An Update on the Jersey Girl Turned Maine-iac

It’s kind of just grown into a tradition for this date. Not sure how or why, but here’s the update to last year’s December 11 post, “What a Difference a Year Makes” …

This Spring found us moving again, which is a story unto itself. But the Reader’s Digest version is that our landlord “surprised” us with the news that she had a buyer interested in the townhome we were renting – even though we had been assured the unit wouldn’t be on the market during the term of our one-year lease. As sometimes happens when your back is to the wall (“Oh my gosh, where are we going to go?”), we made a knee-jerk decision to make an offer on the property and buy it ourselves. Although we started the purchase process, when the transaction didn’t come together, it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since our new place suits us much better in almost every way.

Moral of the story: Trust in the Universe and let it do its magic. When one door closes, another will open for you. Our trust was rewarded and we are reminded of it in so many ways every day – as Tim works on his photo post-processing in our home office (bonus!) or I work in my huge kitchen with so many cabinets I literally cannot fill all of them, even with nearly 30 years of accumulated “kitchen stuff”! We marvel every time we sit out on our deck in our wooded backyard, with its sweet little stream and a beautiful view of Cadillac Mountain – the outdoor living space we missed so much in our last place. We are grateful for having been able to find the first place when we were really, really up against the wall, trying to find a place to live on extremely short notice, but we are infinitely happier now. It’s all good. 🙂


Creating Your Own Economy

Let’s hear it for those creating their own economy through online work!

Recent online articles from Inc Magazine, Kiplingers, and Entrepreneur validate what I’ve been saying for the last several years: location-independence is the way to go!

It’s not just the shape of things to come – it’s the shape of the way things ARE! I may have been the pioneer of this lifestyle among my own colleagues and peers, but this is clearly emerging as a worldwide trend and I believe it’s here to stay. Over the last couple of years, I consciously transformed my own business for location-independence, and now 90-95% of my business activities take place in the virtual world.

The intelligent use of available technology saves time, travel, and money – for both me and my clients. Here’s how:

TIME: No one needs to travel to a meeting. When a simple conversation will suffice, I utilize phone calls, email and conference calls. Does everyone at the meeting need to reference certain documents? In those instances, I prefer GoToMeeting, which lets us share documents on each participant’s computer screen. And I find Skype video calls to be a great way to conduct face-to-face (F2F) meetings.

Another benefit of the location-independent lifestyle is that, even with clients in different time zones, time itself becomes less of a factor. I can (and do) easily adjust my workday to accommodate my clients’ time zones and deadlines. My “office” is wherever my laptop and smart phone and I happen to be, and it doesn’t necessarily open at 9 AM and close at 5 PM Eastern. I can be on a conference call at 7 AM or working on a client project at 2 AM (typically not in the same day, of course!) – all the better to take advantage of a gloriously sunny afternoon by the sea, which I often do!

And working from home means never having to say you’re sorry you came to the meeting in your pajamas – although, if Skyping, I do recommend dressing at least the top half of your body 😉

TRAVEL: Like many service businesses, the services I offer cross geographical boundaries. I can as easily serve businesses and individuals here in the northeast as those in southern California; I can serve folks in the U.K. as easily as those in the States.

What does that mean to my clients? I no longer have to jump on a plane, train, or into an automobile to meet with them. No airfaire or train fare, no ground transportation, no hotels or meals. No gasoline, tolls or parking fees. And, of course, no time lost getting to the meeting (all of which is always figured into a professional’s fee, whether it’s itemized or not).

MONEY: In addition to the travel expenses mentioned above, let’s not forget the even bigger expense of hiring an in-house professional to do what I do. When you hire an employee, you take on the added expense of office space, furniture and supplies; office equipment such as a computer, printer, cell phone, etc – perhaps even a company car. And “salary” does not even come close to defining the true cost of hiring; there’s also the cost of health benefits, paid time off, payroll taxes, bonuses and a retirement plan to consider.

Am I a believer in the online economy? You bet I am!

So … what is your business doing to make it easier for prospects and customers to choose working with YOU?

How Are You Doing at the Quarter-Mark?

This week marks the point at which we have experienced one-quarter of what the year 2011 has in store for us.

So, as far as 2011 goes, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?” 🙂

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t really make New Year’s Resolutions for this year, preferring instead to create intentions every week throughout the year that will help me to continually share a sense of kindness, fair play and ethics with all the people I come into contact with in my business. That came about partially because I had not followed through on using a really neat deck of cards I’d purchased over a year earlier, called “The Professional Guidance Cards,” and partially because I’d had a really unpleasant and disturbing encounter last year with someone who can only be described as unprofessional, mean-spirited and egoistic. It was not the first time in my life that I’d had to deal with someone for whom the world existed solely to revolve around their whims, of course, but it had been some time and I’d forgotten how disconcerting and disruptive a situation it could be. That experience pushed me to think – hard – about the kinds of people I want to be associated with and how to incorporate more of them into my life (and minimize contact with those who see others as somehow less worthy and who seem incapable of conceiving of a win-win scenario).

Anyway, I probably wouldn’t have noticed that a full quarter of the year had passed, had I not been publishing my “Make a Difference Monday” posts on this blog since Week 1 of 2011 (see the tab above). As long as winter was, it still doesn’t seem possible that we are a quarter way through the year already!

But here we are, and I would have to say I’m feeling more satisfied with my business and my work life because I’m finding it easier to manifest the intentions I’m setting for myself on a weekly basis. I think, too, the enhanced satisfaction has to do with the fact that my intentions are not about “making more money,” “getting new clients,” and things that relate directly to “increases” for me but, rather, they are about sharing strategies with others and leading by example to get to a place where everyone benefits.

How about you? Did you set yearly goals, or something broken down into smaller “chunks”? I’d be interested to hear what’s working for you, how you set it up to give yourself the best chance of success, and what you’ve got cooking for the next quarter of the year …