Archive for April, 2010

Show me the money – in my paycheck!

April 30, 2010

Here’s a question I received a couple of days ago:

“Dan – I work for a large corporation and have recently applied for a new position. The person in this position before me has the same credentials as I do and about the same experience. They have offered me the position for about $5,500.00 less than what was being paid to the previous person.  What do you think is the best way to handle this situation?”

 Here are some guidelines:

Pay is NOT based on:

  • Your age
  • Your previous salary (or the previous salary for the position)
  • Your degrees
  • Your work history
  • The amount of your mortgage payment
  • How long you’ve been unemployed
  • Whether you’re married or single

The only criteria for determining your value is:

  • Your unique value and level of responsibility

 The biggest mistake people make in negotiating salary is:

  • To discuss it too soon

 Check sites like Salary.com to see a realistic range

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What would you name this Eagle?

April 26, 2010

Yep, name this Eagle and win a prize package.  A few weeks ago I realized that the massive cedar tree closest to my barn office was not turning green and was clearly “dead.”   My landscape advisor confirmed that while we have no idea what happened, it was definitely never going to turn green and thrive again.  I was blown away at the loss of this stately feature here on our property.

But how often does the “death” of one thing give birth to another?  Have you ever had a dream die only to discover that in redirecting your thinking and efforts you released something even better?  I have walked with people through the death of many jobs and businesses where together we have uncovered new opportunities that would have never been seen if the old position would have continued.

I love the challenge of turning trash, disappointment or disaster into something great.  The result is often surprising and the beginning of a new season in life.

I had contacted Terry Brasher (http://carvingsforchrist.com/) to come out and put her unique artistic skills in motion.  She agreed with me that there was an eagle just waiting to be released in this old “dead” stump.  What you see here is the result of three days of her amazing talent using chain saws and chisels.  The color you see is 100% natural – nothing added.  The wings were the first two lowest branches on the tree.  The stones the eagle is resting on were another set of protruding branches.  The “dead” tree is now a beautiful addition to our country Sanctuary.

This is such a spectacular feature and representation of a valuable life process that I want a name for this Eagle.  You may have a word that somehow captures the symbolism of the transition from death to life – or of birthing something wonderful.  Or something that reminds us of the majestic qualities of the eagle.  You may know Latin or Italian or some other language that has an appropriate name for what we’ve always used as part of the 48Days logo.  Just use your imagination and creativity.

Here are my prize packages:

  • 1st place – $50 credit toward any 48 Days product, $100 discount on any 48 Days event this year, lunch with Dan & Joanne (you have to get here) and a personal tour of the Eagle
  • 4th place — Autographed copies of 48 Days and No More Dreaded Mondays
  • 5th place — Autographed copies of 48 Days and No More Dreaded Mondays

I claim no objectivity for this process.  I will simply choose what strikes me as unique and meaningful.  If the same selections are suggested, we will go with the earliest submission.  Send your suggestion to eagle@48Days.com.  Last date for submissions – May 10th.  I’ll announce the winning suggestions in the May 18th newsletter.

Incidentally I’m standing beside the tree simply to give you a perspective on the size of this carving.  And yes, people have already made reference to the “bald eagle” next to the tree so you can skip that.

So let your creativity begin: Send your suggestion to eagle@48Days.com.

For-profit or non-profit?

April 26, 2010

On December 3, 2009, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to pass a bill that creates a new sustainable business tax credit of US$4,000 for B Corporations—certified socially responsible companies (1). The decision could be a sign of what’s to come: new legislation that provides incentives for businesses to operate in a socially beneficial manner.

There are so many variations of us who are doing “ministry,” ethical capitalism, green, organic, fair-trade, eco-capitalism, humanitarian, social  entrepreneurship or just serving customers well.  I’m not sure how much benefit or restriction the legal structures provide – or inhibit.

We’re seeing some new categories emerging around the world.  In the UK, the “Community Interest Company” (CIC) enables an organizer to run a business for the benefit of the community rather than for the benefit of the owners of the company. In the US, the latest innovation is the low-profit, limited liability company or L3C, which simplifies compliance with IRS rules for yet another hybrid structure.

I met Tom Szacky recently – founder of TerraCycle – what an exciting business.   Totally for-profit, yet they are changing the world in the way we view “trash” and they’re raising millions for charities.  I think we’re seeing a positive correction from the American corporations that have been raping their communities and customers.  The internet has made everyone more transparent with fewer opportunities to hide behind skanky business practices.

Bottom line – I think the legal structure we choose is less important than having a worthy mission to fulfill.  Your mission will drive how you do business, regardless of what’s in your corporate charter paperwork.

Finding Your Pot of Gold

April 20, 2010

Gold was discovered in California in the spring of 1848.  By May of 1848 reports were flying that “there was more gold than all the people in California could take out in fifty years.”  28-year-old Samuel Brannan opened a small supply store at John Sutter’s Fort, right in the heart of the gold rush.  Brannan purchased a little vial of gold and traveled the hundred miles back to San Francisco.  As he stepped off the train, he swung his hat, waved the bottle and shouted, “Gold! Gold! Gold!  By the middle of June, three quarters of the male population had left town for the gold mines near Sutter’s Fort.

Brannan never looked for gold, but selling shovels, picks and supplies to the wide-eyed miners made him California’s first millionaire.  His store was selling as much as $5000 a day (about $140,000 in 2010 dollars) in goods to the miners.

Did all the miners find their “pot of gold?”  Not a chance.  Most of them wasted time and meager resources only to return to their original homes, poor and discouraged.

So where are you looking for income opportunities?  In the last ten years thousands of people jumped on the computer bandwagon, believing that programming, web design and software development were the only real sources of wealth.  As you know, not everyone going in this direction has become wealthy?  But are there associated opportunities with this area of focus – absolutely! 

In the last ten years the number of massage therapists has quadrupled.  (Our massage therapist comes to our house every Friday afternoon.  People who work on computers all day are prime candidates for massage.

I have a friend here in Nashville who produced a red “panic button” that fits over any key on your computer keyboard.  She has now sold over 100,000 at $1.50 each.  A convent even ordered 10 PANIC buttons.

I have talented young musician friends who are not trying to be the next Alan Jackson but are generating significant income selling guitar straps, personalized drum sticks and a book on How to make it in the music industry.

Is it possible that in your own search for “gold” you are overlooking the opportunity to become a millionaire by selling picks and shovels?

Sucked into the “blackness”

April 13, 2010

Questions like these are arriving daily:

Dan, Help me, I’m miserable, my current job is literally ruining my life. I’m a fairly young man with a family.  I feel I’m stuck in my current position to “pay the bills” but it is making me severely depressed and affecting every part of my life.  I need to find my passion but I don’t even know where to start. I feel like giving up and accepting my fate.

I’m a single mom, 50+ and in a teenager wage job! If that weren’t bad enough, it’s like Jr high there! I am SICK every Sunday night about going & in 7th heaven when I take a few days off. No other income & few opportunities here. I don’t make enough to live on & today I just can’t take anymore! PLEASE HELP!

Dan, at 35, I feel my job is sucking the life out of me. I have been with the same agency for over 8 years. I lost myself, and got sucked into all the “blackness”. Frequent sickness, weight gain, grouchy with my family, and more recently withdrawal from all my relationships – I know where I am is toxic but I’m at a loss of how to turn around or even down a different path.

“People who are unemployed think the worse possible outcome is not finding another job,” says Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? “Actually, the worst part is losing your self-esteem. You start thinking, ‘What’s wrong with me?’”

But losing self-esteem can happen without a job — or with a job that’s sucking the life out of you.

  • You can’t do great work at something you don’t enjoy
  • If your work is sucking the life out of you, find something you care about
  • I know you’re talented, but maybe not for what you are doing now
  • If you’re miserable, you clearly are not using your strongest talents
  • Don’t try to “be responsible” by staying in a job you hate
  • Don’t think you’ll just stay with it until you’re out of debt – change now – it’s a whole lot easier making money doing something you love

Failing at Work?

April 9, 2010

Gandhi’s family sacrificed everything they had to send him to law school.  Gandhi graduated and passed the bar, but unfortunately, he was so shy that whenever he stood up in court all he could do was stammer.  He lost every one of his cases – a total failure as a courtroom attorney.  Then he went off to South Africa, where he found his passion and his voice by challenging racial and social injustice – and brought England to its knees.

In a note to our family the week before he left on his first trip to Rwanda four years ago, my son Jared said this: I am a bit intimidated by the magnitude of this project, and the possibility of it affecting so many lives, but I’m equally excited and I know I have the passion and determination to see it through, even if I am shaking in my boots. My passion for these people always exceeds my fears of inadequacy. In realizing that, I regain the confidence I need. (see http://www.keza.com/ )

Now there’s a key for overcoming the fears of inadequacy. My passion exceeds my fears. Staying true to your calling will release a passion for what you are doing; that will in turn override your fears of inadequacy.

Work at what you love. You’ll never work more willingly, passionately, and fearlessly than when you work in line with your passion—where your life will speak. The extra boost of enthusiasm and energy generated by a clear passion will propel you to a level of success unattainable with any other motivation. If fear is crippling or limiting you, perhaps you are trying to do work that is not your passion. Working with raw ability alone is ultimately not enough to keep you going.

No Money – Just Think

April 6, 2010

The most common complaint I hear today is “Dan, I’d do something on my own but I don’t have any money”  Fortunately, many of the best ideas do not require buildings, leases, employees, or inventory.  And many can be started with very little, if any, capital.

Here are some recent hits:  

  • A hunter got an option on 400 isolated acres, then sold 40 hunting licenses for $5000 each.  He then completed the purchase free and clear and pocketed approximately $50,000.
  • An artifacts dealer arranged an exhibit for some rare Dead Sea Scroll pieces.  He had 30,000 people come through a minimally promoted showing in a small town.  Now he is opening in a major city, anticipating 50,000 viewers at $19 each.  You do the math.
  • A computer guy discovered the internal battery on his Apple computer needed to be replaced – at about $125.  He researched and found a small tool at Sears for $3.00 and the batteries in bulk for $2.00 each.  With these and a one-page explanation he created a repair kit for this common problem.  In a sixty day period he sold 700 kits at $24.95.
  • An artist received a comment that her paintings were so peaceful.  This comment triggered a thought that people going to dentist’s offices needed a peaceful surrounding.  She has been immensely successful by going to dentist’s conventions – likely the only artist there – and selling her paintings to dentists.
  • A high school student went to garage sales with his mother to buy Disney items.  He then placed them on eBay, netting approximately $3000 monthly in anticipation of beginning college.  Kinda beats the $8/hr job at McDonalds.
  • Another client wanted to be in the antique business but had no money.  He leased a warehouse, dividing it into 72 spaces for an antique mall.  In a 60-day period he rented 70 spaces, collecting first and last month’s rent.  With this $7000 he completed the lease, did some minimal renovations, and opened for business.  His rent is $1500 and he is collecting $3500.  In addition, he has two spaces for his own merchandise and receives a 10% commission on everyone’s sales.
  • One of our 48 Days coaches wanted to write a book.*  He got eleven other coaches to submit a chapter.  Then he had them pay $3500 each to get 500 copies for themselves (a 50% discount off retail).  He printed the books showing himself as the lead author – put a clean $30,000 in his pocket and continues to have the contributing authors purchase books from him.

*If you want to know more about how to turn your writing into income join us for the next Write to the Bank event here at the Sanctuary. 

I’m completing my list of 48 ideas you can start with less than $2500 – and make $30-40,000 part time.  Just finishing up with pictures and links. If you want to be featured send me your success story to askdan@48Days.com.

What’s your idea?  Keep in mind, ideas alone don’t put any money in your pocket – you must ACT!!

There is no map

April 2, 2010

There is a chapter in Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin titled There is no map.  The concept is that successful people can’t be told exactly what to do.  They have to release the artist within to find their own unique success.

Think about that.  Do you need a map for everything you do?   In discussing this in my Wednesday morning Eagles Group the brilliant guys in there quickly decided we don’t need a map, but we do need a compass.  If you’re in the middle of the woods a map will take you right back to the well-worn path and you’ll see just what everyone else has seen.  However, a compass will get you to the desired endpoint but along the way you may see the baby fawns, magnificent waterfall, and other hidden treasures that have never been put on the map. 

 

If you need a map, your work may be predictable and boring.   If you need a map, your religion may be full of rules but missing authentic experience.  If you need a map, you may give your spouse a gift on your anniversary but be missing a fulfilling relationship. 

There is no map for your extraordinary success. Develop your compass – and see your life become rich and meaningful.