Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What Doesn't Kill Us, Will Make Us Stronger

The Event

Sometimes it takes an "event" to finally set the wheels in motion on a dream we've had. It could be the loss of a job, a financial setback, or a health scare – as Mary Ellen Tribby explains today. When used properly, the stress of that event can motivate us to massive action.

Craig Ballantyne

"If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone." – Kekich Credo #1

By Mary Ellen Tribby

"At this point, we can't rule out malignancy," the doctor said.

I just looked at my husband. I knew he was asking the doctor questions, but I didn't hear any words. I saw his lips moving and felt his strong hand on top of mine. But all I could think was I needed to wake up. ("This is not happening. I know I am just having a bad dream.")

It wasn't until I was in the front seat of our car that I realized it wasn't a dream. "Are we going home?" I asked. "No," my husband said. "We are going to get your ultrasound and more x -rays." "Oh," I replied.

It didn't really matter where we were going, because all I could think of at that moment were the three beautiful children my husband and I have been blessed with.

First, my thoughts went to Mikaela who was ten-years-old at the time. Without me, who would she talk to about boys? Who would show her how to put on makeup and help her pick out a college? But the most painful thought was... who would comfort her in her loss?

For the past three years, Mikaela has accompanied me on the Race for the Cure breast cancer walk.

She is well aware of the horrors of treatment.

She's often commented about people walking in honor of a loved one. For her, I knew there would be no sugarcoating the truth.

Then my thoughts shifted to Connor, my eight-year-old son (at the time) – an amazing baseball player who plays it cool with his dad and friends.

He is an undeniably sweet boy who always writes a special card for me on Mother's Day. What would he do next May? Would he pretend to write a card, not telling his teacher that he has no one to give it to?

Suddenly, I felt like throwing up. I asked my husband to pull over.

Once back in the car, all I could think about was Delanie, who was our four-year-old princess at the time. She is so used to having both my husband and me tuck her in at night. She wakes up each morning with a smile on her face and kisses to spare. Have I made enough of an impact on her life that in 10, 12, 15 years from now she will remember me?

Over the following three weeks, I was poked, prodded, and sliced.

On the 22nd day, I found out that I did not have breast cancer.

You would think that I would be so happy that I could not wait to get back to my normal routine. But no. Something happened. Going through that breast cancer scare changed my life in many ways.

You see, I've always wanted to start my own business – a business that would empower the working mom. A business that would provide the tools for EVERY working mom to lead a healthier, wealthier, and more balanced life.

It is my belief that working moms have more influence on what our world will look like than any other single group of people. Plus, they have the responsibility to match. I even purchased the URL for my new business back in July of 2007.

But I already had a job. And not just any job. I had one of the best jobs in the world. After all, I was Publisher and CEO of Early to Rise. So I kept saying, "Someday. Someday I will start that new business."

I'm not sure what kept holding me back before the cancer scare. I think the fact that I loved my job. And that, even as a CEO, I was able to enjoy quality time with my husband and three kids – from attending their baseball games, school plays, and tennis matches to taking long walks on the beach.

When I would speak at conferences, working moms who heard about my career accomplishments and wonderful family life always asked me, "How? How did you do it?" Those moms were always with me. Tucked in the back of my brain. Not forgotten, but put on hold for "someday."

But after the scare, the need to create this new business and help other working moms have the lifestyle they wanted and deserved was overwhelming. I could not "NOT" do it.

Unlike most working moms, I had developed systems and strategies for leading a complete and fulfilling life. I had escaped the guilt and the feeling of inadequacy. I had raised kids who were strong, confident, and compassionate. And I knew that I could teach any working mom who wanted to make more money to accomplish that as well.

So in one of the worst recessions America has ever seen (Remember this was the end of 2009), with one of the highest unemployment rates in history, I left the best job I ever had in my 25-year career. Three months later, Working Moms Only was a reality.

What I learned along the way will help you jumpstart any new business. You see, I did not take a dime from any investors, even though the offers were there. My husband and I took $10,000 out of our personal bank account and put that money into our new company.

Several of my industry colleagues questioned me about turning down investors and using my own money. My answer was simple. This was the way we had been teaching ETR readers to start a business – and this was the way I was going to do it.

These are the three most valuable lessons I have learned thus far:

1. Less is more.

A friend of mine recently left her corporate job to start her own marketing consulting firm. The first thing she did was find office space. I asked her why she was doing it. She told me that, with the real estate market in the dumps, space was a bargain. So she was able to rent space for $1,500 a month that normally went for three grand.

But she did not stop there. She bought a desk, chair, filing cabinets, and a couch. She spent $5,000 before she wrote a sales letter or had a website built.

After two months of trying, she finally landed her first client. That client is paying her a $2,000 a month retainer. You do the math.

Back in 2009, I had a four-bedroom house and three kids who had their own rooms. I did not have a library, den, or office. Still, I did not go out and rent space. I converted my rarely used dining room into my office. (Heck, we're kitchen people anyway.) It overlooked a golf course, and I find it very conducive to writing. When I needed a change of scenery, I would take my laptop and sit out by my pool. I did not buy filing cabinets or print business cards. I had a really good computer and I understood the value of knowing how to use it to it's fullest.

2. Work on your business every day.

When you are starting a brand-new business that is going to be your livelihood, there are no weekends. You don't get the day off because it is your wedding anniversary or your kid's birthday. You have to make sacrifices.

Now does this mean I missed Connor's birthday? Of course not. But after he went to bed that night, I worked. I worked until I finished everything I needed to do. Sure, the goal of having your own business is to get it to the point where you are living your desired lifestyle. But this does not happen overnight.

You must take your business seriously. For this very reason, I vowed that I would not work in my PJs. I still get up and go to the gym first thing in the morning. I then shower, dress, and dive into my work.

I don't stay in bed an extra hour or talk on the phone. I treat my business with respect – as I have always treated someone else's business that I was running.

I know far too many "entrepreneurs" who are still in their pajamas at 2:00 in the afternoon. These are the guys who are always asking why they are not doing as well as their competitors.

3. Know your market intimately.

It's best if you are a member of your target market. This is the road I have taken. I knew what it was like to be an executive before I had kids, and I have been a working mom for 11 years before I started Working Moms Only. I honed the new skills I needed over those 11 years. I am now in the top percentile of highly paid working moms.

If you are not personally in your target market, there are several things you can do to get yourself up to speed. Start with these:
  • Study your competition. Understand what they do and figure out how you can do it faster, better, and cheaper.
  • Use Amazon to get insider information about your prospective customers. Read reviews on products similar to the ones you are thinking of developing. Decide how you could address buyers' concerns and enhance the features and benefits they like.
These lessons alone will help you make more money and gain more flexibility in your business.

And this is important . . .

Yes, my epiphany spoke to my passion. However, starting and cultivating a profitable business is important. And, managing that business while procuring flexibility adds tremendous value to my life.

As you can see all three sides of the triangle, money, passion and flexibility should be considered in starting and running your business. As your business grows the priorities will shift. Some days all three may share in equality. Some days one or two may take a strong lead. Just like all aspects of your life your business in continuously evolving. 

How to Find Good People

The World's Worst Employee

Imagine paying $75 an hour (or more) for the world's worst administrative assistant. They're miserable, ineffective, and in fact, just downright incompetent. Oh, and "they" are you. Because that's what you get when you try and do everything in your business. My friend Alwyn Cosgrove explains how you can avoid this trap and find good people for your business.

Craig Ballantyne

"Imagine that you are going to create another 1,000 businesses just like this one. What would you have to do to achieve this? You would have to completely systematize your business." – Alwyn Cosgrove

By Alwyn Cosgrove

As a business consultant, one of the most common questions I am asked is, "What's the best way to find good employees?".

I work with many successful solo-preneurs who are hitting that stage where it is time to grow their business, and that means bringing on key employees. For many people, this is an area of great difficulty and anxiety.

Before I ever answer that question, I need to give a few overall guidelines as to the overall business process and where staff actually fit in.

The first hire for most professionals should be an administration assistant or office manager. This is key. Don't spend your time doing work that a) you don't enjoy and b) you're not good at.

Consider this - if you charge $75 per hour for your work, than any time you spend doing office work means you are paying an office assistant (you) $75 an hour.

Plus, you're probably not good at it -- it will take you twice as long - so you're actually paying $150 for what would be $15-$20 work.

Add in that you'll be miserable - you are now paying $150 for a miserable, no skills office assistant. So always start with support staff before hiring more production based staff.

The Big Mac Model

Entrepreneurs need to study other businesses. Success leaves clues, and the most successful 'small business' in the world is McDonald's.

At McDonald's the food is made the same way every single time From London to Los Angeles, from Madrid to Moscow – ask for a Big Mac and you'll get one. The same style. Every single time.

You even know the recipe.... "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun..."

But is McDonald's the best hamburger you've ever tasted? The answer to that question from almost everyone in the world is no. Most people even claim that they could make a better hamburger than McDonald's themselves.

So let me ask you a question? Why is no one giving you hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to make hamburgers?

What's the secret of each McDonald's location?

McDonald's don't hire experts to run each location or do every task in the business. They hire good people and train them in the implementation of SYSTEMS. Their systems are so well developed that they can hire high school kids to run a lot of their business. They even have the upsell systemized through the ubiquitous question, "Do you want fries with that?"

I've read that most independent small business start-ups fail, yet most franchises succeed. The reason for that difference is due to SYSTEMS.

SYSTEM: Save Your Self Time Energy Money

Step one when hiring additional staff: think systems.

Before you hire anyone you have to have a system in place that can easily be replicated. It doesn't matter if you hire a world-renowned expert with multiple PhD's and 25 years of experience -- unless they work within your system - they aren't a great fit to grow your business.

The primary goal of any business is to produce a consistent, replicable product or service. If it's replicable and consistent – you can guarantee results. If you can guarantee results – you're ahead of the game.

As a nice result of running a systems based we are able to hire people with lower skill levels than we would initially think. Now, notice I did not say low skill, just lower skill. We are going to hire people to run systems and educate them.

Instead of thinking of McDonald's - think of a hospital – a doctor writes the protocol and most often it is nurses that implement it. Nurses are by no means low skilled, but they are most definitely lower skilled than a doctor. Similarly, all admin tasks at hospitals are handled by lower skilled employees than nurses. It would make no business sense for a doctor to spend time taking blood pressure, temperatures or making appointments.

And remember, the ultimate goal of hiring and growing your business is to replicate YOURSELF so you can step out of the business.

Hiring someone without a system is an absolutely deadly business mistake. Hire based on your core values and train for skill based on systems.

If you do that, your business becomes a lot easier to manage. You must run a systems-based business as opposed to an individual based business. The owner/managers job is to manage the system, rather than the employee. Run the plan, not the man.

If there is a problem, we can look at two solutions.

First, was the system followed? If yes, then we need to tweak the system. If no, then we need to work on coaching and training the employee. It's that simple.

In our business at Results-Fitness in California, we make it even simpler by having all of the systems recorded in manuals (how to open the gym, how to answer the phone, how to greet every client and prospect that walks in the door, etc.).

If it's not written down and signed as completed and understood by an employee, you are improvising. Business is far too important to improvise.

So to get back to your original question – how do you go about hiring staff?

When systems are in place – it really doesn't matter. We have hired experienced trainers, beginner trainers, schoolteachers, former clients, interns, etc., and all have become excellent personal trainers because they follow our system.

As long as you have business systems and an education program in place then when hiring employees what you need to look for are personality, work ethic and core values first. As long as your new employee has brings those three attributes to the table, they will succeed in your system.

Monday, May 14, 2012

l: How to Build a 6 Figure Information Marketing Business in the Next 90 Days"

Go here now:  http://gotothewebinarnow.com/richgerman

Recently I had the opportunity to connect with a couple guys you need to meet. These are 7-figure entrepreneurs who have focused 100% of their efforts on one type of business: Information Marketing.

For those who aren't aware, Information Marketing is the most high-leverage, high-profit business for one main reason: Information is easy to deliver ... and people are always desperate to get more of it.

You should know that neither of these guys are gurus by any means. One started out as a middle school music teacher and the other started as an "IT guy" - neither of them began with ANY entrepreneurial background or skills.

Since quitting their jobs and starting Information Marketing businesses, they've each quietly generated anywhere between $17K and $39K per month consistently over the past five years. Their highest month to date is $127K in a SINGLE month.

Best of all, they've done this entirely from home with NO rented office space, NO physical product overhead of any kind, NO employees whatsoever. In addition, their information businesses require absolutely no selling face-to-face. Ever.

Since partnering together they've come up with methods for finding and selling information that I guarantee you don't know about. These methods are so fundamentally simple it's no wonder they've accomplished what they have despite coming fro m a total non-business background.

To be clear, their methods allow ANY person with average abilities and a commitment to other people to build a large consistent income.

You know I'm committed to a no-bull, results-oriented approach with you and I will not deviate from that. So let me be very straight:

You need their methods. I'm going to make sure you get them.

I am committing my energy, time and resources to getting these methods into the hands of those who are ready to own a 100% automated business that produces consistent revenues every single month.

And that starts this THURSDAY for those who are willing to do what it takes to be on this special webinar:

"The ULTIMATE Business Mode
Go here:  http://gotothewebinarnow.com/richgerman

When you read what's written there, you'll see these two guys are taking a very different approach than what you're used to seeing in this industry.

They are creating a worldwide group of Information Marketers who are building high-revenue businesses and helping create the success everyone desires.

Check it out here: