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bigg-success-profiles.jpgWe’re introducing a new feature today called Bigg Success Profiles. We want to feature members of our community talking about what life on your own terms means to them. Today on The Bigg Success Show, we talked with Pavel Sokolovsky. Pavel is one of the founders of an exciting new business, Meet Me at Green. Let’s get to the conversation …

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marylynn
Welcome to The Bigg Success Show, Pavel.

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pavelThanks Mary-Lynn. Thanks George. I’m a long-time listener and first-time caller!

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marylynnWe love talking about life on your own terms and we love hearing the stories of members of our community. So let’s kick it off, Pavel. What does life on your own terms mean to you?

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pavelTo me, life on my own terms has a lot to do with ambition. I believe I’m a pretty ambitious young man and I wouldn’t want anybody to put a limit on what I can and cannot do professionally or socially, for that matter. One of the reasons I went toward small business, and not corporations as many of my classmates did, is because I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed by my level at the corporation. Whether you’re a first-year associate, analyst, or whatever it might be, it tends to come with a lot of strings attached and affects whether or not your ideas are taken seriously. Now I’m sure there are people who break this mold – there are all-stars – but this tends to be the case. So that’s why I went into a small business. I wanted to be able to use my potential to its fullest. I want to explore my limits and be the best business person I can be. Starting my own business allows me to do that because I don’t have a boss saying, “No – you can’t do this project.” I only have the market telling me what it will and will not accept, which is great.

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georgeThat’s awesome, Pavel. Your classmates were going off to Fortune 500 companies and large consulting firms. Did they ever question you or ridicule you for going off on your own?

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pavelLuckily, they’ve all been very supportive of me. They all know that I’m very entrepreneurial. So they tend to accept that. They have their day jobs – from 8 to 6 or 9 to 5, whatever it may be – and I work what I’ll call my extended hours!

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george
I like the way you said that!

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pavelBut we’re after slightly different things. It’s understood that there’s going to be more than one way to get what we need out of life.

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marylynnEverybody for their own terms, right? Pavel, what would you say is your biggest challenge to living life on your own terms right now?

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pavelWhen you’re starting a business, it’s not the same as a regular corporate job because your cash flow is a little more unpredictable. Many times, you’ll find yourself pinching pennies because you didn’t get paid this week. But you keep your head up because you know if you achieve your goals, the money will naturally follow. While your cash flow is tight, you just have to accept it, not spend it, save up, invest in your business and hope for the best!

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marylynnSo Pavel, what are you doing right now to overcome this challenge?

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pavelI try to save up a little in a slush fund to treat myself every now and then and to keep my sanity. I like to go out with my friends. I also have a hobby purchasing books on Amazon. I just can’t stop!

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georgeNice plug! Ca-ching! Now Pavel, what are you doing that’s really fun – either at work or in your personal time?

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pavelMy day job is fun. Meet Me at Green has been fun – programming the web site, organizing the people involved and trying to recruit more members. As this community grows, so does my site and its usefulness to all the members. I’m sure you expected an answer like, “I love to go skiing in Aspen on the weekend” but, in reality, when I work on Meet Me at Green, I am having fun. That’s the best part of it.

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georgeFortunately, or unfortunately, we can totally relate to what you’re saying. It occurs to me, Pavel, you are really into green – whether it be money or the environment!

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pavelThe money is definitely not my number one goal, but it’s a good way to validate what you’re doing.

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marylynnWe wish you the best of luck with your business, Meet Me at Green. Can anybody join?

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pavelWe’re focusing on businesses that are involved in green products and services. But if you have a passion for green, if energy efficiency or environmental awareness is important to you, then please sign up! Membership is currently free.

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Thanks Pavel for sharing what life on your own terms means to you.

How are YOU living life on your own terms?

Please share your story with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 877.988.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com. We may feature you on an upcoming Bigg Success Profiles show.

We thank you so much for reading our post today!

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Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Please join us next time when we'll talk about the most important thing to find before you start a business. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00383-042909.mp3


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How to Turn Down a Promotion

no.jpg Bigg success is life on your own terms. Last time, we talked about how to use the five elements of bigg success to determine if a promotion is right for you.

A lot of people are afraid to turn down a promotion even in the best of times. Now there is even more pressure with the tight job market.

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There may be fear that you’ll become more expendable if you turn down a promotion. You’ll be more likely to be let go should another round of layoffs occur. In some business cultures, this attitude is more pervasive than others.

You may fear that you’ll never be offered another opportunity – that passing up this promotion means that you’re not interested in moving up. You may be interested in getting promoted, but this just isn’t the right time for you.

You may even be concerned that it will change how your boss treats you in your current job. You worry that it will change the attitude your boss has about you.

A graceful decline

You want to live your life on your own terms. If that means this opportunity isn’t right, then you need to find a way to gracefully decline it.

You still want to be viewed as a team player. You don’t want to put your current job or standing in the company at risk. Of course, there’s no guarantee of that, whether or not you accept the promotion.

So let’s talk about your strategy. How should you proceed?

Genuinely thank them for offering you the position

It is an honor and you should treat it as such even if it’s not right for you. Express that to them.

Respect the agenda of your boss

While you’ve thought about your terms and determined this wasn’t a good fit, obviously your boss thinks it is – that’s his or her terms. Be respectful of those terms and try to help your boss fulfill them. How?

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do

For example, perhaps you’re willing to accept some additional responsibilities while they train the replacement. You’re willing to take these duties on in the short run; you just don’t want to do it for any lengthy period of time.

Point how it benefits them to keep you where you’re at

For example, your current position may really play to your strengths. You know your job well and you believe you can make a more significant impact by staying put.

Quickly follow up with one or two specific examples

How have you made a difference recently? By helping your boss see how you help the company where you’re at, he or she is more likely to agree that it’s a good idea to keep you there.

Now obviously, this is going to be a very important conversation. So before you sit down with your boss …

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Practice with your significant other or a friend. Practice in front of a mirror. Practice until these five steps and the words you will say are clearly mapped out in your mind.

Life on your own terms is important. It’s also important to help the key people around you live their lives on their own terms. That’s bigg success!

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Please join us next when we talk about what your choice of car may say about you.

Thanks for spending your time with us. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00375-041709.mp3

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Social Networking – The Line Between Work and Play

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We love hearing from people in the Bigg Success community and recently, Rupa, one of our newsletter subscribers, sent us an e-mail with two great questions.

She said that Generation Y wrestles with the blurred lines between their private, public and professional lives. So colleagues in their professional world have access to personal information.

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Young professional

Which leads to Rupa’s first question is, “How do we uphold our ‘professionalism’ while still enjoying our youth?

Rupa continues by saying that we’re now a very visible society and are encouraged to share our information online. But she’s not thrilled segmenting who can see what by setting up different privacy settings.

So her second question is, “Should we – as a collective society – consider redefining ‘professionalism’ as we've always known it? Is it outdated?"

In the interest of full disclosure, we should tell you that we know Rupa. She is a very professional young person. That’s why her question carries even more weight with us.

Back in the day …

For the sake of simplicity, we'll use Facebook, the most popular social network right now. Generation Y users began using this social media service when it was just a place for Gen Y.

Back in those good old days, your boss wouldn't be on Facebook. Today, he or she may be. Back then, a colleague you met at an event would contact you via email. Today, that colleague may ask to friend you on Facebook.

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marylynnI think all active social networkers wrestle with this to some extent. I have a friend who holds a highly visible position in her community. We were talking the other day and she said that she originally got on Facebook to keep track of her kids. Her family joined her. It was mainly a personal space for her. But now she is getting a lot of requests from people she knows in the community and she worries about the same thing. I think you have to find a happy medium when using social media. Make it not too much personal and not too much professional.

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georgeWhen you create your profile on Facebook, they ask you to fill out all kinds of things. But you don’t have to. For example, I don't include my religious or political beliefs on my profile page. However, I also don’t walk around with those labels stamped on me when I network in person either. That’s something I only share with close friends.

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“How do we uphold our ‘professionalism’ while still enjoying our youth?”

We think you can do one of two things:

  • When a professional colleague asks to friend you on Facebook, reply with: "I would prefer to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" and provide your link.  
  • If you do add them to your Facebook friends and you are concerned that they might see something you don’t want them to, then you don’t have a choice – you have to use privacy settings.

This can be done by creating a "Professional" friend list and applying specific privacy policies to that group. We found a fantastic article that lists some useful privacy settings for Facebook along with instructions on how to configure them.

Privacy settings allow you to present yourself in a youthful way to one set of friends and as a professional to another group. Don’t we do that, at least to some extent, in the real world as well? Imagine all of the people you know in one room together!

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george
I went too far with my privacy settings. Now, even I can’t see what I’m doing!

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Maintaining privacy settings may be a little bit of a pain but your efforts will give you peace of mind – especially if you are in Gen Y and used Facebook for its original intent but you’re now integrating your professional contacts too.

Is social media creating the need to change the definition of professionalism?

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Acceptable behavior hasn’t changed. People still hold each other to pretty similar standards as before.

What is different, and Rupa said it clearly in her e-mail, is the visibility. In other words, you’re more likely to get caught, we say tongue-in-cheek!

Because of that visibility, you have to be more careful about how you portray yourself online. For instance, let's say you are having a bad day. As a professional, you wouldn’t yell out, “I hate my job,” for everyone in the office to hear.

By the same token, it might be wise not to post that sentiment on your Facebook status, especially if you have co-workers in your network of friends. If you want Facebook to be a place to share the "authentic you", and you friend co-workers and managers, then it’s best to set up some privacy settings!

Your brand image

The bottom line is to remember that you are a brand. Your brand consists of your personal life and your professional life. Social media allows you to share both sides of your life with people in a public arena. You have to control your public brand image.

Thanks so much, Rupa, for your thought-provoking questions and for giving us permission to use them!

What are your thoughts about Rupa’s questions?

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00350-031309.mp3

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These Forgotten Costs Often Sink Us

sunken_boat We try not to make financial decisions in a vacuum. We strive to factor in all the relevant pieces before making a major purchase. But there are some costs that we often fail to factor in that can make a significant difference.

We often fail to factor in future flows of money.

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We expect a certain percentage pay raise. So we spend money as if it has already happened. It’s especially important in times like these that we don’t spend money before we know we have it.

Another thing we often do is count on a bonus. If it doesn’t materialize, we’re in trouble as we learned from Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. We sure don’t want our brother tying up our boss!

What about increased insurance costs? Is it likely that you’ll pay more for health insurance next year? How about insurance for your house or car? Insurance costs can rise significantly from year to year.

Do you have a variable rate mortgage? Have you considered a projected increase in the rate and the associated increase in your mortgage payment?

Have you thought about what might happen with recurring expenses? Cable bills, power bills, and water bills all seem to rise from year to year.

Affording it now isn’t good enough

You may finance a major purchase. Sure it’s only $100 a month. You can cover it now. But if it stretches your budget to its limit, it’s likely you won’t be able to cover it next year. You’ll start sinking and soon end up underwater, in a financial sense. You’ll run out of money before you run out of month!

It’s important to have a safety net – spending less than what you make each month.

A tool businesses use

We often don’t think about it this way, but we all run an organization – our households. Just like any organization, we have inflows and outflows of money.

Reasonably sophisticated business people work from a budget. Yes, the “b” word. Many people do treat budgets like a dirty word. But they’re a great tool.

And they’re especially important if you don’t have any money left over at the end of the month. It’s important to understand why. You can use Quicken, Excel or any number of ways to create your budget.

Many business people don’t just budget for one year. They look at projections over three years or more. These budgets don’t have to be elaborate – just plot out your main sources of inflows and outflows.

The power of the tool

Once you have a budget set up, you can look at “what if” scenarios. For example, what if:

  • you don’t get a pay raise
  • you (or your spouse) lose a job
  • the cost of health insurance (or any other cost) rises more than you expect?
  • you make this major purchase?

When you create a budget, you’re applying Stephen Covey’s “begin with the end in mind” and “put first things first” (from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to your finances. You’re considering all your costs – both now and in the future. Then you can see the impact of major purchases on your overall finances so you make the best decision going forward.

You can run your finances intentionally, rather than ad hoc. You can prepare for contingencies so you survive no matter what. Then you can shift your focus to thriving!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks for stopping by today. Next time, we’ll discuss how assumptions we make about time leave us overextended. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00266-111708.mp3

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Can We Talk You Out of Owning Your Own Business?

questions Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks software, conducted a study of working adults [doc] not long ago. They found that 67 percent think about quitting their jobs regularly or constantly, while 72 percent said they want to start their own business. The number one reason cited for this was to be more passionate about their work.

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The participants were asked who inspired them: Donald Trump (38%) and Hugh Hefner (34%) were the top choices for men; Oprah Winfrey received 66% of the women’s vote.

That response made us think – there are misperceptions of what it means to own a business; what an entrepreneur faces day-to-day. There’s the Hollywood version, but it often doesn’t reflect the real world.

5 common myths about owning your own business


#1 – I won’t have to answer to a boss.

While technically true, it’s not accurate in practice. The reality is that, as a business owner, you answer to every customer by you and your firm. You answer to your banker if you borrow money. The government will require you to do certain things by certain times. As a business owner, you won’t have a boss; you’ll have many bosses!

#2 – I set my own hours.
You’ve probably seen or heard the ads. Just buy this business opportunity – you’ll hardly have to work and the money will just pour in. If only it worked that way! You may enjoy a great deal of flexibility as a business owner. However, you’ll probably work more than you ever imagined, especially in the early stages of your business.

#3 – I can get my employees to do the grunt work.
Many new business owners – formerly part of the corporate world – have trouble adjusting to the lack of resources that are inherent in many start-ups. They were used to having “people” who did certain things. Start-ups can’t afford extra people; many can’t afford people at all! You’ll have to get used to doing a lot of things, if not everything, yourself, even the dirty work.

#4 – I’ll make more money.

Start-ups consume money; there often isn’t much to spare. You may not get a regular paycheck at first. You’ll have to build up the business to afford that “luxury”.

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georgeWhen I was younger, I couldn’t find anyone willing to pay me what I thought I was worth. So I started my own business … I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford to pay me what I thought I was worth!

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#5 – I’ll have less stress than I do with my job.

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marylynn As a first-time entrepreneur, I’ve learned that stress hits from many angles – clients with deadlines, so much work to get done, and worries when things don’t go as planned. I’ve learned to be much tougher mentally and emotionally.

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All of this reminds us of Jackson Browne’s song, The Load Out …“They’re the first to come, and the last to leave, working for that minimum wage.”

In the song, he’s talking about roadies. But we wonder … couldn’t he be describing start-up entrepreneurs?

When your business is in the start-up phase, it’s like a newborn baby. You have to nurture it and care for it until it reaches the point where it doesn’t need you so much anymore. Prepare yourself for a five-year horizon before you start.

If starting a business doesn’t sound so good anymore, we feel like we’ve done our job. You won’t face the financial, and more importantly, the emotional turmoil that comes with a start-up.

However, if you’re now more determined than ever to start a business, you’ve passed a critical test. You can’t be talked out of it. You’ve peered beyond the popular and romantic view of business ownership. You’re starting to see it as it really is. You’re ready to become an entrepreneur!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Next time, we’ll discuss the art of knowing yourself. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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