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The following is from my friend Will Newman at AWAI and courtesy of The Golden Thread


The Golden Thread

The Myth of the “Road to Success”

I want to debunk a common myth.

I decided to write to you about this myth the other day when I got an email from Circle of Success member Cecil … an email much like others I’ve gotten from AWAI members.

“I’m really concerned, Will. I hope you can help me. I was really excited when I started out in The Accelerated Program. I still am. I want this new career to work, but I’ve run into a bunch of problems that have stopped me in my tracks. I don’t want to give up. I love what I’m learning. But I’m stuck. Please help!”

The power … and problem … of metaphors

When Cecil says he’s stopped in his tracks, that he’s stuck, he’s using a common metaphor about success. This metaphor envisions the journey to success as being along a road. We even talk about the “road to success.”

This metaphor is all wrong.

We use metaphors in our speech and writing because they help us understand complex situations in simpler terms. We use them because they work. That’s the power of metaphors.

When talking about success, it’s as if we start out in San Francisco on a drive to New York. Straight line. Few changes of direction.

Seems harmless enough.

But there’s a danger here. Metaphors not only give us a simpler view of reality; they also shape reality. Talking about success like a journey along a road leads people to feeling “stuck” like Cecil did.

A blown out tire. A burned out fuel pump. Worn piston rings. These problems stop you in your tracks. They halt forward progress.

Yes, you can get them repaired and start moving forward again, but …

All too often that feeling of being stuck in our quest for success keeps us from starting up again.

A new metaphor for your journey to success …

I wrote Cecil back and told him I no longer think of success this way. I use a different metaphor for this journey.

If you’re traveling from San Francisco to New York by plane, that airplane doesn’t stay on course. Cross winds, updrafts, down drafts, and other unforeseen events push the plane off course.

But the plane keeps moving forward and makes it where it’s going. Why?

The pilot and navigator constantly make mid-course corrections.

So, as simplistic as it sounds, I told Cecil that he is not stuck. He needs to make—and continue to make—mid-course corrections. And, so do you as you travel toward your inevitable, undeniable goal of copywriting success.

Putting meaning into metaphor …

The airplane metaphor works. But only if you take these two steps to keep yourself making those mid-course corrections.

First, find yourself a good “navigator”

You need someone who’ll guide you in your mid-course corrections. AWAI’s forums are the best place to find that navigator. Many of your peers have gone through the same problems you might be having. Or, that crop up later along the way.

Or, you could choose a particularly close friend who wants you to succeed as much as you do.

Regardless of whom you choose for your navigator, find someone who can give you support and guidance all along the way to help you make the mid-course corrections.

Second, keep moving forward … no matter how small the movement

I’ve heard from AWAI members who have faced serious illnesses (their own and family members’), job loss, increased work at their jobs, hurricanes, and any number of daunting events.

One member stands out, though. She faced a number of personal disasters I won’t go into here. She wrote me and apologized for being behind on her Circle of Success program work.

But, she also told me that, while these problems had slowed her down, she wasn’t giving up. She’d put aside 15 minutes a day to study The Accelerated Program and do her COS work.

She wanted to do more. She’d planned to do more. But she was doing as much as she could.

She kept moving forward, slower than she’d hoped at first. But she didn’t stop. She kept her momentum going.

So, this is what I told Cecil. And, this is what I tell you. Don’t allow yourself to be stuck. If “life gets in the way” (boy, how many times have I heard that?), take a mid-course correction around it. Do something—anything—that moves you forward.

Read a book that will help you be a better copywriter. Study an AWAI program, even for 15 minutes a day … or a week, if that’s all you can spare. Write as much as you can—letters, emails, notes to your coworkers—using the skills you’re developing here.

But keep moving forward!

Yours for a successful copywriting career,

Signed

Will Newman

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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Three Things the Military Taught Me About Business

Three Things the Military Taught Me About Business

Three Things the Military Taught Me About Business

I joined the military just out of high school and in 1996 I retired after 22 years active duty. In that time I served in both the Army and Air Force. I married a wonderful woman; we had two sons; I graduated from college, and became a commercial pilot. All in all I believe we did quite well.

During those 22 years of service I learned three lessons that have helped me in both my life AND business.

From the moment our drill instructor chased us off the bus at Fort Ord, California, our leaders taught us to discipline, teamwork, and focus.

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Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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What Flying Taught Me About Business

What Flying Taught Me About Business           

Aviate-Navigate-Communicate

Aviate-Navigate-Communicate to Soar Your Business

When you fly an airplane it’s common to practice emergency procedures. After all, unlike an automobile, if an airplane has problem you can’t just pull over to the side of the road.

It’s easy when something occurs in a plane while in flight to get distracted by a minor glitch—a glitch that could become an accident.

In primary training, pilots memorize a phrase that helps prevent little things becoming bigger. We learn to: Aviate—Navigate—Communicate.

We’re taught to control the plane first.

Then we’re taught to navigate. Know where your airplane is and steer away from things that can get you in trouble; like mountains or bad weather.

And finally, we’re taught to communicate. Talk to our controllers, if applicable, or let someone know we need help. Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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A Shift in Gears for Empowered Pros

A Shift in Gears for Empowered Pros

Shift Gears

Shift Gears

After publishing articles three times per week over the past three months, EmpoweredPros.com is shifting gears.

Beginning today we’ll only be publishing one article per week which will debut each Sunday morning.

Why the change?

Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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Student Loans — They’re a Racket

Student Loans — They’re a Racket

Student Loan Racket

Student Loans are a Racket

Did you know it takes a college degree to work the counter at a major car rental agency? I’ve got one question; why?

Answer: College, and the student loans that fund them, is a racket. What was once seen as the step to a brighter future has become nothing more than a money-grubbing enterprise hiding behind a sheepskin.

I have both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. I’m also pushing 60 — and times have changed.

Why do I say student loans and college are a racket, well in the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, “Let me ‘splain.” Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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Finding Your Six-Figure Niche

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Finding Your Six-Figure Niche

Solve Your Reader's Problems

Find Your Six-Figure Niche

We hear a lot today about small businesses that go from zero to hero in a short period of time. You know, from nothing to success seemingly overnight. The medium doesn’t seem to matter, offline or online it’s happening all around us.

A bit of research reveals one of the common traits of these successful businesses is a niche. Whether your goal is a couple of thousand dollars extra a year, a six-figure income, or seven figures, niches seem to be the way to go.

Online some of examples range from Nick Usborne’s www.coffeedetective.com to Steve Chou’s www.bumblebeelinens.com.

Offline, Spanx by Sara Blakly is a great example of a niche made good. Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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Should You Brand Your Business or Be a Guru?

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Should You Brand Your Business
or
Be a Guru?

Guru ravidss

Are You a Guru?

What’s your goal? Do you want to attract clients because you’re a guru or do you want to draw customers due to your brand?

This is kind of a trick question, really, as both answers are correct and yet both answers are incorrect…what we called in flight instruction, a “well, it depends” question.

It depends on your business and you really, whether creating a brand is better for you or becoming a guru is better…oh and you can have both.

Today I’m talking PRIMARILY to new business owners, or business owners who’ve been struggling and can’t seem to get there from here. Let’s start by defining the difference between being a guru and having a brand.

Are You a Guru?

First question: Are you an expert in your niche? Is your way of doing X, better, quicker, cheaper, more interesting? Is it all of the above? Is it better than your competitors? Then you might be a guru.

Question two:  Do you have hundreds, or thousands, of adoring fans who’ll throw themselves off cliffs and drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid if you ask them? If so, you might be a guru…but please, be nice to people who love and adore you.

Third and final question for you wannabe gurus. Are you willing to be hounded constantly by the media, paparazzi, adoring fans, and never have a moment of privacy?

Well, to be perfectly honest, that’s not the quite the guru status we’re talking about here, but it could be.

No, when I say guru status, I’m saying you’re an expert at your niche and are willing to build a persona around that expertise? Here’s an example: Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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Customer Retention — 4 Ways to Improve It!

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Customer Retention — 4 Ways to Improve It!

Customer Retention - 4 Ways to Improve It!

Customer Retention – 4 Ways to Improve It!

In business it’s all about the customer.

I’ve written quite a bit recently about finding the right customer for your business and how important it is to identify your target market. Let’s talk now about value-added marketing. Why value-added, simply because we know it’s easier and more cost-effective to keep a customer than it is to get a new customer.

Value-added marketing takes place once you have a customer. The roots of value-added direct marketing go back to the 1980s and the Hunter Business Group, LLC. Originally designed as a business-to-business (B2B) model, the core idea was to market to individuals rather than departments or companies.

While originally a B2B idea, much of value-added marketing can be used in our modern, internet-driven, businesses. Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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The Surefire Way to Beat Indecision

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The Surefire Way to Beat Indecision

Indecision Sucks

Indecision Sucks

“One of the hardest things in the world to make is a decision.” While I’d like to attribute that quote to myself, I’m sure someone else coined that phrase long before I. As business owners we’re faced with problems that require decisions. One of the challenges we face when making a decision is to get bogged down into what Zig Ziglar called, “The paralysis of analysis.”

So then, how do we beat the paralysis of analysis and indecision? The surefire way to beat indecision is to ask a simple question: “What’s my return on investment”? That’s the FIRST question that should come to mind.

Whether the decision involves one concerning, time: “should I do this, or that”; or it involves money: “should I invest in this widget or that doodad”; the answer boils down to, “What’s my ROI“?

Let’s take business education as an example. Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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The Shocking Truth About Internet Sales

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The Shocking Truth About Internet Sales

Internet Sales

Internet Sales

Go ahead; take a guess as to how much business is done via the Internet. If you’re like most Americans you’ll probably guess a pretty high number. After all, since the Internet went live more and

more of us are purchasing products with our hard-earned cash online, right?

News flash, according to Forrester Research, e-commerce sales between 2012 and 2017 will only account to about 10% of retail purchases. Of course this means that 90% of retail sales come from traditional brick-and-mortar providers.

Think about that for a moment. While we’d like to believe Internet giants like Amazon.com are destroying traditional businesses, the truth is they account for a very small total of the aggregate. Don’t get me wrong, Amazon still accounts for a good share of the $3.6 trillion dollar retail market but in the big scheme of things this internet juggernaut is small potatoes.

What IS happening now and projected to happen in the future is the continued growth of sales, but more importantly, the amount of research consumers’ conduct online before making purchases.

As most of you are well aware, shoppers are using the internet to research future purchases and are becoming more comfortable with the information they find online.

Social media, retail websites, and online forums are just a few of the examples consumers use to help make buying decisions.

What does this mean to you as a business owner? Read the rest of this entry

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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