21 December 2016

Working Against the Clock: 3 Peices of Advice for New Entrepreneurs Who are Doing it on a Dime or Very Few Dimes

In your first year of business, you're working against the clock.

You're trying to make money before you run out of start up funds. I was lucky that I only had to be answerable to me so getting in a tight jam was easier than if I had a spouse to answer to. That comes with a different set of challenges and not ones that I am qualified to speak on.

Let's face it, for many of us, those start up funds often aren't dedicated funds; they may be existing lines of credit that were intended to be emergency funds or maybe they're funds that we are diverting from somewhere else.

For myself, any money I made in the early days needed to go right back into the business so that I could go after the bigger contracts.

The term "scraping by" often didn't begin to capture the full story of early startups.

Tick tock tick tock - there's a reason why many of us never get off the ground. Cash is King. As my mentor likes to say "money is like blood - run out of either and you're dead".

In spite of doing many things well in the early days, there were many brutal lessons. Here are 3 pieces of advice that I feel are GOLDEN when it comes to starting a business. Definitely advice that I wish I would have had mayself. Keep in mind that I'm speaking to a very specific client when I write - failing is not an option for you.

1. Don't Incorporate Early. Ignore this advice if you fall into a "high risk of being sued" category. Otherwise, read on. I'm speaking to the regular Jane or Joe who is out there trying to drum up a little bit of business. Tax returns for incorporated businesses are expensive. Your first task is to learn how to make money. I meet too many people who are incorporated and ready for that first set of tax returns but who not yet never made a solitary nickel. What's up with that? Seek the advice of many people before letting someone talk you into incorporating. If you're a sole proprietor and need your taxes done, do email me for help, peoplecantraining@gmail.com.

2. Don't spend big bucks on a fancy website like I did in the early days. Yep, I learned most of my lessons the hard way. I have a theory -  sometimes in order to bolster our own self esteem, we make purchases like an expensive suit, a fancy website etc....so that we can start to feel the part. I get the psychology behind it but I'm hoping that by raising awareness, you won't make the same mistakes. That false status will only get you so far. There are so many other ways that you can come into your own when it comes to being a business person. Try hanging out with successful business owners. Successful people love to chat about business. We have a huge skills gap when we are forced into business  - one that won't be filled by the optics of an expensive website. Check out my latest very functional and practical website here to find out more about what we do at PeopleCan Training.

3. Join Toastmasters. From a business perspective, it has amazing bang for the buck. Anyone in business can tell a new entrepreneur from a thousand paces - it could be that they talk too much about their resume. It could be that they have their business cards at the ready all the time even when they weren't asked for one. It takes time to develop trust and to really own the role of business owner. Toastmasters will give you a venue to practice speaking before you take it live. It offers you a network of people who will become friends - people who will become your ambassadors when you're an established business. They also offer an amazing service at an affordable price. Great bang for your buck.

BONUS: Here's a bonus nugget  - learn to respond succinctly to the question "What problem are you solving for your client?" with intelligence.

Get out there and get 'er done. Owning a business is a way to a better life.

16 December 2016

Taxes - Extra Expenses at the Holidays for Meals and Entertainment

I get asked this every year...

"Can I claim the cost of my office party?"

Generally speaking there is a limit of 50% that you're allowed to claim for meals and expenses. But there are a few exceptions and at this time of year this exception comes into play.

Keeping in mind that there is always the expectation that the expense will be reasonable, the rule for claiming that holiday shindig is a resounding "yes" you can claim 100% of your holiday party.

The caveat is that it has to be open to all employees and can include clients. The other bit that is worth noting is that you're not limited to claiming this expense once a year - you can host a party and claim 100% of meals and entertainment up to 6 times a year. Conditions apply.

....and yes, you can host the party in a restaurant or at your business location.

There are other times when you can claim more than the 50% - if you're uncertain, keep receipts and ask your tax specialist.

Debbie Adams is a Certified Tax Preparer specializing in Sole Proprietors.

27 November 2016

It isn't enough to dream of a better life, you have to believe it's going to happen. That's how you create a better life.

The title of this post is kind of telling - it isn't your ability to dream that helps you to create a better life. It's your ability to dream and expect the things that you desire. That's been my learning curve and the lesson that I needed so desperately to embrace. I had the dreaming down pat long before I learned to manage my expectations.

At the worse point in my life, someone spoke those words at a seminar - the life that you have is the life that you are expecting. To say I was pissed was an understatement. I was in the midst of one of the worse days of my life. My home that I cherished had been on the market 8 months - I was behind on payments and even though I had equity in the home, I had no way of accessing the equity because my income was too low. I was living on a fixed income disability pension. (Some might say I didn't know the right broker - topic for another day) :).

One day someone knocked at the door and when I answered the door - there was a gentleman standing there with registered mail. I had to sign for the dreaded letter - it was a notice from the lawyers informing me that they were going to foreclose on the mortgage. It was a soft landing - I hadn't run from my debt. I knew that this was the next step for me. Every day I hoped that the home would sell.

That same day, I got a call from the realtor that we had an offer on the house. Needless to say, we stalled the foreclosure and went ahead with the sale - I took a big hit on that sale because I was vulnerable and not making decisions from a position of strength. It would take a long time to realise the blessing hidden in this mess - many months later, I did eventually go bankrupt but there was no house included in the bankruptcy and for anyone who understands that industry, that makes a world of difference.

I landed in a pretty scary place - no home, no job and no prospects. I was literally dependent on someone's kind heart to help me out. It was a very low point in my life. At a seminar I was given tickets to, I heard this powerful message that really annoyed me at the time. The life you have is the one you believe you can have. Grrrrrrrrr - really?

It took me quite some time before I could appreciate this lesson. I've put enough distance between me and that terrible time to be able to reflect and I can see the wisdom in that statement now. I was struggling with high anxiety at the time - a real fear that I was going to be living in a cardboard box somewhere or dependent on others to get by in life. It was bad enough that I was visually impaired but I really didn't believe that I could create a better life. I was feeling about as low as I had ever been. Like they say - I had nowhere to go but up and I had tough lessons yet to learn.

I spent a lot of time working on the skills that it takes to unleash the creative powers that we all have. It's not an easy task - I took every course imaginable. If there was even a hint that I was creating this mess - someone please show me the way out. I begged the universe to show me how to become a believer when everything around me was not affirming the life I wanted.

The law of attraction depends on three things that have to be in alignment - our thoughts (dream a big dream) and our feelings (this is where belief comes in after all you're not getting fired up if you don't belief your dream can come true) and actions (in alignment with the dreams).

I had a vision board back then with some pretty impressive images on there but I didn't get excited when I looked at that board. Actually, more often than not, the thought that came up was "how do you go from here to there?" I wanted to know "how" but every book I read and every lesson I learned told me that I didn't need to know how. I just needed to get fired up about the good life.

Back them my EXPECTATIONS were low - I was stuck in this pity party but I kept going. If there was a lesson to learn I was going to learn it and I am so glad I did. Now I don't need to know how. I still have days where I stress but once we get rid of bad habits like complaining, it's hard to go back there for extended periods. I also have an accountability partner, a network of people who operate like I do, someone to kick me in the arse on the bad days - oh yes, there will be bad days.

What are you expecting in life? I don't mean what do you dream about - what are you expecting to happen? Really? Deep down? When you expect something to happen it gets you fired up with a knowing that it's coming toward you as quickly as you take action toward it. Don't lie to yourself if you're expectation is not there yet. Work on the skill of a disciplined mind - letting go of the how and working on the things that you need to work on to become the person who can sustain that dream.

It isn't enough to dream of a better life, you have to believe it will happen and only then take the right action.

26 November 2016

Suspend Your Disbelief Until You Can See Your Way Clear - Dreaming is Not For Sissies.

Photo by Christian Holzinger
"I can't see my way clear." Sometimes the way that we speak in our Newfoundland vernacular can be a little confusing. But let's take a look at this one statement - when you "can't see your way clear", you're struggling to see how you can manage to find the resources to achieve a particular objective. I like to take bold action toward a goal even when "I can't see my way clear".

I once considered myself a "rookie dreamer". But fear ye not, dreaming is a skill and like most skills, it can be learned.

The first step is to learn to suspend your disbelief. How the heck do you "suspend" your disbelief?

When I first get students to dream of living their big dream - whether it be living in the perfect home or homestead, taking vacations more than once a year or enjoying a retirement life that is beyond magical, their first remark is usually...."where am I getting the money to do this?"

I call this type of resistance "only allowing yourself to dream to the capacity of your present resources".

Anyone can create a good life if you have the means to make it happen. What I want people to realise is that you can indeed create a better life for yourself without having a road map laid out in front of you and without having the resources at present to do so.

You're not going to be able to "see your way clear" to making it happen in the very beginning.

Are you starting to get it?  Dreaming a better life into existence takes faith - so in order to get started you will need to suspend your disbelief if  you fall into the rookie dreamer category referred to above. By now, I'm hoping you are at least mildly curious.  If so, let's read on.

Your attempt at dreaming probably goes something like this.

You start to dream of driving a fancy and expensive car or opening that next business or quitting your job and suddenly a little voice reminds you that you've got more month than money, your student loan is in arrears and you are 30 days away from Christmas and you haven't even started your shopping. That's reality thinking. If you want to be stuck in the life you have, you will stop reading right now - after all it has been working for you so far. Yes, you have been very efficient - the practice that you presently have in place has been allowing you to create the life you have.

You've attracted what you've allowed yourself to dream of.

It takes strength of character and mind to dream of a bigger life long before you can "see your way clear". Dreaming is only the first step - I'm not going to touch on the "right action" here because the reality is, in order to muster the activation energy that is required to take that first step out in faith - you're going to have to buy into the part about dreams.

You can read more about achieving goals here. After all, creating an awesome life is a real art form. I would also suggest that you sign up for my blog and remain involved in the dialogue.

I come form a long line of realists - folks who are "sensible" about dreaming. Most of this law of attraction stuff would be hocus pocus and a crock of crap. But I've learned that this type of thinking keeps a person stuck. I have migrated over to the other camp of practitioners. After all, things could only get better. Learning to "suspend my disbelief" was one of the first things I needed to do.

When I set about trying to create a dream, I would have the same resistance "Not possible, seems like nonsense." But I would let the thought float away. If a thought like "I can't afford that" came up. I wouldn't engage or meander down that path. I would just release the thought and get back to dreaming. I dreamt myself off the couch into a new training facility where I could teach people simple skills. I even dreamt of teaching people who didn't have the resources to pay me. After all, if you're going to dream, you may as well make it a good one. I knew they would find the resources if they wanted the information - and they have.

There are many more steps to achieving a goal than dreaming. Some of those include having the right network, taking bold action and stepping out of your comfort zone. There is also a need to understand and avoid self sabotage which is apt to come along more often if you're not buying into the process or have underlying core beliefs that are counter productive to what you are trying to achieve. I can always spot a person who is a naysayer - they are full of "ya buts".

I  believe my law school experience came about as a result of me not quite getting it (I quit in 2nd year). I didn't feel comfortable with the decision - I felt like an impostor. I don't feel that now. I feel that I do have things to learn but I'm on my way to building a very productive life, a place where people come when they want to build a better life. I'm also very aware that there are things I need to learn and that there will be more turns in my road.

It all starts with a dream - even if you can't see yourself clear. Can you dream a little dream? I'd love to hear more.

7 November 2016

When does it make sense to barter?

Sometimes I barter but when I do, there have to be certain conditions met.

- I won't barter if what I need is cash. The bills have to be paid before I will trade consulting for head shots. After all, I wouldn't purchase that product if the bills were not paid. So someones reluctance to pay for my services is not a good reason to barter.

- I must be getting the same value in return. If I give $200.00 worth of value (ie consulting or taxes) I expect to get $200.00 worth of value in return. I wouldn't give an hour of business coaching in return for a $60.00 manicure for example.

Listen to your instinct. If you feel like you got the bad end of the stick, you likely did.

5 November 2016

Networks - no one makes it to that next level without asking for help from the people around them who can open doors. Get used to asking for help in business.

Privilege is defined as "a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people".  Having a network is an advantage.

A stark example would be to use President Barack Obama's children. Even though the President and first lady may not have come from privilege, there is no doubt that their children are now privileged. Let's say that those children decided to become entrepreneurs, the networks alone have the potential to be phenomenal.

Networks are important - growing one has been my biggest challenge in life and it has been my biggest disadvantage as well. When I think back on the tight places I have been in my life, the biggest challenge has been not having the network to get through it.

When you don't have that edge, you have to ask for help. It is key that you get comfortable with asking for the big ask. It only feels big to you when you are uncomfortable asking. Successful people ask all the time.

1 November 2016

A Few Words to Support You When Your Mind is Made Up About Leaving

It's never an easy decision to leave a bad situation. Whether it's a job you hate, a career that saps the life out of you, a business partnership or a marriage, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to walk away. 

In all likelihood, you have invested a lot into trying to make this work. You've put your heart and soul into building this thing only to get to this point. I have been where you are and I know it's not an easy decision. I suspect you have gotten this point before but chickened out at the last minute. That's your truth isn't it? 

But this time it's different. This time, you're not turning back. You're going to let your feet take you where your heart already is. Now that you've made the decision - run as fast as you can. There's nothing more energetic than a mind made up. 

Women don't make these decisions flippantly. Putting our needs first is not something we have done well. I know you have thought long and real hard about how everyone will be impacted by this decision and you've decided that staying will be worse. Is that where you are? 

Here's the deal - if the present state of affairs is not life affirming,  you need to go. If your inner spiritual resources are depleted with every day that you wake up in this same job, same relationship or same boat, it's time to go.  If you believe you have done all that you can do and something must change then....


You have wings to fly. We are born to live a joyful life!!! We all have an opportunity to live a rich and rewarding life that inspires us. You know when it's time to take the leap. You thought you would save a bit of money and leave when you were in a better position but when the extra money comes along, you spend it. By the time the kids are grown or your responsibility lightens, you'll be so used to pushing your yearning down, that you won't even feel the need. The time has come. 

You're not alone - many of us have taken that leap and never looked back. Once you start caring about you, magic happens. 


Why mirrors are important if you want a successful business.

Are you serious about creating a successful and profitable business? If you really are, then you need to be able to take a long hard look in the mirror over and over again. Once you buy into the benefits of mirror then you will no longer avoid them. A good way to know when to look in a mirror is to look at what annoys you in other people. One of the things we have a tendency to do is see in other people what we can't see in ourselves. If you have trusted friends and colleagues, you can ask them "when have I been like that? There was talk of a 360 evaluation at one time. It's not an easy thing to do. I can remember the first time that I heard so and so speak about the 360 evaluation, I had to sit for a while and think - whose opinion would I trust to give me that information? Who would I turn to to let me know the truth? Who is going to have my back?That's a tough one. I actually found that I didn't trust a lot of people to care for me in that way. But I really needed to.

22 October 2016

Entrepreneurship is an option for EVERYONE - only people with a fixed mindset would believe otherwise

I have had two identities in life that speak to my soul - mother and soldier. They're two core identities that I hold dear. I'll always be a mother but my career as a soldier was taken away from me and when it was, I was shaken to the core. After all, being a soldier wasn't a "job" I held, it was an identity I embraced.

Life landed me in a place where there was a title assigned to me - "disabled person living on a pension who had no purpose and who would never again find joy". Circumstances in life landed me in this place but I could not embrace the identity the way that I did with mother and soldier. After all, those roles brought me profound joy, the latter brought me anger and depression.

I'm getting excited here.....

I now wear a new title that is quickly becoming "who I am" as opposed to "what I do". I am an entrepreneur. I am in the business of educating people and more particularly I help people change their minds. After all, I have a bit of experience changing minds - I have changed my own.

I have read thousands of books since I started school at age 40. In each book, I had an ah ha moment that was core shattering.  Literally, I could see the world open up with each new lesson.

Dozen's of books have had an impact on my life but Carol Dweck's book called Mindset has become a staple. The reason I was able to move from the defeatist attitude I had in my late thirties to the attitude I hold today has to do with a change in mindset.

When the student is ready, the teacher will come.

I do wish I had known sooner the distinction between growth and fixed mindset but the teacher really does show up when you are ready. The knowledge found in this book brings hope and provides the explanation I needed for why I had made many of the choices I had made along the way; why I believed what I believed.

In the early days, I was sceptic that I would find a purpose in life but over time I came to believe that we have so much control over our lives and it all starts with our beliefs. People with growth mindsets live productive lives in spite of what happens to them.

If you're sitting there disgruntled with life - pick up this book and see if it helps you to look at things differently. I never would have believed that Entrepreneurship was for me - BUT I DO NOW!!!

Join me in Cape Breton on Nov 21 where I will be delivering my Reluctant Entrepreneur; Life Made Me Do It 

7 October 2016

I will tell my story - perfectionism

Perfectionists do not tolerate flaws in their own work and we are very self critical and we care way too much about what others think. 

One of the benefits of being a perfectionist is that we are highly motivated to reach our goals. One of the shortcomings is that we give our power away, letting other people's opinion of us mean more than it should. 

I am a recovering perfectionist - what exactly does that mean? It means I took a big hit in life that resulted in me challenging my own assumptions about me, about my beliefs and about my own self worth - it was life altering and freeing. 

On November 12th, I will speak about this important and delicious topic. Contact me for details. 


Image Sofia Carvalho (Flickr.com)

23 September 2016

Take time for play!!!

We laughed at ourselves as a group of 50+ women jumped on the trampoline and the kids looked at us like we were nuts. Can't believe how much fun we had.

When you have done all that you can do. When the last stone is turned. When you have knocked on every door possible. You have choices.

You can choose to worry or you can dance in the rain, take a hike, head to the beach. Point is, the solution won't show up until you carve out room for it. The way to make that happen is PLAY.

Make play a business strategy.

8 September 2016

Jump in - learn as your go!!!

We both started laughing at the same time. Did you really just say that?

"I couldn't do that - I don't know how to do that."

Ya, she said it and then we started laughing because at the same time we both realized that this was a bold faced lie.

My friend and I have much in common including the habit of jumping with both feet into unfamiliar territory including jobs that are way above our pay grade. You see, we have figured out that successful people aren't afraid to do that - jump in and learn while you're going along. It's become a way of life. I encourage you to try it sometime. You'll impress yourself with your ability to learn on the fly.

I learned to swim by being thrown in the deep end - yep, that's the way my teacher liked to do it. Granted, my father was never far away but he had no qualms about being unconventional. We all jump into parenting without a frickin clue what we're doing but we manage to wing it until we get it right. That's a big job don't you think?

If you reverse engineered most jobs, they're broken down into the next step to be taken. Most often there are folks who can help you out. Sooooo, get out there and get her done. Done is better than perfect - you can learn as you go.

Not heart surgery though, if you're thinking of tackling that, maybe get that down pat first. But the rest - get crackin' - in the deep end.

2 September 2016

The Social Media Challenge Packed a Lot of Punch

I absolutely love working with Sherri-Lee Woycik. She is that Canadian gal who manages the Badass Facebook Marketing group. I can't say enough about her challenge. It was a little tough to fit it all in what with running my own programming all week but I did manage to get most of it done.

As adult learners, we have a tendency to take away that nugget that we're ready to use next. This program had something for everyone. The more advanced FB marketing tips as well as tons of tips for beginners. She's an absolute master in her industry.

I am especially stoked because my name was drawn to attend a 6 hour boot camp intensive next week. I know that I will learn so much from that challenge.

So thanks SherriLee and if you're wanting to know more about her programs, check out her page above.

26 August 2016

Got a Storefront? Don't network? Think again.

There was a time when you could hang up the "shingle" and wait for clients to come in by the droves. OK not quite droves but you get the drift. Hanging up your shingle was enough - people could find you now. 

A while back my daughter's car needed a bit of work. I didn't pull out the yellow pages. I didn't phone the local garage. Nope, I went on Facebook and asked my friends who they were using. That's how we shop these days. Relationship  marketing is king. 

Truth is, we're overwhelmed with the number of signs that are on the road these days. We are becoming immune to signage. We block most of them out. 

But if signs aren't working, how can we sell our products and services? We need to build relationships. Getting out and meeting people is essential to business success these days. Look for places in your community where people are gathering and go make some new friends. 

A few  years back, a group of us came together and started a business network called Plugged Into Sackville Business Network. We felt that the community needed a resource where like minded business people could come together to get to know one another. We have built amazing friendships in that little group. Not everyone who has walked through our doors have stayed - some folks didn't feel that their target market was in that group - but I beg to differ. You see even if your direct market isn't in that room, the folks who are there may know someone who is seeking just what you are selling.  

Keep in mind that if no one can find you, you don't exist  - it's as simple as that. 

After all, we do business with people we know and trust. 

21 August 2016

Lessons I have learned this past year - there's no room for a doormat in business.

In a little over a month I will celebrate my first anniversary in my business and what a year it has been. A year filled with hard work, tough lessons and many rewards. Nothing has been more rewarding than the people who have come alongside to help make my first year pretty frickin' awesome.

Over the next month, I will share some of those lessons starting with a lesson about our own core beliefs.

Long before I opened my business I had accepted that "The things that are showing up in my life are things that are in alignment with what I believe." That can be a hard pill to swallow. When the nice things are showing up we happily take responsibility and it feels good. But when the not so nice things are showing up - we may not want to admit that we are responsible. Our core beliefs are producing the life that we are experiencing.

Keep in mind that I'm a recovering doormat and the journey to healthy relationships has been messy. Relationships are key to success in any business. Changing core beliefs is not a one time thing - it takes a tremendous amount of effort to uncover those beliefs and challenge your own assumptions.

Each time I take on a new venture, I have to deal with the residual effects of  those old doormat tendencies. These old tendencies show up like scattered dust bunnies. This past year in business has been an example of this. I really am a work in progress - it pays to be self aware.

I know that some people are into reading self help books to break cycles but I believe in fast tracking so I have enlisted the help of professionals to help me process and deal effectively with my challenges. I come from a cycle ---  generations of women doormats ----  breaking that cycle won't happen overnight. I am doing the work one day at a time.

Here's how it manifested in my life this past year. People were coming alongside of me in business which I took as a good sign. They were often looking for information of a business nature but it became evident pretty quickly that they were not willing to pay for that information.

Coaches everywhere will get this - the.lessons that we teach are a culmination of our experience, our education in a particular area as well as our coaching certification and adult education certificates that allow us to work in that field. (Some of you may not have those credentials and still be coaching but I believe in certifications. I became a much more effective coach and trainer after I was taught the proper way to educate and coach adults -- that's a topic for another day). This specialised knowledge has value and it usually unlocks potential in people. The return on investment for coaching can be in the hundreds of thousands. My own investment in coaching has impacted my business revenues in amazing ways.

When I sat down with my sage and told him about what was happening - he asked what I thought was really going on here? I love him because he knows me and the beauty of being a coach who is receiving coaching is that we cut to the chase pretty quickly.

My immediate response was "I am attracting this into my life because of something I believe." From that statement we were able to do the work that led me to unearth a core belief that was causing me to attract people who did not value my service. The reality was, I had some residual beliefs about the value that I was bringing. Isn't it funny how that works?  Thank goodness that I do not profess to have all the answers and I am big on execution - I take my business seriously and I don't mind doing the work.

Fast forward  a year and I have different people showing up - people who treat me like a professional and who are quite willing to pay. I wonder what is going on there. Could it have something to do with what I believe about me?

What is showing up in your life that could be indicative of a core belief at work? Have you given it any thought? I would love to hear your success stories on this topic.

11 August 2016

3 Benefits of a Marketing Plan

"This little piggy went to market and this little piggy stayed home."

Why do you think that this particular little piggy was the only one that got to go to market? Was he the only one that was ready? Was there an issue with the supply chain? Were the others not quite ready? Or, was it because he was the only vegetarian in the bunch -roast beef? Yuk.

Maybe the farmer had a 'marketing plan'?? It is quite possible especially if he was a successful farmer.

There came a time when I had to admit that I liked a certain amount of control in my life. Change is never like the flicking of a switch - control feels normal to me. There There's not much to life if you're a control freak - it takes the fun out of it I believe. I've worked on that. But I'm not an all or nothing kind of gal.

There is one area where I will maintain control and that is when it comes to my business. I control the numbers - knowing how close I am to my targets at any given time. I also control my marketing. I have a marketing plan and I believe that there is a correlation between your revenues and your plan to get the goods to market. I'm a firm believer that regardless of the size of your business, investt the time (and money if that's not your thing) in a smashing marketing plan - you won't regret it.

There are many benefits in having a marketing plan. Here are my top three.

1. It saves time and time is money.  Time is precious in business especially in the early days when you are wearing so many hats. A marketing plan lets you make a plan and work the plan. Won't it take precious time to make a plan? Well ya, but the time you spend planning will give you time to work on your business later on. Without a plan, we use more valuable time. Time is money.

2. A marketing plan is a good test of how viable your business is. Usually a marketing plan goes hand in hand with your projections. If you plan to make X (revenue) and you need to sell Y (# of units) then you will need to know where you will sell those. A marketing plan maps that out for you and let's you know if you're nuts in your projections.

3. This is my favourite. The universe loves clarity. When you make a plan, you're committed. You're going for the goal. You've not only called it by name. You've made a plan to make it happen. The universe loves that kind of clarity.

And you're waiting for what? Get crackin' -- make the plan and work the plan. BAM!!!

4 August 2016

The eBook Experience - A Great Tool for Freelance Trainers and Coaches

Why write an eBook at all? 

Lots of reasons especially if you're in the training world. It really helps to get your name out there to establish credibility. It is an excellent way to reach people and share what we know with them.

The thing is that most of us get it. There is a ton of value in an eBook but we don't want to do the work. This past month I set out to do the work.

I wrote an eBook in 30 days. It will be on Amazon in the next week or so. Definitely in time for the course that I will be teaching in Sackville at the end of August. There are a few spots left yet.

Register for the program today. Seats are limited.

I have learned a few things in the process. You need an editor who really understands the technical side of wordsmithing (is that even a word?). It is not enough to just throw some words on paper. Don't mess it all up by going cheap on this important part.

It costs money to publish an eBook but it's worth it. If you're in it for the money - not sure I'd bother. The real benefit is in expanding the list and establishing cred with potential clients.

We have a ton of information to share as trainers. Learn how on August 26th in Sackville. Hope to see you there.

24 July 2016

How Attending University in my 40s Helped Me to Become a Better Entrepreneur

One of the things that I noticed when I arrived at university aside from the fact that I was twice the age of some of my classmates was that I had to be careful with the opinions I expressed.

The benefit of attending when I was 40 was that I had learned a ton of lessons where the rubber hits the road and for me it was while twisting wrenches in the army. No one in my social circle had ever attended university.

I pissed off my professor one day when he shared a bit of information and I honestly and naively commented that "I don't see things that way."

I got the "HOW DARE YOU" stare. Rightly so I supposed, he had been extrapolating from data for more than 11 years. I had merely been living life or acquiring data in a different way for 40.

Yes, I say that now with tongue in cheek. Some of the best gifts I have ever been given have been by people who have pissed me off. I hope he feels the same.

The university experience is not one that I would trade in a million years. It has value beyond what I could have imagined.. I feel it was a real supplement to the lessons I had learned. It helped me to make sense of my life experiences. this resulted in me doing much better in life. University is a blessing - not the only route to a job but a real benefit to me in my business. It also helped me to understand people better.

I meet people who are out there without the benefit of education and people with biases against people with degrees. I have a foot in both canoes so to speak - a tradeswoman with a degree helps me to connect to a broader range of people. It also helps me to build bridges between people where the lack of information each has is a barrier to connection.

You see, learning where the rubber hits the road has a ton of value that is often undervalued in academia. That's sad because they could be rocking if they waited to get a degree after they had a little "experiential learning" under their belts. Just sayin'

I would recommend getting a degree to anyone - I can't explain the benefit of a broader mind, a more curious mind, a mind that has been trained to look at things from a new perspective - that's the real benefit of my university degree and I would indeed do it again. It's likely I will - I do consider myself a knowledge addict with an opinion.

From the perspective of business - the S T R E T C H I N G of the mind that took place by learning a substantial amount of information in my 40s complimented by the school of hard knocks experiences have been.....words escape me - it's da bomb.

21 July 2016

Joint Ventures With a Friend - Contract Writing - Tips From a Recovering Doormat

I believe in being generous but not to a fault. I love the concept of win/win and common sense is....well common sense.

If you're thinking of going into a joint venture with a friend, take the time to construct a contract. I'm not saying that you have a contract for a day at the beach. I'm suggesting that you have a contract where there is a certain amount of risk and you want a plan in place so that you do not get caught holding the bag.

If you feel kind of icky about the thought of a contract, you probably need one.

Yes, these are lessons I have learned the hard way. Once burnt, twice shy. It's not fun to take anyone to smalls claim court - it's downright painful.

Get the contract out of the way in the early days when you're excited and feeling good about the relationship. It's the best time for communication. After all when things go wrong, we will be feeling hurt and it's tougher to have tough communications. .

Difficult conversations are ten times more difficult for some of us.

When you have it in writing, you have thought about what  could go wrong when you are in your very generous frame of mind. What I have found when I collaborate with other generous minded folks is that we have a tendency to think of ways to protect one another when we do this exercise.

If you can't think of what can go wrong, ask other people. Sometimes they are more objective. Always choose folks you can trust. You will be so glad you did.

Pic Deep Shurchan

8 July 2016

Want to have a great day? Try this simple morning routine that will increase the chances of that happening!!.

We all have mornings where we wake up in a funk. This is especially true when things aren't going well and even more than true we suffer from depression and anxiety. We all have our little nuances and reasons for not waking up in a great mood.

A wise sage suggested this morning routine to me and I have modified it to meet my needs. I credit that sage. It is a simple process.

As a person who loves to work, I have a tendency to want to jump out of bed and get at 'er. But I work smarter when I follow this simple but effective morning routine to kickstart my day.

10 Minutes of Movement

Be creative. Moving is such a subjective term. For some it may mean running, for you it may mean a free style dance. The idea is to move with intention and to be present.

You will find it much more beneficial if you are mindful when you move. Feel each part of the body as you engage that muscle. Follow the flow of your fingers as they move. Enjoy the release of energy as you connect with your vitality. You're about to begin a magical day - act like you appreciate that even if you're not quite there yet. Move with purpose and grace.

10 Minutes of Writing

Get a pen and paper and write. Not just any writing. Be purposeful in your writing. When I first started writing about 15 years ago, I would actually write about my worries and about the things that went wrong in my life. I don't do that any more although there is something to be said for the cathartic value.

Instead I write about the "what if". What would the world look like if what I was going through right now were solved. What will my day look like if things go the way that I want them to? Write about a best case scenario for a complicated problem you are solving.

This isn't an official document that you're going to hand in to some senior official. This is your "kickstart my day" writing. If you're not into the written work, purchase a voice recorder and vocalise your ideas.

On Fridays' I'm making my writing a blog post - like today.

10 Minutes of Reading

I keep a book handy and when I hop out of bed in the morning, it's right there ready to go. Have a bok ready for this particular purpose. I don't pick it up at any other time. It's my morning "kickstart my day" read.

Read something inspiring. Learn something new. Make it relevant, Be engaged. Maybe reading before you write is a better option for you. You choose!!!

Choose the right book - learn something new. Not sure what to read - ask around. People who live with intention can always recommend something wonderful.

Try this for a week and then let me know what happens. I really do want to hear!!!

1 July 2016

Would you like to be profitable sooner?

The journey for PeopleCan was a journey filled with painful  moments - I kid you not. Along the way as I was morphing into what I have become (I know that I am not done morphing) I would often get asked what I did.

I'd answer with the usual  - speaker, trainer coach - provide trainng, blah, blah blah.

Recently I did an exercise with a coach and had that "ah ha moment" I help people become profitable sooner. That's it - point blank. The rest is the "how or the logic" of what I do.

When people ask what you do? How do you respond? Do you respond with a lot of useless jargon or a nice clear statement of what you actually do?  

When you figure it out - you'll become profitable sooner!!!

15 June 2016

Do you have hidden biases that prevent you from making money?

Everyone looked up when she walked in the room. She had a certain air about her. Dressed in her white power suit with her neatly coiffed hair and a smile on her face like she had a secret that only she knew.

I disliked her from the get go. I could feel the expression on my face change as if I were looking in a mirror - eyes half closed and sarcastic lifting of the lip.

Then BAM!!! Common sense took over and I recognised my reaction for what it was. Envy!!! I was jealous of her. I'll be darned. I hadn't even met her yet and I didn't like her. Obviously I have issues but that's ok. what matters is that I enjoy challenging my own assumptions particularly when those assumptions include any misinformation about money.

My heart rests with the folks like me whose early education caused them to develop a set of flawed assumptions around money that negatively impacted them in life. Our early foundations set the course for us in life. Some folks grow up in homes where money is given the respect it deserves. Others grow up with unwarranted disdain toward money and everyone associated with it.

Social conditioning is a powerful thing.

My reaction to Ms. Power Suit wasn't based in logic, they were based in outdated and useless assumptions.

I have tools in my box to deal with these moments - moments of envy that now and again raise their ugly heads and cause me to react like this. They are the tools that anyone who has ever had to change their mind holds. They're the tools that let us challenge our assumptions and when it comes to money - it's a tool that I will keep nearby.

If you suspect that, like me, you have hidden biases against money, know this:

1. Money in and of itself has no character traits. It is neither good nor bad. It has a neutral quality. Making  money does not make you a good or bad person.

2. If you're extreme in your saving or your spending, you may want to look at your own assumptions around money. Those assumptions will get in the way of creating wealth.

3. If you're not sure how you feel, listen to the 5 people closest to you. Yep, like it or not, their beliefs usually mirror your own. That being said - as you change your mind, you will change your friends because it is difficult to be with folks who don't share your values. True dat.

Money doesn't grow on trees but it does grow. Mindset matters and mindset is not a fixed entity. You can change your mind and in my experience all success starts there.

28 May 2016

Is shame holding you back?

The vantage point changes with time. I would call 2006 a traumatic year. It was the year I was charged with Intellectual Dishonesty at Law School, the year I lost my voice and couldn't self advocate and it was the year I asked myself the big question "Who am I?"

When I would recall that event over the next few years I would cringe. A mixture of shame and disappointment in the early days were quickly replaced with something of value. The disaster became the springboard for a new direction in life.

Shame was replaced with understanding what came before, the role of various actors and my own inability to process a disability that I had not come to terms with.

We can get stuck in these places. If a past event is nipping you in the rear, here's what worked for me.

1. Share your story with someone who will help you to process. It can be a coach or a counsellor. Believe me, processing helps to put past disappointments into perspective.

2. Surround yourself with imperfect people - they will love you in spite of.

3. Forgive yourself, the others involved. Find a way to make that happen - grudges hold you back.

Live the life you're given without regret.

22 May 2016

When starting over after losing a job, the right mindset and a willingness to try new things will serve you well.

All I knew when I set out to find a job was that I needed to make money to feed the family - after all, I was the only bread winner. A burning desire will take you a long way but you have to be willing to be open to the possibility that the journey may be a little bit of a winding road.  

There wasn't much call for legally blind mechanics who were trained to tie steel but I had a hunger to make a living and I think that is what benefited me most. My goal was not too narrowly defined that it restricted me in any way.

I come from a long line of very hard working people. Truth is we're not much for sitting around being idle. When I started looking for work my resume looked a little skewed. I thought about adding the extra skills that I possessed such as being able to split wood or install vinyl siding but it didn't make much sense. After all, crafting the resume to fit the job description that you're applying for is a good practice. There's also the need to be open minded and to be willing to try new things. Don't limit your search too much. 

It is quite common to try and find work doing what you have always done. But when you take a long hard look at the job market, you may want to branch out a bit. I tried to stay close to my industry in the beginning. After leaving the army, I trained to tie steel for the Hibernia project. But the reality was, my vision didn't make for a safe environment. I wasn't afraid to try new things or consider living in a new location!!

You're never too old to learn. Unless of course you tell yourself that you are. I recently ran into a displaced worker who was 53 years old. He told me "No one will want to hire me." Well you best watch what you say because it might come true. After all what you believe to be true often becomes your reality. 

Contrast that attitude with the 62 year old recently laid off fish plant worker I met at university who was now studying Theology. This was a guy who was open to change and not into limiting his options. The choice is yours. 

We're all shaped by our environments. Let's  not limit ourselves by our environmental conditioning. If you grew up in a home with a piano and I didn't, chances are that you may have some skill and an appreciation for the piano. Doesn't mean that I won't be able to learn to play - I just haven't tried yet. It's the same no matter how old you are. If you're willing to keep an open mind and try new things, you may be pleased with where you end up. Had someone told me ten years ago that I would one day own a training facility and a tax business, I would have told them they were nuts.

That wasn't part of my dream. 

Or was it? I did have was a burning desire to have meaningful work where I could provide for me and the family and feel like I was contributing to the world. Lo and behold, that's just what I ended up with. It just looks a little different than what I thought it would look like in the beginning. 

What's it going to be for you? The possibilities are limitless - dare you dream a bigger dream?

13 May 2016

The Internal Stuff They Don't Tell You: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know if They Want to Succeed

No one tells you that in the early days you feel like an imposter. This is especially true if you have always been an employee. There is a huge difference between the mindset of an employee and the mindset of the business owner. That mind shift must take place in order to be successful and it takes place gradually. When it does, the evidence is apparent immediately.

Why then do so many people who teach business transition programs focus solely on the external attributes. Yes you need a great plan and you need to work that plan. No one appreciates more than a tax specialist how important it is that your financials are in order and marketing - well it is the lifeblood of your business.

But the right mindset is the special sauce that makes it all work. Ask anyone who has made a living in this tough arena - when you make the "big shift" things start to happen.

30 April 2016

2 Pieces of Advice From the Sages

The tax business is not a numbers business as much as it is a people business. During the season I get a chance to speak with a lot of folks and share many personal stories. I asked some of the more successful business folks what tips they could offer that were not of a business nature.  This is what they shared. (Names have been changed to protect identities and stories shared with permission.)

#1 Self Care is Key

"I didn't start taking care of myself until after I had my first heart attack." Grant says. "What a wake up call. The only thing I had in life was work."

Take time out of your busy schedule for self care. Self care means different things to different people. For some, it may mean a little pampering and primping built into a busy schedule or working out at the gym. 

For others it may be a night out on the town. 

For me it means time away from technology with a combination of pampering, nature and lots of laughs. Whatever it means for you, there is consensus that it matters more than you may think. Self care renews initiative and gives you that much needed break from business that is just what the doctor ordered. 

#2 Remember the People Who Matter

Harvey tearfully told me that his one regret was that he wasn't available when his children were small. "You don't get those days back." 

I've heard this before. You never regret not getting that big deal as much as you regret not being there when your son or daughter scored that goal. 

Carve out time for the people who matter most. Make them a priority early on. 

I love learning from the folks in my life who generously share their lessons. I will take these two suggestions to heart. 

23 April 2016

Seriously Consider Entrepreneurship When You Lose Your Big Job in Oil

Man, when I lost my full time secure job in the early nineties, I was pissed. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize I searched for way too long in a market where there was a saturation of people just like me. 

Let's face it, I was doing the best I could - I didn't know what I didn't know. Know what I mean?

Even if you, like me, have never given entrepreneurship one single  consideration, don't rule it out as an option. You may be surprised at how lucrative that option really is. 

When no one out there will hire you, hire yourself. There is a market and with a little creativity you can access that market. 

Don't waste all of your energy bitchn' about the poor economy, become an #econosavvy chameleon-
like entrepreneur. 

17 April 2016

3 Tips for Successfully Taking a Big Bold Step

A little bird sits in a tree and you wonder how it can be so calm. Even though the bird is tiny, the branch seems hardly big enough to support it. If you look closely you may even see the strain on the branch caused by the birds weight. But the bird does not look stressed. The bird knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that it can trust itself to do what needs to be done in a "worse case" scenario. It isn't the limb that it has faith in - she has faith in her own ability.

Deciding to raise a child on my own and plunge into uncertainty was a giant leap for me. I didn't have the financial means or resources to do it but it needed to be done. What I did have is faith - in a higher power and in myself. 

I meet many people who are disgruntled with life and yearn to take a big step. The unknown  is fearful. I get why people wait until they "must" before taking that step. But waiting until you "must" often takes a toll on internal resources. Not having the external resources to make a shift is bad enough but when you start to deteriorate the internal resources, you may be creating a deficit. It's hard to hit the road running in a deficit situation.

I'd offer these three pieces of advice for anyone thinking of making major change in their lives:

1. Learn from others. We have learned valuable lessons along the way that we will gladly share with others. Don't reinvent the wheel each time you do something.

2. Get your fear under control. Fear of being homeless is one of the biggest fears that people face - next to public speaking. When you drill it down, the fear has no real basis. The journey from where you are to being homeless is a long way off. Likely you are the type of person that will also do what it takes to ensure that doesn't happen. People who take bold action are made of pretty impressive stuff.

3. Prepare. Get ready for the big move. For example, if you're stuck in a place that you don't want to be in and income is a concern, don't overextend yourself so that you're depending on that income. That's self sabotage. Think about it. 

An extra nugget is this - there's nothing as sweet as steering your own ship.

11 April 2016

Community Training - Well Suited to this Day and Age

They say that if you want to live a happy life, find something that you love to do and turn it into a business. The caveat of course is that you have to be real good at what you do. Half ass won't cut it as a business because people are very choosy about what they purchase - they want quality.

I have been a teacher and an advocate since I was knee high to a grasshopper or big enough to put the sheep in at night. I've always had a heart for anyone who wasn't able to advocate for themselves. More than once, I've been called upon to straighten something out.

"Can you call so and so....?"  or "That don't seem right to me..."

That's how the conversation would begin. And next thing you know I'd be on the phone trying to get it straightened out.

When it was suggested that I go into business, I had absolutely no idea what I would possibly sell. Most of the favours I did for people weren't ones I charged for. They were examples of me using my gifting for a good cause. After all, we couldn't have some big corporation taking advantage of a little guy.

I love to teach. When I was a mechanic, I enjoyed learning new things and sharing those with others. As a rebar apprentice I would learn how to tie steel in the daytime and share what I learned with other local folk. After all we all wanted to get hired on with the Hibernia Project to make a few big bucks
I always thought that people could learn all kinds of stuff if teachers could learn to put the information into understandable chunks. The same held true whether I was changing the oil on a bus or tutoring at Law School. When someone wanted to give up in exasperation because they "couldn't do it", I'd reframe it in terms that they could digest and next thing you know, that "aha moment" would happen for them.

The highest praise came from a young tradesman who said "Debbie,  you don't make us feel stupid." I never did get that because I couldn't imagine a teacher worth their salt ever making anyone look stupid. I've always felt that if a student wasn't learning, I was somehow not delivering the information correctly.

I decided to open PeopleCan Training because I could see that there were courses that the community could use. I have lived in a lot of places and I found that there was a gap in the community when it came to programs that I would have wanted to learn along the way. I would offer some of those.

So many business folk I speak with tell me that they had no idea what they were getting into when they began and I get it now. I'm almost at the half year mark and the scope of what I have undertaken is just becoming clear to me. It was quite an undertaking.

I don't regret it yet. I haven't quite got the marketing mix down. I've rolled out programs that worked and others that didn't - it's been a real trial and error. But each day someone comes in with a problem and I can feel my heart leap - I'm doing what I love one day at a time. PeopleCan is morphing into something valuable and I'm changing right along with it.

We live in a strange economy - people need to become more self sufficient - we have so much untapped potential. I want to facilitate the kind of growth in people and in the community. I want to help people say "I did it. I really did."

I love what I do and often I feel like pinching  myself and wonder how I once again ended up in a pretty amazing space.

2 April 2016

Play and Have Fun in the Middle of a Crapstorm

Creativity requires us to be positive and to create some pretty awesome and optimistic energy.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that but it isn't easy to remain positive when everything around you is going to crap. Have you ever had one of those 3 year runs of bad luck? It's around then that you start to think that the law of attraction has a flaw? N'est-ce pas? Well - if what you're doing is not working so well why not try something different?
Here are my top 3 tips for remaining focused especially when you're in the eye of a crapstorm. 

1. Avoid negativity. That includes the people who can get you into full on gossip mode. When things go wrong you're vulnerable to all kinds of trolls. Have you heard of "a shoe in the door" as a psychological concept? In sales it refers to selling something small and then up selling something larger. But in negative thinking, it works like this. You complain a little bit today. After all it makes you feel good to be part of the group. Next thing you know your house is the meeting place for every naysayer around. Don't start - you need those creative juices cloaked in positivity. There's no benefit in negativity even if it does make you feel good for a minute. 

2. Seek out 10 people that you know who are resourceful Ask them to give you half hour of their time. Tell them what your problem is and ask if they have some suggestions for how you might tackle it. Sometimes in the middle of a crap storm we get a little emotional. We may not think straight. Likely, these folks can help you to remain objective and see light where you may not. 

3. Play. Yes, you heard it here first. Get away from all the worry and grief and put yourself out there. Seek out an organization that needs volunteers and get involved. It will not only increase your network but it has other benefits. It gets your mind off your troubles which frees up space for the universe to deliver solutions. It increases your network of peeps which is always good and you will have fun and when you have fun you feel good. Feeling good is what is needed right now.

Your problems will still be there when you get back - let them go for a minute. 

18 March 2016

Entrepreneurship and Mental Health: 3 Strategies That Work for Me

Owning a business can be quite demanding - most of you know this. It also has many rewards - most of us know this. Let alone the challenges of maintaining the revenues - some of us have an added layer. We have compromised mental health.

Anxiety and Depression are part of the mix for me and they don't hinge on having a good life. Sometimes when I hear people say "I don't know what she is depressed about, she just came back from the Caribbean." a little voice inside me acknowledges "There's room for education here." That's a sure sign that people don't get it. Right? But you get it because you get it....

3 Strategies That Work for Me

Flex Time - My hours in my business vary and I have created a culture that isn't tied to any kind of 9 - 5 traditional workplace. I have control over that and when I don't anymore, it's time for me to move on.

An Awesome Tribe - The people in my corner uplift and support me and give me what I need. I love imperfect people who are comfortable in their own skin.

Self Acceptance - I own who I am and love myself with all my quirks and foibles. That means I am open to talk about mental health issues. After all, it's as much a part of me as my Newfoundland accent - not going anywhere fast.

Be well and if you can't be well - be kind to yourself.

8 March 2016

I Have a Secret

It's tax time and that can be a very frustrating time of year for some people. I was all set to write about taxes this month, perhaps a hot button topic, like the changes taking place this year, or the Disability Tax Credit Certificate and how you qualify or how it can benefit the whole family. If you want to know more about a tax topic, please send me a note. I'd rather talk about something else.

I love the Law of Attraction. I never get tired of learning about how people are making it work for them. Whenever I get a chance to talk with someone on the topic, I'm right there soaking it all up.

One point in particular that resonates with me is this: prior to learning about the Law of Attraction, I had taken a ton of training on goal setting the SMART way. We always focused on the mechanics of achieving a goal but spent very little time on learning how to dream. In my opinion, dreaming is the secret to success.

It takes discipline to become an efficient dreamer. Efficient dreamers achieve goals. I love dreaming big dreams.

I know what you're thinking... "If I'm not a dreamer by nature, how do I start dreaming at 62?" Well, there's a trick to it and I teach that trick in my Goal Setting with a Twist. Email me for details.

Here's a little nugget. When I wanted to buy a house, I spent a lot of time watching programs about renovations. I attended home shows and chatted with people who had purchased homes. I had conversations with lenders long before I was ready to borrow. You see, I knew where I was going because I had a laser sharp focus on it. I had dreamed about owning that home. Then, when I purchased that house, well, I wasn't surprised. I was already there in my mind.

I know, you're going to ask me, "What happens when you try to dream but those little voices pop up to tell you that it ain’t gonna happen." Well, you'll have to wait for next month to find out more.

Enjoy your month and, even though I am not talking about taxes, don't put it off until the last minute.

1 March 2016

Don't limit your dreams by focusing on money!!!

There's a mistake that people make when they dream. They start out with a big dream and somewhere along the way, they look at their financial resources and decide that they don't have enough cash to make that dream a reality so they quit dreaming. 

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

The secret is to create enough energy and excitement around the dream that the resources to make the dream a reality show up. 

Don't believe me? Try it on a small scale and watch what happens. Of course, you may be freaked out by the places where the resources come from - places you could never have imagined. 

Don't limit your dreams by focusing on the wrong things. 

9 February 2016

Keep Your Money in Your Pocket

Well, hello February!! January zipped by in a hurry and for some folks that was a good thing.

We’re sticking with the money theme this month because it seems to be the focus here lately. Strategic Planning for Business and Women, Money and Mindset were two programs we rolled out in January and we’re heading into tax season. Money is in the air.

Here at PeopleCan we’re all about keeping your hard earned money in your pocket.

If I ask you to raise your hand and holler, "I love making money!" how many of you have a little voice that encourages you to resist saying and owning that statement?

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself.

Have you ever lent money to someone and then cringed at the thought of asking for YOUR money back? If you send an invoice out and you’re waiting to be paid, do you struggle with how to bring up the subject? Can you call the Credit Card company and ask for a lower rate? Or, have you ever done what I used to do when my daughter would bring home a box of chocolate bars for her volleyball fundraiser? I’d purchase (and eat) the whole box just so I didn’t have to *sell* anything.

Yes, folks, you heard it here first. I had a terrible money mindset which I came by honestly. I hear it came from my grandmother.

My father has often said, "We never had anything when we were growing up because mama gave it all away. The old man would get so mad when she had no money for groceries because she spent all of her money giving to charity."

Giving is a good thing but there’s that line that can be crossed - that place where you’re giving beyond your means.

I bring this up because one of the things a lot of us have done is give during the holidays because optics mattered more than reality. We purchased gifts we couldn’t afford and we borrowed from Peter to pay Paul.

"What got you here really won’t get you there."

If any of your focus on change centres around money, here’s the advice I’d give. Go slow, take it easy on yourself, and try to understand why you enjoy making money. There’s nothing bad about money but we may or may not believe that.

23 January 2016

An Open Letter To Spaniard's Bay

Dear Spaniard's Bay,

When I first read this article,


I was touched emotionally. It wasn't your pain I was feeling. It was my own pain. It was the emotions that were triggered by folks "circling a wagon" when they had no idea what was in the wagon. It was the emotion that comes when you hear people talk about a woman who "chuckled" when a different response may have been more appropriate.

The event has been triggering me all week. I had to write this note.

I've been in Brenda's shoes. It's a lonely place to be. I was a young woman who joined the army from rural NL, not far from where you are right now. I was full of idealistic expectation and appreciated the initiative that caused the army to come looking for me to diversify the force.

I had no idea about topics such as "threshold diversity" or "enabling behaviour" at that time. I just wanted to do this work and I wanted to have fun. I thought the fact that they "let me in the door" meant that I would be treated with respect.

Well it wasn't all fun. Not everyone was as excited to see me there as those recruiters were that day when they dangled the "non traditional woman" carrot. For the next 11 years, I faced many instances of discrimination and so have a lot of my sisters. I've also laughed when I could have cried and failed to speak out on occasion.

Fast forward 25 years and I enter a new arena where people like me aren't often found. Law School, the hallowed halls, where folks from my socio economic status seldom get an invitation let alone a legally blind single mom living on a disability pension.

I was once again excited to gain entrance in spite of, or because of being who I was. Again I found myself in a place that wasn't quite ready for me. There's this assumption at times that we're allowed into these places if we act a certain way. I was charged with Intellectual Dishonesty at Law School and that process was one that has had a lasting impact on me and those who know me.

We're always at risk when we are under represented in a dominant culture. We cannot educate ourselves in this stuff. I wouldn't even know about this had I not studied Women's Studies and Human Rights.

No one tells us how our own behaviours can be "enabling" at times. When answer the call, we are not always aware of what we do not know.  What I do know is this - the chances of us "under-represented minorities" harming the "dominant culture" as much as we stand to be harmed is slim to none. We're at risk when we are "the only one". Don't forget that in this case.

This stuff is called "systemic discrimination". You would be wise to keep your head and not act in haste. You would be wise when you see this set up - a lone woman facing a large body of men - to stand back and ask what else is at play here?

You have an opportunity here to take the high ground. You have a chance to open this up to the lens of diversity and inclusion. Call in people who know about this stuff and find a way to resolve the issue in a transparent manner.  You can't go back and undo what has been done but you can do better going forward. I like to say, when we know better we do better.

There's nothing as insidious as "unconscious bias" with the emphasis on the word "unconscious". There is so much we don't know about our behaviour. Now is a great time to learn - you don't need to reinvent the wheel.

If you want to redeem yourselves as a community, take the time to do this right for everyone's sake. Do it right for the little children who stood in support of the men at the rally and for the girls who may want to step into the non-traditional world. Do it right for the men who want a better world. Set the standard for zero tolerance for abuse and discrimination.

19 January 2016

3 Tips to Achieve your 2016 Goals

I love new beginnings. There's something about putting away the old and planning for what lies ahead that really gets me fired up.

Speaking of planning for success in 2016, have you made a plan yet? We have been spending a lot of time mapping out our year ahead. In my business, planning is key to keeping me on track.

Aside from the basics of looking at the products and services, getting intimate with the money matters, and taking a hard look at the marketing mix, we also look at the little things.

Here are my three tips for getting your plan done:
  1. Take time to reflect upon last year. Use what you learned last year to guide you in what you'll plan for in 2016. What can you learn from this journey? What did you do well? What do you need to stop doing? What is draining on your revenue but not producing the results you need? Where did you waste time and valuable resources?
  2. If it's not written, it's not real. I'm a firm believer in writing it down and I like to do it in a small group if possible. I actually sit with folks outside my industry. They help me to get a new perspective. But whatever approach you take, ensure that you get your plan on paper.
  3. Know yourself well. All too often we see people selling programs that will "take you to 6 figures" with a one size fits all template. I'm all about the big dream but I also believe an ounce of common sense goes a long way. It takes a lot of internal discipline - and ability to execute - to make big dreams come true. Make a plan that sits well with you. One that means you have the final say on what your plan entails.
Make 2016 the best year ever.

10 January 2016

In the company of dreamers?????

How big do you dream? Do you limit your dreams because folks around you would think you were nuts if you were to tell them what you have in mind for the future? 

I'm blessed in that most of the folks I know now fall into that category of dreamer - the ones that are going for the gold so to speak. When we sit together, someone usually says "Imagine if so and so were a fly on the wall?" This of course in reference to the folks who tried to limit our dreams at some point. 

I love people who have the courage to dream big dreams. They usually take steps to get to those dreams and even when they have set backs, they end up in pretty impressive places. The first thing they usually get rid of is the tendency to care what other people think. Not the people who matter, but those people in your corner whose opinion will hold you back. 

I'm intrigued by their courage, inspired by their generosity and encouraged by their support. If you have a dream that would scare most people - watch out for the company you keep.  

2 January 2016

3 Reasons to Let a Professional Prepare Your Income Tax Return

1. Grey Areas

You've been doing taxes forever and you're pretty good at it. Actually, you're darn good. You not only do your own but you also do 17 other people's return. But this year things have changed. Up until now, you've only had T4 income, a few investments, baby sitting and medical expenses. Now you have a kid at college, the spouse is retired and your mother is in a nursing home. Are you familiar with the grey areas around who can claim what? Did you know that you can claim those medical expenses for your child's braces and get back a bigger chunk if they are a full time student? What are the deductions that you are entitled to when you have an ageing parent who needs your help? Income splitting is a great option - can you split your CPP also?

2. Change of Marital Status in the Year

You separated from your spouse this past year and you have more than one child. Where does the child live? Was your spouse a low income spouse? Can you still claim her now that you are separated? Can you claim one of the children as your eligible dependent if she claims one also? There are options in the year of marital change. Do you know what they are?

3. You've Started a Home Based Business

You have turned your love of a product into a little sideline. When do you need to declare that money you earn as "business income"? Is it from day one? How much of your home expenses can you write off? Can you write off any? What about meals that you purchase while prospecting? Does the 50% limit apply on the meals you purchase when you attend a conference out of province? What are some ways that you can reduce your tax payable by including your family in the business?

Let a professional help you if any of the situations above apply to you. You will be glad you did.