eBusiness Blog

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Employees Vs. Independent Contractors

What all business owners must consider before deciding which to hire

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Employees Vs. Independent Contractors

As your small business grows, you’ve concluded it’s all too much to handle by yourself – right? Or, you already have employees and are ready to expand your team so you can scale your business to the next level.

Now you need to explore the pluses and minuses of each type of helper and determine which is the best fit for you.

In this article, I share some of the pros and cons of hiring employees and independent contractors to help you make the ideal choice for your business.

In the US, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has very strict guidelines you need to familiarize yourself with as a precursor to making any hiring decision.

In addition to the IRS, there are a number of other state and federal agencies that will audit your business if it looks to them as if you might have misclassified employees as independent contractors.

First, let’s explore some of the pros and cons between employees and contractors:

Pros and Cons of Hiring Employees


  1. You have significantly more management control over what, how & when the work gets done.
  2. Employees generally feel more part of the team and will go above & beyond to do a great job.
  3. Turnover is lower when employees enjoy more job security – so teamwork, quality, efficiency and customer service tends to be higher.
  4. Employees complete an application for employment, certifying all the information is accurate and giving you permission to conduct background checks and drug tests.
  5. If they get hurt on the job, they are covered by your workers’ compensation insurance so you avoid expensive medical and compensation costs.
  6. All the work performed is the property of the business owner, even creative work subject to copyrights and patents.
  7. It’s easier to put together a recruiting process to weed out potential bad hires so you can hire the best employees that fit well with the culture you are creating.
  8. You can delegate tasks to them so you can focus on doing what you are best at and enjoy the most.
  9. They are your own brand ambassadors and serve as your best marketers.


  1. You need to provide employees with a space, equipment and supplies to conduct their work.
  2. You need an employee handbook so they understand your company rules, benefits and procedures. You can also use it to manage your team.
  3. If business slows down periodically, you are still paying for the person to come to work even when there isn’t enough to do to make it worth the cost.
  4. Employees can file legal claims against you for a variety of reasons such as employment discrimination, unfair pay practices and wrongful termination.
  5. If you decide to layoff an employee due to a lack of work, you’ve lost the training investment you’ve already made and will need to incur recruiting and training costs to hire a replacement if they aren’t available or interested when work picks up again.
  6. Firing team members can have a negative impact on employee morale of remaining staff if they think you were unfair or if they now must carry the extra workload.
  7. You are responsible for collecting taxes from the employees’ paycheck and paying your share of their Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  8. You must track all hours worked and pay time and one-half for employees who qualify for overtime pay. Federal law requires overtime pay after 40 hours per week but check with your state/province on any overtime pay that’s also calculated after 8 hours per day.
  9. In most states/provinces, you must pay unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance.
  10. Over time, employees will expect to receive pay increases along with some benefits like vacation and paid time off for personal business / sick pay.

Pros and Cons of Hiring Independent Contractors. A.k.a. Consultants, Freelancers & Virtual Assistants

The IRS defines an independent contractor as an individual who the business owner and/or their designee has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done or how it will be done.

An example of this would be a copywriter that has her own business and works with multiple business owners to write their marketing materials.

Or those that provide services such as bookkeeping, human resources, safety administration, computer support or project management on an as-needed basis.


  1. Typically, IC’s enjoy a higher rate of pay than employees since there are no additional costs.
  2. Most IC’s are experts in their field and can quickly get up-to-speed on your needs, so it’s more efficient to hire them if their expertise is not needed full-time.
  3. Depending on the language in your IC agreement, it’s easy to let an IC go once a project is finished or you no longer need or want their services.
  4. IC’s stay up on the latest technology, regulations and licensing requirements and bear any costs to do so.
  5. By creating a Scope of Work agreement, both you and the contractor agree on the working relationship details.


  1. You have less control over the work of an IC because although they work on due dates, they independently determine how best to get the work done.
  2. They tend to work remotely so face-time is limited and it’s a little harder to develop a relationship like you do when with employees you see every day.
  3. When an IC finishes an assignment, they might not be available the next time you need them. Or if it is a rush job, they might charge higher prices to move to the front of the line.
  4. If an IC is injured on the job, they can sue you for damages because they are not covered under your workers’ compensation insurance plan.
  5. Federal governing agencies watch small businesses very closely. It is to the government’s benefit when an employer collects taxes from employees and pays the company portion of the required taxes because those taxes support the government’s operating budget. Otherwise, IC’s often under-report their earnings and fail to pay both the employee and employer taxes.
  6. If they work exclusively for you full time, there’s a good chance they are an “employee” rather than an IC – and you are legally required to treat them accordingly.
  7. They are less likely to serve as a brand ambassador for you – it’s their brand they will promote – not yours.

There is a place for both employees and independent contractors in running small businesses. It really depends on what you need and how much control you want.

Mistakes in mis-classifying employees as independent contractors is very expensive, subjecting you to fines and back pay for current and past employees. If an audit determines that you knew, or should have known, that you were paying employees as independent contractors, in addition to stiff penalties you will have to go back for 3 years and correct the mistakes.

If you are unsure if you are needing to classify your workers as employees or independent contractors, contact an HR professional to give you the advice you need.

About the Author, Katherine Hartvickson

Kathryn Wilking

Katherine Hartvickson is the founder and president of Hartvickson & Associates, Inc. dba Quantum Ascendance. She is an experienced business consultant and success coach. Since leaving the corporate world in 2009, her clients include business owners and other seriously committed professionals and entrepreneurs who want to gain the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of success and achieve their ideal life.

What separates her service from others is her experience in leading large teams and developing top performers in corporate environments and because of this, clients achieve individual & financial rewards and the recognition they earned without sacrificing their personal life. If you are interested in knowing more, she can be reached at www.QuantumAscendance.com.

What it Takes to Create an Award-Winning Business

14 Strategies We Attribute to Our Recent Business Excellence Award

What it Takes to Create an Award-Winning Business

Out of the blue, I received an email from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce one day notifying me that eVision Media was nominated for a 2016 Business Excellence award.

Say what?

Once I got past my shock and disbelief that they must have the wrong Susan… it began to sink in that someone out there thought we were worthy enough of this nomination. Wow, what an honour!

Part of the nomination process consisted of a 30-minute interview in front of a 3-judge panel. Imagine being forced to actually brag about yourself for a half an hour!

Talk about squirming in my seat!

winning Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce business excellence award 2016Fast forward to last week where the awards ceremony took place. Much to my relief, our category was  up first so I could relax the rest of the evening.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that anxious – I knew the odds of winning was only 1 in 7 so I waited patiently for the winner’s name to be announced, not at all expecting it to be us.

But it was! eVision Media was declared the winner!


Shock and disbelief once again came over me as I took a moment to grasp what just happened. Walking to the stage was quite the blur but I managed to do it without tripping up the stairs to get our award. 🙂

In the aftermath of winning this wonderful recognition, I reflected some more about that judge’s interview and how they deemed us the winner from the other worthy nominees in our category.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the attributes I feel helped us win this prestigious award.  Without further ado, here’s what it took for us to create an award-winning business:

  1. Be Passionate About What You Do

    eVision Media is not the first business I’ve created; there’s been plenty others ranging from creating craft pieces to faux finish painting. But no matter what I did, I was very passionate about it.
    Don’t waste your time trying to run a business just to make money. You’re going to tire of it very quickly and it will be harder to make sales.
    But when you’re passionate about what you do, others will immediately see that and will be drawn to you like a magnet.

    When you’re passionate about what you do, others will see it and be drawn to you like a magnet.Click To Tweet
  2. Love Working With the People You Serve and Offer Exceptional Customer Service

    One of the truest joys I receive is the knowing how much we are able to help a new business owner get their online presence up and running. Being a part of their joy at seeing their dream materialize into something tangible gives me just as much joy.
    If you avoid answering the phone or responding to emails because you dread having to talk to a client, then you need to adjust your marketing so you attract the right people to work with.
    If you don’t love who you’re working with, then it’s hard to establish a successful business that needs to cater to your clients by making customer service a #1 priority. And that means answering the phone, responding to emails in a prompt manner, and treating every person as if they were your only client. And when you’re attracting your perfect ideal client, then this should be easy to do.
    Make your business about them, not you. Just remember, if you had no clients, then you’d have no business.

    Make your business about your clients, not you. If you have no clients, you have no business.Click To Tweet
  3. Know Your Stuff

    Before even thinking about starting a web development/digital marketing business, I ensured I got the education I needed first. I attended the Vancouver Film School in their Multi-Media program and then later earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems (with an A+ GPA).
    Not to mention the countless online courses I’ve taken over the years to ensure my skills are kept up-to-date with this ever changing industry.
    Sadly, I see a lot of entrepreneurs wanting to start a business with not a lot of skills or experience under their belt and then they wonder why they’re struggling.
    Reading a book or taking one on-line course is probably not enough to reach award-winning status. But if you’re passionate about building a successful business, you’ll find a way to ensure you become as qualified as needed.

    Reading a book or taking one on-line course is probably not enough to reach award-winning status.Click To Tweet
  4. Be Committed

    Is working 15 hour days, 6-7 days a week committed enough? Yep, that’s what Daniel and I do every week. We have to in order to fulfil points 2 and 3 above.
    It takes a lot of time and effort to ensure your clients are taken care of properly. You also need a “do whatever it takes” level of commitment.
    You might not need to work such long hours as us and trust me, we’re continually working towards lessening that kind of volume but until then, we are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure our business is successful. Are you?

    Are you willing to do whatever it takes to ensure your business is successful?Click To Tweet
  5. Be Consistent

    Consistency shows up in many forms when running a successful business. For me, it’s being consistent with my message, my brand, my Social Media presence, my newsletters, my team management, and the level of quality we bring to our clients.
    Do I miss sometimes? Absolutely. But being consistent in these areas are very important to me, and I do what needs to be done in order to show up the best I can for my team and our clients.
    Without consistency, it’s hard to create brand ambassadors (such as the ones who nominate you for an award), loyal team members, and a steady flow of clients.
    Whatever you have decided to commit to, be consistent at it and you’ll be amazed at how things start to flow your way.

    Whatever you decide to commit to, be consistent and you’ll be amazed at how things flow your way.Click To Tweet
  6. Surround Yourself With a Dedicated and Knowledgeable Team

    I started off as a one-woman show. Because of my educational background, I was able to do the design, build and marketing of a website quite easily. I’m what you would call a “generalist”, someone who knows a lot of about a lot of things and is a specialist in a few areas.
    But my one-woman show was not going to create a successful business. Especially in this technologically-driven industry. It quickly became apparent my skillset was only going to get me so far.
    So my first hire was someone who could offset my biggest weakness. Warren was a student at UFV and applied for my part time programmer position. He was a perfect complement to eVision Media and the moment he came on board, I was relieved of having to do all the site builds myself. I could then take that time and focus on building the business instead.
    It’s tough to try and do everything yourself when it comes to running a business. Sure, there are expenses involved in hiring but if you hire smart, keep an eye on your bottom line, and know when to let go of those that aren’t serving you best, your business will escalate far quicker than if you try to struggle with everything yourself.
    This topic is worthy of a whole article itself so I encourage you to read How to Take a Solo-Entrepreneurship to the Next Level for more.

    It’s tough to try and do everything yourself when it comes to running a business.Click To Tweet
  7. Have Honesty, Authenticity and Gratitude be a Part of Your Daily Life

    It’s sad I even need to list this as an attribute but I’ve been in business long enough to know not everyone adheres to these principles.
    To me, this is a no-brainer – I’m not certain I could live any other way?
    But judging from the stories I hear from new clients about how they were treated by their previous web developer, it sounds like many people need to be reminded of this.
    No business will thrive without honesty and integrity. And a little secret: gratitude will not only make your business thrive, but your whole life too. Give it a try and see what I mean.

    No business will thrive without honesty and integrity. Plus the secret sauce: gratitudeClick To Tweet
  8. Persevere

    Every business, including ours, has its ups and downs. The key to success is to not let those “downs” overcome your enthusiasm. Pick yourself back up, learn from whatever lesson there was to be learned, and keep moving forward.
    If we had quit when we only had $20 credit left on our credit cards at Christmas time just a handful of years ago, we wouldn’t be award winners now!

    The key to business success is to not let your 'downs' overcome your enthusiasm.Click To Tweet
  9. Invest in Your Business

  10. Building eVision Media has been one investment after another. It never ends really.
    There’s always something that needs to be worked on. Here’s a short list of my recommendations on where you need to invest in your business:

    1. Branding & Website
    2. Marketing
    3. Education
    4. Building a Team
    Building your business means investing in it continuallyClick To Tweet
  11. Understand You’re Running a Business, Not a Hobby.

    I think this is an important distinction to make and one many entrepreneurs aren’t differentiating.
    I’ve always looked at eVision Media as a business and that’s mostly due to my business mind and having a business degree.
    But for those that simply are passionate about something and have a dream to make money off of it, it’s hard to know exactly HOW to turn that dream into a business.
    They end up blindly doing what they think they should be doing, all by themselves, in order to save money (or not spend money they don’t have) and hope for the best.
    If this sounds familiar, I’m adding another business investment to consider as your top priority: A business coach or mentor. ASAP. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up just running a hobby.

    Entrepreneurs: It's important to differentiate if you're running a business or a hobbyClick To Tweet
  12. Set up a Systemized Business Structure

    I’ve worked with a lot of clients over the years. Some amaze me at how organized and systemized they are. And others, well, not so much.
    Having a systemized business structure in place is the only reason I haven’t gone insane with my daily workload.
    Here’s the tools we use to be more organized, efficient and less stressed.

    Having a systemized business structure in place will keep you sane.Click To Tweet
  13. Get Comfortable With Sales

    Sales. It’s a dirty word for many entrepreneurs and business owners alike. Me too. I hate to think of myself as a “sales person” but at the end of the day, if we’re not selling our wares, we don’t have a business.
    Now that’s not to say you need to become a pushy, in-your-face predator. Far from it.
    Remember attribute #1 about being passionate? That’s what you need. People will trust your passion and will respond to it. But be careful, sometimes passion can be too intense and will turn people away.
    Find your sweet spot as to what resonates with your ideal clients and keep working at it. But do embrace the fact you’re selling your wares and learn some strategies that fit with your personality and comfort level that will work.

    When it comes to sales, people will trust your passion and respond to it.Click To Tweet
  14. Give Back

    Giving back is an imperative attribute to have when building a successful business. We give back in several ways, here’s some ideas to consider that we do:

    • Offer discounted prices for non-profits
    • Volunteer your services to community groups
    • Send cash donations to worthy charities you believe in
    • Make purchases that support worthy causes
    • Donate door prizes and/or silent auction items for fund raising activities
    • And support your own clients whenever you can


    Giving back is an imperative attribute to have when building a successful business.Click To Tweet
  15. Be Accessible

    When new clients approach me due to being disenchanted with their existing web developer or marketer, the most often complaint I hear is they can never get a hold of the person. Either they take forever to respond to an email or never answer their phone.
    I think I’m going to write a book on how NOT to run a successful business based on this alone. It boggles my mind when I consistently hear stories like this. How are these people keeping a business going with such poor service and accessibility?
    I have a policy to answer emails within a day of receipt. I often exceed that policy but sometimes the volume is too much and I get delayed in responding. Same thing with the phone. If we’re available to answer, we do so. If we’re not, we’ll call the person back right away.
    Being accessible provides peace of mind to our clients; they know we care enough about them to take care of their needs in a timely manner. ‘nuff said.

    Being accessible brings client peace of mind; it shows you care about them and their needs.Click To Tweet

There you have it. My honest take on what created eVision Media to be an award-winning business. Maybe I need to write a book about this because, honestly, I could have added more but, it’s coming into the 15th hour on this Sunday night of working so I’ll leave it at that.

What about you? What would you add to the list? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

To your success,

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Here's What it Takes to Create an Award-Winning BusinessClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How to Take a Solo-Entrepreneurship to the Next Level

How to Take a Solo-Entrepreneurship to the Next Level

5 Members Every Growing Business Needs on Their Team

Many businesses begin as a solo-entrepreneurship. With one person who has a vision, passion and skill that compels them embark on a journey so they can make a difference in the world and build a successful business along the way.

But the truth of the matter is, no one can build a successful, thriving business singlehandedly.

No one can build a successful, thriving business singlehandedlyClick To Tweet

One person can’t possibly possess all of the skills needed to carry out day-to-day business and marketing operations. Not well anyway.

As solo-entrepreneurs build their business, it’s a natural progression to surround themselves with a support team in order to avoid becoming stagnant and making costly mistakes.

After all, they simply don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to charting new territory in the business world.

When I began building my team years ago, I started by hiring people who offset my weaknesses.

Being a generalist in the web development/online marketing field made that a bit tricky because there was a lot that I could do myself. But as technology evolved and I got busier, it became clear in order to expand my business, I needed to bring in qualified resources so I could provide more value to my clients.

We all have strengths and weaknesses and if we want our business to be successful, it’s important to have others on our team who are more capable at certain tasks than we are.

The challenge is to be honest enough to be able to admit where our skills fall short and where we could use help in offsetting them.

Be honest enough to admit where your skills fall short & where you need help in your businessClick To Tweet

I had a conversation with a visionary client the other day after he realized his business was in a state of disarray due to him trying to manage it all himself (or hiring the wrong people for the wrong reasons to help him). He was asking who he needed on his team so he could better focus on what he was good at. So below is a resulting list of what I shared with him.

Here’s 5 essential team members and resources every solo business person needs when they are ready to grow to the next level:

  1. Financial Person

    Someone to take care of the bookkeeping, tax filings, payroll etc. This person doesn’t need to be on the payroll, just have someone available that you can outsource this work to so they can free up your valuable time and let them do what they do best.

  2. Legal Representative

    It’s always good to have access to legal advice, especially when it comes to creating contracts and even for debt collection.

  3. Administrative Assistant

    This type of person can end up being a hugely valuable resource on your team that will free up a ton of your time so you can focus on your business instead of all of the little details.
    Here’s a brief list of what this type of assistant can help you with:

    1. Calendar management. Have your assistant set up your appointments for you (or use an automated service like Acuity.)
    2. Team or project management where they are responsible for ensuring delegated tasks are done accurately and on time.
    3. Customer service liaison where they take care of all client questions and concerns.
    4. Email management where they can manage your inbox for you and delegate to appropriate team members instead of you being the middleman.
    5. Affiliate management. If your business includes selling online programs where affiliates and other partnerships are involved, an affiliate manager can keep everything organized and running smoothly.

    Depending on your type of  business, you can probably think of many other areas that an assistant could help you with including doing personal errands if they are local.

  4. Social Media Manager

    Let’s face it, social media is a big time drainer. But in today’s marketing world, it’s a necessity for every business to have a social media presence.
    Even though you do not want to delegate all social media activities to others, a social media manager can help by creating and scheduling daily posts, being a customer service representative, posting news and updates, sharing blog articles, uploading YouTube videos and much more.
    Qualified social media managers can also take on the marketing tasks of creating and fulfilling promotional campaigns including Facebook ads.

  5. Website & Marketing Team

    Notice I didn’t say a “website guy or gal” as in a single person. There are many different components that make up a website and it’s rare one single person can be really good at them all.
    So having a website team as a resource will ensure all of the areas that are needed to create, manage and promote an effective website are in place such as:

Every business is different and these roles are the essentials for new entrepreneurs but can easily be added to depending on the industry you are in and the type of business you want to create.

It also doesn’t hurt to have a business mentor or coach to help guide you through all the different areas that you might not be thinking of too.

So if you are a solo-entrepreneur and are getting overwhelmed or too busy at trying to learn and do everything yourself, perhaps it’s time to consider the benefits of having someone on your team who can support further growth and sustainability for your business.

If you're overwhelmed or too busy, consider the benefits of a team to help grow your businessClick To Tweet

The first step is determining your weaknesses and finding suitable people to offset those.

The second step is to take action. And if you’re wanting a web and marketing team who will be your trustworthy champion every step of the way, consider eVision Media as that valuable resource you’ve been needing.

I’d love to hear from you: have you started to surround yourself with a team yet?

To your success,

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Here's How to Take a Solo-Entrepreneurship to the Next LevelClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

What Visionaries Need Most to Help With Their Business

Do you consider yourself a visionary?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many visionaries over the past several years and I was just speaking to a couple this past week and it got me thinking about the specific challenges that a visionaries face when they want to run a business.

A visionary is somebody who thinks in very big, abstract ideas. They have a wonderful, amazing goal – a big vision of how they want to see their life unfold. And in terms of business, what they want that business to look like.

They are very much an “ideas” person and they usually have a thousand ideas! Ideas for programs and workshops and all kinds of things.

But one of the biggest challenges that a visionary faces is they are not a detailed person. They have a really hard time actually fulfilling their vision.

The reason why I bring this up is because sometimes we are not really aware of what our strengths and weaknesses are. A strength for a visionary person is they are the ones who are coming up with these amazing ideas. They are inventors.

Their weakness is they keep starting something, get bored with it and stop it because that’s not comfortable for them.

They are not in a place of passion and joy when they are needing to fulfill that vision.

This is important because visionaries need to have somebody opposite to them on their team.

Visionaries need to have someone on their team who are opposite to them: someone detail-orientedClick To Tweet

I had a conversation with a visionary the other day and this person was expressing concern because this person did have VA on their team but there seemed to be some challenges. We had determined this VA was also somewhat of a visionary who wasn’t able to be the exact opposite to what this person needed.

What the visionary needs is somebody who is very detail oriented. Who will pick up and finish what they started and be able to guide that visionary through all the steps of what is needed. It’s like being a coach in many ways.

As a visionary, it’s important you find the right people on your team. You don’t want other visionaries.

You need people who are going to support you and fulfill your vision so you don’t have to mire yourself in the details.

You need somebody who can pick up those pieces, who are competent enough to know exactly what it is you need and run with it. Instead of you having to be the one to tell them, “this is what I need and this is how I need you to do it.”

I hope this tip helps on hiring somebody for your team whether it’s a VA or somebody who is helping you with other things like your website work, graphic design needs, social media or whatever that is.

Make sure you hire somebody who is very detail oriented who could be the perfect complement to your visionary personality.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in comments section below.

To your success,

P.S. Need help with your business vision and don’t want to sweat the details? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.
CLICK HERE: www.eVisionMedia.ca

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Summer is Almost Over: Here’s 10 Ways to Get Back to Business for Fall

10 Ways to Get Back to Business for the Fall

As the dog days of Summer come to an end, it’s time to ramp up your business plans for Fall.  There’s no better time than now to put things into high gear.

There's no better time than NOW to ramp up your business for the rest of the yearClick To Tweet

After reading this list of practical ideas you will be able to get back to business armed with great ideas and inspiration to help you finish the year on a high note.

  1. Review and Assess. Many small business owners spent so much time working IN their business, that they don’t take time to plan, review and strategize ON their business.
    Schedule quiet time away from the office to think, dream, and assess. Here’s some questions to ponder:

    • Have you reached your goals?
    • If so, what attributed to your success?
    • If not, what got in your way?
    • Did you reach your revenue goals?
    • How many new clients did you gain?
    • How did those clients find you?
    • What areas of your business were the most profitable?
    • Are there expenses you need to keep an eye on?
    • Which marketing activities get the best return on investment?
    • Are there people you need to follow up with that are back from vacation?
  2. Make Goal Cards. I am a firm believer in the power of focus and intention. Writing down your goals and reviewing them daily keeps them top of mind.  It also keeps you from getting sidetracked from things that are not in alignment with your top priorities.
    I love to take time in the morning visualizing each goal as if it has already come true.  This gets me engaged and excited to do whatever it takes to make my business goals materialize.
  3. Define Action Items. Take your goals and break them down into action items with deadlines.
    Define what you will do yourself, what you can assign to a team member, and what you can outsource. Wunderlist, Asana, and Basecamp are excellent project management tools that make it easy to track, manage, and follow progress of tasks for virtual teams. We use eGroupware and it works great for our virtual team productivity.
  4. Identify Resources Needed. What do you need to make your goals happen? Do you need to hire new team members? Do you need to learn a new skill? Should you invest in new technology or software to get it accomplished? Will you hire a coach or mentor to keep you on track with your goals? Is there an industry event you should attend? Are there new networking groups you should look into?
    Arm yourself with everything you need to make your goals a reality.
  5. Update Your Website. Carefully review your website to see what is out of date from this summer and update it with new information about upcoming Fall promotions, new blog posts, and change anything else that is no longer applicable to your business.
    If you haven’t given it much thought, now is the time to stop neglecting your website and get it working FOR you instead of AGAINST you.
  6. Holiday Planning. There’s still time to have a back to school sale. Plus, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas are just around the corner.
    Many people start holiday shopping early.  So, plan your seasonal promotions and plan out your marketing calendar accordingly.
    Organize your plans and promotions such as:

    • Put your summer items on a clearance sale.
    • Create a new product or program launch around a holiday theme.
    • Get extra visibility by signing up for Fall events and trade shows.
    • Schedule your Cyber Monday shopping specials.
    • Write and pre-schedule your email marketing, and social media, and blog posts now so you can kick back and relax with your family during the holidays instead of slaving over your business.
  7. Offer Gift Cards and Top Holiday Gift Ideas. Make it easy for shoppers looking for gifts for those hard-to-buy-for individuals.
    • Make a landing page just for your gift cards.
    • Add a navigation button on your website.
    • Make social media graphics to promote your gift cards and top gift items.
    • Write a blog post with the most popular gift items you offer.
  8. Boost Sales with a Facebook Ad. Grab holiday sales fast by setting up a Facebook ad that captures buyers attention. Re-market to your business’s Facebook Page visitors using a custom audience re-targeting pixel on your website.
    For example if someone is looking at “gifts for dad” on your website, use a Facebook re-targeting pixel to show your ads for best gifts for dad to them on their Facebook feed!
    Not sure how to do all that? Get help from a marketer who knows how to get the best value from those efforts.
  9. Show Gratitude with Season Cards. Now is not too early to hunt for those perfect holiday cards. Better yet, get a card custom designed to enhance and really showcase your brand.
    Let your clients, colleagues, staff, and trusted vendors know how much you appreciate them.
    One idea to stand out from the crowd is to send Thanksgiving or New Years cards instead of the typical Christmas card.
  10. Schedule Your Holiday Vacation Time Now. Encourage team members to put in their vacation requests early too. This gives you time to work out any scheduling issues and make holiday time less stressful.

I hope this inspires you to come up with creative and profitable plans to build your business as we near the Fall season.

A systematic approach to a fall review can produce amazing results if you plan in detail and cover all the bases.

The more you plan now, the easier and more successful your business will be for the rest of the year.

Do you have any further tips you can share about getting back into business focus once summer is almost over?

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

6 Steps To Nurturing A Profitable Business

6 Steps To Nurturing A Profitable Business

Why are you in business?

If you just responded saying it is to help others or to make the world a better place or some other lofty vision, you are only partially correct.

The truth is, you are in business to make money.

Without money, you can’t be sustainable or make much of a difference and it’s really tough to be able to help others when you can hardly help yourself.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ~Walt DisneyClick To Tweet

I see this kind of struggle every day when talking with entrepreneurs and new business owners where they have an amazing vision and strong desire to make a difference yet can’t make ends meet.

With this in mind, I’ve put together some pointers that have helped me build a multi 6-figure business.

With a New Year upon us, I encourage you to implement some or all of these suggestions and you’ll be on your way to fulfilling the reason why you are in business to begin with.

And you do this by nurturing your business to success!

  1. STEP ONE: Nurture Your Vision

    Create specific goals that will lead you to fulfilling your vision.

    Do this by first understanding what you want your business to look like a year, two years and five years from now.

    Then create a plan that will support those goals.

    What needs to be in place in order to achieve those goals? How much income do you need to be able to pay your bills and live comfortably?

    Then calculate how many clients and/or sales do you need in order to accomplish that goal. This roadmap will be what you follow to achieve your vision.

    And remember to treat your business as a business instead of a hobby (which is what happens when we allow every day distractions take us away from achieving our business goals.) This mindset shift alone will make an incredible difference to your success.

    Make a commitment and don’t let excuses get in the way of honouring that commitment.

    Daniel and I work 15 hour days most every day of the week. We don’t let excuses of being tired or having a cold distract us from reaching our goals. This kind of committed mindset is what you need to also have to accomplish yours.

  2. STEP TWO: Nurture your marketing

    This step is vital to your business success. Period.

    Without marketing your business, you will not flourish because no one will know you exist!  Here are some tips to get you going:

    Do a thorough analysis on who your ideal target market is, what their struggles and  needs are and how you can help them. Get to know exactly who it is that you want to attract as a customer.

    Spend at least an hour or two a day minimum working ON your business.  And if you can’t take that time, hire a competent marketing firm that can do a lot of it for you (and the bonus is that you’ll benefit from their expertise, which will save you more time, energy and money in the long run.)

    Market yourself daily via social media, networking groups, blog postings and commenting on other blog posts.

    This does not mean pushing your products or services on others. Your goal is to get in front of your ideal target market and develop relationships with them so they can begin to know, like and trust you.

    When I first started out in business, I did a lot of volunteering where I could showcase my website design and development expertise. I worked with several non-profits and gained a lot of valuable experience along the way.

    If you have a service-based business, considering doing the same. Not only will it help build your brand exposure and gain a valuable reputation as someone who is contributing to the community, you will also be able to use this as a great learning experience to build your skillset at the same time.

  3. STEP THREE: Nurture Your Existing Clients

    The best way to build your business is through referrals.

    When a client is pleased with your offerings, they will be more than happy to tell others about you.

    Here are a few pointers on how to achieve this:

    Demonstrate you care about them by being accessible and responding to their needs in a timely manner.

    Let them know you’re thinking about them and share articles, resources and other things you find that they will appreciate receiving.

    Follow up to see how they are doing.

    Thank them for being a client/doing business with you.

    Stay in touch on a regular basis through social media, blog posts and newsletters.

    eVision Media is built on an approximate 90-95% referral base. We do very little marketing aside from our social media efforts. Most all of our new and ongoing business is a result of having and nurturing happy clients.

    What can you do today to start developing a happy customer base that will think of you when they come across others who could use your product or service?

  4. STEP FOUR: Nurture Your Team

    It is nearly impossible to build a successful business without any help.

    Build a team of resources (either as employees, contractors or agencies with specific expertise) who can offset your weaknesses. Delegate as much as you can of the stuff you really don’t like doing or don’t know how to do (properly).

    Lead your team by example and be generous with encouragement, praise, gratitude and respect.

    Have your team feel like they are a part of the overall business success where they can help by brainstorming new ideas and finding ways things can be improved.

    My first hire was a programmer many years ago. I knew the more higher-end programming was one of my weaknesses (nor did I want to further develop that skillset) so I sought to hire someone who’s passion was in programming.

    Today, we comprise of a team of 10 people who all bring to the table their particular expertise in design, copywriting, Social Media, online marketing, SEO, and of course programming. I could never accomplish any of what we have achieved without such a team in place.

    What are your weaknesses that you are trying to do yourself that you should be delegating instead?

  5. STEP FIVE: Nurture Your Systems and Processes

    It’s probably the last thing you want to do, but it’s critical to document everything you do and how you do it as if you were going to re-create your business as a franchise. (Read Michael E. Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited to find out how.)

    This step will save you countless amounts of time and energy, especially as you build your team while growing your business. We have several systems in place that keep our virtual team atmosphere running smoothly and efficiently.

    One of the key areas to be mindful of is communications between you and your team members.  It’s easy to let things fall through the cracks if you don’t have a check and balance system in place.

  6. STEP SIX: Nurture Your Self

    I encourage you to believe in what you are doing and have confidence and trust that everything will work out.

    Stop chasing after every guru out there and start trusting that you already have the knowledge and resources you need to succeed.

    Stop chasing gurus and start trusting you already have what you need to succeed.Click To Tweet

    Stay on track by following your plan and don’t let the shiny object syndrome continually pull you and your team in several different directions.

    Find a mentor, mastermind group or coach that will not only support you but guide you on how to implement your plans and allow your brilliance to shine. You’ll stop wasting time and money and start focusing on what is most important so you can grow more quickly and get the support you need.

    Having gratitude is a big part of our day, every day. The more we focus on being grateful for what we have, the more positive our lives become. Find something to be grateful for instead of focusing on what you don’t have and this will have a profound impact on your success.

By nurturing your business using these 6 steps, you will not only enjoy growth and sustainability but also the success you desire!

I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and share your challenges or perhaps some ideas of your own that can help nurture your business to success.

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

17 Top Tips for Increasing Business Profits

17 Top Tips for Increasing Business Profits

How to Develop Great People Leadership Skills & Rock Star Teamwork

Many people dream of starting their own businesses someday – and many have taken the leap to varying degrees of success.

Some succeed and frankly, some don’t.

And for many, if they knew how hard it was going to be before they started – they would have kept their day job with a steady paycheck and saved their passion and energy for nights and weekends!

It doesn’t have to be that hard to build a great team that will assure your business provides the best customer service to your ideal customers, make lots of money for you so you can do the things that are most important to you, and which helps your team achieve their dreams too.

So, today I want to talk with you about a serious subject. It’s about your employees – the great ones and the ones that will become your biggest nightmare if not handled correctly and that some of them end up needing rehabilitation.

If you are already a business owner with employees or if you are an entrepreneur with big plans to build a team and grow your business, this article provides valuable insight.

That’s right – bad employees suck up your valuable time and money, drag everyone else down and cause the best employees to leave.

The great employees are wonderful to work with, team players who will jump in and help accomplish your goals, play to their strengths and encourage others to do the same and are just a pleasure to be around.

Employees will make or break your business!

You absolutely must get the people-thing right the first time, every time.

Employee turnover costs companies large amounts of money in recruiting costs, training, employee morale and productivity.

Here are 17 tips to help you avoid costly mistakes and build a rock star team:

  1. Vision & Mission – take the time to develop a very succinct, understandable vision and mission. It’s important that all employees understand the big picture and where they fit.

    If you’ve been in business for a while and know in your head what you want to do, take the time to write it down and post it so that it becomes part of the way you and your team work every day.

  2. Know Yourself – master your psychology so that you remove all negative self-talk, doubts and limiting beliefs that keep you stuck where you are and prevent you from being wildly successful.

    Avail yourself of assessment tools that measure how you see yourself, how you interact with others, and how you react to stress on an average day. Understanding your nature versus how you were nurtured to behave allows you to become your authentic self and live a life of joy.

    I work with clients who have their entire team assessed so that everyone works at their highest potential.

  3. Roles & Responsibilities – to avoid misunderstandings, redundancy, and work falling through the cracks, prepare job descriptions that clearly spells out what each position is responsible for completing.

    When advertising for open positions and when training new hires, this 1-2 sheet document is invaluable.  Employees want to do a good job, but they don’t read minds.

    No job description can cover everything but it should capture the major duties with a statement of “all other duties as assigned by supervisor.”

  4. Hone your Interview Skills – this is the time for you to match up the job duties of the position with the skills and experience of the candidate before you call anyone in for an interview.

    Breathing and standing up are not qualifying skills!

    During the interview, ask open-ended questions where they need to provide examples of how they handled a variety of issues that are relevant to the work they will likely run into at your company. Follow the 80/20 rule where the candidate does 80% of the talking and the interviewer does only 20%.

    I highly recommend using a behavior-based interview process where you select the critical competencies relevant to the position and then you ask all candidates the same questions so you can compare their answers and select the best candidate. Listen to your gut! If at the end of the interview when all interviewers compare notes if anyone has that gut feeling that even though they answered the questions okay, something just doesn’t feel right.

    I’ve learned the hard way to trust my gut! Bad hires truly do become your worst nightmare and with behavior based interviewing processes, there’s no need to hire employees that just will not fit with your team or are not qualified to do the work.

  5. Offer letter – provide a written offer letter which includes the position, salary, benefits and the name of the person they will report to.

    Include language stating you are an “at-will” employer and that this offer letter does not constitute an employment contract.

  6. Background Investigations & Drug Tests – I recommend using a professional firm to conduct your background checks and drug/alcohol pre-employment tests. At a minimum you want to check criminal history, education and work history and assure they are alcohol and free of illegal drugs.

    Neither of these can legally be done however until the candidate has accepted the job contingent upon them accepting the offer and signing the proper paperwork to conduct the background investigation and drug test.

  7. Organizational Announcements – such an easy thing to do but most ignored. There is nothing worse than employees wondering who the “new” person is that is walking around or sitting in someone else’s old desk.

    And you can imagine how hard it is for the new employee to explain over and over again who they are and what they are going to do for the company.

    A brief email announcement stating their name, position, reporting relationship, education and previous title and company they worked for will smooth the transition and help the employee be more effective on day one.

  8. First Day on the Job – this is an important day for the new hire and everyone else on the team so you want the on-boarding process to be thorough. Welcome them when they come in and walk them around and introduce them to the other employees.

    More often than I’d like I hear from employees describing their first day as the day they regretted leaving their old company because they weren’t welcomed and were not trained to do the new job.

    There is nothing worse for them and your bottom line than letting each person figure it out on their own! So, assign a “buddy” to show them around and take them to lunch on the first day. An on-boarding process to help your team quickly get up to speed and learn how to do their job.

  9. Handbook – make sure you have a very carefully crafted employee handbook that outlines the rules, regulations, policies and practices of the company. Have an acknowledgement form for each employee to sign saying they are responsible for compliance.

    Handbooks, if done well, are an excellent tool for employees to understand how the company works.

    However, they can also be a landmine for attorneys if not legally compliant or are not administered uniformly so get advice from a qualified human resources business professional before publishing and distributing your handbook.

  10. Communications – conduct weekly team meetings where the supervisor communicates the week’s priorities and asks for an update from each employee. Send out an agenda in advance and keep to the allotted time for each item/person.

    Assign a note taker and record items and due dates agreed upon in the meeting, email them to attendees and bring them to next meeting so you can follow-up on previous commitments.

    Be visible and accessible to your team. It’s amazing what employees will tell you when they just happen to see you in the hallway!

  11. Accountability Hot Seat – sometimes employees make commitments and have a hard time following through. They have a myriad of excuses, some of which are very valid, but the bottom-line is that a major deadline is going to be missed if immediate action isn’t taken.

    So, before it gets to a critical stage, pull together a team and allow the employee 5 minutes to explain the issue and any barriers they are coming up against. Then, allow the group 10 minutes to offer ideas and/or assistance while the employee just listens and writes down the ideas.

    Then, the employee has 3 minutes to think through all of the ideas that were offered and select the one or two that they will accept and report out to the group.  At the end of the day, it is still the employee’s responsibility but having input from others can offer fresh ideas and team support.

  12. Managing Employee Performance – you’ve heard the old saying that “what gets measured gets done” and that is very true. By establishing goals with each employee they know what they need to do every day to be successful and you know that together the company will reach its goals.

    Plus, you have a valuable tool to measure their performance against the goals so you can provide recognition, constructive feedback and pay for performance.  Measuring “how” they get the job done in addition to “what” gets done is so important to assure teamwork.

  13. Recognition & Rewards – yes, I know your employees are only doing their job. Right? And if they are recognized for a job well-done, they will repeat great performance. The key is to be very specific with what they did to earn accolades.

    Saying “Great job” sounds good but it doesn’t tell them what they did that you think was so great. So, instead, tell them how much you appreciate them staying late to get that order out the door. Rewards can certainly be in the form of money, but research has proven that money is not the #1 motivator for most people.

    Giving praise in front of peers, providing extra time off with pay, small gift cards, participation in training opportunities are all valuable forms of recognition. A word of caution is warranted here though.

    You’ve heard the statement that “no good deed goes unpunished” and rewards can often backfire if there is a perception of playing favorites. So make sure that there is criteria for issuing an award, the award is the appropriate level and that they are consistently and fairly administered.

  14. Talent Reviews & Succession Planning – do you have the right team doing the right work? If one of them were to leave the company, is there someone prepared to step up and take over?

    It’s important to understand what each employee wants to do with their career so that you can support them and give them stretch assignments so they can grow and be ready to step up when needed.

  15. Handle Employees that Are Not a Good Fit – as difficult as this can be, it’s absolutely critical that you take swift action to keep negative employees from bringing down the whole team. Address the behavior immediately with the employee in private.

    Use a discussion guide to prepare yourself for the conversation and to keep it on track. Avoid personal attacks and stick to the unacceptable behavior and actions. Put it in writing and have the employee sign the form acknowledging that the issue was discussed with him/her.

    Include language in the warning notice that advises the employee they will subject themselves to further discipline up to and including termination if the behavior does not improve on an immediate and consistent basis.

  16. Employee Engagement Surveys – this is a great way to get confidential and anonymous feedback from your employees that will make your company the best place to work. Employee engagement measures the relationship between an organization and its employees.

    An engaged employee is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.

    According to a recent Gallup poll, a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. The world has a crisis of engagement — one with serious and potentially long-lasting repercussions for the global economy.

    I recommend conducting the same survey each year, communicate the results to your team so they know that you listened to them and really heard what they wanted you to know. Then commit to changing things for the better where appropriate.

    Get your employees involved in making the changes so they stick. Then, compare your survey results year over year to assure you are staying in tune with the changing needs of the employees and the business.

  17. Have Fun – and finally, make fun and laughter a priority. Humor is a great way to keep a team working well together. You can have fun and still work hard to get your work done!

In closing, running a business can be the most rewarding experience of your life and allow you to accomplish your dreams.

Learning the steps you need to take to assure that your team is aligned around your vision and where they know what is expected of them and feel respected and valued will make your job much easier and you will reap huge rewards.

About the Author, Katherine Hartvickson

Kathryn Wilking

Katherine Hartvickson is the founder and president of Hartvickson & Associates, Inc. dba Quantum Ascendance. She is an experienced business consultant and success coach. Since leaving the corporate world in 2009, her clients include business owners and other seriously committed professionals and entrepreneurs who want to gain the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of success and achieve their ideal life.

What separates her service from others is her experience in leading large teams and developing top performers in corporate environments and because of this, clients achieve individual & financial rewards and the recognition they earned without sacrificing their personal life. If you are interested in knowing more, she can be reached at www.QuantumAscendance.com.

Hire a Winning Team using Feng Shui (or be your own winning team!)

Personal Element Support Cycle

There is more to feng shui than simply moving furniture around; feng shui relates to energy, and this extends to people as well! There is the unseen presence of energy in different personalities that can make-or-break the team in your business.

In feng shui, each of the earth’s properties is related to a personality type. Therefore, each person relates to a tangible item: wood, fire, earth, metal or water. These elements are naturally arranged to help and support each other, similar to how they work in nature.

It is easy to see the parallels in nature: water makes trees grow, wood feeds the fire, ash turns to earth then, compresses to form metals… that move water; and the cycle continues.  It’s the same with people.

The extroverts are primarily wood-people and fire-people. They are both energetic, personal and hard working so they make great sales people, event organizers, actors and politicians.

Wood-people are enthusiastic and can run with any idea. They gather people to help and are great at delegating. Fire-people feed off these ideas; they need to be in the limelight and are passionate fighters for their cause.

The introverts are metal-people and water people. These groups work well at a slower pace. Metal-people are notorious for enforcing policy and procedures at their workplace.

They are meticulous at their jobs and make great employees in banking or accounting, health and safety, draftsmen or in the IT industry. Metal-people can be quite creative and make dedicated team players.

Water-people are also quiet, but more pontifical in their approach. They have no need for social outlets or feedback from anyone as they are quite confident in their own skin. They look at the big picture and try to sort out ’cause and effect’ as well as the impact on the future.

Often, two personality types (introvert and extravert for example) don’t see eye to eye. Not unusual, as each one has the potential to bury another, i.e.: water can put out fire, fire can melt metal, metal can chop wood, etc.

There is one group however, that is well-grounded, nurturing, organized and even tempered; the not-so-insignificant earth-people. Earth people are the facilitators of the cycle. They do what they can to support a cause, they are empathetic, and can listen to reasonable arguments on both sides.

They make fabulous human resource persons, health care workers, executive assistants and great moms. Without earth people to balance the cycle in a group, there could be a division of the ranks.

When looking for a business partner or building your team, you need to look for skills and attributes from a number of elements.

Best friends from college don’t necessarily make the best roommates or even business partners. Nor does it make sense to hire a sales team without thinking of the big picture; who will do the accounting and customer service?

Keep these traits in mind when hiring for your team:

  • Wood-people make great sales persons. They are energetic, have great ideas and make great connections. They can be flexible dealing with people and negotiations.
  • Fire-people make great spoke-persons for a cause. They are passionate, have drive, and can attract attention. Fire-people can be exhausting to work with, so keep them busy.
  • Earth-people are a calming voice in a stressful environment. They are empathetic to others, take care of small details and treat others in a respectful way. They make great listeners and great arbitrators to settle differences with fairness and respect.
  • Metal-people can be the back bone of an organization. It takes self discipline to balance the accounts, sort out cash flow and keep devices and apps current and operational.
  • Water-people can be the most unstable. They often sound off, yet come up with great ideas on how to improve things or run things better. They thrive on cerebral puzzles and make great visionaries when in the right place. Forecasting the future growth of a company takes time and visualization; and, they don’t want to do the work themselves.

If you look around your work place, I’m sure you can identify some of the character traits listed above. You may realize that some of your ‘best people’ are already in their ‘best positions’; others perhaps not!

The reality is that we need all types of skills to excel in all types of tasks.

All these personality types can support each other in the cycle of elements.

We need all of these skills within the elements to form a well-balanced cycle. If you work within a large business, you may have the benefit of having several people in each of these areas and can focus on their strengths.

As an entrepreneur, you may not have the luxury of hiring a team to do all the tedious tasks that you don’t like to do. But, these tasks need to be done. A well rounded person will have skills in all of these traits, some stronger than others. 

If you have any weaknesses in any of these areas: hire some help, take a course or delegate these tasks to a professional.

Having a well-balanced team is the key to a well-balanced business!

All the best,

About the Author, Kathryn Wilking

Kathryn Wilking

Kathryn of Kathryn Wilking Designs is a Professional Member of the International Feng Shui Guild, and Author, Teacher and Feng Shui Consultant and is available for innovative talks for workshops and Lunch 'n Learn programs.

Sign up to receive a FREE copy of her "Bucket or Chuck-it" PDF report as well as monthly tips on creating a healthy and happy environment at www.kathrynwilking.com