Contact info: dana@danadwyer.co.za

Let’s Try This Again

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Everything is hard before it is easy - Goethe quote on a slate blackboard against red barn wood

A few weeks ago, I spent the better part of a Saturday creating a bunch of graphic posts to populate my new Facebook page. The one I created for my newly published ebook, From Vision to Decision: A Self-Coaching Guide to Starting a New Business.

Then, feeling like I had this lifestyle business stuff down pat, I scheduled my post and went off on a long weekend camping in the African bush.  I was proudly away from "the grid".  I locked my phone away and didn't think about it again.

When I returned, I open my page only to discover my brilliant posts were not loading as they should.

Believe me, I am reaching out to support at both Canva, the application I used to create my masterpieces, and to Buffer, the application I used to schedule to posts to magically appear while I am away seeing the world.

But I live in a completely different time zone from most support people and, I must wait for a response.  In the meantime, I have to fix this embarrassing problem.

And apologize.

I am sorry for filling your Facebook Space with blank graphic.  I am attempting to devise my own work around by loading direct from my website.

Here goes.  I hope this works.

  Signature      

Do You Really Need Someone Else’s Money?

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Business Creation | 0 comments

If you think you do, start with these baby steps:

◊  Save your money, don't consume it.

◊  Build credibility with your track record.

◊  Fund yourself before someone funds you.

This is good advice from Vuzi Thembekwayo, twice a finalist for South Africa's Entrepreneur of the Year, a motivational speaker and the creator of a R400 million business.

2 Powerful Techniques for DIY Branding

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Business Leadership | 0 comments

2 Powerful Techniques for DYI Branding

   

I had a business set back. I recently traveled all the way to America. While I was there I met with an illustrator to discuss the illustrations for my book. Unfortunately, the meeting left me discouraged.

I returned to South Africa 10 days ago to find I am still reluctant to return to working on my book. When I think about my book, I think “Oh yeah, that.” The “that” I am avoiding thinking about is: “No one is going to care.” Without a list, a robust social media campaign and concerted, consistent effort, no one will care about my book. So said the illustrator and I believed her. So I should be back at work but when this truth bomb bubbles to the surface of my consciousness, I quickly stuff it back down under a bunch of better, happier thoughts, like I do with the grief and loss I feel for my favorites sweater. It went through the wash.

sweater 1 June 12, 2015

The Pressure to Go Big

The illustrator, whose intentions were good, talked to me for a good long while. She encouraged me to bring more of my personality to my website. She pointed out how important it is to develop a social media presence and to concentrate on building a list. All true. I acknowledge.

In the end she concluded that she, in her integrity as an artist, could not just do my illustrations but would need to mount an entire rebranding effort. And, in answer to my direct question, admitted that her efforts would cost me $150/per hour.

As a business person I have to ask, what is the potential return on that investment (ROI) for me? At those rates I will have to sell 50 three dollar e-books for every hour she works on building my brand. I am thinking to go from zero to selling 1000 books a years is going to take many hours of effort on her part.

I would have very much like to hire her. I would willingly turn over my style, my public persona and my illustrations to her. I might very well enjoy being considered a though leader, a mentor, someone with followers, fans and gravitas but in the end I told her no.

To me this is walking my talk. The premise of my yet to be published book, the one in need of illustration, is: choose a business that will give you the lifestyle you want. The lifestyle I want is to travel, study and learn. I also want to share my lifetime’s accumulation of wisdom with those young and not so young emerging entrepreneurs who can benefit. To reach these people I need to keep my prices down.

To invest thousands of dollars in an effort to sell copies of a $3 book is not a good business decision. And, I have to remind myself, this is business. My book is not about my ego, it’s about my legacy. I want to share it but I don’t want to hype it and I don’t want to hype me.

Still, I do believe the illustrator, and many others, when I am told, if I build it, no one will care.

So, where does that leave me? How do I find a pathway, a daily routine that will balance my life style with my personal and business goals?

Welcome the Core Questions of the Lifestyle Business Owner

The good news is, the questions I need to answer for myself are the questions many business bloggers are blogging about. To borrow some guidance all I needed to do was poke around the web sites of a couple of internet success gurus. I choose Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich  since working less is on my list of must haves for my business. And a new comer to my awareness, Marie Farleo, a young woman who describes herself as an “on online marketing and lifestyle expert”. Marie is young and definitely on the rise, more importantly, she seems to have this branding thing under control.

 

What Tim Ferriss Had to Say

I found these useful and powerful questions embedded in this Q&A podcast by Ferriss.

The question Tim suggests one should ask first is, “Why do I have to build an audience?”.

Ferriss advises that when setting goals for your business, or your life, it is wise to ask “Why?” three times. This is a problem solving technique with powerful self-awareness possibilities. I am already familiar with it. I explain it in detail in my book. In fact, I suggest one go even deeper, ask why five times.

For Example

 

Why do I have to build an audience?

I want to sell 1000 copies of my book in one year. (Notice my measurable goal)

Why do I want to sell 1000 copies of my book in one year?

To cover my costs and to verify I have created something of value for the people I think I can serve.

Why do you need to cover your costs?

Duh.

Why do you need to create something of value?

This book is my legacy. It is what I have learned over a long life time of failures and successes. I choose to believe that all my learning, all my doubting, all my painful coming-to-terms-with has created wisdom and value and, now that I no longer strive to do it, I would like to share it.

Why do I need to share my life’s learning?

I am at a time in my life when I am ready to stop doing it for me and instead help others.

Now let me explore the suggestions from Marie on creating a brand with my personal “Why” as a touch point.

What Marie Farleo Had To Say

In an episode from her video blog, Farleo answer a question for an emerging lifestyle business owner about how to set her emerging massage business apart from others. Marie offers a formula she calls the four P’s. Farleo suggest every business owner consider their business in light of their personal Ps.

I have listed those Ps below followed with my own thoughts. Your thinking will be different.

Purpose

My purpose is to sell books to those people who can benefit from my unique combination of business building experience and life coaching.

To stay busy and relevant while living a retired lifestyle and slowly traveling the world

 Principles

To coach emerging entrepreneurs, not advise or mentor. Coaching is non-directive, coaching allows to build the business of their choice.

Be compensated fairly but not be in it for personal profit. (See the envelope story below)

People

I am pushed over and over to narrow my niche. It is always a struggle for me. I know there are people out there who need to know what I have learned over a lifetime of struggle to be true to myself and make a living. Who exactly they are, where to find them on line is hard for me to guess.

Generally I would say

Young, ambitious 20 somethings with a drive to do something important and make money

Middle aged successful but restless …. People

Young mothers seeking a way to do it all

Those souls with a yen to be an entrepreneur but who don’t know where to start.

What Pisses You Off?

Farleo’s final P is, What Pisses You Off?

What pisses me off? I am reminded of a story I heard once upon a time, long before the internet.

A man saw an ad in the paper saying

“Learn the Secret To How I Made A Million Dollars”.

Send me ten dollars and I will reveal my secret to you.

The man, keen to make a million dollars, (which meant something back then)

put his $10 bill in an envelope and mailed it off to the address in the newspaper.

Then he waited. After a week he thought his answer might be forthcoming so he started checking the mailbox every day. It took another week for the answer to arrive. The man, excited to begin his new life of unlimited wealth, luxury living and financial freedom, tore open the envelope and read this secret printed inside.

“I made a million dollars from people like you sending me $10 bills”

That business model, in the age of the internet, it is astoundingly common. “Buy my digital Information product for $197 and I will tell you how I created a multimillion dollar online empire.”

Often the information received turns out to be fluffy enthusiasm and motivational maxims, double spaced in large font and, even worse, based on the assumption the outcome you want is exactly the same as the outcome they created.

This pisses me off.

So for me, from this thought exercise I conclude:

What sets my business apart is the many, many years it took me to learn what I have to say about the practical day to day process of discovering and building a business that is personally right for you.

I am the antithesis of Ferriss and Farleo, who are young energetic, good looking, confident. I am wizened and wise (maybe), experienced and still struggling every day to understand who I am and how I can serve and I am a small business owner. I choose to be a small business owner and I hope to help other small business owners in whatever way I can.

What I can do is share with you my own journey as I begin once again to launch a new business and  my book.

So, that’s that.

vcm_s_kf_repr_146x90   Sweater 2, June 12, 2015

The Competencies of a Strong Business Leader

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Business Leadership, Business Management Skills, Business Skills | 0 comments

six muscle groups edited

 

The Six Muscle Groups of a Strong Business Leader

 

What is your plan for growing in the six areas that separate average performers from exceptional performers?

 

Here is a list of the top six competencies of star performers. This study was done on performers in the technology arena but, you tell me, which of these competencies is not important to a small business owner.

1.       Strong achievement, drive and high achievement standards

2.       Ability to influence

3.       Conceptual thinking

4.       Analytical ability

5.       Initiative in taking on challenges

6.       Self confidence

 

Notice that only two of these competencies are intellectual.  The others are emotional competencies.  The good news is, just like the benefits of regular physical work outs, you can strengthen your emotional intelligence through attention and intention - and, perhaps the support of a coach.

If you were to choose a personal development goal in just one of these six areas, a goal that would strengthen your ability to lead your business to success, what would it be?

Image by Flickr user Bret Jordon, licensed under CC 2.0

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Time Managment for Business Leaders

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Business Management Skills, Information | 0 comments

lost time

Time, there is never enough.

 

Here are some valuable hints and tips for managing your precious time.

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Which Type Of Entrepreneur Are You?

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Entrepreneuriship | 0 comments

Street Vendor

Entrepreneurs are made, not born

Here are three basic types of emerging entrepreneurs

Basic Survivalist

Years ago I worked as an educator in a rural area of Virginia, in the United States.  This area, once lush with tobacco fields, fell into recession when states recognized the link between tobacco and health care costs. With tobacco farming no longer profitable, the people of this region became a rich resource of low-skill workers.  At the same time, attracted by low wages and loose labor laws, local manufacturing plants (jeans, furniture, plastic bags) shut their doors and moved overseas leaving the local workers, (often three generations of the same family) isolated in a remote, rural location with few marketable skills and fewer jobs. My role as an educator was to offer new skills training to prepare these workers for the new world.  My intentions were good, my impact was minimal. These resourceful people did not look to an institution to save them in some way but, instead, they took what skills they had at their disposal and went into business for themselves.  As I toured the counties with my road show of training opportunities I noticed back hoe services advertised on every fence post; fresh eggs awaited down every drive, beauty parlors appeared in the mobile home parks, lawn mower repair in every garage. This is basic survival entrepreneurship.

Pre-Entrepreneur

At a slightly higher level of business organization is the pre-entrepreneur.  At this level the business person is no long trading one product or service but may have various products: lawn mower repair, small engine repair, and snow removal for example.  Still the pre-entrepreneur may have low expectations for reward and poor understanding of the requirements of a successful business.  Moving from farming or manufacturing to business leadership does require new knowledge and skills. Here in South Africa, and in many other countries, one sees craft vendors selling whatever merchandise they can obtain: sun glasses, coat hanger, telephone car chargers, toy guitars.  At a higher quality level once might find crafts; beadwork, carving, art. Hard working and tenacious sales people, these entrepreneurs have poor prospects for sustainable business growth until they learn to differentiate their product from the competition and to more exactly target their market.

Subsistence Entrepreneur

At this level of entrepreneurship the business owner is beginning to see the vision of creating an independent income. This level is well illustrated by the story of South African, Elsie Matosele. Elsie began her business selling just as a pre-entrepreneur selling a different few items. Over time, she expanded her product offerings always aware of what her market, the people of her community needed.  As she responded to the needs of her target market Elsie became a reliable source for ballpoint pens, nappies and safety pins. Elsie’s business grew because her products solved problems for her customers. She's gained the trust of her market because she is reliable, and always prepared to serve her customers.   Elise says, she ”takes care of her customers the way a doctor takes care of his patients.”  Elsie’s story is one of a developing entrepreneur.

Micro Entrepreneur

From her street corner stand and the hard work of years, Elsie has grown from a Subsistence Entrepreneur to a Micro Entrepreneur.  By carefully managing her finances, writing down every sale and guarding her profits, she has managed to improve her personal life.  Elsie has managed to purchased and expand her own home and purchase a metered taxi.  She hires someone to drive for her, extending the value she add to her community.

Small Scale Entrepreneur

At this level the business owner must be well educated in business in general, well financed and provide a product or service with adequate demand.  An example of a business at this level would be an independent attorney or accountant or a service provider.  The next step from this level is to create a system. One where the values is added without the owner doing all the work.  This is the level where freedom begins to be possible.

Which Level Are You?

Whichever type of entrepreneur you are now, all it takes to grow to the next level is a vision of a more profitable future, a  strategy for getting there and consistent focused action. You can take the first step by signing up to be notified when my book, Vision to Decision: A Self-Coaching Guide to Starting a New Business is released.

Adapted from:  Entrepreneurship: A South African Perspective, ed. Gideon Neiman and Cecile Nieuwenhiuizen

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Totally Honest Story of a Startup (Podcast)

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Business Creation, Entrepreneuriship | 0 comments

The big guys have it hard too

 

I have to share.  If you aren't familiar with American story telling podcasting you are in for a treat.

 

This is not only good story telling but it is also a remarkably honest account of starting a business.

 

 

 

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Become a Business Innovator – It’s Free!

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Business Skills, Business Startup in General, Entrepreneuriship | 0 comments

New Mindset New Results

In my soon to be released book Vision to Decision: A Self-Coaching Guide to Starting a New Business. I talk a lot about the value of consciously building a business that honors your deeply held values.

 

In the course of my research, I learned a great deal about my own deeply held values and one of my core values is a love of learning.

 

I love learning, particularly learning about business and entrepreneurship. That is why I was particularly excited to learn about Coursera a free on-line education platform that partners with top universities to offer all sorts of courses in all sorts of languages - for free!

 

Their course catalogue is extensive. How about a course on the history of marriage in the movies?

 

But let’s keep our focus. Coursera’s business offerings include some great topics.

 

One course I plan to take begins this coming Monday, March 16, 2015: Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace.

 

Coursera also offers: Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business. This multi-course specialization consist of three courses and a capstone project. The content promises to help you create a new business, compete for funding and apply your newly acquired skills in a capstone project.

 

The specialization series is not free but at $49 per course or $196 for three courses and the capstone project, it is certainly affordable. Who knows, your capstone project could be the start of your brilliant new business.

 

Let me know if you are planning to take advantage of these courses. I will be there. Introduce yourself to me or leave a comment here.

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How be a Business Visionary

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Business Ideas | 0 comments

How to Be Visionary

Ideation1

Thinking out of the box, having insights, courting innovation, tapping creativity and breaking out of the mold: these are the ideal business management skills attributed to  successful entrepreneurs.  

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Relaunching The Small Business Leadership Blog

Posted by Dana Dwyer in Information, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Refresh Rethink Revise Restart Speedometer Gauge Level

Re-Launching My Blog

Friends and Fellow Entrepreneurs,

 

Please be patient while I relaunch the Small Business Leadership Blog. (Formerly the Working Miracles Blog)

 

Many of the posts here date back almost 5 years.  I believe I was cluttering the internet with my outdated ramblings about small business creation, leadership development and entrepreneurial transformation.  I hope, with five years of small business experience, lessons learned the hard way and travel behind me, I can do better.

 

I have removed all my posts. I will, over the next few weeks, be reviewing, updating, adding to and eliminating posts with a goal to relaunch in May. (I will be traveling in America until then.)

 

As always, my goal will be to add value through teaching,  tools and resources to help you envision and then build a business that will support your freely chosen fabulous live style.

 

Don't worry. I won't be quiet about my relaunch - I have a book coming out this year - so I am all about using the tools at my disposal to share.

 

Stay with me.

 

vcm_s_kf_repr_146x90

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