How to Succeed in Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions

Each year people ring in the New Year by making resolutions. 39% of people in their 20’s will see resolution success compared to only 14% of people over age 50.

The top categories for resolutions are:

Self-Improvement 47%

Weight Related 38%

Money Related 34%

Relationships 31%

During the first week, 75% of resolution makers work towards their goals. However, this number declines over time. By June the number has dropped to 46%; people have lost their momentum, given up on their dreams, or just plain forgotten what their resolutions were. In order to achieve resolution success and to not be a failure statistic, you must have a plan to succeed.

The first thing you will want to do is make a vision board. I hear you already poo poo’ing this idea. But it works. If you just write your resolutions down on paper, you lose the paper. If you write them in a journal, you close the journal and the “out of sight out of mind” phenomenon happens. You must have a visual that you see every day. A vision board can be a big poster board you hang on the refrigerator door or it can be as small as a 3×5 index card that you tape to the bathroom mirror and/or carry in your pocket or handbag and see throughout the day. I once had a client who was a realtor, and she taped one to the dashboard of her car to remind her every day why she was doing what she was doing.

Now how do you make a vision board? There is no real right or wrong way. Do what works for you. You can cut out pictures from magazines that align with your new year’s resolutions or you can draw the pictures, or do a combination of cutting pictures out of magazines and drawing.  You can use a white board if you don’t want to use a sheet of paper or poster board. Don’t overcomplicate this. After you have your vision board, you will want to design a strategy that gives you direction for achieving your resolutions. I recommend using the SMART acronym.

The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. List each resolution on the top page of your journal or sheet of paper. Then, down the side of the page in your journal list each letter and word of the SMART acronym, and beside each word, list the corresponding direction you will follow to stay on top of working toward success in reaching your new year’s resolutions.

Example

Resolution – lose 30 pounds

S – specific – I want to lose 30 pounds in six months through diet and exercise

M – measurable – weekly weigh-ins will be conducted, track calories eaten and burned daily

A – achievable – five pounds must be lost each month or 1.25 pounds per week

R – realistic – (yes, this is realistic) – identify periods or situations that may sabotage eating and exercise plan such as Valentine’s Day, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day – tell people to not give me candy.

T – timely – yes, this is timely.

If you made the goal to lose 30 pounds in one month, it may not be achievable, realistic, or timely. Using the SMART acronym and creating your vision board does take time to complete, but it is worth the investment of your time. Make it a family activity or an activity you complete with friends. Remember, research has shown that those who share their resolutions are 10 times more likely to see success.  As you work through your resolutions you will once again have closure, hope, and direction.

Make 2017 the year you SHINE!Create Your Future

Don’t Be Afraid of Google

Google

I recently attended a networking meeting that had a business round table format and I kept hearing two reoccurring themes. The first that a few people wouldn’t let drop was how our local Chamber is worthless. The Chamber bashing was so bad I almost got up and left. I felt uncomfortable sitting there while a member from the Chamber graciously took the abuse. But, instead, I chose to speak up and share how wonderful the Chamber has been for me and my business. My Chamber launched my writing and public speaking income streams.

The second reoccurring theme was your Google presence. No matter how it was sliced and diced the message was clear, “If you don’t follow me and do what I say regarding your Google listing you and your business are doomed.” Well, their mission was accomplished. Attendees sat there with looks of fear on their faces. The room was silent. Business owners looked to their left and their right and were met with faces registering fear.

As a psychologist and business owner, I realized very quickly what was taking place. A few members were using this networking/business round table as their stage to get clients. They were tag teaming and invoking fear and singing praises to how great Google is as a search tool for new customers who want their products. This was followed by again more beating up on the Chamber and how no one goes to the Chamber any longer for local information. In psychology, we use the term “confederate” to describe a person or people that are specifically planted in a group to sway the group regardless if they are right or wrong. Research studies on conformity use confederates and an example can be viewed at this link
https://youtu.be/-qlJqR4GmKw?list=PLB72C822FB82E1A6D

That is exactly what was happening here. Three individuals or couples dominated the meeting by invoking fear, offering a testimonial, and then offering a solution to the group. Think back to large sales meetings or conferences you attended and I bet you can recall a similar incident but didn’t realize it for what it was – a sales strategy.

Now, I am not advocating not worrying about having your Google listing accurate and up to date. But, most of you who have been with me for any length of time have already claimed your business listing and know it is accurate. You also know that if you put all your eggs in one basket and worry only about Google analytics you would get nothing else accomplished. Google is often changing their algorithm. Many “experts” will tell you not to focus on the Google analytic. I agree. Outsource this task. Focus on what you can control.

As a small business owner, you probably do not have the budget to compete with larger companies who have one person devoted to monitoring changes Google is constantly making in how it ranks who get the #1 position. But, you can focus on your lead attraction strategy. That was the missing ingredient at this meeting. No one talked about lead attraction and the things you can do to drive traffic to your website, blog, or social media accounts.

Content marketing is a great tool to use to drive traffic to your website. Content marketing helps you rank higher in Google search results. But, more importantly, you don’t have to wait for your customers to Google you. You are getting your message in front of them so they don’t have to Google you. Content marketing has many forms. It can be the publication of an article or blog post. Media releases are a great way to get your business noticed as well as radio and other guest interviews. Social media also helps you appear in search results. Host a Blab, post a video on YouTube or Pinterest. Published posts on LinkedIn are also great ways to claim your spot in your niche on Google. Get creative. Use your key words. Google rewards good content. Content marketing should be included in your marketing strategy.

Don’t live in fear of Google. Stop worrying about things you can’t control. Take control of the things you can control. You can control your lead attraction strategy. If you don’t have one call me and I will help you design one.

Q & A With Coach Jaynine

LinkedIn-Cover-ImageToday, Coach answers a question from LinkedIn

Q

• Hi Jaynine, I was wondering if I would be able to get your feedback on something since I know you’re a business owner. My wife started an IT company and is currently in the process of getting certified as a Women-Owned Business. She said that she needs me to sign a “Statement of Non-Participation” in order to get her company approved as a women-owned business. My concern is whether signing such a statement would forfeit any marital rights that I have to the retirement benefits of her business? I will be retiring from the U.S Army in a few years in which 50% of my retirement would belong to her, which is great, but I just don’t want be put into a situation where retirement sharing is legally a one-way streak because I signed away my rights. We have a great marriage, going on 10 years now and she completely understands my concern about this paperwork, so it’s not a matter of whether I think she is trying to get over on me, but rather we just don’t know what it really means for a spouse to sign a statement of non-participation. We’re not familiar with what the spouse is giving-up by agreeing to such terms. If this is a loaded question that you wouldn’t feel comfortable answering without charging a fee, I will totally understand if you refrain from responding.

Thanks,
Micaiah.
10:48 PM

A

On Jun 23, Jaynine Ray-Howard, USMC (Ret), PhD (ABD) said the following:
Good morning, Those are great questions and concerns. I am not a lawyer so please do not take what I am saying as legal advice. I do think a lawyer is the best person to get advice as I will explain below in more detail. Woman Owned – business must be 51% owned by a woman (your wife) Veteran Owned – business must be 51% owned by a Veteran (YOU) Disabled Veteran Owned Business – business must be owned 51% by Veteran who is service disabled MinorityOwned Business – depending on your state – just being a woman is considered a minority In North Carolina, I am a Woman Owned, Veteran Owned, Minority Owned, and Service Disabled Small Business – this puts be ahead of others if I want government contracts. Consider which is going to be more advantageous for your family business. It may be more advantageous to have you listed as primary. Many construction companies have the woman as head of the company because it is more advantageous for bidding on contracts. So think long term which is going to be best for the company. Another concern for many business owners is what happens in the case of a divorce. You need to have – in my opinion – a post nup – a legal document that states you get 50% of the business if you get divorced. You also need a legal document that states you get the business if she were to pass and vice versa. Typically when there are two business partners they each have insurance so that they can “buy out” the other half of the business in case of death so the deceased share doesn’t go to the “family”. I recommend keeping very accurate records on how much “family” money or your money from bonuses, inheritance etc. is put into the business. So if something were to happen again you have proof of what you contributed.

https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/forms/SBA_Form_2413_comp_0.pdf

https://www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-small-business-wosb-program-certification

These are some links so you can do your own homework. I hope these help.

Semper Fi,
Jaynine
7:39 AM

New Overtime Rules- Stay Within Budget- Know Your Options

overtimeDid you know that rules for paying overtime have changed? They changed on May 1st, 2016.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is expected to release a new overtime rule in May that could have a big impact on small business payrolls.” “The current weekly minimum for salaried, overtime-exempt employees is $455. That will increase to $921 a week for most full-time salaried workers when the rule changes this spring.” “Small employers may misclassify employees as exempt just because they receive a salary and perform non-manual work.´ read the full article at http://www.manta.com/resources/small-business-trends/small-biz-owners-not-aware-of-new-federal-overtime-rules-impact-on-payroll/

Remember you don’t have to pay for full time employees.
You have options.

Stay within Budget
1099 Contractors – you may choose to use 1099 Independent Contractors. There are rules to follow if you use this classification for your help. They are not employees so technically you cannot dictate their schedule. They work when they want to and you contract with them for work when you have work to do. I’ve seen this used in the construction industry, real estate industry, and by many small business owners who do not need full-time employees. I’ve also seen this used by small business owners who did not want to pay the appropriate taxes or benefits as would be required by having employees. They prayed they didn’t get flagged for an audit and were prepared to play dumb if caught. I don’t condone this practice. At the end of the year you will need to issue the worker a 1099 if you pay them over a certain amount if you are following the rules. Consult a tax preparer or enrolled agent for guidance.

Free Lancers – there are several freelance websites where professional list their skills. You post the job and they bid on the job. The freelancer is typically charged a fee to bid on the job and/or when he or she wins the job a percentage of his earnings is paid to the agency. A freelancer is responsible for paying his or her own taxes. You do not need to issue a 1099 to a freelancer. Consult a tax preparer or enrolled agent for guidance.

Interns – summer interns or interns who work during your busy season can be a great boost to your business productivity. Most states require you to pay your interns at least minimum wage or a fair wage for the work performed.

Regardless of who is performing the work you need to stay within a budget. This can be accomplished by asking the employees how long they estimate a project will take to complete. This should be asked prior to preparing a proposal. When assigning work you need to let your employee know how long you expect him or her to spend on the task. If the task is going to take longer than anticipated they should let you know that it will take longer, how much longer and why. This allows you to pull the plug if going over budget or devise a new strategy.

Employees don’t often recognize the costs associated with making errors. Whether it is wasting copy paper and printer ink, boards, and other construction materials, or baking products they don’t see how this is costing the employer. They also fail to recognize they got paid to do the work wrong and then got paid to do it over. Training and supervising your employees can reduce the cost of mistakes. Mistakes can easily run up overtime costs.

Now is the time to take a look at how you pay your employees or workers. Make an appointment with your accountant or enrolled agent to explore what is the best option for you and your business. You won’t grow your business unless you focus on the net and stay abreast in changes to the rules, regulations, and laws.

All About Branding: Curb Appeal

Your storefront

As a business owner you know that branding is important. Branding encompasses not only your logo, marketing message, your personal appearance but your store front or home office. When was the last time you looked at your business from the eyes of the customer? My five tips for branding your business with curb appeal will walk you step by step through the eyes of your customer.

Five Tips for Branding Your Business using Curb Appeal

1. Parking Lot: When your customer drives into your parking lot what does he or she see? Is there litter and debris leftover from lawn mowing or spring or fall foliage from trees? Do you have dead or near dead plants that need replaced? Is your grass green? Is the concrete clean? Is the sidewalk full of cracks with weeds in the cracks? Do you have a trash can or cigarette butt can that is overflowing? Is there a dead bird in the parking lot? I had a client tell me she would not go to a restaurant because there was a dead bird lying in the parking lot and when she mentioned it to the restaurant owner the owner shrugged and commented “they didn’t pick that up?” It is imperative that the first view of your business is favorable and invites the customer to stop and get out of his or her vehicle.

2. Store Front & Door: Is your store front and front door clean? Are there fingerprints? Go right now and grab the glass cleaner and get that door cleaned. When was the last time you painted or pressure washed your business? If your business looks old and drab you will attract clients that expect to receive a low cost product. If you want to charge a premium price for your products and services you must have a storefront that attracts the clientele that will pay your premium price. Think about it. When we go to a mom and pop diner we expect to pay for a low cost but yummy meal. When we go to a glitzy restaurant with fancy lighting and furnishings we expect and happily pay a premium price.

3. Welcome Mat: Is your welcome mat clean? When was the last time it was replaced? Your welcome mat not only welcomes the customer but it will catch dirt from his or her shoes and aid in keeping your store clean once he or she walks inside.

4. Lighting: Is your parking lot well lit? Do you have bulbs that need replaced? When your customers arrive at night is the parking lot well lit? Is the path and entry to your business well lit to provide safety to you customers? I recommend you visit your business when it is dark outside and get a good view of what your customers see.

5. Windows: Do you employ a window cleaning service? When you hang posters or sales fliers is there leftover tape stuck to the window? When the customer approaches your business what do they see when they look in the window? Is it an inviting image? Do they see your merchandise, stacks of boxes, employees washing dishes or cobwebs? Again, now is the time for you the business owner to take a good look at your business from the outside.

Now is the time to focus on curb appeal. Many of my tips are very low cost to implement and require only a bit of elbow grease or sweat equity. Painting, pressure washing and replacing furnishings may require being added to your budget. Curb appeal is the first step in branding your business. If your business does not look inviting people will not stop. When people do not stop you do not have customers. When you do not have customers you do not have a business. Branding is a necessary step in growing your business.

Ditch The Fax

faxnews
Time to Bury the Fax Machine and Ditch Your Fax Number
Do you still spend money on a monthly fax service?
Do you still own a fax machine?
When was the last time you sent a fax?
When was the last time you received a fax?
I admit I was still paying $9.99 a month for my fax service until recently. Throughout the years, I have sporadically sent faxes. In 2015, I sent maybe four faxes. I don’t recall receiving any. If you are still paying for a fax service I suggest you look at the alternatives. I ditched my fax costs and I suggest you do too.
Free Fax Services from computer
Free Fax Apps from your phone
FaxFile
EFax
An alternative to sending a fax is scanning the document and sending as an attachment through email.  There are also free app for your cell phone that you can use to scan documents and then send via message or email.
If you are sending documents that require a signature I recommend using https://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/documents/esignatures.html  You upload your document and select the signature box that is appropriate. I have used the free version for over two years for all my client contracts.
As we enter into 2nd Quarter it is a good time to do some spring cleaning. Review your expenses and see where you can eliminate waste. Each expense should show you an ROI that makes it worth keeping. If you can’t justify the cost then eliminate the waste. There are plenty of free resources available if you need to send a fax.  A onetime use of a fax service at a local office supply store will still be cheaper than paying a monthly subscription that is never used.
Whether you are a business owner or the Chief Financial Officer for your home it is always good to periodically review your budget and see where you can cut costs.
Western Union closed its telegram service on 27 January 2006. Sending and receiving a fax is now becoming obsolete and needs to be retired.

Spring Into Action

stencil.default (2)Do you live a neat and orderly life? Do you function better in chaos? Some people will say they work better when surrounded by piles of papers or stacks of books. But do they really? I don’t think so. Mess breeds stress. Have you recently had to pay late fees because you forgot to pay a bill on time? Have you shown up late for an appointment because you could not find your keys or had to stop and find a belt, shoe or sock? Lack of organization and office procedures is detrimental to the small business owner, businessman and businesswoman, parent and student. My five tips below will help you design an environment that will save you time, money and needless stress.

Stop Sabotaging You and Your Success- Spring into Action – Get Organized

 1. Designate Days – when you designate days when you do your filing, book keeping, article writing, invoicing and other necessary task you will save yourself time and money. You will know when you are going to do these tasks. You will avoid paying late fees when you pay your bills on time. Business owners often forget to follow up with hot leads or late bill payers. This costs the business money. I want you to grab your day planner or calendar and right now and schedule days when you will complete the routine tasks that are necessary for running your business and life. This will eliminate stress too and put more money in your bank account.

2. Designate a Home – what happens when you return to your office from checking the mailbox? Where does the mail end up? Do you put office supplies in a designated area? Everything in your office and home should have a designated home. Your office should not look like your bedroom with books, newspapers, shoes and clothing strewn about.

3. Designate Time – do you designate a time each week to clean and organize your office? When do you turn those piles into files? If you or your designated help do not do it when will it get done?

4. Dare to be Honest – why are you sabotaging your success by being unorganized? Are you afraid of success? I dare you to self reflect and be honest with yourself. You may find you really do not like doing a particular task or you do not know how to do the task. If you do not like doing the task then delegate it to someone else. If you do not know how to complete a task either learn how to complete it or delegate it to a professional.

5. Dream – dream about your ideal life and how much easier things will be when you are organized. Dream about how you will use the extra time you will have once you are organized. Dream about how you would like your ideal office space or home to look and then design a strategy to create that space.

Lack of organization costs business owners money. Money is hard to come by these days. So, stop sabotaging you, your life and your business. Employ my five tips above and you will eliminate stress from your life and put more money in your bank account.

3 Reasons to Delegate

CoachJ9Delegating

Delegating tasks are one thing many business owners just don’t do. Some people may say that business owners do not delegate because they are stubborn and want to do everything themselves. As a business coach, the excuses I have heard are “I don’t have the money.” Or “it takes longer to train someone than I can do it myself.” These are excuses. Business owners do not delegate takes because they do not realize the benefits to the business. When business owners begin to build their teams with virtual assistants, part-time employees or 1099 contractors they will see their business grow. When the business is growing typically the profits are growing too.

Here are my three reasons that business owners should delegate.

1. Your idea or vision gets completed faster. It doesn’t sit on your desk waiting for “someday”. When you delegate a task or project you give a completion deadline to the team member that is completing the task. You need to put on your business owner hat and stop wearing your worker bee bonnet. Leaders delegate, follow-up, and review the work of their employees. They are ultimately responsible for the end product. But, when you surround yourself with niche experts the work will get done faster and with more accuracy than if you attempted to do it yourself. Remember, “someday” never comes.

2. You save time and money. Often the person you are delegating too can complete the task faster than you. This saves you time and money! If you are not an expert at social media marketing, website updates, or newsletter creation then outsource these tasks to a virtual assistant who is the expert. You would not attempt to bake a three tier wedding cake if you are not a professional cake designer. Ok, you may attempt it but admit it probably wouldn’t look as good or taste as yummy. We have all seen the tattoo picture circulating on social media with the person holding a picture of an intricate design and the tattoo artist drawing a tattoo that looks like a kindergartner did it. You often get what you pay for. Do not be this person scrimping and trying to do it yourself when you should delegate the task. Another example is the person that won’t pay for website maintenance or creation and it is a hot mess or nonexistent. Put a value on your time. When you realize you could have earned thousands of dollars but instead wasted the time trying to do your own website or fix your computer when you could have paid a few hundred dollars and let an expert get it updated or fixed within an hour or two. Time is money. Respect your time and money. Focus on the return on investment (ROI) when you delegate to someone who is an expert and can do the task faster and better.

3. You get more accomplished. When you delegate to your team you will be more productive. More tasks will get completed each day. You can focus on revenue producing activities while your team is taking care of the other things. Some items to delegate to your team include writing correspondence and mailing, bookkeeping, social media management, website updating, newsletter creation and other lead attraction strategies. You may also want to delegate the office cleaning, shopping and running errands, and bill paying. I have several people on my team and they each are experts at what they do. One is fabulous at writing media releases and conducting research. Another is in charge of my client care which includes scheduling, following up at times, and sending invoices. In the past, I have had a great gal who came to my office once a month to do filing and help keep me organized.

I first started delegating after I had been in business for two years and realized I still had items on my original opening day of business to do list. Those items were still on the list because I didn’t know how to do them or didn’t want to do them. I hired a school teacher who was unemployed for the summer and within a few days, she had my to-do list completed.
I challenge you to look at your to-do list. What has been on there for a while? Why is on there? Also, look around the piles in your office or on your desk. How could you benefit by delegating some the work? Would you be less stressed? Would you find things easier? Look at your bank and credit card statements. Did you pay late fees because you forgot or couldn’t find a bill and it was paid late? Make a list of things that you would like to delegate or should delegate. Envision how you would feel if you did not have to complete the tasks that are on your list of things to delegate. I bet you feel a sense of relief that you do not have to do those tasks.

Remember, delegating is part of growing your business. Make your list of tasks or projects you would like to not have to continue working on and want to delegate. Then look forward to my next article where I will share tips on how to choose a virtual assistant or employee.