A workshop to check out - and help a family who lost everything in the recent Philippine floods

I received some news about one of my wife Trish's uncles this week that has really put some of our own challenges into perspective. You may have heard about the devastating typhoon and floods that have swept through Manila recently. Trish's uncle Roland and his family have pretty much lost everything. Their house was filled with water and the damage means his house will probably have to be pulled down. All of their electronic equipment and most of their furniture has been destroyed. His two cars are totalled. And in the Philippines there is no car or house and contents insurance, which means they haven't been insured for any of the damage. Plus - they ran a home-based business which is now very much on hold.

Imagine losing everything you have!

So, we've decided to give all the proceeds from our upcoming Love Your Money Workshop in Sydney to Roland and his family to help them get back on their feet. The workshop is on Friday evening 30th October and Saturday 31st October.

And I'd like to ask for your help.

If you're in Sydney, please come along - you won't regret it. Not only will you be supporting a family very much in need - you will also get a tonne of value from this workshop - much more than the price of the ticket. And there is no risk to you because if by the end of the workshop you aren't thrilled with it - you can have your money back - no questions asked!

If you're not, please forward this to anyone you know in Sydney who you know that might be interested in reaching financial independence more quickly, and would like to make a difference to a family in need. I've attached the flier, and there is some info below.

Thanks in advance


PS Here's some information about the Workshop.

What is the workshop about? - It's about financial freedom!

The workshop is for you if: • You believe that you could be doing better financially • You ever feel stressed, anxious, or have regret when it comes to money - and you would like to change this • You love the idea of not having to work for money - and only having to work 'cause you want to • You want to improve the way you earn, spend and invest your money The workshop teaches a powerful 7 step process to much more quickly achieve financial independence- the point where you don't have to work for money if you don't want to! The workshop deals with both the psychological and practical side of your relationship with money. It's about earning powerfully, spending consciously and investing wisely.

How much does the workshop cost?

The workshop costs $295 (including GST). If you bring someone else, the second person comes half price - it costs $442.50 for two people. (And there's a full money-back guarantee.) All of this will be going to support Roland and his family to get back on their feet.

Here's what a few past participants have said:

"Love Your Money Workshop is a power-packed program providing new insights and useful tools, structures and ongoing support to kick start the real journey to financial independence. The information presented is easy to understand and implement, taking the mystery out of money and giving the controls back to you. This is a must-do workshop for anyone committed to a powerful journey towards true financial independence. Thank you!" Jo Davies.

"I wasn't at all on the path to financial independence. Because of the Love Your Money Workshop, now I am!" Ivan Waters

"There were so many eye opening moments. Thank you very much and I look forward to implementing what I learned to create financial independence!" Kyoko Yoshizunu (Kyoko is a financial planner)

"This course has significantly increased my understanding of the investment and financial planning industries." Cathy Horder

"Love Your Money has enlightened me on a whole new approach to being powerful around my finances and creating a new relationship with money." Robyn Gray

Pete, why do you work so much?

Every second week I have the pleasure of hanging out with my two nephews, Jarrah and Sam, and doing pretty much whatever they want to do. Jarrah is four and Sam is coming up to two. Last Sunday we were sitting in a cafe sipping our babycinos and my cup-of-cino (Jarrah normally orders, and he thinks a cappuccino is a cup-of-cino, and I think that's too cool to correct), when Jarrah asked me an interesting question.

"Pete, why do you work so much? Why do you work on Saturdays Pete?"

I told him that perhaps my business model needed tweaking, I'm excited about lots of different projects and maybe I'm too scattered and not focussed enough, that when I feel overwhelmed I could be inefficient and that sometimes I procrastinate.

He wasn't really satisfied with that answer.

Why do I work so hard? Am I a workaholic?

I think all the answers I gave Jarrah are correct, but also I've just got into the habit of working hard. There is always stuff to do, and so I keeping doing it.

Currently I make sure I have at least one day a week where I do no work, don't check my emails, don't take business calls, and don't think about the business. I'm also planning to get a lot done in the next two months, and then do a lot less in the following two months when we're in Bali.

Do you work too much? And if so, why?

Do core values really mean anything?

A key leadership distinction in the Love Your Business Method is creating your core values; and it's one of the first things that I work on with my coaching clients. However it sometimes seems like a futile exercise - we create a great set of core values and then ... nothing happens. They aren't discussed, they aren't displayed, they don't seem to make any difference.

I have to somewhat sheepishly admit, looking around our office walls I can't see our core values displayed anywhere. Like the plumber with the leaky tap I guess.

I have come across a great study that shows that core values, and some core values in particular, do make a difference. Strategy + Business wrote an article about a Booze Allen Hamilton / Aspen Institute study of 365 listed companies and their core values.

The key finding, and the one that I was very interested to read, was that successful companies are more likely to believe that social and environmental responsibility affect financial performance.

The study selected 'financial leaders' by asking respondents to self-identify financial leadership (exceptional business results) and verified this using financial statements. There were some very significant differences with these companies.

Among the confirmed financial leaders, 98% include ethical behaviour / integrity in their values statement, compared to 88% for the other companies. Far more of the financial leaders include commitment to employees (88% versus 68%), honesty / openness (85% versus 47%) and drive to succeed (68% versus 29%).

These values - integrity, honesty, commitment to employees - all come straight off the Love Your Business hymn book. It is these 'softer' values, rather than the more financial values - shareholder returns, profit etc - that actually correlate with higher financial performance.

That of course isn't to say that if you make these your core values you will be financially successful. However I think if you actually live these values, it’s more likely - and explicitly stating them isn't going to hurt.

I am still a big believer in the process, even if it does seem futile at times. Where it works, and businesses align on what they stand for, put it out for the world to see, and live by it, magic can happen.

Do your core values mean anything?

Is your business model dumb?

I'm about to meet with a friend to talk about his business. After having a look at his website and doing the sums, my conclusion is his business model won't work. His business is selling a service that people pay for on a hourly basis, and it isn't a recurring service (i.e. people need it once or twice and they are done). And his pricing is too low, and the service too hard to sell to be viable in my not-so-humble opinion. It could be an interesting conversation. I'm hypothesising that he might say he is using the service as a loss leader to on-sell other stuff. This is a business model I've come across before, and I think is generally a fraught way of running a business.

My first job at 15 was at a petrol station, pumping petrol, washing windows and checking the oil and water (back in the days when you actually needed to check your oil and water more regularly than you got your car serviced). I was staggered to learn that the margin on petrol was less than 5%. After overheads, they were losing money on the petrol. A petrol station was either a general store or a mechanic that decides to sell petrol at a loss in order to attract customers. Even as a 15 year old I could see that numbers didn’t add up and that this was a dumb business model.

I have another friend, (ever since I was called "popular business coach" in the Herald Sun article, I seem to have friends all over the place) Col, who makes go-karts. Problem is go-karts are difficult and expensive to design and manufacture, and the market is very competitive. When we did the sums we saw that Col was losing money on the go-karts themselves. He'd make the money up on the accessories - luckily people crash and have to buy the parts. We reached the conclusion that losing money on the core business was a dumb business model, and Col is now redesigning his business to sell accessories without having to necessarily build the karts in the first place.

Sometimes flaws in a business model can be a little harder to detect. I am working with another client in a professional services business, and she makes a bit over 70% of her income from 30% of her clients. Not quite the 80/20 rule, but close. These 30% also have the lowest overhead to service. When we did the maths properly we discovered something quite shocking - she was losing money on the other 70%. Every time she accepted a client in 70%, she was paying for the privilege of having one of her team provide them a service. They were being subsidised by the 30%.  We could argue that we need to be willing to service the 70% to attract the 30%, or we hope the clients in the 70% will grow into the 30%. However these arguments don't justify a flawed business model.

What elements of your business model aren't working for you? Are there parts of your business model that are just plain dumb?

How personal is too personal?

A few weeks ago I made the weekly email I send out a bit more personal. I changed the title from "Thought for the week" to "The Word from Pete". I added the salutation at the start of the email so it now says "Hi Jane" at the top of the email. And I changed the signature from "The team at Love Your Business" to my name. Three pretty simple changes that have led to some startling results, some interesting feedback and one very funny story.

Prior to the changes, we were getting 65%-75% of our emails being opened, and 13%-26% of people clicking through on the links. Nothing wrong with those numbers, especially when you consider how many emails people get.

Since making the changes, the rate that the emails are getting opened has climbed to 88%-129%. Thinking back to year 10 maths, I think there is something not quite right with 129% ... my guess is that some people are opening the email more than once. And the click through rate is now between 27% and 37%.

I've had one person say that he didn't like having the email addressed to his name if I was sending a group email. I've just changed his name to "there" on this mailing list, so now his email will say “Hi there.” I do what I can. (Although ironically this attempt to make his email feel more generic is actually more personalised.)

And now the funny story.

At the start of our recent Love Your Money Workshop I asked everyone what they wanted to get out of being there. Everyone gave answers within the range of things we were expecting, except my mum. She said that she didn't know what she wanted to get, and was only there because I told her she should do it. This was news to me.

In the first break I went and spoke to her.

“I didn't tell you that you should do the workshop,” I said, “you told me that you wanted to do it.”

“But you sent me an email telling me about it and inviting me to do it,” she said.

“That email went to everyone on the list,” I explained.

“But it was addressed to my name.”

Mum had thought because the email was addressed to her name, it was a personal invitation from me meaning that I thought she should do the Workshop. And bless her heart, even though she didn't have anything she wanted to get from it, she came along because I thought she should.

(Fortunately Mum did get a lot out of attending the workshop after all, so the story has a happy ending.)

Are there simple changes that you can make in the way you communicate with your customers that could make a big difference?