Category Archives: Entrepreneurism

Lice Lessons (On Marketing, Business and Life)

Bird louse

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Yeah Baby, We Have Lice … But, I’m Not Embarassed

Ok, so that’s not entirely true.

When I had to call Lesley Bohm, the amazing celebrity photographer I was supposed to have a photo shoot with today,  and tell her I couldn’t make it because I have lice, I was a little embarassed.

More than a little embarrassed.

When I first found out my daughter had it, I wanted to keep it a secret.  I wanted to tell her not to tell anyone at school.  I wanted her to make something up about why she didn’t go to school.

Fortunately, before I passed on my tendencies towards shame and hiding, I came to my senses.

I remembered that keeping secrets is the heart of just about every emotional dis-ease out there, alcoholism, drug addiction, food issues, anorexia, bulimia.  Behind each one of them is a secret that’s festered into a kink.

In each case, there’s some well-meaning parent who inadvertently conditioned his child to feel shame, embarrassment, or judgment about something and hide whatever that something is, creating a hole that needs to be filled.

Lice isn’t something to be ashamed of or embarassed about.  If you get it, it doesn’t mean you’re dirty.  (In fact, did you know that lice is more attracted to clean hair?)

The only reason we are instinctively embarrassed about it is because at some point we were conditioned to think that way.

I decided not to pass on the conditioning.

I mean yes, it’s kind of yuck-o that there are bugs laying eggs in my hair, but feeling shameful about it certainly doesn’t help the situation.

And, passing that shame/need to hide  on to my daughter is definitely not the answer.

So, I boldly picked up the phone, called the school nurse and let her know I’d be keeping Kaia home for the day and that the 3rd grade class should be checked for lice. Gulp.

(Guess what? It turns out half the school is infested, I really didn’t have anything to be embarassed about! Yay.)

I accepted the reality of the situation, and then got busy.

We went out and bought that poison stuff from the drugstore and started going through Kaia’s hair.  Then, when that didn’t seem to work that great, I got out the vinegar and went through her hair wit the nit comb dipped in vinegar, which apparently helps to unstick the nits.

To top everything off (literally), we slathered her hair with half a jar of mayonnaise and wrapped her hair in saran wrap and a shower cap before bed.

After all that, I expected we’d be cleared for school, no problem.

But, no.  When we got to school, the nurse still didn’t give Kaia (or me!) the all clear and I realized I needed to call  in reinforcements.

Hair Whispers.  For a $35 travel fee and $85/hour,  they saved the day.  (I called around and they were the least expensive.  I was quoted a $50 travel fee and $125/hour by another company and then $250/$300 by a third company).

What a great business!

Amy Goldreyer is one smart cookie.  She was even named best nitpicker by LA Weekly.  Yep, best nitpicker.

If she doesn’t have enough business via word of mouth (which I can’t imagine she doesn’t – she was mentioned in the NYT amongst celebrity baby consultants and as I sit here I just got my third email from a schoolmate friend of Kaia’s whose mom never emails me, looking for a referral to my hair fairy – the mommies are desparate!), I can suggest some quick changes to her web presence that would get her even more business.

For those of you small business owners who have been asking me for advice on marketing your businesses, here’s some good stuff for you:

Web presence suggestions –

* Create a nitpickers blog with stories about people met while nitpicking (all names disguised of course) and about how they act, what they say when they call for appointments, etc.;

* Put up an opt-in form for her nitpicker’s weekly that offers something extremely valuable, like a weekly report tracking infestations throughout the area so parents can be proactive and schools can avoid the kind of infestation our school is dealing with at the moment;

* Give affiliate commissions to referrers.  If I was getting paid, I’d email the whole school about our experience with my affiliate link included.  I may do it anyway, but only if I find an extra 15 minutes tomorrow.  If I was getting paid, I’d find the 15 minutes for sure.

* Establish a Facebook page for the business where I can become a fan and set up a Tweet that I can send out announcing I’m a fan of the business.

Hey, Amy, if you want to take this business huge, contact me.  I’d love to see it birthed out of the Millionaire Mom Business Incubator I’m launching with fellow millionaire mom Sheri McConnell (like the program name Sheri?) in 2009 as part of an incredible new association we’ve got launching.

But, even without the serious web presence, it’s a great business.

Do a little bit of marketing by making sure your brochures are in the hands of local school nurse, buy up Google Adwords for lice {local city} and lice removal {local city}, put up an informative website using the key words and keeping it updated with new information frequently, then send out young women with a cute utility bag of nitpicking tools to desperate moms who have no one else to comb lice out of their hair.

It’s a homerun.

I paid $200.39 + gave our nitpicker (who didn’t like being called that, by the way) a $20 tip to be deloused and it was well worth it.

I mean truly, what else is a mom to do?  It’s not like she can ask her husband to do it, or even a friend.

If I had nothing else going on and had to make some quick money, I’d get into the lice removal business.

I passed on Amy’s company information to at least three other desperate moms in our neighborhood already.

Here’s what I learned about lice and lice removal:

1.  The lice removal kits you buy from the drugstore are a big ripoff.  And, they poison you too.  A doubly bad combination.

2.   The little plastic comb they give you is bunk.  It doesn’t work.

3.  You can do the whole comb out deal at home without the service.  But, you need the right equipment and you DON’T need poison.

The equipment:

* A real nit comb – metal, not plastic. I recommend you buy one now to have on hand for when the lice hits your family.

* A bottle of water/conditioner mixed together

* Some type of oil – olive oil works, lavender oil.  Whatever.  The hair whisperer gal sold me a nice size bottle of their proprietary blend for $20.  Whole Foods wanted $30 for a teeny bottle of lavender oil, so I felt good about my purchase.

* Paper towels

* A bowl of water

That’s it.  No poison necessary.  Total cost minus the cute gal to comb your hair for you?  About $30.

The difficult part is the combing out of the nits/lice.

It was done totally differently than I expected.

There were three steps, which took a total of about an hour.  The key seemed to be running the comb through your hair vigorously from forehead over top of scalp and off back of hair with various substances combed through hair.

(It actually felt kind of nice – we sat out in the sun on my front patio area during the combing and for a few minutes I imagined I was at a high end spa, having a head treatment outside – ahhhh, I love having my hair played with).

It’d be nearly impossible to do to yourself, I imagine.  And not nearly as enjoyable.

Overall, my personal lesson from the whole day is there’s never anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.  There’s so much to enjoy about and learn from every experience … even lice.

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Filed under Entrepreneurism, How To Stuff, Mom-a-rama, Moving Beyond Fear, Personal, Values

Balancing, Juggling and Keeping All the Balls in the Air

juggleI’m in the midst of a 2-day planning retreat to map out 2009 and boy, is my life complicated!

My boyfriend lives in Atlanta, where he has two kids of his own.

Fortunately, his business is run from his laptop, which means he can come out to stay with me every other week.  But, he also has a business partner in Richmond he has to go see at least once a month.

Plus, both of us run coaching groups.  Mine are for lawyers who want to  serve their clients in a more holistic, caring way, while they make more money and work less.  His are for business owners and professionals who have something to say and want to make money with their message.

Not to mention, as of right now, I’m speaking at tthree events next year, attending a training to become certified in helping people discover their passions, beginning a course with Reverend Michael at my Church, hosting my own marketing event, writing my second book, attending three live events with my new mentor, and continuing to pitch (or maybe begin?) my television show.

Oh, and of course, taking care of the kids and running my businesses.  AND, perhaps most exciting of all, launching a new business for millionaire mom entrepreneurs or those who want to be.  More on that one soon.

And, of course we will be taking some vacations – on the schedule already we’ve got Mammoth in early February to ski, Chicago over the summer (I know, not the best time of the year), and of course Burning Man!

Whew, what a year!

This kind of a year doesn’t happen without some serious planning.

So, Dave and I spent the entire day yesterday plotting it all out on big fold out calendars from Franklin Covey.

The cool thing is that even with all of that happening, I can feel I’ll have plenty of time and space for myself, to deepen my spiritual practices, to do yoga and pilates, and to spend time alone.

How is that?

It’s all about choices.  I choose to fill my life with things that inspire me, excite me, and fill me with more energy.   And, I let go of all the rest.  Amazingly, the more I do that, the more I find room for more of what I love and supports my highest purpose.

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In the meantime … CNBC update

Last week I met with Susan Krakower and Mary Duffy, the development execs responsible for programming at CNBC.

I haven’t said too much about it because it’s such a dream come true that I’m nervous to talk about it.  Afraid that I’ll some how jinx it or sabotage it, if I do.

Part of me is scared to death I’ll do something to sabotage the possibility.  The other part (the healthier part) knows it’s in God’s hands and if I just surrender and let it happen, everything will unfold perfectly.

In the meantime, I’ve got to do something with myself to keep my mind occupied while I wait for the entertainment biz wheels to turn.  I have no doubt I will have a TV show.  I can feel it happening.  I just don’t know when.

The best thing I can possibly do now while I wait for my biggest life dream to manifest is to help other people.  So, that’s what I’m gonna do.

On November 5 at 12p PT, I’m hosting the first of my free live coaching calls for the winners of the “I Showed You Mine, Now You Show Me Yours” contest.

On the first call, I’ll have up to three live hot seats.  If you get a hot seat, I’ll guide you to the path you need to take to realize your dreams.

Here’s how you get a hot seat:

1.  Make sure you’ve shown me yours in the comments on my contest post here.

2.  If you have shown me yours and you want one of the hot seats, send an email to Alexis@FamilyWealthMatters.com with the word “hotseat” in the subject line.

Up to three of you will be given hot seats on the live call.  Please, only request a hot seat if you know you can be on that call.

As soon as I have the call-in details, I’ll post them on the blog so you can call in and listen to the hot seats, even if you aren’t in the hot seat.  Sometimes, I’ve actually learned more about myself and my business by watching someone else get coached than by being coached myself.

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In NYC … Mommy Blogger Panel, CNBC, and Focus

I was supposed to get my hair done this morning at 6a in preparation for the Mommy Blogger Monologue meeting hosted by Maria Bailey of BSM Media and Mom Talk Radio in conjunction with the Marketing to Moms Coalition.

Just as I was about to get into the cab for the ride down to the salon, I got a call from my assistant (it’s 5a where she lives), letting me know that my hairdresser left the keys to the salon in his other jacket and was not going to be able to do my hair.

Ok, great.

Thank god for this cute little flower/headband I bought from Anthroplogie.  I stuck my hair in a bun, put on the headband and headed down to the event.  I’ll post a video a little later taken by Gabrielle Blair of DesignMom and Kirtsy when she sends me the link so you can see the cute headband.

On the panel, besides myself and Gabrielle, were Kimberly Coleman, Kelcey K., Amy O., Kim P., Amy Platt, and Andi Silverman.  These are some of the hippest mom bloggers out there and I was honored to be on the panel with them.

But, being on the panel with them made me question a few things.  Do I need to focus more?  Can I focus?  What would I focus on if I chose to focus?

I blog here about my entrepreneurial journey, I write the Family Wealth Secrets online magazine to bring you more financial freedom, I’m training Personal Family Lawyers, I’ve created the Kids Protection Plan and I’m launching the Kids Protection Planning Kit and in 2009 an amazing online version and I’m pitching a TV show and meeting with CNBC later on today.  Not to mention the next two books are in the works and I am looking for partners to build the Moms Money Matters website, which I want to launch Mother’s Day 2009.

And, of course, I’m raising my kids.

So, am I nuts or what?

Then, I look at someone like Maria Bailey and I think focus shmocus.  She’s got 4 kids, a nationally syndicated radio show for moms, she’s the Founder/CEO of BlueSuitMom.com, the award winning Website for executive working mothers and co-Founder of Newbaby.com.   Plus, she’s the host of The Balancing Act on Lifetime TV and she’s the creator of Smart Mom Solutions, a product line that offers solutions to everyday challenges for busy moms.  She’s also got a consulting company, BSM Media that works with the big corporations who want to reach the moms and has authored three books on marketing to Moms, Marketing to Moms, Trillion Dollar Moms, and her newest release Mom 3.0.

That’s what I call one busy Mompreneur!

If I had to focus, I guess I’d focus on the TV shows and training the Personal Family Lawyers.  But, the TV shows are out of my control at this point.  And, that would mean I’d have to give up writing this blog, writing books, the Kids Protection Plan, and the Family Wealth Secrets online magazine.

So, I guess for today, there will not be more focus.  Maybe things will take longer to happen.  Or, maybe I’ll sleep less.  But, that’s what being a mompreneur is all about, right?

Oh, and about that CNBC thing.  Yes, I’m meeting with the development team at CNBC later today.  I’m excited and nervous.  I’m going in to hear what they have to say because at this point, I have no idea.  I’ll report back as soon as I have some news.

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I showed you mine, now you show me yours … plus, win free coaching!

A few days ago, I laid it all on the line.  My hopes, my dreams, my fears. I heard from many of you about how inspired you were and how much you liked what I wrote.

But, what about you?

I can’t be the only one with big hairy audacious goals, can I?  What are your dreams?  Are you taking action on them?  How?

I want to hear from you!  To incentivize you to let it all hang out, let’s make it a contest!

Lots of people ask me if I’m still doing coaching or email me for help and guidance.  When I was doing it one on one, they paid $1,000/hour.  I don’t offer it anymore because I’m too busy building my businesses, publishing books and getting on TV.

But, I miss the feeling of being there, guiding someone and truly knowing I’m making a life-changing difference when that big a-ha comes along!  TV is great, but it’s kind of impersonal, ya know?

One tip from the right coach can save you months, if not years, of going down the wrong path.

So, post a comment about your big dreams and how you are taking action on them and I’ll pick the one that most inspires me for a one-on-one personal coaching session with me.

It can be around pinpointing your purpose, publishing a book, getting publicity or media, being a mompreneur, balancing work/life and still making your dreams come true, having it all, manifesting what you want, moving through fear or building your business. You pick.

So, let’s hear it!

PS – while you’re here, why not subscribe so you don’t miss anything?  Choose the subscribe by email option.  It’s in the upper right hand corner.  And, if you use OtherInbox, a super cool new service to help you take back your inbox, it won’t clutter up your inbox, but you’ll still stay up to date.

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Filed under Book Publishing, Contests, Entrepreneurism, Moving Beyond Fear, PR Stuff

Big Network Interest, My Babies Are Growing Up, and CopyCats

I don’t feel like writing today, but there’s so much to tell, I’ve just go to do it.  There’s some great business stuff after the family stuff, so keep reading.

First, and most importantly, my baby girl read her first book for fun yesterday!  A little background here.  She’s been struggling to read.  She’s almost 9 and was reading at a 1st grade level.  When I was 9, I was reading adult level books.  I LOVE to read.  It’s been difficult for both of us.

Yesterday, she had 12 pages left in a Jake Drake book and she couldn’t wait to finish them to find out what happens!  Ah, yes. Next up Encyclopedia Brown and then Chocolate Fever.

This whole routine thing may really be working.

What routine thing?  Well, I’m not a routine person.  And for the past three years, my kids have been shuttling back and forth between my house and ex-hubby’s house, so routine has been a little missing in our lives.

Well, this year, it’s all changed.  The kids are with me full time and we are full on following a routine.  Dinner, bath, brush teeth, reading, bed.  Lights out by 8:30p.  It works!  Who knew?

Got a phone call from Noah’s Kindy teacher at the end of the day today that he left school in tears.  He decided he didn’t want to take the bus home and instead wanted to stay at school and get picked up with Kaia and go with her to tutoring.

Only problem was, he decided this at the very end of the day during pick up.  The teachers just couldn’t accommodate.  He tried to use his best crying to get his way.  They said so sorry, but you’re getting on the bus.  Good lesson for him.

It looks like we’ve got some potential big network interest on the TV Show.  Woohoo.  Of course, it could mean nothing.  But, we’re going to meet with the network on Tuesday of next week.  I’ll keep you posted.  I’ve heard TLC and Oprah’s new network bandied about as possibilities.  Wow.

So, what do you think about copycats?

I know being copied is supposed to be the best compliment.  And, I’ve sure done my share of copying, but never have I copied someone in my own industry directly.  It’s happening to me now on two fronts and I’m trying to ignore it, but you can see how well I’m doing by the fact that I’m writing about it.

One of the women actually came to watch me present and then went out and launched herself as a Personal Family Lawyer.  We’ve got the trademark on that, so we put the kiboch on her using the name, but she’s still out there in Los Angeles marketing to parents right in my backyard.  It’s fine, but why not just join us instead of copying us?   I went to sponsor an event and she had beat us to it.  The shitty part about it is that this event reaches parents all over Los Angeles County (we have lawyer’s all over LA County) and she’s only in one small part.

The other is also a lawyer and she’s started a website for moms and a lawyer’s marketing website. Weird I tell ya.  Weird!  Why compete when you can collaborate?  There’s plenty of pie for everyone when you work together.  When you don’t, there’s less for everyone.  Boo.

Last, but far from least, CNBC has been calling to have me on every week. Yay!  I’m gonna be on again tomorrow.  Keep an eye out.

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Financial Details Drain Me … And I’ll Be on CNBC Talking Money Thursday

Spent the entire morning so with the COO/Executive Vice President of the Family Wealth Planning Institute Laura Lee Sparks and our bookkeeper.

Here’s what’s weird.  I help other people take control of their financial future and yet doing it for myself and my business is completely draining.

I’m more of a big picture person.  The nitty gritty details of where this $1.08 was spent or that $252 came from is more detail than I have the attention and patience for.  And yet, it’s critically important.

It’s also important to know what you are good at and what you are not and find team members who compensate for your shortcomings.  That’s why I have Laura Lee – she’s strong where I’m weak.

It may seem funny that someone who bills herself as a financial and legal expert is drained by the details of financial management.  That’s actually why I’m such a good person to teach you about it.   I know how important it is to have personal and business financial systems set up for my own personal experience.  If I don’t have it set up the right way, I mess it up.  You can learn from my mistakes … and save yourself big bucks in trial and error!

A big point of awareness for me was that if I was going to build an empire, I needed to start putting together the resources and the team to support an empire.  That means spending money on a bookkeeper, maybe even a controller, and at least a part-time CFO.

Here are some of the resources I’ve found particularly helpful:

Bruce Maxwell – great CFO who will work with you where you are and on what you need.  He will build you an amazingly comprehensive financial model in less than one day.

Manifest Management – this company will take you through a ten week program and at the end of it you’ll know what to track, how to track it and be managing your numbers in ways you never even knew possible.  Take their free business evaluation and see if you need them.

By the end of our 90-minute call with the bookkeeper, I’m so grateful to have Laura Lee on board to deal with most of this.  She’s going to be setting up a new chart of accounts that ties our income to expenses and we are going to start seeing our percentages and variances from budget each month.

Good stuff, but 90 minutes of this kind of detail work is exhausting for me.

Katie, my favorite CNBC producer, called me this morning and asked me if I was available Thursday.  They are doing a show on Retirement in the 21st Century.  Fortunately, Thursday is the one day I am available.  Yay!

Now to come up with a topic …

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