Archive for January, 2010

You have a lot more skills and experience than you give yourself credit for. I'll lay odds that you don't even realize the full extent of your assets and resources. There's a good chance that you are discounting or undervaluing them. Don't make the mistake of thinking that all your other talents and other events from your past are irrelevant to what you are doing now.

I recently did an exercise where I had to reflect on all of my past work experience. I realized that one of the jobs I had completely forgotten about was actually very relevant to what I am doing now.

During the gap year before I went to university, I worked on a car sales lot on an American military base in Germany.   I was 18 and was uncomfortable about selling, so I teamed up with one of the sales guys there. We worked together, but I was more like his assistant.

He collected the names of everyone who came in and expressed an interest in a car. These were our leads. I loaded their information into the computer, which was unusual back in the late 80's -   a lot of companies weren't even using computers much in business.

We used that information to do direct mailings to those people, letting them know about special offers and things that were happening on the car lot. I basically assisted him in getting more people to come to the dealership.

The net result was that we won a competition that year for the highest number of cars sold at the American bases in Germany.   We won an all expenses paid holiday to the Caribbean.

I had completely blanked that experience as being relevant. But when you think about it, I've really been using direct mail to promote business and promote sales for a long, long time.   And those skills and experiences I gained back then, are very much relevant today.

My point is, it doesn't matter whether you're 25, 45, or 65. You have had many different life experiences and you possess a multitude of assets that could be useful and relevant in helping you to build your online business.

You've likely put together some type of resume in your past to submit to an employer with a job application. On it, you surely included your education background and previous work experience, any recognitions or awards and maybe a couple of references.

There is a lot more to you than that, though.

Have you ever done a resume of your life experiences? Have you ever taken inventory of your existing assets and resources?

I am certain that if you sit down and list out all the things you've ever done, there are jobs that you've performed in the past that somehow contribute to what you're doing now.

And, I'm pretty sure that there are skills you've learned along the way that you apply in some way to the growth of your business. It could be something that you were just doing as a past hobby.

But I'm positive that you have a lot more relevant experience than you are giving yourself credit for right now.

Bernadette Doyle is a small business marketing expert. Get more tips and advice at

What if you're not completely happy with someone you've hired to help with your business?

Should you keep them on to see if things improve? And, how long do you wait for that to happen? Is the problem really this person? Is it your system? Is it you?

Here's what to consider:

• A good rule of thumb is to trust your gut.

Really trust your gut. Chances are that if you've been thinking for awhile about letting someone go, you probably had an inkling within the first week that something wasn't going to work out.

If an employee, assistant, vendor or supplier takes up more time and energy than they are worth, you need to let them go. Dan Kennedy, a marketer who has influenced me quite a bit, has very strong beliefs about running your business autonomously and doing business on your own terms. He says, "If I wake up three mornings in a row thinking about you and I'm not sleeping with you, you've got to go."

As much as you'd like to see the good in everybody and give people a chance, don't drag things on longer than necessary. Be decisive about pulling the plug when things clearly aren't working. There's really no point in continuing down the wrong path.

• Check their attitude.

There will always be an element of human error. If you've hired a person who has the right attitude - where they're proactive, they're willing, they're trying - and they've just made a mistake, be willing and able to overlook that. The fact is that whenever you're dealing with people, there's going to be an element of human error. That's just a fact of life.

• Evaluate your communication and training systems.

85% of problems can be solved by communication. Evaluate the training you've provided. Be clear about your needs, and have a good system for communication in place.

• Examine your own attitudes and beliefs.

Determine your own role before you make your decision to keep someone on or let them go. Ask yourself, "At what level am I creating this?" And be honest with your answer. Have you created an insurmountable barrier in your own mind that they can never break through? If you've already written off someone who's working for you - thinking "they're no good" - you're going to get that mirrored back to you. You need to take responsibility for that as well.

• Are they an investment or expense?

The right people will ultimately make and save you more money than they cost you. The wrong people will just cost you. If your time or energy is being drained by an individual, then you may very well need to just cut your losses and move on.   Remember, if it's not working, it's not working. The best thing you can do is to set   free. Let them go so they can find where they're meant to be.

Use these tips to evaluate your team and make the right decision as to when it's time to say goodbye.

Bernadette Doyle is a small business marketing expert. Get more tips and advice at

Have you been in the situation where you notice that your computer is a lot slower than it used to be? It takes longer to boot up, takes longer to carry out simple tasks, and takes longer to switch between programs. Something in the background seems to be chewing up all the computer's capacity to process the information you're feeding it.

It's frustrating, because suddenly you can't rely on your computer as much as you used to. It just doesn't seem to be working as well.

There's a simple solution: increase your PC's random access memory, or RAM.

It's a quick job, and you'll be amazed at how much more efficiently your computer will be able to work.

The same step can be applied to you. You can increase what I call your €˜psychic RAM'.

Sometimes when we're doing too much at work, one of the challenges we're faced with is psychic RAM. I don't mean psychic as in a medium or clairvoyant, but your mental space. When you're doing too many tasks, too many parts of your brain are tied up.

See if this scenario sounds familiar: You need to edit the weekly newsletter. The chances are that throughout the day, before you actually get around to editing the newsletter, it pops into your mind five or six times. When you're in a sales meeting, on the phone to clients, or working on a new project, your mind jumps to the newsletter. While you should be focusing on other parts of the business, your brain decides to focus on something else.

It's a type of psychic disturbance that has the power to disrupt your train of thought, putting you off more important work. When you're overloading yourself with too many tasks, you put amazing amounts of pressure on your mind to keep functioning at its usual top speed. It's so easy to lose focus when you have too much to focus on.

Doing too many tasks yourself affects your energy. It's having a direct effect and impact on your business because it's draining your energy. It's pulling you away from your unique ability – the things you love to do, the things you do best, the places where you add most value.

But if you start to delegate aspects of your business, and when you know that someone else is taking care of them, you start to free up mental space. This makes more of your brain available for creative thinking, for coming up with new ideas, for solving other problems.

Even if you decide to delegate just some of these tasks, it will free up your psychic RAM and increase your productivity. It's quite amazing how it just happens. Every time I delegate or outsource an aspect of my work, I'm amazed at the leap in my productivity and new ideas. I suddenly have so much more mental capacity to focus on the core areas of my business.

Increasing your psychic RAM will give you so much more energy, and will allow you to focus more on what you do best.

Isn't it time that your mind had an upgrade?

Bernadette Doyle is a small business marketing expert. Get more tips and advice at

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