A FREE electronic magazine... May 22, 2002
B I G B U C K S I N A B A T H R O B E
Make More Money & Have More Fun With Your Small Business!
Publisher: Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
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I n T h i s I s s u e . . .
1. A "Quickie" - Personal Observation
2. Feature: Article
3. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
"The Crystal Ball"
4. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
"Bad news at the ranch"
5. About "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" Newsletter
6. Who the Heck am I, Anyway?
7. How to Subscribe / Unsubscribe
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Copyright (c)2002, A Few Good People, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11111 A "Quickie" - Personal Observation
My wife often orders through mail order catalogs. She saw
some gloves that she wanted (for working around the barn).
The listing said "...available in a variety of colors", so
she called the company to order them in brown, green, and
black but was told that you cannot specify the color you
want: you get whatever is in inventory at the time they
pull the merchandise.
She is supposed to enter the "glove lottery" to see what she
gets? Needless to say, she didn't order them.
I believe that I see an opportunity for this company to
improve its customer service!
22222 A r t i c l e "Priorities"
By Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
Unfortunately, most of us need a little reminder every now
and then about what is really important. Something will
happen in our lives and we just sort of sit up, slap our
foreheads stupidly, and say "DOH! Of course! I knew that,
but I forgot that I knew that!"
The trouble is that we never know when that's going to
happen and, when it does, it may be too late. If you lose a
loved one in a tragic accident, how will you be able to say
those things to them that you meant to say but never did?
My guess is that you probably don't have to think very hard
to figure out your top priorities in life. Are you taking
the time, however short, to think about it? And are you
acting accordingly, spending your time and financial
resources where it matters the most?
I just got a reminder of my own; Chris, my bride of 19 years was
just diagnosed with breast cancer (see "Meanwhile, back at the
ranch..." below) After we got the news I felt two profound
emotions: fear and gratitude. The fear, of course, was about
what the future held. The gratitude was for all the time we have
been able to spend together by working at home for over 20 years.
After her first surgery we learned that it had spread. When
the situation is dire, it's easy to drop the things that
used to be soooooooo important and focus on the things that
I was in the parking lot of a local market and I saw a man
and woman arguing about something. I thought about how
their anger was probably over something that, in reality,
just doesn't matter a hoot. Someday they, too, may get a
sudden reminder and they will hopefully realize how
unimportant and insignificant those types of arguments
In going back over this article, it reads sort of negative,
doesn't it? (SORT OF???) I don't mean to put you on a
downer, I just want to make sure that you keep balance and
perspective in your life. I want my reminder to serve as
your reminder. It's amazing how quickly 'important' things
can become unimportant.
It's easy to work a lot when you own a small business (I'll
bet you didn't know that...) which makes it hard to achieve
that balance and perspective without some conscious effort.
Are your priorities in order? Don't wait for that giant
reminder to come and slap you in the face. The next time
you get angry with a loved one, ask yourself if it really
matters that much.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from "Mr. Mom", one of
Michael Keaton's first movies. In it, he loses his
corporate job, can't find another, and his wife (played by
Terri Garr) ends up going back to work for an advertising
firm leaving him at home to take care of the kids. She ends
up working too much, so he says these eight words to her.
Now I'm saying them to you:
"It's easy to forget what's important. So don't."
33333 "A s k D a v e"
(Can I help you with a business problem? I will field
business questions in every issue. Send them to
Ask whatever you'd like... all letters will remain anonymous.
Maybe my 2-cents'-worth will help you make "Big Bucks"!
What wacky ideas do you have for my business? Wait for it Dave
------ I am a crystal ball reader (no laughs yet) and ookey as
that is, well, it is the one thing I have done all my life that
is effortless and I love (probably because it is so natural to me
--- not work).
However, these days with the eyeballs on professionalism, I
decided to call myself a "personal consultant", thinking I could
gain more clients by taking away the gyspy image (tell 'em lies
and rip 'em off).
I used to have my room set up in exotic gypsy style that was
something to see, but now I think perhaps I should tame it down
to a smart office to attract business clients.
I can write ebooks, reports, give freebies (their own reading on
CD to keep), live adivce by phone and webcam, and every thing
else, but I have never settled on my image.
By the way, I believe in answering people's problems and I am
excellent at telling them what to fix up in their lives and how
to go about it (especially romance), so it is not just a
market-place reading. I have made a lot of money at fairs etc
but I stopped going because I felt I might be tarnishing (heh
heh) my profession by mixing with obvious frauds. (There are
some who are not frauds, but how does one overcome the damage
done to the public by those who offer ten buck tarot readings and
are here today, gone tomorrow)?
E. J., Australia
What does your crystal ball tell you to do?
I am soooo sorry... I couldn't resist; it was just too
But seriously... here are some words for you: "define",
"experiment", "testimonials", and "what others are
Before you do anything you have to define who you are,
what you want to do, and for whom you want to do it.
Are you looking for bored housewives or business
executives? Do you want to really help people or
There are no right or wrong answers, but until you know
exactly where you want to be, you can't come up with an
You can have a catchy slogan like "I'm really on the
ball" which might be fun if you are going for the
entertainment angle but which wouldn't work so well for
Are there certain cultures, nationalities, or businesses
that would be more prone to be interested in this sort
of thing? You might want to define your target market
It is true that you have a rather unique obstacle to
overcome: the hocus-pocus image conjured by the service
that you offer. Credibility is the main issue, so there
is no telling what will work. That's why I think you
need to experiment with different approaches to see what
By that I mean that you need to have a strategy, a
targeted well-defined market, and a way of tracking your
results. You could try using "personal consultant",
"personal advisor", or "The Conventional Advisor using
Here's an approach: don't mention the crystal ball at
all. Promote yourself as a personal advisor and don't
tell them how you come up with your advice... that's a
tool of your trade and who needs to know that? They
want your advice; does it matter how you come up with
You could try approaching the issue directly. For
1. "You may think this is a bunch of baloney. It
2. "They laughed when I sat down at my crystal ball, but
when I started to speak..." sort of thing.
The prune industry had a problem with their image, too
because people traditionally don't like prunes, they are
ugly, and they tend to act as a laxative. The approach
they took in their advertising was direct: "Yes,
they're ugly. But they're good for you!" Maybe you can
adapt that sort of approach. Maybe you can find some
references on the internet about what the prune industry
actually did and how it worked.
One way to improve your credibility is to get some
testimonials, hopefully from clients with names that are
recognizable. I recently wrote an article about this
very topic. Read it at
WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING
Find out what others in your field are doing, both the
good and the bad. You want to know what works and what
doesn't work, what you are comfortable with and what you
are not comfortable with. Take a look on the internet
and you'll get plenty of ideas.
44444 "M e a n w h i l e, b a c k a t t h e r a n c h..."
A glimpse into the life of this "Stay-at-Home CEO"
(Photos and short bios of the complete "cast of characters"
are posted at http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com/theranch.htm )
Chris was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 22. The first
surgery was May 10 to remove the lump and to see if the cancer
had spread to her lymph nodes. As it turns out, it HAS spread to
her lymph nodes and the tumor was quite large and not contained,
so a mastectomy is next.
We had gone to the UCLA Revlon Breast Cancer center for 2nd
opinions both before and after the surgery and, for various
reasons, have decided to have the mastectomy and reconstruction
performed there. At this writing it is being scheduled, so we
don't know yet exactly when it will be. We do know, however,
that she will have to undergo radiation therapy as well as
chemotherapy, and the preliminary word is that, based on how
nasty the tumor turned out to be, that she's going to get a
pretty strong dose.
I am so proud of the way she has handled all of this; with
courage, grace, and humor. She says, "Bring it on! I've always
wondered what I'd look like with no hair!"
The night we learned her diagnosis, she called her brother and
told him the news. Naturally, he was very upset and he told her
how sorry he was that he accidentally broke her finger back when
she was 4 years old. Chris said, "That's when the cancer
Since her May 10 surgery, she has had limited use of her arm and
has, of course, been very tired so I have been bathing her and
applying lotion all over her body as well as washing and styling
her hair. She likes to tell people that I have learned to use
a round brush, and says that I do a better job with her hair than she
does. She has started calling me "Mr. Dave".
She had a drain coming out of her side after the surgery and I
had to empty it every day into a paper cup. The sound of the
fluid going into the cup gave Chris the heebie-jeebies so now,
whenever it's time to empty the drain, we sing "Oh, Canada" at
a very high volume so she can't hear it!
The next big step, even before the mastectomy, are the tests
which will tell us if the cancer has spread to her bones and/or
internal organs. Those should be coming soon.
I only share all of this after considerable internal debate but,
after all, this column is about life on the ranch and this is
life on the ranch. I figure that it can't hurt to have more good
thoughts going out into the universe on her behalf.
I will publish short progress reports in this column as her
treatment and diagnosis continue.
55555 A b o u t "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" N e w s l e t t e r
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66666 W h o t h e H e c k a m I, A n y w a y ?
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