21 Jan

How to Improve

How to Improve

How to improve yourself

These are some of the ways you can make yourself more valuable, whether you’re an employee or a business person

Expertise: Study and learn
Productivity: Get more done
Efficiency: Do it better
Multiplication: Get others working for you / systemize / automate
Influence: Learn persuasiveness skills
Reputation: What others know and think of you
Celebrity Status: How well known are you by your target audience?
Vision: What can you see that others can’t?
Personality: How you treat and connect with others
Attitude: Towards yourself and others
Awareness: Know your strengths
Masterminding: Surround yourself with those from whom you can learn

Resolve to be deliberate about which of these areas you study and study it until it becomes part of your daily agenda before moving on.

Ultimately, the only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. When YOU change, everything will change for you.

12 Areas of Improvement That Will Make You More Valuable
By Maria Davies

Whether you’re an employee, are self-employed or have your own business, your value has a direct connection to the impact you’ll have on the bottom line. Your job, regardless of your status, is to be better than the person you were yesterday. In other words, to continually improve in the areas that will make a difference.

So how can we break these down? I’ve identified twelve distinct points you can work on. Improvements in any one or more will up your value. Improvements in all of them together will lead to an explosion in your worth.

Expertise: What one part of your job or business would yield the highest return if you were an absolute expert in it? There may be more than one, but I strongly suggest you start with one and apply lazer focus on increasing your expertise in that area. You will more quickly become expert in a much smaller field, so don’t try to spread your study hours too thin. Identify the most important and work on that. Once it’s mastered, you can move onto applied focus to improve in the next area. Alternatively, look at where there are gaps in your current knowledge? Where do you feel you could do better? If you’re not sure, discuss this with your boss or coach.

Productivity: Aim to get more done. There are several very quick fixes here: 1. stop interruptions by turning off all distractions. Every time you stop to focus elsewhere, it takes time to get back to where you were. That’s time you could have been applying yourself 100% if you hadn’t succumbed to the interruption. 2. Set your timer for 30, 60, 90 minutes and resolve to work uninterrupted and ONLY on your most important task for that entire time. 3. Get up 30, 60, 90 minutes earlier and use that time productively. 4. Plan your day the night before, setting out blocks of uninterrupted time to work on the important tasks.

Efficiency: Not what you do but how you do it. Most people who repeat tasks work on autopilot without ever stopping to consider whether there’s a more efficient way of working. Take a step back and evaluate yourself as a productivity consultant might. One quick fix is to group like tasks, e.g. return all phone calls at once, reply to all emails at once, plan trips/sales visits to have the least travelling time and always have your study materials with you to maximize your travel and downtime.

Multiplication: There’s only one of you, so you should ONLY be doing the tasks that ONLY you can do. If you’re doing something that can be delegated to someone who attracts a lower hourly rate, do so. When you find yourself doing something more than once, document the steps to create a system. Once you have a system, written and clear, others can follow it and you can move onto more expert tasks.

Influence: Closely related to the previous heading of Multiplication, I will point out that you’ll achieve far more in your life and business when you can rely on the help of others. Aim to learn persuasiveness skills. When you’re persuasive, you’ll find people will help you because they WANT to, not because they feel they HAVE to.

Reputation: You want your reputation to speak very favourably of you. It’s not what you say but what you do that will cement your status. The question is, what does your reputation say about you? Would you want to work with you?

Celebrity Status: How well known are you by your target audience? When you have a great reputation out there, you don’t need to hustle for business, it will come to you, but it must be out there. There’s no point cultivating brilliance if nobody knows about it. One of the best ways to establish yourself as a celebrity in your field is to write a book on your subject. It automatically elevates you to expert status and opens up all kinds of doors. You’ll look at invites to speak at events, appear on talk shows and partake in expert panels, further confirming your celebrity.

Vision: What can you see that others can’t? Break out from doing everything the same way as everyone else. Imagine you’re a consultant who’s been brought in, at an exorbitant fee, to make improvements. What would your recommendations be? If you have experience in another industry, is there any way of operating from that industry that might work well in your current line of business?

Personality: How you treat and connect with others will impact on their willingness to help you and, therefore, your ability to progress more quickly. Take a look back under the previous headings of Influence and Multiplication and you’ll understand how your personality can work for, or against, you.
Attitude: Your attitude towards yourself and others is also closely related to your personality, but you can “try on” a new attitude and change your personality by doing so. I’m sure you’ve heard of people who are described as having a “winning attitude.” Would you describe yourself this way? Are you a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person? What if you were a winner? What would your attitude be? Here’s an area you really can make it until you fake it. Try it, I think you’ll like it.

Awareness: Know your strengths and weaknesses, and also those of your team. Actually, it can be easier to recognize them in others so you might have to work with your boss, coach or partner in this regard. Ask others how you come across and try not to be defensive if you don’t like what you hear. Just note down the areas for improvement and either add them to your study list (see Expertise) or delegate to someone more appropriate (see Multiplication)
Masterminding: Surround yourself with those from whom you can learn. Who do you admire? If you were to model yourself on someone, who would it be? If these people are accessible, that’s great. Ask them for coffee, lunch dinner or, better still, start a mastermind group and meet regularly to support each other. What if your chosen mentors are not accessible to you? Heck, what if they’re not even still alive? Well, don’t limit yourself, imagine you could have a masterminding conference with anyone you like. Who would you have around the table? Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” would hold such meetings in his mind. He would imagine asking his experts for help and then imagine the answers they would give. Try it for yourself. You may be surprised.

Resolve to be deliberate about which of these twelve areas you work on. Continue in your study of each area until it becomes part of your daily agenda before moving on to the next.

Remember, when YOU improve, everything will improve for you.

Maria Davies is a trained coach, author and speaker. www.mariadavies.co.uk

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02 Dec


You don't have to start with big, expensive houses in the South of the UK to make a good and growing income.  In fact, you'll find that the cheaper the property, the better the return you'll get on your money.
I'm talking about low cost, freehold, houses, mostly occupied by families. For example, look at the return on your money with this:
Purchase price of £43,000
Gross rent of £400 per month
Deposit of 25% – £10,750
75% mortgage at 5% interest = £134.75 per month
Net cash flow of £225.25 after 10% rental management fee
Return on your deposit = 25.14%

In other words, a BIT better than you can expect if you’d put your £10,750 deposit money in the bank at today’s interest rates.

However, it can get even better. If you have the initial cash to invest to buy a property prior to renovation, it’s possible to refinance all or most of your money back out:
Initial Cash Purchase price of £56,000
Gross rent of £450 per month
Post works valuation expected at £70,000
75% mortgage releases £52,500, so you only now have £3,500 left in
Mortgage payments at 5% interest = £218.75 per month
Net cash flow of £186.25 after 10% rental management fee
Return on your £3,500 = 63.86%
(NB: refinance after 6 months, be aware that you'll have a void period during 6-8 week renovation)
How many such properties would you need to provide you with a good monthly income?
(And you will know you're providing much-needed housing that councils now don't provide)
So who do you need on your team in order to get this done and make it a passive operation?  Contact me and we'll formulate your plan together

02 Dec

Big Blue Pant Days

I own several pairs of blue pants (and I mean “pants” as in underwear, not as in the US meaning).

These pants are horrible. I mean, really, horrible. They’re sky blue and 2 pairs are even adorned with a small floral print. And they’re HUGE! They were given to me by my Mother, probably in an attempt to make sure I wrap up well against the elements.

When I was a child, I used to get told to “always make sure you wear clean underwear when you go out, in case you get run over and have to go to the hospital.” A cheery thought. Well, these big blue pants are certainly NOT the sort of underwear you’d want to be caught wearing. I can imagine me lying there, unconscious and bleeding, and the doctors and nurses paralysed with shock, rendered speechless, unable to act to save me, frozen in horror at the sight of my big blue pants.


I suppose I could have thrown them out, or donated them, but either out of loyalty to my Mum or because of my own reluctance to waste anything, I kept them. And I wear them. But only on days when I don’t have to go out. Days when I can stay in my lovely house with my lovely hub and lovely cats… because I can.

Most people find they HAVE to go out most days – to work – to earn the money to live. Only when you have the passive income to pay your monthly expenses can you choose whether or not to go out – to work – or to play.

Some days I do, some days I don’t. The point is that I have that option. When I choose to stay in, I can wear my big blue pants and wearing them reminds me that I’ve achieved the most precious thing anyone can get – their life back.

Now, are you spending what you earn, keeping yourself in the hamster wheel and having to work every month to keep afloat.  Or, worse, are you depleting your savings/lump sum by taking your day-to-day expenses from here and hoping  your life expires before your savings do?

If you're currently doing little or nothing towards securing your big blue pant days, we probably need to talk.  Get in touch and let's see if I have the capacity to help.

02 Dec

Creating an FU Life

This “musing” contains some bad language that I wouldn’t normally use in a post. But I reckon it’s okay because (a) I’m quoting someone else and (b) sometimes it’s the only word that can really convey the strength of meaning. If you’re easily offended, just bristle quietly but focus on the message…

I watched a movie last month called “The Gambler,” with Mark Wahlberg in the title role. Personally, I thought it was a terrible movie, mainly because it generated no empathy for Wahlberg’s character whose actions seemed pointless and the plot didn’t go anywhere. For me, it was one of those movies where the only thing you end up lamenting is the loss of the time you’ve spent watching it!


But there was one character who, while not necessarily likeable, spoke wisdom that would be well remembered by everyone. Frank (played by John Goodman), is an old tough guy who’s been around the block. His philosophy? “A wise man’s life is based around fuck you.”

He was talking about what ENOUGH money gives you: “That puts you, for the rest of your life, at a level of fuck you. Somebody wants you to do something, fuck you. Boss pisses you off, fuck you! Own your house. Have a couple bucks in the bank. Don’t drink. That’s all I have to say to anybody on any social level.”

What he was saying was that when you have the money to cover your living expenses, without having to rely on anyone else to give you that money, without having to work for it, you can live life on your own terms.

To me, that’s what everyone should aim for. It’s freedom you can build on because now your time is your own.

How do you get there? You have to do something most people won’t do…

You have to START.  If you need help, here I am.  Drop me a line and we'll see if there's a fit.