Saturday, June 26, 2010

LaVergne Poe on Business Life: How are you & your business doing?

LaVergne Poe on Business Life: How are you & your business doing?

How are you & your business doing?

Just read a good article that had 15 warning signs that your company is in trouble.  15 Warning Signs your business is in trouble.  When I read it I thought about people and small businesses that I have worked with and could check off at least 5 or 6 of the reasons for many of them and more for others. 

Being on top of your business and what it stands for is important.  Staying in touch with your customers is even more important as they are your best source of feedback for improvements and change in how you do business.  You don't need to hire a marketing firm to do a "focus group" ... you just need to be open and ready to hear about how you are doing.  I've worked for people who were not interested in asking their customers how they were doing.  Instead they pushed ahead on their own agenda without noticing the changes going on around them.  

Check them out and see how many you answer yes to and how you're going to turn things's never too late!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time to Rethink, Reinvent and Restore our abilities -

I've been looking for something to write about as it's been a day to day job of staying focused on marketing, sending out letters, emails, following up on ideas and contacts.  Anyone who is self-employed understands these tasks and knows that it takes discipline to just keep on going.

This morning I read an article in the NYTimes entitled "  When Greatness Slips Away " and it reminded me of how large the struggle is to move forward to move on to be creative and to find the path to a successful future.  All of us are in this "job" together even if we're not self-employed but when you are you are faced with the valuable gift of crafting each day in a way that makes a difference for you and for those around you.  I know I must sound like a broken record but I believe us, the more mature workers in society, have so much to offer.  We have years of experience not only in the work force but in the life force that keeps us getting up each morning and trying again to get it right.  Yes, it is a big challenge right now but that challenge is the best thing for will wake up our brains to figuring out how we can create value, once again, with our hidden and trained talents.

One thing that is very important to me is to help people manage their finances.  It's my theme right now because it's a way, I've determined, I can give back and make a difference in my community.  I've offered to teach a basic class on managing your money, balancing your checkbook and staying in a good financial position at the local public library.  I was looking at their "events" page on their website and there were several classes offered but nothing on finance.  This was an opportunity to help and I am hopeful that the library director agrees to move forward.

It is important to me to's what ignites the fire inside of me and with the skills I have I've determined one of the ways I can accomplish this.  You can do the same - just look out and see what you would like to do, be or accomplish and eventually you'll find your way.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Time marches on!

Well I was thinking about everyone out there trying to find a job and wondering how many are finally exploring the opportunity of self-employment?  I just don't see what anyone has to lose when it comes to using your accumulated skills and talents to create a life you'd like and make some money too?  There are many ways to approach the personal search but just begin by asking yourself over and over, what do I want to do??? and how do my skills and talents match?

We are all in the same boat here and unlike other points in time, the unemployment rate continues to be high and the job opportunities continue to be low.  If you search Craigslist regularly, as I do, you begin to notice how few "new" postings are there ... new jobs, more jobs - much is the same old job just listed in another way.  There are also postings that look like jobs but they are really search companies soliciting for new applicants.  Of course you can post your resume and see what pops but what I've found is each time I do it or revise it I get emails from weirdo's wanting to sell something.

Even when I post for myself I get emails from marketing and sales people offering to increase my client base.  This seems like a new phenomonon  -  I wondering how these people set themselves up to discover my little posting?  It's crazy if you ask me - I don't even believe there are real people out there but more a computer program written to search and find new postings that fit a particular parameter.

Another way to go is new training for a new destiny - perhaps there was a profession you've always wanted to try or had a passion about ... why not now?  What better way to use your time than to be retrained?  There are grants out there that will help you pay for it as well.  One website I found through a women in business website [so it appears to be legitimate] and you can search for grants to help you with starting a new business, funding to sustain you through the process, educational assistance etc.  Why not see what you might find?  It can't hurt to look and in the process you may get some new ideas.  Here's the link:

Good luck - as Tim Gunn from Project Runway always says "Make it Work!"  ... for you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Good ideas when thinking about career choices.

While reading "Money" magazine, one of the articles popped out that resonated and that is "5 Secrets of Highly Successful Changers"

When we are focused on finding work ... we can get caught in 'tunnel vision' - by that I mean, we see ourselves and our options as they "have been" versus looking at our skills and the opportunities they open up as new sources of opportunities.  Even, as I've said before, consulting or independent contracting.

Thinking without those "employee" blinders on helps us widen our peripheral sight to all kinds of ways to work and produce income.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just one day at a time!

As I sit here signing letters to be mailed to potential clients I feel the anxiety building over how I will get the clients.  I don't know how anyone else copes but for me I just acknowledge my anxiety and continue to do things towards the end I am looking at on the horizon.

It helps to have good friends you can talk to or do some things to be distracted by.  My inclination is to keep my nose to the grindstone but as tempting as that is to sooth my anxiety, it doesn't make sense.  After you work on business for 3 or 4 hours, get up and take a break.  Go for a run, a bike ride, a walk or even sit back with a cup of coffee and read a book.  Those down times are equally as important as the focused building business times.  It is through these down times and relaxation that our creative minds can work and be released.

Sounds crazy ... not so.  Just try it - and see what bubbles up and write back and let me know.

Now...get busy and relax!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Today is always the day to begin!

Yesterday I had such a motivating experience when I was meeting with businessman I had worked with for a long time.  He has his own printing business, Prodigy Press and as someone who now has both feet in the self-employment pool I wanted to find out how he built his business from scratch.

He was very encouraging and because he has known me for so long he knows my talents and capabilities so he had no problem telling me that success would come...but the key was persistence.  We discussed how to get clients, how to stay on top of the search but what he learned over the years and witnessed in other people in business was a key point.  I guess you'd say if I learned one was persistence & follow-up.  We both had experienced receiving mailers from individuals trying to get our time...yet, did we receive anything after that first inquiry?  Rarely.  Yep, somehow people think that the first query is all they need and success will be knocking at their door.  Unfortunately that's not what it takes.

People need to see your name over and over and over before they will be willing to check for more information.  Once they see that you are there, over and over, that is when your chances of entry are beginning to open.  Have a plan, a "campaign" as he called it and never stop.  Even when your business starts increasing don't stop letting the world know you are there.

I'm telling you, after our talk I was on fire because it was clear to me that having 'staying power' alone would put me ahead of others in my field who just stay at home, waiting for the business to come to them.  Believe me it just doesn't happen and that lack of a long term vision is what kills so many businesses.

So stay in there...keep going...and have your horizon set...but don't give up!  Business is just around the corner and if you stick with will get there.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are you ready?

Well, as I've said before, there's no time like the present to re-think your business future.  If you're still not working and just wondering what to do [in such a down economy] but you have skills and/or business ideas that you believe you can 'sell' then why not give more consideration to that? 

I'm a  big believer that when you have spent many years as an "employee" you develop blinders that you aren't even aware exist.  You grow to think of yourself and your talents in an employee oriented way and thus fail to see all the many other opportunities that are really out there.  I experienced this myself.  After working straight from 17 to 46 I suddenly found myself "unemployed" - yes, the big layoff found me and there I was.  I was angry, frightened and frustrated.  How did this happen?  I've always been an A+ employee yet here I was, due to circumstances beyond my control, out of a job. 

After a few months of being completely angry and going on job interviews where I found myself feeling almost hostile towards the person interviewing me I made the decision to do something.  Yes, take my future in my hands and assess my skills and see what I could do.  To be honest it took a couple years before those 'employee blinders' finally dropped off and I began to see opportunities everywhere.  Any idea was a good idea and any opportunity that crossed my path was one I considered.  I felt fortunate because in the many positions I held and jobs I had taken throughout my working life I developed a "jack of all trades" skill-base that served me well when deciding what I had to offer business owners.

So take a chance on yourself and what your years of 'learning on the job' has taught you.  An article I just read from INC magazine is one that will give you more to think about to determine if you are ready or even want to take the leap!  Check it out -- YOU could be the first entrepreneur in your household!