Halting Your Own Success

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“If I wear that shirt, some kids may make fun of me.” But then he answered himself by saying, “They may or may not. There’s nothing we can do about what they choose to do; we can only control ourselves.” My son, Robert William, is a junior in high school and he’s participating in student government. Everyone in student government has to dress up once a week; for boys, that means wearing a shirt and tie to school. In a sea of sweat pants, shorts and T-shirts, someone in a shirt and tie really stands out. During our monthly shopping trip for new clothes that fit a growing young man, a pink shirt caught my son’s eye. His first thought was, “Oh, the girls will really like that.” I confirmed Robert’s thinking, but then he became concerned about what other boys might say about it. We bought the shirt. It’s … Continued

The simplest way to get customers

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I have a coaching client who is working as hard as anyone I know.  Yet, he isn’t getting the results his hard work deserves.  And, when I suggest changes he’s SO busy keeping up with his current commitments it’s a challenge to implement anything new. In many third world countries children have to walk an hour in the pre-dawn darkness to the village square to fill her family’s pot with water.  Then, she has to walk an hour back home lugging that pot of water.  All that, so their family could start the day with a pot of water.  These people are trapped because they must devote so much time to staying alive that breaking free from poverty is inconceivable to them. You and I get to start the day with water, just by turning on the tap.  We have a two-hour advantage. A tool that allows you to accomplish … Continued

Embarrassed by success

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I’d finally accomplished everything I had been working toward for years, but now that I had it, I hated it. I was a consultant, and I had successfully tripled my prices. I exceeded my competitors’ rates by double. But I had a problem. I realized there was no way I could grow my income further without working even more hours or hiring additional employees. Neither option was attractive to me. The solution was to create an info-marketing business. It was the only way I could replace my trading-hours-for-dollars working life for one where I could work once and get paid several times. Otherwise I’d never again expand my income, and I’d always be just a few months lost income away from bankruptcy. But I was comfortable. To get where I was, I’d had to work 70+ hours a week for years. Now I finally had some flexibility. I had built … Continued

Do you have a number?

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During my last three consultations with clients, the same issue came up, so I thought I’d share it with you here. Many of our goals are nebulous and difficult to think about because they appear far away and out of reach. To someone who has never earned more than $100,000.00 a year, “Build a million-dollar business” will seem like a monumental task. And so it’s difficult to envision a goal like that. I have difficult-to-envision goals, too. In my case, I have “helping people” goals. For my clients within each category, I establish certain number goals. I list the number of clients I have and compare it to the number of people I’m able to help. But that’s not what keeps me motivated. That’s not how I really “keep score.” Instead, everything I do is 100 percent focused on my “enough is enough” number. It’s the dollar amount that completely … Continued

Approach your business like a professional

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I played my best golf during college. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my last class of the day was Governmental Accounting. I’d look over at my friend and with one nod to each other, we knew—there was no way we could sit through a lecture when the weather was so nice outside. So, we’d get up and leave for the golf course before class started. Even when I was playing my best golf, I was a hack. I was self-taught, “gripping and ripping.” Don’t get me wrong, I practiced. I’d go out on the driving range and hit balls. Or we’d practice on the putting green by betting each other a dollar per hole for whoever sank a putt with fewer strokes. But when it was time to drive the ball, I’d stand on the tee box, take a swing and see how far it went. I had no idea how … Continued

Why there’s no “self-sufficiency”

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For most of my business life I’ve been the type of person who always wanted to learn how do everything myself. Even things like network server maintenance.  It was so difficult explaining what I wanted or finding someone who could fix it, I just learned it and repaired it myself.  I figured it was easier to do it myself than try to find someone else and to communicate what I wanted. It’s made me really good at a lot of tasks. But although I have so many skills, it’s left me lacking in one important way. I started figuring out that my approach was all wrong about 8 years ago.   I had a telephone call with Rory Fatt of Restaurant Marketing Systems.  He told me, “I never try to learn how to do something myself. Instead, I find the best person and pay them to implement for me.  It’s a … Continued

The secret hidden in plain sight

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There’s an ultimate test of physical endurance and mental fortitude: a six-day, 153.2 mile ultra marathon across the Sahara desert called the Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands). Competitors carry their own supplies as they compete in temperatures exceeding 120 degrees. The longest one-day distance covers 50.6 miles and includes 14.3 miles of sand dunes. Four-time champion Mohamad Ahansal grew up in the Sahara. And in a place where most just try to survive, the skills Mohamad learned helped him become a winner in one of the most grueling footraces in the world. Since 1997, either Mohamad or his older brother, Lahcen, had won the race, until last year, when Rachid el Morabity, their trainee, beat Mohamad by seven minutes. Morabity attributes his winning time to using a unique zigzag method to climb the large sand dunes that make up many miles of the race. “Other runners, they go … Continued

Choosing what to focus on

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An IMA member from the UK faced a problem many info-marketers share, too many choices, not enough focus. Here is his question: Robert, I’ve run design businesses for the last 26 years—had great times in the good ol’ days with sales of over half a million dollars. Right now, because of the economy and through deviating into marketing consultancy, it is myself and wife with a couple of regular freelancers, and we now work from a home office. The design business is down (and I don’t want general design biz anymore—no money in it!), and I really need to get my act together. I’ve identified three key areas that I could focus on providing info on a marketing system: To other design companies—they are historically bad at marketing themselves and feeling a lot of ‘pain’ at the moment due to the perceived value of design diminishing in general. However, I’m … Continued

Can there be too much “good service?”

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I can clearly remember thinking, in 2008 as our country entered the recession, “maybe I’ll finally be able to get some decent service in a restaurant.” While high employment and rising home prices gave American’s the highest disposable income in history, it made fewer people the motivation to provide great service.  After all, with so many people dining out the problem was what to do with everyone waiting for a table rather than worrying about providing your guests great service. The recession meant fewer people were eating out.  A new phenomenon began; employees in the businesses I frequented became more appreciative. So far I’ve been genuinely impressed with the level of service I’ve received.  But, in some instances it’s become too much. One evening I had dinner with a friend in a high end steak house in Chicago.  The kind of place where you expect great service.  The servers were attentive, … Continued

Busting past real limitations

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Let me set the record straight on limitations. You and I have real limitations. Anyone telling you that you can live in a world without limitations is trying to delude you—or has already deluded themselves. For instance, there are only 24 hours in a day. You need food and shelter to survive. These are limitations. Also, each of us has some basic level of work we must do to “pay the bills.” It may be a job, a current business you operate or a coaching program to maintain. Each of these has a time requirement that limits how much time you have to invest in “achieving your dreams.” I don’t know about you, but my preference is to confront reality rather than to “dream of a life without limits.” I’ve found this works well for my coaching clients, too. One thing I would like to point out: Most of us … Continued