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Have You Ever Wished You Could Build a Family Business? Audrey Kerwood Shares How She and Her Mom Do Business Together. Hint: Could It Be As Easy As Playing a Game?

Have You Ever Wished You Could Build a Family Business? Audrey Kerwood Shares How She and Her Mom Do Business Together. Hint: Could It Be As Easy As Playing a Game?

Many of you have told us you’d like to make some money, perhaps even start a business that would get you out of the financial mess the recent recession has caused.  Your concerns, of course, are that you don’t know whether or not you have any marketable skills.  As a coach whose expertise is in helping people find a way to do what you love and make money in the process, I often spend a fair amount of time helping my  clients identify their skillsets…

In today’s post, I have asked Audrey Kerwood to tell her story of how she’s making a good living running four eCommerce stores. That is, she sells stuff online. Best of all, she does this with the assistance of her mother and her sister. And, the businesses don’t require her to stock an inventory, or manage a warehouse…

Curious? Here’s Audrey to tell her story:

My name is Audrey Kerwood and I run four eCommerce stores.

I sell a broad gamut of products from replica armor to European wall hangings. I spend most of my time working on refining and growing my business. I am able to do this because my mom and my sister manage almost everything that requires daily attention in my stores. But more importantly, I’m convinced that sharing my business with my family has helped me develop a fuller relationship with my mom and sister.

Audrey Kerwood's mom Ginger Let me tell you about my mom, Ginger:

  • If you had told her a year ago that she would become a regular blogger, my mom would have laughed in disbelief.
  • Now, she chuckles as she gets more and more followers.
  • She’s thrilled that folks want to learn from her.
  • She has knowledge she took for granted and now that raw knowledge is making me money.

Ginger says she’s amazed that people read her blogs. I keep telling her that what she writes about is what people are searching to find – stuff like how to clean a tapestry wall hanging for instance.

  • The win/win is that my mom knows how to clean just about anything that needs cleaning.
  • My customers need to know how to clean the European wall tapestries I sell them.
  • In fact, many others who own wall tapestries need this information too.
  • The cool part is that everyone searching for how to clean their wall tapestry is a target customer of mine, so I make money when my mom blogs about the care of her own wall tapestries.

How do I make money off my mom?

Well, to begin with, I pay her. My mom and my sister are independent contractors I hire to run the day-to-day customer interface with my customers.

It started out with me doing everything. Then my stores got big enough where I couldn’t do everything myself. I had to begin dividing up roles and responsibilities in my business. This happened far faster than I imagined. Within three months I had replaced what I was making at my last job.

  • If you’re like most Boomers, you probably would like to have a way to make money with your daughter or son the way I make money with my mom. Maybe you reverse the roles and you run the store and they work on your business. I can’t tell you who should focus on what or divide up tasks for you that will be based on individual strengths and desires, what I can show you is exactly what needs to get done to make money together, giving you income-generating power for your future retirement.
  • If you want to change your lifestyle and go into business for yourself – and do it fast, I can give you everything you need to know to open an online store. But I want to be clear that fast means 90-days, not overnight. I also want to be clear that most people only work an hour a day, five days a week. This means you can have a store up and profitable in 120-days.
  • This isn’t you selling your stuff on eBay. This is using drop shippers  or wholesalers – first one, then more than one. I can teach you how to find a profitable niche you love, then vet the category for a reliable supply of vendors because you don’t want to build a business around a single supply source, that’s too close to Multi-Level-Marketing for my comfort. I wanted my own business, where I own my whole business. Getting tied to a single supplier removes some of the freedom factor in working for yourself.
  • I love having my mom in my life as much as she is. I get to spend more time with her because we work together. That doesn’t work for some. If you don’t have a smooth relationship, this may be disastrous. For us it works smoothly and consistently. And what I’ve learned over my life from my mom is immeasurable. She’s helped many people in many different ways.

Ginger, a beautiful married woman in her 60s, is a blogger by day, nanny by afternoon and a handful for my dad at night. They play Beatle’s RockBand competitively and my mom usually wins.

Is Ginger worried about her financial future?

Who doesn’t want to recapture the money you lost in the stock market over the last two years, right? But that hasn’t stopped Ginger from continuing to enjoy life. Despite the economy, she is still known for:

  • Spoiling her grandchildren with gifts whenever she sees them
  • Always having the house she wants – she recently replaced her couch and overstuffed chair with something new she liked better
  • Living in a fabulous home with a pool and a huge yard for family events
  • Driving the car of her choice, and
  • Taking her grandchildren for grandparents weekend each year

How Can She Do It?

She plans out her time and her money. She’s always made good use of her time and her money. She isn’t doing me any favors by working for me – I pay her well. And, I’m not doing any favors to her by hiring her. I make money from what she does for me; I know she treats my customers like they are hers and that’s comforting to me. I love having my mom as part of my business.

In fact, working with family members to build something together is one of the best perks you’ll experience when you decide to go into business for yourself. And one I never anticipated when I first got started.

Here’s what makes this workable:

  • My mom knows exactly what she does for me, so there is never a time when she is wondering how to make herself useful
  • Ginger started simple by answering my customer service line. It worked because it was something I desperately needed help with, and something that was easy to learn, because our policies make it easy to say yes to our customers
  • My business is a premium price business with free shipping and we honor our return policies so most customer service callers are happy people who are grateful for courteous help
  • As my mom got comfortable with each new task, I asked her to try something new, like email customer service.
  • Six-months later my mom was blogging and had followers.

If you asked Ginger a year ago she wouldn’t have been able to see herself as a blogger with followers, but she loves it. Now, she’s warmed by how many folks want to learn from her. The knowledge she has is now making me money. Thank you mom. Remind me to give you a bonus 😉

So: Can You Do It?

OK, it’s Anne again. Audrey’s story has inspired so many people, she and a friend Ben Mack, decided to put together a game to help others learn all the terminology needed to run a drop-ship based estore themselves.  Ben is a marketing genius, so I can promise you the game is freaking fun. Something you can play with friends, your kids, or even your grandkids, to learn how to make money with an eCommerce store.

Ben and Audrey call their new game eStoreOpoly,  and they’re just launching it online now. Just when you’d decided you need to change your lifestyle. How convenient, right?

According to Audrey and Ben, there have never been so many GREAT options available for becoming a successful online merchant as there are today. And it’s never been EASIER for you to become a full-fledged ecommerce business owner than it is right now.

But at the same time, there is so much to get confused over. After all, there’s a whole new lingo to learn — and then you have to do stuff like:

  • Setting up shopping carts
  • Finding good merchant account providers,
  • Sourcing quality wholesalers and product suppliers,
  • Identifying the best and most convenient shipping and fulfillment vendors…

Which is a problem in itself. I know all about that. I’ve had clients literally spend over a year simply building their websites and taking photos of their products.

Which just goes to show you  – too much of a GOOD thing can be a problem!

There are SO many choices… SO many possibilities to take into consideration… it can be really tough making sense of it all.

Audrey and Ben want you to succeed in building your own ecommece store – in 90 days or so.

They don’t think it’s an overnight process, but they also know it’s easy to fall into “Analysis Paralysis” without even realizing it!

Audrey says that’s the 2nd most common issue folks write to her about.

So: If you’re feeling frustrated or intimidated about getting your online store up and running…

…you are NOT alone!

But why exhaust yourself  and spend thousands like my friend did just trying to figure out build his ecommerce store?  Hey, you need to start making money faster than that!!

Let Audrey and Ben show you how to get your ecommerce store up and running in 90 days with their great new game – eStoreOpoly.

Until now, building a business was NEVER this fun!! And even better, here’s a chance for you to not only make some money, but share the business you develop with your family, and suddenly you have a great way to leave a legacy, too!

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Is Your Financial Portfolio Still Looking For an Economic Stimulus? Have You Thought of Becoming a Joint Venture Expert? (And Just What Does a Joint Venture Broker Do?)

September 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Entrepreneurs, Work, Money & Retirement

Could You Be a Joint Venture Broker?

Listen Up! Summer’s over. This past weekend was Labor Day Weekend here in the United States. If you’re in the US, it’s likely you used the weekend to cram in a last gasp of  vacation fun.

But if you’re like most Boomers, you probably also took a few minutes to pause and reflect on the status of your job and your income-generating power for your future retirement.

Hopefully that part was not too grim.

No matter the specifics of those quiet thoughts you had about your financial future this past weekend, you no doubt realized that you need to do something different than you have been doing – and do it fast.

I mean, just how long can you keep trying to sell your stuff on E-Bay in order to make this month’s mortgage payment, right?

I Hear You on That One, Some of My Best Friends Have Been Doing the Same Thing:

Some of my own income opportunities have dried up recently as well. That’s why I’ve just signed up for a new 12-week, income generating training program. The really exciting part is that when you come out if this program, you’ll be a certified joint venture broker, and you’ll immediately start generating a very nice income stream.

No Pie in the Sky Here. This is the Real Deal.

Your income generating opportunity is built right in. You graduate from the program and you get projects to work on.

If that sounds interesting, there’s even more good news:  This is something that you could do too.  There’s still time to get into the course, though you’ll have to act fast. REALLY FAST. Class starts Wednesday September 9th. That’s tomorrow as I write this…

(If you’re reading this after that date, there’ll be another class. But you might still try to get into this one, and the price for the training will be going up later…)

So what kind of training  am I talking about?

It’s called the “International Joint Venture Broker Certification Program,” — or as Willie Crawford, one of the trainers calls it for short: JV Brokers Bootcamp.”

But let’s begin at the beginning…

If you’re not sure what a joint venture is, or whether or not you have what it takes to become a joint venture broker let me share one of the big questions I pondered over the weekend:

Have You Ever Profited From Seizing an Opportunity That Was Only Available to You? Or Have You Recognized – and Profited From – an Opportunity That No One Else Saw?

I’ve seen this happen a few times – and when you watch it play out, it’s nothing but awe-inspiring…

As An Example, Let Me Tell You About A Joint Venture Opportunity My Former Stepmother Has Recognized – and Continues to Profit From

We’ll call her Athena, to protect her identity. I’ll also refrain from telling you what city she lives in, other than to say it’s regularly listed in Money magazine’s list of top places to live – as are many of the surrounding smaller communities.

The important thing to know is the  “back story,” that Athena, a beautiful single woman in her late 60s, is a registered nurse who moonlighted in her youth, as a real estate agent.

It’s actually the combination of nursing and real estate sales experience that have allowed her to recognize the opportunity she’s developed into a cash cow.

In fact, you might think that’s an odd combination, but it’s worked well for Athena… especially these days, when the economy has decimated her stock portfolio.

Is she worried about her financial future?

Interesting question: While I’m sure she’d like to recapture the money she lost in the stock market over the last two years, that hasn’t stopped Athena from continuing to enjoy life the ways he has lived it for as long as I’ve known her. Despite the economy, she is still known for:

  • Lavishly gifting her grandchildren whenever she sees them
  • Always wearing beautiful clothes – and owning a shoe collection that is “to die for”
  • Living in a fabulous new home in an upscale neighborhood
  • Driving an expensive late-model car, and
  • Taking extended trips to Europe when she wants to visit her many friends and family back on the Continent.

How Can She Do It?

Her secret is a little joint venture deal she’s developed which regularly tops off her bank account, while she hardly lifts a finger. It’s all based on who and what she knows.  And it’s predominantly passive income, as she barely spends an hour a week actively involved in this venture…

(Remember the adage that it’s not what you know, but who you know? Well, the fact is, both can make you a nice passive income if you know how to play the game.)

Here’s the Unique Deal She’s Cooked Up:

  • First, Athena lives in a Big Ten University town, where there’s a major medical clinic — large enough to draw patients from three states — which benefits from its proximity to the University’s medical school – and which is regularly recruiting new doctors.
  • Though she’s retired and not working as a nurse anymore, she maintains social contacts at that major clinic — including contacts in their recruiting office. Which is significant, since the clinic is always recruiting new physicians.
  • Athena knows that when those new medicos accept a position with the clinic, they’ll end up moving their home and family to the area. A fact which brings her real estate connections to the fore.
  • By staying in touch with her clinic connections — usually by sharing coffee or a meal with them — she regularly acquires a list of the names of the docs who are likely to come on board at the clinic – men and women who are about to become home-buying prospects.
  • Then she turns around and shares these prospect names with a friend who’s an active Realtor.
  • The Realtor gets “first dibs” on contacting the fresh prospects, and does all the necessary leg-work to contact the prospects, shepherd them through the whole moving process – and close the sale.
  • Then when all is said and done the home-buying deal closed — the agent pays Athena a finders fee for sourcing the buyer for her

It’s A Pretty Sweet Deal, and It’s Truly a “Win-Win-Win” Sort of Venture:

  • The clinic gets a new doctor whose family is happy in their new home
  • The doc gets access to an excellent Realtor who helps match needs with homes
  • The Realtor gets a reliable source of really fresh leads; and
  • Athena gets paid for putting the two needy parties together
  • And don’t forget that the clinic recruiter knows that since the Realtor is a competent person who will impress the doctor’s family and help make the transition to the new community a pleasant experience – word of the smooth move will get passed to other clinic staffing prospects – and future recruiting becomes even easier!

I Don’t Know What The Agreed-upon Finders Fee Is:

But typically, a buyer’s agent make three percent on the real estate transaction.

Even if Athena’s Realtor friend only shares a half of one percent with my stepmother, the finder’s fee would still be well worth her time.

As Proof, Let’s “Do the Math” On a Couple of Examples:

  • One half of one percent on a half million dollar home sale is — according to my calculations  — $2,500.
  • And, if the transaction is more in line with the median home price for the community — somewhere in the low $200,000 range?
  • Well, who would balk at making $1,000 for doing just a few minutes work?

I Know, I Know: You’re Saying, “That’s Great For Your Stepmother, Anne, But What’s In This Story For Me?”

After All You’re Neither a Realtor, Nor A Medical Professional. And Perhaps Money Magazine Isn’t “Hot” On Your Home Community, Either

Well that’s where the JV Brokers Bootcamp comes in. Because once you understand how to recognize the opportunities that are just sitting in front of you, as Athena did, then you can use these concepts to find opportunities you can profit from  – right where you live.

And who wouldn’t want to be part of a “win-win-win” scenario, right?

Once you’re trained to recognize the principles, you can readily see — and profit from — the highly profitable joint venture opportunities that are available to you close to home, right in “your neck of the woods.”  And suddenly you discover them everywhere – just staring you in the face, waiting for you to take action on them…

Best of all, these opportunities are there all the time, whether we’re living living in boom times or recession. And many times they can bring you a 6, 7, even 8 figure income.

Personally, prior to learning about Athena’s money-generating scheme, I had thought you either had to have access to big money or participate in big deals in order to profit from participation in a  “joint venture.”

After all, the first time I’d heard of someone profiting from bringing two parties together for mutual benefit, it had been when I discovered that a friend’s father was a big player in the oil industry…

  • Thirty years ago, I had been fascinated to discover that my friend’s father, a man with a degree in petroleum engineering, had become a multi-millionaire by bringing together wildcatters — men who drilled for and found oil — with investors — the people who have the financial wherewithal to fund a speculative drilling expedition.
  • Now I’d understood of course, that the money lenders would get a share of the proceeds when the oil well began producing.   But I had been amazed to find out that my friend’s father got an equal share of the profits – just for putting the deal together — even though none of his own money was on the line…
  • As I saw it, his expertise was in befriending people from two wildly different worlds — and putting them together for mutual profit.
  • I’d always thought that what a sweet deal his was. But again, I’d figured that these sorts of majorly profitable deals were found only places like West Texas, home of the Permian Basin.

It Was Only Recently That I Found Out I Was Wrong.

As my friend and mentor Gina Gaudio-Graves, one of the four founders of Joint Venture University has explained to me:

You don’t have to be wealthy to begin a life as a Joint Venture Broker, though you will likely become wealthy as a result of your efforts.

Why? Because as a joint venture broker you are trained to look at life, business — essentially everything — from a completely different perspective.  Once you’re trained to have this vision, suddenly everything you touch has the potential to become hugely profitable.

Now, as never before:

  • You see opportunity where no one else does
  • You’re able to seize opportunity where no one else can.
  • You’re able to produce far greater results for each and every effort and asset than can anyone else.
  • You begin to strategically focus your mind on JV marketing opportunities as naturally as breathing.
  • You can clearly see how to ethically exploit every resource, every relationship and every deal that crosses your path.
  • You suddenly find that you’re achieving profitability with everything you do.
  • Let’s repeat that one: You suddenly find that you’re achieving profitability with everything you do.

To sum it up, let me just say that according to Gina, “being a JV Broker gives you the ultimate feeling of power, freedom, and security, because you know that the world is constantly generating possibilities for you to profit from.”

Talk about not having a scarcity mentality!!

Here’s the Complete List of the Joint Venture University’s Founding Faculty – Ladies First and Then in Alphabetical Order:

  • Gina Gaudio-Graves – Known all over the Internet as the “JV Queen”
  • Willie Crawford – The “Black Belt JV Broker”
  • Sohail Khan – Dubbed the “Million Dollar JV Dealmaker” after he brokered a single deal that netted him something like $1.8 million, with just a couple of months worth of effort
  • David Preston – The “Legendary Consultant”

As you can see, these people know how to do joint ventures. Between them, they’ve generated millions of dollars on behalf of their clients.

I’d love for you to learn how they do it, so you too, can rise above today’s economy with your very own economic stimulus package.

  • Aren’t you ready to take action to change your financial future?
  • Especially when you can help others in the process?
  • I thought so!!

Now’s your chance to join me and let these proven Joint Venture Experts show you how to become a certified joint venture broker. After all, how else can you legally make tons of money in just 12 weeks?

Don’t wait: All the details you need are in that link.

But do it now. Time’s a-wastin’!

The World’s Beaches and Sideroads Await You: Can Simply Learning How to Write a Book Actually Allow You to Retire Before Age 90, AND Give You More Play Time Now?

Can Learning How To Write A Book Finally Allow You To Retire?

Remember how frustrated you got as a kid when you found yourself stuck in the classroom on a beautiful spring day? All you wanted was to get outside so you could play…

But you couldn’t. Because until that end of day school bell rang, you were tied to your desk, with work to do. You know;  math, and reading and penmanship… The stuff they said you had to master in order to get a good job when you grew up…

Fast forward to the present.

You’re grown up now and toiling away at that job you worked so hard to get.  The job you now can’t afford to leave. Outside, it’s a balmy, breezy summer day, the kind of day that we all dream about – perfect weather for all good Baby Boomers who would still prefer to be playing outdoors, except now you want to be:

  • Sailing
  • Golfing
  • Enjoying a long walk in the country with your sweetie at your side
  • Taking your Harley out for a spin, or
  • (Insert your favorite outside activity here)

As You Steal Another Wistful Glace Out the Window, You Suddenly Realize:

  • It’s taking every ounce of self-control you’ve got to keep you in your office and at your desk
  • You’d love to throw responsibility to the wind and answer your siren’s call
  • But you don’t blow down the door, because — hey, you’re a responsible employed adult and you have work to do

So Is Today’s Scenario REALLY Any Different? Has Your Life Actually Changed?

It’s Times Like These When You Start to Daydream, Just Like You Did When You Were a Kid.

Except Now Instead of Dreaming of Hitting Grand Slam Home Runs,You Find Yourself Fantacising About What Your Life Would Be Like If You’d Paid More Attention to Your Composition Classes, And Felt More At Ease With a Pen…

You Wish You Knew How to Write a Book

You want to be able to put your name on something – like book or movie rights – that both generates a passive income stream and gives you credibility.

You know that owning a piece of intellectual property which opens doors for you while simultaneously churning out income while you sleep is something that gives you the same credibility as a bases-loaded home run provided you back when you were in Little League. Yep. It says you’re “The One.”

The Next Part of Your Summer Daydream Probably Goes Like This:

“Wouldn’t it be great if I had a way to make money while I sleep — Even better if I could also crank out big bucks while I play! Then I might actually be able to afford to retire… And I’d be able to leave a legacy for my family.”

You start to fantasize about how different your life would be TODAY, if you had started writing books A FEW YEARS AGO…

You realize that if you could figure out how to write a book, it would probably vastly change your life, your income and your business. Your change in fortune could even happen practically overnight, as it has for so many people you’ve watched brand themselves with a book and become household names. Among them:

  • Donald Trump
  • Loral Langemeir
  • Robert Kiyosaki
  • Warren Buffet
  • Robert Allen
  • Zig Ziglar
  • Brian Tracy
  • John Maxwell
  • Barack Obama

They’ve All Used Books to Launch Their Current Lives and Lifestyles, Right?

Perhaps no one more successfully than the current President of the United States of America. Think about it: Hardly anyone from outside of the Prairie State had  even heard of the junior senator from Illinois before he wrote “Dreams from My Father,” right?

Before he published that book, he was as inconsequential and invisible to the world at large as are these current junior senators, undoubtedly all good people, but whose names are unknown outside their state:

  • John Kyl (AZ)
  • Jim Bunning (KY)
  • Ben Cardin (MD)
  • Jon Tester (MT)
  • Kirsten E. Gillibrand (NY)

Authoring helped Obama gain the notice that got him invited to address the Democratic National Convention in 2004.  You’ve probably heard that he’d attended the same convention four years earlier, but he had to drive and he didn’t even had enough money to rent a hotel room! No one was asking to hear him speak then!

The rest is a matter of history: he used the phrase “the audacity of hope” in his electrifying speech which gave him visibility. He then expanded on his views in his next book, “The Audacity of Hope,” which doubtless helped propel him to the White House just four years later…

Beyond that, Obama made $2.5 million in book royalties on those two books just last year. And he currently has an authoring contract in place guaranteeing him another half million for a third book.

Talk about profiting from learning how to write a book! When you wonder if authoring really can be a life changing event that can provide you with long-term, ongoing financial security, his story has to come to mind!

But You Already Know This

Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir when I remind you that properly branding yourself and using a book as your business card, gives you:

  • Instant credibility, since authors  are perceived as expert on their  subjects
  • An opportunity to change your life, income, and business overnight
  • A proven way to grow your business and income faster and bigger
  • An opportunity to retire from the workforce, while continuing to generate income via your books as well as a few complementary products or services with bigger price tags

These Days, If You Want to be Able to Afford to Retire, One Great Way to Do It is to Take Action to Become an Author

If you don’t finally figure out how to write a book, you’re always gonna be stuck in the office, with no chance to get outside and do something you love on a beautiful day.  No “hall pass” that gives you the option to go out and play when you want to,  “just because you can”

Don’t Throw Your Hands Up in Despair! You Have it In You to Write a Book Which Can Become the Keystone to Your Abundant Retirement Income!

According to my good friend and writing coach, Ronda Del Boccio, the good news is, you don’t have to be “good at writing” in order to write a book.

Amazed?

Ronda, who’s not only written her own best sellers, but has also personally coached hundreds of people to write successful books,  spells it out simply:

  • You don’t have to be a former “A” student in your native language.
  • You don’t have to be a prolific writer.
  • You don’t even have to be an avid article writer.
  • And you don’t have to hire a ghostwriter or outsource everything, either.

Ronda teaches her authoring students that your book will actually be more successful if it’s crafted in a conversational tone. You know, written as though the reader is a good friend, conversing with you over a coffee.

(Don’t drink coffee?  No problem. “Picture yourself sharing tea, or even a beer with your friends, as you write,” she says.)

Not sure you have a problem-solving book in you? Again, Ronda has an answer to help you get started. She suggests you ask yourself:

  • What “problems” do you solve over and over again for  friends, neighbors, clients, customers or others in your life?
  • What kinds of people do you feel you are best equipped to serve or assist?
  • What are you known for?

Keep in mind that your answer might not be related to your career expertise. It might be that you’re known for helping friends with problems that are hobby-related.

Glowing Sailboat
Image by Extra Medium via Flickr
  • For example, if your hobby is sailing, and you’ve successfully navigated some major water — you’ve crossed the Atlantic, you’ve “bare-boated” in the BVIs, or you’ve  circumnavigated the “Great Loop” — perhaps your authoring forte might come from telling others how you did this, and how they can prepare to succeed in the same endeavor.
  • Likewise, if you’ve trained for and run the Boston Marathon as my friend Scott Sharp Armstrong has, you might write a book, “Boston Marathon or Bust,” to share your knowledge about how to prepare.
  • And don’t despair if the thing you do best is bake. After all, who would have guessed that anyone would choose to write about preparing all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s famous cookbook. And yet Julie Powell did that – and her book, “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen,” was so successful it’s now a movie.

Ready to Start Implementing Your Book-authoring Retirement Plan?

You don’t need to work in a vacuum. Help is at hand. Check out Ronda’s main website, Profitable Storytelling. She’s packed it with tons of articles, videos, tips, templates and other resources.

Or, if you want more help, faster, get her book, “Instant Credibility.”

I’m personally working through her “Instant Credibility” book — which comes with a workbook — right now, and I can honestly promise you that it’s working better for me than  all the one-on-one coaching I’d previously received on the topic of how to write a book.

In it, Ronda Covers Hugely Important, Success-generating Topics Like:

  • Why writing your own book is so important for your credibility – AND the growth of your business. This works whether you’re creating a retirement business, or you’re not ready for that yet…
  • A structure for your book that makes it EASY to write. This is a specific plan that you can follow, with action steps in every chapter so you know EXACTLY what to do in each chapter as well as for the book overall.
  • The sad truth about how much of your book people read and how to overcome it. Read this and you’ll understand that even when a reader doesn’t finish your book, you CAN still grow your business.
  • 3 things you must have on your website before you put your book up for sale. Ronda covers the steps a reader takes to decide whether or not to purchase your book. Yes,  there’s actually a specific process.
  • 3 factors that determine whether your prospect is a likely customer.
  • 3 things you can do on the book COVER that will compel your prospect to open your book. One of them will surprise you. Many book authors get the first two right, but don’t do the last.
  • 7 essential elements of every single chapter. Yes, the title is the first! (well DUH of course!)  But the 6th makes you a magnet. And the 7th makes the reader want more.
  • The single most compelling element of any book. You’ll be surprised – and it’s not about the training/content either.
  • The  specific formula that makes writing your book simple. When you have the recipe, it’s easy to fill in the elements of your book in short bursts.

What? Are you still reading this blog? Hey, the sun’s shining somewhere in the world, and you still want to be able to afford to retire, right?

So go get Ronda’s book already! I promise it’ll be the best investment in yourself you’ve ever made!

Besides, it costs less than a nice steak dinner. So as a safeguard against your future and an opportunity to generate passive income so you can finally get out of the office and play — it’s certainly very affordable…

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As Obama Seeks Healthcare Reform, Now’s the Time to Stand Up, Make Your Voice Heard: You Do Want Solid, Affordable Benefits & to Enjoy Excellent Health, Don’t You?

My friend Shelby — who was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes a couple of years ago, at the same time I was  —  confided to me last week that this year, for the first time in her 50+ years, she’s actually put off her normal healthcare maintenance appointments.

She says it’s not because she doesn’t believe in their value. That wouldn’t make sense, as not only does she have diabetes, but her husband’s a 10-year cancer survivor, whose tumor was discovered during a routine physical…  She knows the value of regular health maintenance appointments!

No, her decision is based on financial necessity: she’s been laid off, so money is tight. Oh, she still has health insurance through COBRA, but she says she’s saving that for real medical emergencies. On a preventive care basis, she can’t afford the out of pocket portion her insurance expects her to pay.

This has to be a “bitter pill” for Shelby, after all, she’s:

Woman undergoing a mammogram of the right breast
Image via Wikipedia
  • A proud, professional woman who formerly enjoyed a better than average income.
  • A woman who made sure her kids always got their vaccinations and annual physicals on time
  • A leader in her church and serves on several community boards.

Shelby’s crossing her fingers that she’ll manage to stay healthy, even though she’s:

  • Skipped her annual mammogram
  • Postponed her semi-annual dental check-up, despite the fact that she has a tooth that twinges now and then
  • Canceled her annual eye exam, an even bigger “no-no” for those with diabetes

No, she’s Not Self-Destructive…

Don’t go dismissing Shelby as a self-destructive woman with a secret death wish. That would be misreading the situation: Shelby understands how important it is to practice good health maintenance. After all, she and I met at a hospital-run diabetes management program our doctors referred us to when we were both newly diagnosed.

Back then I was impressed that she attacked the task of learning how to live with diabetes with the discipline of a trained military officer, a technique she learned from her father, who was a career military man.

She’s Still Doing What She Can…

That’s why Shelby hasn’t decided she also needs to:

  • Stop taking her prescription meds for high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Drop her physical exercise program
  • Abandon her recently acquired healthy eating habits

Shelby’s Not the Only One With These Healthcare Consequences

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll performed in July 2009, you, too, may have made a similar cost-based medical decision in the past 12 months. Although — in a case of some good news — this survey, showed slightly more improved results over the same poll performed in this past spring.

Which indicates that, to some degree,  Americans may now be  finding some relief from their difficulties in affording health care. Still, fully half of all adults (49 percent) say they have put off some sort of needed care over the past twelve months because of its cost.

Their survey, which attempted to determine whether or not Americans are putting off healthcare because of COST,  reported the following:

  • 33% – Relied on home remedies or over-the-counter drugs rather than go see a doctor
  • 29% – Skipped dental care or checkups
  • 27% – Put off or postponed needed health care
  • 21% – Skipped recommended medical treatment
  • 20% – Did not fill a prescription for medicine
  • 15% – Cut pills in half or skipped medicine
  • 7% –  Had problems getting mental health care

Clearly There’s a Crying Need for Healthcare Reform Here in the United States

Thankfully, Shelby’s a friend, and not a former employee. If she had worked for me, I’d feel even more upset about her situation. Why? As the owner of a small business, I’m the one who manages the  healthcare coverage options for our firm.

I know how hard it has been to keep offering reasonable healthcare coverages for our group, while still managing costs. Our small group premiums have risen a minimum of 11% annually for the past ten years.  Some years the increase has been in excess of 20%.

Given that I do manage an employee benefits portfolio, I have a huge interest in following the news related to healthcare reform. But I suspect that even if my job didn’t involve managing healthcare options, I’d still be interested . After all, I’m also a consumer of these same services.

No matter which side of the benefits desk you claim as yours, if you use health insurance to help defray your medical expenses you know the last few years have been a challenge:  health insurance premiums have risen drastically year after year, no matter whether your employer is a major player or a small “mom and pop” establishment.

No matter where you sit, healthcare costs are out of control.

But This Isn’t Really News, Is It?

The fact is, the United States is the only developed nation on the planet that does not provide universal health care coverage.  We spend twice as much per capita on health care as any other country and yet, when you look at our results — in terms of measurable aspects, such as life expectancy and infant survival — our results are far worse.

Almost a year ago, an article in the the Washington Post that addressed healthcare reform noted that Americans were struggling to pay medical bills and  accumulating medical debt at an increasing rate.

Why? There’s Many Reasons US Healthcare Costs Are Out of Control, And Many Places You Can Point Your Finger for Blame.

Among them:

  • Doctors who over-prescribe drugs and perform unnecessary and/or redundant tests – and the patients who expect this: We all know the name of the game is “cover your rear.” No doc wants to be found negligent. And many patients demand to be sent home with a script. It seems it’s a lot easier for us to pop pills than to actually get our acts together and change our diets, take action to reduce our stress or get more exercise…
  • Insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs): According to The Commonwealth Fund, which bills itself as a private foundation working toward a high performance health system, “the United States leads all industrialized countries in the share of national health care expenditures devoted to insurance administration. The U.S. share is over 30 percent greater than Germany’s and more than three times that of Japan.”
  • Consumers who “go naked” whether by choice or necessity – that is, people who don’t carry any sort of health insurance, but who are legally guaranteed treatment in hospital emergency rooms: Somebody’s got to pay for the services they receive – and it’s those of us with insurance who do. Hospital costs for these “pro bono” emergency room services — with ER’s offering the most expensive sort of care —  are passed along to you, the insured consumers. But you already knew that, right?
  • The drug companies, which you most likely already suspect are one of the most powerful players in the healthcare industry, though perhaps you didn’t realize just how powerful. How about this:
    • Earlier this month, the National Public Radio program “All Things Considered” reported that during the second quarter of this year — right around the time when the healthcare reform issues started really heating up in Washington — PhRMA (that’s the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), along with its member companies — the big name firm like Pfizer ($5.5 million), Amgen, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline (about $3 million each), together spent $40 million lobbying Congress. That’s more than $3 million each week.
    • If you think they were lobbying for better use of naturopathic healthcare methods (as in herbal remedies and nutritional solutions), government-negotiated drug prices or reimportation of drugs from Canada… you must be smoking one of those funny herbal cigarettes.
    • In its favor, however, you need to know that PhRMA teamed up with Families USA to lobby Congress to expand Medicaid to cover everyone who meets the federal definition of poverty and those who make up to 33 percent more, which is about $14,000 a year in income for individuals. Adults without children, whether single or married, would qualify for the first time under the proposed expansion. Cynically, some see this as a great PR move whose sole reason for being is to generate positive public impression…

What Action Can You Take – Right Now?

The First Step is to Talk to Your Legislators:

The healthcare reform debate has been centered in Washington these past few months, but it’s coming home again. Your House members have already left Washington DC for their August break, and your Senators will be heading home soon.

Which means you’ll have a chance to talk to your representative in person at town-hall meetings, or when they come to town to speak in hospitals or at meetings with small business owners.

Now’s your chance to meet with them in person and tell them  what you’d like to see happening.

  • This is especially imperative if you don’t live in a major metropolitan area.
  • You know rural communities are not as well served medically — and it’s especially hard to find doctors who are trained in rural medicine.
  • The lack of health care in small towns is a problem Congress is just beginning to address.

Shelby says the biggest questions she’ll be talking to her legislators about will be related to:

  • Lack of affordable health insurance
  • Skyrocketing medication costs
  • Coverage of preexisting conditions – something that’s especially concerning if you have to find a new insurance provider, as she does…

But whether you live in an urban or rural community, keep this in mind: As a (reasonably) healthy Boomer you’ve got decades ahead of you — and you want to make sure you’re able to stay in good health to enjoy those years.

Here’s some help to get you up to speed:

The Next Step — Just as Important to Your Healthy Outcome  — Is to Take Personal Charge of Your Life and Health:

That’s what Shelby’s just started doing, and she’s excited by how well it’s working.  She started working on her mindset and motivation right around the time she realized she was probably going to lose her job.  Along with pulling out her resume and starting to look at what she needed to do to shine it up…

Thankfully she remembered me talking about my friend Gina Gaudio-Graves, her Miracle Motivational Package, and how it had helped me set goals and put a plan in motion to reach them. So she followed my link in an earlier post and got a copy for herself…

As a result Shelby says she’s been thrilled to discover how to shift her mindset to see abundance in all things — even in losing her job and having to learn how to — temporarily — live on a reduced income.

In fact, she’s all fired up about a book she’s writing and the business she’s starting — all based on sharing the knowledge and expertise she’s acquired over a lifetime… But that’s a topic for another post!

(If you want a great product to help you set out your goals and put together a plan to achieve them,  check out Gina’s fantastic Miracle Motivational Package. You’ll quickly find that you can use it to achieve anything – health and wellness, wealth, success. And just ask Shelby — it really works!)

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Boomers: How Is Your Ship Surviving Our Current Sea of Economic Stress? Are You Looking for a New Job, Moving In With Family, Planning an Expat Lifestyle? Or Sailing Ahead?

Has Economic Stress Beached Your Plans?

“Ahoy There,” “Hola,” “Aloha” and “Permission to Come Aboard,” Fellow Baby Boomers!

All apologies for the fact that this blog has been “beached” for a couple of months now. The good news is, we’re about to set sail again!

Hopefully You Didn’t Think We’d Gone “Off the Radar.” Or Fallen Off the Face of the Earth…

Actually, the state of the “Boomer Lifestyle” blog ship is sound and all aboard are well! Fact is, we have been off exploring, seeking ways to better serve you.

The good news is that despite months of news stories telling you of the world’s challenges related to huge global economic stress,  there’s been lots of great stuff floating through the blogosphere, as well as the world at large, and we’ve been busy checking it out on your behalf…

Here’s how you can help assure that we’re providing you with EXACTLY what you need to continue to succeed in these turbulent economic times:

Take the Boomer Lifestyle Poll: It’s Both Quick and Painless

Historically, Boomers have had it good financially for quite awhile now. So we’d love to know how you feel you’ve been handling our country’s current levels of economic stress.  We thought we’d ask you — which is why we’ve developed our poll.

It’s just one quick question with multiple choice answers, so it will take you mere seconds to answer. The simple question is:

“As a Baby Boomer nearing retirement age, how has our recent global economic downturn affected your future life and plans?”

The potential responses ranging from the most positive  to the most stressed.

Specifically, you can vote for any one of the options noted below.

(NOTE: The parenthetical comments aren’t part of the official poll responses, they’re just here to focus and augment your thinking as to whether that point is your preferred response) :

  • No change, life is great, thank you very much. (Everything is on target for retirement as planned, and we’re looking forward to years of smooth sailing and great adventures.)
  • I can’t afford to retire, will have to keep working for the foreseeable future. (And you’re saying, “Damn, working until I die sure wasn’t what I had planned as the capstone of my career.”)
  • I’m currently looking for a second job. (If you’re selecting this answer perhaps you’ve heard that there’s a growing market for Baby Boomers as temporary hires, due to the experience Boomers can bring to the table…)
  • I am giving serious thought to retiring abroad. (If you’re thinking of living the expat lifestyle, you’re probably aware that the cost of living is often less, and those who’re doing it tell you that in certain countries it’s possible for you to live well on just your social security check. But you need to know WHERE those places are…)
  • I’m starting a new online business, to recoup our lost funds. (Perhaps your plan is develop your own economic stimulus package by writing a book based on your life knowledge, and market it online. If so, you’ll want to read the great post we have coming up on that topic!)
  • I’m starting a new offline business to recoup our lost funds. (Self-employment is a solid option, but you’ll want to invest in a business coach or other support system. After all, there’s no time left for mistakes…)
  • I’m moving in with my kids to help save money all around. (You’re thinking that this is what your parents and grandparents  did during the Great Depression, and it worked for them.)
  • I’m paralyzed with fear, don’t know where to turn. (You may not realize that you’re having trouble handling the stress. But if you’re eating poorly, napping excessively, drinking or smoking more than usual, or having trouble sleeping, these are warning signs you need to address. In order to get your ship afloat again, you might want to get some help with learning relaxation techniques, adopting a healthy mindset and developing stress management skills.)

Don’t Wait! You Only Have Until June 12th 2009 to Cast Your Vote.

All you need to do is click on the link below, to quickly send your answer to this single question survey.

This is not a test, it’s  a survey. Which means there is no one right answer. It’s simply an attempt to (albeit unscientifically) take the pulse of Boomer Lifestyle readers, to find out how you’re handling the financial challenges the current economy brings us.

The options you’ll find for your response are based on solutions we’re hearing about by watching the media, and reading your stories online. We know that each of the responses represents a percentage of you – we just don’t know — YET — how many of you have opted for each of these solutions. But after June 12th, we’ll tally up the responses and write a blog post analyzing your responses.

Should be quite interesting…

Of Course, We’d Love to Hear From You, Personally.

It’d Be Fantastic If You’d Share Your Story With Our Readers

If you’re game, feel free to post a comment here on the blog, telling your story… We’d especially love to hear any personal stories you’d like to share.

But Don’t Forget to Vote! Now!!

Here’s where to click to participate in the poll’s single question:

Please click to vote

What’s Next?

Once your vote and the others we receive are tallied, we’ll  post our findings.

Early poll returns show 60% of you selecting the “paralyzed with fear” option, which is distressing. But perhaps not surprising. It’s early yet in this recession, and people are still finding their way out of it…

We Have Posts in the Works on Solutions to Assure You Continue to Enjoy a Vibrant Boomer Lifestyle.

They include topics like:

  • How to write a book based on your life experience and knowledge  – and better yet – how to market it successfully
  • What to look for in selecting a foreign country as your future residence – full or part time
  • How to market yourself so that you can find a job without being penalized for your age
  • How why and when to start and operate a (profitable) online business
  • How to make money from a hobby business
  • And loads more of the lifestyle posts you love, on topics like healthy living despite health challenges, vacationing with your grandchildren, helping a parent coping with Alzheimers, dating, recipes and Boomer fun. Even a fun and entertaining post on creative trends in Boomer funeral planning. (Really!)

You know, this is all great stuff you’ll want to read as soon as it’s posted. Why not subscribe to our RSS feed, or go to the top of this page to sign up for our email list, to assure that you don’t miss a single post!

Stay cool! The tide’s rising to meet you!

Boomers, Seniors, Retirees: Need to Replace Income Lost In Recession? Have You Discovered How to Get “Linked In” to the Social Networking Sites to Assist In Your Job Search?

March 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Employment, Work, Money & Retirement

 Job Search Ahead? LinkedIn Is a New Must Do

Does the Recession Find You with a Decimated 401(K), Your Savings Tanked and – Worse – Forced to Look for Work?

If so, you’re not alone. That’s what happened to one of my daughter’s co-workers, a guy we’ll call “Ron.”  Perhaps you’ve known someone like Ron, or had a “Ron” at your office, too. If so, he’d be the guy who’s famous for taking penny-pinching to the “nth degree.”

According to my daughter, Ron scrimped and saved his whole life, building up a huge stock portfolio – with the intent of leaving his former college and several charities major endowments on his death.

She tells me Ron was the epitome of financial prudence. While she’s no slouch when it comes to being economical, she says this guy could one-up anyone when it came to scrimping and saving.

For example, he:

  • Rode a bicycle to work
  • Always ate lunch at his desk – PB&J’s and an apple – every day
  • Never went out for after work drinks with co-workers or ate dinner at nice restaurants

Beyond that, Ron:

  • Lived in a tiny house he inherited from his grandmother
  • Spent his vacations doing home improvement projects
  • Mowed his own lawn, and used a push mower to boot. (“Good exercise and saves the environment,” Ron said.)
  • Never bought clothes unless he had to — and only then on sale
  • Didn’t have a TV, so no pricey cable bill, either
  • Read a lot of books, but never bought them. He was a great patron of his local library
  • Excelled at coupon-clipping…

Yes, Ron was well-paid, and he was a saver. He had big plans for his nest egg, too.  But there’s a sad ending to his story:

  • In order to get the most return for his money, it seems Ron invested all of his personal savings into the stock market
  • And lost it all this past year
  • The mental distress these losses caused him was so great Ron began verbally abusing his co-workers
  • And eventually became so disruptive his supervisors dismissed him
  • To add insult to injury, the firm’s 401(K) hasn’t performed well recently. So Ron doesn’t have much to show there either, due to the timing of his separation from the company. He’s pretty much left to rely on his Social Security and whatever severance pay he might have received.
  • The only ray of hope I see is that knowing how scrappy Ron is, I am hopeful he can get back on his feet again soon…

Wow! What a tale of woe. Hopefully, your personal losses aren’t as huge as Ron’s.

But regardless, you know that because of this economic downturn, many Boomers, seniors and retirees suddenly find themselves  faced with an unanticipated need for funds. Unless you feel up to starting your own business, this means you need to figure out how to return to the workforce…

It’s time for a job search. And though that may be daunting, especially given your concerns over ageism, the good news is that we’ll end this post by discussing some new social networking tools that are guaranteed to help you succeed. Which is a really good thing. After all, you’re concerned that:

  • You’re searching for work during a time when global unemployment is on the rise
  • You’re up against gigantic odds – especially if you’re factoring in any potential for age discrimination and technological shortcomings
  • Not to mention your concerns over generational conflict in the workplace. (You know, hostility you may face because younger workers believe that older workers who refuse to retire are grabbing jobs that should have gone to them – or even to new college grads…)

Don’t Despair. There Is Some Good News. First Off, Boomers and Seniors Actually Have Some Support in the Human Resources Department

Based on experience, HR people – whose job is to make the best hiring decisions possible – know that workers in the plus-50 age range are:

  • Generally more conscientious and harder working than younger workers
  • Less likely to take sick leave; even more unlikely to require maternity leave
  • Usually more perceptive, emotionally stable and motivated
  • Just as capable of learning (which means that a bit of training will negate any concerns related to technological challenges)
  • More capable of evaluating decisions, due to experience
  • Much less prone to making rash/”off-the-cuff” decisions which have to be overturned later
  • Often willing to sacrifice earnings in favor of a pleasant work environment and/or the gratification that comes from making the world a better/safer/kinder place
  • Steady workers, not overly interested in climbing the career ladder at this point in their lives

Secondly, There Are Some Bright Spots On the Job Search Horizon

Steve Pogorzelsko, former president of Monster North America, the company which runs the employment site Monster.com, says the country is already experiencing a shortage of workers in some areas. Particularly:

  • Health-care workers
  • Car mechanics
  • Accountants
  • Auditors

So if your talents fall into those areas, you’re much more likely to find organizations anxiously looking to hire you.

Beyond that, if you’re reading this in the United States, President Obama’s Stimulus Plan is also about to start generating jobs. Monster.com has just published a useful job search list for those positions. Apparently, in addition to jobs in construction and the trades, there will be jobs created in dozens of other fields, including:

  • Finance
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • And even in “softer” areas, like travel, tourism and hospitality…

Third, You Can’t Ignore the Generational Tension Created By the Tug-of-War Over Who Gets Today’s Jobs – But You Might Be Able to Use It to Your Advantage

Ellen Goodman, columnist for The Boston Globe just wrote a very interesting piece on generational conflict and how the recession is sending mixed messages to older Americans seeking employment. Her piece begins:

“Let me see if I have this right:

Older Americans ought to keep working in order to lighten the burden of Social Security and assorted benefits on younger generations.

Older Americans ought to retire in order to make room for younger generations with their noses pressed to the closed window of the job market...”

A few paragraphs later she says:

“… But if the downturn comes with the seeds of generational conflict over jobs, it also carries packets of social change. There is a chance for the boomer generation to make a virtue – or a revolution – out of the necessity of working longer.

We already know that a growing corps of people in their 50s and 60s are more interested in renewal than retirement. Marc Freedman of Civic Ventures talks about “encore careers” for those who want to leave their midlife jobs and move into work with social value.

Now, he says hopefully, “The one benefit of this economic crisis is to drive home the reality that longer working lives are going to be necessary and desirable. If we can give people a sense that contributing longer is not another set of years at the grindstone but an opportunity to do something they can feel proud of, we’ll have accomplished something significant…”

Speaking of Social Change, Renewal – And Working Toward Significant Accomplishment: Why Not Start Using Some of the New Social Networking Tools to Enhance Your Reach, Increase the Opportunity for Job Search Success?

Of course you already know to use traditional social networking.

It’s as natural to you as breathing, right? As soon as you decided it was time to pull out your resume and start updating it, you no doubt started your networking campaign, letting your contacts know that you’re looking for work, so that they can assist you with your search.  That network includes your:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Former employers
  • Former co-workers
  • Former classmates

But Did You Know That You Can Reach a Lot More of Your Resources – Faster – Using the Outreach Techniques Offered By Some of the New Social Network Websites?

Currently, the three best job search-related resources are Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn. Additionally, you can create a blog, and blog about your expertise and things you feel passionate about. This will also lead you to previously unanticipated income opportunities.

So let’s talk a bit about those three sites:  If you haven’t previously used them, don’t hesitate to jump online and take a look. As you get to know and understand  them, you’ll see that while they’re similar in some ways, each has each has a unique role to play in your job search efforts.

Though they are all focused on social networking, it might help you to think of them in terms of your more traditional social networking experiences. You know, sort of like this:

  • Twitter = A connection you make at a cocktail party.
  • FaceBook = A conversation you have in the hallway at work. Potentially a casual connection, but still potent…
  • LinkedIn = A traditional business meeting. When you’re using LinkedIn, you’ll want to (figuratively) wear your best suit, carry your business cards – and shine your shoes.

Got it? Then let’s talk some more about how you can use LinkedIn:

You Need to Use LinkedIn As Your Professional Networking Site, Where You’ll Post Your Work Experience, and Start Connecting with People Professionally.

Currently LinkedIn.com boasts over 35 million professional users and focuses on a business demographic. It operates with three levels of separation. You can connect to people you know directly, as well as people you might be able to connect with on a secondary and tertiary level.

You can also connect your blog to it, once you’ve got one set up, and send your tweets there, too. (Tweets are the comments you make from your Twitter account.)

Once You set up your LinkedIn connections you’ll suddenly find yourself connected to millions of people. As for current users of LinkedIn, here’s the demographics:

  • Average Age – 41
  • Average Years of Experience – 15
  • Average Household Income – $109,000
  • 46% of its users are Decision Makers
  • Includes profiles of executives from all of the Fortune 500 firms

After you’ve  joined and set up your profile, dig into the LinkedIn platform to find and join “groups” of people with common interests or backgrounds.

It’s easy to find existing groups. Here’s how:

  • First, log in to your LinkedIn account
  • Next look for and click on “Groups” in the left hand navigation bar
  • When you do that, you’ll see a new screen, where  “Groups Directory” and “Create a Group” options show up in a box in the upper right hand corner.

If you click on “Groups Directory, ” you can do a comprehensive search for existing LinkedIn groups related your current affiliations, including:

  • Your Alma Mater –  For example, mine – the University of Wisconsin-Madison – has an alumni group which I joined. So do Cornell, U of Michigan, Northwestern, CalTech, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, etc. Likely your school does too, as there are thousands of college alumni groups listed. If you school is not there, you can start one by clicking on the “Create a Group” tab.
  • National or Local Civic Groups –  I joined a group of Chi Omega Alumni, my national collegiate social fraternity.
  • Non-profits or Charity groups There are literally hundreds of groups here, including Christian Professionals, World Wildlife Fund, Ubuntu Users, American Heart Association, YMCA. No doubt one you’re affiliated with already exists and is happy to network with you…
  • Professional Organizations – There are over 62,000 professional organizations represented in LinkedIn. Everything from Automotive Aftermarket to Republican Professionals, to the World Tourism Network. As a marketing and PR professional , I joined the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Counselor’s Academy group.
  • “Employer Alumni” Groups – These are active groups of former employees interested in networking, and there are thousnds of them listed. I found HP Alumni, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel IT Dept alums, and something like 64 different flavors of AT&T/Bell Labs alums. Not to mention GE, IBM, Oracle. It’s a long list…
  • Special Interest Groups – I joined Baby Boomer Marketing Group, Marketing & PR Innovators, ProMarketers, and Relationship Marketing 101. What are your special interests?
  • Groups for Your Ideal Target Market – I found Encore Entrepreneurs, Boomer Nation…
  • Conference Groups – If you ever attended a major conference, like TED, Black Hat Briefings, Dallas TechFest or Defcon, you’ll be delighted to know there are over 4,000 LinkedIn groups related to conference attendees.

Being a group member allows you to see other group members and to reach out and build relationships. It’s sort of like your local Rotary Club on steroids…

No doubt you’ll want to search for groups for your areas of professional expertise, as well as within the areas where your best referral sources participate. Not to mention groups related to the sources of your best clients.

There’s More to Successfully Marketing Your Skills Via LinkedIn, Of Course:

For example, you can do some advanced searching in the “People” tab at the top of every LinkedIn. It allows you to find like-minded people and see where they are affiliated – both online and offline.  This means that you can discover what groups your connections belong to and “Join” them as well.  Which is a great way to position yourself as an expert in the appropriate communities. Something you want to do when your in job hunting mode. It allows you to showcase your expertise, becoming the  “Go To” professional in those groups.

If your curiosity is piqued and you want to know even more about how to leverage LinkedIn here are a handful of recommended books, all handily available at Amazon.com, which will help you better use LinkedIn to succeed in your job search:

In closing, if you’d like to take a look at my LinkedIn account as an example of how to set yours up, go to Anne’s LinkedIn page.

And if you’d like to connect there, just send me an invitation, noting that “BoomerLifestyle” is how we know each other.

Finally, if you’re still feeling mystified by social networking, but would like some coaching on how to use it, drop me an email, giving your name, email address, phone number, particular challenge, and best time to call. I promise to get right back to you so we can discuss how I can best help you.

You Can’t Do Much About the Economy, But That’s No Cause For a Midlife Crisis. Quick! What Would It Take To Make You Truly Blissful Right Now? As in “Happy From the Inside Out?”

It's Truly Your Choice: Midlife Crisis or Boomer Bliss?

As you were growing up, how did you envision your adult life?

Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, your childhood vision for your adult life doesn’t at all match up to the life you’re currently experiencing – quite possibly due to the recession.

After benefiting from all the high-flying financial success Boomers enjoyed during  the 80s and 90s, who would have ever dreamed you might find yourself today, 50+ and facing a midlife crisis because you suddenly – and unexpectedly –  find yourself:

  • Financially challenged – OK, let’s really lay it out there: too broke to be able to contemplate near-term retirement
  • Fighting foreclosure and on the verge of homelessness
  • Scrambling to have a reliable job and affordable health insurance
  • Worried that no one loves you – and getting by without a sex life, too
  • Dogged by chronic illnesses including arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, depression, sleep disorders, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and cancer
  • Feeling totally alone in the world

That’s certainly not the dream life you were counting on!

After all, when you dreamed of your future back in the day, you undoubtedly pictured yourself enjoying a delightful, robust and well-to-do standard of living; your vision perhaps fueled by the happy lifestyles portrayed in just about every laugh-track laden sit-com we watched on TV as we grew up.

Certainly that’s how Marcy Shimoff, once a self-described angst-filled  “unhappy camper,” envisioned her future life back as a young teen in the early 1970s…

She says she always imagined that as an adult she would undoubtedly:

  • Live in a beautiful house
  • Have a wonderful husband
  • Enjoy a great career
  • Be proud of her perfect body
  • Delight in a social life that was fun and exciting
  • Luxuriate in the fact that she was totally HAPPY!

To be sure, Marci adds, she was realistic enough to know that she:

  • Would have to work hard to get all her ducks in a row
  • Didn’t have any idea how she was going to achieve this fantastic life
  • Was currently filled with existential angst, and not a naturally happy person
  • Had a personal goal to become a professional speaker, striding the stages of the world, inspiring people to change their lives for the better

Now Let’s Digress For a Moment:

Think about it: If Marci’s fantasies are similar to yours, and given the current state of the economy, it’s no wonder that Rhea Becker, the Boston-based author of The Boomer Chronicles has recently been writing post after post dealing with that ubiquitous rite of passage known as “midlife crisis.”

Just in case you may have been wondering whether or not you have or are experiencing one, she offers a handy crisis checklist. According to Rhea:

You Might Be Having a Midlife Crisis if You Are:

  • No longer content with a life and/or lifestyle that may have provided you happiness for many years
  • Bored with things/people that have previously held great interest
  • Feeling adventurous  –  experiencing a desire to do something completely different
  • Frustrated and questioning the meaning of life, and the validity of decisions you made clearly and easily in past years
  • Confused about who you are or where your life is going

Hold On! Are Those Challenged Feelings You’re Currently Experiencing Truly Caused by a Crisis of Midlife?

Perhaps You Just Need to Turn Off the News and Give Yourself the Opportunity to Be Happy?

Realistically, everyone who reads or watches today’s news programs – with their incessant stories of crisis, war and economic meltdown – is living under a cloud of doom, trying to figure out how to deal with the current economy and its negative impact on your personal finances.

Which is why it is so fantastic that Marci Shimoff – yes the same Marci who was once an angst-filled and brooding teen – has just released the paperback version of her fantastic and transformational book, Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out, which was originally published in hard cover format a year ago.

Thankfully for Boomers Everywhere, Marci Got Her Act Together. She’s a Happy Camper These Days – And She Knows You Can Be As Well.

Buy Happy For No ReasonBetter yet, Marci’s written a book to  share with you what she’s learned: You ALREADY HAVE  everything that you need to allow you to be happy –  right here, right now.

You don’t need to hold out for:

  • A fulfilling career
  • A big bank account
  • Your perfect mate

Marci’s book, Happy for No Reason, brings you a breakthrough approach to being happy, one that doesn’t depend on achievements, goals, money, relationships, or anything else “out there.” No, she proves that true happiness must come from inside you…

  • Most books on happiness tell you to find the things that make you happy and do them more often. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’ve tried it, you’ve probably figured that this can lead to addictive behaviors, and worse — it won’t give you the deep and lasting happiness you’re undoubtedly longing for — the kind you’ll never lose, no matter what happens in your life.
  • Marci’s book includes interviews with 100 people she calls her “Happy 100” – people she’s identified as people who are truly happy.
  • But beyond that, she’s interviewed a handful of leading experts in the fields of positive psychology and neurophysiology, giving the book a great blend of science AND personal stories.
  • The result is a powerful, proven  and life-changing 7-step program that incorporates all areas of your life.
    • Personal power
    • Mind
    • Heart
    • Body
    • Soul
    • Purpose
    • Relationships

Follow Marci’s 7 Step Program and you’ll become happier immediately — no matter where you are now, even if you’re unexpectedly finding yourself at the personal nadir. You know, you suddenly and unexpectedly find yourself feeling  “50, broke and single.”

The book begins by pointing out that each of us has a “happiness set-point” — a fixed range of happiness we tend to return to throughout our life — that’s approximately 50 percent genetic and 50 percent learned. Which is good news: it means that in the same way you’d crank up the thermostat to get comfortable on a chilly day, you can actually raise your happiness set-point! It goes on to give you specific steps to finding your own personal happiness.

Intrigued? Here’s Even Better News:

Now You Can Own a Paperback Copy of Happy for No Reason For a Mere $8.25, Instead of the $24.95 I Paid For MY Hard Cover Version! What Could Be More Fair and Fiscally Responsible Than That?!

Oh! Maybe You’d Like the Offer Sweetened with Presents? (You Know, Gifts with Purchase…)

That’s right, once you take action and order the book, there’s an extra reward: you can snag a boatload – as in more than $3,000 worth – of fantastic free gifts as a thank you for your highly intelligent purchase of this fantastic book.

Marci starts with a free audio course you can download, including these recordings and study guides:

“Happiness: From the Blues to Bliss” recording with Marci and award-winning actress, Mariel Hemingway.

“2009 Happy for No Reason Coaching Manual” plus free live group coaching session with Marci over the telephone.

“Eliminate the #1 Belief that Blocks Your Happiness” online session by Morty Lefkoe.

“The Passion Test” online session with personalized results to help you discover and live your passions.

“HeartMath De-Stress Kit” — a 15-page guide with helpful practices to manage stress during challenging times.

“Turn Happiness into Money” recording by Marci and CNBC wealth expert Phil Town

“Feng Shui for Happiness & Prosperity” recording by Feng Shui Master Marie Diamond

“Happiness Meditation” with Spring Forest Qigong Master Chunyi Lin

Not only that, but the link allows you to download more than $3000 worth of valuable additional gifts and bonus recordings from almost 200 top authors and thought leaders, who have come together to give you a wonderful, happiness-filled life of abundance and peace.

These authors include:

  • Jack Canfield
  • John Gray
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Deepak Chopra
  • Dr. Joe Vitale
  • Bob Proctor
  • Bill Bartman
  • Maria Carter
  • Dr. Joe Rubino
  • even celebs like Shirley MacLaine, Yakov Smirnoff and Richard Simmons!

Now That You Can Save Money While Learning to Be Happy, Don’t Just Take My Word That This Fabulous Book Can Change Your Life

Here are some quotes from other people whose names you may recognize:

  • “With Happy for No Reason, Marci Shimoff has hit a home run. This book presents a definitive, broad-based approach to becoming truly happy that combines great spiritual depth, top-notch research, and psychological practicality. I’m certain that if you follow the practices in her dazzling new book, you too will manifest a lifetime of happiness.” — from the Foreword by Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles and co-creator of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series
  • “You can’t depend on external circumstances for lasting happiness. It has to come from inside you. Based on scientific research and the experiences of truly happy people, Happy for No Reason shows you step-by-step how to raise your happiness set-point.” — Mehmet C. Oz, MD, coauthor of You: On a Diet and You: Staying Young
  • “Marci Shimoff is one of the most compelling people I’ve ever known. I’m happy she’s shared her wisdom with all of us in Happy for No Reason.” — Marianne Williamson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Return to Love
  • Happy for No Reason offers seven clear, powerful, and effective steps you can practice to be happier right now!” — John Gray, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
  • “This book is a wonderful collection of techniques and examples, shared by people who have had one of the most important realizations I think we can have — that we already have within us the ability to live in a state of Happy for No Reason.” — Lindsay Wagner, Emmy Award-winning actress, The Bionic Woman
  • “Tremendous! Marci Shimoff has produced a book that is practical, inspiring, and accessible. Happy for No Reason gives readers powerful ways to become happier in all dimensions of life: body, mind, heart, soul, personal power, purpose, and relationships. It’s seven books holistically rolled into one.” — Stephen M. R. Covey, bestselling author of The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything

Still here? What are you waiting for? Your chance to achieve true Boomer Bliss awaits, don’t miss the boat! Click the link to order Happy for No Reason now, and comment to this post that you’ve ordered the book. I’ll reply with the link to where you can register for all the free goodies!

Bucket List Game Reminds Us That THIS Is the Year You Can Achieve Anything You Want: You Haven’t Let The Recession Keep You From Writing Up Your New Goals List, Have You?

Recession-Proof Your Bucket List Now

Bucket lists are big news these days and we’ve talked about them before, of course. But here’s one that begs to be shared with you. This time, instead of you coming up with your own personal list, you get to share your experiences with  others.  Think of  this as an opportunity to get to know your friends better.

Here’s how it works: Review all 100 items on the bucket list below and bold the ones you’ve already achieved – though undoubtedly you’ll feel that some of them are more like experiences than they are true lifetime achievements. Still, it’s fun to see how many you can check off!

Below — with brief annotations — is my bucket list. Thanks, to Rhea at “The Boomer Chronicles,” for sharing and getting us started. Feel free to share your results via a comment to the blog. I promise to comment back to each and every one!

Once you get done reading the list and contemplating how you would answer each point, it’s time for the real work to begin. That’s right – it’s time to develop your plan for what you want to personally achieve this year! After all, if you’re going to leave a legacy, it’s time to start! Here’s the bucket list:

I Have…

1. Started my own blog

2. Slept under the stars – while on a horseback pack trip. It was phenomenal

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii – no, but I’ve been to Alaska!

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than I can afford to charity – how could that be possible? The more you give, the more blessed you become…

7. Been to Disneyland/Disneyworld

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sung a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught myself an art from scratch – first there was macrame, then crochet and tie-dye. Hey, it was the 60s!

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning – no but I have experienced being seasick during a storm at sea. They might be analogous, not sure…

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty – no but I’ve walked DOWN from the top of the Washington Monument and the Gateway Arch…

18. Grown my own vegetables – that was during my “Earth Mother” days, but I am seriously looking into doing it again this year…

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitchhiked – my mother told me not to, but I did. Thankfully I’ve never revealed this to her… Guess she’ll know now

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill – what parent hasn’t been forced to take a sick day to care for a child?

24. Built a snow fort – oh and it was a dandy!

25. Held a lamb – no but my grandma took a shot of me as a toddler, holding a squirrel as I sat in my sandbox. My mother was petrified when she saw it

26. Gone skinny dipping – in Lake Mendota, at midnight, on a sultry June 21 – the longest day – after drinking a bottle of Boone’s Farm apple wine. Ahh, those UW college days…

27. Run a marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse – well, you can’t watch it DIRECTLY…

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset – both are worth waiting for…

31. Hit a home run – I’m a leftie batter and THAT experience was amazing!

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught myself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied – for one brief shining moment…and then it was gone in a flash!

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke – but not as a solo performance…

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa – no but it’s on my wish list, along with Antarctica

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had my portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling – I was there with others who did, but I couldn’t get over the concept of spitting into my mask…

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie – no, but I’ve performed live onstage in front of an audience who paid to be in attendance…

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies – actually my cookie sales experience is what got me kicked out of Girl Scouts…

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving – no, but I want to

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter – over Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, while the the ethereal music of “Enya” reverberated into my headphones, courtesy of the pilot. It was a  transcendent experience – a day I will never forget!

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy – well, I saved “Sheepie,”one of my kid’s favorite stuffed animals, but only books remain from my childhood…

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt – not yet, but I have a sister-in-law who’s promised to teach me

73. Stood in Times Square – way back in the 60s, before they cleaned it up!

74. Toured the Everglades- sadly, I don’t think touring Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs counts.  But I did go on a Cajun Swamp Tour in New Orleans that was pretty spectacular…

75. Been fired from a job – twice, though the second time was termed “closing your department,” but I wonder…

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone – technically I did bruise my tailbone in a skiing accident, but there’s nothing they can do for that. The subsequent ride in the Ski Patrol basket was pure embarrassment, however

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle – so far, only in my dreams

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book – lots of stuff I have written has been published, but my book’s not done yet…

81. Visited the Vatican – the most memorable thing for me, besides the Vatican Guards’ uniforms, was the catacombs…

82. Bought a brand new car- thankfully I’ve enjoyed this pleasure many times

83. Walked in Jerusalem – no but I have a sister-in-law who has…

84. Had my picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating – no, but I helped my Dad clean ducks he’d shot. That was close enough for me…

88. Had chickenpox – even gave it to my brother, who was just a few weeks old. Sorry, Eric!

89. Saved someone’s life – well I had to give my daughter Syrup of Ipecac once, so I think that counts…

90. Sat on a jury – called twice, but never chosen…

91. Met someone famous – Most notably,  “The Guess Who” came to our house and showed my son how to play American Woman on his guitar. Each played it a bit differently. We have pictures

92. Joined a book club – many times

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby – Did that twice – a long time ago

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit – oh yeah. Thankfully I’ve always won, even when I was the defendant

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Ridden an elephant – not yet, but I have a friend who arranges this in Africa, so I’ll do it eventually

Back to You: What’s in Store For You Goals-wise, in 2009?

Your answer, you understand,  is deeply rooted in your ability to set and achieve goals. The fact is, recession or not, you have the ability to achieve WHATEVER you desire. Perhaps you seek …

  • Robust health
  • Financial freedom
  • Enduring relationships
  • Wonderful friendships
  • Fulfilling family activities
  • True happiness

Whatever your desires, any and all of them are possible once you take the first step by setting goals for achieving these experiences.

Of course, to do it right, you really need to have a variety of goals:

  • Short term goals (goals you can easily accomplish in one day to one year)
  • Mid-range goals (goals which you can attain in one to three years)
  • Long term goals (goals that will take you three to five years to realize)
  • Finally, of course, you still want to maintain your “bucket list” goals  (those big picture things you want to experience before you die)

When you set goals strategically, you start by planning the long term goals.  You then carefully break down each goal into specific steps  to develop your mid-range goals.

Then, for each mid-range goal, you  ask yourself what you need to do to accomplish each one.

Use those answers to create your short term goal list.  These become your “To-Do List” each day for the next year.

Your goals list should not be about only those things you want personally …

Of course, there’s no need to limit your goal-setting to things you’d like to accomplish for yourself…You can also work out what sort of legacy you’d like to leave:

  • For the world
  • For your business
  • For your family

You can create goals related to anything that you can affect as well as anything that you want to participate in. It’s all fair game.

For example, do you long for world peace? Don’t let the dream die because you think it’s more than you can accomplish. Instead:

  • Put world peace on your long term goals list
  • Then figure out a way to make a peaceful difference in the world via your mid-range goals
  • Start building toward peace immediately via your short term goals – for example, you could start by participating in other people’s peace-generating activities

Regardless of what decide to you do, remember this:  Albert Schweitzer once said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

In short, if you want to achieve all of your goals in 2009 and beyond, your first step is to  make sure that you include everything that will make you happy on your goals list AND make sure that you are focused on doing something you love!

That’s why it is so important to follow your passion in building a business.  Unless you have a true passion for what you are doing, you will find it all but impossible to succeed.

When you follow your passion, you’ll not only experience  success — but happiness will be its twin.

What Sort of Success Will You Create in 2009 and Beyond?

The answer depends on the goals you set for yourself and the action you take to achieve them.

If you’ve never before used goal setting to help you achieve success and happiness, here’s a program created by the fabulous Gina Gaudio-Graves that is guaranteed to help you realize your goals.

Don’t let yourself down or your goals die. The legacy you want to leave is too important to the world.

Download this highly recommended goal-setting package from Gina Gaudio-Graves today at:

—> Miracle Motivational Package

Are You Worried, Fearful the Recession Will Bust You? Don’t Just Wait for Obama. Why Not Motivate Yourself to Start a Business That Creates Your Own Economic Stimulus Plan?

Got Your Own Recession Busting Stimulus Plan?

My friend Kathy has been a motivated and highly successful Realtor in beautiful and historic Galena, Illinois – a community whose lifeblood is tourism –  a for about 30 years. Regularly one of the top selling agents in her MLS, she loves her work and has lived through boom times and bad with the knowledge that everyone needs to have a home. Hers has always been a business marked by sales awards and steady growth.

  • But, along with almost 100% of the Realtors in the country, she found 2008 to be a real financial challenge. With little or nothing she could personally do to turn things around.
  • Which is probably why she sent out Christmas cards this year featuring a photo her husband took of her with Barack Obama back in 2004, when he was in town, campaigning for the Illinois senate. (She’s what you’d call a long-term Obama fan.)
  • For the past year, her hopes have been that he’d win the presidency and turn the economy around – and that he could take action quickly enough to get people confidently buying real estate again.
  • Naturally, she’s delighted Obama’s presidency is off to the fast start the whole world has been praying for…

Financially, We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet, Of Course. This Recession is Just Too Deep to Turn Around in Less Than a Month.

Obama may be a man with a plan and a compelling vision of hope. But even Kathy knows he doesn’t have super-powers. Nor did he come equipped with a fairy godmother and a magic wand… And we still live in the real world. There’s still a lot of hard work – and painful decisions – ahead:

No Doubt That’s Why You’ve Heard President Obama’s Cautionary Soundbites On the News This Past Week:

  • “We are in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression”
  • “2009 will be tough”
  • “Things may get worse before they get better”
  • “We must take dramatic action now, with regard to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, the economic stimulus package, tax cuts…”

Meanwhile…

  • Back at the ranch
  • Over in your neck of the woods
  • Or wherever in the world you like to hang out

January – with its excitement of the new year and the inauguration – has segued into the chill of February. And the hot dragon breath of recession and economic crisis no doubt continues to flick at your ears, as:

  • More Americans filed for unemployment in January than at any time in the last 26 years
  • A recent New York Times editorial opined that there’s “no guarantee that today’s battered 401(k)’s will rebound powerfully. People close to retirement don’t have time for a do-over. Even for those still far from retirement, there’s no telling how stocks will perform in the future. “
  • Big companies around the globe continued to announce plans to lay off tens of thousands of workers. A quick analysis of world headlines finds the following major firms announcing personnel cutbacks:
    • Caterpillar (20,000)
    • Sprint Nextel (8,000)
    • Home Depot (7,000)
    • Boeing (10,000)
    • Macy’s (7,000 workers cut, plus they cut their quarterly divided, and said they’re integrating all divisions into a single unit, as they expect 2009 to remain very tough for retail)
    • Starbucks (announced plans to close 300 under-performing stores worldwide and lay off 6,700 workers, mostly in the US )
    • The anticipated Pfizer Wyeth merger (which will result in a net loss of 8,000 jobs)

As Ann Landers Used to Say, “It’s Time to “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee:”

The question you must now ask yourself is “What have YOU planned to do in 2009 to keep yourself financially solvent??”

In case you were too busy to take action earlier due to:

  • The year-end holidays
  • The election or
  • Your own personal financial implosions

You need to know this: It’s not TOO LATE for you to RESOLVE to spend 2009 focused on generating income via consistent activity related to your skill sets and your big ideas!

Especially if You’ve Recognized That 2009 is Not Just the Chinese “Year of the Ox,” But Probably Also the “Year You Must Become Self-employed.”

And why wouldn’t you be starting to realize this? Obama may be quickly putting solid plans in play, but you’ve been around the block a few times. You’ve heard all the cautionary talk, and you know you don’t have time on your side:

Most people agree that it’s going to take at least two years – possibly longer – to get our economy straightened out again.

And, as a Boomer, someone who might have had plans to retire in as few as two years, you know you’ve got to take action. You can’t just wait for the “man from the government, who’s here to help”  – even when he brings with him as much hope as Obama does…

With so much to do, and so little time, your first step has to be to resolve to get motivated to take some action – after you chart your own personal recovery and reinvestment plan!

>Not Sure If Now Really Is the Time to Start Your Dream Business?

The truth is, 2009 is the perfect year to start. Done right, the economy can actually help you break all kinds of records for a start-up business generating sales, revenue and profits. Which is why there has not been a better time in the last 70 years to go out and build a business. You know why?
Because everyone else is pulling back! That means, for instance, that ad rates are cheaper now, so it costs you less to find buyers – provided you have pinpointed the messaging that is going to resonate with your ideal prospects…. and you’re absolutely clear about where you’re going with your business, and how you’re going to get there.

What? You’re Panicked and Not Buying This Concept?

Well relax. Fear and panic won’t get you anywhere. But strategic planning accompanied by proper motivation will.

As proof, take a look at the front page of Advertising Age for January 26, 2009.  Hone in on the article that says, Marketing’s New Red-Hot Seller: Humble Snuggie”

  • You know what product they’re talking about: those slightly silly-looking  blankets with arms that have been advertised all over TV these last few months… You can probably recite the commercial from memory, so you know they come in 3 colors and you can get two of them –  plus two book lights – for $19.95 plus shipping and handling…
  • Turns out the manufacturer has sold 4 million of these quirky little blankets with sleeves in just over four months which represents just under $40 million in retail sales.
  • And the products are not only back-ordered, they’re flying out the door as fast as the company behind the idea can get their Chinese suppliers to crank them out…
  • Here’s how popular this item is:

    • Not only has Ellen DeGeneres jokingly worn one
    • Fox News actually honed in on a woman wearing one at Obama’s inauguration
    • And the product has inspired more than 200 parody videos on YouTube – as sure a sign of success as anything

    Now Think About It: Haven’t YOU – At Least Once or Twice – Had an Idea for a Product As Simple – and On Target – As This One?

    Thought so. Most people have. Problem is, too few take action to turn these personal flashes of genius into income-generating products.

    Now’s the time to review those great ideas you’ve shelved somewhere in the back of your head and dust off any that might fit a similar mold. That is, products that are easy to produce and fill a need.

    Especially if – like the Snuggie – they are product ideas that can help people in at least one of these four crucial ways:

    • Save money
    • Make money
    • Relieve pain, or
    • Do something they have to dono matter what the economy (except, of course, that you can show them how to do it better, faster, easier, with less trouble)

    Add to That the Concept of: Do What You Love And the Money Will Follow

    Whether you’ve been laid off, are anticipating that a layoff might happen to you later this year, or are simply trying to figure out how you’re going to be able to retire in a few years, now’s the time to take a clue from experts like Loral Langemeier and figure out how to make some additional money doing what you already know how to do. Especially if it’s something you love to do AND it fits the criteria listed above.

    • Just getting a new job isn’t going to do it for you right now.
    • Nor will panic and fear get you anywhere.
    • Your best option today,  no matter whether you’re “still employed but worried,” or just lost your job, is to start figuring out how you can generate some new money. Money that will allow you to recession-proof your income.

    But What If You Can’t Afford to Spend Money on a Great Business Coach to Help You Get Started?

    No doubt there’s a lot of work you’ll have to do to get your business off the ground. The fastest and quickest way to do this is to work with a counselor or coach.

    • But that takes money, which is something you’re no doubt short on right about now…
    • Your next best option, instead of hiring someone to coach you one-on-one,  is to find a reliable online coaching program that’s readily available and free.
    • Gina Gaudio-Graves has a great one: Take a look at her 30-Day IM Challenge. Luckily for you, the latest challenge is just about to start. You’d be smart to take a look at what she’s offering.

    The 30-Day IM Challenge is Packed With Hundreds of Pages of Solid Information – All Free – And Since It’s a Contest, There Are Even Prizes to Further Motivate You!

    According to Gina, the biggest problem people have with completing the challenge is staying motivated to keep up with all of the training. Of course, you can work your way through it slowly. But since your goal is to get yourself into a position where you are generating some new money as fast as possible, taking it slow isn’t the best option. Especially if you want to with the prize, which is a free one-year coaching program with Gina, worth over $5,000.

    Here’s something guaranteed to help you focus and stay motivated, so you can keep up with the 30-Day IM Challenge and win:

    It’s Gina’s fantastic Miracle Motivational Package.

    You owe it to yourself and your future to find out what’s included in this program. Especially since just reading Gina’s story will motivate you!

    Can you imagine:

    • A car accident ended her legal career
    • Doctors gave her 12 months to live
    • When doctors said there was no hope – she used motivational techniques – which she shares with you – to save her life. She not only overcame her paralysis, learn to walk again, and figure out how to pay for $9 million in medical bills –
    • She also dedicated her life to helping one million people learn how to live the life of their dreams

    Discover How Gina Turned Her Life Around – And How You Can, Too!

    • Learn to motivate yourself to overcome everything that’s dragging you down right now, including this recession and your current financial frustrations!
    • Grab her Miracle Motivational Package today.
    • And don’t forget to sign up for the upcoming 30-Day IM Challenge!

    One month from now – when everyone else is moaning about how the recession has only gotten worse – you’ll be so glad you did!!

    Need to Generate Income? What if You Could Enter the Growing Home Health Care Field to Financially Benefit From the “Uptick in World Aging and Chronic Disease?”

    Is Home Health Care Biz For You?

    There’s no two ways about it: The fact that we humans are all getting older every day is as sure as the inevitability of death and taxes.  

    Your challenge is to figure out how to use this to your advantage… And do it in a way that will make you money. One big idea is to develop a home health care oriented business related to helping people deal with chronic health conditions.  And do it now:

    • Don’t be like, Vivian, one of my former coaching clients, a 60+ physical therapist, who had an idea for a product to be used by Alzheimer’s patients.
    • It was a great idea: Simple, elegant, effective, dignity-enhancing, and inexpensive to manufacture.
    • A product that, if developed, would have sold like hotcakes, and made her a wealthy woman.
    • Sadly, she was so bound by fear that her idea would be laughed at that she waited a decade to seek help in bringing her idea to fruition.
    • In the end, just as I was aiding her to explore the manufacture of her “baby,” she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, and didn’t survive her treatment.  Talk about a tragedy.

    So as you’re sitting there, wondering what sort of business you can get into that will help you successfully ride out this current recession, think about the obvious:

    • What is it that people will always need, no matter what the economy is doing?
    • What resources can you personally access to serve these needs?
    • How might you be able to set things up to provide yourself with an ongoing, recurring monthly income? One that can be grown, but that won’t likely be discontinued, once you acquire a customer?

    Your answers to these questions are crucial: They could help you develop a recession-proof business that will fund your retirement.

    Actually, these are the very same question the “big boys” of industry are currently asking. Based on their answers, they’re taking action – they’re shedding old businesses that don’t support the answers they’ve arrived at, and acquiring new ones which do.

    Need proof? Check out this recent article from the New York Times, “Royal Philips Sheds Old Businesses for New Directions,” which notes that execs at the Dutch industrial giant have become convinced of two things:

    • The population is getting older and
    • It is becoming more interested in becoming “greener”

    The article notes that these two trends  – aging and greening – are guiding Philips as it transforms itself, reorganizing its divisions and jettisoning (non-compliant) product lines while picking up others. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the aging aspect and save going green for another day…)

    Of course this is worth our attention. After all, Royal Philips is a well-known a manufacturer. By the way, we’re not talking about the folks who bring you Milk of Magnesia or the petroleum company. We’re discussing the firm previously known for its manufacture of home electronics products, including: 

    • Magnavox televisions
    • DVD, Blu-ray and home theater surround-sound devices
    • MP3 players, home appliances and portable music accessories
    • Philips incandescent light bulbs
    • Norelco shavers 
    • Sonicare power toothbrushes

    “Uptick in World Aging”

    These days, Royal Philips is selling off its home electronics businesses and instead delving into the business of selling hospital and at-home scanning and monitoring equipment and high-tech light bulbs made with light-emitting diodes.

    • “We were a technology-driven company,”said Gerard J. Kleisterlee, the chief executive of Philips. “But that is only one element. Now we are focusing on care cycles. ‘Health and well-being’ is a common theme that everyone works on.”
    • Or, as the company’s chief financial officer, Pierre-Jean Sivignon, puts it: “An uptick in world aging and chronic diseases will drive our business.”

    To support this new business direction, Philips has acquired a number of existing firms: First, they bought Lifeline, a home health care monitoring system, perhaps best known to millions of Americans for an old television commercial whose tagline was, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

    Dozen of comedians had with that line, but despite the fun, the fact is, almost 40% of all seniors fall each year, and protecting them when they do, is big business. Look at these facts related to falls and medical helplessness at home:

    • Falls are one of the most serious health risks among seniors over the age of 65, affecting more people than stroke and heart attacks combined.
    • Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury in those people 65 and over.
    • 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. 40% of those hospitalized for hip fracture do not return to independent living and 20% will die within a year.
    • More than half (55%) of all falls by seniors take place in the home. An additional 23% occur outside but near the house. Lifeline can intervene in close to 80% of all falls.
    • Most falls go unreported, but it is expected that 35-40% of people over the age of 65 fall each year.
    • Those who fall are 2-3 times more likely to fall again.
    • Additionally, many other chronic medical conditions place millions more seniors at risk.Cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, diminished hearing and eyesight, and Parkinson’s all leave seniors vulnerable to helplessness at home.

    No wonder Lifeline currently keeps track of 720,000 elderly or infirm at-home customers in the United States and Canada. Doubtless the number of people who subscribe to this service will continue to grow as our world population continues to age.

    The Importance of Developing Recurring Income 

    • Most noteworthy is that Lifeline uses an intriguing business model, which you might do well to consider: they give away their products and charge a monthly fee for their use.
    • Explains Ronald Feinstein, Philips Lifeline president, “I don’t want to sell blood pressure cuffs and defibrillators,  I want to give them away and charge a monthly fee.”
    • Currently, customers pay $35 to $45 a month, for use of a pendant or a TV set-top box that connects to Lifeline. If they experience a medical problem, they push a button on the device to summon help.

    Not surprisingly, considering that their target market is people who are aged or infirm, the company does lose about 35 percent of its subscribers to death each year. But you might wonder whether they even notice:  After all, since the world continues to age, they have been able to grow their subscriber base about 10 percent a year.

    • At this point, the company estimates it owns 60 percent of the home-monitoring market in the United States.
    • The final addition to their home-healthcare monitoring revenue stream: the 250 installers who show the subscribers how to use the devices also sell them other products, like fall detectors and automatic pill dispensers.
    • But to round out their presence in the medical monitoring field, Philips also sells cardiac home monitors that transmit data to a doctor’s office, home defibrillators and a variety of out-patient monitoring systems for assisted living operations.

    Chronic Health Conditions Require Regular Treatment

    Next up, Philips bought Respironics, the home health care firm which is best known for their positive airway pressure (PAP) machines and accessories used to treat sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

    • As with Lifeline, Philip’s Respironics business uses a business model which charges a monthly fee for use of their equipment.
    • And finally, Philips entry into the Home Medical Equipment field means that they can roll out ancillary products, such as oxygen therapy, light therapy and respiratory drug therapies. You can also develop ancillary products, once you get your business started…

    Home Health Care Future Is Bright 

    Philips Healthcare anticipates great successes ahead with their home health care businesses: Says John L. Miclot, CEO of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions:

    • “By leveraging our strengths as Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, we will improve quality of life for at-risk individuals through better awareness, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of their conditions – in the home.”
    • We are looking to a bright future as part of Philips Healthcare. We’re expanding our efforts to simplify healthcare by providing innovative solutions for the home that connect patients to their providers and support independent living for at-risk individuals.”

    Should You Try For a Slice of the Home Health Care Pie?

     If you’ve got appropriate credentials, this is a “no-brainer.” Of course you should!
     
    But what if you’re not a doctor, licensed nurse, social worker or LPN?
     
    Even if you aren’t trained in the medical field, you may still find opportunities in this marketplace if you give it some thought. Assess your skills and talents and copnsider whether or not you might be able to build a business related to assisting health-challenged individuals to co ntinue to live independently in their homes.
     
    For example, what about:
    • A Dog-Walking Service for the Homebound? – Pets are great companions, of course. But those who are physically challenged may have difficulty exercising their pets, washing them, trimming their nails or getting them to the vet.  This business is similar to the pet care services provided for people on vacation, but would give you the benefit of regular repeat business.
    • A Personal Shopper/Delivery Service? – “Have car, will shop or run your errands.” Many physically challenged people would appreciate having access to a service that runs errands and even does grocery shopping.  Alternately, offer a service where you pick up and deliver meals from restaurants which don’t normally offer delivery. Anyone who has difficulty getting into and out of a car would be a prospect. Also, home-based business people who are busy would likely appreciate this sort of personal assistance.
    • An On Call Barber/Beautician/Massage Therapist Service – Again, the concept is that you take your service to the client, and do the work at their home, saving them from the physical challenges of having to leave their home.

    Not interested in providing an in-the-home service?
    There are still thousands of other options. How about:

    • A service where your clients call in daily, to confirm that they are OK, and receive some message or benefit in the process. Similar to the Lifeline service, this concept requires that your clients call you daily – at a pre-arranged time – to confirm that all is well. Of course, you can augment and personalize the service Lifeline offers in many ways. This would be a service many Baby Boomers who live far from their parents but have concerns over them would find beneficial.
    • Or you might offer a subscriber service where prepare you deliver a daily blog post or podcast on a topic of interest – possibly even something as simple as reading aloud a chapter of a book each day. 
    • Another concept could be running a group call or teleconference on a daily or weekly basis.
      • A “virtual book club,” for example.
      • Or a specialized virtual support group – could be for people with a specific disability, like fibromyalgia, for example.
      • Or possibly a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
      • These virtual groups have the benefit of not being limited by geography. You could actually have people calling in from all over the country – your only limitation to a world group being time zones.
    • Videos are great too!
      • Could you create a series of exercise videos specifically designed for people with physical limitations of one type or another?
      • What about a book, workbook, video and journaling program to assist people recovering from stroke or other life-altering illness to relearn skills they’ve lost? Possibly how to survive hip replacement surgery, for example. Or maybe how to learn to love your C-PAP machine – for those newly diagnosed with sleep apnea?
    • Finally, my favorite: An Ombudsman Service for people who are challenged by working the American healthcare system. If you’re good at details and cutting through red tape, there’s a huge need for this service. And in some situations – such as arguing with insurance companies – you can do the work from home!

    What Makes a Great Concept for This Type of Business?

    • Ideally, your new home health care business will not be labor intensive: You are able to do it once, and get paid repeatedly. A subscription service, for example. Or a book you write once and sell many times. Possibly a combination of both…
    • A service you provide that insurance companies will cover is also ideal, because it limits your customers’ out of pocket expense and means your payments can be automated.  
    • Look at your skillsets and figure out whether you can offer a product or service that is unique, solves a problem, and does not require you to “trade hours for dollars.”
    • A product or service that is based on your own experiences and your concern for helping others overcome a challenge you have faced. The personal aspect really shines through! This then might be something you market through doctors or clinics which work with people experiencing the same medical challenge.
    • And don’t forget the lesson Royal Philips teaches us: Strongly consider a product you can give away, which then allows you to charge a monthly fee for service or maintenance!

    Now it’s your turn!

    Put on your thinking cap, assess your life experience, and come up with some business concepts and ideas. Then develop a business plan that will put you in the game!

    What are you waiting for? Go! Do! Now! The world is aging, and it needs your help!

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