Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oops! I Almost Did it Again- Big Business No, No

A big, fat trap an entrepreneur can fall into and not even realize they are there, is this one:
An Entrepreneur who spends 90% of their time (working) on the 10% that pays.
A guy Tony told me about had an idea. He spent one million dollars of his own money on his good idea.
So he dumped in another million.
So he dumped in yet another million...
The saying, "Winners never quit and quitters never win"? not true.
Sometimes the wisest thing you can do is either put it on the back burner, let it simmer awhile; or sell it.
In what ways have you said "okay- that's enough now" and it worked out swimmingly?

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Have Figured it OUT!

Reading many of your blogs this week- the subject keeps coming up: 'why do I write? Why do I blog?'

I believe it's because; blogging is like an interactive newspaper! AND we are all a little voyeuristic. I mean, what exactly is my neighbor up to today? I'm curious.

In a traditional newspaper, we read the story; we agree, we disagree, we think perhaps, about the author's point of view a little while longer but fairly quicky go on to the next story. Done deal.

Reading a blog, however, we can actually comment! The writer gets feedback. We get feedback. Feedback is pretty much like chocolate- who doesn't love it?

Additionally, these blogs turn into, not just an interactive newspaper- but a whole novel upon novels~ I'm fascinated, to tell you the truth.

Humbling have any employees at all and people who take their time to come and interview with you. have a business that works. have people who believe in you and do everything they can to help you. have a big fish client who says, "I am going to email you a list of 12 more I want you to speak to."

I don't take it for granted.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What Happens When Entrepreneur Chick Cooks

It was supposed to be a nice dinner. A way to say, "Gosh- I appreciate you and everything you've done for me this past year," and then... horror.

The limo service and owner of the company is a very good friend of ours. I wanted to invite him over to say: "Merry Christmas!".

The potato's were on. And then I ran, terrified, to Tony- "Fire! Fire!"


The guys had to go out and buy side dishes from Boston Market.

Oh. Like the chicken isn't still good?

I tried.

Everyone knows Entrepreneur Chick tried.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Objectives" Are Your Personal Declaration of Independence

'Objectives', are truths I hold to be self evident. If you live in America, you're familiar with this idea because that's how the Declaration of Independence reads: we hold these truths to be self evident.

In the case of a country, laws support objectives. In the case of business, sound business practices then, should support our objectives.

When I devise objectives for my business, I've created my independence. I've said insomuch: "this is the way it's going to be according to me". This is the business I want, the market I want, the clients I want, the employees I want- and lastly, the cash I want.

Not to digress, but if you start out being motivated by money; you will never have any. Only when you add value, having the 'objective' of adding value to people's lives, will you see any money.

All my businesses have clear cut objectives. Meaning, they are written down. They are part of the business mission statement. Further than that, there are things that I and the company need to be doing each and every operational day, to insure success.

Let me give you an example: let's compare this idea of objectives as it relates to our subject yesterday- dance.

When I taught dance seven years ago, I loved everything about it. I had a boatload of students, I was making money hand over fist, (again, because I was adding value to people's lives) I was creating, my students were happy, my students were learning, we were asked to be on T.V., I got a lot of attention-everything was hunkie dorie.

Over time, because I had a bigger vision, and I started educating myself about business, I began to grow restless. I began to realize I could do more.

I remember one day thinking: my students think I'm a dance instructor.
That began my exist strategy.

My current business plan reflects that in 3 to 5 years- one of my companies will be in the millions. I could not make millions teaching dance. My other company has been in the six figures as of 2008. I could not make six figures teaching dance.

(I teach twice a month now, because it was Lucia's birthday and her husband, Mike, knew me and wanted to give Lucia a special gift. I was like: Whoa. Okay. They really need my help! In November they will graduate and know how to dance to every single song that they'd ever hear! I'm very proud of them. Plus they get a certificate suitable for framing. Ha.)

However, just like the Declaration of Independence set a nation free- as you know, that freedom did not come without sacrifice.

If you want freedom, you're going to have to sacrifice to get it. There. I told you straight up.

Make sure your objectives are worth sacrificing for. I'm going to shoot perfectly straight with you- you're going to have to make so many stinking sacrifices for your objectives- you're going to want to quit. This is where we shall find out how bad you want it. Give up? Or go on?

More tomorrow about living congruently aligned with your objectives and what you told yourself is important.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How Being a Dancer Helped Make Me A More Successful Entrepreneur

"Baby, don't tell people you are a 'dancer' anymore", said my husband. Ah... so that's the reason the realtor said that! You guys know I'm blonde...

"Yes", said the realtor while we were looking at the condo, "We get a lot of girls over here from Silver City."

"No Mam-" I scrambled to save my reputation- "I am a professional dance instructor. I teach ballroom and hip hop to adults."

I dunno. She thinks I could be a stripper. That's good, right? Is that good? I was oddly flattered.

One day, several years ago, I was in the studio working on a complicated piece of choreography. A waltz.

John, another instructor, apparently was watching from afar and felt compelled to salvage my attempts. John was always quite wise- he'd never tell you the direct answer to a thing; he'd make you figure it out.

John inquired, "What is your objective?"

This simple question has stayed with me always after that; and has helped me bring clarity to strategies I either make, or don't make, with my companies.

I was startled utterly, when he asked. I remember it clearly.

"My objective? Well, geez. I don't know..."
"And that's the problem", responded John.
I'll never forget it.

In dance, there are only four things you need to know. It's simply how we combine those four things- that comprise every ballroom dance- cha cha, salsa, tango, waltz, rumba, samba, fox trot, country western, etc. there is! Amazing, huh?

In business, there's only two things you need to know. When you know these two things, you can literally make as much money as you please. Two things. Amazing, huh?

When you know the right things, life (and dance) is ridiculously easier.

The four basic moves in dance are called, "elements".

When I combine two or more "elements", now I have what's called a "component".

When I combine two or more "components", now I have what's called a "figure".

And the "figure" makes the dance! Once I get into upper level choreography, I'm stringing together more and more "figures", which ultimately make "amalgamations".

In business, there are always certain things I am going to combine. If I leave one out, there's a good chance my enterprise will fail.

Marketing. Staffing. Training. Book keeping. Legal counsel.

Figuring out your objectives keep you on track; and when you're on track, now you're talking about positive cash flow.

I have to admit. I like positive cash flow even better than I like a cha cha, and I like a cha cha a lot!

More tomorrow about "Objective".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No! And Quit Bossing Me Around!

To whom do you think I am directing this comment? My clients? My employees? My accountant? My banker? My book keeper? My husband? Nope.

My dog.

Let me clarify. I thought he was my dog but he's filled me in on a few facts:

(1) He's not a *dog*- but an adult with fur.

(2) He does not belong to me, but I, to him.

His name is Eliot and he's a Yorkie, and you better believe he knows it too. He is fully aware of his rights. He knows he's got papers.

You've never seen such a sick, codependent relationship as ours. I am desperately in love and will do anything he tells me.

Here is a quick snapshot of our typical day.

"Eliot, are you ready to get up now? I'm ready to get up now."

Eliot: Well thank God, you lazy slob. I told you two hours ago I had to go outside and was hungry. Geez, woman.

I can leave the room on two conditions. If Eliot approves- or Eliot disapproves. If he disapproves, I have to take him with me. But first I have to explain myself:

"I'm going to the bathroom, I'll be right back."

Eliot: " I approve. You may go."

"I'm going to the garage to get something, I'll be right back."

Eliot: "No. I disapprove. You must take me with you because I know how you are in the garage. You think you need just one or two things and then you start going through other storage tubs and before you know it, a half hour has passed. Besides, that German Shepard might walk by so you'll need me to protect you."

When I have to take him with me, I must put him in his blue stroller and make sure he's got Mr. Teddy inside. If he's missing Mr. Teddy, he'll be mad at me.

When Eliot goes outside and proudly comes back in again; especially after a big poo-ey, he says:

Eliot: See what I did out there? Nice, huh? Gemme some cheese! Gemme some cheese RIGHT NOW!

Me: No! And quit bossing me around!

Repeat this dialogue until bed time. Get up the next day, repeat.

You HAVE to Stop What You're Doing Right This Minute and DO This!

Okay. This will blow you away. I thought, yeah- yeah. This won't work.

Jesus? Do not get mad. But when you walked on water, that was totally cool- this is almost as cool. (Are you mad?) Mathew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52, John 6:15-21

Click on: Your Chocolate Age

Yet Another Lesson From Rosa

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear." Rosa Parks

One of the things I love the most about blogging and about Twitter, is the interesting, relevant new things I learn!

Entrepreneur Chick has over one thousand followers on Twitter now- and I want you to know that they are not numbers on a page to me. When they come to me to follow me, I read them- I want to know where their head is, what kind of interests they have, are they legitimate? (I stupidly clicked on a woman who says she's a "very nice girl" - oops. She had a sex cam. M'bad.) Are they a service I could possibly use? Do we have common ground? And so forth.

The above quote was posted by Quaker Quotes- I notice they have over fourteen thousand people following them, with good reason! If you do not have Twitter, do get it because it's what's happening now. And once you get Twitter, I think you'd enjoy following them.

That said- this quote greatly resonated with me.

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear."

Rosa was certainly not a do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do type of person. Can't you imagine her with that same steely resolve when she plopped herself down on that bus where she wasn't supposed to?

You freakin' GO GIRL!

I have great respect for someone who won't be pushed around. Rosa was just one person and looked what happened.

Abraham Lincoln once commented to Harriet Beecher Stowe; author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin", "So you're the little lady who started this big war!"

There's a book I like but have not read yet- "The Power to Influence Anything." Don't you think the title alone is enough to just encourage the pants right off you?!

Once you make up your mind to do a business; sure, it can be a leetle scary. But see? You made up your mind. What would Rosa tell you that does?

Diminishes fear.

All kinds of amazing things can happen when you make your mind up. I know. I made my mind up and I am no where near that co-dependent, what-should-I-do-now? unattractively sniffling little cowering chick I was ten years ago. In fact, I'm fierce, baby!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Welcome Fall Party!

Listen, I'm going to give it to you straight. I can't do what these other women do. They can bake. They can set a table. They... are perfect.

It's called a "Welcome Fall Party" and you should see some of these blogs. Fabulous.

Rose Colored Glasses is just awesome.
I wanted to do the "party" too- but I'm better at business. Here, alas, is my sad attempt.

I am in the market for a wife. Obviously, I need some help over here.

Do You Want an Employer to Check Your Credit Score? Puleeze.

Entrepreneur Chick subscribes to an email service regarding what's going on in business. Let me tell you very candidly- I am horrified. Horrified.

The title of the article was: "Employers Increasingly Use Applicants' Credit Histories in Determining Job Future"

I love hip hop music. Can someone say, "GET BACK! YOU DON'T KNOW ME LIKE THAT"? I love fairness. Can someone say, "THAT'S A VIOLATION OF MY PRIVACY"?

I am an employer. I only care about one, one primary thing.

Can you do the work?

If you can do the work, that's all I need to know. If you squander every red cent I pay you, ruin your credit and Aaron's Rental shows up at your door step and reprocesses your living room suite, your plasma screen t.v., and even takes a few boxes of macaroni and cheese out of your pantry for good measure, by golly, that's your business!

But I can hear the employer credit check chorus begin now:

"What if I'm a bank? And someone I hire is in financial distress? I don't want them to have access to thousands and thousands of dollars of cash everyday."

Oh, so now you're going to label them a thief because they are in financial distress?

Color me old school, but usually we convict a person after he's done the crime.

And furthermore, get a grip. Many Americas are in financial distress. Meaning, many Americans have outstanding consumer debt and can't service those debts.

Additionally, there's erroneous errors in credit reports. Contrary to popular belief, the heavens do not part and: Thus sayeth Equifax. One quarter to one third of credit reports are incorrect! And, job seeker, those errors are serious enough for you to be denied the job. Let's waste every body's time, shall we?

How do you think minorities and women fare in under all this microscopic scrutiny? Ah, not well at all. They especially have a "disparate" impact. Here's my surprised look.

"Well," Mr. LetmeUpinYourGrill Employer might again argue, "I am going to give you, Mr. & Ms. PotentialLoserEmployee the opportunity to 'explain' your bad credit."

How charitable!

Now, let's let the rubber hit the road. Because I'm going to give you a real-life, personal example of Entrepreneur Chick.

As I told you in the past, E.C. was married to- what the State of Texas likes to think of as a "convicted felon".

Do you imagine at all, that the convicted felon and his family, did anything to ruin my credit? Could it be possible?

Good for Entrepreneur Chick that she owns companies and does not have to explain herself to anyone. I'd be embarrassed beyond belief.

My financial planner, after pulling my credit report, asked me, "What's this KFC on your report?" Oh, crap. Chicken? They forged my name to my checks and bought effing chicken? Now I can't get a job because of-
"Would you like Original or Crispy?" Are you kidding me? No, I'm not kidding you.

I have never, EVER in my life, written a hot check or borrowed money I did not pay back. But guess what? My credit report, because of
'C.F." (Convicted Felon) and his family's stupid ass, are not going to tell you that.

"Please, please may I be a ditch digger at the graveyard at night?" implored Entrepreneur Chick.

"Uh, we don't think so".

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bad Apple Employee? 3 Steps To Take

Anger is a useful emotion. I believe anger is not, by nature, always wrong or an emotion that should be suppressed.

Anger is a road map alerting us to danger during the journey. What's my particular danger as a business owner? Employees who do not do what they say they will do.

What is the biggest way my employees screw up? BY BEING LATE. Everything I do is time sensitive. I have contractual agreements with my clients, which are signed, sealed, and predetermined.

I have customers who expect service. If I have customers who expect service, and employees who can't, won't, and don't deliver- I've got a problem. I become very, very angry about that. Anger alerts me- hey chick? You've got a problem.

Here's what I'd like to do- but don't do.

Me: Listen you stupid ass idiot. I ain't playin' that game. I don't know who you think I am, but you've got me effing bent if you think you're going to tell me one thing- and then blow me off!
Employee: Uh... (Standing there with their mouth open because up till now they've mistakenly thought I was just soooo nice.)

Let me save you, entrepreneur/business owner- time. Here are the three steps:

(1) Get rid of them.
(2) Get rid of them.
(3) Get rid of them.

But to flesh this concept out of axing the bad seeds a bit more: why should you just get rid of them?

Because it's not your job, you who signs their paycheck, to be their therapist. You are their employer.

I am an adult and I demand to work with adults. I won't run a babysitting service.

A bad apple employee will insist you babysit them. "Now B.A.E., (Bad Apple Employee), I know you told me you'd meet me here at 3:00 p.m. today, but I'm just calling you to make sure you are still going to do that."

Want to know what B.A.E. did? He's supposed to be here at three. Guess when I heard from him? Five and a half hours later! This guy is not nineteen. This guy is thirty six years old! I thought I was hiring a certain level of maturity. I am learning that there are more responsible twelve year olds out there- and that age is not always a determiner of character.

As my company grows as prolifically as it has been and will be- some bad apples are going to get past me. It's a fact. I expect it. I am not God. I am not Omnipotent. I can't always tell, emphatically, about some one's core character.

But really, I don't have to have it all figured out. A bad apple will start stinking up the joint and dropping so many rotting seeds everywhere- they'll fire their own selves. I won't have to.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I am a Serial Entrepreneur- And I Don't Even Care

The chairs are arranged in a circle. It's my turn to "share".
"Hi. I'm Marilisa and I'm an entrepreneur."
"Hi, Marilisa", echos the group.

"So, my last business idea. It wasn't my fault. I can explain. I tried to call my sponsor, but their cell was off. What could I do? Don't you see? I had to create it! It'll be different next time- I promise."

Sunday, as you know, is my day that I set aside to not think, talk, even dare mention business. I go fishing every Sunday. What's the harm in fishing? I mean, I'm just sitting there minding my own business and I'm thinking only about fishing and the fresh air, sunshine, and beautiful lake view. I'm avoiding "places that can do us harm" and "unwholesome companions" that could ignite the slightest inclination of starting another business, right?

Well, those stupid fish. On one trip, I pulled out thirteen crappies. (Pronounced: "croppy".) This is easy. I see why people fish now. Next week, I'll double my number. I will pull out twenty six.

Me: Fish? I'm going to double my number.
Fish: We don't think so- sucka.

The next trip I pulled out four. FOUR! All day- four.

"This is unacceptable, fish. You are not cooperating. I'm supposed to be sitting here getting my relax on, and what do you do? You are upsetting me."

So, of course I started studying the feeding habits of crappie. What do they like? When do they bite? What about water conditions and temperature? I, being the good little entrepreneur that I am, devise a plan.

I go back to the lake prepared. I try it their way again. Nothin'. So, I pull out my new product "prototype". What made it especially sweet (oh, the revenge!) is that the owners of the staffing company I use, Nate and Gayla, were standing right there!

What do you think? Yep. No sooner do I drop my line- INSTANT FISH!

Me: Now what do you think, fish? Uh, huh.
Fish: Oh, crappie.

I do a little more probing. I learn that leisure fishing accounts for $82.3 billion dollars annually in the United States. Oh, really? Hmm. I immediately get in touch with The People That Know.

The People That Know agree to meet me in a bar (this bar is one of my clients from my other business) directly across the street from where my great uncle's pharmacy was over located 100 years ago! It was meant to be, people.

I pitch my idea to The People That Know. They crack up- because my idea is fusing pop culture with science.

"Are you in?"
"Yeah. We're in." Say The People That Know.

What do these people know? Scientists. Buyers in major retail chains. The freakin' Chinese. And we ended the night with a grand discussion about reverse engineering and how Jackson (one of their employees) says, "Genius does not come with a toggle switch."

Me: I don't see anything wrong with my behavior. I'm an entrepreneur- what?
Fish: Denial is always the first stage.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dude, Your Socks Don't Match: Marketing Misalignment

The danger of out-of-balance marketing can bring down your company with a quickness.
If you are, indeed, closing sales and generating customers, but however, you lack the goods to back all those sales up- your company's socks don't match. Maybe try turning on the light and wearing glasses when you pull them out of the dyer!
Marketing misalignment is very real problem I could have if I don't keep trained, high quality employees to keep up with my sales.
It's easy to close deals for one of my companies. I have what they want. (Heh, heh.) I could go out there tomorrow and close twenty sales a day, if I wanted. And then what? I'd be dead in the water- that's what.
The answer of avoiding the danger of marketing misalignment, I think, can be found in a way a child grows into clothes. When a child is very young, say, six months; perhaps you buy a size a little bit too big- nine months, to stay ahead of the growing curve. I believe you can do the same thing in business. Stay comfortably ahead of your growing curve.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What Van Gogh and Capote Taught Me About Business

A few years ago, I was in The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Funny thing is, the memory I recall about the entire day- other than the hotel I was staying in catching on fire because someone left a curling iron on too long; was standing, awestruck, in front of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night".

Of course, I'd seen it many times in reproductions, but to actually be standing in front of the original piece, knowing that he touched, but inches away from where I was standing, that canvas, those colors, these famous brushstrokes in 1889 were as vivid to me as if he had finished the painting but ten minutes ago.

Vincent said: "When I am at work, I feel an unlimited faith in art, and am sure I shall succeed, but in days of physical prostration I feel that faith diminishing, and a doubt overwhelms me which I try to conquer by setting to work once again."

Certainly I am not a great artist, but from a creative standpoint, which an entrepreneur must by nature be, I understand that statement to my very bones.

When I create a business, "....I am sure I shall succeed." I also have, "an unlimited faith." I do not know where this belief comes from, exactly- except to say that it is not rooted in faith alone but rather in the object of my faith- in this case- a solid business structure.

My doubt is conquered by positive cash flow, which reinforces the rightness of my belief- as now what was once a mere concept, has become quantified and measurable.

In Truman Capote's brilliant first novel, "Other Voices Other Rooms", Truman describes a haunting scene in a long ago abandoned hotel, so lyrically and thoroughly, I'm left almost breathless.

Perhaps the identification with the deep South I feel is generational, though not experienced so much by me directly, but by my ancestors. My great grandfather, John James Moore's, father, Tom Moore, was from Louisiana. This fact is stated on his death certificate and given by my great uncle, Urban, who also was an entrepreneur ,and owned the only pharmacy in town in, what's now called, "Old Town" where I live currently, from 1911 to 1968.

We find the character, "Little Sunshine", an aged black man, a hermit, inhabits but two rooms of the once splendid but abandoned and grand hotel- the Cloud Hotel.

Little Sunshine shows his visitors, Joel Knox, and his cross dressing cousin, Randolf around-

Capote writes... "Beyond the ballroom, and in what had once been Mrs. Cloud's private apartment, were two simply furnished, spacious rooms, both beautifully clean, and this was where Little Sunshine lived; the evident pride he took in these quarters increased the charm of their surprise, and when he closed the door, he made nonexistent the ruin surrounding them."

"And when he closed the door, he made nonexistent the ruin surrounding them."

That's what I do for a living. And when I close the door (build a business to my taste, not accept that I can't do it) I make the wrongs "nonexistent" and overcome ruin. I make up what I want; and then I be, and go, and do, and get that thing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Banker's 3 Money Making Truths

Jeffrey was one of my first business bankers.

He looks cute in his new, black, shiny BMW convertible- but I don't bank there anymore because he was the reason why I came and why I stayed. He got a fat promotion and left my branch.

Nonetheless, what I learned from him is incredibly valuable and significant in business and certainly contributed to his promotion.
He told me:
(1) "Get Them to Like You." Jeffrey is a whiz at this. He is a good listener, passionate, enthusiastic, and most of all; sincere. He would find out about that person, as much information as he could, because he then would:
(2) "Find Out What They Need" After sincerely listening to the prospective customer or client, he'd start making a laundry list of things they might need.
Things such as: referrals. Which is a biggie. Who doesn't need word of mouth business?
Other things such as: Free advertising. Jeffrey would say, "Hey, do you have any business cards that I could put out here in my lobby so I can let our community know about you?"
Money: Who doesn't need operating capital? He'd talk money only after he talked about other needs first, I noticed. He'd often say,"If I can help you, I'll help you- if I can't help you; I have other avenues and access to other means that I'd be glad to open up for you."
(3) "Figure Out How To Fill Their Need" If I've said it once, I'll say it one thousand times, sales people need to SHUT UP AND LISTEN to the needs of their prospects. Figure out what the prospect needs by asking questions. Attentively listen to their answers. Inside each answer, is your potential sale!
Jeffrey once asked our Chamber of Commerce associates in a meeting of which, I'd say probably sixty or so people were in attendance:
"If you bank with me, could you please raise your hand?" Well over half the room banked with Jeffery!
The above three reasons is why.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Your Employees Are Big Kids- Reward Them!

Elizabeth related a funny story to me a few weeks ago.
Elizabeth is one of my employees, but she was sharing, over a few Colorado Bulldogs on my part, how she did such a good job for one of the companies, a hotel, that she worked for- the owner ran off and left her completely in charge of the whole operation! Elizabeth was only nineteen or twenty.
"Okie, Dokie. I am going to Calcutta now. See you later," the owner said.
Why'd he do that?
Because Elizabeth understood that the staff were big kids.
"So I started this sticker program."
"Stickers. You know, gold stars and silver stars and that kind of stuff?"
"Oh, right."
"You would not believe how much adults like stickers! I made a big chart so everyone could see it. I listed every one's name, you know. I had boxes by the different days, and if you did good that day, you got a star. If, for instance, I got a compliment on you by one of the customers, that was an automatic gold star! If you got your job done by a certain time, that was another gold star. At the end of the week, we'd total up the stars. "
By using stickers alone, Elizabeth was able to up the total level of employee performance, improve customer service, and even save the hotel money!
Everyone wanted stickers.
"And see, I had these two sisters, Mexican sisters. They had to outdo the other. They were so competitive you wouldn't believe it. They'd come in the break room and check out the chart and be all like, "Ooooh, girl. I don tink so... I going to jit a gole star and not chew."
I am fortunate beyond belief that Elizabeth works for me now. When I see her in a few minutes, I have something for her.
Appropriately, the picture on the card is that of an empty chair. I told her when she leaves in January, as she's going to Mexico for a few months, that just like this chair- very few people could ever fill it the way she does.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two New Questions I Started Asking Myself

With the start of each new season, and the end of the last- I like to turn over new leaves, I suppose.
I especially adore the Fall and everything that comes with it- cooler temps, football, colorful foliage, pumpkins... you get the idea.
On Labor Day- I labored!
Cleaned out my closet, which I like to do about every three months. I made a trash pile, a donation pile, a take-to-the-cleaners pile, and a let's see how I feel about it tomorrow pile. Really- I've stained that blue terry robe (featuring darling little white lambs and clouds) with makeup and tanning lotion- ewww. Who wants it? But what if I need it? It's still in the closet. Just in case. Okay, I'll get rid of it after I write this.
Heretofore I had not thought of asking myself this in such a direct way- but it has proved helpful and I will continue:
(1) What constructive thing have I done for my home today?
(2) What constructive thing have I done for my business(es) today?
Confession. Sometimes I don't do squat. I need more accountability.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"C" Number 3- Can Someone Else Do It?

This is the big one. The one I care the most about. The third "C"- Can Someone Else Do It- or can you leverage it?

Let me tell you what I did yesterday and how I made money while I was doing it.

I was fishin'. I walked by a man also fishing and everyone likes to compare notes, you know, when you're fishin'.

"Got anything yet?"
"Naw. Not much. Two weeks ago it was better." I volunteered, still enthralled about my loot back then, the good old days, two weeks ago, when I pulled out thirteen crappie as easy as you please and mistakenly thought it was always going to be that way.

{As Dave said, "It's like playin' cards. You win a few times and then you think- I've got it now, see?"}

"Hmm. Yeah. Me neither. So you off work?"
"No. I own companies."
"YOU do? You started them? What kind of companies?"

It was at this juncture that this man was just polite enough not to say that I certainly didn't resemble anyone who looked capable of too much ambition- blond hair, red nails, rolled up jeans, Hawaiian bikini top and flip flops- {dude, I'm fishing} but he wasn't polite enough either, not to intimate my lack of looking like I'd have anything too substantial going for me.

"Yeah. I started them."

I started explaining, in the nutshell I use to explain how my businesses started- but he's either intimidated by me, or doesn't know how to listen- dancing stupidly around in his chair and slightly making fun of what I'm saying.

"So, you don't have to worry about retirement, huh? Not that you'd have to worry about that for a long time anyway."

"That's the plan."

I was making money the whole time I was talking to my fellow fisherman.

How was I making money?

Because my businesses (two separate businesses) were still running at that hour and I had employees out there working. I was fishing. They were working.

I'm always aware of building a system in which I design, and then plug talented people into- that I can replicate over and over and over again, with more and more people.

When I really am older, while other people my age might be downsizing and budgeting- I will not need to. However, I am not a waster and I'm not extravagant, and I'm not high maintenance either. I'll have more choices in life. That's all.

I like choices. If you like choices too, make sure other people can do the work, or you will always be stuck in the- all I can make it what I can earn- syndrome, which, if I were a Playboy Bunny- would definitely be listed as one of my "turn offs".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"C" Number Two- Creative

According to author Joel Saltzman, he quotes education innovator John W. Gardner- not the novelist John Gardner- in Self Renewal as describing how a creative person thinks as stating:

(a creative person is someone who)..."will toy with an idea, try it on for size, look at it from a dozen different angles...Unlike the rest of us, they do not persist stubbornly in one approach to a problem. They can change directions and shift energies. They can give up their initial perception of a problem and redefine it."

Though Saltzman was referring to the process of creative writing, that's exactly the approach I take to business.

If business is not turning a profit the way I thought it would, I will evaluate it, define the problem, create solutions and switch directions until something pops- better stated: until I see positive cash flow.

I enjoy the ability to switch things up. The ability to invent. The ability to rethink. The ability to redefine.

Business is never boring to me for those reasons. I can maneuver how I see fit. Create.

Right now, in one of my companies, I am developing an employee training program. Certainly not for the sake of "having an employee training program", but I want my staff to know exactly what our mission statement is, why it's so important, and how to make that mission statement come alive every time we do business.

I'm in the process of creating that.

Bottom line is, I want a business that will allow me wide margins in which I can express myself. The businesses I own, of their own accord, are creative in nature, while a second wheel inside a wheel, is the act of creating better systems to help me operate even more effectively.

Operating effectively means happy employees. Happy employees mean happy customers, and happy customers mean repeat customers- making me very, very happy!