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Mastering Productivity, Discipline, and Focus

Believe it or not, sometimes even coaches need some coaching. Which is why the Launch4Life team recently sought out a little coaching for ourselves. At the beginning of 2018, Janet and I decided we wanted to master something new. We wanted to create a resource to help people better understand digital marketing. We’re excited to announce we will soon be launching a marketing podcast dedicated to helping small businesses and solo-preneurs promote their business.

Being avid believers in the “baby steps” approach to project management, we began by researching what’s involved with starting a podcast. We quickly discovered that podcasts are a lot of work. As we began breaking down the project into bite-sized tasks, we wondered how on earth we were going to find the time to get everything done? After all, we already have a full load – working with clients, blogging, weekly newsletters, and the day-to-day tasks of running a small business. We realized we needed a coach to help us master our goal.

Meet our new “coach” The Mastery Journal. This beautiful hardcover daily planner is no ordinary business journal. Instead, it’s 100-day mission is to help business professionals master their productivity, discipline, and focus. Using this journal you will learn how to:

  • Become more productive by accomplishing the important daily tasks that need to get done to reach your goals
  • Develop better self-discipline by setting/executing a daily plan
  • Have greater focus allowing you to win the battle against obstacles and distractions

 

The Mastery Journal

 

What’s especially unique about The Mastery Journal is all the support that is thrown in for free. Bonuses include: complementary audio book, fillable pdf version of the hardbound journal, and a private Facebook group. I like that the Facebook group admin is none other than John Lee Dumas, the author of The Mastery Journal and founder of the Entrepreneurs On FIRE podcast. John and his team work very hard to monitor the group, providing everyone with great support and guidance.

The Launch4Life team believes that by us both purchasing our own copies of The Mastery Journal, we will achieve the productivity, discipline, and focus needed to launch our new podcast. Today we began the very first step of our 100-day journey. We will be sure to post a complete update when we get to the end. Stay tuned for updates on our marketing podcast.

In the meantime, if you are interested in some coaching yourself, we encourage you to consider working with us. Check out the Work With Us page on our website. If you’re not sure if private coaching is right for you – we invite you to take advantage of our FREE 30 minute introductory coaching session. In just a half-hour you can evaluate if we’re the right coaches for you.

 

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Become More Productive With Google Keep

I am one of those people whose best ideas arrive when no paper is handy. Whether it’s in the middle of the night when I’m in bed, in the shower, or in the car, I am constantly bombarded with great ideas when I least expect them. I used to tell myself, I’d remember to write them down later. However, more often than I’d care to admit, I usually forget. When I recently came across an awesome notetaking app, I got very excited.

Meet Google Keep, a nifty program, that makes organizing random thoughts a breeze. There are so many things I like about this program, it’s hard to decide where to begin. First off, Google Keep can be used on any device – mobile phones, tablets, or computers. Like all other Google applications, Google Keep can be used with ANY Internet browser. So whether you are using Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc., you will have no problem accessing the program. Most importantly, Google Keep is a smart program that automatically synchs real-time across all your digital devices. Nice!

My preference is to use Google Keep on my iPhone. I found that after installing the free app on my phone, Google Keep was ready to get to work. Now, anytime I new idea strikes me, I simply reach for my phone. Easy peasy. What’s really fun about Google Keep is that there are several different ways I can “note” my ideas. I can type out a note, draw a picture, take a photo, or my personal favorite… make a voice recording note. What’s awesome about recording a voice note is that Google Keep saves the recording and automatically transcribes my words. This feature comes in handy if I later want to copy/paste the text into another program… like in a text message, email, or Google Doc. Best of all, you can share your notes with others, this makes it a great tool for business or personal collaboration.

I also like that Google Keep integrates with all the other Google family applications. For instance, since I already use Google Calendar, my Google Keep notes can include date/time or location reminders that automatically display on my calendar. Since I am the kind of person that likes working with “to do lists” I appreciate how easily I can create lists with neat and orderly checkboxes. The checkbox feature allows me to “check-off” each item as completed.  And, instead of disappearing from my list, the checked off items are displayed as complete with a strick-through line. Psychologically, this gives me a better sense of completion.

Additional features of Google Keep include the ability to color code and/or label each note. This allows me to find notes quickly and easily. You have the power to move notes around in any order that even have the option of pining a note to the top of your list. When you are done with any note, you can either delete it or simply archive it to use again later.

I have been using Google Keep for a few weeks now and I have discovered that I am much more productive. I think it’s is a great way to jot down all my ideas and keep them organized in one place. Best of all, you can’t beat the fact that Google Keep is free. If you’re currently an Evernote user, you may want to consider moving over to Google Keep, and dumping their monthly/annual subscription fees. I suspect that once anyone starts using Google Keep they will feel like they’ve got their own virtual assistant working for them 24/7. In the future, whenever and wherever you get a great idea… you will have a quick and easy way to save it for later.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Becoming an Idea Machine: My New Year’s Resolution

Over the Christmas break I took some time out to kick back and relax. For me, the greatest way to recharge my batteries, is reading. A book I read this past week was: “The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth” by James Altucher.

Not familiar with James Altucher? Neither was I. In fact, I had only recently learned about him while listening to a podcast. I became especially intrigued with Altucher when I discovered he was a multi-millionaire nomad. Apparently, he decided to get rid of all his possessions, sold his home, and now lives in Airbnbs. What can I say, a rich nomad is interesting?

I love to travel and was curious how someone’s business lifestyle allowed them to “permanently” live out of a suitcase and hop from one Airbnb to another – every two weeks. I did some research and discovered that James Altucher has written several books, including “The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth.” In case you’re interested, the Kindle version is currently available from Amazon for only 99 cents (normally the book is listed for $24.95).

So, for less than a buck, I downloaded the book. So what did I think? Off the top, I have to admit the book is kind of a “stream of consciousness rant” and he could really use a good editor. However, despite that, the book is chock full of great business lessons. I learned about: living a more balanced life, the real rules of leadership, how to sell anything, how to convince anyone in 60 seconds, and how to become a great public speaker. What I found of special interest was the novel concept of becoming an “idea machine.”

According to Altucher, being an “idea machine” is the best thing you can do to advance yourself as an entrepreneur/business professional. He believes that ideas are the currency of life. Unlike money which can become depleted, your ideas can buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you better experiences, buy you more time, and even save your life. Ideas are the greatest commodity that we can have. As such, it’s important we exercise our “idea muscle” on a daily basis.

How to Become an “Idea Machine”

  1. Buy yourself some waiter’s note pads.
  2. Write down 10 new ideas EVERY single day.
  3. Repeat on a daily basis (yes, even on weekends) for at least 6 months.

You may wonder, why on earth do I have to use a “waiter’s pad”?  The answer is because it’s cheap. Plus, since it’s small it will be easy to carry around. If you can’t find a waiter’s pad, just pick up a small notebook from the Dollar Store.

You may wonder, why do I need 10 ideas? That’s because coming up with that many each day is going to be a challenge. It’s pretty easy to come up with 2-3 ideas, but somewhere around idea number 5-6 you’ll probably draw a blank. Therefore, taking on the challenge of writing down 10 ideas EVERY SINGLE DAY will give your brain a great workout.

Another question you may be thinking is, what if my ideas are no good? Don’t worry. Most of your ideas probably won’t be good. However, it only takes one good idea to make a million dollars. The important thing to remember is that it’s all about exercising your “idea muscle” on a consistent basis.

So, what happens when you do have a good idea? Altucher suggests circling the idea and writing down the “first step” you need to take. For instance, say you have an idea to start a travel blog. Your “first step” might be checking out the different blogging platforms (ex. Word Press, Google Blogger, etc.) you could use. Or, maybe the “first step” might be a great title for your blog. The important thing to remember is that your “first step” can be as complex or as simple as you want.

Apparently, it takes at least six months of writing your ideas down on a daily basis before you become an “idea machine.” However, once that happens, you may be surprised at all the changes you’ve made with regards to your personal and professional life.

So, with the new year upon us, I am going to try my hand at becoming an “idea machine.”  I will give a follow-up report in six months and let you all know how I did and what changes occurred in my life.

 

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

December is National Write Your Business Plan Month!

Is Your 2018 Business Plan Finished???

We are two weeks away from 2018 and besides St. Nick checking to see if we have been naughty or nice (kidding), he is finishing up his business plan for 2018. Are you?  If I asked for a show of hands on who has not, my guess is that many people would raise their hand and say, not yet. These are the most common responses: “Too busy now”, “I will get to it later in January”, or “Its really not that important”. Lots of other reasons I am sure. But, it is one of the most crucial things we as business people need to do every year. Here is my perspective on it and from someone who has faithfully completed a business plan every year before January. By doing this exercise each year, you have an opportunity to make some powerful decisions about what you want to do in the new year.

Whether it’s changes or new goals, this process will allow you to crystallize some new and old objectives. Allow yourself to review last years business plan. Did you meet all your objectives? If you didn’t, think through why. Were they unreasonable? Did you not like doing them? Did you not have enough time or money? Take notes from last year’s plan and use that knowledge to craft this year’s new plan. Try to find some new ideas that will really make a difference. More importantly, where do you want to be this time next year and how are you going to get there? How painful it will be if those objectives you missed last year, are still on your list not done this time next year. Either make an intention to get them done, or figure out some other options. Something is holding you back, figure out why. What can you really do to inspire your planning for 2018.

I would hazard to guess that there are many people who don’t feel a business plan is necessary. Perhaps what holds that person back is a structure, or template. Maybe not sure how to executive one. The good news is only time and patience are needed. No MONEY required.

The Small Business Association (SBA) has put together this great article which quite frankly says anything I could say and much better. It’s great. With templates and the key ingredients of your plan, this article provides you with everything you need to create a great 2018 business plan. Click this link and begin the process to complete your 2018 business plan. Let 2018 be your best year yet.

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Can You Survive Being an Introvert in Business?

Being an introvert is great if you work by yourself, at your home office, or even in a office or cubby hole.  But no matter what your business is, at some point you have to come out and talk to people.  In order to be successful, you will have to engage with people either by phone, one on one meetings, or delivering speaking engagements.  You must rise to the occasion if you want to develop clients and drive your sales.  But what do you do if you are uncomfortable talking to people?  What if you are an introvert?  Or even worse basically “shy”.  I think introverts can manage the interactions if they have too, but shy people have a tougher time because they not only hate it, they get anxious about it. Social anxiety is not pleasant.

If you look at the two people in the blog title picture, it is probably easy to see who the introvert is, but they look like they are having a great meeting.  So can you.

You may be surprised to know that many of the people we admire in the online business world who lead seminars, do videos, coach, will tell you that are actually very shy and are introverts.  They have to really step up to be able to speak on stage.  But they do.  Why? Because they know if they don’t they cannot engage with their customers and get their message out.  The secret is trying to find how to stretch your comfort zone without making yourself crazy.  I have heard that what does drive introverts to stretch is their passion for their business and wanting to help others.  Choose the moments that will have the most impact.  Everyone thinks that the extroverts have it all together.  A little secret, even they can be shy and be terrified at times, and even hate networking too.

Here are a few tips that can get you started on the road to becoming more comfortable having those interactions.  Hopefully some of these practices can ease the anxiety and allow you to have some winning conversations.

Tip #1

Have some warm up statements for yourself.  When someone pounces on you and says, “who are you” or “what do you do?” have a couple of thoughts in your mind or maybe even memorized so you are not caught unaware which might totally shut you down.  Just a sentence or two will do.  Draw on your talents, your business know how. It gets you talking.  Use them to open a conversation or respond to a question.  Just let the person or persons get a sense of your passion for your business and how you help your customers.

Tip #2

If you in a situation where you might have to take the lead, begin the conversation with asking some questions about some relevant topics.  Doesn’t have to be about business.  Maybe it is just about something you learned recently on a topic that would be appropriate and ask for their opinion.  If you are conversing with an extrovert, they will take over.  However, if you are talking to an introvert, have a few soft inquiring questions.  It should get them started.  They are there for the same reasons you are probably.  Remember they may be just as nervous as you.  Be patient and let them talk.  Don’t cut them off.  Otherwise, that might be the last word you hear from them.  Your goal is to connect.

Tip #3

Listen, Listen, Listen.  Nothing turns off any person extrovert or introvert more, than having the feeling of being dismissed.  If you are interested in what they have to say, look “present” and “attentive” to their discussion.  If you are feeling a little intimidated, just back off a little and step in with a new statement or question.  It will quickly diffuse the atmosphere.  If possible adjust the conversation.  They probably don’t mean for you to feel intimidated.  It’s just that they are passionate about the subject.  They don’t realize they are coming across stronger than they should.

Tip #4

Practice, Practice Practice!  No matter how good a speaker or conversationalist you are, we need to practice.  Have daily conversations with your “Wilson” like Tom Hanks in the Castaway movie.  At least he doesn’t talk back and is attentive.  Practice talking to yourself in the mirror like the Queen in “Snow White”.  This will help you improve your body language – gesturing and facial expressions.  My favorite practice for a workshop is talking to myself while I am driving.  Thank goodness no one thinks I am a nut case.  They just think I am on the phone.

Fortunately, if you are doing a video, you can erase the bad parts.  But it is still good to practice audio and video to get more comfortable, especially if you know one day the stage is yours.  Speaking of stage, if you have ever gone to a large seminar, you often see the key speaker arrive on stage jumping around or clapping his or her hands.  They do it because it raises their adrenaline to quell the “butterflies” in their gut.  Tony Robbins bangs on his chest a couple of times before he heads out onto the stage and yells “yes”, “yes” “yes” and then runs out.  Who would have thought?  I have used his technique over and over when I am just getting ready to start.  No one sees it but you.  But you feel good when you begin your opening lines.

These four tips are probably the “tip” of the iceberg, but a great place to start.  You are always going to be an introvert and that is okay.  Introverts are the brain power of our society.  But it will help if you can learn some techniques to help you build rapport.  If you can do that, you will probably feel more comfortable and stay successful in your interactions.

Last and most important thing to do for yourself – when your event or interaction is all over, acknowledge yourself for doing a great job.  Then, reward yourself by going to that “quiet” place that allows you to recharge.  Take note of how long you can be “out” before you need to recharge. It may be just a “mental” garden, but you know where you need to go.

You are great…..

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Building a Better Bookmarking Tool

Recently my husband wanted to show me something he’d found awhile back on the Internet. He became frustrated as he hopped from one Internet browser to another. First Safari, then Firefox, and then Chrome. Not able to find the “bookmark” he was looking for, he wondered where on earth he’d saved the link. Was it on his Macbook Air? His iMac desktop computer? On his phone? Or perhaps, it was on his computer at work?

Does this scenario sound familiar? You see something on the web that you want to bookmark, and later, you can’t remember where you saved it. In these modern times, it’s especially crazy because many of us are using more than one computer device to access the web. Doesn’t it seem like there should be a logical solution to this common problem? I’m happy to announce there is.

Meet Raindrop.io a better bookmarking tool. Raindrop.io is a great way to keep track of all the things on the Internet that you want to return to another day. This clever website allows you bookmark websites, pictures, articles, and videos, all in one convenient place.  A place that you can easily get to from any Internet browser on any computer device – computer, tablet, and mobile phone.

To get started with using Raindrop.io all you need to do is sign up for a free account. There is nothing to install. Just access their website, enter your email address, choose a password, and start bookmarking.  Best of all, if you want to organize your bookmarks, you can create folders to store all of your links. What’s especially fun is you can make your folders distinct by assigning custom icons.

So here’s a great example of using one folder to group several URLS. Say you are planning a trip to Spain. As you browse the web doing research, you might want to save some of the information you find. You might have links to Google Map searches, Trip Adviser reviews, restaurants you’d like to visit, and maybe even some videos. Now wouldn’t it be great to have them all together in one folder? Even better, what if you are going on that trip with a friend, wouldn’t it be great to share that folder with them, so you can both view the links and add more. Raindrop.io lets you do all that!

 

What is especially nice about Raindrop.io is that in addition to saving your links, it automatically creates a description, and most often even a photo. I find this much more helpful than just some vague URL. Since this data is automatically created with every link, you have the added benefit of being able to perform “smart searches” to find anything in your collection. You will find that this comes in handy when you forget where you saved something, or if you have a lot of unsorted links.

For anyone that already has a bunch of bookmarks set up in one or more of their Internet browsers, you might be hesitant to make the switch to Raindrop.io.  Have no fear, it’s easy to make the move to Raindrop.io because of their slick bookmark import feature. And, if you ever change your mind and want to use a different bookmarking system, you can easily export your bookmarks out of Raindrop.io.

Once I showed my husband Raindrop.io he was very excited and got to work importing all 7000 of his bookmarks. Yes, that’s right, he had 7000 unsorted bookmarks. Oh my! Now that they are all in Raindrop.io, it’s a breeze for him to search for any bookmark he wants to find. He was finally able to show me the bookmark he wanted show me the day before.  And, if he wants to take the time now to sort them into categories, it’s easy as pie. Bookmarks can easily be sorted into folders by using drag and drop.

Raindrop.io is really an awesome business tool I hope you will check out. Personally, I love it and have been using it for quite a while. A free program you can use on all Internet browsers – across multiple digital devices – is a great way to stay organized while surfing the web.

P.S. While this program is totally free, you will notice that there is an option to upgrade to their premium service. For less than $3 a month, you can gain access to such features as: nested folders, duplicate link search, a broken link finder, and more. Personally, I have not felt the need to use anything other than their free program.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com