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Make Your Daily Commute Productive

By Bigg Success Staff
02-26-08

Work – Life Balance

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There’s something we really want to know. Why is it called “rush hour” when much of the time we “crawl”? 

Yes, the daily commute can be quite frustrating unless you look at it in a different way.

See it as your “do not disturb” time.

When you do that, your daily drive to and from work becomes your refuge!

We’re sure we don’t need to remind you that you shouldn’t drive and talk on your cell phone anyway! So why not escape into your own world? It’s uninterrupted time!

Before long, you might find yourself leaving a little early and driving behind the slow-poke! Because you want to spend more time in your safe harbor. Free from all the things that pull you in so many directions at once.

This is YOU time!

So what will you do with all this time? Here are seven suggestions:

#1 – Listen to audio podcasts.

There are so many great online shows now. Of course, we highly recommend The Bigg Success Show for a daily lesson and a laugh in five-minutes or so! (Subscribe in iTunes)

Probably the easiest way to find the plethora of options available is to go to iTunes. Pick an area you’re interested in and subscribe to the show!

#2 – Listen to audio books.
Drive time is an excellent time to “read” a book. All you have to do is listen! Of course, you can get a book that will improve your career skills. But why not expand yourself? Listen to the greatest works of all time!

The easiest way to do this is to have a book in mind. Just search Amazon for that audio book. Or you can do a general search for “audio books” and see what catches your fancy!

#3 – Take a course on CD.

Why just read a book? You can use this time to take an entire course! You’ll come away from every commute a little closer to being an expert on your chosen subject.

Do you plan to travel abroad sometime soon? Learn the language before you go!

#4 – Play some great music.
Music is good for the mind, heart, and soul. Expand yourself by listening to some of the great classics in all genres. Spend a few minutes on the weekend learning about the works you’ll listen to in the coming week.

What kind of music do you like? Learn what influenced your favorite kind of music and trace it back to its roots. Or think about what types of music have been influenced by what you love and trace it forward.

#5 – Listen to the radio.
Whether it’s terrestrial or satellite radio, you have so many options available. Mix it up. Don’t get stuck listening to the same station day after day. Choose a different one every day of the week! Get different points-of-view, listen to a variety of music, and expand your horizons!

#6 – Massage yourself.
If you get stuck in traffic, spend that time giving yourself a comforting massage. We won’t lie to you – it feels better when it’s done for you. But you can hit your pressure points so you feel more relaxed.

#7 – Exercise / stretch
Once again, if you get stuck in traffic, use that time to get in a little exercise, stretching, and deep breathing. Obviously, this won’t replace a trip to the gym, but it’s a bonus.

You can do some isometric exercises and certain stretches. While you’re doing it, breathe in and out deeply. Even if you just flex your muscles, you’ll feel better than if you just sit there waiting to go again!

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Keep Your Job Or Buy A Franchise?

Bigg Challenge
Ellen e-mailed us because she and her husband are considering buying a franchise. Currently, she’s the #2 executive at a small business she’s worked at for years. She has two questions:

  • What franchise should she buy?
  • Will it pay off within ten years, because she plans to retire then?

Bigg Advice
Obviously, this is a very personal decision, so only you can decide what franchise to buy. We can, however, give you some guidelines.

What’s your expertise? What are your interests? Where’s the opportunity? Match these up when looking for your franchise.

How to find your franchise

Check out 66] to learn more about the International Franchise Association. This industry group also provides some fantastic resources for people like you. In the article, you’ll see our review of their exhaustive, step-by-step guide to buying a franchise. The only thing we don’t like about it is that we didn’t write it!

They also have a listing of franchises, but in our opinion, it’s not as user-friendly as the next great resource.

You’ve probably heard of the Fortune 500. Entrepreneur publishes a similar list called the Franchise 500 every year. You can look up franchises by category – restaurants, business services, and just about any other category you can imagine.

They also have lists of the top new franchises, the lowest cost franchises, top home-based franchises, fastest growing franchises, and more. We definitely recommend that you check it out.

Making it pay
Buying a franchise, as with any business, comes with uncertainty. You have to take chances to succeed. However, you can and should reduce your risk to a level you can tolerate. You’ve heard us say this before – successful entrepreneurs are very adept at that.

Use the resources we mentioned above. Do your homework. Build your projections, but remember they are just SWAG.

SWAG, in this sense, has nothing to do with the Oscar presenters! It is an acronym for scientific, wild-assed guesses! So make sure you build some “fudge” into your guesstimates.

Is there another option?
You’ve painted an either / or picture – you either keep your job or you buy a franchise. We wonder if there are other alternatives.

You mentioned your husband, but we don’t really know what his situation is. Could he run the business?

You could also hire someone to run the franchise for you. Find a way to align their interest with yours. This could range from sharing profits to an actual ownership stake.

Obviously, if you choose this last option, you’ll have to accept a lower upside. However, your downside is a lot less, too.

If either of these works, you can keep your job AND buy a franchise!

Thanks, Ellen for sharing your bigg challenge! We wish you bigg success, whatever you decide!

What’s your bigg challenge? E-mail it to us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com!

Our bigg quote today is over 2,000 years old. Seneca, the Roman philosopher, said:

“It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture.
It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”

You have to look at the downside, but if you spend too much time focusing on that, you’ll never enjoy the upside.

Next time, we’ll discuss a recent study that shows that happiness is overrated. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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The Negotiating Table

We know a gentleman who’s bought and sold businesses for years. He closes a deal about every ninety days. He said that every time he buys, he feels like he paid too much. Conversely, when he sells, he always feels that he didn’t get enough.

Negotiating is a nerve-wracking process – whether it’s for a job, a car, a loan, or anything else!

So today, we’ll serve up some delicious tips for negotiating your next deal. Think of it as a three-course meal – an appetizer, the main course, and dessert.

There are two things to keep in mind before we get to our three courses.

  • Know what you want. What are your taste buds craving? What’s your ideal deal? Have a clear picture of this before you start.       
  • Ask for what you want. It may not be on the menu. Ask for it anyway. You never know – the chef might be able to whip it up for you!

Appetizers
You won’t get filled up at this stage, but you will get a taste of what’s to come. During this course, you’re feeling things out. What are they looking for from you? What might they offer?

Will you be working together long-term if this deal is consummated? If so, focus on building the relationship. Look for win / win. And keep this in mind – if they like you, you may get a better deal.

Try to determine how much leverage you have. Why do they want to do this deal? How badly do they want it? Do they have to do it? Who’s in a stronger position – you or them?

Be careful not to put too much on the table during this course. For example, you’ll save things like your price and terms for the next course.

Main course
You may walk away before you get to this course. If you’re still interested, here’s a caveat. Negotiations often stall here. So if you like what you’re hearing, find ways to keep things moving along.

If you get stuck on a point, set it aside and come back to it later. Maybe if you chew on something else, this will be more appetizing later.

Don’t lose sight of the bigg picture because you’re trying so hard to win a point. You may get a morsel but lose the meat!

You shouldn’t concede unless they do so as well. This sets the tone you want. For example, let’s say you’re negotiating your salary. Maybe they can’t quite pay you what you want, but they are willing to give you some additional time off. You may accept that trade-off.

Dessert
You may decide you don’t want dessert – you know you can’t come to terms. But assuming you decide to stay, you’re ready to negotiate all the details. That’s one reason this course can be the most nerve-wracking of all. Plus you’re getting closer to actually committing.

You probably won’t feel fully satisfied at the end. Be happy if they’re equally unhappy!

Ultimately, they may reject your offer or you may turn them down. In either case, what are your options? Keep them open so you have a back-up.

What techniques do you use at the negotiating table?
Share them with us by leaving a Comment below.

Our bigg quote is by John F. Kennedy. We’re sure he had loftier ideas when he said this, but it’s still appropriate.

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

So, enter every negotiation knowing that, you don’t have to do it, but don’t be afraid to do it.

In our next blog, we’ll answer a question from a member who wants to know if she should keep her job or buy a franchise. Hopefully by then, we’ll be recovered from this bigg meal! Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Does This Date Work For You?

By Bigg Success Staff
02-13-08

Work – Life Balance

mr_right_jpg Do you remember studying with friends in college? You met at the library, the coffee shop, or a favorite restaurant. You studied and talked and laughed. It was fun and productive at the same time.

Young people are starting businesses at a record rate, complete with all the pressures that go with it. The corporate world is more and more demanding.

It’s tough to have both a career and a social life. Or is it?

Welcome to the world of the “working date”.

And this need not just apply to singles. Get away with your significant other and still get some work done.

But it has to work for both of you. You can’t expect someone to “keep themselves busy” while you work. They need to buy into it; they have to have their own work to do.

That’s why a new test for compatible relationships is to find someone as career-oriented as you are. They will understand when you have to work. You can do the same when the roles are reversed.

So how do you make working dates work?

Make it clear upfront.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often broken. Make it clear when you’re setting it up that you have work to do. Explain why it’s so important for you to get this work done – you have a deadline, you’re a little behind, etc.

Let them opt out by offering a time when you can give them your full attention.

Establish the ground rules
You may have work that requires intense concentration. You need undisturbed time, but still want to be with your date. If they understand that, all is good. Plan for some breaks in your work – it’s good for you and the relationship if you get away from it, even for fifteen minutes. Other work may allow for interruptions.

Discuss your mutual needs so you get your work done and get on to the fun!

Set a time limit
You should reward yourself, and your date, for your discipline. Set a time when you will quit working. Then get your work done so you can socialize! Remember, all work and no play?

It should still be fun
Seems obvious, right? Apparently, it’s not. Think about the work you need to do. If it requires 100 percent of your attention, don’t make a date. Either you won’t have any fun on your date or you won’t get your work done because you’re distracted.

Plan another time.

EVERY date shouldn’t be a working date

You can’t build a career or a relationship if you never get away from work. If you always have work that HAS to be done, you have too much work! If you never want to just be with someone, without the distractions of work, either you’re not that interested in them or you have an issue with intimacy. You’ll have to figure that one out!

Like many people, you may find that blending your professional and personal life is the best way to keep it all in balance. Make a date that works! 

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Stop Trying To Balance Your Life

By Bigg Success Staff
02-07-08

Work – Life Balance

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Are you finding it difficult to balance your professional and personal lives?

Stop trying – live them both simultaneously!

Do you love to travel, but find that your work often gets in the way?

Stop trying – get away and work!

Would you like more family-time, but something always trips you up?

Stop trying – take a trip with your family and keep on working!

That’s what working travelers do. They quit trying to balance their lives. They just live it all at once!

More and more people are doing this – combining travel and work. We’re not talking about traveling FOR work; these people work AND travel.
 
It’s a fairly short distance from working in an office to working anywhere you want. A lot of people have found a way out of the daily grind. They work from home rather than commuting to an office.

They use technology to keep in touch – cellular phones, a notebook computer, internet access, and the like.

If you can do the work from home, can’t you do it anywhere? In many cases, the answer is a resounding “Yes”!

You can be free while you work! Free to travel to places you’ve always wanted to go. All you need is cellular service and an internet connection. No one will even know you’re gone!

Doesn’t it sound wonderful?

Well, there are some downsides. It’s hard to have pets when you’re a globetrotter. You won’t see your extended family and your friends as much. You may sacrifice other hobbies you enjoy, like gardening.

However, you’ll be exposed to different cultures. You’ll experience the rest of the world. You’ll make new friends. Every day will be an adventure!

To get started, dip your toes in the water. Take an extended vacation. Then you can plan ever longer vacations.

As you travel and work, allow for downtime over and above the travel time. In addition to getting set up, you might have some jet lag. Give yourself time to settle in, and get settled, before scheduling any heavy-duty work.

If you’re interested in exploring this lifestyle more, there are two great resources on the internet: NuNomad and Laptop Hobo. Both of these sites are ripe with resources for getting started and connecting with fellow working travelers.

Why try to balance your work and home lives. Live them both as one!

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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