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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’!

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!!

    ‘Personal Validation’ Alone Is a Powerful Concept: But What If You Factored in the Power of the ‘Law of Attraction’ When Leaving Everyone You Meet With a Smile Or Blessing? Wow!

    January 19, 2009 by  
    Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Relationships & Family

     Can You Harness Power of Validation?

    About six weeks ago, as we moved into the year-end holiday season, I told you about my intent to personally take note of everyone I encountered, on a daily basis for at least 30 days. My plan was to make sure that I recognized everyone, but more powerfully, I wanted find some way to compliment each and every person in a unique and personal way.

    In personal development terms, this act I was taking on is called, “Validation,” which is defined by the self improvement gurus as “an observable act and human behavior that espouses both appreciation and gratitude.”

    However you want to define it, my decision was largely inspired by watching the short movie, “Validation,” which is freely available on YouTube, and, with over 426,000 views since it was uploaded, has acquired a bit of a following…

    Here Are My Personal – Albeit Unscientific – Results:

    During this time period, I had a lot of fun, and exercised my creativity:

    • I didn’t just offer individualized (or personalized) recognition and validation to friends and family members
    • I also offered validation to total strangers I met on my daily journey
    • I didn’t just make eye contact with everyone I encountered, while greeting them with a generic “Good morning,” or “Hello”
    • I actually made a point to personally engage each person I met in conversation, offering some sort of individualized and personal feedback; with the goal to leaving them smiling and in a more positive mood than when I’d met them.
    • Sort of like Clint Eastwood, in the movie “Dirty Harry,” I actually tried to “make their day” – (but In a very uplifting way!)

    The particular attempt at validation varied, depending on the person and the situation.

    • It might have been as simple as a genuine compliment about something they had done, the impact they were having on the people around them, or the attractiveness of something they were wearing
    • On other occasions, it was a personal inquiry that showed I remembered something about them from a conversation we’d had the last time we’d met
    • And in the case of total strangers, it was a personalized comment based on my appreciation of the situation at that moment. You know, something a lot more personal than, “So do you think it’s going to snow today?”

    Doubtless I will never see some of those people again. But it was still empowering to take note of their presence, and leave them with a warm feeling in their hearts.

    To review a few of the dozens of people I had the opportunity to positively interact with, so you understand the scope of my actions:

    • A couple who held the door for me as I entered a store
    • Checkers and cashiers at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies and shops
    • Waiters, and restaurant owners, with whom I might previously have exchanged general chit-chat
    • A handful of postal workers, who I see at the window and make idle conversation with on a regular basis, as well as fellow USPS customers, none of whom I’d met before
    • Of particular note were a couple of fellow customers at a gas station: one,  who saw me attempting to open my car’s hood, so I could add windshield wiper fluid to my car. One came over to offer to assistance with the latch; another stepped in to offer to pour in the fluid… Both were total strangers who doubtless didn’t know each other, and who may never be in the same place at the same time again…

    They All Felt Appreciated – And I Felt Great, Too!

    That’s one of the key “take aways” about validation – which you would probably best define as “a specific acknowledgment of appreciation for a task well done:” It is even more powerful for the fact that it feels just as good to the person who does the validating as it does to the person who gets validated.

    But the unintended outcome was that I was amazed at how many people reciprocated my greeting by going out of their way to help me, even though I am a fully capable adult, and wasn’t seeking or soliciting any sort of assistance!

    This was a total surprise which I didn’t fully comprehend until I happened to pick up and read a quick little book called Using the Law of Attraction to Get Anything You Want,” by Shawn Casey and Antonio Thornton.

    You See, By My Actions, I’d Unwittingly Called The Law of Attraction Into Play…

    You’re probably familiar with the concept of the Law of Attraction. Most people who’ve learned about it define it as a Universal Principal – like the Law of Gravity – that  works every time, whether you choose to use it for your benefit or not. In other words:

    • Like attracts like
    • Thoughts become things
    • In life, you will always get what you are expecting to get, because that’s what you call into action

    If you haven’t seen the Validation movie yet, you should. It’s both powerful and uplifting, though a number of people also report that it makes them cry, so be warned. At a bit over 16 minutes, making the decision to watch may daunt you, of course.  But you’ll find it is thought-provoking and well worth your time…

    And if you’d like to learn more about how you can use both Validation and the Law of Attraction in your day-to-day life, grab the book, too. It’s a very worthwhile, quick read.

    Among many other points made in the book, Shawn Casey tells of an organized personal greeting effort – similar to mine – which has been growing, worldwide. Started in Florida, this movement is called “Hello From My Heart Day.”

    Seems that by invoking the Law of Attraction, and consciously choosing to validate, or genuinely greet people, you can actually participate in a growing movement that has reduced violent crime by as much as 33% according to statistics cited in the book.

    Who Knew There Was That Much Value to Personal Validation?

    • Grab the book, “Using the Law of Attraction to Get Anything You Want,” learn how you can use the Law of Attraction to get anything you want – and discover how you can help reduce violent crime in our world.
    • What a deal! Especially since the book is only a measly seven bucks!
    • What’s that equate to? For the price of a fast food meal, you can get on the road to improving your life, and help make the world a better, safer place for all of us!
    • That’s gotta be what they call a “no brainer,” right?

    Read the Book and Prepare to Have Your Life Changed.

    And after you’ve digested it, feel free to send me a note telling me how it impacted You!

    Now That You’ve Rounded Up Your Waffle Iron and Whetted Your Appetite, Weren’t You Wishing You Could Serve Those Yummy Restaurant-style Sourdough Waffles at Home?

    January 10, 2009 by  
    Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Food & Recipes

    Ready for Sourdough Waffles?

    Yesterday, when writing about waffles and those cool “flip style” waffle makers so many motels now feature in their breakfast rooms — the ones that produce those really crispy, thick Belgian waffles — I also started thinking about the waffle batter they provide for those ubiquitous free continental breakfasts…

    If you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy those hotel waffles, you know the batter is generally provided in Styrofoam cups, which conveniently measure out the appropriate amount of batter for one waffle. And the batter is a thick, bubbly, yeasty concoction, redolent of sourdough

    I Used to Suspect it Wasn’t Really Truly Sourdough Batter

    But I’ve changed my mind, now that I’ve just read that sourdough starter can actually be frozen.  That makes sense, as it’d make daily setup pretty easy for the motel management…)

    Meanwhile, as I was thinking about how I might be able to bring you a recipe for THOSE exact waffles, I searched the deep recesses of my brain, and came up with a memory that’s an “oldie but goodie” from my “earth mother days of yore”… Maybe you remember it too?

    It’s “Herman!”

    Yep. Herman was that sourdough starter everyone shared with their friends, back in the 70s. If you’re a true Baby Boomer, you’ve either nurtured your very own batch of Herman – possibly for years – or you’ve dined on “friendship bread,” bread, pizza, coffeecake or pancakes made with a Herman sourdough starter.

    Because the thing is, once you accepted a Herman starter, you were pretty much committed to feeding your Herman, and keeping it going.

    Good thing I’ve lost track of Chris B., the dear friend who gave me my Herman starter eons ago, when we were both young women recently transplanted to Iowa. I’d hate to have to tell her I lost track of it over twenty years ago! (Then again, she probably doesn’t have hers anymore, either!!)

    Think About That “Sourdough Starter” Process For a Moment… If You Recall, It Required Regular Attention:

    • Most sourdough (and Herman) recipes required one cup of “fed” sourdough starter.
    • Which meant you had to plan ahead, to get the starter “fed” and keep it growing.
    • So, up to twelve hours before beginning a recipe – essentially the night before – you’d stir the starter and remove your cup of bubbly goodness.
    • The cup you removed was what you would use to make your product.
    • Then you added more flour and water to the remaining starter, to replace what you’d removed.
    • And the starter required maintenance, so if you weren’t going to bake something with the starter, your alternative was to give it to a friend, or throw it away…
    • However you did it, your goal was to get rid of one cup of starter on a regular basis — at least once a month — so you could feed the rest and keep it lively without ending up with a house full of yeasty-smelling starter.
    • Remember?

    The Whole Sourdough Tending Process Sort of Reminds Me of Child-rearing…

    But, like raising kids, it’s all worth it if you have a good starter. And the amazing thing is, there are actually people who are fortunate enough to have access to 150 year old sourdough starter. Which takes us back to the heyday of sourdough, the Gold Rush days!

    If you’d like to make sourdough waffles and you don’t have access to any historic sourdough starter, here’s a recipe for making your own. This isn’t “Herman,” which is a sweeter and more “tempermental” starter that includes milk and a fair amount of sugar… But this is a good basic sourdough starter:

    Sourdough Starter

    INGREDIENTS

    2 cups warm water, separated (water you’ve used to boil potatoes is traditional, but tap water works fine)
    1 tablespoon fresh active dry yeast
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 cups unbleached flour (separated)

    Pour 1 cup warm water (105°-115°, no more) into a non-metal or glass bowl or jar,  sprinkle yeast over it, mix, and let stand a few minutes until yeast dissolves. Add the sugar and 1 cup of flour. Mix. Let the starter sit on the counter (room temperature of 70-80° F) for 5 days (uncovered, or draped with cheesecloth, if you can’t stand to leave it completely uncovered). Your goal with leaving this out is to allow the natural yeasts that exist in the air get into the yeast sponge. Stir this mixture daily. When ready, the mixture will be bubbly and a little frothy, and smell nicely sour. If bubbles have not started forming after 24 hours, though, start again. Your water may have been too hot, or your yeast not fresh and active. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

    On the 5th day feed the starter with the remaining cup of flour and water.

    Stir and loosely cover the starter again.

    Your starter will be ready to use on the 6th day.

    Maintaining Your Sourdough Starter:

    • Once you have successfully prepared the sourdough bread starter recipe, store it in the refrigerator, loosely covered, in your jar or other non-metal container. (They make crocks just for sourdough starter.)
    • Replace the amount of starter you use. Most recipes call for 1 cup of starter; replenish it by adding 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup warm water to the remaining starter. Return it to the refrigerator. Should you need more starter, add the flour and water first, and let it ferment for 24 hours, (or at least for 12 hours).
    • Sooner or later a dark liquid will collect atop your starter. This is called the hooch. Just stir it in. It’s a good thing.

    Sourdough starter can be refrigerated indefinitely, but works best if you get it out and use some of it periodically, while you feed the rest.

    And why not? That’s what you made if for, right?

    Parting Thoughts:

    • Now that you have a recipe for sourdough starter, here’s a link to a sourdough waffle recipe, which comes from King Arthur Flour.
    • Be sure to check out this post, as it has loads of great photos, to make the whole sourdough waffle-making process really easy for you!
    • If you’re a Food Network fan, here’s a link to  video with Alton Brown talking about his method for making waffles
    • And a final link, to Alton’s preferred machine for making waffles. (Gotta love that Alton Brown!) 

    Coming Up in My Next Recipe Post: Loads of Ways to Showcase Your New Sourdough Skills

    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!

    Whether You Call It Your Craft, Your Calling, Your Profession, Vocation, or Career: Are You Blessed To Be Doing Work You Love? That Is, Have You Found Your Dream Job?

    December 5, 2008 by  
    Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Employment, Work, Money & Retirement

    Zen and the Art of Your second Career

    Are You Lucky Enough to be Making the Money You Desire While Simultaneously Working at Something You Love?

    Or – after all these years in the workforce – do you still find yourself wishing you were able to support yourself and your family while pursing a career path you love; something that feeds your soul and excites you to the point that you can’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning?

    Not to mention that it affords you ample opportunity to richly enjoy the lifestyle you deserve?

    If You’re a Baby Boomer Still Looking for Your “Dream Job,” the Good News is That it’s Not Too Late to Find Your True Calling.

    You can still find fulfillment by following your dreams into your second – or maybe even third – career.

    Here’s one Boomer woman’s story as proof:

    In 2002, Mary Sheahen, a registered nurse with oncology as her clinical specialty, was a busy Chicago-area healthcare executive who frequently found herself wishing there was some way she could do something related to the wellness side of the healthcare industry.

    Which is why when she lost her CEO role in a corporate reorganization, she didn’t see it as a personal failure, she saw it as a chance to do something new and different, something for which she has real passion. As she puts it:

    “I’d wanted to be on the wellness side of health care. And – having visited a few spas – I believed that a spa – done well – would serve that need. After all, as a nurse, I had seen the results of stress on illness!”

    Mary followed her muse, and in July 2003 she opened Wild Clover Day Spa in the historic community of Galena, Illinois. The spa is conveniently located within the cozy and inviting Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel.

    In developing her Wild Clover facility, Mary’s goal was to create a full service day spa – including a hair salon – that is a place her clients will happily seek out in order to get away from the stresses of life.  

    Her aim was to create a place where clients of all ages would be able to:

    •  Rejuvenate their minds
    • Care for their bodies
    • Improve their spirits

    And anyone who’s ever visited Wild Clover immediately knows how well she’s succeeded:

    • We offer all traditional spa services: massage, skin care, nail services, wraps and scrubs, hair care and group services” (Typical groups they serve include couples looking for romantic getaways, girlfriends seeking weekend escapes, families searching for fun ways to relax and rejuvenate and bridal parties, as well as occasional special programs for breast cancer survivors and victims of domestic abuse.)
    • “We are open seven days per week and focus on both health and beauty.
    • “We consider spa services as a way to care for yourself.”

    Here How Mary Summarizes Her Efforts to Get Her Spa Business of the Ground:

    • At the time I was planning Wild Clover, I was on the front end of the spa “boom”. There was just one other spa in Galena and it was struggling to establish itself. As Galena is a resort community, where people are already coming to relax and rejuvenate themselves, I felt the opportunity was there!
    • I found a consultant to assist me and believe this investment was worth every penny.
    • At the time I was doing my research (2002 and 2003), I was on the front end of an emerging business trend so finding a consultant took some work. There are many more spa consultants available today.
    • In true business start-up mode, I created a business plan with the traditional projections for growth. It was helpful and as it’s a living document, we have continued to modify it as we have gone along.
    • Be sure your significant other is on board with you, especially if you are spending communal money – or your retirement funds. My husband is a big part of the spa and we could not do it if he were not.
    • I have learned so much: you have to have guts, persistence and discipline to stay the course when you can and to recognize when you need to course correct.
    • Five years later, I now know so much more than I did then. These days, given my experience, I could actually be a spa consultant!!!

    As For How She Overcome Any Fears Related to Taking Her Retirement Money and Using It to Get the Business Started:

    “I had a conversation with a good friend who told me that so many people get to the point of launching and then back off and regret it later. He came along at just the right time. I had decided that I would continue planning until something told me to stop…and here I am!”

    If You Daydream About the “What If’s” in Your Life and Long to Finally Launch the Career of Your Dreams, Mary Offers This Advice:

    • “Go for it!! The second and third iterations of your career can be the most fun.
    • You have no doubt learned a lot and using those skills will help you in following your dream.
    • Know where your money is coming from.
    • Starting your own business takes guts but is well worth it.
    • I could sell the spa anytime and feel really good about it. We have been open over 5 years and have an excellent reputation…that means the world to me.”

    But What About You? Are You, Like Mary, Thriving in a Career That’s A Perfect Fit? Or Are You Still Searching?

    • Even though you’re Baby Boomer chronologically, do you feel sort of like Peter Pan? Still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up?
    • Do you have a great job and a fine paycheck, but still find it hard to drag yourself out of bed on workdays?
    • Perhaps you’ve been laid off, or believe you’re facing the potential of a layoff?
    • Or maybe your retirement plans just went down in flames due to the recent economic meltdown?

    If Any of Those Scenarios Describe You, Don’t Fret.

    If you believe that “work” should not be a four-letter word; that your job should not just put bread on the table but also put a smile on your face, now’s the time to identify your dream job and the career path that will help you make the change.

    Especially since, like so many Baby Boomers, you are now realizing that you’re not interested in a traditional retirement lifestyle, too boring.  No, since you’ve likely still got thirty more good years ahead of you, you’ve recognized that you’d really rather continue to be productive and contribute to society. Given ths crucial revelation, it’s not too late to make time for yourself, to FINALLY go after what you really want in life.

    Are You Ready to Launch Your “Second Act” Career But Not Sure Where to Start?

    One of the first steps is to do your “due diligence.”

    Just as Mary Sheahen did, you should find a coach or consultant to assist you. Remember, she mentioned that her investment in a consultant was worth every penny.

    I’d have to agree with her. As a coach, I’ve many times been called in to help “pick up the pieces” after people struck off on their own, launching businesses without doing the requisite soul-searching, strategizing and planning. Inevitably these folks have ended up totally miserable, when they absolutely wouldn’t have had to, had they done their research. 

    Generally, “calamity happens” when people select a business that doesn’t match their skill-sets or interests. This is a tragedy that doesn’t have to happen, but too often does.

    Here are a few examples:

    • A former faculty member at a medical college decided to buy and run an Indian restaurant.
      • He was Indian, so that part made some sense. 
      • But unfortunately, his personality is a bit abrupt, and he’s not at all comfortable with activities like greeting guests and making sure they are comfortable, happy and satisfied.
      • Nor did he enjoy crucial tasks like planning menus, ordering food or chef-ing. 
      • (Apparently, he went for the idea because he likes eating in good restaurants and there wasn’t a good Indian restaurant in his town!)
      • Obviously this is NOT a good enough reason to become a restaurateur!
    • Another case with an equally unhappy outcome involved an antiques dealer who bought a bed and breakfast, because she fell in love with the beautiful historic home and wanted to live there and decorate it.
      • The only way she could afford the mortgage was to continue running it as a B&B…
      • Fast forward a year and she’s learned that she has absolutely no interest in or aptitude for the business end of of inn-keeping.
      • Especially the parts that have to do with being a host and short-order cook for a half dozen strangers on a daily basis.
      • Not to mention the requisite changing of bed linens and swabbing of toilets!
      • Or the marketing effort required to even have guests to serve…
      • (Cash flow – which she had never investigated – was not such that she could afford a staff to handle these tasks. Not too many B&B owners can… )
    • And in a third case, an author client decided to start up a magazine because she loved to write and had great ideas for content.
      • She used an inheritance to rent on office, buy equipment and hire writers and photographers.
      • Sadly, her capitalization plans were totally inadequate.
      • (They relied on ad sales which didn’t happen.) 
      • That scenario ended in bankruptcy.

    These Examples Are Not Here to Dissuade You From Pursuing Your Career Dreams. On the Contrary, They’re Here to Persuade You That You Really Must Do Your Research:

    • At a minimum, start by talking to people who own the sort of business you want to start. Find out if they would do it over again, as well as what they see as the potential pitfalls, and how you might be able to learn from their experience.
    • Better yet, try “job shadowing” someone in the area where you want to start your own business. Quite often, you’ll find business owners who are willing to let you work in their business for a month or two, while you “learn the ropes.”
    • Alternately, checkout a company called Vocation Vacations, which allows you to “test drive” new careers while on vacation.

    Actually Vocation Vacations is a fascinating resource for you, since its sole reason for existence is to help people like you figure out what’s next, careerwise:

    • Founder Brian Kurth offers dozens of business owner coaches you can work with to “test drive” the new career of your dreams, while on vacation, and…
    • If you’re not sure what your dream job is – or want help to understand where your strengths and interests lie  – and how to use them to find the job and lifestyle of your dreams, check out their coaching package that includes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) Complete Assessment PLUS working with a professional career coach who can help you evaluate the results and determine your course of action.
    • If you’re not ready to invest in one of Vocation Vacation’s mentored vacations, there are a number of free resources on their web site, as well.
    • Or, you can read Brian’s newly released book, Test Drive Your Dream Job: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love. This book is both a fascinating chronicle of Kurth’s personal journey to creating his own dream job AND a hugely useful sourcebook. You’ll find it especially helpful if you’re not in a place where you can afford a mentor or if you would prefer to set up your own new career “test-drive.”
    • Best of all, the book gives you:
      • Lists of questions to ask potential mentors
      • Charts to help in establishing an action plan
      • Reality-checks about money, health insurance and the impact a life-change might have on your relationships.

    (All Really Important Stuff!)

    Kurth also includes anecdotes about successful dreamers and profiles of people who needed a dream-adjustment. Again, this is hugely useful information. 

    In fact, this book is so important to your finding the perfect second career that – if you do nothing else after reading this post – I urge you to grab a copy of this book and read it cover to cover! “Test Drive Your Dream Job: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love.”

    What have you got to lose? Especially when you remember this life affirming mantra: “It’s OK for me to want to be doing work I enjoy that also makes me money!”

    Thanksgiving Note: Call it Praise, Validation or Affirmation, Have You Ever Tried Consistently Greeting Everyone You Meet With a Genuine Message of Appreciation?

    November 27, 2008 by  
    Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Spirit & Faith

    Thanksgiving: Validating Abundance

    “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears” ~ Tony Robbins

    It’s Almost Thanksgiving Day Here in the US, So It Seems Appropriate to Start By Thanking You For Being a Regular Reader of This Blog…

    Besides being grateful for you, and offering you our thanks, we also say “Happy Thanksgiving” – which probably means more if you’re reading this post in the United States. If you live elsewhere, our thanks for your support are still genuine, of course, even if it’s not your “official” day for giving thanks!

    We’re truly appreciative that so many of you have discovered and shared our BoomerLifestyle blog in the past few months – and clearly enjoy reading it. More than that, thanks to all of you for your participation, including the many comments you post. We love hearing from you!

    By the Way, Speaking of Being Grateful, Have You Ever Noticed How Persistent God – or the Universe – Can Be?

    Have you ever ignored or – just plain failed to recognize – a message sent to you…  Yet the message keeps coming at you – in different guises or from different sources – until you just have to pay attention?

    Then, when you finally GET the message, you feel like you ought to knock yourself on the head, a la Homer Simpson? (“Doh!”)

    Well, That Happened to Me Recently.

    In the space of two days, the same message came to me from at least three different sources. But it wasn’t until the third message that I finally got the hint… When I did, the message was so timely and powerful, I just had to share it with you.

    Actually the message is in the form of a sixteen-minute video. In fact, the length of the video is why I ignored it so long… Hopefully you won’t make the same mistake!

    • First, my RSS feed notified me that my friend Ken McArthur had posted a new message on his fantastic Impact Factor blog. I opened it up, but didn’t read it right away, as the headline indicated I’d need to be watching a video for 16 minutes and 23 seconds. Sadly, I felt I didn’t have that amount of time available just then. “Catch it later,” I thought, as I filed the message in my reading folder. (Ken’s stuff is always too good to delete!)
    • The  second tap on my shoulder came next day, when another good friend, John Cussons, picked up on  Ken’s post and wrote about the “The Validation Movie,” in his blog, IMovator in Internet Marketing. Well, I’d just talked to John for about an hour the night before; so, pleading press of work, I mentally said, “Thanks, John, I’ll have to catch this later,” and once more filed the post without viewing it…
    • The Universe finally got through to me yesterday morning, when a third friend, Carrie Tucker, sent me an email, mentioning how impactful she’d found John’s post, and advising me to take a look if I hadn’t already. “OK, OK. Thanks, Carrie.”  
    • The thing is,  Carrie’s an extremely busy woman, so a nagging little thought took root in my brain: “If Carrie thinks this post is so worthy of immediate attention that she’s sent me a personal email… Hmmm. Maybe I ought to clear the decks and watch it.” So I did.

     Bingo!

    Here’s the video my three friends – and the Universe – were trying to send me. Please do take the time to watch it; it’s my Thanksgiving gift to you. Ken and John say it might make you cry. I don’t know about that. But I do know it will make you think, make you smile, and it just might change your life:

    “Validation” Is Truly Validating 

    Give this short movie a chance, and you’ll see that it is about more than “a fable about a guy who spends his life validating parking tickets.” It’s actually an inspirational story about the life-changing value of: 

    • Always looking for the good in people and situations, and showcasing the impact that has on the people you meet every day
    • Smiling at the world and giving off positive energy – which is huge, when you take the teachings of the Law of Attraction into consideration
    • Persistence in the face of thwarted love
    • Acting with abundance and living without fear

    Since watching the movie, I’ve realized that the main character, Hugh Newman, is played by an actor named TJ Thyne, who’s appeared in several movies and dozens of current-day TV shows, including CSI, CSI: New York, Boston Legal, Nip/Tuck, Bones and NCIS. You’ll probably recognize him. Actually, he and his production company, Theatre Junkies, produced the movie, which has rightfully won over 20 awards at various film festivals. 

    Clearly this is no fly-by-night, quickie homemade video; it’s a work of art.

    It has what those in the film marketing business call good production values.  In fact, you’ll probably agree that it’s truly a message from the Universe, created for the benefit of all humankind.

    So Here’s Your Charge: Enjoy the Video – And Take a Lesson From It!

    That’s right: Give some thought to offering praise, appreciation, validation, kudos or compliments – whatever you want to call it – to everyone you meet for at least a month. (Hopefully by then this will become a habit.)

    Just think what far-reaching impact that might have on our world.

    And, in the process, just think of all the positive energy and abundance you’ll be creating merely by pausing a moment, to notice and give thanks for the small things – and the big ones – that come your way?

    Appreciating everyone is actually pretty easy to do, once you put your mind to it:

    For example, at Wal-Mart yesterday, my frustrated checker was attempting to cajole her balky hand-scanner into processing my case of caffeine-free Diet Pepsi. I’d already courteously left it in the cart so she wouldn’t have to haul it. (Grocery store cashiers get a daily workout just moving all those cases of beer, soda pop – and now, huge frozen Thanksgiving turkeys, off the counters and into our shopping carts.) 

    Finally, she groaned as she hauled my case of soda up onto the conveyor, resorting to the belt-based scanner. As she did, she moaned about how sore this job makes her muscles at the end of the day.

    Cognizant of my new goal to spread positive vibes everywhere I go, I happily acknowledged my recognition of the amazing and efficient job she and all the other checkers do as they process all us shoppers’ purchases.  And I followed that by pointing out how lucky she is, since the “free workout” her job offers her means she has no need to spend money on a gym membership!

    She actually chuckled appreciatively and flexed her biceps!

    What an easy way to brighten her day.

    Really, it’s such a small thing to pause to say “thank you” to people you meet during the day and acknowledge them. Yet you’ll find your results are big. Not to mention that you’ll feel better, too!

    Not Sure How Challenging it Might Be to Start Giving Thanks and Boosting Attitudes on a Daily Basis?

    Even the most dedicated curmudgeon can learn to change her stripes and become consciously appreciative. I speak from personal experience. Sadly, there was a time in my life – somewhere in the early teens as I recall – when I actually taught myself to think negatively, because I loved the attention I received whenever I voiced cynical, jaded thoughts. Yikes! What is it about our society that would affirm that sort of negative behavior?

    Thankfully I have reformed to the point where, a few years ago, one of my business associates labeled me “the most disgustingly positive person” he knew.  “Tell Anne the worst news,” he opined, “and she can find something good about it!” Woo Hoo! I’m delighted with that verdict!

    Need some help learning how to turn your mental energies to the positive side?

    My friend Scott Armstrong, one of America’s top success coaches, can help you. Recently he and his partner, Dr. Patricia A. Ross, PhD., created a fantastic book, Best Affirmations Workbook,” which is actually a 30-day “how-to” guide to actively creating the life you want through the active use of affirmations. It’s available as a PDF download as well as in audio format, which makes it really easy for you to use. I highly recommend it.  

    In addition, they have created 21 sets of affirmations on crucial topics, such as:

    • Relationships
    • Parenting
    • Weight management and exercise
    • Self confidence
    • Mindset
    • Manifesting miracles
    • Health and wellness
    • Taking quantum leaps in achieving your personal goals

    Best of all, with an eye toward helping you recession-proof your mind, they’re currently offering a special right now: You can “test-drive” the workbook for free. Or benefit from their monthly special offer.  

    Hey – What have you got to lose? Nothing but those negative thoughts that are dragging you down, right?

    Since Baby Boomers Are Also Known As the “Sandwich Generation” Is It Any Wonder You Are Feeling Like A Panini? You Know, Hot, Overloaded and Grilled Under Pressure?

    Sandwich Generation Choices Squeezing You?

    Yesterday’s post in the New York Times blog New Old Age, and a conversation with my friend “Lisa,” who’s just uprooted herself and her family – moving halfway across the country to assist her in-laws – got me to thinking once again about the challenges of Sandwich Generation Boomers.

    It Also Reminded Me That It’s Been Just Over a Year Since My Sister-in-Law Died of Breast Cancer.

    Which means our family is finally gotten past the first year of significant post-Joanna anniversaries.

    You know what I mean:

    • “This is the first Thanksgiving since Joanna died.”
    • “It’s my first birthday where Mom won’t be baking me my favorite birthday cake.” 
    • “The first Christmas where she isn’t running around wearing those funny reindeer antlers on her head, and incessently playing holiday music, while she creates unique hand-made cards and effortlessly puts her personal stamp of approval on the entire holiday celebration.” 
    • “Too bad Joanna will never get to see her granddaughter get married or hold her first great-grandchild.”

    And this thought process got me to thinking about how hard caring for a loved one during a prolonged illness – or assisting them through their slide into eventual death  – really is for everyone involved:

    • Being there for “Joanna’s” last few months and eventual death and watching her decline was heart-wrenching. 
    • But just as painful was watching her three adult daughters – each already juggling two jobs apiece, plus school-age kids and spouses – deal with the challenges of trying to be there – physically and emotionally – for their mother as well as their families and their jobs.
    • If you’ve lived through it, you know how emotionally draining this is. How you get to a point where you desperately wish you could actually clone yourself so that you can be in two – or more – places at once.  Because you know that since you can’t – someone or something you care about is going to be slighted.
    • What an emotional “lose-lose” proposition this often is for everyone involved.

    No wonder the Times blog post, Adult Children, Aging Parents and the Law attracted 81 reader comments before it was even 24 hours old. You know dealing with multi-generational needs is the primary challenge of the sandwich generation.

    So clearly discovering that 30 states have laws on their books governing adult children’s fiscal responsibility to their aging parents is an issue that really strikes home. 

    I recall sitting in the visitors lounge at the hospital, joining the conversation as Joanna’s daughters talked options with the hospital social worker.

    It had became clear that Joannna would no longer be able to care for herself at home, and that her husband wasn’t physically up to the challenges either. So her loving but time-challenged daughters worked to quickly come to decisions for her welfare while continuing to juggle their family responsibilities. Meanwhile they were also:

    • Trying not to stress out too much over what was going un-done at home and work
    • Watching their vacation and sick days get eaten up
    • Encouraging their kids to “Stop by and visit Grandma” before after-school activities or after work – so they’d have a chance to see them, too!

    Thankfully, there are options, in most cases.

    Which is a good thing, since according to Pew Research Center reports, there are roughly 10 million Sandwich Generation Boomers in the world: adults who are raising kids or supporting an adult child while giving a financial hand to an aging parent.  

    The Good News Is, There’s Plenty of Help Available  – Once You Know Where to Look:

    • From local programs to national organizations, from books to Web sites, a veritable cottage industry has sprung up to assist sandwich generation Boomers in juggling the demands of raising kids while also caring for your aging parents.
    • Some of these services are a direct response by the government to meet the needs of the country’s burgeoning senior ranks – with you, the taxpayer, footing the bill.
    • Others are the work of smart entrepreneurs who’ve seen a business opportunity.
    • Still others come from fellow boomers wanting to share what they’ve learned as they’ve personally grappled with these issues.

    Lisa mentioned that she’s been working with a “housing advisor counselor” who was very helpful.

    This resource has been a boon as Lisa and her husband devotedly seek a new home for her mother-in-law, who is recovering well from her stroke – thankfully – and her father-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s. Lisa’s challenge is made tougher by the fact that her father-in-law can’t figure out why they keep taking him along while visiting nursing homes!

    To start with, her mother-in-law will move from the hospital into a board and care facility: a place that offers residential care for seniors in need of assistance. The goal in these homes is to provide long-term care for seniors who seek independent living in a safe, comfortable and dignified environment. Amazingly, the resident to staff ratio is about 2-to-1.

    Not all of these homes can handle Alzheimer’s patients, however. That’s presenting Lisa with an extra challenge.

    Even Though Lisa and Her Family Have Been Successfully Finding Resources, She Still Expects it Will Be at Least Three Months Before They Are Able to Move Back Home.  

    Three months living out of a suitcase, away from the comforts of home!

    That made the challenges my neices experienced seem easy. After all, at least they had the benefit of living in the same major metropolitan area. Clearly the challenges of  long-distance assistance magnify the difficulties in these situations – perhaps as much as tenfold.

    According to the US Department of Labor, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

    But while this act protects you from losing your job, and maintains your healthcare benefits – you have no income coming in during this time! And the FMLA only applies if you work for certain types of employers. (Specifically businesses employing over 50 people.)

    Yikes!

    Here’s Exactly What the FMLA Website Says:

    • FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.
    • FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:
      • For the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
      • For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
      • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
      • To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
    • Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Whether an employee has worked the minimum 1,250 hours of service is determined according to FLSA principles for determining compensable hours or work.

    So Where Does the Money Come From? How Do You Pay Your Mortgage, Buy Food, Cover Your Day-to-Day Expenses During Times When You’re Involved in These Crucial Family Events?

    With – Or Without – FMLA Benefits, You’ve Still Got to Cover Day-to-Day Living Expenses, Right? With – Probably – Not Too Much In Savings?

    Lisa’s a bit luckier than most when it comes to this aspect: She’s an author who has mastered the art of generating residual income online.

    Which means she knows her income will continue to find its way into her bank account, even though she’ll most likely be forced to take a break from generating new literary products for the duration. That is: She knows money will continue to flow into her bank account while she’s on the other side of the country assisting her in-laws – even though she has no plans to “show up for work” for the next three months!

    Even Better, From a Financial Standpoint: 

    • As long as Lisa has a laptop and a functional Internet connection she can be in communication with her publisher and her clients, whenever she has time: Even if that’s 2 AM on Thanksgiving morning! 
    • So if the muse strikes and she chooses to toss off a couple of chapters for her current novel, or a write a post to her blog – she’s only a “mouse click” away from taking these actions. Even if she’ finds herself sitting in the waiting room at the hospital waiting for her mother-in-law to finish a procedure when the muse shows up!
    • Since she’s also an advocate of online banking, Lisa can handle her finances froma distace as well! After all, the income she’s generating is depositing automatically, so she always has available funds.

    Whether You’re Living Out of a Suitcase or Not, Having a Reliable Portable Income Sounds Incredibly Wonderful, Doesn’t It?

    Sort of like enjoying the lush life of a movie star who lives off her residuals?

    Living off income that comes in from work she did in the past? It’s entirely possible for you to enjoy this lifestyle, too, as you know. We’ve talked about this before, actually.

    You see, Lisa is one of Gina Gaudio-Graves’s apprentices.

    She took Gina up on one of her first “30-Day IM Challenge” contests. And though Lisa didn’t win the challenge, she was hooked on the many benefits she discovered in the process.     

    Lisa Didn’t Decide to Start Building Her Online Business BECAUSE of the Potential That Her In-laws Might Become Ill.

    Of course not! 

    But the fact that she did take the entrepreneurial plunge, and learned how to effortlessly generate residual income online DOES MEAN that she’s not financially stressed while helping her mother-in-law recover.

    And that’s a wonderful ancillary benefit.

    The latest 30-Day IM Challenge started this past Sunday!

    It’s not too late to sign up and start learning how to build your own totally portable cash machine.

    Go check it out now! It takes time to start this sort of a business into motion.

    It’s sort of like pushing a flywheel.

    • At first you expend effort, but nothing happens.
    • But you keep the pressure on, and finally the flywheel moves almost imperceptably.
    • But you keep pushing, keep the pressure on.
    • And suddenly that heavy flywheel is moving effortlessly.
    • In fact, it takes on a life of it’s own!

    What are you waiting for?

    As a Baby Boomer, you’re automatically part of the Sandwich Generation. If you haven’t had to take time away from work to help a family member yet, chances are that opportunity still awaits you somewhere in the future.   

    You owe it to yourself to check out the 30-Day IM Challenge.

    After all, it’s free.

    And talk about over-delivery!

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