By Mari Wils
There are so many tips and books written that help people find ways to create a successful and sustainable business. The following eleven steps will serve you well on your way to fulfilling your dreams to make a living at what you love!
Identify Your Product
1. Whether it’s a service or a whatsit, be clear and keep it focused.
Find Your Market
2. Identify Your Market. I also refer to this ‘your tribe’. Are YOU part of your tribe? If this is your first business it may help to be pedaling something that you would personally use and hopefully it’s a service or something that you need. You’ll have better ideas as to how to make it the most useful if you yourself are your first customer. Your passion for your product will be automatically present and quickly felt by your potential customers…your tribe.
3. Research Your Tribe. Learn everything you can about them. Learn about how to identify your tribe. A great book for this is called Tribes by Seth Godin. Create a survey and send it out to everyone you know. You can gather amazingly helpful information from people. Be open minded and able to listen to the feedback. And of course, make sure you target a wide range of people both in and out of your ‘tribe’.
You Are Not Alone
4. Create an Advisory Board. Reach out to various types of successful professionals who already know you and like you, people who would be willing to support you as you build your concept or business from scratch. You’re going to need a lot of favors, a lot of free advice and wise suggestions. Perhaps the first person on your advisory board should be an attorney. Think of all the aspects you’ll need such as legal, accounting, operations, technology etc. Also, having an advisory board shows prospective investors and customers you’re serious and have a good support team. You can also potentially tap into the networks of your advisory board for customers or financial backing.
5. Test Your Concept. Test the waters with at least 10 people, ideally people IN your tribe, but sometimes it’s informative to find a non-customer because they may think your idea is terrific but just not for them. If no one thinks it’s a cool idea then consider why that could be.
6. Be Willing To Adapt. Being able to change or to sway your idea depending on information and feedback you gather in this market research process is important. There’s a balance to sticking true to your original vision and allowing the marketplace to indicate what it’s needs are.
Take Your Time
7. Take Baby Steps! This is the biggest tip that I have received in my entrepreneurial adventures. This is arguably the toughest advice to heed but it’s SO worthwhile to take your time with decisions and plans. Again there’s a balance to be attained here but if you can sleep on a decision, whether it’s your company’s name, the logo design, what dot com you’ll register or what partner you bring on, take an overnight to let it ruminate and get referrals from friends. Speaking of partners…
8. Be Very Mindful Of Bringing On Equity Partners. Did you get that? Let me repeat it slowly: Be. Very. Mindful. Of. Bringing. On. Equity. Partners. Take your time. Get to know someone. Do major due diligence including deep background checks. A great place to check in with is RipOffReport.com. This also means spending time, lunches, dinners, meetings, good faith work, for at least nine months before you get married. Uh huh. I said ‘get married’ because that’s what bringing on a business partner is - your business husband or your wife. Extricating yourself from that person when things go South can be a debilitating, health threatening and extremely costly process. Do it carefully and if it all possible not at all. Do as much as you can yourself. Offering equity instead of pay isn’t a smart option if you can help it at all. You may have the brilliant idea to give someone equity in exchange for performing such consulting duties as legal, accounting, designing, strategic or capital finding. I beg you not to go down this road. Find the money to pay them for their services. Take longer building your business, but build a business that YOU own. Find an investor or someone to loan you money to pay for these initially required aspects to the business. Get a second or a third job to pay for it if you have to. If you get entangled with someone who proves to be less than worthy you are stuck with them forEVER. Unless you go through legal proceedings to nullify a contract with them. Remember, any legal activity to hold up a contract will cost you big time, so contracts aren’t absolute protection. Getting rid of a lousy 5% owning business consultant could EASILY cost you over $50,000 and take your emotional and business mojo down for six months or more.
9. Read, Read, Read And Learn, Learn, Learn. Here’s a great book: The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman and a must read: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.
Find Your Passion
10. Pursue Your Passion. Try to find a business that you are so passionate about that you are kept up at night with excitement and ideas for it. When times get tough you will need the fuel that such passion energy happily provides.
11. Be grateful. Be generous. Meditate. And walk. Learning to meditate, walking, being grateful and generous is an excellent way to keep your stress in check and your positive force in top gear. Take a drive to the most beautiful neighborhood in your area and enjoy a good long walk. There are many places to learn to meditate. Find a Vedic Meditation teacher in your area. I learned from Will Dalton and Thom Knoles but you can learn from any meditation teacher who rings your bell!
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Oh, the holidays….full of family, friends, fun and yes, the other f-word: food! While this time of year is a joyful culmination of all these things, it can also be overwhelming, so it’s important pace yourself and make sure you’re not overdoing it. From the grocery and gift shopping to the social engagements, we have a tendency to run ourselves ragged during these last two months of the year. Here are a few tips on how to stay sane this holiday, and stay focused on fun.
1. Personal Pep Talk
Start the holiday season with a nice little pep talk. Tell yourself that you are not going to let this season stress you out, but that you will take it by the reigns and control everything at your own pace. Self-motivation is one of the best methods to making sure you are maintaining your own personal sanity. You might even try a little meditation – if it’s not something you do often, you’d be surprised at how effective this is in managing stress levels and calming down all of your inner thoughts.
2. Manage Expectations
This is the time of year when we all try to tap into our inner Wonder Woman. But let’s face it, as much as we all want to hop into our red, white and blue one-piece, we need to manage expectations. Not only our own, but the expectations of others around us as well. You can’t go to five parties in one night, you can’t buy EVERYONE’s child a gift and you can’t spend time with each and every family member and friend this holiday. So alleviate the stress and feeling the burden of trying to meet everyone’s expectations and lay it out ahead of time. Tell your family exactly where you’re going to be this year, discuss gifts in advance (Secret Santa, gift exchange, etc.) and most importantly make sure you’re doing what YOU want to do – not what others want you to do!
3. It’s Still About YOU
The hustle and bustle of prepping for the holidays can be very stressful. It’s important to take a moment to yourself to just chill. Whether it’s getting a few chapters in of that book you’ve been trying to read for months, or taking a nice spa day to get a massage, it’s vital to your own sanity that you’re taking this “me time” out during the holidays. Be careful not to get consumed in everyone else’s holiday drama.
4. Move Around
Though it may be the last thing you want to think about, it’s important that you get your exercise in this holiday. Staying active, believe it or not, will help cut down on stress levels and make you a happier person. Don’t underestimate the things you’re already doing on a regular basis, as they are likely great forms of exercise. From bouncing around with your children to taking the dog for a run, there are tons of fun ways to exercise that don’t involve the treadmill.
5. Release Your Social Butterfly
While you’re running around to all of the different holiday parties this season, remember to actually socialize. Our minds are usually running a mile a minute, so it’s important that you take the time to actually enjoy the party, the people and the atmosphere. Don’t let your thoughts about what you’re wearing to the next one, or what gift you’re going to buy your BFF consume you. Just drop all of that and tap into the present – enjoy the people around you and focus on the social aspects of the party.
6. Portion Control
While you’re busy hitting up all of those holiday parties this year, make sure you’re not making plates with heaping portions for yourself at each event. Try to eat sensibly! Whether you know it or not, the calories add up - and quickly! Try to keep your portions manageable and of course, it’s okay splurge every now and then. So if you love sweet potatoes/yams, go ahead and get an extra serving, just be careful not to overdo it. Believe me, you’ll regret it in January when you’re making your News Year’s resolution to lose that pesky holiday weight.
7. Shop Online
For many of us, the last place we want to end up is in the crowded mall or grocery store this season. But alas we all know, it has to be done...or does it? In 2012 you can do just about any and everything online – and I mean anything. Avoid the madness that ensues during the weeks leading up to the holidays by simply clicking your way through those grocery and gift lists this season. Amazon.com has just about any and everything you need and most major grocery store chains have online shopping options available for either delivery or pick-up from your local grocer. Very handy tip to give yourself a lot of extra time this year for other, more important things!
8. Stay Hydrated
While this may seem like a very logical tip, it is often overlooked and causes overeating. How, you ask? Well, surprisingly enough, thirst can be mistaken for hunger which increases the likelihood of snacking, eating more than you need to and even binging at parties with a plate that’s twice the calories you need in a day. So drink up! Try to travel with a water bottle or some sort of refillable thermos so you’re keeping your body hydrated and not “starved.”
9. Avoid Depression
While this may be one of the “jolliest” times of the year, for some it can also be one of the roughest. From money problems to a lack of family and friends, it is important to keep current challenges in perspective and stay positive and upbeat. If you have a friend that may be away from home, invite them to join your family for dinner – you have no idea how welcome it makes other feel. You could be saving someone’s holiday with a simple invitation. A great way to avoid slipping into a depression about money is to do it yourself! Creating gifts that you have made yourself is probably one of the most personal and heartfelt gifts you can give someone. Head to your local arts and crafts store and get busy!
10. Enjoy Yourself
Don’t forget what all of this is for – to be merry! So at the end of the day, just kick back and enjoy yourself. If you’re around the people you love, that is all that matters. Take the time to catch up with friends and family, talk about fun things you want to do next year, trips you want to take - even make some fun plans. Whatever you do, just let it all go and for once in your life (or at least once a year), just enjoy the moment!
These tips should guide you into the holidays with ease – good luck!
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"You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone, which can become a watered-down, occasional hope that you'll get to tomorrow. Intention without action is useless." -Caroline Myss
Let’s take a moment this month, as often as possible, to realize and manifest and to demonstrate our Magnificence. Yes, the magnificent beings we are individually, as well as collectively.
I offer this guide to going within and identifying and awakening that authentic power within each of us that remains waiting to be utilized for our highest and best good, our purpose, NOW!
Fear and doubt hold on to the past. They know only what used to be and what was desired. They know what worked before and what did not. They know what other people have done.
What fear and doubt do not know is how things are right now, what newness is surrounding you, what possibilities are sparkling around you that have never existed before this very moment. On this, they are completely ignorant.
And since life is all change and newness, this is exactly what you need to know to access your higher good and be truly free and happy, excited to live your life every day, and pursue new goals with enthusiasm. Nothing is ever the way it was. What failed yesterday could succeed today. What was a success yesterday could be a failure today.
All is change and all is new. Every moment creating the next moment, all flowing out in newness and discovery, in this great adventure of life.
So…be open to the new!
Use the knowledge and wisdom that you have accumulated over the years, use your talents and skills, of course. But leave behind the old views of what is needed to make your way today, for it is not necessarily the same action as what worked for others, or the same as what worked earlier for you.
Go deep, deep into your center. See the flame that burns there: the light of love. Let that light expand, and expand, until it clears your body and mind of fear and doubt. Let it glow within you until you feel cleansed and new, until all worry and anxiety are cleared away from your body and mind.
And now ask:
How shall I approach my life today?
How shall I approach this particular person… this situation?
And be open to the answer. If it comes in words or pictures, in feelings or in a flash of knowing, write it down, for the impression may fade over time.
Use your intuition and your connection in this way, reaching above and beyond the narrow confines of fear and doubt, into the wider reaches of a deep connection with all that is.
You have the ability to know, at whatever way knowing is communicated to you, all that is at this moment, and all that is likely to be. You have guidance and love surrounding you in every moment, waiting for you to pay attention.
So pay attention.
Remove the blinders of fear and doubt and look around.
Look around at what is. Look around at what is needed and how you can serve.
Raise your attention up into your highest levels and access the guidance that is there for you.
Your higher self and the universe are one, and at this level, your success and welfare are deeply desired. Everything you need to reach a state of grace is made available to you in every moment.
Everything you are intended to do - and be - is there surrounding you and deeply within you. Everything is known and you can access all of this knowledge.
Use your intuition! Use your faith! Use your ability to connect through meditation and contemplation. Tap into it all and the steps before you will light up, and your path will be made clear!
Then just take a deep breath fill yourself with love and faith and step forward...NOW!
And So it is…Now!!!
To our health, well-being & empowerment together!
With Love & Blessings!
"There is a mighty Power within you. There is that Spirit of Life, Light, and Love. The more you feast on these ideas and fast from old corrosive ones, the closer you experience the Life you desire."
-Frank Richelieu, The Art of Being Yourself
Rhonda M. Farrah M.A., DRWA Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, and Spiritual Teacher is dedicated to the practice of Health & Wellness Empowerment, assisting individuals in developing life strategies to help them help themselves. Rhonda’s Health & Wellness Empowerment Coaching includes programs that allow us to become as healthy, fit and trim…in body, mind and Spirit…as we choose to be. Rhonda advocates all Wellness…Personal, Physical, Environmental, & Financial Wellness…NOW!
Rhonda M. Farrah, MA, DRWA
The Wellness Institute International
Call toll free 888.770.7370
Speak Up, The World Is Listening!
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Well, that New Year shine has probably worn off the penny by now. It seems that the further we get from that night full of hope, midnight kisses, party hats and champagne, the more things make their way from Happy New Year to just...Year. Life gets back to normal and that January 1st blank slate promise is worse for the wear thanks to things like the January cold and that universal malaise called Valentine’s Day.
My desk is the perfect example. I make a point to start each year with my desk looking exactly the way I think it should look for maximum productivity and creativity. Of course, someone had to go and invent Post-Its, so now it’s covered with those, each one representing a task that I haven’t yet managed to get to. Every pen I pick up is dead. My printer’s already out of ink. It’s a perfect storm, a swirling tornado of my inner voice mocking me and telling me I can’t handle things that seem so easy for everyone else.
Well, if your inner voice is bringing you down, let your outer voice tell it to shut up. If that doesn’t work, here’s a brief arsenal of weapons in the fight against negativity.
Spring Clean Your Mind
Are you already angry at yourself for not running those three miles a day you resolved to on December 31st? How about all that wine you’ve been drinking on the weekdays when you promised yourself you’d stick to weekend indulgences only? You already screwed up, why bother trying? 2012 is just like every other year after all. Take that, Mayan Calendar.
But wait! Spring cleaning is like an erase, rewind, and start over for those resolutions you have probably cheated on, broken or maybe even forgotten. Spring cleaning isn’t just about cleaning out your make-up drawer or filling bags for Goodwill, it’s about sweeping the dust bunnies out of the corners of your mind and refreshing your attitude. Even just five minutes a day dedicated to sitting quietly, clearing your mind and imagining the positivity you want to bring into your life can make a huge difference. This is easier said than done, believe me! I make a conscious effort to set aside even just three minutes, and sometimes days go by before I get a chance to try it again. As spiritualist author Mike Dooley says “Thoughts become things!” So, even if I don’t get a chance to…meditate (I don’t like using that word—that just makes it sound harder)…I still watch what I’m thinking and making sure those thoughts are ‘clean.’ Clean as in positive, that is.
Although cleaning out your closet and making donations to Goodwill also feels good.
This sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed, if you really started listening to your friends, how one whiny complaint can infiltrate a conversation like a virus, everyone jumping on the bandwagon, comparing woes and telling sad stories.
Ironically a former co-worker and I noticed this as we were having drinks at Happy Hour one day. We discovered we had spent our entire Happy Hour discussing everything we hated about our jobs, getting angrier and more resentful, ordering more and more margaritas. We challenged each other to go an entire day, the next day, without complaining.
We lasted until 9:38 a.m. when the UPS guy returned a crushed package with a missing destination label.
But we tried again, and again, and each day we got better at it. I don’t think we ever went a full day, to be honest, but being aware of our attitudes, outlook, and reaction to things really made a difference.
Take Care Of Yourself
Most negativity stems from feeling out of control. Negativity at the aforementioned job stemmed from hypocrisy in upper management. Boom. That was definitely something I couldn’t control. There’s not enough time in the day to do everything on my Post-Its. Sadly, I’ve discovered that I can’t control time. The sense of panic that comes with feeling helpless generates a lot of stress and unspent energy.
Something you can control is how you take care of yourself. Even the most minimal of exercise can make a difference. For one thing, it can help you design a routine, which in turn can help you prioritize your time and feel some sense of order. Additionally, you’ll expend some of that nervous energy, release endorphins, all that good stuff.
You can also control what you eat. Eating healthfully is the best way to prove to yourself that you’re worth the time it takes to learn about what to eat, what not to eat, what’s going to cause a sugar crash, what’s going to make you jittery during a morning meeting, and so on. It’s a way to show yourself (and others, for that matter) that you respect yourself. Self respect is the atom bomb in the arsenal against that inner critic. In fact, once you respect yourself, you’ll care less about the opinions of others, which is the ultimate self-control.
There’s a second part to Mike Dooley’s “Thoughts become things” quote above: it’s “Choose the good ones.” Considering we’re all human and the mind is a slippery eel, flitting here and there, reacting to all sorts of outside influences, this is the important part of the quote. No one masters the mind to the extent that only positivity comes through. Giving into that negative voice is admittedly the easy way out short term, but in the big picture, the simple gesture of awareness of the direction and mood of your thoughts can make all the difference in your world.
When it comes to making positive changes in your life (say, at the beginning of the new year), I’m a firm believer that you have to start with a vision board.
A vision board is something that I read about years ago in The Secret. I love that book because it’s all about harnessing the power of positive thinking. I always say I’m the luckiest girl, and my good luck seems to bring on more good luck. In the past year, I definitely started utilizing the principles of “The Secret” more and more, and I definitely feel like I’m coming out on top.
A vision board is simply a poster where you put pictures from magazines or the Internet that represent what you truly want. The idea behind it is that if you surround yourself with images of what you truly want – whether in terms of love, money, location, or career – you’re openly asking the universe to send those things your way and you will attract them. It’s a little different from posting pictures of things that inspire you. This is more like a universal wish list.
Most people who have a vision board have a story of how it’s worked for them. Well, when I worked at ELLE Magazine, we had a big vision board in the office. My addition to the board was a picture of sea foam green pointy-toe Manolos. We got shoes in the office months before they were available in stores, so I started lusting after these back at Christmas. I snapped a picture of them when we had them in the office and printed it out to put on the board.
Aaaaannnd…I got the shoes at a humongous discount through a PR friend on my last day at the office! Unbeknownst to me, she had set the sample aside for me when I mentioned how much I loved them months earlier. That’s the power of believing! This was definitely not the only time I’ve gotten something from my vision board, but that’s the most fun thing.
Most of the images on my vision board go deeper than a pair of pumps, but you can put anything on it that you believe you want or need. The point is to truly want it. So before you make your vision board, think about what it is you really want and where you really are at this point in your life.
To make a vision board you need:
- A nice poster board or bulletin board
- Magazines that will contain images of things you want (Do you need a travel magazine or a fitness magazine? “Forbes” or “Vogue” or “Entertainment Weekly?”)
- A glue stick or thumb tacks
- Scrapbook paper or fabric if you want to get fancy!
Start by tearing out pictures of things you want. Don’t worry if they don’t seem to relate. It’s just nice to see a hard representation of things that strike you. Once you have a collection of images, choose the things that you truly want. Remember, you can take it in any direction. You can put very specific representations of what it is you want, like a house or a job; if you aren’t sure, just pick things that strike your fancy. You can also give it a theme and make it all about health or career or your personal life. Be picky though – don’t put up tons of ridiculous and expensive items just for kicks; put up the one specific thing that means something to you.
Before you put your pictures onto the board with the glue or thumb tacks, you can cover it with paper or fabric that you like or that represents you. I divided mine into four quadrants and used a different color for each. I love themes, so I used colors and patterns that represented my specific goals.
As a finishing touch, you should add a picture of yourself feeling truly happy–right in the center–because ultimately, you’re asking for happiness. You can have the dream job or the Manolos, but if you aren’t happy, it means nothing. Put your vision board somewhere where you can see it, and then just believe in it! But don’t start whining you haven’t gotten your Chanel bag or engagement ring yet. When you ask for something and are truly positive in what you’re attracting, trust me – these things will find their way to you!
A vision board is a way to declare and display what you want. You deserve to get everything your heart desires. Looking at my vision board makes me feel positive and happy – almost as positive and happy as getting what I ask for!
A lot of us don’t pay attention to the spiritual realm until something goes wrong, kind of like the way people become religious on their death beds. “Dear Lord, I know I didn’t pray much during my life, but if there’s a Heaven, could you let me in?” It’s worth a try, right?
On the heels of some huge changes in my life, at one time I found myself searching for a connection beyond my material world. I started reading about how to meditate, which I quickly realized is a lot harder than it looks! On the outside I appeared to be a calm woman in lotus position breathing in and out, but on the inside my mind was racing with thoughts. In order to calm these thoughts, I learned many techniques such as imagining each thought floating away in a balloon, or drifting away from me along the current of a river.
Eventually I was able to ‘get quiet’ as the books say and look inside myself. Once I hit that stride and made a connection between the universe and myself, it became joyful and easy to create peace in my life, and even manifest material things that previously eluded me. If you’ve done it yourself, you know what I mean when I say that this feeling is addictive. It feels great to be centered, grounded and at home in your own skin. So naturally I began to look for ways to ‘up’ my meditation game.
It turns out that the easiest way to organically improve meditation is with crystals! But as a life-long cynic very recently trained in the most basic of spiritual acts, I still had some eye-rolling left in me. Crystals? Really? I immediately pictured my 1970’s childhood and this hippie friend of my mom’s who used to come over on Sundays wearing a kaftan and carrying a large clear pointy crystal in her hand. Would I finally understand what that crystal was all about?
I found myself searching the Internet for where to buy crystals, not quite knowing what I was after, then zeroing in on a local store that seemed to have all my spiritual needs in one place. I ended up with a chunk of clear quartz and another amethyst stone as I learned that these two gems are good ‘starter’ crystals. The woman who sold them to me owns three magic wands, so I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s talking about.
Which Crystal To Get?
It turns out from my research that clear quartz is one of the most powerful crystals in existence, used to expand the mind to touch the spirit world. Its transparency represents the window to the soul as it promotes tapping into vital emotional energy. Clear quartz is also said to help other crystals become more activated in their powers.
Amethyst, which means “without drunkenness” in Greek, helps you develop a ‘sober’ mind, one more easily aligned for meditative purposes. So these two in combination should allegedly have me manifesting all kinds of peace, prosperity and clarity! So far so good in my experience working with them.
Here are a few more types of crystals and their healing powers as a quick reference guide:
Blue Topaz is widely sought after for its tension-relieving healing powers and its ability to activate the laws of attraction, drawing to you what you desire. You can use it to find your own path to attract peace, love and good health to your body.
The Red Ruby is said to work wonders on the flow of circulation. It’s a cleansing stone that brings self-love and encourages the body to reach its full potential.
Black Pearl or Onyx are protectors that defend against any negative energy that might be aimed at you. These dark crystals are said to fortify your positive energy and increase your self-confidence. Representing the absence of light, onyx sharpens the senses and brings you into the sensual world that is ruled by touch and feel, presumably giving you an ‘edge’ in the regular world.
Rose Quartz Crystal is one of the most popular crystals because it’s known to improve romantic love in your relationship. Its gentle vibrations are said to open your heart and bring you a youthful glow. It’s also a promoter of increased self-worth, universal love and fidelity.
Purple Sapphire is sometimes called the ‘stone of destiny,’ as sapphires are the symbol of heaven and pure joy. It is said to bring you closer to God, and is also associated with financial rewards.
Each type of crystal vibrates at a different frequency, and the vibrations in crystals resonate with areas that needs healing, or require energy to intensify an experience. This subatomic particle level factor seems to also explain why size doesn’t matter when it comes to crystals. A small crystal has the same vibrating properties as a large one.
Activate Your Crystal
When you purchase a crystal or one is given to you, there is a special way to ‘activate’ it. Think about what intention you want to set for your crystal, bring it out into the sunlight, and say the intention out loud while holding the crystal in the light. The bright light metaphorically ‘completes’ the crystal’s energy, as it’s been holed up underground for centuries. You’re adding some yin to the yang, and imposing a thought onto it as well.
For example, my amethyst stone I dedicated to improving my meditation and keeping me focused on my career goals. My rose quartz crystal I have dedicated to the health, healing and happiness of myself and my family.
But even if you can’t quite buy into the science stuff or the metaphysical jargon, there is a basic truth that when you have a focus for your meditation, it improves. Like the use of a mantra or ‘third eye’ visual object, it keeps your mind trained on the task at hand. And having a focused mind certainly can improve real life situations.
The thing about relaxation, mental clarity, awakening your ability to accept love, and other such things is that they don’t seem important to you until you realize you’re living without them. Crystals can help you find your center and get your priorities straight.
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