Category Archives: How To Stuff

Lice Lessons (On Marketing, Business and Life)

Bird louse

Image via Wikipedia

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

The Antidote to Mean Girls

postermeangirlsThe other night, I wrote about how the answer to life’s pain/suffering/uncertainty is to rest in the awareness that everything’s okay.

The following morning, I was given the opportunity to translate that into a real life situation with a friend of mine and in doing so, remind myself.

Isn’t it beautiful how so often we find ourselves telling people in our lives exactly what we ourselves need to hear?

So, here’s the story.

Kaia is in third grade and some of the girls in her class seemed to have suddenly learned that it can be fun to exclude some of the other girls.

I first discovered this when I found out Kaia had not been invited to the birthday party of a girl she had previously spent a lot of time with.  I wrote about that experience on the LA Moms Blog.

The long and the short of it?  I felt a lot of pain around the whole thing.  Kaia couldn’t have cared less.

When I brought it up with my ex-husband, he looked at me like I had three heads.   He reminded me that our kids had learned in preschool that it was fine to exclude people and fine to be excluded.  It’s all okay.

Oh, right, now I remember.  That’s why I loved that school so much.  The unconditioning.  I chose it because when I showed up there for a tour, half of the kids were running around naked and playing in the mud.  Perfect.

Unfortunately for my friend, she didn’t have any of that unconditioning.  Her kid went to a traditional preschool where all the kids kept their clothes on and were made to take turns, share and be polite.  And, she herself had experienced generations of conditioning, none of which had yet to be unraveled.

So, when she found out her daughter was being excluded, she immediately decided something was wrong.

And, wanted to fix it.

But, how do you fix it when your child is being excluded?  Well, naturally, you try to help your child figure out what they are doing that’s causing the exclusion.

Right, that’s the conditioned reaction.  That was my immediate reaction too when I first heard my daughter was being excluded.

Except that, here’s the problems with that natural reaction:

#1:  You can’t fix it.

#2:  If you try to fix it, you make it worse.

#3:  By trying to fix it, your child inherits the conditioning that tells her that if she’s being excluded, there must be something wrong with her.  And, she begins to believe that if she can just change something about herself so that she fits in she won’t be excluded.

And well, we know where that leads, don’t we?

To feelings that we’re not good enough as we are. To low self-esteem.  To trying to please other people to feel good inside.  Eventually, to sex, drugs and alcohol to dull the pain.

So, what’s the unconditioned response look like that can break these patterns?

Let it be.  Teach your kid that it’s fine to be excluded.  Help her to focus on the people she enjoys spending time with who enjoy spending time with her instead of on the kids who don’t want her around.

Above all, help her understand it’s not personal.

She’s not being excluded because there’s something wrong with her.  She’s being excluded because not everyone is a match with everyone else.

And, that’s okay.

She needs to focus her attention on and hang out with the kids she does fit with and not worry about the rest.

What a gift to give your daughter.  The gift of being able to be herself without worrying what other people think.

Yes, for a mommy who does care what other people think, this can be incredibly difficult.  But, what an opportunity to let go of everything we once thought was important and find what really matters.

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What You Should Base Your Vote On ….

The real impact of the Presidential election, the impact that will have an effect on our lives in a long-lasting and meaningful way won’t come from whether taxes are lowered or raised, won’t come from decisions regarding health care and won’t come from what happens with the war in Iraq.

The real impact will come from who seats the next Supreme Court justices.

I’m writing about this because it’s an area that is underweighted by people who don’t understand how the Supreme Court works, how much power these 9 people have and how that power affects our lives.

I only understand this myself because I had hopes of clerking on the Supreme Court after law school.

I didn’t get there, but I did clerk for a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judge, just one layer below the Supreme Court.

Here’s the thing, Supreme Court Justices are not elected. They are appointed. For life. Their judgment is unreviewable and cannot be overturned by anybody. No law, no elected official, not even the President can overturn a decision of the Supreme Court.

The next President to be elected will likely replace one or more of the Supremes.

The import of that goes far beyond Roe v. Wade and abortion rights. The impact reaches into your rights to privacy, your rights to free speech, and many other rights that you aren’t even aware you have, but you will be if they are taken away and you can’t get them back.

If you value these rights, like I do, your vote will not be based on how you feel about the war, taxes, redistribution of wealth, or anything else. Because at most, any decision the President and our Congress make can be changed four years later. The only decision that cannot be changed is who our next President appoints to the Supreme Court.

Vote tomorrow! Your vote will make a difference.

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How to know when it’s time to leave (your job, your marriage, your relationship)

At some time in your life, you will be or have been confronted with the question “should I stay or should I go?”

It can be one of the most agonizing questions you’ll ever ask.  The consequences of leaving may appear to be unbearable, so you resign yourself to staying.  In most cases, the fear of making the wrong decision keeps you right where you are, almost always longer than is healthy.

Change can be difficult, scary and even painful. Staying the same, even more so.

So, how do you know when it’s time to go?  Its time to go when:

1. The pain of staying is greater than the potential pain of leaving;

2. You are staying for the other person because it makes them happy (or you believe it does);

3. The pain you are avoiding by not leaving is the guilt you’ll feel by leaving;

4. You’ve resigned yourself to a life without sex and decided your kids’ happiness is more important than your sex life;

5. You are staying because you “should” be happy, but you aren’t.

Many people have asked me how I got the courage to leave the biglaw firm after only three years and launch my own business. How I knew it was time to leave my marriage. How I was able to walk away from the million dollar a year law business I built.

Each time, leaving has gotten easier as I’ve discovered that what is on the other side of change is always more glorious than the pain of getting there.  And, if it’s not, you can always go back.  If you wouldn’t be welcomed back, why are you staying anyway?

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Filed under How To Stuff, Moving Beyond Fear

How I Keep My Inbox Empty

When’s the last time you went to bed with an empty inbox?

For me, it was last Thursday night … Sort of.

I still can’t really believe it, but it may be possible I’ve come up with a solution for managing my inbox that may allow me to go to sleep each night with an empty inbox.

Notice all the qualifiers here – may be possible, may allow me. Well, they are there because in all truth, the moment I clear the inbox, before I can shut the computer another email flies in. But, its close enough to empty that I’m going to brag about it.

Before I share my strategy, some background:

I get about 570 new email messages per day and the last time I had an empty inbox was when I gave up on my Outlook with 425 emails flagged for followup and moved to gmail basically just dumping whatever was in the Outlook.

Over the past several months, my threshold for unresponded to email has slowly risen. It used to be that I would accept 50 unresponded to emails in my inbox. Then, it was 100. Over the past few months, it’s been 250.

250 emails taunting me, overwhelming me, leaving me feeling as if I would never be able to close down my computer and be done for the day.

My email addiction has become out of control. I admit I am powerless over email. I blame it on the 250 unanswered emails staring at me each time I try to close my gmail.

I am finally ready to do something about it. I twittered for help and @victormedina replies as do several others with the same answer. Inbox Zero. I’m intrigued. Others say to combine Inbox Zero with Getting Things Done. Have you ever picked up Getting Things Done? It would take me 3 years to comb through it. I needed a quicker fix. I scanned the Inbox Zero emails and set out to figure out something that would work for me.

Ok, here’s the plan.

Using gmail, I labeled and archived the 250 messages in my inbox.

Now, I’ve done this in the past, but due to my inability to properly categorize from one email session to the next, I ended up with 72 different labels and never followed up on any. Not useful.

This time, I created only 4 labels:

* Assigned
* To Do
* To Review
* To Respond

[Note: Since originally writing this, I added two more labels: * To Blog and * Next Team Call]

Okay, confession time … there were about 175 emails that I thought I labeled “To Review” and “To Do”, that actually got archived without a label. That means, they were effectively deleted because they are now all mixed in with the 32,562 messages in the all mail folder. Well, that’s one way to clear the inbox. Oops. If you are waiting on me for something, please re-send.

Now, as soon as I open my inbox my intention is to immediately go through and label and archive all the items in my inbox in one of the folders.

Then, if I still have time I can actually start to do, review, respond or assign.  Only problem … I may never get the time to actually do, review, respond, blog or assign because the labeling and archiving takes so long.

But, the good news?  I have achieved Inbox Zero and I feel free.

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How Did I Make the Business Leap?

Many of you have asked me how I went from being a lawyer to now living my dream and fulfilling my passion of coaching other lawyers, about to release my first book, and the founder of a national company that will change the way lawyers think and the way the American public thinks about lawyers.

It was not an easy journey, that’s for sure.

I spent a lot of money and wasted a lot of time hiring a number of false prophets, experts, consultants … you name it, each one promised me they could teach me the secret of taking my business and my life to the next level.

I was deep in debt and at the end of my rope when I decided I’d make one last investment and attend Dan Kennedy’s Renegade Millionaire Retreat in August of 2006. I’d been studying Dan for about 18 months and implementing what I was learning. I knew I was on the brink of something big. I had several projects about 85% done, but none of them making me any $$ yet. I was literally on the edge.

When I walked into the hotel where the Retreat was held, I walked through the doors and said a little prayer. “God” I said “my future is in your hands. I trust that you’ve brought me here to lead me to the resources I need to take my business to the next level. I am open to meeting just the right people and opportunities to make this dream a reality. Show me the way.”

I made it a point to talk to and connect with as many people as I could at the event. I didn’t hesitate to go up to each person I met with an attitude of excited expectation at what they might be able to teach me. I assumed that I could learn something incredible from every person there.

During one of the sessions, it hit me that all of the successful people were in one or more Mastermind groups and I decided I had to get into one of Dan’s Mastermind Groups – and that would be the secret to my success.

I approached Bill (Dan’s partner) during a break (knowing that there would be no chance of getting into Dan’s group) and told him I had to get into his group. He said “sorry, Alexis, there’s no room. And, you can’t even buy your way in. I have no time to work with you one on one and there’s no amount of money you can throw at this either. Sorry.”

I was momentarily discouraged, but I’d heard time and time again to never let “no” be a barrier. Something told me Bill had the answers I needed. So, I didn’t walk away dejected as I might have in the past. I asked him if he had any other ideas for me.

He looked up and looked around and spotted a man standing nearby. He pointed at him and said “go talk to him. Maybe he can help you.” The man he pointed to was, Dave Dee, another long-time student of Dan Kennedy’s.

Dave had learned from Dan how to build his own business as a magician from struggling to doing over 57 shows in one month. Burned out on magic, he began to coach other magicians on how to use the same strategies in their owns business and discovered his real passion … helping other business owners turn their passion into profits.

When Bill introduced me to Dave, Dave had just helped Charlie Martin, a high end cosmetic dentist in Richmond, VA, rake in a million dollars filling a high-end coaching program for dentists.

While it didn’t seem that way at first, the Universe was smiling on me when Bill turned me down.

Within 90 days of meeting Dave, I had gone from several projects 85% complete and deep in debt to banking over $117,000 releasing my very first information product for lawyers and within one year had a thriving coaching program with other lawyers paying $1,500 per month for me to help them be the lawyers they went to law school to be. All my dreams came true.

And as you know, I am now on the verge of leaving my one to one law practice and moving on to the next phase of turning my passion into profits.

Charlie Martin and I both paid big bucks to get Dave’s guidance. And it was well, well, well worth it for both of us.

In fact, we’re both in business partnerships with him to this day. Dan Kennedy, Charlie Martin and Dave are the masterminds behind the breakthrough Dentistry for Diabetics program and Dave has been and continues to be an integral part in the creation of my own Personal Family Lawyer program. He’s also my life partner now. 🙂

I’m telling you all this because if you also want to have the kind of breakthrough success Charlie and I have had, monetize your message and turn your passion into profits with your own coaching business, you do not want to miss the opportunity to get Dave’s guidance yourself for literally pennies.

I’m not quite sure why Dave is doing this, but if you want to build your own coaching business, you’d be nuts to miss it.

Here’s the email he sent me last week about a $39 tele-class he’s hosting on Tuesday – yes, I did say $39. If you want to get on the path that will lead you to sharing your passion with others and getting paid for it, like I am, this is a great place to start.

Here’s the email Dave sent last week:

***********************************************************

I’m going to get right to the point with no fanfare…

On Tuesday, April 22nd at 3:00pm Eastern (12:00pm PT), I am going to be conducting a teleseminar/webcast where I reveal four powerhouse methods for starting your own lucrative, six
figure coaching business.

If you can’t be on the call live, no problem. Right after the call you’ll have access to the MP3 recording of it. (It *is* best for you to be on the call live because you’ll be ask me questions. But, if you can’t, no problem.)

Here’s what you’ll discover:

* Four different ways to start your own coaching program and monetize your message while REALLY helping people – including one method you can get started using TODAY with nothing more than a simple one page website. (One of the methods I’ll share puts an extra $120,000-$200,000 a year in my pocket with minimal time and effort.)

* How to get paid $197 or more a month for coaching without ever having to talk to anyone, unless you want to and then only on your terms … and make a difference in the lives of more people than you ever could one on one.

* How to quickly ramp up your coaching business from basic to elite memberships where you are getting paid $10,000 a year or more from your members … and providing tons of value helping other people make a difference too.

* How to create a 4 week e-coaching program you can launch within 24 hours. (You read that right, you’ll be making dee-nero within one day. I’m going to give you the step by step system for doing so.)

* How to legitimately get into the coaching business, even if you don’t consider yourself expert…and without creating any of your own content.

* A dynamite NEW piece of software that makes running your coaching program an absolute breeze. (Oh, and this software is dirt cheap.)

* The exact step-by-step System for becoming a highly paid coach…even if you’re starting from scratch.

* Plus more.

Let me make something very clear: Although this call is going to be packed with content it’s not going to be a “graduate course” for starting a million dollar coaching program. It WILL however be worth 10x’s the very nominal registration fee. Speaking of that…

The investment to be part of this 60 minute call is $39. I’m not going use some fancy pricing strategy to persuade you to register. Heck, if you have to think about spending less than forty bucks, this is not for you. Either you see the tremendous value or you don’t.

Listen to the call and if you aren’t completely satisfied, I’ll give you your money back. (I’m going to way over-deliver, as I always do, so I’m confident you’ll be thrilled.)

I’ve got 200 telephone lines available for the call and room for another 200 people to listen on the web. I’m not telling you to register now because the call is going to sell out. Odds are, I have plenty of space available.

The reason to register now, is not because you’ll be locked “out.” The reason to register is because you’re interested in making money as a coach.

If that’s you, you can register by going to:

https://davedee.infusionsoft.com/saleform/nifelhnat

Talk to ya on Tuesday,

~Dave Dee, President
DaveDee.com

P.S. As I mentioned, I am going to be answering your questions live, during the call. But, after you register,
you’ll have the opportunity to submit your questions to me before the call as well.

If you want to be a coach or are even considering it, this will be the best thirty-nine bucks you’ll ever spend.

https://davedee.infusionsoft.com/saleform/nifelhnat

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Where Does Customer Service Fit on the Org Chart?

I spent a lot of time tonight creating the FWPI org chart.  Whew, that’s some hard work right there!  I got stuck while trying to figure out where to put customer service – is it a function of sales and marketing or of operations?

My inclination is to put it under sales and marketing, which to me are essentially about helping customers make good decisions and then keeping them happy.  This article seemed to agree with that assessment.  And this one said to throw out the org chart altogether and draw a customer focused map instead.  Jim Novo says lots of customer service issues would never arise if only marketing was more in the loop.

While I was looking for help, I came across a few cool things:

1.  The Microsoft Org Chart: not really useful as a model for my company at this stage, but fun to see how complex it can get in the future

2.  An Org Chart Wiki from Forbes that lets you browse the org charts of lots of companies and even add your own.  So cool.

So, 45 minutes later I’m back to where I started … my gut.  I’m going to put Customer Service within my sales and marketing group and I can always revise later if it turns out to be more operational in nature.

Input welcome!

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