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Should I use my name for a business name and for my website?

A lot of people want to use their name for their business name or for their website address. While I certainly think you should own a domain that matches your name, I DON’T believe you should use your name for your business.

One prime example is that most people don’t know how to spell your name. Unless you have one of the most generic and easy to spell names on the planet, people will struggle to type it in correctly.

I recently met a woman named Rhosee (Rose). Never would I have spelled it that way or correctly.

How many ways are there to spell Michelle (Michele, Mishelle)…probably more if you want to get creative.

People get frustrated easily. So if they misspell your name and can’t find you they aren’t going to keep looking. They are moving on.

Another reason is, what if your business grows huge and you want to sell it. Guess what? You now have to sell your name. Sucks, but true.

Find something unique yet easy to spell and that can be your business name. Better yet, find a business name that fits into the golden internet triangle.

Golden Internet Triangle

This is a simple post…not much too it. Your best bet to starting your search engine optimization off right is to use the Golden Internet Triangle. This means that…

Your business name = An internet search term = Your website address

If you can get these three things to match, search engines almost have to put your site as number one. But don’t quote me on that… ūüėČ

How do I get more business?

At almost every ABNG mastermind session someone submits a question regarding getting new clients, prospecting, cold-calling, or something else related to getting new business. And while this is valid and we all want the magic wand for this issue, we decided to put the combined answers that happen every time in this post. Below is the list of solutions that have been thought up from many ABNG mastermind sessions.

A reminder…these are opinions and advice. DO NOT take it as gospel. Use what feels right, test it out, and draw your own conclusions.


  1.       Don’t do the things you don’t like doing. If you don’t like cold-calling, don’t do it. Hire out the things you don’t like doing.
  2.       If you are going to cold-call, be ready. Practice in the mirror. Start with those smaller fish so when you get to your ideal client, you are refined.


  1. ABNG is a great place to network. The idea of networking is to do it consistently so that you are top-of-mind, trusted, and the go-to-person when the referral comes about.
  2. Find networking events that are right for you. Some people like the more social events, some like the more structured events.
  3. Everywhere you are, is a place to network.
  4. Have a coffee with 4 new people a week.
  5. Talk to everyone, everywhere.
  6. Go to meetups that are of interest that aren’t about business. This allows you to meet people you might not otherwise meet.


  1. If you advertise, you must stick with it for a long period of time before you can decide if it is working or not.
  2. There is social media marketing, search engine marketing, radio, tv, newspapers, neighborhood publications, and many more outlets.
  3. Figure out who your ideal client is and where they hang out. This is where you direct your marketing efforts.


  1. Don’t assume that because you are business owner that you know everything. Go educate yourself. Take sales training, get some business coaching, go to workshops. Basically, you need to keep growing as a person so that you can adjust and change your approach until you are getting what you want.
  2. Teach something to your ideal clients. Present. This is a great way to show that you are a knowledge expert and clients will come to you.

The main way to get clients is to be noticed and be top-of-mind. You can do this in many ways and you basically need to find ways that work for you.


Networking tips for Newbies to Masters

Recently at ABNG North, Daniel asked us “How do we build relationships?”. While the topic is pretty vast and can contain all sorts of ideas, the topic of networking and how to network effectively kept coming up.¬† It’s one that plagues even the most seasoned social butterflies, especially with the myriad of meetups and events on the ‘net nowadays.

A friend in a different group actually wrote up this list of valuable tips on how to network properly, as he saw a great need for some guidance to new folks joining his local chamber. I saved this list with the intention of sharing it with a few friends, but after yesterday’s meeting realized it should be posted right here on the ABNG site for all to enjoy.

So here you are, great tips for networking to build relationships. Special Thanks to Billy Downs of BF Borgers for this great list.


1. Listening

Communication is a two-way street. There is no bigger turn-off than someone who loves to hear the sound of their own voice. Listening, and learning the art of it, is a habit worth forming. It is through true listening that one is able to ask the right questions and make a memorable impression that will lead to good follow ups, an increased ability to connect others, and stronger relationships.

2. Being Curious

If you want people to respond, be curious about them, what they do, what they care about, what’s important to them. Ask questions. You’ll learn how you can connect them and how you can help them grow their business. Why? Being listened to feels so much like being loved that people can scarcely tell the difference. And you model that for them, and 90% of the time they’ll get curious about you.

3. Getting To Know The Organizers At Networking Events

Both introverts and extroverts love this strategy. When you attend a networking event for the first time, know who the organizers are beforehand. Seek them out immediately and after introductions and expressing your appreciation, say, “This is my first time here, who would be the best people for me to meet tonight?” You’ll also receive an influence bonus if the organizer introduces you around. –

4. Smiling

Networking is not easy for everyone. It can be downright terrifying. What puts one at ease is a nice smile. It welcomes others to either want to smile back or say hello. Once a person is at ease, a level of comfort is created. A simple smile can go a long way to opening the door to conversation, connection and possibly more.

5. Talking To More Than One Person In The Room

Good networkers will talk to many people in the room, not just one or two. They have a natural knack for sharing just enough information and understanding the ebb and flow of the networking conversation. There is a natural point where the conversation wants to end on its own; they recognize these moments, acknowledge them, wrap up the discussion and move on. They will reach back later if need be.

6. Not Focusing On What Others Can Do For You

When people say you should network, what they mean is you should talk to others. The best way to network is to be interested in other people, ask them about what they do and how you can help them. Don’t focus on what they can do for you, but focus on them. People love to talk about what they are interested in, and it’s a great way to get to know them.

7. Connecting Others Together

We know the fortune is in the follow-up and you must listen attentively to what people need to help them… but great networkers know how to connect others with each other. People don’t forget those who help bring them business and help solve their problems. Being a connector is a great way to build a loyal tribe of people who will help you when you need to “cash in” your relationship currency.

8. Leaving Them Wanting More

The best networkers give instead of sell. When I walk away from a connection where someone has given me value for my time, I do not forget them. Giving includes listening, empathizing and sharing. The best networkers make their connections about the other person ‚ÄĒ not themselves

9. Being Consistent

Great networkers are always networking. Professionals who pursue networking only when they need something (e.g., a new job) typically don’t generate the same results as those who network continually and consistently. To raise visibility, network frequently. Create a reputation as a dependable contributor someone who engages and shares ‚ÄĒ not just when a goal is trying to be achieved.

10. Staying Patient

Networking is simply making professional friends and acquaintances. Just like a friendship or romantic relationship, getting to one another takes time. Reach out to new contacts and follow up if you need to, but don’t force the relationship to develop at a particular pace. Successful people are busy and they may misinterpret your eagerness as an ulterior motive.

11. Following Up …I always try to achieve more here is an extra.

It’s not about just forging a relation, it’s about fostering it. And the best networkers succeed at it by following up with people. They add value in their follow-ups. Whether it is introducing them to a new contact, sharing relevant articles, being a shoulder to cry on, or sharing pitfalls and inspirational moments, they keep in touch with people.

Good luck at your networking and try the steps above and you will see you will get better results for your time and efforts.

Bill Schaeffer Acknowledgement

Over the past year and a half I got to know Bill on a personal level which led me to ask him to be my mortgage lender when my wife and I decided to purchase a home.  I was not disappointed in my decision because Bill gave my wife and I the best service we could have asked for and more.  Bill not only got us the best interest available but his follow up and attention to detail was the best I had experienced in purchasing a home.  Thank you Bill!

Why You Are NOT Achieving Your Goals!

You have probably heard it your whole professional career, “people who set goals accomplish great things, and those who don’t are lost.” ¬†In yet, most people fail to set goals… or at least fail to set meaningful goals. ¬†And, if they set goals, they tend to fail to achieve the¬†goals they set for themselves. ¬†I want to communicate a simple system that I use to help my clients set goals for themselves.

Step 1 – Vision

The first goal that I help my clients set is their personal vision of where they want to be in 10-years.  It is very hard for anyone to think this far into their future.  However, it is quite necessary.  The key to setting a good vision goal is to dismiss the obstacles you feel you have currently in establishing this vision.  Do not think about money or family problems or anything that you think currently stands in the way of your vision.  It is also important to actually visualize your vision.  You need to create a clear image of all of your senses in your vision.  You need to know what it looks like, smells like, sounds like, feels like in every way.  You have to clearly connect your emotion and feeling to your vision to make it real.  Try to explain every aspect of your life in your vision so that it is crystal clear to you.

Step 2 – Gap Analysis

The next step is to evaluate what you need to accomplish in order to achieve your vision in the next 10 years. ¬†Let’s say that, in order to achieve your vision, you need $1 Million. ¬†Then you need to think about how you will earn $1 Million in the next 10-years to fulfill your vision. ¬†If your vision requires that you patch things up with your wife, then you need to think about what things you need to do in order to accomplish this objective. ¬†If you have been thorough in Step-1, you will most likely generate a list of about 20-items you need to accomplish within the next 10-years, which means that you will have 20-gap analysis… one for each goal.

Step 3 – Being vs Doing

It is common for most people to jump right into doing as part of their goal setting objectives. ¬†This can be a mistake. ¬†When I coach my clients, I try to get them to think about WHO they want to be; instead of WHAT they want to do. ¬†Here’s why. ¬†If you think that you will be happy if you get $1 Million; and then suddenly have this money and start spending it on all sorts of stuff; I can guarantee you that you will not be fulfilled. ¬†Unless you have an idea of WHO you want to be when you have this kind of money, you will be no more happy or fulfilled than you are today. ¬†A good question to think about to set up your thinking for Being vs Doing, is, “What do I want people to say about me at my funeral?” or “How do I want to live my life?”.

If for some reason you failed to define WHO you want to be in your goal setting, repeat Step 1 with BEING in mind.

Step 4 – Breaking Up Your Vision

After you have established the gaps you have in WHO your are; and WHAT you will accomplish, break your vision up into 1-Year chunks, then 1-Month chunks, and then 1-Week chunks. ¬†Most of us think we can change everything about ourselves in one day. ¬†By breaking up our vision, we acknowledge that genuine change and transformation takes time. ¬†By breaking up your vision, you are formally setting up a plan to gradually achieve your vision. ¬†If you feel like you can wake up one morning and be there, you will quickly be disappointed and give up. ¬†That is probably why most New Year’s resolutions fail. ¬†People try to make sudden, unrealistic changes and fall flat on their face when they fail. ¬†By establishing weekly goals for a long term plan, you can actively monitor your forward progress and feel encouraged that you are on track to achieve your grand vision for your life.

This “breaking up” or segmenting process is the key to getting you to think about how small accomplishments build into large achievements. Without this, you will fail to become motivated about the small things.

Step 5 РChange Your Energy

The hardest part about achieving your goals, is changing the way you have approached life. ¬†Let’s face it, simply setting a goal on a piece of paper or a computer journal will not change the way that you act. ¬†Most people will establish a vision they are currently not on pace to achieve. ¬†Let’s say that you want to lose 50-lbs. ¬†If you want to lose 50-lbs, something in your past behavior caused you to gain 50-lbs unnecessarily. So, something in how¬†you view your health, food, exercise, etc., will need to change in order for you to succeed in your weight-loss goal.

As a Core Energy Coach, I identify this thing as ENERGY. ¬†You can call it whatever you’d like… attitude, perspective, thought process, emotions, character, personality, etc… ¬†The best way for me to talk about the ENERGY for which I am referring is to give you an example. ¬†Let’s say that you want to lose weight. ¬†There are several¬†ways you can view your weight situation: 1) there is nothing I can do about my weight, I was just born with bad genes; 2) I am angry at the world for calling me fat; 3) if I lose weight people will love me; 4) I want to lose weight because my spouse deserves a sexy mate; and 5) if I lose weight, I will feel more fit and will be able to do more activities with my family. ¬†Each one of these different perspectives will create an entirely different outcome in a coaching client who wants to lose weight. So, if I have a client with an attitude at Level 1, as a coach, I understand I need to focus on shifting this energy before we can talk about setting goals.

In Core Energy Coaching it is important to understand why someone is thinking about themselves the way they are and help them shift their thinking to the next level of energy… until they are in a place they can actually accomplish their goals. ¬†Otherwise, goal setting and visioning is a complete waste of time.

Step 6 – Accountability

Now that the goals are in place, my clients have an understanding of their ENERGY and how it is impacting reaching their grand goals, I hold my clients accountable for achieving their mini-goals on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.  There is no punishment for not achieving objectives, but rather a deliberate and honest view of WHO they are as they strive to move forward.   This periodic view makes all of the difference in those who will achieve what they truly want in life and those who fall short.

As a business coach, I coach my clients around starting and growing a business.  The first step I take is getting my clients to cast a vision of how their business success fits into their personal life.  Then, we establish goals for their business; and break those goals into manageable chunks.  Once we have established these chunks, I then coach their energy and help them understand how they need to shift their thinking to accomplish their goals.  Once my clients have established the right frame of mind (Energy), they tend to move quickly and effortlessly through their goals and objectives to achieve their life vision of WHO they want to be and WHAT they want to accomplish.  If you are interested in learning more about life or business coaching, visit my website


exall-sunny-tree_1-1exall-sunny-tree_1-1This time of year, I think a lot about light even more so than at all other times of year. I like the word, because it’s a homonym, (light, as in “bright light”, and “light”, as in not “heavy”). Light is so important to digital imagery. You might say that’s all digital imagery really is, perceived light, the medium notwithstanding. Light is energy, with colors as components of that energy. As a digital imagery creator, at the end of the day, all I really do is manipulate energy. Which is kind of cool to think about. because I use that energy in so many other important ways. To dry off after being wet, to grow vegetables in my garden, to make electricity, to tan, etc.). Sometimes I borrow Earth elements to make¬†the light¬†into something solid, with weight, called a print, but not as much these days as I once did.

At this time of year, in the Northern Hemisphere, the amount, intensity and angle of natural sunlight is receding. It begins to grow more scarce around Sept 22nd after the Autumnal Equinox, there are a number of celebrations in many traditions on this date. The most ancient being Mabon, the second harvest feast. The sunlight continues to recede until around the 21st of December, the Winter Solstice, which is an event, again, surrounded by celebrations in many faiths and traditions, with the most ancient recorded one being Yule, or Jul. All of them are very jubilant and inclusive celebrations, marked by the sharing of special treasures. They are so festive, with almost all traditions having stories with some element of sacred light and therefore are usually celebrated using artificial light(s) of some sort, because they pay homage to the return of the Light. They also celebrate oneself, and ones family and friends have successfully lived through the darkest, coldest, and least abundant time of the seasonal cycle. So a show of “light”, to ward off the “weight” of the darkness, and the sharing of remaining treasures. Hoarded nutritional items, things made while whiling away the dark hours, or spiritual treasures resulting from the increase in time available to meditate along with countless others, are shared to mark the end of the scarcity of those treasures during the season and to remind each other that the return of the light brings warmth, fertility tot he soil, and abundance. These gift exchanges are usually in some way part of this seasons celebrations in all traditions. That is what the season of giving means to me. The reminder of the return of the abundance of light.

I find it comforting to know that what I do for a vocation, is aligned along a beam of light, with traditions and rituals so very ancient. As I work with the light and color, throughout the coming year, I vow to try to be mindful of the history of the importance of this light, and the sharing of its meaning, to the many millennia of generations of fellow sojourners on this tiny rock orbiting this little sun.

Wishing you and yours great light and energy in this season, and the coming year.

Stay Bright in 2017!


3 Houses for Thanksgiving

If you come from a broken home or a very large, close family, you probably have had a few holidays of bouncing around from place to place… If you are new to the multi-house holiday you are in luck!

I am a pro!

Let me first explain why I am so good at these things, then I will let you in on some of my tips on how to make this jammed packed day run more smoothly for you and everyone else you are dragging along with you.

Some of you may already know that when I was 2.5 my parents divorced, and quite frankly ugly hardly explains it sometimes. I am pretty sure both of my parents know what the word compromise means. However, just because we know the meaning of a word does not mean we must put it into practice. Now if it was only the two households perhaps this wouldn’t be such an issue.

As if only in an effort to make things more complicated for everyone, my dad married into a very large, very family-centered Italian family. On holidays like Christmas we could have to visit 3 different places just for my step mother’s side.

I also forgot to mention that my father’s mom is was also divorced… twice. At some point in my childhood I had my dad’s dad’s house I needed to go to. And for some reason my mom rekindled a relationship with my dad’s stepdad for a short period of time. Is your brain ready to explode yet?

That means as some point in my life for major holidays I was dragged around to:

  • Mom’s house
  • Nana and Poppy’s – Mom’s parents’ house
  • Grampy Time – Dad’s stepdad outing – thankfully I think this was only once
  • Dad’s house
  • Grammy B’s – Dad’s mom’s house
  • Pop’s – Dad’s dad’s house
  • Sandy and Joe’s – Stepmom’s parents’ house
  • Stepmom’s grandparents’ house
  • Whichever other of stepmom’s relative was hosting that year’s house

For Christmas every year, my sisters and I saw 9 houses for the Holidays!! That is just sheer insanity. Not to mention if you added in good friends of the family and such — I am exhausted just writing about it!

Thankfully, Thanksgiving was a little calmer, but it is also only ONE day instead of being able to spread it out over at least 2 if not more. Regardless there was always at least 3 houses I was dragged to, and eventually found my way to during Thanksgiving.

So how do you make the multi-house holiday work?

First, I want you to be sure that you know, there is definitely some planning that goes into this.

Start with Information Gathering

  1. Find out what time everyone is serving dinner, who will be there when, etc.
    1. A lot of time there are other friends and relatives coming in and you want to make sure you time it with the people you want to see, or just “happen” to miss those you careless to see…
  2. Figure out if you are required to bring something to any or all of the places
  3. Know who is the most forgiving and understanding of your situation
  4. Determine when is an acceptable time to start the day (potentially showing up early somewhere) and what time you want to be home
  5. Map out your destinations and driving time between each

Share your plan

  1. Make sure every place you are going is aware there are other places you need to be also. Be sure to let them know how thankful you are that you get to spend some time with them and that they are a part of your life.
  2. Give a loose idea of when you will be at each place.
  3. Let the kids know your plan ahead of time. If there are other kids when you show up try to share that Tommy can play till such and such time. It is best to set the expectations up front.

Eat Strategically

  1. DON’T use the big plate! If you have multiple places to go it is far too easy to fill up at the first house and then make everyone else made because you didn’t eat. Smaller plate means less room for all the food.
  2. Pass on the rolls and chips and dip! Seriously, it makes a big difference!
  3. Consider letting the later place know you will just be having dessert so they are not waiting on dinner for you and so you don’t feel obligated to eat more food.
  4. Ensure the desserts for the kids are either packed to go at the first couple houses or at least minimized. I was a eater so I always ate real food at almost every house, my sisters on the other hand when right for the junk food. Know your kids habits and have a plan in place before hand.
  5. Bring your own tupperware. If you can’t fit in Aunt Sherry’s stuffing, there should be no need to miss out on it completely. Usually, there is more than enough to go around and they are happy that you like something enough to want to take it home.

It can be fun!

Multi-house holiday dinners can be fun and productive if you do them right. With a little planning, self control, and positivity you can make the most out of any hectic holiday hopping adventure.

Please keep in mind these are not full-proof. You may¬†hurt someone’s feelings who is used to having you all to themselves for the full day. A kid could get super cranky from being dragged across the state and back again. Regardless, they should be able to get you started on a better trajectory for a happy Thanksgiving.

We would love to hear about your multi-house holiday stories! Feel free to email us at

Change NOW

Are you already planning your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you decided that next year will be THE YEAR! Change is going to happen, it will stick!

We spend all Holiday Season hyping ourselves up for the big changes we are going to make. The new life we will create for ourselves. We cut ourselves slack in so many directions because when it is all over we will make the big changes. We will get our act in gear. Become the people we were always meant to be.

Then New Years rolls around, we try to take on way more than is acceptable, and all of our big changes end up crashing and burning. We try to change too many things all at once. Then none of them end up working.

What can we do to change this? How can we keep this obnoxious cycle from perpetuating? Why does it always happen this way? Oh the agony! Stop suffering, change now!

Here are some things you can do to change now:

Start NOW!

Far too often we put things off. I will start in a few weeks. I will start after this hard time passes. After the Holidays, etc

When we wait, our results don’t come. When we wait, it is that much easier to keep waiting or to never start.

Know the bigger change you want to make

It is very important to know the end result you want to achieve. There is no way to get to your goal is you do not have one set in place. If you can see the big picture you can break it down and work on it piece by piece.

Start Small

There is no need to try and eat the whole elephant at once. Try making small changes that will work you up toward reaching your goals. Take the smallest step possible and work up from there. Whether it is 5 push ups. Half a glass of water. New Shoes. Etc.

Be easy on yourself

You will miss a day. Mistakes will be made. It will all be ok in the end! Do not beat yourself up because you at a cookie. If you get stuck in the monotony of life. This is why we take things one step at a time.

Know what you should avoid

There are plenty of things, people, and other habits that can knock us off track from reaching our goals. As important as it is to stick to the positive changes we are making, it is just as important to stay away from the things that could bring us down or keep up stuck in the same place.

Plan ahead

If you can be prepared for the best and the worst you have a better chance of success. Of course don’t allow your need to prepare to cause you to not start? Having healthy snacks prepared. Dreaming about the adventures you want to take. Or having an adventure bag in the car at all times.

Try putting some of the tips into place and CHANGE NOW! Seriously, do a few squats, leave for an adventure walk, call a family member, etc. Let us know what change you want to make and where you are starting!