Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can’t, You’re Right

Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can't, You're Right

This quote stuck out to me after reading (yet another) a post on a business forum by someone who wanted to start her business, but had just lost her job, had no money, lived in a rural area… and so on and so forth.

She had every excuse in the book about how there was absolutely nothing she could do about her circumstances.

I wanted to point out to her, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” ;)

Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can't, You're Right

She was looking at all the negatives and resigning herself to her circumstance—and victimhood—instead of focusing on what she COULD do, what opportunities she COULD find or create for herself, what circumstances she could change and which actually had more options available to her than the ones she was resigning herself to if she just put her mind to it.

I’m not saying certain challenging circumstances don’t exist. I’m no Pollyana when it comes to facing facts.

There IS a difference, however, in taking stock of what IS and acknowledging those things, and staying stuck in self-pity and creating self-fulfilling prophesies.

How you deal with the hand you are dealt and what you do to make optimum use of that hand is going to determine your success not only in business, but in life.

Instead of lamenting about everything that is wrong, focus on what is RIGHT and how you can go about making lemonade about of whatever lemons you’ve got in your basket at the moment.

Put on your thinking cap and you can always create new possibilities for yourself and your life.

May not be easy, it may even be incredibly difficult (who said it was all supposed to be easy anyway?). It might be something you’d rather not have to do (and don’t have to do forever), but there is ALWAYS a way forward, a way out, a way around, a way up.

It all depends on your own outlook.

Headed to Sundance Today! Wanna Meet Up?

Headed to Sundance! Wanna Meet Up?

I am on my way to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah today!

Anyone live near my route? I’ll be going through Portland, Oregon, then east through southern Idaho, and then south to Park City, Utah.

Maybe we could meet up along the way either on my way there or on the way back.

Give me a shout on Facebook or shoot me an email. I’d love to meet you!

Download Your Free Copy

How to Choose Your Target Market

Happy Sunday! :)

I just completed an updated version of my guide How to Choose Your Target Market.

Clarified some concepts and instructions that I think will help people more easily wrap their brains around target marketing and how to choose the right one for them.

Even if you already have this guide, this is a new and improved up-to-date version so you’ll definitely want to grab your copy (it’s still free!).

You will build your business, get clients and make more money more quickly and easily with a target market.

Having a target market makes EVERYTHING easier in your business.

Here’s the link: How to Choose Your Target Market

How Do You Know If a Potential Client Will Be a Good One?

How Do You Know If a Potential Client Will Be a Good One?

Someone on one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to asked this question not long ago:

I have a client that I really don’t think can handle a virtual work situation. She doesn’t communicate well, doesn’t want to set aside time that I can ask questions about work. She expects me to understand everything the first time she tells me. I could go on. I want to learn from this situation and compile some questions I can ask future potential clients to determine if they can work virtually with me. Any ideas?

My advice to her?

Run away, lol.

You already see the red flags. This is not someone who is likely to make for a good client, and will probably end up making you pull your hair out.

Start a list called Unideal Client Profile. Then, list each characteristic you’ve listed in your post.

Whenever you are tempted to step over your standards and ignore when your gut is telling you someone is not a good client candidate, take that list out to remind you why you don’t want to take on any client like that.

Unideal client are far too costly and unprofitable to work with. They cost your business far more than you realize, and not just monetarily.

The psychological toll they take is not anything you can afford.

Every unideal client takes up 3-4 times the space in your practice that an ideal client does because an unfit client generates huge negative energy that drains you while ideal clients create positive reciprocal energy that invigorates you.

You also want to start your Ideal Client Profile and add the opposite of these characteristics to that list.

Every time you realize a positive or negative attribute of a prospect or client, add those to your lists. This is an exercise you should conduct throughout the life of your business.

These lists help you get conscious and intentional about the clients you choose by documenting and formalizing your standards around who is the best fit for you—and who isn’t.

You never want to take on any ol’ client just for the money. That’s where 90% of problems start in the first place.

And you can’t serve well and do your best work for any client who simply isn’t a good mutual fit. It would actually be unethical to take that kind of client on.

The other part of this is using your website to prequalify prospective clients.

So in the course of your website content and marketing message, you want to make clear the kind of clients you’re looking to work with, who you work best with, what kind of clients benefits most from working with you and this way of working together (this is your ideal client) as well as who doesn’t (your unideal client, the client who isn’t a good fit for working with you). These Ideal and UN-Ideal Client Profiles help you with that.

There’s a whole host of other ways you can prequalify clients, but this is a start.

These steps will help you avoid wasting precious time in conversations and consultations with people who don’t fit that initial level of qualification as a good client candidate.

(And if you want to save yourself all kinds of angst and wasted time, money and effort and start getting more ideal clients and more action from your website, check out my Build a Website that WORKS guide.)

It’s My Birthday (and a Special Deal for you Today Only)

It's my birthday (and a special deal for you today only!)

It’s my birthday! I’m eating cake today and no one is going to stop me, lol.

In honor of my birthday, I have a special deal for you:

Today only, you can get my Build a Website that WORKS marketing guide for half off!

Just type this code into the discount field when you check out and you’ll get this guide for only $74.50: itsmybirthday

One of the biggest problems in our industry is a proliferation of websites all saying the same things. Here’s how this happens:

When someone is new in business, they have no idea where or how to start crafting their website and marketing message.

So what do they do?

They look around at everyone else in the industry, see what they are doing and saying, and just imitate that (or worse, straight up copy and plagiarize).

They think, “Oh, this is what everyone else in the industry is doing and saying. That must be what I’m supposed to be doing and saying on my website, too.”

And then that’s exactly what they do.

So this is a common practice, but it’s not a good one when it comes to putting together your website and crafting your marketing message in a way that gets you results–i.e., CLIENTS.

The problem with this is they are assuming the masses know something they don’t.

What they fail to realize is those people did exactly the same thing as they are doing now, without any more knowledge or understanding–or success.

It’s this crazy, self-perpetuating cycle of monkey-see, monkey-do with people copying people who aren’t doing any better than they are.

On top of that, all copying what everyone else in the industry is doing and saying does is make you and your business that much more invisible in the marketplace. You need to stand out, not blend in.

In fact, websites that all do and say the same thing is one of the top complaints I hear year after year from clients who contact me. It’s completely frustrating to them.

And when you don’t give prospective clients any reason to see you as different, they always resort to price-shopping. Because all you are to them then is another box on a shelf… a commodity (the kiss of death).

You have to keep in mind: you are not your ideal client. And our own industry is not your prospective client or target market. You can’t look at things through your eyes or the lens of our own industry.

So now you might be thinking, “Well, if I shouldn’t do that, what DO I do? How DO I figure out how to write my own marketing message in a way that differentiates me and resonates with those I’d like to be my clients?”

That is exactly what you get with my guide, Build a Website that WORKS!

You don’t even need to be a good writer (which is another myth people believe).

Not only do I share with you my own conversion system and exactly how to implement it on your own website in a way that is unique to you, I walk you step by step by step through the process of writing your own unique, compelling marketing message that speaks your target market’s language.

With my original patented, proprietary plug-n-play tool, your copy will practically write itself. There is no easier way to put together a website and craft your marketing message anywhere that I’ve seen.

So check out Build a Website that WORKS!, and if it’s for you, be sure to take advantage of this one day half-off offer. It’s gone tomorrow so act now.

(Have some cake today, too!)

Until Further Notice, Celebrate Everything!

Until Further Notice, Celebrate EVERYTHING!

May you have a joyful holiday full of wonder, beauty and, most of all, love.

And if I don’t “see” you until 2015, may your New Year be merry and bright.

I’ve been running myself so ragged this past month taking care of my ailing papa that I got a darn cold and will celebrating Christmas in bed this year, (which maybe isn’t such a bad thing, lol).

So, if you have sweet or funny stories to share from your holiday, I’d love to hear them!

And until further notice, celebrate EVERYTHING!

xoxo

Danielle

Is One of Your Business “Whys” to Care for a Loved One?

Is One of Your Business "Whys" to Care for a Loved One? (free resources)

It is for me, now, and it’s yet another new reason I am so incredibly thankful for my business and my administrative skills.

Some quick background details:

About six years ago, my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Up to now, his symptoms have been relatively mild. So, far, it’s really only been a slight tremor in his right hand and sometimes he says his right leg will “freeze” and not do what he wants. Medication helps alleviate these symptoms immensely.

And while he’s maintained good mental clarity, my sister and I noticed a distinct downturn in his energy this year. He’s slowed down quite a bit and mundane things like operating his cell phone have become increasingly daunting and confusing for him, which is not usual.

We certainly understand that being diagnosed with a serious disease can be very depressing, and it has been for our dad.

He’s a proud guy and always been very independent. He doesn’t want to be a bother to anyone, and he doesn’t want to be treated like an invalid.

So, we’ve all been walking on eggshells around the topic because he gets annoyed with us when we ask how he’s doing, would he like help with anything, etc.

It’s been tough for us as his family because he’s been very close-lipped about sharing medical information with us. Pure stubbornness. We’ve felt helpless and not sure how to support him.

And up until now, he’s abjectively refused to let my sister and I talk with his doctors, ask questions of them and so forth. So we’ve had to rely on whatever my dad chooses to tell us, which is very little.

Well, we all got a wake up call on December 5.

A neighbor, who is also a good friend of 20+ years, became concerned when she realized she hadn’t seen my dad up and about as per his usual habits.

She went over to the house and knocked, but there was no answer. Luckily, the door was unlocked, and she went inside.

She found my dad sitting in the bathtub, fully-clothed, thinking he was in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. He was also having some bizarre hallucinations and my sister later told me that he’s been complaining of nightmares the last month or so as well.

After being taken to the ER, the hospital kept him the whole weekend for observation.

By Sunday, he was much better. Still weak and slow, but back to being himself for the most part.

The conclusion thus far is that a recent increase in his Parkinson’s meds caused some added confusion which then caused him to forget when he had taken his AM and PM doses and he’d end up doubling up on those. So basically he was hopped up on his meds.

On top of that, he hasn’t been eating well, and the hospital found that he is anemic and severely B12 deficient.

Ya, fun stuff.

It is clear that he is entering the realm of not being able to care for himself and manage his own feeding. He used to love his daily French press coffee, but he says it’s all just become too much work.

It’s tough for him to admit, but my dad is realizing now that he needs help and is starting to welcome and warm to the idea of letting us in. We all need the love, help and support of others.

So, I am now entering a new role and chapter of my life: that of being a caretaker for a sick, elderly parent.

It’s times like this that I sing my gratitude over and over to the universe for my business that allows me the flexibility to step in and deal with things in a crisis, and to myself for setting my practice up in a way that gives me breathing room so emergencies are just a blip and don’t turn my business upside down.

When I’m confronted with situations like this, my first instinct is to go into strategizing and mobilization mode: assess the situation, take inventory, organize information and begin to plan. That’s the administrator in me and why I’m so exceptionally good at this business.

These same qualities that make me so well-suited to this business and the processes that I use with clients are now allowing me to be a long-distance caretaker.

So I want to share some of the things I’ve done and tools I’ve used and documents I’ve created in case anyone else in a similar situation or role finds them helpful.

One challenge my family has in caring for my dad is that while my sister lives in Seattle and her home is not far away from my dad’s, she doesn’t drive.

(She’s just always been a nervous driver and used to joke that everyone on the road was safer with her not on it. She realizes that has to change, though, and is taking the necessary steps.)

And while I do drive, I live about 45 minutes away. And let me tell ya, this past week of traveling back and forth every day has been super difficult.

The rest of my dad’s family all live back east in New York so there’s really nothing practical they can do to lighten the load.

He does have many friends and people in his life here who love him and we’re certainly going to accept any and all help that is offered, but obviously, the primary care always falls to family members.

So, technology is a HUGE blessing as we all know! Here’s how I’ve utilized technology to mobilize everyone and keep them up-to-date and in the loop.

Since I’m the one who drives, I have committed to being the primary person to take my dad back and forth to his appointments. (I should mention that his doctors reinforced to my dad what we’ve gently suggested to him: that it’s not safe for him to drive, at least for the time being).

  1. So, the first thing I did was set up an online shared calendar so everyone on my dad’s family and friends care team can stay apprised of his appointments and medical care. There are a ton of free online calendars these days and really it just boils down to whatever one best serves your needs and the level of functionality and features you want. I happened to pick TeamUp basically because it was the first one that came up in search and it was super simple and clean. I may switch to something else at a later point in time because I don’t think it has a corresponding phone app which would be useful, but for getting something quick and dirty up there in a pinch, this fit the bill perfectly. Whatever online technology services you use, the qualities to look for are that it can be shared with everyone on your care team and used across all devices so communications and information are updated in real time and collaborative.
  2. We were also getting hit with a ton of to-do’s so I immediately downloaded the Workflowy app on my phone and started an account for all of us to share to keep track of everything. With this easy to use technology, we can keep a running list of notes and to-do’s. Everyone knows what needs to be done and you can assign tasks and roles and sort things with simple hashtags. Workflowy uses an outline hierarchy and you can delete things or mark them complete as they are finished. To share a Workflowy account, whoever sets up the account can simply give everyone the login details so everyone who is privy can add to and update the list as well. Again, there are a ton of online to-do list/task management type apps out there to choose from. It’s whatever works for you. I just happen to use Workflowy because it’s super clean and simple and is organized the way my brain works. It’s also free.
  3. Once I had a minute back at my computer, the next thing I did was put together a master list of important phone numbers and information in Word. The first page/section has the complete names, addresses and phone numbers of all of us (family and friends) involved in caring for our dad. The second page/section has the complete names, addresses and phone numbers of all my dad’s medical service providers (e.g., primary care physician, neurologist, etc.). And the third page/section is a list of all the online services, links and logons we are using to store and share information among our family and friends care team. Please feel free to use the template I whipped up for this.
  4. I also created a medication list in a Word document. Since my sister lives up there and is the one nearest my dad, she is the one who is managing his medications. He has various pills to take three times a day and because she noticed some increasing confusing on his part doing that, she started going over to his house every Saturday and organizing his pill box for that week. So that’s working good, at least until we can get some in-home care since neither one of us is in a position to move in with our dad for the moment. However, I wanted to familiarize myself with my dad’s meds for my own piece of mind, and I feel it’s important that everyone who plays a part in caring for him knows them as well. In the process of educating myself, I ended up creating this document that lists the name of each medication, what it’s taken for, the dosage and instructions and a picture of both sides of the pill (you can take a photo of each med with your camera phone or look for a picture of the med online). Again, please feel free to use my template if it’s helpful to you.
  5. While creating these documents, I also set up a folder in Dropbox and gave access to that folder to our family and friends care team. Along with the other aforementioned documents, I put his will up there, Durable Power of Attorney, Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment document, medical reports and anything else that needs to be kept in one place and is good for everyone to know and have access to quickly and easily. What’s so great about using Dropbox for this is that instead of having to update and send emails to every person any time a document is updated, all you have to do is either add them to the folder or share the file/document link. You have full control over who sees what. Dropbox also has an app that can be downloaded to mobile phones and other portable devices so a document can be opened, viewed and edited from anywhere. Dropbox is free, by the way.
  6. My dad’s medical insurance provider also has a fantastic online service where you can email doctors directly, set up appointments, get lab results as soon as they are done, etc. I have the same insurance and use the online service myself so I know how fantastic is. Since my dad hadn’t done this (technology is difficult for him anymore), I went ahead and got his online account set up. Now, my sister and I can get appointments scheduled faster, email our questions as they arise and communicate directly with my dad’s doctors without having to wait until the next appointment. If your/your family member’s insurance has an online service, I highly recommend you get on it pronto. It will make your life so much easier!
  7. I also had the great idea to start a private Facebook group and added all my dad’s immediate caretakers as members. This has worked out fantastically. We can update, share thoughts and ideas, ask questions, and communicate with each other quickly and easily from any device. One of the reasons I had this idea is because my sister is horrible about answering email and likes to text and while I prefer email and absolutely, positively HATE texting with a passion, lol. With the Facebook group, we can each communicate using our preferred method and it all goes into one central platform, which solves the other problem that all our communications were getting scattered and disorganized across several modes. This centralized everything and we’re communicating with greater ease and efficiency now.

To summarize:

  1. Set up online calendar.
  2. Create Workflowy account.
  3. Establish a Dropbox account (if you don’t have one yet) and create a shared folder for your family member’s care team to access important documents and information.
  4. Start a master phone and info list.
  5. Start a medication list.
  6. Where available, be sure to utilize the insurance company’s online account services.
  7. Set up a private Facebook group.

I hope this is helpful in some way to someone. We’re still in the very beginning stages of this care-taking role ourselves with all this stuff so it’s definitely going to be a journey. If you are traveling this same road, I would sure welcome any tips and pointers you also have to share and thank you kindly!

I’d Like to Give You Some Christmas Cash

I'd LIke to Give You Some Christmas Cash

Are you enjoying the holiday season? I so love all the lights and festivities, the sights and sounds.

Since this is also the season of gift giving, which can be tight on all our pocketbooks, I wanted to remind you about the ACA Affiliate Program.

We could help each other out!

I would love to reach more people in helping them start or uplevel their own administrative support business.

And you could be earning some very handy extra dollars for Christmas by referring others to the ACA website and Success Store.

For every sale that comes through as a result of your personal referral link, you would earn 25% commission.

PLUS, what I’m going to do for the entire month of December is pay those commissions “instantly.”

What that means is, instead of having to wait until the 15th of the following month (which is the usual policy), I’ll send you your commission via PayPal immediately (within 24-48 hours).

Doesn’t that sound like a great deal?

And referring people is super easy. For example, maybe you see people asking questions in the industry forums and listservs you belong to and you know the ACA has just the resources to help them. So you post there or send them an email or a private message, whatever works best, and let them know about the ACA and/or the Success Store and how you’ve been helped with these resources and then give them your personal referral link. It’s as simple and uncomplicated as that.

You can even put your link and a graphic on your website, though I will say that you get far better results contacting people personally with your own recommendation and personal experience with the ACA products and resources.

So, if you’re not already registered, be sure to sign up for the ACA Affiliate program to get your personal referral link.

And if you are already signed up, now is a good time to take advantage of those referral opportunities so I can send you some moolah.

It would make me really happy to do that!

If You Have a Complaint, Press the Red Button

If You Have a Complaint, Press the Red Button

Ha ha! This is good for a Friday laugh.

On a business note, however, I hope you aren’t viewing complaints as things to be avoided.

Obviously, no one likes an asshole. And assholes don’t get helped very willingly as they make it hard to embrace them.

A lot of the time, they are really more interested in complaining and making you their scapegoat than being actually helpful and constructive.

And you want to be smart enough to understand that you do not need to twist yourself into pretzels and change your entire business to suit one unreasonable soul.

That said, DO overlook the delivery and emotion of the complaints and view them as feedback.

Pick out the golden kernals of truth because they are opportunities see where something in your flow might be broken and help you improve your service and business.

Come join our ACA Facebook group where we have lively, useful discussions on this and other business topics.