Monday, June 29, 2009

6 Secrets To Fighting Isolation In A Home Based Business

Running your business from home has many advantages, like setting your own schedule and avoiding the daily commute. They say Los Angeles traffic is among the worst in the United States, and I believe it. Other benefits of working from home are plentiful. If you have children, you are home when they get home from school, and you can take a break to hear about their day. You can make your own lunch, which means you are saving money by not having to go out to Starbucks for that afternoon snack.

On the flip side, people who have chosen to work at home can feel isolated, especially if they have worked in an office or retail environment before. Having much less contact with colleagues or customers is a big shift. Don't stress! There are a wide variety of techniques you can use to break the silence!

1. Create a distinct personal & work space. If you work at home, you must- I repeat, must--separate your workspace from your personal space. You need to find a place where you can set up the necessities of an office. While the dining room table does not count, a walk in closet does. You get the picture. Remember you are still the creative and successful professional you have worked so hard to be, except now you are your own boss. Make sure to get dressed in the morning. I don't mean that you have to put on a suit, but get out of your sleeping attire and sweats! Keeping your new office self-contained will preserve your focus, and possibly your sanity. When your work is done for the day, close the computer. Walk away. Shift into time with your family or friends, and doing what you enjoy.2. Set a daily schedule for yourself. If you have chosen a home-based business, you already know you are solely responsible for your time--all of it. And in lieu of the work distractions of a typical business, co-workers stopping at your desk to gossip, going out for lunch, etc., you'll have a whole new set of distractions. Setting and maintaining a schedule that works for you will provide stability, with the benefit of being able to shift your time if necessary. Now, you can start at 6 a.m. if you choose and be done at 2 p.m., or start at 10 a.m. and work to 7 p.m. Stick to what works for you and provides the strongest productivity and well-being.

3. Don't "burrow" - get out of the house! One of the traps of working for yourself is the impulse to over focus. Of course being industrious is essential to success, but so is balance. No matter what, give yourself some down time.
Have a coffee date with a friend. Make it a professional outing. Sharing experiences can be very supportive. Perhaps that person is having the same struggles or successes you are. You can share what has worked best. Of course, it doesn't have to be business-related. Refresh yourself with what you love to do, such as a running club, book club, or whatever works for you.
Gardening is a great way to take a break, enjoy the outdoors, and improve your home!
4. Meet your customers. Research shows that meeting with your customers personally, especially new ones, will win you more business. This is a particular advantage for those who work for themselves. Getting out of your home office for these meetings gives you the opportunity to build your clientele as well as establish strong and positive relationships with each of them personally.

5. Mix it up. Taking time to participate in established groups and professional activities is time well spent. Your local chamber of commerce may host a working breakfast with a speaker pertinent to your business. Take a day to attend a trade show. These are wonderful opportunities to network, as well as learn about other businesses, assess your competition, and learn what's new. Spending time at these events is invigorating and is likely to prompt new ideas and perspective for your own business. Definitely check out ISES, WIPA, and ABC.6. Keep in Touch. Many people who establish their own businesses have a background in a traditional office environment, ripe with opportunities to interact with co-workers, albeit within the particular environment of the
company. Choosing to work on your own is a huge shift. At the same time, it's a great opportunity to develop or re-build relationships with new friends and colleagues. Before you know it, you'll have a dynamic personal support network. You may even choose to have a partner or mentor in your field to share experiences and consult with one another.

Whatever you choose, be creative, and enjoy your independence!


Leading Entertainment Expert, Entrepreneur, TV Personality, Coach, Author and Sought After Speaker, Marley Majcher is CEO of The Party Goddess! and publisher of the Ezine, "...But Are You Making Any Money". If you are ready to take your career or business to the next level, make more money and just be happier with your work life, then get your free tips at www.butareyoumakinganymoney.com

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Find me in the Transformers 2 Game!

It was a random request but I was asked to model for the newest Transformers 2 video game last year. I got this pictures a few months ago but couldn't post them until the game came out Tuesday.
It's weird to see yourself as an animation (is this really what I look like?!!). I like the ones where I'm running away from them (look at the size of them!).

Ah! The transformers are coming! Duck and cover!
I don't know, I think my face would be a bit more scared, right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cool Ideas for Your Independence Day Party!

Independence Day is just around the corner, what are you going to do to celebrate? I say do it the "American" way, making your party just a bit more unique and always fun!

1. Sure, the traditional BBQ in the yard always works. But what if you don't have a backyard, picnic area, or rooftop to host your party? If you're going to do it indoors (which might be nice with some major air conditioning!), why not celebrate your patriotism with a col 50's theme? Decorate your space with checkered prints, bright colored tablecloths, classic Coca-Cola bottles, oversized musical notes, a jukebox (or at least some 50's music), and vinyl records. You can go one step further and ask your guests to dress up to the theme with poodle skirts and denim rocker jeans for the full effect!2. If you'd rather share the cooking responsibilities, go potluck style and ask everyone to bring something "All American" to see what your guests will come up with! Have a contest to see who is most creative! They can be as easy as American flag-shaped pizzas, star-shaped corn bread, blueberries and strawberries in cream, or even simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Find over 3,000 recipes at RecipeZaar.

3. I love naming drinks, so create some signature drinks to go with your menu, like a "Patriotic Pina Colada" or "Liberty Lemonade." Provide a wide range of American beers for guests to enjoy, like Coors, Michelob, Rolling Rock, and Miller.4. Centerpieces can do double-duty as candy jars of red, white, and blue for your guests to enjoy while mingling, or with fruit bouquets like Edible Arrangements.
This one is called the "Sweet Liberty Bouquet."
5. Let the kids have fun with a scavenger hunt! Hide red and blue paper stars all around the house and yard for the kids to find during the party. When they come to redeem them, have a prize bag ready for them to pick out silly toys like squirt guns, stickers, frisbees, and beach balls that will also keep them busy afterward. Check out prize favors and candy in bulk at Oriental Trading.

6. Don't forget dessert! Your guests will love a dessert station of ice cream floats complete with Root Beer and Coca-Cola, and classic shakes made with real ice cream. Make sure you've got plenty of whipped cream and cherries to top them with!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Passed My Black belt Exam!

Just wanted to share the good news: I passed my 3rd degree black belt test!
It was a 2-day test of endless punching and kicking combos, over 40 hapkido techniques to execute, weapons training, 3 black belt forms, made up hapkido techniques, sparring, and of course, breaking boards and bricks with just my hands and feet.
I am very proud to say that I received and "Outstanding" on my test and am now a proud 3rd dan black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido at Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do. Here are some pictures to enjoy!

I had to complete a 5 combination board break with a front kick, hammerfist, side kick, back kick, and drop kick.

And of course, my brick breaking. My hand still hurts!
Photo Credit: Kip Ebanks

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hilarious Cake!

My uncle emailed me this hilarious cake! May be considered inappropriate but I suppose it is appropriate for the party theme! Gotta love the creativity!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

3rd Annual BizBash Expo Review!

Maybe it's just me, but nothing feels more amazing than the satisfied exhaustion after a 12-hour day on your feet running around putting out fires, keeping schedule, and making sure everyone has a great time. I volunteered at Bizbash's Expo and Awards today and it was really fast-paced and fun! Call time was 7am at the LA Mart in downtown LA and I was on my feet nonstop until 7:30pm!!! Sue Cook was our volunteer coordinator and did a fantabulous job accommodating everyone and keeping everything going smoothly. In the morning I helped with the first educational session "Financial Issues for Planning Events From the Inside Out" (which was wall-to-wall packed!) with speaker Robb Thornsberry of Infinity Events and then worked the main desk in the VIP Lounge. Then we escorted attendees to the General Session where Howard Bragman (Fifteen Minutes), Paul Dreher (Beverly Hilton), and Hillary Harris (Warner Brothers) were all inducted into Bizbash's Hall of Fame.

Highlights from the trade show floor included:

*The uber impressive Glimmer Body Art! This was a serious hit. They are all glitter, last 5-7 days, waterproof, and completely customizable! And (the best part!) really affordable! I decided to go with a nice Laker's logo since they were playing tonight (Go Lakers!) and I think that sparked a lot of attendees to go and check out their booth!*Fifty Flowers with their amazing and impressive flowers all the way from South America! I was completely taken aback with their "Rainbow Roses" and thought all of their flowers were just so big, fat and fragrantly beautiful!*LA Photo Party launched their new 3D photobooth today for the first time at BizBash. Basically everyone gets into an enclosed tent and spreads around a camera stand in the middle. It takes pictures of the entire 360 space and prints in a long horizontal line. It's definitely an interesting concept, but the pictures print pretty small and sometimes looks stretched out. But I ALWAYS have fun at their regular LA Photo Party booth! I took some crazy pictures with another volunteer Dora from Santa Barbara.

*The Champagne Showgirls Strolling hors d'oeuvres tables (like from "The Special Event" in January) are still a favorite because no matter what, you can't beat a girl wearing a food table and singing opera or playing the violin!*I finally got to meet Angie from My M&M's who had commented on my Candy Stations blog post. I was really happy to put a name to a face and am continually impresed with M&M's color, message, photo, and packaging options.

*Elegant Designs Specialty Linens showcased a linen called the "mushroom" that I thought was so cute and unusual.*And as always, I am a forever fan of Party Hats Entertainment, who were our sponsored activity for the cocktail hour. My last shift ended at 3pm but I stuck around for another 3 hours just to make hats! You wouldn't think it much fun at first, but to see the creative hats that people come up with is half the fun! And you just get so into choosing and making a hat and then showing it off afterward!

Lunch was provided by California Pizza Kitchen (I never knew their chicken sandwiches were so good! The bread was so soft and yummy!) and I bumped into a lot of ISES JAM committee members as well (JAM is September 23rd!). I assisted the last session and then watched the awards ceremony (which was run much more smoothly than last year!) and then we all finally headed down for the cocktail hour, which consisted of mostly making hats from Party Hats!
DeAnne and I with our fun Party Hats creations!
The space probably wasn't the best for this type of event because the partitions between the speaker sessions and the tradeshow were just pipe and draping (bad echo) and the session B room was significantly small. Also, the stage TV's in the main room were really small so sometimes it was difficult to see what was being shown, although I thought the colored light changes were a great effect.

All in all, another successful event for BizBash. I am thoroughly BEAT but it feels so darn good to have worked hard and got a job well done!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Father's Day Ideas!

I bet you just realized Father's Day is only 3 weeks away (June 21st) and you have no ideas! Gifts are great, but what people really appreciate now is quality time spend together. So whether you're on a budget or just in need of some time with Dad, any of these ideas will work for you!

1. The Good ol' Breakfast in Bed. Yes, this one is a classic. But why not spice it up a bit by changing up the menu? Heart-shaped waffles, homemade chocolate chip pancakes, or fresh squeezed orange juice!2. Clean his baby. No, not your sibling, I mean his car! Go all out with a full wash, wax, and vacuuming of the interior. Include an oil change and new air freshener for full effect.

3. Share his hobby! Hobbies are only as fun as the people you're with, so spend some time together doing things that he enjoys. So if he likes golfing, fishing, or building things, treat him out to his favorite hobby and add to the fun by joining him! Perhaps you're not a big golf fan, so take him to a mini-golf course instead. He'll get into it once you bet that you'll win him.

4. If you have many fathers to celebrate around you, why not host a picnic or BBQ in your yard or at a park? Have guests bring food with creative names after their Dads (pig in a blanket can be "Pete in a blanket") and play some fun father/kids games like the 3-legged race, a pie eating contest, or potato sack races. Don't forget to make 1st place ribbons for the winners!