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How I Built a Six-Figure Business by 25

Business

I am a farm-grown Canadian girl from the prairies of Manitoba, living on the coast of South Carolina. A few years ago, I married a beautiful man I met during a retreat in Costa Rica, and became a step-mother to his three children after the death of his wife, six years ago. I also built my own business from the ground up, starting at 19 years old, never looking back.


I am a Certified Facilitator of Access Consciousness, which means I travel the world giving seminars, as well as facilitating online classes, speaking on the subject of conscious living. I have always been interested in conscious living and this career matched who I am as a person. I am 25 years old and I have a full-plate. But I love it that way!

I have built my business to gross over $300,000 per year, each year earning more than the last. I travel the world with my husband, who is in the same line of work, and we try to bring the kids along on the trips, as often as we can. Only a few short years ago I had almost no clue how I was going to create anything sustainable in this field. I have used the tools and values I have learned in Access Consciousness to strengthen myself in order to increase my business and make it a success. I believe that the stronger you are as a person, the larger your business can become, and no matter your age, it is never too late to begin the adventure of business.

1. Be Willing to Take Risks

I realized that if was going to create a profitable and fun business I was going to have to become comfortable taking huge risks, personally and financially. Over and over again. As a species, our brains are designed to protect us from risk, and keep us in mediocrity. This protects and maintains us as a species. For most of us adversity towards risk is a really difficult thing to overcome. It was almost paralyzing to me at first. But with practice, and the willingness to see that risk usually meant reward, I became more confident in my ability to make decisions.

I wouldn't have been able to survive without the constant willingness to re-invent myself and choose beyond my comfort zone. For example, I had a class in Israel and I had spent $10,000, booking plane tickets for my husband and I, booking a venue for the class, a hotel for us, when my host told me that no one was interested in coming to the class. At that moment, I realized I had to change my host, change the type of workshops I was doing, and reinvent the whole trip. We ended up going, facilitating the classes, and were surprised with the success of the last-minute changes. When you take risks, you begin to develop a trust in you that carries into all areas of life.

2. Learning How to Speak Other People's Language

In business, it is important to realize how other people function and how they preferred to be talked to. I see so many people having business conversations with people using their idea of how they, themselves would like to be spoken to. When you meet someone, you have to ask yourself this question: “What can this person receive from me, and how would they like to be spoken to?" Some people like to get right down to business, while others need small talk or compliments before they are comfortable getting started. If you pay attention and honor the other person's way of functioning, you often get farther than you can imagine, and create strong relationships.

3. Remembering to Use my Gender to my Advantage

In business, there are times where it works to be aggressive. I have built my ability to stick up for myself through some big errors. As women, we are encouraged to be aggressive to keep up with men. I am willing to do this when I know it is what will create the greatest result. But I also am willing to be myself as a woman, and to speak to the world as I see it.

Julia Sotas

We are taught that we have to be like men to work with them, and I don't see that working very well in my experience. Now, this may be a controversial way of looking at things from a feminist perspective, but I believe that women are every bit as capable as men, but also totally different. Each sex has something different at their disposal. Why should feel we have to become like the other sex when we can use the gifts of our gender, or use whatever approach works best according to the situation?

4. Ask: What will this choice create in five years?

If you turn right on your way to work, instead of turning left, it has the possibility to change your whole day. If your whole day changes, this changes your whole week. Your whole week can change your whole month, and your whole month, your whole year. Each choice we make creates an entirely different future.

So many of us make our choices automatic, or we choose only within a small window for fear of being judged, or for fear of failing. You build for the future by looking at how each choice you make today, creates an entirely different future.

Look at the future you would like to have. When making a choice, ask yourself, “If I make this choice, what will my life be like in five years?" You don't have to work out all the details, but you will know intuitively what your choice will create. If the choices you are making today match the future you would like to have, you are planting seeds for a greater future. Ask yourself, “What can I do today to prepare for the future I know is possible?" You may surprise yourself with how easy it is to shift your focus to the future, so that you are always building what you know you are capable of.

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8min read
Politics

Do 2020 Presidential Candidates Still Have Rules to Play By?

Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.


When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.

2016: What rules?

Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.

Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.

And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.

And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?

Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.

Digital policies for 2020 and beyond

While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.

Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy

Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:

  • If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
  • While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
  • If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
  • Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
  • Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?

Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.

Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply

The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:

  1. Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
  2. Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
  3. Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
  4. Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
  5. Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
  6. Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
  7. Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
  8. Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.

Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles

Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.