Tele-classes – Are they for you?

In today’s internet centered world we are bombarded with opportunities to attend tele-classes.  You know, training that happens while you sit in front of your computer and you might be connected with thousands of people around the world.  It is a great method of reaching many, many more people than if you had to all be in the same place at the same time.

It is also a great way to provide training at a much reduced price.  After all, if you are reaching more people, you can afford to charge each of them less.  Your overhead is less than having to rent space somewhere.  You can even record the sessions, put them on CD’s or make them downloadable for a future product that you will offer.

Is giving tele-classes right for your business?  Do you have the type of business where you train people on a particular subject?  It could be nutrition, marketing, navigating the process of getting your kid into college, or whatever…  if you educate one on one or in a small group session, you may be able to take advantage of the tele-class model, thereby  reaching more people and also bringing in more income.

Build it and they will come -resizeWhat I have discovered is that just being able to put the class together and figuring out the technology needed to connect every one is not enough.  These tele-classes do not just happen.  People do not just show up because you have scheduled a class.

Filling the seats for you class requires marketing.  It requires internet marketing.  There is a method for all of this.  It isn’t rocket science, as we like to say, but it does require knowing the steps and being committed to doing them.  It means accepting failure along the way, making improvements and trying again.

If the idea of doing tele-classes inspires you so much you can hardly contain yourself, then you most likely have the motivation to learn and implement this new skill of marketing.  If the thought of the marketing process turns your stomach, then I would suggest that you think more before jumping into all of this.

Of course, you can hire someone to help you with a lot of the marketing, so YOU decide if you have the money to invest.

If tele-classes are not right for you and your business, that is alright.  Find what works for you and what motivates you to roll up your sleeves and make it happen.


Creating Your Vision – Time to Break It Down

Now that you have defined the area of your life you want to focus on and the time frame that you want to accomplish it in, it is time to get down to some details.

I find it helpful to look at the various aspects of my life as opposed to the data in my life.  My life’s data consists of things like income, number of vacation days, where I live, how long I have been working, etc.

When moving ahead in constructing your vision, ask yourself the following questions to help you to see what is important to you, what you want to carry forward, what you want to leave behind, and what you want to create anew.

Define What’s Working

Take some time to realize those aspects of your life that are working for you now.  What brings you joy?  What excites you and inspires you to put effort and energy into actions around that part of your life?
  • List what is working.
  • Describe why it works for you and why it works now.
  • Describe how you feel when this part of your life is engaged.
  • How important is this part of your life?
  • Will this aspect of your life work for you in the future?
  • Do you want to take what is working and bring it with you into the future?

 Define What is not Working

Take some time to identify those aspects of your life that are not working for you now.  What feels like drudgery?  What do you put off?
  • List those things that you would like to not have in your life.
  • Describe why they don’t work for you.
  • Is a future life possible without this aspect of your life?
  • How important is this piece of your life?
  • What effect does this part of your life have on other parts of your life?
  • For those parts that are important, create a statement that describes your future life without this negative aspect.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake your time with this exercise.  You may have to contemplate this over several days or even longer.  Be aware of how you feel and how you are affected as things happen in your day to day life.  Give it a try, play with it, and observe your level of joy and enthusiasm while considering various parts of your life to come.

Creating Your Vision – Step 2

This process of creating a compelling vision can be overwhelming.  In previous blog postings I talked about taking it one step at a time.

The first step was to focus on what part of your life you want to focus on.

The second step is to choose a timeframe to focus on.

First, take a look at how far out in time you would like to imagine.  When would you like to have your life look like your vision?  Of course it would be great if you could have that right now, but there is an element of reality that only you can define.  Make the timeframe too short and you will not believe that you can meet your goals.  Make it too long and you will not be inspired to take the actions needed to get you what you want.

Clock - what everTake a good look at the factors you see limiting your progress.  Some of these limitations are real:  kids graduating from college, Social Security kicks in at age 62, 100 pounds does not go away in a month, there are 3 more years until full pension kicks in.  These help you to set time boundaries and can be helpful.

Some limiting factors are just small thinking.  They may seem like they are not moveable or flexible, but some creative thinking will show that there is at least a possibility that the limitation can be changed.  For instance:  I will need to work 5 years to save $50,000 to invest in my new business.  Other options could be to borrow the money, to bring in investors, or to start smaller with less investment.  The important point is that you recognize which factors are true limitations and which ones are just challenges.

When choosing your timeframe be realistic but also stretch your boundary of comfort.  If you really want to live the life you envision, see how close you can bring your timeframe.  A bit of discomfort is challenging.  Too much discomfort is discouraging.

So by now, you have created boundaries for your vision so that you have an aspect of your life to focus on as well as having a target timeframe to achieve it.  Hopefully you will feel some of the overwhelm starting to ease up so that you can start to be inspired.


Creating Your Vision – Define the Target

We have talked before about the importance of having a vision to draw us forward in life.  Why is it then that so many people, including entrepreneurs, do not have a vision?

For many, trying to create a concrete and compelling vision is just overwhelming.  Like anything else that I do, I find that taking it step by step helps it all to come together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first step in the visioning process is to clarify what part of your life you want to focus on.  There are many possibilities on how narrow or broad this can be.  For instance, you may want to look at where you are in your life now and where you want to be in 5 or 10 years.  This could encompass work, health, relationships, finances and location.  Or, you may be interested in focusing on only one of these aspects of your life.

For some, looking at their whole life vision is a bit overwhelming.  They are not ready or simply cannot envision all of the aspects of their future life at this point in time.  When struggling with an issue such as debt, poor health, or feeling unsafe, looking at the bigger, rosier picture can feel impossible.  Instead of throwing the whole process out the window, choose to focus on one issue that is important to you and you feel will make the most difference.

If you are reading this, you are most likely a business person.  Even if you decide to focus only on your business and not the personal aspects of your life, there can be a huge number of places in your business that you want to address.  If this is still overwhelming, take some time to categorize the issues, and then decide which area will make the biggest impact on your business if you improve it, shift it, or grow it.  It is OK to have a vision which focuses on a narrow aspect of your business.  At least you can get started, work toward it, and make a change.  Without the vision, who knows where you will be next year.

Pick an aspect of your life, imagine an exciting future for it, and write it down so that it can inspire you over and over again.

Busy Work – The Death of the Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur do you find yourself very busy, yet you don’t have the business that you want?  This happens quite often with new business owners.  Many of us have been told that if we don’t work hard, we will never succeed.  So, we go about doing things, no matter how useful or useless, just to fulfill that subconscious need to be working hard.

What is busy work?  Answering emails as soon as they come in.  Taking phone calls, no matter what you have scheduled yourself to work on.  Stuffing envelopes.  Surfing Facebook or Twitter.  I am not saying that these things may not have a value to your business.  It is the way that you approach them that makes the difference.  I think that we all know that we can get distracted and off on tangents while on social media or even on the phone.  Be honest with yourself and ask if what you are spending your time on is productive.  Better yet, ask yourself if what you are doing is helping to improve your business and make it into the life that you want.

The key to being busy with productive things is to schedule them.  Just putting a time in your schedule to work on your business is not enough.  Before you even get to that, you want to know what you will be working on.  What are the projects that are going to move your business toward your vision?  What are the action items that will move that project along?

Prioritize your projects.  Prioritize your action steps.  You can’t do it all!  If you try to work on all of your projects at the same time, you will get into overwhelm.  Pick one or two projects and break them down into actions steps.  If you don’t know the action steps, then just pick the first step to get you on your way.

When you have your scheduled time to work on your business, just go to your list of action items.  Start working on them.  It is that simple.  When you finish an item, write down the next step.  If you have time to work on it, that is great.  If not, it will be there for your next scheduled time.

This is how you focus your time and energy on moving your business forward.  It may be ‘hard work’ or may be enjoyable for you.  In any case, it will not be useless busy work.

The Big Picture

Since the beginning of 2013, it seems as if there are just tons of new ideas and concepts coming into my awareness.  They have probably been in the marketplace for years now, but for me they are new.  It is so easy to get excited about the prospect of a powerful way to market your product or a new tablet that can help you to connect better with your clients.

Then comes “overwhelm”.  Yes, so much information and so many bits and pieces to help you, but where do you begin and how does it all fit into what you are trying to accomplish?

This is when I remember to go back to the Big Picture.  What are you really trying to accomplish with your business?  What are the boundaries that you have set up for yourself at this point in time?  Is it wise to stay within them or is it time to stretch them?  Will diving into something new distract you from accomplishing goals that you are working on, or is it just the thing to get you closer to them?

If you can’t see the Big Picture or you can’t remember how your goals fit into it, then maybe it is time to dedicate some time to getting more clarity around your business.  It doesn’t have to be a week-long process with charts and numbers and vision boards.  Half a day, with the right focus can give you a clear picture of your business structure and where you want to take your business.

I am always striving for simplicity and clarity in my life and in my business.  Remembering the bigger picture and my purpose help me to keep the chaos at bay.  How about you?