What’s your plan to build profitable relationships this Year?

I remember back in January  2011, it was so darn cold, winter was surely coming in like a lion!  And we’d already gotten almost two feet of snow and I was torn on whether to travel or not the next two months, because itwas proving to be a bit of a challenge fly out of the New York/New Jersey area.  And I wrote this from writing from sunny and warm Phoenix, Arizona where I had just attended Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Manager (PM) Mastermind meeting. I almost didn’t make it because it snowed the morning I was supposed to leave and I was about 3 hours late to the meeting.  And now I’m getting ready to pack up and leave tomorrow to go back east and there’s another snow storm looming.  I hope I make it back… but being here in the warmth wouldn’t be so bad….

Yet, this is totally besides the point… The real reason I came here was because it’s my plan. (I mentioned how I create my plans in my “Find Your Hidden Money” blog from earlier this month.) My plan of how I will grow my business through attending workshops, conferences and meetings, and more specifically – building relationships with like-minded entrepreneurs and forming bonds to help our businesses grow.  This is really crucial to creating a more successful business and I ALWAYS plan out my travel schedule in January so I know exactly how it fits into my goals and the outcome I want for the year.

So how will this year be different from 2010?  What have I learned? What will I do differently in terms of building relationships?

  1. Plan 1 trip or less in a month – Last year I traveled way too much!  Some months I was away for  more than 10 days, it totally felt like I was back in corporate America. So I’m not doing that this year, with the exception of this month where I have two back to back trips.  In fact, I really just don’t like traveling as much anymore. I find as an entrepreneur I really like being in my home office.  This is a little red flag because I certainly don’t want to become isolated and a hermit working day to day, week to week, month to month alone in my office.  As my awesome Executive Coach Debbie Phillp’s always told me, “Isolation is a dream killer.” So you need to plan some travel and get out of your office and connect with like-minded people.
  2. Connect with more folks while I’m away – Last year because I traveled so much I just didn’t have time to connect with people before I left. So this year, I’m contacting friends, colleagues and clients before my trips to major cities to see if I can meet with them in person to connect and continue building my relationship with them.  This really has to do more with working smarter – not harder – and managing my time better when I’m on the road.
  3. Create Goals for my travel – This is another critical piece, to actually write down my goals for each of my trips.  On the plane, I simply took out a piece of paper and wrote down the outcome I wanted to get from this trip to Phoenix where I attended Jeff Walker’s PLM Mastermind.  And I’m happy to say I accomplished all the goals I set out for this meeting and then some. So always have a plan and goals when you travel to make your trips out of your office more productive and fun too.

So don’t spend all day every day at your computer, in your office or wherever. You need to get out and connect with other people. How about finding a conference in your business niche to attend this year? Ask your colleagues where they go to charge their business batteries each year?  Plan out your year, plan out the conferences, workshops or trips you will take that will help build and grow your business. Also, don’t forget to take some fun trips, or maybe tack on a day or so to a business trip to have some gun too.

Here was my Travel Plan For 2011 to Accomplish my Goals:

  • January 25 – 27 – heading to Las Vegas for Yanik Silver’s Mastermind meeting
  • February 21 – 27 – heading to LA for the Ultimate Internet Bootcamp
  • March 3 – 6 – heading to D.C. to Yanik Silver’s Underground 7
  • April 27 – May 1 – heading to Chicago for GKIC Superconference
  • June- 6 – 10 –heading to  Carmel, CA for some R&R
  • June 25 – July 9 – heading to Naples, ME for family vacation in our summer home

I’d encourage you to create your own strategic plan and goals around your travel this year which is really an incredibly important way for you to build relationships and to help grow your business and beyond.

So, get out your calendar now and plan the ways you will invest in yourself and your business to make your goals actually happen!

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Lost in Vacationland and Other Adventures…

Wow, I had hoped to communicate while I was on vacation, but it just wasn’t mean to be…. not sure what happened- maybe it was all the people that came to visit. Or maybe it was that I just needed to unplug, revamp and revitalize myself… Have you every had those moments, where you just need to take some time and unplug? I have to say it was really nice not being tethered to a computer and email and to enjoy my time off and all the company that came to visit.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to take more than 2 weeks off. In fact, the last time I was able to do that was back in 2000 when I was laid off and was out of work for 3 months. It was incredibly stressful, but I was still able to travel and visit family and shake things up. When I hear people going through major transitions like being laid off or going through a relationship break-up- one of my favorite survival tips is to go on a vacation- get out of your house and your environment and by doing so, it will shift how you see everything.

We spent over 16 days in our summer family home in Maine on Sebago Lake. We usually only stay there for 7 days, but because we were there for much longer, we were really able to settle in, and hang out. It was one of our best vacations ever because the weather was incredible and we had some old and new friends come and stay with us. We got our boat in the water, and had some picnics, hung out on the beach, ate lots of lobster and ice cream, not necessarily in that order… (Photo Above- That’s our house- I took the photo from our boat.)

The most fun thing we did was being able to take the boat out almost every day and enjoy the water. When we’ve been there in the past, the lake is usually too cold to get in it. This time since we were there for so long, the lake really warmed up and we swam a lot more than we’ve ever had. (Photo- That’s me driving the boat- pretty serious business ensuring everyone’s fun and safety!)

Also it was so much fun to have Lily (who turned 1 yr while we were there) come with us for the first time. Being in the car for 6 1/2 hours was a first for her. Taking her for a long walk before we left and stopping twice really helped out a lot. Thank goodness she got her sea legs and settled right in on her pillow next to Harrison, (my son) who was watching movies the whole way.

We found out that Lily who’s 49% Golden Retriever, didn’t get the water gene. She did not like being in the water at all. She did love running around and the daily hikes through the woods we took every day. The smells and interesting animals were very entertaining for her and I! (Photo- That’s Lily by the water- not ever wanting to get in it!)

So I hope you’re able to get a great, relaxing vacation in this summer. You really do deserve it- we all do! There’s nothing like taking time off to refresh, revamp and revitalize you and your family and your work/business. Hope you’re having a fantastic summer! (Photo- Harrison watching his movie while Lily sleeps during the ride to Maine.)


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Discovering 4 Travel Secrets on my Trip to Martha’s Vineyard

Back at home now, I’m writing from my second floor office where the view out of my window is a bit dreary- the rain is back. Yet, as I sit and reflect about my trip to Martha’s Vineyard, it was far from dreary. In fact, I discovered 4 really cool secrets that I wanted to share with you.

Before departing on our trip there’s the usual freneticness that goes along with any kind of travel these days requiring leaving your house for more than a few days. Since the summer is upon us, I know I’m not alone in my quest for sanity amidst the travel. Key for me was trying to figure out what to do with our sweet, adorable, 11 month old Golden Collie- Lily, who’s entwined herself into our hearts forever. (Photo- Here’s Lily hanging on the porch.) When we went to Las Vegas we had put her in the kennel and found out when we got back that she was sad and depressed. So for this next trip I needed to find another option. As things always work as they’re supposed to, our dog walker found us the most incredible dog sitter that would stay with Lily. So my first travel secret was 1) Having Peace of Mind- how much would you pay for peace of mind to take care of your animals, plants and home while you’re away? Well let me tell you, I’m not sure I can put a price on my peace of mind. To me, it was priceless not to have to worry about Lily or our home while being away.

This leads me to my next discovery- 2) Trusting Your Gut- as it turned out, our dog sitter Justin was a godsend. He took great care of Lily. In fact, he walked her for 8 miles each day and then played with her all the time so she was way too tired to chew anything in the house. I’m glad I could trust my gut on this one. (Photo- Lily so tired she fell off her bed!)

Then my next discovery- 3) Taking a Chance- we drove from New Jersey to Wood’s Hole, MA and had a decent idea when we’d get there, depending of course on traffic all along the coast. As it turned out we arrived into Wood’s Hole at 8:20 pm. The ferry was leaving at 8:30pm- what to do? The next and last ferry was leaving at 9:45 pm and we didn’t want to wait. Yet, we were not planning on taking the car and we didn’t have a reservation. (In the summer you need a reservation for your car.) Plus, we didn’t have time to park in the lot, unload our stuff and be able to make the 8:30 pm ferry. So I took a chance. I had nothing to lose- all they could say was no. This was all new to me, trying to take a car on a boat. I simply drove right up to the entrance and asked if we could go standby and the next thing you know- he said there was room for the car and hurry and go buy a ticket. I ran as fast as I could in the terminal, whipped out my Amex Platinum, and had my round trip reservation to Martha’s Vineyard with my car. Wow, that was just the coolest feeling, taking a chance, and having it all work out so splendidly. So we made the 8:30 pm boat and were the lasts ones on. I couldn’t have planned this any better. (Photo- Car Ferry entrance at Wood’s Hole.)

The ferry ride was smooth and easy, and we got to see the beautiful sun disappear along the horizon. This was my son Harrison’s first ferry ride and he totally enjoyed it! (Photo- Sunset from the ferry on the way to MV)

My last discovery on our trip was- 4) Spending Time with Those You Love- this discovery has lots of meaning to me. I never seem to take enough time to be with those I love and make time to share some laughter, food and just hang out and “be with.” Spending time on Martha’s Vineyard with my Executive Coaches and friends- Debbie Phillips & Rob Berkley was doubly wonderful because I was able to bring my family. They’ve never been to MV and I was able to introduce them to all new adventures. Suffice to say we had many moments where we laughed until we cried, ate some inspiring and delicious food, met some other fabulous Islanders, saw some incredible beach and ocean views and had some wonderful adventures. (I even managed to squeeze in attending one of Debbie’s “Women on Fire Tea Party’s”– the first one on MV!) (Photo-Me and Debbie Phillips having breakfast at the MV airport.)

Don’t deprive yourself this summer of these 4 Travel Secrets-

1) Having Peace Of Mind

2) Trusting Your Gut

3) Taking A Chance

4) Spending Time With Those You Love.

I guarantee a steady diet of these 4 travel secrets and we won’t be able to wipe that smile off your face come September- promise! [digg=http://digg.com/travel_places/Discovering_4_Travel_Secrets_on_my_Trip_to_Martha_s_Vineyard]

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