Homepreneurs Talk: Proudest Business Accomplishments

business empowerment Here’s another Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homepreneurs a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home. 

Today’s Q is:

What aspect of your business, products or services are you most proud of and why?

Stephanie Watson from Barry Publishing says:

Online BusinessOne of the things I pride myself on, is being on time. I’m not saying I am perfect, but 99 percent of the time, I am on time. If I am not, something horrible has happened. I believe that deadlines are very important to honor. If you find that half way through a project, that you cannot get something done, be sure and let your customer know immediately. Life happens, and most people are understanding about that, but it’s important to give your client a heads up when something might prevent you from meeting a deadline so that they can make other arrangements if needed.

I am also proud of helping new online business owners develop and implement their content plan. Content is arguably the most important aspect of building a business online outside of the actual product or service you are selling. Without content, no one can find you, and if they do find you, they won’t really get to know you, like you, and trust you enough to purchase from you. I’m super proud to work with people who have a dream and have the gumption to follow through on meeting their goals and realizing their dreams.

I’m also very proud that 90 percent of my clients have been my clients for several years. To me, having long-term clients is an essential component in being able to deliver the high caliber of work that I work so hard to achieve. The good thing about having long-term clients is the fact that they’re not as worried about giving me constructive feedback. The more feedback I can get the better job I can do. So, the longer I work with someone, the better everything gets. It becomes almost effortless.

I should mention that I’m not alone here. Without my current team of dedicated contractors who help me meet deadlines, no matter what, I couldn’t do this. Two of my team members happen to be my grown daughters — so that makes me super proud to know what an awesome work ethic they have. So often people around you might think you’re just sitting around at home doing nothing as a work at home entrepreneur, but I have children and a husband who get it, and are helpful to me. So, I’m proud of them too.

Alicia Jay from New VA Advice says:

Online BusinessThere are a lot of aspects of my businesses that I’m really proud of, but a couple of things stand out for me in particular.

The first is pride in my transcription business. That was the first business I ever had online. I started out 7 months pregnant and laid off with this little idea in my head of what I wanted my life to be like with my new baby. I had no prior experience running an online business and I had never even heard of WordPress. But I’m proud that I put in the time, effort and research, built my own website and figured out how to build a client list from zero, as well as starting out with zero online contacts. To go from that tiny idea of working for myself so that I could be home to raise my son to now having a full, regular client base that love my work still makes me really proud.

The other thing that I’m really proud of is the first training program that I ever created, General Transcription Bootcamp. I love that it came out of the real need of people coming to me to find a reliable way to learn transcription. I developed the course from concept to completion with input from mentors and a beta round. I have pride in knowing that I took a concept, created it into a reality and then shared it with others who really needed it.

Lastly, I think the most important thing to me is pride in knowing that both of my businesses benefit others, my honesty and integrity, reaching outside of my comfort zone and acknowledging that I can’t do it all alone.

Samantha Pointer-Foxx from Get It Together says:

Online BusinessI am most proud of my Weekend Organizing course. In my business I find that most people have a hard time just getting started with organizing. I can’t possibly be everywhere at the same time physically to help everyone, but I can provide a step by step action plan to get them started on their organizing journey. That is why I made Weekend Organizing. It is a step-by-step course that helps people get their home organized one area at a time in small weekend projects. I love the fact that it takes the overwhelm out of getting organized and you have a plan for maintaining your new space as well. I love sharing and helping people to get organized and this is my way of doing that. You can find out more at www.organizingguru.com.

Helena Bowers from Your Message Amplified says:

business empowermentI’m not much of one for singing my own praises, but since you asked, the piece of my business I’m most proud of is my graphic creations. I was never very visually artistic when that meant drawing freehand – my father used to say I couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler — but turn me loose in Photoshop and I can get lost for days.

One of the things I love most about it is that I get to use my intuition and really create something that I think my clients will love. So many times people have said to me “I want something blue and pretty” or “just make it simple”. The real challenge comes when someone says “I’m not exactly sure what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it.”  That one requires some serious meditation time to be able to visualize what I think they will want.

The thing that really fires me up is that first “I love it! You’ve nailed it!” from the client. I’ve always been more of a behind-the-scenes person, so knowing that I’ve created something that will help others achieve success makes me feel proud of myself and my business.

My Insights 

lyzqa.pngWhen it comes to accomplishing big things for your small home based business, nothing is too big or too small to toot your own horn for. Business is a big leap for most people. It’s an endeavor many don’t have the courage to proceed with. By itself, it’ s an accomplishment to be proud of. As you continue to evolve, you endure new courses.  You grow and progressively thrive.

Every new win is an invitation for a new challenge. And every new challenge has a potential to make or break your business. The odds are against you. Your chances of making it are very slim. It’s why only a small group of people can say they are entrepreneurs even though those who have entrepreneurial spirits, the ones who only dream, far outnumber people who have already reached that status.

So, when you’ve achieved a certain milestone, there’s nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back. Heck, you’ve spent a good part of your journey doubting yourself, over-thinking and perhaps even missing out on opportunities for no real good reason.

The Sparkplugging homepreneur panel shared their proudest accomplishments, serving as a motivational kick, and maybe even offering a competitive inkling for those who aspire to be in the internet home business space.

I find pride in stretching my boundaries…In leaping as a budding internet home business owner and acquiring Sparkplugging despite my lack of experience and in spite of the robe of anxiety I wore (I still wear sometimes) as I run it live. It’s all-good.

Go on and indulge in your proudest business moments. You have permission. And don’t be afraid to embrace change. It may lead to your most successful undertaking.

How to Clarify Your Business Direction

Business DirectionAs I was combing through older content on the blog, I came across this blog post, Three Business Lessons Learned from a Robot. The analogy is funny but the tips where full of insight. It made me think about how important it is to have a sense of direction when it comes to your business.

I think it goes a little beyond steps to setting goals, especially for a small internet home business run by solopreneurs. Sometimes  fear, lack of clarity, limited support and having no sense of direction gets the better of us.

See, you and I were trained to fail in entrepreneurship because we weren’t given the tools to manage through the hardships, fight through the struggles and withstand the unpredictability that frequently comes with running a business.

When we were younger, we followed house rules and directives from our parents. In school, we were guided by lesson plans facilitated by our teachers. At a job, we were given a set of tasks based on a job description. So when it comes to taking risks in entrepreneurship, resistance sets in because we’re not given a “guide” to follow. Take a look at this inspirational yet informational video featuring Seth Godin - Failing Until You Succeed.

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Who’s In Charge?

Many people I’ve come across have fantasized about starting a business at one point or another. My sister, who has a business degree, has specifically admitted she is afraid of failing. My best friend has had a longtime dream of opening up a childcare center. She quit her job last December and got very close to closing a deal on a property several months ago. The deal folded and she became paralyzed by disappointment. She is she now back to working a job. Another one of my friends grew up with an entrepreneurial father. She has dreams of starting a horticulture therapeutic center but feels she is not “organized” enough to even know where to begin.

There’s nothing worse than the hopeless feeling of jumping around aimlessly and later rationalizing your “failure” to a set of circumstances you created a belief around. You either have an internal or external locus of control, meaning things happen because of you or to you. Your viewpoint can affect your success.

I’ve always been passionate about facing fears and making breakthroughs. I encourage my clients and patients to give themselves permission to be bold – it’s cliché but true. But if you don’t know where you are going, it’s much more difficult to stay focused and grounded.

Visualizing what you want

There’s a lot of research done about visualization. Some people swear by vision boards. I, for one, believe that it definitely helps to envision and image  and actually feeling what it’s like to get there. It creates this energy and momentum and keeps you zoned in, even when you are not consciously thinking about it. I use something similar where I place a description of my ultimate business vision on my bedroom night table that way I see it as soon as I wake up. Not in a Law of Attraction kind of way but I feel it helps to remind me while my brain cells are fresh of what I need to do to get one step closer.  Check out these tips I found on how to use visualization to achieve your goals.

Setting Intentions

Goals are very individualistic. There is a reason why you want to accomplish “that thing”. The tangible outcome is rarely what you are after. Not to get touchy-feely but normally it’s a search for a feeling (accomplished, loved, smart, sexy, free, etc.). Get to know yourself. Self-awareness can be fun. It’s almost like putting a puzzle together.

Heighten up your senses to what stands out for you during the course of a day. It helps you identify what’s important to you so you can factor those into your business journey. For me, it’s noticing children, happy couples, and people’s moods. I love to people watch and notice when a person looks sad. I take note of businesses that go out of business and speculate on the circumstances. I wonder, did the owners give up? You can almost always find something that will satisfy you and the needs of the people you serve.

A Measurable Contract With Yourself

In business, setting measurable goals can help your business direction and ultimately its success. Most people find business success using a combination of their interests, values, passions and skills. Write down the actions you will take and what behaviors will you change in order to get there. Make your it specific enough where you can see progress and allow you the opportunity to praise yourself for small wins that will eventually turn into larger ones. Writing it down also makes things more concrete and establishes a contract with yourself. You’ll keep growing, refining and expanding as you move along.

The Power of Masterminding

This point was brought up in Lynette Chandler’s post. She says, “Now to figure out, what or who can be the GPS for your business? I think the answer is fairly obvious. It is a good business coach or a group of like minded people like a mastermind group made up of people you can trust.” Think about the power of gaining the insights of an expert or group of experts brainstorming and networking together and gaining perspective at a much quicker pace. Plus, it’ll help you stay accountable. Here are a few I belong to Blogging Concentrated, Solo Masterminds, Lynn Terry’s Private Brainstorming Group, MyNams (some of these have free and paid memberships).

Here’s How to Get Inspired When You’re Feeling Stuck as an Entrepreneur

Welcome to Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.inspiration

Today’s Q is: 

Where do you find inspiration when you feel like you’ve hit a plateau in your business?

Helena Bowers from Your Message Amplified says:

headshot-dec-2012-100When I hit a plateau in my business the first thing I try to do is get out of my own way. I know that I have the tendency to make things harder than they have to be, so the first place I look for inspiration is outside in nature. I’ll often take my camera and head to the river for a long walk and some quiet time communing with the ducks. The stillness gives me the space I need to get out of my own head and let the ideas flow. More often than not I end up coming home with a pretty good idea of what my next step should be, as well as a fresh batch of pictures to work with!

Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:

BrendaFunky_me.jpgI’m not sure if I ever run out of ideas. The reason is because I get them from my clients. They come to me with new questions before I even know I have an answer.

 

Jessica Lee from Psychic Readings Guide says:

jessica-leeI love this question because I think it’s so important to feel inspired when working.  When I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, I know it’s because I am over thinking things and not letting the business flow organically. That signals me to step back and take a few hours off doing something enjoyable that is unrelated to business, such as taking a ride or baking.  Usually, once I get into a relaxed state, ideas will quickly start to flow again.

Another thing I do is keep inspiration boards on Pinterest.  I pin blogs that I admire and articles that I have enjoyed reading.  When I go back and reread these pieces, I remember what I loved about them, and this often gets my creative juices flowing.

I also have several book excerpts highlighted on various Kindle books.  Sometimes, one great quote or a few paragraphs from a chapter is enough to inspire me.  For me, it’s all about not fighting the current.  Trying to force things when they’re not happening naturally is not fun.  Relaxing, taking a step back, and having inspiration boards that I can refer to works really well for me.

Reba Collins from PLR One Stop says:

profile-reba100x100I find inspiration in almost everything, every person, and everywhere I go.  I try to look for the good and ignore the bad, so I watch for the little things from which I can draw ideas. Family is big in my life and there’s always someone telling of how they found a great item or need something to make their lives easier. I try to apply those conversations to my business.

Since my business is an online business, I’m a member in a lot of Facebook groups and forums with others in my niche. I go to those places every day and never fail to learn something new. Everything new thing I learn I can apply to my business, so honestly, I’m never short on inspiration. In fact, I have so many ideas; I don’t have time to handle them all. It’s rare that I hit a plateau with such great people touching my life on a daily basis. [Read more...]

Passion In Business Won’t Pay the Bills. Or Will It?

A few years ago, my husband and I drove out to Ocean City, Maryland for a mini vacation. I admit, I wasn’t completelymonster01 present in the moment of the experience. I felt almost guilty for immersing myself in a pleasurable activity when my thoughts were wrecked and lost with the “would haves” and “should haves” of my life. It’s as if I had unfinished business to do (literally) and I was wasting time by not attending to it “immediately.”

What would my life look like if I had stuck it through in 2002 and not sold my very modest sized business?  Would I be feeling fulfilled professionally? Would I have wanted to get up every morning oh so vibrantly and ready to take take on the day?

Have you ever experienced an intense feeling of knowing you were meant to do something else?

Something bolder. Something better. Something that screams PASSION.

Granted, I am immensely grateful and proud to have collected  degrees that have afforded me the opportunity to earn a decent living. But in that journey, I failed to realize that I had spent a decade searching to fill a void and I was looking to fill it in all the wrong places.

What the heck is blogging?

Prior to my decision to venture out into the online world, I had been following one blogger – Pat Flynn. Of course, I didn’t realize he was a “blogger” back then. I didn’t even understand how blogging worked. I’ve always been sort of a laggard when it came to technology and online trends.

But I just knew that somehow, with my limited knowledge of technology, I was going to figure out how to start a business online – one that I intensely connected with.

So when I got home from my trip, I began to fanatically search for ways to start a business that I could fall in love with. And there were a few things I learned in my old offline business that allowed me to be crystal clear about what I wanted. Here they go:

  1. I wanted to start a business from home.
  2. I was passionate about business, personal development and wellness and wanted to find a way to inspire people.
  3. I wanted to earn a full time income.
  4. I wanted to stay healthy and sane while doing it.
  5. I wanted enough time left to engage with the people who matter to me the most.

Passion vs. Customers

There is much to be said about giving your customers what they want.

However, I’m really feeling the idea of doing what you love, then finding the right customers.

I read a great article by Jonathan Fields recently. My takeaway was the notion that often times other areas of your life compensate for the dysfunction created around a business that is ultimately not a good fit for you.

In retrospect, that’s exactly what happened with my old business. In essence, I bought myself a J-O-B. My customers became my bosses and the situation was possibly the equivalent of my worse job yet.

Why? Because I was responsible for creating it.

Black or White?

There are various schools of thought in entrepreneurship. There are some who say passion won’t help you create a successful business. Yet others who beg to differ.

I go with the latter.

I believe passion will keep your engine running. It will also sustain your thinking on your feet and motivate you enough to keep you moving forward. As you progress, you will learn to find solutions to obstacles that will come, and these will enhance the skills necessary to help you reach your vision.

There will be forks on the road… [Read more...]

Three Reasons NOW Is The Time To Put Yourself Out There

step-out-and-be-awesome

I want to convince you of this:  NOW  is the time to put yourself out there.

If YOU don’t do it, someone else will. 

I’m not suggesting there isn’t enough business to go around.

Whatever the niche, there’s room for you – if you rise above & do what it takes.

You believe that, or you wouldn’t be in business.

So why are you procrastinating?

Why are you holding back?

Why aren’t you putting yourself out there for more people to know?

No more delaying.  Now is the time.

The First Reason Now Is the Time: There Are Only So Many Kingpins. 

If you watch gangster movies – you’ve heard the phrase Kingpin. A kingpin is a leader, someone who influences others.

There’s plenty of business to go around, but there are only so many amazing opportunities to go around and Kingpins connect you to these opportunities.

These Kingpins are people you connect with who will connect you to new circles of people they influence.

A small Kingpin might introduce you to a few dozen other people in their niche, telling them about you; saying positive things about you and ultimately sending you business.

There are some Kingpins whose circle of influence reaches out into the hundreds, and there are some Kingpins out there whose circle of influence reaches out into the thousands.

I would hate for you to miss an opportunity to connect with a Kingpin.

I have made connections with people who in turn introduced me to their communities in ways that changed my life, and gave me instant, amplified reach.

It’s not that I’m amazing or that I can do something so much better than someone else – it isn’t.  It’s just that I put myself out there. I was the right person at the right time.

If it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else!

Imagine right now that there’s a Kingpin who needs something done, and you can do it.

You’ve put yourself out there.  You’re producing and repurposing content.  You’re promoting yourself.  You’re taking an extra step each day into new territory, and you bump up against one of these Kingpins, and you’re available because you’ve made yourself available.  You fulfill their needs.  They like what you do and next thing you know, they’re promoting you to their circle of influence.

If you don’t do it –someone else will.

Someone else will have that date with destiny.  They will run into a Kingpin, meet the need, and enjoy the widened reach that comes with that relationship.

That should rock your world.

What if that opportunity is right there, and I’m not the one who went for it?

I don’t like missed opportunities.  I’ve seen it.  I’ve experienced it from both sides – from the point of view of someone who was in the right place at the right time who gained benefit from a relationship with a Kingpin, and I’ve been that person who didn’t take action and watched it happen for someone else with fewer skills and experience then I.

It’s not about being awesome and being perfect: It’s about being there.

Some of you are immediately resisting this idea.

You’re thinking, “Oh c’mon Kelly.  I’m so new to all of this.  I’m not going to be of use to a Kingpin.”

Yes, you’re new, and maybe you have the greatest impact on other people who are also kind of new.

Let me point this out: Of those people you’re serving, you don’t know who among them is going to be the Kingpin of tomorrow.

The first person I JV’d with was Alice Seba.  I was new to online business and she was too.  We both came online in 2002, and in 2003, we had enough of a relationship that we forged a partnership. That relationship turned out to be key for me because she ended up becoming really well known in our niche.

There are others I’ve met along the way and forged relationships that turned into partnerships and JVs.  Nicole Dean comes to mind and more recently, Melissa Ingold.  Today they’re Kingpins with a big circles of influence – but they were newcomers once.

I benefit from those associations not because I met them when they were big, but because I met them when they were small.

Put yourself out there. Craft Relationships. Be ready for the next amazing opportunity.

The Second Reason Now Is the Time: The Lifetime Value of a Customer.

What are your financial goals for the year? The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reach them.  That’s just common sense.

There is someone out there right now who needs what you have to offer – they’re actively seeking out the right person – maybe they need a VA, and you’re a VA.  They need a writer, and you’re a writer.  They need a coach, and you’re a coach.

The sooner you connect to a client, the better.

Well, let’s put numbers to it.

You’re a relatively new VA, and you’re charging $25 a month on a 10-hour retainer.  That’s $250 a month.  It’s $3000 over the course of a year.  Do you really want to leave that money on the table because you weren’t willing to go for it?

You’re business coach like me, and you charge $500 a month for coaching, that’s almost $6000 in a year from one new client.

Let’s not forget that our income isn’t just coming from our hourly rates.  There are all of those delicious additional streams of income from information marketing and affiliate programs.

The sooner you develop and promote products, the sooner you can profit from them.

The sooner you identify and promote good affiliate products, the sooner you can see that income stream growing.

There is NO good excuse to procrastinate on these things and every day you let slip by is a impacting your future financial success.

Do you want to be closer to your financial goals?  If you want to get there sooner, if you want to finish out the year with higher numbers, then start sooner.

Don’t procrastinate.  Don’t think: There’ll be a better time later.

Six years ago, my niece had given birth to quadruplets, and my son and I were doing the night shift with the babies.  We were sleeping during the day, which left me about four hours a day for my business.

A gentleman contacted me about building a site for him, and my first thought was to turn him away.  It’s was not convenient, my time was at such a premium. As I listen, I realize he has big plans.  He wants to launch 300 sites in the coming year, and I decide to go ahead and take some action with him right then.

It meant working a little harder than I would have liked to at that moment, but I had a feeling I’d regret turning him away.

In the course of next year, I earned more than $15,000 from that client. The number more than doubled over the next few years.

The lifetime value of that customer was very much worth making myself available sooner rather than later.  If it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else who got that client.

The Third Reason Now Is the Time: The Law of Inertia.

There is an interesting thing that happens with newcomers in the business world.

Somebody new appears and immediately rocks it.  They’re blogging, podcasting, and releasing products before you know it.  They become a rock star in a short period of time because they’re willing to go for it.

Others come along and they play a careful game of ‘when I’m more ready’.  They get caught up in an addiction to learning and don’t put enough of it into action.

It’s the Law of Inertia: An object at rest tends to stay at rest.

The person who doesn’t take action tends to stay where they are.

The person who takes action tends to go places.

I’ve got a thought for you that might be the ‘shove’ you need to get moving.

People around you are starting to think that you’re full of crap.

How many of you have said, “This is it – I’m finally going to do it!

And a few months later said, “This is it – I’m finally going to do it!”

You may believe it every time you say it, but WE (the action takers) are coming to understand you’re full of crap.  You’re all talk and no action.

Yep, as much as we’d prefer otherwise, people form opinions about us based on what we DO, not just what we SAY we’re going to do.  Once people form a negative opinion, it’s difficult to overcome – but not impossible.

Just don’t be that person anymore!

Take action and for crying out loud, follow it up with more action!

I know, it’s easier said than done – but I’m here to tell you YOU CAN finally take real action.

If you’re dead serious about it and you’re willing to make yourself accountable to others in a tangible way, I believe you can do it.

If you ARE dead serious, I’d love the chance to hold you accountable.  I love working with solopreneurs who’ve made up their mind to act and want to be held to it through a tough coaching relationship.

Interested in learning more about working with me?  Check out my coaching info here.

Attitude Trumps Natural Ability

If you have a lot of natural ability – skill, personality and presence that other people have recognized in you since you were a child – you have grown up believing that you have what it takes to be successful.

But what action have you taken lately that would make use of all that awesome potential?

Last week I wrote a brief post about how ‘doing’ (actually taking action on a regular basis) can put someone with less natural ability ahead of someone else with boatloads of it.   The post was encouraging to those who feel like they don’t have a lot of natural skill.

An old supervisor of mine used to say, ‘I may not be the smartest or best looking – but guarantee I’ll work harder and have more fun.

And it was true.  He was the hardest worker and always did seem to have a great time.  He wasn’t the life of the party but he was the life of the business.

Attitude can be added to the list of attributes that beat out natural attributes.

If you haven’t been told over and over again that you have what it takes – let me tell you today: You Do.  It may not be ‘in you’ in the form of some innate skill but you have it available to you in the form of the right mindset and actions.

If you’re one of those ‘born leaders’ that were voted most likely to succeed – but you’re not succeeding – is there a chance that you’ve been told so many times that you have what it takes to be the best that you thought it would just magically occur without effort on your part?

Same advice applies… adopt a new attitude and take some action today.

Doing Trumps Natural Ability

There is a lot to be said for natural ability.

One of my older brothers is ultra intelligent.  He did well in school without trying.  I’ve always thought of him as a born inventor.  He was always thinking up stuff when we were young.  Good with cars, could build things, was creative and had a real spirit of excellence about him.

Perhaps more than all that – he was a people person.  People were drawn to him.  They just liked him and enjoyed being around him.  And not just young people – folks from all walks of life.

If anyone had a foundation to build on, he did.

But he didn’t.

All the natural ability in the world won’t mean a thing if you don’t DO something with it.

DO Something Today.

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