Friday, May 29, 2009

Quote of the Week

"You might be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." Beverly Sills

The Mack Daddy Review~ All My Homie Playahs Stand Up!

Oh, there's a certain vibe. I can spot you just about every time. Naw, you're not arrogant. You're not loud. You're not too proud. But just how you stand there, I can tell ya got it goin' on. Ya feel me, Boo?
The party had thinned out quite a bit as the sun set peacefully over the lake. The clouds turned a certain shade of purple and pink that you only see during that gloaming time of day- a spectacular spring night, with all the promise spring brings, lay ahead.
And there he was. Just standing there. After I shook hands with about 80 people already, I was more enthusiastic about this encounter than the others.
That, I said to myself, is someone I need to meet.
I walked over- did my usual, "Hi, I'm Marilisa", and extended my hand.
"Yeah? " he rebuffs. "Well you're the one who's been harassing me. Why are you always harassing me?"
"Oh. You've got me." I leaned in closer, still shaking hands, and whispered in his ear, "Do I owe you five bucks now?"
"Yeah, you do."
"Well, I don't have any cash on me. Can you take a Visa/Mastercard?"
We laugh.
He means no harm. He's just seeing if my lights are on if someone's home. I get it.
So I was right about him. What's my attraction? Romance? Dating? Maybe he'll leave his wife and kids for me? Not a chance.
He's a guy who's a playah. He's a guy who's got vision. He's a guy I'm going to learn something big from and we are going to have one heck of a fantastic talk about business. And so we did.
"When I first took over the company in 2001, we did 3 million. Now, we do 50 million. But I plan to double that, I want to do $100 million."
When someone talks those numbers, usually, not always, but usually, this is true-
"How'd you get into the business, your father?"
He stands back a second, a little shocked I've already got that figured out.
"Yes, my father."
In business there is a lot to learn. If one has the advantage of a parent walking through the process of a learning curve before you had to do it, your learning curve is easier. You make less mistakes. You do more of what's right. Higher leverage. Higher numbers. Simple math.
I'm not going to tell you who he is or exactly what he does- but I can tell you this. One of his projects is so big, so deeply embedded in America's pyche, it would be immediately recognizable.
Let me tell you what I learned- which is what I suspected. Three months ago or so, I started a "Green Company". However, much to my chagrin when I learned you couldn't bid government jobs, or really read a set of architectural plans, and you'd pretty much be relegated to "retro-fitting homes", I wasn't interested anymore.
There's no big money in that. And, Entrepreneur Chick much, much, mucho much would rather deal with business to business (B 2 B, boyz and gurrls) and not to the public as a whole.
And sure enough, that's what this guy does. He bids government work and other very large, very profitable projects.
Moral of the story.
To all of you with enough vision to think big- I know who you are. And I'll find you. And I'm going to learn from you. I can't help it. Holla!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

If I Lost 98% of the Time, Can I Still Win?

That sounds pretty stupid, doesn't it? "If I lost 98% of the time, can I still win?" What if football teams lost 98% of the time? Where would they rank? Or basketball or baseball?

Fortunately, owning a business is much more forgiving, and yes, you can actually win if you lose that much.

Let me explain.

A business needs, in order to be a strong, profitable business, an excellent marketing strategy to win and ultimately beat the competition by large margins.

In one particular business I own, I know three very important things about my customers.

1. I know WHO they are.
2. I know WHERE they are.
3. I know WHEN they are ready to buy.

And then, I swoop down on them and turn a mighty tidy profit!

Well, Entrepreneur Chick, what exactly are you doing?

Glad you asked.

Now some people might think direct mail to be an antiquated behemoth, but it is most certainly not.

I send a direct mailing to my clients at exactly the time they are ready to buy.
I do two things to push the process through.

1. I make an excellent offer.
2. I make my mail piece so unique and different, it stands out from all their other mail and it's so compelling, they just have to open it!

I would tell you what I do to make my mail piece so incredible, because that's proprietary information, I'm afraid.

But this I will tell you- if you are a business and you can answer those three questions with a certain degree of accuracy, then get ready for a big return!

Here's how it works.
Sure, 98% of the time my mail piece goes straight to the trash, BUT, and here is where it gets really fun-

For every $1,000 I spend- I get a whopping $40.000.00 back!

Yes, you heard right. That's forty thousand. Not four thousand.

So you see, a very good marketing strategy has to take losing into account, but yet, in the end, is still a winning strategy.

This advice is something you'll have to play around with until you get it just right; but when you do, it's very gratifying.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The F.B.I., Coffee and My Neighbor's Series of Misfortunate Events

The morning was not going well. One F.B.I. undercover car, than two, then the police, then the bullet proof vests and the battering ram to open, if need be, an unresponsive door.

I'll admit it. I'm so Mrs. Kravitz when something out of the ordinary is going on. So, there we were in our pajamas, peering out behind our mini-blinds, sipping our coffee and watching the FBI and our local police haul our neighbor, handcuffed and forlorn, to jail.

She went without a fuss. She went quietly, with rather a look of relief on her face as if she'd known this day was long going to come.

Last year, a visiting family member pointed out to me that it didn't seem to add up how she was so young but had "a hundred thousand dollar car." I guess. I don't know. I mean, maybe. I try not to be judgemental. It's more likely I'd notice your pet before I even notice you- let alone what kind of car you drive.

(Unless it's a black Mercedes because I'm in the market for one of those.)

I'll sometimes even know your pet before I know you. Oh, there's Baxter- also a Boxer with Kellie, his "mom". Rommel, a very bad tempered German Shepard and his "dad"Bruce. Lu Lu the basset hound... I could go on and on. I have no idea what kind of car any of these people drive, but I think maybe Bruce has some sort of Ford.

So, back to the things I know. She wasn't escorted away for parking tickets.
And I don't think she was selling Tupperware either. However, I did see the movie "Crash" recently so I'm not wont to come to an iron clad decision about her activities.

Once I lived with a good friend of mine for a few months until I got on my feet, before I started any of the businesses I have now. Her name was Pat. She had dogs, she had cats, and she had never been married. I know that the neighbors thought I was her lesbian lover- people would smile and say "hello" as if to intimate, well- you finally found someone, huh?
None of that was true- but I digress.

There are so many opportunities out there and so many legitimate ways to make money- it's sad when someone, presumably, opts for fraud instead. Perhaps it's because fraud is quicker and it's easier- but it's not really quicker and easier in the long run.

She's been on my mind all day. I feel sorry for her and her choices. I do. Her life is forever changed beginning today- and that will be that.

Many times it's felt as though I've been on the slow boat to China, but it takes time, diligence, vision and dedication to build a reputable business with reliable cash flow.

And besides, didn't yo Momma tell ya it just ain't right?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Big Fat Lesson I Learned From Simsoc or The Simulated Society

Have you Simsoced lately?

That's me, E.C.-----> blond hair/grey sweater; figuring out how I was going to get out of the horrible predicament I found myself in.

Simsoc, or "Simulated Society" was part of our Leadership Training from which we graduated last week.

Simsoc Simulated Society, according to the participation manual is:

"A dynamic group simulation game that forces participants to cope with the daily problems of governing society. Assuming a variety of roles, the players grapple with issues like abuse of power, justice, diversity, trust and leadership as they negotiate their way through labor-management strife, political turmoil, and natural disasters."

Entrepreneur Chick found herself unemployed as well as did everyone else in my particular geographic location- in this case, The Red Room.

It struck me as so weird that all my classmates, after looking, horror stricken, into their instruction envelope at the start of the game and finding themselves unemployed, nearly all but two of us, myself and Diane said, "We need to get a job right now! We need jobs! Where can we get a job? Who's going to hire us? Oh my gosh, if we don't get jobs we're going to die in 2 more rounds!"

I'm sitting there thinking, what? A job? No, no. I'm NOT getting a job. So I say, "No, we need to start an enterprise." Which is the game's equivalent to a business, "an enterprise". I was more than a little miffed to see the manual state that as an option, we can chose to start a "high risk enterprise". That's the only option, "high risk". More about that in a moment.

"How are you going to start an enterprise with no money?" my team mates shot back. Okay, I suppose it's a valid question. But in the "real world" I do it all the time! You just come up with an idea and find out if it's valid, nail down the peices you need to put the puzzle together-usually a lot of business meetings- figure out your price point, figure out exacly how you get paid, figure out your break even point, and start putting the deal together- raise the capital. Shazam! Cashflow!

When you know what you're doing and you've done your due diligence, rolled out a test market, an "enterprise" does not have to be "high risk". But even in the game, the simulated society, the rules were already predetermined and there was nothing I could do about that.

But do you not see how society as a whole is simply taught to "Play it safe", "Don't take a risk", "Oooooooh, my. That's too risky- better not?" I was irritated with the game for a long while for that reason and wondered a great deal when lunchtime was and what we were going to have.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What I'm NOT Here to Do

Promote my business. Or rather, my businesses.
I get enough of that during the rest of my world.
I'm here to talk, essentially, about the essence of being an entrepreneur.
So, as big into promotions as I am, I'm not going to tell you exactly what they are nor how to find them.
How about my weight?
My height?
5'6 1/2
My dress size?
My hair color?
Well, now I just got a great business idea! A DATING service!
And I've got a great name for it too. But that's gonna cost you five bucks.

The Real Reason I'm an Entrepreneur- 'Cause it's Fun!

My very first post was about two reasons why I'm an entrepreneur- and I mentioned (1) Freedom and (2) Control- which is certainly true.

When I was little, my sister would watch me during the day.
She decided to have a thing called, "Fun Fridays". I will never forget "Fun Fridays". All week, I looked forward to Fun Friday. When I was 4, that's mostly how I learned the days of the week- Monday? Not Fun Friday. Tuesday? Nope. And so forth.

I never had to be sold on fun. I love fun. I probably love fun way too much.
If it's not fun, I'm not highly motivated to do it, I'm sorry to say. I'm rather like an overgrown child in that respect.

So, to analyze my life right now- this is what it looks like.

I basically do three things.

(1) Go to cocktail parties, luncheons and galas. Fun!
(2) Have business meetings with all kinds of people. Fun!
(3) Think of ways to make my business (es) relevant in the market-place and invent new, creative strategies to that end. Fun!

People tell me a lot that I'm enthusiastic. It's probably because I'm having a great deal of fun- which translates into enthusiasm. It also translates into money because I'm sincere when I tell you about my product(s) or service.(s)
Or even your product and service because it's not just about me and my agenda (which gets pretty boring over the long haul) and that's not, say it with me- fun! I enjoy it when other people I know are successful- again, fun. That makes me very happy. Because I learn a lot from successful people- which is fun.

Because I'm having fun, I'm a natural promoter. This is very important in business. You've got to be able to promote your product and service- communicate your message. Stand out in the market.

I'm sure you've noticed it's a highly competitive world out there.
So many people are doing things that they simply don't enjoy. Showing up at jobs they loathe- but, when you're having fun- you now have a big, fat, honking edge over the competition you see.

You've heard "happiness is a choice"?
Fun is choice too. Chose to do what brings you pleasure. Go ahead...
What's the worst that can happen?
What if you chose to do what brings you pleasure and now you make a six figure income? What about that?
Go out and have some FUN!

Okay, I know I said I wouldn't blog today but it was, again, more fun to blog than not to blog. I am going to the cemetery in a little while though. Do you think plastic flowers look tacky on graves? Sometimes I wonder if my family minds all the junk I bring them, stuff I would never have at our home!

I think they say to themselves, "Oh Lord. Here she comes again! For God sakes woman, turn down that horrid hippity- hop song- we have neighbors! She ain't nothin' but a gold digger indeed! Well, if I wasn't already dead... What's that? Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no! A green and purple spinning froggie that jingles in the wind? I lived my life to the best of my ability and I get a spinning frog? Well, our only solace is that she'll also be dead one day and maybe some Who-Ha descendant of hers will leave some crap on her final resting place. Oh, good grief. Is this from the Dollar Store?"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Blog About Not Blogging

I have decided not to blog on Sundays.

But here I sit... I have a great idea I want to share with you too- but I will wait until tomorrow, which is a holiday; Memorial Day.

Maybe I shouldn't blog on a holiday either. It's the respectful thing to do.

Tell you what, I'll be back Tuesday.

Have a wonderful holiday and don't forget to visit your family, especially the ones who are no longer with you... I know I'd appreciate a few flowers on my grave, personally.

This was a cute post from Heather so I'll leave you with this, enjoy!

."Let me guess - you're at home right now, getting ready to head out to the beach/lake/swimming pool for some Memorial Day festivities, and you're freaking out about having to put on a bathing suit, aren't you?
I have red hair, freckles and pale skin, which means I live like a vampire - inside during daylight hours, blinds closed. The odds of finding me in a bikini are about the same as finding Lindsay Lohan sober.
But if there was the slightest chance I was going anywhere today that would require anything less than long denim jeans, I'd be out of my mind right about now. The only thing that might help? Seeing this picture of Victoria's Secret model Karolina Kurkova sporting some short shorts and the distinct ripple of cellulite on her thighs. She's not as bad as Sharon Stone or Britney Spears, but it's there.
So there you go. Go ahead and have that second hot dog this afternoon, and proudly wear that bikini all over Millerton Lake. Happy Memorial Day!"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Expand Your World Through a Chamber

This is me, E.C., (blond hair) listening intently to Texas Gov. Rick Perry respond to a question I had asked him about his future political plans and running for a higher office.
You know, my usual, what's-next-on-the-list? question.
At this point in our conversation, he was explaining the "gridlock" as he called it, in Washington.
Basically, I gleaned from our conversation that it's very hard to do much within the political system relative to this gridlock- I was just going to share my almost #1 philosophy with him, which is: "If you Don't Like It, Change It"- but you know, he is the governor, I thought, he's already changed a lot of things- perhaps I should just respectfully listen to what he's sharing with me. So I did.
The point is: had I called up Rick Perry and said, "Yeah, I want to have a meeting with The Gov. today."
"Oh. My name? Marilisa."
"No, Marilisa".
If you are an entrepreneur, if you are a business owner- RUN- do not walk, to your local Chamber of Commerce and sign, as Robin Black would say, "thyself up" immediately!
Have you heard the basic premise of a 12-step program?
"It works when you work it."
Well, the Chamber of Commerce is the very same way.
If you simply sign on the dotted line, turn in your dues, I wouldn't expect much back.
The thing is, when one gets involved and regularly attends business mixers, community events, learns about non-profit organizations and political processes and issues in their community, the knowledge gained is truly priceless.
Am I going to tell you that all your business profits will be hinged in the Chamber and you just won't believe the return on investment?
Not exactly.
The Chamber of Commerce represents exactly 1/4 of my total business income.
Arguably, that's 1/4 that I would not have had otherwise.
But a Chamber is much, much more than what you can GET.
It's what you can GIVE.
It's who you meet and who meets you.
It's relationships you never would have had and intelligent, sharp, lovely people you never would have met had you just kept operating, in what I've always called anytime I'm interviewed, " a vacuum".
You will hear me write a lot on the virtues of a Chamber and today, is just one of those posts.

Friday, May 22, 2009

You Don't Have to Have a Mood Disorder to be an Entrepreneur, but it Helps

It's called "hypomania" and literally means, "below mania" in that you're just a leetle bit under having a full blown case of mania- the type of mania which would then interfere with one's ability to function regarding everyday matters.

I'm highly functional- because I'm a hypomanic. (Yay for me.)

"Many have cited hypomania as a gateway to their success, and a large number of people with creative talents have experienced hypomania or other symptoms of bipolar disorder. Classic symptoms of hypomania include mild euphoria, a flood of ideas, endless energy, and a desire and drive for success. Unlike a lot of other mood disorders, people suffering from hypomania tend to be extremely goal oriented and many successful people have credited bipolar disorder in their successes."

Me- Entrepreneur Chick is:
1. Always very happy unless I'm irritated. Ha. And I can become very irritated.
I apparently look nice enough though, so you'd never suspect that in one of my *episodes* five security guards had to be called. Am not afraid of confrontation. But that was 6 years ago and I've been security guard free since then. TA DA.
2. Am full of ideas. It's hard to choose which idea to act on and which idea to scrap.
3. Am always asked, "Do you ever sleep?"
4. Have my goals posted on the bathroom wall. Write them down and tweak them daily in journal/calendar I keep.
5. Can not fathom my world without some relentless drive pushing me. I say a lot, "If I'm not hard on myself, who's going to be?" I am not, however, "doo dad" oriented or a collector of "stuff". If it's not practical I don't want it and if I'm not using it, I'll give it to someone who will. Love the book, "Clutter's Last Stand".

I suppose I should say, "Thank you Mood Disorder for working for me and not against me."

This is something that just struck me as probably more than a coincidence-
the writers I am attracted to (view my complete profile) are also people who have had mood disorders! Poe, Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald... you can click on "many successful people" link above.

Like attracts like. Two sickies don't make one well-ie.

Quote of the Week

"You can not dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself into one." Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862

I Have Rethought the Parrot

The lemon drop martini has worn off.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What do you think?

I'd like your opinion. Entrepreneur Chick has the opportunity to add to her menagerie by adding a free parrot! Think I should?
I've always said once opportunities are seized, they multiply!
How do you think the parrot will get along with WilburDonkey2?
Seriously. Mike and Lucia want to get rid of their parrot and tonight, when I talked to him his eyes dilated and we had a "moment".
I'm in love. I've got to have him and will include him along with WilburDonkey2 in my petting zoo.
Do I hear 20? In the back for 20? Do I hear 60? Going once, going twice....
Lucia said, and I quote,
"Marilisa, I've never met a hustler like you in all my life."
Now that, my friends, is a the best compliment an entrepreneur can EVER receive.
Lucia, thank you.

3 Easy Steps for Sure-fire Success- No Matter Who You Are or What you Do

When one becomes aware of, because awareness first, is the start, and consistently does these three easy things, it's nearly impossible for you not only to have the life you've dreamed of having, but to expand your world in ways you never imagined.
1. Excellent Level of Social Skills
Sometimes the hardest part of any social situation occurs when you are standing there and they are standing there and the elephant in the room is that awkward silence as to who is going to break the ice first.
What I have found that works for me like a charm upon which I always rely, I simply extend my hand and say, "Hi. I'm Marilisa."
Pretty easy.
After that I listen and ask questions.
Again, pretty easy.
But you'd be surprised at just how many people break out into a sweat, feel their pulse race, feel their stomach tense up, and, because they don't know what to say to the other person, run off to get another cup of coffee!
That used to happen to me -so I know.
Oddly enough I had a ton of experience dealing with crowds. Give me a crowd to entertain and I was perfectly fine. Give me two or three people to talk to and I felt like I had turned green, grew a couple of horns and was definitely having a bad hair day on top of that!
But then, at the grand opening of Belks department store, I had my aha! moment.
"Hi, I'm Linda-" she said, extending her hand.
Oh, geez. That's all you do?
Yep. That's all you do.
A word though, about the handshake.
If I get a limp-fish affair, a half hearted, oh- uh huh-I'm-just-acting-like-it's-nice-to-meet-you, I think: what's wrong? More specifically, what's wrong with you?
Now is your chance to set the tone! Don't waste it.
Look them directly in the eye, give a firm grip and state your name.
A firm grip denotes you're somebody to be taken seriously.
You're somebody to be trusted.
You're somebody that's going somewhere.
All the time people, especially men, will comment, "Wow. You've got a good grip. I like a confident woman."
2..High Level of Professionalism
a). Don't Be Late-Ever.
If you're late to an appointment or business meeting, you just let that person know what you think of them. Not much.
Don't be late. Period.
The number of good people I had to let go from employing was because, gosh darn it, I ain't running a baby sitting service! They were always late.
b.) Dress More Important Than They Are
In his excellent newsletter which I've signed up for, Frank Rumbaukas perfectly describes this point.
"After all, the leads won't help you if they won't buy from you.
However, many salespeople buy into the stupid myth that if you "dress like your prospects" or "dress down to make people comfortable" that they are doing the right thing.
In reality, all they're doing is destroying their personal power.
In sales, you need to have a prospect's trust before he or she will hand over hard-earned money. Trust comes from respect.
People respect those who look like the people they turn to for advice.
Who do prospects turn to for advice?
Attorney's, accountant, consultants, financial advisers and so on.
Do the most successful of these people dress casually?
People have unconscious triggers in their minds that can either help you or hurt you.
If you dress like a powerful authority figure, those unconscious triggers will instantly associate you with someone who can be respected and trusted...
If you dress casual, those triggers instantly associate you with people who have no power and influence, and who therefore cannot be trusted with a prospect's business."
Frank candidly goes on to say, "When I lived in Phoenix and worked in sales I actually got resistance and objections from my sales managers because I wore a suit every day, while everyone else was wearing golf-shirts and Tommy Bahama shirts.
Guess what- I out-sold those casual reps by huge margins and most of the time I didn't even have to tr to beat them.
I can even remember prospects saying, "This is the guy we want to go with," as soon as I walked into the room, before they even had a clue about who I was or what my pricing was like. It was all about using appearances to create instant trust and respect."
I want to stand up and cheer for Frank when he concludes, "That is the hidden power of personal appearance."
Booyah! Hallelujah! Pass the plate!
Last year, we had a very big account come our way. Kim Cloud, owner of the tres chic and very exclusive Cloud 9 Salon and Spa asked one of our companies if we could give her a bid on planning and staffing her very well known, very well attended, very much anticipated fashion show.
It's a big deal. All the mayors from the surrounding communities come. The State Representative came, Tan Parker, Senator Jane Nelson, members of the Dallas Cowboys, members of the United States Congress representatives and in short, the movers and shakers from miles around.
The best part about this fashion show is not just a self-indulgent promotional exercise, (although there's absolutely nothing wrong with promoting- everyone should know about you and your business) but Kim has formed her own charity in which she is giving back to the community and thinking of others. Particularly children and the abused or the victimized who could be abused-
I like that.
I admire Kim and have learned a lot about business and life from watching her.
We count her as a friend, client, and I don't think I've ever been frank about telling her, but mentor.
At first, Kim didn't know us, nor did the people on her Board of Directors-
My husband always shows up to a meeting in a crisp, professionally ironed shirt and tie or suit, prepared and polished and ready to work. I have to say when he walks into a room, people notice.
I'm so proud of him like that.
Now this fashion show is Kim's baby. It's her reputation.
Everything we did with Kim conveyed, listen- you can trust us. It's good business to do business with us.
Consider the reverse.
What effect do you think it would have had if we schlepped over there in our jeans, flip flops and t-shirts?
I think she would have been gracious and I think she would have called someone else. And I wouldn't have blamed her one bit.
DRESS, DRESS, DRESS. And did I mention, dress?!
Visit for tips on how to look fabulous without spending a fortune.
c.) Come Ready to Work
Have all your pertinent papers in order, your portfolio organized.
Don't make an excuse, "Oh gosh, I must have left that at home, or at the office or in my other car." Yikes.
And most of all, take notes in every meeting.
It's a compliment to the speaker, in this case, the one you're meeting with- and don't think that it won't go far with them that you thought them important enough to write down what they had to share with you.
3. Be a Confidence Exude-er
I did not start with "be self confident" because in order to "be self confident" you must have something to base it.
By faithfully putting into practise the above three steps and a few sub points, confidence is just bound to burst out of you like fireworks in July.
People like to get involved with people who know where they're going.
Be one of those people.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why Budget Girl is Good for the Bottom Line

If you are a business owner or if you reside in a body on planet earth and fog a mirror, Budget Girl is for you!

I can't tell you how many extremely timely and eye-opening, not to mention budget friendly posts this girl makes every day! She's an encyclopedia of, as she says, "Looking Great and Living Well Without Spending a Fortune"- and to quote Budget Girl, "I'm all about that."

I keep thinking she's going to run out of topics. Nope. Not by a long shot. She's truly passionate and out-of-this-world knowledgeable; I don't know how she walks around without all those facts and good deals literally oozing out of her ears!

My favorite post this week? She teaches you how to entertain anyone who comes over to your house on short notice. You see, you keep these pastry puffs in your freezer that you can easily stuff with fruit or veggies, open the bottle of wine she recommends, an TA freakin' DA, you have a lovely, delicious, and budget friendly appetizer that your friends totally enjoy; and in short, make you look like you've had your act together all along, even if you didn't.

This tip resonated with me quite a bit seeing as how I flunked home economics and got kicked off the cheerleading squad. I'm still bitter.

And that's just the one tip. How would you like to save a bundle, and I do mean bundle on eyeglasses? Or find coupons for nearly everything you do, or get a deep discount at top salons or how to be screened for skin cancer, for FREE? Or.... oh. You've already left my blog to go to hers. Good move!

Monday, May 18, 2009

This is Very Profound

Entrepreneur Chick knows her marketing- oh yes ,she does. Which is why I decided to put an image of a very sexy girl next to this one to make you want to read it. Pretty slick.
Nonetheless, I only do 3 things ever to be successful and I thought I'd share them with you today.
1. Keep Expenses Low
2. Buy Assets instead of Liabilities
3. Never Do Yourself What You Can Pay Someone Else Less Money to Do
That's it and there you have it, class dismissed! You may all now go home and enjoy all your new found freedom and control to your heart's content.
What's that? You need further clarification? Oh... okay.
1. Keep Expenses Low
I know, what a drag, but this one is the real humdinger, the real fly in the ointment, the big enchilada.
When a business (or a person for that matter) takes on debt they can not truly service, it's all over with. Granted, it might take a little time to adequately feel the effects of this; i.e. the American Economy, but when one is building a business, it's absolutely imperative that this point is both understood and executed.
2. Buy Assets Instead of Liabilities
This is so easy- and yet can be such a stumbling block if you aren't sure of the difference.
Asset= Puts money in my pocket.
Liability= Takes money out of my pocket.
I work hard at building assets- developing a replicated system whereby I plug in people far more talented than myself.
If I'm taking on a liability, I make sure someone else is paying for it.
See "Timeshare a Donkey" post.
At first, this Timeshare A Donkey concept started out as rather a joke, but I have four interested families who'd like to get on board with the timeshare idea. They'd enjoy for their children to come out and experience animals and nature and surroundings that are not part of city life. We will go forward with the purchase as soon as I find a "grey" donkey and not a black (this is where my husband likes to raise his fist up in triumph) or spotted, or miniature donkeys, which are more expensive.
Last week, after an incredibly wonderful business mixer at The Boardroom for Men, in Highland Village Tx and as a rather large group of us sat around the table at Wings Pizza & Things Eve had an insightfully funny yet stunning comment.
"You see," she said, "You can make all your money back at Christmastime when you rent him out to be in plays and nativity scenes!"
"Girl," I responded, "Gimme a lil' somethin' somethin'". And we high-fived from across the table. Eve gets it perfectly.
The poor and middle class want to own, rich people don't own, they just have access to it.
Plenty good. N'uff said.
3. Never Do Yourself What You Can Pay Someone Else Less to Do
The absolute truth is, sometimes, when your business is new, you have to wear more hats, and so sometimes, you end up doing what you'd rather not. I'm not going to lie to you.
But, having a long term strategy that allows you to slide out of that position or positions and place someone in your slot, that's perfect.
Last year, 2008, I actually only worked IN my business three times- I am so thankful and blessed to say I have a wonderfully talented, capable, responsible staff.
And I hate to admit it to you that one of those three times, I had a blazin' bitchin' bad attitude that I needed divine help to correct! (I'd use another more wholesome adjective but, there's not one.)
In one of my companies, if I had to, I could execute the work.
In two of my other companies, if I had to, I could not.
The two other companies are so highly specialized and take such a great deal of skill- there's no way!
Neil, in California, is the freakishly talented art director for both companies and me, well, I can draw three things reliably.
1.Stick figures.
2.A sun.
Oh, yeah- there's a big demand for that.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"I Do" Now Sign the DBA

A compelling article appeared on the front page of MSN today entitled, "Should You Work with Your Spouse?"

This is something I know a great deal about. Though I originally started our business through being on my own at first, the original business morphed into another business, which 18 months after its inception allowed my husband to leave his job in corporate America and at the end of this summer, I'm happy to say, it's been six years of togetherness.

Has it been sunshine and roses and a piece of cake every day?

Certainly not.

But, with diligence and commitment to our cause (okay, I couldn't ever work for someone else and now, neither could he, so you see we don't really have a choice) we have worked through our early difficulties and have struck a good albeit, delicate balance.

This is not always the case.

Eve Tahmincioglu, in her article asserts, "Working together had a negative impact on our marriage."

She goes on to say:
"The main reason: The business became the focus of their lives."

I am not sure at what point Entrepreneur Chick and spouse noticed, but slowly and subtly, the business, in fact, did rule.

We have often made the comment, "Our business and our marriage run parallel."

If the business is good, our marriage is good.
If the business is having problems~ our marriage, low and behold, is having problems.

Now let me tell you the main reason.

Is it the business that's causing problems? Really?


It's the money that's causing problems, really.

Cash flow and lack thereof equals one thing.

And fear can make people tense, nervous, cranky, and irrational.
The fear is- we will not have enough.

Our pastor commented a few Sundays ago as to why husbands and wives fight and said, "Now wouldn't it be something if the wife turned to her husband and said, Wow, we have all this money. What should we do with this big pile of money?"
"I don't care- whatever you want to do with this big pile of money is fine with me."

Money is one- employees are another. Clients, still another.

My personal style is to tend to throw it all on the wall, devil-may-care, and see what sticks.

My spouse is more thoughtful and tentative.
My spouse also is usually right.
He has a saying, "Brotha can't be right, brotha can't be right." He's black. I'm not.

This has caused many a fight~me plowing ahead, see if I care, and he waiting until he gathers more information to make an informed choice.

He calls me his "Anny Oakley". Just shootin' up a storm. Surely she'll hit something.

After all, even a blind squirrel lucks up on a nut now and then.

So I'd say there's 5 main reasons for Conflict:

1. Business can rule your life, which is irritating.
2. Cash flow is irritating sometimes
3. Employees are irritating sometimes.
4. Clients are irritating sometimes.
5. You both can have very different management styles, which is irritating sometimes.

Once, we were doing a two day event for Texas Instruments with about 1,500 people each day.

I had the cordless mic and was about a quarter of a football field away from my husband addressing the crowd.

"Hey! Some thing's wrong with my mic!" I turned and shouted at the top of my lungs, wildly waving my arms to get his attention.

"No. Nothing's wrong with your mic. I turned you off." said spouse.

Spouse must die.

Spouse must die now!

Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. It's funny now- but then.... not so much.

So, you're going to be irritated, that's not an "if" it's a "when".

This is what we do though, that helps create a very good balance and does not let our business rule or run our lives:

1. We don't talk about business ever on Sundays. This is refreshingly important and is an excellent mental break. If one of us inadvertantly starts business talk, the other gently reminds, "It's Sunday. Sorry."

2. We spend time with family.

3. We spend time doing something that's important to us- like non-profit work.
My husband is on the Board of Directors for our Chamber of Commerce and we both served on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Library, as an example.

4. We often ask ourselves, "What do you want to do for fun today?"

5. We drink. (I'm just making sure you're paying attention.)

All work and no play makes Johnny a Dull Boy and also can wreck a relationship- just have a strategy to combat this sticky mud hole tailored to your unique needs as a couple, and, ever the optimist, Entrepreneur Chick thinks you'll be just fine.
P.S. I tried to find a graphic of an interracial couple arguing but apparently they never argue because I couldn't find one. It's not P.C. you know. 'M bad.

Business Card Etiquette 101 or Oh. My. God. Are You Really that RUDE?

"We're Ruder Than Ever, Poll Finds... 'It's about the daily assault of selfish, inconsiderate behavior that gets under people's skin on the highways, in the office, on TV, in stores and the myriad other settings where they encounter fellow Americans.'" (April 3, 2002, Deborah Wadsworth, Pres. Public Agenda Research Group, reported on

In the study mentioned above, nearly eight in 10 respondents said lack of respect and courtesy is a serious national problem; 61% agreed that there was more rude behavior than in the past; people blamed parents for not instilling courtesy in their children, and popular culture for encouraging rude behavior (April 3, 2002, Public Agenda Research Group, reported on

No matter who does the study, the results seem to be the same. Here, 79% feel people are ruder to each other now than just 10 years ago; 42% say they encounter rude behavior every day (Apr. 2002 Good Housekeeping)

Entrepreneur Chick is very active in her local Chamber of Commerce.
I attend many mixers and functions in which business cards are exchanged.

It is so dismissive, and certainly adds to the national problem of rudeness and ill behavior when this scenario takes place-

When exchanging business cards, the person you've offered your card to simply shoves it in whatever available pocket, purse or card holder without so much as even a glance and keeps on talking- blah, blah, blah- about themselves.

What effect do you think that has on building relationships?
What effect do you think that has on rapport?

If a person is going to mistreat your card so badly in front of you, how do you think they will treat it when they come home and dump their collected stash on their nightstand?

Entrepreneurs and business people everywhere- should you like to grow your business and be perceived as someone who is not contributing to the overall rudeness in America, here is a much better way to respond.

A card is placed into your hands.
Stop talking.
Read the card.
Ask questions- "Oh, I see you own a professional assembly company. Interesting. How long have you been in that business?"
"Who's your best client?"

Now the other person sees you are taking a real interest. Now the other person sees you're not "playing at networking" but you have a true desire to understand them and their business needs!

By understanding what the other person does lets them know that you will be posed and ready when you see a good business match for them in the future. When one of your associates complains, "Arrrrrr! I hate trying to put this stupid (fill in the blank) thing together!"
Now you can be such a hero and say, "Well, I'm sorry to hear that but I have just the guy you need to solve your problem!"

Just so you'll know, when I give you my card and you don't even glance at it, now you created a deficit with me and you're going to have to do a lot to win back my respect. I'm not the only one.

Business is about relationships.
Go big or go home?
Be courteous or go home.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Fate loves the fearless."
James Russell Lowell

What do the fearless do?

They take some sort of action usually.

When in doubt, don't? How are you going to get anywhere like that?

When in doubt, try something.

If that doesn't work, try something else.

If that doesn't work... you get the idea.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Timeshare a Donkey?

When you have a liability; make sure someone else is paying for it.

I asked my girlfriend who also owns a business-
"Hey, do you know where I can get a donkey?"
"As a matter of fact, I do."

When I was a little girl, I had a beloved donkey named Wilbur and a horse named Suzy.

Now Suzy's favorite hobby was digging holes in the yard and she taught Wilbur how to enjoy her pastime too.

Eventually my father, George, got fed up with falling into holes everywhere he went and so, alas- both were sold.

To this day, I still miss Wilbur.


I already have quite a good plan in place to offset WilburDonkey2's care.

Enter unassuming friend.
"You have children, right?"
"I do."
"And I bet they love animals.... how would your children like to pet my donkey for a small fee- you know, a timeshare?"

Or, I could make WilburDonkey2 a mascot for one of my companies and write off his whole care! Thanks, IRS.

Perhaps you would say that a donkey is not important, but it is!
It's very easy to get so caught up in business that you forget to enjoy simple, sweet things that once brought you pleasure.

Make Your Own Rules

This has been on my mind today~
Entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs because of two basic reasons.
1. Freedom
2. Control

So many people waste a lot of time trying to fit into someone else's program; someone else's rules. Why not create your own program and your own rules?

I am an entrepreneur- bottom line- because I can't stand being told what to do nor how to do it.

It's not that we are not teachable, because being good at being an entrepreneur means you're going to learn and have to love learning- we just will decide exactly "what" and "how", thank you very much.

I thought of a new idea for a another business today (I have four) but I did tell a very good friend of mine to kick me in the shins if I ever say, "Gee, I have this great business idea!"

Well, she doesn't know about this blog and you're not going to tell on me, are you?