Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Create a "Study Group"

According to those who have been there before, the key to success in law or business school is getting in with the right study group. These partners not only give you buddies to study with, they keep you accountable and on-task. If you let yourself down, you let down the whole group.

Entrepreneurs have "study groups" also.  Only we call them "masterminds."  Finding accountability partners can be key to a successful business venture.  A good mastermind will be comprised of fellow business people who can support your efforts, help you brainstorm problems, and keep you on schedule,  The right mastermind can mean the difference between passing and failing.  Here's what to look for in your own “study group:”

A variety of skills.  The best groups have members with expertise in different areas.  The tax accountant, the paralegal, the sales trainer can all advise each other and provide different perspectives on the same topics.  If everyone is in the same industry with the same background, you may have a lot in common, but you won't be able to brainstorm as effectively.

Similar commitment level.  The most important element may very well be a common level of commitment to your goals, whatever they may be.  If one member is a little lax and the others are all gung-ho, the mismatch will soon drive everyone crazy and cause bad feelings.

Regular meeting times.  Whether you're meeting by Skype, in person, or in a chat room, make a regular weekly or monthly appointment, and keep it!  Nothing will submarine a group faster than no-shows or constantly changing meeting times.

Structured meeting.  The meeting doesn't have to be scripted down to the last minute with a pre-released agenda, but at least having a time limit on each member will ensure no one hogs the whole time – or never shares his or her progress at all.

Resource-sharing.  One of the most valuable roles an accountability group can play is providing recommendations and referrals.  Looking for a great graphic designer, bookkeeper, or webmaster?  Your “study group” should be your first stop.
One final thing to keep in mind is that masterminds, like friendships, are created differently. Some will last a season as you launch your business; some may last only a few weeks or months.  I belong to one that has met for two years!  Be ready to let your group go if it's no longer fitting your needs.  It will be hard, but if it's not helping you further your goal, it may be time to move up and on.

Coming up next:  What's on your reading list?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Getting Ready for 2015: Set Your Schedule

As 2014 winds to its inevitable close, boomerpreneurs are anxiously poring over their numbers, figuring out what worked and what didn't and what can they do better in 2015.

I, too, am preparing for 2015. And there are a number of changes I plan make this year.  I'll bet they are somewhat similar to yours!  So let's start 2015 together by looking at some things we can do next year that will pay off in a big way. 

The first thing I need to do is look at how I schedule my time.  I'm sure you have the same question I do - how do you allow enough time for product creation, customer service, networking, enrichment, research, and just plain goofing off? It is possible – and these hints will help:

1.            Start with the most important stuff – money-making tasks.  You've heard the saying, “Pay yourself first.”  The same goes for setting your schedule.  Start by setting aside time for the activities that will add to your bottom line.  That means product creation, partnership/affiliate efforts, and marketing.  Sometimes, this is the stuff you don't want to do, or that seems to be less pressing, so it falls to the bottom of the to-do list.  But by slotting it in first, you will assure you don't run out of time for this critical element.

2.            Don't overbook yourself.  We can be tempted to fill our schedule to the point where if anything goes wrong, it throws our whole day off.  Build in buffers of time so you have the room to recover if things go awry.  That could mean giving yourself an extra day to complete a report, or giving yourself an extra 15 minutes to get to your destination.  If you don't need the extra time, you can relax, catch up on reading, or return phone calls.

3.            Keep a running list of 15-minute tasks.  Have a ready list of to-dos that take 15 minutes or less to complete, and when you find yourself between projects, knock a few of these off.  They could be maintenance items, like filing papers or cleaning off your desk, or they could be research-related, like checking out a few blogs or reading an article.

4.            Protect your time.  Time sucks will gladly take away all your free time, if you let them. They'll have you babysitting their chihuahua, listening to their boyfriend woes, and accompanying them to the home show to check out the latest and greatest improvements in fertilizer.  The solution: Just say no!  Sure, any one activity won't take up too much of your time – but soon you'll find yourself spending more time watering their plants or helping with their time sheet than you do on your own projects.  Don't let it happen by cutting it off early on.

5.            Review your day.  At the end of the day, go back over your previous work hours. What was time well-spent?  What felt critical in the moment but ended up being completely wasted or unimportant?  Figure out what went right and what went wrong, and make adjustments for the next day.

Time is your most precious asset.  Setting a schedule that supports your long- and short-term goals will help ensure you invest this precious resource wisely.
Coming up next:  Join or start a mastermind...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Check Your Closet

The New Year is just days away.  We've all begun looking at last year.  What worked.  What didn't.  What do we need to change?  We've checked our marketing.  We've checked our pricing.  We've looked at making changes to our products.  Now add one more thing to the list.  Check your closet.

When you work from home, you can think that your wardrobe no longer matters.  After all, who sees you, sitting behind your keyboard?  It might be true that the only person who sees you is your cat and the UPS man, but there are still a number of reasons to upgrade your wardrobe – or at least make sure your shirt is spaghetti-sauce free.

1.            Clothes Make the Woman (or Man).  Tom Gunn knows the truth: If you look better, you feel better. It's kind of like taking the time to set a nice table, even if you're dining solo.  Putting in the effort to wear clean, flattering clothes, even if you're the only one who will see them, will make you feel better about yourself.  And when you feel more confident, you act more confident.  That feeling will come across in your emails, your voice, and your decisions.

2.            You Never Know... You might think that you won't run into anyone worth meeting at Starbucks or while out picking up a bag of dog food. But potential contacts, clients, and referrers are everywhere – even behind you in line at Wal-Mart.  It's better to be prepared than to be sorry.  You'll be a tad hesitant to approach someone, or respond to their overtures, if you're dressed in a stained Razorback t-shirt and a pair of too-tight jeans.

3.            Put Yourself Out There.  If you aren't on YouTube, you should be!  And while you don't need movie star good looks, you should at least get out of your pajamas before filming a video to put forth for the world to view.

4.            There Are Times... Every once in a while, you will need to enter the public eye – at an industry event, a networking get-together, or a trade show.  The time to find yourself a few attractive, comfortable outfits is not the day before you get on a plane.  There's an unwritten law that the more desperately you need a new pair of pants, the less likely you are to find them.

This isn't to say you need to go out and spend thousands on a closetful of clothes.  But you can head to a reasonably priced department store and find a few separates that you can deem your new work wardrobe.  You'll feel the impact immediately on your productivity and your self-confidence.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What is Thirty One?

Guest post by Mitzi Lane

I get that question a lot. Thirty One’s mission statement reads, “We believe in celebrating, encouraging and rewarding others for who they are. Through God’s strength, we have built a family of individuals who feel women deserve to treat themselves to something special. Our commitment is to provide women with a fulfilling, enjoyable and rewarding experience.”

I started my journey with Thirty One in July 2011. I had received a Thirty One thermal for a gift and loved it. I called my friend and asked where she bought it. After looking at a catalog, I decided to join. For the small investment of $99, I started my career with Thirty One.

I joined Thirty One to make a little extra money and pay for daycare for my infant daughter, but God had bigger plans for me.

Since joining Thirty One, I have been able to pay off my student loan, pay cash for vacations and bless families in need.

In July 2014, I prayed that God would direct me in what I need to be doing with my Thirty One business. HE gave me the “school supply” idea. I contacted some area school teachers and the “Cinch Sac Fundraiser” began. I posted the idea on Facebook and had an abundance of support. I was able to collect enough money to purchase 66 cinch sacs. My husband and I had so much fun buying school supplies to fill the cinch sacs for the kids. It was a team effort. My three year old loved helping us put the supplies in the sacs and she helped us deliver to the area schools. What a blessing we got, knowing that the kids would be able to start school with the supplies they needed.

God continued to bless my business. In December I asked for HIS guidance again. God laid it on my heart that I needed to help the kids again. There are so many kids who do have socks and gloves to keep them warm. I contacted the same teachers as before and they agreed. Currently, I am gathering socks and gloves to donate to the area schools. Several people donated $5 to purchase the Timeless Memory pouches and I will fill them with socks and gloves. I am so excited to deliver the “bag of warmth” to the school.

God never ceases to amaze me. Because of God, I have been able to bless people with the necessities that they need. To see a kid smile, because they have new school supplies or warm gloves is so heartwarming.

Christmas is the time to give, but I think that we should give each day of the year.
Mitzi Lane is an Independent Senior Director at Thirty One Gifts.  Visit her website at

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tis the Season for Giving Back

The Christmas season is all about giving. Gifts to those we love. Gifts to those less fortunate. Giving back to those who have helped us along the way.

Well, I want to give back too and I could use your help in a big way.

I know some of you have questions about using social media to build your network marketing business. Well, I have someone who has the answers. His name is Brian Basilico and he wrote the book on social media relationships – literally! So if you ask the questions, Brian will give the answers. We’ll share our experiences and pool our knowledge to try and make everyone's life easier.

We’ll be doing all this awesomeness on Monday night, December 29 at 7:00 pm Central time. We’ll answer all your questions about building your team, running a network marketing business and how to use the internet and social media to do it.

You can register for the event today! Just hop on over to and sign up!

Then, while you’re waiting for the big day, here’s how you help. Send in your questions. We don’t know what we don’t know until someone asks. And your question may be the same one a fellow network marketer has but is afraid to ask. So post them here in the comments section. Or email them to me at We'll take them both ahead of time and on the night of the event.

Get in on the action! Whether you have no experience or tons, we need you! See you on the

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Clean Out Your Desk

I have a plaque in my office.  It was a gift from a friend who has actually seen where I work.  It says, “A Clean Desk Is the Sign of a Sick Mind.”  I think she was trying to make me feel better, because I admit my desk is usually in a state of disarray verging on total chaos.

This lack of organization has been known to cause some problems because at least once a day I have to stop and search my desk for some item or document that I need to work.  And apparently I am not alone.  According to experts, Americans waste almost 30 minutes a day – 180 hours a year – looking for misplaced items.  If your hourly fee is $20, that's $3600 a year!  I would wager that there are many things you could do with an extra $3600 or 180 hours this year.

One of the first steps to getting organized is eliminating the clutter, and one of the first places you should tackle is your desk.  Here's a six-step approach to streamlining your workspace:

1.            Set aside some time.  The scenario you want to avoid: getting elbow-deep in the organizing process, only to have to dump it all back in the drawers and boxes because you have to stop to finish a report, host a webinar, or pick your kids up from school.  While how much time you need will depend on the size of your space (and your mess), a good rule of thumb is an hour for a desk, bookshelf, or file drawer.

2.            Pull it all out.  Even though it will make a mess, the quickest and easiest way to start your organizing process is to clear out the drawer, shelf, or desktop.  Strip it down to the studs and wipe the surface free of dirt, dust, and stray paperclips.  Then you'll have a fresh surface to work from.

3.            Sort.  Sort the items you pulled out into categories, such as paper, writing implements, books, manuals, etc.  As you are sorting, toss any obvious offenders, such as scraps of paper, broken items, outdated receipts, etc.

4.            Decide.  Choose how many of each item you need – pens, blank notebooks, etc. – and then toss, recycle, or give away the rest.  Trying to decide what you need to keep? Think about what you have space for, as well as what you're likely to use in a reasonable amount of time.  You might have room for seventeen replacement cartridges for your printer, but will you use them all before you upgrade to a new printer?

5.            Organize.  Replace the items in a logical manner – printing supplies near the printer, business books on a single shelf, computer manuals near the computer, etc.  Also think about keeping the most frequently used items in the most accessible place, and less-frequently used items in more remote locales.

6.            Maintain.  Unfortunately, organizing is not a one-time event; you must set aside regular times to file paperwork, clear the counters, and take out the trash.  Even just five minutes at the end of the day is sufficient to keep a handle on pile build-up.

Organizing is a great way to start the new year.  It will help you get a grip on any new needs you have, as well as remind you of tasks and projects awaiting your attention.  You'll be ready to tackle whatever comes your way with a clean desk, and a clean mind.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's Time to Buy Some Christmas Presents for Yourself

Many boomerpreneurs are bootstrapping their business, making do with as small a capital outlay as possible. While not spending yourself into a hole is wise, refusing to invest when you need to can cause problems, too. Particularly in the area of technology, it's critical to have the tools you need to get the job done. Just as you can't drive your car without gas, you can't keep things in your business flowing if you don't have the tools. The main areas you want to look at are:



         business and office supplies

In the area of hardware, today's computers have advanced to the level that you could likely run a small country from a laptop or iPad. That's not to say that you need an iPad, or even a laptop. In fact, as long as you have a PC or Mac, a printer, and dependable internet access, you've got the basics covered. You may also want to look at a mobile phone or iPad that will allow you to get online when you're on the road – provided that you do actually head out on the road. If you're strictly desk-bound, skip the portable devices and invest instead in the latest software to help you keep track of your business.

Software comes in a number of flavors. For most small businesses, you'll need:

         A word processing program. MicrosoftOffice Word is standard, but OpenOffice (available for free online) is a cost-free and versatile option.

         An accounting program. On one end, you can keep track of your budget and spending with a simple spreadsheet. If you want more bells and whistles, try Quicken or Quickbooks.

You may also want to consider a graphic design program. Even if you outsource all your graphic design needs, you may still will want the ability to make small adjustments (price, etc.) to your “Buy Now” buttons, easily handled with Photoshop Elements. If you want to be able to design your own pamphlets, brochures, PDFs and more on your Mac, check out Apple's Pages.

The good news about technology is that it's readily available and relatively inexpensive. The bad news is, the new versions come so fast and furious that no sooner have you invested in the latest and greatest, than it's already obsolete! But before you plunk down your credit card to upgrade, ask yourself:

         Is not having this holding me back?

         What am I hoping to do that I cannot do now?

         How much will it cost me to upgrade?

         If I make this investment, how long until it pays off?

         Do I have the cash to pay for this?

If your answers to the above questions are satisfactory, go ahead and invest. Do your research online to find specials or the best deal, and after you make your purchase, see if there is an affiliate program.  If so, sign up as an affiliate and tell others about your recommendations. That way you can convert your expense into a revenue stream – and get a gift that keeps on giving all year long!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Meet the Ladies Who are Changing the World - Weldresha Davenport

A few years ago, I ran a series of blog posts featuring women who were changing the face of business.  I thoroughly enjoyed introducing my fellow female entrepreneurs and the feedback was amazing!  So much so in fact that I have decided to do it again - only with a new tact.  These women aren't changing how we do business - they are trying to change the world!

Teen suicide has been a concern for years, especially among young women.  My first "guest" has firsthand knowledge of this issue and has dedicated herself to stopping it.  Meet Weldresha Davenport!

1.       Weldresha, tell us about yourself.

Hello everyone, my name is Weldresha “April” Davenport and I am the founder of Perfecting Touch Ministries. I also have my own business as an event planner. I work a full time job. I love to sing, write poetry/stories, and read. I feel that God is first priority in everything and I love to spend time with my family.  I enjoy interacting with people and feel that the heart of compassion that God has given me is truly the motivation for everything I do.

2.       What is Lady D’s Academy?
Lady D’s Academy is an organization that focuses on suicide prevention and empowerment of young girls and ladies between the ages of 8-21. The organization is set up to aid and assist girls and to give them a glimpse of hope when there seems to be no hope. Whether the hopelessness stems from a broken family, abuse, depression, anxiety, etc… We are here to be a beacon of light to young women who are in a dark place and need to see that they have a reason to live and to press forward.  The program starts with the young ladies coming to a retreat where they will go through their initial evaluation which maps them out a plan to aid them on their journey to completeness in their  physical, spiritual, and mental health.  

3.       Why did you feel there was a need for this?
For young people between the age of 15-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death and 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 dies by suicide each year (  So many young people are now battling depression in silence.  We  should save these young people's lives by any means possible. 

4.       How did Perfecting Touch Ministries get started?
Perfecting Touch Ministries was founded in 2012 by myself.  I ministered the gospel for the first time at the age of 13. I accepted the call into ministry years later and I then went through ministers training and was officially ordained in 2013. 

5.       What inspired you to undertake this project?
As a young girl I battled with the spirit of suicide in silence. Everyone thought because I smiled all the time and had such a bubbly personality that I had it all together but little did they know, I was crying out for help on the inside but felt that I would be judged by people if I asked for help. I suffered with this into my adulthood. I became chronically depressed, had an eating disorder and became almost helpless to the point of no return. At the age of 27 with everything I had going on, I had a heart attack. This is when I decided to change my life. 

6.       I have been impacted by suicide myself, being personally acquainted with girls and women who have tried to end their pain by ending their lives.  Unfortunately, some of them succeeded.  Why do you think so many girls turn to suicide as the answer to their problems?
I always felt that I had to be the strength and life line for other people.  I feel that so many girls commit suicide because they are crying out for help and they feel that someone should be able to see the warning signs that they are giving but sometimes their signs are not recognized. A lot of young girls fear being judged.   A lot of girls that are raised in church or in Christiandom feel that people are going to think that their faith in God is weak when that is not the case. That was the main reason that I did not seek help early on.

7.    You know I have to ask this - what exactly is "happiness"?  Are there people who are genuinely happy no matter what?  What about unhappy people?  I personally can think of a couple of people who NEVER seem happy.  Can they be?  How can we teach young women that suicide is never the answer and that they can be "happy" - even when they feel at their most desperate?

Happiness is something that we find within ourselves and happiness is not a feeling, it is a state of being. Sometimes I feel that joy and happiness are mixed up. Joy is a feeling.  Happiness does not mean that there are no heartaches or troubles. Happiness just gives us the faith to believe that no matter how bad a situation may get, there is always hope. I feel that unhappy people can become happy people if they are given the resources and tools needed to put them on a path to fulfillment. We can allow these young girls the ability to realize that there is always a reason to live and push forward. Some of us may very well be their lifeline.
8.    Some would say suicide is a very depressing topic and would prefer not to deal with it. Is it ever depressing for you?  What has been they most difficult part?

Suicide can be a tough subject to discuss with people. Some are uncomfortable or feel that they have to walk on egg shells when talking about it. That is the reason for this organization, to give exposure to this subject and to give people a safe place that will enable them to be able to open up and get the help they so desperately need.

9.    This is a blog for budding boomerpreneurs and while yours may not be what most people think of when you say "business", you have been very successful at promoting yourself and your brand.  Do you have any resources that you would recommend?

 I joined a group on Facebook called “Equipping Christian Women for Business”. The resources and support that I have seen from these ladies has been absolutely incredible.  Local news stations and newspapers have been a great tool in gaining exposure as well. I have done a lot of online research that has helped in this manner as well.
10.   If we are acquainted with someone who is talking about suicide what should we do?  Do you have any tips to share on how to help them?

The number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-727-4747 which is a suicide prevention center.  If someone tells you that they are think of committing suicide, DON'T take it as a JOKE, make sure that you listen to them and then refer them to someone who can help and assist them even if you feel that you can’t.

11.   What other advice would like to share?

Look for the warning signs of depression or suicidal tendencies.  A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.

·         Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.

·         Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.

·         Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.

·         Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.

·         Talking about being a burden to others.

·         Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.

·         Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.

·         Sleeping too little or too much.

·         Withdrawn or feeling isolated.

·         Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.

·         Displaying extreme mood swings.

·         Preoccupation with death.

·         Suddenly happier, calmer.

·         Loss of interest in things one cares about.

·         Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.

·         Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.

·         Giving things away, such as prized possessions.


12.   How can we contact you to learn more about Perfecting Touch Ministries and Lady D’s Academy?

13.   Is there anything else you would like to share?

If you would like to donate or support the cause for Lady D’s Academy you can do so at our website. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

7 Traffic Sources for Your Blog or Website

You have been in business for awhile now.  You are even somewhat successful.  Time to take a break right?  Wrong!  You can’t rest on your laurels.   You must continually generate fresh traffic to have a successful online business.  Sometimes it does take all the fun out of blogging or creating a website.  How do we keep the flow of traffic coming?  How do we generate more interaction and comments?  And most importantly, how do we increase our sales?

Interaction and sales are vital.  That's what we are all in business for!  None of us are working for free, I'm sure.  But the first step is traffic.  Without traffic there are no comments.  No customers.  And no sales.  So let's look at some ways to drive more traffic to your site.

Let's look at some of the obvious sources first.  These first 3 should already be a regular part of your marketing strategy.

1.  Blog comments:  Commenting on other blogs is a great way to generate traffic for your site.  Why isn't it working for you?  Chances are you are relying on the generic - and very obvious - comment of "Great post.  Thanks for the advice."  You may even make the error of including the "stop by my blog" line.  Don't just write a token comment.  Did something in the post make a point with you?  Did you learn something or perhaps come away with a new point of view?  Mention that in your comment.  And if someone asked a question in the post or in an earlier comment, answer it.  That is a great way to share your value and pique people's curiosity about your blog.

2.  Social media:  Yes, we all know about LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.  And yes, you should be posting links to your blog and website there.  But more people are beginning to use Google+.  And then there are literally dozens of other sites - StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, and Reddit for example.  Do some research and find out where your target market hangs out.  Then share your links there.

Part two of the social media campaign is to remember there is more involved than posting your own material.  Retweet, share, like, and comment on other people's posts as well.  Remember, these are called social networking sites for a reason.  And networking is all about building relationships.

3.  Article marketing:  I've written several posts on the benefits of article marketing.  It is a great way to get more exposure and credibility which will in turn generate more traffic to your site.  My favorite site is still Ezine Articles.

You may or may not be as familiar with the rest of these but they are all important parts of your marketing toolkit when used properly.  Don't be afraid to try them!

4.  HubPages:  If you ever had a Squidoo lens, you are now part of HubPages.  When I started out in business I had several lenses and they were wonderful sources of traffic.  I admit I have not been as active there as I once was.  But I have many friends and clients who still use it and they are still seeing it as a great traffic source.  If you aren't already using it, check it out.

5.  Paid advertising like Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, or Google Adwords.  While not free, most are fairly inexpensive.  Or try some PPC advertising or Ezine advertising.  This can be a bit more expensive but if done properly, the pay back in traffic can be huge!

6. allows you to create your own online newspaper.  While I have not tried this one myself, my articles are frequently published by others.  I have spoken to several individuals about using and they all state that it does help drive traffic to their sites.  Check it out and let me know how it works for you.  Perhaps you can even do a guest post here about your experience.  Which brings us to traffic source number 7.

7.  Guest posts on other blogs:  Two recommendations here.  If someone approaches you about guest posting on their blog, and you agree, be sure you follow through!  And if no one has approached you, don't be afraid to approach the authors of blogs you like and offer.  All they can do is say no thank you.  And they might say yes!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Schedule Time for Marketing

You schedule everything else.  Maintenance on your car.  Health checkups.  Soccer games, Scout meetings, dinner dates.  Why wouldn't you schedule your marketing?  If they aren't locked into your schedule, you won't get to your marketing tasks and you won't ever see your marketing strategy kick into gear.

You eat regular meals to keep yourself thriving.  Regular marketing will keep your business thriving by providing the nourishment it needs - new customers and more sales.  I schedule a morning a week to write newsletters and manage the various on- and off-line tasks that keep traffic coming to my website and convert prospects to clients.

If you haven't done so already, block out time each day or each week to spend on marketing -- a minimum of five hours a week.  Follow these steps to help keep your marketing on tasks on track.

1.  Set your marketing goals.  How many new social media contacts do you want to make this month?  How many articles do you want to publish?  How many times a month will you publish a newsletter?

2.  Create your calendar.  Whether you use an online calendar such as Google calendar or another digital format or you still use your pen and a planner, a calendar to is an essential part of your marketing schedule.  Once you have chosen your format, start scheduling your activities for the month.  Write down due dates for articles and newsletters, allot time for posting to social media, and allow time to track your results so you know what works and what doesn't.  If you need further help with using a calendar, see my blog post "How to Be Organized - Use a Calendar!"

3.  Get to work.  Step three is really that simple.  Follow your schedule and implement the plan you have laid out.

Creating and following a marketing schedule will help keep your marketing on track.   Your calendar doesn’t have to be carved in stone, though.  Be sure you leave room for on-the-fly promotions and last-minute opportunities as well.   And as always, with ANY business schedule, make sure you leave time for you to re-energize and recharge.  Don't overdo it!  And don't stress if you don't get all of your marketing tasks completed.  Determine why you weren't able to complete the task.  Then determine if it's something you want to reschedule.  If so, add it to next month's schedule.  If you find yourself repeatedly skipping a particular task, then you need to determine why you're resistant to doing it and how to overcome that resistance.  But that is a different blog post! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Your Mess Is Your Message

For every successful business or person you see, if you track back far enough, you'll find struggle or a lack of skill and competence.  Successful people aren't immune to challenges.  The difference between them and everyone else is simple.  Successful people often choose to make their mess their message.

I first heard this phrase from my good friend, Beverly Mahone.  At first, I didn't really get what she meant by it.  Why would I want to share my mess with the world?  Shouldn't a business woman appear to have it all together?  But then I discovered that many of my "messes" were actually shared by others.  And then I understood what Bev had been saying.  By making my mess my message, I could help others who were experiencing the same issues.

And so I share my trials as well as my triumphs.  When I fall off the face of the visible world due to my husband's health issues, I don't make excuses anymore.  I freely admit that keeping my blog up to date or maintaining a social media presence is more than I can deal with when he is hospitalized.  The planned launch of "It Should Be a Dog's World" came to a halt when my precious pet passed on.  I admitted to everyone that my heart is just not in it without him.  Being honest with myself and the world lets others that may be struggling to start a business while dealing with personal issues know that it is possible to do it.  It might not be done on everyone's schedule or exactly the way the "gurus" say it should be done.  But what is important is that they see I don't quit and I don't hide and neither should they.  And when I celebrate the triumphs, such as FINALLY finishing my book or convincing the awesome Brian Basilico to write the forward, then they see that I have successes despite my messes and so can they.

Bev encouraged me to share my story on the way to success.  Since then I have met many others who have said the same thing.  People love a good story!  We all love to root for the underdog.  We love the old "rags to riches" story.  We like seeing people struggle and finally reach the top because we all see something of our own struggles in their stories and it gives us hope for our own success.

So what's my mess?  You've read about it repeatedly in this blog, on my website, and in my social media posts.  What's my message?  Have faith.  Be strong.  Don't quit.  Success comes to those who persevere no matter what.  Don't listen to the naysayers and critics.  I know you have heard the saying "Opinions are like *##&_*%#, every body has one."  Never give up on your dreams.  Find the business that is right for you.  Find the right mentor or coach.  Once you have what works for you, don't let go.  If you are looking for help, I would love to work with you.  But no matter who you choose to work with, I will be cheering you on! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

10 Tips to Grow Your Business

Are you puzzled by what to do to grow your business?  You've read all the "how-to" e-books and attended the seminars.  But your growth is still stagnant.  Now you're thinking of hiring a marketing expert to just do it all for you.  Well, it doesn't quite work that way.  I know, because I tried that already.  And I saw absolutely no increase in sales.   

If you're serious about growth, you need to find out what really works to find more clients and generate more sales.  What you need is a proven strategy that's right for you.

There are only two things you can do to grow your business:  1).  Get more customers.  2).  Get your existing customers to spend more money.  There are no magic bullets or secret formulas that will increase your business without one of these two things happening.  But there are plenty of techniques you can implement that will do one of these things - either help you find new customers or increase sales to your existing customers.

Tips to gain new customers

1.  Advertise in new places.  If you use only classified ads, try Facebook ads or PPC advertising.  Or try advertising in ezines that serve your target market. 

2.  Start a referral program.  Let your existing customer base help you find your next new customer.

3.  Network, network, network - in all its form.  Attend networking events.  And if one of them has regular speakers, ask to have the opportunity to do a presentation.  Be active on social media.  This means posting tips, advice, and being part of the conversation - not just sharing cute cat videos or silly pictures of Uncle Fred.  You are here to prove your expertise and value.

4.  Host an event.  This can be a seminar, webinar, or teleseminar.  Use the event to share your knowledge and expertise with prospective customers.

5.  Implement a PR campaign.  This is completely different from an advertising campaign.  Advertising is you touting your own product or services.  PR is someone else tooting your horn.  Try to get a local newspaper or television station to do a story on your business.  Of course, you will have to have something story-worthy.  This is not supposed to be an infomercial. But suppose you're a social media marketing whiz and you decide to offer free social networking classes at the local senior center.  Now you've got a story!

Tips to help your existing customers spend more

The gut reaction here is to just raise your prices.  But that doesn't always work.  Let's try some other techniques.

1.  Get your customers on a mailing list and then send out weekly or monthly customers-only special offers.

2.  Remember to upsell or cross-sell.  When a client becomes part of our business start up coaching program, we immediately make note to talk to them about our marketing coaching program when it's appropriate.

3.  Survey customers on their needs/wants and then launch a new product or service.

4.  Bundle.  Create a package deal for your customers.  When I was a Girl Scout leader, my girls used this technique very successfully during the annual cookie sale.  By creating "Cookie Packs" they often sold multiple boxes where they might have only sold one or two.  Customers were very willing to buy the "Chocolate Lovers Pack" or the "The Favorites Cookie Pack."  The price was the same as if they had bought the individual boxes but the bundles were big sellers!

5.  And yes, you can raise prices, especially if you are like many home-based entrepreneurs and undercharging to begin with! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014


"I'll spend more time with my family when I retire."  "I'll start a new business when we're out of debt."  "I'll lose weight when the kids are grown and I have time to exercise." "I'll take that great vacation when my career is established." 

Do any of those statements sound like you? 

Too much of our lives is about SOMEDAY.  Someday - when I'm older.  Someday - when the kids are grown.  Someday - when we're out of debt.  Someday - when we retire.  Someday - may be too late.

I've been doing some research for my next book and I've discovered an amazing fact.  Amazing in that it boggles my mind!  It seems most of us put off even the simplest of dreams.  Instead of going after even our smallest heart's desire, we wait for that magical "someday."  We don't stop and smell the roses.  We don't live in the moment.  We don't take a second to really appreciate the little things. 

To paraphrase a quote I read somewhere: The past is history, the future is tomorrow. Today is real and it's a gift.  That's why they call it the present!  Right here, right now make the decision not to let another day go by without noticing all your blessings and giving thanks for them.  Then, take the next step and decide to go after your dreams!  Don't wait for "someday."  Do it now!  Today!  The world is full of people who "coulda, woulda, shoulda."  Don't become another.  Instead, be the person who DID!

Enjoy today.  Be grateful for all you have.  Pursue your dreams.  Let go and experience the wonder of life.  Whenever you hear yourself start to say "Someday," stop, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say "Today."  "Today, I will spend some quality time with my family."  "Today, I'll write my business plan."  "Today, I'll eat more healthfully and go for a walk with my children."  Do it today.  I promise you'll feel better!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How to Be Organized - Use a Calendar!

I confess - I've missed a deadline or two.  Forgotten an appointment.  Paid a late fee.  You too?  If so, your calendar – or lack of it – is likely to blame.

I always resisted using a calendar, thinking it would be too difficult to manage, wouldn't be available when and where I needed it, or that it would make me inflexible. The truth is, setting up a calendar and using it can be almost completely automated, and when you take the time to schedule your work, you’ll actually find more freedom in your day, not less.

How many emails does it take to schedule an interview or coaching session?  I found the average to be three or four.  One to propose a time, another to say why that won’t work and to suggest others, sometimes a third with still more time options, and a final confirming email.
What a waste!

Instead, by using a shared calendar or appointment system such as TimeTrade, you can schedule meetings and appointments in one click.  Your client will see exactly what times are available, and be able to pick the one that works for her schedule as well.

You can achieve a similar system within your family by sharing a Google calendar.  Need to schedule a dentist appointment?   One quick check of the calendar lets you know your grandson has a soccer game that day – better choose a different day for that cleaning.
David Allen of Getting Things Done recommends using your calendar only for those things that must be done on a specific day.  Your calendar is not your to-do list, it’s a schedule of appointments. By only scheduling that which must be completed, such as doctor appointments and travel, you leave the rest of your days open for a more fluid lifestyle, while still completing tasks on time.

Day-to-day appointments and managing deadlines is great, but I also use my calendar for long-term planning.  Product launches, marketing schedules, blog posts and more are all written on my calendar.  That allows me to easily see what’s coming up,  I can even match my own products and promotions with those of others, for even greater reach.
Your marketing calendar can include everything from keywords to target for PPC campaigns to blog post ideas to products you’d like to create.  Your calendar doesn’t have to be carved in stone, though.  Be sure you leave room for on-the-fly promotions and last-minute opportunities as well.

If you still find yourself resisting using a calendar, outsource it!  My VA handles my calendar much more efficiently than I do!   She isn't distracted by other things going on in my life.  Not only that, but with someone else managing my calendar, I have more time for actually getting stuff done!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Boomer Business

Are you ready to be in business for yourself?  As a baby boomer, you may be facing the point in your life where it's time to make some decisions.  Should you retire?  CAN you retire?  Do you WANT to retire?  If the answer to any of those questions is 'NO!", you may be ready to become a boomerpreneur!

Starting your own business as a baby boomer isn't without some risk.  But there are ways to minimize those risks.  And the rewards can be amazing.  If you just don't see yourself joining the Sunday afternoon bingo crowd but you just don't want to keep working at your current job, a business can be ideal.  It can offer you all the things you want from your work:  flexible schedule, a chance to do what you love, to be your own boss, to make an impact, and to supplement your retirement income.  Yes, there will be challenges.  But being challenged and motivated every day is much better than being bored.

Three quarters of boomers plan to work past retirement, so you're not alone.  Many of us simply don't want to give up the feeling of being productive every day.  Others simply have no choice.  Their retirement income simply isn't enough to support them comfortably.  In order to survive, they must continue to work.  But at this stage of life, it might be time for you to call the shots.

The thought of starting your own business might seem overwhelming.  But you have years of experience to offer.  You've acquired skills and strengths that many others don't have.  You have a lifetime of interests to share.  If you don't know where to start or what steps to take, don't despair.  This is the age of the internet!  All the information you need is readily available.  And today's technology can make starting a business easier than it has ever been.  Still hesitant?  Don't be!  There are  plenty of people who have gone before you who are more than willing to show you the way. 

So what's MY boomer business?  Actually, I have a few!  I started in network marketing.  And although I knew nothing about it, thanks to the patient coaching of my sponsors and mentors, today I make a nice living.  I've learned enough now that I have written my first book so others can have the same success I have had.  I also have 4 CafePress shops.  Here I sell t-shirts, mugs, hoodies, caps, mousepads - in fact just about anything you can put a design on.  I love this part of my business because it let's me express a little bit of my creativity.

The network marketing is lucrative and the CafePress shops are fun, but the most fulfilling part of my business is my role as the BoomerBizCoach.  I have learned so much over the years and I owe much of my success to the guidance and training of others.  I pay it forward by passing on all that I have learned to fellow budding boomerpreneurs. 

If retirement isn't in your future plans, if you are ready to see what being a boomerpreneur is all about, there has never been a better time.  Let's do this!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wasting the Day Away on Social Media

You know they’re a huge time-waster, but somehow you just can’t pull yourself away from the latest Facebook drama or the beautiful photos of yummy desserts on Pinterest.  And your favorite celeb is just blowing up Twitter with her latest antics.  Besides, you make your living online.  The time you spend on social media is “work.”  Isn't it?  After all, everyone says you have to market your business on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, right?

It's true that social media marketing is a powerful technique that all online (and offline) business owners should explore.  It’s also true that much of what we do on these sites is most definitely NOT work.  But separating the two is tough.

Not all social media is bad.  It’s a great way to stay in touch with far-flung family and friends, and yes, it’s an important business-building tool as well.  So rather than try to eliminate it all together, why not make it a regular, scheduled part of your day?
Catch up on your Facebook feed over your morning coffee, then log out and get to work!  Browse Pinterest while you eat lunch.  For actual work-related social media tasks, schedule a time during the work day to log in, update your status, respond to questions, and check up on your competitors.  The key is to actually schedule this as you would any other business-related task, and not to let this “work time” turn into a chat with your sister about holiday plans or a gossip session with friends.

One way successful entrepreneurs separate work from play is by the tools they use.  When on the computer in the office, they avoid social media sites because they are working.  Instead, they limit their use of social media to off hours by only visiting the sites on their mobile phones or tablets.  I rarely get on Twitter or Facebook on my computer.  I wait until I have some free time and then only use my phone.  (That's why I tend to "disappear" from time to time.  I'm so busy working that I don't have time to even get on my phone!) 
By adopting this type of policy, you create a boundary in your own mind.  After a few weeks of practice, hopefully you will no more think of hopping on Facebook from the office computer than you would consider wearing your bathrobe to the grocery store.  The two activities just don’t go together!

If you really can’t stay focused on work once you’ve logged into Twitter or Facebook (they’re just so distracting!) consider letting someone else handle your social media accounts.  You can create updates ahead of time, then simply turn them over to a virtual assistant to schedule.  Or use tools like SocialOomph to schedule your updates for the day or even the week.  Then once a day you can log in and respond to your followers.
Finally, if you’re not using social media as a marketing tool, consider taking a sabbatical. Simply make a deal with yourself that you will not log in or check any social media site for a month or a week or even just for a day. You might just be surprised to see how much time you really do waste playing Candy Crush.