21 February 2018

The Status Quo is Predictable. Making Tough Decisions.

I've got a tough decision to make this year. My lease is up on my building and I need to decide what my next steps are.  Will I sign for another 3 years here or move to a smaller location? It's a tough decision.

I understand the process of  decision making - I have coached hundreds of people in decision making - weighing the options - checking out the scenarios. What if you do? What if you don't? That's the easy part. I also understand why we get stuck in places that sap our energy.

Knowing how and doing it are two different things.

The status quo is often the easier choice because you don't have to do one thing and you're already there. I'm not saying that sticking with the way things are is the right choice but it is definitely the choice that takes the least amount of energy.

An object at rest tends to stay at rest. Change.......that takes work. You've got to actually do stuff. If I give up my space, I need to decide what to do with my furniture for example. Moving to a smaller space means I have work to do.

The status quo is predictable. In all likelihood - if you're at decision time you get it.

The easy choice is to let things remain the way they are - you've got this routine down pat. Not changing may not make you jump for joy but at least you don't have work to do.

But change and the uncertainty that comes with it, now that crap can freak you out.

When I fear getting tripped up in the fact that it takes energy to change, I pull out my pen and paper.

I journal about everything. I solve all problems by writing.

What's the current situation? What is it about staying that is not appealing? I start here because I know what's appealing about it. Let's take off the rose coloured glasses and look at why the status quo is not working. Then I absorb this information - get a real feel for it. No BS here - what don't you appreciate about the status quo? Don't hold back - get it all down on paper or record it so you can listen to what you're saying.

Then I look at the other side of things. If I do make the change, what can I look forward to? In my situation I look at the benefit of changing locations for example. I look at short term and long term benefits of change.

You will get a visceral reaction with both of these exercises.

Now it's decision time - to remain with the status quo or to change. If I decide to change then I have determined that the work is worth it. I've made one too many bad decisions in my life because I got stuck in looking at the energy it would take to change instead of looking at the benefit of changing.

There are benefits and burdens to every decision - try this exercise and see if it gets you closer to a decision. It works for me

EDIT - Pay attention to the feelings that come up as you write the list. How does each option FEEL. We often discount this valuable evaluation tool. Logical and Emotional Decision Making.

17 February 2018

Periodic Pivots Etc.

I've taken a liking to the word PIVOT

Pivot: That thing that you do in business when plan A isn't working out.

I believe that pivoting makes good business sense. In the military we would often to a "recce" - a reconnaissance of an area that we were going to move into to see what resources we would need. Then we would move forward with Plan A.

Sometimes even the best laid plans aren't enough - unforeseen circumstances show up that 
make Plan A no longer appropriate. So we pivot - we change direction to get around the obstacle or scrap Plan A altogether and come up with a new plan.

Pivoting is a good thing in business. 

With one caveat....

don't let it be something you do because you're resisting the difficult stuff. There's no excuse for facing the reality that you're scared for example or that you need skills.

I know people who never gain traction in a business because every time it gets stressful, they pivot until all around them people are asking "What does he/she do?" That's not pivoting - that's confusion.

Where are you hanging onto something that needs to be let go of? Where have you fallen out of love with a process but you're sticking with it because you're worried about what others will think? 

Is it time to pivot? 


16 February 2018

I'm grateful that the cat pissed in the litter box!!! It all started there.

When I first heard someone say "What you focus on expands." I was sceptical. I didn't quite believe it but at the same time they challenged me when they said " If you don't like what's happening in your life right now, what do you have to lose? Give it a try. 

I didn't like what was happening in my life so I did as suggested and decided to give 'er a go. 
I suspended my disbelief for a while and decided to be grateful.

My life was a shit storm - a series of unfortunate events as it were. A bankruptcy close on the heels of divorce, downsizing before I was ready, living below poverty with a ton of debt, a single mama who was continually a disappointment to my daughter and no real prospects for change. The thought of jumping out of bed, doing a few fast fist pumps while expressing gratitude seemed like a pack of...... 

But...

...what I was doing wasn't working. What did I have to lose? I eased into the new routine. 

Step one was writing in a journal as soon as I awoke. Those first thoughts of gratitude needed to get down on paper. The writing prompt.....

"I am grateful......"

I wrote the first thing that came to mind.

"I am grateful that the cat pissed in the litter box."

The rest of my life was a shit storm. I was putting all of my chips on that cat keeping this up. 

My mind kept wandering back to "what you focus on expands."

My mind wanted to wander back to the fact that I was avoiding my friends because I couldn't afford to buy a coffee and I had no money for the laundry machine in the new apartment - the one that I had to move into when I could no longer live in my house. Did I mention that I had a foreclosure notice on the same day that I got an offer? Phew!!! These things are not accidental - don't get me started about real estate agents with agendas. 

So here I was with my journal and it was a chore. I had one sentence. 

"I'm grateful that the cat pissed in the little box!!"

Then I drew a picture of the cat in the litter box. After all what you focus on expands. I didn't want to fall back into old patterns and if I looked up from the paper I might notice that I was drinking no name coffee and that would really piss me off.

So I drew the cat and then I started thinking about the lady at the bus stop who was telling me about her cat one day. She loved her cat - I didn't really get this. I was one of those mamas who purchased a cat because her kid liked cats - this woman cherished her cat. She would pull out her cell phone and show me pictures of this cat. That got me laughing. 

"I am grateful for belly laughs."

Of course, I stuck with it because if I didn't I might think about how I was legally 
blind and almost 50 without a pot to piss in so to speak. No job prospects 
in sight living in a place I detested.

There's a theme here - cats and piss.

That woman at the bus was weather beaten, she had been taking that same bus for more than 20 years to a minimum wage job. I thought about my life and how I had enjoyed so many 
magical experiences in the army and how blessed I was to not have had to do what she was doing. 

You're wondering where I'm going with this story? 

I seem to be meandering.....but it is going somewhere. I'm telling you that if you want a better life, you're going to have to control your thoughts. I have gone from the cat, the litter box to 
owning two businesses and wondering when my fourth book will come out. Yes, I
 did take many action steps in between then and now but it started with gratitude when I could hardly find a thing to be grateful for...

...except a cat pissing in the litter box. 

12 February 2018

Moving from Alberta to Nova Scotia - it's bad enough I can't claim certain expenses related to the move and on top of that I owe a bucket of money to the government. Why don't they tell you this?

When you're considering a move back home, it's worth it to do a little research before choosing the date for the move. I learned this lesson the hard way when I moved back home after retiring from the army.

Joey  is a fictional character

Joey moved from Alberta to Nova Scotia in October of 2016. He purchased his first home in Nova Scotia in November and came to see me when it was time to do his income tax.

Apparently someone had told him that he could claim the costs related to the purchase of his new home. He wasn't pleased when I told him that this claim was only available to people who had sold a property at the old location.

He was irritated but we got over it. Sometimes there's a tendency for people to shoot the messenger but Joey was graceful.

That is....until I told him how much he would have to pay the government this year. Let's talk about provincial marginal tax rates.

Joey made  $130,000.00 in Alberta (between Jan - Oct).  Joey's employer collected tax based on the assumption that he would be filing taxes in Alberta which makes sense. But, when it comes time to do your taxes, the government expects your the taxes based on where you were residing on December 31st of that year.  On December 31st Joey was ringing in the new year in his new man cave in Nova Scotia - therefore, so Joey would be taxed at the Nova Scotia tax rate.

Nova Scotia 17.5%

Alberta 10 %

Joey was in for a shock - he wouldn't be getting that new boat this year. I get it! I get it! I get it Joey! I'd be pissed too. But I have to follow the law.

My advice to anyone considering a move, be strategic about the date.  Check your marginal tax rates, hold off and move in the new year if it is more beneficial to do so!!! Sometimes we have no control over this but at least you can do a little planning. 

Joey just called to make an appointment to get his 2017 taxes done - I'm glad he realizes that I don't make the rules.







10 February 2018

"When someone is honest - thank them for the gift."

Even though the big gurus talk about the 360 analysis and how important it is that we get feedback from the people around us, the reality is that we all love the positive feedback but...
who wants to hear that they're not doing so hot and that other people can see our flaws?

No one - not me, not you, not the guy who has parsley stuck in his teeth.

And about the guy with parsley, most people won't even tell him that it's there or that he has toilet paper on his shoe. Folks would rather let you go around looking stupid than tell you the truth and run the risk of you not liking them. 

I can hear some of you right now saying "I would tell you if you had parsley in your teeth!!" Ok, I'll give you that but would you tell your best friend that there is no market for her products or that she isn't a great yoga instructor? Would you tell them that they can't manage people or that the staff are laughing at them behind their back? Would you want someone to tell  you all of this if it were you?

Having a tough hide in business isn't optional.  If we don't start asking for feedback from others and accepting the feedback that they are offering, we are going to be waiting too long to become profitable if it happens at all. If we only seek out the compliments and continue to ignore the tough lessons, we won't be in business for very long. When someone with a good heart offers you an opinion about what they see, don't ignore it. There could be some truth in that advice. 

My first attempt at business - teaching women how to manage the power centres of the non-traditional world, was a flop. I had a course that was only half baked, had no real idea how to sell to corporations and had barriers to success that I was in denial about. Instead I walked around as if I was ready to go when that contract arrived. Truth was, I had no idea what I didn't know until I hired my first coach. 

I had a good person in my life who wasn't afraid to tell me what I needed to hear. I listened when she told me that I was never going to sell one of my programs unless I learned how to market correctly and if the course wasn't ready to go, no one would want to purchase it. It was one of the toughest things I have ever had to listen to. But I did listen - went out and got certified as an adult educator and hired a coach to help me market my services. I was a little peeved at Sherri but truth is, I needed to hear this. 

I got over it!!!

If you're not having the results you are expecting in your business, take a giant leap. Ask someone in your circle whom you trust and respect to give you some honest feedback. Ask more than one person to see if others feel the same way as well. Call it market research or call it common sense. If you're not gaining any traction in your business - it might just be YOU!!! Are you ready for that?

3 February 2018

Save time and money - market to the ideal client.

Imagine someone trying to sell you something that you are not in the market for. Recently someone tried to sell me a cutting board. I wasn't in the market for a cutting board but that person continued to tell me all about the features and benefits including a big spiel on charcuterie boards. It was extremely annoying. Almost as annoying as the time someone tried to sell me a $2000 set of pots and pans - me, who hardly ever cooks and who understands the importance of knowing your client. 

Contrast that with my experience today when someone offered me a sample of hand cream. I have dry skin and love a great hand cream that can get me through the long dry winter.  Sell me hand cream; sell me a great training business coaching program - I'm a knowledge addict and I'm always investing in my craft. These are my values - we always purchase those things that we value.

Know your client.

If you're selling a luxury item, you need clients who have the disposable income to be able to pay for them. That's a given.  They also have to link with what they value. Don't try and sell and all inclusive to someone who values time at the cottage. 

If you're selling a holistic product, it's an easier process if you don't have to first define the term holistic. Let's say for example, you're selling the option to learn more about the Ayurvedic Food Lifestyle, I know right away that selling to a meat and potatoes guy is not your best bet. Reason being, you have to first convince him that altering his food choice is necessary.  That is a labour intensive sell. 

I like to say I did it wrong before I learned to do it right. In the early days, I thought my business coaching was designed for "all business people" but I've changed my mind about that over time. 

 Generally speaking my 3 month coaching product is best suited to someone who is interested in making six figures. That person must be already hustling at that level and have the means to pay for the program. That person is highly motivated and has the means.

I generally don't waste time marketing that product to new entrepreneurs but I do "plant seeds" so that when they are ready to scale they will consider me. I also don't market to those folks who don't feel a certain urgency to make the money. Although I don't always just coach the primary breadwinner, the people I coach like a good lifestyle and their contribution to the family income is substantial. 

When there was a downturn in the economy in Alberta, a lot of men were laid off in Eastern Canada - men who had been given a taste of the good life; men who were attached to their toys and men who wanted to quickly bring their income level up to the 100K+ level real quick. 

Finding a J O B in Atlantic Canada wasn't going to do it for them. I saw this as an opportunity. I put on an info session as a way to market my program and only invited men who fit this category. 

These men had big lifestyles, golfed regularly, had big trucks, skidoos, cottages and .... they were determined to hang onto this lifestyle. 

Getting back to the Ayurvedic Food Lifestyle, wouldn't you be closer to a sale if you spoke with people who already had an understanding of Eastern options? I'm assuming that this person needs to have a bit more disposable income than those of us who have Kraft Dinner regularly. This person should also have health and well being high on the priority list. Would this person likely be at a Yoga Studio? Or using alternative medicine like accupuncture. I see open minded written all over this. Where do you find open minded people? What are some of their habits?

This gets me into a chat about cross marketing so I will end here. But think about it - it's much easier to sell to the ideal client - the person who is waiting for the solution you are delivering. 

21 January 2018

I'm freaking out because it's time to take myself off the front line and hand it over to someone else!!!

Did that title sound like it had your name on it? If it did, welcome to the club.

This is serious stuff. If you're at that stage, you're not alone. I'm doing the exact same thing and the same kinds of worries are coming up for me.

This isn't just our business, this is our baby and if we take ourselves off the front line, things could fall apart. Isn't that what we are thinking? We're likely also thinking..

What if they do it better than I did it? 
or
What if I can't find a manager who can manage to maintain the brand I have established?

Then if you're like me you might be thinking..
 I don't really want to manage - I'm a leader and we all know that leaders and managers are not the same thing.

The most painful part starting a business with barely enough money and not enough skills is that we have to do all of the tasks ourselves.

We know that there are certain parts that get us all fired up and other things (like bookkeeping) that are like a damp rag. Get that damper off your plate as fast as you can.

I can work 20 hour days doing the parts of the biz that I love. I need staff in order to scale but I have no desire to even try to figure that part out. I don't want a manage. I am not a manager, I am a leader. I do  not like to manage at all. I'm not good at it. So the options are....stay where you are or find a manager.

Then there's that other little niggling thing....letting go. Yep, I said it out loud. It's not easy letting go. But it is necessary for growth. I get that.


I know you love your baby. I get that it was your sweat equity and tears that got you to this place - letting go is not easy but you do have a limited supply of energy and right now you're spending far too much time on this decision. 1, 2, 3, JUMP

But you know what? That next level, it's there for you and it needs you - if your plan for the future needs your undivided attention, you need to giddy up go.

I have spoken with so many people who have arrived at this stage - decision time. Many of them were held back because they couldn't make that decision.

Letting go wasn't an option for them and they didn't get to live that dream. I could detect a little regret in the way they reminisced. Their passion got dampened somewhat. One person told me that she makes a good living but she turned down the opportunity to make a great life.

I don't want to be one of those people
and I have a feeling that you don't either.

So, 
one of the things that you can do is look fear in the eye and tell it you're onto it. Look at that worse case scenario (it doesn't happen as often as you think) and then weigh that against not acting - which one makes you cringe at the thought. Staying the same can often be a de-motivator. It can suck the life right out of you.

Is it time to act? It's up to you..

14 January 2018

Are you a planner or a doer?

There are benefits and burdens in being at the extremes - are you a planner or a doer? When I need a plan written, I love giving it to an extreme planner - they don't miss anything. I can write plans but they're labour intensive for me. I like to get 'er done.
On the other end of the spectrum, if I need something done, I'll find a doer to pull that off. They may not dot every "I" or cross every "T" but they will get the job done.
When you own your own biz, you're often both people, the planner and the doer.
Being at one or the other extreme can work to your detriment. That's why we have to put systems in place to protect ourselves from our own proclivities.
I'm big on execution "done is better than perfect in my opinion". But...I also see the benefit in reading the instructions, I run my ideas by people. I ask others for advice like what to watch out for. I have learned that this DOER in me can land me in hot water at times.
My entrepreneurial friends who are big on the Planning end of the spectrum report that the plan can bog them down. They can get lost in fine tuning the plan. Sometimes they take longer to achieve something as a result. To overcome this, they will bring in someone to manage projects and to provide the proverbial kick in the behind that is needed to get 'er done.
Are you a planner or a doer and what strategies do you have in place to save you from yourself? Just curious?

11 January 2018

How do you creatively market your business?


What a great day!!! Eight business people coming together to share a lunch that had a strategically random flavour. How did this happen? I am always trying to think of new ways to market my business - events that pack a little punch and are more than a sharing of business cards. A way to build a relationship. 

Like the quote "A rising tide lifts all boats!" I enjoy sharing the glory and getting in one another's slip stream.  

Good food, good people and an opportunity to showcase what you do. 

I took out my LIST of inspiring business people and I drew random names until I had a group of eight. That's a good number for lunch. Everyone said yes when invited and that was the start of our first month of #LetsEatTogether and #CreativeMarketing. 

We shared stories of how we ended up in this business place. We talked about our big plans, the importance of jumping in with both feet, the hustle and grind and we laughed. We really did laugh especially when stories were shared about......oh you had to be there.  

Somewhere near the end someone said "What about our business cards?" 

Oh ya, we had so much fun that we forgot to share those. Isn't that novel? We spent so much time building relationships that we forgot to try and make a sale. 

In February we will do it all over again - I love meeting new people. 

How do you get creative with your marketing? What do you have in mind for 2018? I'd love to hear all about it!

10 January 2018

Tax Time Tips: Sorting the Shoe Box

It's that time of year. Let's face it, not many business people love TAX TIME! 

After all, we get before tax dollars!!!! Duh!!!

If you're facing the proverbial shoe box filled with crumpled receipts and packing slips, you need a plan. 

If your receipts have not made it in from the glove box yet, you need a plan. 

If you're forgetting about your digital expenses and you seldom print a receipt when you do the email transfer, you need a plan. 

Here's the plan!!

Don't get overwhelmed. I suggest tackling the beast in one hour chunks. 

Take a deep breath all the way to the soles of your feet and breathe all the way out. You're ready - oh ya, you're more than ready. 

Set aside one hour a day so you don't get overwhelmed.  Did I say that already? What do we do when we get overwhelmed? We kick the shoe box into a dark recess in the closet and don't do our taxes at all. DON'T DO THIS!!!

As much as we don't love tax time, let's show it the respect it deserves.
 If you think that shoe box is intimidating - you should see what it feels like when you get that knock on the door. Know what I'm saying??

...back to the plan

Breathe......

Collect those digital files and put them in one place. Don't miss out on write offs just because you hate doing the leg work. Bring the receipts in from the car and dig through your pockets - they're everywhere. 

You won't notice gaps in expenses until  you get it all sorted. So start sorting. 

Check those dates. Make sure it's dated for this year. Is the receipt  for advertising? Don't put it in the pile where you put your receipt for snow tires and car repairs. You get it?  CATEGORIZE your mess.

Your tax preparer will give you a handy dandy set of handouts to get you sorted. I know this for a fact - oh ya, we do taxes.

Entrepreneurs (at least the successful ones) do hard stuff every day - this is hard stuff!!!  But believe me when I say that you're going to love the weight that will be lifted when you're finished. 

Of course, if you really don't like it, you can get someone to do it for you. Give us a ring - we can hook you up. 

8 January 2018

My Pet Peeve - Poorly Designed Curriculum for Business Courses

I've taken a lot of business courses - some  were extremely helpful but there are a 
lot of programs that are poorly designed. 

There is a hierarchy of skills that business people need to develop. I see people out there with mad skills in communication, networking and growth mindset who are hitting it out of the park revenue wise. People who have never taken a business course. 

Could they be doing better? You betcha but....

They have the core competencies in the bag. 

I've also met business people with a binder filled with certificates - wait a minute - that's me. I had a binder filled with certificates. Someone gave me a grant for a business plan when I had no idea how to make my first dollar. I couldn't have communicated properly to a prospect had they fallen in my path gasping for air. I didn't have the core competencies needed for success. 

The learner will also be given opportunities to communicate. 

The learner will also develop some kick ass networking skills by 
interacting with the other participants.

The learner will be introduced to the concept of mindset - fixed and growth.

The instructor will be trained and effective in adult learning principles.

There's a reason why we need pre-requisites to take certain courses in university. There's a reason why kids learn particular strands in math at certain times. 
Information needs to be layered in a certain way. 

There's a reason why the success rate for new business owners is so low.  Core competencies are being ignored. The time to do something about it is now. 

It's not enough to have a pet peeve - I see it as an opportunity in business.



4 January 2018

Can you dream a KICKASS dream?

There are many skills to master as a business owner. Planning, communication, networking and the skill sets around money are all essential but.....

the one skill that is often trivialized and not given as much time as we should give it is
the ability to dream a big dream.
Truth is, some of you will stop reading at this point because
you're not into the "fluffy skills. But, resist the urge - suspend your disbelief. Read on!!

How much time do you spend perfecting the art of dreaming? How clear are you about where you are headed? Are you disciplined enough to continue to take steps to reach that goal in spite of the obstacles that others are focusing on?

Or....
are you getting bogged down in the crap that you have to wade through? Smart business people dream great big dreams and they take daily action toward achieving those dreams. What they don't do matters even more - they don't fall into the worry trap which can sap all of your energy and slow you down.

We're not oblivious to the fact that our disabilities are a barrier to success or we may not have enough capital at the present moment but we are very good at locking onto that target
and getting down to the grind each and every day because we're certain that no matter
what is standing in our path - we're going to overcome it!!
We're certain of it. We're not clear on the how but we are focused on the what.

That's the kind of determination and discipline it takes to be successful in business.
Only people with that level of nerve and guts succeed in this gig.

So yes, spend time learning about the money but spend even more time learning how to dream.

Join us for our book club which will start on Sunday for an introduction to the art of getting what you want.



27 December 2017

Maybe the thought of making the big bucks is scaring the pants off you!!!

A while back I was contacted by an organzation who needed a grant written. This was a piece of cake for me - I've been writing cogent arguments for some time now. It's not something that I have ever thought of doing for a living. I sought out some advice on what to charge for that service. My pricing coach told me that I could expect $16,000.00 to write this grant. 
I cringed at the thought because frankly......

I wouldn't pay it myself....

I chuckle as I recall that moment but let me tell you, I've gotten past that and 
learned how to price a job for the value that I bring to the client. 

My client had a need and a time crunch. It became evident very quickly that he had not given much thought to defining the scope of the project. 

He also didn't have the capacity to do the job himself and he wanted that 1 Million that he would be getting if we were successful. Of course it was worth it to make that happen. 

When I look back on this client, I learned so much about business from this client. I wasn't selling them a grant. I was solving a set of problems as well as opening the door 
to more than a million to add to their budge. They were going to get a dream project off the ground with this money. 

Recently when I spoke with a web designer who was new to business, I could tell that he was struggling with the same issue and I took the deal that he was offering. 
Before we went into the deal, I struck up a side deal with him. I would pay 
the low price in return for me coaching him in 
how to charge large if his product were as good as he thought it was. 

It was a win/win for both of us. 

Are you charging what you're worth or are you selling yourself at bargain basement prices? 
A bump in prices will let you reach your revenue targets sooner while also 
freeing up time. Think about it. 

Join us for our January E-book if you're fascinated with Law of Attraction


or 

Check out our one day Business Strategy on Jan 19th here







26 December 2017

A bit of a rant - be generous in July.

We are just coming through a Christmas where I personally got to observe the best in people. It's been tough on the family to see our parents transition - mother into a long term care facility and our grief stricken father transition into losing the one woman he has slept beside for 55+ years. It has been heartwarming to see our family pull together to provide the care that we could provide. We are in the season of change and we've got good people showing up to help us through it.

December saw a lot of people come together in a show of support and generous giving of time and resources to folks who are hit hard by the holiday season.  Whether it was an organization asking for donations or individuals trying to assist a woman who found herself in a precarious living situation - it got me thinking that it takes a village but we need the level of awareness in July as much as we need it in Decembers.

We know that these donations are band aid solutions on larger societal problems that require policy changes. It's important that we remember that we can pull together for our brothers and sisters all year long.

One of the core competencies of entrepreneurship is the ability to vision. It's not the only competency but if we use the analogy of baking a cake, not being able to vision would be equivalent to not having a bowl to mix the ingredients in.  But sometimes when our worlds are turned upside down, survival is the number one consideration. I think we can all agree that some of the folks we have served in December have less than desirable lives. It is tough to look at a better future when you don't have enough food on the table or can't afford to purchase tampons.

I teach people to vision - take time to create a compelling narrative around the life they want to create as entrepreneurs. What if we came together as a community and visioned together. I don't mean that we come together and gripe about what some politician isn't doing. I mean coming together to create a vision of what we want our society to look like. What if we then learned as a group to watch our language and take action when we could. What if we helped people who were struggling to vision by visioning for them - holding them up until they gain a little traction.

Let's collectively come together and learn to vision for a better future.  Let's not just hope that we can purchase a sailboat this year or maintain that lakefront property. Let's speak the truth about people and their starting position. Let's talk about the benefit of privilege and put ego in its place.

Sometimes by the time the disadvantaged get to where they could launch, they're so exhausted from surviving poverty that they take a break. A break that they can't get up from. It's called frustration and you'd have to walk a mile in those shoes to really get it. 

I used to feel sorry for myself - burdened because of vision loss and forced to give up a home and go through bankruptcy but I realise now that I was rich in other ways.  I had friends to lean on and family members who could pick up the slack. I had the ability to learn and communicate. I could write and articulate a letter that opened doors.

Can you imagine what it feels like to not be able to advocate for yourself but at the same time not know people who can advocate on your behalf? Try doing that on zero budget. Don't get me started on the impact of disability on a person without the means to support the disability.

In 2018, let's open our eyes and our hearts and show up for our brothers and sisters in need all year long. Nothing to give says the cash strapped entrepreneur? Try mentoring someone to get to the place that you have arrived at.

Don't say you have nothing to give - it could be that you lend your voice. You freely offer a piece of advice. You open a door for someone (I mean a door to resources that others are struggling to open).  Be as generous in July as you are in December.

Reach out to someone that you see struggling. If you have figured out how to vision - teach another person. It is the fundamental core competency of entrepreneurship - the ability to dream and then take appropriate action.

Drive a bit of business in the direction of someone who is struggling. Open up your networks to people. Offer to be a leaning post to a person in need by lending an ear.

I'm proud of what happens in December - of the generous folks all around me, but in 2018, let's see if we can keep the momentum going.

16 December 2017

3 Tips for Surviving a Cash Flow Crunch

I have never met a business person who hasn't at one time or another had a cash flow crunch. There may be someone out there, but I've never met one. I know I have had one or two as I ease myself into this thing called business. You're not alone. Here are 3 lessons that I have learned where the rubber hit the road.

1. Don't beat yourself up over it. You got here because of decisions you have made. Accept it, learn from it and move on. No sense getting angry at yourself. It's counter productive.

2. You won't get out of one hole by digging another one.  As much as you may want to borrow from Peter to pay Paul, avoid the impulse. You're already overextended - think of ways to generate more revenue instead of looking for quick fixes. You're in a place of great learning - hard knocks are like that.

3. Get humble real quick.  The thing about good business people is that they're not afraid to humble themselves. Ask for an extension on payment if you need to but only if you won't inconvenience someone else. You need to get through this and keep your business going. Get humble real quick.

My two cents - something needs to change if this becomes a chronic problem in your business. Think long and hard about that.

Learn more about what we do at PeopleCan here.

10 December 2017

It's great to have a heart centered business but let's be serious, feeling good won't pay the bills.

My ideal client is just like me - or should I say -  how I used to be. 

They start a business with great big hearts and they just want everyone to have what they're offering because they care about you and YOUR well being, YOUR health, YOUR relationships, where you live or how your children are faring. Care and a heart to serve motivates them.  The heart to serve is great but it's essential to really get the profit motive that makes a business a business. 

I started PeopleCan Training primarily as a way to make money but I was highly motivated by an ethics of care and a heart to serve. I saw too many blue collar businesses out there working long hard hours at their craft while not bringing home enough to pay the bills.  I saw them slave over their amazing products without an ability to charge what they were worth - hence why I started using the word "charge large" which used to make me cringe I might add.

But a heart to serve won't pay the bills without some kickass practical skills around charging, collecting, professionalism and communication.  You can't live on bread alone, nor can you live for long on warm and fussy feelings. 

That's why I created drop in monthly coaching like Are you charging enough? and why I am offering a full day on the topic of money in the new year. People were out there learning about cash flow but there was a blockage in the revenue pipe that was caused by too much heart and not enough profit motive. 

Making money for your business lets you care more and give more and be better at what you do. That's why I ensure that each of my courses includes a piece about money mindset because frankly, I can't do a financial projection without talking about the elephant in the room.  If you're not comfie with the talk about cash - you're not going to last long in this biz.

So if you're ready to root out those cobwebs that might be holding you back. Stay tuned, the details of the full day program Big Bold 2018 will be coming out this week. Join us for a fully day of planning. 

Check out my candid story about my own Money Mindset evolution. 

18 November 2017

Is being nice hurting your business?

Business success takes a lot of mental toughness. It's a given - mental toughness and success go hand in hand. If you're like me, more often than not, you did it wrong before you did it right.

I'm a recovering doormat. I spent a large part of my life avoiding conflict and keeping the peace. You can imagine how that impacted my business - a venture where tough conversations are the norm especially when there is wiggle room for negotiation in price. Not a good scene!!!

I like to say I'm a  work in progress because the reality is that the tendency to be seen as nice still shows up on occasion and I have to stamp it out. It really is an ongoing battle.

In my classes, I talk about the internal workings that hold us back in business - being nice is one of those "driving with the handbrake on" moments. 

Enabling behaviour - helping someone to take advantage and mistreat us. It is often a taboo phrase - let's not talk about it in case we blame the victim. Well, I needed to talk about it because I was the only one that could stop it. 

In university, I encountered the term and it made me curious because it sounded so much like me. It intrigued me so much that I went looking for books on the topic. 

Books like Melody Beattie's Codependent No More and Beverly Engel's Nice Girl Syndrome  helped me to come to terms with the fact that 

I WAS HELPING PEOPLE TO TREAT ME LIKE CRAP!!! YIKES!!!

Are you fired up yet? The mental toughness that it takes to be successful DEMANDS that we take a long hard look in the mirror and put our finger on the problem. It's not about letting anyone off the hook - there are jerks out there!! No objection here. It's about being honest with yourself. 

Enable: to make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to authorize;

We enable when we don't speak up to someone who disrespects us. We enable when we overlook again and again. We enable when we can't find our voice.

Being nice means keeping the peace a lot of the time. To the extreme in most cases. We can't keep the peace and have a difficult conversation at the same time. The problem with being nice is that even the most professional tough conversation can feel pretty scary. Well, breaking that cycle is tough for nice people but in order to be successful, you've got to learn to be professional and to be fair including treating yourself with respect.

Respect is all about moving out of victim mindset and taking responsibility for your 
part in helping others treat you with disrespect.

"Enabling" let's raise awareness about this topic and end it today.

Join us on Nov 23rd as we take a deep dive in how it impacts our biz.  







4 November 2017

Entrepreneurship - Fixed and Growth Mindset and Visioning

Sit quietly for a few moments and imagine that its the end of the day (I'm assuming it's morning where you are). Now take a few deep breaths and think back on the day - what made it special? Did you spend time with friends? Was it the amazing round of golf in November or did you strike it rich at the casino? Did you enjoy a day on your own while the kids went on an adventure with grandma? Now.....

GET OUT THERE AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

Fourteen years ago, when I started my learning journey, had I read this opening paragraph, I would have stopped reading. Not my thing. A little hocus pocus and foo fooy. 

But here I am today not only visioning as a regular part of my day but teaching others to vision as well. 

I used to be a Fixed Mindset gal. I can still remember Sister Mary - a nun who walked around with a stick, little black Oxford shoes, bushy eyebrows and a double chin hanging over her white wimple. She would stare at me sternly when we were caught climbing back in through the bathroom window after sneaking out for a smoke. 

We weren't taught to dream - we were taught to be obedient and to become great employees. That's what the public school system did. Entrepreneurial success requires that you be a dreamer - a growth mindset characteristic. If we don't know how to do that - we need to learn. 

I've had a few meetings recently where I had an opportunity to speak about three of the core competencies of entrepreneurship that I dabble in - communication, networking and MINDSET with the latter being the one that I enjoy speaking about most.

Generally I'm chatting with people who are old school fixed mindset - having a foot in each canoe helps me to bring the conversation to a place where they get curious about what I'm saying. That's all I want to do is start the dialogue. How do we teach fixed mindset people how to think like a growth mindset person? One part of that is teaching people how to vision. A clear vision of where you are going becomes a magnet, impacts your choices and gets you there quicker.


Here's how it looks for a 30 Day Sales Challenge.

- we have set a goal for what we want to achieve.
- we do a visioning exercise where we imagine that we're at Day 30.
- we visualize that we're looking back over the month to see what it is that we did to get here.
- use your imagination.
- what needed to go well.
- what people did we need to meet.
- what did we say no to?

Now get 'er done.


27 October 2017

Let's all teach people to fish - design for business training needs to get real.


Every time I look at this picture, it warms my heart. A friend had taken me out to the country and was giving me a lesson in fly fishing. I didn't do so well. This photo does not capture how incompetent I really was. We had a remarkable time - taking me back to the fun outdoorsy stuff that I miss.


There's an old adage that says  "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day but teach him to fish and he will never go hungry."



I was given an opportunity this week to speak with stakeholders about teaching people to fish (become entrepreneurs) and how important it was that they be supported in that journey. Not just supported, but supported in the right way.

In the early days of my own entrepreneurial journey, I was adamant that I needed money to become a business owner. I really believed that having an influx of cash would get me started. But I was wrong. I didn't know what I didn't know. With a lot of humility I have learned tough lessons where the rubber hits the road. Some of those lessons have been very painful including the one where I recognized that I needed skills and not money.
I was a reluctant entrepreneur so I had no real desire to learn to fish. I needed to learn to survive and if it meant fishing, then I needed to learn. I also needed someone with the patience to teach me how. Even though I ended up teaching myself, it's a tough model - it's labour intensive, it takes too long and can wear a person down. Fortunately, I lived to tell the tale and so it has also become a gift. It has allowed me to gain insight that I wouldn't normally have been privy to had I not had that experience.

Here are a few of the lessons that I have learned where the rubber hits the road that continue to benefit me in designing business training:

1. Stop giving people handouts without ensuring that you also give them the supports they need to leverage the handout. Throwing money at a problem does not resolve the underlying problem. Support has to be intentional - tackling the issues that are front of mind for the learner.

2. Design matters -  the first business course I took taught me how to do financial management in business. I had no finances to manage and it all seemed so abstract. I couldn't figure out how to make my first $100.00 and someone wanted me to plug numbers into a spreadsheet that were higher than any numbers that I had ever seen in my life.

Having the right learning objectives in a program is as important as providing support for transfer learning. It's OK to take a course in a classroom but if you're left to your own devices when the program is over, then you're in hot water because learning is a vulnerable venture. Change is tough - doing it on our own is difficult. We need to have well designed programs that meet people where they are and then couple that training with the right support for transfer learning. Often when people leave the classroom, they don't have the supports in their lives to support the change they need to make. Make sure you offer an opportunity for support. 

3. Mindset matters - this is the hot button topic that permeates every class that I offer. It worked for the little engine and it works for us. What we believe matters. Learning is enhanced when we meet people where they are. Levels of oppression impact where the gaps are and how big they are. Money mindset, assertive communication, relationship building. All of these are core competencies in business. That's why I prefer to sprinkle every program with core competencies. It makes for a better, more engaged program. 

That's why people signed up for the 30 Day Sales Challenge after already being through it one time. They had results the first time around and when I offered the new and improved, they wanted to join again. I keep it real. We don't speak in abstracts - it's all about the hustle where the rubber hits the road. I like to meet clients where they are. This is essential to success in our industry. 

If you're in the business of supporting entrepreneurs, learn to give them what it is that they need not what you think they need - this takes courage. 

Want to book an appointment to talk about design?  







15 October 2017

Asking a stupid question is a very smart thing to do!!!

It took a lot of work to get a degree in my forties. As much as I enjoyed learning, it was a bit of an uphill battle most days. Dang, it was tough getting there - dropping my daughter off at the sitter before taking the bus 90 minutes one way. But beyond that, it was tough doing the double duty that my brain endured because....frankly, I had no idea what the professor was saying half the time.

It was hard enough to learn new topics like Statistics and Sociology but to top it all off, there were new words used daily that made no sense to me. One day, I remember feeling extremely frustrated as I tried to keep up with the topic that day and the teacher uses a sentence with the word "extrapolate" in it.

That naughty little voice inside me screamed "WTF. Extrapolate this you SOB." But of course I didn't say that. What I did ask was "Can you please tell me what extrapolate means?" She - the professor - looked at me with a look that said....well, it doesn't matter what I thought it said. She looked over the top of her glasses as she scanned the room. I knew she didn't like me interrupting her. She went on to tell us what it meant. When we left class that day - a few other students came over and told me that they were glad that I had asked that question. They were also struggling with some of the jargon.

My first year in university I purchased 3 dictionaries. No kidding - my sister and I used to share new words and they were coming at me fast and furious. I think I needed to take a separate course called "Unnecessary Words We Will Use So That We Look Smart".
"Why say marmalade when you can say jam?"
I still love plain language - oh, don't get me wrong - I can speak complicated language but I prefer to include people when I can. The words we use sometimes exclude people. Using too much jargon without explaining what it means is unnecessary. I also continue to be smart when it comes to asking questions that may make me look stupid. After all - asking those questions have opened doors for me. Some of the smartest people I have ever encountered have never spent one day in a university classroom. They don't use big words when we speak - but we get what they're trying to say.

Be the person who asks too many questions. As an educator, I take ownership of the lessons delivered. If the student doesn't get it, I like to deliver it in a new way. If I'm paying you to teach me something, I need to get what you're trying to say. I'm going to interrupt so that I can get it and follow the lesson.

They say there's no such thing as a stupid question - maybe/maybe not but I prefer to say that the only stupid question is the one you didn't ask.