3 Things I Learned Leading A Fundraising Auction

3 Things I Learned Leading A Fundraising Auction

In Portland, school auctions are no joke.  They are big productions and raise lots of money (over $100k for many schools) and the schools depend greatly on the dollars raised.  

And.....they are run by volunteer parents.  

Many schools have this dialed in.  My kids’ school was a little, shall we say, not so dialed in.  

Last June in a moment of weakness, I ended up volunteering to help plan the auction that took place a few weeks ago in April.  Little did I know that I would end up being the chair for it (still not sure how that happened).

Let me set the stage:

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How to Save Time by Asking Better Questions

Have you ever spent hours talking with a potential customer only to realize that you aren’t the right fit for each other?

Crushing. Waste. Of. Time.
For BOTH of you.

I’ve talked with numerous people who feel swamped answering questions / emails / inquiries from people who don’t end up buying their product or service.  Or they get farther down the sales process and a need of the customer comes up and you realize you don’t offer what they want.

Though there will always be a percent that don’t convert to a sale, there are quick and easy ways to increase the number of qualified leads that you are spending time on. (key word: qualified :)

The easiest way to do this is to ask better questions up front.

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What is TRUE Accountability and How It Can Help You

What is TRUE Accountability and How It Can Help You

Accountability is a bit of a buzz word.  I find a lot of people talking about it but not many actually providing it.  

What does it mean? 

I referenced the trusty dictionary and found this: 

The state of being accountable, an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions.

So why do we need this?  As business owners we don't have bosses holding us accountable to getting our job done.  Often, entrepreneurs are looking for other ways of being held accountable for doing what we say we will.

Why do we need this?

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Maybe you don't need a business coach! *Gasp*

Maybe you don't need a business coach! *Gasp*

Do you really need a coach?

This topic feels a little like blasphemy (since I am a coach…) but I’ve been stewing on this lately.  

You don't always need a coach.  

There are crucial times when a coach is incredibly valuable.  But having a coach is no silver bullet and not always the answer.

Here are the types of support that I see most entrepreneurs needing at various times in your business.  

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Key Skill To Become A Better Parent And Better Business Owner

Key Skill To Become A Better Parent And Better Business Owner

Do you like to wing it or plan?

Last week I had a great idea. I was going to take my family to a local holiday event, Zoo Lights, where thousands of visitors attend the zoo to see all the lights and share in the festivities.  

I told my husband the day before what I was thinking (planning ahead right?).  That evening we were running behind, had starving children and arrived to the event later than I had anticipated, only to find the main parking lot full and the overflow parking also full.  

UGH.  We discussed plans B and C, but in reality by the time we got inside the zoo it would have been near bedtime.  We decided to pull the plug, head home and try again another night.

I don’t know about you, but my kids are NOT happy when I change course on a fun event.  So there were meltdowns in the car and I ended up bribing them with a show to soothe their broken hearts.

I started thinking - how could this night have gone better?  It all came down to planning.   I knew planning has helped tremendously in my business but it has taken me a while to embrace it in my personal life. 

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Why You Need A Retirement Day

Why You Need A Retirement Day

On a random Tuesday in November I took a day trip to the Oregon Coast with 3 other entrepreneurs.  

There was no event, no workshop, no other reason than to experience joy, adventure, relaxation and connection.  

It felt AMAZING.  

My friend Yasmin Nguyen takes leaders on Retirement Days and helps them create a practice to incorporate more freedom and joy into their lives on a regular basis. 

Simple in theory. 
Hard in practice. (At least at first.)

I found that I was justifying taking the whole day off by saying ti was for business. I mean Yasmin and I needed to chat biz and collaboration.  Right?!

Why couldn't I just take this day for me with no ulterior motive and be ok with that?  

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Is HELP a Four Letter Word?

Is HELP a Four Letter Word?

I ran into a friend at school drop off the other day.  I love bumping into her and getting the quick update on the business she’s launching. This is always a fun setup when my worlds of parenthood and entrepreneurship collide.  

She expressed some frustrations that were coming up. I knew these were all things to be expected during a startup stage but I also know that when you’re the one in the thick of it the feeling can be very intense.  

After some brief chit chat and empathetic “I get it” and “you’re doing great” I say to her, “Hey, when you’re frustrated and overwhelmed, give me a call.  This shit is hard and you’re not alone.” She smiled, told me how she always appreciates the offer, but she knows I’m busy…..

I realize she doesn’t feel comfortable reaching out.  So I circled back. I want her to know that the offer is made with 100% sincerity.  As a friend, I want to be there for her. Because I’ve felt alone, and I don’t want others to feel that way.  I went a step further and really encouraged her to accept the help that others offer her.  She’s venturing out into a new territory and getting some support from those who’ve been through it can be really helpful.

I’ve been the person who smiles and says thanks and never follows up more times than I can count.  I’ve thought, “they don’t really mean it” or “they’re too busy.” But I’ve learned this novice mistake is a big one.  Most people who make this offer honestly mean it.  

There also seems to be this school of thought that if we can’t do it alone, we are weak, as though we can only champion the person who does it all seemingly on their own and that is the pinnacle of success.  Usually they a) have lots of help behind the curtain or b) are on the brink of a breakdown. (I've also been in both spots here ;) 

Whether it is in the parenting realm or in running our business, we all need help at various times.

Don’t be the person that views this as a four letter word.  

Embrace it. And to those of you who only help others and can’t receive it, you’re in a dangerous place.  Receiving is just as important as giving.   

Since I love having a compelling reason to do things, here are 5 reasons you should accept help.

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Do You Have Realistic Expectations?

September was a crazy month for me.  It blindsided me with it’s neediness.  August was amazing, full of fun and adventure with my family.  My business ran smoothly, I served all my clients well and was just content with it as it was.  

I was excited to shift into fall and start digging into my business, developing some new things and acting on ideas that I had.

And then September arrived and had different plans….

My five year old started kindergarten and the transition has been bumpy.  My older daughter had an easy breezy transition. Of course the writing was on the wall that my son would be different but I didn’t manage to read the memo.

So while he is great during the day (his teacher described him as a dream student), his meltdowns at home are epic.   Little things set him off.  I’ve had to shift my parenting style and learn new techniques to help and support him.  I’m actually reading a parenting book.  No joke, first one I’ve read. I usually go to other trusted parents who read all the good stuff and get the low down from them.  It has been an intense, emotional month.  

The first two weeks were extra tough.  I started realizing that my kids needed me more than I had expected and I also found that emotionally I was pretty tapped out at the end of the day.  

And at first I felt frustrated.  

I have so much to do….
I don’t have time for this…..
I want to work on my business...
We need to go to soccer practice…..

Expectations determine our satisfaction.  

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10 Breakthrough Business Models

10 Breakthrough Business Models

I know - this sounds like a snoozer, but DON’T STOP READING, it really isn’t.  Intentionally choosing what type of business you’re building and growing is incredibly empowering.

Most of us hop into a business and the "model" just happens with little to no thought. Maybe I’m projecting since that was what I did originally. We go to what we know and what seems like a “logical” next step.  But learning and choosing strategically can help you create the business that is the most rewarding personally and financially.  

Whether you're just starting your business or are a seasoned entrepreneur this episode will give you some great tools.  The path of entrepreneurship is winding and often the model that fits us best may change as our lives change (think kids, spouses, moving, etc).  

The ten models we focus on are:

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Making the shift: From Workaholic to Creating Joy In Life

This summer I’ve earned the nickname “Camp Director Dani” from my husband.  As the days grow shorter the sense of urgency to pack in as much fun increases.  How many bodies of water can I find to explore, swim and paddleboard?  

There are berries to pick, concerts in the park and endless family bike rides that Must… Be… Taken… Do NOT waste a drop of that precious sunshine.

I’m exploring my new home in Oregon with the same curiosity and wonder as my children.  With every outing, I fall more in love with this beautiful region.  

This has been a summer like no other. 

The satisfaction of seeing my kids sleeping in the car as we head home from a day out is true parental satisfaction.  Almost makes me feel like I’m winning in this game of parenting. (only for a moment, until they wake up when we arrive home with their second wind.  Ugh)

You may be ready to punch me in the face with all the lovey dovey talk.  These things are the highlight reel. So much good stuff going on. But my reality is that I’m doing these adventures with my kiddos (7, 5 and 2). And that two year old, bless his heart, is giving me a run for my money.  So in addition to the blissful beach play there are tantrums, whining and sibling fights.

But overall I can’t deny that this summer has been pretty stellar.  

The truth is that I feel like I’m making up for lost time

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4 Steps to start Delegating Like a Badass

4 Steps to start Delegating Like a Badass

You will get to a point in your business (if you're not already there) where you physically can't do more work.  More customers want what you’ve got, and you don’t have the bandwidth to deliver! That means you can’t take their money!!! WTF! Emergency!!

Sweetie, sit down.  It’s time for us to have “the talk.”  

You need to stop doing everything yourself and start building a team that can help you take your business to the next level.  I know you’re nervous but we can do this together.  It will only hurt for a minute and you’ll feel so much better after.  There, there.  It's ok. You can do this.  

I talk with people all the time that are have trouble making the leap and bringing on their first person to help.  There are numerous reasons (or excuses) why delegating doesn’t work for you: you’re a perfectionist, you need to be in control, you have trust issues, and so many more.  

You’ll need to talk more to your therapist or life coach to really hash out those items.  You’re not alone, we’ve all got some sort of issue that makes this hard.    

BUT, Even with all that baggage, you can still improve your delegating skills and set yourself up for success to bring people onto your team and take your business to the next level.

If you are not intentional in bringing people into your team and delegating you often set them up to fail.  When they don’t do what you want them to, you fall back into the familiar cycle of "if I want it done right, I should do it myself."

But that is the WORST statement you can make if you want to grow your business.

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6 Abilities to Master to Take your Business to the next level - #1 Simplify

6 Abilities to Master to Take your Business to the next level - #1 Simplify

It sounds like a bit of a buzz word, but it is really important.  Businesses can get complex fast especially when they're growing.  

The best way to run and grow a business is to keep everything in the company as simple as possible.  

Simplify People
How many people need to work on a project and be aware of all the details?  The more people you involve the more complex it gets.  If you are clear on who is responsible for what it is much simpler.  Simplifying communication is much harder to do than making it complex.  

Simplify Products
When we have complex offerings we create complex businesses.  Can you explain what you offer quickly?  How fast can your target market understand what you do/offer?  Simplicity is powerful when connecting with your customers.

Simplify Messaging
When products and offerings are complex or too varied it is difficult to have clear and simple messaging and marketing.  Do you ever go to a restaurant that has a 10 page menu, plus daily and seasonal special? It can make the ordering process overwhelming and most likely you will walk away not knowing all that they offer.  

Of when you talk to a "marketing consultant"  and they offer copy writing, social media strategy, website design, PR help, oh and..... Yes - it is tough to know what they do and what they're good at when they do it all.  Most likely each person would have their own take on what services that person offers.   

Why I love to simplify.....

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Stillness In The Crazy

Stillness In The Crazy

Many of you know that I owned a coffee roaster, but most don't realized where I lived. 

I lived in Northern Wisconsin in a rural town on Lake Superior. The town I lived in had 2,000 people in it and my business was 15 miles away in a town of 600.

There wasn't a stop light in the ENTIRE COUNTY.

There was so much stillness all around me. 

I felt like I was going crazy. I started to crave living somewhere else. 

The funny thing is I had a lot of guilt wrapped up in that.

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My Top 3 Takeaways from my personal retreat and seeing Tony Robbins Live!

Last week I went on a 2 day personal retreat to the coast.  The next day I got to see Tony Robbins live!  Whew!  A week of reflection and inspriation.

Now to turn it all into action!

Here are my top three takeaways (plus a bonus one I couldn't leave out :) 

Thanks for watching!  

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