Engraved on Your Spirt


Inspiration and encouragement to anyone, but especially to those who are seeking a job. Discovering what is engraved on your spirt is essential.

I delivered this message at Jobseekers on February 1, 2013.  I'd love to hear your comments.

Five Things To Consider Before Going Into Business For Yourself

Is one of your New Years Resolutions to fire your boss?  Are you ready to take the plunge and go out on your own?  Congratulations!  Owning a business of your own is one of the best ways you can gain financial freedom and independence.  But beware:  It's not as easy as it looks.  Consider these points before going it alone.

Who will be my target market? All too often people start businesses and mistakenly believe that everyone is a good prospect for their product or service. Nothing could be further from the truth. Start by simply doing an internet search for competitors. If you don't find any, watch out! You may have a unique product or service but it will take time and money to educate people as to why they will need or want it. It's much easier to innovate than to create from scratch. And if your business relies heavily on friends and family you'll likely be disappointed. Leverage them for more contacts but don't rely on them to provide profit.

Make sure you have sufficient capital to survive the start-up and the second phase. While experts will tell you to have between six and twelve months of living expenses, most people starting businesses need the money they hope to make from the business to survive. You'll need to determine how you will fund the start-up phase. Begin by creating simple projections of how many contacts you can make in a day. Then estimate the number of people who will buy. Then determine the price and profit you'll make from each sale. This will give you a projected income per week. Whatever that number is, cut it in half because you'll be far too optimistic in the beginning. Next, determine how you will fund the second phase of your business. This is the jump from post start-up to early growth. Often the place new businesses die is when the sole-proprietor business grows. It is just as important to plan conservatively as it is to decide what you'll do if hyper-growth happens. Have a plan for all contingencies but base budgeting on the most conservative projection. Then pay yourself first. This may sound selfish but if you don't have money to pay yourself you don't have money to pay anyone else either. You're no good to vendors or employees if you can't afford the first employee (you).

Prepare for an emotional roller-coaster. In the beginning you'll be amazed at what a genius you are as often as you'll wonder how you could be so stupid. You are navigating uncharted territory here. There will be highs and lows so be prepared. It is best to prepare by careful planning and a firm commitment that you will succeed. Legend has it that Viking settlers burned their boats upon arrival to remind them there was no turning back. Failure is not an option for you. In addition, you'll change as your business grows but those around you may not. This creates emotional strife when those you spend time with no longer relate to your new persona. Remember, if friends or family members don't support you it may be they don't want you to be hurt but it also may be jealousy or fear. You might loose a friend or two and family relations may become strained.

Don't be fooled by quick changes in your business. In the beginning you'll be desperate to spot trends. Everything good thing will look like a trend and every bad thing will appear to be an anomaly. Neither is true. Trends happen over time and you have very little history to rely upon. Here is a simple rule to live by: If you try it and it works, keep doing it until it doesn't work. If you try it and it doesn't work, don't try it again without making changes. Advertising sales people may tell you that you have to keep advertising to build up brand recognition. Don't be fooled. If the ad didn't work the first time it won't work next time without changes.

And perhaps most important of all: Is this something I am or can become passionate about? Often businesses are started out of passion and they succeed. But often they don't because the passion clouds judgement. Be certain your passion is checked at the door and you make your decisions based on reality. However, if you are starting a business that lacks passion, can you find it? Perhaps you'll be passionate about the lifestyle you are developing or the provision you'll be able to create for you and your family. Maybe you can set aside funds to donate to your favorite charity or church? Whatever drives you, find a way to tie that to your business and keep that foremost in mind when things get rough. And they will get rough. But it will be worth it. Vince Lombardi said, "I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious."

The Audacity of Hopelessness


8278528122_03a667d828_bThe election is over and nearly 50% of the population feels hopeless. Their dreams for a different America have been dashed and they expect the worst.


And as man allowed his ego, disappointment, anger, and dismay to be shown through his thoughts and actions, God spoke and said, “How dare you?”


“Whether you choose to believe in me or not will not change the facts of your existence. Haven’t I given you the greatest prize at birth by ensuring that you, regardless of what man or woman is elected to lead your nation, were born into the freest, richest, and finest conceived country on the planet? Are you not living today in a nation unlike any other, whereby the sweat of your own brow you can rise from the very bottom to the very top?”


“Did I not provide you with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by the men who founded your great land through my direction? No one ever said you would be happy mind you, but you are free to pursuit it or not. And are you not free in this land I have provided you to do all you wish or nothing at all so long as it doesn’t infringe on those who share this country with you?”


“Were you not given free and clear the greatest head start of any people by being born into The United States of America? You were born into a land rich with resources. A land full of educational opportunities, with the finest health care system in the world to help you stay well to take advantage of all I’ve given you. You my child have some audacity to feel hopeless.”


“I provided you birth into a land where the bravest men and women in history will live and protect your country and your people, in fact you, so that you may flourish in the opportunity and freedom I have so abundantly provided you. Yet you sit and moan about the election of a few men or women. Do you not know who I am? I am your refuge!”


“And did I not promise you that I would be with you? I would ask if you have forgotten me but I need not, your actions speak. You have forgotten me and therefore you believe that I have forsaken you. How self-centered you are. Yet is it not how it has been since the garden?”


“And because of your actions, did I not have for forsake my only Son to redeem you to me? How, how can you have such audacity of hopelessness when you have been given so much? Yes, indeed it is because of the freewill that I gave you because I loved you enough to set you free. You have distorted my gifts child. I still love you, I have not nor will I ever forsake you, I gave my Son because I loved you, but my child, I am not pleased with your behavior.”


And man said, “Thank you Father. Forgive me for I have sinned again. I am ungrateful and unworthy of the gifts you have given me. I will seek You and your wisdom in my sorrow over our county’s direction. I am hope-filled because of You and I am grateful that I live in a country where I can be disappointed from time-to-time and yet still bask in the joy of living free in the greatest country on the earth. And I will endeavor to honor the gifts you have given me by following You. Thank you Father. Thank you.”

Jobseekers 8.10.12 featuring Matthew 6:16

Jobseekers are encouraged to guard appearance and attitude in their "employment fast". Based on Matthew 6:16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

The One Second Edge in Business

Is the first second of your encounter killing your business? It could be. Your appearance says so much about you that we rarely can get past a bad first impression. And that first impression could be happening in as little as one second. It could be as simple as a less than enthusiastic look to as complicated as wearing clothes that are not congruent with your line of work. Here are five tips to ensure that you have the one-second edge in business.

1. Smile. Virtually every situation can be overcome with a smile. Smiles are contagious. When you smile people will smile back, and people who smile are more likely to be liked.

2. Dress slightly better than your customers unless you are in certain service industries (we will discuss that one next). Your customers want to do business with people who are professional and appear to be successful. It troubles me every time I meet financial planners who come to business meetings dressed in casual attire. I want to be able to picture my financial planner as successful. In our society successful people dress well.

3. If you are in a service industry dress the part. One of the most successful people I have met recently is a painter who attends networking events in paint-splattered clothes. I can see him as a painter.

4. Avoid radical hairstyles, make-up and jewelry. Men with ponytails and women with pink hair have more trouble being taken seriously by business people. The same holds true for excessive piercings, make-up and tattoos. You may not like to conform but the truth is people want to do business with people they think are like them. There are more clean cut men than men with ponytails and there are more women with blonde, brunette and black hair than there are with pink. And while piercings and tattoos are stylish, they are rare in the business world.

5. Take care of yourself. Consume a healthy diet, get plenty of rest and avoid extremes. You are free to choose your lifestyle but do your best to look your best at all times. There are potential areas of improvement in all our lives. When we are engaged in eliminating vices or health risks we have a natural confidence and self esteem boost that people can see. When meeting people you must be aware of your appearance. Everyone can strive to look their best at all times and when we do we will have a confidence that people can see. That will give you the one-second edge in business.