Monday, August 31, 2009

If I Knew U Were Coming, I Would Have Baked a Bigger Bra

I said to myself: This is not a business meeting! Drop the camisole and cover-up sweater! So, I did. Went out to hear some jazz for my husband's birthday on a Friday night.
"H" was playing. Walked in the joint and what? Oh great. Fifteen people that we also know from the Chamber of Commerce and then some- all at the same long table.
"Hi, I'm Marilisa."
But you know what? What's SO great about calling my own shots? What are you gonna do? TELL MY BOSS? FIRE ME? NOT DO BUSINESS WITH ME?
Over 95% of all my transactions are from other businesses- which they do not own.
Who's the slut now, beeee-otch?

The Three "C"s I Look 4 When Building Any Business

This is so important, that if a venture has one but not all three, two but not one- I'll drop it like it's hot- almost. Even Snoop Dogg would say that's still sexy and cool.

The three "C"s are:

(1) Consistency

(2) Creative

(3) Can Someone Else Do it? (Or can you leverage it?)

All my businesses have all the three "C"s going for them, to one degree or another. Let's address consistency first. Tomorrow we will break down "Creative" and Wednesday we will address 'Can Someone Else Do It?"


There's nothing I hate more in a business than feast or famine. I loathe it. However, in the building stage of a lot of ventures, there's normal peak times followed by slower times.

Some businesses that characterize this ebb and flow are companies that are seasonal.

Party City, though they sell party products all the time, has most of its gross profit occurring during the Halloween season. Have you ever been in Party City during Halloween? Nightmare. Hahahaha.

One of my business' strongest seasons run from May until December. It is quite the whirlwind. But, predictably, when January arrives we have gone from zero to sixty and back to zero again.

While I enjoy the break from the non-stop action, there's a large part of me, the greater part of me, that gets nervous and riddled with anxiety- which I don't enjoy.

Entrepreneur Chick is here to be honest with you. In everything I write I use this plumb line- Is it true?

Truthfully, I do not like a seasonal business. Therefore, I added another business to make up for the deferential.

So, let business number one drop off in January. No problem- business number two, like a booster rocket to the moon, will simply kick in (and has kicked in the whole time) to make life more predictable.

Ambiguity does characterize an entrepreneur- many people find they can't hack a life in which they are not sure what's going to happen.

My answer is not to scrap business altogether, but simply build a more reliable one.

Ah, the sweet smell of consistency in the morning. I love it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"And Everything U Do Always Works Out and Turns To Gold", Said Jamie

And then I said, "Oh my gosh! I know. I never make mistakes and I'm usually always right, and I'm so perfect- did I tell you I poop gold?"
Jamie, who I absolutely adore, is a fellow business owner, entrepreneur, and operates the best romantic martini bar in Dallas.
I share this with you because many people get the idea that it's all so easy for me. Uh, no.
The only difference between someone that fails and me is, that I stoopitdly try again until something works out. That's it. Not very glamorous but that's all I've got.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sell! How I Do it, Baby

All the activities of the entrepreneur have lead up to this one finite point. Creating, promoting... and finally, selling!

The sell. Oh how sweet it is. I love to sell.

There's an immense satisfaction that takes place deep inside me when I sell. When that client signs the contract and hands over the check, it's completely exhilarating!

Let me tell you how I sell.

Meeting the Prospect

The first thing I do when I walk into a meeting with a prospective client, is to positively take charge.

I'm on time. (Don't ever be late to appointments.)

I'm dressed. Dressed for business. I didn't come from a picnic, I didn't come from a softball game, I didn't come from the lake. My hair's done, my makeup's done, my nails are polished, and I always wear heels. Always. Also, I like to add a little bling, but not too much. Enough to say, yeah- I'm doing pretty good.

I smile and I ask, "So, how's your day going?"

Then I listen. Then I empathise if their day is not going too well, if they say they're very busy... I'm learning clues that will help me later on.
I might say, further into my presentation, "Now I understand you're very busy, and what's so great about my service is we do all that extra work for you, all you have to do is sign up!"

The whole time, from the beginning, to asking questions, and gathering information, to my pitch- I'm accessing where my client is in the buying process. Where is their head?

Do they need more information? What kind of trouble are they having? What's your slowest times? What's your peak times?

I'm always asking questions as I'm selling.

Occasionally, my prospect will tell me a disaster story about one of my competitors and I'll say, "I'm terribly sorry that happened to you. I hear that a lot. What did you do to handle the situation? Yeah? Good for you!" Don't skip over this kind of information. You can use it to your advantage. (But I do not ever down my competitor. That only makes you look weak and small. I am neither.)

When you ask a question, write down their answer! You are then communicating to that client, wow- what I have to say is so important to them, they're writing it down! Although they will not ever tell you this. Don't worry. That's what they're thinking.

I can pretty much guarantee you that your competitor does not do this. I also can pretty much guarantee you that your competitor was not dressed properly either.

Why are you dressed? Why are you writing things down? Why are you asking questions? Because you're a pro, that's why.

Throughout the entire buying process, you are communicating with your client- I'm a professional. You can trust me. I will do what I tell you I will do. My company will deliver.

Listen to the Prospect Needs First and Shut the **@* Up!

One of the most seriously off-putting problems of salespeople is that they are only about them. "Blah, blah, bah- me, me, me, my company, my product, my company this, my company that..."

If you think are guilty of this, THEN STOP IT and STOP IT NOW. You are self centered. And what does being self centered cost you? Sales. That's what it costs you.

We've all had the unpleasant experience of some Doofus ranting on and on and on- makes me think of this t-shirt. Picture a 1950's guy, cartoon sketch, hair slicked back, charming smile, and holding up a cup and saucer, hands rather extended, and he asks, "How would you like a nice cup of... SHUT THE FUCK UP?"

If you think you really need to, wear that t-shirt under your business suit.

Marketing Materials and Information

Because I've put so much into my presentation materials- I don't just slide them across the table and mumble something like, "When you get a chance, take a look at this." Oh, no.

I say, "Certainly not to insult your intelligence, but this is a very good overview of what my company will do- let's go over the material together so we are on the same page."

The prospect and I then read an explanatory letter, that I read out loud, with much enthusiasm. It's only a page and a half. The letter is short and to the point, and packed with benefits that my prospect will enjoy.

I am intentionally tipping the scales in favor of what I'm selling the whole time.

First, I've sold you on the fact I'm a pro. Now I'm selling you on the fact that I have a bang up company that's perfect for your needs.

After the letter, after my examples, my client is ready to buy.

I got a big kick out of meeting with Doug two weeks ago. Doug only kept our meeting, I think, out of a sense of politeness and frankly told me which of my services he did not want.

After I was done with my presentation, I asked, with my pen poised to write and contract ready to go- "When would you like to start?"
"This week. And I also want that thing I said I didn't want."


I pretty much floated out of that meeting. Not because of how much money I just made, but because I can convince you to believe in me. I'm not conning you. I'm not a con artist. Prospects see a proven tract record- after all, look what I've done in the past, look what I've done from my existing clients, I can do it for you too!

Quit Selling When it's Already Sold

A good deal of the time, prospects will come to me from a referral through a satisfied customer. I don't have to sell them. They are usually already sold.

Well, if my friend so-and-so says you do a good job; I bet you do a good job.

I don't go through any selling cartwheels. I simply say, "Great. What do you need?" And write the sale.

When you see buying readiness- let your prospect buy.

Writing the Check, Signing the Contract

Your prospect needs a moment of silence to focus. They're reading terms and conditions, they're looking at dates and times (in my case) and then they're writing a check.

Now is not the time to speak with them about their vacation plans. In fact, do not speak to them at all.

It might feel awkward for you to have a block of silence, but understand your prospect is engaged. Quite please.

After the Check is Signed

Always, always, and did I mention always, say these words just like this:

"Congratulations, you made an excellent decision."

Why are you going to say that? Because people need immediate validation after buying. You've heard of buyer's remorse? We are heading that off at the pass.

Prospect: "They said I just made an excellent decision. I must have made an excellent decision."

In one of my company's case, after the client signs a contract, that contract can represent literally thousands of dollars. If you fork over thousands of dollars, wouldn't you want to feel good about it? Help them feel good about it.

You've heard people say, "Oh, I don't like to sell. I can't sell. It makes me nervous to sell."

Listen, figure it out and stop saying you don't like it. Read all the books you can find about selling and get on it! If you are an entrepreneur, and not a pretend entrepreneur, you're going to be unapologetically invested in being one first class salesman.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Promote! How I do it, Baby

When several multimillionaires say to you, "Marilisa, you are a natural self promoter." You take note. I must be doing something right.

The earliest memory relative to the promoting groove happened while I was still in junior high.

Other kids had a group, this group would stand at a certain place in the mornings as everyone arrived for school. They'd wait for me. Was I selling drugs? Nope. They just wanted to see what I was wearing that day.

I dressed flamboyantly. I had access to three different wardrobes. My mother's, who was seriously stylish and remained the same size since high school, my sister-in-law's, my brother was way older than I was and, therefore married, and my own. I never wore the same thing twice to school.

My next attempt at self promotion didn't go well. I moved from the liberal school to the conservative school. Why the administration was all up in my boobs, I can't say- but I got in trouble for not wearing a bra to school.

So, I had an idea- on the very last day of school, I decided to wear a bra, like I had been doing, but decided to put a little spin on the whole affair.

Recruiting all my friends, I instructed, "Okay. Here's what we're going to do. We will wear our bras outside of our clothes! What can they say? We have our bras on. It's the last day of school. Who's with me?"

Word spread about my "bra protest" so much so, that when all my girlfriend's went into the bathroom to make the switcheroo, the teachers busted us! Still, I liked the attention. I started noticing that I was good at making you notice.

Yesterday, while I was meeting with a client, the following occurred.

Over 90% of my companies do business with other companies. So my client in this case, was a business too.

Tracy had my competitor's card. She also had my superior marketing materials. She literally walked over to the trash can and threw his card away in front of me!

Am I bragging on my marketing materials? You better believe it. Those materials came from the input of a lot of talented people. I steered the process along, but it was the advice I received and took to heart, that makes my materials pop.

Cliff and George just happened to be in my client's business at the time. Who are Cliff and George? The best promoters in the world, are who Cliff and George are.

Cliff and George play with the big boys. The heavy hitters. Businessmen out of Russia and China and huge national firms call on them for their expertise.
When any of these companies need to change their product image, guess how much it's going to cost right off the bat? Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. That's just to get started!

I haven't seen them for a long time and was delighted- because the talk always turns to business and I'm always learning something new from them.

P.O.D., what's that? George, Cliff and I had a big discussion on P.O.D., Point of Difference. If nothing your company is bringing to the table does not stand out in any way, differentiate itself, George and Cliff tell you- sorry. Can't accept your job. Not even worth the trouble.

The greater issue is:

Unless your business has something of value that is unique in the market place, you're going to have a terrible time promoting it!

Back in initial creation stage, if you scrimped on your branding, being just mediocre, or you scrimped on your offering, being average at best, you can promote until the cows come home to no avail!

An efficacy exists between the original creation of your business and the ongoing promotion.

Synergy between both is a must.

But specifically, how to I promote?

In three distinct ways.

I promote generally. I promote specifically. I promote creatively. I promote by pushing myself forward and saying, "Look at this!" I do not apologize for it either.

General Promotion:

I make sure everyone knows about me and my companies. They might not need something from me now, but they will, or they'll know someone who will.


Specific Promotion:

When I want to target a niche group, I do this. Who's my buyer? Where are they? When are they ready to buy? These are my key questions.

No Cost Promotion:

Heck yeah, I'll call up the t.v. stations and the newspapers. The last time I was in the paper, the owner of the paper was saying to me-

"I own the paper. I can do anything I want."

"Well, Max. As you said, you own the paper and can do anything you want- did I mention I'm going to need the front page?"

What could he say? I got front page.

Bashful and promoting do not go hand in hand.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Create! How I do it, Baby

Create. What can I say about creating? I love it.

Some of the businesses I have created have come because an idea popped into my head. Others, because of a natural progression.

The interesting dynamic about creating a business is; that past the first initial idea or spark, there's always something more you can do- developing and creating better operating systems.

Let's start first, with the spark.

I remember, as if it were five minutes ago, the exact moment I had an idea for two of my businesses.

One of my oldest businesses simply grew out of an existing one. I literally woke up one morning, still lolly gagging leisurely around in my bed- looked at the bedroom wall to my right, and, as if it had lettering which said:

"Start a new business. You already have all the materials you need."

Fast forward eighteen months later from that epiphany, the new business was doing so well, it quickly replaced the income my husband was making in corporate America. He quit, called me on my cell when I was in a business meeting with one of our clients, and announced, "I'm home!" That was six years ago. He hasn't looked back since.

Creation is powerful.

The second business- was just a thought that popped into my head as I was putting on my makeup. I remember thinking, ooooooh, that would be so cool! Boys and girls, I knew exactly nothing about that.

Stephen Covey, famous for his series of books- "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", relates to his readers that one should always, "Begin with the end in mind."

After my first initial idea, I see quickly, my end result.

All my actions from my initial idea, which serves as my skeleton, merely flesh out, my intent.

Just as the human body has operating systems; circulatory system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, digestive system- and so forth- so also, does my business.

I have nothing against franchises, as I've stated. But I wouldn't buy one. Why not? Because they will tell me what to do. I will tell me what to do. I can function in no other climate.

However, that's not to say I don't emulate franchises, because I certainly do! That's the key to my success. I emulate franchises. I take the best that I know about franchises and franchise systems, and replicate those in my own show.

Let me tell you about my friend, Mike. Mike is one smart ass cookie. By the time he was 24, the guy owned twenty three restaurants in and around New Orleans! He was a multimillionaire and the kid wasn't even 25. Mike said:

"Well, I thought about buying a franchise. But you know, I couldn't do that. I'm the guy who creates the franchise and then other people buy the franchise from me! So, what'd I do? I started studying franchises. I wanted to create a fast food franchise. Here's what I noticed. I started to notice that all franchises have to have the menu board visible from the street. People should be able to drive by and see a menu board. This communicates the idea to them, this is fast food. See? Look at the menu. Also, those things are lit up! Have you ever noticed how bright a fast food joint is at night? They have them all lit up so you'll get the idea, if you didn't have it already, that hey, I think I'm hungry- look at that place all lit up! Then I noticed the windows. They all have windows from floor to ceiling. You have to have large windows. Why? Because people need to drive by and see something's going on all the time. There's some kind of activity. I'd tell my employees when you run out of things to do and no customers are in here, you go out there and sweep the sidewalk! Have something going on."

Mike, in conversation with me, blurted out: "You think like me." Yes. I do. Because I get the whole wave length he's on because I'm on it also.

So I have my spark. I have my initial business concept. Viability is something I'm going to find out along the way. How viable is my concept? Translated, is this deal going to generate some cash, or not? I'll find out as I go.

I'm not one to run to the bank or run to investors every time I've got an idea. If it's a great idea, I'll usually take equity out of an existing business, and start pumping some cash- breathing some life- into my poor little creature of a business.

Branding and Identity

To parlay all my plans into positive cash flow business, I'm going to need a business identity. This is where I have the most fun!

Using the year 1999 as a benchmark, I'd say anything before that year, it was vastly more costly for the entrepreneur to develop branding. What's branding? Your look as a company. Who are you, exactly, in the marketplace?

The key reason I use 1999 as a turning point, as it was about that year when technology became more readily available, and now, it's just ridiculous how low a start up costs can be, comparatively speaking!

Back in those days, a web site was astronomical! You couldn't run your business with a cell phone! Fax machines were still pricey. There wasn't any social networks to speak of. Logo development was another fortune. With the cost plummeting so low, it's easy to develop your brand these days.

I like to design most of the branding myself; but in the case of my newer business this year- while I had established the "look and feel", my printer, who's quite skilled, added to my idea; and because this particular icon is not privately held anymore, yet entrenched in America's psyche, man- did I come out of there smelling like a rose! My logo for that particular business is bangin' hot- I even went one better and make all my materials tactile, in that bling bling is attached to each one. My marketing piece literally makes you look!

Some people go to amusement parks for a blast, I create businesses!

Create, promote and sell. More tomorrow about "promote".

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fantasy Football? Fantasy Business! Make Your Picks!

Each September, two weeks into the football season, I make my picks. I choose the five teams who, after diligently watching them play, I believe will make the playoffs. The first year I did this, all five of my teams went to the playoffs.

It might interest you to know, I'm usually more accurate than the "experts". Every weekend we print off the lineup where I select who will win. It seems obvious to me, because let's say you have a team like the Detroit Lions, and let's say they're set to play the Atlanta Falcons. You know the Lion's track record, (el stinko) you know the Falcons, (ain't too shabby) the Falcons are going to win. When it's a little closer match up, you have to take into account a few other factors. Are there any injuries of key players? Are they on the road? Things like that.

I could be a bookie- I'm really that good.

In business, assembling winners is same way. Here's what I do.

I build a winning team of advisers and people who are much more skilled than I am. Here's my team:

(1) My Accountant: Jeffery. Who's always giving example after example of how some poor slob out there almost was flushed down the drain irretrievably by the I.R.S. But Daaaa, Taaaa, Daaaaa! Super Jeffery AccountMan saved the day!

(2) My Attorney: Chuck. You don't ever want Chuck to be listed as opposing council. At three hundred dollars an hour and worth every penny (but sometimes I say, "Dude, talk fast.") he knows the score. He has a son, Chad. Chad's real smart too, but he kinda looks like Opie- so I always ask, "Could you go get your Dad?"

(3) My book keeper: Diana. Her tag line is: "I Do Book Keeping on Purpose". She's a no-nonsense, you better not play around and I'll be having none of that foolishness here- woman. She does all my invoicing, which I suck at and have no time for. We tease her privately, that she says to my clients and to us:
"Write a check- bitches."

(4) My bankers: Kenda and Tom. To look at Kenda, you'd think she's far too pretty to know much about banking, (Oooh, all those zeros!) but you'd be dead wrong. She might be a babe, but she's my banking babe. Last year, when Tom loaned me some money, he said, "On one condition."
"What's that?"
"That you teach me Michael Jackson's Thriller."

(5) My Staffing Company- Nate and Gayla. They send me qualified employees so I don't have to waste time running these type of people down. Speaking of a new hire they made for me last week: Nate said, "I had to take two aspirins after she left. I mean, she was so over the top, she wore me out! She''ll be perfect for you."

(6) Financial Advisor & Tax Guru: Ted. Ted's been with me the longest. Eight years ago, when I began business number one, he told me to: "Treat it like a 'hobby' for now." My husband took a lot of pride in pointing out to him: "That hobby of hers made more in one year than a lot of people's jobs!"

Now that my winning team is in place, get ready for kick off!

Create, Promote and Sell!

That's what I'm up to when my team is playing. More tomorrow about how I create, promote and sell!

Play ball!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm Begging You NOT TO READ THIS!

Is it always illegal to kill a woman and is it always illegal to communicate your message in the same boring manner? El Chico thinks so.
What if the manager, Emily, came by and handed you a sealed envelope which read:
You evil envelope. All I could do was stare at you like it was freaking Christmas and munch my tacos with utter distraction.
I'll tell you what, El Chico, you might say, has seen its better days- but some marketing guru that they've obviously hired begs to differ.
Pretty doggone slick, El Chico. Dammit, I'll be back.

Where Would Entrepreneurs be Without Starbucks?

What a week.
"Here, add this will you? Maybe that will help." {{{Double shot expresso to be rung up with my existing Grande Frappacino.}}}
"Yeah. Up in the clubs all the time will do that to you", said Lucas of Starbucks.
"Naw. No clubs. Business just grew by over 300% and I've been training staff."
Where would Entrepreneur Chick be without her peeps? Without her coffee? I shudder at the thought.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Non-conformists Make the Best Entrepreneurs

"You can't go right up to them and talk to them, the CEO. It doesn't work that way."

'I can do anything I want."

"Well, I've been in corporate America and I'm just telling you. There's a chain of command."

Do you want to get anything constructive done? Break the chain of command. You can't go around listening to "proper" and "polite" if you want your ideas to get anywhere. You have to take a risk and you have to be a non-conformist. You can't make yourself be a non-conformist. You either are, or you aren't.

Either you are pregnant or you aren't. No one's ever said, "I'm a little bit pregnant."

I believe anyone can build an asset column. I do not believe anyone can be an entrepreneur. There's a certain saucy brazenness in most of us- the bullheaded desire to execute our ideas.

Not that I would ever advise anyone to do this- as it is very dangerous, but I didn't care. When I was in junior high, I would become very board with school. I'd just get up and walk out. Stick my thumb up in the street and go downtown, go to the college, or go home- whatever I was in the mood for.

A man picked me up and asked me, "Aren't you afraid some one's going to hurt you?"
"Nope. Because I have a butcher knife in my purse", I said as I slid my hand down into my bag. He didn't say another word.

I'm not saying that was wise of me at all- looking back- it was pretty foolish. But it does give you insight into a bit of my character, which is still with me.

People are always going to tell you, who are not entrepreneurs, why you shouldn't and couldn't and can't do a thing. If you listen, and if you believe them, you will lose.

If some one's telling you you can't, try this on and tell me if you like what happens.

Ask yourself. Do I want to become more like this person who's the naysayer, or would this person like to become more like me? What about Nelly NoWay's life do you admire? Do you admire how she has to get up and be at work at the crack of dawn? Do you admire when they tell her when she can eat lunch? Do you admire how much she is told she can make? Do you admire when they tell her when she can go home? Do you admire when they tell her when she can have a vacation? If you don't admire those things, maybe you shouldn't listen to her advice.

Cliff, who's a successful entrepreneur and services accounts like Lucas Films, Coca Cola, ESPN, Corona, Bud Lite, Star Wars, D Magazine, Time Magazine and so forth, said a very scandalous thing to me over his Jack and Coke:

"You are their bitch!"

Entrepreneurs don't willingly sign up for any type of slavery. Being told what to do, is, in our minds, slavery.

Hell, no- we won't go!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hitch Your Wagon (Business) to a Star (Market Trend)

It used to be the nightly ritual for millions of Americans. After the news, the familiar and comforting voice and persona of Ed Mc Mahon announcing, "Heeeeere's Johnny!"

Ed Mc Mahon did not own a business, but what he did own was entrepreneurial mindset. How so? Mc Mahon said,

"There's the old phrase, hook your wagon to a star. I hitched my wagon to a great star. .... " and that star, of course, was Johnny Carson.

In business, it should be the very same way. Hitch your wagon (business) to a star (market trend).

What's a star? A star is a pronounced market trend. Let me give you a few examples of what kind of market trends Entrepreneur Chick is following and hitchin' herself up to.

Do you know how big the vampire craze is now? Have you heard of the movie, "Twilight"? This movie is slated to have many more sequels to come after it- much the same way Star Wars had.

One of my businesses, though originally did not ever start out to even think about cohabitation with this trend, has and is harnessesing this vampire thing and will be ridiculously successful as there is a great interest in that in the general population. How about that? Who would have thought? Certainly not me.

Entrepreneurs should always stay abreast of major trends in the market. The market of consumers. Who's buying? What are they buying? You know how you go to shop online and after you've viewed an item, the other choices come up and the website prompts you:

"You might also like...."? OR, "Customers who bought this item also bought..."?

Same deal.

Another one of my businesses is just growing through the roof because it's hooked right up to a market trend. Being a spin-off company of one of my original companies, it's set to out gross, by very large margins, it's older parent.

This market trend has to do with consumers who are not eating out as much as they used to. This market trend is adding an incentive to get the consumer first, in the venue's door and then from there, adding even greater incentives for that customer to come back! Thus building customer loyalty to the brand. This market trend super hot right now on the East Coast and is floating down, slowly but surely, into the more Southern States.

Not only is this expansion in my own back yard going to be mammoth, I can sell licensing rights, rather than franchise it, all over the nation and even the world.

Two powerful market trends. Two entirely different trends- yet I can capitalize on each. Being an entrepreneurial camelion of sorts, morphing my way into greater profitability.

What market trends interest you?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bake Your Price Point @ 350 degrees, Check For Doneness- Insert Fork

Not that I'd know anything much about cooking, but I do know about business. Tony loves to tell the story about my Easter ham.

"You know how you put cloves in a ham? She figures, if some is good, more must be better! So she inserts about thirty five of 'em and cooks this pre-cooked ham for four hours! Have you seen a forest after a fire? You know how the trees are all charred? That's how those cloves looked. That was her ham. Yeah. I remember that Easter."

During a business meeting last year with Keith, he made a statement regarding my new start up: "Be very clear about where your price point is."

There's a few ways to do this-

(1) Skimming

You set your price so high that even if you missed twelve sales, the one makes up for it.

I think this is a really bad idea even if you do manage to come out with some buyers. Your integrity in the marketplace is grossly compromised. Have you heard the saying, "Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered?"

Last night, a weird and threatening thing happened.

I needed to make an important call, and after searching in vain for a quiet spot to do so, I was forced to go outside because the music was too loud.

It did occur to me, before taking that route, that I'm outside at night by myself. But I reasoned, well, it's probably okay because I'm right by the door here and it's well lit. I made my call.

"Hey you! You're fabulous. You're totally fabulous!"
Uh, okay... Mr. Drunk Guy. I'm still on the phone and watch him escort his wife? Girlfriend? to the car. She drives off and leaves.

He comes back and brazenly sits down beside me on the stone bench-leaves only about four inches between us.

"Hold on a minute, Linda."
"You're hot."
"Yeah? Lemme show you something." I hold up my wedding ring.
"Aww, you're married."

I begin to access how much danger I could be in. I begin to decide what violent course of action I'm going to take when he becomes embolden enough to touch me. Okay, he's a little short. Good. He's drunk. Good. He's wearing glasses. Good. But I decide to further hedge my bets and psychologically slow him up.

"Do something for me. Go back in the bar and look for a really big black guy in there. That would be my husband. He's insanely jealous." (He's never jealous because he knows there's no reason to be, but Mr. Drunk Guy doesn't know that.)

The point is, after I got the situation under control without using a head butt- this man's price point was completely inflated! Dude, no one's going to be interested at that price- even if I was available.

(2) Competitively Priced

Understand what the market is commanding and adjust accordingly. This is what I like to do and feel the most comfortable doing. Where I am going to stand out, is not so much my price, but my stellar service. This is why I win clients back year after year and my client base is strong and solid.

Also, there's been many times when my customers thought that they'd have to buy more- but we point out- no. If you need more, you can buy more, but let's wait and see if you need it first.

I've never had one customer that didn't appreciate that. I've built a lot of loyalty that way because what I want them to see is not my greed, but my integrity. (Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.)

Always make it right and always make it easy for your customers to buy.

(3) Priced Too Low

A promotional, introductory discount can be a good thing- but when your company is priced too low or giving away items just so the customer will buy- the effect that can have is very negative.

What's wrong with it? What's wrong with them? Why do they have to stoop down to that level to drum up business?

In the final analysis; ultimately you're going to set your price relative to one thing: what does the market command? Because it's the market that ultimately is the determiner of your success.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Secret Confession

I'm going to let you in on a little confession; one that I've known about for a long time, but didn't mention it until now.
But before I tell you, do you remember what I've written in an earlier post about how when you're passionate about something, for an entrepreneur, it usually always translates to money?
I have not been blogging to simply be blogging, kids. Not that there's anything wrong at all in blogging.
I have had my eye on a greater goal this whole time. Therefore, Entrepreneur Chick announces to you:
"Entrepreneur Chick- How to Roll with Da Big Roosters"
And that's the title of the book.
I have been accepted and need to work on my "manuscript". Which I will, but before I do- I want to thank all of you who have read my blog, commented on my blog and encouraged and enjoyed what I have had to say here. Nothing will change. I am still your "Entrepreneur Chick" as always.
Hugs and kisses and much scratch from the *Chick* to you all!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fishin' and Runnin' a Business Are the Same Thing

I have learned in the past three weeks, much to Entrepreneur Chick's surprise, that I love to fish!

"Lookie Joe, I gotta tackle box", I proudly announced and held up my prize.

"Huh. Bet ya don't got anything in it," Joe retorted as he pulled, without asking, my little brown plastic box towards him on the counter.

"Hmm. Lemme see..." Joe pokes around- "Worms. Hooks. Weights. Needle nosed pliers. Fishin' glasses. What's this?"

"Well, it's my nail file. What if I break a nail?" Joe rolls his eyes but he's proud of me, I can tell.

Joe runs the place. He's a little bit fishing pro, and a little bit magic. I actually saw him, just yesterday, pull out a huge bass, pregnant at that, using a hook no bigger than any ordinary green pea! Also, when I broke my line and had to reset it, and didn't know what I was doing for sure, Joe mysteriously appeared out of no where and questioned, "Jus whattaya think yer' doin'?" And he graciously helped me because I was screwing it up, biggern' Dallas.

If you closely inspect the brown, faded, dingy pictures on the wall, you'll see many of Joe, looking eerily the same as he did in 1972, his ever present cigarette dangling delicately out one side of his mouth or glued to his hand like one of his organic digits and matter-of-factly holding up a catfish as big as a fourth grade child.

Joe is a discovery in himself, as business is a discovery in itself.

It might look like you're doing nothing. But the whole time you are sitting there thinking, and thinking and rethinking about nothing but fishing. When you have a businesses, it's as if you're in love. You think about that (person) and you think about that business all the time!

Hmmm. Nothing's happening. Is my minnow dead? {{Staff not performing?}}

Wait! I got a bite! I got a BIG BITE! {{That large customer you've been trying to land.}}

I proudly caught thirteen fish yesterday but only two of them were "keepers."

When you pull out a "keeper" everyone has their say. "Yep. That's a keeper."
"Uh huh- that's a keeper." "Looks like a keeper. Better have Joe measure it fer certain."

Now, the funny thing about a "keeper" is- you can't throw them back in the lake. You have to actually DO something with "the keeper".

What do I do?! {{{Business grows and expands and is becoming profitable.}}}

For starters, I ran over to Joe with my "keeper" and sorrowfully said, "Joe, I know you're busy with customers, but I got a keeper."

Joe, unruffled not in the least, merely continued to puff coolly, on one side of his face, his Marbarrlo, and, as other patrons were volunteering- "I'll take it off of the hook for her!" "Aww, s'okay- I'll take it off for her." Joe gave his unalterable pronouncement: The heavens parted and thus sayeth Joe:

"Naw. She's got it."

An entrepreneur will finally "get it" and when it's "a keeper", an entrepreneur will, in fact, figure out what to do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Those Nuts Won't Go Crack Themselves or If You Want Something; You Better Go Get It

It's easy to give mental assent to the idea that no one hands you anything in life. That you have to work for it. That you have to sweat for it. That you have to build into it so long and so hard that you're going to doubt yourself and your ability and that you'd dearly like to give up and quit.
Welcome to the real world.
If you think you might have any dogged determination like that, then good! Congratulations- because when you decide to be an entrepreneur- that mind set will be put to an acid test. If you do not have tenacity, you will either have to learn it or throw in the proverbial towel. I'd say I come by it naturally, the rest, I learned because, as necessity is the mother of invention- I had to.
Once, while I was learning to build my first business, a woman called me, under her breath, a "pushy broad". Some one else might have taken that as an insult. I took it as a great compliment!
No one handed me anything that I have and do now. I thought it up and I went out and got it and unapologetically at that.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I wrote in a comment section somewhere last month- "Any NFL team with the audacity to pick up Mike Vick, I hope they loose every single game they play!"

It never crossed my mind that my beloved Eagles would make such a brain-dead decision.

Most of you know I am already living dangerously as it is, because I am practically the only Eagle fan precarious enough to live amongst The Enemy- The Dallas Cowboys.

I'm always running into current and ex-Cowboy players here in Dallas, and my husband rats me out each and every time.

"Taught her everything she knows about football, Drew, {Pearson} and then she turns against me- she's an EAGLE FAN!"

"That so?" inquires Drew with much heated angst. "Well, this is something Donavan will never see!" he says with much disdain as he aggressively shoves his bulky, diamond laden Super Bowl Championship ring under my nose. I put up with a lot living in Dallas, I'll tell you.

"Uh", I stammer and weakly try to recover-"Donavan just gets a little nervous... he'll get it soon."
"Ha. I doubt that." Drew retorts.

But now, I AM DONE unless something gives, and that something had better well come in the form of Mike Vick dragging his butt right off that playing field, head hung low in shame.

But, you say, he's paid his dues. He's been released from his crime! He's even talking to school children about animal cruelty. Forgive him. Get over it. Move on.

Like hell I will!

Please. The only thing Mike Vick is sorry about is the fact he GOT CAUGHT.
Let me ask you- do you think his vicious enterprise would still be turning a profit today if he had not gotten caught? Of course it would!

Here's my big beef with Mike Vick.

There is a big difference in my mind, and in the mind of any court in this entire country, between someone who commits violence in the heat of passion, or someone who commits violence as a pre-meditated act.

Mike Vick's unspeakable cruelty to dogs was three entirely unforgivable things. Intentional, prolonged, and sustained cruelty for PROFIT THAT YOU DIDN'T EVEN NEED, YOU GREEDY BASTARD!

If you are a little unfamiliar with the extreme disregard he showed to innocent dogs, I'm just going to mention two things. And really, I hate to do it because I get so upset, but you have to see what I'm talking about.

He used what's called a "bait dog" in order to provoke the bigger, tougher, dogs he intended to use for fighting. Think about that for a moment. Also, when some dogs didn't perform up to his sick standards, they'd just body slam them.

I'm really sorry, but if the law wants to forgive your stupid ass, that's just fine: but I'll be damned if anyone, let alone an NFL teams, should grant you back in the good graces of any organized sport and the American public should, after adding insult to injury, be subjected to watching you do anything, anywhere, at any time!

The single most disturbing movie I have ever seen is "The Girl Next Door" by Jack Ketchum.

In this movie, which is based on a real life girl, Sylvia Likens, who was 16 in 1961. A pathetic and sociopath train wreck of a woman, Gertrude, was left in charge of her and her crippled sister's care until her parent's return. In the movie, the script read as if her parents had died, in real life, Sylvia's parents were carnival workers and would come back to collect her and her sister after the season had ended.

What ended up happening to this girl was the most ghastly, shocking, cruel actions ever perpetrated or thought up- more shocking is it- that these crimes occurred right in a innocent looking middle class suburban house, with innocent looking neighborhood kids, that were encouraged to regularly come down to the basement and beat Sylvia until she was unconscious.

This women, in real life, Gertrude- did not kill and disfigure Sylvia for profit. She charged no admittance fee. But you know what, VICK DID.

Arguably you could say, yes- but one was regarding animals and the other was regarding people- and you'd be right. But, cruelty is still cruelty and I for one, am not going to be reminded of it on Sunday afternoons or Monday nights, and make no mistake- I'm not the only one.

Entrepreneur Chick has only utter contempt for anyone making a profit by the exploitation of others, particularly innocent animals.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How Aptitudes Repressed or Expressed, Can Shape Our Lives

Everyone has aptitudes. Aptitudes can be defined as those talents and skills that are innate in one's nature and that change very little, if at all, over time.

Aptitudes differ from "interests". This week, I became interested in fishing, but discovered I have little natural aptitude for it. To begin with, I honestly wanted a Dora the Explorer fishing set because, not only was it just cute as a button, if I inadvertently dropped it in the lake, it floated! But Tony told me that, uh... no, you are not going to embarrass both yourself and me in that fashion and flatly said I could not have it. I chose a "Ladies fishing set" instead, which was only one notch down in cuteness relative Dora- so I just tied an ugly white string to my pole- in case of a dropping mishap.

And those little minnows- gosh I felt so bad to stick... right. Back to business.

A.I.M.S. is a service I employed a few years back to help me figure out the proper and best direction that I could take with my talents, whatever they were, because back then, I wasn't sure what I was good at doing. I knew what I couldn't do, however. I can not cook my way out of a paper bag. I even flunked home economics and got kicked off the cheer leading squad. Yeah, I'm still bitter about that. Scratch "culinary arts".

"A.I.M.S." stands for "Aptitude Measurement Service". The idea is, you go in their brightly lit and mostly austere office, and pay a rather large amount of money, and they test you rigorously over the course of three full days.

This test is not a little multiple choice affair or fill in the blanks.

Here was what Entrepreneur Chick walked away with- both good and bad.

Unfortunately, the results of the test, in my opinion, is only geared to those entering the "job market". I am an entrepreneur. I am the job creator. I am not the job seeker. It took me several years to figure out why none of their expert recommendations- "private detective", "advertising", "marketing", "public office", "teaching"- appealed to me! That was the bad.

Here is the good. I am a "specialist extrovert", which only a small percentage of people are. Mostly, people are a "generalist introvert", meaning you know a little bit about everything and could be characterized as shy and withdrawn, or a "generalist extrovert," or a "specialist introvert"- meaning you hone in on one area of specialty, say you are a cardiologist, but you tend to keep to yourself more than you tend to be outgoing. I believe, only about 3 to 5 percent of everyone tested fails into my category.

I, they determined, function best by having "direct contact with many people" and that "routine tasks and activities are to be avoided" and that I score extremely high on the "idea-phoric" scale- denoting that I can "easily generate ideas quickly to solve problems." That's an entrepreneur. That's who I am.

When I learned to express who I am and not fit into something that's not a match for me at all, is when I began to flourish like two guppies in a big pond! I mean, I took off! It was so EASY.

In closing- if one does not understand where their aptitudes lie, and those aptitudes remain unexpressed, this can be a foundational cause for depression and deep dissatisfaction with life overall. As you see "who you are", is not in continuity, with "what you do". "What you do", is not "who you are". See the dichotomy? You see the inherent damage? It's like huge cow on the train track, just standing there. Someone's going to get hurt. There's surely going to be a derailment.

I would encourage everyone to go out of their way to deeply seek to understand who they are uniquely, as pre-determined by a natural set of aptitudes, and then build your life around what those are- going along with your intrinsic inner "current" rather than fighting a strong and perpetual under tow that will only ultimately drag you down deeper and deeper and deeper, into a person you were never meant to be.

(I dedicate this post today to a same-soul Sistah, Ms. Avery.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ode to a Staffing Company

Entrepreneur Chick was just about to find herself in some deep doo doo.
Thankfully, I have something everyone wants now (I know! And it's not crack.) however, because one of my companies is growing so fast, I found myself last night going up to random strangers and inquiring:
"Excuse me. You look like you probably know how to do {{Set of Skills}} and I could really use you next week. Are you available at all?"
Enter bright idea. Texas Lonestar Staffing Company is a blog a follow. DUH. DUH, DUH! And did I mention, DUH?
This new revelation is the eloquent, time saving solution I've been needing for over two weeks. Not to mention my book keeper is going to be thrilled because the staffing company is responsible, short of payroll, for a lot of, you know, that stuff book keepers and accountants are all upset about if you don't have.
They screen everyone. They interview everyone. They know what's going on with with my future staff in a way that I just don't have time to fritter away with anymore.
If you, like me, were nearly in some unavoidable poop- make your life easier. Dail 1-800 ANY GOOD STAFFING COMPANY PREFERABLY in THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WITH YOU.
Halah freakin' luhia.
(And by the way, Nate and Gayla Prevost are just about the nicest, quality people you could ever want to meet anyway. They donated to one of my events two weeks ago and thoroughly went out of their way. )

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Purging Without Throwing Up

"Organization is not simply for the business world. It can make your overall life better in general. Organizing your life will make things easier to find, save you time, and could even save you money. Wasting time looking for things you've misplaced and forgetting to take that defective product back to the store can cost you two of the most valuable commodities that exist. Time and money don't grow on trees and if you take the time to organize and then you keep it that way, they are two commodities you don't have to worry about losing. Organizing your business can bring you the same benefit, in a much bigger way. The value of your time is more and the money you stand to lose is a much higher amount. The price for being disorganized in your business is definitely a hefty one." ArticleClick
I can not function in a mess! Okay, let me first confess. When I was in high school, I remember the phone ringing in my bedroom one day, and in order to find it, I had to grab the cord and follow it down, over and under all the dirty clothes, clean clothes, friend's clothes, trash, disgarded magazines and pizza boxes I had in the middle of the floor in order to answer. ("Hello? Slobberina speaking.") If I can be reformed, anyone can!
Last week, I got rid and I do mean rid, of some items in my life that were just slowing me up. But it wasn't only the unwanted items that I cleared away, I literally feel as though more space in my brain has been freed up now that I don't have to always look at and deal with, what I either outgrew (not literally- still a size 6) or don't want any more.
Is there something or a number of somethings just in your way today? What would happen if you got rid of them? Donated them? Purged them?
I think, in fact I know, that if you were to take serious stock of what's just hanging around serving no real purpose in your life except to slow you up in going for what you really want, you'd feel just as good as I do right now after getting rid of it!
Ahhh, that's SO much better.
In his awesome book, "Clutter's Last Stand" Don Asslet asserts that we, as Americans, have to shuffle going through 80% of the junk we don't use, to get to the 20% of the stuff we do use! That's a staggering statistic.
When I'm serious about getting rid of something, I'm serious. I was telling Tony for several months- "I don't like that couch anymore."
He was not feeling anything one way or the other regarding the couch. Big deal. So, I made it un-sittable. I picked up a knife and shredded it. Oh yes I did too. NOW do you understand I don't like that couch anymore? I told you I didn't like that couch anymore.
"I told you I was sick", was posthumously on a woman's gravestone. I told you I didn't like it. What?
The only problem is now, it looks like there's a serial couch killer in my neighborhood. I can't just set it out with the trash to be picked up. Obviously I'm going to have to, under the cloak of darkness, take it to some dump somewhere. This stupid couch is as much trouble as a dead body and now I hate it EVEN MORE.
I did mention I feel better, right?

Monday, August 10, 2009

You Are Only as Good as You are Relevant!

Relevant: having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.

In business, sometimes an entrepreneur is too far ahead of the game, thus, not being relevant, or too far behind the game, with the same disastrous effect.

As an example: my father, George, was quite the entrepreneur. He started, the year before I was born, a pharmaceutical company, which did perform very well financially. Unfortunately George, heady from his pharmaceutical success, quickly saw another venue and way to pitch another product apart from drugs- which was an athletic supply company; comparable to Nike and Adidas.

Where George went astray was; though the drug company took off like gang busters; he misdirected his profits and used those proceeds to start the athletic supply company, which, was 20 years, easily, ahead of its time. Alas, it was a belly-up undertaking.

What can we learn from George? What if George had taken some of his cash flow and rolled out a test market first, evaluated how that performed- and then and only then, decided to invest more cash?

Always figure out how relevant you are and do so by a test market, without investing EVERYTHING YOU HAVE into a new, unproven idea.

All the failed actors in Hollywood would probably pale in comparison to all the failed entrepreneurs, had they only understood and executed this strategy!

So, how relevant are you? Test the market just like you'd stick your big toe into the swimming pool to see what's going on.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I am an Entrepreneur By Default

The only story I know how to tell is my own. I was there, I remember what happened. A woman who I used to know had a term she used to describe women who weren't involved with anything. She called them "Poodles". Or "Poodles Wives." I'm not ashamed to say one bit, that I, by nature, am the biggest, fattest, poodle of them all. Unabashedly.

When I was someone else, in my past life, I was that poodle. I didn't work. I didn't have to. I didn't need to. I didn't want to. Which would have been all fine and dandy, had it not been for the fact that I chose a spouse, very unwisely.

Is it here that you think I'm going to bash him? Not a chance! It was my fault, STRAIGHT UP.

And when I realized that, though I apparently couldn't change him (drinking, drugging) I could, however, change MYSELF. But back to this drinking and drugging thing for a moment- in her outstanding series of books, "Getting Them Sober" author Toby Rice Drews states that "Living with an alcoholic is like living in an insane asylum without any doctors." She further goes on to say, "You are always guessing what 'normal' is." That, in a nutshell, describes several years of my life.

It's very freeing to realize that all you have to do is start fixing yourself. Well, thank God- because carrying around the weight of two people and the problems of two people; was never something anyone could do or needs to do. We are accountable for only one person's actions- our own.

My biggest problem, was not, as I said, him, but my own marginal thinking.

So, when I decided to leave, I had to start expanding my margins if I wanted to get anywhere.

This is the scenario that I believe is being played out in literally millions of homes across America and even the world.

Girl meets boy. Boy is a Dumb Ass. Girl marries Dumb Ass anyhow. Girl has Dumb Ass'es kids and then spends the better part of a decade figuring out why everything stinks and she's so miserable. Lest you accuse me of being sexist, simply switch it around. Boy meets Dumb Ass... it works both ways. The only thing that truly is different is the names. The same drama is being played out repeatedly.

Once, while I was filing a restraining order- and as I sat at a table filling out the necessary paperwork- I remember vividly other women around me asking each other- "What happened?"

"Well, he started drinking and... blah, blah, blah"- now you need a restraining order. My story was their story. Their story was my story. It's the same story.

I decided- Do Something Different- YOU IDIOT. So I did.

But now I have a real problem because I can't be told what to do. I will decide what I will do. This is so deeply entrenched into my character, it is non-negotiable. It's the same for most entrepreneurs. You just can't tell 'em what to do. They go nuts.

Choice number one: live under a bridge. Which is a no-go right there because where am I going to plug in my blow dryer?

Choice number two: learn how to run a business.

Which is where, kids, we find ourselves unregrettfully today.

And they all lived happily ever after.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Are You a Pro? 4 Signs

Entrepreneur Chick has had the very good fortune to be dealing with a whole lot of pros. One of my clients, who is a national entity who's name you would immediately recognize, happens to have the best people working for them that I have EVER encountered in one company before. Though they have very many locations, I still see this same continuity in each and every one.

Any business is only as good as this one thing: It's people!

The following 4 signs of professionalism I have observed firsthand during these past two weeks after several business meetings with this privately held company's upper management. They are:

(1) Fastidious - the trait of being meticulous. In short, these people are on top of what's going on. They're involved in every level of their company and aware when things are functioning smoothly and when they're not.

(2) Excellent listeners- Part of what I've been doing this week is training the upper management of this company, to successfully implement my company's proven strategies for optimum results. Each time I address them with my presentation, everyone is paying attention (except for John, ha.) listening intently, following the presentation and asking pertinent questions at the end. Let me be very frank with you. Listening is the most excellent skill you can develop in your personal life and your professional life. If you are always in the habit of not letting someone finish sentences and always "telling your story- oh yeah, that reminds me... blah, blah, blah", no one will really want to be around you. Why? You are not valuing them at all. You are not valuing them as you are not listening. When people feel not listened to, they'll politely engage in conversation with you, until they can make an appropriate exit. This hurts your friendships and I can assure you, will hurt your cash flow.

(3) Personable not "Personal"- Being personable denotes that one is easy to approach and is easy to speak with. Which is a good thing. I've heard many staff complain before that a boss was not "approachable" and this employee felt as if she could not communicate- which ultimately, hurt her and the company she was working with.

These people I'm referring to are personable. "How was your weekend?" "How's your day going?" And they'll tell you about their favorite football team or their upcoming vacations plans or where they're from originally or the name of their children or dogs or how long they've been married and what their spouse does.

"Personal" is telling more than someone needs to know. I was interviewing a man for a position with me a few months ago when he launched into a story about his ex wife. Oh dear lord. I'm sorry she hurt you, I truly am, but now is NOT the time to tell me about that. In fact, it's NEVER the time to tell me about that. That's too personal and I am not your buddy. I am your employer.

(4) Seeks to Understand the "Why"- they're not about, well- I don't care. I'll still get paid regardless of externals working or not. Uh... no you won't. Oh, you might for a bit, but unless you understand cause and effect; particularly if the effect is negative and you don't do anything about it, you're not being a pro. Figure everything out to the best of your ability. Analyze to the best of your ability, and when that falls short, make sure to call in people smarter and better than you are. A pro finds out why. A pro digs deeper. A pro doesn't hesitate to enlist people with higher skill sets than themselves to get a job done.

And remember, look 'em straight in the eye, and have a firm handshake!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Free Ya Mind And Da Rest Will Follow~ Holla!

Funny how sometimes lyrics pop into your head. Do they pop in your head too? I haven't thought of En Vogue (so sorry, En Vogue) in years and years.

Free your mind and the rest will follow- is where my head's pretty much been for over a decade now.

I can tell you, I was in a bad freaking situation. Real bad. What I like to say, is, you know, for the sake of me sounding bitter and like some sort of victim, which I'm not- I say, when I finally open up to someone about my past- "Well, you don't have to take what I say as meaning anything- BUT the State Of Texas seems to think he's a convicted felon. What does that tell you?" And I drop it.

That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, which was getting the facts so straight in my mind and finally start telling myself the truth about the situation, quit covering it up with some bullshit layer of well-maybe-it-will-get-better... and take some action.

The real change began first, not in my actions, but in my mind.

Honestly, I know a lot of people are scared shitless to be their own boss, start a business and be entrepreneurs and truly stand on their own. For me though, it's really like, puleeze. Everyone I've dealt with while being an entrepreneur is (for the most part) sober, and not strung out on drugs!

Think it first. Toy with some few ideas second. Implement a little strategy third. Make it do what it do.

I've heard it said you are where you are today because of decisions you made five years ago. Really, truly? Where do you want to be?

Monday, August 3, 2009

What Are You Going To Do Today For Fun?

No really. This is just as important as any business plan and exit strategy you might conjure up. Fun opens up so many things. For starters, your mind. Less stress. Higher quality of life. Balance. Ideas emerge. Happy memories are formed. Life is sweeter. Purer.

I was dramatically reminded of this this past Friday. It might not sound like much, but it was the most wonderful day and afternoon. Here's what we did:

First, we went to the other side of what's known around my area as "the metroplex" and we spoke to a very large account. The meeting went phenomenally well and we closed several thousand dollars worth of business.

Next, we drove down to another town south of that town, and picked up some more money from another client who is so excited to do business with us- Leslie said: "I've heard about you guys and everyone just raves about you and that you do such a tremendous job!" (Staff training has paid off in spades, I can tell you.)

But here's what was so sweet. We went to an old mall that we used to go to before we moved where we live now. It was just SO much fun.

We have this silly little tradition. They have this over sized gumball machine there- it's over 8 feet tall. Here's how you play.

State your color. Red? Green? Yellow? Blue? White? Pink?

Put in your quarter and get your ball.

Next player: State your color: Red? Green? Yellow? Blue? White? Pink?

Put in your quarter and get your ball.

If you guess the correct color, let's say player one says that "pink" will come out and they get pink. They can either chose to keep their pink ball or exchange it for a better gum ball that player # two has, should player #two be incorrect.

After all that, then, at the very end of the guessing game- you tap your gumballs together THREE TIMES- then, and only then, may you chew your gum.

We've played the gumball game for years now.

After that, we looked at all the Fall and Halloween decorations, which is a blast. Nothing floats our boat more like holidays and new decorations.

But before all this fun and frivolity, we went to eat at one of our "regular" hot spots from four years ago- as we have not been there in four years. I was SO bad. I had fish, tarter sauce, green jello salad, fried potatoes, broccoli salad AND pumpkin pie. I never, EVER eat like that. That was enough food to last me two days. Not one meal.

The next day, we hung out in our pajamas. The next day, we had a picnic- but couldn't stay long because some of you know I'm scared of bugs. In August, in Texas, and particularly after a big rain, which we had, these big, honking, fat-ass (can bugs have fat asses?) green affairs come out and fly around everywhere just wrecking any picnic I could possibly have. I know it's an irrational fear. I realize that. These bugs don't bite. I guess it's just the Ewwww-U-R-SO-GROSS factor.

So after that, we made our way on over to the lake, and lo and behold, what do you think? A fishing barge! Do you know what a fishing barge is? Neither did I. It's so cool!

It has been on the lake since 1957. I was not even around at all in 1957. Nonetheless, it's this huge, floating, offshore structure, where, for just a few dollars, you can fish. But here's the deal. You will certainly catch fish! BIG FISH.

Joe, who's been there ever since he was just in his 20's, told us all about it and showed us around.

"Look here. Here's where you can catch Bass, Croppy, Cats, and Blue Gills. You just drop yer line in here. Lemme show you. Lookie here. If yer ever out in da wild and ya don't have no worms and no bait, here's what ya do. You just take ya a hook like dis one here, and ya drop in in like dis- awww, lookie here. Here's my bait now!" And with that, out Joe pulls a little croppy that he then escorts, flopping and flipping and squirming- proudly and magically; goes over to the other fishing hole carved out of the barge, and drops it gently in, in effort to land an even bigger fish!

I watched, completely mesmerized.

Joe, realizing that I'm not just some "Entrepreneur Chick", and truly interested and enthralled, then pulled out the big guns. Well, the big underwater camera anyway.

"Lookie here. Huh? I'm a gonna drop this down in der water and you can see those big babies I've been talkin' to ya about. Know what I did with dis camera? Why, I saw you and yer husband git outta da car and come walkin' in here. Yeah. I see everybody. Got to. Sometimes I git some peoples in here that get to fightin' and carryin' on... I can deal wit 'em. Been here a long time. Work the ten ta two shift. No one wants dat shift but me. I can deal wit 'em. I got da Dallas Cowboys comin' in here doe- De Marcus Ware, Eric Williams- da cheerleaders even."

Splash! The camera floats deep down into the murky green water. Stirred unwilling out of the darkness with a blank stare, are Joe's "babies"he's been truly talking about. Sure enough.

"Well, I'm concerned." I assert. "If you have all these fish, you must have moccasins too. You got moccasin's too?"

"Sure, I got moccasins. Lookie right yer. See doze two black dots on my thumb? Dat's a moccasin."

"What happened?!"

"Ize jus feedin' da fish and reached my hand down in da bait bucket, he's sittin' in da bait bucket- go swirling ma hand in der and damn, bit me just like dat! I jus shoot 'em though. Anyone comes in here ain't supposed to, I shoot 'em."

That goes for people or water moccasins.

Joe was not kidding.

As we were leaving, one of those tricky moccasins must have thought that maybe today was the day he'd get by Joe.

Joe pulled out, as matter- of -factly as you or I would pull out a business card- a big, brown, menacing shot gun and took direct aim.

Okay- I'm going to go over and stand on top of this red chair from 1961, hold onto the pole to steady myself from falling into Joe's "babies", and hope like hell he's a good shot.

"Whattcha doin' up there fer? I got 'em."

Man, whatta fun day!