Ditch the Tags!

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I wear a lot of dresses and there always seems to be tags in the most annoying places!!! I’ve got a little tip about how to do away with the tags without loosing all the valuable info they contain. 

1. Carefully cut the tags off the dress.  Be careful not to cut the seam.

2. Safety pin the tags together. 

3. Pin the tags to the dress when not in use and remove to wear.

This way you keep the tags safe and sound but don’t have to deal with them when you are wearing your dress.

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The Power in One

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Today I was researching inspirational stories for my yoga class. I came across two that really spoke to me. They really exemplified the power of the actions we take and the choices we make in our lives. I stopped preparing for my class to post them here, right away, in hopes that if even just ONE person will read them they will be compelled to make a difference in someone’s life.   Now, imagine if we all, everyday, made the effort to help one person the world would be a much more beautiful place. Namaste.

The Starfish

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf’s edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached, he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

The man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached, the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person, he said: “You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said: “It sure made a difference to that one!”

Alexander Flemming

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to eke out a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow
and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
“I want to repay you,” said the nobleman. “You saved my son’s life.”
“No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,” the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.
“Is that your son?” the nobleman asked. “Yes,” the farmer replied proudly.
“I’ll make you a deal. Let me take him and give him a good education.
If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll grow to a man you can be proud of.”
And that he did. In time, Farmer Fleming’s son graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the nobleman’s son was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved him? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill.
His son’s name? Sir Winston Churchill.

Someone once said what goes around comes around.

A Balancing Act

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Well, it is Sunday night and I felt my blog calling to me or maybe it was my thoughts screaming to get out, either way my thoughts have found their way to the internet…. I know I  feel lighter as I press “Post” and hopefully reading my thoughts will be of some value to you.

Yesterday, I went to White Tantric Yoga. It is offered in Los Angeles twice a year, and since my teacher training 2005 I go as long as I am in town. I think once I missed because I was sick, but that doesn’t really matter. White Tantric Yoga (WTY) is an important ritual in my life. Last year I walked out and instantly new I was no longer a blonde. Those of you who know me and have seen me lately know I am now a very dark brunette. I feel different and people treat me differently. I am not sure if it is the hair or my transformation from White Tantric either way every White Trantric is transformational.

By way of background, I lifted the description of  WTY and pasted it here as I don’t see the value in reinventing a perfectly good explanation.

“Our minds release 1000 thoughts per wink of an eye. Some of these thoughts get lost in the unconscious, and some get stuck in the subconscious and affect the conscious mind. These thoughts become feelings, emotions, desires, multi-realities or fantasies. Instead of mastering our mind, often our mind and thoughts direct us, which can cause impulsive decisions, poor communication and self-imposed stress.”  http://www.whitetantricyoga.com/?q=node/3

So, my story continues. I usually take a few days “off” to be by myself and reflect, chill out, be angry or do whatever I need to “process” my experience. This year, I had made a commitment to attend a woman’s workshop by David Coury – at 9am no less. So, feeling like it or not, I got up got dressed and headed out the door. The workshop was on finding your inner voice and projecting power and strength. When my turn came to be literally up on stage with the presenter, we talked about what I might want to work on. He suggested, based on our conversation in front of 50 other women, that maybe I should work on my “softer side” – find that inner girlie-girl in my professional life.  I remarked “that that would be interesting”.

David worked with me at the piano to let go, free up my voice and trust him. After which I, who have never felt like I could carry a tune or even find a note if it were alone with me in a paper sack, sang -in front of everybody- “Fever”. It actually didn’t feel bad and I might venture to say that in some ways it felt very good. I didn’t hear glass break and no one ran screaming form the room. I was a bit afraid of being embarrassed but I put my trust in David as my leader to guide me to success and then did my best AND it worked out.

I couldn’t wait to tell people what I had done. I immediately told someone who always told me relentlessly not to sing when we were together and he said ” I am sure you were great”.  I said “what, you always complained about my singing?!?!”. He said, “not YOUR singing, just singing in general, especially in the car”.  I at that point wondered how many other negative impressions I was carrying around. How many negative thoughts have I allowed to rule my life from the subconscious?

This isn’t the first time I found a deep routed negative impression ruling my life.  In 2005 when I became a vegetarian I realized I was going to starve to death if I didn’t find some food to eat. I didn’t like anything and not even a rabbit can live on lettuce alone.  I stopped and examined my thoughts.  I looked at the foods I didn’t like and asked myself why I didn’t like them. I couldn’t even remember ever eating them!! All I could remember was my mother saying “oh you don’t like that”. Whether she ever said that or not she and I will debate forever, but regardless I REMEMBER it and it has ruled my eating habits for too many years. I made a resolution to myself right then and there that until I tried a food and decided I really didn’t like it, I wouldn’t judge it. Now, this didn’t mean I was going to eat bugs and larve and stuff from Survivor or Amazing Race – NO WAY – the “yuck factor” is still in effect. But, since that day, I really have found a love and appreciation of food (still vegetarian of course).

I use this example, because working through my subconscious thoughts is an active practice of mine. Through meditation, yoga, hypnotherapy, religion and other spiritual practices I am recognizing patterns and rewriting them. I find it extremely empowering to understand that I don’t have to act the way I feel.  It is totally OK to feel one way and act another. It is totally OK to acknowledge a thought and then consciously decide to change how I think going forward. It is freeing for me to let go of the past and not dwell and worry on the future, but trust in the present. Not to the extent of irresponsibility  but to the point where I am not overcome by anxiety, distrust or confusion.

The 40 days post-White Tantric are transformation. Time after time I experience positive growth and change after White Tantric.  For me singing in front of a group of people (loudly and on stage no less!) on post-tantric day 1 has started my transition off with a bang.  I am really looking forward to the next 39 days to see what what else I do.

I am exploring several exciting new business partnerships this year and the promise of better recognizing the positive impact I want to have on the world through my work is clearer. I am expanding my yoga teaching experience and have volunteered to work with children in deep need of healing and support. I am committed to developing the personal relationships in my life that are truly reflective of my being and letting go of those that are not healthy for me. Overall, I will add more goodness to my life and build upon that solid foundation.  I know this sounds like a New Year’s resolution, and I guess it is, but my new year started today!

I have some great activities planned in the next 40 days that I didn’t even plan  to happen post-tantric, but I am glad they are happening. I am going to see Joel Osteen at Dodger Stadium, take Yoga for Youth teacher training, lose 10lbs and finish my Scuba Diving certification. Wow, sounds like it is all about me -well it is!! And that is “The Balancing Act”.

Balancing my life across the spectrum of who I am to everyone starts with who I am to me first. I can’t be a friend to you if I am not a friend to me, I cannot be help you be successful if I am not successful, I can support you if I don’t support me and I cannot be honest with you unless I am first honest with myself and so on.

I just recently grasped this concept after listening to some amazing CD’s from Joyce Meyer over and over and over again. I am open to all kinds of counsel and I like Joyce because I see myself in her and can relate to her. She is tough, opinionated, emotional, committed, dependable, a fixer, a strong business woman and a great leader. She has developed a tool set for dealing with herself and I like that idea and am developing my own tool set.  I find that being open to listening to multiple ideas helps me build the best tool set I can.

I’ll check back in on this topic when the 40 days are up. In the meantime enjoy your journey and I will surely enjoy mine.  Much love and happiness.

Time is Money….so make some!!!

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A lesson everyone woman business owner should learn is “opportunity cost” or the trade off for doing one thing rather than another. The trade off can be good or the trade off can be bad.  How can understanding opportunity cost make a difference in your life? Well, let’s consider the following scenario.

You earn $50 per client or customer.  You can fit in only 4  clients per day because you have other obligations such as shopping, dry cleaners, picking up the kids, cooking, laundry etc.  So to make up the lost revenue you work a few hours on the weekend instead of spending them with your family.

So let’s do the math, an average of 4 clients for 5 days is 20 plus 2 extra clients on Saturday for a total of 22 clients. 22 times $50 or $1100.

What if you didn’t have to spend time on errands? What if  you could have that time for earning revenue?

I wave the magic wand and you now have 1 hour more per day. Let’s do more math. During that 1 hour per day you can serve 1 additional client – 5 days times $50 = $250.  Now in the 5 days you made $1250 – and you have Saturday off to spend with your family.  Let’s get crazy and add 2 hours to your day. Now you can add another $250 to the week’s total bringing your to $1500. That is $400 more and no Saturday!

You made more money in less days because you used your time in a more valuable way.

So how did I get you an extra hour? Easy – an assistant. Once thought to be only the indulgence of the rich and idle,  assistants are the saviors of the everyday working woman. How so? Assistants or Family Assistants cost between $10 and $12 an hour plus a gas allowance. The 10 hours of errands, cooking and cleaning that you were doing were costing you $50 and hour! I simply replaced those hours with someone that costs you $10/hour. You now are net $40 an hour for every hour your Personal Assistant is on duty.  You also have an extra day to spend with your family.

Let’s recap the benefits:

  1. You make more money
  2. You employ someone who needs a job
  3. You have more quality time with your family
  4. Your stress level drops considerably and you are happier

It is simple and it works! If you spend 10 hours doing chores at the opportunity cost of $50 and hour, you are costing yourself $500/week!! The Assistant is only costing you $100.   Why would you pay $500 for something you can get for $100?

Now, let’s say that you make $100 a client per hour. Well the cost of you running errands just went to $1000 per week. The personal assistant is still $100.  Why would you pay $1,000 for something you can get for $100.

Ok, so you get it. You want an assistant. So, how does it work? Well, here is what works well for me:

  1. Shopping – When I item we use runs out, I put the lids, labels, bags and box tops of the item in a basket on the kitchen counter.  On shopping day, the assistant buys the items in the basket.  Tip: if you start with 2 of things then you are never out!
  2. Dry cleaning – We have a special laundry bin for dry cleaning. Our assistant drops it off one week and picks it up the next.
  3. Cooking – Pick two easy entres like a spaghetti, casserole or similar, have them prepared and in the refrigerator. Voila dinner is served.
  4. Cleaning – have a list of activities by day, get a routine going. A little bit each day makes a huge difference.
  5. Office work – banking, deliveries, filing etc.
  6. Pets – dog walking, poop scooping, litter box changing, feeding, washing, etc.
  7. Errands, water the plants, car repair, smog, post office, library, COSTCO, UPS, you name it…your personal assistant can help you and your family lead a much better life.

How does the Assistant pay for things.  This is the greatest part. You open a bank account and get a debit card. Keep only the amount of money your are comfortable with in the account.  All transactions are paid for with the debit card. You have a complete record of the spending. The major bonus here is that you SPEND LESS. Why? because your assistant is not impulse buying. They are getting what is on the list and only what is on the list. Now add the savings from not buying the 64pack of M&Ms at CostCo and you made money again!

I also have a house log with instructions written down as we go along.  That way if there is a new person they can get up to speed quickly.

Assistants can be independent contractors (1099) or W-2 employees of your company.  My assistants also work in my home office filing, delivering packages, scanning etc. You will have to decide which makes sense for you, but be sure to properly account for their employment.  I actually have 2 assistants that each work about 10 hours per week. They back each other up and shift hours as needed. Because they do what they do I have 20 hours to do other things.

The bottom line is your time has a value. Figure out that value and then equate whether that hourly rate is worth it for errands and chores.  If not, delegate to a lesser cost resource and MAKE MORE MONEY by MAKING MORE TIME!!!

5 Most Overlooked Things Small Businesses Can Do To Boost Business

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I originally wrote the following article for the Los Angeles Business Journal which was published in September, 2008. I came across it recently and thought it would be good to share it here in the blog.

Small Businesses are more challenged now than ever to keep sales up and reduce costs. Business owners overlook some simple but highly effective tools to give their business a boost.  So what are 5 most overlooked things to help small businesses boost business?

  1. Understand opportunity cost. Spend your time on the right things. Let’s say you are the company sales person but instead of selling you are picking up the dry cleaning. While it may seem minor, the errand took an hour out of your selling day. Now add up all the little things you do and put a cost on them. You’ll find it is time to outsource some tasks.
  2. Have a plan. It may seem obvious, but during hard times having a plan is essential. Write 1 simple page that lists your goals and objectives for the next 30-60-90 days and the tasks it will take to reach those goals.  Stick to your plan and you’ll find yourself moving forward in the right direction. Report status to yourself every week and update monthly.
  3. Share your plan. Tell everyone about your plan and what you need to accomplish it. Odds are, they will know someone who can help you. Be specific about what you need to achieve your plan – “I need a referral to an xyz supplier.” Use an email or newsletter to your contacts to share your plan. You’ll be surprised how fast things get done when people know how they can help you.
  4. Make that call. Far too often business owners wonder why a previously good customer isn’t calling or buying from them. Well, stop wondering and call them. Tell them how much you appreciate them as a customer and want to know how their business is going and how you may help them. Don’t try to sell, just listen. They will reciprocate with a referral or a purchase.
  5. Get out of the office. Every time you expand your network, you expand your potential client base. Attend networking events. Try different ones until you find the one that matches your needs.

Bonus Tips for Successful Networking: Take 3 things with you: 1) Your Hello Speech, 2) Your one-sentence “I need…” statement and 3) Plenty of business cards.

A good Hello speech goes like this “Hi, my name is Bob Smith. I am the President of Blue Bonnet Industries in Burbank. We sell office widgets to financial professionals in Southern California. We help our customers manage their offices more efficiently so they can spend more time with clients. We are looking to expand services to all of California in the next year.”  The right message tells them who you are, what you do, the benefit you bring and where you are going.  The “I need” sentence is critical. It goes like this – “I would appreciate referrals to Doctors, Lawyers and CPAs in Northern California who could benefit from our products.” Hand out your card, collect theirs and ask how you may help them. It’s that simple and it works!

Tiffany Ghiselin, Founder, CEO Sochai Consulting, Inc. Los Angeles, CA

Women Millionaires

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This is a GREAT YouTube video if you are a women who is contemplating a Network Marketing or Direct Sales business opportunity. It is inspiring and a “call to action”.  The video is actually a promo for a book on 21 women that made MILLIONS in Network Marketing/Direct Sales, but who cares if it is a promo. What they talk about will resonate with any women, especially those that work-at-home, who needs to supplement their income or wants to build a financially freeing business of their own.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s28TUxUb3qU

Some points they made:

  • 56% of women living in poverty in the US are women
  • Home-based businesses are helping women make great money without  advanced degrees or without the glass ceiling in the corporate “paycheck” environment
  • #1 rule for success – commitment – stick with it – then everything will fall into place (write down your vision)
  • In home-based business market, women MAKE more than men (reverse of corporate environment)
  • Motivate and Inspire to be successful (tailored to women’s skills)
  • Great “Plan B” – supplemental income!!
  • Cost of entry (setting up your business) is affordable vs. starting your own small business (tens of thousands+ dollars)