A Vacation for the Entrepreneur

June 2nd, 2009
Filed in: Lifestyle

When I was in corporate America, it was so easy to take a vacation – I was getting paid for it! As an entrepreneur, I find months slip away and I’m still going full speed ahead. “Who’s got time for a vacation?” is a phrase I hear often from my clients and friends. What is this costing us?…We may become grumpy or perhaps we get writers block and the creative juice aren’t flowing. Or worse yet, we start suffering from the entrepreneur’s worst nightmare — fatigue (five cups of coffee later and you still can’t get in gear.) It is time to give yourself a break. For those of you who have great discipline and balance, you can stop reading now. You have probably already mastered this area. For those of you who rarely take time for yourself, let alone a vacation from the business, take good notes.

Why is this important? Because as an entrepreneur our most important and valuable skill is our creativity. And creativity flourishes when we are rested. Have you ever noticed that our best ideas come at times like when we are sleeping or in the shower? Maybe you are like me and they drop in when you are driving? Well, to tap into that cherished creativity more often, we need to have downtime. Let me introduce the idea of the “entrepreneur’s vacation.” You may not have the time or inclination to go to Yosemite or Las Vegas, so here are 10 ways to give yourself a “mini-vacation” without losing momentum from your business. (And all ten are doable no matter what you say about your schedule.)

1. Read a good book. No not another marketing or leadership book. Be really audacious – read a fiction book. Recently, I’ve been into Ken Follet. Maybe you are more of a Harry Potter fan. Or be real decadent and just read a trashy novel. Anything that will let your imagination run free and the creativity flow.

2. Hang out in a coffee shop. You’ll meet the most interesting people (especially in L.A.) I’ve run into Dr. Phil, Robert Downey Jr., and many others. Coffee shops are great for people watching. You can’t throw a wet noodle without hitting a Starbucks around here so I prefer the “local” places (like Aroma Café in Sherman Oaks.)

3. Go for a drive. Pick a place you haven’t been before. I’ll often jump in the car and drive down to the beach just to get my head clear.

4. Have lunch with a friend. You know, at one of those fancy, chi-chi restaurants with the great view. I highly recommend Shutters in Santa Monica if you are in the neighborhood.

5. Go to a mid-day matinee. Be really adventurous and make it a 2:00 showing. Plus it’s a great way to escape the summer heat waves.

6. Enjoy a hobby. Golf, tennis, knitting, painting, gardening, whatever it is, give yourself some time to have fun with it. Internet surfing and chat rooms don’t count! (But planting a few house plants does!)

7. Play games with friends. Two of our family favorites are Guesstures and Balderdash. Games are an amazing way to let off steam. The idea is to laugh like a kid again.

8. Get some culture. Most towns have outdoor concerts for the summer that are free. Visit a museum. The Getty in West Los Angeles is a good one. Be a tourist in your own town.

9. Spend the afternoon with a child. If you don’t have any of your own, borrow one from a friend. Do something you would never do unless you were with a five year old! Make a fort in the living room couch or play hair salon. My 7 year old niece loves to make me look silly with weird ponytails and clips. Remember how fun that was?

10. Treat yourself to a spa day. My personal favorite – massage. It is something that is good for EVERYONE! If you are really looking to decompress, head out to a spa weekend. A few of my favorites are: Palm Desert Marriott Hot Springs, The Bacara in Santa Barbara or a more reasonably priced spa is The Oaks at Ojai, California.

When my clients get stressed out, I give them an assignment to take time off. It always works like a charm! The pay off for taking breaks can be significant. Writers who suffer from writers block often say that the best thing to do is disengage for a while and do something else.

When you notice you are reading the same sentence over and over again or when you sit staring at the computer for over 15 minutes, trying to remember what you were just working on, it’s time to take a break! Have fun with it and just enjoy yourself for a few hours. I promise, nothing horrible will happen and you will be much more creative when you return.

So here’s an opportunity for you to integrate more time to tap into your creativity. Plan to do at least one of these 10 recommendations within the next week. Watch what happens. Realize how your energy is rejuvenated. Observe how much more productive you become when you take time for fun. Open your mind to the flow of creativity and new ideas. Pretty soon you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how nice an “entrepreneurs vacation” can be.

I’m often asked what are the top decisions I made over the course of my career that positioned me to leap forward quickly.

So I thought I’d share them with you real quick:

1. I run a business and I need to act accordingly. 

Up till that point, I made decisions based on lack, limitation and in my comfort zone. Once I committed fully to creating a thriving six figure business in my mind, I became willing to make bigger, more strategic decisions that propelled me forward.

2. Leverage was worth investing in.

Yes, in the beginning, putting the appropriate business model and starting to delegate tasks was scary. But I also knew it was *THE ONLY* way I would get to my desired outcome. And I wasn’t willing to play it safe. There was way too much at stake.

3. I needed a mastermind.

Luckily, I knew the value of a great mastermind early in my career so I joined one immediately. The power of having other entrepreneurs at a similar place in the journey was like a brain trust that challenged me to play bigger, got me access to knowledge and resources I never could have found on my own, and provided the much necessary catalyst to leap forward. 

So what 3 decisions do you need to make today to leap forward? I’d like to hear what they are!!

Oh, by the way, if you’d like to make those same three decisions but save about 75% of the headache and time that I had, then you want to check out my Fast Track to 6 Figure Lifestyle Business Masterminds.

I designed them especially for you. And if you join us today, you can still get access to the special bonuses:

* Bonus “Kick Start” Think Tank Call in May ($397 value)

* Bonus “Marketing Strategy” Session with your coach (only 2 left)

Plus if you register today and pay in full you’ll get one month free!

But that deal goes away today…so check out the program at http://www.fasttracktolifestylebusiness.com/Mastermind.html

I’m looking around the room at glassy-eyed stares. It is day three of a big marketing event where these entrepreneurs have been learning all kinds of new ideas, opportunities and strategies. I’ve been brought into help these entrepreneurs prioritize and focus on the right steps at the right time to get massive results.

I can tell I’ve got my work cut out for me because they are deep in overwhelm. Not because they aren’t capable, but because our brains can only handle so much before we shut down. Or worse yet, go into what I call Bright Shiny Object Syndrome – where we chase all the ideas that sound exciting and have absolutely no idea what will make money.

So I whip out one of my easy to follow formulas that I use with all my private clients to help them easily identify what the best opportunities are for them to pursue.

I’ll share it with you here:

First, ask yourself, if I say YES will it get me closer to my desired outcome?
Continue reading An Easy 3-Step Formula to STOP Overwhelm

Did you know your input is valuable?

March 24th, 2009
Filed in: Lifestyle

Hey, as a budding CEO of your business, it’s important to remember that asking your clients what THEY want is part of smart marketing.

So of course, that’s what I do when I design a new program.

Which leads to my quick question for you.

I’ve been thinking about doing something with The CEO Factor after my retreat (truth is everyone’s been telling me I’d be crazy not to).

But before I do, I’d really like your valuable input. Would you share your opinion with me real quick?

http://tinyurl.com/d4k88h

I really appreciate it…I promise it will be worth your while!

Melanie

Kelly O’Neil on The CEO Factor

March 12th, 2009
Filed in: Lifestyle

“The advice the Melanie has given me changed the direction of my business and my life! I now have a team, have been leveraging myself so much more and became happier and more profitable in the process”

- Kelly O’Neil, Million Dollar Marketing to the Affluent Coach: www.marketingtomillionaires.com

Discover 7 PROVEN Steps for Doubling – or even Tripling – Your Income, Serving More People in Less Time, and Putting More Freedom Back Into Your Life…Guaranteed! Register for this free teleclass at http://theceofactorretreat.com/preview/.

Discover 7 PROVEN Steps for Doubling – or even Tripling – Your Income, Serving More People in Less Time, and Putting More Freedom Back Into Your Life…Guaranteed! Register for this free teleclass series at http://theceofactorretreat.com/7steps/.

Remember to sign up for my FREE teleclass this THURSDAY march 5, 2009 at 5pm EST. Go to http://www.TheCEOFactorRetreat.com/7steps to save your spot.

Do you want to read the previous post in this series? Just go to http://tinyurl.com/acragp.

Now I’d like to continue on from where we left off yesterday. To read that post, go to http://tinyurl.com/acragp

Preparing Presentation Materials

Your presentation materials include:

  • Your script for your speech
  • Your handouts
  • Your PowerPoint slides
  • Other types of demo materials, raffle prizes, etc.

Continue reading How to Have a Successful Speaking Gig – Systemize Your Speaking Process (Part 2 of 2)

Do you want to read the previous post in this series? Just go to http://tinyurl.com/cmbaev.

Preparing to speak at an event is just as important as speaking at the event.

Over the years I’ve developed my own system for preparing for events, which includes checklists and process maps that my team uses to help us prepare for a speaking event. These materials have been shared with me by other mentors, experts and colleagues like Stephanie Frank, author of The Accidental Millionaire who received them from someone else. None have ever been copyrighted so I have no idea who to attribute the original checklists to.

Continue reading How to Have a Successful Speaking Gig – Systemize Your Speaking Process (Part 1 of 2)

Do you want to read the previous post in this series? Just go to http://tinyurl.com/adfh3a.

The idea of leveraging ALL of your opportunities means that when you speak you explore all the ways to invest a minimal amount of your time and energy wisely to achieve massive results. Rather than filling your calendar with every event that crosses your path, you select the “power opportunities” and maximize them. Speaking is a marketing strategy not a product in itself — unless you are Bill Clinton or Michael Jordan and get paid $25,000 per event.

Continue reading STEP 4: Leverage All Your Opportunities

Here’s part 3 to creating compelling presentations. Do you want to read the previous post in this series? Just go to http://tinyurl.com/anhwlt

If you don’t offer the audience an opportunity to buy your products or services then you are doing your audience a disservice. THEY NEED YOU! They may not know it yet, or they may have resistance to spending the money, but the bottom line is they need what you have to offer. That’s why they are there.

Continue reading STEP 3: Create Compelling Presentations That Sell (Part 3 of 3)

Last year I was watching a show called High Net Worth, which showcases all kinds of interesting ways that high income earners can create, manage and spend their wealth. A wealth advisor was being interviewed on proven strategies for wealthy people who want to grow their net worth. This woman shared a concept that stopped me in my tracks.

She said, “The problem with most wealthy people is they try to use the same strategies to grow their wealth that they did to make it in the first place.”

Hmmm. That definitely got me thinking. And what I realized is that many entrepreneurs have a similar problem. They try to grow their business into 6 figures and beyond with the same strategies that they started their business with.

And that is why they get stuck at a certain level of income. Because you can’t get to consistent, predictable 6 or 7 figure income doing what you did when you started your business in the first place.

Take my client Sam for example. Sam had a great online business in a very lucrative niche and he was making about $200,000 per year. But what he had to do to get to that level of income was work his butt off. He worked110 hour weeks had a lot of stress and constantly felt that he could never get to everything on his plate.
Continue reading 3 Tell-Tale Signs You Are Using The Wrong Strategies To Grow Your Business

Do you want to read the previous post in this series? Just go to http://tinyurl.com/b5hdvn

As I have been discussing in my previous blog post, there is a system in hooking your audience’s attention and getting them at the peak of their interest into what you are presenting.

Continue reading STEP 3: Create Compelling Presentations That Sell (Part 2 of 3)

Do you want to read the previous post in this series? Just go to http://tinyurl.com/d95lpr.

Would you like to be able to wow your audience? I mean really wow them. Imagine that you are speaking to a group of people who don’t know you yet. This group has been at an event for 1 ½ days of a three day event. You are standing at the back of the room as you hear the event producer start your introduction. The audience is clapping for you as you walk up to the front of the room and start with a phenomenal statement that gets everyone in the room fully and completely engaged in every word you say.

Creating a compelling presentation is the most important aspect of a highpayoff event. If you have everything else in place but you don’t wow them, you will just be another interesting person who they learned one or two tidbits from.

Continue reading STEP 3: Create Compelling Presentations That Sell (Part 1 of 3)

Do you want to read the previous post in this series? Just go to http://tinyurl.com/bhobu7 .

If you spend ten hours preparing for a presentation, six hours at the event and one hour delivering the presentation, seven hours following up and walk away with only $2,000 in revenue (because the organization paid you that fee), is that a good use of your time?

What if you could spend ten hours preparing, six hours at the event, one hour delivering the presentation, two hours following up and walk away with $25,000? Which is the better return on investment?

Continue reading STEP TWO: Identify Your “Power Presentation Opportunities” Filter

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