You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.
Every year at this time my accountant asks me who I paid more than $600 to over the course of the year. Every year I cross my fingers and hope that I had already created a list with each of their names, addresses, and Social Security #’s (or EIN’s). And each year I search in vain for that list.
But a week ago I bit the bullet and created a spreadsheet to carry me through this tax season and forward. I looked through my Quicken records and came up with my list. Then I went through my database and got their addresses. In a few cases, and I congratulated myself here, I had recorded their SSN or EIN. I still have some calls to make for that info. But I will now have it forEVER moving forward.
Even though it was tedious and time-consuming, the thrill at the end came from seeing the great team I have working for me. I’m grateful I don’t carry a payroll of employees, but am delighted to share my list of subcontractors who keep me totally professional:
- Steve – Webmaster
- Valerie – Virtual Assistant
- Jennifer – Writer
- Farah – Graphic Designer
- Sean – Computer Guru
- Michele – Coach
- Tonya – Marketing
- Lena – Blog Maven
- Laura – PR
- Louise – Writer
I have a hunch that those of you reading this are the givers in your life. You are always providing your clients and customers with your services or the products you’ve created. You’re very likely the one responsible for this season’s holiday arrangements. You’ve bought the gifts, wrapped them and written sentiments on the cards. Takes one to know one, right?
I also suspect that you may have a bit of a hard time taking in the magic of what you’ve created, the abundance you’ve poured out that is heading back your way in the form of love, appreciation, kindness and a gift or two. That’s me, too.
So, just for today, take it in. Allow it to wash over you. Receive.
In July my kids all contributed to a spa gift certificate for my birthday. They also added that when I redeemed it, they would like to get together with me for a drink or dinner afterward. I saved that treat until yesterday.
I went into New York to Cornelia with an attitude of receiving. I was going to allow myself to be totally pampered. Bring it on! I gave myself oceans of time, had a watsu treatment, a facial and a shampoo and comb-out. I had lunch in the relaxation lounge, sat in the steam room and fully and deeply relaxed.
Dinner last night with my entire family was bliss. I am so blessed. And today I’m inspired to encourage you to take in the gifts you’ve been given and fully experience the joy of receiving.
At an early morning meeting with my friends and colleagues, one woman mentioned that she had to be careful what she envisioned. She referred to herself as a “master manifester” and said that sometimes it frightened her how quickly she manifested exactly what she wanted–like her upcoming move to Hawaii!
Then I started jotting down all the Master Manifesters I know and realized I surround myself with these people.
There’s Betsy who cut out her picture, pasted it on the cover of Westport magazine in November of ’06 only to manifest becoming a cover girl herself in June ’07. (I was fortunate to ride her coattails on that one.)
And Jessica who took the leap of faith to become a writer by letting go of her PR clients and will have her book out with a major publisher this April.
Kate set a goal in September ’08 of exhibiting her work in her own photography studio in January ’09. I’ve invited 200 of my past and current clients to a networking party there on 1/12/09 to mingle and view her images.
My dear friend Amy decided she wanted to own property near her family in Indiana and took the action steps to make it happen. She now flies there a dozen times a year to spend quality time with her parents, siblings and nieces and nephews.
I could go on and on. There are lots of folks out there who poo-poo The Secret, but I’m a believer. When there’s desire, passion and (most important) action to follow it up, miracles happen. Although it’s become part of my daily existence to witness and receive this abundance, I am continually awed by the force of its existence.
I heard this quote (title above) yesterday and had to laugh. It’s not looking good out there, but from the vantage point of this entrepreneur, I’m really glad I work for myself. I will always be employed–as long as I choose to work. My income may rise and fall, but I won’t be jobless. I know that my skills and talents have an audience. My job is to package and market them to keep my larder full.
It’s pretty quiet right now, but it always is the last couple of weeks of December. I’m using this time to go through my files, my financial records, my contacts and my goals.
I love that the phone’s not ringing today so I can fully delve into planning and creating. I’ll spend this time designing a schedule for myself to download my notes from the great relationships coaching course I attended last week, watch a video mentioned in the bibliography we received and plan time for reading some of the other authors’ work.
I’m happy to be so employed.
One of the most joyous things I have done in my life/work is founding the Artsy Girls–an organization that celebrates and supports nationally recognized creative women. The criteria for selection include:
- national recognition for creativity (published books, magazine coverage, museum selection, national awards, etc.)
- earning a living in the art form (surface design, illustration, crafts, choreography, calligraphy, etc.) and
- an attitude of collegiality, support, kindness and affection
Monday night we recognized three of our members who were inducted into their own industry’s Halls of Fame. What a thrill to share their successes and honor them. From left to right they are Jinny Avery–the one and only person to be inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in 2006, Naiad Einsel (whose work is on display right now at the Westport Public Library) who, with her late husband Walter, was selected by the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame (in the company of Norman Rockwell and Maurice Sendak to name a couple of other past honorees) and Mary Ellroy who was selected by the New York Museum Toy Hall of Fame for her contribution to the field through her inventions and creations.
Every woman in the Artsy Girls is outstanding and had the opportunity to share a recent success with all of us. That evening as we went around the room–hostess and designer Beverly Ellsley‘s amazing ballroom/dining room– one after another woman revealed gems of success, optimism and joy.
We have all been fortunate enough to find careers and lives that allow full self-expression. The world economy has an impact, but will not dampen our thriving internal economies. Especially when we get together to celebrate.
One of my Mastermind Group clients drives down from Provincetown, MA for our sessions. Who could fault someone with that commitment for arriving without a pen or paper? When I whipped out my ready-for-anything plastic bag to hand her my extra pen the whole group was in awe.
I must give credit to my friend and professional organizer Betsy K who helped me create this. I used to dread changing pocketbooks because of all my stuff. Betsy had me get a clear cosmetics carrier so that I could see everything and never have to be without. All I do is transfer this handy-dandy pouch to whatever matching handbag or tote I’m accessorizing with that day.
All the basics you will need: train schedule, tissues, handcream(s), lipstick(s), business cards, breath things, a band-aid or two, and the all-important pen. I also carry around a few pieces of note paper (it didn’t show up on the white background) for jotting down things I need to remember.
The only other things I have in my bag are my wallet, phone/PDA, keys and eyeglasses which are easier to move from bag to bag than all the little pieces contained in my plastic case.
Any other great ideas for always having what you need?
On the earliest audiotapes I listened to back in the 80′s I remember Wayne Dyer describing an airport scene when his flight was canceled. Everyone around him was angry, cursing, bemoaning the trouble this was causing them. He, on the other hand, was on the phone with his travel agent (pre-Expedia/Orbitz self-booking flights days) who immediately got him on another flight to the same destination.
It’s an attitude thing, which is proving to be more and more important than ever. One of my clients, a photographer who also works in the film business, is currently working on the only film being shot in Connecticut. Another client, Realtor Pam Toner pictured above with me, just sold a house. We all know how unusual that is.
Someone is getting the business and it might as well be you. Keep taking the actions. Keep showing up. Keep delivering your gifts to the world. There are opportunities and clients out there. Why shouldn’t it be you serving them?
…Mastermind Group member Nikki Bates (see 11/10 post) recently sold a piece of her jewelry for close to $10,000. We track goals of each participant from when they enter my group until the final meeting. One of her earliest goals this session was to create a show-stopper–a piece that she creatively and joyfully designed without budget consideration. That was the necklace that sold.
When I was exhibiting my art I always had a show-stopper to attract attention to my booth, to woo that special shopper who wanted something totally unique and to expand my range. Also, when you have a piece that is 5-10 times your normal price point, it creates a different perspective for the buyer. When there’s a $750 brooch available, the ones priced at $125 seem far more reasonable by comparison.
It’s always a good idea when pricing your goods and services to have options for your buyers. That’s why I have offers like my Dream Peek Experience which is a stand-alone service (one hour, with a 15 minute follow-up call within 30 days) all the way to a six-month commitment for one-on-one coaching. The prices range from $275 – $2400.
Maybe I should have my own show-stopper for my coaching services: A Day with Jane–$5000. Any takers?!
Attending Patti Tower’s View From the Tower Open House on Saturday was like watching a vision unfold. She had several dozen guests and clients visit and purchase items from her new collection of hand-painted and embellished clothing.
Patti has gone from a corporate position to entrepreneurship with grace, delight and a lot of footwork. She articulately summed up her transformation to the cameraman/reporter from Channel 12 News who videotaped her for the program that night. Having recently lost her job with a Fortune 500 company, Patti stands out from that crowd having already seized the reins of entrepreneurship.
Does this look like someone who has found what she’s meant to do?
If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “That’s a no-brainer” in reference to an undertaking that sounds easy… Well, I’d have several dollars by now. The implication is that it’s money in the bank and all you have to do is wave your magic wand and collect. Not so!
There was the “no-brainer” to re-publish my How I Got on the Today Show CD taking it from loving-hands-at-home quality to first-rate professional product. That “no-brainer” required six weeks of my time and attention.
Then there was the snap-of-the-fingers suggestion my colleague/client decided to try out. She’s a professional organizer and knew it would be a “no-brainer” to open a store and sell products to her customers. I assigned her to a day shadowing a store owner for the retail experience. She didn’t make it through the 8-hour shift. She was bored and miserable staying in one location, not having the variety of experiences her organizing offered. She bagged the idea post haste. Thank goodness she hadn’t committed to a lease before testing the waters.
The reality here is that “no-brainers” and good ideas are a dime a dozen. The implementation is the unsexy, nitty gritty hard work that takes TIME. When you get a great idea or no-brainer, create a mind-map (see Monday’s post) jotting down what’s entailed. What resources do you need? Whose services are required? What market will you reach and how?
Brains or no brains, following through on any agenda item requires brains, muscle, heart and soul.