I want to share something with you. Starting my own business was scary — REALLY scary (but also exciting)!! When I decided to leave my legal career behind and start my first business 13 years ago, all I had was an idea (or several all at once but was unsure where to start), and a load of self-determination to actually try being a business owner.

difficultThe hard truth is… your first 3-5 years in business are typically the most challenging and the time when many amazing people simply give up. Many new business owners experience some, or ALL, of the following entrepreneurial fears:

  • “I have an idea but don’t know where to start”, or
  • “How do I even set up a proper/legal business structure?” or
  • “I’ve started my business but I’m spinning my wheels, feel frustrated and I’m losing money… I need to get a ‘real’ job…” or
  • “You know what… this is just too much for me, I’m not cut out to be my own boss.”

Well, I’m happy to tell you: First, you’re not alone, and second, you can absolutely get through the first 3-5 years and thrive with the right business guidance, information, planning, support and mindset. With expert support and training, you can create the success you envision and so much more.

be_the_star_of_your_lifeTo that end, I’m thrilled to announce the first LMGU “Self-Study” course that you can take at your own pace! The Successfully Self-Employed Semester is now an on-demand training program for newer business owners or anyone that is serious about starting a new business. This course offers all the required skills, knowledge and guidance for the newer entrepreneur/business owner (or an experienced business owner that wants to go back to basics or plug some missing holes in your business!).

So many people contacted me to say that they really need this entrepreneurial training program, but can’t take it at the exact time I offer it live. Therefore, by popular demand, SSES has been converted to a self-paced, on-demand, home study course.

And the entire program is affordable — only $499 — enabling you to get the training you need for your business without breaking the bank! (If you’re a member of NAPO or an LMGU Alumni, contact me for a special discount).

The SSES Self Study Program consists of 10 modules of audio recordings and handouts that are yours as soon as you purchase. You learn on your own time from the comfort of your home or office.

Topics covered will include:

  • Businesss Ownership
  • Business Identity and Branding
  • Legal Structure and Issues
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Networking and Public Relations
  • Sales, Pricing and Money Issues
  • Blueprinting Your Business Operations

Campus doors are open! Stop spinning your wheels to figure everything out yourself. Get the help you need to set up or grow your business so that you can be Successfully Self Employed.

To Your Success!

In the world of time management, we give a lot of weight to appointments that we set with other people, or events and meetings that we have to attend. We block them out on our calendar and then we make a commitment to show up unless there is a true emergency. And that is certainly a good thing. One would say we are practicing good time management techniques.

And yet, when it comes to making appointments with ourself, we don’t give them the same importance on our calendar. Indeed, most people put themselves last. That yoga class you wanted to take? Missed it again. Getting to bed on time so that you are well rested? Oops, that went out the window when you let something else take precedence over it. Sadly, most of us do not honor appointments with ourself!

me_timeWhen I speak on time management and productivity, I ask my audiences to name something that they don’t allow themselves enough of in their lives. The answers are almost always focused on simple pleasures like reading, sleeping, spending time with family, taking a bubble bath, going for a bike ride, etc. We crave more “me time” and yet we deprive ourselves of it on a daily basis.

We have the imagination to find creative ways to deny ourselves simple pleasures. You should hear the convoluted excuses high functioning, success-minded folks devise as to why they couldn’t possibly, say, sit and read a book for half an hour. It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad that they are denying themselves such basic human treats. Even though I know better, sometimes I catch myself doing the same thing.

Why do we do it? Sometimes it’s guilt, sometimes it’s low self-esteem (a sense that you don’t “deserve” a treat), sometimes it’s because you put everyone else’s needs first. Sometimes it’s a societal dictum or a limiting belief like, “I have to work hard and earn X before I deserve a treat.”

Whatever the reason, the truth is that not only do you deserve to treat yourself to simple pleasures – it’s essential for your health, well-being and creativity.

reading_bookHow can we change this? First, start by recognizing that you give your own appointments the short end of the stick on your calendar and in your own time management practices. Then not only resolve to change this, but act on that resolve. Block out the time on your calendar and then honor that appointment as if you made it with the most important person in your life. Why? Because you are an important person in your life! And you are worth it. Don’t skimp on time for your own personal and professional growth and development.

“But Lisa”, I hear you say, “I can’t possibly. I have too much to do. I don’t have enough time.”

Ask yourself this: What do you spend time doing that you really don’t enjoy – and that you really don’t have to be doing? What isn’t particularly healthy or helpful? What could you be doing less of, if you were honest with yourself?

Maybe you’re a workaholic spending many more hours working than is really required. Perhaps you spend time worrying or stressing or complaining (most people spend more time complaining how little time they have than doing anything about it). Maybe you don’t have systems set up so you are spending too much time doing tasks that could be streamlined. Maybe you’re wasting your evenings watching television programs you don’t really like that much anyway.

Whatever your day is like, you have an opportunity to do less of what you don’t want – and more of what you do want.

I invite you to engage in this rare, but powerful, time management treat. Look for opportunities to not only make some appointments with yourself… but honor those appointments! Trust me, you are worth it.

On Monday, January 26, 2015, I appeared on Fox 40 News Morning Show in Sacramento as a success/career coach to speak about how employees can ask for a raise. This was my second time appearing as a guest expert on this local television station, and they are talking about having me back in the spring again. I love partnering with them! They have a lot of fun in the studio and all seem to really enjoy their jobs.

Lisa-Fox_interviewI was interviewed by their newest anchor, Mae Fesai, and we had a lively, albeit short conversation (the segment is only approximately 2.5-3 minutes long). If you are interested in the state of unemployment (it’s getting better out there!), and how employees and employers can deal with giving (or not giving) raises in 2015, check it out. Feel free to pass it along to anyone that is in the workforce and may benefit from watching.

Watch the video below, or visit the Fox 40 News website.

Several courageous participants have accepted my offer to work on transforming their life by joining the La Dolce Vita Group Life Coaching Program. It could be writing a book, focusing on your health, improving your relationships, getting off the see-saw of life-work balance, reigniting some of your long-lost passions, or changing your career.

In each case, we have a destination that is unknown to us now. The adventure is in the journey, but also in knowing that you will come out “different” on the other side. Hopefully, a new and improved version of you. 🙂

take_controlEach member of the La Dolce Vita Program has set his or her goals. To get there requires vision, determination, consistency, and some fun too! By March 27th, all La Dolce Vita participants will have all earned their right to live The Sweet Life.

What will it be for you? In what way do you want things to be different?

You might think that it’s selfish to invest in yourself… (we will nip that in the bud with the No Negative Self Talk Rule!)

But your happiness depends on YOU…and you deserve it.

Join me for the La Dolce Vita 6-Week Group Life Coaching Program, starting Thursday, February 19, 2015 that will help you:

  • Evaluate what’s working and not working in your life, and identify areas for transformation.
  • Develop realistic and fun techniques to help you grow.
  • Use productivity in a proactive and positive way to set boundaries and better master your use of time and resources.
  • Overcome Cinderella’s Ugly Step Sisters: The 3 Blocks to Success (The Perfection Trap, The Comparison Trap and the Impostor Syndrome)
  • Get real about things you’ve said you really wanted to do and have in your life but never give yourself permission to implement.
  • Adopt a positive mindset and learn about cutting edge research on the power of happiness.
  • Learn effective tools for dealing with difficult, toxic or negative people (including you!).
  • Stop giving away your power to the Negative Nellies and Neds.
  • Recognize and exploit your own greatest assets.
  • Get comfortable with who you are vs. keeping up with the Joneses.
  • Balance preparing for the future with living well today in terms of financial wellness.
  • Get your house in order – literally and figuratively!
  • Learn the power of commitment and consistency.
  •  Tap into your passions, figure out what they are, and how to enjoy and manage them.

Here’s What You Will Get as Part of the La Dolce Vita Group Life Coaching Program:

  • 6 weeks of group coaching calls with me and your fellow La Dolce Vita group members covering powerful content to help you learn to live the La Dolce Vita lifestyle. These calls will be open line allowing for interaction and discussion.
  • Mp3 recordings of all calls – Can’t make the live calls? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded.
  • Course materials – We will use tools like Journaling, creating a Vision Board, my Wheel of Life exercise, along with tons of thought provoking questions, self assessment exercises, and content that will help you learn to practice La Dolce Vita techniques and incorporate them into  your life.
  • Private Facebook group – Where you can connect with other members, gather feedback, ask questions, AND have access to me during the entire program.
  • Special Bonuses – 2 of my fabulous audio programs, “How to Overcome the 3 Most Common Blocks to Living a Productive Life” and “Decision Making as a Means to Living a Satisfying Life & Enjoying a Successful Business.”
  • Opportunity for Private One-on-One Coaching at Discounted Rate – See section on Private Coaching Upgrade, which you can select at check out. All this for only $359!

BUT WAIT… if you register by February 12th, then you only pay the Early Bird Rate of $299.

That’s an amazingly affordable price to spend 6 weeks improving your life!

What are you waiting for? Come join La Dolce Vita now.

Ciao!

Lisa

PS – Portions of this program may qualify for Continuing Education Units (CEU) depending on your certification. For example, if you are a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO), some of the classes may be CEU eligible if you assist your clients with time and productivity management and life-work balance.

Do you…

… long to live a life of purpose and passion, that reflects your values AND desires?

… need permission to make your well-being, happiness, and self-care a priority?

… have fear that is still holding you back from going after what you want?

… feel tired of living your best life “in your head” and want to make it a reality in 2015?

Then you are in luck! Come learn how to live “The Sweet Life!”

Introducing the La Dolce Vita 6-Week Group Life Coaching Program from LMG University, starting on February 19, 2015.

Lisa-Sean-ItalyThis isn’t just any group life coaching program. It’s based on content taken from my concept of La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life), a nd will help you bring the passion and zest back to your life.

The content is based on my research (and background!) of Italian culture, positive psychology and happiness, years of coaching clients holistically to integrate life-work balance, and my own personal lifestyle. My life is a work in progress, and sharing my own personal experience, and that of the hundreds of clients I have been privileged to work with, is part of the La Dolce Vita process.

Stop settling for good enough because you are worried if you go for great that people will think you are too big for your britches. It is time to step into your power and claim the life you know you are truly meant to live!

How much longer are you willing to wait? How much time are you willing to sacrifice? When will you decide that you deserve to be really happy and live The Sweet Life?

If you are committed to making regular “deposits” in areas of your life that have been neglected and feed them what they need to grow and prosper, then join me for La Dolce Vita.

Topics we’ll address in the 6 weeks:

checkbox Crazy Busy Is Not a Badge of Honor: Positive and Proactive Productivity
checkbox Prioritizing Self Care: Let Go, Say No, and Make You a Priority
checkbox Become a Passionista! How to Tap Into Your Passions & Manage Them
checkbox Don’t Be a See-Saw Anymore: Go Beyond Balance and Engage in Life-Work Integration
checkbox Mind, Body & Soul: Health & Fitness, Personal Spirituality
checkbox C’Mon Get Happy: The Power of Positivity
checkbox Connection & Relationships: Romance, Friends & Family, Say No to Toxic Relationships and Negative Nellies & Neds
checkbox Financial Wellness: Preparing for the Future, While Still Living Well Today
checkbox And more!

italy-vineyardMany people have been asking me to share this type of content and create a program like this for years. And I am thrilled to finally be able to share it with you. But I don’t want fiances to keep you from living a La Dolce Vita life! So I have kept this program affordable.

Early Bird Rate is $299 until 2/12; $359 thereafter (there’s even a 2 pay option available if you need to spread payments out).

Go to lisamontanaro.com/ladolcevita/a for details and to register.

Hope to help you live a La Dolce Vita kind of life this year!

PS – Portions of this program may qualify for Continuing Education Units (CEU) depending on your certification. For example, if you are a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO), some of the classes may be CEU eligible if you assist your clients with time and productivity management and life-work balance.

I love to work with business owners on a mission.

My clients are not men and women who are complacent with the status quo. They KNOW they are meant to do something important.

They see something they want and are looking for support to go and get it. “It” can be a boost in their business or a change in their lifestyle – the common denominator is passion and vision.

Which is why I am so excited to work with the men and women I am privileged to call my clients.

My current client roster includes business owners who are looking to make a difference in:

  • Arts
  • Technology
  • Law
  • Productivity
  • Relocation
  • Finance
  • Personal Image & Style
  • Entertaining and Enlightening audiences
  • Interior Environments
  • Non-Profit Consulting/Mediation
  • Marketing
  • Social Work

. . . and many other disciplines and industries. I know how to create a life for myself that is balanced, energizing, fulfilling and helpful to others. One of the ways I do this is by limiting my practice to a manageable number of clients and groups.

PowerUpI will be starting the 6-month PowerUp Your Business Group Coaching & Mastermind Program on January 6th for a small, special group of business owners who are passionate and know what they want, and who desire to become a part of a committed group to reach their vision. That’s my promise.

If you’re ready to make a commitment to yourself that sounds something like: “This is my time, my year, my turn to make it happen,” then join me and watch “it” come to fruition.

Check out all of the details here.

BONUS! If you sign up for Platinum Coaching with me, you get PowerUp at reduced rates. Contact me for the details.

Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

carpe_diemI’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY).
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” bicyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.

My word for 2015 is Adventure. It came to me the other day very easily when I started thinking about the year ahead. My husband finishes his 3-year veterinary residency and we will do some traveling in the United States and Europe, enjoying some long-awaited quality time together. We will also be researching and considering our options for the future in terms of where we will live next. My one word theme of Adventure will be both a comforting and powerful reminder to stay intellectually curious, seek out new adventures, try new experiences, shake up the status quo, live each moment to the fullest, and savor each drop of my life.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experienced a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you! The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year.

life_is_too_shortAnd by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We need a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word or theme for 2015? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments on my blog so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

I’m writing this to you while taking a break from implementing some fabulous ideas in my business that I gleaned from attending a live event with one of my high level coaches, and doing private work with her. Yes, I get coached and trained too! Sometimes this surprises people because, hey, I run a very successful business… why would I need to have a coach? Well, because I run a very successful business! 🙂 I’m not trying to be a smart aleck when I say that either. Every good coach has a coach, and believes in the model of getting coached and trained in order to reach higher levels of success.

you_dont_knowThe truth is that “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Which means I would never be able to live my passion and serve my peeps without focused high-level support, consistent realignment with my vision, and guidance on how to grow my comp any and serve my clients.

I hope you have a support system in place for the work you are doing! If not, when are you going to make that happen?

Well, how about this January 6th when I launch the new PowerUp Your Business Group Coaching & Mastermind Program! Check out all of the details and fill out an application here.

But don’t wait too long as the early bird rate ends tomorrow… so take fast action if you know this is right for you!

Check out all of the details here.

BONUS! If you sign up for Platinum Coaching with me, you get PowerUp at reduced rates. Contact me for the details .

2015 is Almost Here!

Well, 2015 is almost upon us! To me, just saying the year 2015 makes me laugh as we used to say dates like that and talk about “the future” like it was something out of The Jetsons (if you have no idea what I am talking about, you are too young to get it!). And meanwhile, “the future” is here. My does time fly.

So what will many people be doing this week during the New Year celebration (besides putting on silly hats, going to parties, drinking a lot, and watching the big Times Square ball drop on television)? They will be making New Year’s resolutions!!! And not just making them, but obsessing over them.

Don’t obsess over New Year’s resolutions! Instead, just think of things that put you into flow mode and ways you can “come alive” in the new year. What can you do more of that when you’re doing it you don’t even notice time is passing and are glad you’re doing that activity over anything else? That’s what I want more of in my life in 2015 and I wish for you.

For me, I want to read more for pleasure (not just for business!), and write more (for business and pleasure). When I’m doing both of those things, I definitely go into flow mode. I plan to write in my journal more, write more blog posts and articles, and start writing my second book.

I also plan to read, read, read… Without so much guilt! I love reading and for some reason the last year or two when I sit down to read, I sometimes feel guilty. (That puritanical work ethic rearing its ugly head!) So my plan for 2015 is to read and write with pleasure, and remind myself how important those two hobbies are to me, and how worthwhile they are of my time.

Now it’s your turn. What do you want more of in your life in the new year? How can you “come alive” more in the new year? Ponder that as we cross over into a new year.

Happy New Year!