Make Money While You Play

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In my experience, most people – employees and business owners alike – have the desire to work less and play more while making more money.   I fall into this category myself and I have an answer. Many years ago, when I was on the management team at Whistler Mountain, I was permitted to ski during my work day as long as the work was done.  I was a supervisor in the data processing department and my boss didn’t think the work was ever done, so I didn’t get to ski.  My boss liked to keep information to herself and she was always busy.  I believe it was because she thought she would be indispensable, which of course, is an illusion. Things were about to change dramatically the second year when she announced her pregnancy.  She was forced  to share her knowledge and prepare me to take over while she’d be off for 6 months.  Training started slowly but then, as a result of complications with her pregnancy, my training became a crash course – and then she was gone for about a year. Login Go to Open Click Enter “xxxxxxxx” Tab … and so on.   During that time, I took the opportunity to implement something I’d learned as a manager at McDonald’s Restaurants – I created a training manual with each and every task we were responsible for doing.  The manual was a piece of work!  It outlined with absolute detail step by step what to do.  Each line started with a verb and explained one activity to do.  […]

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What is a S.T.A.R. Reinvention?

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People ask me all the time “What is the difference between reinvention and adaptation?” and my answer is that adaptation is like a chameleon whereas reinvention is like a caterpillar. The chameleon adapts and changes according to its surroundings yet you always recognize it as a chameleon.  On the other hand, the caterpillar is unrecognizable when it becomes a butterfly. Reinvention is the same — you don’t just adapt, your reinvention process makes you unrecognizable to those who knew you or your business beforehand. For those who choose to reinvent their health, the physical changes will be like night and day.  When someone leaves a dysfunctional relationship, you will notice a huge change in the person physically, emotionally and mentally.  For business owners who reinvent their business — their business model, product line, service standards, corporate culture, marketing strategies or operations, the change is obvious to everyone. So why do some reinventions work and others don’t? Part of the equation is the commitment of the person leading the reinvention, however the main reason is that they lack the four pillars of a successful reinvention. S = Sustainable T = Transformational A = Attractive R = Resourceful Sustainable I think it goes without saying that a reinvention that isn’t sustainable shouldn’t be attempted.   As I mentioned above, your commitment is the first step.  However, can you keep going over the long term?  How innovative is your reinvention?  Having a focus on sustainability is the key for a S.T.A.R Reinvention. Transformational A reinvention transforms lives — your life and the lives […]

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Stage 6 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

Purpose

Stage 6 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is one that very few entrepreneurs reach.  However, it’s what makes the journey so incredibly amazing. Stage 6 is where you’ve got the absolute freedom to figure out what your higher purpose is and how to live your life according to it.  I believe that I know what my higher-purpose is, which is why I am on this particular reinvention journey.  It’s also why I know that my entrepreneur’s journey won’t be quite as even spaced as the chart I’ve been sharing each week. As I was back in Stage 1 of this reinvention, I bounced from one stage 1 to another stage 1 a total of three times.   I realized that while I could have continued on with the next version of Carol the Entrepreneur with the first two attempts at reinventing my business, they weren’t aligned to what I wanted for my life. This is the key — it’s why I talk about S.T.A.R. Reinvention Pillars being so important as you reinvent your life and your business.  S.T.A.R. = Sustainable – making your reinvention work over the long term – whether this is a personal reinvention, business reinvention, industry reinvention or community reinvention. Transformational – reinvention is all about transforming lives and when you reinvent yourself it impacts others too.  Learn how to reinvent so it has a positive impact on others too. Attractive – when you reinvent yourself you set yourself up to attract different people and opportunities.  Learn how to be sure you attract what you want rather than […]

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Stage 5 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

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Stage 5 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey to Reinvention is the Step we all strive for when we embark on our Entrepreneur’s Journey.   It’s why we didn’t give up when times were tough.  It’s what keeps us going when we’d really prefer to put our feet-up and watch TV.  It’s what we all believe will happen a lot sooner and a lot easier than it does. I liken it to raising children — when we are first pregnant we imagine how amazing it’s going to be to have a baby.  Then with heartburn, back-aches and little feet kicking our ribs we wonder what we were thinking!  When the baby arrives we’re elated — until we’re so sleep deprived we can hardly remember how to brush our teeth or what it felt like to have time to ourselves.  Before you know it, the child has grown and you’ve got a teenager — and you sometimes wonder what possessed you to have children in the first place!  But then they move out — yahoo!  You try to remember what your life was like when you didn’t have a child at home and it hits you — you are no longer needed.  Cue the tears!  I know this all too well as our youngest is now in university — this is the child who has only ever known her Mom to be an entrepreneur (as I started my business while on maternity leave with her). And so, while my journey as a Mom was relatively straight-forward — with the usual twists and turns […]

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Stage 4 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

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Stage 4 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is where you work to remove yourself from your business and to me, this is one of the most exciting stages in the journey. So far you have built a business, a product line, a customer base, relationships with employees, partners, vendors and investors.  You’ve created a great network of people who can help you when you need help.  It’s now time to leverage everything you’ve learned, everything you’ve built, everything you’ve bought and everything you’ve attracted. This is one of the stages where your activities depend on your business and what you’ve already built.  If you are a solopreneur, it could be where you start building your team, if you haven’t done so already. If you have a traditional business — an agency, a dealership, a brokerage, a restaurant, a consultancy, a manufacturing company, a construction company, a retail shop, a medical practice, a dental practice or an insurance company etc. you hired people when you started your business and you’ve learned what to do and what not to do as an employer. Regardless of where you are at now, to successfully get through Stage 4 you need to ensure you have a good solid foundation, with excellent processes and procedures.  You need to set up your business as if you were “franchising it”. I learned this extremely valuable lesson a gazillion years ago as a McDonald’s Manager, my first job after college.  I wasn’t a great McDonald’s Manager — in fact, I was probably one of the low-end of the middle 60% […]

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Stage 3 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

Life preserver

Stage 3 of the Entrepreneur’s Journey is when we finally get to say “Whew, I’m so glad this worked!”  We’re starting to see the benefits from our dedication, blood, sweat and tears. We are getting by — we’re paying our bills, we’re investing in our business and our own education, we’re looking toward the future. At any stage we could find ourselves back down at one of the other stages — like a crazy game of “Snakes and Ladders” where you either go around the board space by space or you fast track with a ladder up or you land on a slippery snake and go back to where you’ve come from — and that’s part of the excitement of being an entrepreneur. We continuously try things and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.  However, as long as the ones which work support the ones that don’t we will continue to move forward in our entrepreneur’s journey. In stage 3 we realize that we’ve built ourselves a good job, yet it still is a job.  For many of us, without us the business doesn’t operate.  If we take time off, the revenue stops flowing. It is in stage 3 of the entrepreneur’s journey, when we make a decision about whether this is good enough — whether this is indeed what your ideal lifestyle looks like.  Or we may decide to continue on our journey through the next stages so that we can pursue other activities and so that our livelihood does not rely on us being “at work”. For […]

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Stage 2 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

Life preserver

Sometime during the second year of the entrepreneur’s journey reality is beginning to set-in for the majority of us — and quite often we say to ourselves “This isn’t quite as easy as I thought.”  It sucks working sooooo hard every day and not seeing the results we expected.  We look at our business plan and our marketing plan and wonder where we went right and where we went wrong.  Our optimism is fading.   We make the decision to either stick with our business with some adjustments or close up shop. In my second year of full-time entrepreneurship, I was fortunate, in a sense, that I no longer had to keep reporting back to the group who oversaw the federal program I was in, as I’d “wasted” 4 or so months going back and forth with them so they could understand and approve my business plan.  That business plan had morphed into a 70+ page piece of fiction by the time it was approved! Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t start off as fiction — I really did intend to do what I’d outlined — however, the more they pushed me for details, the more I made them up because I truly didn’t know!  My vision had changed from simply providing incentive rewards to creating software to manage incentive programs — a vision which would come back to haunt me about 10 years later. With the bureaucracy out of the way and the cushion of the unemployment benefits gone, it was sink or swim time for me.  I knew […]

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Stage 1 of 6 in the Entrepreneur’s Journey

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As Entrepreneurs when we first go into business we have a vision that we’re going to change the world, yet the reality for most of us is that we’ve bought ourselves a job (and one that may not pay nearly as much as being an employee would!)   We have high hopes for ourselves and our little business — we are full of anticipation and excitement and passion.  Our drive gets us up each morning and inspires us to continue along our path to success. My husband recalls how excited I was way back in 1996 when I started my first business.  I started it in an industry I knew nothing about.  However, I was excited because this industry — the incentive industry — was a perfect fit for my beliefs about treating people well, win/win relationships and my passion for travelling in luxury! My motivation was to have freedom to do what I wanted, to be near my children (I was commuting 2 hours a day — in good weather — for a job I hated!), to create and to build something so I could retire young and wealthy! That first year was a blast as I was on maternity leave when I started my business — so I was bringing home some money.  I was also blessed with a very mellow child — one who didn’t mind being ignored while I worked.   After maternity leave was over, I reluctantly went back to work, however, I was able to go back in a job-share situation — which meant I […]

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How to Win The Hearts of Your Customers and Employees

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Learn a Customer Experience and Employee Engagement Lesson (While also learning about great PR!) WestJet knocks one out of the park for its customers and its employees! Check out the video and see what elements you can do in your own business to improve your customer experience and employee engagement.  We don’t all have the budgets or the networks to pull off what WestJet did — however, we can all do something special with our employees to make the day of our customers.   By including the employees, they had a lot of fun, yet imagine the trickle effect throughout the whole company. So, my challenge to you for 2014, is what can YOU do in your company to strengthen both customer engagement and employee engagement?  Tell me below in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you! Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.   Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.   You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://CarolWain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

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My Top 3 Tips For Managing Your Online Reputation

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A Reputation That Took Decades to Build Can be Threatened by a Single Event You may find yourself in the unfortunate position as the victim of a coordinated attack on your business using social media, which is a horrific situation for anyone who has lived through it. Negative reviews are bad for business and no-one disputes this reality.  However, when you understand how to leverage online reputation, and in particular, your online reviews, they can be very powerful and very profitable. #1 Evaluate your brand promise versus reality.  What are you saying in each and every marketing message?  What do people expect when they shop with you?  Is there a disconnect between the customer experience and your promise? If yes either change your brand promise or fix the disconnect.  This could mean training, replacing people, investing in upgraded equipment, renovating and so on. Remember… each and every touch point someone has with your business is marketing.  Be sure it is consistent with their experience otherwise your reputation — both online reputation and offline reputation — will suffer. #2 Claim your accounts.   If you have not claimed your Foursquare, Yelp, Urban Spoon, Google Places, Facebook, Trip Advisor and other accounts where people are reviewing you, do it immediately and start responding to the reviews. When you read a great review, thank the person for taking the time to comment, be humble but reinforce your brand promise and ask them if they would like to call out any employees who made their experience so you can properly recognize them. By doing this […]

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