Master Mentors — Jack Canfield

The first of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books was rejected by more than 40 publishers. Finally, a small Floridian publisher finally agreed to publish it — and since then, it’s been a smash success. The first book sold more than 2 million copies, and there are now more than 105 titles in the series, and it’s in print in 54 languages worldwide.

You’d think whoever’s idea it was to create the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books would have given up after receiving so many rejection letters from publishers. Lucky for Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, who compiled the first book, they kept going, and kept trying to find a publisher. Now, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series is responsible for around 600 million in retail revenue.

Jack Canfield, one of visionaries of the Chicken Soup books, clearly believed in raising self-esteem through motivation; he is well-known as a speaker and self-help writer, and is the founder of the “Self-Esteem Seminars.” He also appeared in the DVD “The Secret,” where he shared his insights about the Law of Attraction.

Brad Sugars recently interviewed Canfield for his “Master Mentors” series. Watch it here now!

Giving Should Be A Year-Round Thing

Brad Sugars helped donate 250 bikes to a local toy drive.

Brad Sugars helped donate 250 bikes to a local toy drive.

Brad Sugars recently donated 250 bikes on behalf of the N9NE Group, a partnership that owns and operates restaurants and nightclubs in Las Vegas,at local radio station’s KLUC toy drive. Sugars’ and N9NE’s donation helped KLUC achieve their 1,500 bike goal.

But people shouldn’t just give during the holiday season – they should give all year round.

ActionCOACH launched its Coaching for a Cause campaign last October to help non-profits and charities in the U.S. recession. ActionCOACH Business Coaches will donate their time to give these organizations pro bono coaching.

The overall goal of this campaign is to help non-profits raise at least an additional $2.5 million in donations and funds from October 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010.

Coaching for a Cause started before the holidays…and will continue for a few months after, extending “holiday cheer” and the spirit of giving.

What’s something your business can do that gives back to the community, whether during the holidays or not?

Happy holidays!

How Young is Too Young to be a CEO?

13-year-old Leanna Archer of Leanna's Inc.

13-year-old Leanna Archer of Leanna's Inc.

How young is too young to start a company?

ActionCOACH founder Brad Sugars was just 21 when he founded ActionCOACH, and a few short years later, he was “financially retired.”

So if someone’s got a great idea and they’ve got the will and means to start a business, who’s to say they can’t? Is there such a thing as being “too young” to start a business?

If you answered yes, tell that to 13-year-old Leanna Archer, CEO and founder of her own hair and body product company, Leanna’s Inc.

When she was just eight years old, Leanna kept receiving compliments on her hair, which was styled with pomade made from her great-grandmother’s recipe. Leanna, obviously savvy, saw the potential for a business – selling her great-grandmother’s pomade. She tested demand by filling empty Gerber baby food jars with her grandmother’s pomade and giving them out to classmates – then received several requests for more from her classmates and their parents.

Leanne’s Inc. has increased its product line (her company now also sells shampoo, conditioner and shea butter body lotion in addition to pomade and hair products), ships 30 to 50 orders on average per day, and made $100,000 in revenue in 2007. She even set up her own foundation to help underprivileged children in Haiti.

Running a successful business since she was eight…most people wouldn’t believe it. But when you have a good idea that fills a demand and a solid business plan, all it takes is great execution and hard work to keep your company successful.

ActionCOACH Wins Big in the Franchise 500

We just found out that ActionCOACH was ranked No. 1 in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500’s Business Coaching category again!

The company also ranked No. 65 out of 500 franchises…up substantially from its ranking of No. 103 last year!

ActionCOACH has been ranked number one since January 2004 … so congratulations TEAM for continuing to maintain leadership in the category!

How Do Blogs Benefit Companies?

Everyone’s talking about how blogging can expand a business’ reach further. Most business owners over the age of 35 are skeptical.

Well, it won’t get you instant success, but truth is, a business that consistently updates its own blog with info about the company and issues in its industry are more well-known businesses because of it.

For example, Google has a blog where it writes from time to time about ideas and concepts the site is thinking about unveiling (the latest is something called “Living Stories“), updates to its browser, Google Chrome, complete with screen shots, warnings of scams using Google’s name…the list goes on and on. When you’re as big as Google and have a lot going on, there’s a lot to blog about. Not that they need the SEO rankings, but a blog does help with SEO, and make users’ experience better by providing how-tos and useful information.

Want a lesser known example than Google? Coudal Partners, an advertising agency in Chicago, has a blog on its home page. Some people might wonder why they’d have a blog linking to interesting yet random articles and discussing various issues on the company’s home page. But not only does it make them stand out, fresh content helps their SEO ranking and the variety of creative topics their employees blog about show they get creative inspiration from just about everywhere at any place in the world (a post of theirs links to “Subway Architecture“. Cool stuff. ).

If your business starts its own blog, not only is it a great social media tool that provides networking by way of commenting on other blogs, people commenting on yours and leaving links to your/their blogs, it can also spread the word about your company by doing the following:

Increasing your site’s SEO (if you don’t know what these three letters mean, they stand for “search engine optimization”): SEO is something that is hugely important to businesses. Whenever someone searches an online engine for a keyword relating to your business, you want your business to be at the top of the page. It can be used to gain search engine traffic for given keywords or search terms. Your blog offers the opportunity to promote your Web site for hundreds or even thousands of different keywords.

Search engines particularly like promoting blogs because they offer a large amount of content that is updated and added to on a regular basis.

Easy Access to Company News and Info: However, be careful you don’t blog in press release style – if a blog is all praise for the company, it doesn’t sound genuine. Blog about company news and info that is useful and interesting, just like Coudal Partners and Google. People would always rather read genuine, high-quality content instead of filler information, too.

Expanding your Reach: A blog is a great way to find new potential customers. Write about the niche your business caters to in the market, and anything interesting within that niche, and people looking for anything related to your business could find your blog in a search. Keep in mind that updating information on the blogs and blogging regularly can keep people coming back to your blog for information and could become customers, too. Regular content is imperative to the success of any blog. This content needs to be informative, accurate, and written in a way that will appeal to your visitors.

Creating Fun and Familiarity: Faceless corporate blogs aren’t that fun to read. Why? Besides being dry and boring, they also don’t feel very inviting. Going back to our point about high-quality content, familiarity is very important with content – if the reader can’t relate to it or feels it’s just a higher up writing from a press release, the reader won’t take it to heart. Keep this in mind, and make it work for your company by designating a person (not necessarily the CEO) or a team to do the blogging. If you read Google’s blog, you’ll see that even their posts have a bit of personality to them. It’s easy to do.

All in all, a blog on your company’s site might be worth looking in to – hey, it’s good enough for Google – and it may be the extra piece your company needs to separate it from the competition.

Marketing your Business: Better Business Cards

Business cards don't have to be boring.

Business cards don't have to be boring.

How can you prevent your business card from being tossed away days, hours, moments after you’ve given it?

Any business coaching session will tell you, it pays to make it memorable. This marriage counselor’s card is a good example – funny and demonstrates the goal of his services. The Quick Sprout blog found 51 eye-catching, interesting business cards – some very creative, some silly, and some dumb…but hey, they catch your eye. Take a look and get some ideas for your own business cards.

Not Sold on the Importance of Social Media and Business Coaching?

Mari Smith, Social Media Marketing Specialist Extraordinaire

Mari Smith, Social Media Marketing Specialist Extraordinaire

Then meet Mari Smith.

Mari Smith is living proof that social media strategies work – she has only been active on Facebook and Twitter since 2007, but already has well over 8,000 friends and fans and Facebook, and an astounding 40,000+ following on Twitter.

She is a Relationship Marketing Specialist and Social Media Keynote Speaker, Trainer and Consultant. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of the Online World” by FastCompany.com, Smith helps independent professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners accelerate their business profits using an integrated social marketing strategy, with particular focus on Twitter and Facebook.

Her mission is to engage and educate CEOs and executives about social media to increase their skills, knowledge and integrity about social media, how to develop powerful profitable relationships using social media, and how these can help them. Business development coaching via social media is just what Smith specializes in.

She is an in-demand speaker for good reason – and she’s featured on Brad Sugars’ “Master Mentors” this week. If you’re still skeptical about whether social media marketing can really improve your business, listen to her audio interview here.

Blog About Anything – Except These Topics

What they say about the Internet is true – you never know who’s reading, because the Internet is everywhere, forever (unless you delete a blog post) and unless you don’t care who you offend, watch what you say.

It’s easier said than done, especially for those who are the faces of a brand (CEOs or ambassadors of companies). There are certain topics that, if talked about, might cause more trouble than you’re looking for.

But hey – some people love controversy. If that’s you, check out the top 10 hot-button topics you should never discuss online.