Friday, February 13, 2009

Is your PRIMARY focus IPA’s (Income Producing Activities)?

Ok let’s face it, we all have a million things we feel we need to do or want to do in a day, week month, etc! Fact is though when our days are consumed by all the enormous list of things we are focused on getting done, the “true money maker” often times gets ignored or put on the back burner! Hey I know I am guilty because my 6 most important things to do list is about two pages long!! Not to mention that there have been days where I spent hours in the forums chatting, looking and admiring others new product posts and getting nothing done that as a result of doing it will produce income (that is the definition of IPA’s). I am talking tangible products or if you offer a service than something one can read, see or reach the service you offer through!

I have shared on this blog before that I used to be a Mary Kay consultant and we had this AWESOME IPA’s weekly tracking sheet for consultants! I don't know how to attach excel files to blogger so I can't show you the sample file here but feel free to ask me and I will send it to you! We had to write out your goals for the week and the IPA’s you would do to make sure you reached those goals. Boy did my director stay on my back but it taught me discipline and how to focus on what a TRUE IPA was at least for Mary Kay!

I created my own variation of the MK worksheet and will gladly share it as well as well. How this can be used will be different for each person. Of course you also need to have a determined number of hours each week that you are committed to your business. For me it is 20 hours a week. I wrote what my weekly goals were and what I would do to reach those goals. I make sure that I spend a minimal amount of time doing NON IPA activities like administrative tasks i.e. inventory, abundance chatting whether it be on the phone or on forums, etc.

I also break down my goals/focus as follows:

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT consistent even remotely at following through on this thus the reason I felt compelled to write about it! I am working towards it though!

  1. No more than 2.5 a week on NON IPA activities i.e. Admin work, inventory control, etc (sometimes this means either paying someone else to do these tasks or doing it during your non business hours)
  2. No more than 4.0 hours a week on advertising and marketing ( I consider these to be indirect IPA’s as they promote the opportunity to create income as a result of doing them). Examples of advertising and marketing for me is blogging, EC Drops
  3. Spend remaining 13.5 hours a week on direct IPA’s i.e. making jewelry, photographing, editing and posting items.

Using this worksheet I first wrote out what my IPA’s were for the week. An example of some IPA’s (both indirect and direct) in my current venue are:

1. Make 2 jewelry pieces a day (10 a week)

2. Blog on Unique Commodities Blog (6 days a week)

3. Blog on Indiscriminate musings blog (4 days a week)

4. Do 200 EC drops 5 days a week (1000 drops a week)

5. Photograph jewelry and edit photos

6. Post jewelry items made to Crobbies

7. Post jewelry items made to Etsy

8. Post jewelry items made to Bonanzle

At the end of the week, I evaluate my business! Did my activities support my goals for the week? Why or why not? Reassess , tweak where necessary and keep it moving!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grateful for Thorns!

Long but well worth the read.......

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a 'minor' automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son.

She grieved over their loss. Troubles had multiplied.

Her husband's company 'threatened' to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What's worse, Sandra's friend suggested that Sandra's grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. 'She has no idea what I'm feeling,' thought Sandra with a shudder 'Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?' she wondered. 'For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life, but took her Child's'?'

'Good afternoon, can I help you?' Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. 'I . . . I need an arrangement,' stammered Sandra.

'For Thanksgiving? I'm convinced that flowers tell stories, ' she continued.

'Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving?'

'Not exactly!' Sandra blurted out. 'In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.' Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, 'I have the perfect arrangement for you.'

Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer, 'Hi, Barbara, let me get your order.' She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.

'Do you want these in a box?' asked the clerk. Sandra watched - was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed. 'Yes, please,' Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. 'You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,' she said, as she gently tapped her chest.

Sandra stammered, 'Ah, that lady just left with . . . Uh . . . She left with no flowers!'

'That's right,' said the clerk. 'I cut off the flowers. That's the 'Special'.

I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today,' explained the clerk. 'She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father to cancer; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband,' continued the clerk. 'For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel.' 'So what did you do?' asked Sandra.

'I learned to be thankful for thorns,' answered the clerk quietly. 'I've always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, 'Why? Why me?!' It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the 'flowers' of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort!

You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.'

Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. 'I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God.'

Just then someone else walked in the shop.

'Hey, Phil!' the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man.

'My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement . . Twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!' laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

'Those are for your wife?' asked Sandra incredulously. 'Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?'

'Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced,' Phil replied. 'After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from 'thorny' times. That was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific 'problem' and give thanks for what that problem taught us.'

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, 'I highly recommend the Special!'

'I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life' Sandra said to the clerk.

'It's all too . . fresh.'

'Well,' the clerk replied carefully, 'my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns.'

Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment.

'I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,' she managed to choke out.

'I hoped you would,' said the clerk gently. 'I'll have them ready in a minute.'

'Thank you. What do I owe you?'

'Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart The first year's arrangement is always on me.'

The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. 'I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first.'

It read:

'My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.'

Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns.

God Bless all of you. Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.

'Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God.'

We often try to fix problems with WD-40 and Duct tape. God did it with nails.

I'm the world's worst at not thanking God for my thorns, only for the roses. My prayer today is to start being thankful for the thorns I know they will help me grow. I pray this for you also.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I will be back

I know I have not written on this blog lately and for sure not consistently! My life has been crazy but I am quickly regrouping and will return very soon! So my faithful follower...please hang in there!