October, 2011 Archive
October 27th, 2011 by Adaire in Lifestyle
Someone asked me a very interesting question recently. It was, “Do you believe that we were all born pessimistic?” I was in a light mood that day and replied jokingly, “Mary Poppins wasn’t, for sure.”
Okay, before I go further, let me just address first those who don’t recognize the name of that classic persona of all things wholesome and positive. Mary Poppins is the title character in the children’s book written by P.L. Travers and immortalized by Walt Disney Productions in the 1964 film starring Julie Andrews. That film remains one of my favorites to this day. I guess you could say that it was Mary Poppins’ can-do attitude that won me over. She successfully disciplined two children who had a history for terrorizing their previous nannies. She got people with the proverbial stiff upper lips singing along with her. She never lost her cool and I thought that was, well, really cool.
Mary Poppins made a game out of even the dreariest task and was so patient and unflappable she became one of my role models growing up. Not that I broke into song every time I did a chore but you get the point.
Sorry if I somewhat digressed from the introduction but I will segue into that now. I like to think we were all born with our minds as empty slates, free of prejudice and fear. But growing up and experiencing and hearing unpleasant things have shaped our minds to be on our guard.
Speaking about being on our guard, you know what’s another interesting thing I found out? Negative experiences are “chemically supercharged” in a way that bad memories or negative thoughts last longer than the happy ones. That’s what Marci Shimoff shares in her article for Healthy Wise nWise, “3 Happiness Habits for the Mind”. I suppose that’s Nature’s own way of hard-wiring us to protect ourselves – turning us into overcautious skeptics so we don’t fall for the same trap again.
I’m fine with being cautious as a means of self-preservation. I guess with how the world works these days, everyone has a license to be wary. However, there is that danger of becoming too skeptical and intolerant that we start making a big deal out of everything. That’s how drama queens and worrywarts are born. On the extreme side, you’ve got your chronic whiners and ragers. Would you want to become like those people? Certainly not!
There’s a thin line separating caution and paranoia. With the latter, all you have are negative thoughts which impact your health and prevent you from leading a peaceful, well-balanced existence. In that same article, Marci Shimoff says that when we release stress chemicals as a result of our self-inflicted tension, those same chemicals “hang around and accumulate, creating fatigue and disease in your body”. Simply put, you can literally worry yourself sick!
Here’s a standpoint she and I – and hopefully many others as well – share: It’s okay to be wary. But don’t let being on your guard turn you into a basket case that you’re simply unable to enjoy life any more. If you have made a career out of seeing only bad intentions, predicting negative outcomes and seeing the glass as half-empty than half-full, then it’s time to take charge of your mind.
Yes, that’s right. You can take charge of your mind by reprogramming it. Marci Shimoff calls it “teaching an old brain new tricks”. You can override the negative thoughts and turn the positive into the dominant thoughts. Interestingly enough, our brain has both negative neural pathways and positive neural pathways. We have the ability to shrink the former and widen the latter by focusing on positive things.
How can you start appreciating the good things in your life while tuning out all the drama and dreariness? Here are Ms. Shimoff’s three Happiness Habits to get you started:
“Question your thoughts.” Refuse your own negative thoughts and “override them when necessary”.
“Go beyond the mind and let go.” Don’t dwell on the negative and move on.
“Incline your mind toward joy.” Gravitate towards good thoughts and play your own version of “The Glad Game”.
Taking charge of your mind and reprogramming will take some time. You need to forgive yourself first and accept that you deserve to be happy. You don’t have to stay stuck in a rut. And just to stress that point a bit more, let me grab a few excellent passages from another Healthy Wealthy nWise article “Excerpts from the Seeds of Greatness Treasury” by Dan Millman:
“Oftentimes, a person may be so caught up in the negative emotion of disappointment that they are unable to see all of the opportunities that lie before them…Many individuals are afraid to be happy and refuse to accept success into their lives.”
And this is what struck me the most: “…there is no reason why you should be afraid to be happy, as happiness is what will help you to separate yourself from a life of fear and failure.”
I encourage you to write down that last passage and turn it into a tangible reminder. So when you’re having one of those days when things aren’t going great, or when someone is being selfish and discouraging, retreat into a quiet corner and read that passage. Bad things happen and bad people exist, unfortunately. However, they certainly do NOT define you as a person. Weed them out; you don’t need deadweight in your life. If someone says the sky is falling, wish them a good day and move on.
Remember that you are in control of your thoughts regardless of the situation you’re in. Keep focusing on the good things you have, the things you have achieved both big and small, and turn to loved ones and trusted professionals for advice and support. Eventually, you will get to your happy place.
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October 20th, 2011 by Adaire in Sharing Success
I take my hat off to people who claim they’ve managed to succeed in marketing their business by going with their sheer gut instinct. I bet, though, that they still had to steer that instinct into writing a business plan. I’m all for spontaneity and following your vibes, however you want to call it. But when money is involved, you can’t simply conduct your business without concretizing something on paper, virtual or otherwise.
Every serious business, regardless of its size, needs a plan. Writing a business plan is similar to a general laying out his strategy to win a battle. He tells his troops not just what to do and how they’re going to do it, but also what to anticipate. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I do think that marketing your business online is a battle in itself. You’ve got countless people fighting for the top spot, it’s like World War III being carried out in the search engines. The last remark may sound like a joke, but it has a kernel of truth to it.
Okay, so now you know you need a plan if you want to both survive and succeed. That’s great. Now you may be stumped at this point. The thought of hiring a third party to map out an Internet marketing plan for you might even cross your mind. Before you dive headlong into that direction, allow me to raise a few more points.
In the Internet Marketing TNT article “Discover Your Very Own Internet Marketing Success Map,” online business owner Mike Purvis, in an interview with Tammy Lawman, urges us to be wary of Internet marketing programs that offer solutions that will have you spending more before you even realize a profit. Think of them as cookie-cutter plans that marketing companies sell to online entrepreneurs. All clients get the same solutions package. They’re like the party favors every child gets. As a kid, I didn’t like all the contents of the favors. Obviously, the parent who put them together wasn’t thinking of me or any guest in particular. They just slapped together stuff they think the average kid likes.
Going back to the discussion of marketing solutions, no, you don’t want to be treated as an average client. You’re shelling out good money for the best Internet marketing plan possible, so you deserve something more than a general solution. You need something specifically designed for you. As Mike Purvis puts it, you need “a program designed to give you the entire puzzle with each piece numbered and ready to assemble.” Good marketing plans take the guessing game out of the equation and respond to your specific needs.
It helps to know your own marketing needs, but essentially every online businessperson needs to consider the following when formulating his battle plan:
Invest in your domain, hosting service and auto-responder. Sundeep Vaish, in his article “Internet Marketing Business Plan”, also from Internet Marketing TNT, recommends having them if you’re building a serious business. The auto-responder is essential for handling correspondences between your company and customers. It also automatically builds your customer list for you as it confirms subscriptions and other customer activities.
Get visitors to leave their contact details. You can use an “ethical bribe” to achieve this, as suggested by Sundeep Vaish. In exchange for their details, you could offer either a digital or physical product.
Have a high converting sales letter. Your copy should clearly define your offer and what it can do for your customer. Follow up with your list to make sure your customers heard you for the first time. It doesn’t hurt to remind them of what they might have missed.
Generate traffic. “Traffic is the very foundation of it all,” says Toby Russell in another article from Internet Marketing TNT, “Learn How to Start Your Internet Marketing Business With These Top Traffic Generation Tips”. Why? No traffic equals no customers equals no sales. So make traffic a priority and work on becoming known.
Getting more people from your target market to discover your website via search engines can be done in a variety of ways: search engine marketing, Pay-Per-Click, banners, and social media marketing, to name a few. Make sure you use the correct keywords for the copy you send out into cyberspace. Otherwise, your ads and web copy will just go to waste.
Get all your great ideas on paper when you draft your Internet marketing battle plan with your team. As your goals and processes become clearer and easier to define, edit and refine the plan until you come up with one that really meets your business’ marketing needs.
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October 19th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success
Congrats to Rolando Cerrillo for getting his new Automated Cash Sites up and running! http://www.dailyhealthnwealth.com/
October 14th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success
Congrats to Ambrose Togobo for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running! http://www.mindyourworld.co.uk
October 14th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success
Congrats to Marcia Wright for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running! http://www.makingyourdreamsreal.com
October 14th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success
Congrats to Elizabeth Battenberg for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running! http://www.leadersoftheworldindialog.org
October 11th, 2011 by Adaire in Sharing Success
Liz and Ric run several websites and business ventures, such as Healthy Wealth nWise, Done for You Solutions, among other things. Some may think that they have a large company that keeps all these endeavors running, but this isn’t the case. What they actually did was to combine a small core team and technology, which allows them to manage those ventures as well as other projects…like this blog!
There are several ways they use technology to their advantage, and it’s kind of difficult for me to relay and enumerate all these different ways. Fortunately, I found some help in the form of a Small Business CEO Magazine article called How to Make Technology Work for Your Small Business, by Chris Haycox. Chris doesn’t cover everything that Liz and Ric do, but I think he highlights some of the best ways to harness technology to help your own business.
Keep Operations Lean and Cost Effective
One of the great things about Internet Marketing is that you can work from home, from another country, or from wherever you want. Liz, Ric, and I often talk about how this allows us to spend more time with ourselves and our loved ones, but one benefit that is often overlooked is the reduction in costs.
With a laptop, a comfortable chair, a decent connection, and maybe a cell phone, we can set up shop anywhere. None of us need to spend huge amounts of money on rent; we can spend our funds on more important things instead!
Use the Virtual Environment to Employ Staff
Liz and Ric have been able to outsource almost everything their company needs to awesome people around the world. So much so that they started their own outsourcing company to help other people do it to at Done For You Solutions. How? “Thanks to technology,” Chris explains, “there is now a wealth of expertise available online.”
What Chris is talking about here is how you can easily hire virtual assistants to get a lot of your tasks done. There are just so many things that a VA can do for you, as illustrated by two other articles on Small Business CEO Magazine.
In 6 SEM Tasks to Outsource To a Virtual Assistant, Sherri Homen points out that VAs are able to do tasks that help with your search engine marketing (SEM endeavors, such as keyword research, link building, and even submit your articles, press releases, and videos to various websites for you.
According to Linda Siniscal’s 5 Tasks a Virtual Assistant Can Do For a Business or Executive Coach, though, there are even more things that a virtual assistant can do for you aside from completing SEM tasks. They can provide bookkeeping services to help you with your invoices and creating financial reports, and they can even create and disseminate an eNewsletter for your customers and clients.
Liz and Ric have employed virtual assistants since what feels like forever to handle pretty much all the tasks that their core team can’t handle. Sometimes I’m amazed how much work they get done thanks to the combination of their efforts and their VAs’!
Chris also explains that “you can also use a variety of different people depending on what you need at the time.” Do you need somebody to make sales calls? Or do you need someone to re-design your website? You don’t need to keep one on staff. Hiring experts per project gives you the expertise you need without putting too much of a strain on your finances.
Keep Telecommunications Costs to a Minimum
“A few years back,” Chris says, “it used to be necessary to have two or three lines for fax machines and credit card machines.” Now, most of your communication needs can be handled online. Mind you, emails and web sites aren’t your only options. There are several sites that allow you to send and receive faxes, process credit card payments, and do several other tasks. Even voice calls are available online, thanks to Skype, Google Talk and other online messaging software!
Use Online Marketing Avenues
Blogging and social media tools like Facebook and Twitter allow you to reach a worldwide audience with minimal costs. Doing so using traditional media would cost way too much for any small business, but online tools allow even small businesses to go global.
Going in the other direction, marketing online can also allow businesses to target very specific niches or locales. By advertising specifically to your target market, you can maximize your marketing dollars.
Can you think of other ways to use technology to help your business? Please share your own tips in the comments below!
Until next time,
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October 10th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success
Congrats to Gitte Hegelund for getting his new Automated Cash Sites up and running! http://www.yourbiggestsuccess.com/
October 7th, 2011 by Adaire in Sharing Success
The secret to a project’s business’ success lies in how the bosses treat the people who work for them. Great bosses do not treat their people like mere cash cows that they can keep milking for output throughout an entire work day – they see them as human beings who need to be cared for. These bosses know that in order to keep their people happy and productive, they need to care about their people’s work environment, career growth, and office relationships.
Though I won’t toot my own horn and say that I’m a great boss, I do try to be one in all of my business ventures. One of the main things I do is to make sure that I provide the right setup for my people to work in, do what I can to foster productivity and boost my people’s morale.
Like Suzanne Weinstein, the founder and CEO of In Sync Consulting Corporation, I believe that making an emotional connection with your people is one of the keys to being a great boss. In her Small Business CEO Magazine interview entitled Become a Great Leader With These Simple Keys, Suzanne says:
“If we can tap into a team, staff, or group of people emotionally, that’s going to drive them into motion, whether it’s a forward motion or a backward motion. If it’s a toxic environment, they’re going to get stifled. If it’s an empowering environment, they’re going to propel forward.”
I think she hit the nail on the head right there. As far as dealing with the people who work for me goes, I find that really tuning into how they’re feeling and what they think – and then adapting to their needs when necessary – is one of the keys to keeping your business running smoothly.
As Suzanne points out in the rest of her interview, connecting with your team members on an emotional level doesn’t meant that you have to be best friends with everyone, but you need to be prepared to do things to connect with them and be aware of their overall status.
In an article on Healthy Wealthy nWise called Eight Ways to Engage Employees and Power-Up Performance During Recession, Roxanne Emmerich lists down a bunch of things you can do to connect with the people who work for you during recession. With a bit of my own experience and the things Roxanne mentioned in her article, I’ve come up with a list of things you can do to develop a good working relationship with your people.
Have clear expectations
Your people need to know what you want done, how you want it done, and when you want it done. According to Roxanne, providing your people vague instructions and expectations makes them feel “irritated, unsafe, and even paranoid”. That’s why I personally make it a point to communicate with my people as much as possible in order to make sure that we’re all on the same page when it comes to tasks and projects.
Remember the importance of communication and follow through
This is pretty much related to having clear expectations. If your people fail to live up to your expectations, then it’s your responsibility to talk to them about it. Were the instructions unclear? Do they need outside assistance? Is there anything in particular that they find to be difficult? I’m not saying that you should spoonfeed them, but you need to guide them through it and make sure that your instructions have been laid out clearly for them. As Jill Bromund says in another Healthy Wealthy nWise article called Let Her Do Her Job!: “…you as the executive should follow through by helping the person to overcome his own barriers. Don’t solve [the problem] for him, but help him talk through how he could solve it. In this way, you are teaching him to independently solve problems.”
Hand out compliments to people who deserve it
While it’s important to point out any flaws in one of your people’s work, it’s equally important to compliment them for a job well done, too. Not only does this encourage them to keep up the good work, but it also makes them feel appreciated and respected.
While Roxanne mentions that positive feedback should outnumber the negative feedback “by about 5 to 1”, this doesn’t mean you should be tossing compliments out to random people just to make them happy! Remember that as a boss, compliments are an important tool that you need to use carefully, and that giving out compliments to people who don’t even deserve it will only reinforce their poor performance and prevent them from growing as employees.
Learn to compartmentalize
Part of being a professional is being able to compartmentalize your life. What happens at home should remain at home, and shouldn’t be brought along to the office. If something happened at home that made you lose your temper or made you upset, you have to calm down before stepping into your office. Having a problem bearing down your shoulders at work can lead to all sorts of negative repercussions, such as lack of patience with your people, distraction, and a decrease in motivation and productivity. Everyone has problems they need to deal with, so set a good example for your employees by showing them the importance of keeping your domestic problems out of the workplace.
Nobody likes it when the person they’re talking to isn’t even paying attention to what they’re saying, and the same holds true for the people who work for you. If you don’t care enough to listen to their issues and their suggestions, then you’ll wind up with a very unhappy bunch of people who think you’re a bit of a jerk. The simple act of listening – really listening – to what your people have to say gives them a sense of importance, and Roxanne says that this “has a greater impact on loyalty and customer service than all other factors COMBINED”.
These five pieces of advice are what I have to offer to other bosses out there who want to learn how to connect with their people. These tips are pretty straightforward and intuitive, especially if you’re already aware of the importance of having a good relationship with the people who work for you. Just like Suzanne says: “Employees really connect with leaders who are passionate, not leaders who are just telling them what to do but leaders who can show them emotionally why they’re doing what they’re doing.” If you talk to your people, listen to them, and maintain a positive working environment, then you’ll be well on your way to building a successful business.
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