Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Don't let the Entrepreneur hire Friends and Family

Oh hello. How are you .
I have a great idea about hiring my family to run my business.

What do you mean this is not a good idea?

Oh I get it you think my family can't handle it?

You don't want me to succeed?
You don't think they can help?

You just don't understand my situation.
I love my family and I want them to be involved with my business!

What's that? I can have my business and help my family?


Fantastic! Just keep them separate. OK that works!

All too often we want to help our loved one and hiring family or friends is a common experience entrepreneurs face. Over the last decade I have seen families torn apart because they have co-mingled business with family connections. I have seen mothers stop speaking to daughters, husbands divorce wives, cousins separate from other cousins and I have learned to keep things separate is best. 

If you desperately want to provide for your loved ones then do it without co-mingling the situation. While there are many businesses that have successfully run a family-own business it has additional challenges that you have to strongly consider when pursuing this avenue.

I never ask entrepreneurs to find the funds from family or friends because I have realized how difficult this request has on the relationship. If you are going to venture down this path makes sure both parties are clear on the funding process. Determine if it is a loan, a gift, or an investment and whenever possible get it in writing. Whenever possible it is best not to hire friends and family but you can always gift them money when you start bringing in the funds.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Every night I read my children a story written by Mo Willems. Mo is an award winning children's author that has written a series on a pigeon. Some of his books include: 
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus 
  • The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog
  • The Pigeon Loves Things That Go
  • The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too 
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late 
  • The Pigeon Wants a Puppy
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Finish this Activity Book 
  • The Pigeon Needs a Bath 
What I love about these timeless books is the great length that the pigeon will go to negotiate his position on an issue. For example, he provides all possible reasoning on why he doesn't need to take a bath including that in some cultures taking a bath too often is frowned upon. Equally he negotiates his position when he attempts to convince a kid to drive a bus,

As I was reading through this series I thought it would be fun to create our own series of stories related to the entrepreneurial journey.
  • Don't Let the Entrepreneur hire Friends and Family
  • Don't Let the Entrepreneur charge up credit cards
  • Don't Let the Entrepreneur Work Too Much
  • The Entrepreneur Needs a Mentor
  • Don't Let the Entrepreneur Drive the Business 
  • The Entrepreneur Loves the Freedom
  • The Entrepreneur Wants More Money
  • The Entrepreneur Needs Time Management

If you haven't seen the series it is a wonderful way to see a situation in a simplicity form.

Stay tuned for Don't let the Entrepreneur hire Friends and Family.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Writing down your Bucket List

As entrepreneurs we have this internal clock that all the time in the world is given to us to work and build our businesses. Nothing is further from the truth and the quickest way to come to terms with that is to create a bucket list.

Some entrepreneurs resent the idea of a bucket list because it may appear to be pessimistic or morbid. On the contrary a bucket list is an inventory on all the dreams you have - the ones you have achieved - and the ones you are yet to achieve.

One of my favorite sites is bucketlist a site where you can document your bucket list and see others that have achieved their bucket list. Essentially a bucket list is your lifetime goals. The goals that you hope to achieve before you die. The moments that keep us focused on the wonders of life.

I documented my bucket list with 92 goals, 77  that I have completed already and 15 goals that I am focused on achieving. The bucket list is not designed to write down every single mini goal but to really focus on those big goals that you need to achieve in life to feel fulfilled. Some of the goals I have achieved have been a dream come true.

My all time favorite bucket list goals

1. I remember when I achieved my lifetime goal of visiting South Africa. I remember pinching myself to make sure I was alive and experiencing the moment.

2 .Having a family and being a parent is another bucket list as I had a hard time getting pregnant.

3. Graduating with a Masters Degree

4.  Italy with Cameron

5. Visiting Thailand

6. Writing for Entrepreneur Magazine

7. Purchasing my own office

Each of these goals could have taken a lifetime to achieve. It wasn't easy and require determination and focus. What are you doing to move forward on your bucket list?

What do you want to achieve?
Do you have a dream to travel somewhere exotic?
Perhaps experience a new adventure?
Learn a new language?

Being in business is about doing what you live and achieving the idea of freedom -

You need to think about the goals you want to achieve and write them down.
Countless studies have proven that when we write down goals we are likely to achieve those goals.

Here is a guarantee - one year from today I will have achieved one or more of my bucket list goals. How do I know that? Easy - I am focused on achieving them.

See you at the top

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Lessons from a 5th Generation Entrepreneur - Family Comes First

Being a fifth generation entrepreneur and operating my own company for the last decade has been difficult on my family life. For the first five years of the business I put my business in front of my own family needs. I skipped dinners, shortened vacations, and combined family time with work time. I worked late hours and woke up early sacrificing a lot of healthy quality time.

For those that are aspiring to be business owners managing your time is one of the hardest achievements you can obtain. The goal is to have the business of your dream without sacrificing the family of your dream.  What I have learned through my own ups and downs with time is to never sacrifice your family in the name of a business. It is not worth it.

Today I was working out at the gym and the movie 'Click' was playing on my treadmill. The movie is based on a workaholic architect that finds a universal remote allowing him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. He realizes that his choice to work non stop eventually cost him his family.  In the scene below he races to stop his son from following in his footsteps. He tells his son to go on the honeymoon - family comes first - before he dies.

I cried over and over with this scene because it hits so close to home. So many times as entrepreneurs we give up memories so we can make new memories but we forget how precious those moments are in real time. Every second is lost if not cherished. Every moment cannot be replaced.   Let me put it into a clearer perspective. My son is three and loves me so much. He asks me to read to him every night. I presume that by the age of ten he may outgrow that request so that leaves him with seven years or 2555 moments when I will get to hear him ask me to read him a story. That is not a lot of moments. Those moments are the ones that we want to keep closer to our hearts.  They cannot be replaced with any amount of money.

Live your dreams and build your businesses but along the way cherish your family, reach out to your friends, and honor your health because reaching the top of the mountain is lonely if no one is there to share your joy. While I can't fix my mistakes I can move forward as a better business owner with a new awareness. Every morning I wake up and thank my kids and my husband for being a part of my life and thank the universe that I was given the gift of parenting and marriage.  Build your family into your business plan and you can create your business dream without sacrificing your family.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dreams do come True with the Right Ingredients!

Twenty years ago I began reading Entrepreneur Magazine. I was fascinated about every article that fell across my eyes and mesmerized with the possibilities that so many entrepreneurs had already achieved.  Being a fifth-generation entrepreneur I knew that the need to be an entrepreneur went through my veins but building a business was still a long journey uphill. 

One day as I was sifting through the articles I decided to put 'Writing for Entrepreneur Magazine' on my bucket list. This would be one of my goals before I died. I wanted to write for the magazine that had given me dozens of ideas and inspiration over the years.

There were three things I had to accomplish before I could achieve this bucket list goal. 

Number One: Master Your Art. 
I had to master my knowledge and experience in the field and be recognized as an expert. For some that may take 10,000 hours, 10 years, or a lifetime. It is not the amount of hours that determine if you are an expert but what you do in those hours that define your level of knowledge and expertise and define you as an expert. 


Number Two: Master your Customers Needs
 I had to understand my target audience and what was important for them to learn. Having studied the funding cycle for small businesses for a decade I knew a lot about the ins and outs of finding funds and I felt it was necessary to share my knowledge with the entire world.

Number Three: Find your Mentors
I had to have a mentor guide me through the process or provide insight. Every successful entrepreneur has one or more mentors. Nobody succeeds alone. Even if they tell you they succeeded alone that is never the case. They may have been given an opportunity, a door opened for them, someone guided them through the process, or gave them sound advice.

Now the first two are really something I am responsible for-- since I have to develop my craft and I have to understand my audience but the third part of the equation brings in the magic of connecting to the community. It is those rare people that find the time to mentor and shine their wisdom on others. It is those mentors that see the richness you can bring to the world and open a path for you to share that wisdom.

Today all three of these came together and I was able to check off another item from my bucket list. Today Entrepreneur Magazine published my article and I felt like the clouds opened up to share their rain with me. Today I wrote to my mentor and thanked him for making one of my dreams come true. I expressed I am forever grateful for more than he will ever know.

Now some naysayers may say "I was just lucky"!,  "I got a break!, "I was in the right place - right time" and I would say they are absolutely wrong. There was no luck, no break, or no right place right time happening hear. I purposely have been focused on this dream for twenty years.

What is here is persistence, persistence, and persistence with the belief that one day the dream would come to fruition. I didn't waiver from the dream, throw it out of my bucket list after five years or ten years, I just kept focused on the end goal determined to achieve it before I died.  It could have happened when I was 80 I would still be as giddy as I am today.

How many dreams have you put to the wayside?
How many dreams have you given up after some time?
How many dreams did you just justify as a lost cause?
Why have you stopped dreaming? 


I am here to tell you that dreams come true. I am here to tell you that if you are trying to find the funds to build your company, or trying to find the doors to new opportunities, or trying to find a way to make your small business dream come true then start finding your mentors and mastering your craft.  There are mentors out there waiting for you to take the first step and ask for help. That is what I did. Thank you to my mentor Stephen. Forever I will be grateful to you for believing in me. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Everything in business and life is about Negotiation and Persuasion

If you think that negotiation happens now and then with business you are fooling yourself. Every decision, every action, every thought, every experience is about negotiation. Sometimes we are negotiating with our thoughts - should we do this or should we do that. Sometimes we are negotiating with others on small things - like moving the meeting by five minutes, having someone help you out when they are busy themselves, or persuading someone to see it from your perspective.

This week I have been in search of a housecleaning company. It is not an easy decision as you have to do your due diligence.  I spent time looking at their website, reading their references, determining if the company was licensed and bonded.

Here is how the negotiate went with the cleaning company

Company Negotiation 1: We will come bring two people to clean your house. It makes us more efficient. It will take 2.5 hours and we charge $125.00. We can come weekly.

Me: Negotiation 1: Well while I appreciate that you want to be efficient with your time - it is not efficient with my checkbook. $ 125.00 is not possible for a weekly cleaning. I want something long-term. I prefer only one cleaner come instead of two.

Company: Negotiation 2: We bring two people for safety reasons. One person going into a home is not safe - but two people are so if you'd like we can reduce it to two hours $ 100.00 per week.

Me - Negotiation 2: Safety is important for everyone so I understand your concerns. I think it is fair for you to bring two people the first time to determine if this is a safe home. If you want to consider safety you can due some due diligence/background check on me and after you meet me and my children you can determine if safety is an issue. If it is not an issue we can discuss one person and not too people.

Company: Negotiation 3: Ok but I bring two people so I can help other workers that need the money. Perhaps you can get another bid from another company.

Me- Negotiation 3: It is great you want to help other people out and so getting long-term consistent customers that will use your service every single week is helping them out. If I wanted anther company I would have gone to another company - I want to work with your company.

Company: Comment with no negotiation Ok well we want to work with you as well.

Me - Negotiation 4 and close the first milestone of the deal: Why don't we do this - I would like to pay for you to drive to our home - meet my family and see our home. We can then figure out if 1 or 2 people is best and finalize a price that fits your business needs and my checkbook needs.  By the way here are some photos of my family in case you had some safety concern.

Company: Negotiation 4: Thank you for making this personal. I agree with this option and am looking forward to working with you. I will call you tomorrow to set up a time to visit you at your home and negotiate a price that fits both of us.

So in this situation it was not about closing the 'end deal' it was about closing a milestone so we can get to a position to deal. All I wanted was for the company to agree about coming to the home and figuring out a win/win solution. I knew that trying to negotiate with a stranger on time, consistency, and price would be quite difficult without building a personal frame of reference to the customer, the safety issue, and the concerns both sides were sharing.

So how many of us are actively negotiating and persuading daily? I think most of us negotiate and persuade daily but few of us understand how to do it correctly. It takes consistent experience to build strong negotiation and persuasion skills. In many ways it is no different then building a different muscle in the body.  Working out every day leads to stronger stamina and better health. Negotiating actively daily uses a different muscle that helps you guide through life easier because you are acutely aware of the constant reluctance being thrown at you and you can handle it.

So whether it is your spouse refusing to do the dishes, or a customer saying no to a product, or a bank declining your loan there is always room for negotiation and it doesn't mean you have to negotiate to the end goal -it means you negotiate to the next step that brings you both closer to a win/win.

Whenever I am finding the funds for others or teaching them how to find the funds I am always incorporating negotiation and persuasion in the equation. Well everyone loves a great product or service - part of that greatness comes from you convincing others that it is better then what is out there and they need/wante the product/service.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Magic of Persistence Taught by a Three-year old

Over the last fifteen years I have consulted, advised, trained or supported more than 5000 entrepreneurs in their pursue of the Global Dream. It is no longer an American Dream to be your own boss it is a Global Dream. The opportunity to do what you want - when you want it - and how you want it. The challenge though in reaching those dreams is flagged with constant persistence of milestones. Often entrepreneurs show up tired and hungry from the pursuit of success. Usually the words they share involve a consistent theme.

" I have been selling my product/service for years and I can't make a living"
" I have spent hours creating the best product/service why is no one buying?
"Honestly I don't know what is wrong with people -they need my product and service".
" There is no problem with my product or service I just can't find the right customers".
" Look if it was so easy to achieve success everyone would be rich - I am just waiting for my turn".

There is a science and magic to being in business. The science is understanding your product or service and positioning it to compete in the marketplace. The magic though is riddled within the constraints of the entrepreneur. It is the ability to be persistent. The ability to wake up everyday and hustle. To walk away from every 'No' with the belief that 'Yes' is right around the corner if  you can just hold on a little bit more.

My three-year old seems to have mastered the art of persistence with no formal training. Typically at least 3-4 times per week he will convince me to do something that I originally said 'No' to at least five or more times.

A scenario usually goes like this:
Marin: Mom can I have a lollipop?
Mom: No Marin! You can't have a lollipop right now?   (reluctance 1)
Marin: But Mom I want a lollipop.
Mom: I know Marin but it is getting late and we have to go to bed soon so no lollipop. (r 2)
Marin: Whah! Why can't I have a lollipop?
Mom: Marin I told you that its too late to have a lollipop. (r3)
Marin: Boo Hoo! I want my lollipop!
Mom: Marin mommy loves you so much but you can't have the lollipop. (r4)
Marin: Boo Hoo! Dad ....Dadddy - mommy won't give me a lollipop.
Dad:  Kedma can you give Marin the lollipop?
Mom: No - I told him he can't have the lollipop.   (r5)
Dad: Come on it is just a lollipop.
Mom: I know it is just a lollipop but we are going to bed soon . (r6)
Marin: Mom --please can I have the lollipop?
Mom: Ok Marin - here is the lollipop (sale completed)

So in this scenario it took 6 reluctance for me to finally agree to the lollipop. The sales rep (Marin) continued to ask for the sale (lollipop). While there were some added persuasion measures (Dad stepped in to persuade) it is no different then a sales representative boss stepping in to give a better deal or position the deal better. Eventually the persistence outwore my reluctance and I gave in.

Having been a sales champion for fifteen years I can tell you that it takes an average of 5-10 reluctance to get a 'Yes' from a customer. Sure sometimes it is easier but the rule of thumb is you can expect 5-10 no's on any deal. So why do entrepreneurs give up on the first or second 'no'? I have no idea except to presume they don't want to bother the customer, sell them something they don't need, or they feel a 'No' is a 'No'. A 'No' is a 'No' but its you job to continue to convince them that they need you. Children have built this mastery for years and all across the world children are getting their lollipops because they have understood the magic of persistence.

Finding the funds is no different. You will get No after No after No and eventually you will find a way to get a Yes maybe not from that customer right now but eventually a Yes will show up. So the next time you are faced with a 'No' ask yourself how bad do you want to taste that lollipop and keep going until it is in your possession and you are walking away with the deal.