Lisa Robbin Young


That's my official goodbye kiss to the first quarter of the year.

How'd it go for you? If you've been through my Dreamblazing program, you've probably already reviewed your milestones and re-assessed your targets for this quarter. Good on ya!

Did some of your goals fall off the radar, or get completely kicked to the curb (mine did!)? Are you on track (or ahead of schedule) for others?

In a recent post, I shared that by the end of January, nearly 35% of Americans have kissed their resolutions goodbye. This far into the year, some entrepreneurs have thrown their plans out the window entirely. Where do you stand?

One of the biggest pieces of advice I consistently offer to my clients is to focus your goals and objectives around YOU: things you can control, measure, or impact. It's challenging to set and attain goals that rely on someone else. But if you're driving toward DUMB goals, chances are good you'll have less flying out the window over the course of your year.

In the spirit of transparency, I thought it might be helpful to share with you my Q1 milestones and report on my results. I use the approach I developed in my own Dreamblazing program and define my milestones based on my 5 Key Areas of Success (Faith, Family, Fitness, Fortune, and Freedom).

Shall we?

Quarter One Recap


This year, my faith goal revolves around my self-worth and how I see myself in the world. To that end, I've built a strategic plan to reach out to and connect with people I admire. One such connection has led to my nomination for the 2015 Rulebreaker awards! I also have been working to strengthen connections with friends and colleagues in my existing circle. My mastermind groups, my accountability partner, and my closest friends have all been instrumental in helping me navigate Q1 with grace, peace, and ease.

I'd say I'm on track and doing better than anticipated in this arena.


My definition of family is probably more loose than some, since my blood relations aren't as plentiful as they once were. Because of that, I've been creating my own family, as it were, by making new peer connections. This is kind of a double-dip from my "Faith" goal, but it's also more about new people, versus cultivating the relationships I already have.

The first quarter of 2015 saw some big and unplanned changes in our home. My oldest, now 18, has passed his road test and is now driving (God help us all). He's had his own ups and downs over the past few months, but seems to be stabilizing with some part-time work and finishing up his schooling. This is a huge relief for me, as I am beyond ready to turn over the role of "Worried Mom" to some other deserving woman with teenagers.

The end of March also marked my youngest's 9th birthday - which means we've got all the birthdays on lock for the year. *wipes brow* Whew! But he's been having an up and down semester at school. So we've been navigating some emotional issues for him on that front.


When family stress increases, my emotional eating trigger kicks in, and it takes even more focus and commitment to stay on track. Needless to say, my already ambitious goal of dropping 16 pounds got revised when I was sick for the entire month of February. That's NEVER happened to me before, and dealing with "feeling behind" in my projects only fueled the emotional eating fire. While I didn't hit my revised 8 pound goal, I DID manage to hone in on a couple of trouble foods (gluten, dairy, and soy). Once I got clear, and started steering myself away from them (harder than you might think) I found myself edging closer to that goal. So for this quarter, I'm sticking with my goal of another 8 pounds off by July.

My mental fitness goal for the year is to attend one learning conference. That did not apply to this quarter, since the conference I want to attend isn't until later in the year. Not one to stagnate, however, this quarter saw me doing the research for a new book I'm working on, and participating in a few community groups on Facebook. I've been learning a lot and looking forward to sharing even more during my free monthly webinars.


I'm known for setting rather lofty income goals (though, I'm very prudent with my income projections). Due in part to a month-long illness, but also because of a shift in priorities, my Q1 income fell WAY short of my milestone goal. With the shift in priorities, I was not caught by surprise. In fact, the only reason I didn't revise my milestone was because I wanted to see how close I could get anyway.

Not. Even. Close.

The good news is that every transaction was profitable. Using the Profit First approach, I was able to keep everything on the positive side of the ledger - actually with better results than I did this same time last year. My quarterly profit distribution was also higher than the last quarter of 2014, which was a nice surprise, since it felt like I did less business in this quarter. I made a point to find ease in my business this quarter, which is partly why it felt like I was working less. I also got the delayed payments from Amazon for my book re-launch last November/December, which contributed to the increase in income without added effort. Yay leverage!

What else? I launched an entirely new business development for creative entrepreneurs, and started the process of re-designing my direct sales training program for a late spring launch. I also re-vamped my coaching offerings to make them more accessible and meaningful. With two other projects and a book in the works, I'm fairly confident that this quarter's shortfall will be recovered in the coming months. // Lyric from Styx's Show Me The Way. #300songsFreedom

My favorite thing about this Key Area of Success is that it means so many different things to different people. For some, it's the ability to come and go as you please, or the financial freedom to travel, send your kid to college, or whatever. For me, Freedom is about being able to show up fully as myself (warts, sparkles, and all) and being proud of how I'm showing up in the world - as both a business coach and a musician. I'm proud to say I've been booked for numerous (PAID) private events this year, and my client list is growing. WOO HOO!

I started 2015 with a goal of finishing my album. The 300 songs project began as a means of honing my skills and getting back on track. Now that we're about 100 songs in, I'm ready to compile a dozen or so of the best tracks and share it with the world in a more finalized and formal package. The hard part right now is just picking the tracks (I'm open to suggestions). Des has already done some incredible work on the keyboard parts, so now it's just about me measuring up vocally and creating a package people feel good about investing in. I'm on track here - maybe even ahead of schedule, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say about a project I've been working on for so long.

Because this goal is nearing completion, I've shifted my focus to planning a possible relocation. Me and the fam are taking a recon trip to Nashville to scout the area, connect with some colleagues, and see what's what. If it looks good, my goal is to be moved by July. If not, we'll stay put until we have more clarity. This is the shift in focus I mentioned earlier - and it's drawn a bit of my personal resources (time, energy, focus) this quarter. With the recon trip upon us, I'll have less resources committed to this project during this quarter, and more in Q3 if we decide to make the move.


It's not always rainbows, sunshine, and Uni-Kitties around here.

There's work - lots of it. Not everything goes according to plan, but that's not what plans are for. I think it was Eisenhower who said "in preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." While I don't necessarily think of business as a battle, I couldn't agree more about the need for planning - even if things don't go according to plan.

There's also fun -a good bit of it. We took a trip to Illinois last month and had a blast at the Lego Discovery Center (that's my 9 year old hangin' with Lego Einstein). We've also traveled a bit around the state, and enjoyed many evenings out with friends and family. In addition to our upcoming recon trip to Nashville, we've got a bunch of other activities in the works for the year.

I don't share this report to brag, but rather to show you exactly how I've built my business (and my annual plan) around what matters most to me. By using the 5 Key Areas of Success and my Dreamblazing program I get CRYSTAL clear on what really matters to me and then do my daily prioritizing with The PEACE System to make a strategic plan and move closer to those goals.

Moving closer to what really matters to you... novel concept, eh? (tweet this)

What matters to you?

This is just one way of building a business around what really matters to you. It's the way that works for me. I've used it for more than five years now, and it's the first thing I've ever managed to stick with! Many of my clients have found use in it as well - but I admit it's not right for everyone. Most planners are too rigid for me. I needed more flexibility to work with my creative moods and the typical unexpected happenings that come along with having kids. I needed to develop a framework - like a jungle gym - that I could "swing from" and use in a way that worked for me and what was going on in my life and work on any given day.

How do you plan and prioritize your year? What do you do when your plan goes off the rails? How do you course correct? What are the tools you absolutely love? Share your ideas in the comments!



I don't know a single entrepreneur that didn't start their business with some type of do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. Most of us begin with more time than money, and it makes sense to capitalize on that resource. In fact, I tell would-be clients all the time that the less money you have, the more you need to rely on "other resources" - friends, colleagues, connections, skill-sets, and other means of getting the job done without cash. In the direct sales world, I see a LOT of new consultants relying on family and friends to keep their business afloat (if that's your problem, you can fix it with a little Direct Sales 101).

For other entrepreneurs we often get a little too good at doing everything ourselves, and that creates a problem.

The crossover point...

relax2That's the point where income and time are roughly equivalent. It's not generally a lingering point, because responsibilities typically rise in correlation to our income. I'm not sure I agree with Upamanyu Chatterjee when he said, "the more money you have, the more hassles," but you get the idea. When things are roughly equivalent, we have to get ruthlessly honest about where we're investing (or spending) our time and money. Eventually, though, things ease up and we once again have either more time or more money.

Once we have more money than time, it makes sense to start liberating our time with some of our money. Yet, in the last couple of years, I've noticed that people are killing themselves (some quite literally) trying to do too much. I've mentioned Jon Morrow's story before, but his is not an uncommon tale. When the financial meltdown started rippling through my client's lives, I saw many folks tightening belts and even going dark to "ride out" the economic storm. Yet, history tells us that the companies that fare best are the ones that keep showing up and keep sharing their message even during hard times.

So how can you tell if DIY is still the way to go? There are several questions that bear exploring:

1. Is your business really viable?

You've probably heard the old saw "everyone's a genius in a bull market" - right? Essentially, anyone with a website could slap up a paypal link and sell their stuff like hotcakes during the earliest days of this century. There were info product "gurus" hawking their schlock for $997 - and it was a pdf copy of a 3rd generation photocopy of a 75 page "report" that was poorly edited, and an MP3 of said guru reading the PDF aloud (I'm not joking). There might have been a few gems in there, but you had to dig through so much crap that it almost wasn't worth your time. The prevailing logic at the time was that if one gem could turn your business around, then who cares if it looks like crap? That was the advent of the "fail fast and fail often/good is good enough" mentality that swept the internet.

The problem was that it wasn't even good, let alone good enough. Stuff like that doesn't pass muster anymore. The bar continues to rise. Videos I filmed three years ago don't measure up to the new HD footage I can shoot with my webcam (my WEBCAM, people!). If there's more sizzle than steak, word gets out, and people stop buying. So if you've got inferior offers, it's no wonder your business is killing you. Maybe you need to invest in a team that will turn your offer into something people actually want to buy - or invest in a few beta testers to get feedback before you launch. Either get help or get out of the offering.

I truly believe you can make a living doing what you love (and in many cases a VERY GOOD living). If a grown-ass man can make money on youtube unboxing and talking about Transformers or doing video game walk-throughs, then I have no doubt in my mind there's an audience for whatever you love doing. But you can't offer crap or people won't keep showing up.

2. Is your business profitable?

When responsibilities rise to meet income, many entrepreneurs forget about profit until the end of the year. They see profit as an event (income minus expenses, right? WRONG.) They just keep watching the dollar bills roll in... until they stop rolling in. Then they look at their business, start cutting costs, and scrambling to "stay afloat" - when they're already sunk.

You need a profit plan, and you need to follow that plan during the feast and the inevitable famine. Business, like so many things, is cyclical. If you're overspending when money is abundant, you'll be in the hole faster than Alice and the White Rabbit once the money dries up.

Look at more than just your income and outgo. Consider your long-term growth plans. No business can continue to grow indefinitely. Tastes change, markets change, and entrepreneurs have to be willing to pivot, shift, and serve their markets in meaningful ways. A profitable business today may not be profitable in future years (Blockbuster Video, anyone?), and a smart business owner keeps pace with the changes. If that takes up too much of your time, then a coach, an accountant, or another financial professional can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your business.

3. Is your business sustainable?

This is where it all comes down. You can work like a dog and have a profitable business, but have no life to speak of. Likewise, if you're constantly "re-investing" into the company, then you're not creating something sustainable. You're blue-balling your business (yes, I said it) - stringing it along and keeping it from really performing.

I had a client that owned a screen-printing company. The company was recognized for doing great work and the employees liked working there. My client was an investor, he didn't work in the business. His good friend was the owner, and wasn't particularly responsible with the income. So my client had stepped in as an "investor" to make sure payroll would be met on a consistent basis. Year after year my client plowed money into the company to keep it afloat, but when we looked at the books, the company wasn't sustaining itself. It wasn't profitable, but he didn't mind plowing the money into the company because it kept his friends in jobs. I told him he was blue-balling the company and that they needed to sit down and get real about their revenue plan. I told him he needed to have this conversation with his friend sooner, rather than later, because the company wasn't really a business!

He told me he didn't have time to have that conversation because he was busy with his own job (where all the "investment " money was coming from). Plus, he didn't want to "get into it" with his buddy. So the company hobbled along for a few more years before his buddy finally bailed on the business. Now, he's got a solid business manager in there running things. Hopefully, he'll be able to turn the ship around and create a profitable, sustainable business.

You can pump all your time or all your money back into your venture, but that doesn't mean you have a business. It's certainly not sustainable.  If you can't walk away from your business to practice some self-care, or take some time to "just be" then something's amiss.

If your business can't run for a time without you, then you're the problem, not the solution. (Tweet this)

It's time to get real.

Hire someone to look at the numbers and give you some ruthless honesty. Give yourself permission to get support in creating or delivering your offering. Maybe you're lousy at writing sales copy - get a copywriter. Maybe your training style doesn't resonate with your team, hire a pro. Don't force yourself to be everything to your company, or your company can't survive without you. The day you get sick  (or worse) is the day the company goes under. That's not a profitable sustainable business. That's just crazypants.

How have you set yourself up for success? What are you doing to ensure that you're not the bottleneck in your business? Share what's working for you in the comments below so we can all learn from one another.

At this point in the new year, more than 25% of Americans have already given up on our New Year's resolutions -that is, if we even made them in the first place. By the end of the month, that number climbs to nearly 35% of Americans (more resolution-related stats here).

Some folks (and businesses) are just getting started.  I'm still seeing  people offering courses on setting up your budget and/or income plan for 2015... that don't start until February!

I hate to break it to you, but you can't get a "jump start" on 2015 if the year is already rolling along!

One of the common problems I see for entrepreneurs stems from income or revenue planning. In fact, if your business is new (less than 5 years old, or making a market transition in the past 2 years), it's not always easy to predict where the money's going to come from in your business.

For many entrepreneurs, the first couple of years feel like throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what will stick. You make offers, do some research, hone your product or service, make more offers, and see who bites. You keep what sells, and table the rest. Sometimes you resurrect that stuff, and sometimes it's gone forever. In my own business, I've had a resurgence of interest in products that I wasn't actively promoting. I had essentially tabled these offerings, so I didn't include them in my revenue planning for this year.

Big mistake. If you've got an offering available, it should always be included in your revenue plan - even if you don't sell many of them during the year.

That got me to thinking about other mistakes I've seen when it comes to planning out your income, so I figured I'd conjure a post to help save you from making the same mistakes in your business.

Mistake #1: Confusing your budget with your income plan

Your budget and your income plan are not the same thing. Because a lot of creative types feel hemmed in by the word "budget" it's become common for coaches and trainers to use a different word (abundance plan, income plan, spending plan, etc.).  A budget tells you how you project you'll spend/invest the money you earn. The income plan tells you how you project you'll earn the money in the first place.

I remember one of my early years in business, I created a budget with roughly $50,000 in line item expenses. I had no income plan. Sure enough, about two months into the year, I was pulling my hair out because the income wasn't keeping up with the expenses. I had no idea HOW I was going to earn the money, I had just put down the income of my dreams with no real plan of attack on how to make that income happen. In short order, I quickly reduced my "budget" to align with the realities of the income of my business.

Budgets are often wishful thinking. Income planning is where the rubber meets the road. If you can't figure out how to earn the income, you shouldn't be creating a budget to spend money you don't have.

Mistake #2: Planning that just "covers" the budget

A direct sales client of mine was struggling to get ahead of the curve in her business. She had come to me with an income plan that included very tight margins and little "wiggle room" in case something happened.

Of course, something happened, and her husband was unable to work for an extended period of time. She was panicking about how to make ends meet. After she took a breath, we looked at where she could leverage her existing offers, find better clients and increase her average ticket sale. Then, I illustrated the need to plan for more than just "the minimums" because there's always something for which you can't possibly plan.

Rates go up and "life happens" - yet time and again I see entrepreneurs build a budget and project income based on that budget, without any realistic expectations around the "what if" scenarios of business. What if your current supplier dries up? What if your web host goes out of business or raises their rates in order to stay in business? Most companies give you a 30-day lead time on rate increases, which means you could get hit at the worst possible time of the year if you're not prepared.

Mistake #3: Relying too much on a single income source

One of my previous clients relied heavily each year on the income from one particular offering. Last year, they found themselves scrambling for most of the year to make up for the lost income when they had fewer enrollments than they budgeted for. It wasn't really "lost" income, though, because they never had it to lose! They had put too much reliance on a single source of income. It came back to bite them when they didn't have a plan in place to generate more income with some of their other offerings.

If this is your first year in business, then it makes sense to focus on one thing, get really good at it, and sell the heck out of it. But once you've been working with clients, listening to customers (you are listening to them, right?), and doing your research, you'll see other offers that you can provide to some if not all of your market. Facebook started as a connecting point for college grads (of particular schools), and only after they got good at that did they expand. Now, they've got Instagram, partnered with Google for advertising, and have their fingers in a bunch of pies. That doesn't mean you have to offer auto parts and jewelry (like Murrays Discount Auto Stores used to). If you're seeing an opening to serve your clients (and you are looking, right?), then it's more than likely you'll have more than one source of income over the years.

What if what you're doing today becomes illegal tomorrow? How can you shift and remain profitable?

This year's VAT regulations for international buyers created a firestorm of resistance, but it still went through. And international vendors of digital goods have to deal with the fallout - at a price.  If all your eggs are in one basket and that basket is locked down, you're not in business anymore. On the other hand, if you've got more than one source of income, you'll stand a better chance of weathering the storm (I'm moving my "digital only" products to a platform that handles the VAT for me so I don't have to deal with it).

Mistake #4: Not planning for professional development or support

Technically, this could be construed as a budget item, but the reality is that I see a lot of entrepreneurs planning to make all kinds of money, without any kind of support behind it - whether that's a coach, learning a new skill set, or some other type of professional development. Your budget needs to include these items and so does your income plan. As you scale, costs change. You may hire a VA to handle things that you used to do yourself. If you're planning on earning more than six figured, you can pretty much guarantee that you'll need some kind of support. Your income plan needs to cover the costs of that support. Don't assume that you'll be able to cover it with the growth of the business, because, as I've already said "life happens" and you may find yourself in need before the cash-flow comes in to support it. Which brings me to mistake #5.

Mistake #5: Not planning for savings (or your own salary)

I can't tell you how many entrepreneurs I've talked to that tell me they made "six figures" in the last year - only to find out the company may have taken in six figures, but they didn't pay themselves a salary.

Say what? 

That means that not only did YOU not make six figures, but the company probably didn't either! There's a difference between income and profit. And no, your salary is not profit. If you're not paying yourself, then you're lying to yourself about the actual profitability (and viability) of your business.

You can bet that Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, and Oprah don't work for free. They have large businesses and each draw a salary that's part of the company expenses. Profit is money that's not allocated to covering expenses. Most businesses erroneously think profit is what's left over after covering expenses. I'll show you why that's wrong in a minute. Regardless, you need to be sure that your income plan is built to cover a salary and savings for emergencies.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey reminds us that it's not a question of if, but when emergencies will happen. The printer dies, the laptop gets dropped, the external hard drive crashes... and those are just the minor emergencies. If your income plan (and yes, budget) doesn't include a line-item for savings, you'll find yourself scrambling. What if your tax bill's higher than you budgeted? That's where savings can be a blessing.

Mistake #6: No profit plan

Regardless of what you sell - or how much of it gets sold - it's imperative that you have a profit plan. If you sell even 20 cents worth of products or services this year, you need a plan in place to ensure that your company derives a profit.

Okay, twenty cents might be a little ridiculous, but maybe not.

Mike Michalowicz, author of "Profit First" says that profit needs to be a habit - not an event - in your business. Instead of making profit an afterthought (profit = income - expenses, like most businesses expect), Mike says pay your business first and set aside a portion of your income so that you always have profit in the business. I recently led a webcast to explain the Profit First approach and help you get a handle on making sure your business is always profitable.

Whether or not you come to the webinar, it's important to see profit with fresh eyes. You don't have to build your business on the "leftovers" - which, if you're anything like most entrepreneurs I know, there aren't many leftovers to begin with. Instead, you can make an intentional step toward building a solid profit plan - and income plan (and budget) - that's built realistically around what you need to accomplish in the next 12 months (and beyond).

What mistakes have you made?

I'd love to hear what mistakes you've made in your budgeting/income planning process. What did you learn and how did you recover? Let's learn from one another in the comments!

As I hear clients, colleagues, and friends sharing their goals for 2015, there's a chorus being repeated over and over:

"This year is the year I FINALLY break __ figures!"

I've heard it so many times that it makes me dizzy and sad to think about the number of folks who continue to miss the mark on this particular goal each year. When I ask why they haven't hit their goal yet, I hear lots of "reasons" - but ultimately, those reasons all mask the truth of why they really haven't hit their big income goal - whatever it is.

First a warning: "Big income goal" is relative. Like dream shame,  the fact that you have a goal means it's big. For you, it might be 10 figures, or 6, or 5, or being able to finally quit the day job. The number doesn't matter. The principles are the same regardless of the number of zeroes at the end of the figure.

Why is it that most entrepreneurs that dream of making "mucho dinero" don't hit their big income goal? Here are a few reasons I've encountered (both on my own journey, as well as with my clients): (more…)



"Brave" was the theme for 2012 and in 2013, I chose to "Inspire".

This year was about "Divine Alignment" - and there was a lot of re-alignment happening.

Every year for half a decade now, I've intentionally chosen a "theme" and a "theme song" to set the tone for my year - both personally and professionally. As a personality-based brand, it's important to choose something that reflects both pieces of the puzzle. So much of what I do overlaps, connects, and is even interwoven throughout my life and work. It makes sense, then, to craft something that has meaning in both arenas.

Here's a summary look at my 5 Key Areas for 2014:


Enjoying a cuppa at Urban Oasis B & B in Atlanta

For me, faith is where my core beliefs and values intersect. The values in focus this year were freedom, space, contribution, creation, and joy. That meant doing more of what I love and reaching more of my right people. Trips to Atlanta, Minnesota, New York, Vegas, and Arizona had me re-connecting with bunches of people that mean the world to me - and connecting with a few new friends as well. Talk about JOY! And I've got a car again, so there's some more space and freedom opening up for me. I did a LOT of connecting this year, including more work with Des (and the incomparable Damn Whippersnappers) - and TWO online shows.

I was also pleased to be able to work with my friend and coach Teresa Romain in her year-long program. The folks in that group are always so inspiring, and I'm lucky to now count many of them as friends. My Faith cup runneth over this year, to be sure.

"It's my life. It's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever." - It's My Life


My oldest and his lovely lady

My oldest not only managed to turn 18 this year, but fell in love and moved out. As a mom, there's still a bunch of emotional baggage I carry about that, but as a coach, I recognize that I can't live his life for him, and he's a much happier, better adjusted, more responsible guy now. So in that respect, Mom's happy. He's actually working to get his GED so that he'll graduate ahead of the other kids in his class. Go figure! After years of struggle, it's so nice to see him happy, healthy-ish, and living a life he's proud of.

The rest of the family is drawing closer. Hubby and I are staring down the barrel of our 10th anniversary this year, and we've managed to carve out a bit more time for one another. Our current pastime is "Netflix at Night" - where we carve out an hour or two to cuddle on the couch and watch a series from beginning to end. This year we checked off "Burn Notice" and we're swapping through "Psych", "Criminal Minds", and "Royal Pains" as we speak. We're both a little bummed that "Psych" is kaput. That's some funny stuff for any child of the 80's.

As I say in my book, "sometimes friends are as family". My extended family this year includes two amazing groups of women: my mastermind, and a spiritual group that evolved from Amy Oscar's Soul Caller retreat last year. They've always been an encouraging, uplifting, and often enlightening bunch of ladies. My Mastermind had their first get-away weekend, a book-signing event in Traverse City for Jill, and a jaunt around the lake in Ortonville on Pam's family boat. Our retreat group had a reunion gathering this year that was simply amazing.

It's always a blessing to watch these ladies soar to new heights, and I expect that 2015 will be even bigger for them.


I'm making slow, yet steady progress on the 100 pound weight loss goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I'm about 75% dairy-free now and closer to 95% gluten-free. The challenge comes when I am not home, and don't have a back-up plan - like when I'm mid-flight and ravenous, or when someone brings brownies home the night before grocery day when the cupboard is getting bare. It's forced me to be more proactive about my meals, which is rarely a bad thing. I'm at my lowest weight all year as I roll into the holidays (pray for me).

I've still got a few pounds to go before I hit 20 for the year, and I'm being compassionate with myself. I'm not giving myself carte blanche, though. I'm still doing what I can to be mindful. See all those cookies? The Aunts in my family have an annual tradition: Cookie Day. We made 11 different varieties of cookies. I had a few, but I shipped most of them to my son or my sister in California. Hee hee.

On the mental/emotional side of the Fitness coin, I did a lot of self-education this year. Aside from the work I did with Teresa, I jumped into several online courses, books, and training programs. I also got designated as a Certified Profit First Professional Business Coach (ooh! Fancy!). After being one of the editors for Mike Michalowicz's book by the same name, I recognized that implementing the Profit First approach meant that my business would be guaranteed a profit at the end of the year (it worked!).  I was also able to work with a few clients in this approach, one of whom went from losing $10-12,000 each month to turning a $2-5,000 profit during our time together. Sha-zam! If you're interested in getting your own profit analysis, let me know. It's the first time in my life where I've said "I LOVE RUNNING THE NUMBERS!"


As I mentioned, my business turned a profit this year. Not only that, but I took quarterly profit sharing distributions - a first for my business. In the past, I didn't really feel my profitability - it was more on paper than anything else. This year, it felt empowering to cut myself a profit check at the end of each quarter. I'm really looking forward to next week's check - which should be the biggest of the year.

The shift was almost entirely due to the Profit First approach. It meant scaling back on a few things I didn't want to admit were not serving me. It forced me to be ruthlessly honest with myself about what was working in my business, and what wasn't. Gone were the "big" clients were playing "Moneyball" with my Great Work. I hired a kick-ass VA, updated the website, and got clear on my target market (not necessarily in that order).

I created content - lots of it. There are nearly 100 tunes in the 300 Songs project - many with videos now. My YouTube channel had over 50,000 new views this year, and now sports almost 250 subscribers, which is on pace with my goal for the year. Woo hoo! I also launched my new Dreamblazing program - a strategic planning system for personality-based business owners to meld their personal and professional goals.

"Tomorrow's getting harder make no mistake. Luck ain't even lucky. Got to make your own breaks." - It's My Life

I spoke at a National Conference in Arizona (and had a ball!), taught a workshop in Minnesota, and got to perform in a variety of ways - including work for one of Detroit's biggest rap superstars (no, I did not rap, btw).

But the coolest thing that happened was seeing The Secret Watch hit multiple Amazon best-seller lists in the UK and here in the states. An experiment as part of my annual give-back campaign, it was a thrill to see my name "in lights" next to Tony Robbins and other business luminaries. What was even cooler was seeing all the 5-star reviews. Heartwarming at this time of year.


my 2001 Chevy blazer

I got me a car, yo! I traveled a bit during the first half of the year, but I was still relying on others to get around. By the end of the year, I got my own set of wheels, and I am mobile, baby! When I made the commitment to pay cash for my ride, and NOT have a car payment, I thought it would only take a few months. It took YEARS, but here we are, and it was SO worth the wait.

On Father's Day, me and the fam took a trip to Cleveland so I could audition for The Voice. I learned a LOT about myself on that trip. I was in the audition room with a backup singer who was taking a break from a tour with a big name artist. He forgot his words and tripped over his introduction. I nailed my audition. Neither one of us got a call back, which just goes to show you that it's not about talent as much as it is about casting. So much for "blind" auditions.

"I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd. You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud." - It's My Life

Since this was a value in focus this year, there was a lot of getting myself aligned around the sense of freedom. I did a LOT more of what I enjoy, met some pretty amazing people, and had one of the best years of my life. And I turn 40 in a few days, so that's saying something!

2015 Theme: Determination with Compassion

I've put in a lot of effort over the last few years, tried on a lot of hats, and sorted through a lot of stuff that didn't end up working for me.

The time for all that is over. I've finally merged my love of music and performing with my love of business strategy in a way that works for me. It's taken years of doubt, trial, tears, and effort. This is the year of The Singing Business Coach, yo! Watch me work! 🙂

Creating your own niche isn't easy. There are definitely easier roads. I could just perform, or I could just coach, but neither would be fulfilling. It's like asking me to choose if I'm white or black: I'm bi-racial. I'm both. Deal with it.

So I've got to focus in, and stick to it, no matter what. I'm going in, guns blazing, determined to see what can happen for me in 2015.

2015 Theme Song: "It's My Life"

Bon Jovi may have released it in 2000, but the lyrics really connected with me this year. I was especially struck by the Frank Sinatra reference: "Like Frankie said, 'I did it my way'." The idea of doing things my way has always come with a lot of baggage, and I'm ready for that to be different now.

I've had to "force" a lot of things to happen over the years. And doing things "my way" often meant doing things the hard way. Pushing to meet a goal or a deadline. Putting my financial or personal health at risk in order to achieve something.


Now I understand DUMB goals, and how my way doesn't have to be "push, push, PUSH" all the time. I lived it this year. I like it. And I'm ready for more.

"This is for the ones who stood their ground... who never backed down." - It's My Life

Here's to a rockin' good 2015!

I think it was Jesus that said a prophet has no honor in his own home town, with his own family, or even in his own house.

It's one of the big reasons I first built my business online - away from the prying eyes and judgmental insinuations of my own family and friends.

Don't get me wrong, on the whole I've managed to remove myself from the toxic relationships of my younger days, but there are still a few lingering reminders that only serve to affirm the wisdom of Jesus.

I've been a musician and performing artist for decades. I'm glad to be able to offer my services for a lot of different kinds of events. A family member once asked me to perform for a public event she was facilitating. She needed a strong singer to lead the music for the event. Naturally, I accepted. She's family, and it was for a worthy cause.

And of course, I didn't ask to be compensated, because it was a charity event, I had close ties to the organization, and I wanted the opportunity to perform, share my gifts, and serve on a larger scale.

That was all well and good until I realized I had "served" my way out of my own value.

You are as much value to others as you are to yourself.The day of the event arrived, and as I was rehearsing with the other musicians, she came over and paid the pianist an undisclosed sum for his services. I didn't even get a thank-you card.

It was then that the words of Jesus rang in my head. More and more, I'm hearing stories from clients about doing "spec" work, or free work just for the exposure, only to discover there really isn't a real exposure opportunity. Or they're taking crappy-paying work because, hey, at least it pays something.

I'm here to tell you that you're crippling your business - and possibly your health and well-being. If you're saying yes to anything that comes along, you're not giving yourself room to do the work you really enjoy. Then, when the "good stuff" comes up, you're already booked! Let my example be your shortcut to sanity and more profitability. Here are three ways you can get more of the right people to value your work.

Educate your audience

On one level, I was livid that my family member didn't see the value of the work I contributed to the event. I had to learn dozens of songs, rehearse them, and then perform them without errors - just like the other musicians. I also emceed the event, introduced the music, and was the "personality" for the event. Those are also elements of a performance that must be practiced. For as easy as it looks, I don't just show up and "wing it" for an audience. Even my improvisational work at murder mystery dinners comes from years of practice.

She didn't see enough value in my work to even give me any token of appreciation.

That's partly her fault, and partly mine. Had I done my job in the first place, and educated her about the value of my work, chances are good she would have at least given me a thank-you card or some small sign of appreciation.

If you leave it to chance, and just trust that people will recognize the value of who you are and what you do, you'll often be disappointed. It's one reason why I've heard so many people say "the marketing is more important than the mastery." That's not true, of course, because you don't want to be marketing crap, but at the same time, if you're not marketing at all, you're leaving money on the table and missing out on opportunities that could otherwise be coming your way.

And by "marketing" I mean educating your market about the value of who you are and what you do. Until they understand why you are good at your craft, until they understand why your prices are what they are, it's easy for them to price-shop - or worse, ask you to work for free.

Value yourself first

I talk with a lot of entrepreneurs who understand the value of their offering - the work they do, the product or service the provide - but they don't value themselves enough to be paid. Hollywood writer Harlan Ellison and creative firm owner Mike Monteiro both speak out about the importance of not taking YOURSELF for granted in the business of doing business (warning: both videos have adult language). Plumbers and doctors can assert a value in the market for their services because of the results they provide. "I'll fix your pipes, and it'll cost you X." There's a clear outcome. But when we start looking at what we think are more nebulous or intangible "results" we discount the value that we bring to the table.

In truth, YOU are the reason that the offer has value in the first place. I say it a LOT - as a personality-based business, you are the most important product that your company has to offer. When I work with direct sellers, it's important they grasp this concept. They are one in perhaps a million other people selling the exact same product for the exact same price out of the exact same catalog. What makes their business the one to choose? People choose to work with a particular direct seller because of who they are, not what they offer.

If you don't value the contribution that you make, why should anyone else?

My grandfather was a carpenter. He once charged a guy $50 to hang a picture in his office. He walked in, tapped on the wall, then drove a nail with two deft strokes. He hung the frame and handed the guy the bill. Outraged, the guy wanted to know why he charged $50 to drive a nail. My grandfather took back the invoice, scribbled something on it and returned it to him. It now read:

Driving one nail: $10

Knowing where to drive that nail: $40

Total due: $50

I make singing look easy because of the thousands of hours in my life I've already spent learning music, performing, and honing my craft. I've got hundreds of youtube videos of me speaking or performing in some way. That's all "free" work I've been doing for years. Lots of practice!

Where have you invested in your life in ways that improve your craft? Value that investment. (Tweet this)

Know your audience

Sometimes, you can educate people until you (and they) are blue in the face, but if you're singing show tunes in a honky tonk, you're going to get booed off the stage no matter how good you are.

When you're first starting out in business, it's a seductive trap to take whatever business comes along - anyone who can fog up a mirror or anyone who pays, regardless of whether or not they're a good fit for you. Ultimately, it means you don't have a business, but rather that you're a whore willing to dish it out to anyone willing to pay you. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. Although, my friend and colleague, Sydney Barrows, would probably argue with me. She's the former madam that ran Cache' - a high-end "escort service" back in the 80's. She had a very clear idea of her target audience, and didn't waver. If a client was a jerk, they were fired. Her clients were A-list-ers and her "girls" were expected to provide a quality experience - with a price tag to match.

If it works for the escort business, it most certainly can work for you.

Your personal audience

You're wasting your time if you're trying to justify your existence to everyone - friends and family included. I had to back away from people who didn't get me, people who didn't understand what I was all about. I had to find "my people". I've been in various mastermind-type groups over the years, and a year and a half ago I came to roost with a group of local women - all authors - who are some of my strongest supporters and encouragers. They understand me. They help me get some clarity. They even hold me accountable when I ask. I've got other supporters, too. People who see the real me (and love me anyway), like my coaches and colleagues (like Sydney). You'll notice I didn't include my spouse. I love my hubby, and I learned many moons ago that he doesn't get what I do. He's starting to understand a little, but we've been married for almost 10 years now. I had to stop holding my breath, and only share with him the stuff that he understands. The rest, I save for "my peeps."

Your professional audience

Whether you're a direct seller, a shop clerk, or a performing artist, you've got to know who you're here to serve. Again, it makes no sense to sing show tunes in a honky tonk - even if they had an opening and it's great exposure. Sometimes you get lucky and the audience knows clearly what it wants - like a local barbecue joint that only plays blues music. Blues and barbecue go together easily. But most of the time, it's up to you to hone in on who you're here to serve.

As a business coach, I focus on growing businesses - specifically those where the business owner is the face of the company. That means I work with a lot of direct sellers, solo-preneurs, authors, speakers, and performing artists. It's a wide variety of people, yet they all share the commonality of being the face of their business. Why? Because I am a personality-based business owner. I am "the singing business coach" - a musician and performing artist who helps other people like me grow a profitable, sustainable business. I understand the particular issues these folks have in balancing personal and professional commitments. We don't have traditional "work hours" because our face is always "on". There are unique concerns that these businesses face that major corporations don't. I understand that intimately because it's the life I've lived for decades now.

That is my professional audience. What's yours? Who do you most resonate with? Who are the people you get the best results with or most enjoy working with? What do they have in common? Those are the threads that help you define your professional audience. Once you've defined it, speak directly to them. Stop trying to win everyone else over.  A lot of people won't get you. That's okay. Focus on serving the ones who do.

Once you value the role you play in the work you do, and can educate your right people about that value, it's easier to command the prices (and respect) that you deserve.

How have you experienced this feeling of not being valued for the work you do? How did you handle it? Please share your comments below!

Here in the U.S., it's almost Thanksgiving, which means, black friday, cyber monday, and a whole lot of campy, cheesy, in-your-face marketing to ply you into buying more "stuff" to make your holiday complete.


It's one of the reasons I do an annual give-back campaign each November around the anniversary of my launch of The Secret Watch. Last year, we gave away over 1000 books. This year, we're doing a week-long event, so I can't wait to see how it all shakes out on December 1. You can learn more about the give-back event here (there are a few cool prizes I'm giving away, too!).

It's one way I stay top-of mind with my audience without the crazy "sell. Sell! SELL!" of the holidays. But this kind of marketing madness can happen any time of year, as this week's post proves. I managed to contrive a "reason" for having a crazy sale for every month of the year... and one heart-centered approach that works all year long.

The best marketing, regardless of the season, is caring for your clients. (click to tweet)

Side note: For St. Patrick's Day, I was trying to point out my green shirt, not my boobs. *sigh*

I hope you get a kick out of this fun little video. After you've watched it, I'd love to hear your ideas for heart-centered marketing during the holidays (at any time of year). Share your ideas in the comments so we can all learn a thing or two about marketing done right.

What does it really mean to be profitable?

With my newly-minted certification as a Profit First Professional coach (huzzah!), I've spent more than a few hours thinking about this question.

Profit First is a concept (and now a book) penned by business author (and my friend) Mike Michalowicz. The book drives home the point that most business owners make profitability an event (or worse, an afterthought), rather than a habit. Mike says "Shouldn't your profit come first?"

Um. Yes.

In fact, even a "for-purpose organization" (a term my friend Doug uses for non-profits) needs to generate positive cash flow in order to be sustainable.

Yet, so often, people bent on making a positive difference in the world think that focusing on profits is "icky".


There's a good reason for the ick. It stems from a very dismpowering definition of the word "profit". Let me explain...

Profit 1.0

Here's how we typically define "profit" today - courtesy of our friends at Google. The idea of "more" for the sake of more can leave heart-centered entrepreneurs feeling icky. We're not trying to get "more" all the time - especially not at the expense of people. Neither are trying to take advantage of others - or be taken advantage of ourselves! Yet the top two definitions of the word "profit" relate specifically to those two concepts:


For most of us, the word "profit" is synonymous with the word "money". They think about "rakin' in the dolla bills" and then rolling around in a pile of money like Scrooge McDuck. It's the "bottom line" of the balance sheet. It's the account balance, the number that's left at the end of the month when all the bills are paid - and before the next bill comes due.


Evil empires have hoarded it, conquered for it, and some companies have been built to focus on it (and only it) relentlessly.

No wonder we get all icky inside just thinking about it. After all, we're here to make a difference, to make a positive impact on the world. We want to make people happy, bring them joy, ease their pain, and we put the welfare of people ahead of money money.

We want to do good things, and all that ick, can't be good, can it?

We get mixed messages: loving money is the root of all evil, yet it makes the world go 'round.

Ah money, why do you vex us so?

What if profit had a wider, more holistic definition? Or is that too much of a stretch for you?

(more…) // Clear Space & Improve Your Life. The Convo With Lisa Robbin Young.

I'm laying down a  challenge for you today.

This week's post shares a quick tip and friendly reminder to clear out the clutter in your heart, your home, and your life. When you do, there's a gift that comes back to you. Clearing space always makes room for something new. What that "something" is varies from one person to the next, and from one moment to the next, but the "something" always shows up if you're looking for it.

What about you? What's the Key Area of Success where you could take a moment and create some space? When you've cleared space n the past, what was the "new" that showed up for you? Share your thoughts in the comments for our whole community to enjoy.

The Convo returns! This week's video is a segment from Module One of my Spotlight Sessions program. The program launched today, and it felt like this segment was important to share with you.

Where are you at in your 5 Key Areas? What could you be doing differently?