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|Publisher:||Morgan James Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The First Sale is Always To Yourself
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"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says 'I'm Possible.'"
– Audrey Hepburn
When I worked in the corporate world, anytime we had an idea we would run a pilot to test it. We needed a proof-of-concept or a trial to validate if the idea was a good one before we would decide whether to roll it out to the entire company. That is always the objective of a pilot.
As a young manager working in clothing retail, I used to run pilots inside of my store before I even knew what they were called. I was what they called a "Fire Fighter," which is the type of manager sent to underperforming stores to clean up their processes, inspire the team, and turn around sales.
In one store where I worked, everyone believed it was a professional market, which meant that we sold suits. However, I had a theory that might not be completely true, and so I conducted a test at the front of the store by merchandising some cool, trend-setting baby tees and sundresses.
I put together a cute display that mimicked the style I had seen on the popular TV show "90210," and the next thing I knew those dresses and baby tees were selling like hot cakes! All of a sudden, the store that was known for selling suits was a trend-setting location. The president of the company called me because she wanted to know what was going on since those two items were NOT selling anywhere else.
I had done something I wasn't supposed to do when I merchandised those dresses at the front of the store. I took an idea and I acted on it. I was driven by results in my store and I had a hunch that this would work. Therefore, I tried it and the next thing I knew, my idea and results had a tremendous impact on the entire company because shortly after my call with the president, everyone was being told to merchandise those dresses and baby tees the way I had and they were all getting similar results.
You have ideas, too. You may have an idea for a brand-new type of business and ideas to make your existing business grow. When you are entrepreneurial, you have creative ideas all the time.
The challenge, however, is turning those creative ideas into concepts that work.
That's what this book is about. It's my blueprint on what you need today to build a successful and profitable business because you need more than just a creative idea. I will share each of the concepts I have piloted in my own business, used with other business owners, and watched generate profits repeatedly.
When you pilot something in your business, you want to create, test, evaluate, fix, and then test again. It's a whole lot of trial and error to determine what works and what does not. In this case, I've done the testing for you.
Now it's time for you to take your idea and do the same. First, you have to convince yourself that your idea is worth it.
The First Sale Is Always To Yourself
You have to convince yourself first that the vision you have for your business has legs. You need to sell yourself on your own business ideas if you are ever going to be successful with selling it to others. Selling is really your ability to transfer belief, and the first person you need to convince is you.
Believe that you are capable of building this business and in selling your idea to others. Believe that your product or service is of value and is worth buying. You're going to have to be able to sell this belief to YOU first; otherwise, you won't be successful selling to others.
Martha Stewart started out making pies in her kitchen and selling them at the farmers market. She was not the Martha Stewart back then that she is today. She started her business the same way as you and I — as a little idea that she tested and refined, which then grew into something much bigger.
Her first pilot was selling pies at the market. Look at her now and the profits in her business.
Martha Stewart had to go through three phases in her business: 1) Start Up, 2) Growth Mode, and eventually 3) Scaling to get where she is today. I am sure her ideas in the very beginning did not include everything her empire is today, however, it did start with a belief in her own ability.
You and your business can get stuck in start-up mode for an exceedingly long time if you do not have belief in both yourself and in your vision.
Belief in Yourself
If you can't sell belief in your ideas to yourself, you won't be able to sell it to someone else. You must have unwavering belief in your vision for your business. Therefore, you must look at the details that go into your business as your vision crystallizes for it to become your reality.
My First Business Pilot
My first vision for a business was far from grand. However, it was more of a test to see if I could actually do it. I had an idea for an organic basket business back when selling organic products was not a popular concept.
I conducted a great deal of research online, found suppliers and products that I could use, and started by spending lots of my own money making organic gift baskets to give away to friends and family members. Yes, give away. I was spending more than I was making when I first started that business.
One day, a homebuilder contacted me who wanted to buy gifts for his customers after they bought and moved into their new home. This one customer helped me to build my own confidence in my product, allowed me to grow, and expand my business from an idea that was costing me money to become a company that made $30,000 a year in sales "on the side" while I worked my full-time job.
My ability to take that vision and create a business that generated an income allowed me to build enough confidence to eventually quit my job and open my first retail store, Parlez Wireless, an authorized TELUS Dealership, in 2006. I was confident that if I could generate $30,000 a year in sales working one weekend a month, I could do much more if my focus was full time.
My vision back then wasn't just about creating gift baskets. My vision was about living a freedom lifestyle. I just didn't know how to get there.
I aspired to be self-employed and to create as much success as possible in my life through my own actions. I dreamed of a life of freedom where I was financially secure, could travel as much as I wanted, and work from anywhere. I am guessing you can relate to that desire, too, if you are reading this book.
The Organic Basket Company was my first pilot, the building block that allowed me to create and strengthen belief in myself. I made many mistakes, learned numerous lessons, and kept trying because I knew there was more to accomplish if I kept trying. Since that time, I have built multiple six- and seven-figure businesses. Today, my business can operate from anywhere in the world and I have a team of people who serve and support our customer base.
My basket business was my starter business. It was the first step in building my confidence so that I could take on a much bigger vision and bring it to fruition. Your first business may or may not be your last. If you are like me, you will learn many lessons from that first business that you will apply as you continue on the path of entrepreneurship. Pay attention to the lessons you learn from everything that you try, and reinvest both the learning from your mistakes and the knowledge you gain along the way back into your business.
The creative process of building a business is never as clean or as easy as one expects. You will be challenged in numerous ways, as there will be decisions that you regret and some things will be far easier than you ever expected. Pay attention along the way.
At the risk of sounding "woo woo," listen to your gut. If what you are doing makes you feel "icky" inside as if you have a heavy piece of concrete in your gut, you may not be on the right path. Learn to listen and trust your instincts along the way, let go of the things that don't feel good, and embrace the things you love so much you would almost do it for free.
Be Careful Who You Take Advice From
Don't take business advice from individuals who have never successfully run a business. Your friends and family may not have what it takes to start and build a business. In addition, don't let their opinions stop you from trying. If I had listened to those people who thought I should be grateful to have my corporate job, I wouldn't have accomplished what I have and most certainly wouldn't be writing this book.
The key lesson here is observe, assess, and redirect. Pay attention to your vision. Nurture it, feed it, and explore what you need to get it off the ground. Be kind to yourself. Building a business takes time, effort, many trials, and many resources.
You live in an amazing time, where many have gone before you. Therefore, you can learn from those experiences and fast track your own progress.CHAPTER 2
Your Money Mindset
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"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
– Wayne Dyer
Money is a funny thing. It's an emotional roller coaster and one you want to gain control of in your business.
Business Is an Exchange of Money for a Product or Service
Most people go into business to do something they're passionate about. Many talk about the difference between being an entrepreneur versus a heart-centered entrepreneur, as though doing the right thing is more important than making money. In business, it's kind of like saying, "If you're an artist, you have to be a starving artist."
This is a false belief.
You can be a good, caring business owner and still make money. The important thing is for you to be okay with your worth and your value. When you really understand that business is an exchange of money for a product or a service, you begin to be okay with receiving money — for the product, service, or value that you are offering.
If you're struggling with that concept, trust me, you're not alone. It's something that everyone struggles with, including me from time to time.
Recently, someone set up two different Facebook profiles and a Facebook page for her business. She was concerned about which profile to keep and how to delete the page so that she didn't lose the information that she wanted to keep. She sent me a couple of questions on Facebook and I provided her with assistance.
Later that day, she sent a thank you email and an e-transfer for some money as payment for the help that I had provided. However, I struggled with accepting the payment, even though a part of me knew that she wanted to pay for services rendered and I should just accept the money. I accepted her payment, but it was something I had to wrap my head around because I had not asked her to pay for my help.
You will face similar situations and struggle in this same fashion if you are a generous person and even more so if you own a servicebased business where your revenue-generating asset is your time and knowledge.
So, what is the value of your time and expertise?
After a 15-minute conversation, someone who worked with me turned one idea into an extra $15,000 that year. If someone makes an extra $15,000 after just 15 minutes, does that mean the value of my time is worth $60,000 an hour?
That may seem a little extreme, but if business is an exchange of money for a product or service and I have provided that service, what is the value of my time? What would you pay if someone could show you how to make $15,000 in 15 minutes? Would you pay $500? $1,000? $1,500?
You might feel like it was just 15 minutes of your time ... however, the outcome or the value was huge for the other person. Start paying attention to the outcome your business provides others.
When it comes to money, your mind will play tricks on you. Learn to be okay with making and receiving money. There will be times when you think you are undeserving, it was too easy, etc., and feel funny about accepting payment. Contrary to what you may have been taught as a child, money is not the root of all evil. You will need to challenge the beliefs you may have that people with money are bad or don't take care of others, because those beliefs may be getting in the way of your own success.
Always remind yourself that business is an exchange of money for a product or service. This is your business, it is not a hobby, and it is not a charity or volunteerism.
When I was 12 and set up shop at the flea market, I was too young and naïve to even consider that I shouldn't take people's money when they bought items from me. This circumstance made a significant difference to my money mindset. I learned that I could independently make money and, even more important, that it was okay for me to do so.
From a young age, I always found ways to make money; however, that's not to say that I didn't struggle with the money that I made.
I've Been Broke and It's Not Fun
There was a time in my life when things were really bad.
It was 1994. I stood in the kitchen of the apartment I shared with my roommate looking at the caller ID as the phone rang and rang, knowing that it was the phone company. I was holding the final notice in my hand, which said that they would disconnect the line if the bill wasn't paid right away.
I wouldn't get paid until Friday, and my checking account was already in overdraft. I let the call go to voicemail because I knew what they wanted, and I didn't feel like going through the humiliation of telling them that I couldn't pay my bills.
In 1994, that was the story of my life. My account was always in overdraft, my credit card always carried a balance, and my bills were paid, but always late. I had a loan with the bank from reconciling debt that I had re-reconciled every year for the past 3 years. And, I owed my dad money plus interest for bailing me out.
Financially, I was a disaster. I had a full-time job as a retail store manager and was making what was considered decent money back then.
The problem was that I was spending more than I had, and spending frivolously. I wish I could say that my debt was the result of investing in something of value. But, truthfully, the money went to hair, makeup, clothes, and entertainment.
It was superficial and essentially worth nothing. My mindset and belief in myself were way out of whack.
I thought how I looked mattered more than who I was.
Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't — you're right."
My belief in myself was at an all-time low, and I was overcompensating for my lack of confidence in myself by spending money I didn't have.
If you understand that feeling or if you are in that situation, I want you to know that fixing your money mindset is the first step to getting yourself on track and in building a successful business.
Your mindset around money could be sabotaging your profits right now and you don't even know it.
Being Okay with Receiving Money
To be okay with receiving money you must examine your beliefs about money. If you're not clear about money, you'll go round in circles. When I'm clear on money and what I need it for, good things start to happen for me. I become very clear on exactly what I need to do, too.
When I quit my safe and secure corporate job and opened my retail store, it was scary because I walked away from a great income, job stability, benefits, and stock options. Even though it was scary, it was also safe because I left my job to do something I knew how to do well. It wasn't as risky as it could have been, and turned out not to be as challenging either.
About 2 years later, I remember being at our cottage in Nova Scotia and telling my husband that I wanted to set up another business, generate $250,000 per year in sales, and spend our winters somewhere warm and sunny. I was super passionate and jazzed about this new idea. I think he thought I was crazy at the time, but what happened over the next 5 years was exactly that. We sold the retail store, my second business far exceeded those initial numbers, and we bought a second home in Florida.
In the first business, I chose the safety of doing something I knew I could do. In the second business, I was clear on what I wanted to achieve and the value I was prepared to give to others from the beginning. I felt confident in my value, even though, as you will see shortly, I still needed to do a bit of work in that area.
It all came down to my money mindset. Think of your money mindset as a muscle. It doesn't matter what your money number is. The important part is to set goals for yourself and to be clear so that you are okay to receive this money.
It's like working out in the gym. When you go to the gym and start lifting weights for the first time, you can only lift a small amount. However, if you lift weights every day, over time you'll become stronger and be able to life much heavier amounts. You don't go in expecting to lift the heaviest weight because you know that you can't. It's the same with money. What you charge needs to be in alignment with the actual value of the product or service you offer or it will feel out of alignment.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Pilot to Profit"
Copyright © 2016 Lisa Larter.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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