Be the Weird Person

Sometimes I find myself in a conversation with a college student who is stuck trying to figure out what to major in...and that's when I basically say: "You know, there are many more career choices in the world for you to take advantage of that are not offered at your school."

We have more choices than ever in this world we live in and if we can't find the choice we want, we can create it!  And yet so many people are still trying to fit themselves in boxes that don't exist and don't work.

This makes me think of a few "facts of life" that I don't buy into:

  • The concept of retiring.  I haven't done any research into this, but I'm pretty sure retirement is a product of the industrial career scene.  Did farmers retire?  We have the opportunity now to make our work a more natural, less stressful part of life again because of the leveraging power of the internet.  We have the opportunity to create the kind of work we'd want to do until we die.  Why do something for 40 years that you can't wait to quit?  In fact, the world doesn't allow you to do the same thing for 40 years straight any more - it's changing too fast for that.
  • The concept of getting a degree that is going to give you a job for the rest of your life.  Colleges cannot predict what the world is going to look like and need next week, let alone next year.  I was listening to an interview where the entrepreneur being interviewed said that if you graduated with a degree in marketing, then you need to throw everything you know out of the window - it's already irrelevant today.  Colleges can't make the same promises to you that they used to, so don't believe everything you hear, but college can be a great experience if you play it smart - play by a different set of rules: 
1) Realize that your degree is just a step - you're going to have to keep learning and studying the field after you graduate and with even greater focus and intensity and maybe even let go of some of the things you've learned in college. 
2) Just because everyone else is pulling out loans like it's normal does not mean that it's right.  Do everything you can to not graduate with a load of debt.  Listen to Dave Ramsey on this. 
3) Don't wait till you have a degree or certificate before you give YOURSELF the permission to create something valuable for the world and make some money at it!  "You are not your resume.  You are your work." - Seth Godin
4) You don't have to wait for someone to give you a job before you can get experience in your field.  Are you studying graphic design?  Set up a website of your own while in college and show what you can do.  Take on clients.  Contribute to a magazine for free.  No one wants to hire you?  Offer to work for free and be excellent at what you do.  At best - they'll like you and hire you.  At worst - you'll get experience.  The people who GIVE of themselves the most are the ones who RECEIVE the most opportunities.

  • The concept of living in debt.  While I'm sure I may have debt to deal with at one point or another in my life, I will never accept being in debt as a way of life - even though the world operates supposedly "in favor" of the person who carries debt around.  There's a true story of a couple who worked in a bakery and they made enough money to live comfortably, but they decided to save all they could and live like poor people instead.  They even slept on bags of flour instead of buying a bed.  Eventually, the owner of the bakery lost his business and the couple bought him out.  Now they are millionaires...because they were willing to look like poor people in the beginning.  Young people are starting out their lives thinking that the next steps are to get the fancy car with the monthly payment, get the cookie-cutter house with the 30 year mortgage, get the yearly vacation, get the credit cards, get the new clothes, get the furniture on loans...not to mention they are still paying off tens of thousands of dollars of student loans.  These people look good on the outside, but on the inside, they have less money than the person begging for a dollar because their debt is out of control.  This is normal.  Decide not to be normal and be weird instead. 
Be the weird person who works like crazy to pay off school before graduation.  Be the weird person who starts their own business on the side.  Be the weird person who only buys what he has cash for.  Be the weird person who - if he does acquire debt - attacks debt and eliminates it immediately.  Be the weird person who would rather look poor for the present and BE financially free.  Be the weird person who makes more money than he needs so that he can focus on helping other people.  Be the weird person who works hard and not long.  Be the weird person who does what no one else is willing to do so he can live like no one else is able to live.

App Review: How I use Any.DO

I like using the productivity app because I can use it to
categorize the things I want to remember.  
For example:
  • I am planning an OWL Workshop, so as I bump into people I want to invite, I enter their name under a "folder" labeled "OWL WORKSHOP."
  • When I have an idea for a blog post, it goes under the "BLOG IDEAS" folder.
What productivity apps work for you?

How I plan a busy, run-around day

My schedule bounces around between being a nanny, building my network marketing business, running my cleaning company, and keeping up with multiple blogs and projects - including the Secret OWL Society.  And it's not hard.  How so?  Because I don't try to keep anything in my head.
The diagram above is a prettified, simplified picture of how I plan my day when I have MANY PLACES TO BE and MANY THINGS TO DO.  Sometimes a regular planner just doesn't cut it in the visualizing arena - and our brains work better in this kind of mind-mapping way.

How you can do it:

1. Write down all the places you need to be for the day in consecutive circles: "First I'll be at home, then work, then the bank..."

2.  Next to each circle, write down the times that you are planning to be at each location.

3. Then, next to each relevant circle/location, write down what you are going to do.

Why this works:
  • You've pinned down everything in your schedule to a time and and place.  Research shows that when we link an activity to a time that we are going to get it done and a place that we are going to do it, we dramatically increase the likelihood of getting that thing done.  Example: At 9am, I am going to sit down at Java Coffee Shop and call 5 of my customers.
  • You get your whole day out of your head and onto paper so that when you are sitting down in a coffee shop meeting with Jane or John at 8am in the morning until 8:45am, you KNOW that that is exactly what you need to be doing at that time and place.
  • You pin down your To Do List.  When you write a "to do list" the traditional way, you are actually choosing a time and location for each task, but you are doing so on the fly - forcing your brain to go through this energy-draining scenario: "Ok, what's next on the list?...uh...I can't do that now, I gotta wait till I get home to my computer...ok, I can mail my stuff...oh wait, I won't get to the post office in time because first I gotta be at so-and-so's house at 4...shoot I forgot the folder for her...why didn't I take care of that this morning?!"  Now you know why writing your to do list the old fashioned way doesn't always work out too well. ;)

I hope you try this technique and give your brain and yourself a break as well as a productivity boost at the same time. :)

Coming soon to my Etsy Store:

Plan Your Week with Intention

Click here to get this printable.
Achieving goals is a combination of making things happen and letting things happen.  Sometimes we don't know how we're going to accomplish something simply because we haven't yet come across the right resources, answers, connections, or whatever we need to know what the next step looks like.  That's why it's vital to at least have an idea of the end result you want - even if it's just a baby result like, "Get Facebook plug-in installed on my blog."

Setting your intention is like setting a low-pressure goal - you're just identifying exactly what you want to see happen and instead of hashing out step 1, step 2, step 3, etc, you're just putting the goal out there because you know that the means to achieve it will crop up soon enough.

Free Printable Calendars

I just found a cool variety of free printable calender's at this pretty neat blog called Pretty Unpretentious.  Drop by and check it out.  :)

I just printed out a June calender for me even though we are half way through the month already.  We don't have days to waste!

And look at this cool one with washi tape!  It's from A Creative Mint.

About my newest blog

I had an epiphany this morning.  I wanted to start a blog that shows the behind the scenes activity on what I do day to day as an entrepreneur.  This is something I've wanted for myself - to take a peek at the nitty-gritty, day to day journey of entrepreneurs that I look up to and try to model myself after.

What does designing a successful life look like?  I hope this blog answers that question for people on the most basic, helpful level possible.  And no doubt it'll give me an extra push to be more productive as well. ;)

Click the image above and dive in!

Less to Organize

Organizing can take the place of spending time on things more important - like business and relationships - because when you're organizing a lot of stuff, you feel like you're getting something done...but you're kidding yourself.

Having less to organize means you're ready to take care of business more quickly.  

If you can't get the same work done sitting in a coffee shop somewhere any where in the world as you can get done sitting at your home office, then how free of an entrepreneur are you?

An Owlish Find

When you commit to an idea for something, you start seeing resources for it and examples of it every where.  I stumbled on My Olive Box in the Make it Yourself magazine and I didn't even have to wait till I saw the website to know that I want to sign up.

It's a subscription for "Hand-picked paper & lifestyle products delivered monthly to your door."

Check them out at

This Girl Means Business Issue 11 is Live!

Click on the magazine and start reading!

Treat your network like gold

One of the most important lessons I've learned about what makes life work (especially if you are an entrepreneur), is the importance of making contacts and staying in touch.

But what does doing that look like in day-to-day reality? 

I found that just collecting people's business cards was not helping me build relationships with my new contacts.  I knew I needed to find a solution because the one thing that I kept hearing super successful business people say is that their list of contacts was their most valuable asset.

And then I found "base."  

In short, I love this program/app because when I enter the info on a contact I can...

1) Tag the contact under a label I create: OWL member, Simply Clean client, France Contact, etc.  This means that by clicking on a tag, all the contacts with that specific tab pop up.  This is helpful when I want to do something like send all my OWL members an email to the next workshop.

2) Make a note for the contact.  I do this mainly to make sure I remember how I know/met the person.  

3) Schedule an action for the contact.  I love this because when the day comes that I need to do something regarding a specific contact, I get an email reminding me of what I planned to do.

I learned from master networker Harvey MacKay that we should be adding people to our list of contacts every day and finding a creative way to stay in touch.  The first step to doing this is setting yourself up so that at the end of the day or week, you can take all those scribbled notes and business cards and input them into a rolodex that helps you manage your business and life in a productive, efficient way.

Designing a successful life comes down to the relationships you build with the people that become a part of your network.  So treat those names, phone numbers, and emails like gold.

Just help one

When I started the OWL blog a couple years ago, it was initially to help one person.  I had been doing my weekly goal setting with a friend and she really wanted a friend of hers to join us, but this other person was never able to come to our little meetings.  So I thought, "I'll put what we learn on a blog so that people who cannot physically join us can still be a part of what we're doing and learning!"  

And now...because I decided that I would help one person, this project came to life.

And that's the secret to starting and sticking with anything.  And I've heard Seth Godin say this too in an interview.  If we're not willing to help one person, just ONE person, then how we say we want to help, serve, reach hundreds or thousands?
"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." - Dale Carnegie

Blogging tips
Real Time Analytics