Change Your Destiny in 2011

What if you set a goal and this year vowed to really make it happen?

For years I dreamed of being self-employed, but a multitude of things got in my way. First it was money: I had none. Next it was support, and there was none. Experience, management and skills were also lacking. Everyone I spoke to said I was crazy to leave my career as a lawyer and become self-employed in retail.

OK, they had a point, but it was my duty not to listen to them since I had a "vision." I didn't know a lot at that point, but I was sure I had the talent. I had no product knowledge or employees, but I had drive -- and that was enough.

Of course, that wasn't all it took. I networked 24/7, slept with the phone in my bed just in case a customer called. I learned the business literally overnight.

That was my New Year's resolution. And within two years, I was bringing in more than $2 million annually working out of my basement (often in my pajamas). How does an educated but inexperienced woman enter the marketplace of retail and franchising, and succeed? I had the will to make it work and a resolution that seemed to make sense to me. That's all that mattered; the rest is history.

The beginning of a new year gives us all a boost of energy and the incentive to start again. With January upon us, we can shed our memories of bad jobs, bad bosses and an embarrassing salary. We can be in charge of our destination from Jan. 1 on. There is something refreshing about a day that gives us permission to reevaluate our current status.

New Year's resolutions are always made with the best of intentions. The question is whether we are making resolutions because we think we should or because it's that routine, annual "thing we do." Answering yes to either of those questions won't provide you with the drive necessary to succeed. What if this year you made a resolution to succeed because you want to? What if you take that one idea you know will work and bring it to fruition?

Here come the excuses: not enough money, support or experience. Maybe not, but you can plan, study and implement, using that burning desire to become self-employed or to expand that hobby or interest you've been threatening to develop into a business. Only you can make it happen, and 2011 might be your time. Taking the "big step" can be excruciating -- it was for me -- but each time I decided to forge ahead, so did my little company. That "little" company eventually expanded to 510 franchises worldwide.

Many ask me if luck was a factor. Sure it was: I was lucky enough to realize I had a vision that could be successful. So consider this your "year of success." Get a plan, modify it, consult experts, then dive in when you are ready -- but not until you're sure you have everything in place. There will be nothing to compare with the feeling you experience when you make your first sale or appointment.

I made my first sale in an elevator, because I spoke about my products to anyone who would listen. One gentleman said, "You certainly believe in your product." I responded, "I have to, or you might not see the true value of what I am offering." He smiled, and I made my first sale. This gentleman was a vice president of a major brokerage firm. He recommended my services to his staff and acquaintances and, over the next few months, my company became a preferred vendor for Hilton Hotels and Boston Market. A writeup in the Wall Street Journal followed.

The vision you have will be like no one else's. The work ethic you place into your idea will be as unique as you are. The energy and passion you perceive as being among your best assets will serve you well. Make this your time to thrive and achieve.

I wish you all a prosperous New Year and the success you desire.

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