October 30, 2012  

I Can’t Stop Shopping

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This post is for all the shopaholics out there!  You know who you are, and I have been one myself on many an occasion as most of my friends can attest! ;-)

For those of you that resonate with this post, I’m talking about those times you get sucked into believing you must have everything you see.  You are a genius at creating very valid reasons why that gorgeous dress needs to be in your closet just in case your cousin’s best friend’s boyfriend’s sister has that party that’s across the country in that really cool home.  Or, how about the shoes to go with the dress you might need, and some jewelry, and maybe a new flat screen TV….you get the point.

Over-shopping may come from moments of depression, moments of euphoria, or just plain avoidance of your financial situation and goals.  The problem is, after you over-shop, you end up with feelings of guilt, remorse, and worse yet, credit card debt that can take months, or years, to pay off.

On my recent trip to Paris, I found myself at risk of stepping back into my all too familiar over-shopping pattern.  This time, however, I had actually PLANNED for the expense and that meant whenever I was tempted to buy clothes in New York, I asked myself “Do I want this, or do I want the money for shopping in Paris instead?”  Paris won every time.  However, near the end of my Paris trip, temptation was growing, and I happened upon a really interesting way to stop myself from over-shopping.  So, I pass the tip on to you.

You’ve probably heard about talking to your higher self?  The part of you that is intricately wiser and all-knowing?  Well, then you’ll like this – instead of talking to your higher self, talk to your older self!  Mine came to me out of nowhere, and as I contemplated a purchase, she said,

Thanks a lot for taking that money out of our retirement!

BOOM!  That really hit me – that this pretty sweater I was thinking of buying could impact my retirement.  My inner old lady wagged her index finger at me, and I had a vision of her holding a blanket over her head because I had blown our heating budget on this sweater….Then it became easy to put it down, store my wallet, and move on.

So, I offer this strategy to those of you who may be financially challenged, or who are building a business and struggling to curb expenses.  Use it any time you feel sucked into the over-spending mode, or are confused about whether to make a purchase:

  1. Visualize. If visualization is not easy for you, then find somewhere to sit and close your eyes, and imagine yourself as an old person.  Get as clear a picture as possible of how you look – your face, where you are living (is it big, small? How is it furnished? Do you live alone, share a place….?)
  2. Request. Ask your older self how he/she feels about this purchase.
  3. Listen. What answer do you get? Does your older self get worried and upset about your current purchase, or are they supportive of it?
  4. Feel. Now that you have your answer, you can listen to your own gut and heart and determine if this purchase is in the integrity of your life goals.
  5. Decide. Armed with your answer, and your feelings, you can determine whether or not this purchase is in your integrity and make the right choice for you!

Interested in more ways to align your life with your financial and business goals?  Set up a complimentary session to make them a reality!

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October 23, 2012  

I Can’t Write and Publish an eBook

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Product development is intrinsic to any service-based business, and eBooks are an excellent way to showcase your expertise.  The problem is, lots of us think that we don’t have time to write one, and we don’t know how to publish it.  So what happens?  We make excuses, justify making something else a priority since there is no time to get writing done, and sabotage our success.  Yes, all that’s stopping you is your belief that you can’t do it!

Since I just recently wrote, and published, a marketing strategies eBook, I thought I’d share some tips for you to write your own!

 

  1. Make time every day to write!  It’s total bullshit that you don’t have time!  You can find at least 5 minutes every day to write one sentence.
  2. If you have writer’s block, write it down!  Seriously, writing down “I don’t know what to write” is actually writing!
  3. Knowledge trumps writer’s block.  If you don’t know what to write, it may be that you don’t know what you’re writing about.  Go back to your outline, and make sure you are clear on the goal of your book (why you’re writing it) and the theme that all the chapters roll up to.
  4. Share what you know.  Write what you know, and don’t worry about giving away too much.  In fact, the more great content you share, the more likely your readers are to tell other people to buy your products.
  5. How to publish your book.  Save whatever method you used to write (Word, Power Point, …) as a PDF file.  You will need a program like Adobe Acrobat Pro to do it.  Next, the easiest and fastest way is to have a shopping cart program that allows you to upload electronic products.  (An eBook is an electronic product.)  1ShoppingCart is one such product.  It’s very expensive (about $99/month) but you walk away with 100% of the profit from your sales.  Then there are other resources that cost nothing, or are free, but take a commission out of each of your sales.  Try iAmplify (they take 70% of your sales), and you can also use a service like ClickBank – the idea is you give affiliates a percentage of your profits which gives them incentive to them to post a link to your product on their site.  Downside?  A lot of those affiliates have websites that look like SPAM where you’d never in a million years buy anything, and, ClickBank, in my opinion, are crooks – they don’t disclose their fees in a straightforward manner and they do everything possible to hold your money and not pay you.  Make your own opinion at Clickbank
  6. Don’t forget about Kindle and Nook!  These are two great resources to get your ebooks published!  Some formatting issues may apply that you need to work around.  Also, you will earn a lot less money than if your book is only sold off your website.  The maximum price on Amazon for an eBook is $9.99 and you only get a fraction of it.  The updside is a potential larger audience for your work.  You do the math.
  7. Need an editor?  Try Elance.com and post a job offer, and you will get tons of people wanting to edit your book.  Or, for a cheaper option, see if you can post a job offer for English majors at your local college or university to edit your book.

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October 9, 2012  

I Have to Take Care of Everyone Else’s Needs

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Today’s lie of the day is one of those thoughts and actions you may not realize you are exhibiting in your every day life!  Surely, you don’t walk around thinking this to yourself, but many of you (and me, too, on occasion!) are behaving in a way that you are valuing other people’s needs above your own.  Some of you, reading this, are probably thinking, “Of course I put other people’s needs ahead of my own.  If I didn’t, I’d be selfish, and that’s the last thing I want to be in my life!”

Well, as it turns out, much of the time, when you put other people ahead of you, you end up exhausting yourself, saying yes, when you would rather say no, and over-extending yourself.  The result?  You are tired, cranky, and blame everyone else for your state of mind and body.  You think you weren’t selfish, but instead, you were a pain in the ass, and upset everyone, most of all, yourself!  And to think, you could have said no, let everyone else deal with their reaction, and been a happy camper!

Let me give you a fun example of how this sabotaging process impacted me.  About 10 years ago, I used to get my eyebrows waxed at a salon in Manhattan on West 57th Street.  I had an excellent aesthetician, and was very happy with the results.  One day, I showed up for my appointment and was greeted by the salon owner.  She seemed stressed, and upset.  Apparently, her staff had quit, she was overworked, and asked me to bear with her, and to please stay.

Did I once think,

“She should have called to tell me what happened, and given me the option to cancel my appointment.”

or

“She seems really stressed out, I think I should leave.”

No!

Instead, I thought, “Poor salon owner.  I feel so badly that she is stressed and on her own running the show.  That must be awful.  I can’t leave now, she would be so upset if I did.  Even though my gut is churning, I need to stay here so that I don’t insult her.”

!!!???!!!

Do you see how this is the same thing, basically, as saying “I need to take care of her”?  And, yet, she was not even family or a friend, I was paying her for a service! 

Guess what happened?  She got a little careless with the wax, and took off about half my eyebrows.  It was the worst brow job I ever had.  I stopped getting my brows done for 10 years.  The hair never grew back….(until this year, happily, when I braved a new brow person who uses tweezers instead of wax!!)

And yet, I paid her for the job.  I never went back, but boy was I cranky, upset, and blaming her for a lousy job for weeks and months afterwards.  This was before Social Media, so I had to verbally tell everyone the story, over and over again, to make sure no one else got their brows massacred! And, of course, all the drama kept me angry and feeling like a victim every time I told the story.

Until we learn to take care of our own needs, and separate them from the impact they have on other people, we end up stuck in a loop that ultimately exhausts everyone.  Sacrificing what we want and need to save someone else from being hurt or angry keeps us from being fully happy, and, ultimately, keeps them from being happy, too, since no one’s needs are being met.

So, as your call to action, practice honoring your own needs and finding your personal version of respectful ways to say no when you mean no.  Allow and honor other people’s reactions to your shift in focus, and learn to separate their judgment from your needs.

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