Strengths + Skills + Character + Opportunities = Career Success
Create opportunities for career success. Start with strengths that come to you naturally and easily, then learn skills that compliment your strengths, and build character to create opportunities for career success. As you learn more about yourself you will find skills you want to master and opportunities that fit your values. Are you more of an intuitive communicator who creates from your heart or an analytical innovator who designs from your head?
Valuing your strengths - the natural abilities you were born with - will drive you to develop skills you want to use for your business or job. Your skills are demonstrated in your product, analysis, data, and abilities but your heart will draw your audience to interact with you.
Your career success starts with you. Are you writing your business plan, setting up your portfolio, or looking for a job? You need to be able to clearly express your strengths. You know you are working in your strengths when time goes by so quickly you don't know what happened. You are in the zone. The neurons in your brain are firing and your face lights up when you talk about what you are doing. Not sure about your strengths?
Talk to a friend about something you did or are working on that you really enjoy doing. Notice your friend's expression. Are they listening and interested in what you are saying? Ask your friend if you look enthusiastic or passionate about what you are describing. If your friend doesn't appear really interested in your project, you may need to rethink your project or find your passion in doing it. You might even network and find someone with a similar interest to stir up your passion.
When you write about your strengths on social media, do people respond? Your LinkedIn profile should include your strengths, values, and something your are passionate about. Social media is a tool to reach a wider audience and monitor the reaction to your work. When you share your product or service with a customer, prospective partner, or employer you will need to show your excitement to generate their enthusiasm. Value yourself and your work. Start sharing today!
Want to know more about how to show your strengths, skills and character?
It's been a busy month accounting for books on this year's taxes as well as preparing for next year. Keeping records and preparing taxes is fairly simple for my coaching practice since I was selling a service with no inventory.
Last year I published my first book, Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success to add value to my coaching practice. Well before April 15th rolled around I wished I had hired a tax accountant or bookkeeper. We got in the habit of doing the taxes ourselves using Turbo Tax and didn't realize the difference it made when we added inventory the need for Cost of Goods Sold--not as simple as it appeared.
I had the idea I could just expense the books I purchased and add my book sales to income. Apparently this is a common misconception that oversimplifies the process.
According to the IRS, the following items need to be taken into consideration when computing COGS:
Last year I used the free inventory program InFlow for PC. It was simple to set up and generated useful reports for sales, sales tax, and books used. It has been years since I worked in bookkeeping, and I realized I hadn't kept the detailed records that would have been helpful.
This year I found AccountingEdge Pro for Mac in an inexpensive Apple Bundle and decided to give it a try. It takes longer to set up since it uses double entry accounting. It has a lot of online support articles and videos which were helpful, so after setting up my business, I realized I made some errors in the setup. I decided to change the original company setup to a test company, and then start a new company set up with a another company name. There doesn't appear to be a limit to the number of customers you can add as there was with InFlow and it has a Cost of Goods Sold account. I believe things will go much smoother when April comes around next year.
Improvements I made this year:
We all have the intention of keeping good records throughout the year and having them organized and accessible for taxes. But when you develop a new product it initially sells quickly, and it is easy to be excited and overwhelmed with initial success. When deciding what products you want to sell, consider your bookkeeping and taxes.
After selling some books, I was ready to increase my clients and move on to the next book. I didn't want to spend more time on record keeping and mailing than was necessary, but in my enthusiasm I mailed books to different locations, sold them at special prices, and didn't invest the time needed to understand the implications. Understanding the implications of different methods of selling a product will help in making decisions and keeping up accurate records.
An eBook you sell on your website doesn't require inventory and the bookkeeping that goes with it, but if you sell a PDF yourself it can easily be shared with people who didn't purchase it.
Selling your book through an online company like Amazon or Barnes & Noble simplifies your bookkeeping. They send you a 1099-Misc form for royalties (which are recorded separately on your tax form) at the beginning of the year for filing your taxes. You don't need to pay for and manage mailing, taxes in different locations, inventory, and cost of goods sold. Shipping to different locations requires the most record keeping.
Often the best way for a coach to sell their books is by word of mouth, presentations, classes, and workshops--basically selling your product yourself out of the trunk of your car. You may even want to carry a book with you so that when someone wants to buy it, you have one handy. Just remember to record all of the books you sell. It is also easier if you sell all of your books for the same price. Most customers like an even amount to pay--especially if paying cash--so I include the tax in the price and round it off to a dollar amount.
It's been a great experience selling books, and it has helped my coaching business, but I will do a much better job accounting for books this year whether I hire an accountant for taxes or we do them ourselves.
Share tips and ideas you have found for organizing and record keeping for your business products.
Cost of Goods Sold and the Tax Gap (FS-2006-23, July 2006). http://www.irs.gov/uac/Cost-of-Goods-Sold-and-the-Tax-Gap. Accessed 4-19-2014.
Consult an accountant or appropriate professional for tax information. The intention of this article is to share personal experience and is not in any way tax advice.
There are many things that disrupt a person’s career either temporarily or permanently. With today’s amazing medical technology there are many people surviving brain emergencies, trauma, and illness. At sometime in your career you will probably know or work with someone who is a survivor of brain trauma.
I recently visited an aneurysm support group and heard heart felt stories of career frustration as well as successes. Stories included:
After viewing the PBS Documentary, “Brain Emergency” hosted by Kaity Tong and California neurologist Dr. Rick Atkinson, the group felt support as they shared their experiences.
I heard the story of a young woman who experienced a ruptured aneurysm, overcame challenges in her recovery, and successfully returned full time to a job with complex responsibilities. During her recovery she felt the frustration of overstimulation in the workplace and impatience with herself, but through her heroic persistence she was able to work at a high level of competence and advocate for others who had experienced a brain emergency.
Difficulties people often experience while recovering from a brain emergency are short-term memory loss, slower assimilation of information and response time, headache, and too much information coming at them at once.
What you can do
As an employer or colleague, you can be patient if someone asks you to repeat what you said, speak more slowly, or use different words in your explanation. After a brain emergency, a person may be fully able to work and function but they might process information differently. Whether it is a brain emergency or other brain trauma, a person may look and sound the same, yet process information differently.
Educate yourself about brain emergencies and brain trauma to assist clients, friends and family members recover and regain full employment whenever possible. The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation has information and resources on their website.
There are some who receive support and rehabilitation counseling, yet find they are not candidates for full time employment, but with the support of the medical community, support groups, family, and counselors, many successfully contribute to the workplace and community.
Understanding the process of recovery from a brain emergency will help you effectively support and work with a person transitioning back to work. Whether you are a career professional, a fellow employee, or an employer, you can make a difference.
I have been so focused on self-editing, hiring professionals, and publishing my book, “Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success”, that I feel like I am losing track of the reason I wrote it—to connect with people through their stories.
Spending hours in my office researching the publishing process, self-editing and responding to my editor’s comments and suggestions, left me feeling closed and isolated. I began to wonder why I was spending so much time and energy on this project. Now it’s time to share, express, connect, and have fun!
I wrote the book as an avenue for self-expression for others and myself. Now I need to get back to blogging, meeting, and connecting—the things that give me energy and bring fun to my life.
An amazing group coaching call today with Dave Buck at Coachville got my juices flowing. Through the Coachville community, I started sharing and listening to the successes and challenges of others. According to Dave, every successful professional will benefit from learning coaching skills.
The Coachville approach is to think of your work as a game and wake up everyday to a day of play and see what it brings. As Dave says, “The 21st Century Human is a player not a worker.”
I am playing the Winning Business Game to build my coaching business by showing rather than telling the value of Creativity Coaching. During the industrial age we were trained to work and consume. In the new age of knowledge and creativity we are “players and creators” as Buck describes the new age of workers who need to add value rather than just doing what they have been told.
My next game piece in the “Winning Business Game” will be “Visibility”. After completing my book my next step was to make a marketing plan. The idea of marketing felt more draining than energizing. But the idea of creating visibility sounds like fun. In fact, that is what I have been doing and want to do more of.
I just made a folder on my computer desktop called “Visibility” where I will collect my profile, articles, blogs, gift certificates, and ideas for creating visibility. Visibility is about sharing value, connecting, and building community. If you would like to join me in the “Winning Business Game for Professional Coaches” you can join Coachville (free) and play the game as a member benefit.
Not a professional coach? You might want to play the “Coaching Mastery Game” to practice using coaching principles in your business.
Ready to play?
Social media, when used well, is an honest transparent collection of information about a unique brand – you! Whether you are a job seeker, entrepreneur, or career professional you will find many ways to show your audience who you are and what you can do for them. As a job seeker your product is you. Show the skills and services you can offer an employer. An entrepreneur’s audience is their customer while a career professional works with their clients. Career professionals need to master the media skills their clients and students need to understand as well as developing their own media presence. Social media is an excellent place to show your Brand, develop your Reputation, build Associations, and show a Track record for success—your social media BRAT.
Branding is a snapshot of you that gives your audience something to like and remember about you -- a way to draw in your audience -- to feed a want or need. As you consider your personal brand, think about the impression you want to make. Show your audience how you are unique and why a customer would want buy a product or service from you rather than someone else. You choose how you want your audience to feel about the business of you. Use social media to associate the brand of you with your product or service.
Your reputation sets you apart from others who offer similar products and services. There are others who want the same job, customer, or client. You will set yourself apart by showing your character, consistency and values. Let your audience know you are the person they want to do business with. Think before you post.
Social media sites are a little like a neighborhood. You get to know your neighbors through interacting in their environment. You listen to what they say and comment on their contributions. You wouldn’t knock on doors in your neighborhood and ask for a job. You show an interest in your neighbor. The neighbors know you are responsible by looking at the upkeep of your house and yard; and how you work in your community. Similarly in your digital neighborhood people notice if you are keeping your profile up-to-date, whom you are hanging out with, what you are saying, and what you have in common with them. Who do you associate with?
A track record shows that you have a history of experience that shows success: sales, promotions, training, conferences, events, skills, or whatever might interest the employer or customer. Your track record shows you are the kind of person with whom they want to do business. You can be trusted, and you will be around when they need you. Social media builds a track record over time.
I just read a wonderful book by an accomplished career expert, Katharine (Kathy) Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, as well as an author and instructor. The name of the book grabbed my attention immediately. We all have accomplishments, but we often minimize them not knowing how to stand out without sounding like bragging.
Whether you are a job seeker, entrepreneur or employee, the ability to describe your accomplishments concisely and passionately will move you forward in your career. The book, You Are More Accomplished Than You Think: How To Brainstorm Your Achievements For Career And Life Success, gives you tools, examples, information, and worksheets to help you define and describe your accomplishments. You may know your accomplishments without understanding how to describe and build on those accomplishments. This book will show you how.
Too often the resume, cover letter, or profile is a list of job duties without showing your value, results, or sharing a memorable story. When you finish this book you will be proud to share your many accomplishments in a meaningful way without sounding like you are bragging.
The author shares techniques such as:
· Integrating feedback from others.
· Mining documents for accomplishments.
· Entrepreneurial accomplishments.
· Life accomplishments.
· Using keywords to describe your accomplishments.
One of the most important things you can do in describing accomplishments is to know your audience and tailor your accomplishments to the person or business you are speaking with.
The prompts, brainstorm activities, tools, websites, and assessments will help develop and frame accomplishments that are difficult to quantify. Some accomplishments can be given a numerical value while others will be told in scenarios, examples, or stories. As Katharine Hansen explains,
“When we describe accomplishments, we are essentially telling stories. The challenge, your role, and the impact you had.”
You Are More Accomplished Than You Think: How To Brainstorm Your Achievements For Career And Life Success, by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D. will give you clear concise information and the tools you need to frame your accomplishments. As the author states, “You are more accomplished than you think.” Find the Kindle edition of this invaluable book on Amazon.
Looking for a job is more than a search--it takes action! As a job seeker or employee you need to be prepared for opportunities that come your way. Companies change, downsize, resize, and move so everyone who wants to work needs to be ready for their next career transition.
Quintessential Careers mega job search and information site has tools and information you need to stay current on job openings, trends in the work world, and career experts who can assist you. To get the job you want you will need to have the training and expertise employers require, build relationships in your network, and know how to say who you are and what you want.
Why do you need Job Action Day 2012? Taking action is in the moment, urgent, and something you need to be motivated to want to do. Job Action Day gives you the latest information from Quintessential Careers where you can learn more. You may feel overwhelmed or discouraged when you read the vast amount of information about work and job search. But Job Action Day comes to you every year with articles and tips to motivate and inspire you to take the next step. There are jobs and you have so much to offer an employer.
Use Job Action Day, November 5, 2012, to jump start your career and take action!
Be in the habit of taking your children outdoors to observe nature; in fact when adults show children how to observe their environments they teach them to protect their own boundaries, as well as the boundaries of people and things around them. They learn what should and shouldn’t be in their surroundings.
My 2-year old grandson notices everything around him when he goes for a walk—the green truck, the yellow flowers, his shadow, a bird, what’s behind and in front of him. I am much more aware of our surroundings because I know he will ask about something he sees. He learns that roses are beautiful but he needs to be careful touching them because of the prickly thorns. He knows that some things he can touch, but when he goes to the Cosumnes River Preserve he leaves everything as he found it.
Teaching children to observe nature with its beauty, mystery, and dangers is a great way to teach them how to feel safe in the world while protecting their boundaries and the boundaries of others.
Activities such as “Red Ribbon Week” to teach children to say no to drugs raises their awareness of the problem, but we also need to teach them how to live healthy and happy while understanding what to look for in their environment.
Getting regular exercise outdoors while observing nature, recognizing what should be in their surroundings, and talking to an adult about what they see will train them to talk to that adult when something seems wrong or out of the ordinary--like someone they don’t know approaching them. They know not to touch mushrooms and berries without asking what they are, they know not to approach a dog they don’t know without asking if it is ok, they will learn to not talk to people they don’t know without asking.
As you bond with your children and grandchildren through walking in nature, they will trust you and talk to you about their hurts and stings whether physical or emotional. Connect with your children through nature and teach them the “danger” yell but to not use it for play. Explain that drugs can be used for medicine when a doctor prescribes it, but it is harmful when a friend or relative gives it to them without their parent’s permission. Keep as few medications as possible in your cabinet and use sunshine and healthy food to feel good about yourself and others.
Enjoy observing nature while teaching health and safety to your children.
Back to Blogging
I can see it has been quite some time since the last time I wrote a post for this blog. I have been spending so much time writing and working on projects that I have neglected my posts. I enjoy blogging because it is immediate and in the moment; sharing information and ideas that are happening right now. I have been spending so much time organizing, self-editing, hiring professionals, and starting a publishing business that I got away from doing what I love--writing.
Publishing a book takes discipline and helps me improve my writing skills, but I found it very tedious to go over and over the same material. It is time to update my websites and blogs and get connected with all of you. If you are a creative entrepreneur, writer, or job seeker come back often and let's share in this journey of finding our own personal definition of success and happiness. There is plenty for everyone!
Certified Life Coach
Coaching for Career, Writing & Creative Problem-Solving
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