I was recently was interviewed by Dr. Georgianna Donadio of the National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH).  NIWH provides credentialed individuals with educational programs.

Our conversation was about starting a business and included legal, marketing and management information in a short 20 minute segment.   To listen go here.

Experience is often the best teacher. When new opportunities are presented, on what basis do you make the decision to accept or decline an offer? Not all business is the best match and in fact might cause more harm than good. What is the true cost of working with a client? There are many ways to evaluate whether to proceed or opt to walk away and perhaps make a referral for the client. After all, this could be a dream project for someone else and not only will you have served yourself, but by being proactive, you have also preserved your reputation and sanity.

Three red flags to pay attention to:

1. The PROJECT is not a fit!
If you are not crystal clear in identifying who your ideal client is, then anyone with a check book is fair game. This may sound ludicrous, but the reality is that until you have done your homework and understand your business mission and core competencies, you will continue to be frustrated by the relationships you cultivate. While you should not decline every job that is less than ideal, flexibility is important, it is critical to understand when the cost of doing business is too high. Will you have to invest in becoming conversant with an industry unfamiliar to you, hire experts or purchase new equipment? Is there true value here or do you need to walk away?

2. The PEOPLE are not a fit!
First impressions are made within 30-seconds of meeting someone. Pay attention to how you feel in the presence of the prospect. People do business with people they like and even a short-term project with a difficult group can make the time an energetic drain which also depletes other resources. Are you prepared to regularly justify your fees, manage a challenging client or be on 24-hour call? While you do not have to love the client or become the best of friends, warning signs that they may be overly demanding or reactive makes the case for saying “no”.

3. The PROCESS is not a fit!
When you override your initial reaction or force fit a project into your business you can write the final script in advance and it may be one that you are all too familiar with; a promise NEVER to do x again! What is the overall experience you want for yourself and/or your group? Is this a project you are anxious to do but the timeline is not workable? Does it contribute to your portfolio, experience or future work you hope to do? Is the proposal in alignment with your personal and professional goals and values and does it add to your bottom line? Understand the scope of what you are getting into before you commit.

Walking away from someone who wants to pay you is not easy. Increase your fees to compensate for the project, person(s) or process that is not a good fit? Of course you can, but is that the best way to do business? If your resources are stretched to the limit servicing clients you do not want, where is the space for those you really want to be on board? By saying “no” to the wrong fit you can also say “yes” to the better client, project, or opportunity that is also out there looking for their best match.
©2011 Maureen Weisner

M. Weisner Coaching & Consulting
provides one-on-one personal and executive coaching to Women on the Edge®… of Change. We create a partnership with our clients as they identify the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Together we design, strategize, and implement a structure for the client to work from in achieving her goals.

We focus on how change impacts your life from moment to moment and for the long term. Our programs provide:

Exercises to identify what you really want and what is preventing you from obtaining it
Motivational strategies to support your transition
Tools and perspectives to reinforce these strategies
Follow-up to keep you on track

Network Like A Seasoned Pro
By Maureen Weisner

Networking is an essential social and career development skill, however not everyone is comfortable walking into a room filled with strangers. In fact, those extroverts who seem to “work a room” effortlessly are typically prepared with a plan of action beforehand. They may research the group days ahead of the event, look at a list of attendees, seek out the membership representative, ask for an introduction in advance or even bring a colleague or friend along.

But what if your style is not so exuberant? Can an introvert still network like a seasoned pro? According to Devora Zack who offers tips to connect with others in large groups, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Creating business opportunities can be a compelling enough reason to get out there and it is an assumption that everyone else has the innate ability to do so with ease. She breaks it down into a three part process:

• Pause: Introverts are often good listeners and planners. Use those skills to prepare, thinking through responses and setting goals in advance. Practice asking short questions. “What brought you here tonight” is always a safe ice breaker.
• Process: Instead of seeing the WHOLE room, focus on a few particular people. Use those listening skills to learn more about your new acquaintances. You will be memorable as a non- self promoter. Remember to follow-up.
• Pace: Introverts typically renew their energy alone. Focus on one activity and take a break. Retreat so that you can recharge and repeat the process.

Remember to smile and who knows, you could connect with some interesting people and leave with an expanded network and new business!

©2011 Maureen Weisner

Maureen Weisner, M.Ed., PCC, is president of Women Living on the Edge of Change. We provide one-on-one personal and executive coaching, creating a partnership with our clients as they identify the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Together we design, strategize, and implement a structure for the client to work from in achieving her goals and the motivational strategies to support those transitions. We are expert in customizing unique workshops, seminars, and keynotes for groups, focusing on how change impacts our lives from moment to moment and for the long term.


How to Set Up Your Family Information Center By Barbara Boone of Productivity Solutions

One of the most important things you can do for your family is to set up a family information center. Many people prefer to have it in the kitchen area while others prefer the home office. It doesn’t matter where you have it. The best place is wherever you and your family decide will work for everyone.

What things should be put into the information center? Here are some suggestions.

• Contact information for all family members: work, school, extra activities. The phone numbers of all of the places where family members will be on any given day.
• Emergency information. The people to contact in case of an emergency. This would include doctors, friends, neighbors, other family members, local fire, police, and poison control numbers.
• A calendar of all family activities. You can use an erasable one if you wish or a paper one that has every month listed. Make sure that the calendar has lots of room to write in each space all the information that you need.
• Coupons if you collect them.
• Blank sheet for grocery list.
• Folder for papers that need to be signed. (for school children)
• School calendar to check for days off and vacation.

How do you design it?

Again, the way you design it will depend on your family members and what will work for them. You definitely want to create a system where all of the above information is in the same place. Here is one suggestion.

• Buy a hanging file folder container. They can be purchased at Office Depot, Staples, Target, or Wal-Mart. Many are made of plastic. You can buy sturdier ones if you wish.
• Also buy interior file folders. You can purchase colored ones if you wish, but be careful because if you run out of a particular color and substitute a different one, you might confuse people using the system by colors.
• Label each interior file folder with a category name. You can use the list above and shorten the names. Ex. Contacts, Emergencies, Calendar, Coupons, Grocery List, Signed Papers, School Calendar. If you think of other categories that fit your family, use them.
• Put all of the file folders into the container. Begin to work on the contents of each folder until you have entered all of the information.
• When the information is completed, show all family members the system and how to use it.
• Practice using the system for a month. Evaluate its effectiveness and make changes if necessary.

Once you have established and used this type of system, you will be surprised at how useful and easy it is to maintain. At the end of each month, quarter, or year you can clean out the folders and replace out-dated information with new information.

Barbara Boone of Productivity Solutions is a certified Certified Productive Environment Specialists (aka iPEP Specialists) are trained and certified to implement the tools, principles, methodologies, and technologies endorsed by Barbara Hemphill, founder and CEO of the Productive Environment Institute.

Do You Have a Case of Yes and No Confusion? by Debi Silber, The Mojo Coach

The words yes and no are two extremely powerful words. They’re also two of the most misused words in our language today. Do you have a case of yes and no confusion and how can you tell if you do?
Let’s start with the word yes. Think of all the times you’ve said yes to an extra task, project, activity, commitment or responsibility. Maybe you said yes when you were asked to stay late at work or help a friend complete something they were working on. Of course your intentions were honorable but if you’re already overscheduled, overextended and overwhelmed with what’s on your plate, consider why you may have said yes, yet again.
We say yes to additional commitments for many reasons. Maybe we want to feel part of the group, like a “team player,” we want to feel like we’re contributing, helping and giving. Sometimes we say yes because it makes us feel needed, valuable or we feel “it’s the right thing to do.” Sometimes we say yes because we think that saying yes means we’re being…nice.
Now, here’s something to think about. When we’re already overscheduled and overwhelmed, there’s a good chance we’ve neglected our own self-care. Maybe with these extra responsibilities there’s simply no time for a workout, a pre planned healthy meal, a haircut or that long overdue manicure. Taking on another project almost ensures that taking care of ourselves gets pushed even further down on our list of priorities.
We may resent the new responsibilities we’ve just taken on (or person who asked us to do them), as we wish we had a few minutes to knock a few items off our “to do lists,” reconnect with our partners, snuggle with our children or even find 15 minutes to read a magazine or catch a brief nap. Now, besides taking the time to recover from our day, rejuvenate and replenish ourselves, we deplete ourselves even further as we convince ourselves that a healthy, balanced lifestyle is out of our reach.
When we take a look at what’s truly important to us, what it is that we value, often we find that spending time friends, family and taking better care of ourselves makes up a good part of that list. Well, when we say yes to things that pull us further away from those values, we pull ourselves away from creating a lifestyle that could make us feel satisfied, healthy, happy and complete. Sure it may be agonizing when you’re expected to say yes to another task. That minute the person asking is waiting for their reply may feel like an eternity when they realize their usual “go to person” has just turned down their request. But there are two things to consider. One, you turned down their request, not them. Two, while that minute may be painful, the freedom you’ve secured to stay true to your priorities lasts much longer.
Sometimes it’s a matter of finding a phrase that resonates with you. “Thanks but I have too much on my plate right now.” ”I appreciate the offer but I have to say no for now.” ”When I can I’ll let you know” are a few ideas. In either case, find a phrase that works for you so you can give those most important to you (including yourself) what’s really needed.
Now let’s look at the word no. Think of how often you may have said no to a new adventure, opportunity, possibility or situation. There was a chance for an exciting experience, a rewarding relationship, and a new direction. Maybe it was an opportunity to learn, grow or evolve where you were asked to leave your comfort zone to pursue a dream, goal or talent. You wanted to say yes, thought about it, but what did you do? You said no! You may have told yourself you’re too busy, too old, too heavy, not smart enough, not pretty enough, you don’t have the right resources, information, equipment; you get the idea. This is a case of yes and no confusion!
We say yes to the things that pull us further and further away from our values, priorities and what’s most important to us. Then because we’re so overwhelmed with our lives (because of saying yes too often) we say no to things that could bring us joy, passion, pleasure and purpose!
It’s time to get the right words out at the right time. It’s time to say no to things that take us further away from giving our best to ourselves and those we love, while learning to say yes to things that encourage us to look, feel and live our best. Finally, here’s an additional incentive. Typically, saying no to something good leaves room for you to say yes to something…great.

Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach, President of Lifestyle Fitness and the Founder of TheMojoCoach.com is THE secret behind some of the healthiest, most influential, charismatic, influential and successful professionals visible today. Sign up for a free special report “The Secret to Becoming Your Personal and Professional Best,” a full year of Mojo Tips and a subscription to Debi’s bi-monthly newsletter Mojo Moments. All free and all designed to inspire, empower and help