Archive for July, 2009

Jul 29 2009

Confessions of a Time Management Teacher

OK, I know I should know better…

I’ve gone from knowing exactly where I should be and what I should be doing almost every minute of my day for the last 6 months into a state of “anything goes” as my regime of university training workshops comes to an end. I did a session on Presenting Your Research at Conference at UCL last week – and since then, my time has been my own.

This is a great opportunity and one I welcome as I have so many projects I want to really focus on – and yet focus is the one thing I’m struggling with.

Because I’m so excited about the many opportunites available to me, so keen to get them flying, I’m struggling to focus and make significant progress in any one area. (Judith Morgan, I think I’m experiencing entrepreneur-itis!!)

I talked in a recent blog about the benefits of serial single-tasking – and they are real and effective.

Staying with a single task for a defined length of time (anything from 20 to 50 minutes) is really helpful and gets things done. What I’m struggling with right now is falling off the wagon as something bigger and more shiney crosses my path.

So, add into the serial single-tasking mixture: the big goal of the day!

As most of my distractions seem to srise from “one big desire”, I’ve decided to focus on this one task first. Each day start with a 50 minute session dedicated to “the big one” before coming in with some serial single-tasking to take care of the other important tasks that are also necessary.

Oh yes, and having time to play and a snooze after lunch are definitely included in my daily schedule.

What’s the point of work if you don’t enjoy it?!


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Jul 27 2009

What is a customer?

Following on my post about customer service last week I reflected upon the importance of the customer service experience over the weekend. Businesses need to hear and to learn these lessons!

In my hometown of Cardiff, we are getting very excited by the imminent arrival of a John Lewis store in the new shopping centre.

Now Cardiff is a great city, it has a perfectly good shopping centre but – John Lewis!!! They have a reputation for unparalleled customer service.

I can remember living in Reading where there was a branch of John Lewis. Even the spotty 17 year-old shop assistants had their hair combed and their trousers fastened tightly around their waists so that you couldn’t see acres of adolescent underwear!

As a customer, I knew that John Lewis would rarely give me a bargain price although they would price match other stores in the town centre so I wasn’t being overcharged. Their standard of customer service would make them the first port of call on my visits to town.

One of my business colleagues shared this with me:

What is a Customer?

A customer is the most important person in this firm,
in person, by mail or by telephone.

A customer is not dependent on us ‑ we are dependent on them
A customer is not an interruption of our work‑ they are the purpose of it.

We are not doing them a favour by serving them ‑ they are doing us a favour by
giving us the opportunity to do so.

A customer is not someone to argue with or match wits with,
nobody ever won an argument with a customer.

A customer is a person who brings us their wants; it is our job to handle
them profitably to them and to ourselves.

That is what a customer is ‑ in our business or in any business.

Attributed to Peterborough, Daily Telegraph

What can I say? If you have a business, print this out, put it somewhere that you and your staff will see. Make it a mainstay of your business, not just something to pay lip-service to… Do this and your customers will keep you in business!


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Jul 26 2009

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-26

Published by under Tweets

  • I just took "Who's Your Fantasy Boyfriend?" and got: Jacob from Twilight! Try it: http://bit.ly/ye0JW #

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Jul 23 2009

United Breaks Guitars

Let me begin by saying that I don’t know if they do – break guitars that is.

I do know that Dave Caroll thinks they do.

On Radio4 this morning they interviewed this musician about an incident where, travelling with United Airlines, his guitar had been broken and he had not been happily compensated.

Now I don’t know the details of the strory but, according to Dave, 9 months of negotiations about compensation were fruitless so, being a musician, he wrote a song: United Breaks Guitars.

This song has had over 3 million viewings on YouTube, is 20 in the iTunes charts… you can bet your bottom dollar that United are offering compensation and posting their side of the story…

The point of my writing here is the power of social media.

Rightly or wrongly, a musician I’d never heard of, has brought a big corporation into the eyes of a very large public over an incident that would have cost them a very small sum to resolve properly very much earlier in the deal.

Customer Service counts.

Whether your business is small or global, it matters how your customers perceive you, especially if they are less than happy with your products or services. That’s one reason why 100% guarantees on information products sold on the internet are so powerful – they build customer trust.

So, if you want to see how one customer has “hit back”, click and watch United Breaks Guitars – it is very funny – if you’re not United!

“>


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Jul 22 2009

Boost Your Creativity

No matter what your goal in life, work or pleasure, building a business or baking a cake, you probably need to include these two ingredients in some proportion or other:
a) focus on and pay attention to the detail
b) increase your creativity and expand your ideas.

Now much as we often feel that our performance depends upon our mood, how we feel, whether we got out of bed on the right side today… our performance is also influenced by our environment.

Two recently published research papers have shed important light on the matter.

Apparently whether we think big or focus is directly influenced by the height of our ceiling and by the colour of visual clues in our environment.

As you might guess, higher ceilings, more space, encourages us to think big, outside the box, be creative.

Also intuitively, the colour blue will stimulate our creative juices, blue sky thinking and all of that.

In contrast, being in a small space will cramp our creative style and limit our access to a free-thinking state while environemental flashes of the colour red will, with it’s subliminal danger signals, cause us to pay attention, take care and focus on the detail.

On the one hand this seems to be a case of publishing the blindingly obvious.

On the other hand, these people now have measurable evidence to support what we might have guessed.

What it does mean is that we now have a number of tools we can use to modify our environment depending upon whether we need to be detail or big picture focussed.

Even something as small as changing the colour scheme on your computer desktop, choosing a different wallpaper or turning your chair to look at a different coloured poster on the wall could have significant effects on your performance.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a home or work environment where the ceilings are more than 3m high, maybe it is worth spending an hour in a lofty-ceilinged coffee shop to give your thoughts the encouragement to expand.

Blue notebook But don’t forget to take a blue notebook with you!


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Jul 21 2009

Wealth will just happen…

… if you put in the work beforehand!

I was working with a client recently who is in the middle of a 90-day coaching programme.

Six weeks in, that’s half way through the challenge, this client, let’s call her Claire, had reached her goals, and some. These goals concerned making a defined monthly income from passive sources and working towards a defined annual income. The figures – I don’t want to disclose personal details here – but the figures were more than equivalent to the monthly and yearly salaries of a large number of the UK working population.

As we approached our call I imagined Claire being very pleased with herself – and yet, within minutes of our starting to chat it was evident that she was not a happy bunny.

The problem? Well if SHE could reach her goals so quickly they obviously weren’t very good goals, not high enough, not hard enough. After all, this had been so easy!

We discussed this idea… and apparently, in Claire’s world:
SUCCESS = HARD WORK and I fear, HARD WORK = SUCCESS….

We discussed a series of events where, by knowing the right information, being in the right place at the tight time, having the contacts and then the courage to follow up, Claire had pulled off a profitable property deal where all interested parties came out feeling happy and Claire made 20K towards her annual income targets. And in Claire’s world, this was just down to luck, not something she had planned for, not something she had worked at, it was just lucky so it didn’t really count.

We had a long conversation about the role of beliefs in our journey through life and these principles also apply to our wealth creation journey.

“If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” is the well known quotation but the wider application looks like: if you believe life is hard, it will be. If you believe that you can’t be successful without working a 60-hour week, then you won’t be – and you’ll get your 60-hour week and all that comes with that!

I introduced Claire to some new ideas on the Law of Attraction, setting an intention and taking the necessary actions to support it whilst letting go of needing the goal. This is far more than just wishful thinking. I call it committing to the process while letting go of the outcome.

In her work over the last weeks, months and even years, Claire has been putting in the work, learning about proprty, committing to the process. When the opportunity arose she was in a perfect place to respond.

And this is the key.

She needed to take action. In fact, she needed to make a quick decision and was very fearful at the time BUT, her previous work educating herself about property investment had convinced her that this was a sound deal, the sums added up, the risk was entirely appropriate.

She commited to the action and won her prize.

I recommended that for the next stage of her journey Claire might want to learn how to feel comfortable with working towards success without the hard work, without a 60-hour week…. sound good?

Now if Claire was a member of The Money Gym, she would certainly get a good education in this concept. We need to be both working towards our goal and letting it happen effortlessly. Many Money Gym clients can tell you how this has worked for them…

But for Claire, I also recommended some new reading – best authors I could think of were Michael Neill, Tim Ferris and Joe Vitale: what do you think?


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Jul 16 2009

Creating Wealth – our duty and our joy?

I talked recently about wealth being a sea, huge, vast and bountiful. And each of us can come to the sea to share in it’s riches – and we can bring a teaspoon, or a bucket or even fill our own swimming pool with the wealth it contains.

And fun though that metaphor is, it is limited. As I thought about it afterwards I realised it was about taking wealth rather than the more fulfilling role of creating wealth.

In his New Year message on the importance of economic development in creating peace, even the Pope said “The creation of wealth is an inescapable moral duty”.

For me, wealth creation is about adding value, giving back more than we take.

It’s possible to do this in business and as an entrepreneur. In general, people who give more also often make more. In terms of wealth creation this is not limited to capitalistic or entrepreneurial businesses. Within the public or not-for-profit sector, it is still vitally important to give a better service, to increase effectiveness and efficiency… that way “the jam spreads further” and more people can be served.

It’s also about empowering ourselves and empowering others.

In so far as any of us controls anything, having some degree of control of your own income generation is incredibly liberating.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.”

Encouraging people to become skilled in the art and science of wealth creation at all levels of society can only give rise to more “fishermen”.

Yet another challenge for role models and educators!


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Jul 15 2009

Taking My Own Time Management Advice

OK, I came to my computer this morning, slightly less “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” than normal.

As I waited for the machine to spring to life I unfolded a piece of paper on my desk – it contained notes to include in a teaching session on writing a research paper. I flattened out the creases in the paper and spread it out before me.

When technology had caught up with me/my laptop, I set it off to check my emails…

Noticing a half finished blog entry, I then logged on to WordPress to complete the task I’d started yesterday.

It was only a matter of minutes before my email alert pinged and had me checking out my Inbox and my eyes glanced back to that sheet of paper I’d put on my desk.

It was only as I recognised the urge to finish off that email for a new autoresponder sequence that was also in an open file on my laptop that I realised the seriousness of this situation.

Within five minutes of starting work I had flitted between three or four tasks…Multitasking gone mad!

Now I can’t believe you’ve never experienced something like this.

As someone who teaches time management sessions this is time to take my own medicine.

Faced with numerous tasks, none too complicated, none are incredibly urgent, none will take a very long time to complete, I’m going to recommend a dose of serial single-tasking.

This is when I choose a task, set my timer for 15 minutes and go for it!

Get as much done on the chosen task as possible before the bell rings. If I complete the task, great!

If I don’t complete the task, I lay down my tools, set my timer once more and move onto the second task for the next 15 minutes.

It works brilliantly. I don’t get bored, I know I’m moving many different things forward and for the slightly more complex tasks, I have the added oomph of the deadline effect… when I can see I have only a few minutes left before the bell, it’s amazing how much more focussed I can be in working towards a convenient pausing point.

OK, job done. Blog entry completed – and this one written as a bonus. Notes for workshop captured in a scratch file and my autoresponder message sorted.

(Also installed X-Site Pro and rearranged my office! What a profitable morning?)

Hope serial single-tasking works well for you too.


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Jul 14 2009

Get a Domain Name That Works Wonders

To make a success selling information products online it really helps to have your own domain name and a website to sell things from. But what name should you buy?!

It really is worthwhile spending some time brainstorming your ideas even before you get ready to search. Try to include keywords in your domain name that are related to the product you’re selling or promoting.

Think like your customer! What are they searching for? What words or phrases do they type into Google or Yahoo search engines?

A friend whose website is about wealth creation figured people would be looking for “get out of debt” or “financial freedom” even “how to build a business”. When she analysed her web stats she found she had a huge number of hits from people typing in “how to make a million”… think like a customer!

You can go to somewhere like http://www.citrusdomains.com and enter your ideas into their search box to see if your first choice (even second or third choice) name is available.

Depending on your product idea, you might find that all the “obvious” domain names are already taken. After a search at CitrusDomains.com, if you scroll down the page you’ll see some suggestions are usually offered that might inspire you further.

Have you thought about adding words to the front of your keyword phrase:
the, my, best, first, top….

Or try adding words to the back of your keyword phrase:
online, club, site, blog, today, USA, UK
these slight modifications can open doors to some really valuable keyword-rich domains.

I registered DigitalProductsToday for a future product range  – not bad but who types “digital products” into Google?? So I managed to grab some hot iPhone related links using exactly the strategies I described. Do you think people search for “iPhone deals” on Google? You bet they do!

You could consider adding hyphens between words – it’s not my favourite strategy but it makes sure your keywords get seen by your clients and by the search engines and that’s what matters!

In internet marketing, if the search engines see your website, your website gets traffic.
If your website gets traffic, you can get more sales.

So go ahead, visit http://www.citrusdomains.com today and start creating some traffic-pulling, keyword-rich domains today!


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Jul 13 2009

An Ocean of Wealth

News releases are interesting. Are we in for that W-shaped recession, is there worse to come, are we bottoming out and ready for a slow recovery?

Wouldn’t we all love to know the answers to these questions?

At one level I’m as keen as anyone to know. At another level, I’m going to carry on doing what I was going to do anyway.

One of the things I’ve learned about the journey of “wealth creation” is that it’s largely about an attitude.

Don’t get me wrong. It needs to be accompanied by actions, targeted, researched, consistent actions, but if you don’t have the right attitude, you’ll not get very far at all.

Deep down, many people have the feeling that they shouldn’t want to be wealthy. That being wealthy, righ is wicked, selfish, bad.

And if one person’s being wealthy caused another person’s poverty, I would have some sympathy with that. But it doesn’t need to be directly linked.

There is more than enough wealth in the world for everybody to have some. In fact, the most wealthy people in the world are often most actively engaged in spreading their wealth around, setting up charitable foundations so that more people can benefit from their money, power and wisdom in many different ways. If you become wealthy, you can choose to share it an any way you please – or not – and most people I know who have financial freedom are incredibly generous givers!

Wealth is like the sea… I’ve heard many people say, that when it comes to our personal wealth, it doesn’t matter whether we come to the sea with a teaspoon or with a bucket. The sea will still be plenty full enough for us all.

So what are your plans? I know that being a part of the Money Gym community has transformed the way I think about money and created or presented me with many different opportunites to learn, to invest and to practically do the business of wealth creation.

There’s a difference between thinking “That’s a good idea” and then waiting for your fairy godmother to appear with a magic wand to grant your wish… and actually doing something about wealth creation.

If you really are at the start of your journey I can highly recommend the Money Gym Book.

A little further in and ready to get started – go for membership of the Money Gym Club – you’re so worth it! Invest in one of the coaching programmes and learn how to build a business or to set yourself up online.

And if you’re well on the way and want to create an internet empire making money online, I can recommend the great resources in MoreMoney365.com – well worth signing up for! There is a huge library of articles, videos, interviews to really learn from. There are PLR materials for members to download… A community to be part of if you choose.

So, are you still waiting???


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