17 March 2017

Disabled Entrepreneurs: Barriers, Money and Mindset

I never profess to speak for all of the people living with disabilities - after all, each person has a different journey. We like to fit people into nice, neat categories but that doesn't really fly with me.

I speak for me - a woman who was high functioning, independent to a fault who acquired a disability that sent me into a tailspin for far too long.I am an entrepreneur with a few disabilities and for a very long time I resisted that title.

I just wanted to be normal, to blend into the landscape of people and to get on with my work but that didn't happen. Whether I chose to embrace it or not, I lived with a disability and it has presented problems for me in every area of life. I want to speak about barriers today - two of these barriers in particular - money and mindset.

I've always had the ability to dream a big dream but my disability presented a new layer of challenges for me. It impacted my ability to find work and as a result it left me without resources of the financial kind and let's not kid ourselves - money matters.

Disabled people face many barriers to employment or entrepreneurship but with money we can often overcome some of those barriers. Recently I've strained my vocal chords and have not been able to talk for weeks now. Because I had the resources, I could hire people to do my speaking for me. There's something to be said about having the resources to get over those obstacles.

Money is the external panacea that can often help us to overcome many barriers but what if the barrier is internal. I struggled with self acceptance when I became aware of my disability - it was debilitating really. Confidence and self acceptance are internal barriers.

What if a person doesn't have the confidence - that is a  barrier that no amount of money will cure. There's nothing more debilitating than an internal barrier of not believing you can make it happen. Teaching money mindset has shown me that internal beliefs do impact our external reality. If making money can help us to overcome our external barriers - having that "can do" attitude is essential.

When I teach reluctant entrepreneurs - those folks who are starting a business because they must not because they want to - I address the internal first. You see if we can't believe it, we can't make it happen. When we believe it, magic happens. In a discussion with a facilitator recently we spoke about how financial projections can freak out a new entrepreneur - I believe that is the case when the belief is not there. It's a case of getting the learning objective right - topic for another day.

Each day as I journey toward success, I see first hand the impact that changing my mind has had on me. I also see the real story of how money removes barriers. I have to step back and say "wow" because it wasn't that long ago where I thought I would never make a living again. People of privilege of the financial kind don't get it. Being disabled and poor can be a bitch.

What I know to be true - money matters, it can remove many external barriers but it all starts with the right mindset - believing you can.....

11 March 2017

Mastermind Groups - Start Now: 3 Tips

Back in the day when I was a rookie entrepreneur, I was introduced to the term mastermind group. I saw the value in the group but I thought it was a little arrogant of me to even want one. After all, I wasn't making any money yet. As a result, I talked myself out of it.

But live and learn, If I had it to do again, I'd do it differently. It's never too early to start a mastermind alliance with other like minded people.

Here are three tips to keep in mind when you do.

1. Mastermind alliances are not for life. They're can be organic. The benefit is in people coming together at any stage. Likely in the early days, you can expect to grow apart. When it comes to adult learning, there's this concept of scaffolding. You need people in your group who are further along the path than you are but not so far along that they forget what the struggles were like in the early days. If there comes a time when you are not finding the group beneficial, you move on and form a new group. That makes good business sense.

2. Choose the right people. Choose like minded people (ambitious) but don't limit them to being in the same industry as you are. You want to tap into that knowledge that a group brings. Two or more people that is it. In his book Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill describes the mastermind group as a cooperative alliance of like minded people who come together to share "advice, counsel and personal cooperation".  You want people in your group with a vision of success that mirrors your own.

3. Size doesn't matter. Two heads are better than one. Your mastermind group can be any size - two or more people coming together helping you all to tap into infinite intelligence - the ideas that come up when you share a good conversation with another. There is no size limit. There are times when keeping the group small is wise. You'll get a feel for it as you go.

Start masterminding early in business and make it a staple for success.

5 March 2017

What happens to your business when you can't function? Things to think about when the principal is taken out.

These past 3 weeks have been brutal - influenza followed by pneumonia and then a bout of laryngitis to top it off.  My voice is essential to my business. I'd be lying if I didn't admit to indulging in a little self pity. After all, I have experience with loss - tunnel vision led to loss of one career that required a driver's license. But self pity is a topic for another day.

I am cautiously optimistic about being on the mend. There have been times this past 3 weeks when I believed I was recovering only to have a setback again.

What plan do you have in place for WHEN YOU THE PRINCIPAL IS TAKEN OUT of your business? Do you even have a plan?

I didn't have a plan. BUT it has become front of mind for me now. I was absolutely blindsided by the illness.  I had no idea that I would be unable to function for 3 solid weeks - I need my voice to operate. I need energy to get things done especially at this time of year. I had neither. I handled the 3 programs that I had in the works by appealing to the good hearts of the attendees. That's not the most professional way to do business.

There's an insurance that you can purchase that kicks in when the principal is taken out. I want to know more about that.

But let's say you do have that insurance, is there anyone that you would bring in to manage your affairs? Is there anyone you would trust to do that? There are a lot of things to think about.

If you have employees, do they know the processes from start to finish. If you were able to bring in a manager, would it even work?

What if you can't be the go to person, can your staff help fill in the gaps? These are things we need to consider. Generally, we don't bother until we get in a bind.

It's a lot to think about and like most preventative measures, something that you need to have in place before disaster strikes. How far ahead have you planned for such an event.

It's a discussion you need to have today.