≡ Menu

Guest post by Cass Mullane, Entrepreneur Coach, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

I’m one of those people who likes paying my taxes. It’s because I feel a sense of accomplishment in knowing first, that I earned enough money to owe taxes, and second, that I managed it well enough during the year that I have the cash set aside to cover the payment. It also means that I’m contributing toward the greater good, as at least some of my payment is reaching people who need help.

So how do you feel about doing your taxes? If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve created an emotional morass around a ‘thing’ and the thing is called money.

You need to get comfortable with money… talking about it, looking at what it’s doing through your financial reports and treating it like the valuable tool that it is. In fact, it’s an absolute requirement if you’re in business.

At a bare minimum, you need to know what you’ve earned and what you’ve spent each month. Plus, you need to know what’s coming up so that you can generate enough revenue to put money aside for things like taxes, insurance, rent, dues, conferences, workshops, payroll, whatever you’ve got planned for your business. This means a preparing budget and tracking all your transactions, both revenues in and expenses out, against that budget.

This does not mean that you need to do everything yourself. You’re the CEO, right, you’re not the COE (Chief of Everything). In fact, if you’re hung up about money, you should not do it yourself. Here’s something that you can do differently: Make a very near-term goal to hire someone to help you create a budget, keep your books and generate your monthly financial reports. Get referrals from your colleagues, do a few interviews to make sure you’re a match, then pull the trigger and make the commitment. Hire a person who loves doing books for businesses of your size. You’ll make them happy and you’ll be happy. The second part of this goal is to pour the time that you would have otherwise spent on bookkeeping into revenue generating activities for your business. That way you’ll easily pay for your newly hired contractor.

If you’re comfortable with money and have the discipline to do your books efficiently on a daily or weekly basis, then go ahead. Just remember that you won’t be generating revenues while you’re doing your books. If it’s a long process, someone else should be doing the data entry and you should only be checking the input for accuracy.

Regardless of who does your books, you need to pay attention to where your money is and what it’s doing through your monthly reports. Are you on track with your budget? If not, where are the variances and what are you going to do about them? How is your cashflow, are you robbing Peter to pay Paul or do you have enough at the end of the month to set money aside for what’s coming up?

Think about what you will do differently to make money a simple, yet powerful tool in your business toolbox. Hire someone to do what they love so you can stick with doing what you love. Everybody wins!

©2019 Cass Mullane – All rights reserved

Like many great innovators, Cass Mullane has the unique combination of being a strong creative as well as a strategic thinking MBA. After departing the corporate world in 2004, Cass built a thriving business and personal coaching practice that focuses on accountability and specializes in solid business skills for right-brainers and creatives. Tapping into this whole brain approach has helped to make Cass a highly valued coach with an international clientele.
Cass’ new #1 International Bestseller, The Cool Stuff Jar: Three Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life, is now out on Kindle! Keep tabs on the book launch and all the fun following the launch by visiting
www.coolstuffjar.com and entering your email. You can also follow Cass on Facebook!

Guest post by Cass Mullane, Entrepreneur Coach, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

In my last post I talked about getting very clear on your current customers and your desired customers so you can make sure you’re in front of your real buyers. I also talked about approaching pricing from a different perspective: start by figuring out how much do you need to net each month. Then pricing becomes more of an exercise in simple math and less of an emotional battle.

So let’s do some simple math. We’ll only focus on four of the key factors that you need to consider when pricing: Materials, Overhead, Production Time and Your Time. These factors are applicable to both products and services.

We’ll define Materials as the cost of the actual supplies you use to produce your product or service. Overhead is what it costs you to run your business and it includes things like your studio, tools and equipment, utilities, insurance, taxes, marketing, etc. Production Time is how long it takes you to produce your product or service. Your Time is what you pay yourself hourly to produce your product or service.

So, here’s a real example that was an eye-opener for one of my clients who makes funky jewelry on the side. My client wanted to make $500 per month from selling her jewelry. She was successfully selling, but she could not figure out why her bills were piling up and she had no time to keep up with fulfilling orders. It turned out she thought that when she sold a piece of jewelry for $40 and it cost her $10 in Materials, she was earning $30 on each piece so she would only have to make and sell 17 pieces each month. She was so excited to be selling her pieces that she forgot to take into account her Production Time (3 hrs/piece) and her Overhead cost ($11/piece).

For my client, once we figured this out, it meant she was really netting about $19 per piece and earning about $6.33 per hour. If you’re working for cups of coffee, that’s great. But if you need to support a business, $6.33 per hour isn’t going to cut it.

Here’s a little more info on this scenario. Since my client was actually paying herself only $6.33 per hour for her jewelry, she needed to make and sell 26 pieces each month in order to put $500 in her pocket. Since it took her about 3 hours to produce each piece, this meant she needed to spend 78 hours making her jewelry each month. Of course, this does not take into account the time she needed to spend marketing and running her business. Basically, at these prices, she was working nearly full time at night to net only $500/month.

So what did she do? She focused carefully on each of the four factors, one at a time, and made changes. She started buying supplies in larger quantities and reduced her Materials cost from $10 to $5 per piece. Then she found a number of areas where she could reduce her Overhead and dropped from $11/piece to $1/piece. Finally, she started using a timer each time she sat down to make a piece. She discovered that she was averaging 3 hours per piece, mostly because she let herself be interrupted continually. She fixed this by designating specific times during which she produced her jewelry, without interruption. This cut her Production Time from 3 hours to 1 hour per piece.

The end result, my client started netting $34 per piece, needed to spend 15 hours per month making 15 pieces and boosted her hourly rate to $34. This year, she increased her price to $50/piece, still produces 15 pieces per month, nets $44/hour and has increased her monthly net to over $650.

So, figure out what you’d like to put in your pocket each month. Then, take a look at each of the four factors in your business: Materials, Overhead, Production Time and Your Time. Figure out what the real numbers are for your business and what Your Time is actually worth at various price levels. Then, make adjustments, one at a time, to generate an amount that will make you happy.

©2019 Cass Mullane – All rights reserved

Cass Mullane’s calm, comfortable approach consistently yields positive results for clients. Her business and personal coaching practice, www.prospercreatively.com, specializes in delivering solid left brain business skills in a fun, visual way. Cass in an international best selling author, a contemporary artist, and creator of the Cool Stuff Jar™ coaching program. Her book, The Cool Stuff Jar: Three Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life, is available on Kindle. You can also visit Cass on Facebook!

Guest post by Cass Mullane, Creative Innovator, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

We’ve all felt it… that time when you know something is wrong, but you don’t want to make a fuss or draw attention or make someone mad or even get someone fired. Where‘s that line for you? How often do you kick yourself for not speaking up, for not doing something that you knew needed to be done?

You’ve all had times when a vendor delivered a damaged or incorrect product. Most of the time you don’t give it a second thought, you just send it back for a replacement or a refund. It’s an impersonal transaction so you probably don’t have much emotional attachment to either the problem or the outcome.

So why is it any different for a contractor who doesn’t deliver or a vendor who might be an acquaintance, not just an online presence? What about an employee who is not performing? Your personal connection with them can cloud your ability to see the situation clearly and of course, can affect your ability to deliver an appropriate response.

When you start having thoughts that someone is not doing what they’re supposed to be doing for you and your business, what do you do? Do you have the conversation that you know you need to have with them or do you just let it go… again. People often tell me that having that conversation is one of the hardest parts of their business. True, it may be hard. But so’s going bankrupt. And which is better for your business, having the hard conversation or not delivering value to your customers because of someone else’s ongoing issues?

I heard someone say, “The first time you think about firing someone is when you should fire them.” Sounds a bit harsh, but when you think about it, it’s not. When you decide to accommodate or “fix” someone else’s problem you’re setting yourself up to waste a lot of your precious time and resources. Obviously, you can give someone a break for messing up. But when the problem is recurring or systemic, you must deal with it or you could very well be looking at the same problem months or even years from now with no resolution in sight.

The best way to tackle this is to set very clear expectations up front, lay out the consequences of inadequate performance, then enforce the consequences. And rest assured, once you have one “hard” conversation, it gets easier. Plus, your communication might be able to open the door to a much better relationship over time.

You have high standards for yourself and your business. You should be able to expect the same standards for people you choose to work with.

Stick to your guns. After all, your business is certainly worth that level of effort, isn’t it?

©2019 Cass Mullane – All rights reserved

Cass’ new #1 International Bestseller, ­The Cool Stuff Jar: Three Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life, is now out on Kindle! Keep tabs on the book launch and all the fun following the launch by visiting www.CoolStuffJar.com and entering your email. You can also follow Cass on Facebook!

Guest post by Cass Mullane, Creative Innovator, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

Several weeks ago I had a total knee replacement. It’s healing beautifully and I plan to have the other knee done before the end of the year. Thanks to innovations in knee parts over the years, I’ll practically be bionic!

While I knew I’d be out of commission for a while after surgery, I did not plan on being so tired. My sleep habits have changed and I’ve been working only about half a day, then it’s home to do rehab, ice and sleep. I know I will improve as the weeks go by and I will be able to return to the pace I’m accustomed to before the surgery.

But now I’m wondering if I really need to return to that pace.

I’ve been a business coach since 2004 and I love helping clients see the difference that consistent small shifts can make. Plus, I’m an artist and, of course, I love exploring my creative side. I run my business out of a beautiful studio and I’m surrounded by creative supplies, creative people and inspiration every day.

As part of my practice, I make a point of marrying business and creativity in sessions with clients. After all, creativity is essential to innovation. And without innovation, a business can go flat. I also help clients pay close attention to the innovative hits and respond to them. We all receive the hits, it’s what we do next that matters.

I listened to my body and now it’s time for new knees. So why not listen to my soul and these internal cues for change and make a few shifts in my business.

I have a fresh goal to balance the amount of time I spend working with clients and the amount of time I spend working on my art. In order to do this, I’m reducing the number of clients I work with and increasing the number of retreats I do each year. I’ll make the retreats a luscious mix of business and creativity held in interesting locales (like Barcelona). An added bonus: I’ll be able to enjoy the retreats even more with my new bionic knees!

My business was fun before, now it promises to be over the top fun. I’ll spend my time doing the things that only I can do and delegating most of the rest of the work to others so they can do what they love. Just making this change has made me feel lighter, refreshed and inspired.

What are you doing to keep your business fresh?

What are you doing to keep yourself fresh?

Are you listening to your body and to your soul and responding to those needs?

Paying attention to the signals that a transition is needed, and doing something about it, often leads to bigger changes than you originally imagined.

Making simple shifts, whether by setting a fresh goal or intentionally shaking up your priorities, can result in a more pleasant balance for you a business person and a human being. Of course, you also have to do the normal work of making your plan, executing it and adjusting it as time passes. But when you do, you will feel that fresh excitement that you felt when you first started your business.

Like many great innovators, Cass Mullane has the unique combination of being a strong creative as well as a strategic thinking MBA. After departing the corporate world in 2004, Cass built a thriving business and personal coaching practice that focuses on accountability and specializes in solid business skills for right brainers and creatives. Tapping into this whole brain approach has helped to make Cass a highly valued coach with an international clientele.

Cass’ new #1 International Bestseller, ­The Cool Stuff Jar: Three Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life, is now out on Kindle! Keep tabs on the book launch and all the fun following the launch by visiting www.CoolStuffJar.com and entering your email. You can also follow Cass on Facebook!

Guest post by Cass Mullane, Creative Innovator, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

How are you at dealing with distractions? Do you find your day slipping away because of distractions? On the other hand, perhaps you’re pretty good at managing your time and your attention. Either way, you need to have a few simple techniques in your bag in order to handle the barrage of distractions that you encounter each day.

Distractions fall into two broad categories: self-created and externally created. They can be productive or they can wreak havoc with your ability to get things done. Your job is to have the discipline to choose your distractions and your reactions wisely.

Self-created distractions abound. These are the games you play on your computer, the videos you watch, the social media you check, the wandering, the idle chatter, the breaks for beverages and snacks, the books and magazines, the shopping, day dreaming, whatever you choose to do that uses up your time.

As for externally created distractions, they can include the ping of your phone, an unexpected visitor, meetings, news, rumors and gossip, traffic or the weather. These are distractions that you have no control over, they just happen.

Remember, not all distractions are bad, they are just distractions. While you may not be able to control the arrival of a distraction, you certainly can control your reaction to it and how you deal with it.

Let’s look at games on the computer. This is a self-created distraction that people generally associate with wasting time. One sure fire technique you can use to sensitize yourself to how much time you actually spend on games is to physically track the amount of time you are playing online. When you add it up, it can be shocking. Then, when you look at the pile of work not yet completed, it may be just the kick in the pants that you need to start making a better choice on where to spend your precious time. If you’re not ready to cut out games all together, an effective technique to manage your games is a using a timer. Set the timer and when it goes off you stop and close the game. Period.

But not all distractions involving games are bad. For example, I do some of my best creative business thinking while I’m putting together an online jigsaw puzzle. This is a productive self-created distraction as it frees up one part of my brain to work on the problem while another part is busy doing the puzzle. When I’m done letting my mind work something out, I simply close the puzzle tab so I’m not tempted. Out of sight, out of mind.

Externally created distractions are everywhere, especially in our digital age. Just think about what happens when you hear the phone or laptop ping… you drop everything to check it. Obviously there are times when you need to be on top of a situation, but most of the time the pings are extraneous and they can wait.

Think you’re immune? Probably not. When you see an email notification pop on your screen your eyes are naturally drawn to the movement. You automatically look at it for a moment. The result is a distraction from whatever it was that you were looking at before. The same is true with any notification like an instant message, a Facebook post, an Instagram pic, a tweet, a video, a sound byte, a podcast upload, a blog post… you get the picture.

But who is in charge here? Do those online services decide how you will spend your day or do you decide when you check those services?

One technique you can use to help resolve this problem is to turn off your notifications. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done in one uninterrupted hour. After all, your devices are just tools and you’re in charge of how you use your tools.

Dealing with distractions can be as easy as implementing a few simple techniques like setting a timer or closing a tab. All it requires is knowing the technique and having the discipline to use it.

Like many great innovators, Cass Mullane has the unique combination of being a strong creative as well as a strategic thinking MBA. After departing the corporate world in 2004, Cass built a thriving business and personal coaching practice that focuses on accountability and specializes in solid business skills for right brainers and creatives. Tapping into this whole brain approach has helped to make Cass a highly valued coach with an international clientele.

Cass’ new #1 International Bestseller, ­The Cool Stuff Jar: Three Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life, is now out on Kindle! Keep tabs on the book launch and all the fun following the launch by visiting www.CoolStuffJar.com and entering your email. You can also follow Cass on Facebook!

Guest post by Cass Mullane, Creative Innovator, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

Over the years, I’ve closely watched how entrepreneurs handle what life throws them. From death to illness to fire to accidents to theft to bad judgement, everyone has to deal with the unexpected.

It’s tough when you’re the primary breadwinner in your entrepreneur household and you have to stop work or to step away for a period of time. For many of you, when you don’t work, there are no revenues. In addition, that creates a bubble in your sales funnel and it can take several weeks or even several months to work through that bubble and get back to normal. Knowing an interruption is a likely to occur should make you put planning for the unexpected on your Must Do, Non-Negotiable List. But, then again, it might be one of those things you think you can always do later.

Then, ‘later’ happens, usually without warning.

Many of you seem to think that you’re immune to business disruption. You’re not! Disruption just occurs, and it’s often outside your control. You are left standing there like a deer in the headlights not having a clue what to do next. That’s why it’s called disruption. The good news is that a little preparation can go a long way toward a healthy recovery from being away from your business.

So how adaptable are you? What are you doing now that you can leverage later when something happens that keeps you out of work? How’s your staffing? How are you set up to generate future sales? What do you have in place that you know will run without you physically being present? Do you have a financial safety net in place?

These are questions that you must answer. If you have not gotten around to it, you’d better.

On a small, easier scale, think about what you would do if your phone got stolen along with your calendar, contacts, emails, notes, files, messages, apps and photos. Is your data safely backed up somewhere or are you assuming that you’ll always have access to it on your phone or your laptop and you’ll get around to syncing and backing them up later? What about when your laptop crashes and you cannot recover your data. Where can you go to find all that sensitive, essential business and personal information?

Aside from data loss, what happens if you have a major life event like an illness, an accident or you need to help a parent and you’re out of work for a longer period? How do you continue to generate revenues to cover your bills and other expenses when you’re not physically at work? How do you ensure you business continues to run?

Here are some tips:
1. Plan how your business operations can continue without you.
2. Make sure you’ve adequately backed up your critical data.
3. Hire appropriate contractors to manage certain areas of your business and focus your energies on doing what you do best.
4. Set aside 10-30% of every receipt for your financial safety net.
5. Make sure you have automated some of your systems so clients and customers can continue to utilize your services and buy your products while you’re away.
6. Practice “what if” drills to see how your plan might actually work during a business disruption.
7. Learn to expect change and to embrace it.

Like many great innovators, Cass Mullane has the unique combination of being a strong creative as well as a strategic thinking MBA. After departing the corporate world in 2004, Cass built a thriving business and personal coaching practice that focuses on accountability and specializes in solid business skills for right brainers and creatives. Tapping into this whole brain approach has helped to make Cass a highly valued coach with an international clientele.

Cass’ International bestseller, ­The Cool Stuff Jar: Three Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life, is now out on Kindle! Keep tabs on the book launch and all the fun following the launch by visiting www.CoolStuffJar.com and entering your email. You can also follow Cass on Facebook!

Guest post by Cass Mullane, Creative Innovator, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC

When you think of a playground you may envision a small place with a swing set, a teeter totter and maybe a merry-go-round. Or, perhaps you live in a community that has created a larger space that may be the size of a city block with lots of equipment and areas to play. While the joy experienced in a small playground can be delightful, imagine the possibilities in a larger, more diverse playground.

The same holds true in your mental playground. If you have a small pleasant place to play, that’s fine. You are comfortable with the equipment and are very familiar with what’s possible there. But what if you pushed the boundaries out a little… or a lot? Imagine what your mental playground could be like if you removed the boundaries altogether. That would be an exceptional space that could provide you with endless ideas and possibilities to explore.

Today I’m going to challenge you to expand your mental playground and to develop new ways of thinking.

Creatives have many ways to stimulate new thinking. One simple way is to take two different materials that they are not used to using together and figure out how to combine them into one piece.

You can translate that into a good exercise for anyone wanting to expand their thinking by taking two seemingly unrelated things and figuring out a way to connect them. For example, how might you connect the need to water your garden with a commercial building?

While you’re pondering that, pay close attention to how your mind is working. At first you might be thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?” Then, as you accept that anything is possible, you’ll relax and feel your mind expand to start considering the possibilities and the various ways you could connect those ideas. Ultimately you may have a free for all in the ideas department, coming up with the laugh-out-loud hilarious ideas along with the ‘oooh, that might actually work’ ideas, regarding each with equal consideration. It is a playground after all!

Several years ago someone told me that I had to have a traditional office for my business coaching practice and a separate studio for my art because the clientele was totally different and I could not combine business and art. Had I kept my mental playground small, I might not have come up with the way to connect my two worlds because I would have accepted someone else’s limitations. Instead, I thought, “There has to be a way to do this,” and I went to work expanding my mental playground until I came up with a way to connect my business and my art.

Today I work in a studio that I call “The Playground” which is located in Cottonwood Center for the Arts, a building that houses 70+ artists working in many mediums. A simple walk around the hallways serves as great stimulus for expanding my mental playground.

While in my studio I focus on helping clients navigate their businesses AND I feed my creative side simply by looking up from my computer screen. I am surrounded by art and art supplies which stimulate me and tweak my brain, continually reminding me that possibilities abound, workarounds abound, solutions abound, innovations abound. All I need to do is expand my mental playground to find them.

What are you doing to expand your mental playground?

Like many great innovators, Cass Mullane has the unique combination of being a strong creative as well as a strategic thinking MBA. After departing the corporate world in 2004, Cass built a thriving business and personal coaching practice that focuses on accountability and specializes in solid business skills for right brainers and creatives. Tapping into this whole brain approach has helped to make Cass a highly valued coach with an international clientele.

Cass’ International bestseller, ­The Cool Stuff Jar: Three Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life, is now out on Kindle! Keep tabs on the book launch and all the fun following the launch by visiting www.CoolStuffJar.com and entering your email. You can also follow Cass on Facebook!

Featured in:
The Right-Brain Business Plan®

The Right-Brain Business Plan®