Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
This week officially begins a new chapter for me.
Just a little over two years ago, I sat down to write a novel, something I’d been wanting to do for a long while. It got off to a rocky start; I ended up with three distinct beginnings to three very different stories, and there I sat: stuck. So I signed up to work with an accomplished writer and editor for eight weeks and received the kind of guidance and feedback that helped me push through. I found my story. I figured out who my main character really is, what she wants, and what she doesn’t even know she wants. I was on my way. What a relief!
However, right around that same time, (more…)
Wow! Since my last blog post on Thursday, I have been so humbled by the number of people who have chosen to share their own stories of stepping into their full potential by starting a business! (I’ll be sharing these inspiring stories in the days and weeks to come, so stay tuned…)
Many of you have also participated in my online survey, the responses to which are helping me to design and develop entrepreneurial training and masterminding that is relevant, meaningful and uplifting, and for this I say THANK YOU! Thank you for making my task easier 🙂 but more so for playing a valuable role in helping aspiring, new and even established entrepreneurs on the journey that is business ownership. It’s going to be so much more fun taking that journey together, by virtue of the programs I’m developing with your help!
I’m going to get a little personal here today, I hope you don’t mind. But I’m celebrating a rather unusual milestone, and I’d like to share it with you, in the hopes that it will inspire you during these still uncertain times.
Ten years ago today, I fled corporate life for the last time.
Oh, I had been an entrepreneur off-and-on since before I was old enough to order an adult beverage, but somehow every so often I’d get lured back in to other people’s companies with promises of “opportunity,” titles, and, yes, a steady (and healthy) paycheck. I can assure you that none of the three was worth the price of my soul, which is pretty much what I had to give up each time I allowed myself to be persuaded to leave my happy little cocoon of entrepreneurship.
But on September 27, 2002, I left and never looked back. (more…)
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. 🙂
This time last year, I was about three months into my new lifestyle on Mount Desert Island, Maine – something we’d dreamed about and planned for years! That was the “upside.”
The “downside” (if you can really find a downside to finally living in your vision of paradise!) was that my business revenues were at less than half of where they had been just three years earlier.
This was not primarily due to the move, mind you, but rather to the fact that the industry “basket” into which I had placed all my “eggs” (homebuilding) had been decimated by the economic realities of the day.
And while I had been slowly repositioning my business to serve a more diverse clientele and to focus on social media, online, and email marketing, the months-long process of preparing for and actually making the move did take away from my business-building (or, should I say, rebuilding) activities.
What’s Around the Bend?
After catching my breath by spending much of last Summer as a bit of a tourist in my new hometown, in the Fall I began in earnest to rebuild and re-brand my business.
Fast forward to August 2011, (more…)
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?