Saturday, July 20, 2013

Toss Away Your "Could Haves" and "Should Haves"

It's Toss Away Your "Could Haves" and "Should Haves" Day!  And you are invited to be part of it! For one day, you are invited to toss away a certain "should have" or "could have" that leads to stress, guilt, misery, or any sort of sadness. What a perfect day to give up some of those regrets that are holding you and your business back!

I should have been able to quit my job by now.
I could have finished my education and gotten a "real" job.
I should have made more prospecting calls.
I could have placed that advertisement.
I should have learned about social media marketing.
I could have started a blog.
I should have published more articles.
I could have attended more networking events
I should have done more____
I could have...

Many people starting a business think they "should" be doing this thing or that thing to be successful.  And then when they don't succeed at the pace they think they "should", they start thinking of all the things they "should have" and "could have" done differently.

When I started my business, I would sometimes work late at night or early in the morning. But I began to get criticism from some of my friends who would get emails or faxes from me at all hours of the day and night. They felt that if I was going to be taken seriously, then I "should" work 9 - 5 like most "normal" business people. I let them persuade me that this was true and tried to change my schedule. But I am a night owl by nature and forcing myself to change my natural rhythm caused stress and made me very unproductive and irritable. And so I went back to my normal routine.  And then when I experienced some setbacks, it was very easy for me to say to they were right.  I should have adjusted my schedule.  I could have if I had wanted to.  It took me a long time to realize that I was right and they were not.   By giving up this "should have" and working when I feel at my best and most creative, I am actually more efficient and productive - and much easier to get along with! Yes, it's true that I do have to be available during some portion of "normal" business hours to interact with clients and prospects. But much of my business is not restricted by time so why should I place this expectation on myself?

There ARE certain things necessary to be successful in business. You have to have a viable product or service. You have to promote yourself and your products or services. You have to earn the trust and respect of your customers. There are many ways to do these things. There is no one way that "should" work for everyone. If your business isn't growing, it's probably not because you should have done this thing or that thing.  You should have done what felt right and worked best for you. 
And so today I invite you to toss away your "should haves" and "could haves". Take a look at your business. Make a list of all the things you did because you "should have". Now review your list. Is there anything on the list that was not effective? That caused you stress?  That you spend time worrying about how you "could have" done it differently?  What would happen if you stopped worrying about it and just started over? I encourage you to try it just for today.

I "should have" worked longer today. I "could have" since I had nothing else on my schedule.  But I didn't. It was a beautiful day and I took Bob and Austin for a walk, sat on my porch and read, watched my hummingbirds at the feeder, and talked to friends. And I am not going to worry about what I "should have" accomplished today.  What did you toss away today? I'd love to hear. Feel free to share in the comments.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What's Your Why?

What are your reasons for starting a business?  Many businesses fail because the owner can't answer this simple question.  If you don't know why you want to be an boomerpreneur, then you won't be able to set goals.  And without goals, the roadmap for your business success, you are apt to get lost along the way.  Your why can even help determine the type of business you start!

You may have more than one why.  That's fine.  Most of us do.  I started because I needed to care for my dad.  So one why was the ability to control by own schedule.  But I also needed an income.  So another why was money.  But my main reason was the control.  If I had been able to find a job that allowed me the schedule I needed, I would probably still be working for someone else today.

What's your why?

Are you like me?  Do you need or want more control over your work schedule?  If so, then you will need to ensure your business does not depend on the schedules of others.  Businesses like online auctions/ebay, internet marketing, and blogging are some examples of the perfect business for you.  You can build your business regardless of the hour - day or night. Goals for you might be increasing sales in your online store or the number of subscribers to your blog.

Are you in it for the money?  Do you simply need cold, hard cash?  Then you want the types of businesses where you can make a profit fairly quickly without a large investment.  Business such as child care, pet sitting, house or business cleaning don't require a lot of money up front and have the potential to produce fast cash.  Your goal may be as simple as find more clients - or as grand as building a business large enough to employ others.

What if your why is to leave a legacy?  Many boomers have all the money they want or need.  Many are retired and have the time to do what they please.  But they dream of leaving something behind.  Financial freedom for their families.  A business to pass on to their children and grandchildren.  If that is your dream then you must keep that in mind when choosing your business.  I don't foresee leaving Boomer Business Coaching to my daughters or grandkids.  It is a business based around me.  But my online tshirts and gifts are another story.  Some of the grandchildren have already shown an interest and a talent for design.  I can already see one of them taking over one day.  My goal for this business - teaching them the skills necessary to become successful entrepreneurs.

The tshirts also fulfill secondary why for me - the need to be creative.  Now we all know I can't draw.  But that doesn't mean there isn't a wanna-be Monet buried deep inside.  So while I can't do the actual art work, I do get much satisfaction from creating the idea or concept for our next design and then letting another boomerpreneur with a creative why, PopArtDiva, do the actual artwork.  Are you the creative type?  Businesses like interior design, landscaping, graphic artist, catering, or photography are perfect for you.

What if none of these fit.  You have time.  You have money.  You have already provided for your family.  You are not particularly creative.  But you are BORED with retirement.  Perhaps your why is simply the desire to do something new, exciting and challenging.  As long as your business provides you with enough stimulation, you can do almost anything!  What are your interests and passions in life?  How can you turn those into a thriving business?

So...what's your why?  Determine exactly what you hope to achieve from your business before you start.  It may mean the difference between success or failure.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's Not About You, It's About Bacon

Yes, that's right.  It's all about BACON!  Or at least that's the premise of author Brian Basilico.  You may have noticed I have been conspicuously absent for the past week.  Partly because this week seemed to be my week for everything to blow up - flat tires (that's what happens when you run over a ladder - even in a Jeep), recurring knee problems, sick pets, husband's health problems (and the news that his cardiologist has been suspended!) etc, etc.  But when I wasn't dealing with the latest crisis I had my nose in Brian's book. 

I warn you now.  If you are looking for another marketing book with lots of pictures, charts and diagrams - something you can whip through in a night or two - this isn't it.  This is 276 pages of information.  But trust me - you will want to read - and even re-read - every word.  The information Brian shares will change the way you network, if you use it.

Brian says the this book is a "Why-to" not a "How-to".  But I still found lots of "How-tos" here.  Things like how to choose the best networking groups.  How to build the 5 pages essential to every website.  How to create great content.  But Brian was right - he not only shares some of the "Hows" he also shares the "Whys".  So many "coaches" simply tell you "do this/don't do that" without ever explaining why.  If you hate that as much as I do, then you will love Brian's book.

It's Not About You, It's About Bacon explains networking in all its forms.  Not just social media.  Face-to-face networking.  Blogging.  Websites.  But don't worry all of you Facebook fanatics and Twitter addicts.  Brian devotes entire chapters to each of these, as well as LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.  And yes, he even tells you why-to (and how-to) use YouTube.

Each chapter starts with a list of Bacon-izms - statements of the important points of each chapter.  Things like getting people to like you takes time and effort.  Web stats rarely tell you the whole story.  You can't just copy and paste images, text or videos.  You know this stuff.  Brian just makes it all make sense.

I met Brian through Felicia Slattery's 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking program.  I am SO glad I did because I must admit - Brian, I love you but I probably would not have bought this book.  But after hearing you talk about it during our group sessions with Felicia, I knew I had to have it.  If it was even half as good as you made it sound, I knew it would be an invaluable resource.  Well, I hate to tell you but it's even better than you described.

It took me a week to to read the book.  The information in it will be forever worthwhile.  I intend to start back at Chapter 1 and take each tidbit of info and see how it applies to my business.  I can't wait to see what happens when I do!