Tag: Vision

You Can’t Grow Because You Can’t Afford To Grow

You Can’t grow because you can’t afford to grow and you have to grow to create the money, hire the people, and do the bigger things so you can afford to grow. It’s a classic circular stall.

Your Transition Point

What does a transition point look like? How do I know what to plan for?

Transition points are the place in your business where you realize you can’t…

–          do any more business,

–          handle any more clients,

–          manufacture any more product,

–          deliver any more services,

–          Etc.

… because you need more resources. These are the resources you cannot afford at the current level.

This is the most misunderstood key to growth. Working to pay for a bigger business and do more sales that you cannot manage without more investment, which you cannot afford without more sales is a dangerous slippery mindset. Growth happens in these three steps:

  1. Invest
  2. Implement
  3. Grow

That means that your transition point happens at the investment stage. You must accept that investment, whether more money or time, or both is your first step.

New work - New business - Transition PointI find that most business owners are stuck at a specific level because they do not have more time or more money. In the words of The Oracle from the movie The Matrix, “Bingo. It is a pickle. No doubt about it.”

Here are the places I look for resources in my business and for my clients. There are thousands. If you start down this mindset of “how can I…” instead of “when I can…” then opportunities will start finding you.


Finding Resources

  1. Look for ways of breaking up the goal of your transition into smaller tasks. Starting now with a smaller investment can lead to more resources to use for the next step. For a client of mine this meant strategically getting her product to a new market at least 6 months earlier than planned without all the ‘bells and whistles’ and it gave her more income for her next steps of branding, new packaging, and a new kitchen.
  2. Hire for non-skilled work first. If you are doing work in your business that can be hired-out at a low rate, something that only requires minimal training, then you can free up some of your time resources to put into your transition.
  3. Automate and create systems. This will also free up time for you and the people working for you. If you do anything manually that can be handled by a free or inexpensive app or software then look into making that happen first.
  4. Look at what else you can sell or who else you can sell to, based on what you currently offer. Examples like:
    • A different package size
    • A different market location
    • A different distribution site
    • Deliver online electronically instead of in-person
  5. Can you give someone commission to sell your products? If your products are online then offer an affiliate commission and get your products into new hands. If someone else is doing the sales or some of these sales then you have more time.

The key to these strategies is that they either create more income or save you time that you can put towards your transition. Taking a smaller step will cost you significantly less than going right for your next big step, freeing up capital and time for your big growth steps.

Don’t put off growth for later or it will likely never happen. You must always be in growth mode working towards your transition points.

Tech-Talk Part 3 – More of What You Need to Know – Communication Software

If ‘sell’ is a four-letter word to you then having communications that make it more comfortable for you to invite and offer value will make a difference to your bottom-line. You need to have a way to identify who you are speaking to and you must be able to connect efficiently with groups of people. This is how you leverage your time in your business and keep your costs down.

We know we want to be able to communicate with our clients, prospects, and past clients in a way that gives them what they need and helps us create an experience that is valuable for them. Understanding what to say is a topic for another article, and once you know what that is, how to reach them is the next question we want to address today. I am going to look at three things that you need to identify that will help you decide what tools will be best for you to manage your communications: 1) Your List, 2) History, 3) Costs

1) Your List

When managing your marketing and customer support communications it is important to be able to connect with the right person or group of people with the message they need to hear from you. Having a list or lists of names that you can effectively reach is imperative so your communications tools need to be able to manage those names efficiently for you.

I use 1Shopping Cart (1SC) for my mailing campaigns and my program communications as well as my online purchasing portal. I can group people by their purchase or interest and communicate with those groups of people. This allows my communications to be much more specific and targeted and increases the likelihood of a person reading the message. It also helps ensure that they will receive value, as I am not sending mass emails to everyone one all the time.

For my clients, this allows me to talk directly to people in small groups, like those in my Power of Leadership. I can let them know when their next call or event is. I can offer them specific help with their work, links, and specials, as well as additional information that may have been discussed in our meetings. It makes my communications with them more about them then about selling, and that is more comfortable for me as well as them.

Different software

2) History

The challenge with lists is that we often have lists in different places. My main communications for groups is through 1Shopping Cart (1SC) but I have a database using Microsoft Business Contact Management for Outlook (BCM) to connect to individuals. Of course our social media connections create other lists and all of these are not integrated. The challenge with lists is to have a system for how you connect with people so you are able to follow up later on. Knowing the history of communications with a specific prospect or past client helps you to better meet their needs and turn them into a repeat client.

I rely heavily on BCM to keep track of past conversations with individuals, including offers, personal situations, and conversations we have had. When you speak to thousands of people it helps you to remember what was special about a specific person. It also allows me to throw out business cards after I have them put into the database and keep track of sales and prospects.

I use 1SC to track groups of people. I can look up people by their interest or our past dealings. Someone that has opted-in to a free MP3 may be interested in an upcoming event. Someone that was in a past workshop may be interested in a personal VIP day. I can connect with people individually after I identify who they are and what they may need based on what they have signed up for or purchased in the past.

Whether it is a Contact Management Software (CMS), like my BCM or social media, like Facebook, use the history of your relationship to continue to offer things that are valuable to your clients and prospects moving forward.

 3) Costs

Even if the tool is free, managing the tool effectively is not. Don’t mistaken something that is free online as a way to do business for less. To be able to effectively implement and maintain communications with your clients and prospects every tool must be evaluated for the time and dollars it will cost or save you. If your time is limited and you hate being online, then using free Facebook pages to connect and invite your prospects would be the wrong fit for you unless you hire someone to manage it for you. You see, free just incurred a cost. I find that anything that is free costs me more in time and often does not have the features I need to manage my communications to the level I expect.

For new businesses that are not ready to invest, my recommendation is to write out what you hope to have in place in your business, evaluate what it would cost to invest in the tools (both time and money) and what kind of income your business would have to be making to support that investment. This will give you an idea of when you should look at investing. Also note that making changes to a larger program can be painful. If you have the ability to start with the larger support, that you have identified as a future need for your business, you will have less growing pain by eliminating that transition.

I started with Constant Contact. It is free up to 200 contacts. Unfortunately I never had less than 200 so I started with the basic plan, which was $20 per month. I paid to have it initially set up, lists imported, and my ezine and email templates created. I quickly realized that there were a lot of limiting challenges around this choice and I needed features that could only be found in an application that could both handle email campaigns (including my newsletters) and online purchases. I had to make the change to 1SC which lost me almost 50% of my list, several hundred more dollars to move to the new applications and a $120 per month plan, plus all the sales I felt I had lost because I could not track them easily in the smaller, less expensive choice.

Overall I would suggest that you understand as a small business owner you will likely have several lists to manage. Know which list is critical for which type of communications and how to evaluate & use the history you have with the people on that list.  Most of all, start by knowing what you will want to do with your lists so you can evaluate which software to initially begin with. Understanding your costs up front can save you loses and additional costs in the future.

Some Resources (Both free and paid)

Contact Management Software (CMS) (Microsoft Outlook, Business Contact Management for Outlook, salesforce, Act)

Shopping cart (1Shopping Cart, Infusionsoft)

Payment software (PayPal, Merchant account)

Mailing program (Constant Contact, AWeber Email Marketing, MailChimp Email)

Survey software (Survey Monkey)

Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Hangout)

If you have an application, mobile app, or software you recommend, please let us know. Put your recommendations in the comments below along with a link to the company so we can all check it out.

Meet Your Clients Where They Are

Recently I went on a road trip with my husband to interview a Magic The Gathering store owner in Orangeville. I was just along for the ride with no real interest in the main reason for the journey, which was to create a blog post about the local store owner and support his business. This article would go on his blog (MTG Realm) as he writes about this game with a focus on spoilers for new card releases. It sounds simple and maybe even un-interesting to those that do not play the game, but he gets up to 14,000 hits a day on this blog, so there are a lot of people following along.

While in Shawn’s store I became very aware of the business skill he possessed. I was expecting a geek that opened a store so he could be close to his favourite game and what I saw as a man providing a service to his clients by meeting them where they are. Here are the top 5 things I believe he has done right and why.

Facebook not website

The clientèle for this business has an average age in their low to mid 20’s with a lot of teens and a few older people. They are primarily male (about 95 % of players are male). Although the store has a website, there is little information on it. The key communications for this game happens on Facebook, where his community of players can take part and be active in the decisions that are being made about their favourite place to hang out.

Young people want to interact not just have information pushed at them.

Games for everyone

In a past blog post I wrote about his business and I talk specifically about how he has created new games to appeal to the youngest of his clients, knowing that as they progress, they will get better and will stay clients longer.

As business owners you need to look at what you have to offer that will keep your current clients coming back. You can sell ‘one offs’ but you want to try and fill your business with clients that are ‘in love’ with your service and return over and over, bringing their friends and spending their time and money.

Invites the community

On the third floor of his business he has a huge room with high ceilings that needed to be painted. He opened up this room and started an non-profit Art Club for young artists to exhibit murals, painting and photography. He hosts regular events and even offers his own walls for the canvas (see image below).

Koros Games upstairs floor - Art Club

What can you be doing to support the community your clients live in. If you have a location, can you open the doors during off hours for a charity to use. If you don’t have a physical location can you commit time or other resources for local events, not-for-profits, or other community engagements. A business that operates without the connection to its community, whether locally or online, is not as connected to it client.

Simple changes

I laughed at this change, but really… it makes sense for everyone. All the prices in his store include taxes. Not only does it make it easier for his youngest clients to know how much money they need to get a new card to add to their deck, it makes it easier for his employees to help people. He said to me, “Why don’t all businesses do this? It just makes sense.”

Big thinking investments

Originally when he started he was renting a small space on the main street in Orangeville, a city of 25,000, just North of Toronto Ontario. With his focus on his clients his business outgrew the location and he had to move. His answer was to purchase a century old building in a prime location and rent out the street level floor space. He still has two floors of space and he can host up to 200 players for tournaments. This is unheard of outside the large cities. The key is he does not need to fill to capacity to make his money, he simply has the space to offer the opportunity without it being a financial burden on the business. It is one of the reasons he is able to run two events simultaneously to attract both the competitive player and the newbie or casual player.

Are you thinking about your best investments in your business that will give you great resources and give your clients a better experience at the same time? Meet your clients where they are and they will continue to follow you and purchase from you.

Long Hours in Business and Children – Making It Work for Everyone!

Long hours and children are always a challenge. They need our time, insight, guidance, and love to handle the work of being a kid. Like all relationships (family, friends, co-workers, partners, affiliates, clients, etc.), to ensure a stable understanding we have to find time to invest in them. I think you get this concept as you know the value of investing time in an event to make it perfect for the attendees and you want to ensure you don’t trade that for important time with your kids. Here are three things I believe can help you.

1. You cannot do it alone

If you find you are putting in 17 hours on the day before a conference, that might be OK, but if you are putting in 17 hours a day for weeks before a conference then I would start looking at your support systems. There are many ways to offload work. My 3 favourite are automate, create better systems, and hire someone (or barter services). Let’s just look at hiring.

What are you holding on to that someone else could do quicker, may love to do the work, and may be better at? I have found that people that say they ‘have to’ work for 17 hours are often too afraid to let go of the work because they feel it will not get done properly. This is an issue of systems. Let’s assume you have great systems, so if you say you cannot afford to hire someone then you may not have spent enough time thinking about how you can engage people to help you do the work. Giving someone free access to the conference to take away a few of your tasks is one way that will not require an employee contract. Learn to trade, barter, and delegate are important skills in a manager.

Have other family commit to time with your kids and schedule time to drop in for dinner while your kids are with family. This will help them feel you are committed and love them, even when you are busy.

Get Daycare - Nanny with child playing with toys

Hiring a nanny to bring your kids with you to the worksite is a way many actors find time to be with their kids when they are on the road. I’ve brought a niece or the neighbours daughter to watch my kids when I had to be focused on other work.

Pay your kids to help you with your business. “If you help Mommy get her work done by playing by yourself while I finish this, I will pay you $X”. You can also give them a task to actually get them involved in the business. I remember as a kid collating printing for my girlfriend’s father. We loved being asked and he would pay us so we could go buy an ice cream and still have some money to take home. One of my Mentors pays her kids a percentage of her project profit if they help her get her work done. I hire my kids to shred papers, lick envelopes, wrap gifts, and fill bins.

Put your kids in daycare if they are not already. You cannot run a business from your home and give your kids the attention they need. Those are both full time positions.

2.       You must have great communications

Great communications are important in all your relationship. Let your kids know what you are doing. Let them know exactly how much time you are going to put into it and for how long. Let them know when the event will be over. AND let them know what their reward will be for having to give up time with you. Give them the plan so they can keep track. My daughter loves to look at the calendar. When I am away speaking and traveling, I will call her before bed time and she will look at the calendar to see where I am and when I’m coming home. She will ask me about my day and I will keep answering until she has got enough information to feel she understands and feels included.

3.       Stick to your promises

There will always be exceptions to this, but if that is happening often then obviously you are not making correct assumptions about how to manage your time and you need to stop promising. Call when you are going to be late but better yet, make your promises to your kids as important as your event responsibilities. If I am unsure if I can make it home in time for bedtime or dinner, etc. I let my kids know what I’m doing, why it will take as long as I think it will, what could cost me more time, then I promise a time that I know I will definitely be home, even if it is after they go to bed. Just knowing is better for kids then having no idea at all.

It will not be easy, but planning ahead, getting your kids on board with the plan and sticking to your promises will help you provide the best service possible for your clients and your kids. After all, you’re your kids are the reason you do what you do and you don’t want to treat them any less fair then you would a complete stranger you hope to call client!

3 Skills for Getting it Right from the Start – A Foundation of the Successful

There are no guarantees in life. All we can do is find the best path that will help mitigate potential failure. For business owners with a 65% chance of being out of business by year 5, it becomes an imperative action that you need to take from the beginning of your idea right on through every year of your business. There will be lots of things you can do to ensure you are successful, including plans, marketing channels, niche markets, target clients, brand image, etc. Let me give you three foundational skills I see most often in successful people. I have also noticed that these three traits are often weaker or missing in those people struggling and failing.

Do Something You Love

Many people start a business doing something they are good at and often it is not necessarily something they love to do. I know because I have seen this many times in new business owners and my first business was based on this. I had been a technical writer for over 15 years and in technology for over 2 decades when I started my business Clear Comm Information Design, a company that writes for medical device manufacturers and software development companies. Being an expert at technical writing certainly did not make it easier to be motivated and driven when times were tough. If you want to last the course you need to be driven to do the work when the work is not fun. Loving what you do makes that much easier.  In fact, this rings true for all aspects of your life. It is why our children are part of our lives even after they go through their teens <smile> because we love them and we are driven to do what it takes to see them successfully reach adulthood and beyond. You will be sidetracked, mislead, overwhelmed, disillusioned, out of money, out of time and simply exhausted building your business. If you don’t love it then it will be more difficult to develop, plan, grow, and continue to add your energy to get the best results.

Know The Outcome

What are these results I talk of? You have to know what you are working for. It is very hard to get engaged in the first place when you don’t have a goal to work towards, let alone be driven enough to stay motivated through any challenge you might encounter. If you know from the beginning what the business will mean to you, your life, your partners, employees, your clients, and your community,  then you can stay on track when building your brand. Great leaders in business bring their values, mission, and brand into their business systems so that everyone knows what they are buying into and how to support it. Check out the philosophy of Zappos.com president Tony Hsieh and the business strategies that have made them billions of dollars.


If you get to a point in your business and you think you have everything in place to start taking advantage of your creation, you will soon be dealing with new issues. Be prepared to continue to grow for the entire life of your business. There is never a time when you should not be reviewing your industry, new technologies, business strategies, opportunities, and simply keeping skills current. Never stop learning! The companies that learned in the 90’s that SEO was going to get them more business as the world moved to internet shopping are the companies that moved ahead of their competition. Those that learned social media before it was an expected need of marketing were better positioned to take advantage of their virtual relationships. Don’t be the one saying, “There is too much to learn, I just can’t keep up.” Be the one that reads new books and accepts new ideas and then pick and choose which to implement. Start with these three foundational skills to help you and your business have the best odds to succeed well beyond 5 years.

It’s All About You

It’s done – You have done it. You started a business to offer the world your expertise. You took the risk and you launched the business. Like being a new parent there will be plenty of people with advice, suggestions, and insight, but you have the last say. You can veto any idea and create your own.

When we start a business we don’t really think of ourselves as “being at the top.” Yes, we have the final say, but what should we be investing in, focusing on, doing with our time? There are so many things to learn as a new business owner and so many ways to fail. Having that veto is a liability more than a earned responsibility. What advice is the best for your new business and what should you not pay attention to?

In small business startups, there is a tendency for an attitude of “It’s all about me”. After all it was your idea, your money, your expertise, your time and your sleepless nights. It IS all about you. Who else is going to care about your business success as much as you do? Who else will put in the overtime and weekends? Who else will give up taking a vacation for years? It’s all about you because you are the one to make it happen and it will feel lonely.

To be able to manage your business and continue to love it you need to remove the loneliness, and that will not be easy.

Tip #1    Friends without benefits

Befriend employees but do not share your full business and personal struggle insider information with them unless they are the Vice President. By relieving them of the burden of risk and insider issues it will gives them the ability to do what they do best in their position at the company, which is why you hired them in the first place.

Tip #2    Intrapreneurs

Hire intrapreneurs. These are people with excellent entrepreneurial skills that will use their insight, drive, and risk tolerance to help grow your business. Having people like this on your team will make running your business easier. If they are good, then your job will be less stressful as well.

Tip #3    Peer-to-Peer Networks

Surround yourself with like-minded people that will support you when you are struggling, lift you up when you are down, and celebrate with you when you make great choices or accomplish something new.

Tip #4    Don’t Do It Alone

Stop thinking you can do everything yourself. You need people in your life you can share your plan with, trust with your challenges, people that understand what it takes to be there and do what you are doing, as well as people that love you and will support you even if they cannot fully understand what you are up to. It can be very lonely as an entrepreneur but you don’t have to be alone all the time if you consciously choose to involve other people.

You can start a business on your own but NO ONE can succeed in business alone.

Going for Gold in Business – What It Takes

At the Olympics there is only one gold medal given in each event. In business we can all take a gold medal in what we do. The mindset around going for that Gold drives the athlete to perform above the average sports-minded person. In business there is an expectation that if you do what is expected of you then you can outperform and become successful. The bad news is, you have to perform like an Olympic athlete to out-perform the average. The good news is, you can do this!

The one thing that really struck home with me this Olympics was the shear effort that an athlete takes to get where they are in the standings. When Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the Silver medalists for the free dance skating event and Gold medal winners from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics were interviewed after the event, Moir said they never thought about quitting after 2010. Actually what happened was they were so focused on the practice and competition and the routine of doing the work that got them to their Gold that they just continued entering competitions and preparing.

In business after we have a ‘win’ what will often happen is a time to recover and relax, but that is not what will put you in the lead. It’s not about doing it great once, it is about doing it great over and over. It took many wins for athletes to just get to the Olympics. It takes many wins for a great business to get beyond good. It is the consistency of your effort, not the effort alone.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir CBC video of their performance

1. Keep Creating

Keep creating new competitions for your business to be part of. In fact, book several of them over the next year. Whether it is a sale, marketing campaign, charity event, speaking opportunity, or your own program, have something in the pipeline that you are always working towards.

2. Be Consistent

Be consistent with your effort. Every event will require the same amount of effort as your best effort can provide. To be great you have to perform great all the time.

3. Believe

Don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done. After all what are the odds an athlete that is good can get to the Olympics and then what are the odds they will get gold? If they gave up on the belief of their own ability then they lost before they started.

Have faith in what you can do. Daily effort, a focused goal, regular investment in ‘the new’, and a team of people that can help you get where you want is what I’m taking away from the Olympics this year.


To Make More Money – Give Them What They Ask For

There are three things that affect the way we want to sell our products: our idea of value (price), our self-worth (image), flexibility to create (product).

It is interesting to see how often, we as entrepreneurs, think we know best about what we offer and what will sell. It can be very different than what we think. Our clients are likely already asking for something specific and we sometimes are not listening. Creating a product, setting a price, and being able to deliver with an image of value is not easy.

I was working with a client recently (let’s call her Jane). It was clear that Jane was very focused on what she was good at and she has a phenomenal following. Clients and prospects love her. She spends a lot of energy trying to teach all the people about what she has to offer hoping the ones that understand what she is teaching will purchase from her. The funny thing is, she had several very prominent people saying they needed to work with her, but she didn’t know what she could offer them nor how she would price it.

It wasn’t what she was currently offering. Instead of saying ‘no’ or ignoring them we spent time looking at what she could offer them. It quickly became evident that it was hard for people to buy from her because her idea of value and her flexibility to create did not match her self-worth. She was in the realm of Guru and had created a halo effect around her expertise, but she spent her time selling to those that did not know they needed help in the first place.

By adjusting her product offering and her pricing she now had something that would easily appeal to those that were already reaching out to her. Her image matched her offering and now more easily draws in the right clients, which is not her niche target market.

When you stop and look at who understands you and what they need then evaluate what you offer and see if it matches. When it doesn’t you need to make some changes. Be flexible and willing to make the changes that will appeal to your target market. Here are some tips to make changes in these three areas.

Image Product Price
  • Be seen where your clients are.

Network where they network, advertise where they read, invite them to things they would attend.

  • Make it what they want.

If your clients say I can’t afford that now then make something they can afford. Listen for what they are not getting or they don’t want and adjust for their needs.


  • Do not charge by the hour.

Your product for 20 hours should not be 20 times more expensive then one hour. Add value, create interest and price to give breaks for those that pay up front for larger products.

By listening to those that identify with your image and want what you have you identify your niche and create products that will easily sell.

Are You Taking Enough Risk to Become More Wise?

I saw this great quote on my Facebook wall from my friend Shawne Duperon.

“Wisdom is Healed Pain”

And I thought to myself, “Yes, this is true.” But then I thought, “where does the pain come from that creates wisdom? Does all pain create wisdom? What exactly does it mean to be wise?” Hmm, interesting questions.

I really don’t have any conclusive answers but I know that I am not just more knowledgeable his year, but actually wiser than I was and that I am increasingly becoming more wise every year. Here are my biggest shifts and what wisdom I got from them.

Last Year’s Wisdom

Wisdom_owlLast year I did several new things. They were exciting, scary, and way out of my comfort zone, the biggest of which was creating a two-day event that I held three times last year. Let me tell you what went into the creation of that event.

The first event was terrifying. Was I going to make enough money to cover my costs? Was I going to make any money at all? Was I going to be able to bring in the right people to speak and attend? Did I know enough to be able to present and keep people interested for 2 days? These were the logical questions, but then came the illogical thoughts: People are going to think I’m a fraud. Do people really like me? No speaker is going to want to come to this event and speak. I don’t have what it takes to make something like this valuable.

The first pain comes from your own doubt. This is the place where many people quit. This is why so many don’t produce new work, because they think they will fail. Well, if you don’t do it you have already failed, so might as well put some effort into it. The cure for this for me was to set the date and share it with the people that support me.

I knew that I needed a location that offered food and a place where people could stay if they were coming from outside the city so I chose to host my event in a hotel. The next big pain came from realizing that there are hundreds of hotels. How do you choose. It is not as easy as just picking one because they all have different options and availability. I had to make visits and create new relationship. I had to negotiate pricing and extras. I had to learn to ask for more and to pay less and to do it efficiently so that I was not spending an entire month or more evaluating venues.

There are hundreds of details for creating, sharing, inviting, preparing for, and selling the event. Website domains, sales page, shopping carts, guest bios, confirmations, marketing campaign, participant information, sales calls, presentations, offers, handouts, printing, gifts, name tags, etc., and the overall management of the event. It was exhausting. I had a lot less sleep than I needed and I still needed to stay healthy and vibrant. Who wants to go to an event where the host is too tired to engage and entertain?

  • I learned a lot about what I loved to do, what drove me to get the work done and how to delegate.
  • I learned I was capable of attracting amazing speakers from around the continent to speak and creating a learning environment that inspired business owners to do more and become greater in service to their clients.
  • I learned I was a great negotiator, not because I could win a disagreement but because I could win over people by being authentically interested in them and ensuring our agreement was a win for us both.
  • I learned I had a lot of support in the people I knew.
  • I learned I could make money at what I did and people liked working with me.
  • I learned I had more information than I could use in two days.
  • I learned I liked selling my sponsorships early so I could concentrate on the event and not on the expense.
  • I learned enough to be much more comfortable with the second and third event.
  • I learned I can handle the pain of growth and come out the other end a better, more prepared person.

Scoring Your Wisdom

Start by looking at your accomplishment list for 2013. Create a list of all your accomplishments, big and small. This is a living list and you should be adding to this list every year (or more often). You should have 100 or more points on this list for last year, as you should for every year. If you could easily get to 100 in this list then you were doing the work. You are definitely more wise.

If you are not wiser this year than you were last, you are playing way it too safe by not taking the risks that will create something new in your life. Safe is nice, but it is definitely not the life of the most successful entrepreneurs, nor does it give you the chance to become more wise.

Being and Doing – Giving You Purpose

I attend an interesting group that meets every-other Tuesday morning to spend an hour talking about topics that affect business, growth, investment, and community. It is always thought-provoking and this Tuesday was no exception. We did an exercise looking back and forward that generated insight into why we entrepreneurs do what we do.

What I realized for myself was that I was focused on what I had done; the tasks, the things that changed and not what I had become. It took the conversations and sharing to see that aspect of what I had accomplished to bring forward and understand the full impact of what a successful year 2013 had been for me and what it meant for 2014. Chad Ballantyne, the facilitator and host of this meeting had coined this as “The DO-BE Balance”, referring to the balance between what we DO and what we become or BE that gives our results.

There was one question (“What did I create this year?”) that I could not easily break apart in to the ‘doing’ and the ‘being’, so I’m going to break it apart for you. I found I could only answer with what I had done and not with what I had become, so I want to give you three questions to start you looking at the path you are on.

If you want to try out the exercise created by Chad then you will find a link to those questions at the bottom of this article.

1. What Did You DO…

What did you do differently last year that created something new and amazing in your business?

Focus on what you have done or produced in 2013. I had created a full program and a year of marketing. I created new 2-day events that opened the stage for other speakers. I created high-end coaching and VIP day programs that accelerated people’s focus and abilities to grow their businesses. It was very exciting and it set me on a path to be able to create full programs, products and marketing calendars for my next year as well as for my clients.

2. What Did You Become…

What changes do you recognize about yourself that you purposefully sought and found?

Interestingly I had forgotten that at the beginning of the year 2013 I was still asking the question, ‘What is my purpose?’  It was not even a year ago I had concretely identified the answer to this question that I had been asking for more than 40 years. I actually had to explore some aspects of my personality before I got to the answers and then have someone else point it out for me to recognize it.

In 2013 I realized my soul (not sole) purpose was to help others follow their passion. I had to give myself permission to be more vulnerable, to admit my shortcomings, to identify my blocks, to shed my professional-always facade, and to take action on what  I really loved to do. It was a painful, time consuming, and costly journey that took the concentrated effort of almost 10 months and the help of a great coach, a mentor, two accountability partners, other peers, and specifically a life purpose coach to hand me the decoded path. It was worth everything I gave to get here because now I can pay it forward and also make money at what I love to do.

3. What Did You Give…

What did you give to find out who you became?

As I mentioned above, ‘being’ is often more costly than ‘doing’. ‘Doing’ can help us feel accomplished and valuable but ‘being’ gives you a credibility to stand on any path and confidently walk in your purpose.

Do you want to do all the work? Here are Chad’s List of Questions.