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Self Control with Money

What's Missing?

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What's Missing?

Last week I took our 2018 tax info out to the barn to put it away in the boxes of other long term stored paperwork. As I stepped into the barn – well we call it a barn and others might call it a large shed – the amount of stuff we were “long term” storing took my breath away.

It’s not that I hadn’t seen the barrage of stuff building up in this barn for years, but suddenly in that moment, I realized that what was a quick task to put away paperwork was about to become a quest I knew I had to conquer!

What sat there in the barn before me was generations of “stuff” that had all found its way here. Things left behind from my parents, grandparents and even great grandparents. My kids precious items from their childhood and stuff that they had brought back home when they returned after their first trip out into the world to find themselves. Now my grown children are gone again exploring their lives in other places and have left all that stuff here as well.

Between inheriting things that were hard to let go of for sentimental reasons, holding on to things of my own past, and my children leaving things behind for us to “hold on to” my stuff cup was way over flowing.

What really hit me was how things that once held meaning to me and my family someone else could benefit from the “stuff” that had been sitting here for years that was still in good shape. There of course were things that were in not such good shape and I had to make the choice of what to do with it.

I started sorting, recycling, tossing and getting ready to give a whole bunch of stuff to charity. Sure, I could have taken the time to sell it on e-bay or somewhere else but I just needed to quickly let it go while I was in the right mindset and the charity of my choosing could use the donation.

In the days that followed as I discarded many of the items, I found myself finding a part of myself that I had been missing. Who I am today was having a hard time letting go of the past because there was so much of it keeping me stuck there.

We can find ourselves buried in memories of other people’s lives. Or a life that we once had that will never be again. There can be so much sadness in the loss that we cling on to items as if they will bring that part of our life back. Of course, it won’t and only stops us from fully being who we are today and what lies ahead of us.

What I realize as I write these words in this letter to you is that all the stuff keeps us from the joy that today has to offer.

As you read this, ask yourself if there something you may find missing in your life that could be covered up with lots of stuff from the past. Stuff that, as celebrity organizer Marie Kondo says, can begin to “bring the joy” to other people that once brought joy to you or one of your loved ones.

When we can’t find the forest through the trees the time comes to clear it away in a way that is respectful to your memories and also respectful to the earth. Tomorrow is Earth day and a great time to be mindful of the stuff we accumulate because bottom-line we are not taking it with us when we leave this planet. Do we want to leave it for others to have to be burdened with all of it? Do we want to have it end up in a land fill somewhere?

And truth be told the “stuff” can keep us from fully be who we are meant to be while we are here.

While this story is to be continued as I still have a many, many hours left of my clearing work to be done in the barn I am emerging with a new perspective. This perspective will keep me moving forward to get my important life work done.  Would love to hear from you and your experience with your own “stuff.”

Wishing you lots of great clearing as well in the week ahead and Happy Earth Day! 

“One man gathers what another man spills.”  – Grateful Dead   


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus, Founder of Business Victories
cheri@businessvictories.com • 303-652-1718 • @victorygirl

New clients start here: businessvictories.com/clarity


Join the Victory Program

Gain confidence and clarity in your business

Need more help with your goals? It’s time to get the confidence and clarity you desire for your business. Hire me as your business coach and in return I’ll provide the strategy, support, and accountability to take your business to the next level in the year ahead. After joining this program you will get instant access to all of my online courses and will be able to schedule your first meeting as soon as next week!

How the program works: we meet twice every month via phone/skype to discuss your pain points along with custom solutions to resolve them. I’ll provide simple homework for you and your team to execute in order to achieve the complex results you desire. This is for committed entrepreneurs only and space is extremely limited. Let’s partner up!

Have a few questions first?
Schedule a 15-minute phone conversation

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Ask for what you want

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Ask for what you want

This week’s Victory Letter message has been coming to me from so many directions. Starting with the podcast I had the honor to record a few weeks back that I am sharing with you today. The podcast is with Erin Bagwell the creator behind the documentary Dream, Girl.

I will share more about that podcast here in a second, but first want to have you think about this burning question for this week. Are you fully asking for what you want on a regular basis especially around the money you need to run your business and your life? And I mean full out asking, not implying or hoping that it will happen - being bold enough to point blank ask for what you want.

The truth is most people are not – especially women. There are a variety of reasons for this with the biggest one being that we are not asking for our fair share. In fact, a Google search brought me these staggering statistics of overall earnings in the US as of 2018:

·      70,075,212 people earned under $25,000 – 42.85%

·      44,496,340 people earned between $20,000 and 50,000 – 27.21%

·      34,098,312 people earned between $50,000 and $100,000 – 20.85%

·      11,528,382 people earned between $100,000 and $200,000 -7.05%

·      3,322,360 people earned over $200,000 – 2.03%

I don’t share this to depress you – after all this is the Victory Letter – I share it to inspire you to start asking for what your talents warrant instead of someone else telling you your value. To look honestly at your current income and what you can do to make the needed changes to increase your revenue.

Sometimes we can be buried in debt because we aren’t earning enough and the financial hole can seem to just get bigger and bigger. 

In my podcast interview Erin shares her great success in raising $100,000 to make the Dream, Girl film such a big success including a screening of the documentary at the White House during the Obama Administration and being a part of Oprah’s top 100 list.

Erin also then told me how after the film started to wane down she suddenly found herself $20,000 in new business debt. She shared 4 elements in how she quickly got herself on a new path.

  • Face it – Stop blaming anyone else and looking the debt straight on.

  • Get out a whiteboard and make a plan.

  • Start paying yourself first! (Interesting how as business owners we tend to pay ourselves last.)          

  • Write out your Financial Manifesto including asking for what you want.

With these ideas from Erin (be sure and listen to much more in the podcast), and looking at your own annual income magic number, empower yourself to ask for what you want. While it may not happen instantaneously, consistency makes a great asking companion.


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus, Founder of Business Victories
cheri@businessvictories.com • 303-652-1718 • @victorygirl

New clients start here: businessvictories.com/clarity


Join the Victory Program

Gain confidence and clarity in your business

Need more help with your goals? It’s time to get the confidence and clarity you desire for your business. Hire me as your business coach and in return I’ll provide the strategy, support, and accountability to take your business to the next level in the year ahead. After joining this program you will get instant access to all of my online courses and will be able to schedule your first meeting as soon as next week!

How the program works: we meet twice every month via phone/skype to discuss your pain points along with custom solutions to resolve them. I’ll provide simple homework for you and your team to execute in order to achieve the complex results you desire. This is for committed entrepreneurs only and space is extremely limited. Let’s partner up!

Have a few questions first?
Schedule a 15-minute phone conversation

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Can I Grow?

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Can I Grow?

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Can I grow?

Is this a question you ever ask yourself? After all what does it mean to grow? For each of us it looks a bit different – however, many of the components are the same.

Growth is one of those key elements in life.  Whether we are growing intellectually, growing our varied relationships or growing our bank accounts.  Each effort of growth requires some key elements that allow the growing to happen.

As I begin the task this month of nurturing my garden back to life I can’t help but consider the important elements that allow my garden to grow. For many years I have shared the analogy between my garden and growing a business because quite frankly they hold so many similarities of work, joy, and sorrow.

Growth after all is chocked full of all kinds of surprises. Most of us have had a love that we lost along the way that as time went on actually helped us to grow as a person. It uncovered some raw feelings in us that we didn’t even know existed. This opens us up to be more authentic when the “right” person comes along.

Perhaps we have some money triggers that keep us stuck with our money growth. Whether they stem from some financial misstep along the way or not fully learning to deal with money, acknowledging our current attitude with money is the first step.

Growth all starts with a desire and a dream for what you want to become. Is it happier, wealthier or maybe even wiser?

As I plant the seeds in my garden in the weeks ahead I am not sure what will happen. Some seeds will grow and some will not. What I do know to be true is that when I pay full attention to nurturing the soil and giving the seeds ample water, what is meant to grow will grow!

It’s interesting when you grow seedlings indoors too far away from the light source. They get pale and grow week. However, move those same plants closer to the light and they are able to become stronger than ever before.

Surround yourself with the people, thoughts and experiences that inspire you to grow.

Happy planting! 

NEW! Join the Business Growth Mastermind: businessvictories.com/mastermind


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus, Founder of Business Victories
cheri@businessvictories.com • 303-652-1718 • @victorygirl

New clients start here: businessvictories.com/clarity


Join the Victory Program

Gain confidence and clarity in your business

Need more help with your goals? It’s time to get the confidence and clarity you desire for your business. Hire me as your business coach and in return I’ll provide the strategy, support, and accountability to take your business to the next level in the year ahead. After joining this program you will get instant access to all of my online courses and will be able to schedule your first meeting as soon as next week!

How the program works: we meet twice every month via phone/skype to discuss your pain points along with custom solutions to resolve them. I’ll provide simple homework for you and your team to execute in order to achieve the complex results you desire. This is for committed entrepreneurs only and space is extremely limited. Let’s partner up!

Have a few questions first?
Schedule a 15-minute phone conversation

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Show me the money!

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Show me the money!

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As a young entrepreneur I quickly began to dread the coming of April each year. The closer this month got in my early years I knew that I would have to have my annual “awakening” of the financial status of my business for the previous year. Not only did I have all the other responsibilities of the business to handle but by April 1st I had to deal with the dreaded “brown box.”

My “brown box” held my receipts and what I perceived was the secrets as to whether I had actually made a profit in the year gone by. Cash flowed to be sure, however it was the question of was I spending it wisely or not, and was I actually creating a profitable business?

Learning by the seat of my pants in those early years I just thought I should innately know how to deal with the numbers. As I moved forward in my journey I discovered that it didn’t have to be so painful and systems began to get rooted as I learned it was okay (and actually quite necessary) to get help from financial professionals.

Now it hasn’t always been easy, some years have been financially better than others. The juggle for the best use of my time as I approach my 34th year of being an entrepreneur always comes back to the most important element in the business - paying attention to the numbers.

Ironically, I started my first business on April 1, 1985. Yes, April Fool’s Day! However, running a business is no joke. Without a doubt surprises and the unexpected have come and gone like the tide over the years. Some long forgotten and some have left financial scars or better said, a permanent reminder.

Here is what I know to be true when it comes to self control with money…

If you are not a “money person” you need to learn to be one. Some years will be better than others and doing your financials on a monthly basis is key to getting to greater profitability.

Expenses have a way of creeping up on you. Making sense of them can come too late if you are only looking at numbers on a quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis. Look monthly.

Charging the right price for your goods and services isn’t just about what others are charging – they have to make economic sense for the value that your business provides.

Do not, I repeat do not, continue to beat yourself up as you waste time in regret for past financial mistakes made. Learn from your mistakes, moving on smarter and money wiser.

Knowing your numbers helps you to make educated decisions in your business. Included in this is financial projections – you can’t hit a target when you don’t know what it is.

Finally repeat to yourself on a regular basis “Show me the money!” as the Jerry McGuire movie so infamously shouted it out. Say it loud and say it clear. Make April a time to fully enjoy the gifts of spring and watch all the growth around you.

And if that is not inspirational enough, how about these words from Benjamin Franklin (you know the guy on the $100 bill), “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

Have a month full of growth ahead.

NEW! Join the Business Growth Mastermind: businessvictories.com/mastermind


To Your Success and Victories,
- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus, Founder of Business Victories
cheri@businessvictories.com • 303-652-1718 • @victorygirl

New clients start here: businessvictories.com/clarity


Join the Victory Program

Gain confidence and clarity in your business

Need more help with your goals? It’s time to get the confidence and clarity you desire for your business. Hire me as your business coach and in return I’ll provide the strategy, support, and accountability to take your business to the next level in the year ahead. After joining this program you will get instant access to all of my online courses and will be able to schedule your first meeting as soon as next week!

How the program works: we meet twice every month via phone/skype to discuss your pain points along with custom solutions to resolve them. I’ll provide simple homework for you and your team to execute in order to achieve the complex results you desire. This is for committed entrepreneurs only and space is extremely limited. Let’s partner up!

Have a few questions first?
Schedule a 15-minute phone conversation

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Repair the Leak

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Repair the Leak

Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
— Benjamin Franklin

Have you ever had a leaking roof that you knew needed to be fixed… yet it just seemed easier and more cost effective in the moment to put a bucket down and let it catch the water dripping in?

Well sometimes money can be that way as well one small problem might lead to another and another and another.  In the Victory Circles we have an exercise we do called Money Leaks that I thought I would share with you today.  

These are some common leaks you may have in your business… some may surprise you...

Leak: You can’t easily describe what you do in a powerful way – or you keep changing your offering.
Repair:  Write up three different ways to summarize your product offering. Pick the best one and start sharing it with others to see how they react.  

Leak:  People don’t know exactly who your ideal client is or how to refer to you. 
Repair:  Make a list of your top ten customers and what they share in common.  

Leak:  You flip/flop on what you are selling and how you talk about it.
Repair:  Focus on the products that give you the best ROI and you have the most passion talking about.

Leak: Your unique gifts and brilliance aren’t shining so the question, “Why should they hire you?” is a hard one to answer.
Repair:  Research your competition and discover what makes you special in the marketplace.

Leak:  Sales suck.  
Repair:  Actively reach out to at least 3 - 5 people per day via email, phone or in person.  

Leak:  Money comes and goes, but you have no clear path of how it comes or where it goes.
Repair:  Start tracking your finances even if it is starting with a simple excel spreadsheet.

Leak: Your time is spent doing things that are low payoff activities.
Repair:  Re-evaluate your time and how you have priced your products or services. What would happen if you raised your pricing by 50%?

Leak:  Overwhelm or procrastination is the normal state for you.
Repair:  Consistently pay attention to your calendar. What is working and what is not?  Begin to eliminate tasks that are wasting your time and distracting you from the important work to be done.

What is the top leak that sticks out for you? 

Perhaps this is the one that has been leaking the longest. What if you did something today to take one step forward to repair this leak once and for all?  

Imagine a leak free life.  You have the power to fix all of them – now all you need to do is go take the step forward. 


 

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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Money Cadence

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Money Cadence

There are people who have money and people who are rich.
— Coco Chanel

With the topic of money always looming around us this is as good a time as any to talk a bit about this normally taboo topic. Every April here in the Victory Circles the principle of Self Control with Money is the topic for discussion.

Last week we talked about challenges and the elements within us to take them on.  I always have loved the question – “If money was no object what would you actually do with your life?” The answer to that question can bring on these further questions:

  • Does money make you happy or just stress you out?  
     
  • Would you call money a friend or foe?
     
  • Do you chase money or does money chase you? 

As you know by now bicycling has become a big part of my life these days. In fact as of this past weekend I have collectively cycled over 500 miles since the beginning of February. I have come to look at cycling (which I have always loved) with a whole new respect for how much dedication the sport requires.   

There is a lot I need to improve on in my cycling game especially when it comes to my speed.  In fact, at this point unfortunately I am one of the slowest on our larger Rocky Mountain team. This has been a humbling experience for me to face my grand idea head on and to accept where my body currently needs to grow.

One of the things that our team coach talked to me about during last weeks training ride is improving what is called “pedaling cadence.” What I learned is that cadence is the rhythm, flow, and power that comes with it when you consistently pedal at a certain rate throughout your ride.  

The cadence that gets a bike down the road is the physical force that you consistently pedal. This is what makes one person go faster than another or have more stamina through an entire ride.

When you apply cadence to money, it’s fascinating to understand why one person’s stamina with money can be so different than another’s. No matter where we are financially, the difference is how the money actually flows and the joy or stress it brings to us.

How could you improve your cadence in dealing with money and assets you want to acquire in the year ahead?  With Tax Day 2018 as marker what will you do differently in the year ahead?  

Acknowledging where you are is the beginning steps to make a change and improve your cadence.  Where you take that next step is completely up to you!
 

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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Catalyst Challenge

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Catalyst Challenge

The best way out is always through.
— Robert Frost

Challenges come in many shapes and sizes.  Some are planned and some can be surprising in how they simply arrive and play out.  This week’s Victory Letter is going to ask you to stop and look at current challenge you may be contemplating or in the middle of completing.

I shared with you a few months back my decision to bring the challenge into my life of taking on a Century (100 miles) bicycle ride in June around Lake Tahoe.  I am doing this not only to challenge my physical and mental toughness – I am also raising money and awareness in the process for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and their cause to eliminate these forms of cancer. 

My mother lost her life to a form of Leukemia called Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and I have wanted to do this ride and fundraiser since the day I said goodbye to her nearly 8 years ago.

The journey to prepare for this over the last couple of months has been a life altering experience I can tell you that for sure. And I share more about it in a Podcast I will share with you this week called Becoming a Pedal Girl.

In the podcast I thank the many who have been by my side through this including those who have donated to the cause so far - some so generously that it has touched me to my soul.

What does it actually take to get through a challenge you have been putting off?


Here are five basic steps that can make a challenge a reality:

  1. Visualize yourself on the other side of the challenge.
     
  2. How will this time be different if you have been putting it off over and over again or just never seemed to be able to get through it?
     
  3. Make the declaration out loud to others to hold you accountable. Share the challenge with 3 - 5 people you trust and listen to their feedback. 
     
  4. Surround yourself with a support team on a variety of levels as you begin to see where your weaknesses lie.  Start with finding the person who can give you the initial steps to get going.
  5. Daily action items that will take you closer and closer to achieving what you most desire. Download my Daily Output Tracker PDF.

I share in the podcast how I have utilized each of these in my cycling training. 

Would love to know your current challenge that sits in front of you.  What is the smallest first step you could take to make the much-needed shift for your life?

If you are feeling courageous there is no time like the present. Email me your answer: cheri@businessvictories.com

Here’s to a great week ahead.

 

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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Beyond the Zone

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Beyond the Zone

People may not really change as far as basic character goes, but all of us are capable of evolving.
— Anonymous

One morning last week I stepped into the early morning outdoors to let my dog outside.  There in the sky above me I saw something I had not seen in a long time: a shooting star!

Shooting stars appear in our sky every 10 to 15 minutes, yet it has been about 5 years or so since I myself have encountered one.  Even though I am outside a lot looking at the moon, somehow I have been missing the grace that a shooting star across the sky brings.

Always having thought these shooting stars as signs of luck, I determined there was a great day ahead of me.  As the day unfolded it was not exactly how I envisioned that it would play out.  Just the opposite happened all day long… 

Over the course of that day I kept getting some very loud wake up calls as apparently the universe was really trying to get my attention.

What I knew without a doubt was that it was time for a shake up from my current comfort zone.  It was time to start making some more plans to stretch me just like a shooting star moves across the sky.

Each of us is human and can make mistakes or miscalculations.  The key is paying full attention and changing course as necessary. The hardest and most important part is moving beyond our comfort zone.

One element that keeps people from moving forward is money.  Whether you have a lack thereof or are afraid to touch what you do have, fear can get you stuck in this uncomfortable comfort zone.

Change can be just the ingredient needed when money or other elements happen to stop us in our footsteps.  Pushing beyond our comfort zones moves us in new and improved directions.

Here’s to keeping an eye towards those shooting stars and evolving into our highest form of happiness.
 

To Your Success and Victories,

- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus
Business Strategist and Founder of the Victory Circles
Email me: cheri@businessvictories.com

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To Grow or Not to Grow

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To Grow or Not to Grow

What would change in your life if you had the discipline to see it through to fruition?  If you knew in fact that the path towards growth was a sure thing?

As your week begins and you look at the possibilities for growth both personally and professional that is in front of you, what aspect of what you see compels you create the action required? What allows growth and the change that it brings to actually happen?

I know this is a lot of questions to start your week. However, it’s the questions we ask ourselves and the subsequent answers that we then give and act on that makes all the difference on where we head each day.

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Enough is Enough

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Enough is Enough

Today marks that infamous money day most Americans dread – better known as tax day. Why is it that we put this date off so much? 1/3 of Americans don’t file until the very last minute… but why is that? You have to pay attention and honor the value of a dollar and what it can bring to you. 

When a “paycheck” is not an automatic function that happens every two weeks – those of us in the world of small business ownership know that you simply have to work hard and believe to make the seemingly impossible, possible. Positive reminders are a must to keep your sanity in remembering enough is enough...

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