Archives for November 2008

An Authentic Approach to Making More Money

This post is dedicated to those of you who need to get your moneymaking shit together.

Have you been challenging assumptions and considering business options? If you want to earn more from your small business, next year, read on. I’m not going to give you the secret to anything. My intention is to inspire you to wakeup, see where you are and act!

I’m offering a fresh starting point for authentic business planning. If you want to increase your earnings, you’ve got to replace your monkey planning and become more intentional in building your business.

Every time I write about making more money, someone always comments, “it’s not all about the money.” No shit. I get that. But if you feel the need to say it, perhaps it’s more about the money than you’d like to admit. I understand that fulfillment, freedom of expression and autonomy hold a higher value for many of you than making more money. But next year I intend to work less and earn more simply because I can. So can you.

Since each of us has the capability to create the business results we most want, why don’t we? It’s not simply a lack of belief. Most of you agree that anything is possible. What’s missing or what needs to be adjusted, to produce more lucrative small business results?

A big part of authenticity is having the balls to really look at what you’ve produced and what you haven’t. You can dream big and be very genuine, but if that isn’t producing buckets of cash perhaps, you’re already as authentic as you need to be. Since you already have an authentic grounding perhaps your best adjustment is a more strategic one.

The first place to look is at your big-picture business reflection and decision-making process. Do you have one? If you don’t consciously reflect on your business, you could fall prey to the random influences of those with stronger intentions.

I’ve realized that authenticity; natural optimism, and possibility thinking alone, – do not create sustainable success. Just because we can think big, – doesn’t mean that we do. Spiritual evolution does not take the place of business practices like following-through. I’ve realized that my wild ass desires and imaginings need to be grounded within a dynamic, intentional master plan.

Without an intentional business reflection and decision-making process our businesses often end up with unintentional results. Consider another way. It begins with slowing down, stepping back and consciously choosing. Without reflection and big picture thinking, strategic decisions remain unmade. If you fail to make a decision, you’ve made one anyway, and that default decision is far less likely to serve you well.

Begin with an honest assessment. We don’t know what we don’t know and shining a light of greater awareness generally illuminates sticking points. I’m going to share some places that used to bog me down in hopes that you’ll notice if you’re stuck in the same locale.

Stuck in Discovery

Discovery is such a juicy place for lifetime learners. Even when aware, we often don’t want to leave. Researching, learning, and staying on top of things are all wonderful excuses for failing to act. If only those excuses paid off like action does.

Good intentions cannot weather the assault of an infinite number of online gurus screaming to sell us the latest secret to exploding our business to the next level. I’m so sick of all this next level puke. Screw the next level. How about building a solid foundation instead?

Like most of you, I’m looking for ways to work less and earn more. But that’s the challenge; most of the stuff we read promises that. Excellent copy writing speaks to our emotional craving and reels us in until we stop searching for the secret. Stuck here? Pause and ask, “What exactly am I looking for?” Look for that and that only. Find it and act on it.

Stuck in Place

At least when stuck in discovery we have the illusion of movement. Stuck in place, – is just plain frozen in denial or avoidance. If you’ve been feeling like somethings got to give, then you may need to wakeup to the facts. Quit waiting for an outside intervention. No one is coming to save your ass.

Surviving isn’t thriving. Getting by is getting old. How many times are you going to pull it out at the last minute, before one time, you just don’t?

If you almost never market when times are good and then desperately over-market when the valleys hit, – you really aren’t doing much strategic thinking, are you? Perhaps a few strategic adjustments are called for? But first, take a hard look at where you are and what you earned last year. Look at what worked and what didn’t, and choose some new actions.

Stuck in a Small Mindset

How do some corporations mange to make a profit in spite of their faulty policies and their poor decisions? It’s catching up to them; they just have more wiggle room than we do. They just can’t see what they aren’t looking for and as solopreneurs we are not immune.

We don’t know what we don’t know. If you don’t work with a coach, then work with someone who will ask you the challenging questions. Sign up for this free phone class and I’ll ask you the questions before you even dial the phone.

We especially aren’t aware of the limited beliefs. You could be working a business model or following a mindset that does not serve you well. Your adjustment could be a very small change in perspective that could lead to a big gain. But you won’t see it, if you don’t know where to look. I’ll bet that you’re thinking way too small in some critical areas right now.

I love this time of the year as a small businessperson. This is our time, for reflection, big picture thinking and strategic decisions. But if you don’t choose to make any adjustments you could earn what you earned last year. You’re capable of so much more and you know it.

Tell me where to take the follow-up post to this one. I’m considering writing about my decision-making process, but I’d like to address what you think you need. Speak up please!

Seven Step Small Business Startup Checklist

To beat paralysis and get started on your authentic business you first need to master the inner game of business. What you’re thinking and feeling has direct impact on the actions you are or are not taking. Use this guide as a business startup list to be sure your head’s nailed on straight .

1. Exploit Your Authentic Edge

Your edge, or marketplace advantage, comes directly from your willingness to move into your authentic power. Authentic business building is the willingness to start and maintain a business strategically from your core makeup. The marketplace rewards authentic expression. Your small business idea came to you and that means that you are in the best position to make it happen. Trust your gut. Confidence attracts support and confidence increases in proportion to authentic engagement.

2. Slow and Small Is Better than Not at All

What the hell are you waiting for? Delay is costly – start, complete and sell one small project, product or service.

Speed and size of your initial success isn’t as important as progress. Part-time works, if it works for you. Create your own transition model and follow it.

Decide on your tolerance for risk and your need for a financial/emotional reserve. If you don’t fear shoestring business building – go for it. If you require more back up, secure that first. Decide what works for you and what you need to be your best.

3. Embrace Mistakes

Count on learning from your frequent mistakes. Let go of the illusion of building the perfect product, business or service. Accept the likelihood that you’ll screw up repeatedly and that’s what you are supposed to be doing in a brand new business.

Let the marketplace shine a light on necessary adjustments. It’s impossible to reach perfection in your own mind. Take your show on the road and evolve from customer feedback.

4. Stay Present – Visualize Success

The only place you can actually build your business is in the now. Always ask this question: “What am I looking to accomplish right now?” Work there – complete that.

If you must engage in future thinking, then decide to only do positive visioning. This means that you refuse to even contemplate any fearful future – or at least spend no more than a few seconds dwelling on fear before catching yourself and moving forward.

Fear of failure and fear of success can only exist if you feed them with fearful future thoughts. Become aware of your dominant thoughts and let go of anything limiting. What you think about comes about, so choose as if your business life depended on it.

5. Be a Merchant – Ask for the Money

If you intend to be a successful businessperson, you’ve got to get past any fear of asking for the order. You’ve got to start somewhere. Produce something small and ask someone to buy it.  Recent online advances make many business resources like merchant services much more affordable these days. Your fear about self-worth, like “who am I to be asking for this business,” fades, – once you’ve asked a few times.

6. Any Movement Works

Any strategic movement works because it creates a fresh perspective which is different from the one that keeps you stuck. The only wrong move is standing pat. “You can’t get there from here,” is only true if you’re not in motion. Fortune favors the bold – primarily because the bold are moving.

7. Be Inspired by Your What & Why

Too many budding entrepreneurs want to first “figure it all out”. That’s an illusion. You can’t “figure it all out,” before hand, in mind alone. Get out of your “how-to” directed mind and into you “what and why” inspired mind. What you want to build and your reasons for building it, will do far more to inspire you to action than a fruitless search for how-to. Once you commit and take action, your optimum “how-to” path appears, – as a result of your actions but not before them.

Which point do you need to focus on now?

Get all seven aligned and you’ll be primed for a successful small business launch.

Related Resources

Free Project Blastoff Email Course

One-on-One Coaching with Tom

Does a Business Startup Have To Be Hard?

I don’t think so. I’ve found that the more authentic the business is for the entrepreneur, the easier it is to build. Opportunities and productivity increase in proportion to fulfillment. Since there is an easier way why do so many solopreneurs insist on earning success the hard way?

Pamela Slim over at Escape From Cubicle Nation wrote a thought-provoking post. Who says following your dreams shouldn’t be hard?

After reading this post twice, I can’t fully agree or disagree. But I was surprised by all of the readers who commented in full agreement. They seemed to have embraced the necessity of hard work.

How you answer the following excellent question, Pam raised, – will tell you much about your own beliefs. “Why is easy desirable?”

Many of my spiritual friends say that struggle and closed doors are signs that we have chosen incorrectly. This school of thought says that open doors and flow indicate that we’ve chosen the right career or business.

Yet this hasn’t always been my experience either. I’d like this to be true. But few of my accomplishments have come struggle-free. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of needing to knock down obstacles to get what we want. But is it absolutely necessary to fight and claw our way to success?

When you are doing the right things, leading your tribe, tackling tough problems and creating truly useful products and services, it shouldn’t be easy. Pamela Slim

When you are doing things right it shouldn’t be easy? Please don’t should on me. I have a real problem with that because I know that in discovering and building ones authentic business, ease is all about fit. When your business fits who you are, then it is right for you and building it is easier.

Struggle seems to surface when I haven’t chosen authentically or when I’ve failed to notice the need for an internal adjustment. This tells me that ease is the more natural way to build a business. Read what Abraham-Hicks has to say about flow and resistance.

What we mean when we say, “Nothing that you want is upstream” is that your desires because you have already thought about them and asked about them are already in the process of being created. In the same way that a round object will roll downhill of its own accord without needing an engine or added impetus from outside influences, your desires are, in a sense, easily and naturally rolling toward their own conclusions as well. Once your life has caused the creation of a desire, your work is done, and natural forces and laws will take over.

The best way we have come to explain to you this pattern of natural evolution is in our analogy of the Current of the river: Your every request, large or small, adds to the Current of this river; and literally everything that you have ever asked for is downstream, where you can easily find it, experience it, possess it, or live it.
Abraham –Hicks The Astonishing Power of Emotions, page 36

Esther Hicks explains further in this video.

Here’s where I stand on this one. Yes, it often takes persistence and lots of hard work to build the business of your dreams. Like you, I’ll do whatever it takes. But at the same time, I can attest that it’s not always necessary to work your ass off.

I do know when authentic business building is easier.
It’s easier when I make decisions guided by my core values.
It’s easier when I remember to express gratitude.
It’s easier when I’m inspired to serve.

Does a business startup have to be hard? No. But if that’s your belief then most likely that will be your experience. If you are at least open to things coming easily, you will have increased the probability of enjoying ease. I’m really looking forward to your thoughts on this one.

Experimenting For Fun and Profit

Sometimes the best way to stimulate a cash stream is to shake things up and play. Money is attracted to confidence. Confidence is a natural occurrence that seldom visits when we are tight and resistant. The best way to transcend resistance is playfulness.

Ever feel like you’re holding the reins of your business too tightly? Boldly and playfully experimenting could be just what you need in order to make a business breakthrough.

Remember how imaginative and carefree you were as a kid? Do you recall how authentic you were when you frequently lost yourself in play?

More and more I’m seeing a connection between experimentation, community, playfulness, confidence and authenticity. Soon I intend to give this topic the depth it deserves.

But for now how often do you break out in song in the midst of your workday?

Often in my small business coaching practice, I make agreements with clients, just so they’ll lighten up. Lots of stuff has been written about the benefits of play to enhance creativity. But it’s even more powerful than that.

Something happens in our minds and emotions when we fearlessly experiment. It shakes something up in a good way. Like my buddy Bill, a marketing expert says. “You got to try shit to find out about shit.”

Barbara Swafford at Blogging Without a Blog, interviewed me today about a recent experiment. Read about it on her blog here.

One key to successfully launching a small business startup is to define and win the inner game. It’s not so much the outside challenges that throw us off but the tricks and mind games we play on ourselves within. Most budding entrepreneurs need to lighten up and play a game that they can win.

Sometimes that means putting your heart on your sleeve for all to see. Liz Strauss at Successful Blog, is launching an authentic experiment right now. I’ll be playing over there, perhaps you’d enjoy it too.

How about you? When was the last time you just tried something bold and new, just for the hell of it?

Do you ever make your work a game you can win?

Think you might need to lighten up? Give it a shot – you may amaze yourself.

Entrepreneurship Interview

Akemi Gaines, of Yes To Me, interviewed me for her Successful and Inspiring Entrepreneurs series.

I share my story and startup realizations. I’d be grateful if you’d visit her blog and tell me what you think over there.

Read interview here, thanks!

Akmei Gaines is a spiritual consultant and entrepreneur with a big vision and an even bigger heart. Take the time to visit her; it’s worth the trip.

Comments are closed.

Do It Your Way

Herd mentality works best for the lead bull. If you base your decisions on what others are doing then at best you’ll create a poor imitation of what has worked well for them. That’s not good enough for you and you know it.

You can borrow methods, tools and processes from those who have actually made it. You can use others for inspiration. But in matters of decision-making you need to be your own man or woman.

We both know that you can do better by being more of who you are. Those in authentic pursuit of the business of their dreams are more likely to build it because that was their intention from the beginning.

Authentic business building means that you are committed to expressing your true self in service to your clients. Building authentically is an ongoing process of continually adjusting and refining your business to serve the lifestyle you most want to live.

The world conforms to original thinkers. They never conform to it. The material world rearranges itself to accommodate what a Thinker wants, and it does so as a Thinker is thinking and deciding. Why should you not expect the greatest and finest in your life? We exist in a Divine Bounty that awaits our taking, and the way of taking is a mental one that starts with desire, decision and expectancy. Raymond Charles Barker

Why not become prosperous in mind, money and fulfillment through the authentic expression of your own unique being?

You’re more than enough to enjoy life on your terms. Yet if you want to play in the arena of authentic work then you must bring your “A” game. That begins with deciding to go for it.

Sometimes we need a profound catalyst to more clearly see our calling.

Merlin Mann of 43 folders inspired this clarity for me in a poignant presentation on what I‘d call authentic blogging. This excellent rallying call is applicable to any business owner who wants to express and connect meaningfully.

Merlin inspired me to ask myself. “What or who do I care about more than anything?”

Professionally, I care the most about two groups of people.
1). Those who want to make to make the leap from the slavery of employment to the freedom of self-employment.
2). Those who have made the leap and want to be well rewarded for expressing their authenticity in their own businesses.

Delightful Work is the budding entrepreneurs Underground Railroad and a community halfway house to support small business owners who want more from life. That’s who I most want to write for and serve.

In my last post I wrote that clarity empowers progress. But what if you still aren’t quite sure of what you want? Start with desire.

Desire * Decision * Expectancy

Did you catch the steps to intended movement in Barker’s quote? I believe these to be necessary nutrients to sprout a special business in the soils of authentic entrepreneurship. They are requirements to authentic creation.

You must want to earn a livelihood from the core of who you are.

Without a burning desire to make the career change to build the life and business you most want – it’s all just so much talk. If you can’t locate that burning desire remain where you are. You may not be ready yet.

You must make the decision to go for it, in your own way.

There are no shackles keeping an unhappy employee from making the decision to seek his or her freedom. Yet emancipation does require courage. You have to be bold enough to seize the life you want to live. Jobs are handed out but freedom is seized.

You must positively expect resounding success from that decision.

Positive expectancy comes from a deep down, no-matter-what, confidence to commit and follow-through. Yet that confidence is born after the courageous decision is made.

These requirements will get you in the game. You’ll still need to play your heart out. But isn’t that what you want? Don’t you want to be thrilled and delighted as you pursue your true calling?

After sharing these requirements I’m often asked by dreamers who are considering becoming entrepreneurs, “What comes next? I’d really like to figure it all out before I begin.”

I always answer in the same way. You don’t get to see what comes next until you commit. When you meet these three requirements, you’ve earned the right to play the game. This is where you move from dreaming and planning to practical authenticity.

This point of action is the most beautiful synergy you can imagine. It’s here that your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical powers all meet as authentic expression in the marketplace. At that point you’ll see what you’ll need to see to take the next step and after that, the next.

Are you building an authentic business by doing it your way?

If you aren’t, do you want to?

How can I serve you? What part of the journey would you have me write about?