Saturday, October 3, 2009

Work for Free and Get Rich in the Process

When You are Trying to Make Money, It Shows
By Ally Loprete

Starting my own business has been a huge educational experience for me. My business partner, Kelli, and I realized that in order to build a national directory of parent-owned businesses, we needed to have the businesses with which to build it. It was because of this that we decided to give away every membership we could while the site was being built. Since we already threw out the idea that we would make any income whatsoever in our first year, our true passion for our project came through and, for three months, we received hundreds of inquiries every day from parents all over the country asking how they could be a part of our mission. Some were willing to pay even though we were offering these listings for free.
What we learned from this is something that we’d like to share with you. If you are a business owner, you know that there are trends, cycles, up swings, and downward spirals. Very often we think that the state of our business has to do with the state of the economy. We blame our worst days on things like the recession and forget to give ourselves credit for the good days. We need to believe that we are more responsible for the cause and effect of business trends than we can comprehend to giving ourselves credit for.
Your energy and passion for your business is a powerful tool. Although we are big believers in the “Law of Attraction” we don’t believe that anything is as easy as just “willing it.”
It’s important to see the dynamics of how your positive (or negative) energy works for or against you.
When in doubt, ask yourself these five simple questions:

1.) What am I trying to accomplish? The answer should never be "earn more money." If it is, people feel it, and they are hestitant about your true sincerity. It may not be obvious, but it’s probably enough to make your potential clients decide at the last minute not to make a purchase from you -- even if they don’t really know why.

2.) Am I as excited about what I am doing that first week when I decided to do it? If not, do what you can to get back to that point. If you did not take notes for yourself or journal right at the beginning, now is a terrific time to start. Journaling can help you get back to your original goals when other things begin to cloud your vision.

3.) Do I believe that what I am offering is valuable? This goes back to why you first started. If you no longer feel that is it is valuable, this may not be all your fault. Any occurrence can change a trend. This does not, however mean you should give up your once valuable business or concept. Find a way to adjust with societies changes. Large companies do it all the time. Or perhaps you do still feel that your product or service is valuable, but others aren’t seeing it that way. What can you do to reach out and convince people? Your clients do want to hear it from you, and you must believe that your explanation will be valuable to them.

4.) Do others appreciate knowing me? It’s important to be an expert in your field. But more important than that, people need to feel comfortable coming to you for advice, and not feel worried that you will charge them for your time, or request something in return. If others sense that you are trying to “sell” them, it won’t matter how much of an expert you are. That icky feeling will cause them to look for another expert who seems genuinely concerned for their needs.

5.) Am I giving to others for the sake of giving? Whether you believe in karma or not, a good exercise is to look for a way to help someone else the moment you need someone to reach out to you. When we are struggling, the most difficult thing in the world is focus on someone else’s struggles -- yet it’s been proven to me time and time again that it’s the best time to walk away from your own issues and offer assistance to someone else. It never fails. Giving to someone else almost always yields assistance waiting for you in the wings. Don’t believe me? Put it to the test sometime. You’ll be pleasingly surprised.

These may be simple suggestions, but if it helps you to set your energy back to a healthy balance, you will see a change in your business for the better. Donate your time, and your passion to others, and they will flock to you. Ironically, when the money starts rolling in, you probably won’t notice and may not care about it as much. That is the best way to take control of it, rather than letting it control you.

Ally Loprete is the Co-Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, an online directory of self-employed parents across the country. Ally's focus is to help expose parents working to create a better life for their families and her mission is to educate consumers on the value of purchasing from the small business owner. Ally is passionate about inspiring parents to connect with one another, and will often write about the brilliant ideas that seem to come to her only in the shower or while blowing her hair dry.

9 comments:

  1. Cathy, Reay SolutionsOctober 3, 2009 at 6:49 PM

    Ally, this is such a great idea. I vist ourmilkmoney on a regular basis. keep up the good work

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  2. Sandra Beck, Motherhood IncorporatedOctober 3, 2009 at 6:49 PM

    This is such a great idea. I think that you should be commended on the site - it is beautiful, easy to navigate and affordable for the stay at home business owner. well done!

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  3. Great idea! I started a clothing line with my sister online, www.tottiebean.com to stay at home with kids but be creative and hopefully make money. I will check out your site to narrow our searches for things we want to buy in order to help out other moms doing what we are doing. Great idea!!

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  4. What a great idea, and long over due. How is it working out for you? What is the response for the advertizers?

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  5. Great Advise! My sentiments exactly. Thats why I have an infosite to help people and to share what I know.

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  6. Your idea sounds great! As a parent business owner, I'd be interested in becoming a member of your "family".

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  7. Roxanne Ravenel JobSearchCoachOctober 3, 2009 at 7:01 PM

    Great article, Ally. You are right. People don't want to buy from someone that is only in it for the money. They have to know that you sincerely care about them first.

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  8. I really enjoyed reading your vision. My husband and I started a personalized baby blanket business called www.fillintheblankie.com four years ago to allow me to spend more time with our children and be more available for them. The business has grown to the point where both of us are running it. Though the stresses are great at times, the rewards, flexibility and joy of making this a success has been a real gift to our family.

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  9. Great! Our businesses grow when we help others. We call it "pay it forward." We spend time with a new business partner and possibly provide some matching investment in their marketing, and we reap benefits. I would like to put my business on your site especially because I really want to help parents see that there is a better way to make money and be with their kids.

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