Woman Issue 103
August 15, 2005
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From the Desk of the Editor
Welcome to the 103rd issue of the MLM Woman Newsletter.
This month we feature articles on how to let go of your "stuff"
and unclutter your life, six tips for effective listening, how to
make sure your business cards are sending the right signals to your
customers, how to steer clear of dream stealers, and how to find
and keep the perfect virtual assistant for your business.
Linda Locke, Editor
Go of "Stuff"
by Michael Angier
We've lived in the same home for eight-and-a-half
years. During that time, we've never had a garage sale.
And a few weeks ago, we did just that.
On the plus side, we got rid of a lot of
things and even collected a few hundred dollars. We also
met some neighbors we hadn't known and saw our unwanted
possessions go to people who actually did want them.
From a strictly financial point of view--if
you calculated the value of our time--it probably wasn't
worth it. We would have been ahead to have simply loaded
everything up and sent it to Goodwill.
But our objective was to purge our house
of items we no longer want or need, and we accomplished
So how does this all relate to a better life for you?
Stay with me, it does.
Most of us collect way too much stuff. I
was AMAZED at how much we'd accumulated over the years.
I never thought of myself as a pack rat, but we had hundreds
of items to get rid of, and this was only the beginning.
Our epiphany occurred when we spent the
winter in Florida. We went several months with only a
few of our personal possessions and didn't miss them once.
The house full of "things" we left in Vermont
went unused and unwanted. Our question was: if we don't
want it or need it, why do we have it?
Last weekend, as we sold and gave away many
of our things, there wasn't once we felt the pang of loss.
As we watched stuff being carted away we were relieved--we
We can all benefit from reducing the clutter
and eliminating things we don't use.
By getting rid of things, you create more
space. Your environment and your life will feel less cluttered.
When you hang on to things, you stop the flow of abundance
in your life. When you purge you re-open the flow and
allow more of what you REALLY want to come into your life.
Take a look around. Open up all your closets. Look through
the garage. Open up the attic and/or the storage unit.
Inventory your office.
Chances are there are numerous things you
haven't used in a year or more. And if you haven't used
it in a year, it's HIGHLY unlikely you ever will.
Be ruthless. If you can't bring yourself
to part with something now, put it in a box with a date
on it. In six months--if you haven't used it--sell or
give it away.
I've yet to find anyone who has done this
who regrets doing so.
Copyright Michael Angier
About the Author
Michael is the author of '101 Best Ways to
Be Your Best'. SuccessNet's mission is to inform, inspire
and empower people to be their best--personally and professionally.
Download your free report "10 Essential Keys to Personal
Explore their free access, eBooks and SuccessMark Cards
Six Tips for Effective
by Judith Richardson, MA
When you interact with clients, they should be
doing 70% of the talking, which means you're doing 70% of the
listening. Listening is crucial for effective relationship building
-it's the only way you'll learn what your prospect or client
REALLY needs. Follow these tips for effective listening:
Prepare in advance: Focus on the client,
customer, buyer, and give him or her the best listening-to they've
Take notes: Taking notes shows your interest
in the client, customer or buyer's message, helps you stay in
control of the call, and provides valuable data to review later
or share with your team.
Screen out distractions: Imagine you and
the client, customer or buyer are in a tunnel alone and all
you can hear is each other. Think only of the message.
Limit your talking: You can't listen and
speak at the same time.
Listen for content: Listen to the words.
Don't respond to your stereotype of, or past history with, the
buyer. Stop judging the style of delivery.
Prove that you listened: Once you believe
the client, customer or buyer has said everything, paraphrase
what you heard. It confirms that what you are about to say responds
to what they really said, and the feel heard!
About the Author
Judith Richardson, MA
As a caring, passionately curious woman who brings warmth, humor
and compassion to clients and colleagues, Judith is recognized
for her skill in facilitating high-value results while empowering
organizations to create increased profitability and high-quality
relationships. Featured in ICFAI University's Executive Reference
on Diversity Management, author of Engaging Leadership, and
Keynote at International Conferences, winner of International
Coach of the Year 2004 and works with International Organizational
Development across North America, Europe, Jamaica, Denmark,
Sweden, Israel and Russia. www.ponoconsultants.com
Make Sure Youre
Holding The Right Cards
by Debbie Allen
Does your business card reflect a positive image for your business?
Does it clearly define what your business is all about at a glance?
If not, you may be making some big mistakes in your marketing
and need to take another look at the message you are putting out
Why? Because if a prospective customer views your business image
as unprofessional or confusing, they will simply do business with
someone else. You cant afford to let that happen to you.
Are you holding the right cards?
While presenting marketing seminars to thousands of business
owners and entrepreneurs, Debbie Allen (sales and marketing expert)
discovered a shocking reality. Many of the business cards presented
a poor and unprofessional image of the business at first glance.
Very few business cards or marketing materials had an effective
message that described the business clearly. Most lacked a strong
visual logo that defined the business and had no branded image
or catch praise that set them apart from their competition.
With this newfound discovery, Debbie began to ask members of
the audience to stay after her presentation to receive a free
business card evaluation. This intrigued attendees, and many waited
for up to an hour to have a chance to talk with her in person
and to get feedback on how to improve their marketing message.
Another discovery! Many owners and managers are so close to their
businesses that they don't see the most obvious mistakes. The
reason for this is that they don't look at their business through
their customers' eyes. They view it from a very narrow focus,
their own eyesight. This can be disastrous for a company's professional
Just as people judge individuals at first glance, so they judge
a business image the same way. If prospective customers view the
business image as unprofessional or confusing, they will simply
walk away. Prospective customers will be lost to competitors who
do a better job at marketing their company's image, brand and
The goal of an organization should be to create a strong, immediate
message that clearly defines its business. The message must connect
an emotional bond with the customers, both
verbally and visually. This same image and message must be coherent
on all marketing materials ranging from a company's business card,
advertising, packaging and signage to its
Once organizations recognize the need to improve their business
image on their marketing materials, it can be easy to make the
changes needed to update and improve. The solution is often a
small investment in a graphic artist and a marketing consultant.
Where do you start? A great place to start is to take a close
look at your business card as if you were a prospective customer.
First compare it with the list of top 10 mistakes below then take
the business card ranking quiz online at www.DebbieAllen.com
The 10 Most Common Business Card Mistakes
1. Scrambles messages with inconsistent design elements.
2. Does not clearly define your business services and/or products.
3. Does not make you memorable (in a good way).
4. Indicates unflattering things about your business.
5. Does not generate additional business.
6. Creates a cluttered impression.
7. Omits essential information, or is filled with non-essential
8. Looks out of date, or information no longer applies.
9. Is hard to read or confusing to the eye.
10. Lacks a point of interest, image or theme.
About the Author
Debbie Allen is an international business speaker and author
of five books on sales and marketing. She has presented before
thousands of people in nine countries around the world. Debbie
is the founder of International Business Image Improvement
(May) which was created to help people improve their marketing
materials and present a more professional business image to attract
more customers. Take her free online business card quiz to see
if youre holding the right cards at http://www.DebbieAllen.com
Beware!! They Are Everywhere
by Patricia Drain
Years ago, I met someone who was my first KNOWN dream
stealer. I had just written my first book and was very protective
of it. I named it, Hire Me Secrets Of Job Interviewing.
I didnt know if it was well written or would be successful,
but that really didnt matter to me at the time. The sole purpose
was to help people get job offers.
I owned a Recruiting/Staffing firm in Phoenix Arizona.
Every day it was my job to prepare our candidates to interview with
our client companies for new career opportunities. The book had all
the ingredients necessary to show how to get in the game of interviewing,
answer questions that most of our clients asked, get the job offer,
and make a decision.
I didnt market the book or even tell anyone about
it. Why?? Because I was so afraid that someone, especially someone
in the same business I was in, would see it and make fun of me for
Be careful what you focus on. A couple of months after
writing the book the dream stealer entered my office. She picked up
my book and said very sarcastically, You have got to be kidding
...YOU wrote a book?
Embarrassed I said, Yes, all I am trying to do
is help our clients get a job and to also be aware that interviewing
is a game, so they shouldnt take it personally.
In response, she said, I am also writing a book
about interviewing. At the present time it is all in my head. Its
OK though because I have a mind like a computer. All the chapters
are compartmentalized, I even have a clear picture of my cover. I
must say however MY book is MUCH thicker than yours and much meatier
In fact, I noticed that your chapter on resumes is just a few pages,
mine has over 100 pages so far.
I dont know what came over me but I saw her for
what she was in that instant. A DREAM STEALER, AN INTIMIDATOR, A BULLY.
You know the difference between your goal and
mine??? I said. No what? She replied.Your
goal is still in your head.....I wrote mine down in the form of a
Sweet revenge.............Is her book done to date........NO!
Did my book get picked up by a major publisher because it was simple,
easy to read, and could help thousands of people get a job? YES!
I tell you this story because I was reminded just weeks
ago about all the Dream Stealers that have come into my life
over the years. It was on this trip down memory lane that I realized
Dream Stealers are everywhere!!! We must be aware and prepared
not walk away from them. I knew I had to
share with others that Dream Stealers come in all varieties.
Teachers, friends, associates, even family members. They might even
tell you very good reasons why you should listen to them because it
is for your own good.
My last dream stealer was the force behind this story.
Actually my last dream stealer I actually PAID. Thats right
I paid him $1000 to TRY to steal one of my dreams. It happened in
My partner Debbie and I signed up for his seminar, paid
our money, got on a plane, checked into a hotel, took a cab to his
event and proceeded to have a dream stealer tell us what we cant,
shouldnt and couldnt do. When we decided to walk out on
his training session after identifying him as a dream stealer we asked
for our money back. (something neither of us have ever done in our
lives) We were very uncomfortable with the situation but we promised
each other that as soon as we got the money we would both buy items
that would remind us of future Dream Stealers .
Debbie bought a small but perfect diamond that would
remind her not to let ANYONE take the twinkle out of her
dreams. My reminder was the famous BOSE ear phones that would remind
me NEVER listen to ANYONE who tries to steal your dreams through
intimidation or wrong information.
If either of these stories rings a bell for you or reminds
you of any of the Dream Stealers that have been in your life
so far, or are about to appear, get a reminder that works for you.
A reminder that will help you become aware everyday.
GO FOR YOUR DREAMS
About the Author
Patricia Noel Drain is the co-founder of MAXIMIZING SUCCESS,
INC. The next Life changing Wealth Building Bootcamp will be held
in Phoenix AZ Oct 28-30 2005. For more information go to http://www.maximizingsuccess.com
and tell them Patricia sent you. Ms. Drain is an international author
and speaker living in Arizona. Visit her online at http://www.buildagreatbusiness.com
How to Find and
Perfect Virtual Assistant (VA)
by Suzanne Falter-Barns
If you've got a dream, you need support -- and a great
way to do that is with a VA or virtual assistant, which is an assistant
who works for you hourly from afar by web, email and telephone. But
how do you find the one thats right for you? After hiring several
some of whom were great, some of whom were not Ive
learned a thing or two about this process. My own VA, Lorraine Carol,
has joined me in summarizing this list based on her experience as
Heres what we've determined will best work for you and your
VA in setting up a great, mutually supportive relationship that serves
1. Decide the type of work you want them to do. Is it marketing oriented?
Or more general? Do you want them to glide seamlessly between personal
tasks like online birthday shopping and professional tasks? Your clarity
will set up a clearer, easier relationship from the start. Do note
that some VAs are really niched towards certain tasks, such
as marketing, real estate, etc..
2. Put together a really clear description of your needs. Then post
it on various VA sites, including:
3. Decide how much time youll need up front. This amount is
determined with your VA, based on the list of tasks you assign and
they agree to complete. The real shortfall of many VAs is that
they take on more work than they can complete without pulling all-nighters,
etc. The worst VAs Ive used simply cant say no,
so are unavailable when you need them, and shoddy when they do the
work at hand.
4. Make sure they are capable of doing the work youre assigning.
One way to determine this is to use references; it helps if theyve
done the same tasks for someone else. On the other hand, some VAs
will be doing new tasks for you theyve not done before. And
if theyre affordably priced and willing to do some learning
on their own without charging you for that time, that can work, too.
but dont agree to pay for training time unless
your VA is learning something very specific to your business and few
5. Try a small test assignment to start. Dont leap in with all
of your work at once. Give your new VA a test project or two to work
on and see how the chemistry develops. In the beginning, its
too easy to gloss over potential problems with rose-colored glasses.
Make it clear this is a test run.
6. Look for a can-do attitude. Ive heard this complaint from
some that VAs theyve hired try to turn work back to them,
or seem balkish about taking on tasks that werent in the original
agreement. The fact is, some VAs will rise to the occasion and
happily accept all kinds of work; others wont. The success of
your own VA depends entirely on what kind of business youre
running. Is it an improvised affair in which the type of help you
need changes all the time? Or are you looking for someone to do repetitive
tasks that are often the same? Try to be clear about that up front
to find the right match for your needs.
7. Look for a good listener. A great VA will take your
emailed request and try to make sense of it before coming right back
to you with multiple queries. Great VAs make your life and your
job easier not overly complicated. One VA I had (who didnt
last) was constantly haranguing me to send her exact URLs on
each web page I wanted her to fix instead of going into the links
I described verbally. By the end of our time together I felt like
I was working for her. I wouldnt be paying a VA $30+ per hour
if I had time to take care of all of this stuff myself.
8. Make your requests crystal clear. By the same token, you need to
send requests that are as clear as you can make them. That helps your
VA make things seamless for you.
9. Try not to throw a lot of last minute work at your VA. Unless,
of course, thats how you work and you made it clear up front
when you hired your VA. Most of the good VAs are tightly booked
and simply cant turn around a last minute project in a moments
notice. Try to give them a feasible amount of time for response.
10. Set up regular tasks and systems they can count on. Then make
sure you meet the agreed on deadlines. Consider even putting these
agreements into writing. For instance, if your VA broadcasts your
ezine every Friday, make sure they have your copy by Wednesday.
11. Look for the proactive VA who anticipates problems. One thing
I love about my current VA is that she anticipates problems. Early
on she determined that I wasnt a detail person, and that she
needed to be. She knows how to manage me and my scattered work style
so disasters seldom occur, simply by anticipating things that could
go wrong and bringing them to my attention. This endearing trait has
made me a lifelong fan of this woman.
12. Do not become overly dependent on your VA. Know how to do everything
you request of your VA yourself
because there will come a day
when a VA cant help you for one reason or another and youll
have to go it alone. Its totally worth your time to learn Front
Page or another basic web building application that does not require
html knowledge, for instance, as well as your shopping cart application.
Youll be glad you did when youve got a sudden deadline
and no one but yourself to make things happen.
13. Keep a manual on how to run your business. This is something I
finally learned after Id trained several VAs on the workings
of my business. My current VA and I periodically add updated information
and this serves both of us. Im covered if something goes
wrong and I have to replace her. Shes covered if she forgets
how something works and has to go back and relearn or re-tweak.
14. Pay your VA when requested. That keeps everyone happy, and breeds
loyalty which could become important down the road. Ive learned
that good VAs tend to attract more and more work as they go
on which they may or may not accept. The word gets out, and
they get deluged. So be sure to take tender loving care of your VA
if you want to stay on the short list. Their assistance is simply
too important to neglect.
©2005 Suzanne Falter-Barns LLC
About the Author
Suzanne Falter-Barns is an internationally known author
and speaker whose work has been featured in Woman's Day, SELF, More,
Fitness, and more than 100 radio and TV shows. Pick up her free article,
'36 Guaranteed Time Savers' at www.howmuchjoy.com
Lorraine Carol is a virtual assistant who specializes in helping coaches
and entrepreneurs pump up their profiles without breaking their budgets.
Does your business need a tune up? Fill out 'The Works' free questionnaire
and find out at www.simplyvirtualworks.com