Monthly Archives: October 2012

Build Your Dream Team

Once you have identified your passion and decided on the business you want to build, it is essential to build a dream team.  A dream team is a group of people that will help you make your dreams come true.

You should include at least one mentor on your team who can help support you with guidance and encouragement at various steps along the way in building your business.  That mentor can be a teacher, a local business person, a family friend, an advisor the local Junior Achievement chapter, or a member of your family.

The most important skill that you must develop in order to put your dream team together is the ability to communicate your vision and ask for help.  Here are a couple of steps to help with that:

•   Communicate the vision for your business as clearly and with as much passion as possible.

•   When you ask for help, make a specific request.  The more specific you are, the more likely you will receive the help you are asking for.  On the other hand, if your request is not specific or if you are asking too much and people aren’t clear on what you are asking of them, they will probably refuse your request.

Here’s an example of two ways to make the same request:

1.   Can you pet sit for me?

2.   Can you pet sit my dog this weekend from 5:00 Friday night until  noon on Sunday at my home?  I will pay you $50 plus provide food for your meals?

Which of these examples is more specific?  Which one would you say yes to?  Why?

If people say, “No” to your requests, politely ask them why they can’t help you.  Maybe they need more information.  If you provide more information and they still say no, ask if they know someone who might be able to help you.  Don’t forgot to thank the people for their time.

When deciding on who to approach to be on your dream team, ask yourself these questions:

What friends can help me?

What family members can help me?

What friends of friends can help me?

What friends in my school community can help me?

Who in my local community can help me?

Which associations or organizations can help me?

Who are people I can go to for support?

Who are people I can ask for advice?

Who are people that I don’t know yet who can help me and how can I connect with them?

Next, make a three column chart with these three questions:


What do I need                   Who am I going                  What am I going

help with?                            to ask?                                   to say?


Answer the three questions.  Remember to be as specific as possible.

To help you find the right approach, write a short blurb, what some call an elevator pitch that gets your point across as quickly as possible.  Write your dream in 25 words or less then practice saying it out loud.  Practice it on a friend or family member and ask for feedback.  The more feedback you get, the better your presentation becomes.

“When you begin speaking your dream and enrolling others, your dream can become bigger and take on new forms, and all kids of opportunities will show up.” Marcia Wieder.


Envision Your Dream into Reality

Now that you’ve started to think about and identify the things that you are passionate about, the things that make you feel great when you are doing them, what next?

The next step is to create a visual of your dream life.  What do you want your life to be like if you could create it anyway you want it to be?

Would you be a famous actor or a rock star?  A winning athlete?  A chef at your own restaurant or a rich business owner?  Would you travel, fish, be a public speaker or teacher, design homes and lovely rooms, be an artist?  Would you be a New York Times bestselling author?

Would you drive a fancy car or be driven in a limo?  Would you own a motorcycle or ride a bike?  Maybe own a fleet of cars?  Have a Porsche?  Would you own a boat or have your own yacht?

Would you own a mansion or a cabin in the woods?  A house on the beach or live on an island?  Maybe you want to live in another country.

Use your imagination, visualize all the elements of your life that you can, write them down in the greatest detail that you see in your visualization.

Once that’s done, create a vision board using pictures or words or other images that reflect and represent the life that you have envisioned.  Gather picture books and magazines or your colored pencils and markers and create a collage on a wall or board.  You can glue it or staple it or pin it with a push pin.

According to Wikipedia, “A vision board, also called a dream boards, mind map or goal map, is typically a poster board on which people draw, paste or collage images that represent their desires, objectives, dreams and goals.  The intent is that vision boards be reviewed regularly to maintain focus on the depicted goals.

Research of something called mirror-neurons showed that neurologically, our minds cannot tell the difference between things we see that are real or those that are imagined.  One study found that people who imagined practicing a sport improved as much as people who actually practiced.

The mind processes information better in images and when we can create in our imagination what we want, the mind works subconsciously to create it.  As your board evolves and becomes more focused, you will begin to recognize what is missing and imagine ways to fill the blanks and realize your vision.

Here are a few examples of vision boards to give you an idea of how to proceed.

10 Thought Provoking Questions to Help You Find Your Passion and Choose Your Business

If you are new to this blog it’s important to know that I write with the intention of empowering youth to develop an entrepreneur mindset.  So if you already know and are working your business, you may not find all of my posts useful for your situation.  However, many of them can serve as good reminders and motivation for you as well.  I hope that you have as good a time reading the posts as I have had writing them.

We have considered a variety of exercises to do and steps to take toward finding your passion.  In this post I want to provide you with 10 questions meant to provoke a deeper level of looking for your passion and choose your business.

Spend some time considering each question.  Go as deep as you can with these questions.  When you get an answer, ask yourself, “is there more?”  Write down the ideas and insights that pop into your head.  Look for connections or themes between your answers.

  1. What do you want to be known for in your life now and in the future?
  2. If you could change just one thing in the world, what would that be?
  3. What makes you feel good about yourself?
  4. What is a goal that you have and how will you achieve it?
  5. If you won a million dollars how would your life change?
  6. What do you think your strengths are and what skills do you need to work on?
  7. If you are feeling unmotivated, who or what helps you get yourself moving again?
  8. Do you see yourself as a leader or a follower and why do you think that?
  9. If you could spend a day with anyone – past or present – who would it be and why?
  10. What are you not spending enough time doing?

Did you learn anything new about yourself from considering these questions?  Are you closer to finding your passion(s) and choosing your business?


10 Steps to Bring Passion Into Your Business and Your Life

Imagine every day being excited about your work and your life.

With a little creative thought and exploration you can discover your passion and find ways to integrate them into your work and your life.

Try these 10 steps to bring passion into your business and your life.


I.  Get to know yourself

Take a really close look at your life from your earliest memories to your current reality.  Look at all the times you’ve had fun and loved what you were doing.  Also take a look at the things that caused you pain or that you felt on a really deep, emotional level.  Write them down with a short description.

Pick one example from your list and try to find the reasons why you felt the way you did.  Go beyond what you love doing.  Break it down into the underlying characteristics.

The question WHY is a powerful tool for your explorations.  Asking why will take you to a deeper level of understanding.

2.  Brainstorm

Now that you have a better understanding of what your passions are, you can brainstorm some ways that you can work these passions into your business and your life.  Make a list and keep it with you so that you can add to it whenever you have another insight.

Be creative and add even your wildest ideas.  Just have fun with this exercise.

3.  Explore

In this part of the exercise you’re going to do some research to see who is talking or writing about the things you identified as being your passion(s).  Take some time to contact them.  Ask them questions about their passions.  Tell them you’re exploring your options, looking for ways to integrate those passions into your life and business.  It’s a great way to get some new ideas you haven’t already thought about.  And you might make some great contacts and develop some relationships while you’re at it.

4.  Take Baby steps

Don’t overwhelm yourself with these exercises.  You need to reserve some energy to actually incorporate your passions into your life and business.  If you don’t like to jump off the cliff into the abyss all at once, just take baby steps down.  Some people are great at just going for things and others need to take their time.  If you keep your focus on the long-term goal you can begin creating your passionate life.

5.  Identify your obstacles

Now that you know what your passion is and you’ve looked at what you’d like to do in the long term, and how you can bring it into your life in the short term, you need to identify your obstacles.  What is getting in your way?

Now what things are getting in your way? Make a list. Maybe they’re real – financial obstacles or perhaps the need for training.  Maybe they are internal obstacles like fear and uncertainty.  Figuring out what’s in the way will help you plan for how to minimize its impact.  But be careful not to fall into the trap of letting your obstacles take on a life of their own.  You’re looking at them to reduce their power, not enhance it.

6.  Create a Dream Team

Create a Dream Team to support you in your pursuit.  Friends, family, and others can all be a great source of support and inspiration as you make your journey.  It can be an informal support network, or a regularly scheduled meeting to exchange ideas and brainstorm solutions to challenges.

7.  Consider your definitions of success and failure

What is your definition of success?  Is it getting in the way of really pursuing what resonates at a deep level for you?  We live in a society that places a lot of emphasis on material accomplishments, power, etc. Unfortunately, that gets in the way of real happiness for a lot of people, who choose to stay on the treadmill in pursuit of that version of success.

Perhaps you’re not at a point where you can or want to change that definition of success.  That’s OK, don’t.  Instead, try identifying one or two less common ways of identifying “success” – ones that come from the heart – and try to move towards them as well.

Our definition of failure, which tends to be all or nothing, also gets in the way.  If you try something and it doesn’t pan out, how do you see that?  Is it a failure?  Or is it an opportunity to learn from what you did and apply that knowledge to your future efforts.

If you “fail” in an effort to move toward your passion, it’s not really failure.  Think of it as a step in the right direction.  Taking a longer term view can help with this.

8.  Make a plan

Creating a plan will force you to think things through and add some comfortable structure to something that can seem very up in the air and undefined.  It will also offer you those critical next steps when you aren’t feeling motivated.

9.  Act! Today!

Don’t ever use the excuse of waiting for the right time because the time will never be right.  Something is always going to be less than optimum.  With that in mind, don’t wait!  Do something right now that will move you toward your passion.

10. Commit to making it happen

Let it out of your brain and into the open.  Say, “I am going to do this.”  Say it out loud to yourself.  Say it to a friend.  Put it in writing and put it where you can see it.  Once it’s out in the open it will have room to grow.  And that’s exactly what you want!

What two things can you do right away that will start the ball rolling?  They don’t need to be earth-shattering, they just need to happen.

Good luck!

How to Find Your Passion (The Secret You Need to Hear)

Today’s article was written by guest blogger, James Clear, of The Passive PandaJames offers a counterpoint, an alternative perspective, if you will, to picking your passion.  I think his ideas are worth considering as they may a lot of sense. 



Wouldn’t it be great if we could all spend our days doing what we love?

I’ve received a lot of emails recently asking how to do just that. In the end, they all come to a similar conclusion, “I honestly can’t figure out a clear direction for myself.”

I think it’s normal for all of us to feel that way from time to time.

Searching for your passion and yearning for your true calling seems to be an integral part of the human experience.

That said, I think we often approach the process of finding our passion in the wrong way.

I’ve made these mistakes before as well, so I’m not claiming innocence … but I’ve also done it the right way from time to time, and so based off of those experiences, here’s my take on finding your passion.

We’ve got it all backwards.

Stop worrying so much about finding your passion.

You can’t strategically discover it through some intellectual scavenger hunt. You’re probably searching for it because you think that it will bring you clarity. ”If I know what I’m passionate about, then I’ll know what I should spend my time doing.”

That sounds good in theory … but it’s the complete opposite of how the process actually works.

Passions are born out of experiences.

You love your favorite team because it was the first football game you ever went to … or at the very least it was the team that you and your family cheered on from your living room. You’re crazy about that one movie because of how it made you feel when you watched it for the first time. You cry whenever you hear that sad song because it was the first song you heard after your grandfather died. You love sailing because you like the taste of salt on your lips, wind in your hair, and sun on your back.

These are examples of experiences that left a mark on you. The emotions that they conjure up — the passion that you feel — only came after that initial experience.

Discovering your passion for work and life follows that same pattern. I’ve never suddenly become passionate about something while sitting around on the couch. If you want to discover a burning passion, then you need to put yourself in a position to have a burning experience.

You need to read something new, talk to someone new, go somewhere new. “New” can mean unfamiliar, but it doesn’t have to mean that. Maybe you know a lot about horses, but you’ve never been to the Kentucky Derby. Go there. Try it out. See where it takes you. Have a new experience — whether that’s around a familiar topic or an unfamiliar one.

Before you discover your passion, you need to be curious and take action. You need to make different choices. You need to search out new opportunities. You need to create new experiences.

It is in the act of creating new experiences that we discover who we are.

If you’re searching for your passion now and haven’t found it yet, what makes you think continuing your search in the same way will magically bring your passion to you? You have to change your actions if you want to change the outcome.

If you want a new passion, then you need to create a new experience.

What you like vs. what you know.

Once you’ve accepted that you need to put yourself in new situations to discover your passion, how do you decide where to start?

Most people will tell you to start with what you know. I disagree.

If everyone only did what they already knew, then we would never learn new skills, change careers, or try anything different.

Let’s say that you work as a sales rep in the pharmaceutical industry. If you can’t find your passion right now, then what makes you think that sticking with what you know (pharmaceutical sales) is going to help you find your passion?

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with utilizing your current skill set. In fact, I encourage that. There’s no reason to waste the talent you already have. But don’t choose a new path simply because you can do it.

Your choices should be based on what you like and not what you know. What you like is different than what you’re passionate about. Likes may turn into passions eventually, but they are simply interests right now. Everyone has an interest in something.

Maybe the pharmaceutical sales rep likes movies. What if he started looking for jobs in sales and marketing for a media company? Or a cinema company? Or a theater company? He could still use what he knows (sales and marketing) … but he’s basing the decision on what he likes.

When you’re searching for your passion, it’s important to pursue things that you enjoy for one reason…

To find your passion, you need to dedicate yourself to a cause.

Eventually, the new experiences that you have will help you with the next step: finding a goal to work towards. Reaching for a goal is a powerful thing because it will take you to places you could never envision beforehand.

The act of reaching for goals — whatever they are, and whether or not they are ultimately reached — plunges us into a strong current that carries us to places that we can never expect or know when we embark. —K.O.

The value in having a goal and pursuing new experiences is as much the journey it leads us on — the experiences we have, the lessons we learn, the doors it opens — as it is the accomplishment of reaching it. You cannot predict where a journey will lead and what passions it will reveal. You can only start the journey and let the passions evolve naturally.

The pursuit will bring your passion to you.

How can I be so certain?

I’m certain because I know that what you’re looking for isn’t necessarily “passion” or a “calling”, but rather it’s one perfect moment.

You’re searching for that sliver of time when you say, “This is right. This is what I’m supposed to be doing and where I’m supposed to be at this moment. Right here, right now, this is what I was meant to do.”

I’ve been fortunate enough to feel like that before, and I can tell you that you don’t find moments like that, they find you.

And when you show up every day and dedicate yourself to a cause and continue your journey towards new experiences and new goals, those perfect moments have a tendency of finding you more often.

Finding your passion isn’t about knowing with certainty that you have chosen the right direction for yourself. It’s about picking a direction and pursuing it with urgency and consistency and enthusiasm.

If you do that, then the experiences that you have will bring your passion to you

James Clear is the Founder of Passive Panda.  He started the business to teach the three pillars of earning more money… freelancing, employment, and entrepreneurship.  Passive Panda covers all three of these areas in depth, and teaches you how to develop an overall earning strategy for your life.



The Sensible Blogging Checklist

In this post we’re going to look at a checklist to create a successful blog.  This checklist was created as a guide by The Whole Brain Group, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based internet marketing company.   It is being used here with their full permission to reprint.  They even provided the html code to embed it in the post.  Thank you The Whole Brain Group.

You may not know this, but business blogging can increase your web traffic on average by 55%. Yesterday we looked at some reasons to have a blog. But how do you get started?

The Sensible Blogging Checklist will help!  Follow the simple suggestions in order to:

  • Define your goals and audience
  • Plan your content strategy
  • Make sure your blog is user-friendly
  • Optimize your posts for search
  • Encourage engagement and content circulation

Don’t forget that this checklist is just a guideline to get you started! A really effective strategy and implementation plan takes a lot of thought and research.

Additionally, using this checklist can help you see the areas where you need more clarity.  For example, it reminds you to know and be able to define your niche, also called your audience, your tribe, or your clients.  The checklist makes you think about the people you are trying to reach and engage with.

In the “plan your content strategy” section, you are prompted to consider whether your blog serves both your business and your readers.  It makes you think about the details of what your blog content will be and how you will present it.

There’s a suggestion in the Content and Readability section that suggests that your blog should be under 350 words.  There’s some debate about that.  I’d like to suggest that you make that decision depending on your audience.  Some blogs, like mine, need to be as long as they need to be in order to explain the concepts being discussed.  If your audience is made up of people with attention deficit disorder, then I suggest you might want to consider keeping your posts under 350 words.  If your audience are intellectuals or college professors, well, there may be no limit on the number of words that are acceptable.  Do you homework, read other blogs that speak to your audience and see what’s popular and what is not.

One thing is certain, using this checklist will help you learn areas where you need to increase your knowledge and skill base.  With a bit of research, taking a free webinar, reading free ebooks/reports on blogging, you will learn all you need to learn to build a potentially successful blog.  I say potentially because no matter how good your skills are, without commitment and consistency, you won’t have a successful blog.

Take time to look over this checklist and lets discuss the questions at the end.

WBG Sensible Blogging Checklist Sensible Blogging Checklist for Businesses [INFOGRAPHIC]
So, what are your thoughts about this checklist?  Did you learn anything new?  Can you think of anything that’s missing?  Would this be a useful tool for you?  Does it give you any ideas of how to improve your own blog?
Courtesy of: Whole Brain Group

To Blog or Not to Blog For Your Business – That is the Big Decision

I suppose that those of us who are participating in this blogging challenge believe that blogging is in our best interest or we wouldn’t be here. Recently I talked with an internet marketing authority who doesn’t blog. He doesn’t find it useful. When I talked with another friend about it, I realized that he has no reason to blog. He doesn’t have a website and he’s spent a lot of years building his business and his following so he has a very large list to market to without blogging.

My friend does have a website, I have a website. We blog because:

We are concerned about SEO and Google rankings

We need to drive people to our online businesses

We want to increase our visibility

To build relationships

To get our message out to our niche

These seem to be the main reasons to have a blog.

Blogs ensure that your business is listed on the search engines as well as positions you and/or your business as an expert or authority. And blogs are far easier to update than your other web pages.

There are downsides to consider. Blogging is time consuming. Having a blog means making a commitment to write something on a specific schedule. It requires that you create content related to your business on a consistent basis and it should be fresh material in order to keep people coming back each time you post. You might have to develop some writing skills and in many cases, you have to keep abreast of what is happening in your industry or chosen area of business. You’ll need to keep track of what your competition is doing so research will be important.

Should you decide to have a blog, it would be a good idea to use a checklist to help you plan it. A great resource for checklists for internet and digital marketing is a company called The Whole Brain Group of Ann Arbor, Michigan. They have developed a series of checklists to help you create your online marketing plan. In the next blog post we will look at how to use their Sensible Blogging Checklist to ensure you get the most value for the time you spend blogging.

Using the Ultimate Blog Challenge to Write “Pick From The Passion Tree”

It’s very exciting to be joining all of you in the October 2012 Ultimate Blog Challenge.  For those of you who don’t know, I address the crisis of youth unemployment by proposing that we guide our teenagers and young adults to develop an entrepreneur mindset.  My first book, 31 Powerful Lessons: Empowering Teens and Young Adults to Develop an Entrepreneur Mindset is currently on sale as a digital book and as a perfect bound paperback book at my website and will soon be on and Kindle.  I wrote that book during the last Ultimate Blog Challenge using the daily posts as the foundation for the book.

Using this new blog challenge in the same manner, I plan to write the second book, Pick From the Passion Tree in what I call the Empowering Young Entrepreneurs series.  It is my sincere hope that you will read the posts and share your constructive criticism, positive feedback and any ideas you have that will enhance the topic I’ve written about.

I am also accepting guest posts about how to decide upon and start a business and other entrepreneurial ideas appropriate for teenagers and young adults.  Steve Eason has already provided a guest blog post about selling solutions to the customers’ pain.

I’m looking for exercises designed to help youth focus on identifying their passions and how to make decisions on how to build a business around those passions.  Checklists would be useful as well as free resources that young people can access to help them build their foundation and start down their path.  Some of these guest posts may be included in the new book (with your permission of course).

Additionally, if you have any advice you would like to share directly with young people, I would be happy to consider those posts as well as real stories of other successful, young entrepreneurs, both for the blog and possibly for the book.

There is no particular order to the posts as I have not yet organized what content will be in the book.  I do know that we’ll have some reality check exercises (two that I’ve already posted on this blog during September), some exercises for our youth to identify what they are passionate about.  The book will include information on social media, blogging and other business building blocks.

I am looking forward to reading and commenting on as many of your posts as possible during the course of the challenge.  It’s nice to meet you and it will be nice to get to know you.