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best practices


How A Business Owner Can Get Out Of A Rut

Falling into a rut is never easy. It’s frustrating and disappointing for all of those involved. Being a business owner is a difficult job. The role’s stressful and often requires lots of hours and hard work for little reward, at least in the beginning. Getting stuck in your path is a tough pill to swallow.

There’s no right or wrong answer about what to do if this happens to you, however, there are options for getting out of it. You can't sit back and assume it’ll just go away. You need to have determination and perseverance to work through it. See how a business owner can get out of a rut.

Revisit Vision

Go back to why you started your business in the first place. Revisit your vision and motivation for kicking it off at the start. Let your mind wander back and find your passion again. You may need to dig deep, but it’s probably there. This’ll help you reset your mind to want to charge forward with inspiration. Finding the reason why once again will bring your mind to a good place and you’ll be able to focus on the future. Go back to your initial notes and business plan documents to help you recall. Doing this may trigger a happy memory and snap you out of your funk.


It’s important you incorporate some movement into your day. Being an entrepreneur typically means you’re working and sitting a lot. You need your exercise to maintain high levels of energy and to feel mentally with it. Join a gym, run at lunch or participate in a new activity on the weekends. Do whatever it takes to make sure you get your daily exercise. It’ll benefit you in many ways and the time you spend exercising may lead you to answers you would have never thought of without the quiet time.

Explore New Ventures

Maybe it’s time for a change, and this is your sign. A great way to make a new start is in the screen printing and embroidery business. Owning a franchise means you’re the boss and can take your prior experience with you to start a brand new line of work as an entrepreneur. People use signs all of the time, so you won’t need to worry about if the need is there or not. Even the motion and action of researching and exploring new ideas will bring new life to your mind.

Talk & Share Ideas

Bounce ideas off of other people. Call up a friend or family member and tell them how you’re feeling. Talk to your leadership team at work and get a feel for how they think business is going. Open up and share your concerns and see if they can be worked out, so you feel good about your situation again. Talk and share ideas to get it off of your chest and let in new perspectives.


There’s no magic formula for turning your mindset around. You must explore yourself and seek the answers you need to find. These are ways a business owner can get out of a rut.  

Continued Reading

Check out this great article from Ken Evoy, Why Every Solopreneur Should Succeed (And Why Most Don’t).



How to Hire Freelancers

3rd Party Post

3rd Party Post

When you first start a business, you will quickly find that you can no longer cope with the workload as your business begins to expand. At this point, you have two options; you can hire someone to help you, or you can hire a freelancer to take on some of the work.

To hire an additional, full-time employer, you have contracts, paperwork and additional costs. Acquiring a freelancer can be more cost-effective, save you time, and you only have to use their services when the time asks for them. If you are considering adding a freelancer to your team, this is how you should go about it.

Where to look?

Hiring a freelancer is not as easy as it might sound, as you still have to interview them to some extent; ensuring they are the right person for the job and understands the tasks at hand. The two biggest freelancing sites are Upwork and People per Hour, who between them, have a huge number of freelancers with all manner of talents, ranging from content copywriters and graphic designers, to admin and accountants.

With these sites, you will need to set up and advert. Freelancers will then bid on the job you have set up. You can then review the application, pick a few to chat to, and find out more about them.


Hopefully, the potential candidates will have attached examples of their work for you to look through and consider. Although it can be a good indication of their ability, don’t take it as absolute proof. Some people may not perform how you expect them to.

A few extra qualms you should consider are language barriers, whether their time zone aligns with yours, and if they are willing to stick to deadlines regarding these problems.

Although they may be cheap to hire, you do not want to hire someone for that reason alone. They may be cheap because they have a poor track record, and they might also not have the level of experience you need, so you will have to be willing to coach them.

Your set-up

How will you liaise with your new found freelancer? Applications such as Skype and Hangouts are useful for conferencing, but you need to decide how the work will be viewed and completed.

If you do not already have one, you can set up with a host to upload all your documents to the cloud. You can then get access to a virtual desktop that both you and your freelancer can use wherever you are. Migration costs to the cloud can be non-existent.

It is by far the easiest way to conduct business and share documents, plus they can access your emails and arrange diary entries if they are hired for admin tasks. There are companies such as Umbee Hosting who offer such services; for more information on hosted desktops, read their product descriptions and what they have to offer.

Using freelancers to help with your business is a great way to save money but still get the work completed the way you want it to be. If you are using a freelance website, make sure you read all the rules and guidelines beforehand, so you know the process.



Tools, Tips and Tricks for Better Business

INTRO to New Format (Including why I am changing format)

No matter how much experience you have owning and running a business or managing people, there is always room for improvement. When you stop learning, you stop growing. I'll take it one step further, when you stop teaching, you lose perspective and stop growing as well. Getting feedback from those you teach provides a huge opportunity to learn. One of my goals this year was to listen more to those around me, observe and follow their systems and understand the processes they have used to achieve success.  In doing so, I realize I can learn from people less experienced than me, but wiser than me. In role reversal, the teacher becomes the student. Once you open to the possibility that you can learn from nearly everyone, building your business (and your life) becomes a lot more interesting.

In the upcoming weeks I will share with you what I have learned as I take a deeper dive into tools, tips and tricks for success and for better business. I've worked hard to keep my pulse on current trends and the latest technology (working to break the "old dog new trick" stigma) while still trying to master effective time-tested business practices. I am often asked for advice on the best methods, the fastest and most efficient systems and most creative ways to accomplish a task, process or goal.  

I think this new, shorter format will provide greater information in a more predictable, easier to read way -- scan, read, process, move on.  I am looking forward to your comments, questions and additions so I can use them as future posts of Tools, Tips and Tricks for Better Business.

Here is what you will see in future posts:  Tool, Tip, Trick (below the line)

Tool -- SANEBOX -- Is your goal to get to INBOX zero but you are about 900 emails away from that goal? Sanebox is a great tool that I have been using over the last several months to help me manage my inbox. Some of the features include being able to hit the "snooze button" on email that does not have to be acted upon now. Plus Sanebox learns my routines and intuitively creates future followup emails, automatically deletes spam and prioritizes email for me as well. Use the link for a free trial and a coupon if you sign up after the trial.

Tip -- Work on improving the value you add to any business relationship as much as you work on improving your products and services. Put research and development dollars into improving you. Your bottom line will be bolstered as much or more if you focus on improving the relationships with your customers in addition to improving the benefits of the services or products you provide. Show your customers how much you care about them. Simple things like sending a handwritten note, a quick text to say hello or an email sharing a link of interest to them will highlight that you know them and care about them as well.

Trick -- (Today's trick is a mind hack) -- Go for the "NO." In the business development portion of your day when you are working hard to add prospects to your client list by cold calling, following up or mining for business, instead of adding extra pressure to yourself by constantly being under the pressure to find a "YES," look for the NO. Treat a NO as a win. Keep in mind when you get a NO you are clearing space for a new prospect to be added to your list, and the new prospect could potentially be a future YES. It's all positive and a part of the process of getting a YES down the road.

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
— Albert Einstein



24 Seconds that Will Change Your Life

This post originally appeared on my blog in July 2014. It has been shared thousands of times on social media, Huffington Post and on my site as well. I welcome your comments below.

Life gets complicated. We all have the same 24 hours each and every day. And it’s up to us how we spend our time. We need to invest our time wisely in order to maximize our day and yet, no matter how good we are with time management, we never seem to have enough time to accomplish what we set out to complete when we wake up in the morning. Putting one more responsibility on your daily to-do list may not seem like a practical thing to do, and yet, what I am about to share is so simple that even the busiest person can carve out 24 seconds for it.

People Skills 101 teaches us the importance of building connections. Without relationships, all business will come to a halt. You might have an amazing product or service but without solid relationships, you have no business. And on a personal level, without connecting with others, life will be far from happy. So my 24 second task is designed to help build, strengthen and solidify existing relationships. It is fast, effective and reliable. And best of all, it requires no prep, planning or practice. Ready?

Take out your smartphone. I know you have one. Some of you are reading this blog on your smartphone (according to Mailchimp, 32% of you are actually reading this blog on your smartphone). I only have 24 seconds, so do it now. The clock is ticking. Pick any name on your contact list. It does not need to be a client, anyone will do. Send a text message saying the following:

“Just thinking about you. Hope you are having a great day.”

Hit send. Boom. 12 seconds. Repeat it one more time. Task complete, 24 seconds. And done. If you are fast at texting like my son Adam, you may even be able to send out three or four text messages in the 24 seconds you’ve allotted. 

Here is what happens when you start this practice. Sometimes, you will get nothing in return, and that’s ok. Many times you will get back a response saying thank you and wishing you a great day in return. But every time you send a message like that, you are making the receiver of your text smile, feel good and be happy. I am confident I do not need to tell you the importance of happy people in your life. Happy is contagious and if done right, happy will be paid forward. Ultimately happy will come back to you, guaranteed.

Make it a practice to pick two or three contacts during your day to send text messages to while you are standing in line, pumping gas, or having your coffee at Starbucks. Try not to repeat the names too often since your goal is to be random. Approach this task to spreading happy, not to gain business. If some of these messages are being sent to customers, you are proving (12 seconds at a time) that you are a human being, with feelings. Important rule of this practice -- You cannot text about business, unless the response from the recipient involves business. 

Switch up your message. It would not be unusual for me to send a message saying, “I love you. That is all.” or “Thanks for being in my life.” or “My life is better because you are in it.” If that doesn’t sound like your voice, build your own set of messages that work well. Under no circumstances should you send this message as a group message (don't automate this practice -- I want you to stay human please).

I’ve been doing this for over 15 years, and many days I send out much more than 2 messages. I know that as a result of my messages, others have adopted this as a way to spread love, happy and good vibes as well. I now get messages daily from friends, clients and others telling me to have a great day. Plenty of times those messages come to me when I am in a tough spot in my day or when I have had a challenging moment. 

Twenty four seconds wisely invested can change your life. Want to try this out? I am happy to be the recipient. Feel free to invest 12 seconds and send a message to me. 410-340-6861. I will return the love, I always do.

I am passionate about my message and ask that you spread this message on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I would love to get text messages from around the world wishing me a happy day and I wish the same for you too.

Want to find out about other simple to adopt techniques that can change your life, check out my Business Building Bootcamp by clicking here.  I am available to present my programs to your group as well. You are welcome to message me or email me at doug@dougsandler.com



How to Break Your Monster Habits

Monster habits are hard to break. You've lived with them most of your life. Whether it be procrastination, lateness, over-committing or any number of other monster habits, they are not easily broken. Although there is a certain comfort in working with these habits, many of them are the cause of failed goals, lost opportunity and fear. These same habits are the exact reason why your business, your personal life and your past activity and results are not putting you precisely where your dreams and vision place you.

For a moment, put behind you the reason for having your monster bad habit and put the focus on breaking the monster habit. Take a few moments to determine which plan of action (or all of them) would work well for you.

Replace the monster habit with a new action. Let's take procrastination as an example. When faced with a project at work, the preferred path might be to head over to social media first, check out Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others before starting the project. Instead of doing that, replace your first impulse with tackling a point or two from the project before you check social media. Make social media your reward instead of your starting point. Monster habits are hard to break and since procrastination is a biggie, give yourself time to accomplish breaking this monster habit.

Avoid the easy monster fix. If one of your monster habits is drinking too much (caffeine) coffee, take the easy impulse action of making coffee out of your life and make the process challenging or more difficult for you.  By having easy access to coffee systems like Keurig at your fingertips, 3 or 4 cups a day is a no brainer. Instead, purchase whole bean coffee, grind only what you will be using for a single cup and make the process more difficult. Make your monster habits more challenging and breaking the monster habit will be easier to do.

Monsters hate teams. Join forces with someone who has their own monsters in the closet and work hard, together, to break your monster habits. When you have a "partner in crime" you not only have the ability to help someone else break their monster habits, but you have someone to help hold you accountable as well. If lateness is a a monster habit you are trying to break, work closely with someone, sharing with them your calendar for the week and let them share with you, their schedule. Talk about a plan of action to avoid being late, the action steps you will both take to get out the door, in time, and the rewards you will share when you accomplish the task. Lateness is a monster habit that not only effects you, but your bottom line as well.

Monsters thrive on negative self talk. Reduce your negative self talk and talk to yourself positively. You are what you think and if you allow the monsters to take over, positive actions, positive thoughts and positive outcomes will be a huge challenge for you. Don't expect success to always come on the first try. Although that might be the case, give yourself time to break the monster habits. Do a good job and you will keep the monsters where they belong, on the silver screen and sci-fi features