Are You Drowning Trying to Get it all done yourself?

Here’s a hot button topic that is making its way back into business news this week… I have to be honest and say that I struggle with this myself. How do I figure out what I can do versus what I can hire other people to do for me?

And I can take this one step further this week, because I had to have some minor surgery on my right foot to repair an old running injury. The bottom line is I have to be off my feet for 7-12 days- no driving, no walking- just bed rest- yikes! And I won’t be walking or much less running for at least 4 weeks- double yikes! Talk about needing help. Now this is taking asking for help to the extreme. Yet, I found that I’m not the kind of person that will ask or even accept help very easily. Now that I’m laid flat out with my feet up, I need help, so it’s been a great lesson for me on finding that balance of accepting and asking for help. (Photo- Me and Lily getting some bed rest.)

When we take this into the business realm, there are a million ways to go about this exercise of delegating your work and hiring other to help you. One way that I know of that’s worked for me is to figure out how much my time is worth- what’s my hourly rate if I were to do this myself? Then go to websites like www.guru.com , www.elance.com , www.sologig.com or www.craigslist.org and see what the going rate is if you hired someone else do to the job for you. These websites are a beautiful thing. You can post the job you have and everyone bids on it and you have a wonderful range of people who will basically do the work for very reasonable amounts of money.

The real trick here is if your hourly rate that clients pay you is over $175 an hour, and you’re taking time out of your day to do simple tasks like input data into your client database, or schedule client calls, if you went on elance or guru you could probably get someone to do either of these tasks for much less than $175 an hour. The key here is to spend your time wisely on what you do best and what will bring you the most bang for your buck and your hourly rate. Hire someone to take care of things that will free up your time so you can spend it on more important things to grow your business.

When you’re in business for yourself, the best thing you can do is think smarter about how you’re running your business. You need to use your talents to your best ability. Hire out others to do the things you know you have no business doing yourself. There’s a terrific book by Tim Ferris, The Four Hour Workweek that I read a few months ago. I would highly recommend you read it, if you haven’t already and implement what he says into your business. He does an excellent job of explaining his whole philosophy about delegating, automating and simplifying your business. Plus he gives you a ton of great resources. Check out his website- www.fourhourworkweek.com

Consider this a wake-up call to be more productive in your business. Hire others to help you, so you can grow your business into the incredible money making machine that you deserve. I’ll be cheering you on from my couch in the coming weeks! [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/Are_Your_Drowning_Trying_to_Get_it_all_done_yourself]

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Need more money? Raise Your Prices… That Simple…

Here’s the deal, big talk out there of recession, banks closing and not willing to lend money and on and on. I have to be honest and tell you I really don’t know the half of it because I’m sticking to my word about not reading the newspaper or watching the news anymore. Yet, I have to admit that I just got back from my spring vacation where I’ll come clean and say that I did glance at a newspaper while waiting in the President’s Club at the airport to see what the news was reporting about our economy. Of course it wasn’t good, and everything was fear and horror, so I quickly put the paper down and went to the Lifestyle section where the news was fluffier and friendlier.

Back to my point, because I did have one! In times like these, with recession looming, the best thing you can do is raise your prices and look into making an upward shift of who your clients are. I just read an article in the New York Times that was all about how entrepreneurs are fearful of raising prices because they’ll lose their clients. It was a well written article but I think the point of it to me was backwards. The real truth of the matter is raising prices is good, and losing customers is also good, it means that the shift you’re making in your business is working. Before you think I’m half crazy, let me explain- If your prices are too low and you’ve made price an issue when attracting customers, guess what- all your customers are going to be price sensitive and probably nickel and dime you to death. The real key for you to realize is you’ve attracted this people somehow to your business. So what you really need to do is change your client model, get rid of those folks and upgrade your clients.

More to my point is when I was on vacation in Las Vegas last week. The biggest and most valued customer in this town is the mass affluent- people who have lots of money and are not price sensitive. These are people who want an experience and want to have fun and are not interested in how much it costs.

We really wanted to see the Grand Canyon, yet after a 5 hour flight, the last thing we wanted to do was jump in a car and drive 4 ½ hours. So we looked at some alternatives. I had heard about helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon but figured it was way out of my league. So I was a price sensitive customer, yet to be honest, I did have the money. I was just reluctant because to me it seemed like too much of an indulgence. We started calling a few places and these folks really know who their audience is. We settled on Sundance Helicopter Tours, which I highly recommend. This was THE most incredible experience I’ve ever had. It wasn’t just the fact that we saw the Grand Canyon from the air and flew over Hoover Dam and downtown Las Vegas. It was the whole encompassing experience of the tour. They come in a stretch limo to pick you up at your hotel and take you to their heliport. All the way from check in to lift off you feel like a very important person. When we got to the Grand Canyon, they serve you a picnic lunch complete with champagne! I took over 200 pictures, (Did I mention photography was much more than a hobby of mine!) and it was an experience that in my mind, I would have paid even more money to take advantage of it. That’s the key- going after a clientèle that values what you do, isn’t a price shopper and you in turn give them a lot more value for their money. (Photo- Harrison, my son in the limo.)

The real diamond in the rough here is when you have the guts to raise your prices, yes, you will lose clients, yet the diamond here is you won’t need as many clients because you’re now charging more money. The other diamond is the clients that stay with you, are mostly likely not price sensitive and are most probably staying because they VALUE you and your product/services. (Photo-Me & Harrison in the helicopter)

So what are you waiting for- raise your prices, make more money and shift your way of thinking today. When you’re in a recession- the best clientèle to have are those people who are affected by a recession last. And those people would be the mass affluent- go get them! [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/Need_More_Money_Raise_Your_Prices_that_simple]

The amazing Grand Canyon!

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Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone- Taking Risks…

Most of my life I think I played it pretty safe. Yet, when I look back, there were times when I threw caution to the wind, went for a job as Director of International Marketing that I thought was out of my reach and ended up getting it and literally saw the world. Then again, I also was laid off several times in a 6 year period and totally took a leap of faith and started my own business. ( I just finished writing about this experience. I have a chapter in an upcoming book that will be out this summer- more to come!) But to me, these things don’t seem like that big of a risk because I had support. I had a wonderful success team to help me. I had plenty of referrals from colleagues, friends and family to fuel my marketing business and now I’m off to the races…

The real key I find in business is that you really have to take risks to be more successful and you often times have to step out of that comfort zone. The more I’ve done that, that’s when I’ve reaped wonderful successes.

I wanted to spotlight someone I met a few months ago who’s recently inspired me to rethink my comfort zone and maybe even taking a few more risks. Her name is Gina Otto.

[ A quick sidebar- That’s me and Gina in the photo, taken at these wonderful Women On Fire Tea Parties in New York City that are created by my incredible Executive Coach, Debbie Phillips. In fact, she’s holding her first Tea party in Los Angeles and she’s almost sold out- interested- check out Debbie’s website- http://www.woflosangeles.com ]

If you don’t know Gina, you will indeed in the coming months. She wrote this inspiring book for girls called Cassandra’s Angel. “It’s an amazing book that will move and delight children from four to ninety-four. Its heart-melting story and its timely and empowering message will enable children and parents alike to recognize, own, and nurture the special creative gifts each person has brought to share with the world.” Gina worked in film production, advertising, and the fashion industry for fifteen years. She then began speaking to groups of teenage girls about the importance of self-perception and how it is affected by popular culture and this book was born. She’s someone who I so admire because she had the guts to take a risk to leave a high paying industry to go after her dream. Since her book she’s written a musical which expands the realm of the book and puts her wonderful words into memorable songs.

I had the pleasure of being invited last night to the first reading of the musical. I’ve never attended one of these before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was amazing to watch the actors sit around the table with their scripts, a piano, director and musical director and how they brought it to life. It was so incredibly moving and awe-inspiring.  Seeing Gina’s dream come to life.

Gina is the epitome of someone who had the courage, gumption and support to take a huge risk and go after her dream of seeing her inspiring booked turned into a musical. So I hope what you can take away from here today is that it’s never too late to step out of your comfort zone, take that risk, jump off that proverbial cliff and just hang on because I bet you it will be the best most incredible ride you’ve ever had! [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/What_are_you_waiting_for_Step_out_of_your_comfort_zone_now]

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You are who you hang out with…

Have you ever heard this statement before? “You are a product of who you spend the most time with.” I’ve heard this a number of times in the past two years since I started my own business. In fact my friend and Master Coach, Rob Berkley just wrote about this and tells me and our Mastermind group this all the time. I think I finally get it now…

Me and Kristi Frank at the GKIC Superconference in NashvilleI just came from a very inspiring and idea filled event- Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle Marketing SuperConference in Nashville. It was amazing to me how being surrounded by immensely successful people really elevated my thinking and opened my eyes to a much bigger way of thinking and doing things. Instead of figuring out how to grow my business incrementally, I left with some much larger ideas on how I can grow my business fast in a much shorter time frame. This is what happens when you hang out with incredibly successful people more often. That’s me in the photo with Kristi Frank, she was one of the original members of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.

I have to admit, it did take me a while to get this. I really had to take a hard look at myself and who I was spending time with on a regular basis. I really needed to get rid of those people that, to put it bluntly, sucked the life right out of me. I realized if I wanted to move forward in my work and my life I needed to try to upgrade my friends and colleagues. It takes immense courage to be able to look at who you’re spending time with and ask the question- are these the people who are going to lift me up in work and life or are they going to bring me down? If you want to become really successful, the best thing you can do is hang around with hugely successful people.

The next courageous step is to move towards letting go of those folks who are bringing you down. Take a look at who you’re spending the majority of your time with and seriously look at upgrading your colleagues and friends. Take it from me, you deserve to be incredibly successful and happy. Why not have people in your life who are supportive and want to help you get there.

When you do this exercise, you are basically focusing on your soft skills. You know, how self-aware are you to “see” who those people are that you need to let go of. Are you willing to take that risk?

One thing I did was join a Mastermind group that meets every other month. Hanging out with these successful business owners has improved my business tremendously. In addition I also travel to two – three conferences a year where I get to hang out with entrepreneurs, like Kristi Frank, who are making thousands and millions of dollars. As I said earlier, you are who you hang out with, so why wouldn’t you want to hang out with people who are hugely successful. Don’t wait, upgrade your colleagues and friends now. Join a networking group, a mastermind group, go to a conference that attracts people you want to hang out with that can help you be successful- you deserve it! [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/You_are_a_product_of_Who_you_hang_out_with]

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What do you do when you have a roadblock in your life or in your business?

This past week I was driving to Boston for my Mastermind meeting. I was running a little behind schedule. I really don’t like taking the George Washington Bridge and going through New York because of traffic. However, my traffic radio station said it was the quickest route.

GW BridgeAs I was just passing the toll booth going onto the upper level of the bridge, I saw this rather large pothole and swerved to avoid it. Unfortunately my tired nipped it and then – “boom.” My tire blew out, just as I was getting on the bridge-yikes. I tried not to panic. In fact I was on my wireless headset speaking with a colleague when it happened. I quickly got off the phone, took control of the car, took lots of deep breathes, and severely slowed down and contemplated my options. What would you have done if you were in this situation?

holosyncBefore I started doing some personal work on myself like usingeckhart-tolle.gif Holosync (Centerpointe Institute) to meditate and reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, I’m sure I would have panicked and been pretty freaked out about the whole experience. (Did I mention how I really loathe the GW Bridge and driving through New York?)

Thank goodness I knew I had to keep driving and that I couldn’t stop on the bridge. If I did, I’m sure I would not be here writing to tell my tale. What was more important, my BMW 330xi or my life? Well, certainly I chose my life.

flat tireI finally saw this emergency place and quickly pulled my car over. I cautiously got out to inspect the tire- yikes, as the trucks and cars whizzed by. I called AAA and they were stupendous. They had someone out to get me within 20 minutes. I was a bit anxious because where I was pulled over was not the safest place. The AAA rep told me that I was safer in my car than outside of it and she was right. Instead of thinking about all the atrocities that might come, I practiced my new skills of being in the moment, not worrying or panicking about the next one. I called my loved ones and dear colleagues to explain my mishap and tell them I was ok. The nicest thing was the AAA rep called me back and stayed on the phone with me until the truck got there. I

Tow truckWhen the tow truck came he said he couldn’t change my tire here. He said the last person who changed a tire here lost his legs. I was so incredibly thankful that he told me this story after me and my care were safely in his big tow truck. He was kind and very helpful. He dropped me at a tire center close to the highway. As I was shaking his hand and saying thank you I asked his name. He said his name was “Angel.” I said that was wonderfully ironic because he certainly was my angel that day.

Then at the tire center, the person who fixed my tire was named Gabriel. I knew for certain right then, that this whole experience had happened for a reason. That’s when Gabriel told me not only was my tired flat, but my rim was cracked. And the bad news was that I wasn’t going to make it to my Mastermind meeting in Boston which I was really sad about. Yet, I knew there was a reason for this mishap. My sign was that I needed to slow down and use this extra time to take care of myself and use it wisely, so I turned around and went home.

Has anything like this every happened to you in your business? Have you ever hit a roadblock that prevents you from where you want to go or simply takes you off course? How did you recover, or did you? Did you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do something differently? This is what I would want for you. Don’t ever give up. Surround yourself with a success team and/or a support system and rely on them to help you get through the difficult times. We all can persevere, we just need to keep moving, find a different path, look at things differently and don’t ever give up.

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