Posts tagged entrepreneur

A Lie

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I’ll tell you about a lie I often tell myself.  Now why would I lie to myself?  Well, despite my good intentions, my inner critic often feeds me lies and sometimes I almost buy into them…for just a few minutes…then I tell myself the truth.

Here’s the lie.

I have nothing unique or original to say.  Why should I write a book?   It’s all been written.  Who am I to think I have something original to offer the world?

Here’s the truth and a situation that really brought it home for me.  You are unique.  You see the world through eyes that only you have.  There are people out there who need just what you have to offer.

The situation:  I attended a working retreat with 8 other people and the greatest facilitator,  Barbara Sher.  Everyone of us thought we had the same message to share with the world and we were all pretty much convinced that we had nothing original to say.  Wrong.

Yes, we all wanted to tell people that they must do what they love.  BUT it turns out we are all going to share this message in very different ways.   Our eyes were really opened to amazing differences in the way we see the world and how each of us feel compelled to do our work.

Here’s some examples from this amazing group:  Cristi Daniels is hell bent on helping people who are living by “default”.  Trust me, she’s going to be hitting a lot of “reset” buttons in people.  Kate Duttro is going to rescue academics who can’t get a job in academia and think that life is over.  Kate Gardner is creating the World Ensemble foundation -her pilot project was a grassroots intercontinental soap opera with 150 people in New York City;Kisumu, Kenya; and Lima, Peru.   The 100 videotaped scenes of drama done by people like you knocked the socks off a lot of people (about 20,000; and it might knock yours off too, if you visit www.brookenya.org).

There’s more, but I’ll save those stories for another post.  Are you feeling overwhelmed at reading about the great things my retreat group is doing?  Well don’t.  Each of us at that retreat had doubts, meltdowns, tears and temper tantrums.  Kate G. calls her doubting, inner self talk character, “Stupid Head.”  We all have one of those.

So. You are unique.  You have something to share.  If you do share what’s inside you, you will have more energy, be happy more of the time, and yes you can make money too.

So what do you love?  What’s one step you can take towards that interest?  Is there an obstacle?   Post your wish and obstacle here and let us know about it -you never know who might have a resource for you.

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? Can you buy some gift for girls you don’t know? 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!

6 Lessons from World Entrepreneurship Day -Inc. Magazine

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Well! Last Friday, April 16 was the 2nd Annual World Entrepreneur Day and I somehow missed out on the fun! Inc. Magazine features a great article about it. Here’s my favorite quote from the article and a link. “There is a genetic difference that needs to be recognized early on in entrepreneurs, and that is tenacity. That is the key genome… and it is about taking 10 punches to the stomach and getting up for the eleventh.” Leonard Brody, best-selling author and business visionary

Now I’m a girl and I don’t think I’d use the analogy of getting punched in the stomach…for the most part my enterpreneur journey has been exhilarating -but I do agree that tenacity is a key trait to my success!

Here’s the link to the article http://bit.ly/sixlessons

Igniting Your Entrepreneurial Spirit,
Ann

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%. Marketing is the key, this business can help your Philly business to market and get more clients.

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 (no.1 to implement, according to http://seobergen.no/).  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.

Are you ready for transformation?

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What is transformation? And more importantly, how does it happen? The dictionary tells you that transformation is a change in form, appearance, nature, or character. Peter Senge, a faculty member at MIT and an expert on learning organizations, states, “as W. Edwards Deming says, nothing happens without “personal transformation.” And the only safe space to allow for this transformation is a learning community.”

On the final call of a four week Authentic Life Institute class, one participant, who had actively engaged with the reading material and phone calls, said that the course had transformed her. It was a powerful statement, you could tell it was true, and it filled me with gratitude that this learning community we’ve formed is making a true difference by creating the safe (and fun!) space for transformative experiences.

I think that, while transformation often happens subtly, so quietly that you don’t even notice, there ARE times when you are acutely aware that something in your mind has just shifted in a way that is more expansive, in a way that affirms your powerfulness, in a way that feels so true you wonder how you ever didn’t know this.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

While I don’t think you can “do” transformation in a step-by-step linear process, I can give you some ideas on how to cultivate the fertile soil of your mind, so you are ready to experience transformation when a new, expansive seed thought is planted.

1. Participate in supportive groups. As in introvert, I know this can be a challenge and a stretch. I’ve gone long periods of time without being in groups and have found that when I do, I begin to wither. You need to be listened to deeply and without judgment. This process allows you time and space to think. And in the right groups, you are asked questions to help you remove mind blocks and think of things that were unimaginable to you before.

2. Think of how far you’ve come. You are, by nature, always evolving. Take a look back at your life…how many different people have you been? I bet you can see tremendous changes that have happened in the way you view the world and yourself. Even though you may not have felt like you were changing -in the long view, you can see that you have.

3. Be a gentle observer of yourself and others. Letting go of judgment, of yourself and others, is a powerful way to experience transformation. The energy you create in yourself when judging is strong and negative. Know that in any given situation you are doing the best you can. If you are reflecting about something you’ve done and feel you could have improved on it -fine! Next time try something different to make it even better. But don’t beat yourself up about what is done. The past has no precedence. What do I mean by that? You can create your future, in the way that you choose, no matter what you have done in the past.

Watch for your own transformations. It can be as simple as using different words to describe your business that make you feel more confident and capable…and when you feel so, you are!

I would love to hear your transformation stories. Post one here. You never know who might be inspired by your transformation!

61 Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs

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RT @TPEntrepreneur A list of 61 Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs http://bit.ly/EntrepreneurMarketing

Stinking Thinking

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Do you find yourself caught up in a lot of “stinking thinking?”  When you wishfully think of something, do you immediately stop yourself with a “I can’t have, do or be that!”

How about when someone presents an idea to you – a dream they have -and it totally seems off the wall.  Do you say, “well, it won’t be easy.”  Or, “you’ve got a long road ahead.”   Instead, why not say “great!  what would have to happen to make that come true?”

See the difference.  Once you start thinking about what the outcome would be, your brain will start getting creative and will begin to draft out steps you’ll take.  You probably won’t know every step needed to reach your dream.  But if you start in the direction your wise inner self guides you to, you’ll be led to the next step, the next person.

This is the power of planning.  To me making plans is like playing.  And to be honest, many of my plans go out the window.  The secret is, that while you’re following your initial plan, all kinds of unexpected and wonderful things occur. 

You meet just the right person who can help you with the next step towards your dream.  You stumble upon a book that has just the key you need to unlock some blocked area you had.  You stop into the “wrong” office and run into an old friend who can help you.

Planning in this way, loosely attached to the exact outcome, is the only way your dreams become real.  Action rocks.  You don’t have to create your entire dream alone…matter of fact, you can’t.  When you get in the game, and take action in the world, the world will meet you and give you more than you can imagine.

Would love to see your comments here.  Post a dream you have!  You never know who might have a missing link you need.

Facebook: How to Set Up A Fan Page

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Yes,  Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with your buddies and family and to reconnect with people you’ve lost contact with.  AND, it’s also a powerful marketing tool if you use it right.

Some people choose to set up a private page for just family and friends while creating a separate page for business.  I’ve chosen to blend the two on my “wall” so that potential clients/customers can get a feel for who I authentically am.

I’m in the process of creating a “fan page” specifically for my business (watch for a contest announcement in March!).  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned with you.

1.  Some facts about Facebook. Think that your ideal client is not on Facebook?  Think again.  In 2009, Facebook had 350 million users and it keeps growing.  Facebook reaches 56% of people using the internet in the U.S. and many more in other countries.  Just over 70% of Facebook users come from outside the U.S.

11% of users are ages 13-17, 29% are 18-25, 23% are 26-34, 18% are 35-44, 12% are 45-54, 7% are 55-65.  Facebook is the #3 site visited by users 65 and older!

2.  Why Are You Doing This Anyway? Before you dive in take some time to set your goals and expectations of your Facebook Fan Page.  You may want to sell a certain number of books, you may want to get booked for a certain amount of speaking gigs each month, you may want to establish yourself as an expert, or you may want to fill up your coaching group.

3.  How to Create a Fan Page. Go to www.facebook.com.  Scroll way to the bottom to the fine print and click on “advertising”.  On the left hand side of the page, click on pages.  Then click on “create page”. Now you’re ready to create your fan page (it’s free!).

4.  Start a discussion. One of the great things about a Facebook Fan Page is that you can interact with your tribe.  You’ll see a “discussion” folder tab at the top of the page.  Post a question you’d like to get opinions or ideas about.

5.  Post some photos and videos. Everyone enjoys seeing you in “real life” situations.  It’s also great to post photos of you with experts or local celebrities.

6.  Invite people to join your fan page. Send an email to your list inviting them to become a fan.  Run a contest like I’m doing to encourage participation.  If you already have a Facebook profile page (this is different from the Fan Page) you can invite your “friends” to become fans.  On the Facebook Fan Page, scroll all the way down to the bottom left.  You’ll see a “share” button. Click on it and you’ll see your Fan Page Profile and your list of current Facebook Friends.  You can select who to send an invitation to or click “all”.

7. Promote your page with The Marketing Heaven.

You can post an invitation on your blog, you can twitter about it, if you have a profile on Linked In you can post an update about your new Facebook fan page.

Want a powerful, no cost way to build your list of raving fans? Get going on building your Facebook Fan Page!  When you get your Fan Page up, post a note and link to your Facebook fan page on my blog and I’ll become a fan of yours AND my blog readers just might also!  http://authenticlifeinstitute.com/blog/

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