The Home Business Pro

Welcome to a fantastic resource for anyone considering a home business and looking for some help. Put your email address in the form to the right and receive my eBook “Think Awesome”  How to be your own greatest supporter.

Going into business for yourself can be one of the biggest decisions you make, and I have to say one of the hardest. The number of opportunities out there is bewildering and can lead to paralysis and overwhelm. The good thing is that more people are making more money in their own online businesses today than ever before and the future is only getting better.

The reason I include Personal Growth along with home business coaching is that I have found that the single biggest factor in the success or apparent lack of success with home based businesses is not the business but the attitude of the entrepreneur. That and it has been a passion of mine for most of my life and yet I am learning more today than ever, it is an enormous subject and our knowledge of the human mind and all it’s strategies, habits, traits, faults and awesome abilities is building everyday. We are only just starting to understand how to make the most of the power we have.

I Don’t know if I’m good enough

DoubtHave you ever said to yourself, “I don’t know if I’m good enough”? It’s a questioning statement I hear a lot, and if you’re asking yourself this question or worse still, answering it as well, it’s time to stop.
You see it’s one of those questions that just keeps you looping around and around never going anywhere. At some level of your consciousness that is exactly the point of it.
By asking this question you prevent yourself from the possibility of getting hurt or disappointed.
You also prevent the possibility of stepping out, finding out that you were good enough and enjoying your success.
The thing is this; there have always been lots of fairly average photographers for example, making a good living taking photos while lots of REALLY talented photographers end up doing other jobs because they didn’t make it in the business of photography. The same thing goes for all the other creative fields.
So unfortunately, whether you’re good enough isn’t the ultimate test of your potential for success, but it’s the only question many want to ask. You need to be more than just good at doing something; you need to be good at business as well or get someone to help you.
If you hide behind the unanswered question of “am I good enough?” you will never get an answer. Who is going to be the judge? How do you know they’re right? If you get more than one answer, how will you know which one is right? Why would you believe them anyway, if you didn’t already agree with what they told you?
So promise yourself never to ask that again, OK? Good
So what would be a better question to ask ? One that might support you in your quest for the ideal life, one where you’re able to make your living doing something you love?
Try asking; what is the next step I could take towards making my craft, my life?Progress
What comes up for you? Is it creating the time to do more study? Is it putting away some savings to fund getting started? Is it doing some advertising? Is it arranging an exhibition? What would move you one step closer to making a living from what you love?
The answer to that question has to be an action step; you can’t answer it with a question. That is the power of questions. Write down your answer or answers because there may be many answers.
If you come up with more than one answer, list them down first and then look back over them and prioritize them into a sequence to avoid overwhelm. Ask, what is the first thing I could do to move me closer to making my craft, my life? What could I do Right now, or today, or this week.
If you’re not sure where to start contact me and I can show you how to ask yourself great questions and find the first steps for you.
A clear and detailed vision of your business, knowing who you want to serve and what you will provide are much more important things to think about than, am I good enough?
See my post on knowing your AVATAR for a great starting point if you don’t already have one.

Making business planning fun #2

Do it with a friend.

Planning coffeeYes, look around your circle of family or friends and see if you have someone who knows you well, whose opinion you will trust, who can get inside your head and see where you’re coming from but who will be totally honest with you.

If you can select from someone you know that’s great but if it’s a choice between someone who knows you and someone who knows a bit about business, go for the business experience. It is really easy to get emotional about a business plan so an outsider with an objective view can be a great help. Don’t imagine it’s just being over enthusiastic about business that’s the problem, often its lack of confidence and self-doubt that means what should be a great new business, remains nothing more than a good idea.

So once you have your planning buddy selected it’s time for some brain storming. It’s really worth finding time and place where you can concentrate without interruptions. Have a good supply of coffee or a bottle of red whatever helps you feel relaxed but focused.

We looked in part #1 at creating your avatar now it’s looking at your products or services.

What are you going to do with your business, do you solve a problem? Avoid some pain or bring some pleasure to your clients? See this BLOG post for more on Pleasure V Pain. Preferably you will have at least three products set at three different price points, GOOD, BETTER and BEST. I will write another post looking at pricing in more detail because it’s an area that causes a lot of confusion. For now though let’s get clear on what precisely you’re selling and why your avatar will want to buy it?

Using photography for an example, almost everyone has a quite capable camera built into their phone which is always within arm’s reach. So why would they buy a photo from you rather than take their own? Years ago it was the quality of the photo that made the difference, the sharpness, the colour saturation and so on. Now that’s no longer a big deal so why else will someone pay you? Do you offer studios lighting that they don’t have? Do you offer props and styling to create an image they couldn’t create themselves? Do you do Photoshop work on the finished images that they can’t do? Put yourself in the clients place and ask the question, why should I pay the extra cost of your photos over my own?

You just have to be really clear about the benefits you can offer. If you aren’t clear, it will come across in your voice and your words and you will be struggling to convince anyone to do business with you. Worse, you’ll be feeling like you have to SELL yourself, rather than people buying from you. Not a nice place to be.

Focus on specific benefits, you can’t say mine is “better” or “higher quality” you need to know how specifically its better and what benefit that is to your client.

How then are you going to deliver your products or services? How will you package them? What will they look like? What will they cost you to produce and how much will they sell for? Accept that you might not know precisely, answers to these questions but fill out what you can with as much clarity as you can.

What resources will you need to create and deliver these products? What does your business physically look like? Where do you work? What resources do you have now and what do you need to get? How will you find your clients? How will they find you? How many do you need?

How’s the coffee supply going?

Planning notes

Let’s go back to the fun bit, look at this exercise not as a chiselled in stone royal decree of how it has to be, but rather a dream or a vision of how, if you could wave a magic wand over your future, this is what would happen and this is what you have faith to believe is possible for you to achieve.

If it is unbelievable for you to conceive, you may not go for it. Make it a stretch for you but definitely, but not unbelievable.

Again, get creative; maybe create a visual presentation or vision board of what your business and its products will look like. If you can’t enjoy thinking about it and make that fun what’s it going to be like working at it? Think of the planning like you might plan a holiday, get brochures with lots of photos, and imagine it as if it’s done. This is just a plan not your last will and testament. There’s plenty of opportunity to make changes and revise along the way. If you let it get serious that’s often where people hit the wall and the process stops.

If you want a hand with any of this planning session feel free to contact me.

1 Are You Selling Pleasure Or Pain

Pleasure and pain

Seeking pleasure

We are all motivated to take action by one of two things; the avoidance of pain or the feeling of pleasure.

Everything you do is driven at some level by one or the other of these or sometimes a combination of both.

What motivation does your avatar have, to do business with you?

Are they predominantly avoiding pain or getting pleasure? Let’s take some examples,

People buy car tyres to avoid the pain of a fine or an accident. People go to a divorce lawyer to avoid the pain of getting screwed over. People buy expensive shoes to get the pleasure of feeling comfortable or looking good and people buy recliner rocking chairs to look good and feel comfortable.

If you’re a creative person it’s my guess your customers are motivated by getting pleasure from what you create and that’s good news.

People will pay much more to get pleasure than to avoid pain. Take the car tyre store for example. If a client only wants new tyres to avoid getting a fine he will buy the cheapest tyres he can find that do the job. If he wants tyres that look really cool and will get the attention of his mates, meaning status and respect, have a very low profile and corner faster,  he will pay as much as he can afford, or more.

A couple who only want to get married to get their family and friends off their back might have a small registry office wedding. A couple who want to show the world how much they love each other, show all their friends how much they love and appreciate them, and who want to be a star for a day, will spend a small fortune on the most expensive wedding they can afford.

Even big business spent squat on safety, until the law imposed enough threat of pain, to make it less painful to spend the money.

So what would you rather sell, pleasure or no pain?Avoiding pain

What are you currently selling your customers, the promise of pleasure or the avoidance of pain?

Thinking back now to your avatar, what did they want? What was their motive for doing business? Are they trying to avoid pain or get pleasure? Are you presenting your products or services in a way that matches what your customer is looking for?

If your message isn’t congruent it’s wasted.

2 Making Business Planning Fun For Creative And Artistic People #1

 

Trendy GirlI have known about, learnt and studied business planning for years but I’ve never wanted to do it. Something inside me hates the idea of methodical planning it’s just boring.
If you relate to that I’ve got a great idea to help you make business planning a creative and fun exercise. Having a really clear business plan is really important to your business success and does need to be done, but I know it can be a struggle for artistic and creative people.
Structure and planning seems to be incompatible with creativity and expression.
In this series of posts I want to lead you through ways of making the business planning process a little more fun and less like a day at the dentist.
Let’s start with a business Avatar.

In case you’re not familiar with what an Avatar is, it’s a representation of your ideal, or your perfect customer. Understanding your Avatar intimately and in detail will help you in every aspect of planning your business, writing ad copy, writing website copy, planning advertising, writing promotional emails, planning promotions, even the visual appearance and branding of your business should all be done with your avatar in mind.
To make this exercise a creative one you can create a visual representation of your Avatar or if you’re good with words you can create and describe them using words.
Let’s start with some questions about your Avatar. Answer these questions to the best of your knowledge but if you don’t KNOW the answer, let the answer be what you would want it to be. Like attracts like and your business will attract the people to it that you want to do business with, if you follow the process.

Here’s a few questions to start you thinking;
What age bracket is your ideal customer in?
Are they mainly male or female or equally divided? (In which case you need two avatars)
Do they have children?
What ages are their children?
What income bracket do they fit in?
Whereabouts do they live?

And so on;Tough Business

You should be getting a mental or visual picture of your Avatar by now. If you are a visual person start drawing or painting an actual picture, put them in their surroundings, give them names and put in as much detail about these people as you can possibly imagine.
If you are using words, describe in detail your Avatar. Again place them in their surroundings give them names and include all the details you can about your ideal customer, just like an author would introduce the characters into his story. Include any details that are particular to your type of business. For example, if my business sold interior décor, I would want to know what type of house they lived in, what type of furniture they had, what colours they like, and so on.
If you’re a visual person (You predominately think and see things in pictures) and want to create a visual picture but you’re not artistic you can use photographs cut from magazines or newspapers and create a composite vision of your Avatar and their house or other surroundings.
This exercise will pay off in spades if you put the time and effort into getting this right and you have the creative powers to do it really well.
Have fun with it.

Done or not done, there is no try

Do you ever experience difficulty keeping yourself focused on ONE thing long enough to finish it?

 

Done or not done

Done or not done

 

If I’d been born in the 1990’s or after I would probably have been diagnosed with a syndrome of some sort. My Primary school teacher simply said “Paul, you’re like a butterfly, you flit from one thing to the next and never settle on anything”
If that sounds a bit like you too, then try changing the way you define tasks and ideas to keep yourself focused.
I used to make lots of TO DO LIST’S and because there are always lots to do they would be long. Something I noticed though was often if a task had been on my, to do list for a long while and still wasn’t done it no longer needed doing and I could just cross it off.
So this wasn’t really a “TO DO” list it was just an IDEA list, my list of ideas of things I could do, and only some of those actually had to be done.
So, make two lists one of ideas and the other for things that MUST be done. Your TO DO list should only have things on it which, if they’re not done will have a direct consequence, like paying the overdue power bill. Everything else goes on the IDEA list.
Now your TO DO list is smaller you can focus on getting it all ticked off each day, leaving time to focus on your IDEA list. The IDEA list is much more fun because you have choices.
Prioritize your ideas list and pick your top priority idea, before you start on it, consider what outcome this idea will have. E.G. You have the idea to “start a Facebook ads campaign”. The problem with this idea is it has no conclusion, no outcome when will you know it’s done?
You need to be more precise, and frame the task so it has an outcome, let’s change it to say, “I will write the copy and select three different photos for my Facebook ads and have them submitted for approval by lunchtime”.
Now that has a definite end result and you know whether it’s done or not. It’s much easier to hold yourself accountable to that. “I’ll start something” has no end and you may not know if you really did.
Specific measurable outcomes are a huge help in the battle for focus. To miss quote Yoda “There is no try, it’s either done or not done”, once it’s done cross it off and celebrate.

Five Keys To Focusing On One Task

FocusedIf you struggle to keep yourself focused and on task here are five key steps that will help you.

1. Focus on one task until it is completed, completion is the key not doing the task the task isn’t done until it is complete.
2. Have clearly defined steps along the way and know what each task will look like and what results you can expect once it’s completed.
3. Eliminate distractions, don’t get tempted by new ideas, if you have a new idea thats a good one, make a note of it so you can get back to it later, don’t let it distract you from what you’re doing now.
4. Eliminate time wasters, if it’s not a good use of your time now then it probably never will be a good use of your time so just move on.
5. Reward yourself, because you know what a completed task will look like and how to define it, once you reach that point you can afford to reward yourself in some way and celebrate a completed task.

Five powerful questions to ask before you launch any business

5 Questions1. What Value will you bring to the marketplace?

Money will always flow towards value, just like water always flows downhill. Some people will distort the market for a while but like the saying goes, “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time” So be honest with yourself, what genuine value are you bringing to your customers?

2. Who wants what you’re selling?

You must know who it is you are talking to in the marketplace; you can’t talk to everyone at once unless you’re a huge multinational like Apple. Who has the itch only you can scratch?

3. How will you tell them that you have what they want?

Even once you know who wants your product or service you need to know how to tell them, you have what they want. Where do they congregate? What do they have in common?

4. How will you deliver what they want?

The practical (boring) logistics of delivering the product or service you have, in a timely and efficient way to the people that want it, where and when they want it.

5. Will you love what you’re doing once your business is established and you’re doing what the business needs you to do?

You’d be surprised how many people spend years of their life building an empire only to realise it wasn’t the life they wanted anyway. Imagine a day in the life of you, once this is all complete. Was it worth it?

What Does This Mean?

There is such power in the meanings we give the events of our lives. This idea came to me as I was waking this morning and illustrates the dynamic of meaning.

Three different people are getting ready for work one morning;

Chris looks out the window and notices it is windy; Chris gives this the meaning that today would be a great day to go sailing on the harbour. She can picture a nice yacht in full sail, feels the wind on her face and determines that today, once her important meeting is over, she is going to go to the bank to open a savings account and start putting money away for the yacht she always wanted.

Joe looks out the window and notices it is windy; Joe gives this the meaning that perhaps she should take an umbrella with her in case it rains as well.

Leslie looks out the window and notices it’s windy; Leslie gives this the meaning that, by the time she gets to the meeting her hair will be a mess, she will look like a train wreck, the meeting will go badly and she might as well not bother going at all.The meaning of things

What do we actually know? Chris, Joe and Leslie are all getting ready for work. They all have an important meeting that morning, and it’s windy.

Everything else is a construct of their mind. Is Leslie free to give the windy day the same meaning as Chris? Absolutely she is.

Practice being mindful of the meaning you attach to things. Ask yourself, is this really the case? Do I actually know that to be true? Is there an alternative meaning I could give this that would be more beneficial to me, one that would build me up rather than pull me down.

Challenge your thoughts and see if you can find better meanings for things than the first thing that comes into your head.

Gliding or just beating into submission

Gliding or BeatingWow, it’s been a while since I last posted, I’ve been on a bit of a personal sojourn. I am fascinated today by the apparent contrast of ideas that social media leaders have about the path to success, happiness, financial abundance and good health. One school seems to suggest that dogged determination and discipline is the answer. Never, never give up. The other school of thought is that getting in the flow, doing what you really love to do and being relaxed about the journey is the key.word cloud

Which way do you think works best? in fact have you thought about it at all? If you haven’t thought about it, give it some thought today and find out. Are you struggling? Do you feel like a fish swimming up river or are you just lying back and going with the flow? Doing what you feel you were always meant to be doing. Let me know which it is and how it is working for you.

I love to watch really talented people doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what it is, it could be a jeweller creating a piece of fine jewellery or a plasterer plastering a wall. There is something great about seeing people do what they do when they are at one with their work.

A similar analogy I heard was about aircraft, ” A glider works with the laws of nature, a helicopter beats them into submission”. are you gliding or beating?

Cheers

Why be in business today?

Do you know the real reason why you are either thinking of going into business or already are in business?

Some people go into business because they experienced sever poverty as a child. They watched their parents struggle and determined they would never do that. Other people are driven by the need for significance, the desire to prove something to others, to see their name up on a sign. Some are very creative and just need an outlet for that creative expression. Some see a business as a way to enjoy independence and control.

Understanding what you ultimately want from your business is a key factor. One man’s success is another man’s failure. If great financial wealth is your aim then having a business based in the arts for example, is probably not going to cut it. I like the expression “Leaning your ladder against the right wall” It’s no use working hard to climb a ladder if it’s not leaning against the wall you need to get over. I have observed many small businesses come and go because of this. They didn’t fail because of a lack of funding, lack of enthusiasm or even lack of expertise in their field. They were doomed from the start because they were climbing the wrong wall.

So what do you want from your business? Is it money, significance, control, comfort, creativity or safety? The secret to answering this question is, first you must know yourself.

Understanding yourself and your core needs will reveal what you will be most drawn to and what will be hardest for you. World renowned Personal Development leader Anthony Robbins developed an exercise that helps you to identify your “Core Needs” as an individual. There are six things that have been identified as common to all of us, they represent the core needs of all humans but these 6 needs will show up in different order and strength for different people.

The six core needs are; Certainty, Significance, Variety, Love/ Connection, Growth and Contribution.

These needs are hardwired into us, they don’t change throughout our life and they play a significant part in shaping what is commonly known as our personality. Everything we do is an attempt to have these needs met in some way.

Layered over these core needs are your values. These can vary at different times in your life, they invoke strong reactions in you and are not always logical, (Like why is it ok to eat an Anchovy but not a goldfish?). They do influence your decisions though and if you aren’t being true to your values, it can show up as an empty feeling, depression, lethargy, a constant tiredness, sleeplessness, confusion about your future or other symptoms.

What are your core values? What brings a big smile to your face? When are you in your Sweet Spot? What do you value most? Are you driven to work really long hours to provide material things for your family, or would you rather settle for less things and more family time?

There are some great tools available to help uncover your true values. When you know your values you can build a business that is congruent with them and not bring you into conflict with them.

Understanding yourself also helps you to understand others, why they do the things they do and where the difference in values and needs can cause conflict or harmony.

If you would like to explore your Core Needs or your Values and how they are working for you at this time then please feel free to contact me paul@coachtheboss.com So we can put a plan in place for you.

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