Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Working on Your Fitness

Having grown up, and lived in Maine my entire life, I know a lot of small business owners who have seasonal businesses that ramp up in the summer.  DJ's, photographers, landscapers, farmers, retail shop owners, restaurants owners to name a few.  

From my experience, I have seen first hand the effects of not working in a balanced plan of nutrition, proper exercise and self care, and downtime to offset the effects of a busy rush time.  Working 12-15 hour days to get the job done, or "make hay while the sun shines," can take a toll on your body.  I have also learned that with proper planning, you can have healthy snacks, plan time for activity, and have the energy to not only service your clients, but spend time with friends and family.  Want to learn how?

In May, I will be sponsoring some events that focus on small business owner health, well being, and time management, and I hope you can join me for as many events as possible.  Summer will be here before we know it - it's time to get game ready!

MAY 8TH, 2013 - "Healthy Happy Hour" - Jessica Champagne Story will be hosting a special evening to teach 8 special VIP Business Owners how to:

 This is a special "by-invitation" only event - click HERE for more information.

MAY 9TH, 2013  "Seasonal Business Survival Tips" - Free Tele-CHAT for Business Owners -
If you are a small business owner whose peak season is the summer months, you will not want to miss this call.  You will learn tips and solutions to:
  • Stay hydrated, nourished and rested 
  • Maintain your energy 
  • Stay focused 
  • Organize your schedule to meet demands from family, friends, and clients!
Click HERE to register!

MAY 1ST - MAY 31ST - Free "Life Balance" assessment and action planning - regularly valued at $99.00 (1 hour phone-only session)
Schedule a complimentary "Life Balance" assessment to review where you are "off kilter" and learn some immediate action steps you can take to bring yourself back to alignment.  Includes a followup call, 2 weeks of email guidance and ability to access the "private client" website for even more support.   Click HERE to schedule

NEXT MONTH - June's "Coffee with the Master's" highlighted business owner makes you feel awesome - even when your life's a mess and you're under stress - so stay tuned!

How are you getting ramped up for your busy season?  What has worked for you? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cafe Della Casa - Coffee With the Masters - Hydie Knuckles, Bello In Home Salon

Typically, when I have Coffee with the Masters, I meet up with my interviewee at a local coffee shop or cafe.  But not when you are meeting with Hydie Knuckles, of Bello In Home Salon.... no, she is most comfortable chatting with you where ever you happen to be - whether it be your home, your office, or your community center.  Hydie is more than used to bringing the beauty to you, and I was more than happy to reciprocate and bring the coffee to her.  So with my Starbucks in hand, I sat down with Hydie Knuckles in her home in Saco, and we chatted about what it takes to be a successful female entrepreneur.

At first glance, you would never guess  that Hydie, once upon a time, used to get good and dirty up in The County- picking potatoes on her family farm... but that is just at a glance.  At first glance, you see a beautifully poised and polished woman.  Once you sit down and get half way through a cup of coffee with her, you realize you are talking to a hard working, industrious woman, whose labor of love is to bring beauty services to her clients.

"I really enjoy working with all kinds of people," Hydie explains..."from senior citizens who can't leave their homes easily to get their hair done, to people who may be recovering from an illness or an injury, or even professional women who are just too busy to leave their office, and find it more convenient for me to come them."

Hydie isn't your typical "hair and nails" beautician.  She really understands what it means to a woman's self-esteem and self-confidence to be polished, professional, and to put your best face forward.  Hydie is also Mrs. Maine United States 2010.  "It started out because when I was a child I had meningitis -I had to learn now to walk, talk, and gain motor skills all over again, so my mom enrolled me in activities that would support my fine motor skills.  She first signed me up for baton, and I loved it.  So she entered me in my first pageant when I was 5 years old - the 'Little Miss Potato Blossom' Pageant.  I did pageants all through my teens to get money for scholarships, and I did my last one when I was about 19 or 20."

So what brought you to compete in Mrs. Maine 2010? 

 "I just needed something at that time in my life.  I was turning 40, I had lost my corporate job, and it was really just a low time for me.  I had lost alot of myself working in that corporate career, and when it didn't work out I felt really lost.  A friend of mine pointed it out to me, and it just felt right.  I submitted the application on my 40th birthday! Little did I know, I really needed the boost - I needed to feel empowered, and ... ME again."

"When I walked across the stage in my bathing suit I was SO nervous! BUT I DID IT!"  She humbly beamed.  "After Mrs. Maine, I had the confidence I needed to start my own business.  I really want other women to feel beautiful, pampered and appreciated."  So she brings her services of hair, make-up, manicures, pedicures, and pampering to her clients - women who either can't physically get out to come to her, or to professional women who are too busy to schedule appointments outside of their office.  Personally, I have had Hydie come to my coaching office and she masterfully was able to cut my hair - WHILE I was chatting on my cell phone - talk about productivity and multi-tasking, and I looked great for the networking event I was going to that evening!

About halfway through our coffee date, Hydie's nine year old daughter Kiera came home from school.  Kiera also has performed in pageants and eagerly ran to her room to fetch her sashes and tiaras to show me. "I don't push her to do the pageants," Hydie said as Kiera dashed out of the room..."I mention when there is a pageant, and if she wants to do it, she does it... she really enjoys the talent part the best.  I only like her to do the shows for charity."  Kiera returned and showed me each of her prizes.  It was a very impressive collection, and she always places in talent - her talent being singing. 

"So Hydie, what are your keys to success?"

"OH! Can I answer?!" Kiera's hand enthusiastically flew up to answer my question.  Seriously, who can resist a nine year old beauty queen who is wearing a tiara and munching on an apple?

"Sure.... Kiera, what are your keys to success?"

"Well...." she put her finger to her lips thoughtfully....."You have to have a good product..."

I admit... I was blown away with her understanding of entrepreneurship.  "May I quote her?" and Mom nodded in approval.  "And... you have to have a good luck charm."  she added.

"What is your good luck charm Kiera?" I quizzed.

"ME!"  she bounced as she answered.  Wow. This kid has it going on! 

"What else do you need Kiera?"  Now, I am curious to know the entrepreneurial mind of a nine year old girl....

"You need a good family to support you... and lots of love."  OK. Time out to squeeze the kid!  After getting a good hug, I continued my interview.

"Wow, Kiera, that is very true - to run a business you need lots of love and support from your family." 

"YUP! AND You need to be CUTE - because CUTENESS SELLS!"  and with a flip of her hair and a giggle, she bounced out of the room, leaving Hydie and I to wipe our tears from admiration and adoration of such a great kid.  I noticed Hydie's mascara did not run... Hmmmm...

"So ya, a good product, a good luck charm, a family who loves and supports you - and being cute!"  Love it!

"So, Hydie, do you have anything to add to that?" 

"Oh my! How can I top that?!  But seriously, hard work, determination, treat others the way you want to be treated, and most importantly have faith in yourself..."  Her eyes spoke more than her words, reflecting her own story of self-made confidence.  Confidence is what she brings to her clients... confidence in the guise of beauty services and products.  

Driving home, I reflected on our coffee visit.  Hydie just has a magic about her that radiates beauty inside and out.  I noticed I was smiling as I drove.... and realized her love, sense of family and dedication to empowering beautiful women to be dazzling and brilliant is infectious.  Cuteness may sell, but inner beauty shines.  Hydie is indeed the Master of bringing out your inner beauty.

Thanks Hydie and Kiera for the warmth, laughter and a lovely cup of coffee....

"Cafe Della Casa" is an installment of  the "Coffee with the Masters." Series.   If you are a business owner in the Greater Portland Area who would like to chat over cup of coffee to share your keys to success and how to reach your Key Potential - please contact me.  I'm buying!

Monday, April 15, 2013

I fought the technology, and the technology won...

Copyright (c) <a href='http://www.123rf.com'>123RF Stock Photos</a>
Last week, it seemed I had a technological jinx on me.  Every piece of technology I count on to run my business, communicate with clients, and promote my thoughts and masterpieces to the world - failed in some way.

The technological meltdowns were not necessarily within my control.  My website hosting went down for a day, so no one could sign up for my teleclasses (which I was paying to promote - UGH!), then the conference call line went down an hour before my call began. 

It was like one of those dreams (nightmares!) when you are trying to dial a phone for help, but suddenly you forgot how to dial a phone, or the buttons fall off the phone, or the phone melts right in your hands... ya... it was like that in my panicked mind... but in reality, I knew how to dial a phone, just the conference call lines I was using were down.  UGH!!!  Still, it was a nightmare.

I flew into action, sending out emails to the participants to change phone lines, and tried to reign everyone in despite the phone malfunction, but alas - it was too late - people got a busy signal, and that was that.  Disappointment isn't a heavy enough word to describe how I felt.  I had written a great lesson plan, I was excited to talk to the business owners who WANTED to be on my call.  The planning, the prepping, the practicing.... all amounted to nothing.  I know technology had failed me, but I couldn't help but to feel like the failure.

This is where walking the talk really comes in handy.  After an amount of time (really a little longer than I care to admit) ... I brushed myself off and got onto another telecall a fellow coach was presenting.  I spent an hour listening to her be marvelous, and I hung up feeling inspired.  I posted to a few chat boards my woes of technology, and fellow coaching colleagues and workshop leaders not only lent out some VERY useful advice on how to advert crisis in the future, but they said "Hey, that's happened to me before".... just reading that other people I know, respect, and look up to have had their battles with technology and lost, made me feel much better.

So I got the bright idea that I would provide my lesson plan in a video so the valuable information I wanted to get out to the world would still be available. This day would not be lost!  I suited up for another battle ... and I got beaten up pretty badly.  Inexperience was the reason for my technological punches this time - I had never created a video before - everyone else around me makes it look so easy...  Glitch after technological glitch prevented me from getting the result I wanted in getting my message out to the world.
photo credit: helpdeskhatesyou.blogspot.com -

Battle weary, I asked MyHoney to help me edit the video, and finally produced a finished product that I can proudly say, will become my "wow, I've come a long way since my first video" story .... but we all start somewhere, and I wasn't going down without a fight. 

If you have 26 minutes, take the time to watch my video, keeping in mind  I may not be up for a Grammy, but I am still proud to say I did it my way...


Until Next Time,
Hit the Heights!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dial In Your Potential! (check out my first video blog!)

OK, I'm going to take a moment and pat myself on the back... in the meantime, enjoy my first video blog :)

REGISTER HERE for Dial In Your Potential - FREE Business Tele-CHAT

If you are on a mobile device - check it out on YouTube

Saturday, April 6, 2013

There is no such thing as a "Solo-preneur!"

Here is my Saturday morning rant that has been festering for a while.  When I am asked who I coach, I usually say "Small Business Owners"... I like that term, it fits.  However, I am usually asked to elaborate - and I further explain "I coach small business owners who do not have any employees - the one who wears all the hats, makes all the decisions, and is the sales, operations, customer service, and plays every role of their company"... and, the person I am talking with typically responds "AH - the 'solo-preneur!'"  While technically correct, I cringe at that title.  First of all, it's a made up word.  Secondly, if you are in business for yourself, by yourself, and work only with yourself - YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.  I guess I actually DO coach solo-entrepreneurs, but teach them to be "Collaborative-preneurs - or, if we want to use words that have already been invented - a "collaborator"

What is a collaborator? The dictionary defines "to collaborate"as  " To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort."  I can say right now, a business collaborator will experience far more success and ease than the "solo-preneur"..  This person makes more money, provides more value in their service, and impacts their community in a far more meaningful way.  This person not only works on building their own business, but recognizes that by helping other people attain what they want, they themselves will get what they want.

What does a "Business Collaborator" do that is so different?

They EDUCATE:  A small business owner that practices collaboration instead of solidarity finds creative ways to support other business owners while growing their business.  They may offer classes, meet-ups or mastermind groups.  They freely and willingly share their knowledge and expertise.  In return, they are viewed as an expert and the "go-to-person" in their industry.

They SHARE:  A collaborative small business owner does not have competition.  They view the world as abundant.  They create strategic alliances amongst competing businesses and often refer potential clients to other sources they can't help themselves.  As a result, they are often given referrals back, and are viewed as leaders in their industry.

They LEAD:  A collaborator creates a team of support.  They may be in business for themselves, but recognize the importance of having a good support team.  They create a support team of well trusted professionals that will enhance their business.  Often times this team is comprised of a CPA, a lawyer, a coach, a book-keeper, a marketing expert, a web-designer, and copy-writer.  A  successful business owner calls their team together periodically to discuss strategies on how to grow their business, and the businesses of his team.

They DELEGATE:  Collaborative business owners recognizes that they simply can not do everything by themselves.  It is neither cost effective nor efficient.  A successful collaborator finds trusted professionals to delegate tasks to such as marketing, book-keeping, writing, and other tasks that are better done outside of his realm of expertise or understanding. 

So, in short, my clients may start out with the mindset of a "solo-preneur" but soon learn that their lives would be much easier by shifting their mindset to one of a collaborator.  I know, as a small business owner, we are are fierce "do-it-yourselfers" and taking things off your plate and trusting others can be scary.  I help my clients identify where they are most efficient, and where there may be some collaborative opportunities. Together, we create systems and processes on how to build collaborations to fast track them to success. 

So, are you a solo-preneur or a collaborator? 

Want to learn more?  Join me for my FREE Monthly Business Tele-CHAT "Dial In Your Potential" (see, an opportunity to collaborate already!)  Click HERE to register.