Thursday, October 29, 2009

As I Suspected, I am Happier Than Most

In an article a few days ago on MSN, this caught my eye- "Train to be Your Own Boss" or, are the self employed really happier? Happier even than doctors, lawyers and business executives?

You better believe we are, baby!

"The benefits of being our own boss, The Gallup-Healthway Well-Being Index, the most comprehensive survey to date with 100,826 respondents, found that business owners outranked all other workers in overall happiness and well-being, beating doctors, lawyers and business executives. What's so good about self-employment? Working on your own terms, having control over your fate, doing what you love and not living in fear of the pink slip rank high on the entrepreneur's list of perks. 'Even when things get tough, I'm still in control,' says business owner Roger Peugeot. Business owners also enjoy the satisfaction of focusing their energy on something that matters to them and benefits them directly."

Speaking of, "when things get tough"- um, yeah. Let's not romanticize this point. I am not going to do it. No, I do not like it when things get tough. I was told some years back one "must appreciate the struggle of any business."

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times", reads the famous opening line of "A Tale of Two Cities." Two thousand and nine has proved to be exactly that.

While my companies are going like gangbusters right now, in the first quarter and more than half way through the second, I took a 50% HIT!

Soooooo, I had to laugh when I discovered roll upon roll of toilet paper just sitting in our garage! I had placed them there last year in our cheerful orange and black Halloween tubs, dutifully waiting patiently until Fall.

The game I made up is called, "Wrap Ya Mummy" (or daddy). The idea is that whichever kid(s) wrap up their significant guardian most completely by the end of the song, wins!

But I was like, DAMN! I could have used this stuff when our money was so tight! Listen, I can be more ghetto than Snoop Dogg. If I can do anything to boost up my er.. bottom line, you bet I will. Unabashedly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eliot is Ready for Halloween

This is Eliot in his Trick-Aaaar- Treat t-shirt. Get it? Hahahaha. And that's his Mr. Halloween Teddy.
The little brat wouldn't be still enough for me to get a picture of his face. I kept saying, "Show Mama your Mr. Teddy."
"Yeah right, Chick."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What's Your Scariest Thing? Part II

The next incident happened when I was fifteen.

Because of a tragic automobile accident that left my mother paralyzed, (from the neck down) my father decided to rent out our house and move me to my sister's house until he figured out what to do.

Rather than moving all our stuff into storage, he got the idea to partition off one half of the garage.

On a bright Saturday morning, while I was staying with my grandmother, I walked over to our house and went into the garage to collect a few more of my belongings.

As I rummaged through various boxes, I could hear a low conversation in the kitchen; while the cabinet doors were opening, closing, opening, closing. More conversation. More banging of the cabinets.

I guess a realtor is showing the house, I reasoned.
The banging and the conversation continued even as I was leaving the garage through the side door on the West.

After I collected the last of my stuff, I walked outside to the driveway expecting to see the realtor's car.

There was no car. There wasn't anybody. No one was in the house. I had been alone the whole time.

What's Your Scariest Thing?

The best way I know how to describe it is only by saying- something was "wrong" with my house as a child. Our house sat on two and half acres with tall Pines, Weeping Willows, Ash, Oak and sensual, syrupy sweet Mimosas- reminiscent of all things Southern.

My friends from elementary, more accustomed to neighborhoods in the city where the houses were lined up side by side, would spend the night and ask, horror stricken, "What was THAT?!"

"It's okay. It's just the furnace. You'll get used to it."

Some never came back.

I suspected the fear originated not with the furnace, but with where the furnace was located, at the dead end of a long hallway.

Many a night as a child, I would have reoccurring nightmares of being in the hallway. I'd freeze in sheer terror. I'd try to run, but couldn't. I'd try to scream, but couldn't. Remember the lyric in "Thriller"- "you try to scream, but terror takes the sound before you make it?"

My parents had left me alone one night. I was in the eighth grade. I felt an uneasy, free floating anxiety that someone, or better put, something was watching me.

To take my mind off my fear, I decided to watch television. The comedy show had barely begun when my dog, Chelsea, an intelligent and sweet natured apricot poodle, began to bark hysterically.

Her gaze was locked down the end of the hallway, and she barked with such a fierce furry that she was literally gasping for air in between her barks. I have never heard a dog bark like that before or since.

Immediately I jumped up, equally as panic stricken! Now all this is happening much faster than I can write it to you- there was an awful, awful crash, thud, bang, bam, slam, pop! at the end of the hallway. As if a heavy body had dropped dead-weighted, down to the ground. I RAN AS FAST AS I COULD to the front door and threw it opened.

Unexpectedly met with a black, dark, moonless night; I was terrified to go out there by myself. But something was in the house! Wasn't it? What if it's outside now?

Just then, the phone in the kitchen rang.

I had a choice. Run outside by myself or...answer the phone.

Answer the phone and pass by the long hallway. I'd have to look down the hallway to answer the phone.

I chose the phone.

This is no joke. When I answered, meek and shuddering with adrenalin, my boyfriend, Peter, said, "You sound like you've seen a ghost."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Of Course They Don't Like You. You Have Something Going On."

Do you know that moment you put your key in a lock and you hear that distinct, "click"?

My conversation with "J", another entrepreneur and woman who's always shakin' and bakin'- was exactly like that.

Having read an article about her and her business in The Dallas Morning News; I was excited to share with "J" how impressed I was with the business, typically a very male oriented business, that she had successfully availed herself.

"Now you and I know both know it's not as if I had 1.5 million dollars just sitting around to by BlahBlah (her business) with", "J" remarked.

"Of course not. You did a deal. I get ya."

"Yes. Right. Sure did."

"So, let me ask you- how do you get along with other women?", I ventured.

"Ah well."

"Yeah. Me too. I don't know. I don't get it. Just last week "A" told me that other women are intimidated by me. I'm nice. I'm gracious. I don't get it."

"Of course they don't like you. You have something going on! People don't like that", J shot back.

"Well, I don't think I'm better than they are." I said.

"No. See? You are better. You think bigger. Look- I don't mean to be rude but ("J" looks around the bus cautiously as we are on our way to a luncheon at the new Cowboy Stadium) but you know, the Chamber; some people there, I mean they're selling Juice Plus. Know what I mean?"

If you have something going on- man, I'm just the opposite~ Entrepreneur Chick wants to hear all about it and so does "J".

Last week I was at a business function and a woman timidly approached me.

"Uh... I just wanted to come over and say 'hi'. I don't know if you remember me. I just wanted to say 'hi' and talk to you if you have the time." She was shaking a little bit. At this point I thought, either she's very shy or... what? You are intimidated by me?! Good grief, what for?!

A few people have mistaken me being a southern woman who's basically warm and kind, as being a weakness. Yet they have quickly found out I can turn on you as quick as a Pit Bull being dragged by the ears if you think you're going to play me like that.

Sometimes I want to say to other women, "Listen. I don't want your man, okay? Can we move on now?" It's the whole undercurrent of cattiness that totally turns me cold with this type of broad, and believe me, the world is chalked full of them.

So, if they don't like me because I have "something going on"- at least I am being authentic. What else can you be but be yourself? I'm always going to have a multiplicity of irons in the fire. Other people with a bunch of irons in their fire will get me, and those that don't, ...don't.

So be it.

There's Always Something to do

Eight years ago, I was under the mistaken impression that once one has the various components of a business in place- legal documents, website, marketing materials, business cards, company envelopes and letter head, phone service, etc., one simply runs a business and you're all done.

Nothing is further from the truth!

There are two good things about this paradigm, however. The first is that a business is a living, dynamic and ever changing entity. If a business is not changing and is not constantly asking itself, 'how can we do better?'- that business who struggles to merely stay average, will not ultimately survive. Nor should it! Consumers have too many choices in the market place to select your lackluster attempt.

Secondly, by always evolving and refining your company, one is seldom bored. I don't know about you, but I do not like being bored. Since I've owned companies, I never seem to go around saying, 'I'm bored- I have nothing to do.'

When I was a little girl, I was essentially an only child as my siblings were actually old enough to be my parents. I'd mope around the house and whine to my mother- "I'm bored."
"Go outside!"
"What's outside?"
"Well, I don't know- but when I was your age, I was outside playing and not bothering my mother constantly about being bored", she said with much disdain.

I guess she'd be proud of the fact how, as an entrepreneur, I'm never bored, even if I'm not outside.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I see these purple cats all the time in stores around this time of year.

I have talked and talked about "what are we doing for Halloween"? I started talking about it in July! Yeah, I'm a planner.

I'm torn. I have these mile high white disco boots and this cute little disco mini dress OR I have this scary mask that maybe no one thinks I'm a grown up and, yes I do. I march right up to those doors and I go:

"Trick or Treat!" No shame in my game whatsoever.

What are you guys going to do? I need some inspiration.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Actress who Played a Stripper but Thought Like an Entrepreneur

Actually, I had it backwards. The stripper did not see an opportunity for greater advancement, but rather- the actress, Sheila Kelley, who played the stripper, did.
According to S Factor's website:
"When she (Sheila Kelley) starred in and produced the film, Dancing at the Blue Iguana, she needed to prepare for the role of 'Stormy' by learning how to striptease and pole dance. As a result, her body became long, lean and fit. She decided to take her knowledge of ballet, exercise and exotic dancing and combine them into the most effective fitness dance workout ever devised for and about women - S Factor."
Not only is "Dancing at the Blue Iguana" a genuinely compelling and transparent film about the lives of erotic dancers, it is also an excellent example of how a woman, Sheila, understood the importance of building an asset base, definitely thought outside of the box, er...pole- and turned out a rather seedy industry into the mainstream with great success.
Entrepreneur Chick recommends all three. (1) The Movie, (2) Pole dancing, (3) Building your asset base!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Stripper on Hold

Yes, I know I was going to tell you about the stripper who, instead of just doing the same old, same old, had some excellent vision and made it big in an unexpected way.
But in the tradition of Shameless Ramblings From Your Truly- I have some disconnected thoughts I'd simply like to enumerate in no particular order. (I very much enjoy reading Celeste's thoughts.)
My blow dryer sparked three times when I was blowing Eliot (Mr. Yorkshire Terrier Extraordinaire) dry. Therefore, I threw it away.
An employee quit. People have every right to do as they please- BUT it would have been nice if he had decided before we trained him and before we booked him for several events- that "it was not for me".
I had a nice lunch at Le Madelyn today but ordered only a sad looking spinach quiche and a cup of fruit with that yummy fattening sauce and an Orange-ina, because you can only get those from up North and I don't live there anymore.
I wanted the rest of Tony's lunch he didn't finish, but I didn't ask.
My dress I got on sale last week is too big. I don't want to mess with getting it altered. And it doesn't look good with the printed argyle tights I got for it either. In fact, it looks stupid.
I have to buy another couch because my Boxer is... too awful to talk about. I only plan for it to last a year. I love my Boxer more than I love my "stuff", but I am not getting another Boxer.
I ran out of makeup. I tried something different to see if I'd like it. Nope. I'm still out of makeup.
Got a cool new velveteen warm-up suit today, but I don't have any cool tennis shoes to go with it. (Because I stepped in mud and ruined my awesome Guess, sparkle ones). How come you get one really cool thing only to find out that now you need something else?
I needed a lighted Halloween decoration for my window, so I bought one today. It's not double-sided so I can enjoy looking at it too. Boo.
The Fall trees for my Fall Village are too few. Hello? I'm NOT paying $8.00 a pop for little trees. Was that how much I paid last year? What was I thinking? But the pumpkins were on sale- but I already have pumpkins. Left the store with nothing.
I'm tired. It's raining. I could drink a cup of coffee and fix the whole matter. When it's bedtime, I'm going to feel great. I'd rather mope around and complain about being tired.
Had an incredible business meeting today with a client. We did everything we said we would for them. Their "numbers are up" because they hired us and will continue to do business with us!
So; my blow dryer broke, an employee quit, I didn't order enough for lunch, my dress is too big, my Boxer (Emerson) ruined my couch, I am still out of makeup, I don't have cool tennis shoes, my Halloween decoration is not what I expected, my Fall village has too few trees, it's raining, I'm tired BUT:
My client thinks our business is DA BOMB, so what do all these annoyances really matter?
How about it if I shut up and be grateful? Yup. That's what I'm a gonna do.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good News for Samantha~ E.C. Forgot an Asset!

Let's expand that asset list from yesterday, kids.

(1) Businesses
(2) Real Estate
(3) Investments
(4) Intellectual Property

According to Wikipedia:

"Intellectual property (IP) is a number of distinct types of legal monopolies over creations of the mind, both artistic and commercial, and the corresponding fields of law.[1] Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; ideas, discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets in some jurisdictions."

Why is this good news for Samantha? Yesterday she asked me, essentailly, how can I build my asset base? What can I do?

Having read her blog for a bit now- I can tell you Samantha is a creative individual. Her most natural asset base would spring out of, I think, intellectual property. She can write!

Entrepreneur Chick's best advice to Sam? Keep doing what you love. Learn to leverage it. Learn to sell it. BUT, have a hook. It does not have to be a "hook" that's never been done before- because every thing's been written about before; however, the "hook" must be compelling enough to draw your work(s) to stand out in the marketplace.

Let's take Tom Clancy. I know, not much of a true literary talent. (Mc Donalds in not the best hamburger you've ever had; but you'll still eat there in a pinch.) Clancy has a formula. Harry Potter has a formula. Those formulas are hooks.

Let's take Entrepreneur Chick's ridiculously smart brother in law. Robert. Robert invents a design that when one has a trailer, such as a fifth wheel or what have you, when, after installation, you're driving down the road- what do you think? Smooth as silk! No "fishtailing", no unsettling bumps.

Roger's Stabilizer Bar. Pretty cool, huh?

Tomorrow I'm going to tell you about a stripper who took her talent and made it big!

What intellectual property do you have?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two Secrets of Business Success- Types of Assets

Getting right to it, because Entrepreneur Chick is blowin' this pop stand in a moment- the four types of assets are as follows:

(1) Businesses
(2) Real Estate
(3) Investments
(4) Bootleg whiskey- Just making sure you're paying attention.

Actually, and I won't name names, but bootleg whiskey proved to be quite a profitable venture for a certain well known family in America; however, the whiskey would still fall under the category of "business".

As for me, I gravitate to business because I understand it better, can control it more, can do what I want with it, and because I love to promote and sell- it's a better fit for me personally.

That's not to say I should be off the hook regarding investing. Right now, a good deal of my cash flow goes not into investments, but into my companies- as, again, I understand it better and I also know where my rate of return is far more predictably.

But, as I said- that's just me. Real estate might completely float your boat. My father owned some real estate. He had a good plan, but not a large vision with his real estate investing. I believe he could have done better and I wish he was around today so we could discuss all this.

What type of assets do you like?

(For some stupid reason I can hear Ludacris and T-Pain going.. "What kinda asses do we like?" And then, of course, Sir Mixalot chimes in... "I like big butts and I can not lie..." and then Ludacris and T-Pain, thoroughly annoyed say, "Yo, dawg. SHUT UP! This ain't the 90's up in here.")

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Two Secrets of Business Success, Part II

My friend, mystified, asked me - "But, what is an asset?" And frankly, I can tell she does not know. (Not Chloe.)

How can I tell she does not know? Because she is still trading her personal time for dollars. That's how I can tell. Additionally, she has no plans not to trade her personal time for dollars.

The irony here is, that this woman works a LOT harder than I do- but I make a LOT more than she does- in my pajamas.

I am not being arrogant. I have simply educated myself on what the right things to know are; and did more of that- and what the bad things are- and did less of that!

"Assets": Assets pay you. They always pay you. You can tell if you have an asset because money is right behind one of those.

Example: Say, for instance, you buy a home entertainment system- a surround sound system. What is that? Is that an asset or a liability?

Well, it's a liability. Why? Because no one is going to pay you to have it in your possession.

BUT, let's say you charged all your neighbors to come over and see some NFL games- your neighbors paid a fee to sit in your cushy stadium seats, have a beer or two and enjoy the game?

Now what do you have?

You have an asset.

What if you like snow cones?

You go to the snow cone shop and say, "I'd like Tutti-Fruiti, please." What's your snow cone? Is it an asset or a liability?

A liability. No one paid you to get it, or to eat it.

BUT, what if you bought one of those snow cone, cute little houses that sit in front of other stores- usually in parking lots?

NOW, what do you have?

An asset. People are going to pay YOU to eat snow cones!

I look at every single thing I do through the lense of "is it an asset or a liability"?

So, Entrepreneur Chick's wealthy friend, "M" is talking to another wealthy friend and "M" asks, "What kind of stuff are you investing in these days?"

Friend says- "Well, you won't believe it. You know those snow cone houses?"
"Those daggummed things make 100K a year a piece! Did you know that? I have a slew of those things."

SnowconeDUDE knows what an asset is; even it it's not too glamorous.

(More tomorrow about types of assets.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chloe Wants to Know the Two Secrets of Business Success

In a post last week, I had mentioned that life is "ridiculously easier" when you know the right things.

I had compared how learning ballroom dance, is merely a matter of knowing four things- and it's how we combine those four things that result in the ability to Tango or Cha Cha.. or whatever you please. (Except hip-hop; which is entirely different.)

Nonetheless; the two things that anyone needs either in business, or simply to insure a certain amount of personal success- monetary success- are these two principles. And, as Chloe asked in a comment- "What are those two things? I want to know!" it's really the least I can do seeing that that Aubery guy appears to be taken.

Now, before I tell you what they are; let me build a small amount of time qualifying what I am about to say.

Any good business book will tell the the exact thing I'm about to share with you.

Once I tell you- you're going to say~

That's SO easy! I KNOW! It is. It's taken me almost eight years to see extremely good success doing these two things- if you have a better business idea and plan than I did or do; and if your credit is better than mine was- maybe it won't take you eight years. I don't know. But I do know this; irrespective as to where you are now- start now! (If you haven't already.) And you too, in eight years or less, will be sittin' pretty as ya please. (Pass the mint tea, darlin'.)

Drum roll please...

Assets. (Yeah, get those.)

Liabilities. (Keep 'em at a minimum.)

This is the whole, entire, can not be expounded upon secret to business success.

But of course, you know me- tomorrow I'm going to expound. Stay tuned~

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What Would Happen If...

It's a good thing Fortune Cookies and Men's author lives in NYC.
I live in the great state of Texas; which, when visiting, Chloe made the observation how wonderful it is that everyone seems to have bike racks on the back of their pick up trucks.
Her uncle could have let that slide- we need all the damage control and better reputation we can get down here- ever since that *thing* from the 60's. "Chloe, those are GUN RACKS!"
So, the above picture is me and Chloe after a big night on the town.
(I am the black cat. Who's last words before the kind officer said, "Watch your head", were, I think- "No, Chloe. Just poke the guy- I'm telling you he's not dead." )

Friday, October 2, 2009

Two Expirations.What Should You Do? Part II

I could have done a better job of explaining the "coupon".

Actually, I had donated to a fundraiser and it was part of a silent auction. It was a certificate, now that I think about it; that entitled the bearer to one free service provided by our company.

But, as I described, the coupon had expired on the very day she called. That being said... here's the deal.

Let's say you called me up, and you said something to the effect of:

"Entrepreneur Chick, I am just so upset! My car's always breaking down, I don't know what's wrong with it, it's been in the shop three times now. Also, my kids keep leaving huge messes all over the house; I've asked them repeatedly NOT to eat in the family room and now there's pizza stains on the carpet and peanut butter and jelly droppings on the sofa. And my husband! He doesn't do anything to help out around here! You should see this laundry!"

I'd listen, and then when she's good and finished I'd say:

"So. You feel frustrated?"

"That's IT! I feel frustrated!"

It's kinda crazy that when I mirror back some one's feelings, more often than not, you'd think I was some sort of powerful mind reader. Because they all say, "That's IT!," amazed I understand so perfectly.

I try to listen to not only what people are saying, but the underlying emotion behind the words.

Applying that to our "certificate bearer" who said, "There's been a death in the family, could you extend the coupon?" This is what I heard she was saying,:

"I want to use guilt to manipulate you to do it my way. I want you to feel sorry for me so you will do it my way." ("Even though I've had half a year to call you up.")

Entrepreneur Chick does not respond well to guilt. You're going to have a hard time "guilting" me into anything, or "shaming" me into anything.

Additionally, a contract is a contract. And an expiration date is an expiration date. It ain't personal, it's business. Trying to make it personal tells me you don't understand much about business.

No, I didn't honor it and I didn't call her back. I think she gets my drift.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two Expirations- What Should You Do?

This person had six months to use one of our coupons. That's half a year.

Called our office yesterday on the very expiration date and asked, "There's been death in my family. Can you extend the coupon?"

What do you think Entrepreneur Chick's reaction was?

Let me be clear. There's things I think, which I do not say- because it's highly inappropriate and non-professional.

But when I'm here, and I'm E.C.; I'm going to let it rip. I'm assuming you read me because you'd like to learn something about business and you understand I'm not some chick over here playing nicey-nice and let's make a pie, have a cup of coffee, and all get along.

Woman goes to the store. She buys a gallon of milk.

She hands the cashier an expired coupon. Cashier says, "This coupon has expired", and hands it back.

Woman says, "But there was a death in my family, can you still honor it?"

What does the cashier do?

You tell me what you think- and then tomorrow, I'll tell you what happened.