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Multi Level Marketing

Multi-level Marketing as an onCOREventure

Lately, I have begun to work more closely with Multi-Level marketing (MLM) people through my membership in BNI. I have to admit, I have previously held a negative bias about MLM.  This perspective is rooted in an experience with one MLM in particular which directly affected a friendship. These friends unfortunately “drank the Kool Aide” and started pushing their conversion story to how they, and of course we by extension, could become wealthy beyond belief. At the time, I attributed this change in demeanor to the MLM scheme, but I’ve come to realize that it was my friend’s specific behavior to which I was reacting, not the MLM theory in general. Understanding this difference has removed the bad taste I once held for what can be a very profitable business tool.

For people in the second half of life, who are looking for an interesting way to spend their time and are passionate about something that could be woven into an MLM business, this type of structure is ideal. Many folks are often already set up for success in these types of ventures as they typically already have a network of friends and business associates from which to draw participation. Additionally, this network often shares similar core values and interests that play well with the MLM company marketing strategy for the products in which they are interested., If this sounds like you – then a company built around MLM is well worth considering.

Recently I watched a video in which the distributor of an MLM’s products discussed how people working for corporations are in fact working in a pyramid scheme. If that is true – why do so many people downplay the opportunities for success in the MLM world as nothing more than a pyramid scheme? I think the answer is simple. They have bought into the “American Dream” of working for forty hours a week for forty years in the hopes that this will allow them to retire comfortably at a reasonable age.  The unfortunate truth, which most of us who are well into the second half of life already know, is that the American Dream is really the American Nightmare. Retirement is simply no longer a safe bet for most people in their forties and fifties.

As indicated in my last blog, I have been working my way through a period of reflection and intense business delivery focus over the last six months, and now am operating in a more focused way on my original goals.  I strive to help people create the life that they were born to live, in the second half of life. My philosophy is counter-cultural to the American dream of retirement as being focused on recreation, travel, intrusion into adult children’s lives, and perhaps a part time retirement job befitting of the slow moving, overweight image of the typical American.

My view of retirement rather is one of moving away from the corporate world with its endless struggle to fit in to the mold of the company by keeping your head down and your mouth shut. I believe we need to “fit out” (be individuals-not drones) by keeping our heads up and truly listening to what other people need …and by trying to help them if we can.  I believe that our network of friends and family is the real measure of our net worth. We need the support of others, and the best way of getting to this is by investing in relationships before you need to cash them in.

So, if you are interested in promoting things like weight loss challenges and products that provide alternative paths to healing and beauty, such as natural cosmetics, or if you are drawn to nutrition products or handmade jewelry, etc., there are many MLM companies out there. If you are passionate about one, or more, of them, check them out. There is a list on Wikipedia that can get you started.

As a member in a BNI chapter and a professional coach, I work with many people in MLM. I’ve learned that there are different personas and core values that are very successful with the structure and processes for each company. If you wonder whether you have the core values and skills necessary to be successful in an MLM environment, we offer an assessment which will help you understand how you personally would do best in approaching a network marketing system in order to be successful. Check out your results here.

Leveraging these results, we will then have a short conversation which will give you either the confidence to go forward with a network marketing company, or perhaps the incentive to look at something else. I have found that the core energies you use to figure out if something is a good fit are often times the exact energies that stop you from implementing the processes that the MLM company wants you to pursue in order to be successful. This can be tricky to navigate and we are here to help you with this process.

Multi-Level Marketing is not for everyone, but many people earn thousands of dollars a month in this fashion. Many more, unfortunately, earn nothing. Understanding what you want, and at your core who you are, can make the all the difference.
How about you?  Are you interested in Multi-Level Marketing? Do you feel your interests, core values, and capabilities are in line with MLM principles? We’d love to hear your MLM story or work with you to take the next step in discovering your path to success in the second half of life.

Launching Your Second Career as the New Retirement

“You can do it alone. But it’s going to be so much harder.”

It sounds somewhat harsh, but author Jennifer Egan hits the nail on the head. Launching your second career venture is not a solo practice, even if you are a solopreuneur. It takes a village to launch your efforts. There is a side benefit to this village: people live longer when they have the support of others, and often the work relationships from corporate go away after you leave the corporate matrix. Creating a work-life balance after leaving your day job requires some creativity as you build your “new retirement” life.

In all probability, launching your venture will require skills that you do not have. When we work for large organizations, there are other people that can be influenced to do what is needed. When you go out on your own, you either have to buy that expertise, develop it yourself, or barter for it.

How do you decide what to do and what to buy? How much of your time are you willing to invest in learning new skills? How much enjoyment do you get from doing so?

When I started this practice, I had the luxury of not needing to live on the proceeds from the business. I am now cash flow-positive from the practice and am in the position to see a clear path towards where I want to go. As I have been mentioning in the last few blogs, it comes down to a question of balance.

I am the type of person that works well in the undefined state of startups. One of my quirks, though, is that I need to understand the framework for the environment, the questions, as well as the tools. Some of those tools are software, some are techniques, some are assessment in the practice area of our business.

In my youth, I rebelled against traditional education. I am, to a large degree, self-taught. Lately, I have been amazed that I have chosen the formal education path over self-teaching more and more frequently. I have taken two formal coach training programs – one in ICF Core Competency Coaching from iPEC, and one in nutrition theory and wellness coaching from IIN. When it came time to learning Quickbooks, I opted for a community college class. To learn how the subconscious can be reprogrammed I took two PSYCH-K training courses.

I have done this because I realized in my first PSYCH-K course that I am an experiential learner. Looking back at high school and college, I aced any class that I showed up at. Simply being exposed to the information allowed me to learn it and master it. So self-teaching for me was dependent on being in an environment where I could learn empirically.

In corporate America, I had ample opportunity to learn from those around me in this way. Self-teaching worked because I had a feedback mechanism where I could collaborate with and observe other people around me. When I left that environment, I no longer had that support or that energy.

There are a variety of ways to get support from others. Peer networking groups, like ICF-PIttsburgh for coaches, are a logical place to go for that. Community College courses, university certificate or advanced degree programs, seminars, distance learning courses are all ways for connecting in person or virtually. Meetup groups are another place to find support. In Pittsburgh, there is one for co-locators where people support one another in looking for a supportive fashion.

It is easier to make decisions on what to make, versus what to buy when you have others to bounce ideas off of. It is also easier to find them when you get out of your home office and talk to others. One of the best decisions that I made was to join a BNI chapter, because it forced me to show up once a week bright and early at seven in the morning,  and it forced me to look for people to refer to others, otherwise known as referral marketing. That got me to network in other places. I, like most people, will work harder for others than I will for myself.

That being said, in launching your effort, I have found that having some type of support system is best. I have also found that others often want to help you succeed, and that people will often help you. You simply have to show up and ask.

Inflammation – It’s the Environment, Stupid!

What do cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s all have in common? Besides being words that we hope never come out of our doctors’ mouths, there’s something else; inflammation. Our bodies environment is hot, fat and crowded. Makes you cringe a little, doesn’t it? The standard American diet has been cited by the six doctors that we quoted three weeks ago. They all point to inflammation as a common cause of these diseases of the second half of life. When I think about the effects of inflammation, I am drawn to Death Valley.

I began looking at my own body’s environment when I read the book “Wheat Belly“.  Within this journey, I found that as I cut out my consumption of wheat, and then cheese, things dramatically got better. My thinking got clearer, my joint pain lessoned – in places like knees, and fingers, and the like.  Believe it or not, you can survive without those greasy grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, you’ll thrive. As I completed my coursework for IIN, studied scores of diets, internalized all of the work on how our diet can improve our health and either prevent or reverse the diseases listed above, I started to become very smug.  I started to believe that I was eating really well.  Then, I contracted one of those pestering ear infections, and for the last three months have struggled to get back on track, from a health perspective at least.

In the afternoon (or late evening, as I sometimes think of it) of our lives, our toleration for mistakes is lessened over that of our earlier years.  I read the “Honeymoon Effect” and listened to the person that started this journey for me – Bruce Lipton – talk about the effects of stress and cortisol on the environment in our bodies.  I commented on this two weeks ago, and I thought, Fine, I just need to relax a bit, and simple awareness will make all of this angst go away.  To a point it did.  But not completely, and certainly not authentically.

I started to meditate more and slow down, but I was on deadline for a number of things.  I did not really focus on it.  I did not mediate as if my life depended on it.  For those of you that prefer the term “prayer” to “meditation” – feel free to substitute.  I remember when I used the “prayer” term – I would turn things over to God, but then take them back.

Here is the dirty little secret that I rediscovered over the last few months.  Encore Entrepreneur – or Entrepreneur – same thing.  One thing is in common to both.  In 1994, I had the pleasure of listenting to Michael Gerber (the author of the E-Myth) speak about the midset of the typical small business owner.  One day, you wake up and you realize you are working for a tyrant.

It does not matter if you are working fourteen hour days for “the man,” for your own thing, or for your cause.  If you are working fourteen hours and you are not having fun with at least half of it, you are probably building up cortisol, which is making your body hot, and not in the glamorous way. It is inflaming it, and it does not matter what food you are eating – you are going to feel bad, maybe even awful.  If you are working fourteen hours a day but living onCORE and in harmony with yourself, then spending the day in Death Valley might not be all bad.

Plein Aire

I can choose – I could be in the “death valley” of business – wandering around, bitching. My mindset: “Damn, I am in death valley, and life sucks.”

Or, I can grab a camera, since I cannot paint, and get up in the early morning light to enjoy the day, even if that camera is metaphorical.  If you have followed this blog, then you know that I identified this a few weeks ago, and here I am still writing about it. Well I did title that entry – Remedial.  And I guess that I am still remedial.  At the time that I wrote it I thought that I had the answer.  Maybe I did, but I left out a real daily centering every day.

One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Wayne Dwyer, has told the story that he would get frenetic – as I have gotten recently with the challenges of launching a business – being “in the world”, so to speak.  He would question another of my favorite teachers Deepak Chopra, and Deepak’s answer was simply one word – MEDITATE. Wayne would say some thing along the lines of, “But Deepak, don’t you think…” And he would simply say, “MEDITATE!”  For me, the food is one thing, and it is very important, but the real answer is to center myself daily, – so I can be IN the world and not OF it, in the famous words of St. Paul.

 

Show me the money

I have found myself using another line from Jerry McGuire lately: “Help me help you; so why not show me the money this Tuesday morning?”

Tuesday is our day to look at infrastructure to support the launch efforts of your venture. We started speaking to the web environments for mail and a public face, and now we want to get focused on something that most people do not want to talk about – accounting.

The sooner that you put in the tracking system for expenses and income, the sooner you will look at your venture as a business and not a hobby. We have used Quicken for the last eighteen years to track our personal expenses, but for some reason resisted setting up Quickbooks for the business, putting it off for tomorrow.

Eventually, though, it became time to pay the piper, and the inevitable happened. We started becoming successful enough that manual and Excel tracking of the business became too cumbersome. Over the last three days, I have spent twelve hours a day entering history and balancing accounts for our small business in Quickbooks after taking a class in it last month. Not fun, but very doable.

Many second career ventures are self funded to start, and start as part-time gigs, so it is easy to bypass setting up the formal business plan and accounting systems. We follow the lean start up mentality of establishing the minimum viable product and testing and refining direction, which means that these are guidelines and not formal documents that have been used to get financing from the SBA or a bank.

But eventually, it is time to act. I do not regret following the approach that we have followed so far. However, we are far enough into our launch to be certain that this is a long term business, and to determine exactly what systems and processes we need to manage that business. The tweak that I would follow is to look at the online systems that are available to help you establish affordable systems for accounting and contact management even in the guideline phase of development.

Last week, in an American Express newsletter, we found the mention of a Paypal offering that allows new businesses to use cloud services for the items that every small business needs: invoice management and collection and forecasting, accounting, contact management and newsletter creation and distribution.

The services are free for thirty days and cost ninety dollars a month after that. It is possible to buy packages and run them on your PC that do the same thing, at a higher cost. Also, there are other cloud-based services that do these things together. However, if you are using or considering using Paypal for payment processing, these might make sense.

So while I do not regret the approach that we used, if these tools were available when we started this venture early last year, I would have considered it. In fact, even though we are down the path we have chosen, I am going to review this toolkit even if it just for my clients information going forward.

We will report on it after our review, but for now, you might want to check it out yourself.

 

Pivot

When creating onCOREventures, we decided to follow the teachings of Eric Reis describes in “The Lean Start-up”.  Our understanding of that teaching is to build the minimum viable product, test it in the market, and based on that test, decide to either pivot or preserver.

We work with people in the second half of life to define their on core venture. We thought this meant helping those people to build a business. After all, there are 12 million so-called encore entrepreneurs out there according to a Met Life study from last fall. In working with our target market however, we have found that the second half of life it is really all about wellness.  People over fifty are succumbing to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes in record numbers.  While life expectancy is increasing and focusing on the potential of living to 100 is something to consider, we firmly believe in the importance of the quality of the lives we live, regardless of how long that life might last.

My own training is through iPEC and I am very happy with the core energy coaching training that I have received.  I have now decided to enroll in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition program as an added educational component. Though much of the IIN techniques overlap my existing skills, I believe in the principals and goals of the organization. Joshua Rosenthal, IIN founder, teaches the concept of “Primary Foods,” comprised of Career, Relationships, Spirituality and Exercise. We have already embraced these as core components in our methods of Discovery and Launch of onCOREventures regardless of individual focus or goal.  We have always talked about ventures as a way to describe whatever it is that we do in the second half of life, but somehow I always felt that most of these would be some sort of “business” launch.

It turns out now, having walked that walk, not so much.

I am not the same person that I was in the first half of life…and I thank God for that.  I am no longer driven by the same motivators. Family and Spirituality are not “options” for me now. They are present and relevant every day, as my body reminds me how fragile life can be. So too, concepts of wellness, food, and exercise are suddenly infinitely more important.  Career, while still somewhat interesting, has become a distant fourth place. In this, I suspect that I am not alone.  My current clients seem to be telling me the same thing, we are still the people were in some ways, yet with new priorities, we do things differently now.

There seems to be an almost childlike appreciation for the possibility of doing things differently.  More clients seem to start out saying “I never am able to…..” and then stop to correct themselves, finishing with “I have not been able to ….yet.” As a coach, to see this transition on a global scale is nothing short of fascinating.

So, our focus is still on helping our clients to launch the life that they were born to live, but that is probably not going to involve the steps to “go to market” with a business. We see ourselves helping clients to understand and change the way that they show up, how are they are living in relationships, what are they eating, how are they exercising, how they are centering ourselves, and finally how are they are approaching their “career”.  In the second half of life, that career might be watching grandchildren so that adult children’s lives are better, or creating a writers group for other old new writers, or helping to bring farm products to the table of local homes, or teaching people to cook foods that do not come out of the freezer or boxes or cans. These are the new non-traditional, yet so very traditional from a larger perspective, ways of being for older generations that have the wisdom, the patience, and the interest to spend their time giving back to and helping others as their way of contributing to society and caring for themselves.

What does that mean to what we offer to our clients? Nothing really.  I had coffee the other day with a colleague in the Pittsburgh Coaches Association, David Goldman, who is a leadership coach. He described coaching as like the Olympic sport curling, coaches prepare the path for our clients to follow.  David helped me to realize that he and I are in two different but related spaces. He helps businesses that are started, some of my clients might create business that he can then help.  I met him thinking that we were friendly competitors, each in the same supportive professional association, yet left realizing that we were also referral partners in two different spaces.

I help people figure out their path for the second half of life. In a way, this is what I have always done uniquely well, helping to define the undefined. In the first half of my life, I did this through the creation of technology, then in the creation of photography, and now I do this through helping my clients to create the life they were born to live. AT LAST!

Search Engine Optimization

Say “What’s your SEO strategy?” to most new business owners and the invariable response is best likened to a deer caught in the path of an oncoming truck’s headlights. Many people think they can get away with a one-time SEO activity, when an on-going strategy is what is really required.

To set the stage for this topic, I wil describe my initial foray into the world of SEO.  Before you begin to even think about SEO, you need to be clear on several items. You must clearly define “who” your ideal customer is. This involves understanding their profile, what they do, their age, hobbies, likes and dislikes. Try to build personas for them. Have conversations with real people like them. Once you have a clear picture of your ideal client, figure out how much of that market is on Facebook. You can use the Facebook Ad tool to find out how many people are in a city, state, zip code, or country. This tool provides an instant updated view of the Facebook community and if you think that Facebook is only being used by kids…well then you have been sleeping for the last three years. Likewise if you think that Linked-in is where the real business gets done and not Facebook…think again.  I believe that people engage with Facebook and their “egos” engage with Linked In. Personally I would rather engage with as much of my clients or potential clients as possible and not just their “business self”.

Still asking why Facebook?  Because you can create a Facebook page for your business for free. No web-hosting and no web designer required. The process is free and only takes a few minutes to set (once you have your strategy defined that is). You can share the new page with your existing Facebook friends and you can leverage the site to find information to push to your target market using Twitter or Google Alerts. I will re-iterate…all of this is FREE. You can become the expert on what your target market is looking for and republish that information to them in just minutes each day.

What does this have to do with SEO you ask? Your free Facebook page is exposed to the Internet search engines, just like a website.  The words that you use to talk about the interesting things you find are picked up by Search Engines. This is why knowing what SEO words resonate with your target market is so important.

To figure out what keywords work for you, employ the Google Adword tool to find out what SEO terms are used by your target customer. Start using those words in your posts and reposts.  Remember to stay on brand, be authentic, and have some fun. Watch your weekly site stats to see how many people you are reaching.

It took six months of work to get my website to the point that it is now and it is still only a working prototype with almost no traffic.  I promoted my Facebook page one week ago and more people have interacted with it in the last week than have been to my website in the last thirty days.  My website traffic was tenfold higher the day I promoted the Facebook page thanks to traffic driven to the home page link on FaceBook.

Why is this the case? In my research on Encore Entrepreneurs using Adwords, I found that no one is looking for that information.   According to one survey, there are 12 million potential Encore Entrepreneurs out there; but if you search for the term in Adwords you get just 36 monthly searches for that term as opposed to 7.4 million searches for “small business”.  So, while people might intend to grow up to be an EE someday, they are not currently looking for that in their search engine.

More interestingly, I work with people to look at retirement in a revolutionary way. One would think that boomers would be all over that…NOT! Zero! Nada! However, “Retirement New” generated 135,000 monthly searches.  It is not about what we call something, it is what the market calls it that matters.  Back in the 90’s, in a product management role, I struggled with defining the market. Now it is at our fingertips, we simply have to use the tools we are given.  To play with Adwords just go to Google,  sign in with your ID and set up a free account, then get started.

So, before you hire someone to tell you what you need for SEO, do some research. Remember, the best thing about all of this is that the Google and Facebook tools are free.  It costs you nothing and there is no commitment. You can always hire someone later and armed with this knowledge, you’ll make better decision on who to hire and what to expect. This brief blog post is certainly not meant to be a complete description of what you need to do but it is designed to point you in the right direction. If you want more information, consider attending our upcoming seminar for much more details, tips, tricks and planning tools. If you take just one thing away today, let it be this: SEO is a process that must become part of your overall marketing toolkit. It is not a one-off project that can be completed and then forgotten. As a business owner it is critical for you to understand and be involved in the ongoing process.

We will be doing a seminar series on the three pillars of marketing for today’s star-ups including the topics of Internet Marketing, Social Media and Referral Networking monthly. To get on our newsletter list and stay informed about upcoming events, send an email request.  Next week we will talk about referral marketing for your start-up business.  If all this is old hat to you and you are still stuck drop me an email, I am networked to a number of SEO experts and Internet Marketing Mavens that will be happy to help you out.

Thinking from the End

It might seem counter-intuitive, but when creating a start-up it is important to ask – what is my exit strategy?  Why?  Because without an exit strategy it is easy to never build value into your business venture.  Many people running small businesses complain that they wake up in the morning realizing that they are working for a tyrant – themselves.

Having an exit strategy allows the small business owner to always be aware of the value of his or her business.  It turns the business into an asset – making it possible to sell the business in the future.  This is especially true for Encore Entrepreneurs – who will want to sell their business when they finally are ready for the fourth stage of life – probably in their eighties as they finally “kick back” and relax and reprocess their long and fulfilling life as they prepare for their final transition.  Without this exit strategy planned into their business planning from the start – a late life business owner could really feel trapped in their business and regret their decision to start it as they toil day after day.

At onCOREventures in our Authentic Launch Process we validate business approaches at the first step of planning them. We work with our cleints to build in the exit from the beginning.  To do this, our Validation phase starts with Backroom Management Services “8 P’s” process in which we look at Purpose, Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Production, People and Profit. We then look at the underlying product assumptions and they are expanded into a fully operating company model including the definition of an exit plan for the business – how is value built with this venture launch?

We build this model from the assumptions on how the business will operate BEFORE we create all of the detailed business plans, launch plans and product creation steps.  Having this baseline look at how the business will function in terms that new business owners can understand allows us to alway come back to this baseline as we learn more and more about the business as we continue with the validation phase of our program.

However you decide to launch your afternoon of life business – make sure you know how you are getting out of it.  For a complimentary call to review your business ideas please contact me.

 

Did we make a difference?

I have been researching the third stage of life, what I call Life 3.0 for some time now. A trend which I am finding consistent is that the “reporting” on what “boomers” are doing with their lives is centered around “senior stuff.” This gives the impression that we are solely focused on creating systems, products, and programs to take care of frail, brittle, or fat and incapacitated dithering idiots as they play out an endless loop of remembering the past and float uselessly through their remaining days on Earth.  Things like elder care shopping and enrichment services which will benefit our even older “greatest generation” outliers still hanging around and will serve to sustain us if our children (assuming we had any) don’t step up to the plate to care for us in our late years.

Do we really think that the generation that invented the VCR, cell phones, the personal computer, video games, the iPOD, the iPAD, the SUV, etc. is ready, willing, or able to go to go gently into that good night? Do we have no choice now but to become all caregiving – all the time?

I have written about the Shift, sharing that most of us spent Life 2.0 doing what we must do for our children, and that it is a natural and necessary thing to Shift.  But what if we had always lived a life OnCore? Some of us, like Bob Dylan who just awarded the Medal of Freedom, have never strayed far from the path we set together in our youth. He, and a handful of others, have served as a constant reminder, a voice in our heads whispering the truth while we move sedated through the Matrix. Perhaps we have not truly lived in the full expression of these inner values but many at least have remained true to ourselves in the way in which we approached or attempted to shape our reality. Do we then fully Shift? As I’m now learning – maybe not.

To explain this concept further – I am a product guy. My first major product was the creation of an IT organization and the resulting infrastructure of a retailer. My second stint was a series of software products, my third was the creation of an Internet Based product, my fourth was my photography. Now I am creating a product around coaching and the services needed to support Encore Entrepreneurs in creating their own ventures.

Have I really shifted? Absolutely yes in how I access my core values and apply my innate strengths.  But maybe not so much in what I do with them.  Frankly, I have always been operating in my sweet spot. If not, I would never have been as successful as I was.  So what about boomers that have, like me, been very successful in Life 2.0? What are they going to do now when they are focused on giving back to society?

For example let’s take a software engineer who created video games for a living in Life 2.0. What will she do when she thinks about helping people live a better life?  How will she remain relevant to her world today?  Remember the late sixties? Everything had to be “relevant.”  Life has always been, and forever will be, about relevance. So what is relevant to our engineer today as she ages?  I don’t know, but she certainly does and what she creates when combines her gift of software engineering with her passion and purpose, will be amazing and gratifying to both her and to society. Something tells me it will be outside the limited scope of those currently reporting on the state of the elder union.

Why will this happen?  Because our engineer is retaining her relevancy. She is keeping active. She is remaining connected to her environment. She has changed her diet and has taken up meditation. She does not trust that the establishment would take care of her – she  never believed the “older” generation.  Growing up in the fifties and early sixties, she was told to hide under her school desk in the event of a nuclear attack. As if that would seriously help the situation! She, like most of us, never believed that that generation would be leaving the word in any kind of stability. Hell, she never thought she would be alive at thirty, figuring the planet would be in a nuclear winter by that time. Suddenly finding herself in her thirties, surprised to be still alive, she started a family and entered the matrix in order to provide for them. Now, the children are grown and time is ripe for leaving the matrix. It’s time to stop cooking meals for the kids and start crafting tools for a new reality.

It’s my role to help our engineer, and others like her, define that new product or venture, take it to market and help solve the real problems we are finding in our world. Like Jim Kirk says at the end of Start Trek Generations “Did we do itDid we make a difference?”  We are a generation not interested in being in the Nexus. Hell no we won’t go….into retirement!

Encore Entrepreneurs

According to a Met Life study, 12 million Americans between the ages of 44 and 70 want to start either small businesses or non-profits, create jobs, and meet community needs. Are you one of these folks?

Michael Gerber talked years ago about the myths surrounding entrepreneurs in his book “E-Myth”.  Though Michael and the E-Myth folks are now headed in separate directions, both work to address how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur and consequently, why you really need their services to start and sustain a viable business.  Their processes include following structured procedures and utilizing low cost coaches and consultants to “help” you be successful.  The rationale is that most entrepreneurs are not able to maintain focus on what is important to their business and need to learn how to be more disciplined.  We fully agree that these points are important.

At OnCore Ventures we are laser focused on the needs of the entrepreneur who is either building an ‘encore venture” or wants to mold an existing effort into being aligned and on-core to who they are. To this end, we have created programs secure in our belief that everything you need to know about how to create your venture already exists deep inside you.  We believe the progress and procedure are very important.  However, we also know that how you “show up” is a key indicator and of paramount importance to your success.

If you currently are, or want to someday become, an Encore Entrepreneur, we suggest you look at the two key factors of energy resonance and engagement level. Both are measured in the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) assessment. Designed by Bruce Schneider, author of “Energy Leadership”, the ELI identifies your E-Factor. Schneider teaches that there are seven distinct levels of energy resonance, which can also be understood as awareness or consciousness. For potential entrepreneurs, this individually unique E-Factor, is a key-determining indicator of your potential for success. Understanding your unique “normal operating” energy level, what triggers a decrease in this level, and how to raise it up again, is critical to your ability to successfully manifest a venture that is OnCore for you.

Bruce started a small business coaching practice, then built a coach training program, finally crafting an assessment based primarily on increasing the engagement and leadership of people in business.  His book deals specifically with the challenges of running a small business. The new class of encore entrepreneurs are all looking to create small businesses that “meet community needs” which Bruce believes indicates a relatively high level of resonating energy. This is an example of just one of the many components that the E-factor can confirm the presence of in your own make-up. As an Encore Entrepreneur, you are most likely interested in leveraging your new venture to give back to the community. If you are already engaged in a business, you probably designed it with that same pay-it-forward mentality.

Michael Gerber’s newest book on “Awakening the Entrepreneur Within” indicates that the single most important factor contributing to success in the design of an entrepreneurial venture is the focus on the good to others as opposed to self-fulfillment.  This would seem to be a qualification for Encore Entrepreneurs in providing services to the community. Likewise Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote shares that “The chances are you are going to fail, at least financially. But if you say ‘yes, even if my product just changes the world a little bit,  it is still the best way I can spend the next 10 years’, then go and be an entrepreneur.” At OnCore Ventures we are in the business of making sure you do not fail so that you can continue to make a difference in the world.

I have seen this in my own life. Five years ago, I decided to build my encore business around my photographic art creation. Now – I am a very good photographer however, there are many very good photographers. In retrospect that venture was predicated on two failed ideas. The first is that my focus was selfish. I was operating under a “what’s in it for me” type attitude. To me it seemed it was finally my turn to do what I wanted to do – without consideration of other factors. The other problem is more core to my being. I was raised with two limiting beliefs that stem unintentionally from my parents laudable desire to install their own values and assumptions within me. They, and so I, believed that “only girls could be artists” and that “there is no money in art”.  As a boy and wanting money, these limiting beliefs seriously impacted my ability to create and sell art as a profession. It was not that I was unable to succeed, it was that my often unconscious beliefs prohibited me from allowing my own success.

If I had taken the ELI back in 2007 before starting that venture, I would have uncovered, and thereby removed the power from, those beliefs and attitudes. Going through the ELI process, allowed me to become aware of those energy blocks and consequently they no longer control me. So today I can be an artist if I choose. But, as is often the way of life, now that I know more about myself, I understand that I would rather help 12 million encore entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes I made, understand their true potential, and successfully create their own “OnCore Venture.”

I want to help these folks for a very specific reason. I believe that the world needs these community-focused businesses. Statistics say that 80% of small businesses fail in the first five years. This roughly translates to the idea that 10 of the 12 million potential entrepreneurs will fail unless they uncover the genesis of their limiting beliefs, the gremlins that say they are not good enough, the source of their energy blocks that prohibit their success when they launch their encore venture.

So – if you are already, or think you want to be, an “Encore Entrepreneur” contact me to take the ELI today and find out your E-factor. As a certified professional coach who is also certified to perform the ELI assessment, I am solely focused on helping people launch successful OnCore Ventures.  I will assist you in understanding if your current make-up is conducive to being a successful Encore Entrepreneur, and if you’re not quite there yet, we can work together to make the necessary changes.

The MetLife study indicates that of the 12 million potential entrepenuers, most were afraid to begin because they knew that they might fail. The ELI costs less than $500 and will not only help identify potential failure points, but also guide you in the right direction to avoid these traps from the start. You will learn more about yourself in the one hour debrief than you have ever learned in an hour of your time before. The ELI tells you what blocks you have to overcome and gives you the tools to get over those blocks and back to building your business.

The ELI helps you decide if you are in the 20% that will succeed – and if you are – you will go and do just that.  But if you are in the 80% that would fail without some additional work, the ELI process will show you exactly what you need to do in order to succeed. The world needs the 12 million encore entrepreneurs that are ready to give back to society. The world needs you. As baby and near baby boomers, we have been blessed beyond belief with gifts that the world has given to us. Why not find out how you can give back to the world while meeting your encore entrepreneurial desire and creating your own OnCore Venture?

“The Matrix”

This morning, my life partner and I were discussing what the characteristics of the target client base for my company which is On-Core Ventures is.  The company originated with a goal to assist the Twelve million reported Encore Entrepreneurs (EE’s) who are looking to create a business that is “On-Core.”

When starting my search for these EE’s, I began in our church since the demographics is pretty bifurcated comprised of about 50% boomers and 50% young families with children.  The boomers listened politely to my initial effort to discuss life after the shift.  During my presentation, there was much head bobbing, which might mean they agree with what you are saying, or might instead indicate they are simply agreeable to anything that is said.

A few years ago my son bought me a copy of the DVD (you remember DVD’s right?) for the Matrix. At the time, he was in his teens at the time and, I realize now, I was still in the Matrix. In talking with some of the boomers over the last few months – I think they too are still in the Matrix.  By unexpected contrast, when talking with the young adults of our congregation, they are overall much less likely to be in the Matrix.  They, like myself and many other, have experienced “the shift”, they have woken up to consciousness.

I think that today, many millennials – my son and his lovely wife among them – have rejected the matrix.  Interestingly, many of baby boomers initially rejected the Matrix as well, but as the sixties gave way to the seventies, with the ending of the Vietnam war , the women’s movement stalled, and the leaders of the sixties were killed, it was just easier to take the Blue pill and pretend that everything was as it should be.  Life became a “Cabaret” kind of lunacy where the girls are beautiful, the BMW’s are beautiful, the VCR’s are beautiful, the Walkmen are beautiful. Today, the Plasma 3-D TV’s are beautiful, the iPods are beautiful, the iPhones are beautiful, the iPads’ are beautiful. Facebook is beautiful.

But increasingly, we begin to ask “Are they?” Are these gadgets, devices, social structures, and rules we have designed for ourselves serving our true needs? Are we even aware of what those needs are at this point? Millennials are now redefining the idea of “being” and everything that goes along with it. As they wake up, many boomers will follow suit. There is however, a fissure in the human community at this point, on one side are those who are awake, or will be and on the other, those that steadfastly cling to the status quo, to Facebook, to the Matrix. What they fail to realize is that at some point soon, the very structure of that Matrix will begin to disintegrate as so many lights move off its grid.

So what is an On-Core Venture and who creates one?  It is a venture created by someone who is off the matrix. They are ready to embrace the shift from a life led asleep to an awakened state of being. They can be twenty, fifty or seventy.  They are creating natural, socially responsible enterprises.  They are living in balance.

We must each now ask ourselves “How awake am I? “ and “In what areas of my life am I still asleep?” In asking myself these questions, I turned to the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) Assessment.

According to iPEC (International Professional Excellence in Coaching) “the ELI assessment and the debrief of the results is like holding a mirror up to your perceptions, attitude, behaviors and overall leadership capabilities.”

Through this process, I finally understood how I was reacting to life. It became clear to me that I was, in fact, not acting but instead reacting to situations in my life. A long time ago in a self-recovery program for “victims” of being raised in a dysfunctional family (and what family is not dysfunctional on some level?), I encountered the statement “I am an actor not a reactor.”  At the time, I struggled with that statement but recently have been able to integrate its truth.– I am now an actor – I choose how I am going to act.  The ELI assessment helped me see how I was “re-acting” and gave me the tools to change how I “show up” or act in triggering situations. This knowledge has been invaluable to me in leading an awakened life.

To find our more about how to take the ELI, please visit On-Core Ventures.