Archive for November, 2008

Creative Solutions to Higher Business Costs

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I saw a great video this weekend about a Massachusetts business called The Hungry Ghost Bakery. While they prefer to use organic flour for their bread-making, the cost of growing wheat in Montana and shipping it to South Carolina to be milled, then on to Massachusetts to the bakery sometimes tripled in the past year.

So the owners had a brain-storm! Why not ask their customers, many of whom are farmers and gardeners, to grow wheat for them. Many farmers thought of this as an “experiment,” although wheat had been grown in the region prior to World War II. One farmer was able to produce 2,000 pounds of wheat from one acre of land.

While it’s doubtful that you own a bakery, this story gives us all inspiration about how — with a little creativity — we can reduce our costs and include our customers in the process. When so many people are complaining about feeling isolated, why not ask your neighbors, your customers, to participate in your business? Now that’s teamwork!

You can read more about this story here.

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Category: Business Strategy & Planning
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Devoting Your Life To Something Meaningful

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I’ve been reading Po Bronson’s book, What Should I Do With My Life? Has anyone read it?

It’s a series of stories about how people found meaningful work and a meaningful life. Not every story has a happy ending (which I appreciate) and some people didn’t get to follow their dreams until they were in their 60s.

In one story, the woman was always asking “What should I do next with my life?”  When she rephrased the question to “To what can I devote my life?” it changed the way she perceived her world and her choices.

I love that question. When I’ve been looking for “the next big thing” in my business, I’ve been stumped. Nothing came up that excited me, challenged me, or made me any happier than I already am. (I’m a pretty happy person by default. I’m not looking for more happiness in my life.) But when I asked myself, “To what can I devote my life?”, I could immediately drop off those things that were interesting but I wasn’t willing to devote my life to, especially when it comes to work.

The result? It was surprising to me (but maybe not surprising to anyone who knows me) that the work that I really could devote my life, my heart, my soul to was “helping people to be successfully self-employed.” It was a simple statement of what fires me up, what mirrors my values and beliefs, and where I can best serve the world.

I’m such a huge fan of self-employment. It gives people freedom and flexibility that they wouldn’t have in a job, and forces them to bring forth character traits that will hold them in good stead throughout their lives and their relationships, like honesty, self-discipline, and creativity.

To me, self-employment is a fire that forges the personality. It’s an incredible personal growth vehicle. It also helps people to put their personal values into every aspect of their lives. The integrity it offers is extraordinarily important, especially as more and more people find that they can’t express their integrity in their job for an employer.

I still don’t know what’s next for my business, but I feel more strongly than ever that I’m doing the “right work” in working with other self-employed people to grow their businesses. So I’ll stay in the not-knowing about the future and see what comes up, certain, at least, that I’m on the right track.

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Category: Business Strategy & Planning
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The Vote Is In – How You Like to Learn

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THANK YOU to everyone who responded to our survey, How Do You Prefer to Learn? I appreciate the feedback about how you prefer to learn new information, skills and ideas.

I think these results will be helpful to you if you are creating any boot camps, classes or teleclasses in the next 12 months. This information is also helpful if you’re creating information products: books, ebooks, audio and video.

Here’s what you had to say about the ways you like to learn.

The first question was about whether people liked to learn on their own, or whether they liked to learn with an instructor:

With a teacher in a classroom/teleclass setting – 42.3%
With a teacher, one-on-one – 26%
At my own pace – 32%

The second question was, specifically, which learning techniques do you most use. (Note: people could vote for more than one way they liked to learn, so the numbers don’t tally to 100%):

I like to learn by reading a book or ebook – 70.4%
I like to learn by listening to audio (CD or MP3) – 60.3%
I like to learn by watching a video/DVD – 31%
I like to learn in a teleclass with an instructor – 54.7%
I like to learn at a live event (1-2 hours) – 30.2%
I like to learn at a live event (full weekend) – 12.3%
I like to learn by one-on-one mentoring – 46.4%

I hope this information is helpful to you!

If you didn’t get a chance to take the survey, or if you’d like to see how I worded the survey so that you can ask your own students similar questions, you can see the survey here.

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Category: Business Strategy & Planning
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I’m in the NY Times!

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I guess I’ve made it to the big times.  🙂

See my mention in Paul Brown’s article, “How to Avoid Becoming a Failure Statistic” in NY Times from last week.

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Category: Passion For Business News