Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Travel With Your Business

With us living in the Tampa area and all my family in New England, we don't get to see them as often as we'd like.  However, my business makes the few trips I take each year affordable!  Taking your business on the road has two huge benefits:  tax write offs and expanding your customer base or downline!

Do you have friends and family out of your immediate area?  I'm sure you do!  These days people are always on the move.  High school friends, old roommates, extended family?  Book a trip, pack your business and your family then head out!  Or make it a girls weekend and go alone! 

Expand your business to other parts of your state or the country.  Plan parties, shows, events, and informational sessions to share what you are doing.  Ask whomever you are visiting to watch for events going on in the area.  You could register for expos while in town.  When travelling for business, you may be able to write off mileage, air fare, hotels, rental cars, and some meals.  Consult with your accountant to make sure all your receipts qualify.

My two boys are now 19 months and just took their 5th flight north.  Last year the boys flew to New Hampshire 4 times between the ages of 3 months and 12 months.  Two of the trips, I even took the two babies by myself!  Some trips we celebrated baptisms and first birthdays but any excuse for my boys to see my parents and our extended family works for me!  During this most recent trip, we attended a family wedding.  How awesome that my business allows me the opportunity to be with my family during these occasions! 

While there, I book a few home shows, attend area trainings or events, meet with my downline, or talk to ladies about the opportunity my business offers.  Since I'm working, I'm able to write off my airfare.  Finding supervision for my boys while I work is much easier too since I have family eager to spend time with them!

There are many advantages to owning your own business... controlling your own schedule, the ability to take it with you, and yes, tax write offs!  Check your list of contacts, or maybe your Facebook friends, and plan a "business trip"!


Other posts you may like:

Business Write-Offs
Including Children In Our Business
Educating Family and Friends

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Winning With People

John Maxwell is an amazing author!   If you follow my blog, you've seen past posts sharing some of my favorite points from Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success.  Many people shared how much they liked the series of posts. 

The Fear Cycle
Quotes From Failing Forward
Ch 9: Get Over Yourself--Everyone Else Has
The Top Ten Ways People Get in Their Own Way

I'm moving on to another of Maxwell's books called Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time

You can pick up your own copy to follow along with me by clicking the Amazon link below.  As an Amazon Mom member, you can get free shipping on the book and have it within 2 days!  (Not sure what I'm talking about, see my post on Amazon Mom for more information!)

Success in life and business weighs heavily on people skills.  Even those who think they are a people person will learn some ways to build relational success.  Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time is divided into 5 focus areas with several critical principles each.  The chapters are easy enough to read one or two a night and written in Maxwell's powerful style with anecdotes and quotes.

The five critical questions that form the outline of his book are:
  1. Are we prepared for relationships?
  2. Are we willing to focus on others?
  3. Can we build mutual trust?
  4. Are we willing to invest in others?
  5. Can we create a win-win relationship?

Continuing education is important to the growth of you and your business.  Join me on this book study.  Next week I'll post on the first 5 principles that fall under the readiness question.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Dinner Done

Schedules are crazy for everyone regardless of your family dynamics.  Fitting in time to cook a decent dinner can be very difficult.  I enjoy cooking but rarely find the time to do it.  These days we've relied on Dinner Done to get a decent meal on the table.  If you've never heard about it, trust me, you are missing something amazing.  Here is what you really need to know.

What is it?

Dinner Done is a kitchen where you go to prepare meals free of preservatives to put in your freezer.  Each month a new selection of menu choices becomes available.  There are usually a few new ones along with some repeat favorites.  When you go to the kitchen to prepare your meals, the recipe sits before you at a food prep station along with all the ingredients chopped and prepared.  You follow directions to assemble each meal splitting it into serving sizes that meet your needs.  All meats are perfectly proportioned, trimmed, and chopped as necessary for the recipe.  Vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and peppers are already pre-chopped.  Each ingredient has a spoodle in it that measures out the correct amount of what you need to make it quick and easy.  Because you assemble your own meals you can easily modify your dishes, excluding ingredients you don't like.  Most meals are placed in aluminum pans so you can cook them directly from the freezer, others can be made in a crock pot.  You wrap the pans in plastic and affix a label with cooking directions.  Most of the meals are main courses only, some come with pasta or rice and a few with vegetables.  Appetizers and side dishes are already prepared and frozen for you to purchase and take home if you desire.

Each meal has 4-6 servings depending on appetite and the more meals you purchase the less they are individually.  Save even more utilizing the Super Chef program where you earn a $30 gift card when you attend 3 Dinner Done kitchen sessions in a 16 week period.  If you want a variety of meals but don't have a lot of freezer space, you can also split a session with a friend.
Click here for specific costs.

Many of you are into couponing and are really pinching your pennies.  You know, based on some past posts, I'm very frugal.  (Ok, so a few friends would laugh and say I'm just cheap!)  Let me tell you a few things about why I still choose to go to Dinner done each month.
  • The dinners cost us less individually than ordering take out or dining out. 
  • Dinner Done meals are healthier than most fast food or restaurant food.
  • We have fewer leftovers which means less waste since they often sit and rot in our refrigerator.
  • I would consider many of their recipes gourmet, requiring ingredients I don't use regularly.  To purchase an entire container of something, only to use a small amount means the remainder would go to waste.
  • I spend far less time deciding what to have for dinner.
  • My time is very valuable these days and can be much better spent doing something other than preparing food all the time.  The "witching hour" for my kids is during dinner time which further complicates spending much time in the kitchen.
  • Frozen dinners can be placed in the oven and you can schedule the oven to cook it for you. 
  • Most meals just need a vegetable, baked potato, or side salad.  Many of my friends buy the steam bag vegetables for the microwave or the pre-cut and pre-washed bags of lettuce.
  • I love the Super Chef program, see below!

Dinner Done Goes Above and Beyond
  • Private parties- select a time and date, round up 8 or more participants, you all get a free dessert and the kitchen is open exclusively to your group.
  • In store shopping-  You can stop by any of their locations to purchase ready made meals out of their freezer.
  • Get it to Go!-  Dinner Done can prepare your meals for you and all you have to do is pick them up.
  • Get it Prepared and Delivered to your door.  Schedule a delivery if you live within a 15 mile radius of one of their stores.  See their calendar for free delivery days too!
  • Stork Sessions- Dinner Done will prepare meals for you when you have a new baby and won't charge you the extra fee for them to prep the food.
  • Helping Hands Session-  Similar to the stork session, Dinner Done preps the food for you and only charges the in-kitchen rate when you are undergoing chemotherapy, recovering from surgery, or after the loss of an immediate family member.
  • Snacks, wine, and sodas are available while you prepare your foods.
  • During the holidays, they offer specials like:  "Everything but the turkey", Valentine's Gourmet Meals, dessert samplers, appetizer samplers, etc...
  • Bring A Friend Days-  During this special, if you bring a friend who has never been, you each earn a $10 gift card towards your next visit.
  • NEW- Instate shipping of meals here in Florida!  Click here for more information. 

  • Tampa, FL  (Carrollwood)
  • Brandon, FL 
  • Centreville, VA
The Carrollwood kitchen is where I have made my meals for two years since a friend introduced me to the concept.  Usually I go once a month as part of a private party but I have attended open sessions as well.  Ana and Heather work the night shift at the Carrollwood location and are fabulous to work with, always taking great care of us. 

If you are not close enough to utilize any of their locations, try searching for a similar concept in your area by using "dinner preparation stores" in Google or Bing. 

Be sure to tell Dinner Done that Melissa from "Twice The Work" sent you if you decide to check them out!  Trust me, you will be in love!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Educating Family and Friends

For many people I know in direct sales, their families ask them "are you still doing that ______  thing?"  Fill in the blank with jewelry, bags, food, kitchen gadgets or whatever business it may be.  How odd that some of us who have been in business for many years still have family who don't understand that working for yourself and owning a business is a real job and one that can singlehandedly support a family!  These "little businesses" we run can make a lot of money and be very successful.  It is time we educate.  Our family and friends need to know about what we do and they can be our first line of referrals!

Be sure that you are telling everyone about your business, especially your friends and family.  Take out your cell phone and go down through your list of contacts.  Does each person know about your business and what you have to offer?  Have they supported your business in some way up to this point?  Share information with family and friends at social gatherings when they ask what you are doing or how business is.  Invite them to find out more and use them as referral centers.   You could invite them over for a mini open house to share details about your business.  Once they have the full picture, they will be good referral centers for you and will know how best to support you.  A mini meeting may also help remove any lingering cynicism that some have for the direct sales industry.  When people who love you know what you do, they will generally tell others.  After all, the first thing we usually ask people we haven't seen in a while is questions about their family.

Even if you are an entrepreneur developing your own independent business outside of direct sales you may have come across naysayers.  Sometimes people worry on our behalf about negative statistics or experiences they may have heard.  They may initially try to talk you out of starting a business citing their fears.  You can tell them that your decision is something you considered well and that their support and encouragement would mean a lot.  Work hard and share the results so they see that you can do it!

Your immediate family can be a critical part of your business' success.  Having a supportive spouse is very important.  Schedules, children, and financial responsibilities will be affected.  Women with husbands not on board with their business generally fail to last long.  Educate with your experiences and statistics.  Involve your family in activities surrounding your business to help them appreciate what you are doing.  Show how your business is positively affecting the family, in particular, the finances.

Lastly, when you run into someone you know and they ask you how things are going, don't just say "good".  Say something positive about your business that would lead them to ask additional questions.  Spreading the word starts with you!


Other posts you may like:
Including Children In Our Business
Stats to Impress
2009 Statistics

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

True Couponing

Money saving posts have been very popular.  For regular information regarding great deals and current coupons, visit the True Couponing website.  These ladies take the work out of couponing and spell it all out for you!

A friend told me about True Couponing last year and I love this site!  Here are some things you must know:

First, they teach classes for FREE on how to coupon and get the best deals.  You can see the calendar of events on their site or click here to see a list of upcoming classes posted on Eventbrite.  Classes are offered in the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas.  You may think you know a lot about couponing but they will teach you new tricks!  Topics include how to organize your coupons easily and quickly without a lot of cutting.  They were allowing class attendees an opportunity to buy an organization system already set up with coupons in it!  (I'll need a comment from a recent attendee to confirm they still do this.)

Second, they post an alphabetical list of coupons that will appear in the Sunday paper inserts so you can keep track of what you should be getting and what you have.  Click here to view the most recent post.

Third, they list the weekly sales for major grocery and drug stores and match them up with available coupons.  Some are even printable from the web.  The posts tell you what the best deals are each week.  I always check the Publix and Walgreens pages to see what the scoop is before I hit the stores each week.

Cheers for saving money!  Enjoy!