Have you had your fill of experts badgering you about setting your goals for 2015? Me too. And yet, I notice that sometimes I need a little nudge to make things happen.  Maybe I should pay closer attention to those experts!

What I am doing is listening to you. And learning about your accomplishments from this past year, your plans for 2015, and the people who play an influential role in your business or professional life.

Common themes: Relationships are key. Coaching pays off. Focusing on the clients’ needs will move your business forward.  And you have to be willing to spend some money if you want to make money.

Check you out …


Erin Marcus, Caring Transitions

This year I focused on moving from self-employed to business owner.  I gave employees more responsibilities, I hired an assistant and I check my calendar to make sure a good 70% of my time is spent on activities to grow my business.

Next year I am taking my 15 years of experience in businesses focused on the aging population and creating a new venture. The goal: to help even more families navigate the overwhelming aspects of what needs to be in place, what conversations need to be had and the emotional challenges when facing the future of aging family members.”

Influence-wise, Erin joined a coaching program this year and found “a group of people who work hard, think big, and don’t get held back by excuses either real or invented.  :-)”


Peggy Malecki, Natural Awakenings Chicago magazine

“One thing that worked is focusing on creating reasons to call clients rather than “just checking in” emails.

This year I plan to focus on adding partners who can offer additional services for a more rounded marketing package for our clients.”

Peggy mentioned me! (and Show Up and Shine) as influences on her business this year, along with coaching from Debbie White and Suzanne Evans.


Karen Sanders, Sanders IT Consulting

“One thing that really worked for me this year was setting up maintenance packages. Clients were asking for help keeping their computers running well. So I created a package based on what I do for my own equipment. Now my clients have peace of mind where their computers are concerned. And I added thousands to my income.”

Karen’s plans for 2015 include speaking engagements to share useful information and attract new clients. She’s already booked for a conference on the east coast in March.

Proving the value of co-op-etition, Karen says an influential person in her business is another IT consultant, Mike Schietinger of Solutions in Data. “His work complements mine. We share a technician, and we’ve teamed up for some client projects that benefit both of us. And the client!”


Judy Pelinski, Fresh Look Interiors 

“What has really worked for me this year is going back to the basics of why I started a business 13 years ago.  Staying focused on what it is that I love doing most. Taking a space that does not work anymore perhaps because it was built so long ago that rooms are no longer relevant or fit today’s needs.  Or taking a room that isn’t working because of layout and making it fit the owner’s needs.  This is what speaks to me and gives me purpose and is the core of my business.

One person who influences my professional life is Bob Blazier, who’s been involved in every important Crystal Lake civic event since 1980. At 89 years old, after retiring from many careers, he still is working because of his love of people and community.  His life and career has been successful because of the way he treats people and makes them feel.  He shows the world that you can be highly successful while keeping your core values and treating people with respect, grace and dignity.”


Brian Keeler, Brian Will Help You LLC 

“The one thing that really worked for me was joining and actively participating in programs through the Skokie Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, I plan on exploring other Chambers of Commerce.

Several people have helped influence my professional life.  Thank you Catherine Johns for helping me figure out Who I Am and What Do I Offer Others that they would care about.

But the one person who really guided, pushed, influenced, and was there every step of the way with thoughts on this and that is my mother Karen Gray-Keeler.  Without all this support all would be lost at sea.”


Kathy Brosmith, KOEZY

“We reinvested in our business – we decided the best way to make money was to spend money! We actually had not reinvested in the business since we stated KOEZY in 2011 so it was time to refresh with a new marketing plan, a new website, SEO consultants and some PR consulting”

For 2015, “We are going to get more aggressive with social media – we need more likes, we need more friends and we need more tweets!”

A big professional influence on Kathy is Shark Tank. “We watch faithfully every week and get lessons from successful entrepreneurs, i.e. how to ensure our business is not a hobby but something real, that the only measure of true success is more success, and how the numbers are the only key drivers that matters!”


As for me …

I hit my income goal this year … by the skin of my teeth, but nonetheless, I hit the goal.  I staged events in May and October. Own the Room Live and On the Page and On the Stage were big successes; people learned so much that’s helping them claim their place at the front of their own rooms and boost their business in a big way.

I got my newsletter on a regular schedule and committed to keeping in better touch with you. I’ve been thrilled with the people who respond each week and especially with those who post a comment on my blog. Which is starting to shape up, with these weekly articles – that’s been a goal for a good long while.

And more and more, folks who plan meetings and conferences are reaching out to me about speaking. It’s good to be in demand!

Next challenge. I’ve had a hills-and-valleys business – great months followed by the not-so-great.  And the downright crummy.  My goal for 2015 is to even things out a bit. As so many entrepreneurs know, that feast-or-famine thing is stressful!

More all-day workshops are on tap for 2015, combining the learning from both of this year’s events. I aim to help a boatload of business owners discover how to command a room, connect with an audience and cash in with their content.

And at least one of those events will be outside the Chicago area. Yes, I’m taking my show on the road. Dates and details coming soon.

Some of the people who’ve been a big influence this year are my coaches and colleagues in Suzanne Evans’s 10K Club.  I’ve seen again and again the value of investing in my professional development.

You know that saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know?”  I DO know what I don’t know. I’m determined to learn it and smart enough to seek out people who can teach it to me.

Thanks for all I’ve learned from you. Here’s to a year of presence, power and profits for all of us.