Friday, April 30, 2010

Working for Tomorrow

Tonight we are going to wander off into a little bit of a political direction. As a child, I loved to read Aesop's fables. One fable that I took to heart was the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper. In it the moral of the story was that you must work hard in order to survive the hard times. This is especially true in today's economic environment. As small business owners, we must continue to work hard and not quit. As the political climate has changed, I have found another version of the fable of Ant and the Grasshopper and hope that we will never see this situation come to fruition in this wonderful country of ours.

In case you do not remember reading this as a child, here is a short version of the old Aesop's Fable:

"In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to it's heart content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with a great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

'Why not come and chat with me,' said the Grasshopper, 'instead of toiling ad moiling in that way?'

'I am helping to lay up food for the winter,' said the Ant, 'and recommend you too do the same.'

'Why bother about winter?' said the Grasshopper, we have got plenty of food at present.'

But the Ant went on it's way and continued its toil. When the winter came, the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain fro the stores they had collected in the summer.

Then the Grasshopper knew: IT IS BEST TO PREPARE FOR THE DAYS OF NECESSITY."

As in a home based business or a small business, you may find that some months you will bring in large amounts of income. The object is to be sure to always put away some of that excess income in anticipation of the lean times because there will be lean times in business. Do not spend all of your income now, because you will need it down the road. The sheer nature of economics dictates that there will be peaks and valleys in profit for all types of businesses.

If we are not careful in the coming years, the following modernized version of the Ant and the Grasshopper fable may come to be true:

"The Ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the Grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray to God for the Grasshopper's sake. President Obama condemns the Ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the Grasshopper's plight.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the Ant has gotten rich off the back of the Grasshopper, ad both call for an immediate tax hike on the Ant to make him pay for his fair share. Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Ant Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The Ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the Grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the Ant's food while the government house he is in, which as you may recall, just happens to be the Ant's old house, crumbles around them because the Grasshopper doesn't maintain it.

The Ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again. The Grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood. The entire Nation collapses, bringing the rest of the free world with it."

I hope to never see that occur in the United States of America.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Organization and your Home Based Business

We have been talking at length on techniques on how to make your home based business successful. Today we are going to talk about organization and how that can also make you more successful. Organization can take several different paths, today we are going to talk about organizing your work area. This is most likely an issue for may business owners and if you don't have a plan in place, you may be very unhappy with your situation.

For me, paperwork is my major downfall. I am organized in many aspects of the business, but when it comes to paperwork, well, controlled confusion is more the norm. When you are running your own home based business, paperwork can make or break your business. We are not only talking about filing appropriate taxes, paying bills, but also recording sales, purchases and expenses. Everyone should have some type of tracking system, even if it is a shoe box filled with receipts, but you do need to decide on some type of organization system. As you are trying to decide how to organize your paperwork, it is critical to be sure that the plan matches your particular organizational style. Just because the person down the road has this awesome filing system that works great for them, doesn't mean it is going to work well for you.


A shoebox filled with business receipts may be your best version of organization. The reason it is critical to have your business paperwork organized is because at some point in time you will be asked to validate a particular sale, purchase or expense. I am not just referring to an audit, but there may be times when a customer contests an invoice, or worse the bank challenges a credit card receipt. You need to be able to get your hands on the appropriate paperwork in a timely manner or you risk losing the sale. It is always such a satisfying feeling to be asked for information on a particular business transaction and to be able to produce the needed documents in a short period of time. How many times have you been asked to find a particular piece of paper and you find your heart starts racing because you are not sure WHERE that piece of paper may be.


Organization of your paperwork is also critical if you have warranties that have to be maintained. You may warranty work or products to customers, and you will most likely have warranties on the products you use. It is critical to be able to access that information quickly. If you are not a great person for keeping paperwork neat, one of the simplest methods I have seen is to have a shoebox and start putting all paperwork in it, organized by date. That way, you know all the pieces of paper are in one place, and if you knew the basic time when the event occurred, you would not have a difficult time locating the necessary document.


Another, slightly more technical method is to have four file folders. One is labeled sales, another is for inventory purchased, the third is for business expenses and the last is for any physical assets (tables, computers, programs) that you have purchased for the business. This way, every time you make a sale of either a product or service, you can place that sales receipt in the sales folder. Any time you purchase something to be sold for the business you put in the inventory folder, and anything else you purchase for the business (including office supplies, meals, meeting costs, utilities etc.) are put in the expense folder. Again, keep these receipts in date order for ease of filing later on. The physical asset folder will most likely have the least amount of receipts, but if there is a time that you need to find that computer warranty fast, you can go to that folder and produce the warranty in record time.


By having this slightly more detailed system of filing, you end up being able to sort through paperwork much faster. By the end of your fiscal year you then have the basic categories of revenue, costs and expenses already sorted for your accountant to handle. What we do is every evening, we empty our pockets and place the receipts in the appropriate folder. Then, when we have time, the recording of the information goes much faster.


The best part about this simplified system of filing is that you end up not having a desk covered in paperwork. How depressing is it when you walk into your office only to see your whole desk covered in papers? You may even end up shoving that pile of papers off to a corner of your desk so that you can get to work on the computer or telephone. How many times have you just added to that pile of papers, stating at the time you NEED to get that pile of papers under control? Think of how much more empowering it would feel if you just had those 4 folders on your desk or in your desk drawer with all the receipts neatly placed in them. Then you don't have the distraction or frustration of knowing that you have to get to the paperwork pile, the sorting is already basically completed. You can then focus on the main business at hand, making your home based business more successful than it was the day before.


There are more detailed methods of keeping your paperwork, but if you are the type of business owner that doesn't have a huge staff working for you, simplicity is key. If you have any questions regarding filing, or how to manage your paperwork, please feel free to contact us a hawgwash1@yahoo.com. We would be more than willing to assist you any way we can. If you are interested in starting your own business, check out our website, http://www.hawgwash.net/ for ideas. We are (almost) always available for questions.


Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Growing your Home Based Business

We have been spending a fair amount of time talking about how to make your home based business either successful or more successful than it currently is. Just because you have a home based business doesn't mean that you are not interested in growing your home based business. In the last several weeks, we have proposed several ideas on steps you can take to help to grow your home based business. All of these articles actually have the same idea running through them, which is, if you want to be successful, you need to ask yourself empowering questions.

I know that sounds odd, maybe even cliche, but in all the articles, aren't there always questions in them asking you what else you would do to grow your business? In Keith Cameron Smith's book, "The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires And The Middle Class" his number one distinction is that Millionaires ask themselves empowering questions where as the middle-class people ask disempowering questions. The same set of rules do apply to home based businesses, and businesses in general. You cannot look at the business you are in and not ask yourself what you can do to grow your business. Successful businesses are always looking for ways to improve, grow, increase customer loyalty, lots of things.


All of these questions and thoughts are empowering questions. You would not look at a business and ask yourself when you will fail. The object is to look at where you are and ask yourself honestly where you really, really want to be. That type of thought provoking question will cause you to stretch your imagination and possibly see opportunities where you thought there were none. Empowering questions will cause you to look beyond tomorrow and 5 - 10 years into the future. If you just look at how you are going to pay your bills tomorrow, you will only be able to pay your bills tomorrow. Whereas if you look at how you could triple your income by this time next year, well, most likely, by this time next year you will have tripled if not quadrupled your income.


The key is to pose questions that will make you stretch to reach the answers. Think of questions that will expand your mind. Write them down and propose answers if you have them at the time. Track your progress. You may be surprised about how far you move as you measure your progress. Keep your questions fresh, don't forget to review them and constantly think about the answers. There may be times that the answer to the question may change over time, or that you may finally find the answer to one of your questions that you have had trouble solving.


Asking these empowering type questions will impact the way you feel about yourself, your family and your business. Empowering questions will ask what you can do, not what you cannot achieve. You don't want to ask why life is hard, or why you are struggling. You need to flip the question around and ask how you can improve your current business situation. By changing how you view the question you are essentially changing how you fell about the situation. Once you get used to asking empowering questions, you will find that you become more and more successful, you begin living up to the potential you saw in your idea.


Your questions should continue to lead you towards more success. As Keith Cameron Smith states, this idea is summed up in the phrase: "As a man thinks, so is he." So, take a good look at how you look at yourself and your situation. Instead of asking yourself how you got into a particular situation, ask yourself what opportunity is in front of you and how can you make it work successfully for you? You will be amazed at how much more positive you will feel and how success will start following you.


If you are interested in starting a home based business, or have questions about growing your current business, please feel free to e-mail us with your questions at hawgwash1@yahoo.com. We will be more than willing to help you grow your business or help you on a path to becoming financially free.


Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thoughts for a Successful Home Based Business

We have been talking off and on about how to make a Home Based Business successful. We have posted several suggestions, thoughts and observations that may help you to develop a successful home based business, or make your business more successful. Tonight we are going to review something that can give many the heebie-jeebies... Change.

As you know, whether you like it or not, change is a part of life. Change is everywhere, the seasons change, our body's change as we age, our work environment changes, etc. The key is how we deal with all of these changes. How many people do you know that have a hard time dealing with the changes in their body as they age? Even better, how many people have you encountered that have a very hard time dealing with changes in their workplace? There are always people very resistant to change, especially in the work place and may do whatever it takes to resist that change. In today's economic climate, change is the norm and we all need to learn to work with change.

What is important is how you personally deal with change. Change can be positive or negative. Everybody probably wants that positive change (like more money, or more free time) but actually change, positive or negative, is really how you personally view it. How well you handle change, especially unexpected change can be the difference between having a successful business and closing your doors for business. Millionaires look at change as an opportunity for growth and will usually embrace change for that reason. Part of the reason that millionaires may welcome change is that they may have developed the confidence to learn from the change. If you are insecure, you will probably not welcome change because it challenges your current situation. If you are unsure about yourself now, how much worse will it be after the "CHANGE"?

Confidence is believing that you can do whatever you set your mind to do, and do it successfully. When you started your home based business, didn't some people tell you that you were nuts? You didn't listen to them because you had the confidence in your belief of the business and your ability. You choose to be confident, you don't wish to be confident. If you can choose to be confident, then you can also choose to embrace change. Once you get over the initial fear of change, take a look at what may be changing and look for the opportunity in the change.

You may see this particular change as detrimental to your business, but there is always another side to that change. Perhaps the change is needed to help you streamline your business processes? Is there a change in your product line because one of your suppliers is going out of business? If that happens, there could be a large opportunity for you to grow. If the product has lived past it's useful life to customers (like the slide rule) it is time for you to see what else is up and coming in the market and then begin to promote that. Or, if the product you are offering is no longer being manufactured, is it something that you could manufacture? Perhaps you can take this opportunity to corner the market on that particular item and be the sole manufacturer?

No matter what the change is, change teaches us new things that we may have needed to learn but kept putting off for one reason or another. The more we learn, the more confident we become and the more we learn to embrace change. It is at that point that we can learn to look at the changes in our environment and look for opportunities in that change. Look at some businesses that didn't change with the times and went out of business. Those companies became complacent and refused to take advantage of the opportunities of change. Other companies, like Microsoft and Apple embrace change every chance they get. Those companies will continue to survive because they are always looking for the opportunity in changes.

In order for your home based business to become and remain successful, you will need to learn to embrace change and look for the opportunities in those changes.

If you are looking to start a home based business, or are looking to expand what you are currently doing, please feel free to check out our website, http://www.hawgwash.net/ for ideas. We welcome any questions you may have.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekly Weight Loss Update for April

Well, today I would love to report that I lost weight, but alas, I did not. The good news is that I did not gain any extra weight. The good news is that it is my expectation that there will be more weight loss in the next few days. Because I have been eating a LOT of beans, I suspect that my lack of significant weight loss is mainly related to water retention. As we have talked about before, if I do not drink a lot of water each day, my body loves to retain the water that I do consume.

Also, as you are all most likely aware, eating beans can really make you bloat. I received this awesome recipe for Taco Soup and unfortunately it uses 4 cans of different beans in the recipe. The flavors are awesome, but my body does like to retain the water from all of those relatively salty beans. Since I do not cook with salt, if I cook with food that is prepared with salt, my body does have issues. Even though salt is important for maintaining proper fluid balance between the water in and around our cells as well as in our blood, too much salt may contribute to kidney and circulatory problems. My body is highly sensitive to salt, and if I consume a fair amount of salt from prepared foods, I do have circulatory problems (mainly swelling). I need to drink more water than usual to flush out the extra salt, and since I have been on the road the majority of the week I have been guilty of not drinking nearly enough water to flush my system.


What else I have discovered is that when I stop drinking my minimum of 95 oz of water a day, it takes me several days to get back into the habit of drinking that much water again. As it stands, I didn't even drink much coffee while on the road, so I seriously dehydrated my system this last week. I know that in the next few days, some weight will come off. I have started walking again and with my increased water consumption, my body will get back into the proper swing of things.


Despite all the abuse I have put my body through this last week, I am happy to report that I did not forget to take my StemEnhance and StemFLO. I suspect that if I did not take these two products, my health would be much worse (I have been flirting with a cold, but it really hasn't slowed me down, thanks in a large part to the StemTECH products). This is now month 4 for me taking full doses of the StemTECH products and I have been seeing great physical results. We will talk more about that in another blog.


My expectation is that by next week there will be significant weight loss.


On a fun note, I am happy to report that I found a hat (I LOVE hats) that I purchased many, many years ago and could not wear because the material makes my head itch. Instead of giving the hat away, I finally found the perfect solution for wearing the hat. I had made some DogDanas for our dogs and had extra bandanna material just kicking around the house. I folded the remaining fabric and stitched it to the inside brim of this hat that I have always loved but discovered I couldn't wear. I am extremely happy to report that the stitching of the bandanna to the inside brim of the hat has solved my itchy problem. I have been able to wear this awesome hat for two days (I did take it off to shower and sleep...) with no ill effects to my head. I am happy as can be to have essentially a "new" hat to wear around. I even had enough fabric to make some really cool hat bands for this hat too. So, the next time some of you see me, you will probably see me with my "new" hat on. Simple minds, simple pleasures.


Until tomorrow...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Quick Blog Tonight

Today was a wonderful day for a detail of a beautiful Jaguar. The day dawned bright and sunny, and even better, not too hot. By 11 am we were heading out to accomplish our detail of the Jag. This is the Jaguar that we have been detailing for the last several months, and this car (I should say, FINE MACHINE) definitely loves to be detailed.

Since it is maintained even when we are not cleaning it, the paint feels like it is brand new. How many times have you run your hand across the paint on your car, even after you washed it, only to have the paint still feel a little bumpy? The paint on this car is still as slick as it was (if not slicker) than when it came off the factory floor over ten years ago. As you can tell, it is a dream car to clean and it glitters like a diamond when it is freshly cleaned.


Our waterless product, UltraLuster protects the dark paint from the harmful UV rays of the sun, so there has been minimal fading of this paint. Granted the car is kept garaged and covered when possible, but combining that care with a UV protectant allows the paint to continue looking new and fresh far longer, especially in this hot Arizona sun.


After our fun detail, we were able to spend the rest of the day taking care of chores around the house that were in dire need of doing. Needless to say, I am quite pooped after all of that and will be heading off to bed shortly.


If you are interested in purchasing some of our waterless products, please feel free to visit our website at http://www.hawgwash.net/ and press on the "Order UltraLuster Items" button for detailed product information. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in starting your own detailing operation. You are also more than welcome to e-mail us at hawgwash1@yahoo.com with your questions.


Until tomorrow...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bashas' Outdoor Festival


Today we attended the Bashas' Outdoor Festival in Scottsdale, AZ. You could not have ordered up any better weather for this event. The sun was out, but the air was cool, which is especially rare for late April in Arizona. You can bet all of the participants really enjoyed the brief reprieve from the warmer Arizona weather.

There were quite a few vendors attending the Bashas' Outdoor Festival in Scottsdale today. We had several awesome jewelery people, some really original artists were in attendance today. The people wandering around the booths seemed to enjoy themselves, and took the time (since it wasn't blistering hot today) to look at what everyone had to offer. The food area seemed to be the busiest of all. They had fresh Navajo Fry Bread (which smelled heavenly), fresh tamales, roasted chili (YUMM!!) and barbecued chicken, ribs and tri-tip. Even after eating, my mouth continued to water because of all the wonderful scents coming from the food area.


We also got to clean a Saturn Sky today. It was a beautiful metallic blue roadster with the top down. If I had been more awake, I would have remembered to take a picture of this wonderful car, but we will have to suffer with a generic picture. The car was a real looker, especially after we treated it with UltraLuster Waterless Car Wash.

Today's event was the last for the Scottsdale location until September of this year. At this point in time, we are on borrowed time for cool, comfortable weather. As we experienced earlier this week, the temps have been in the low 90's and will continue to go up until late August. Nobody in their right mind will really be willing to attend any outdoor events during the summer months here in the Phoenix area of Arizona. As the summer progresses most people will rush from one air conditioned area to another.

Because of that, the attitude among the vendors today was festive, but tinged with sadness. We all know that we really won't be at any more local events after the end of this month, unless we really like sitting in a parking lot in the hot-baking sun. As we all packed up at the end of this event, we all said good by and wished each other well through the summer months.

Many of us will start our travel schedule, following events and rallies around the country. Several others will be heading back to their "other" home state and will return again when it cools here in Arizona. We will continue to keep you posted on local events here in Arizona along with the events we will be participating in around the country.

As always, this was a great opportunity to network with other vendors and let customers know that you are in business. Even if you do not sell a lot of product at these events, if you have a home based business with a limited advertising budget, this is one of the best ways to let people know that you are in business and a great way to generate interest in what you have to offer.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, April 23, 2010

What is a Living Trust?

With the passing of my Stepmother, I have learned a lot about Living Trusts and have discovered that this is something we should all think seriously about. As adults, home owners and small business owners, it is important to protect what we have worked so hard to build. You always hear about how important it is to create a will, but you really don't realize the importance of that until you lose a loved one and then have to deal with the ramifications.

There are differences between a Living Trust and a Will. A Living Trust is not what I had originally thought it was, it is actually a legal document similar to a Will, but it creates a Trust during a person's lifetime in order to save money on taxes and possibly to set up long term property management. A Trust is a relationship where the property is managed by one person for the benefit of another. Living Trusts are also designed to avoid probate proceedings and may also reduce taxes on inheritance property. These Trusts are used often because they can allow assets to be passed on to heirs without going through the probate process. These Trusts, if created properly can also help reduce future legal contests and arguing.

A Will on the other hand is a legal declaration where one person designates another person to manage their estate and provides for the transfer of that property at death. Basically a Will is limited to real property and indicates how you want that property distributed at the time of your death. It is revocable and subject to amendment at any time during your lifetime. You can draft your own Will with or without the aid of an attorney, but depending on your location, there may be more limitations. There is no legal requirement that a Will has to be created by an attorney, but there are many problems that can arise if an attorney is not active in the creation of the Will. Many of the problems could be due to items that were innocently left out of the Will instead of what may be placed in the Will. Wills are subject to probate proceedings, which can tie up the estate for a year or longer and possibly incur court fees. A Will does provide court supervision for handling beneficiary challenges and creditor disputes.

The popularity of a Living Trust has expanded in recent years as many more people realize the estate planning benefits. They cost more to prepare but the avoidance of probate costs can more than offset the up front costs of creating the Living Trust. Regarding my Father's situation, the Living Trust was the best option for him. Each person has their own set of needs and anticipated goals, so please be sure to research what you want to do before committing one way or another.

If you are considering creating a Will, a Living Trust, or even a Living Will (we didn't even touch on that tonight) it is highly recommended that you do consult a legal professional prior to creating any one of these documents. There are so many loopholes and rules to trip up a regular person. We have even seen lawyers get hung up on the various legal maneuverings of wills, versus trusts. If you are interested, Pre-Paid Legal Services may be a great place to start for obtaining some version of legal representation or at best a great place to start to obtain legal advice. As part of the Standard Family Plan you can get a will created for you at no additional charge with free yearly reviews and updates. You can also have a directive to physician/living will prepared at no additional charge with free yearly reviews and updates and limited assistance for probate proceedings.

If you have questions about what Pre-Paid Legal Services may be able to do for you with regards to Wills or Living Trusts, or any other general questions regarding Pre-Paid Legal Services, please feel free to e-mail us at hawgwash1@yahoo.com. We would love to help you with your questions.
Until tomorrow...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Memories of "LEO"

Tonight we are going to spend a little time to memorialize a really cool dog, Leo. He was my mother's dog, rather she was owned by Leo, for almost 16 years. Leo was a Stafforshire Terrier (aka Pit Bull) but don't you dare tell Leo that. He thought he was a cat...

When my mother brought him home one day it was because the garage he was located in determined he was a lousy guard dog. Leo was a character. He was so friendly, absolutely loved people, even when he tipped the scales at over 80 pounds. He was several months old when the garage he was at decided he loved people just too much. He never met a human he didn't love. That is where my mom inadvertently came in. When she was having her car worked on, she went over to play with the cute puppy. At that point, the owner of the garage had enough of Leo's overly friendly behavior and asked my mom if she wanted a dog... the rest became great history.


After Leo came home with my mother, her cat, "Crackers" was less than thrilled. The cat did everything she could to stay away from the rambunctious puppy, which meant that the cat spent a lot of time up on the backs of chairs, couches, window sills, etc. Because Leo always wanted to play, he finally learned he could jump onto the couch. One extremely funny incident was when he finally tried to walk across the back of the couch just like Crackers did. You should have seen the look on Leo's face when he realized that it was not easy walking along the back of a couch when you were over 40 pounds. He learned to sort of walk along the back of the couch, but loved to lay across the back so he could look out the window (like a cat) and nuzzle Mom's ear when she was sitting on the couch trying to read.


Leo loved to play with all kinds of toys, the problem was he also could chew everything to bits in a very short time. One of Leo's favorite games was to grab Mom's dish towel that hung in the kitchen and run around the house with it. If Mom didn't retrieve the towel, Leo would tear it apart and all she would find is shreds (Leo also loved to eat EVERYTHING - he was a canine vacuum). It became a daily ritual, once he was let in the house, he would thunder through the kitchen, grab the towel as he barrelled past and continue the run into the other rooms of the house. He absolutely loved to play with people and would play tug-of-war all day long if you didn't get tired. Most of the time there was always a toy or two stationed just inside the front door so that as any guest came in, they would be able to grab a toy and place it in Leo's waiting mouth. If you didn't have a toy to offer, that was fine with Leo, he would grab your hand and try to pull you around to play with him.


Leo loved walks outside except that he became too large and strong for my mother to handle. He ended up walking her, not the other way around. Eventually, Leo learned to stay in the front yard as my mother worked in the yard so he could watch all the people wander by. He was always watching out for my mother and making sure that everything around them was safe. Even at 90 pounds, Leo still believed himself to be a lap dog. He would try very hard to take his whole body and curl up in my mother's lap.


Leo also didn't like to be cold and would curl up as close as possible to the heater or the fireplace. Sometimes you could smell hair burning, only to look over and see that dog had gotten so close to the heat that he was singing his hair. Leo didn't seem to mind, but we were always afraid he was going to cook that little brain of his.


Leo was absolutely devoted to my Mom and he tried very hard to stay around with her. Unfortunately, dogs cannot live nearly as long as people do and he had to move on. He left my Mother on her Birthday, April 19, 2010. He will be waiting for her, with mouth open, tongue hanging out to the side, eagerly watching for my mother when she too crosses that Rainbow Bridge.


Leo will be missed, but his memory will always be alive in those of us that knew him well.
Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nutritional Drinks in General vs MonaVie in Particular

Tonight I learned an interesting lesson with some nutritional drinks that can be purchased in the various local food stores. During my visit with my father, he offered me a nutritional drink for the evening. Since I drink MonaVie nutritional drinks regularly, I didn't think hard about his offer, and accepted.

What I learned though was that some of the nutritional drinks that are sold in the stores, may be technically good for you, but they taste NASTY. What really surprises me is that the price of these nutritional drinks is no different from the prices of a bottle of MonaVie (Active, Original, Mmun, or Pulse). What I discovered is that this particular nutritional juice was so NASTY tasting that my father had to mix an ounce of it with about 8 ounces of grape juice. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of having a nutritional juice? I didn't think you should have to mix a drink into another drink, just to hide the flavor.


MonaVie does not have that problem at all. I find my problem with MonaVie is that I like the juice so much that I will find excuses to drink it. I happily take an ounce or two of MonaVie Active in the morning and at least an ounce or two of MonaVie Mmun in the evening. No need to mix it with other things to hide the flavor. MonaVie is excellent as it stands. You would be tempted to drink the whole bottle, and not have to worry about mixing it with anything. This experience I had with my father's choice of nutritional juice reminded me of the time I thought I had found the perfect health drink.


This drink was supposed to be really good for your body. The label claimed that it contained absolutely everything that your body needed to stay healthy. It was supposed to supply you with added energy and vigor. The problem started when you opened the bottle. The running joke was that this particular juice drink smelled like a medicine bottle. You didn't smell any fresh juice smells, you smelled what can only be described as crushed up vitamin pills. You know what I mean, that nasty pill, mediciney (I know that is not a word, but it is the best way I can describe it) smell. This juice smelled so bad that you almost had to literally hold your nose before you drank it. I also remember my almost choking on the drink after it passed my tongue. It was definitely not the most enjoyable drink to take, but I treated it like bad medicine, you took it because it was good for you.


Luckily MonaVie is very good for you (probably better than that juice was I took years ago) and it tastes great. Each MonaVie drink, Active, Original, Pulse, or Mmun has a slightly different flavor because they use different mixes of fruits, but the overall flavor is very pleasant. There is no nose holding in order to drink the juice. You can even have a conversation after downing a few ounces of MonaVie instead of making faces and almost gagging as I did with other drinks. We even have MonaVie tasting parties because their juices taste so good. Even better is that you can't drink too much MonaVie. Granted taking anything to excess is not good for you, but at least with MonaVie you are not taking excessive amounts of refined vitamins and minerals. Everything that is in the MonaVie is natural and tasty.
Not only are the MonaVie nutritional juices tasty, but their energy drink (80% fruit juice) is also awesome. If you want an energy boost without the jitters and an energy drink that contains 80% fruit juice, MonaVie Energy is the drink to have. MonaVie Energy has just enough bite to be fun, but it does not make you make funny faces as you try to drink something else that tastes NASTY. How many other energy drinks have you tried that could only be described as needing a "acquired taste"? MonaVie Energy does not need an acquired taste, it is good from the start to the end. No more funny faces when you swallow the drink.
Hopefully you will try some of the MonaVie drinks, if you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at hawgwash1@yahoo.com. If you see us at a rally and are curious about how the MonaVie nutritional juices compare, please ask and we will be willing to provide you a sample to taste. Then you will see we are not joking about how good the MonaVie drinks really are. Better yet, you can make money with MonaVie too...ask me how...
Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Leadership versus Management in your Home Based Business

Tonight we are going to briefly cover the differences between leadership and management in your home based business. We have talked for the last few weeks about some habits to develop in order to help your home based business grow and prosper. In order for your business to continue to grow, you need to be sure that you have a good grasp of the differences between leadership and management.

Leadership is not management. Leadership is focusing on where you want your business to go, what you want to accomplish. Management is the process of doing so that you get to the goals you set. Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis said it best, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." How many times have you dealt with a manager that you felt didn't have the slightest idea of what they were doing? This manager was doing everything "by the book" but by just following the written rules, was making a bigger mess of things than if they had just left the problem alone.


Basically management does not really require any thinking that could be classified as "out-of-the-box". Managers follow set procedures and make sure that things get done per pre-defined guidelines. Leaders look at those processes and decide if there could be a better way to do the job. Leaders will find ways to make the job better, more efficient, and profitable. Managers are basically there to get the job done.


As a small business owner, you want to be a leader, not a manager. It is your vision that will drive your business to greater heights. You cannot be a manager and drive your business to greater profits. Granted, you do need managers to get the jobs done, but you, as the small business owner, should not be a manager. You are the guide, the person who knows where you want to take the business. You have managers who do what you tell them to do and make sure that the various tasks that need to get done are completed correctly. Without managers, you can't take your business too far, but without leaders, you will never get anywhere.


The key to success is to have a solid direction that you want to go. No matter how good your manager is, if they do not have a clear direction of what you want done, or how you want the task completed, your business will not go very far at all. Your manager could be very effective at what they do, but if they don't know where you want to take the business, that manager could be driving your business in the wrong direction. You need to be a leader first and then worry about managing the business.


No matter how much you may want to manage your business, it is your job as the owner of the company to be the leader and basically make a path to where you want your business to go. In home based businesses, you probably don't have many (if any) people working for you, but you do have people that may be helping you to grow your business. The same rules apply. If you are not clear on where you want to take your home based business, then the people that you may have help you (essentially your managers) will not have a path to follow in order to help drive business in the direction you want. In many businesses, you have a team of people working together towards a common goal. If you are not clear in your picture of that goal, how can you effectively lead people toward that goal?


Even if your are the only person in your home based business, you need to think and act like a leader. By doing that, others will take notice of what you are doing and how you are doing it. If you become an effective leader, even just for yourself, you will find others beginning to take notice of your success and asking you how you achieved that success. In a short period of time you will find, even though you didn't plan it, that there will be people following what you are doing and essentially becoming managers to your leadership.


Tomorrow we will cover some more items to help you grow your home based business.


Until tomorrow...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weight Loss Update for April

Well, it is Monday evening and time to talk about my weight loss. This time I have some really great news, not only did I lose more weight, I have actually managed to lose some much needed inches. This wonderful piece of information was discovered when I put on a pair of shorts that I was afraid I would have a major problem zipping up. The awesome news is that not only was I able to zip the shorts up, but they were not the least bit tight either.

I could not believe my eyes when those shorts went on without a problem. I did more exercise than expected last week and figure that finally not only my weight, but the inches are finally coming down. It is refreshing to see some progress when I have been working on getting rid of those inches.


Usually I focus on inches rather than weight, because muscle is much heavier than fat, but I had gotten so round, I needed to start tracking the weight loss before I tracked my inches lost. I will continue this trend of weight loss throughout this week, and will strive to continue to exercise daily. Today I have been battling a really bad cold, and did not go out walking, but this was the first time in a week that I did not do some walking. With luck the winds won't be bad tomorrow morning and I can get a walk in early, before the heat comes.


I have been really pushing a lot more water lately too. I am sure that has contributed to the decrease in inches around my rear too. I have discovered that by adding a splash of fruit juice or a squeeze of lemon to my water, it becomes more palatable. I do get tired of the taste of water and will stop drinking it if I don't do something to "jazz it up".


I have also kept my promise to reduce my calorie intake this last week too. Not only has that worked, but my overall appetite has now decreased too. I get full faster and don't feel the need to munch as much anymore. I have also begun using the Cheat to fill me up more too. That has been very helpful in keeping my portions down and my calorie intake down also. The Core 4 system has worked for me in the past and now that I have given my body a break from it (several months), it looks like I may be able to continue the weight loss. This time around though, I will not be using Flush when using the Core4 product line. I guess you could say we are now into Core3? The reason I am not going to use Flush is that it is a strong detoxification item and the StemFLO is also a very good detoxification item. I do not want to over-do the detoxing of my body, so for now, I am not using Flush.


I am also taking the Accelerate every morning, about an hour or two after taking my StemEnhance and StemFLO. I didn't want to encounter any adverse reactions from these supplements, so decided by spreading them out over a few hours there would be minimal problems...and there were no problems I noticed. I will continue with this current trend and let you know next Monday if I have been able to continue the trend of both weight loss and inches lost.


Until tomorrow...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yuma Prison Run Motorcycle Rally

Tonight is going to be VERY brief as it is day two of the Yuma Prison Run Motorcycle Rally. This rally has been going on annually for the last 49 years. What is really cool about this run was that even from it's inception, it has been dedicated towards the betterment of children's charities. This run started in 1961 and has run continuously ever since. Some of the main charities that were donated to this year were The United Yuma Firefighters Child Burn Survivor Program, The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Olive Crest Homes for Abused Children.

The event, as usual was great. The vendors were set up and ready for business by noon on Friday and we stayed open for as long as our customers wanted us to. Since the entry fee included camping, many people either took tents, motorcycle tent trailers or motor homes onto the Yuma County Fairgrounds and spent the weekend camping at the event. This allowed for people to wander all over vendor village throughout the evening without feeling rushed. Also by being on premises, the event allowed the vendors to feel relaxed and to stay open for as long as we wanted to. The only rules were that we were to begin business by noon on Friday and we have to be off premises by noon on Sunday. All other hours are defined by each vendor.

We liked to open early, so as to catch the avid motorcyclists who wanted to clean their scoot before the day's rides began. On Saturday, we were open for business by 7:30 am and finally closed our tent down by 9 pm. Tomorrow we will be open no later than 7:30 and will close down and pack up by noon. The people here were awesome. The attendance was as good, if not better than it was last year and this is also in light of the fact that Arizona Bike Week shifted it's event to this same weekend.

It was great to see that attendance for the Yuma Prison Run did not suffer because Arizona Bike Week fell on the same time. I suspect that we didn't see a decrease because this is so much more than just a motorcycle rally. It is an event put on by a highly respected club, the Norwalk Centaurs is a family-oriented club and that is reflected very strongly in the annual Yuma Prison Run that they host every year.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend this event, I would highly recommend that you make the effort. Again, the focus is to raise money for children's charities, and there are lots of children in attendance. These kids not only wander around to meet everyone, but they spend a good bit of time working the event also. It is heartwarming to see the love and generosity from the bikers towards the children and hopefully this tradition will continue for the next 49 years. Even better, we hope to be able to attend as vendors for the next 49 years (and that puts me at....no, we won't go there...). If you want more information on the annual Yuma Prison Run, please visit their website at www.yumaprisonrun.net.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Prioritizing with your Home Based Business Part 2

Yesterday we talked about prioritizing with your home based business. We covered how to categorize tasks, the first two types we looked at were of high priority topics, urgent and important and not urgent but important. Tonight we will briefly cover the remaining two categorizations of tasks for prioritizing.

There is the urgent, but not important tasks. Those include items classified as needless interruptions, unnecessary reports, unimportant meetings, phone calls and e-mails and lastly dealing with other people's minor issues. Granted, what you might consider 'other people's minor issues' may be major issues to those other people. If you determine what they want you to do is basically a minor issue, don't just come out and tell them that, but either find a more diplomatic way to ask them or let them know that you are tapped out and cannot take on any additional projects. These tasks that you determine to be urgent but not important are a serious drain of your precious time away from your urgent and important tasks and your not urgent but important tasks.

It is critical that you do not get waylaid into performing these menial tasks, because they will become huge time wasters for you and not help you to reach your goal of making your home based business profitable. Keep in mind that these tasks may be urgent and may appear to be important, but they are not really important to you and your goals. Very often the items that fall in this category are more likely someone else's priorities that were delegated to you. If you do not report to this person at a regular job, you should re-delegate those tasks back. Better yet, you should not accept the delegated tasks in the first place, citing that they will have to fall in priority and won't be attempted until all the other important/urgent and not urgent, but important tasks are completed. Only at that time will you be able to tackle the not important, but urgent tasks. Honestly though, even if you finish your first two sets of tasks, there will always be additional tasks that fall into the important/urgent and not urgent/important categories. You need to continue to focus on what is good for you, your family and your home based business.

The last category of prioritization is the not urgent/not important tasks. These include trivia, busywork, irrelevant phone calls and e-mails, basic time wasters, lots of hours in front of the television, and time spent surfing the Internet. You do need to take some time to unwind, but be aware of how much time you really spend unwinding. If you find you spend about 3 hours a night watching TV sitcoms, then you really are wasting your precious time. Sometimes it may seem like surfing the Internet is a major time waster, and it can be, but if you are researching a particular new product or line of business with an eye towards including it in your business plan, then that task is not a time waster. When we identify surfing the Internet as a time waster, that is when you are just 'looking' around and not focusing on any particular piece of information.

The Internet is a great resource for information, but since you can get so much information in such a short period of time, you can end up wasting a lot of time learning irrelevant trivia and not gain any useful knowledge towards growing your business. How many times have you talked to someone who had an amazing grasp of trivia but couldn't think their way out of a brown paper bag? You don't want to become one of those people.

A key to continuing to only work tasks that are important and not urgent (preparation, prevention, planning) is write those items down and review them weekly and daily to be sure you remain on track. By weekly planning you are proactively planning how you will spend your time rather than reacting to problems as they occur.

You should regularly review your goals and what you expect to see. By doing that you will continue to stay on track and not stray into time-wasting tasks. We will all get distracted and find ourselves wandering off into a path that really eats up our time. By constantly reviewing our goals, we will only wander away for a short period of time before we are reminded of our original goals and put ourselves back on track to the road of success.

Tomorrow we will take a break from striving to improve your home based business and talk about something completely different.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prioritizing with your home based business

Yesterday we continued discussing being proactive and briefly touched upon prioritizing and time management to help improve your home based business. In prior blogs, we went into detail regarding time management along the lines of how do you carve out the time from an already busy schedule. Part of good time management is knowing how and what to prioritize. If you can't prioritize effectively, then your time management will be impacted.

The key to prioritizing is to decide what you can and cannot change. I know we talked about that before to, but this concept cannot be stressed enough. How many times have you worried about something when in actuality, there was absolutely nothing you could do to change that situation? It happens all the time, we all do it. The key is to try to minimize the impact of that type of worry and stress. If you try to change things you cannot change, you waste much of your precious energy and time working on a futile task. Then you don't have either the time or energy to focus on doing something productive for yourself or your home based business.


In helping me to personally remember to prioritize, especially when things get very hectic and time is insanely limited, I remind myself of the Serenity Prayer. According to Wickipedia, "the Serenity Prayer is a common name for an unnamed prayer by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr...". It is a prayer that is used in a lot of self-help groups and goes basically like this:


"God grant me the Serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

The courage to change the things I can;

And the wisdom to know the difference"


No matter what your religious belief, the concept here is excellent, especially for helping you to begin prioritizing your tasks with limited time resources. First identify what you can personally change with your actions. Eliminate all those things you cannot change and then forget about them. After you have probably cut your task list down by at least half, then start looking at the items that need doing and start categorizing them.


What items are either critical or in a crisis situation? Are there any pressing problems that need attention right now? (keep in mind that a 'pressing' problem is one that really does need to be taken care of, not one that someone else thinks you should deal with...) Do you have any deadline driven tasks? These are tasks that are necessary to complete. If you do not complete them, you or your business will suffer. Stephen R Covey classifies these types of tasks as "Urgent and Important". Severe problems will occur if you do not resolve these tasks or chores first.


Another set of tasks that will take a relatively high priority, (not as high as the critical ones listed above, but still pretty high), are the items that need preparation before completing (like a presentation), preventative tasks (like paying your business taxes when due otherwise more serious consequences will occur), and relationship building in your business. For relationship building, you want to make sure your customers are happy with your products/ services and you need to touch base with them frequently to see if there is anything else that you could do for them. We cannot stress enough the importance of relationship building in your home based business, if you get a bad reputation, you can lose your business. Therefore you do need to take the time to spend time with your customers and customer base.


Anything that falls into the categories listed above should be taken care of first. If you are proactive (yep, there's that word again...) and tackle those particular tasks quickly, you could easily save a lot of time for yourself and your home based business down the road.


Tomorrow we will continue the discussion of more prioritizing and time management techniques.


Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Habits to help grow your Home Based Business

Yesterday we talked about being proactive with regards to your home based business. I would like to expound a little more on that and then move onto other habits that can be helpful in growing your home based business.

To be proactive essentially means that you go out and meet the challenges that are looming on the horizon. If you choose to be reactive to those same challenges you may find that more problems will develop. How many times have you worried about a particular situation happening only to discover that once the problem came and went, your worries were far worse than the actual event? By being proactive, and striving to resolve the situation before it becomes a problem, you reduce the worry and fear that may occur. You are essentially taking the situation on, head-on and choosing to respond and resolve the problem before it really becomes a problem. If you sit back and wait for the situation to fully develop and then react, your fears and worries about what might happen will in all likelihood be far worse than what actually took place.

If you choose to actively take a role in the upcoming issue, then you are not allowing your fears to guide your decision making. By taking a proactive role in resolving the situation, you are taking command of the situation before it takes command of you. This way, you don't spend nights awake worrying about what might happen if so-and-so does one thing. You will have made a decision, followed through with it and then, whatever the outcome, at least you didn't let the situation take over your life. Many people worry far more about an upcoming event than the event actually warrants. Being proactive allows you to take charge of your life and your business so you have no room to worry, you get it done.

Another habit to refine in order to help your home based business grow is that of prioritizing. You want to put first things first and focus on the important instead of the time-filling tasks. As we have talked about before, you started your home based business with an end in mind. I know that sounds odd, but why else would you start a small business and take time out of your already busy schedule if you didn't have a desired end in mind that you were working towards? You may want to make more money, or you may want more time to spend with your family. These are all end goals. So basically since you are starting a home based business with a specific end in mind, you are beginning with the end.

After being proactive and taking advance steps towards a situation before the situation takes you over, and starting with the end in mind, you can now begin to prioritize the tasks that need to be done in order to allow your home based business to grow and prosper. Prioritizing can also be looked at in one way as time management. Time is something that once lost can never be recovered, so it is critical that you maximize the time you have.

We will continue talking about time management and prioritization tomorrow.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Being Proactive in you Home Based Business

One of the successful traits of a home based business is being proactive. Being proactive means you are anticipating a situation and will take charge of that situation. In a home based business, you cannot just sit back and assume business or income will come your way. You want to act in advance (be proactive) to deal with an expected difficulty. Just because you started this 'great' home based business, does not mean that you will have an easy time building that business. You need to learn to be proactive in order to grow and develop your business.

In Marsha Petrie Sue's recent book, "The Reactor Factor", she states that difficult situations will always arise. The measure of success is how you deal with each particular situation. She summarizes the actions you can take as "Take it, Leave it, or Change it". Depending on your history, you may choose not be proactive in dealing with the problem and you may choose to either ignore it ("Take it" - keep the status quo) or walk away from the situation ("Leave it"). These can be valid solutions depending on what is currently going on in your business but are based more on reactions and reactive behavior instead of proactive behavior. What you do not want to do in your business is to become reactive to problems.


Reacting to either a positive or negative business situation is not going to help you to grow your home based business. You will always feel like you are behind and that the problems are leading you around instead of you taking charge of the problems (anticipating problems) and determining solutions in advance of the problems. Being proactive, would be equivalent to Marsha's version of "Change it". You can see what may happen and make decisions based on anticipated desires and results. How many people have you dealt with that continually tell you that life is unfair and bad things happen to them? How many times did they admit that they had anticipated the problem, but choose to do nothing about it? Don't they claim that "life happened?" By being proactive, you are essentially taking control of your destiny, you are anticipating a problem or situation and then choosing to make adjustments prior to the actual situation occurring.


The reactive people are the types of people that will bring both you and your business down. Bad things happen to everyone, it is how you react or choose to act with the bad things that will differentiate you. You may be able to see a problem starting to form on the horizon of your business. At that point, if you choose to be proactive, you would essentially go out to meet the problem with a solution of your choosing instead of waiting for the problem to become full-blown and then having to deal with the ramifications in a reactionary mode. Basically, being proactive requires that you as a business person take the initiative. You want to act and not be acted upon.


Just because you are proactive, it does not give you license to be pushy or bossy. It means that you are anticipating a situation and are making moves to correct or solve the situation before it becomes damaging to your home based business. You cannot change how the current economic crisis is hurting some people around you, but you can change how you do business so that the same economic situation does not damage your business.


In order to stay focused and proactive, you will need to decide what you can and cannot change. In the example I cited above, you cannot change the current economic situation, but you can change how your business manages money and generates sales. You can control how your business succeeds in the economic downturn, but you cannot control the downturn. You need to focus on what you can change, and leave the rest alone. I am not suggesting that you ignore anything that you cannot change, but that you do not waste your valuable resources trying to change that which you cannot. You want to spend your time working on the things you can do something about. Reactive people end up trying to change the things that cannot be changed, and as a result, they feel frustrated and defeated.


Until tomorrow...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weight Loss Update

Today, as promised, I am providing you with my weekly (not weakly..) weight loss update. I am happy to report that the weight I gained over the last two weeks did go away. Unfortunately, I did not lose more than what was put on, but at least I took off what had been added. Most likely more weight would have been lost if I had been more diligent about physical exercise.

We were extremely busy this week, but I had to spend quite a bit of time in front of the computer working on the company's financials. Needless to say, I didn't get out to walk briskly as often as I had hoped to. Even though, by watching what I ate and how much I ate, I was able to take the added pounds off. What I did do that was different from past weeks is really push the fresh water. I can say report that I drank at least 100 ounces of water each day. I made sure to always have my giant mug of water by my side at all times. I know I have filled it up at least three times a day all week long.


If you think about it, this week was pretty easy to drink so much water. The temperatures here in Arizona did get into the mid-80's for the whole week and the sun was out all day long...(actually, the sun is always out, you just may not be able to SEE it every day). Anyway, I did make sure to stay very well hydrated and attribute much of the weight loss to that fact.


What I have read, and will put into practice next week to see if it really works, is that in order to reduce your current weight by one pound a week, you need to reduce your daily intake of calories by 500 per day or 3,500 per week. Obviously, one way to reduce your calories, is to exercise, but, I am going to try to actually eat about 500 calories less each day to see if I can take the weight off. I am not focusing on the exercising this week because we have an extremely busy week, and I will not have time to exercise effectively. We have a big motorcycle show coming up this weekend, so I will be moving around, but once the show ends each night, all I want to do is to rest my feet. Standing and working a booth at a show burns some calories, but I don't think that it burns 500 calories each day.


With luck, I will be able to not only keep my weight down, but take at least another pound off by this time next week. The other problem with working motorcycle shows is that the eating menu is pretty bad. Breakfast usually consists of a breakfast burrito, lunch is whatever I can find at other food booths, and dinner, if I am not too tired would consist of some type of one-pot meal, like a hamburger helper type of meal (very high in sodium and fat, low in fresh veggies..). No matter how hard I try to create a healthier menu while on the road, those good intentions always seem to go by the wayside. Perhaps I will do better this time, but I will not hold my breath.


Until tomorrow...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Adventures in Dog Grooming

Today was the day that I finally screwed up the courage to once again groom those little hoodlums of dogs. Once again, we had fun adventures in dog grooming. As you can see in the before and after pictures, they really needed to be groomed. The biggest problem we have is that the little guy absolutely HATES to have his front feet touched and will turn into the Tasmanian devil when you try to trim his feet.
I am not a professional dog groomer, but decided last year that it was cost effective to do the grooming myself. After working with our dogs, I have a new respect for dog groomers. They must be saints to deal with other people's dogs. Mine are bad, I can't imagine how badly they behave with a stranger... Choosing to groom the dogs myself was not solely a price decision, but since we are on the road for so long, it is very difficult to find groomers when we need to have these little monsters trimmed. How many times do you like going to a new hair stylest? It is the same concept for the dogs, except that we have seen some really, REALLY bad work done by some groomers. The dogs can come back with nicks and cuts, which makes them feel really bad. So, I would rather be the one to give them those little nicks and cuts, at least I know I can take care of the cuts and I know where the cuts are. Some groomers would hope that you never notice the damage.
Anyway, the adventures today were fun, as usual. I decided the easiest way to wash the dogs this time was to get into the tub with them. We do not have the ability to wash the dogs in a professional tub, we have a garden tub that doubles as a dog washer. The problem is my back breaks when I try to wash the dogs. So, today, I climbed into the tub with the dogs and washed them. It wasn't so bad with the little guy, he hates the tub for washing, but if you are washing the bigger girl, he can't stay out of the tub. I don't understand this logic, he hates to be washed, but has no problems whatsoever jumping into the tub of water if he isn't being washed??? Anyway, I wash him first because he is such a wiggler. The girl just stands there looking sad, but doesn't fight. The little guy keeps jumping into the tub so he can be included in the attention... Then, once out and towel dried, they dash around the house like their tails are on fire. That lasts about half an hour, or until they are almost all dry. I don't bother using a blow dryer on them, their dashing around the house is more entertaining and a lot easier for me. I get a chance to rest up before the next step.
After they are dry, I then take one at a time into the laundry room (small enough so that if they get away, they can't go far..) where I set up two TV tables place a non-skid mat across the tables and hope for the best. The little guy was wiggle city, a few times he almost became a she.... You would think that they would stand VERY still when you are running clippers past the family jewels, but hey, he is a dog. After much fussing, I got the majority of the little guy trimmed, sans a decent job on the feet. What I have learned to do, since he stresses so much when I trim the feet, is to take scissors in the living room, and after all the commotion has died down, he falls asleep, and I quickly snip at all the loose ends that were missed in the initial trimming. Right now, he is sleeping with one eye open, he does not like the sound of scissors closing.... I can't move without him jumping like I cut him.
The little girl is much easier to groom, except when she spots birds hanging outside the window. Then, she turns into a cat and will have nothing to do with me or the clippers or scissors. I nicked my hands like there was no tomorrow trying to finish grooming her face, she was absolutely fascinated by the birds and if they flew, she jerked her head in the direction of flight. That wasn't bad enough, but I did learn what happens when you try to trim around the butt and under her tail.
For grooming the little girl's butt, I discovered that when you lift her tail to trim, she farts. Every time, really. The really bad part is that my eyes were on level with her butt, because I wanted to be sure I was grooming properly, I literally got an eyeful of fart every time I lifted that little one-inch tail of hers. Who would have thought that such a little tail would have the ability to trigger such a deadly fart. My eyes were watering by the time I finished grooming her butt. The little boy on the other hand has a clam-shell of a tail. His tail is less than an inch long, but it is so muscular that once he has it clamped over his rear, there is nothing short of a tire iron that will move the tail. So now, when his tail is up, he has a hairy bit under his tail and everything else is trimmed. Looks like he has padding under his tail. Not sure how I am going to get that hair, it has to go, perhaps I can stick a wedge between his butt and his tail so that when the tail comes down like a clam shell, I can still trim beneath... Any suggestions on how to get that tail away from his rear, would be appreciated.
The good news is that the little guy doesn't fart when you lift his tail. That is probably because you CAN'T lift his tail. As a general rule though, he doesn't fart nearly as much as the little girl does. Hey...what's that smell...oh geeze, the little girl is under my chair farting her heart out...great...gotta go before I die of asphyxiation...
Until tomorrow...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Promoting Your Home Based Business

Today we are going to briefly change subjects and again discuss some ways of promoting your home based business. One potentially cost effective way to promote your business is to participate in small, local outdoor markets or festivals or rallies. Many of them are held every weekend, you just have to look around to see them. You may find some events held in local church parking lots, some in grocery store parking lots, and many times in open areas near shopping malls.

There are several advantages to participating in these open marketplaces. One advantage is that usually there is minimal (if any) cost to be a vendor there. Another advantage is that you get to personally meet the people that could be interested in your product or service. You can talk to the local residents and find out what they are really interested in. You can hand out business cards or flyers to everyone who walks by your booth and the best part is that you can set up a booth with just a simple table, chair and possible tent.
Attached a picture of what our booth looks like at a local marketplace. We did invest in a banner (what you see wrapped around the table - like a table skirt) and a tent. The tent is very necessary especially when it is bright, sunny and even a little warm out. Sitting outside for 4-5 hours in the sun can really be an otherwise exhausting experience. There are simple chairs that you should also bring, but I recommend that you bring chairs that will allow you to be seen at your booth when you are sitting. We used to have small lawn chairs at our booth, but the problem was that when you sit down, you are at or below table level, and customers walking by your booth may think there is nobody at your booth. We have found that if the booth looks unattended, people will not stop to see what your table is offering. We usually have some tall chairs (like director's chairs) or a tall stool to sit on so that the booth always has somebody visible in it.
What we put on the table are products that are for sale, flyers for services we offer (car, boat, motorcycle and RV detailing for our business), business cards with contact phone numbers on it and informational brochures about the products we offer for sale. We make sure to have enough product to sell immediately to customers, because when they attend an event like this, they usually want to make a purchase now and take the product home today. We are living in an immediate gratification society, so people tend to not want to wait for an order to come in.
We make sure the information brochures are handed out to people that are seriously interested in our products. We also recommend that when you hand out brochures they include your contact name, phone number, e-mail address and website (if you have one) so that if the customer wants to make a purchase later, or wants to re-order product, they can easily get in touch with you. What really works well about the brochures is that even if the person did not purchase from you at the time, that brochure can have a tendency to "develop legs". What I mean by that is the brochure may be left on the potential customer's table, and someone else may pick it up and begin asking questions about what is on the brochure. That other person may the your million-dollar sale, you never know.
But by having that brochure run around other people's homes and offices, you have managed to get advertising out to a targeted audience (if they were not interested in your products, they would not have asked for an information brochure) and will most likely generate sales from that. Your main cost is in getting brochures printed, but the rest is essentially free advertising. Do not expect each brochure to generate sales, but as you get more brochures and business cards out into the local area, people will begin recognizing you and your products/services and may be more inclined to purchase from you in the future. Most importantly, this is a very affordable way to promote your home based business.
Not all open markets or rallies will generate money for you that day. It is sort of like gambling, some days you may do really well, other days, not so well. The important thing is to always be cheerful when at your booth and to always be willing to talk to everyone who passes by. That is because the next time a potential customer meets you, they will probably remember how you treated them at the rally. You never know when you might meet that person again, it may be in a grocery store, when you are both standing in the check-out line. At that time, they may see you and remember having met you at the market. That chance meeting may even generate more sales in the future, you never know.
Please feel free to contact us if you are looking for ideas on how to find local, outdoor markets in your area. You can e-mail us at hawgwash1@yahoo.com. We would love to help you get your home based business off the ground without spending an arm and a leg in advertising.
Until tomorrow...

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Habits for a Successful Home Based Business


Yesterday we covered two habits for creating a successful home based business, persistence and beginning with the end in mind. Today we are going to back up just a bit and go over what you need in order to create good habits to create a successful home based business - knowledge, skills and desire.

Stephen Covey defines a habit as, "the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire." Let's break down those three items tonight with an eye towards your home based business. You need a knowledge of what it is you want to promote or sell. Knowledge is what you may have learned through talking with other people who are currently working in the particular area you are interested in. You may have also picked up your knowledge from books on how to market, or promote your business.

Knowledge is the theoretical information. You have learned from gathering information, but at this point in time, you may or may not have the experience from the knowledge that you gathered. You have learned what to do, but you have not yet done anything with that knowledge. You need to have the knowledge of the products or services you plan on providing before beginning your home based business.

Skill is the ability to do what you have gathered in the knowledge phase. Are you effective at marketing yourself or your business? Are you good at talking with people on a stage? If it is a service you are providing, are you very experienced in providing that service? You should not be a high-wire walker if you are afraid of heights. Also, if you do not know how to clean cars effectively, going out and starting a detailing business may not be the best thing to do. You need to have the skills to do the task if you expect your home based business to grow and develop.

The third piece of this puzzle is the desire. If you have a very strong desire to do something, like start a home based business, you will find the means to get the business off the ground. If you have the knowledge and skill but no desire, your business will go nowhere. It is the desire that fuels your driving of the business, but it not just desire by itself. You may have a strong desire to be a high-wire walker, but if you do not have the skills (i.e. you are afraid of heights) you will not get very far in that chosen career. Also, if you have the desire and the skill to be a high-wire walker, but don't have the slightest idea how to do it, then again, you will not succeed in your chosen endeavor.

According to Stephen Covey, the various habits we are discussing are formed when your knowledge, skills and desire converge. You need all three in order to develop a useful habit. Otherwise, you will probably not be successful in your new business. The good news is that as you acquire knowledge, skills and desire, you will also develop better and better habits. It becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophesy, as you succeed, you work more to succeed, and that then adds more success to the equation. This is a upward spiral, and an awesome thing to experience. This upward spiral, the acquisition of knowledge, skill, desire and the subsequent habits, may not always be fun to do, but in the end, you will reap the rewards of a successful home based business.

Tomorrow we will go back to discussing more habits to help your business either become successful, or become more successful. Usually the more successful you are, you may find you can attract more income to you and other people will be attracted to you. Your success will help draw other successful people to you who you can then also learn from.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Habits for a Successful Home Based Business

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

Habits are what make us who we are. If we want to change who we are, we change some of our habits. I was taught one time that if I wanted to change a habit, I wore a rubber band around my wrist, and every time I performed the habit that I wished to stop, I snapped my wrist with the rubber band. That habit didn't last too long with me, I got irritated with snapping my wrist with the rubber band. Once you start a home based business, there are habits you want and habits you don't want. The key is to not fall into the bad habits, or even to learn bad habits from others. There are times, especially when starting your own home based business that you have a sponsor that makes the growth look easy. Be careful to follow their good habits and not to pick up any of their bad habits. Some people appear to have a natural talent to create and grow a home based business, but you are most likely not seeing all the hard work and time that they put into the business before you looked into it.

If you work full time and want to start your own home based business, you need to find some time in your busy evening to start the business and try to grow the business. Carving out time from what is left of your day can be extremely difficult to do. (Finding the time to start a new business is something we chatted about last month.) As mentioned in the earlier blog, you will most likely have to stop doing something in order to dedicate some time to your fledgling business.

Another habit you should refine is the persistence to build your home based business. (We talked about Persistence this last Tuesday) Especially if you are currently working full time, you need to be persistent in your desire to build and grow your home based business. If you don't have the desire to stick with the business, you will find no growth in your business.
Most importantly, if you know what you want out of your business, write it down. That is your goal, you really won't be able to drive your business forward if you do not have a specific goal or plan in mind. As Stephen R. Covey puts it, you need to "begin with the end". If you know what the end result is, (i.e. why are you starting a business in the first place?) then you will find a way to get from your current situation to the desired end result. This is where persistence comes in. If you persisted in going after the end result, you will find your business grows into what you want it to be.
Tomorrow we will continue with some other habits for creating a successful home based business.
Until tomorrow...