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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Getting over Blue Monday?

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

By some accounts, Blue Monday was this week.

What is Blue Monday, you ask?

It goes back to a campaign created by Dr. Cliff Arnall and Sky Travel in 2005, and it’s the third Monday in January.

It is a pseudo-scientific calculation that considers weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing your New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and feeling of a need to take action.

The idea is that all of that is enough to put you in a “blue” mood. Of course, the solution for your low feelings would be to book travel! Since then a campaign was started called #stopbluemonday.

I think Blue Monday is when you look ahead and see all you have set to accomplish this year and start to feel overwhelmed when you have barely gotten started.



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Money mindset lessons from my dog

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

I’m sure you realize that your relationship with money is important to your business growth. Seems obvious, right?

And, I know that you had a lot of reasons for starting your business. One of them was to make money at something that you loved.

What is odd is that we want to make money to support our lifestyle and make a contribution. At the same time, we can sabotage our efforts with our mindset. You could also call them “money blocks.”

So what does this have to do with my dog?

Recently our dog Button went through a picky-eater stage. We would end up throwing out partially used cans of food because she would no longer eat them. I found it frustrating “throwing money away.”



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Align Your Priorities

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

When was the last time you took a vacation?

I know it can sometimes be hard for those of us who are entrepreneurs to let go. After all, will your business run without you? Can you trust being partially or totally unplugged? When can you possibly find the time to go on vacation with all you have to do?

Truthfully, you need time to relax and recharge. If you don’t allow time for that, I believe in the end, you are not as effective at our businesses, and it is ultimately detrimental to your overall health and well-being.

For me, the best way to insure a vacation is to schedule it. Calendarize it, even pay for it ahead of time, so it becomes a non-negotiable.

While any getaway to recharge and refocus should be a priority, you have lots of other priorities in your life that don’t always get on the calendar.



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The simple act of choosing a word

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

Many people choose a “word” as a focus tool for the year. I have been doing this since probably 2005 when Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio where I practiced, passed around a basket with words.

I chose “openness.” At the time I asked if I could pick a different word. After all, the woman next to me chose love, which seemed like a much better word. I remember Kathy telling me that I was stuck with openness because the word had chosen me.

I went home, taped the word onto my computer, and let it be an anchor as I went through the year. Looking back, I know that this made a tremendous difference in my year.



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Old Year Lessons

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

In three weeks you’ll turn the calendar page to 2020.

Each year the years seem to fly by. And this year was no exception.

While three weeks isn’t a lot of time, you do have time to take some positive actions to end your year on a high note and get a head start on 2020.

Here are some tips that I’m taking to heart.

Don’t wait until Dec. 31 to check your financials.

I’ve been working on my financials the past week or so. As someone who is self-employed, I need to make estimated tax payments. While they aren’t due until Jan. 15, 2020, I like to get my settled before the end of the year.

Some questions you might consider:

• Do you need to follow up on any late invoices if you want the income to be in 2019?
• Do you need to defer the income until 2020?
• Do you need to make any expenditures by year-end?
• What tax consequences should you be aware of?

On my list is a quick call or email with my accountant. This will answer any last minute questions and allow me to make any adjustments I might need to minimize any taxes I owe.



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Can you handle it?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Several weeks back I had a conversation with a colleague about her distress over a poor review of her book on Amazon.

“But I want everyone to love the book,” she said, really meaning, “I want everyone to love me.” She believed that if someone did not like the book, they did not like her.

I think we can all fall into that trap, wanting to be liked. I can remember exactly when I decided I didn’t care if everyone liked me. I was working in the offices of an ad agency, and one of the men in the office told me he didn’t like me.

Well, how could that be? I am truly likable. Then I thought about it and realized that I did not really like him. He had poor work habits, always sloughing his work onto someone else, and I generally did not like being around him. Why did I think I cared anyhow?

It is just not possible to avoid criticism, especially in our social media world. And, hey, it does hurt sometimes. And, you can learn to handle it.

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Set Your Business GPS!

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

biz-gps

Recently on my way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I got caught in a mass of slow traffic. Anyone from these parts knows we only have one way to reach the beach, and that’s using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis. Its two spans date to 1952 and 1973 and can’t handle today’s traffic. Slow-downs and waits are a normal occurrence, particularly during the summer, so I try to time my trip to avoid them. Despite my best efforts, I was stopped.

Because of the nature of the journey, my GPS isn’t of much use. It can’t re-route me across the water! As I edged along, I thought about the GPS you set for your business.

The beginning and end points

Your car’s GPS won’t work without a starting and ending point. It’s the same in your business. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go.

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Let’s take 15!

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Do you ever look at what others have accomplished and think you can’t possibly do that? We all have that comparison gremlin to contend with. Do you then fall back on your standard excuse? I just don’t have time!

I’m going to challenge you on that.

I’ve written about “you management” as opposed to “time management” in the past. Today I want to share a simple concept that might make a difference in your day.

Let’s call it Take 15.



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The Fortune Is In the Follow-up

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019
follow-up

How good are you at follow-up? You know that is where the money is.

I was talking with a few of my clients who were heading back from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those get processed right away.

The problem for my clients was that they came back with all these notes that weren’t really money related or where they couldn’t see the clear money connection or where they couldn’t remember the conversation. Plus they felt overwhelmed getting back in gear. And, the follow-up is in question.

What I have found through the years is that when I pay attention to following up on a consistent and timely basis, it lets me build better relationships, which is really my goal, and that means adding to my business bottom line. Here are some ideas to help you with follow-up.



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Increase your booth ROI

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

For many years I’ve had the opportunity to sell my product in public venues.

I’ve sold my handcrafted quilts at local craft shows, larger regional juried craft shows, and a local crafts cooperative. Most recently I marketed the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals at the International Quilt Market. All are great places to sell your work, meet your customers, and gather marketing information.

Whether you sell your work in a small retail venue or a trade show like Quilt Market, here are some tips to help you increase sales:

#1 Set an intention

Spend time ahead getting clear on your intention or goal for the show.

Is it to make a certain amount of sales, to get your patterns picked up by a distributor, to test a new product? Maybe your intention is to get names for your mailing list so you can connect in the future. When you are clear on your intent, you’ll be more focused, and your results will show that.



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