Open Thread – Attention Age Doctrine

As I toil away on research into Part 2 of the Attention Age Doctrine, a creative idea came to mind.

How about having an “open thread” on my blog that invites comments from you – my readers – about what you’d like to see in Part 2.
What are some the concerns you have about focusing attention on your business?

What are some of the top challenges you face when dealing with interruptions to your work flow?

What challenges have you come up against in getting the attention of your market?
I’ve made a commitment to have fun this weekend as well, so that may have something to do with this request. But don’t let that discourage you. If you can find time in your fun activities to give this blog some attention, I’d greatly appreciate it – and so would your fellow readers.
So, consider this an open thread… What’s on your mind regarding attention?

What kind of solutions would you like to see included in Part 2 of The Attention Age Doctrine?
Let me know and have a great weekend.

I’m anxious to see your ideas.
To Higher Profits,
Rich Schefren


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We Interrupt This Message…


“Interruptions are in the eye of the interrupted.”

This was a key point in The Attention Age Doctrine, and one that really struck a nerve with many of my readers.

Information that you think is important to your business, may simply be an interruption to your business goals.

Trouble is, you won’t realize whether or not the information is important until you’ve given it your attention.

Since the release of The Attention Age Doctrine, I’ve received countless e-mails and blog comments about the distinction between an “interruption” and a “distraction” as it relates to business efficiency. While there are “dictionary differences” between the two, I’ll just give you my quick analysis.

An interruption is external. It’s a break in continuity, something unexpected that “pops up” and causes you to divert your attention. Examples: Someone calling your name, an e-mail alert on your computer, a ringing phone, a raindrop falling on your head, a bowling bowl dropped in your lap. Interruptions grab our attention by diverting our focus.

A distraction is internal. It’s an emotional disturbance that requires our own compliance. It’s your mind thinking about lunch options while you are in an important business meeting. It’s a gaze out the window to watch the birds fly by or the feeling that you left your iron on in the laundry room. There’s an underlying cause for distractions that divides our attention in a subtle way. Distractions may seem like harmless “white noise,” but they can be quite, well, distracting.

Workplace interruptions and distractions serve one disturbing purpose: They take us off course. Every time we “follow the bouncing ball,” our business goals get pushed aside.Productivity Interruption

By taking your focus off the “big task” of what your business needs (more on this in a sec…), your vision becomes clouded, your message muddled, your decisions diluted and delayed.

What’s even worse is that it becomes a habit. You end up conditioning your brain to respond in a similar fashion in the future. In essence, you are re-wiring your brain to work against you [I’ll share the research that supports this notion, and how you can re-condition your attention, in Part 2 of the Attention Age Doctrine, coming out next month.]

Look, there’s a real reason why many racehorses run with blinders on. It’s so they’ll stay focused on the task at hand – winning.

So why is it so difficult for entrepreneurs to do the same? Why don’t we work with blinders on, avoiding interruptions so we can focus on growing our business and achieving our goals?

Maybe it’s because you love being in the race more than you love achieving the results. You enjoy the “busyness” of your business, but are unwilling to get serious about doing what it takes to succeed. You’re allowing distractions and interruptions to pull you away from your business goals.

My coaching clients often ask: How can I avoid the interruptions that are distracting me from my work?

An easy answer is to work in solitary confinement, but that has its own downside. A better answer comes from asking a better question: Why am I allowing myself to be so easily distracted?

No one makes us answer e-mails. There is no law, under penalty of death, to respond immediately to instant messages or a ringing telephone.

We can avoid interruptions and distractions if we want to do so. So why do we allow this to happen?

It’s always easier to blame an outside source for our troubles – a computer, a colleague, a PDA – rather than take that terrifying look inside ourselves to see what is lurking among the cobwebs.

Are we are our own worst enemy when it comes to distraction? Are we the cause of our own interruptions that take us off the path to success and down a spiraling path toward procrastination and diminished productivity?

Think about it for a moment. Each time you sit down in front of the computer you should do so with an ultimate goal: task completion. But getting from Point A to Point B in your business is rarely a direct line of progression – at least, that’s what you’ve been telling yourself.

The demands on our attention are infinite, but our attention is finite. So we have to keep focused on the goal of winning.

Every time we turn our attention away from our purpose – task completion – and toward something else (i.e., reading e-mail, mindlessly surfing the Web, chasing butterflies, chatting on the phone), we imperil our business goals and do our customers a great disservice.

We can choose to blame technology, our neighbors, family and friends, but really the blame is our own. It is our own refusal – note, I did not say “inability” – to eliminate the interruptions and distractions that cause frustration and prevent us from achieving ultimate success.

By allowing interruptions to sidetrack us – by giving in to the pull of distraction – we simply delay our primary gratification: the knowledge and pride in a job well done and the financial reward that comes with it.

Instead of doing what your business needs you to do, you end up doing what you want to do.

Let’s put that in perspective. You may not want to change diapers, but your children need you to do it. You may not want to pay taxes, but it’s probably a good idea to complete them on time each year. In both cases, you just have to hold your nose and get it done.

Successful entrepreneurs (in the right business) love their businesses. They shouldn’t “have to” do the job; they should “want to” do what is best for business development and ultimate reward.

This creates another immediate concern:

Do you know what your business really needs of you?

If not, all of the time you waste through “distraction” may really be the fault of your own “indecision.” You must decide what your business needs from you (in a step-by-step list of tasks) and eliminate the interruptions and distractions so you can get it done.

Two days ago I attended a networking event in Texas that will most likely go down in history as one of the biggest gatherings of influential men and women in business and marketing.  It was hosted by my good friend Stephen Pierce. Some of the powerful people in attendance were T Harv Eker, Jay Abraham, John Reese, and Jeff Walker; Tim Ferris, Armand Morin, Russell Brunson, and John Carlton; Mike Filsaime, Tom Beal, Jerry Clark, and Shawn Casey; Eben Pegan, Mike Litman, and Dave Lakhani; Janet Switzer, Yanik Silver, and Lori Morgan Ferraro.

At the event I had a great conversation with Internet Marketing legend John Reese. Besides getting some great marketing advice from him regarding our upcoming seminar in February, we also compared our approaches to getting our work done. And we both had a similar approach.

We both think about the goal we are trying to accomplish and list all the steps we need to do in order to accomplish it. Then, we get to work. John said (and I agreed) that often people get sidetracked or procrastinate because they haven’t taken the time to layout all the steps they need to take to accomplish their goals.

The list of steps helps grab and focus their attention.

Early radio and television programs used to be interrupted by breathless announcers with a familiar refrain: “We interrupt this message to bring you a special announcement…” The message grabbed your attention and wouldn’t let go until you absorbed it, at which time you were “returned to your regularly scheduled programming.”

It’s time to get clear about what you need to do, focus your attention and “get with the program” of working on what matters.

So, why are you not achieving your business goals faster?

Do you have an interruption problem, a distraction problem, or an indecision problem? (Share your thoughts on this here)

Sometimes introspection can be a painful journey of discovery, but one we all must take.

So do it right now, right here… Then get back to work!

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When Is Enough, Enough?

Most online entrepreneurs just like you either suffer from too little or way too much information: There simply is no in-between.

Where do you stand? How do you figure out which amount of information is “just right?”

Today, we’ll continue the conversation on information overload that we started in an earlier blog post. And, boy, is there a lot of material to cover …

Let’s begin with one of the biggest issues.

I’m often asked by nervous entrepreneurs:

When is “enough” information really enough?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this question from clients – “newbie” business owners and veteran business leaders alike.

So many smart people are convincing themselves that they are just not smart enough. Stop doing this to yourself and your business.

As we mentioned in an Aug. 15 posting on this blog about information overload, you can’t possibly know everything, so don’t even try. You just need to recognize what you don’t know and fill in the gaps along the way.

One of our blog readers, Dan Scott, put this urgency in perspective: “Often we keep acquiring more information so we can put off pulling the trigger … at some point, you’ve got sufficient information and should just act.”

Excellent point, Dan.

Think about it:

It’s great to have an impressive vocabulary, but you don’t need to memorize an entire dictionary in order to enjoy a good book. If you don’t understand a new word, simply look it up. It’s that easy to do.

You just have to trust yourself – and your brain. After all, even Albert Einstein couldn’t remember his own telephone number. He reasoned, quite accurately, that he didn’t need to memorize his phone number because he knew where to find it in the phone book.

Einstein didn’t question his knowledge of the unknown, even for little things like remembering a phone number. You shouldn’t either.

Sometimes knowing how to access information is more important than the information itself. Remember that – I’m sure it will become more and more important to you as your business grows.

There’s another puzzling question I hear a lot, and this one is funny when you say it out loud:

How do I know that I’ll know what I need to know when I need to know it?

Questions like these reveal a disturbing unease about strategic business process – and a lack of confidence among business owners. The questions don’t lead to business solutions; they just heighten our anxieties and pick at the scab of uncertainty that irritates us all.

“What if I can’t keep up with my competitors?” …

“What if I don’t buy every business book, read every e-mail, and scan every RSS feed?” …

“What if I miss the one bit of information that could truly set my business on fire?”

“What if …”

This kind of paranoia freezes growth opportunity.

It discourages risk-taking and leads to indecision, inefficiency, and ultimately, paralysis.

This is no way to run a successful business.

Information anxiety plagues many good business people. But the great ones are able to sort through the clutter of information and inaction and get to the part that really matters – the information that leads you to take action.

Again, knowing how to access and interpret information is sometimes more important than the information itself.

Think about this example. What turns the lights on in your house? Simple answer: A light switch.

You don’t need to know about volts, ohms and amperes in order to turn on the lights. You just need the lights to work so you can see what is in front of you.

The ability to see what is in front of you: This is what so many of us seem to have lost.

Instead, we block our own view, and distort our business vision, with needless stacks of irrelevant information. The “stacks” don’t have to be physical. Even a virtual impediment is a blockade to creativity and productive thought.

Oh yeah, one more thing …

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’ll still make them, no matter how much information you have in your memory and at your fingertips.

Let me share a secret with you.

If you’ve done anything at all – not just business – then you have valuable experiences locked inside you that are just waiting to be rediscovered

You know what has worked and what hasn’t in certain situations. This will ALWAYS provide the best information you need to succeed. It is personal to you and it is timely: Two strong reasons why it’s more valuable to you than most information you’ll come across.

Most likely, no other business guru has ever shared this secret with you ­– because, if they did, it would be bad for business.

But I’m willing to do this for you because I believe you really must understand this. I’ve had some of the best mentors in the world – Jay Abraham, Michael Masterson, etc. – but even with that star-quality guidance, I needed something more.

The most important, impactful and relevant information I ever received that has helped me be successful has come directly from my own experiences – good and bad.

You are the best source of information for your business.

You know what works best and what doesn’t. You’ve thrown yourself into the fire and perhaps you’ve been burned by a few failed business decisions.

So what? That’s nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it may be just what you need to assure success in the future.

Your experiences, your passions, your successes and failures, all come into play as you move forward in any business venture. Each bit of experience you have gained along the way becomes a pebble on the path toward future growth.

Don’t turn that pebble into a boulder by blocking your ability to move forward with confidence.

Often, clients tell me that watching me make a mistake, rebound and leverage it for future growth has inspired them to really change their way of thinking. They are no longer timid with fear of failure. Instead, they are ready to pounce on opportunity, even if it is born of error.

While you may be tempted to ingest all sorts of information from outside sources, and many of these sources may prove remarkably helpful, the ultimate business decisions are made by you.

It is essential that you take control of that decision-making function.

And no matter what, do not discount what you know already or make your own knowledge any less important than anyone else’s. It is your wisdom that has value because you are living with it.

Last year, in a Sept. 8 blog posting, I offered tips on how to attack information overload and the resulting anxiety it causes.

In it, I asked my readers to overcome “the single biggest obstacle to achieving lasting success online and offline.” That obstacle, for many, is their own personal craving for more and more information.

You may be an information junkie, but don’t let information anxiety turn your business into junk.

What’s causing you to delay action in favor of more research? What impulses are preventing you from “pulling the trigger” on action-oriented solutions?

Your responses on information overload have been illuminating, and I’m learning from all that I receive and read.

Share your secrets to “getting going” on new tasks. Do you have a certain ritual you follow? A certain method you use to kick-start your productivity? How do you know when enough is enough?

Let me know how you do it … There are a lot of people hungry for your ideas.

To Higher Profits,

Rich Schefren

Founders Video #2: THIS One Question Determines Your Fate Online

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Founders Video #2: THIS One Question Determines Your Fate Online

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Tell Me: What’s Holding You Back?

Hey Guys,

I have a quick favor to ask of you.

But before we get into that I just want to point out that, in the last 24 hours alone, roughly 6,231 people have watched my latest video, “Startup To Freedom”. I seems as though people are starting to send the video to their friends and family.

So not only could you learn a lot from the video, but you could also look at it as a lesson in viral marketing! Cool.

Now since my inbox has been flooded with questions and comments about momentum, I want to try and answer them the best they can. But before I do that, I want you to submit a question to my blog so that I can have a clear picture of the common obstacles that are preventing people from gaining momentum.

Here is the question I’d like you to answer:

Q:What is the biggest obstacle that is preventing you from gaining the momentum you need to bring your business to the next level?

Submit your answer on this post…

And yes this means you!

It will only take 30 seconds, and it will help you identify the constraint that is preventing you from growing your business.

Then, later on this week, I’ll be releasing something that will address the common obstacles you’re facing. I already have some ideas, based on the feedback so far, but I’m very interested in hearing from you.

I’m looking forward to your feedback.

To Higher Profits,
Rich Schefren

An Unintended Lesson In Business

Hey Guys,

Rich Schefren here. This email is long… but it’s important. And it has some valuable lessons…

Let me tell you… pulling off that live video stream from our seminar last weekend was pretty thrilling. It was also historic and groundbreaking.

In fact, the company that we used for the video feed is putting together a big press release – I think it was the largest live video feed they have EVER done in ANY market.

HOWEVER, last weekend wasn’t all beauty and grace.

In fact, I have a rather large confession to make.

Since there is no real way to sugar coat it, here it is: in one very big way, I really dropped the ball. This is the deal…

My plan for the live video stream was to deliver a knock-out brand-new presentation that has never been seen before. It was going to be about taking a company from start up and growing it into a business that truly gave you freedom.

The working title was “From Startup To Freedom”.

I have spent literally weeks with this material, and I have all the mindmaps to prove it.

But in the days leading up to my seminar last weekend my life was consumed by moving my entire company to a new office complex, and I was also busy preparing for the twelve other presentations that I was going to give at the seminar for all my coaching clients.

The end result was that I went into the weekend seminar with nothing but catnaps in the 80 hours before the event started.

Not a good way to start a seminar, and I am not proud of it.

In fact, the only way that I was able to pull the event off was with prodigious amounts of Red Bull… and a really crack team that was supporting me every step of the way.

But those things can only carry you so far. And at 1:00pm on Saturday I was scheduled to appear in front of the biggest crowd of my life… a live video stream with 10,000 people watching.

So around 11:30am, while I was up on stage giving a different presentation, the key insiders on my team huddled out in the hallway talking about revising my strategy for the live video feed.

And there conclusion was unanimous… they didn’t want me getting up in front of the huge streaming video audience and giving a brand-new presentation in my current sleep deprived state.

In fact, it was even worse… my team had just finished creating the Powerpoint presentation for “Startup To Freedom” that very morning while I was on stage.

Don’t get me wrong – I had been working on the presentation for weeks… but the Powerpoint is always the last piece to get finished… and in this case it was getting finished on Saturday morning while I was up on stage giving my other talks.

That’s the way it is, and the way business often gets done. It ain’t always pretty.

In any case, I would have been presenting my new talk from a brand-new Powerpoint that I had never even seen in a finished form.

So when I got off the stage around noon for our lunch break, my team pulled me aside to give me their recommendation… which was to NOT deliver my “Startup To Freedom” talk. Instead, they suggested a talk that was based on some of my core teaching… a talk that I had given before.

This wasn’t an easy decision.

But I will tell you this… having a team worrying about this type of stuff for you really is an amazing thing. Building this type of organization is the kind of stuff I have been teaching all along, and it really is breathtaking when you’ve put it all together.

In any case, I made the painful decision to go with a presentation that I was SURE I could deliver well… rather than a brand-new presentation that would have rough around the edges (especially in my sleep-deprived state).

My biggest concern, of course, was for my current clients who were at the seminar who had already seen this talk before. And I was also worried about the people who had promoted the live video stream for me.

But in the end, it was my call and still think it was the right way to go.

Since the seminar, I’ve read a few blog posts by people complaining that this material wasn’t new. Those people are 100% correct.

I apologize for that. I promised new material, and I didn’t deliver. That’s the cold, honest truth.

However, I’m going to make it up to you…

To make things right I’m going to deliver my keynote presentation online for the world to see.

Keep in mind that this presentation is my latest and greatest insights into how to rapidly take your business to the next level.

I will be sending you details on how to access that presentation in the next day or two, so please stay tuned.

Finally, I just want to say this… when you are working on great things (such as rapidly building a multi-million dollar business), then sometimes things get a little messy.

It’s not easy. Don’t let anyone tell you it will be. Take it from me, because I’ve done it several times.

There will be times when you’re completely drained, completely exhausted, and may even feel defeated.

But as long as you’re focusing on the right things and keeping the momentum moving forward, you will make progress.

And remember – when you’re knocked down, you’ve got to get back up.

In any case, look for my new “Startup To Freedom” video presentation in the next day or two. And get ready for a mind-blowing presentation – it’s going to rock your world…

Warm Regards,
Rich Schefren

P.S. Remember… in business you have to stay nimble. That is the only way to be, or you will get eaten up and spit out by your competition. I have built a team, and that team enabled me to stay nimble last weekend. And I couldn’t be more proud of my team. I just keep trying to live up to them. That’s why it hurt so bad when I stumbled last weekend.

P.P.S. I guess I’m really letting it all hang out with this email. But I have been an open book all along… if I am going to teach, then I need to be honest about what’s going on in my business and my life. Now I am going to go and try to duck all the slings and arrows that will be coming my way after I publish it.

LIVE Streaming Video Discussion Thread

UPDATE: Sorry for the delay, we couldn’t login to WordPress because of overwhelming traffic.

Hey Guys,

If you made it here, then I you are coming from a link on my live video stream…

I will admit it right here – this is really a bit of a grand experiment. We are operating at the bleeding edge of technology with this stream.

As I type I am at the back of the conference room, and there is all kinds of activity happening around me. My entire team is scrambling to make sure we have everything in place. We go live in about 17 minutes.

So let the big experiment begin… and let the discussion begin. Please let me know what you think about the presentation and the entire experience. I want your feedback – the good, the bad, and the ugly.



And Finally, The Secret To Bringing It All Together

Hey Guys,

Here’s the final installment of your business makeover toMake 2007 Your Best Year.

Pretty soon you’ll have a bigger smile because there will be epiphanies for you if you’ve done the lists with all the heart and honesty you could muster.

So by now you may have some ideas about how to build a better life in 2007… So we’re going kick it up a notch.

Are you wondering just how to use what you’ve learned from the last 4 lists to make this year extremely profitable for you?.

Well, your next Big Question is the glue that brings all of this together.

If you’ve skipped ahead to find out where my Business Makeover Formula was taking you, please go back to the first post and follow the step by step makeover formula for each post.

You’ve really got to put in the time to get the benefit from this… Just like you don’t get the benefits of working out by only talking about it, you wonvt get the benefits of this synergy if you donvt do all of these lists. So hold off on today’s Big Question for now if you need to go back and do the other lists first.

Because all of those steps will lead you right back here.

Then you will be ready for the Biggest Question for turning your situation around in short order.

Your Biggest Question Is…
How Can I Use This Information to Make 2007 My Best Year?

The Big Questions and steps you’ve taken leading up to this post will help you only when you put them to use.

And only if you’ve been brutally honest with yourself.

I strongly suggest that after you finish this post, go into your office and grab a big stack of index cards.

Yes, index cards.

Next, take each of your accomplishments from 2006 and write each one on a separate index card.

Now take each of your disappointments and write each one on a separate index card.

Then take each bad thing that you’ve discovered is holding you back and write each one on a separate index card.

These Index Cards are Your Pot of Gold

Take your stack of ‘Victory cards’. On each card write down as many ways you can think of to apply what you did right to your activities this year.

Next, grab your stack of ‘Disappointment cards’. On each one write down how you can avoid this disappointment in 2007.

Then take your stack of ‘What Held You Back cards’. Write down how you can eliminate each limitation from your life as soon as possible.

You Now Have the Key to Making 2007 Your Best Year!

The pot of gold is what you discover by going through all the lists and the entire makeover process – to make 2007 your best year ever.

You only get the results by first following the formula.

Are you thinking that this index card thing is stupid?

Well lose that thought because it works! Writing things down is very powerful.

Make these cards easily accessible so you can review them regularly and re-apply them when needed.

From my personal experience, I know for a fact that if you do this exercise just as I’ve shown you, you’ll get an incredible amount of ammunition to move onward and upward with your business situation and your life in general.

Now and then as you re-visit these lists and see how far you’ve come, you’ll be blown away… And when you are, donvt forget to write and tell me.

By using this formula to make your situation better, you are not relegated to reliving your mistakes year after year…

Why not capitalize on the things you’ve done right to bring you easy profits well into the future?

Why not eliminate what hasn’t worked instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over?

Why not question beliefs and actions that bog down your life in ways that inhibit your business and personal growth?

I Want to Hear How My 2007 Makeover Process Helped You!

After you create your index cards and get a boatload of great ideas for blowing out your business in 2007, tell me!

Leave a comment. Actually, you can leave many comments, so I can see what you thought of each lesson and how each one helped you.

I’d really love to hear your success story…

To Higher Profits,

Rich Schefren
Strategic Profits

P.S.- You’ve really learned a lot this week about making your situation better and not getting stuck in a rut of poor results from your business.

Making things better in 2007 is affected by the decisions you’ve made over the last year.

More importantly, the wrong decisions you’ve made that you haven’t corrected. The wrong things that you keep on doing, even though you can see they are not helping you to grow the online business of your dreams…

Plus all of the good decisions you’ve made in the past that you didn’t automatically apply to your business this year.

And the decisions you’ve made based on pre-programmed beliefs and weaknesses that you never even knew were there dragging you down.

P.P.S. Make me proud. Do what you have to do to use this powerful Business Makeover Formula (that I use myself) to take your business to new unimaginable heights…

And then let me know, because you’ll be the kind of person that I want to do business with!

#4- We’re Almost There… Leveraging Your Past

Hey Guys,

I’m back again with your next installment of my Make 2007 Your Best Year Ever Business Makeover Formula.

Remember, you can’t have a makeover if you don’t get in the game. If you’ve not done the ‘Power Lists’ from the first three posts, do not pass GO!

These things build on each other, so go back and do the lists of your successes, disappointments, and the things that are holding you back from greatness. You need all the pieces in place, or it’s like putting in the foundation after you’ve put up the siding.

Are you ready now? Let’s get started with this next Big Question, since it really shows you why I had you do those lists in the first place…

Your Next Big Question…
What Did You Learn from the Last Three Questions?

You may not even have to think about this question.

After you put together your Power Lists of accomplishments, disappointments and things that held you back in 2006, the lessons learned could have already hit you square in the head like a 10 pound brick!

Don’t worry if that didn’t happen right away for you -We’re all different and what hits someone else right away may take a little longer to sink in with you.

I’m here today to make sure you fully learn from everything you’ve discovered about yourself and your business.

Learning From Everything You Did Last Year

So you’ve compiled your Power Lists of what went well last year, what could have gone better and what held you back.

Now it’s time to take a step back and learn something from each and every entry from all three lists.

Taking inventory of last year will not help if you can’t learn from your mistakes and your victories…

Don’t only look at the failures and victories from the day to day activities of your business, either…

You should learn from entries in your Power Lists from your personal life, too. Especially the things you found that are holding you back…

Then apply what you’ve learned to your business and your life right away.

For example, if you have been struggling to write sales copy for your business and are still getting poor results, it’s time to outsource this task.

And if you want to have a pile of money for you and your family – even though your grandmother has always told you that money is the root of all evil… you’ll need to resolve the confusion created by trying to achieve something your subconscious mind thinks deep down is wrong.

Even though you have learned what your mistakes and victories were last year, it may not be completely clear exactly how you should take this information and apply it to your business and your personal life.

Well that’s where the next Big Question I have for you comes in…

After you read my next post, you will be very clear about just how to apply what you’ve learned about yourself so you can indeed Make 2007 Your Best Year Ever!

To Higher Profits,

Rich Schefren
Strategic Profits