearly all the life experience, knowledge and value you are bringing to the table.

If you are not a beginner, here are a few tips to effectively master the emotionally loaded topic of how to charge what your worth.

1. Pricing is an art not a science. There are no hard and fast rules. You can experiment. Establish a baseline by calculating the amount you absolutely must have each month to meet your expenses then double that amount to account for those variable life insurance quotes, savings, retirement and other business expenses you may not be taking into consideration.

You may want to triple your initial amount so that you’ll have money left over for travel and other enjoyments. Divide your total amount by 20 hours a week for 48 weeks (or the number of weeks you expect to work in a year). I say 20 hours because some of your time will be spent on marketing, administration, professional development, research, etc. If you will actually be delivering billable services more than 20 hours a week, adjust the formula to fit your situation. This amount is the minimum you need to be making during each hour of service.

Try a price on for size and see if you feel satisfied with delivering your service for that fee. If you feel resentment -you’re not charging enough. You can adjust your pricing till you find the range that fits.

2. When delivering services it’s always better to charge a project fee rather than an hourly fee. You are bringing value to the client -you are solving a problem -you are not trading dollars for hours of your vital life energy. Yes, I showed you in #1 how to establish an hourly rate -that’s so you would have an idea of how to price your project. Estimate the number of hours it will take to complete the project or deliver the service and you’ll have a project fee. Yes, sometimes you will find you underestimated and you will also find that sometimes you finish more quickly than you anticipated.

3. Expect the “gulp” factor. Each time I’ve stretched myself to raise my prices, I find myself swallowing, a gulp, as I quote the fee or write it into a proposal. But what a great feeling when the client says yes and you recognize your value. It gets easier with practice.

Deliver excellent service. Be reliable. Be honest. And charge what you’re worth!

I’d love to hear your thoughts – so go ahead and post them here.

Starting A Business

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Starting a business is exciting and scary at the same time.

I’ve got two that are up and running pretty smoothly so…I’m ready to start another one!  I like to call them profit centers.  I’m going to start a travel agency business from home.

This profit center combines several of my passions.  As many of you know my life vision is “Everyday A Vacation Day.” You know how you wake up with that feeling of excitement and anticipation when you’re on vacation. The day is a blank slate and you get to create what you want with it.  That’s what I want for each of you too -to enjoy most of what you’re doing…every day.  And, it’s a portable business I can work on with my husband.  Fun!

I thought it would be a great experiment to document my progress here in this blog. I’m thinking it may help you on your journey to creating your profit centers.

I’ll share what my next steps are, my progress, my bumps along the way and soon…my successes!

So here we go.

Step 1. I googled “home based travel agency.” I found a homebasedtravelagent.com website created by Tom and Joanie Ogg. I browsed it and read some articles.

Step 2. I went to FabJobs and bought a book on becoming a travel agent. I like this resource and have several of their titles on my website http://authenticlifeinstitute.com/how_to_guides.htm  (I receive a small commission for referring their products.)

I browsed a bit more, saw that Tom Ogg’s name came up a few times as a trusted, knowledgeable professional so went back to his site, purchased two of his information products and joined his forum.

Step 3: After spending about 3 weeks reading and gathering information I had the lay of the land and knew what my next step was.  I haven’t got a clue about how a lot of this works yet but all I need to know is the next step. In this case that is to decide whether to find a host agency or go it on my own.   I decided on the host agency route. I know I’ve got a big learning curve ahead of me and I want to learn from successful travel agents who are already where I want to be.

Next step?   Research five host agencies.    So for all of you thinking of starting a home based business.   The first step is like a research project.  You need information.

But  the very next step I’m taking  is a cruise to the Mexican Riviera.  I leave Saturday.  Got to do research you know 🙂

Star

Simplify Your Life

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I recently returned from a 3 week vacation in Ireland and Scotland. During that time, I changed the ordinary flow of my days. I felt like I had taken charge of my life again. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify were the words that kept ringing in my head. I checked email only once a week in order to follow an important project I’m involved in. I ignored clocks and ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired. The result? I came back rested, calm and a few pounds lighter (despite the daily Guinness and whiskey!).

What does simply simplifying mean to you? How can you focus on what you actually want and need to be happy and secure. I’ve always wanted to live in a small town where I could walk to get most of the services I need -and now I am here and loving it. I walk to get groceries, to the farmers market, to my hairdresser and dentist and to several great restaurants. I combine car trips so I’m rarely on the road more than 1 day every 2-3 weeks.

Sometimes small changes in the way you spend your time and money are enough to simplify your life to your greatest satisfaction. Other times, it requires a bigger move like relocating.

To simplify your life, you’ll probably need to take a look at your thoughts about money. I’m all for having plenty to do the things that delight your heart along with enough to save and share with your spiritual community and/or charities. But exactly how much is enough for you? It’s going to vary a lot depending on what part of the country you live in, what your hobbies are, how many children you have….well you get the picture.

When I took stock of what I really needed to be happy while living a simplified life, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s quite doable and I’ve been able to create work that supports a lifestyle I love. What is of high value to me is time to pay attention to my “inner life” because I firmly believe that our inner life creates our outer life. Without quiet time, my life feels chaotic. Other high values for me are spending time with people I love and enjoy, reading, learning, and traveling. That’s about all I need!

So take some time today to list out what would make you happiest. What would an immensely satisfying life look like for you? Chances are you’ll be wanting to simplify, simplify, simplify too!

Would love to read your thoughts on this blog so go ahead and leave a comment here about how you plan to simplify your life or how you’ve already done so.

Business Secrets from Richard Branson

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Did you know that Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Brand Companies, works from home when he’s not flying around on his jets?  I agree with his idea that in order to have a successful business you have to ENJOY it.  You’ll be putting in a lot of time and energy, especially during y0ur first years, so why not spend all your precious life force on something you love?

He also says to praise people -a lot.  Good advice and has worked well for me in my 10 years of business.

He shares a tip that I learned from Jim Rohn, motivational speaker…he carries around a notebook to jot down ideas, concerns and questions.  Don’t let your genius thoughts disappear into the wind!

And even though his business ventures are huge, he has managing directors so he can “run a large group of companies in the same way a small business owner runs a family business – keeping it responsive and friendly.”  There’s definitely an advantage to being small.

Here’s the entire article from Entrepreneur magazine -enjoy and thrive in your small business.  http://bit.ly/bransonarticle

Igniting Your Entpreneurial Spirit,
Ann

40 Day Focus

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I hope you’re enjoying some of these lazy, hazy days of summer…I know I am!

Many of you ask me how to choose from all your many ideas -which one should I work on NOW?

I also hear from many of you that you’re challenged by the “F” word (and I mean Focus!)

Here’s a powerful, easy 8 step system to choose your ideas, get them into action and completed.

1. Write down all your ideas.  You don’t have to DO all of them but if you don’t write them down, you’ll lose a lot of your truly genius, creative gems.

2. Let is percolate for a few days.  Come back to your list in a couple of days -some of those ideas you wrote down will seem downright wacky while others will take your breath away -I thought THAT? you’ll say to yourself.

3. Then ask yourself, what is the purpose for doing this?  Hint -it’s not always money. It’s probably one of these – list building, lead generation, cash generation, product creation (this can be information products too), or building credibility.

4. Rank your list of ideas from 1-5 on how much this idea will get you to your current purpose (or whatever scale you like) with 1 being this won’t get me to my desired objective at all, to eureka! this is a 5 -I’m going to lock the door, turn off the phone and email and not come out till I’ve got this baby cooking!

5.  Make a 2nd column with an estimate of what you think can happen if you focus on this for 40 days.  Why do I pick 40 days?  I like that there is a great significance to the number 40 in many spiritual traditions. And, I know how tempted I am to lose focus -in many spiritual stories, 40 days signifies temptation or a passage through something.

Next quantify your idea.  How many people could you add to your list if you focused for 40 days?  How many leads could you generate?  How much cash will that information product bring in?

6. Right about now, the buts should be kicking in -small buts and those dreaded big buts. Write down 3 of them.  Now write down 3 benefits of doing this focused project.

7. Now write down solutions to your obstacles or ways to prevent them.  Then write down, very specifically, about what you’ll get from the benefits.  Set dates for when you’ll experience these great things you’ll be, do or have from these benefits.

8. OK.  Now it’s time to get into ACTION! Write down 5 actions you need to take to achieve this objective. For example, I’m working on a book right now -some of my next actions are to write an hour a day, interview some folks for stories for the book, decide on a hot title…see?

Some of your steps will be done by you, others like graphic design of a book cover, transcribing interviews etc. will be done by someone else.

So what idea will you focus on for the next forty days (some of you will complete your project even sooner!) Post a comment at www.authenticlifeinstitute.com/blog and let us know -then you’re making a commitment which will make it much more likely that you’ll keep moving forward -don’t you want to come back in 40 days and post about your great success?  I’d love to hear them!

Got Blog?

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I resisted having a blog for years. I asked my virtual assistant to set one up for me in 2007 and promptly forgot about it. But now I’m a believer. Last month Google launched a new new web indexing system called Caffeine. According to Google,

“Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and it’s the largest collection of web content we’ve offered. Whether it’s a news story, a blog or a forum post, you can now find links to relevant content much sooner after it is published than was possible ever before.”

So what does this mean? Well one, your blog is an even more powerful marketing tool than ever. And two, you need to get posting twice a week. That’s ideal for keeping web traffic flowing to your website. Blogging lets you connect with your ideal clients or customers in a very human way.

It’s easy to get started. WordPress is free. The best way to go is to have an integrated blog and website. If you’re a non-techie like me, you can hire someone for a few hundred dollars to create this for you.

So get started. Drop a comment here about your new blog -there are people waiting for your unique message!

How are you intelligent?

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Now please notice I didn’t ask, how intelligent are you? That’s an entirely different question. Our culture puts a great deal of weight on assessments given to you when you’re in school…I.Q. tests, S.A.T.s, A.C.T.s…alphabet soup. This is unfortunate. These tests only measure a portion of the different types of intelligences including linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences.

Years ago, I was delighted to find Howard Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences in the K-12 school systems. He identified 8 different types of intelligences. They include linguistic (good with words), logical-mathematical (good with numbers and reasoning), spatial (picture smart), bodily kinesthetic (body smart), musical (music smart), interpersonal (people smart), intrapersonal (self smart) and naturalistic (nature smart).

Another author, Daniel Goleman, says we can also have emotional intelligence and that this kind of intelligence is an even stronger indicator of success than I.Q. Emotional intelligence can be learned, it’s not fixed at birth. The different emotional intelligences include self-awareness, altruism, personal motivation, empathy, and the ability to love and be loved.

Ok. So what does all this have to do with you being happily self employed, working from home doing work you love and making plenty of money? I find that many of my clients doubt that they are “smart” enough to succeed in their own business. They often don’t recognize the gift of their own unique intelligence and how that gift can solve problems for others.

For example, I’ve met many interior designers who downplay their talent and under charge for their services. Now being someone who has had to return just about every piece of furniture I’ve ever bought on my own, I recognize clearly the gift of spatial intelligence in these designers. And that’s one intelligence I sure wasn’t blessed with! I save my self (and the sales clerks) lots of time and frustration by hiring designers.

Another example, I never knew that I had a natural ability for writing until I got to college. I assumed it was not difficult for anyone to write. Wrong! A college professor had us take an exam to determine if we needed to take a basic writing class. Of the 15 people who gave a writing sample that was judged by 3 teachers, mine was the only one that “passed” so I didn’t have to take that writing course. That’s when I had an aha moment of “oh, so this isn’t easy for everyone.” Prior to that, I just had no awareness of this gift. And now I am able to serve others with and charge well for my services.

So how are you intelligent? Don’t downplay your interpersonal and/or intrapersonal skills. Those are often even more important than some of the others. They allow you to build rapport and relationships, to empathize with others and to be a good listener. These are some of the strongest skills you need in business and sales. Would love to hear about how you are intelligent -post a line or two here on my blog: http://authenticlifeinstitute.com/blog/ and how you are starting to honor your unique intelligence. I can just about guarantee that you have far more capacity than you give yourself credit for!

What Problems Do You Solve For Your Clients?

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I see a major mistake in many of my client’s new businesses.  Their website copy and sales materials give a great deal of detail about HOW they deliver their services.

This is not going to bring in the money.  But I know you CAN bring in the money.  Just this week I read in the Small Business Success Index that more than half of home based business owners, from artists to contractors, are 55-plus. AND, roughly 35% bring in more than $125K!  I want you to join me in being one of those 35%.

Here are 3 of my secrets to making money.  Take some time to really go deep with these -getting clarity here will make the difference between having a financially flourishing business that fills your mission/purpose while beautifully serving others or a business that doesn’t attract enough customers or clients and leaves you drained and discouraged.

1.  Know clearly what problems you solve for others. Think about what happens when you make a purchase.  The very first step is that you realize you want or need something.  Sometimes you don’t even know you need or want it until you read a sales letter or see an item in a catalog.

What problems do you solve for others?  Make a list of at least 5 problems you can help people with this. Examples from my list include -they don’t know what kind of business to start, they are not clear on their vision, mission or values which is creating confusion and wasted money and energy.  They have no niche and it is killing their business.  They have no marketing plan so are wasting time and energy with no integration in their marketing efforts.  Boring copywriting (I’ve been guilty of this one!) is leaving their great products collecting dust on the shelf or their powerful service offerings not reaching anyone.

2.  Write out what happens when you solve those problems for them. Take your five problems and identify the benefits your clients will receive when those problems are nipped in the bud and taken care of.  Brainstorm lots of them.  One example from my list -once they learn some simple copywriting secrets from me, their words are compelling, they bring in sales and their confidence soars.  Once you’ve identified this, you can now write great copy for your website, sales letters or brochures and bring in the money -keep your focus on the benefits!

3.  Ask for their business.
It’s amazing how many people make great presentations or write great web copy but never have a “call to action” included.  You need to make it very easy for people to say yes and buy.  Take a look at your website, sales letters or brochures and see if you are clearly telling readers what you want them to do next.   Offer a bonus or a payment plan or make time bound offers to get them into action.

What will you do differently to get the money coming into your business?  Let us know on my blog.

Mind Junk

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One of my coaches gave the term “mind junk” to that negative, very active voice in your head. It’s chattering away constantly telling you why you can’t reach your goal, live your dreams or even something as simple as writing an article!

I watch people let this mind junk waste tremendous amounts of their energy. Instead, I’d like to invite you to accept that this voice will always be with you AND you can relax and accept it rather than wasting energy trying to change it. You can wallow around in your mind junk or you can shift your attention from it to your goals.

Let’s identify what your mind junk looks like so you can quickly figure out when it’s happening and you can stop paying attention to it. One other interesting thing…the way you handle mind junk in one area of life -say money -you’ll find that the same mind junk runs your relationships, your creativity, your physical vitality, your time and how much you enjoy life. Here are some ways mind junk shows up:

Keeping it vague. I’ll create that blog soon. Right now I don’t have the time. Falling into the either/or trap. Either I can write a book or I can keep making money in my job -I don’t have the energy for both. Comparing yourself to others. Why does it seem that no one struggles with public speaking as much as I do? Making excuses. I was late in meeting my deadline because I had too many interruptions.

Monkey mind has a lot of tenacity. It loves to keep us in the same behaviors even when it’s not working for us. Here’s what you might find yourself saying: It will work if I just try harder, I don’t have time to do it another way. This is just how I am and there’s nothing I can do about it.

So what to do with this craziness? Know that you are not your mind junk. You have amazing ability to observe it. It is only one part of your mind and who you really are is much more magnificent than any curve ball your mind junk throws at you. When you become aware of it and see how it works, you minimize the odds of getting off track as you move towards your goals.

Here’s an action for you. Over the next 2 days, write down at least 3 times your mind junk was shouting load and clear. Did you say it aloud -like “I can’t afford that and never will” or was it an internal dialogue? Note what kind of form it took -was it being vague, comparing yourself to others or some other form?

See if you can catch the mind junk and not get into a full blown attack of it. Observing your mind junk, you may be amazed to discover that 90% or more of the thoughts that your mind junk pops into your head are irrelevant to anything that’s of real value to you!

Would love to hear any tips you have for living in peace with your mind junk. Post yours here.

What Are You Convinced Of?

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What are you convinced of? What do you hold as true for you right now? Are you convinced that work is hard? Are you convinced that you’ll never be able to work from home? Are you convinced that, on some level, it’s wrong to be prosperous? Or are you convinced that you are always at choice and the past has no precedence…you can start right where you are. How unalterably convinced are you? This is your faith. You could be making money from home.

Think about this. When you think about one of your convictions, does it make you smile inside or shrive? Do you feel bolder, stronger, or do feel small, diminished.

I’m living proof that what you are convinced of is often a lie. I was convinced for a long time that work had to be hard -look at my parents’ life! That was powerful proof to me. I was convinced for years that I was “not smart enough” to be successful in creating my own work in the world…I should of looked around a bit -there are plenty of “not so smart” people who make plenty of money in their own business! Here are three ways to alter those big convictions you have that are keeping you from waking up to your unique gifts, to honoring the human treasure that you truly are and to living a prosperous life, in which you are experiencing peace, health and plenty in your world.

1. Ask yourself if your conviction is really true. Is it true for everyone? Do you know someone who doesn’t hold this conviction and is thriving in an area of life that you are not? If one person can do it, you can too! Play with the idea of “what if this weren’t true about me?”

2. Allow yourself to move forward even if you can’t see the entire “how”. Your inner compass lets you know when you’re on the right track. You’re scared AND excited at the same time. You feel good. What you’re working on will be a positive thing for others. Martin Luther King said “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” So do some planning. Planning leads to action. Action gets you “into the game”. And once you’re in the game, all kinds of unexpected things happen that absolutely couldn’t have happened if you hadn’t jumped in! And then, you might find yourself facing…

3. Doing the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “you must do the thing you think you cannot do.” If you’re afraid of a certain action that is moving you towards your dream, do it anyway. This will bust through your limiting convictions, maybe causing your family and friends to think you’re nuts, and you might even be rocked by the fact that you are shaking your very identify (albeit limited!) to the core. That’s ok. Do it anyway!

4. Get unstuck. Katie Byron has a masterful technique for getting past your yeah buts. It feels weird at first, but it’s powerful.

First, say what it is you want to do and your “but”. I want to travel to (put your favorite location here), but I can’t afford to.

Now say it as if you are choosing. “I’m choosing not to take a trip to paradise because of the belief that I have to spend a lot of money on this trip. The trip isn’t the problem, my perception that I can’t afford it is.”

Finally, “my true self can find a way to take the trip without going into debt because it knows that not having a lot of money isn’t the problem -my belief about not having enough money is.”

It’s also powerful to take your desire and your obstacle to some supportive people. Tell them what you’ve done up till now, what you want next and what obstacle is in the way. You’ll be amazed at the creative options you haven’t thought of. But look at your convictions first and get clear that they are alterable, otherwise, you’ll drive your friends crazy with yeah buts at every turn!

Would love to hear about a conviction you have that is not supporting you and you are ready to give up. Post  yours here.  It’s a powerful to put your commitment out to the world.

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