One of our colleagues was saying how the anti-business climate along with the challenges of running a business was harder than she anticipated and often had regrets about having her own business. She has been in the field for 8 years so this is an important time. As far as the anti-business climate, I understand the challenge as we are up against it with all the government regulation of schools. The state and federal governments are very anti-business. They seem to forget that tax revenue comes from successful businesses that create jobs. Their focus is on two things: How to regulate everything and how to collect money from anyone who has it. That being said, the more important issue is this: How can you make your business succeed? Nancy and I have been through huge financial challenges with the school in the past. A lot of people would have thrown in the towel but our mission to bring this work into the world kept us focused and strong. Recently we reached a place where things are more solid but we are still making less personally than we did as practitioners who were offering a weekend workshop in Polarity. We also have less personal time. However, both of these are conditions that we have chosen as we continue to reinvest everything back into teaching people to have successful careers that they love. One thing that we have learned over the past 30 years is how much our business followed a similar sequence of changes that children go through. For instance, in the beginning, it is an infant that demands constant attention to do anything. As it gets to 2 or 3 years old it starts to be able to communicate more and gets stronger but is also more accident prone. Around 7 years it starts to have a life of its own and then come the teenage years. Oh boy those can be challenging times as it attempts to go it's own direction without you. Then it becomes progressively more independent of you as it moves into it's 20's and 30's. At this point it reaches a more stable and mature process. I would guess the next challenge comes when it reaches mid-life crisis but we have a few years to find out about that. Franchises or businesses that have very accelerated business plans will have a different trajectory but the sequence of stages still remain relatively the same. Why is this important? Two reasons: It's important to understand that whatever phase you're in, it will pass and just like a child, you have to stick with it. It's important to never give up. Do not let your business die just because it's going through a difficult stage. And also don't lose your focus when it becomes more independent. Just like a teenager, you have to watch it very closely to make sure it's making good decisions. Remember, you are doing something amazing that a very small percentage of people know how to do. You're not only creating something that's good for the community you are also creating something that is good for you. But the question is, what do you do during the difficult times. How do you get through? The challenge is that the problems in the business are often your primary focus. As you focus on the problems it can keep you from seeing the opportunities. To break out of it you have to face a very important fact. There are massage, salon and spa businesses that do make money and succeed. If some can succeed then that means it's possible for your business to succeed. This is a powerful and important lesson. It's important to draw the correct conclusion: Not that you have failed but that you are still learning how to make it work. The challenge is to stay with it until you figure it out. Tenacity is the key to success. You have to keep educating yourself in business, marketing and communications and eventually things will happen the way you want. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. This blog is full of ideas to help you succeed but it is only a small portion of what you need. I also recommend studying successful companies (including outside the industry like Disney, Olive Garden, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and others) to see what they are doing. You may not do it the same but there are lessons to be learned everywhere you go. When we would go to Disney with our daughter we were like sponges taking in everything we could. When we would get a call to go to a time share presentation we would go just for the value of seeing what they did right and what they did wrong. We went to the Inc Magazine conference and were surrounded by 1000 business people whose stories were all pretty much the same, no matter the size of their company. Make sure you join your Chamber of Commerce and go to meetings so you get to be around other business owners. Join a business networking group (again to be around other business owners and professionals) and take some vacations to be around people who have succeeded. Make a personal board of directors that meets 2 or 4 times a year to ask you about your business and keep you focused. Work with a professional organizer to reduce the friction in your business and make it more efficient. One of the most difficult and important things to do is to stay focused on what you want to create. It's easy to focus on the work and the difficulties, particularly the bills, because they demand attention. It's much harder to stay focused on the good you are bringing to your community, the jobs and opportunities you are creating and the fact that you have the freedom to have a business. This is an opportunity that many people do not have. As my friend from India used to say, when he worked for another one of my friends who would complain about the problems in his business, "I will gratefully take your business and problems and opportunities." He now has several of his own businesses. Some work out and others don't. But he never gives up and he never complains. One day he is going to be very successful. So remember, you are doing something amazing that most people don't understand and never will. And when you figure out how to make it work for you as well as everyone else, people will tell you, "You sure were lucky." Just smile and stay focused on your good fortune. It's a gift. Well-being and prosperity are one in the same. The flow of energy that creates well-being comes from a prosperous focus. Please check out the additional topics to help you succeed. Thank you for the opportunity. Kris Stecker Spa Tech Institute

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