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I keep hearing how the economy is forcing people to tighten their purse strings this Christmas as many won’t be able to afford to buy presents for their loved ones. But guess what? YOU CAN!

This morning I caught a snippet of, “Good Morning, America” and a segment called, “Show Me the Money: Make Extra Cash by Renting out Your Stuff.

Did you know that people all over the country are renting out their stuff? There are websites devoted to helping people rent out their things– rentnotbuy.com (I found a horse barn, travel trailer, and corn roaster!), us.zilok.com  (sewing machine, projector, popcorn machine, 6′ ladder!). Think of the extra money you could make for Christmas!

The news woman in the segment wanted to see if she could rent everything she needed for a day trip in New York. She rented a car $65/day, a cooler $10, a FRIEND-yes, I said FRIEND $50, and even (ick) a bathroom in someone’s house! You can literally rent yourself out as someone’s ‘friend’. Only friendship, nothing else.  If you live in a metropolis, this might be a great idea as you could be a city guide of sorts. Are you seeing dollar signs? One couple in the story rented A DOG for $5 a day.

If you need extra cash for the holidays, consider renting out your stuff. I’m looking around my house to see what I can find… hmmm… anyone want to rent books? A kitten? A power screwdriver (I’m sure my husband won’t mind… 😉 ), or a bike? I can help.

 

 

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Many years ago, this day–St. Patrick’s Day–was a day I looked forward to all year. Of course, that was when I was in my early 20’s… when my friends and I would start our day out at some Irish pub and then continue with the ‘pub crawl’ throughout the day. When I look back, I have no idea how I did that (I am sounding old). Fast forward 15+ years…

The significance of the day always stayed with me, even intensified since having my own children. I was explaining to my kids this morning why they are wearing green and why it is especially important for us to wear green because we are Irish. I could see their eyes sort of zone out when I went into our ancestry, but I figure one day they would feel proud, like I do.

My great, great grandfather, Michael Hankerd and his brother, Dennis, came here from Ireland in the 1830’s. They eventually settled in Jackson, Michigan, on an unoccupied lake. Michael married Margaret who came here as a nanny with another family from Ireland. Michael and Margaret began their family who would eventually make their way down to my grandparents, my mother, and then me.

My favorite part of the story is that even though through the years, bits and pieces of that land were sold off, we are still on that very same lake, though, now it’s completely occupied with year-round families. My grandparents bought a summer place on the lake 60+ years ago that is still in my family to this day. I look forward to going there every summer. That is where my roots are, where my history is, where it began… as my mom tells my children, “Your great, great grandparents swam in this water, in this very spot, too!” When I think of how my children’s children will be swimming there, I am just blown away by the connection of it all.

Everyone has a family history like mine. We all have ancestors who were settlers from another country– who came here with very little, and made a home and a family. We all have roots and we are all bonded together. Even though sometimes family drives us nuts, they are who we are, and where we come from.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Last year I posted about not liking the term “resolution”–that I always seemed to fail miserably when I wrote down my New Years Resolutions, so instead I switched to ‘small attainable goals’. I can handle that. Like, ‘walk 20 minutes a day’, or ‘eat at least 2 vegetables a day’ (yes, V8 juice or a Bloody Mary counts), or ‘turn off the computer a half hour earlier than normal’.

So, I was thinking this year instead of making myself do things that I probably wouldn’t do ordinarily unless pressured (by resolutions for example), I would do more positive things for me.

2009 was a very, very busy year for me. I hired a savvy small business consultant who not only redesigned my website, but also taught me the value of developing partnerships, while helping me become more productive and efficient with my business processes. My business increased 500% in a matter of months. My work days went from 6 to 16 hours followed by about 4 hours of sleep. Spring turned to Summer, and Summer to Fall and I never set foot outside to enjoy the seasons. As thrilled as I have been by this whirlwind of success, I knew I needed to scale back and take a break. I would read tweets on Twitter that would leave me wailing, “How does she have time to do an HOUR of yoga? Or read a book? Who has AN HOUR??” Between work, home, children and family, there was time for nothing else. The pity party wasn’t pretty.

We all need time to ourselves. Time to decompress. Time to do whatever we want–watch TV, read a book, meet a friend for coffee or a meal, spend time with our families or our children, or do nothing at all. Time to ourselves. We don’t have to be super people. We get burned out and our focus becomes fuzzy, replaced with a burning desire to just rest. If we become deprived of it, our creativity, drive, and motivation recedes and we live life on autopilot. The more down time we can get in a day, the more balanced our lives will become.

So, I made a plan.


2010 would continue to bring in more business, but I would cut back. For my health. And my sanity.

First, my health. I gave up Aspartame. As addicted to Diet Coke and sweet-n-low as I was, I knew it was not healthy for me. Yes, sugar is bad too, but in my opinion, not as bad as Aspartame, so I will take the sugar instead. So far, so good. I will also walk or do exercise of some form every day to get the blood flowing. Sitting on my butt all day in front of the computer isn’t wonderful for the body either.
I also started drinking green tea. Frankly, I’m not quite sure what it is supposed to do for me, but if the world (and Dr. Oz) is raving about it, then it must be a good thing. So I got a pretty red tea kettle for Christmas, stocked up on green tea, and resolved to drink two cups a day. I am hoping my body is happy about it, but I think it’s too soon to tell.

Have you done something for your heath? A small change? Or something big? Can you feel a difference?

Second, down time. I used to be a reader… at least 4 books a week. In the last 6 months, I have read 2 books. Oh, the withdrawal symptoms I’d have. I’d pass by the book section at the supermarket and touch the covers, promising them I would be back to read them some day. Or I would buy them and then put it on the stack with the other untouched books. The last week of December I read a book. Now I am on #2 and darn happy. I feel more… relaxed, satisfied, balanced. It’s the little things.

Have you given yourself any down time lately? If you haven’t, do it now. Even if you are job searching. You can only search so many hours in a day. Take the rest of the time to rejuvenate your spirit by doing something you love. I promise you, you will go back to the job search the next day with a renewed passion for it.

Third, friends. I miss my friends. I need them around me. Being with friends uplifts me. We laugh til it hurts and we say what we want. After 10 hours of serving others (clients) all day, it is great to be with those who I can be myself with.

When is the last time you talked to, or spent time with a friend? Can’t remember? I know what you mean. Call them now and set up a time to get together.Not only is being with friends good for the soul, but it’s also a great networking tool. How many times have you talked to a friend and the conversation turned to work? Use those opportunities to let everyone know you are job searching.

New Years doesn’t have to be all about exercise and discipline and broken resolutions. It can be a commitment to yourself – to get yourself to a place where you are happy and contented again. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge what your body is telling you. The job or the job search will always be there the next day, so spend a few minutes doing something that makes you happy.

Happy New Year.   100_1864

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Hello. I am back from being GONE. And when I say ‘gone’ I mean at a conference.

THE conference.

Career Directors International’s Summit 2009. It was fabulous. To top off a weekend of learning, networking, fun and enormous amounts of food, the setting was beautiful.

And of course, as soon as I returned to Michigan, the cold I was trying to hide from attacked me full force and I have been miserable and whiny succumbed. I usually never get sick, so I have been very unhappy that my body caved. THAT is why I haven’t blogged in what feels like months. I miss my blog and you, dear readers.

Anyway, that is where I’ve been. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. The flight.

I haven’t flown in years, 13 in fact (yes, I know), so I was a bit, um, nervous. Needless to say, the Bloody Mary’s did nothing to quell my churning stomach, rapidly beating heart and seriously scary thoughts. I used to like flying, but I guess time and too many plane crash movies did me in. I am so grateful to my seatmate, travel companion, and lovely sister, who flew with me and did not mind when I clung to her arm, closed my eyes, and did deep breathing exercises to keep from vomiting/ screaming worrying.

The Summit.

First, I just have to say… the conference center was breathtaking. Laura DeCarlo (President of CDI, for those of you who just landed on planet Earth) and her very cool husband, Chris, picked this place out (nice job, guys!). This was one of the first views I had to stop and capture on film:

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Isn’t it beautiful? Remember, I’m from Michigan. Palm trees and waterfalls aren’t anything I experience that often.

Look at this one…

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Ahhhhh….

I met so many wonderful people. Talented, strategic, and creative resume writers and career coaches. I met writers whose work I have admired for years. I met a writer who just launched her resume business this year. I met a writer who specialized in writing resumes for police and firemen. I also met a career coach who specialized in career, interview and education coaching for “moms & dads, teens & grads”. How cool is that?

As a bonus, I got to meet folks who I tweet with including the fabulous @resume_writer (a.k.a. August Cohen), executive branding queen @ceocoach (a.k.a. Deb Dib), web 2.0 and expert resume writer @barbarasafani (as herself), witty @jasonalba (as himself), and fun @LauraLabovich (as herself).

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I was fortunate to sit at the conference table with Laurie Berenson, Kris Plantrich, Deb James, and Dee Duff (my cohorts from the Detroit Women for Hire/GMA Career Fair in May). We had a great time together. What an interesting group of people. I felt so blessed to be there among our industry’s best of the best.

(August Cohen & Kris Plantrich)

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(From L to R)

Karen Smith-Hanney, Kris Plantrich, Laura Drew, Laurie Berenson, Me (in brown), and Dee Duff.

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Lastly, it wouldn’t be right to end this post without posting pics of the lunch desserts. They were just… incredible. Yes, it was tough eating these delectable delights (lying), but I managed to do it, hardly leaving a trace of their presence. WHY did I take these pics? See for yourself (cake-aholics cover your eyes):

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Seriously.

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In my next few posts, I will discuss what we learned during the conference.. it wasn’t all delicious food and steel drums. I brought back lots of new information and topics to discuss, so stay tuned!

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No, it’s not career-related at all. It’s something my husband and I do every Fall since moving out here to our little farm.

We put in a big garden in the Spring and then wait for the plants to produce their fruit in the Fall. Bright red cherry tomatoes, Roma & Big Boy tomatoes, zucchini, perfectly wonderful sweet onions, juicy green peppers, spicy hot jalapeno and serrano peppers, pumpkins, and squash (to name a few). 100_1253

Since I’ve always loved salsa and dabbled with making my own with different recipes, I knew that canning salsa was for me.

Did you know that the process of “canning” dates back to the 1800’s? Napolean Bonaparte was concerned about keeping his armies fed, so he offered a cash prize to whoever could come up with a preserving method to keep food fresh. After dabbling for 15 years, a fellow named Nicholas Appert came up with the idea of preserving the food in bottles, like wine. Later came experimentations with extreme heat, airtight containers, and tin containers until a process was cemented and perfected.

That brings us back to this morning. My husband and I (he’s my canning partner!) got everything ready and then began the process of blanching the tomatoes, the least pleasant part of the process. Peeling the skin off of scalding hot tomatoes is time consuming and HOT!

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Then the fun part begins!


We take all of our ingredients that we had already chopped or processed in the food processor and mix them into the pans in equal parts. Then we keep adding hot peppers. Taste, then add more peppers. Taste, then add more. It seems like it is never hot enough.

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After a while of testing, our taste buds seem to go numb from all the Capsaicin. Finally, we have to call in THE EXPERTS to tell us if it is getting spicy or not.

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They usually tell us ‘No’.

By the time we finished, we had gotten 30 jars out of the process. We usually put up about 80-100 jars a year, much of it given away to friends and family. I love doing it, regardless of the steamy kitchen, tomato-splattered appliances and clothes, and burning mouths. I love the way the house smells when all of the veggies are cooking together combined with that spicy smell of peppers, vinegar and salt.

Later, my mom and sister stopped by and we opened up a jar, sat down with tortilla chips, talked and ate. See? That is the other thing about food, it brings together family and friends.

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If you are thinking about canning salsa and want some tips or have questions… I’m not a pro or anything, but will help if I can.

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I read a lot of blogs. A lot. I want to read even more, but it gets overwhelming when I see my Google Reader overflowing with unread blog posts. So, I got to thinking that if I did it for “research” it would actually be job related. Yes, I am justifying my blog reading addiction. But who cares.

I’m not a professional reviewer obviously, so I am just going to give my thoughts on the blog and how it helped me, or how it might help you. Some will be career-related and some not, because let’s face it, not every thing I read is career-related. Gasp!

You never know… my next review might be YOUR BLOG!

So, without further ado, I give you….

What Would Dad Say? by GL Hoffman        

What Would Dad Say was one of the first blogs I became addicted to when I was in my fast and furious ‘I love reading blogs’ mode. I still remember the first post I stumbled upon of his about Megan Joy, the American Idol contestant covered in tattoos.

It’s author, GL Hoffman, is the Chairman of  JobDig, a career search and employment guide. He also created and launched the incredibly successful LinkUp, a job search engine that search’s jobs from almost 22,000 company websites!

But it wasn’t only the useful sites to offer clients that interested me, but GL himself. As a veteran career expert, entrepreneur, and speaker, he offers a humorous take on all things career. The first sentence of his vision statement on his blog says it all, “I am having fun here…”. GL’s blog always promises a chuckle, some sarcasm, and a breath of fresh air.

He creates these pie chart funnies he calls, “Gruzzles” (graphs + puzzles) which have recently been featured in Fast Company. I love these. I don’t know any other way to explain them except to just go to this link and see for yourself. Clever and witty, they offer a break from the monotony of daily activities while giving you something to think about.

GL is quick to reply to your comments on his blog and knows how to keep a conversation going. BTW, his guest bloggers are interesting, too.

So, take time out of your hectic day to read GL’s blog or chuckle at his Gruzzles. You’ll be glad you did.

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4people-jumpingHave you ever worked with someone who just seemed to have everything go her way? Her projects are successful; she gets one promotion after the other, and she’s just plain happy. So, why is she so successful?

Turns out being happy not only feels good but can also be an important part to achieving job success.

In an article from “Psychology Today” Sonja Lyubomirsky, a social psychologist at the University of California, Riverside writes the following:

“The most persuasive data regarding the effects of happiness on positive work outcomes come from longitudinal studies – that is, investigations that track the same participants over a long period of time. These studies are great. For example, people who report that they are happy at age 18 achieve greater financial independence, higher occupational attainment and greater work autonomy by age 26. Furthermore, the happier a person is, the more likely she will get a job offer, keep her job, and get a new job if she ever loses it. Finally, one fascinating study showed that people who express more positive emotions on the job receive more favorable evaluations from their supervisors 3.5 years later.”

Wow, that’s great news if you’re a naturally happy person, but what if you find being happy a challenge? In Kathryn Britton’s article, Six Tips for Taking Positive Psychology to Work she sites a study by R. Emmons and M.E. McCullough that found that people who focused on increasing their feelings of gratitude are healthier and feel better about their lives. So how do we increase our level of gratitude? Britton offers these suggestions:

  1. Pay attention to good things, large and small. This often requires intentional thought because bad things are more salient to us than good things. For example, I have a friend in his 80’s with arthritis in his hands. He becomes aware of it whenever he knocks something over or has trouble picking something up. I suggested that whenever he finds himself saying, “My poor crippled hands,” that he follow it with “My magnificent legs that let me walk every day without cane or walker.” That does not mean ignoring the painful or disabled. It means balancing it with occasional thoughts of how lucky we are to have so many working parts! We have to work a little to give the positive thoughts space in our brains.
  2. Pay attention to bad things that are avoided. I recently tripped over a small stump and fell flat on my face during a practice hike to get ready for our trip to the mountains. When I picked myself up, I was very grateful to have only a deep bruise on my thigh, no broken bones. It will take a while for the gorgeous 8 inch bruise to go away, but I can still hike. Thank goodness!
  3. Practice downward comparisons. That means thinking about how things could be worse, or were worse, or are worse for someone else. I don’t particularly like the idea of making myself feel more grateful by thinking of others who are worse off than I am. But it doesn’t have to be interpersonal. You can use downward comparison by remembering your own times of adversity or being aware of adversity avoided. The poet, Robert Pollock, said it thus: “Sorrows remembered sweeten present joy.” Here’s a work example. I have two friends who recently moved into the same department in the same company. One is relieved and happy because the situation seems so much better than before. The other is dissatisfied because the teamwork characterizing the old job is no longer there. The first has an easy time with downward contrast. The second will have to work a little harder to find reasons to be grateful.
  4. Establish regular times to focus on being grateful. Gratitude is a character strength that can be enhanced with practice. So practice. Marty Seligman describes two exercises in Authentic Happiness, the Gratitude Visit and a form of keeping a gratitude journal.
  5. When facing a loss or a difficult task or situation, remind yourself to be grateful both for what you haven’t lost and for the strengths and opportunities that arise from facing difficulties. Negative moods are catching, but positive ones can be as well. The character, Pollyanna, helped other people see the benefits in their situations by teaching them the Glad Game. Sometimes, having someone else see what is good in your own life makes it visible to you.
  6. Elicit and reinforce gratitude in the people around you. Tennen and Affleck found that benefit-seeking and benefit-remembering are linked to psychological and physical health. Benefit finding involves choosing to focus on the positive aspects of the situation and avoiding the feeling of being a victim.

So now you know her secret. Sure she may be talented too, but she’s happy and that is her competitive edge. Find ways to increase your own happiness: focus on gratitude, celebrate little victories, look for the positive in every situation, what ever works for you and get ready to experience your own career success.

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This was from a call I took yesterday. The conversation went something like this:

Caller: “Hi, um, my name is Bob.  I want to know about your resume service and when you can finish it. Because I need it soon.”

Me: “Hi Bob. Well, let’s skip to your most important question. How quickly do you need it?”

Bob: “I need it by tomorrow. I saw a job position I want to apply for at Johnson & Johnson and the position closes tomorrow.”

Me: “Oh! Tomorrow. Has the position been open a while or did you hear about it from someone?”

Bob: “I heard about it through a buddy of mine who works there. It’s for Regional Sales Management position– my dream job with my dream company. He told me about it awhile ago, but I didn’t really think about it much until last night when we met for a beer and he reminded me it was still open. But it closes tomorrow. He said to send my resume in to the HR person sometime in the morning.”

Me: “Well, it’s 4:30 in the afternoon and I leave my office in an hour and a half. I won’t be able to do it in that amount of time…”

We talked for a little bit more and Bob even emailed me his resume. It was pretty bad (think Microsoft Word’s basic resume template… lots of white space, left-aligned, bullet-ridden and worse, hadn’t been updated since 2001).

The thing that got me was that he had known about the position for a month, assumed he’d have time to fix up his resume, then consequently forgot about the position, and was now in an all-out panic. We’ve all done it with one thing or another–putting off something we really shouldn’t have, and then regretting it later.

I felt bad for Bob because I knew his chances of getting the job with the old resume were slim to none. Worse, when he started talking about his experience and his excellent accomplishments I thought he would have probably had the chance. He said he was going to work on it himself and hope for the best.

So, the moral of the story is UPDATE YOUR RESUME TODAY. Don’t wait until your dream opportunity passes you by.

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This weekend was a big deal at my house.                                             

My soon-to-be 1st grader got to pick out school supplies and my 3-year old got a big boy bed. It was excitement all around. Happy, smiling faces. Self-assured, confident walks. Mutual admiration for each others milestones.

I watched these two strut around the whole weekend cocksure and grinning, all the while my husband and I continued to praise them for their accomplishments, increasing their excitement and joy. I wondered, “Gee, do we grown ups celebrate little victories as robustly as kids do?”. I don’t think so. At least, I don’t, nor do the folks I know around me. We more or less brush them off. Oh well, big deal.

So, why is that? When you get a promotion at work do you celebrate? If you’ve recently run a race, taken (and passed) a test, been awarded something, etc. do you celebrate or tell people? I know most people definitely brag about their children’s victories before they do their own.

It’s important to pat yourself on the back or give yourself credit. When you’ve worked hard for something, you DESERVE to be rewarded or praised. Just as we treat our children, friends, and family with praise when they succeed at something, we should do the same with ourselves. Praise yourself and live joyfully in your moment.

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Kendall SummerHawk is a million-dollar marketing coach and author of the book, “Brilliance Unbridled”. She teaches consultants, speakers, coaches, and small business owners to manage their businesses smartly while following their soul’s desire.

I was “introduced” to Kendall last year and have been a big fan ever since. She isn’t just for business owners, but for everyone who wants to succeed in what they do. She talks about our pre-programmed MO-ney mindsets and how to change our thoughts about money–creating more and receiving it. Her “bold money goal” helped me triple my income in a year. You need to sign up for her free newsletter. It is fantastic!

Look for more guest posts from Kendall in the future. Love this woman!

Here she is: Kendall SummerHawk.

“The recent economic news is truly scaring the you-know-what out of people. The reason is not the “facts” presented by the media, but because underneath those facts is the thinly veiled threat that on an individual level, our personal safety and security is at jeopardy.

The news triggers fear that has been lying dormant in us, like a beast, just waiting to be fed. This beast grows stronger with every passing news article, late-breaking t.v. spot or report of more workers affected by the actions of a few greedy, short-sighted people.

The beast of fear keeps us down. It gnaws at our confidence like a dog on a bone. It whispers in our ear that to be afraid is to be safe. It wants us to worry because when we do, it grows stronger.

But the beauty of the beast is that it is, right now, providing us with the perfect opportunity to eradicate your fear, once and for all. Your fear doesn’t serve you, it only serves the beast.

This is a time not just in our nation’s history, but in your own personal history, to strengthen your core faith in who you are, what you bring to the world and in life itself.

My clients are continuing to make great mo-ney (one just signed on two new clients worth $10,000 EACH who both paid in full!) because they listen to their heart, where the beast can’t live. They listen to me, because they know I will always tell them the truth. And the truth is, that shrinking back from investing in yourself and your business will only feed the beast and will keep you from being paid (and paid well) for and fulfilling your Soul’s Divine Purpose.

So turn off the news, stop feeding the beast and instead look for signs of prosperity, abundance and success. They are everywhere and I challenge you to find FIVE such signs every day!”

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“Would you like to learn more simple ways entrepreneurs can brand, package and price their services to quickly move away from ‘dollars-for-hours work’ and create more money, time, and freedom in their businesses? Check out my web site, http://www.KendallSummerHawk.com, for free articles, free resources and to sign up for my free audio mini-seminar “7 Simple Steps to Create Your Multiple Streams of In-come “Money and Soul” Business.”

Award-winning small business expert Kendall SummerHawk is the “Million Dollar Marketing Coach.”

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