Posts tagged vision

Creativity: The Successful Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon

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Your creative powers are infinite. Yup…think about it.  You come from the same source as all of nature around you.  Look at fruit trees.  How do you think those fruit push themselves up the trunk, through the branches and then hang themselves like beautiful ornaments in just the right place?  Well we don’t really know how it works, but we know it’s creation.

You cannot not create.  I know…many of you just don’t feel creative.  Maybe your definition of “creative” has been too narrow.  Creativity isn’t a gift given only to artists, sculptors, musicians, or dancers.   It’s something you do naturally.  Question is…what are YOU creating?  You are always creating with your thoughts.  Every product, every service in the world started first in someone’s mind.  So “mind your mind” and direct your thoughts to things you really want to create…like abundance and good service and joy.    

You are absolutely unique.  There is no one quite like you.  So the way you look at the world, through your eyes, your mind is different than any one else’s.  Successful entrepreneurs embrace this uniqueness.  Even though there are many people who cut and style hair, each does it in their own way –haven’t you had a favorite hairdresser or barber who just always got it “right”?

So don’t waste time worrying that you have nothing new to offer.  You do.  Yourself.  Discover what it is that you enjoy about yourself and incorporate those qualities into your business.  When you do, you’ll love your work and your customers and clients will love you.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist has written extensively on the topic of creative flow.  He says when we are engaged in an almost effortless yet highly focused activity we experience “flow.”  Here are the characteristics of being in “flow”:               
1.  Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
2.  A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
3.  Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
4.  Knowing that the activity is doable – that skills are adequate to the task.
5.  A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
6.  Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present,  time seems to pass by in minutes.
7.  Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

When have you felt that?  Whatever you were doing at the time, do more of that!  I celebrate and honor your creativity. Don’t hide it from the world…let it shine.

Successful Self Employment: How to Create a Profit Center for Your Home Based Business

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I’m in the process of creating a new profit center for my business.  And I thought it might help you to read about the four steps I’m following to create a successful (and fun) profit center.

1.  Write out a vision for it.  I know…I know.  You don’t think this is important.  I’m telling you…if you’re not willing to do this step then you are, 1) not committed to creating this profit center and, 2) setting yourself up for failure.  Albert Einstein was no dummy when he said “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
You are able to relive a past experience vividly in your imagination, can’t you?  Well you can also get a preview of upcoming attractions with that same mind.  Denis Waitly, one of the great speakers on the topic of success says, “The more vivid the image, the more real the design for the future.”

You can use a beautiful journal notebook dedicated to your new profit center or you can create a Word document journal.  Take time to write out this vision.  Get a picture of where you are working in this vision, the time of day, who you are working with, activities you are engaged in, and how you feel at the end of the day.  What will having this extra income do for you?  Imagine how it will feel when you pay off debt, or have a dream trip, or buy some things you’ve been longing for.

2.  Decide how much money you want to bring in from this profit center in the first year, then the 2nd and 3rd.   Now double those figures.  I know from experience that most of you shot too low in your first projection.  I recently went to a conference where most of the audience were self employed men.  In a conversation with one guy, I shared that I was doing ok…I was making six figures…he didn’t miss a beat and said to me, “each month?”  Ok – money isn’t the only measure of success but I KNOW that you can bring in more than you think.

3.   What will you need to do to make this happen?

Danielle Steele, the prolific fiction author, wrote many of her books during the night hours –she and her husband have eight children between them and she vowed to give the kids quality time during the day.  If she can do it, you can too.  If you are working full-time and want to grow a profit center on the side…you might just have to stop watching some t.v. or playing computer games or checking email 20 times a day…you know what your time wasters are.  Find one you can live without or cut back on and use that time each day, five days a week to grow your profit center. 

What will it take to bring in the level of income from your new profit center in the first year?  Get specific and concrete.  In my new profit center, if a certain type of writing project typically brings in $5,000 and I want to bring in $50,000 in the first year, I know that I’ll need approximately 10 projects in the first year. 

Then break it down further –I’d need 1 project a month.  Then what will it take to get the projects?  Do some research; find out how to reach the clients/customers you’re looking for.  Then create a plan to find them and get the projects/clients etc.

Ask yourself, what do I need to do this month toward my goal?  What do I need to do this week?  And what can I do TODAY to move this goal forward?  Create YOUR plan!

4.  Who will support you in this profit center?  Remember…dreams die in isolation.  So share your plan with at least one supportive person.  And, get help if you need it.  Don’t let the lack of a piece of information stop you –use the internet or pick up the phone and call someone to ask for help. 

Research your idea on the internet; find professional associations dealing with it, read articles about it.  I found an information product through a trusted source that was created by someone who is already successful in the area – so I purchased it –it will save me incredible time in research and will save me from making some mistakes.  I am in coaching groups where I can get support, ideas and be held accountable.  I know I’ll succeed and have fun in creating this new profit center.  As Dolly Parton said, “When I’m inspired, I get excited because I can’t wait to see what I’ll come up with next.”  I’m excited for you and look forward to hearing about what you come up with next!

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

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Why am I talking about love in the context of business?  And no, I don’t mean a passionate office romance.  I’m talking about the fact that loving my clients has been a key to success in my business.  It hit me several years ago when someone asked me the secret to my success…without thinking…I said “I love my clients and they know it”…and then I felt a bit embarrassed, thinking that I didn’t sound very “business-like.”

Now, let’s clarify what I mean by “love.”  That little four letter word has tons of different meanings in the English language.  For the purpose of today’s article, let’s go with “affectionate concern for the well-being of others” and “strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything.”

If you want to be successful, you have to genuinely care about others. When I was a teen, I read the famous 1936 book by Dale Carnegie -“How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  When you’re a teen, you REALLY want to win friends.  It resonated with me and I immediately began to implement the principles he outlined.

Here’s what he said about getting people to like you:

Six Ways to Get People to Like You.

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Sound simplistic?  Believe me it’s not.  Watch how people talk to each other today and see if you can find people who do this well.  Better yet, start practicing yourself.  The practice of being curious about others (not nosy… in a way to dig up their “dirt”) but rather a genuine curiosity about what makes them tick, what they long for, what are they proud of…combined with a love and enthusiasm for the service or product you provide…is to me, the most powerful business “secret” there is.

Start practicing this with the very next person you meet.  If it’s a brief encounter, perhaps at the market with a clerk –you can at least make eye contact, smile and say thank you.  If you have more time, try asking a question that gets a person talking about one of their interests and then… LISTEN.  This item four of Carnegie’s list, “be a good listener,” is an area in which most people need practice and reflection.

Through all the training I’ve invested in and received in coaching and ministry, I’ve had the gift of being listened to deeply and to in turn, give the gift of listening deeply to others.  What do I mean by listening deeply?  I mean giving them your FULL attention –when you’re in person with them –looking at them, staying focused on their words AND the tone beneath the words.  Keeping your mouth closed –both figuratively and literally –so many people are just chomping at the bit to respond with advice or a “that happened to me too story” or to finish the sentence with words that they think the talker is going to say.  Allowing them to completely finish what they were telling you and then to acknowledge what they’ve said –that’s honoring them and that’s a rare gift.

You can accomplish the same things on the phone –the difference is –you’re not looking at them. I often close my eyes when listening to a client on the phone –it helps me stay focused and allows me to really hear what’s going on beneath the words –whether there is genuine excitement in what they are saying, or some trepidation that needs to be addressed and supported…or perhaps resignation –it just might be time to let go of a direction that just isn’t right.

So, what’s love got to do with it?  Everything.  Start loving your clients/customers today and see what happens!

Attracting Ideal Clients/Customers

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You will have the best results in business if you create your vision first.  Then you can take “inspired action” consistently and persistently.  Without vision you may find yourself in the same boat as many unsuccessful business owners who dash madly from one marketing effort to another –never giving any of their strategies time to produce results –results that came from the vision.

This article focuses on one important aspect of your business –who you serve.  Here’s an exercise I did when I first got started and if I find myself attracting people who are not ideal for me to serve, I revisit my vision to get clear again. 

I encourage you to do this process (or call it a game if you like!) in a chair where you would typically work.  If possible, have a 2nd chair next to yours. Now think back to a client you’ve had in the past who is ideal for you or at least as close to ideal as possible.  Consider all the interactions you had with this person.  What was it you enjoyed about serving this person?  What are the positive qualities, attributes, and characteristics of this person?

Take out a piece of paper or computer document and write a list of all these qualities, attributes and characteristics of your ideal client. For example, mine include:  has a sense of humor, is interested in their spiritual development, takes action, values my time as well as their time, possesses and demonstrates mental well being, intelligent and has common sense, understand and demonstrate that they deserve to be successful, has a financial cushion allowing them to buy my products and services, they want me to be successful and make a profit, they subscribe to my weekly ezine, they enjoy referring my services to others, they have realistic expectations about what can be achieved and when, they have clarity and focus, they are open-minded, they are heart-centered, they are learners, and they are true to themselves.

Now, if you can, switch chairs –put yourself in your client’s chair.  Ask your ideal client these questions: What are they struggling with that brought them to you? What is the biggest change they experienced as a result of the wonderful work they did with you?  What are the results they have now as a result of their work with you?

Next, make a list of at least 10 problems your ideal clients/customers want to solve.  What change/breakthrough do they want to experience and are they willing to pay you to help them get there?  List 10 results they could get from working with you.

Once you are clear on their challenges and results you deliver, you will not only be setting into motion the attraction factor –you now also have plenty of authentic words to use in your marketing materials!

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