Friday, June 16, 2017

Health/Wellness - The Confusing Diet Industry

When someone is ready to lose weight, they often don't know where to turn because there are so many programs promising them miracle and providing false hope.  

From buying processed foods to high-intensity exercises that require hours to do, many weight loss gimmicks just lead people to being frustrated and confused.  So many programs out there put such an emphasis on what to eat and do not teach someone how to eat.   Unfortunately, they focus heavily on the number on the scale and not true fat loss.   They do not take into account supporting hormones, metabolic changes or digestive issues.

In order to help you understand the diet industry, I would like to break it down into the following categories:

Food and Drink:
Think about all the commercials on television trying to entice you to buy their diet sodas, feed your kids their high-sugar cereal for breakfast and lose weight by buying meals that you question if it is really chicken or not!


Pharmaceuticals:
There are medications and over-the-counter pills available that are prescribed or recommended to help a person not feel hungry.  These are often called appetite suppressants.  All they do is expand in the stomach to make the user feel full.  Unfortunately, without eating, they are not getting nutrients and thus end up storing fat.

Clinical:
People feel that their last hope is invasive surgery.   When they resort to it, they often are not taught how to eat, or which vitamins to take to provide long-term success.

Supplements:
Fortunately, there are ingredients that can support a person's needs.   However, not all are created equally.   The proper ones are backed by science and support different body needs.  If a supplement says it'll treat or cure you a disease, run far away from it!

Gym Memberships & Fitness Equipment:
Think about how many people spend money on memberships but never use them, or buy the latest infomercial exercise DVD promising to blast the fat away forever!

The problem is people are confused.  They don't know if they should eat or not eat.  Do two hours of yoga exercise or cross-fit.   Eat gluten free or not.  Fortunately, there are great programs that focus on four components that are all backed by science: low-glycemic-impact eating, changing body composition, supplementation and education.

The first component, low-GI eating, helps improve blood sugar levels, which can help the body burn more fat.  This allows the other components to work optimally, and the education component ensures the program is never confusing.

There are plenty of resources out there to help you stay on track and understand your weight loss journey so good luck and look great!

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Wealth & Achievement Summit w/ Tony Robbins - A Review

With my business ventures, I am always online on various social media platforms on a daily basis and at times I see  the same advertisements posted on my Facebook or Twitter page.  Of course,  Facebook or any social media advertisement, the program "crawls" the content for key words and then a corresponding advertisement would display on your page.

I am personally an entrepreneur and into learning anything to help me be successful in what I do and of course surrounding myself with successful professionals.   Since I am an entrepreneur and Tony Robbins is one of my many mentors, I keep getting this ad about a "National Achievers Congress" coming to Boston on June 8th with Tony Robbins, Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and other famous celebrities.   I was like yeah yeah yeah, but then one day, I was like hmm, I want to check this out.   I read Tony Robbins books and saw his videos and how about seeing the GOAT Tom Brady in person!

So I got a ticket and attended the event.    I like to share with you my thoughts.  The good, the bad and my thoughts going forward.

After plowing through the typical brutal Boston rush-hour traffic,  I got to the event in time and got an amazing seat in the "economy" section next to some real nice people.  The thing is with entrepreneurs and people that attend events like this, the energy is always positive and forward thinking.    I also saw a few of my fellow business networkers from my events and some old friends.

The day started with Bethenny Frankel,  reality TV Star and founder of Skinnygirl.  It was odd that she was the only woman speaker of the day considering how many successful women entrepreneurs there are in the world.   Bethenny was also on the Original Apprentice when Trump was cool.  Bethenny talked a lot about herself and her accomplishments which may be inspiring to some people but I always like to hear more concrete information and tips to be successful.   Regardless, I think she is a great inspiration for women entrepreneurs.

Next, we had Steve Wollaston, who has been investing in real estate for over 20 years, provided some insight for entrepreneurs on many different strategies for real estate investing and creative financing.  It was cool that they use an example of a foreclosure in Framingham that ended up being an amazing investment.  The big tip when investing in property is to not fall in love with the house!  Steve was pretty good with tactical information but unfortunately, toward the end, the first of many of those sales pitches to attend his three day class to learn the ins and outs of real estate investing was forced down our throats.

After Steve Wollaston, we had a surprise guest, Mr, Wonderful himself, Kevin O'Leary from Shark Tank.  He provided some great business tips including how you need to tell your opportunity to someone in less than 90 seconds and you need to know your numbers and understand your business model.   Of course if you watch Shark Tank, you know how much Kevin loves money.    Kevin did not push any three day class on us.

Next we had Steve Sitkowski, a financial services expert, who recommended investing in stocks since since the end of World War II, the average large stock has returned close to 10% a year, well ahead of inflation and other saving vehicles.  A great quote from Steve was "You can be watching Netflix or you can be trading Netflix, your choice". Other notes are that 86% of mutual funds don't make money and money in checking/savings account are dead money.   Once again, there was a huge sales pitch to attend Steve's three day class on how to be a financial expert.  I love how they saw for today only we will give you a huge discount only if you sign up today.   Already, this is getting old.

Next we had Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World and CNBC Host of the Profit.   Peter's famous "three Ps principle - People, Process and Product - is his mainstay for assisting struggling businesses around the country.  Peter focused his presentation on how leaders need to be compassionate and care about the people aspect of their team.  Peter brought a few people on stage to tell their story which was a nice change from the previous speakers who focused specifically on making money.  Finally, Peter recommended leaders to not hide their vulnerability and show their personal side.

Dennis Cummins, the Author of the #1 best-seller of Turning Terrible into Terrific, was quick-witted and had a no-nonsense style speaking to the over 10,000 attendees at the seminar.   He mentioned facts like only 5 in 100 people are financially secure and people are programmed to think a certain way whether it is mental, spiritual, emotional or physical.    The important tip is to always be looking for information to help meet your goals.     Once again, there was the old three day class on how to be financially free.  This time they had staff pass out forms to fill out to attend their class.   A little over the top with their sales tactics.

Next on the agenda and the last speaker before Tony Robbins and Tom Brady, was Gerry Robert, who made it known numerous times that he is the "warm-up" to get the crowd going for Tony Robbins.   Gerry is an expert at publishing and is known for the book "Publish a Book and Grow Rich".   I really listened to what Gerry had to say since I am planning on writing a book on Business Networking.   Gerry's tips when writing a book is to determine your primary objective, write the right content, design an awesome cover and then capture leads.  A book can be used to boost sales, use for free publicity, get others to pay for everything and then use the book to create cashflow.   Good tips, but once again, and this was getting comical, the three day class on how to write your own book was slammed down our throats.  

By now, I figured that is almost eight thousand dollars in classes between the speakers so far.   I forgot to mention, for the best seats including meeting the speaker, you were looking at a five thousand dollar ticket to get in the place.   Some bank accounts got a little dent after this one.


Ok, the featured speaker, Mr. Tony Robbins, came on stage to loud dance music and cheering.   He knows how to get people going with his stretchy of "I !!!" when he wanted you to repeat what he says.  He has a Millionaire Mindset Event coming up so he went into that first and got it out of the way, then he went into the crowd and down the aisles preaching about conditioning yourself for success and increasing your capacity.   Basically, anyone can be successful if you simply increase your capability and looking into your inner soul and change your thinking.  In reality this is so true since we all are born the same way, and the ones that are successful think successfully.   Tony is one of the most energetic speakers I have even seen in person and he is a big dude.   Tony was to come out again later, but first you know who was coming next.   The GOAT.

Yes, the crowd was buzzing and it was surreal when they were showing the amazing comeback by our Patriots in Super Bowl LI.  Yes Tom Brady and Julian Edelman were in the house.  The place was the most electrifying it has been all day.  You know about 60-70% at the event was there for Tom and not Tony.   Tony had an interview style setup with Tom and Julian,  Both of the Patriot stars talked about their humble beginnings and how they stay fiercely focused internally to meet their goals.  Tom mentioned that he is always learning and striving to be better  Tom and Julian mentioned that external forces do not affect their focus on the game.  Both players were very down to earth and appreciative that they were there.   I can honestly say that Tom is my mentor simply for the fact that he is always learning despite the fact we all know he is the greatest quarterback of all time.   Wow, now we can breath... awesome.  

Once Tom and Julian left the stage, about 30-40% of the attendees left the building too, however Tony Robbins was not done yet.  He still had another hour and half to go!   But boy, did the people that left miss perhaps the most inspiring part of the event.   Tony went into the crowd and down the aisles to loud thumping music and yelled out those "I !!" whenever he wanted the crowd to repeat what he said.   Tony recommended mastering the science of achievement and experience the art of fulfillment.  He used Robin Williams as an example of mastering the science of achievement but not being fulfilled.   He mentioned focus is the power of absolute clarity and commitment and you need hunger to take massive action and effective execution.   Basically success without fulfillment is failure and life is too short to suffer.   The basis of fulfillment is that you must grow and you must give to others.   Tony also mentioned that you should trade your expectations for appreciations.   Pretty deep stuff.  By now, I was on my 13th hour of the event, but I had laser focus on what Tony was saying.   Awesome.

The event ended right before 9pm and I left the event with mixed emotions.   I did not like all of the sales tactics especially consider it was a pricey event for some attendees.  The price range for tickets ranged from $75 to $4995.  The tips were great but as always, it is what you do after the event is more important.   I think Marcus Lemonis and Tony were the best speakers, with Dennis Cummins a close second.   Bethenny Frankel was too focused on herself and the two Steve's provided great advice on real estate and finances but the sales push for their classes was a little over the top.   Mr. Wonderful was himself  and then finally Tom Brady and Julian Edelman was very sincere, down-to-earth, and provided some great highlights of their careers.  Btw, they are not done yet, the drive for six!  

All in all, I know I need to work on myself to be a better leader and more successful entrepreneur, and I felt I got some great nuggets to take massive action on.




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

You Don't Need a College Degree to Start Your Own Networking Group - Some Tips to Get Started

My business networking "career" all got started on a warm May evening in 2007 at the Alumni Center of my Alma mater Northeastern University.  I was at the tail end of my career at Staples and heard that the best way to look for a new gig was to network at business events and then connect to new people via this social media platform called Linkedin.   Pretty revolutionary way to look for work, back then, which ironically is the norm today in 2017.

So I started going to these business networking events at NU on a regular basis and was also introduced to other groups and attending events all around Boston over time.   I marveled on how positive, energetic and successful the professionals were at least compared to the corporate America environment of negativity and gossip.  Eventually, I built quite a network of over 4000 professionals on Linkedin.

I live in what you call the spacious suburbs west of Boston.   Back in 2012, I was also working in the suburbs and would attend evening events in Boston and consistently meet new professionals on a weekly basis.  

As you all know, the traffic and parking in Boston is pretty intense.

So I started to look around the Metrowest of Boston for events and besides your typical BNI and Chamber event, the choice of evening networking events was pretty slim.   I was thinking, hmm, how about if I start my own networking group and base it in the Metrowest with the intention of expanding into other areas of Massachusetts?   I will not have to venture into the city and it would give me a chance to meet like minded professionals close to home.   I came up with a simple and direct name for the group.

Enter Mass Professional Networking!

So I booked my first venue in Framingham, MA at the popular Uno's Bar & Grill on Rte. 9 in the midst of Shoppers World and the Natick Mall.  My first event was on Martin Luther King's Day and it was a rare 65 degrees in the middle of January.    I networked to my existing connections as well as various social media channels to attract attendees.    We ended up having 140 attendees and I made some connections that day that I am still in touch with today.
First Mass Professional Networking Event on 1/16/2013

My group continued to have events in the Metrowest, Worcester and even Foxboro a couple of times however, the number of attendees at our events started to dwindle a little.  The economy was getting better in Greater Boston and for suburbanites, it is tough to balance family obligations and work, so business events were not at the top of people's list for evening activities.    So, I started doing events in downtown Boston and over time, my networking group regained its mojo.     Today, Mass Professional Networking has over a thousand members through various social media channels.

Keep in mind, I started this group with no event planning experience and I was an introverted IT Professional.   By networking with professionals, I came out of my shell and become an extroverted marketing professional while keeping my day job in IT.   My point is that if I can start a networking group, anyone with the ambition can do the same.

I like to provide you some tips for starting your own networking group in no particular order.    Business Networking is the defacto way to build a lead generation machine for your business, career or even hobby, so here we go.

1)  Attend other business events and take note how the hosts manage the event, including everything from the sign-up process to how the room is set up.   You can find events on Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com in your local area.

2) Come up with a name of your business networking group before holding your first event and be consistent and don't keep changing the name over time.    Once you have a consistent name, it will be easier to build membership organically.

3) Learn how to network, including your elevator pitch, how to engage and interact as well as follow up with attendees.

4) Start connecting with venues in your area.   Restaurants and pubs are good especially on Monday-Wednesday nights, since you are bringing people into their venue.   Mobile workplaces are also great since they are built for networking and engagement.   It is great to have five or six venues to rotate your events.

5)  Hold free events for the first year of your networking group so you build a big mail list.   After a year, start charging for your events ($5- $20 is a good range).   You want to charge attendees to help determine who are the serious networkers or who is there for the free appetizers.

6) Speaking of food.  It is always a good practice to offer free appetizers.   It not only keeps the drinkers in check, but also is a good place for people to congregate and meet each other.

7) Speaking of alcohol, work with the venue and your hosts to assure that nobody goes a little overboard and does something embarrassing.   Kindly call a cab or an Uber for that person so they go home safely.

8)  Learn how to use tools such as social media, Eventbrite.com and Meetup.com to help promote your events and build your names list.   We are so lucky today where you can simply promote an event on Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook and attract 100 attendees to your event.   Beats picking up your phone!

9)  Once your group is two years old or older, start holding events with a mix of networking and speaking engagements.   This will attract new clientele and your group will become known in your area and some people will be approaching you to have events at their venue!

10)  Finally, have fun and meet new professionals and help them do the same.
 

I personally love what I do and have met some amazing people along the way.   The future of Mass Professional Networking is bright and great things are coming!




Friday, June 2, 2017

AIMC Presents "How To Score a Rocking Linkedin Profile"

A Great Market America Product Review from allinmycart.com

Why a Network Marketing Business is the Best Side Gig.

You may have been approached by them at a networking events, the supermarket, in the coffee line or even at work.   They use the buzzwords such as "I got a ground floor opportunity" or "We are expanding in this area and looking for some ambitious entrepreneurs" or "Do you want to retire on a beach with a martini by next week?"  etc etc.

To be honest, these folks are onto something, but as always, it is all about their approach and team building concepts that tend to scare people away.  More on that later.

We are in a different economy today.   Long ago, you can get by and have a great living off one income, including buying a nice house and even a vacation home, a nice car, and then look forward to a great retirement on a golf course in Florida.

Enter today's world, the one-income diligent professional works hard, does more than they're than they're paid for and hope that the boss will notice.  Then maybe, just maybe, they'll be given a bonus at the end of the year to acknowledge their work.

Some would say this behavior is admirable and shows industry and initiative.   Unfortunately, it is tragic.   To work so hard for someone else in the hope of being tossed a bonus feels like a real waster of a person's time and talents.


I say, if a person is willing to work SO hard and performs at such a level that someone else feels they deserve more, why don’t they put that effort where it can do them some real good?

So what are the options?

First, you would want your side gig to be a case of money working for you and not you working for money.  So that would mean, that second job and freelancing are out.   It is good side money, but you are still trading your time for money.  Note the left side of the infographic below.

You can start your own business or get into franchising, but it takes a huge monetary and time investment to get started and you can go years without breaking even and starting to make money.  Also remember, we are talking about a side gig here, so you cannot work full-time and own a successful business that you would have to dedicate over 50 hours a week to.   You are still trading time for money.

That leaves investing in real estate, investing in general and of course network marketing.

Investing in general whether it is in stocks or real estate is a great side gig, since money is working for you and you are starting to experience residual income (a.k.a make money when you sleep).   For example, let's say you bought an apartment building and have a number of units paying you rent every month.  After all operating expenses are taken out, you are still building a passive residual income.    Not a bad feeling when you wake up and made a few thousand dollars while counting sheep.

The big drawback with investments and real estate is that you would have to have the knowledge and connections to assure that you are going to have a positive flow of income.    It takes time to learn the ropes and not everyone makes money on investing and in real estate.   Think of the big Florida Real Estate bust in 2008.

Network Marketing is the defacto best side gig you can do today to build a residual income, hands down.  There I said it.

The challenge with network marketing is that it has a perception to be a scam.  Typical responses are the organization looks like a pyramid or I need to force my family and friends to join my club, or the best one, I don't have time for network marketing since I have HBO shows to watch at night.

The lure of Network Marketing is that you invest very little with the potential to make a lot of money.  The goal as always to be financially independent where you dictate what you want to make depending on how hard you work.   You can't get that with a job.  The environment is positive and team-oriented, you are learning new concepts, and the products and/or services are top notch.

With most network marketing compensation plans, you can build that residual income where you can be doing other things and become financially independent.

There are some amazing network marketing companies out there, so how can you decide which one is right for you.   I will leave you with these ten tips for evaluating a network marketing business and you can decide if it is right for you.

1)  Make sure the company has been around for at least five years and has had a consistent executive team.    This show commitment and reduces the chance of the company going out of business.

2)  Check with the Better Business Bureau to review the rating and what complains were filed against the company.  Also check if the company have won any awards.  The last thing you want is to invest time and money in a company that has more complaints than the IRS.

3)  Review the company's financials and Annual Report.   You would want a company that is consistently growing quarter to quarter even through recessions.     A company that has gained every quarter is even better!

4)  Select a company with more that one product or service or better yet provides more than at least three divisions/ product lines.  Not only you would have more to offer your customers, but it will also make it easier to build your organization.   Not everyone wants to sell makeup, where that wrap around their waist or drink that passion juice that takes off five pounds.

5) Review the compensation plan closely more than once.  If bonuses and/or monetary rewards are given for recruiting people, run away as fast as you can.   The network marketing company should build its compensation on retail sales volume and be customer focused.  This is a big one.   Some times there are hidden rules that you need to maintain a lot of products and the sales cycle is very short and you lose hard earned volume monthly.

6)  If a company's promotions focus on that you can work from a beach, drive a Ferrari and tell your boss to take a hike, they are playing with your emotions to join their "business".  Stay away from gimmicks and start a business simply on emotion.   A lot of companies post on social media how their product changed their life, and you would be crazy not to join them.   If you need hard sales techniques and to convince, then maybe your company is not ideal.  Start a business to learn, grow and be financially independent first and leave the gimmicks aside.

7)  If you think that you don't have time to start a network marketing business, think about how you spend your time.  There are 168 hours in a week, you work 45 hours on average, sleep for 50 hours, drive/eat/do chores for up to 40 hours a week.   That still leaves around 30 hours a week for that side gig.   Turn off that TV and leverage your time to learn and build a great business.

8) Be open minded if someone approaches you about a network marketing business, and don't be afraid to ask questions.   It allows you to evaluate your potential future business partner and the company you are building your business with.    Simply listen and don't be closed minded.

9)  Try out the product or service of the company first and evaluate and build a passion.   Once you find yourself referring the product/service to others, why not make money doing the same.  No brainer!

10) Finally, review how you spend your money today on day-to-day items, will the network marketing company provide a way to build a residual income on what you are already spending money on?  The whole idea is to have money work for you and not you work for money!

I hope this blog helps and if you need any help evaluating a business, please contact me!