June 14, 2008

Are you trying to speak to the entire world, or have you narrowed the pool of people you are marketing to, down to a manageable size? That is the importance of finding a target or niche market. Think about the industries that you have worked with in your “corporate life”. What kind of work did you like best? What type of people did you prefer to work with?

Narrowing your message doesn’t give you less people to work with, as so many people think. Instead of being a small fish in a big pool (where the bigger fish eat you up!) you get to be the big fish in the little pool. And because you are targeting a smaller pool you are able to narrow your message down to their specific needs and desires. When they see that you are JUST FOR THEM they will come to you.

In practical terms it means finding where your clients are and going out of your way to speak to them. Finding the forums they participate in, the online and in person places they are likely to frequent. Talk to them. Have fun and make friends. Initially the point is NOT to sell your business but to let them get to know and like YOU. People do business with others that they know and like.

I was just as flummoxed over trying to find a niche market as any business owner. I didn’t know where to begin. So I sat down and really thought about what I liked to do.  And then I considered the things I love – things I am passionate about. I considered my personal goals for the next 2-3 years and how I want to have horses again. After chewing on that for awhile I settled for the Equine industry. I figured I could work for Breeders, Trainers, Farriers, Large Animal Vets and Clinicians, etc.

I redesigned my website to speak specifically to that group. And I suddenly knew where I had to focus my attention. I’m a now a member of several select Equine groups. As I have had discussions with this crowd, I’ve pretty much narrowed my niche even further to breeders and trainers. There are so many out there, even with my market that narrow, I couldn’t begin to contact them all. In fact, I could narrow my market to breeders of one type of horse and I would still have a huge market!  By making friends that know horses and know that I know horses I am able to present my business to them in their own language from a source they know and trust.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, narrowing your market doesn’t mean you can’t do business outside of that target. You can work with anyone! It’s just a matter of where you put your focus.  So find your ideal client, pursue your passion and watch your business grow.

To find people in your niche just Google them!  As an example I’ve Googled Business Forums, but get specific!  Target YOUR ideal clients!



June 5, 2008

Ever have the rug pulled out from under you and while sitting on your butt nursing your wounds wonder how you could be so unprepared for the fall and, of course, that sudden jarring stop?  That is how I am feeling this week. 

I was a member of an organization that I loved, supported and openly promoted.  The founder of the organization was concerned that members were not appreciating the time and energy that went into creating the platform.  Both privately and publicly I encouraged her to make it a paid service.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect her to make the fees impossible for the majority of those in the membership, including myself, to afford.  She offered a scholarship for a select few.  I applied and I (perhaps arrogantly) thought I was a shoe-in.  She knew my client base was not up where it needed to be yet and unlike many others; I did not have a second job or a spouse’s income to fall back on.

The June 1 deadline came and went without a peep from her regarding my request.  I know it is her policy to inform if you have been included and not say anything if you have not.  I tried to log on, but was thwarted with the page that requested I cough up my dues.  So since I had not heard anything and no longer had access, I removed all information stating I was a member of the organization.  I later found out that she granted scholarships to anyone who applied and a couple members wrote and asked where I was.  I wrote the founder to ask if she had received my original request.  A couple of days have come and gone with no reply.

I felt and still feel so heavy hearted.  For the last year this wonderful group of mostly women has been the backbone and support of my fledgling business.  Many of the individuals have become friends and I still have contact with and enjoy continued conversations and support.  But it’s just not the same.  And I’m having a difficult time putting into words exactly WHAT the loss is. 

Why is a forum, a social network such an important part of my life?  I would usually check in twice a day to see what was going on and create a post, comment on another or share something humorous.  I guess it is that sense of community with like-minded individuals with a common goal – in this case, all Virtual Assistants.

It seems that a lot of people, like vultures, are swooping down courting members of this organization for their own personal gain.  That feels icky.  But I must admit, I would welcome a free place to meet with like minded VAs.


Niche Clarity: How To Choose A Niche That Fits YOU Like a Glove!

May 4, 2008

PRESENTED BY: Cari Vollmer of Life on Track 

DATE: Thursday, May 15, 2008

TIME: 5pm PST / 6pm MST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST

DURATION: 60 minutes (please call in 10 min. early) 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? This class is open to all Virtual Assistants, small/boutique business owners, solo professionals, solopreneurs and independent professionals. Invite your business buddies! Feel free to copy and paste the contents on this page, and post invitations on the forums, listservs and groups you participate in. 
  • Are you resisting the idea of choosing a NICHE to focus on in your business?
  • Are you tired of feeling like a wallflower in your area of expertise?
  • Would you like to attract new clients and make more money?

Cari Vollmer, the Passions into Profit mentor and founder of LifeOnTrack.com, will teach you how to choose a NICHE that fits YOU like a glove.

Cari comes to her path of passion and profit naturally. Her parents were successful restaurateurs for more than 20 years. She helped her husband launch his own successful small business over a decade ago, and her grandmother wrote children’s books back in the day when women were more apt to be in the kitchen cooking than honoring their passions. Yes, she’s comes to this path of passion naturally, but if you don’t, that’s OK, that’s what she’s here for!

She knows from first-hand, in-the-trenches experience what you must know and do to launch, and then run, a successful small business that’s also a reflection of your passions and divine life’s purpose. It’s not rocket science, and you can do it!

Choosing a niche (target market) is a major stumbling block for most solopreneurs and small business owners. In this high-content, high-value teleclass, Cari will demystify the niche-choosing process by sharing with you:

  • Obstacles to Choosing Your Niche
  • An Empowering New Way of Defining What a Niche Is
  • 3 Ways to Discover Which Niche is Best For YOU
  • Why Choosing Your Niche MAY NOT Be the Best Thing for Your Business Right Now
  • What Needs to Come BEFORE Choosing Your Niche

Cari states, “If you’re a small business owner you have a divine purpose to share what you know — your gifts — with others. THAT’S why it’s important to know which niche you serve. Your gift is best suited to a certain group of people and finding them will transform you business.”

Register Today!
About Cari Vollmer
Cari Vollmer is “The Passions into Profit Mentor” and founder of LifeOnTrack.com. She has been teaching spirit-minded solopreneurs how to turn their passions and life’s purpose into profit for nearly 10 years. Cari and her articles have been featured in newsletters and websites across the globe and joins co-authors Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor and John Gray in the personal growth book, “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Vol. II”. Cari is known as the “dot-connector” who helps her clients gain profound clarity and focus on how to create authentic success from the inside out.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to sign up for her FREE how-to articles and no-charge special report, “How to Turn Your Passions into More Purpose, Freedom and Profit”, at www.LifeOnTrack.com.



Mr. Dan Willson – Thank You!

March 8, 2008

I had a wonderful speech, drama, and English teacher back in 9th and again (at a different school) in 10th grade.  I teased him that I was his favorite student and that is why he followed me from Jr. to Sr. High school.  Mr. Willson taught me the basics of English that I had never learned.  In 9th grade I couldn’t tell a noun from a verb from an adjective.  I spoke well, read a lot and comprehended what I read so I was always put in the advanced classes.  I never was taught the basics!  Oops!

So he gently took me by the hand, brought me up to speed and taught me the following about writing.

  1.  Tell them what you are going to tell them. (First Paragraph)

  2.  Tell them (usually 3-5 paragraphs)

  3. Tell them what you told them. (Last Paragraph)

His added advice was to write the way you speak.  Keep things in a conversational tone.  Your audience will always be more engaged and it will flow more comfortably for you as the writer.

It’s deceptively simple and has carried me through my adult life. 

You know how most of us have ONE Teacher that stood out as the best?  Mr. Dan Willson was the best and I wish I knew where he was to thank him!


10 Ways to Communicate Confidence and Boost Your Credibility

February 6, 2008


DATE: Thursday, February 21, 2008
TIME: 5pm PST / 6pm MST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST
DURATION: 60 minutes (please call in 10 min. early)

Lew BayerIMAGINE… interacting with clients and feeling confident enough to ask for the sale every time you recognize a business opportunity.

IMAGINE…walking into a business reception or your weekly office meeting and not feeling self-conscious about approaching new people.

IMAGINE…what it would be like to have the capability to stay calm and act appropriately when the unexpected arises.

If there were 10 simple behaviors that could make you more self-assured, and help you know for certain that you could tackle any challenge that came your way, wouldn’t you want to know what they were? In this entertaining and informative session, Canada’s Civility in the Workplace expert, Lew Bayer, will provide insight and practical tools that, with practice, will ensure increased self-assurance, confidence, and productivity.

Regardless of what your profession is, confidence is key to effective communications, building relationships and sending a positive, lasting impression. By making a few simple adjustments and adopting a few good habits, anyone can feel more confident–and confidence boosts credibility in business.

Some of the things you will learn include:

  • The four “E’s” of civility;

  • How civility impacts your credibility and professional relationships;

  • How to shift your perspective and remember the business priority;

  • How to handle yourself appropriately in mixing and networking scenarios;

  • How to get someone’s attention and then keep it;

  • How to speak the language of confidence–learn what words to avoid if you want to close the deal;

  • How to eliminate self-defeating behaviors that undermine confidence;

  • How to handle uncomfortable situations with grace and charm…

  • And much more!

Register Here NOW!

About Lew Bayer

Lew Bayer is nationally recognized as Canada’s leading expert on civility in the workplace and courteous communications. She is co-founder and partner of The Civility Group, Inc., an international training company. Twice nominated Manitoba Entrepreneur of the Year, Lew is a six-time published author who is regularly called upon for expert editorial commentary in her field. She writes a national “ask the experts” column called “Sticky Situations” for Canadian Living web and magazine. In addition to her role at The Civility Group, Inc., Lew is a certified Intercultural Competence Trainer. She sits on the City of Winnipeg Citizen’s Equity Committee, is director of the International Institute for Civility, co-director of the Winnipeg Chapter of Roaring Women, and President of the Center for Organizational Cultural Competence. For more information about The Civility Group, Inc., visit http://www.thecivilitygroup.com


Gary the Gizmo Guru

January 13, 2008

Gary was the Gizmo Guru. He even had the awards and accolades to prove it!  Twenty years of working in the Gizmo and Gadget industry had given him the skills and industry knowledge to sell Gizmos better than anybody. The problem was Godfrey’s Gizmos & Gadgets wanted him to sell an equal number of Gadgets. And he hated Gadgets! 

So Gary took some Business courses and opened up Gary’s Gizmos working from his home office. He had a few contacts, but was busy making more every day. Gary knew that relationships were the key to selling Gizmos. Gary wore all the hats. He was the Marketing Exec, the Bookkeeper, even his own IT guy and he did all the administrative stuff too. Gary really began to miss Gidget, the sales team Administrative Assistant. He had never truly appreciated all the hard work she had put into keeping him organized and on track. He thought, “well I can find my own Administrative Assistant to work for me.” 

He remembered his business courses told him about hiring employees. He went back to his books and looked up the chapter on Employees which referred him to the IRS and his state’s web sites. He was dismayed to learn that the cost of hiring an employee was far more than just the employee’s salary. There was insurance, taxes, and more that nearly quadrupled what he thought an employee would be paid. And when he learned that highly skilled Administrative Assistants were paid far above minimum wage, he knew he couldn’t go that route. As he looked around his small office he thought “and where would I put her?”

It was getting late, and he still didn’t have anything in the house to fix for dinner. He headed off to the store to pick up a few groceries and promised himself he would take a look and see what else was out there on the internet. Surely someone had come up with a solution for the solo-prenuer.

As he was picking up a tomato from the produce department he heard a cheery voice behind him say, “Gary, is that you? How’s the Gizmo gig going?”  It was none other than Gidget! 

“I was just thinking about you,” Gary said, “and before you say anything else, I want you to know how much I appreciated all you used to do. I never appreciated it until I had to do it all myself!” 

Gidget blushed and laughed, thanking him for the compliment.

Gary went on to tell her about his latest dilemma about finding someone to take on his Administrative tasks so he could focus more on selling.

Gidget couldn’t believe what she was hearing!  She told Gary about a group of individuals that call themselves Virtual Assistants or VAs. She told him they are highly skilled Administrative Professionals that work with small business owners like Gary to help take care of the Admin stuff so they could spend more time on things that bring in money. She admitted to him that she was looking into starting her own VA Business and quitting her job at Godfrey’s. But not until after her 2 year anniversary. She would be vested in her 401K and would be able to take that money with her when she left!

Gidget told Gary about a wonderful group of individuals at the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce (VACOC). She had checked out the site herself, purchased a few forms and read everything she could find on the industry. She knew that the VACOC had a directory where Gary could find the perfect guy or gal for Gary’s Gizmos.

Gary was so happy he picked up Gidget in a bear hug. She had provided him with exactly what he needed, when he needed it. He thanked her and rushed to the checkout so he could look up this new industry, Virtual Assistance. He just knew this was the solution he was looking for! 

Okay, it’s a little corny, but if this sounds like a scenario you’ve played out in your business, it really is time to see if a Virtual Assistant is for you!


VACOC Monthly Guest Expert Teleseminar Series:

January 7, 2008

Know Your Inner Consultant:

5 Steps to Learning the Art of Intuition

Presented by Intuitive Artist Jennifer Crews


DATE: Thursday, January 17, 2008
TIME: 5pm PST / 6pm MST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST
DURATION: 60 minutes (please call in 10 min. early)

INVITE YOUR BUSINESS BUDDIES! This class is open to all Virtual Assistants and small business owners. Copy and paste any text on this paste and post invitations on the forums, listservs and groups you participate in.

Intuitive Artist Jennifer CrewsEveryone is blessed with intuition, and with practice and dedication to learning, one can excel and strengthen this innate gift.

Learning intuition is not any different than taking art, dance or music lessons to advance in the learning of a skill. The first of these five steps is “awareness” of your inner language. Your inner language is your own source of receiving information. You have your own personalized way to receive information—your own inner consultant.

Learn more as well as all five steps in how to master this invisible intelligence and strengthen your intuition in business and in all areas of your life.

Register Now!

About Jennifer Crews

Jennifer Crews, M.A., is an intuitive artist, child intuitive, visionary educator, writer and speaker dedicated to honoring the essence of children worldwide. She began her work in the care-giving profession as an international pediatric speech language pathologist. She has 13 years experience working with children and their families all over the globe, and specialized in working with children with severe and multiple physical, sensory and cognitive challenges. Though the children were non-verbal, she realized she literally could hear and see what they wanted to share, communicate and express through her own inner language—her intuition. She decided to honor this gift and founded Intuitive Teachings, LLC.

Jennifer offers individual and group teaching sessions on the following topics: Five Steps in Learning the Art of Intuition, Understanding the New Children, Energy Management, and Multidimensional Living. She also offers individual intuitive sessions locally and long-distance.

For more information about her work and services, visit Jennifer’s website at http://www.IntuitiveTeachings.com