Why appearances really DO matter (especially if it’s chocolate!)

‘There’s something that isn’t quite right’, I said to my friend, who I was visiting over Christmas, ‘not sure what it is though’.
‘I know what you mean. I wonder what it is?’
‘Actually, I think it might be the fact that we don’t have a BOX of chocolates!’
‘What?  We’ve got loads of chocolate!’
‘Yes, but it’s not in a box!’

It was true. We had lots of bars of chocolate and very nice stuff at that. But we didn’t have a box. So on Boxing Day (no pun intended!) on our way to a lovely walk up by Tarn Hows in the Lake District, we stopped at a garage and bought ourselves a beautiful box of chocolates.

Later that day, some friends came by for an evening of game playing. They brought a huge box of chocolates which they’d already opened, but there were lots left.  Lucky us, now two boxes!

‘Oh no!’ said Jenny, as the new box fell to the carpet and all the chocolates fell out. ‘I didn’t realize it was already open.  Well, I’ll just get a bowl and put them all in that’.

And that’s how we discovered that chocolates need to be in a box. Because what had looked lovely before in their special display packaging, looked very ordinary indeed in the bowl. Not particularly appetizing looking, we couldn’t see the nice little decoration on top of each chocolate, and they clearly needed the packaging to set them off.

‘Oh my goodness!  We really are paying for the packaging, and even when we know that, when it’s so obviously demonstrated, we don’t mind!  We actually WANT the chocolates in a box!  Perhaps not for every day, but definitely for a special occasion’.

And how often do we complain about the packaging, and having to pay for it?

This reminded me of the importance of a great frame to complement a good painting. I’m aware of this in particular because I was brought up by two artists, so I have an eye for this kind of thing. So often a lovely picture is ruined because the mount and/or the frame are not bringing out the full potential of the painting.

And that reminds me of why it’s important to package what you offer in an attractive manner. If you’re running a business, packaging is essential even if it’s for a service. But you could just be talking about your self – why else do you pay attention to how you dress when you want to make an impression?

Actually we pay attention to appearances all the time – you spruce up your home when someone comes visiting or you’re preparing to sell; you clean your car before your mother in law comes to visit; you clean up the kitchen at the end of the day because you like it to look fresh and welcoming first thing in the morning.  But it’s particularly prevalent when it comes to selling anything.

Whether we like it or not, even when we realize we are paying for packaging, sometimes that is exactly what is needed in order to present our wares in the most attractive and tempting manner possible. Even when the buyer knows this is what is going on, they are still willing to pay for that, especially when for whatever reason, it’s a special occasion.

So – think about the packaging of what you’re offering in the next situation when it’s appropriate. Do you want to give the chocolates in a box?  In a bowl? Or just a bar of chocolate? They all have their place – but what do YOU want to be offering?

Do you have a business or are you in a J.O.B?

How does the word ‘business’ make you feel?  On the recent Wild Wealth Programme one thing that emerged was something I’ve seen over many years in this profession. It’s the effect this word has on many solo professionals.

When I had our complementary health clinic, there were few practitioners who considered themselves as anything other than ‘having a private practice’.   Some even described what they did as ‘just seeing a few clients’.

When you don’t think you are running a business, then it’s very likely you don’t conduct your financial affairs in a business like manner. This then means that it’s likely you won’t have a separate bank account for your business, that you trade your time for money, that you maybe don’t even pay yourself. These are not great things if you are wanting to build a sustainable business!

So today I’m asking you one of the questions from the Wild Wealth programme.

When you consider the statement ‘I am a successful business person’, how do you feel, what kinds of thoughts go through your mind?

How you respond to this statement will tell you something both about your idea of business and your idea of success.   Post your response by clicking on the number at the top right hand of the post, I’d love to hear from you!

And while we’re about it, here’s a few more illuminating questions:

  • Do you do all you can to limit the amount of money you bring in so you don’t have to pay any tax?
  • When do you pay yourself – after all the other bills, or are you top of your list of priorities?
  • Do you consider your only source of income to be that from your business?

All of these questions will tell you about how you view not only your business, but your wealth creating capacity.

The more successful practitioners in our clinic almost invariably did consider they were running a business, and often had the back up to help them do that, whether that be part-time administrative help, book-keeping, coaching or other advisers.  And part-time could be literally a couple of hours a week, or sometimes even less. But the great thing was, they had a business mindset.

So do you have a business mindset? Or are you really in a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke). Because if you’re in the second category, you’ll never be able to really reap the benefits of owning and running a real business, such as most of what you do being tax deductible; knowing exactly what the numbers in your business are saying, to help you make decisions; or making a profit and being able to do what you like with that.

One of the first things you can do to take you further with developing your business is to pay attention to your money – start to love it, that’s what paying attention is about! You can do this by using the Radical Income Welcome Toolkit, which if you have already bought, I wonder are you actually using?

The Toolkit enables you to start to think about your money in a radically different way, a way that lets you love it for what it is, as well as what it can do for you. You’ll be able to identify your Money Comfort Level, and also be putting into practice a very simple but really effective method of welcoming in more income.   All of which is essential of course to a growing business!

If you haven’t already bought it, I invite you to do so now – here’s the link. It’s incredibly good value, check it out now and see what I mean!

How exactly your body language affects your business.


First of all, thanks to everyone who signed up for my Wild Wealth Pilot Programme!  We have just started – if you missed it and want to join in you can, for just the next few days. Sign up here.

Now, what was I doing standing outside a seminar room this week, with my hands on my hips, breathing deeply?  I was practicing a new technique, before entering to practice a pitch to a roomful of entrepreneurial women in Inverness, with a new organization, Investing Women.

Bonnie Clarke of Badenoch and Clark was one of the speakers on the seminar and told us about my gift to you today – this inspiring video by Amy Cuddy. It’s a TED talk, 20 minutes to watch, and it will change your perception of yourself, change how you present yourself, and change your life – if you let it!

So even if you think you haven’t got 20 minutes to watch it right now – I dare you to take the time anyway, it will be worth it!  (And then you can practice how it feels to stand with your hands on your hips for 2 minutes and see what happens!)

Let me know what you think – leave your comments below.

Struggling vs Playing – how much are you doing of either?


‘Oh goodness, this is so hard!’

‘ I can’t do it!’

‘How come I can’t do it?’

Struggling. It’s just not nice, is it?  When you try so, so hard, doing everything right (apparently) and still you don’t get the results you want. And it’s not fair, either – after all that hard work, why isn’t it working?  You can’t understand it, and maybe you go back over what you’ve done, trying to work out (there’s that word ‘trying’ again), wanting to know what went wrong, how you can learn from it.

Or maybe you just give up.

Or worse, decide there must be something wrong with you, something lacking, as everyone else seems to be able to do it OK.

This used to be me, this last one. I was sure that everyone else had ‘it’ (sometimes I still fall into that trap J), that there was something I just wasn’t getting that would mean I would suddenly be catapulted into the world of stardom. Continue reading