Are you stuck in 2005 with your approach to hiring?

A lot has changed since 2005, eh?

  • Rarely do you see a flip phone.
  • Blockbuster is where you rented movies.
  • Chunky highlights were all the rage. (Why?!)

Each were popular for a season. Here one day, gone the next.

Not only are fashion trends from 2005 (thankfully) a thing of the past, so is our approach to hiring.

For years, we focused heavily on skill set.

What can someone DO for me?

I’ve learned over time that skill set isn’t the only thing I’m looking for. Nowadays, hiring based solely on skill set, leaves disappointment.

My mindset shifted to ask; how can this person best:

SUPPORT me
GROW with me
REPRESENT me
COLLABORATE with me

I’m not going to lie. In my own business, I’ve been lured into thinking someone was perfect for the job.

Everything looked great on paper, but at the end of the day, they lacked integrity or character to truly represent me or my business.

I won’t air the dirty laundry, but suffice it to say, I’ve experienced disappointment, headache, and frustration. Consider it a (hard) lesson learned.

This is why I have made the decision in my business to ask questions up front before an interview is scheduled to know if someone if the right fit for my business. This applies to anyone who reaches out on our website or is introduced by a friend.

Everyone has to pass a series of tests, of both character and skill, before they can work with me.

Decide What Is Important To You

I have a series of questions I ask anyone contracting with Priority VA. I decided what my core values are and if folks don’t align with them, they don’t join my team.

We have high standards. You should too. Find out what your non-negotiable character traits are and constantly be looking for proof of them as you engage with a potential hire.

Test Your Candidate

You need to know that someone will do what they say they can. The internet makes it easy to throw up a portfolio, or to say you’ve got mad skills you actually don’t.

If you’re hiring directly, put people to the test.

There are several sites that offer the ability to test applicants before they join your team. A few options you can consider are HireSelect, ProProfs, and Type Testing.

You can modify the details to fit the skills you’re looking for and put an applicant to the test. I recommend testing each skill you’re looking for. While it’s nice to have someone create something from scratch, we’ve found that having someone FIX something will show you more of their ability to problem solve, be responsive and find solutions. Ultimately, that’s a critical skill people often overlook.

You’ll know pretty quick if they know their stuff if they need to make something right.

Help Them Help You

Sometimes we as entrepreneurs are so busy with the day to day tasks that we forget to document where we need the most help.

Instead of throwing together a half-written job description on a post-it note, take time to write a detailed job description.

When you set the expectations up front, you’ll have more success with your team. Candidates will either be attracted to you or repelled by the outline of the position. Be thorough. Tell them who you are, who you need and what they’ll be responsible for in your business. Stand out talent thrives on responsibility. They want to grow, so ensure you’ve given them a vision for where they could be if they choose to work with you.

Or… if you’re pressed for time already, spend 30 minutes with me and let me help you build a team you can trust.

We’ll work together to determine not only what you need done, but who you need on your team to grow your business in 2018.

All you have to do is fill out this partnership form and we’ll chat.

Let’s do this…

– Trivinia

How To Communicate With A Distributed Team

If you’re anything like me, you spent years working in a traditional office setting. Complete with fluorescent lights, cubicles, and an over-active coffee pot.

While most of us no longer work in that environment anymore, one thing remains… you still have to work closely with your team members, even if you’re 800+ miles apart.

So how do you face the challenge of working with a distributed team and maintain strong communication?

One word.

Communication.

Sounds simple, right? Let me challenge to you to think about the last interaction you had with your team.

Were you clear?
Did you listen?
How engaged were you on the call?
Did you show up at all?

I’ve been in the online space long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Today, I want to share my tips to streamline communication with you and your team.

Keep Your Communication In One Place

For me, this means we communicate in Slack.

The only time we text is when it’s an emergency. Like last month when I was run off the road by a semi truck (true story!). I called my husband, then I text my assistant. I text her because she’s my person, but I also text her because I didn’t know how I’d feel in the morning. That was an emergency.

Unless it’s an emergency, we don’t text. Why?

First of all, I want to protect the personal space of my team. I don’t want to inundate them with things I need at random times of the day (and evening!). Things will fall through the cracks, get lost, or heaven forbids their phone crap out on them.

The other place you shouldn’t communicate with your team is Facebook Messenger.

I don’t know about you, but I really love to lay in bed and scroll through my Facebook feed seeing what people had for dinner, cat videos, and Disney Princess quizzes. I don’t want it to be a HUB for work communication.

Chances are when you use text messages and Facebook Messenger, your thoughts will eventually be lost.

When we started using Slack, we quickly began to realize that this was the place to be for all communication.

To be honest, we rarely email within our company. It’s all housed on Slack.

The best part is, if you want to access old message, all you have to do is pay a small fee and your archived messages are there for you to see.

VA 101: Use one form of communication. This will keep your message clear and your team on the same page.

Schedule Weekly Video Meetings

 In addition to using slack, my team meets once a week. We’ve chosen Monday afternoon as our meeting day.

Each Monday at 3:00pm EST, you’ll find us sharing our accomplishments, goals, and strategies for Priority VA.

Do you want to know the secret sauce? Here it is….

Don’t skip the meetings! Even when you don’t feel like it, show up!

You don’t have the privilege of working in the cubicle next door. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to discuss our weekly agenda over a long lunch. Because of this, you have to be intentional with your communication.

I don’t believe you have to meet every day, but encourage everyone to meet with their remote team once a week.

Don’t over complicate it.

Our team meets on Zoom every Monday. The rest of the week, we’re in Slack.

2 programs.

Simple, inexpensive, and crucial to any remote team.

Thanks to our digital age, there are plenty of online collaboration tools available. I’ve shared what works for me, but I know that just because I love a program doesn’t mean everyone will. Use what works best for you. Our friends over at Time Doctor have put together a list of 47 of the best online collaboration tools. They’ve done their research and have left no stone unturned. Check out this article and find the tool that works best for your team.

P.S. If you’re interested in working with a remote team but aren’t sure where to start, let’s talk!

What are you doing to prepare for 2018?

Do you remember Y2K?

Kids today don’t understand the urgency everyone felt to stock up on supplies and await midnight on January 1, 2000. The day the world would officially be off the grid.

Much to our relief life moved on as if nothing had happened.

  • The ball still dropped in Times Square.
  • People sang Auld Lang Syne.
  • And thousands of people had an endless supply of canned good buried under their porches.

We often laugh at those who are over prepared for disasters, but think about it…. those are the people we want to know when hard times come. Those who are prepared!

While I don’t believe a lifetime supply of green beans will help your business, I do believe there are some things you can do to prepare your business for the coming year.

Plan, Prepare and Execute

My friend and mentor, Todd Herman, teaches in his 90 Day Year program that you shouldn’t just set goals, but rather, you need to create a roadmap to get there.

When you take time to plan your next steps (mine are in 90 day increments), create a roadmap, and execute the goals, you’ll see more success than acting as if your thoughts will grow your business.

Thoughts aren’t things.

Things are things.

Make clear, concise moves that will lead to growth in 2018.

Trust Your Instincts

When something isn’t right, you just know it. Trust your instincts! Anytime I’ve steered away from trusting my gut, I get burned.

Whether it’s the right coach, the right networking group, or the right team members. Follow your instincts.

Get The Right Seats On The Bus

This piece is crucial to your business. In order to grow, you need to have the right seats on the bus.

I know this from experience, both in my own business and in helping other entrepreneurs work with Virtual Assistants.

If your team isn’t operating in their strengths, you’ll end up frustrated and in time, your business will suffer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for that!

As we say goodbye to 2017 and move into 2018, use this week to prepare for this year. What do you want to accomplish in the next 90 days?  

Plan, prepare, execute, and get the right seats on the bus.

Let’s set 2018 up to be your year.

Happy New Year!

P.S. I can help you get the right seats on the bus. Let’s hop on a call to chat about how we can partner in 2018!

Why We Need Guardrails In Our Lives

Last week, with one hour left in my 6 hour drive home from visiting my brother, I was hit by a Semi on the highway.

As I was being pushed by a Mack Truck going 65-70 miles an hour on a busy interstate, I tried to use the mad skillz my mama taught me to stop my SUV from flipping…

I was thrown into the cable guardrail, which snapped, and wrapped around my tires as it worked to take the impact of my 4300 pound SUV.

The momentum flung my car spinning wildly again and I finally landed facing traffic halfway in the median, with me trying to brake with all strength even though I was already stopped.

The whole thing was so fast.

There wasn’t time to prepare for it.

THE CABLE GUARDRAIL SAVED MY LIFE.

Possibly the lives of others had I went into oncoming traffic in the opposite direction.

I visited the Honda Pilot today at the wreckage yard and saw where the cable had literally wore down the metal all around the frame of my car.

It sheared off the metal of the frame of my car in an attempt to stop what could have been a lot of devastation to multiple lives.

The guardrail did its job.

I was thinking about the accident, and it was so interesting to ponder:

WE ALL NEED GUARDRAILS IN OUR LIVES

To protect us….

from ourselves.

from others.

… from the unforeseen 80,000 pound eighteen wheeler that we have no idea is coming out of the darkness

… and if we’re honest… most of us think we don’t need them.

That the guardrails I’m talking about are thought of as commodities. They are dispensable novelties that you think you don’t need, or desperately know you do yet..

you think that:

you’ll get to them later.

you’re too busy now.

you don’t have the money.

But what if the semi comes out of nowhere?

Then what?

The guardrails can look like systems, process, automation, and people who keep us on track.

These guardrails help prevent us from spinning out of control.

They too, take the brunt force that is life;

the tragedy, the illness, the employee that quit, the contractor that bailed and didn’t do a good job.

The kids soccer club, playdates, and homework.

The spouse that wants you focused on them at night instead of answering yet another email.

DO YOU HAVE GUARDRAILS TO PROTECT YOU?

It’s THESE SAFEGUARDS: the partners we have, the employees we pour into and train, the countless hours spent documenting SOPs… the second set of eyes reviewing our blog posts, the friend who asks if you’re really okay and helps you create a plan when you’re not.

It’s that type of guard rails

that PROTECT US when we’re going too fast, and even when we’re minding our own business in the slow lane and a Semi comes barreling into us in the form of melanoma, or a son that’s been abused by a neighbor.

So many businesses fall apart because they don’t take the time to put up the guardrails necessary to protect them.

So many marriages fall apart because couples don’t put in guardrails to protect against infidelity.

Friendships fall apart and men and women are left to struggle alone because they lack structure, and a guardrail for accountability when things start to go a little too fast in life.

Who knew getting hit by a semi would make me be so reflective to the areas in my life where I’m lacking some serious guard rails.

Who knew that I’d be so compelled to wonder about how I could help YOU ensure you have the right ones, too.

What guardrails do you have in your life that will help take the impact with you?

Is there something you need to do?

Something you need to say?

Someone you need to hire?

A system you need to put in place?

An accountability partner you need to ask for help?

A process you need to revamp?

Are you ready for it?

Don’t let an 18 wheeler come from the darkness speeding down your highway to knock you off track…. and have nothing in place to help take the impact.

Don’t do it alone.

Life.

Business.

Friendships.

Relationships.

Struggles.

Successes.

Find where you need guardrails… and work your ass off to figure out how to get them built and ready for impact. Because I can assure you… that Semi is coming when you least expect it.

I want you to be ready.

If you need help, let’s start the conversation.

We’ll get your guardrails in place, and get you back on your highway of life.

The Door Is Open. It’s Your Turn To Take Action

This is exciting!

Todd just opened up the doors to his 90 Day Year Program.

After nearly 10 days of smashing through paradigms and replacing them with the proven high-performance models swiped straight from the world’s highest achievers…

You now have a chance to plug yourself into the ENTIRE 90 Day Year System.

And in doing so…

Apply the exact same frameworks, models and “mental software” that Olympians, Fortune 100 CEO’s and elite entrepreneurs use to achieve exceptional performance… on command.

Overcome procrastination, distraction, and all the other shiny objects that constantly derail your momentum.

Take daily action with more confidence and clarity… knowing that EVERYTHING you do is perfectly attuned and aligned with the game-changing, ROI-generating outcomes that grow your business.

And knowing that as you execute with speed, you have a HUGE advantage over your competition and that NOW, in 90 Days you have the ability to accomplish more than you could in an entire year.

Pretty cool, right?

But here’s why you need to check it out right away:

Todd personally invested over $62,000 on the BONUSES alone! Not fake, marketing-hype dollars, but real cash out of hand. All with the intention of giving you the Pro level tools needed to truly make your success and outcomes inevitable this year.

Some of these bonuses won’t be available for much longer… (because Todd likes to reward the initiative-showing, highly motivated action takers)

Check it out here

If you’ve been on this journey over the last few days, then you at least owe it to yourself to watch this video where Todd breaks down everything you’re going to get access to inside the 90 Day Year…

Plus the crazy bonuses that I geek out on. (Hint: Let’s meet up in San Diego?)

Come on in and check it out

Not only does Todd have some nutso bonuses, I thought I’d channel my inner Oprah and give some things away, too!

Now that the cart is open for 90 Day Year, I can let you in on a little secret….  anyone who purchases through my affiliate link will get some killer content from yours truly.  

Get access to:
– A high performance action plan that I created to set you up for success in 90 Day Year. This isn’t my first rodeo in 90 Day Year. I’ve been around and in fact, have become an authorized partner, so I can walk you through each phase of the process.

– My team and I will help you build SOPs in your business. Stop trying to “wing it” when it comes to your processes and procedures. Let’s get you set up and organized to make 90 Day Year work for you.

– Receive 5 hours of 90 Day Year Focused VA support. You’ll learn that delegation is key to success and we’ll set you up with the support you need. 5 hours free, on us. Not only will you build you SOPs but you’ll get a VA who can help you check off the tasks you’ve been putting off for far too long.

– Join me live in San Diego on March 25, 2018 for a mastermind that will help you hone in on the areas you need to focus on for your next 90 Days. We’ll have hotseats, amazing food, and support from my leadership team.

– Plus, sign up through my link and you’ll get some real deal physical bonuses too. Giving gifts  (and getting mail!) are two of my favorite past times and I’m stoked to send you some old-fashioned surprise goodies via mail when you join me in The 90 Day Year.

What’s better than taking the plunge into 90 Day Year? Locking arms with someone who has been through the program and has seen the benefits first hand. Not only that, but becoming a 90 Day Year Authorized Partner (and Todd’s #1 choice to staff his own business) gives me a unique perspective on how to get the most out of this program.

All of these bonuses will be yours when you sign up for 90 Day Year using THIS LINK ONLY!

Let’s get started, shall we?

P.S. This really isn’t one of those typical launches where you could just shelf it off for later. Without giving too much away, there are some VERY real reasons why you need to jump on this TODAY.

I’ll let Todd explain why here.

My 2017 Pits & Cherries

Each night at the dinner table, my family and I go around and share our Pits & Cherries for the day.

We encourage our children to share the junk of their day, but in my pursuit to be more grateful, I want them to end on a high note each day. It’s a great exercise if you’ve not tried it.

We’re five years into our business, and we’ve had our share of pits and cherries. 2017 was no exception.

Maybe you can learn from my Pits & Cherries of 2017.

The Pit List:

Clients That Bail –

Commitment to outcomes is one of our core values here. When a client doesn’t commit, like one this year that gave ZERO notice to laying off 13 VAs at the start of summer. That sucked. By far, the hardest day of my life was telling these women that their job was gone that day. Bonus: our contracts are airtight against this now, so I suppose this could also be a cherry!

Not Having The Right Fit –

Hiring because someone is nice, isn’t the best business move. I should know better. Having the right seats on the bus is especially important when scaling a business. Ensuring the right personalities are in the right role is critical. Now more than ever, I’m committed to making the right call, faster – even if it may hurt someone’s feelings.

Being Held Back From Success –

Not being able to join the mastermind I felt was the perfect fit for our business, was a punch in the gut this year. I’ve been on a mission to find a place that welcomed both my husband and I, (and I thought I’d found it), only to be told after they’d “sold” me, that it wasn’t a fit for what we wanted really was a pit. Still, we are committed to finding the right place for us.

The Cherry Bowl:

Creating Our Own Version of Work-Life Balance –
Some people work really well in their home. I learned this year that I needed a separate space to be creative and actually accomplish my goals. Having a  cottage on our new property that doubles as my “office” has been great for my sanity.

I get more done, and the 300 yard walk home in the evening allows me to “reset” into mom & wife mode. If you find yourself struggling to disconnect, perhaps try a separate workspace!

Throwing Goals Out The Window
I was a chronic goal setter for years. I’d yo-yo diet, set unrealistic business goals and most of the time, never meet any of them. Now, our focus is on People, Process, and Projects. With those three pillars in our business, we’re focused on the right projects, using the right process and the right people (see pit above regarding people!).

My go-to to get more cherries out of my day is the 90 Day Year Program. Todd Herman is a master at teaching people how to maximize their day for exponential progress.

Getting into “Flow State”

I never thought I was capable of reaching the elusive “flow state”.

Harnessing the power of a proven system Todd taught me (called the OPP Framework) has me working most days in my zone of genius. This is a far cry from two years ago when I worked 13 hours a day, getting nothing actually “done”.
He shares in the second video in his free 90 Day Year Workshop:  

  • How he stumbled upon the biological mechanism for entering into “flow states” … and how with the help of his mentor Jim Rohn, turned it into a repeatable process that you can just as easily plug yourself into.
  • The 3 biggest mistakes that people make when they set goals that sets them up for failure…and what to do instead

Creating Feedback Loops:
In 2017 I finally embraced the idea of iteration at scale. I used to stall on putting anything out there, fearful that it wouldn’t be perfect.

Now, I work much faster after implementing the idea of feedback loops that I learned from Todd. I launched a mentorship program for VAs, did a webinar series for business owners and even created a new content method for connecting with my tribe.

Some ideas worked, others bombed, but we were able to get feedback fast and adjust accordingly. It’s helped me become way more adaptable to change and we’re implementing a lot faster!

Watch the series now to learn how I did it…

And don’t forget to download the worksheets that will allow you to immediately implement Todd’s powerful OPP  framework.

To getting it done it 2018!

Goal Planning? Stop It Already!

I was that person once.

I sat down at the end the year and mapped out everything for the coming year.

I’d be set, I thought.

In the words of Donald Trump:

“Wrong”

The last time I attempted this old school method, I was toast by Q1.

Why did this old mentality not work?

Because even though I had a list of thoughts on a sheet of paper, I wasn’t putting action to anything.

Thoughts aren’t things.

Thoughts are just that, thoughts.

Actions are things.

Actions are what move your goals on paper from thoughts to things.

If you’re like most business owners, you’re probably sitting down to plan and set your goals for 2018…

Well, don’t.

Stop what you’re doing and don’t.

Just. don’t. do. It.

Before you write down one more goal for 2018 , you need to watch this video from my friend and mentor  Todd Herman.

It’s just in time to save SO many talented entrepreneurs from drowning in the abyss of pointless goal-setting. Because Todd has proven (and it’s backed up by science), that any goal beyond 90 Days is a waste of time and energy.

It sounds harsh, I know, but hear me out.

Setting goals beyond 90 days actually sucks all the air out of your motivation, leads to crippling procrastination, and goes against the way your brain is naturally wired…so that essentially, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

I don’t know about you but failure is not on my to-do list!

So… if you’ve been thinking about your “Goals for 2018”…

Todd wants to show you a better way…one that will actually bear fruit and get you results. I’m not telling you this because Todd asked me to. I’m telling you this because it’s worked for my business.

When I first watched this, it made me realize that everything I achieved in my business actually came in spite of setting goals.

Not because of them.

And had I only approached my goals in this way, not only would I have achieved MORE in FAR less time… but I would have done so with more clarity, predictability and less leaked energy.

So if you feel like your yearly goal-setting ritual is an exercise in futility…

And you’re ready to set goals for the next 90 days that actually happen…

Join me in watching Todd’s first training video, and take the very first step in becoming a top performer in your life and business.

Here’s to throwing  yearly planners out the window!

Cultivating Gratitude

Are you annoyed with the gratitude posts that go around every November? I have tried to do them for years now, and by about day 9 I’m grasping at straws to find something I’m thankful for.

I actually had my assistant draft a blog post for me with 30 things I’m grateful for. She knows me better than I know myself most days, which is what happens when you have an awesome, engaged partner in your business.

Even still, I read through each of the items and while it was all true, (I AM thankful for my four kids and the psycho puppy that bites me, I swear!), it didn’t feel like me.

So, in lieu of 30 gratitude snippets to fill space on the blog and social media, I wanted to from the heart share one circumstance that I’m most grateful for this year.

My strengths finder says I’m not adaptable. In fact, it’s LAST on my list of strengths. How I’m surviving as an entrepreneur, still amazes me. With all the roller coaster emotions, metrics and pressure to perform, it’s surprised ANY businesses succeed in this culture of comparison.

Circumstances this year personally and professionally changed a lot.

What I’m realizing after spending a few days in a Mastermind in the same room with my mentors, is that I’m thankful for the opportunity to be adaptable this year. To learn, grow and be challenged in new ways.

I shifted my focus from client work and growth of the business to refining and scaling the business only.

I moved from the safety of Colorado to the unknown adventure of Georgia.

I joined a high-level mastermind and started focusing on my health.

I quit working 13 or more hours a day and relied on my team more than I had in the past.

So, while this year hasn’t been completely rosy, (one client faked financial issues and basically let go of 13 AMAZING people on my team right at the start of summer, killing 33% of our revenue)…it has been pretty darn good.

I’m learning to cultivate gratitude instead of always defaulting to the negative. It’s no small feat when you’ve lived 40 years with a half empty outlook, but this is what it looks like for me to cultivate gratitude in my life for the highs, and lows…

It’s been a darn good year because I’m learning who I need to become to deal with the problems instead of shriveling from them.

My goal for the next year is to practice cultivating gratitude every single day.

Here are a few practices I plan to try:

The 5 Minute Journal [AFFILIATE LINK TO the JOURNAL on Amazon) – I met UJ Ramadas this year at Mastermind Talks and this guy is legit. He’s insightful and witty. More importantly, his practice of gratitude is unreal. I want to be like UJ. Grab The 5 Minute Journal here.

Weekly Thank You’s 

My friend, client, and mentor, Todd Herman had a daily practice of writing a note to someone every single day. He even uses an elegant wax seal. Check it out, here.

Brag on our Team 

I do know I do a great job of highlighting when our team does great things, and I’m going to step up my game on this. So, look out. I’ll be asking frequently for wins along the way, so we can show off our client’s successes along the way.

Commit to Growth

Face it, part of being grateful is being able to make up for our mistakes. I’m committing to always taking actionable steps to right a wrong and learn from it. Having feedback loops available allows for everyone to see how they are doing, and how they can stretch themselves toward excellence.

And finally…

Schedule a Date

With myself. Self Care is really important. If I want to be around to chase after my kids, run a business and give to those around me, I’ve got to be in shape to do it. This is one way I’m looking at. Hello, accountability. It may not be easy, but I will be grateful for the results.

What’s on your list to be grateful for, and how are you currently expressing it? If you have a great idea how we can do better at expressing gratitude here at PVA, or in your own life; will you reply and share it with me? I’d love to cultivate a list to share on social media.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, wherever you are. I’m grateful for you.

Please, not another fruit basket. Why gift giving has to change.

I know you. I’ve got you pegged. You aren’t really a sentimental guy, but you know that connecting with your colleagues and customers is a big deal.

You understand the importance of staying top of mind to your clients so when it comes time to choose, people pick you.

It’s about to be the most wonderful time of the year. That’s right – those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas when every day reminds of sneaking down the stairs to see what presents Santa may have left in the form of a brown box from Amazon on our doorstep.

If you’ve not already, it’s about now that many of us start thinking about the gifts we’ll send clients to show our appreciation for all the money they gave us this year. (Er, I mean, for the relationships we’re trying to nurture!)

Here’s the deal though. I don’t want to get another fruit basket or box of 36 different kinds of chocolate I need to bite into to find the one caramel I really want.

The idea of honoring those we partner with this time of year is steeped in tradition from the 1840s when nativity scenes were all the rage in handmade cards sent for a penny in the post.

Now, cheesy greeting cards containing politically correct holly leaves with Happy Holidays slathered in Gold Foil script (so as not to offend folks that don’t like the words “Merry Christmas”) are sent in mass to people we hardly know anything about.

What if this year, you chose to do something different that would actually be meaningful, get noticed and make more impact than the moleskin you’re tempted to give with your logo on it?

Enter John Ruhlin. He wrote the book Giftology and has turned the corporate gift giving world on its ear.

John put into words what I had been feeling for years, and when I turned to him to help me find the perfect gift for my assistant Kim, he got it.

The gift needed to represent the relationship.

Kim is super special to me, and what she does for my business was worth way more to me than a gift card to Starbucks.

With John’s help, I was able to create a memorable experience for Kim that goes well beyond a nic-nack for her desk.

Watch the creation of Kim’s gift here…

So, what if instead of a gargantuan cornucopia of oranges at Christmas, you sent a gift in February or May?

Don’t worry so much about being top of mind amongst all the other cards and towers of high-end chocolate. Instead, focus on providing meaningful gifts when people least expect it that strategically position you at the front of the line, and build relationship almost immediately.

People won’t say “Remember that coffee mug imported from China Bob sent last year? That was amazing!”

They will say, “Remember the headphones Todd sent that had my initials engraved on them?”

Nothing seems more memorable to me than a story John told about getting a meeting with a guy that happened to like Brooks Brothers shirts.

John spent $7,000 buying shirts and coordinated with a hotel someone was staying at to turn his hotel room into a simulated Brooks Brothers store! You bet he had (and held), the attention of Cameron Herold, whom John was eager to spend time with. Cameron will take a meeting with John anytime now. Wouldn’t you?

The creativity of gift giving doesn’t have to cost $7,000, but it isn’t cheap. Neither are the relationships you want to build. We can spend $10k on an advertising spot, or $500 sending custom gifts to several key clients and wonder which will get us more business in the end?  

The possibilities are endless, and all it takes to be an expert gift giver, like my friend John, is paying attention and getting a little “outside the box”. Go beyond the normal and ask questions.

Your client casually mention that he likes rootbeer? Send him a case of specialty rootbeers from around the US. He’ll remember you for it.

John had to ask Cameron’s shirt size to recreate the Brooks Brothers store. Creepy? It might sound like it, but the end result is anything but.

I once sent a case of specialty potato chips from Pennsylvania to a client of mine because I remembered him posting once that they were the best chips and he missed them since moving to NYC.

It wasn’t an expensive gift, but it was thoughtful and recognized one thing: my desire to offer what he would value, rather than using gift giving as a marketing gimmick.

Good gift giving enhances these three key elements of any relationship:

1. It’s about them, not you.

There will be no logo, no swag and for the love of all things holy, no expectation in return. It takes the sincerity out of it.

2. It doesn’t do what everyone else is doing.

If getting Apple earbuds is the best you can do, (and your clients have Android!) you’ve missed the mark. Because a gift is popular, it may not be what your client can even find useful. Study your recipients, and know what will be meaningful to them. I read an Inc article describing Ruhlin that said, The best gift is a purple cow. Be purple, people. Be purple.

3. It doesn’t wait for the right time

When is the perfect time to plant a tree? Yesterday. Second best time? Today.

The same is true with giving gifts. It doesn’t have to be Christmas to show someone you care about their relationship. You can send a gift on July 12 and it will likely have MORE impact than a cheap bottle of wine.

For more ideas on the kinds of gifts, you can give that will make you stand out, create memories, and perhaps land the deal: download our idea bank of the best places we’ve found to send meaningful gifts to our most important relationships.

Or, check out The Ruhlin Group and let them do it for you!

Happy Gifting!

For more ideas on the kinds of gifts, you can give that will make you stand out, create memories, and perhaps land the deal: download our idea bank of the best places we’ve found to send meaningful gifts to our most important relationships.

Click Here to Download Your Ultimate Gift Giving Guide

How To Cure Your Biggest Aches and Pains In Business

I may not be a licensed physician but I cure some of your biggest aches and pains.

While I can’t give you a cure for the common cold, though I would suggest a Hot Toddy, I can give you something that will make your shoulder less achy and get rid of that headache!

What is this miracle, you ask?

It’s a Virtual Assistant.

If you’ve hit six figures in your business, I can guarantee that you can benefit from the support of a Virtual Assistant.

Identify Your Pain Points

If you’ve been to the doctor for any kind of pain, they ask you to let them know exactly where it hurts. Sometimes you have to describe your level of pain by pointing black and white faces on a sheet of paper ranging from a grimace to a happy face.

As ridiculous as it seems, this is as simple as it needs to be. There isn’t a scientific formula you need to describe the pain, you simply need to let them know where it hurts and how badly.

When you hire a VA, you first need to know where you’re experiencing pain. What is it about your business that keeps you up at night? Are you eating antacids like candy?

You must identify what it is that is causing the stress in your business and outsource it. Perhaps you’re not so techy and have put off website updates because it’s too time- consuming. In other cases, I’ve talked with entrepreneurs who are needing to grow their email list but don’t have the strategy in place, no the time to implement one.

Regardless of what is keeping you up at night, determine what it is and reach out for help.

Agree to a solution

I’ve watched all too often, business owners who are looking for a solution, but can’t seem to settle on one that will work for them. Instead of waiting around for a solution to fall from the sky, take initiative and pick one!

 

There are times when plans and procedures fall into place, and hiring a VA will help that along, but you aren’t going to move the needle of your business until you agree to a solution.

Remember, you don’t have to solve all of your problems at once. Pick the area that is most painful now, find a solution and move to the next one. You won’t have much luck solving multiple pains unless you locate the most critical.

Stick with it

Once you’ve decided to hire a VA, stick with it!

All too often, business owners want instant results. While that would be nice, you must give your VA time to implement the change and truly give you the results you’re expecting.

I usually tell my clients to give it 90 days before they make any decisions. This gives your VA time to learn your business, your communication style and understand your voice.

As you stick with your VA through the first 90 days, you’ll watch the relationship form and begin to see the results you’ve so desperately wanted.

Are you stressed? Do you feel that twinge in your shoulders and neck every time you sit down at your desk? It hurts! I’ve been there.

I want to hear about the pain you’re experiencing in business. Let’s start the conversation here.