Sometimes I feel that as a business owner I’m called to be super human. There’s often so much to do, and so little time to do it that setting a list of priorities is the only way to survive. I’ve gotten pretty good at being able to recognize when something needs to shift, when something is a priority, an opportunity, and a distraction and I’ve seen many business owners struggle and suffer by NOT knowing the difference.checklist

The good news is, it can all be solved with a calendar and schedule. I know that seems overly simplistic and possibly not even real, but stick with me, I’ll explain exactly how this concept can change your life.

Let’s face it, building and managing a brand (i.e., your business) requires a lot of energy. The more energy  you have, the more you can do. The less energy you have, the less you can do (or the worse you are at it!). I try to keep my energy at a high by eating well (I’m vegan and sugar free) and making sure I get at least some moderate amount of exercise, but that’s not enough.

When there’s a deadline, an issue comes up, or I catch a case of “the blahs” I rely on my calendar to get me through successfully. Throw a husband, children or family in the mix and things get dicey. My husband Darren fought against the concept of us “making an appointment” with each other for a long time. Until he realized that having me as a calm, focused and happy wife was a better thing than the alternative.

Time blocking is a process of grouping the tasks that you have to do together in a set of blocks. The length of the blocks are totally up to you. For instance, there will be the “time with family” block, the “sleeping” block, the “cleaning” block, the “speaking to clients” block, the “reviewing financials” block etc.

Time blocking works best when you stick to the schedule consistently. For me, that means I do seasonal blocks. My time blocks change when it’s warmer outside, or when it’s colder. I’m on the East Coast so I inherently have less energy in the winter, so I change my schedule accordingly. If you’re on the West Coast you may not have that challenge.

Here’s how I organize mine:

1) Start with a full 24/7 weekly calendar. Each day of the week, and each hour of the day. It’s easiest to just print every day of the week on 1 sheet of paper.

2) Brain dump the categories you want to block. Here are some to get you started: sleeping, eating, preparing food, bathing and dressing, travel to work, travel from work, work, free time, entertainment, family time, chores, walking the dog, etc.

3) Now look at your categories to see which you can break down further. For instance, with work you can break it down to staff meetings, client calls, administrative work, production work, lunch break, free time (in case of emergencies), marketing, follow up,  etc.

4) Now, in order of priorities, start to allocate how much time you wish to give to each of these categories and block your calendar. I like 9 hours sleep each day, so my calendar is blocked from 10:30 pm – 7:30 am for sleep each day. My next big priority is time with family, which happens (don’t judge me) for 1.5 hours each evening, and most of my weekend. This may seem low, but it’s realistic for me, I have no guilt around it, and it works.

5) Once all of your blocks are in, edit and adjust to make sure they are logical and actually work. Do you spend more time talking to clients than being productive? That means you’ll want to group your client calls, and limit them to a minimal time that gets the job done.

Now that you have the gist of it download my time block calendar, which includes a blank template, and work on  yours today. You can get really creative with it. use colored highlighters to identify certain categories. Do it in Google Calendar and code it and print it (just create a second calendar in your settings). I bet if you do this for just 2 weeks you’ll be energized and charged more than you are today and you’ll (hopefully) call me and thank me for it.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the process and use it to build an exciting life! As you work on it come back here to post any questions if you get stuck, or just let me know how it’s going.



google_logoSo about a week ago gmail began to change the inbox behaviors and has started to initiate auto-tabs for the communications you receive. I’ll admit, when i first saw the changes to my inbox I thought “who are you to automatically categorize my messages” and then, I went on with life.

The next day I hopped in my gmail account after a transaction to get a hold of the details for my purchase. I knew the transaction had an auto-responder, an automated message that would populate to me, and so I knew right away to click the “promotions” tab so that I could retrieve it.

It was no big deal. Knowing that my newsletters and other mass-distributed emails are going into one tab to view them all is actually more convenient for me. All of those communications are, in fact, marketing.

However, already I’ve received email after email after email from marketers and coaches and others saying “if you have email, do this” followed by instructions on how to re-categorize their particular communications.

It’s like everyone hit the panic button at the same time.

The reason for the panic? Many online marketers make most of their money based on one single factor: the size of their email list. It’s a numbers game for them and not getting “top position” has almost all of them worried.

I’m not sending a “re-categorize” me email, because I think my clients are smarter than that. If they want to re-categorize me, they will, and if they don’t think being in a different tab is an inconvenience for them, I’m cool with that.

I speak to people on my list by phone.

I send people on my list “just because” mail and cards and invitations.

I connect with people on my list at events and on social media.

My hunch is that if other entrepreneurs really nurtured their community they wouldn’t feel the need to panic either.

So if you find yourself in this situation, don’t freak out. Don’t send a separate email probing the reader to re-categorize you, because if you mattered, they would have considered it on their own.

Instead, continue with your usual communications and perhaps include  a link that says “Here’s a helpful link for those of you adjusting to the new gmail” and leave the decision to them. Show them how to control their destiny overall, not just your small part in it.

Need a link? Mashable has a good writeup on this at

Hope that helps, and hey, remember, it’s summer… just chill 🙂

(Share your thoughts below, I’d love to hear your take on this)


Whenever I start working with a new client I create a private review area for them to access the suite of materials we are going to create together. It’s like a mini website portal for them to view and respond to things as we progress through the project. Of course, I know html, so it’s easy for me to create this specialized experience for them. I also use one to work with my assistants. They love it so much I’ve been on the lookout for something like this, available online, so that I can share it with you and help you extend a special brand experience. Well… I’ve found it. One of my clients has been using a software called ProofHub to manage her clients with great success, so I wanted to add this to your list of resources today. provides software for your project management and collaboration needs. With it you can set deadlines, mark important events, milestones or even put important meetings on the calendar.

Beyond that, for your team you can create to-do lists, add tasks, set priority and set deadlines. If your business is anything like mine, some projects can have multiple players so the feature that lets you assign people responsible to complete certain tasks, have them post comments with each task and have robust discussions will be helpful. Let me know how you like it if you try it, ok?

I was speaking to a friend recently who told me she wasn’t meeting any new people to expand her community and that her business was stagnant. I found this surprising, because we live in New York City. There are millions of people here. And millions upon millions within a 50 mile radius so I asked her “where do you network?”

She named 3 groups.


And amongst those 3 groups there are just 2 that have at least once-monthly meetings.

I told her the problem wasn’t those organizations, but that she simply wasn’t putting herself out there to meet new people. I don’t think networking is a time to hop into an event and try to “get” a client so much as to establish a trusting relationship with people who know other people that you can serve.

If you’ll recall, I have a 3-2-1 plan for visibility that I follow rigorously every month. The “3” part of that formula is three networking events each month. To make sure I’m always meeting new people I make sure that at least one of them is a group that I don’t frequent often. I have a list of 20 organizations that I can learn from and that have the type of people that my community thrives on. People like YOU.

Here’s what I’d like you to do if you think you’re stagnant in business too and if you’re needing to up the ante:

1) Make a list of 2o networking organizations in your region. Use Google,, Eventbrite, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other online directories to find this group

2) when you review the group, make sure they are having a meeting at least once every two months. If they are not having in-person meetings that often, make sure they have frequent online engagement, and an in-person meeting at least once a quarter. I found that organizations that don’t do at least this don’t have enough strength to build a community

3) Go through each of those organization’s calendars and book out your networking meetings for the next 2 months. That means you’ll have 3 events each month. Make sure at least one of them becomes your “recurring entourage”

4) Attend each event with a goal to really connect and build a relationship with 3 people. You only need 3 quality conversations to make networking work on your behalf. Have business cards for others that you meet, but BUILD with about 3.

5) Add your 3 new friends to your contact database, and start to build and follow-up with them within 2 days of the event. This extends the conversation and gives you an opportunity to really connect.

I’ve used this simple formula for  networking for 3 years and I get clients out of the blue as a result of it. If you think there just aren’t any groups near you, think again. Look for associations, chambers, etc. and you’ll start to see opportunities to network and grow all around you.


P.S. If you’re in the New York area and want to know who’s on my list of 20 make a comment below. If I get at least 10 responders below I’ll share my secret stash

If you’re just starting out or looking to sell a few products online a great way to get started until you reach a consistent volume is to use a low cost shopping cart solution.

E-Junkie is a great way for you to get started! I’ve had my eye on e-junkie for several years and have not heard any serious complaints about them. I’ve bought many products from merchants that use their system and have never had issues with security or delivery.

What’s unique about them is that you pay according to the file storage that you use, so if you have just a few pdfs that total less than 50MB you’d only pay $5/month! If you haven’t found a logical reason to use one of their more high priced competitors (like 1 Shopping Cart) I urge you to give them a try. They can even manage your affiliates too!

The LIFT Foundation System – Legal, Insurance, Financial and Tax

With the new year etching in I’ve had a lot of conversations about colleagues who are now looking to incorporate, or trademark, or expand offices, etc. When I speak with them I ALWAYS recommend this ONE SYSTEM to help them along. The LIFT system is the only information product that I have regrets about. I should have found out about this system before I started my business… or at least in the second year. I didn’t find out about it until the end of my second year, and as a result had to start all over in a lot of things. I hope to help someone new or ramping up with my insight here:

Legal, Insurance, Financial and Tax by Alexis Martin NeelyI took a cold hard look at my business and it’s systems and realized that I needed a stronger foundation for growth. I came to this decision in the process of negotiating a new client contract (and my biggest client contract to date — Six figures!). In the process of negotiating this contract (it was massive) I realized I had some holes in my foundation that, if not plugged in quickly, would make it crumble.

What I ended up finding in my search was Alexis Martin Neely’s LIFT Foundation system. It has everything you need as a business of ANY size to get your legal, insurance, financial and tax systems in order. After spending more than five figures (it was nearly $30k) in masterminding groups, networking and events I realized THIS is the first thing that I should have invested in and implemented in my business.

But… I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Now I know, and now I’m soaring sweetie! If you want to make sure you’re set up for success and prepared for the new year I urge you to get Alexis’ system… even if you think you currently have these systems in place. It will help you know the questions to ask and the language to use when working with your team so that you don’t miss some costly human error.

If you have been operating as a sole proprietor (like I had) or worse, under your personal name, do whatever you can to get this system and use these guidelines to build your team, on your own time and within your budget now… so that you keep more money and have less headaches in the future.

I promise you, this system is worth thousands more than Alexis is charging for it. If you want more info or have any questions, just call me and I’ll tell you all about what I discovered. Do it now, while the year is still young.

Marketing is all about testing, so try it for a few months. If it works for you great — if not, you’ll have learned something in the meantime. But I guarantee you, you’ll thank me for this resource!

If this post was able to help you in any way please comment below and also join my mailing list. I promise not to send you endless spam. I’m not one of those “sell, sell, sell” type of businesses. I will always strive to only send you something that I feel will build you up and help you on your business journey. I am currently developing some new ideas and would love to be able to make you one of the first to hear about them! The newsletter sign up is at

The first time I received a really cool swag bag I was an attendee at the MTV music awards at Radio City Music Hall. It was impressive. Lots of samples of fancy products and perfumes from designers, in a cool bag. It made me feel kinda special. Of course, I was sitting in the celebrity area so I probably got a better bag than people in the balcony. Either way, that experience made me excited and whenever I attend a party or business event and see a bag on the seat, or at a table, I think SWAG!

When it comes to event gifts the rule of thumb is generally the more useful, the more effective. Below are a couple of suggestions of gift items that don’t immediately get thrown in the trash. Some of these you can make on your own, and some will have to be ordered by one of the vendors I list at the bottom of this email. In no particular order of preference they are:

  • usb key chain thumb drive
  • bookmarks with action steps or a system that helps them get things done
  • t-shirts
  • tote bags
  • digital downloads (ebooks, video courses, etc)
  • books (even placing a sticker inside saying “gifted to you by…”)
  • CDs and DVDs with information
  • mirrors
  • highlighters
  • gift cards/discount cards made in plastic
  • gift certificates
  • candy bars/nutrition bars wrapped in company logo package
  • product samples
  • bottled water branded with logo
  • luggage tags
  • bag clip (like for potato chips, etc)
  • letter openers
  • technology gifts of any kind
  • reusable water bottles
  • umbrellas
  • hand sanitizer

There are a lot of vendors that can provide these items. I recommend checking out, and

I couldn’t resist giving you a list of brand expenses that you can deduct in your business! I actually love tax time because it gives me a chance to evaluate how I’ve done the previous year and also shows me what I need to do to transform and upgrade my business for the current year. Oddly, I also like to see how much I owe, because the more I owe, the more money I made. Please remember I am a brand consultant, and not a tax accountant, so this is simply advice on what you can consider. Your situation in business may or may not apply to the insight I have here. This list of deductions are those that are typical for me and my clients:

1) Your Website Domain Renewal, Hosting, Design and/or Maintenance Fees. Anything that you’ve spent for keeping your online presence is a deductible expense. You already know having a website is a necessity, not a luxury, so the next time your site is up for a re-brand or revision, keep the receipts and remember it benefits you in more ways than one.

2) Promotional Items: Customized or standard products (such as magnets, pens, notebooks, coffee mugs) that you purchase to introduce clients to your business, suggest usage, increase sales or maintain sales.

3) Dollars spent for Facebook advertising: Facebook ads are included in general advertising, so you can deduct these expenses. To see at a glance how much money you’ve spent simply log into your Facebook account, go to the very bottom of the page and click “advertising” and then on the left hand side view “billing” to see your lifetime billing summary.

4) Your Business Cards, Brochures, Letterhead, Envelopes and Postcards: These are standard business expenses. You should have re-ordered your cards at least 3 times last year, if not, you MUST start networking more. Oh, and be sure to deduct the post you used to send out those letters as well! Don’t be afraid to be reach out and touch someone, in more ways than one. Your marketplace is actually depending on it.

5) Subscriptions: Including your ezine provider, teleclass provider and conferencing system. Hooray that these expenses can be deducted. They are considered “professional services”

6) Consultation Fees: If you’ve ever booked a consultation with a brand consultant or graphic designer or business coach the IRS considers that a legitimate business expense. And they should, consultants build your business.

7) Classes and Events (online and in-person): Investing in education is just that… an investment! So, for instance, if you took the Bankable Branding course you can get a bit of tax relief for having done so.

I’m a stickler when it comes to finances and I know some of these things tend to fall through the cracks for many business owners. Don’t let it fall through the cracks for you. Oh, and of course, I must say it again, I’m not an accountant so always make sure you check your local and state law regarding this list, but just be sure.

If this post was able to help you in any way please join my mailing list. I promise not to send you endless spam. I’m not one of those “sell, sell, sell” type of businesses. I will always strive to only send you something that I feel will build you up and help you on your business journey. I am currently developing some new ideas and would love to be able to make you one of the first to hear about them! The newsletter sign up is at

When you have the right branding components in place, you make it clear and easy for those that truly need your services or products to reach into their pockets and work with you.

Today we’re giving you a “sampling” of 7 worksheets from the Bankable Branding Toolkit. No opt-in required. Just click the link below this post and do the exercises! (The full course is actually over 60 worksheets, templates and checklists, excel formatted documents and more). The worksheets start you off with the following essential branding exercises:

  1. Naming – When You Aim for the Best Name you set the best foundation. In this worksheet I show you how to get your naming right and make sure it can go global before you invest your time and energy into it. We’ll check meanings, pronunciations, appropriateness and cultural acceptance.
  2. Messaging – When you Get To The Heart of Your Message and express your values and abilities, you attracts others to you in full integrity. This worksheet is a few pages and we outline your values so that you can communicate the right words to the right people. I list 140 values that you can choose from to make it easy for you.
  3. Positioning – By Positioning Yourself as an Approachable Leader you cast a wide net that serves more people than you alone can handle, unleashing your talent across the globe. You know I’ve been quoted in the media and interviewed on TV. I list my sources for connecting with journalists and positioning yourself as an expert advisor. Most of this resource stuff won’t cost you a penny, as well.
  4. Signals – Signals That Support Your Brand are often the first impression of your brand. They need to stand out, be strong and fill in the holes when you’re not around. This worksheet guides you through the different components of your brand and even if you already have them in place, we’ll rate them to see where you need to improve.
  5. Experience – To keep client referrals rolling in and your current clients coming back you must give them an exciting experience. Making your service tangible does just that! You hear a lot about building a welcome kit right? I actually tell you how to do it, and how to build a “thank you” kit that keeps your clients coming back.
  6. Exposure – There are ways to get exposure in everything you do and draw people to your brand online, in person and effortlessly when you’re out and about. In this worksheet we talk about how you can use products to brand yourself where ever you are. Putting these simple suggestions in place will have people say “oh, I’ve heard of you.”
  7. Management – To reach your full potential you need systems in place to manage your team and market your business processes. No business should be without a Brand Management Program! What is it? It’s all the stuff that needs to happen to keep you visible and profitable. Part of that is knowing where your traffic is coming from and where people are lingering. See how to develop that with this sheet.

Thank you for becoming a part of the Brand Excitement Community. As you can see, we’re serious about success and helping you to bring more visibility and opportunities to your business. If you do download the worksheets please comment below and let us know how you found us…

If this post was able to help you in any way please comment below and also join my mailing list. I promise not to send you endless spam. I’m not one of those “sell, sell, sell” type of businesses. I will always strive to only send you something that I feel will build you up and help you on your business journey. I am currently developing some new ideas and would love to be able to make you one of the first to hear about them! The newsletter sign up is at

Listen to this, I had a client call me a couple of days ago happy and excited about some new discoveries on her website. She finally (umm… after more than a year) started to take a look at her Google Analytics and realized that there were some behaviors that her readers were taking that she needed to take note of. For instance, she got to see what pages they liked most, how long they stayed on the site and specifically, she realized that she needed to remove the navigation links on her event pages in order to get people to make the decision before getting distracted by other stuff on her site. She also realized that needed to focus more efforts on the websites where most of her traffic were coming from. As a result she’ll be able to convert the people interested in those events into attendees, and serve their needs as she’s meant to serve. She’ll make more money, and have a great time doing it.

Most business owners don’t want to take about the boring stuff… stuff like data and tracking and metrics, but if you are not looking at these things you really shouldn’t come to me (or anyone else) complaining about why you just can’t seem to make the money  you want to make in your business. There are free tools at your disposal all over the internet, and ignoring the foundation of what drives your business is just plain stupid.

Yes, I get it, you want to focus on your “why” and you are a heart-centered business, but it takes more than heart to actually drive sales. It takes know how and systems and checks and balances. Without those, you have a cause and a hobby that you are very interested and invested in, but you’re doing yourself and others a disservice.

I know it gets a bit overwhelming to understand something that can even call itself “analytics” – the word itself says “you might need a tech degree to understand me” but don’t let that deter you. I actually track my metrics using four different services: Google Analytics, Site Meter, Clicky and my web hosts’s own inclusive tracking. Here’s the interesting thing: They all help.

Now, you don’t have to get all “tracking data maniac” like me, I happen to see in numbers. I was on the equations club in High School, so I geek out like that a bit. But you do need something and since Google Analytics is a bit overwhelming, even for me at times, I suggest you start with something simple like Clicky. If you can’t afford clicky start with Site Meter. Be sure to block the traffic that you generate by visiting your own site (there are filters for that) and start to monitor who’s visiting your website, how often, what they see, and when they leave.

If you do this simple task, and look at your summary just once each week you’ll start to see that there’s a treasure trove of opportunity waiting for you. Don’t let it continue to hide in your website. Take action. What’s the first thing you’ll do moving into the next week?

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