You have a bunch of creative ideas, right? How will you feel at the end of the year if you haven’t finished a single one of those brilliant ideas?
We tend to attract the people who have lessons for us and I’ve noticed something so many of my friends, clients and readers have in common. We are all big idea people who have a plethora of inspirational sparks igniting faster than we can address them. This is a positive trail UNLESS you think you have to act on them all right now or they’ll disappear.
This is a tough one for me to remember but you know what? Those ideas aren’t going anywhere and you don’t have to jump on them before someone beats you to it. Even if someone does that brilliant thing you thought of, they won’t do it your way so you have something unique when you get to it. Jot it down, put it in your e-notes or voice-memo yourself -whatever you need to do to get it out of your head. File it in your “idea” folder, either paper or virtual, and GET BACK TO WHAT YOU WERE DOING.
Often, we think that great idea is more likely to make a bigger difference, make more money or make us happier than the project we are currently working on so we get sidetracked. Over and over. And you know what happens then? At the end of the year, we have lots of great beginnings and not one single finished project.
If this is you, if you find yourself constantly getting distracted by the next shiny, brilliant idea, I’m going to give you a challenge. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW.
PICK ONE IDEA and give it your absolute complete attention for the next 10 weeks. If it feels too big, break it down to the part that’s most important to you and give yourself the goal of completing this one thing by the end of the year. Tell someone. maybe tell a lot of people. Post it on Facebook. Tell your kids. Tell someone you feel super accountable to. Tell yourself it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done.
You’re invited to post your 10 week project in the comments below and then email me when it’s finished. I’d love to share your accomplishments.
Ready, Set, GO.
I’ve heard that when someone asked Ernest Hemingway how to begin to write a novel, his response was “First you defrost the refrigerator.”
Do you have a project you’ve been putting off forever? Are you feeling like you’ll never complete it because it feels too big and overwhelming? Maybe you’ve begun and then put it on hold to do something else and never gotten back to it. Or you haven’t even started it.
My friend and client Keri told me about a brilliant idea for a business. She was working a full time job and couldn’t quit until she had her business rolling but the thought of all she had to do to get to that point felt overwhelming. She imagined taking an unpaid sabbatical to work on her business but kept finding reasons she couldn’t take time off. The whole project just seemed too big to tackle so she felt paralyzed. An entire year went by and she did nothing.
Here’s how we solved her dilemma and got her business going. We made a list of all the things that would have to happen before she could launch her business. I helped her put the tasks in order and then asked her to commit just 2 hours a week to this list. Some weeks she worked the 2 hours straight on a Saturday. Other times, she found it easier to take fifteen or twenty minutes in the morning and do one thing on the list. Some days, it was simply a phone call or sending one email. Imagine if she’d done that a year prior? Instead of feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, she’d have put in over a hundred hours in tiny increments and have her business up and rolling.
If you’re like many of us, you have an idea for something that could make a big difference in your life or career but you just can’t seem to ever get to it.
In my private consulting, group coaching and also in the Mastermind Groups that Barbara Winter and I facilitate, I see this often.
Here are several ways you can get out of overwhelm and get that project launched once and for all:
- Break your BIG idea down into small, manageable parts. (Think about Keri’s 15-20 minutes a day. That’s 104 hours a year. Or if your project involves completing 90 tasks, do one small thing a day and you’ll have it nailed in three months.
- Make appointments with yourself to complete incremental tasks more frequently. Rather than wait until you can take a couple of weeks off to work on your project, schedule each small step on your calendar.
- Reward yourself for completing each piece. My favorite activity is walking my dog in nature so I promise myself that once I complete a particular chunk of work, often a tiny piece, I get to take a walk on the beach, by the lake or in the woods.
- Pay yourself. Seriously. You know that gorgeous lamp you covet for your home office but you don’t feel right spending the money until you have your business going? Try this: every time you mark off one item on your to-do list, put a dollar in your “purple lamp fund jar” and in six months, you’ll have your business launched AND $180. for the lamp.
- Track your progress. Try what my friend Laura did last winter when she was feeling particularly unproductive. One evening she sat down and made a list of every small thing she had done all day. Then she titled it “to-do today” and checked each item off. Particularly if you’ve been telling yourself you’re a procrastinator, listing even the tiniest tasks can give you a sense of accomplishment which will keep your momentum going.
If you are ready to tackle that BIG project now but need help lining up the priorities and implementing the above steps,
- Find an accountability buddy, coach or join a mastermind group. There is something powerful in having a small group of entrepreneurial friends to run ideas by, help you with challenges and celebrate your triumphs. If you’ve made a commitment to your group that you will have a particular amount of progress accomplished by a specific time, you’ll be more likely to get it done.
Yesterday I took my mom for her brain MRI and then to the neurosurgeon at the University Medical Center for a follow-up. After he gave us the good news, no changes, the surgeon asked how my business is doing and told me this story:
A man he knows was let go from a position at a large corporation where he’d been responsible for training and supervising a staff of three hundred. After two years of unsuccessful job search, this man became frustrated and decided to try something of his own. He’d gone through a lot of his savings so he needed the business to be no or low start-up cost. Since he’d always loved tinkering around the house and fixing things, he put a sign on his van and began a handyman business. He quickly had more work than he could do alone so purchased a second vehicle and trained a guy to work under him. Eventually, he grew his handyman business to 30 trucks and 30 handy men and has replaced his six figure corporate income.
The key here was that he didn’t start his own business doing what he’d always done but took the strengths he’d developed in his corporate position (training and supervising a team) and applied these skills to something completely different that he enjoyed.
What parts of your past career have been fun and easy for you? Which tasks in your job feel like second nature? How can you take these strengths and apply them to create a business that’s personally fulfilling? As always, you’re invited to share your thoughts in the comments below.
This post was originally published a year ago but it’s a way of honoring my dad and the offer at the bottom is open again.
September has always been a time of new beginnings for me. Yes, most people think of January as a time for fresh starts and of course spring is time of re-birth. Maybe it’s my Jewish upbringing because the Jewish New Year begins in the fall, or just left-over school days excitement about moving up to the next grade. Possibly it’s the years I spent in retail when Labor Day signaled the end of tourist season and the time to place orders for the holidays. Whatever the reason, I get fired up to do new things in September.
Ten years ago on the first of September my father passed away. Flying back east for to bury himl, I couldn’t help but wonder at his timing. Had he waited until Labor Day so that I wouldn’t have to leave my business during tourist season? As you know if you are a regular reader, my dad was the greatest influence in my life as entrepreneur. My cheerleader and confidante, he encouraged me to start up businesses, even those he didn’t really understand. Having spent his career selling competitively priced goods, he was baffled by my confidence in selling to a more upscale crowd. He thought in volume while I wanted to know the person responsible for creating each product. One thing we had in common, though, was that we both loved designing new business models and couldn’t imagine not being self employed.
Do you also find yourself thinking this is the time to start up something new or make changes? Does the fall get you motivated to step up to your dreams and make those ideas take shape? Are you ready to finally do what it takes to make your business more meaningful and more profitable? The best ROI you’ll ever realize is when you invest in yourself and in your dreams.
Because I want to see you finally dive in and get your business rolling, I am extending my summer Idea Generator Package through September or until slots fill.
That means 3 Session Package for $378. (That’s a SAVINGS of $189. on a $567. Value for three sessions purchased separately. In other words, you are getting one session F*R*E*E*) Find out more HERE
My friend, mentor and workshop co-facilitator Barbara Winter talks about how small is still great for many of us when it comes to business. I experienced this first hand years ago when my partner and I butted heads over this issue: he wanted to grow our business more quickly. I knew that if we wanted it to be sustainable, we needed to strengthen our existing organization. With eight stores, we made a fantastic income and had a fulfilling lifestyle. He argued for rapid expansion. Exhausted from trying to reign things in, I backed down. Simply put, we doubled in size and volume but made half as much money and had twice the stress. Obvious lesson: BIG is NOT always best.
The same goes for seminars. There is a trend the last few years for big name authors, speakers and coaches to hold huge events with hundreds or even thousands of attendees. For some entrepreneurs, this works just fine. If you’re an extrovert, those huge seminars are a good way to network and get re-energized. If you tend to be more introverted, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed in that setting and feel drained afterwards.
The decision to participate in a large seminar vs small workshop can also depend on where you are in your business. If you’re already established, profitable and clear that you’re on the right track but just want to grow your connections and expand your presence, the larger venues might be a good tool for meeting the right people to grow your business.
But, for those of you who need more guidance and support to launch or grow a business and more fulfilling life, those mega-seminars just don’t cut it. If your business is not yet making the income you desire or enabling the lifestyle you envision, you need more personal attention and ongoing support and accountability.
That’s why Barbara Winter and I limit our Mastermind Magic to 8 participants. Rather than sitting in an auditorium listening to us TELL you the “secrets to success”, we spend 2 1/2 days in a hotel suite LISTENING to your individual dreams and helping you overcome the obstacles that have held you back. There is no formula, no lecture and no agenda other than to focus on YOUR personal goals and and map out a customized plan to make that vision a real, income producing business. There are still a couple of spots to work face-to-face with us in August and if you register in the next 3 days, you save $100. Find out more HERE
This holiday weekend, I was very well fed at the home of my friends Pat and Chad.. The first morning, I was greeted with the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans and a savory omelette and fresh fruit. I joked that I’d hit them on a good weekend since she was making a big holiday breakfast. As he cleared the table, Chad told me “This is how we eat every day: 3 healthful, well-balanced meals with ingredients picked fresh from the garden. I”m spoiled.”
Not long after the breakfast dishes were done, Pat went out to the garden and brought in more fresh herbs and commenced to prepare the next meal. In fact, she spent most of the weekend either tending the garden, snipping herbs, peeling chopping and sauteing vegetables. She appeared to be enjoying every minute of it. I asked if she’d always loved to grow and prepare nutritious food and if she’d ever considered making a career around this passion. She said, “I’ve always loved it but growing up in the 50s and 60s in Minnesota, it just never seemed like a viable option. I was supposed to choose a stable career so I went to law school.” I knew Pat had not ever worked as an attorney, that she’d lost interest by the time she earned her law degree.
Since I’ve known her, she’s held retail and clerical positions, cleaned houses and been a companion to the elderly. She’d never particularly enjoyed any of them but she took these jobs to contribute to the family income. Now, in her mid sixties, she’s finally able to spend her days doing what she loves: planning and planting, gardening and cooking, but she’s convinced she’s too old to make a career of it.
Watching the joy and satisfaction she appeared to find in these activities, I felt sad to think she spent a lifetime doing work she found unfulfilling because doing what she really loved was not considered a “viable option” as a means of income.
Are there activities that light your fire but you can’t see them as income opportunities? What things have you always enjoyed doing that were never seen as “viable options”?
Bring your passions to Denver in August and Barbara Winter and I, along with a handful of other creative entrepreneurs, will work through the obstacles and help you figure out how to turn that burning interest into income. Find out more HERE
Here in the US we celebrate Independence Day July 4th with barbecues, sparklers and parades. It’s a time to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and for many with jobs, it’s a day off work.
As the fireworks light up the night sky this week, I am also reminded of another independence to feel grateful for. I am not dependent on an employer to tell me when I can or can not spend a midweek day playing with friends and family.
If you envy those of us who are self-employed, maybe Independence Day is the perfect time to finally make that commitment to give your own dream the time and energy any good idea deserves.
Are you ready to create your own independence? Here’s another reason to celebrate:
If you register by July 15th, you can still get the Early Bird price for the upcoming Mastermind Magic: Overcoming Obstacles and Maintaining Momentum with Barbara Winter and a free hour on the phone with me refining your big idea. HERE’S THE SCOOP
Is isolation or lack of supportive entrepreneurial friends holding you back from growing your dream business?
Whenever I visit my son outside Asheville, I notice signs on I-40 in Western North Carolina declaring towns as “Certified Entrepreneurial Communities”. Of course, my first thought was, “shouldn’t all communities be entrepreneurial?” I finally Googled “certified entrepreneurial community” .
AdvantageWest Economic Development Group’s official definition of their economic development strategy (Certified Entrepreneurial Community) : “a program that helps communities (towns, areas, and counties) become entrepreneur ready. That means the overall business climate, policies, regulations, and opportunities to learn and grow are simple to find and available. It also means there’s a positive, enthusiastic attitude that permeates the culture. One that asks “how can we help you start and succeed at business?” A Certified Entrepreneurial Community is one of economic opportunity for entrepreneurs.”
Having been a brick and mortar retailer in the past, I have been part of developing an entrepreneur-friendly physical environment but I know that it’s even more vital for those of us who do all or most of our business on-line and by phone to find or form a “community” of entrepreneurial friends.
Yes, there are online forums, chatrooms and social media sites where you can connect with fellow entrepreneurs and support one another. Still, I hear from many fledgling self-employed folks who feel isolated trying to launch or grow their solo businesses without the support of entrepreneurs they’ve met in person. Coaches these days offer group virtual self-study courses and some organize mastermind groups but it’s not the same as face-to-face time with a small group of kindred spirits who commit to continue to support one another as they grow their livelihoods.
This past year, I’ve had the honor of witnessing the power of a mastermind group who originally met in person and continue monthly phone calls and frequent emails to hold each other accountable and work together to meet their goals of self-employment.
The past two years, Barbara Winter , best-selling author “Making a Living Without a Job”, and I invited a select group of aspiring and fledgling entrepreneurs to join us in an intimate setting to address any and all roadblocks that have been holding them back from finally launching or expanding their dream business. Since then, we’ve had monthly group sharing and accountability calls. In the time between those calls, lots of emails have flown back and forth amongst the group asking for and receiving advice and feedback, helping one another get un-stuck, sharing resources and of course, reporting triumph and celebrating successes.
Barbara and I are so inspired by the forward momentum and victories of the attendees of our last Mastermind that we’ve scheduled a new Mastermind Magic for August. Whether you know what you love but not how to make it profitable, or you already have a business and want to make it MORE fun and more profitable, this is for YOU. Learn more about how you can be part of our entrepreneurial community and hear what previous attendees have to say HERE.
Recently, I’ve had the great honor of witnessing just how powerful a mastermind can be. In January 2012 and again this Jan., Barbara Winter and I invited a select group of aspiring and fledgling entrepreneurs to join us in an intimate setting to address any and all roadblocks that have been holding them back from finally launching their dream business. Since then, we’ve had monthly group sharing and accountability calls. In the time between those calls, lots of emails have flown back and forth amongst the group asking for and receiving advice and feedback, helping one another get un-stuck, sharing resources and of course, reporting triumph and celebrating successes.
Barbara and I are so inspired by the forward momentum and victories the attendees of our last two Masterminds that we have scheduled a new Mastermind Magic for August. Check out what past participants had to say HERE
What do Bill Gates, Plato, Harvey Firestone, Andrew Carnegie, Ben and Jerry (ice cream), Aristotle, Thomas Edison and Socrates all have in common?
What do Bill Gates, Plato, Harvey Firestone (tires), Andrew Carnegie, Ben and Jerry (ice cream), Aristotle, Thomas Edison and Socrates all have in common?
None of them did it alone. They all were part of a group that met regularly with the purpose of helping one another attain their goals. They were each involved in a Mastermind.
In fact, I don’t know of a single person who has been super successful without the help of a mastermind.
Just as you’re more likely to drag yourself out of bed if you’re running buddy is counting on you and you’re less likely to stray from your diet if you have to weigh in weekly with the group at Weight Watchers, having an accountability group keeps you on task.
Accountability is only one of many reasons entrepreneurs need to be part of a mastermind.
The beauty of a mastermind group lies in it’s ability to defy mathematics. You see, when you put 8 entrepreneurs in a room together, the resulting brain power is much more than the sum of 4+4. I can’t tell you why but I believe it has something to do with the way entrepreneurs thrive on challenge and problem solving. We love to share what we’ve learned to help others achieve success.
If you haven’t been successful in launching or growing your small business, it’s likely because you don’t have a group of other entrepreneurs to brainstorm with, network on your behalf and challenge you to work towards and meet your goals.
An effective mastermind group will give you the benefit of different perspectives and share resources, tactics and connections. You’ll inspire each other and offer valuable feedback that your friends, family or employees can’t give because they just don’t understand the way an entrepreneur thinks. You need people who can relate to and give input on your unique challenges because they’ve been there.
When you occasionally spin off course, get sidelined or distracted by too many ideas or you lose momentum because of a let-down, your mastermind will help you get back on track and regain focus.
A well-functioning mastermind will help you overcome your stumbling blocks because they are looking at your obstacles through varying lenses, bringing different skill sets from diverse backgrounds.
If you’re a solo-entrepreneur, you can’t go it alone. You need the mutual support, advice and counsel of other entrepreneurs and the guidance of those who’ve climbed the mountain before you.
Because we believe that being part of an effective mastermind group is like having your own board of directors, Barbara Winter and I have put together something you’ll want to be a part of. Get the scoop HERE.