Jul 032013

take a breakGet away from your business.

It’s summer here in the northern hemisphere and most people plan some kind of holiday now but I’m talking about taking a break anytime.

We don’t take enough breaks and should take more. Don’t use your cellphone or your laptop. But DO take your camera. Don’t call your clients. Tell them you’re going somewhere you can’t be reached. The power of self employment is that you CAN take a break whenever you need one. If you run a business where clients have urgent needs then have someone you trust take care of them and have a voice mail message that tells how to reach them.

How do you do stop working?

If you don’t stop for even a little while you will be forced to – by your body. You’ll get an ailment of some kind that will remind you that you must.

This is how to take some time away from thinking about your business.

  1. take a bike ride or if you don’t have or ride a bike, take a walk – with your hantake a breakds empty. The further you get from your office and the longer you’re away, the clearer your mind will become.
  2. go away somewhere for a couple of days. You can sail, walk, climb or drive to someplace you love or have never been and always wanted to go.
  3. have a 1 or 2 week vacation – a real trip and don’t plan anything (except maybe how you’ll get there and where you’ll stay).
  4. for 3 weeks or 1 month, get away from your business. Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited , asks us to work ON our business and not IN it.

Any time away from your business and that means your “electronic stuff” too is good. As long as you think of something else or don’t think at all, it will free your mind up and you will be better when you get back. I read a book called Mastermind. How to think like Sherlock Holmes and one of things I learned that makes him a great “sleuth” is that he takes time away from a case – he plays his violin or goes for a long walk.

You don’t have to go away

If you can’t get physically away (yet) be sure to schedule some time every day to be away – yoga, walking, lunch with a friend who won’t talk business, put your head down on your desk, or look out of the window and be grateful for everything you have.

Do this

Put the points from above (numbers 1 through 4) in your daytimer and take it. You deserve it. Time is all we really have.


Tell us how YOU took a break in the comments below.

Feb 062013

The world is always changing and we in business must keep up if we want to be successful (no matter how we define success for us).

Technology has REALLY changed. I remember (I’m 62 now in 2013) co-owning one of the first Apple computer dealerships in Toronto in the 1980s and a conference company in the 1990s where we held events for people who used what were then called hand-held computers (PDAs). I’ve always been at the “bleeding edge” of technology (just before the “leading edge” which means always being in the red and not making money but always the first to know about things).

We had/ were:

  • one of the first fax machines (in 1984 as big as a small photocopier but since very few others had one there were few  to send things to)
  • one of the first cell phones (in 1985 the battery for this was the size of a car battery and the handset like that of an “older” phone)
  • one of the first to use the internet to market with our “email blasts” in the conference business in1995 which were “fax blasts” using email addresses (some people had email addresses but most companies didn’t have websites yet)

Times continued to evolve and with this came what was in 1984 a revolution (we even produced a print booklet called A Revolution in the Making which in 1984 took 6 weeks to produce even though we had the latest desktop publishing software at that time) that caused all of us to transform ourselves and our thinking.

  In fact my nephew who is 22 now and studying at Ryerson University and producing art (by paint and on computer, films on his Macintosh and photos with his digital camera) is a great testament to this transformation. He is of the generation who grew up with and used all technology. He even had access to my brother’s Macintosh when he was a baby.  (From left to right: my brother Phil, his son Jake who I wrote about here and my other nephew Josh who’s 30 now and has been using computers since he was 4 and has been in the computer business since he was 17. He’s now 32!)

But I digress :-)

There are at least 6 ways in which online marketing is different from offline marketing.
One just needs a computer, a hookup to the Internet and a browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

  1. Speed  One can do EVERYTHING faster. Once you have set yourself up, just input some data and you can send it at the “touch of a finger”.
  2. Cost  EVERYTHING costs less or is free (do you know of the book   Free: The Future Of A Radical Price )   – audio and video production and even payment processing.
  3. Reach  One can connect (for free) with many contacts both locally and globally.
  4. Measurement & Tracking  One can easily get access to key metrics with ad trackers, newsletter openings, website analytics etc.
  5. Easy to do marketing   One can “do it yourself” (if you’re not a technophobe AND have the time).
  6. “Abundant”  information at your fingertips  With most search engines like google or Ask one can search for and find anything – anywhere in the world. (Remember that this info has the caveat of buyer beware as does any info you find online)

How has this blog post made you think – whether you use technology a lot or you’re a  “technophobe” who didn’t grow up with technology?

Here is access to the other post I wrote  14 Ways Offline and Online Marketing Are The Same

Compare the two and tell me what you think. I’m VERY interested in what everyone has to say!

Aug 312012

road signAs baby boomers how many times did we hear that from our parents. It’s an “ageless” saying that I even heard mentioned on TV recently. A parenting coach was being interviewed about the age that children should be to get cell phones. She said that she had not grown up with cell phones and was guilty of not following many of the rules that she told her kids to follow. She had told them implicitly to “do as I do not as I say.” (Picture courtesy of )

It can be very confusing for children AND for adults. Should I do as you say or as you do? As business owners we’re often told that “actions speak louder than words”.

You’re in business. What should you do when you choose someone for a service?

When you hire  a web developer, a business or marketing coach or a social media manager you should look at the work they have done for themselves. What does the web developer’s own website look like or has the business coach ever hired a coach herself or how often does the social media manager write a blog post?

I know the old saying that “… the shoemaker has no shoes” could apply and probably your web developer hasn’t had time to change their site for several years or the marketing coach you are talking with gets all of their business from referrals but your due diligence should include several things. (Explanation: due diligence is the research you do.)

What due diligence should you do before you hire?

  • Ask other business owners who you trust. Who did they use and why?
  • Look at the people you plan to hire as individuals and depending on what you’re considering them for see how they deal with it in their lives. Remember that doing it themself is a good teacher.
  • Study their website carefully. How do they describe what they offer? Read their “About Me” page and see what they tell you about themselves.
  • Ask potential service providers for referrals. Who were their clients? Call them and ask them what they liked or didn’t like about the service. Don’t just trust the testimonials on their website.

Remember that it is so important before hiring anyone to check them and their work before you proceed. You’re committing to spending a lot of money.


What have you done? Does it matter to you whether your web developer has a great site or whether someone you’re hiring to coach you has one themselves. Comment and let us know.

 August 31, 2012  Posted by  Client Service, Marketing Basics Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 272012

Diane YoungSeveral years ago when she was starting her current business full time in 2002 Diane and I met at a networking event at Ashbridges Bay here in Toronto. Even though that group doesn’t exist any more, she still finds networking is one of her best marketing activities. Since her business needs people to trust her, she finds that frequently attending a group that works for her (one of the key points about networking) is a good way to get known and therefore the attendees there are comfortable with her and use her services.

We had a wonderful time that gave us the chance to get to know each other even better and to be helpful to each other. She knew some things I didn’t and vice versa so we were able to share them :-) .

As a boomer woman business owner you’ll hear that what she likes about being self employed is the creativity that having her own clients and helping them provides her. They are unique and so are their needs.

Diane and I met at Red Rocket Coffee Shop on the Danforth in Toronto and so you’ll hear some clinking and chatting in the background. (A quick commercial for them – I used to go to a large chain but then found this one. They serve coffee made from fair trade, organic beans. Mmm good! And the owners are local Torontonians too.)

Click below to hear our interview. If you want to save a version to listen to at a later time, click where you see “Download MP3″.


Diane can be reached via phone at 416-320-8524 (Eastern) or email her at Her website is . You may ask her any questions, use her services or read the food and diet books she reviews.

I interview these women business owners to demonstrate to you that  YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! How have YOU used Diane’s services for yourself?

Jun 102012

Carol CaveCarol Cave is one of the many women business owners who has employees and one has even been there since she first started. Carol owns a cleaning and janitorial service here in Toronto and also offers rug and upholstery cleaning, handyman services, and organizing.

Her staff stay with her for years and so do her customers so her marketing is all by referral (which is customer service). When you listen to the recording of my interview with her, you’ll understand why. She asks her customers how their service is, listens to what they tell her and then makes sure that whatever isn’t “just right” is done “just so”.

Recently she asked her staff what they do best (outside of work) and has them do it at work. For example one woman is very creative and loves to make crafts so when they participated in a fundraiser they all had “uniforms” with their names and roles on the baseball caps they wore :-)

Carol and I met at a networking event for small business owners and the organizer, Judi Hughes introduced us to each other. (So you see that networking works.)

This interview was held in a coffee shop and that is what you hear in the background. We got along so well that we talked after the interview for an hour and a half :-) That not only shows how well we got along but is an indication of how she treats her staff AND her customers.

Click below to hear our interview. If you want to save a version to listen to at a later time, click where you see “Download MP3″.


Carol can be reached via phone at (416) 429-3892.  Her website is  Toronto Maid & Janitorial Services should you want to ask her any questions or use her services and ALL business owners should have their homes and businesses cleaned by someone else.

I interview these women business owners to demonstrate to you that  YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! How have YOU used their experience in your business?


Mar 302012

Whenever you talk about business, you don’t know who is listening. You could be in line at woman listening the grocery store, at a health club, on the phone with someone trying to sell you a newspaper subscription, having a coffee or tea with a friend, picking up your dry cleaning or ordering a prescription and say something about your business. You never know not only who is listening but what they are interested in or who they know. (photo by Ambro:

Talk as if you are being heard (that doesn’t mean louder) when you’re a small business owner or be very quiet and secretive if that’s what you want or ne.

Find ideas everywhere

I subscribe to the weekly ezine from Joan Stewart , PRextraordinaire. She wrote in May 2006 that if you really listen, you will hear and thus find experiences to write or have special events about. As a writer for a paper for many years, she was always looking for new stories and for a new slant on old ones.

She’s right. I don’t get out often now and therefore get my ideas for my blog posts from “everyday” events. Yes I have a lot of past experiences and knowledge I can draw on as well but I also use things like movies I go to, buying groceries, or watching TV.

Talk about your business

I ALWAYS talk about my business no matter where I am or who I’m with. I could be in line at the bank, at a doctor’s office, in a taxi, or in a coffee shop. Always be marketing no matter wher you are or who you’re with. It’s a mindset – a way of thinking and seeing the world.

You never know who’s listening or where you’ll be when you get an idea. Tell me one of the most unusual places you were and got a prospect.

 March 30, 2012  Posted by  Blogging, Marketing Mindset Tagged with: ,  2 Responses »