Is Relocation Part of YOUR Retirepreneur Plan?

If you’re like most boomers, probably not.

In a new Associated Press -LifeGoesStrong.com poll, being within close proximity of kids & extended family is a top priority for 73% of boomers. That preference appears to tip even stronger for women than men.

For more insight, check out this great article by real estate broker & investor extraordinaire on ABC-TV’s Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran: AP Poll Says Midlifers Will Retire Close to Home.

Hmmm… I think we need to gently break this news to Florida, don’t you think?

10 Ways to Raise Your Lead Generation Game

10. Banish the phrase “cold calling” from your vocabulary. You’re hunting, you’re investigating, you’re connecting, and you’re helping buyers address critical issues. Adopt this mindset, be persistent, and with time, they will look forward to your calls – REALLY!

9. Open with a story. Take case studies, craft 30-45 second stories to open up conversations, and have a hip-pocket list of questions ready to ask after each story.

8. Understand, at a big-picture level, how your buyers make money and align your questions with your BUYER’s revenue generation model (NOT your solution model).

7. Feed your network first – then they’ll feed you. Be a go-giver.

6. Pick up the phone – enough with the email blasts — and make sure you’re reaching out to targeted prospects regularly with a call. (PS: Document all conversations and leverage that info to go deeper next time. “You mentioned challenges with blah-blah-blah last August. How’s that going?)

5. Map out your lead generation game plan (on paper or digitally). Measure efforts AND outcomes each week and fine-tune, as needed.

4. Have a reason to call and change it up. (Never say “Just checking in.” Spend just five minutes on their website before you call. Your opener’s likely right there!)

3. Schedule time EVERY WEEK to learn something new (even just 15 minutes scoping out industry blogs) and leverage that insight in your lead generation conversations.

2. Set a goal each week to have at least ONE NEW CONVERSATION with a NEW buyer – and hold yourself accountable to this goal.

1. Yoda said it best: “Do or do not. There is no try!”

 

What’s in YOUR Learning Wallet?

Smart learning investments pay big dividends!

Let’s face it. We’re living in a world of constant and rapid-fire change. Do you really think that workshop you attended in 2009 or even that webinar you half-listened to last year will help you get the job done? Not likely.  You’re using dusty old skills to address critical issues. When it comes to setting priorities and time management, Learning is that good intention that keeps sliding down the list.  Often, it’s the thing we do AFTER everything else is tackled.

Let the Retirepreneur beware. Take your eyes off the learning ball and it will cripple your business growth. It might even be the single biggest reason you fail. If there’s just ONE THING you resolve to do, make it this:

Map out a SMART Personal Learning Plan (PLP) and schedule time EVERY WEEK to work it!

Now, a few tips to help you shape that Personal Learning Plan:

  1. Adopt a Learning Mindset: You’ll notice I’m using the “L” word a lot. Once upon a time, I was promoted to Director of Training for an organization of 700 people. It may seem like semantics, but my first move was to change my title to Director of Learning. I had already heard too much whining about “we need to get more training.” More cowbell, anyone? To succeed in supporting performance improvement, we needed to first change mindsets from Training (and “we need to GET”) to Learning (and “we need to DO”). Sure, I delivered workshops and programs to build skills, but my focus was on instructional design, facilitation, and sparking more peer-to-peer conversations to help folks be more effective in their jobs. You may only be a one-person show, but it all starts with a mindset. Be a learner who is always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow your skills & knowledge, not someone who “gets” trained.
  2. Begin With the End in Mind: I met a guy with a program called “What Would Better Look Like?” Sounds a little obvious, but how many of us actually take the time to answer that question clearly. So I ask you – “What Would Better Look Like?” Write it down. Describe it in great detail. Then ask yourself, “What’s Keeping Me From Getting There?” Start mapping out a route to “Better.”
  3. Invest in on ONE Big Learning Experience Every Year: For 2011, I’ve doubled down on my investment. I attended a conference in Chicago AND spent a day with a marketing rockstar (more about that later).  We live in a world of webinars and online tutorials. Don’t get me wrong — those are great options, but face-to-face experiences take lessons even further. Find the RIGHT workshop, with the RIGHT people in attendance, and dive in.
  4. Book Learning Time on Your Calendar: It doesn’t have to be large chunks each week. Some weeks, you might set aside 30 minutes to read AND comment on industry blogs. By the way, commenting on blogs helps you APPLY what you’ve learned.
  5. Repurpose Dead Time for Learning: Are you driving across town? Why not get an Audiobook from the library and listen to a thought leader? On the treadmill? Subscribe to podcasts and listen while you work out.
  6. Fill Gaps, BUT Spend More Time on Building Strengths: Often, we look at learning to fill deficits. If there’s an area where you’re a little weak, go shore it up, but remember: Your weak spots will never be your strengths. Get these areas up to acceptable levels, but then, focus more time to transform strengths into SUPER strengths.
  7. Go Talk To People: Just read a great marketing book? Go find somebody else who read it and meet for coffee to talk about key takeaways and how you will apply these concepts to your day-to-day world. Can’t find anybody to talk to? Go check LinkedIn and search People, Groups, and Discussions to find somebody who read the book. Heck, go launch a discussion about the book on a group where it’s a fit. You’ll be amazed at the new connections you’ll make.

What’s in YOUR Learning Wallet? Care to share a few more tips and ideas?

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Three Generations of Inspiration

Three family members, three generations, and three birthdays, all in a row.

All three quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) inspired me to dream bigger and stretch a little further.

September 6th: Nicholas Kastner
Our son celebrates his 25th birthday this year and continues on a path less traveled, but well-suited to who he is and who he wants to become. He’s our creative, middle child with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Dayton and a boatload of life lessons since his graduation in 2009. Nick inspires me to clarify and stay focused on what I’m pursuing.  More about Nick at www.ngkastner.com

September 7th: Harold Spencer
My grandfather worked days as a housing inspector in New York and nights as a jazz musician. In 1964, my grandparents moved to Arizona but every summer, they’d come back to New York for a few weeks to visit with family. I started playing the clarinet in 1967 and on each visit, he’d set aside an afternoon for a special one-on-one visit with me. He’d listen to me play a few tunes, applaud, and offer a few pointers to smooth out the squeaks. Grandpa inspired me to practice and perfect my skills.

September 8th: James George
My dad was the consummate sales professional, and often years ahead of his time strategy-wise. There was many a Sunday afternoon when he’d have materials spread across the dining room table, fine-tuning his presentation to land that next big opportunity.  He was often asked to help the neighborhood “kids” spruce up their resumes to land new opportunities, too. At his funeral, one of those neighborhood kids reminded me of something Dad did better than anyone else. “Your Dad was a huge-hearted man who always made the person he was talking to feel like the most important person in the world for that moment.”  Dad inspired me to listen intently, be curious, and help others at every opportunity.

Who inspires you? And who might you inspire?

Overwhelmed by Oxymorons

Bear with me. I’m having a George Carlin moment here, but I can’t help but wonder…

  • Shouldn’t people who teach workshops about how to get rich actually BE rich?
  • Shouldn’t people who claim to be social media experts have killer stats on Alexa.com?
  • Shouldn’t people who offer “Satisfaction Guaranteed, 30-Day Trials” reply to an email on Day 29?
  • Shouldn’t people who write books about leadership have high-performing teams who adore them?
  • Shouldn’t people who are lauded for their public service smile & nod when they run into people on the street?

This world could certainly use a few more good and honest people, don’t you think?  We’re living in a time of too much hype and not enough substance. Too many sinners and not enough saints.

The good news is today’s world is much more transparent, so you can spot these oxymoronic moments more easily. Now if we could just be a little more courageous and challenge these bozos, just imagine how much better things would be.

For the record, Retirepreneur makes no “get rich quick” promises.” This is simply a place where one boomer (me) opens her playbook, shares experiences & discoveries with like-minded boomers (you), so we can help each other set the stage for a happier and more fulfilling retirement.

I’m making progress, but there’s still more road to hoe. How about you?

Making Work-Life Balance Work

“If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you — and you may just not like their idea of balance.”

- Nigel Marsh, author of  “Fat, Forty, and Fired”

Most aspiring Retirepreneurs struggle with Work-Life balance. While this TED Talk by Nigel Marsh might be for a slightly younger audience, there are some gold nuggets to consider as you map out your own Retirepreneur plan. ENJOY!

So Many Social Media Strategists – Where’s the Beef?

Have you noticed the incredible surge in Social Media experts? Everybody’s putting out a shingle and offering FREE workshops and webinars, many of which turn out to be thinly veiled sales pitches. 60 minutes of product peddling and not a whole lot in the way of valuable insight.

Sure, there are some knowledgeable experts giving sound advice, but you have to “kiss a lot of frogs” to find a prince.

Is there some academy out there churning out social media strategists?

More likely, it’s a swarm of entrepreneurs who see declining billable hours for their core (real) competencies. So what do they do? They chase the next shiny object, which these days appears to be Social Media.

Heck, I’m testing out lots of things via social media. Some are working. Some are not. That doesn’t make me an expert.  I’ve also sat through more than my fair share of FREE webinars where I was given some pretty basic information. “Wow – you mean I can set up a Facebook page for my business? Who knew?”

It’s understandable in today’s economy that entrepreneurs are on the lookout for new revenue streams. Unfortunately, too many are headed down the Social Media path. It’s a slippery slope. These folks might score short-term revenue, but they’re doing far more damage to long-term credibility and reputation. Authenticity — it’s in short supply these days, but it’s a valuable currency.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Stop chasing shiny objects. Stick with your core competencies and own them. Do fewer things, but do them incredibly well.

And when you spot related needs, before you start thinking about fulfilling them yourself, go take a look at your network. Scout out a trusted partner. Someone who will deliver meaningful value to your customers.

PS: Looking to better understand Social Media and how to apply it to grow your business? Start with Chris Brogan’s blog, a daily dose of thought leadership, ideas, and support. He’s the real deal.

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