Business 101 Blog

Where Has All My Passion Gone? The #1 Way We Undermine Our Own Success

I had a client today lose sight of why she was starting a business.   Two months ago she was enthusiastic, empowered, and totally clear about her purpose and why she was investing in her future.   Today she was half assed about whether we should even have a coaching call.

What happened?    This is an important topic because at some point,  it happens to everyone who puts their ass on the line for something that matters to them!   So what happened is simple:  she broke some of the commitments she made to herself, what looked like little things at the time.  “No big deal”, she would do them another time or even would do them next day – or not.    She started to slip on some of what she said she wanted to accomplish and THEN started to numb her experience to that.

Even when the promises are to ourselves, we will act out our numbing behavior to avoid feeling bad about falling short of our commitment.

How did she numb herself?  Isolating herself (hiding), eating more sugar, doing things that make her feel good in the moment but bad later, sleeping more,  or watching TV.   Whatever the numbing behavior is,  the question is:   What are you avoiding by eating that cookie?   What are you trying not to feel by having that drink?   By not going to the gym when you said you would how are you explaining it away?  “ I need a break”,  is a red flag for what?

The bad news is – it is considered completely normal to break promises to yourself,  it is how we stay living an average life.   If you share with someone else that you were too tired to do everything you said you were going to do today – they will “understand” which makes it even worse!

Being extraordinary is an unreasonable way to live and it takes something out of the ordinary to live that way…

I am taking my own coaching today:

  • Making a list of incomplete items and then putting them in a calendar to get them complete.
  • Taking a stand for living an extraordinary life that I designed
  • Doing at least 1 thing TODAY that makes me really uncomfortable (to anchor this insight and move it towards a breakthrough).


This only happens once a year and once it is full, it is closed automatically.

Business 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs is about to have its annual GRATITUDE Registration which means you can get 8 coaching calls a month, 100 hours of videos on every aspect of starting and launching a business available 24/7, and enormous support for your new venture for only $25 a month and NO Set up fee!    Strictly Limited to 200 people


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3 Ways to Know If It’s Time You Start a Business

Everyone has dreams of starting a business. Being our own boss, having control over our income, making decisions that can change our life or our community. It all sounds great. We might even have a great idea, a supportive partner (spouse, best friend, sister/brother) who is as excited as we are, yet, we are unsure if we should.

Just beyond the excitement is a veil of doubts and questions. Do we have what it takes? Can we handle all these different areas of activity which we have not done before? Will we make the transition from job to business owner? What if we fail? What if our idea sucks? How will we recover? What is there to lose?

These are all really good questions and are best looked at at some point, really soon if you already started. However, the answers to these questions are not the way you choose to start a business. No matter when you start, you will be incompetent at somethings and fantastic at others, bad at and good at, ready and not ready… so then how do you know when it is time you start a business?

1. Are you possessed/obsessed/driven with the need to offer something to the world?
2. Are you always coming up with better ways to do what is already being done?
3. Are you WILLING to take chance on yourself and your dream?

Almost everything you will come up against after that can be handled while you are starting a business.
If you are willing to create something and keep moving forward you can start. Stop waiting.



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Why Design Matters

When it comes to making your dreams come true, design is the first critical step to reaching them.

Your choices, even (and maybe especially) the little ones, can change your life, the lives of those around you, and even the world.    Every day we are faced with choices that shape the future, whether it’s tomorrow, next week, or years from now, our choices right now are impacting our readiness for the opportunities we dream about in our future and whether we will be able to take advantage of them.

Good or bad, how we will experience our life 1, 5, 10, 30 years from now has something to do with the choices we make now.

If that’s so, the standards, values, and practices that we mark our choices against will either be by default or by design.    Another way of saying that is without design, you are already using your default standards and values to make your choices and thus, for the most part, those choices are valued against immediate wants and not a designed future.

Taking the time to dream and design your life in detail;  business, eating habits,  how you relate to money, who you hang out with, education, where you live, how you live, body love; all sets you up to accomplish what you dream about now.

If you do not design your standards and values at least 10 years out, you are likely without a rudder for reaching distant shores.

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Creative Fusion: 5 Steps to Build a Bridge Between Opposing Ideas

As a Libra I find that I am always, always, and constantly looking at both sides of any situation. I thought that I was doomed to weigh all my options forever, sometimes until the opportunity passed me by. As an entrepreneur, I frequently find myself in that same place, having to choose between 2 apparently opposite directions or having to make 2 people align who appear to be on opposite sides of the table.

When the consequences of being wrong are too high to risk a mistake, or it just does not feel right, look at blending the benefits and minimizing the downside. Either way, ultimately, as the boss, you have to make things work.

My strategy at these times is to build a bridge…I take the time to look at what works about both options. I explore in what way I could use the best of both options to create a third, unique, and sometimes very original direction that the either/or choice would not have produced.

Here are 5 steps to connect opposing ideas with Creative Fusion:

1. Let go: Sometimes leaders and teams are so attached to what they think their business, marketing plan, speed of delivery, and/or results should look like, that they lose sight of the fact that they created them in the first place. Let go of the picture and look newly. Stop “shoulding” on your team and/or business. Remember, there is not one way anything and whenever it “should” be a certain way we are closing off our ability to create dramatically.

2. Mashup: List the best benefits and features of both/all choices and prioritize them. There are likely great benefits to both options and pitfalls or weaknesses to both. You may see real similarities or overlaps, there may be holes in each that the blend fills.

3. Common Ground: What are the unifying aspects of both options? What do we lose if we give up _____? How do we soften or even remove the downside? Does it serve our customer as well as each of the original choices? Why (or why not)?

4. Pick it Apart: With a light heart and joy, have a team meeting and invite everyone there to tell you why it won’t work. Look at the product itself, but also look at how your customer base will embrace it. Is it fun enough? Effective enough? Did you compromise on anything? Where are you selling out? Let them be very frank… because your customers will be!

5. Taste Test: Get feedback from customers (or users outside the company) by either beta testing or seed launching. Track results, upgrade, and repeat as needed.

If this exercise is needed to work with people who are not aligning, do steps 1 and 2 and 3. If it is a deep-seated issue skip #4 and go straight to #5 only have the feedback loop inside the company with the relevant team members they work with.

Building a bridge is about making things work. Ultimately being a successful entrepreneur comes down to how you get through your stopping blocks. Every successful business owner has had many opportunities to give up. Literally every single one. It is not whether you will get stopped but when and more importantly, how long you linger there!

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3 Ways to Make Your Rebellious Nature Pay Off!

Call it what you like, rule breaker, trouble maker, disruptive, rebel, teenager, maverick, head strong, or entrepreneur, you see the world differently than the average Jane or Joe.

Most of the creative people I know (including myself) feel as though they are slightly (or totally) outside the norm. We don’t really fit in with the 9 to 5 crowd, or, at least, feel misunderstood. And that is not surprising, given that we think a little differently, or see the world through eyes that see colors, or we are busy spatially reorganizing it. We hear a problem and 10 solutions start spinning in our minds some of which are actually pretty good ideas. To top it all off, we tend to feel energy and lean toward empathic.

So how do you take all of that and make it worth something people will pay you for? Make Your Art!

How to get started — the short list:

#1 Take Your Art Seriously

Too many creatives think they are just a little weird… and that is true we are. However, to make your way of pushing the edge of the envelope pay off you are the first one who has to recognize it as a contribution in the world. If you do not take yourself seriously, no one else will either! Guaranteed!

This is especially important because for most of our young lives people have been pointing to the very way you are unique and asking you to tone it down or be more normal! Of course, you do need to get along and communicate well with others in this world… but that does not mean you have to give up your art!

‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’ Albert Einstein —

#2: Distinguish what is unique about you!

If you want to make money doing what you love, the first thing you will have to do is figure out what is unique about your way of thinking. What is different about how you view the world? If you always have an idea that would make things easier for everyone, that is a place to start. Here are some other questions to get you started.

Q. Do you always see things a little differently? How is it different? Write it down!
Q. If you ran the place where you work, what would you do differently? Write it down!
Q. If you could create a world (town, state) how would people live there? How would they make a living? Write it down!
Q. If you could redesign the economics of our society (how money flows) what would you do? Write it down!
Q. If you could redesign our educational system, what would all kids learn that is currently missing (or being done badly)? Write it down!
Now that you have answered these questions, look for the common themes throughout your answers.
Do you come up with collaborative solutions (where everyone works together)? Do you redesign the systems? Maybe there is a tool that would make things work better, something no one else realizes! Maybe you see the best of two unrelated systems and think to blend them to create something new. Or you think of a way to apply an existing system to an area that it was not created for…you see connections that others don’t see.

This is your unique way of viewing the world. It may take years to fully distinguish your view… it is an inquiry. There is no right answer! If you are inspired by it and you know it will make a difference, then you are on to something!

#3. Start a business

You cannot make your rebellious nature pay off if you don’t have something to offer people. So take the theme you distinguished and look for an area of the world that inspires you. If you love education, then design something in that area. If you love art, than art! If you love working on teams, then figure out a way to help folks work on teams (which is challenging for many people).

Creative businesses tend to be in the design area or education based. For example, a systems designer, a city planner, a Montessori teacher; landscape design. You may need to get further education in an area you are passionate about but now that you take yourself seriously, you can go for it.
The biggest missing in our society and world right now are creative solutions to world problems. As Einstein said so beautifully, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them’. We need your thinking in the world! Get busy!

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Inquiry: What Does It Take for You to Go From Rags to Riches?

There are so many rags to riches stories around lately and they are all, each and every one of them, inspiring beyond measure. Hearing about or watching someone have true success when they have had a hard start in life opens the gates to our hearts and often inspires others to follow in that same path. Knowing someone else did it makes it more real for all who witness it.

So, what does it take to go from nothing to wealth, stability, and financial freedom? Were they just lucky or one song wonders?

Here are the consistencies I see:

They work hard
They are relentless
They had an opportunity and were ready for it (which means they practiced like they were the real deal)
They kept going no matter what circumstances made it look impossible
Creative problem solvers
They think big!

Having grown up under the statistical bar of poverty, I have a true passion to look back over my shoulder and help others.   I know that human beings can do anything, become anyone;  yet it seems very hard at times.   When we work together all things become easier.

As this is an inquiry, I would love to hear from you about what you notice about those who have worked themselves out of poverty!


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What is Beyond Mastery? Can We Intentionally Cause Breakthroughs? Can We Intentionally Evolve?

Exploring the very edge of what is possible is always a fun conversation… but making it real, bringing it back to the game of actually living a day to day existence that makes a difference for you, your family and the community you live in, that is the challenge!

When you start to address mastering anything, what you will discover after the different phases of accomplishment is that mastery is an on-going state… if you are a master, you are always practicing and the more you practice the more the little nuances, the trimtabs will matter.

When we first start to learn something we make gross movements… large movements without finesse or grace and there will be regular mistakes. After a while you will being to make it graceful, more elegant and focused… there will be less mistakes. After a long time, you will notice a monotony of thinking, as if mastering something was a dull or mindless state… but do not be fooled. This practice time is incredibly important… you are beginning to embody your art!

Finally we get to a state of peace and focus and the actions and movements, even the thoughts that took us so much attention when we began, are now in the background… they are part of what we “know” and no longer have to be thought about at every movement.

At this point, you are a master… now what?

So what is beyond mastery? What is possible once we master our craft? This is where a true master will start to mess around a little. Experiment and explore the fringes of the art. In business we call this innovation. We start to make slight changes that can change the art altogether…can even create a new type of art…

Beyond mastery there is discovery of the unknown… there is only what’s next. However, without mastering the rules and structures first true innovation tends to be accidental.

So how do you make work at this in the real, day to day world?  When in doubt, practice!

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Maybe the Struggle to Accomplish Something Hard is the Real Learning!

I don’t know anyone who has not dreamed of a lucky break, being discovered for their talents, winning the lottery (even if they never buy a ticket), winning American Idol or Master Chef… the sudden change in circumstances that will change everything.

But, what if the real learning only comes when you push through the morass until you reach your goal?

When a caterpillar spins a cocoon it is instinct that drives that action… but when they begin to emerge there is a struggle; a huge push to emerge a butterfly, something they have never known…   However, and this is big however, if you cut the cocoon for them, the butterfly’s wings will not open.   It is the actual struggle that makes the wings expand.  By pushing through the confines of their own creation, the body fluid that has made their body so heavy is transferred to their wings and makes their body light and their wings strong.    Watching them struggle can be hard, but it is the only way they will ever be able to fly!

Just possibly it is the struggle to emerge the person you want to be that will have you arrive as the person you know you are. 

Here is a link to an article about The 7 Types Of Broke You Need To Be Before You Can Appreciate Being Happy.

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#1 Way You Can Change Your World Now!

Buy Local!   Why?

Every time you shop in a small, locally owned, business the money goes into the pocket of the owner, who lives in the area. Statistically, what they will do with that extra money is buy their kids shoes, get haircuts, and spend a little in their community. Helping small businesses thrive in their local community is tantamount to funding a Levy. When we spend our money locally we are pouring money into the local economy, which stays in the local economy.

Contrast that to spending money at any business (no matter how cool or efficient) that has a corporate headquarters outside your community… then the money goes to the corporate headquarters and is spent from there. Your money will go wherever it is needed most by that corporation.

So your $5 latte at the local drive up will put more back into your economy than going to a Starbucks (unless you live in Seattle). Eat at a local restaurant instead of a chain (although most franchises are owned by local people they also send a lot of their money to the corporate HQ); Get your oil changed or new tires from a local store… just the normal stuff you do from day to day can change the life of a small business and pours money into your community. You are spending the money anyway; where you spend it can change the world.

When you buy on-line you are primarily sending your money out of state even though you have not left your desk, unless you are ordering from a local company. Same principle applies. Search out the local vendors… most have websites and sell on-line.

Try it! Change one thing you buy from a big box store to a local vendor. I am not suggesting you compromise quality or service, just vendors. Find what you need at a local vendor. Food is the easiest, local foods are going to be fresher and travelled a lot less to get there (better for the environment) and better for you. If you shop at Safeway (as an example) unless you live in CA you are sending your money out of state.

Simple economics: If you want more jobs in your area, spend your money locally. If you want more money for schools, spend your money locally. If you want folks in your community to have more money to spend at your place of business, spend your money locally. It really matters. Every dollar, every customer makes a difference.

Suggested Reading: The Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist.

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3 Most Important Activities to Grow Your Business: List Building, List Nurturing, & Launching!

There are only 3 activities that are constant in our eCommerce business. These are, in order of importance:

1. LIST BUILDING – building interest
2. LIST NURTURING – building trust
3. LAUNCHING — making valuable offers of service

Although you must tend to each of these important activities, List Building is, easily, the most important activity of your business.  Without a expanding and responsive list, you are limiting your growth potential.   List building takes attention, but is not hard and you can get started building your list from nothing in as little at a week (a few days if you have nothing else to do).

List building is about connecting with your tribe. Who are the people interested in your work? What makes them tick and what solutions can you provide to them? List building is all about creating interest. Creating a relationship with people that will last. This not a list that you will “blast” with sales pitches but rather you will offer solutions to their problems, the issues that matter to them in their lives.

If you do this well, you will have a list of interested and engaged people who will be much more likely to open your offers when they arrive in their inbox.

There are multiple ways to build a list. Gather names at your networking events and specifically ask if they would like to receive emails from you. Offer free stuff on the internet and prepare a landing page to have them opt-in. Provide webinars at no cost except their email address.

Yet the challenge remains, how do I know what my potential customer might be interested in?

Well, that is the question of the day. How do you know? Fortunately, there is a way to locate your potential customer by getting clear about what they suffer about. What are the things that keep them up at night? Those aspects of their life or business that they really need to figure out and they have no answers, or the answers they have did not produce the result they expected or needed.

These are the issues that folks will pay money to resolve. These are the issues that folks will go to lengths to find a solution to. This is really the hardest work of building your list.   You have to spend time thinking about your ideal customer and what they are struggling to accomplish.

If you can provide a solution to an issue that your potential customer is tangling with than they will gladly give you their email address for a free solution. Best advice: Do not tease them… give them the solution, yes for free. The next time they get an email from you; among the hundreds of emails that people receive each day… they are way more likely to open it.

Overall motto: Be generous!

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