Back in the Game. The 2013 Master Plan

I am hyped up people!!  If you started following my blog a few months ago – much of the journey you’ve been following was the one of me making my debut in Women’s Physique and qualifying to compete at Nationals. While training and competing remain pillars in my life and they are a big part of who I am; the core of who I am is an entrepreneur. I have the blood of an entrepreneur coursing through my veins…if you cut me, I bleed red, but pretty sure my blood clots into a business idea!

Yesterday I enjoyed a down day for my birthday but this morning I got up and was busy planning how I would spend the next year.

Back into the Entrepreneurial Game

Nothing in the world excites me or makes me happier than the thoughts of growing my very own business. I’ve been saying it for years; I will either succeed at it or die trying. I dream of the $100+ million empire that employs hundreds if not thousands of people and spans the entire globe.

I have my ambitions and my dreams, but at this time last year; I submitted my will to God so my life is committed to serving Him. What will ultimately be in my life is His plan for my life and I know in the end it will be what makes me the happiest. No one is saying my ambitions and dreams are not His plan; I’m simply stating His in charge.

He called me to be the Confidence Builder which is why I’m building my business around what He called me to do.  Every move I make and every step I take is being lead by God and not my blind ambitions. It brings me a lot more comfort, reassurance and trust in my actions knowing they are taken in alignment with what God planned for my life.

The 2013 Master Plan

Based on my inspirations, what I know and where I am at the moment, this morning I created what I call my “2013 Master Plan”, which is the plan for getting The Loop of Confidence into full gear. I outlined the plan in this fashion in order to identify my current road blocks, projects, interests and ideas.

The four main areas of focus are the production of a web series based on The Loop of Confidence, building on my current e-book Develop and Flex Your Confidence Muscles into a printed version and the release of a children’s book, booking a speaking tour at colleges across the country, and getting people into the Loop of Confidence course and 5 Keys to Raising Confident Kids. All roads lead to growing The Loop of Confidence to the point where I train other people to become Confidence Builder and the launch of a new website with community features integrated into it in order to support the people who have taken the course and are actively working on their self-confidence development.

Raising Funds

The biggest road block in the plan is money…so one of the streams in the plan is to raise some funds. I have attempted to do this before and failed. Back in 2006, I came up with and got working on a web startup called WhyGoSolo. I won’t get into too much into it, but working on WhyGoSolo lead to me having to do research on and prepare to pitch investors.  I met with some Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists. Long story short, I didn’t get funding. However, I did learn a lot and I’m going to apply what I learned to getting money this go round (assuming I still end up needing it – who knows what God will do).

Aside from needing a cash infusion, everything else in the plan is already in motion in some way and for the most part, I have also already found the right people to help me. That makes this plan very doable!

What About Competing?

At this point, it is becoming more and more unrealistic for me to compete at Nationals in November.  I simply don’t have the money to do it.  I still don’t have money to pay my rent and take care of my basic needs so to add another $2-3,000 on top of it to compete is unrealistic.  I keep praying for my miracle that will allow me to compete but time is running out. I have had many miracles happen in my life the last year so I keep praying…just saying, it will take a miracle for me to be able to step on stage in November.

However, there is a whole other year of competing ahead in 2013 so fret not!!  I will end up back on stage to compete for my pro card next year.  No matter how busy I get with my plans, diet and training will be priorities.

I’m excited, happy and focused to see the start of dream coming together.  I’m glad you are all there for the journey – do buckle in!!

The Countdown Continues…Halfway Through

Remember the 100 Days countdown to graduation and the “What will happen/what will I be doing once I’ve finished school?”  Well…I’m now halfway through it and I have crossed off a few items on the list like finishing the Spring Semester, making my debut in Women’s Physique and starting the summer semester.  I’m 11 days away from competing at the Greater Gulf Championship and qualifying for Nationals.

I enjoyed my short school break and it definitely confirmed how I’m ready to graduate and have a real break for school for awhile.  The two classes I’m currently taking are Perception and Sensation, and Emotional Health.  Last week was my first full week of classes so I was working on figuring out my new schedule for the next few weeks.  My schedule looks something like this: attending school, followed by training, followed by having the afternoon starting at 1pm to do other work Mon-Friday until July 24th.  Not bad at all – affords me pretty much a full 8 hours to do my kind of work every day.

What’s My Kind of Work…

The name of the game for me at this stage remains content creation, promotion, sales and marketing. I’ve got Ann – the Confidence Builder, fitness model and Women’s Physique Competitor trio brand to solidify and keep ironing out.  This is why I have a series of photo shoots in the works, and I’m working on partnering with a good videographer to make more videos. Now that I have a Confidence Builder logo; I’m also branding my social networks across the web properly.  All of this has three primary purposes – to attract sponsors, speaking engagements and get people interested in The Loop of Confidence.

I have not done much at all in the last couple of months with The Loop of Confidence in regards to organizing my content, re-vamping the website, and promoting workshops and courses.  I need to tackle more of that and delicately blend The Confidence Builder into The Loop of Confidence.  I am the confidence builder but my methods come from The Loop of Confidence.  One is a personal brand the other is a business brand.

Needless to say I have a very full plate as usual but all of it is fun and exciting to me!  I really can’t wait to see where things will go!

Better Online Marketing

Wednesday night I had a 50 minute call with Patrick Allmond of Focus Consulting to get some feedback and assistance from him (I recommend anyone looking to improve their sale conversion rates on their sites do the same or anyone looking for social media and email marketing assistance). Although I do well getting traffic to my professional website (The Loop of Confidence) – I am not getting conversions to sale.   People are not signing up for my courses and workshops and it’s obviously a big problem.  It’s great to have a website to provide people with useful information but ultimately, my website is my point of sales and I need to start making sales.

One of my biggest take away from our call is for me to pull back content that I have on other sites like Slideshare and package that content into downloadable content I can use to capture email addresses to build my mailing list and also make some of that content available for sale.

Thousands of people have viewed my presentations on slideshare however, none of them have ever contacted me for my services nor do I get traffic from slideshare – so why keep feeding my content there?

I’ve known for years I need to capture email addresses but I haven’t put any significant effort into it or into creating more sources of income. I always assumed people would read my posts, realize the value I provide and sign-up for the Loop of Confidence or contact me for other services. I want people to sign-up for my courses and workshops because they feel an urge and inclination to do it but that is naïve and it’s long overdue for me to start applying pressure and doing sales (both online and offline).  I hate sales.  I suck at it but I need to get over it and get better at it.

I’ve got my todo list.  Going to do as much of it I can do on my own on the NO budget I’m working with.

Working on What It Takes

My weight loss and having many people ask me “How did you do it?” has lead me to start a new website called “What It Takes. Winning at Life”. I could give people my diet and exercise plans but the odds are – they would never loss any weight because what it takes to lose weight is self-discipline, commitment and motivation. I lost weight when I stopped putting large amount of unhealthy food through my pie hole. I possessed the discipline and commitment but for a long time lacked the motivation. Once I found the motivation I needed – I made the weight loss happen.

Everything we aim to accomplish in life requires certain skills and character traits. Failure to have the skills and traits we need basically leads to failure…which in of itself isn’t a bad thing, failure means you didn’t have what you needed and affords you the opportunity to figure out what you were missing.

I’ve had more than my share of failures as many of you know and each of my failures opened my eyes to what I was lacking. The failures, challenges, and struggles in my life have definitely made me who I am today and who I am today knows my purpose in life is to help others become a better version of themselves. We live in a world where people lack character.

I’m going to be leading webinars, workshops and looking for exciting speaking opportunities. I’ll also be launching a What It Takes t-shirt line and a jewelry line.

I’m going to continue with The Loop of Confidence as well since self-confidence is a big part of what it takes to win at life.  It takes self-confidence to get started towards achieving anything worthwhile. What It Takes offers me more flexibility to share my experiences, thoughts and knowledge.  I’m still working on finding a production company to produce “Camp Confidence” – the reality show based on The Loop of Confidence.

I invite you to look into the upcoming webinars and figure out what it’s going to take for you to have what you desire in 2012.

My Entrepreneurial Full Circle (IV)

After failing to be part of changing the way people made connections from online to offline interaction; I decided to really pull-in the reins on my ambitions and work on something more manageable and something that would help a city that had helped me recover from my wounds and partner me up in business with my fiancee. Be Fit NOLA was created to help raise health and fitness awareness in New Orleans…it picked-up some momentum but came to an end pretty quickly; although the site is still up www.befitnola.com.  It turned out to not be what was best for  me, Aaron or my relationship with Aaron.

The end of Be Fit NOLA left me empty handed with nothing to focus my energies on and nothing to call my own and build. That’s the worst “place”/situation for me to be in and I went through some dark times again. I was also getting financially strapped again and felt totally lost. The answer came to me as I looked back at everything I had done and tried to do; the lessons I had learned…what my priorities were and what was important to me.

This is when I got re-acquainted with the Loop of Confidence.  I first thought of the Loop of Confidence while I was life coaching but I didn’t pursue it then.  As you read, I was focused on and going in a different direction. I came back to The Loop of Confidence because ultimately what is important to me is helping people.  My life has been filled with so much adversity, pain and challenges it’s got to be for a reason and the best reason I can think of…is for me to help other people get through their own adversity, pain and challenges.

The biggest thing I learned about business is that to best way to be successful in business you must leverage what you know.  I know about perseverance, facing fears, and particularly about the importance of having impeccable self-confidence (and how to get it).  That is why I’m turning that into the Loop of Confidence and being a motivational speaker. This is the full circle; I’ve come back to what somewhere in my gut knew I should have done in 2005 but didn’t know how.

Additionally, at the same time I decided to pursue developing the concept the Loop of Confidence again; I also decided to go back to school and get a psychology degree. Although I find credentials completely unnecessary; they do go a long way with people and are a big part of establishing credibility. Plus, with the 9/11 GI BILL I get to get paid to go to school and that is a huge blessing for me right now.

The plan in 2011 is to continue to chip away at getting my degree and growing The Loop of Confidence and getting motivational speaking gigs. I’d love to reach the point in 2011 where I bring on a few other people on-board to also become Loop of Confidence instructors.  Building a reliable, energetic and motivated team is very important to me.  I also want to get my book written on The Loop of Confidence and published.  And finally, there are other programs I’d like to develop to compliment The Loop of Confidence to include teaching parents how to help their children create their own Loop of Confidence at a young age.

Needless to say I will not be bored in 2011 and I definitely plan on finally being successful!!

My Entrepreneurial Full Circle (Part III)

Where do I begin talking about WhyGoSolo?!? I honestly still can’t talk about WhyGoSolo without feeling some pain, remorse, sadness and disappointment which is why I decided not to go into too many details.

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From February 12th, 2007 to August 15th, 2009 – WhyGoSolo was at the core of everything I did, although it was much more intense in the first year.  You can find out a lot about the start of WhyGoSolo at the original blog I started in May of 2007 http://whygosolo.blogspot.com/ – unfortunately, when I  canceled the hosting for WhyGoSolo.com the remainder of the story was deleted except for the last blog post which is on this blog: WhyGoSolo Coming Offline.

Looking back I’m still baffled by what we were able to accomplish with basically no resources. We created what I considered to be an excellent web startup that was ahead of it’s time. It actually stings to think about it.  We were a well oiled machine driven by a big dream. I wished the story would have had a happy ending.

The one question I still can’t answer to myself is “Why didn’t I move to San Francisco?” Why did I choose to waste my time in DC when WhyGoSolo would have had a better chance in S.F.   Given the opportunity to go back in time; the first thing I would do is move. Not moving is the only regret I have about the whole thing. I otherwise feel I did everything I knew to do and could think of doing.

Anyway, the first year or so working on WhyGoSolo was a total roller coaster ride.  Surreal good things would happen that would end up leading nowhere – it was tough to bounce back from the disappointments and always put on a strong face for everyone.  It was also tough to talk to investors who didn’t understand the web and where it was heading (where it is now).

I went completely broke while working on WhyGoSolo – I had been living off my savings since the summer 2005 and hadn’t really made any income. As I was losing my house and trying to get back on my feet; I got hit a few more times with two heartbreaks; one romantic and the other from a business partner. The pain and disappointment I lived through because of WhyGoSolo created a small black cloud of anger and hatred in me towards a lot of the things I believed in.  I still have to cope with the leftovers of that cloud today.

I did not easily bounce back from failing and letting people down this time around.  Thankfully, the opportunity to get away from DC and recover presented itself in the form of orders to Marine Forces Reserve, in New Orleans.

But in the end, besides all the lessons I’ve learned, what I take away is that I hope someday I can have as an exciting and fun time with another venture as I did with WhyGoSolo. I was blessed to work with amazing people and be part of a wonderful startup community…so although it didn’t end well and it was overall tough as hell – I can only wish I’ll get to do it again and have a happy ending this time. I really got to live the entrepreneurial startup life with WhyGoSolo.

Next blog post…I’ll do a quick mention of BeFitNOLA and get into what I’m working on now and why I say I’ve gone full circle.