Category Archives for "Carol’s Stuff"

Letting Go Is Never Easy

Woman_Releasing_BirdSending our children off is one of those bittersweet moments.

We love them, we encourage them, we support them, we nurture them, we inspire them to be the best they can be… and then we have to let them go.

However, as we’re doing all the above, we never think about how much it’s going to hurt.

I’m crying just typing this but when we’ve done a great job being a parent, mentor, advisor, teacher, cheerleader, confidant, adversary, shit-upon-person — all in preparation so they can be better than we were at their age — it still hurts as we watch them take those next steps.

We still worry. We never stop worrying….

But, as we have proven to our parents, they (and we) survive.

Yes, we all have bumps in the road.

We all have heartbreak and WTF stupidity at times.

However, we each follow our own path.  It’s often windy and sometimes rather f*cked up but it’s our path nonetheless.

And our role now becomes almost redundant — never completely but certainly not the same.

We are free to be us again and to follow the dreams we couldn’t do earlier.

It’s our time to shine in our own greatness, through experience and heartache, joy and utter gratitude for bringing beautiful people into this world who are embarking on their journey while we create our legacy project (whatever that may be).

Sending you hugs Moms and Dads


When Purpose and Passion Collide

I’m bursting with excitement!

I’ve been on quite a long drawn-out journey to reinvent myself and my business, doing bits of this and bits of that in a personal sense and a business sense.

A few years ago, I had some unexplainable urges to do things I had never done before.

Carol Wain and Jay Conrad LevinsonThe first was to write a book with Jay Conrad Levinson. The offer was made on a webinar and about 2 weeks later I had cashed in retirement funds and airline points to attend a Guerrilla Marketing Intensive in his home. I spent the next 9 months painstakingly writing the Guerrilla Tourism Marketing book which I published on 12-12-12…. and it changed my life.

The following year, I had an even stronger urge to go to the World Domination Summit — I didn’t even really know what it was all about — I saw a post on Facebook about tickets being sold by those who couldn’t attend and I knew I had to go.

It was at this event where I had the weirdest experience of my life — the presenter was talking about something — no idea what anymore — and then he switched gears. His wife joined him onstage and together they directed us to clear our laps, to close our eyes, to say a validation to ourselves then put down our baby finger on our left hand. We were to say this validation 10x, ending up with the baby finger on our right hand.

I was thrown by this — my lap was full of stuff and it took me a while to get my act together. By the time I could join in we were all the way to our middle finger right hand. I said something and put down that finger. Nope, that wasn’t it.

I then said to myself “I’ve been chosen to reinvent lives globally” and said “Yes, that feels right.”

I then said it one last time emphasizing “chosen“.

I don’t know what hit me but something very powerful hit me like a tsunami.

I immediately burst into tears. I couldn’t explain what happened but fortunately the many strangers I randomly shared with were kind enough to listen so I could calm down.

Carol Wain with Tess Vigeland

Carol Wain with Tess Vigeland

After the break I chose to sit up front, on the aisle, and the presenter bee-lined off the stage, walked up to me and asked me who I was and what I did.

The funny thing is that she had been talking about how she’d quit her job at the NPR without a safety net.

She didn’t know why she had to do it but she did and now everyone — including herself — thought she was nuts! When I replied “I’m Carol Wain, Queen of Reinvention and I help people just like you to reinvent your life” she was gob-smacked. (well, many people were, myself included!)

This long story is the set-up to my excitement.

It’s been a few years since then and I have taken many steps forward and many steps backward.

I was spinning my wheels doing things but not making the kind of difference I am capable of.

Late last year I was speaking to a friend about why I felt I wasn’t as successful as I had been in the past and the answer was simple. Discipline and Accountability — nothing more, nothing less. I had heaps more of both when I was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year for 2003 — and at the time I had an 8 year old and a 12 year old.

We decided to become Accountability partners.

Well, since then my world has changed.

I asked the Universe to help me come up with something that was bigger than me and bigger than my existing brands. I asked for something that would reinvent lives globally.

I’d been playing in the Reinvention space for quite a while. In fact, I’ve interviewed a few of you, my readers, for my Reinvention Show and/or my Women’s Reinvention Summit. I knew that I didn’t want to be in life coaching and that business was where I needed to play.

When I woke up one morning with 2 words in my head, I knew it was what I have to do.

Glowing green globeI’m starting a movement which teaches and shows business leaders how to create organizations which positively impact the people who support their business, their communities and the planet. This organization will take the best parts of all I’ve experienced to create a global community of leaders who reinvent their businesses to transform lives.

The website and business concept are being finalized now. I’m so excited about this that I’m barely sleeping these days…




Lessons learned:

1. I am enough. I have whatever I need inside me already.
2. Surround yourself with great people who collaborate and co-create, support and encourage you.
3. Be giving — my accountability partners received from me before I asked of them.
4. Spend time getting in touch with yourself, your dreams, your vision, core values, strengths and weaknesses, passion and purpose. Then build upon it.
5. Add value, always
6. Be profitable and use some of that profit to enrich the lives of others while protecting our planet.
7. The best currency is great relationships.

This was a long post… hope it inspires you.

Haven’t You Left Yet?

When we bought our rig last August, our intention was to tour North America for a couple of years.   A whole year later we’ve been asked quite a few times “What happened?”

Ahhh, this past year has been a year of transition like we’ve never had before.

We bought the rig on impulse last August 20th.  We’d never seen inside a modern RV before – let alone one that was 40’ tip to tip – and when we saw this one we said to ourselves “Yes, this is how we are going to transition from living in a house to travelling the world while we work.”Dream

The problem was we hadn’t planned how we were going to pay for this lifestyle – which if you are living it you know, it can be (and for us it is) actually more expensive than staying in your house!  I’ll write a blog post about this later.

Being the entrepreneur I am, I thought I’d create some courses and sell them online.  I’d also pick up consulting work along the way by speaking at associations and Chambers of Commerce and hosting workshops.

Or so I thought…

When I started to write my first course I realized it was more like a college course than an online course.  The content was meaty and definitely not the entry level kind of product most online course creators sell.  I felt it would be a hard sell and I’d lose too many people along the way and I wanted neither of those things to happen.

I stopped writing, regrouped and am now in the process of creating a new strategy for my courses and consulting work which I plan to have finalized within a couple of weeks.

Then there was the problem of our house.  After we bought the rig, we’d put the house on the market.  We thought it would sell quickly but it didn’t.  We’d received some lowball offers but we weren’t going to entertain them.  We had been landlords for over 10 years, so we decided to rent it out.

What a mistake that was!

We paid more in legal fees in the first couple of months than we collected in rent!

With the tenant on a one-year lease and laws which protect the tenant more than they protect the landlord, we had to figure out a way to get her out.  Fortunately, I have a good sense of people and their hotspots (after all, I’ve owned an incentive company, which incents, recognizes and rewards people who behave in a certain way for nearly 20 years).

I knew this tenant didn’t like people in “her space”.  She had been very uncooperative with giving us access to do our inspections and maintenance.  Therefore, I guessed correctly that she would really hate having people through the house a few times a week.

I informed her that we were going to put the house on the market and told her what the expectations were for allowing realtors to show the place.  We also told her that if she wanted out of the lease we’d understand.  It worked and within a few hours of giving her notice, she’d replied and said she wanted out.  Yahoo!!   But we had to move back into the house until it sold 4 months later.2015-02-27 07.21.49

These two practical items weren’t the biggest issue though.

A few days before my 50th birthday, I ended up in the ER and our first big trip (to California for 3 weeks over Christmas and New Years) had to be cancelled.  I am still bummed about that – I’d booked everything and we had tickets to see the Canucks playing in Anaheim and in San Jose.

Fortunately, the move back into the house was at the same time as I was unable to travel, so it wasn’t all bad… just a blip…. And a convenient one because it was winter.

When we accepted an offer on both our house and our rental property in March, we started madly renovating the RV to our taste.   We had one month to do the renovations and if you’ve seen the posts on the Wains World website, it was a biggie!

We learned NOT try to downsize, renovate and move out of your house while also working.  The pressure was IMMENSE and we ran into one problem after the other, which delayed the project by weeks.

2015-04-05 09.15.55We ended up moving into a hotel for a few days until we left for Jamaica for a month to have a vacation and experience another little taste of what our nomadic lifestyle would be like.

But this chapter of our lives wasn’t over yet…

When we got back to our fulltime RVing lives I realized I really didn’t like not owning real estate.  The market had gone crazy right after we sold and I was worried we’d end up spending all the equity we’d acquired and we’d never get back into the market – should we ever want to.

So, on a Wednesday in May, I told Steve I’d like to buy a condo so our daughter had a place to stay while she finished her university.  The next day we were on the ferry to the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, BC) and the day after we’d bought a condo.

Next item on the to-do list was to renovate it.  Again, there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with it… it just wasn’t to our taste.2015-06-16 22.11.29

And that’s when the next “surprise” happened.

After waiting for nearly a year to have his mitral valve repaired Steve got a surgery date.  Guess what date?  Yup, the day before we were to take possession.  Uggh.

Fortunately, we were able to move the possession date up by a week and so round 2 of mad renovations was about to begin.  The day after we moved in, we started to rip up the carpet.   Talk about craziness!  We hadn’t even received formal authorization from the strata council but we couldn’t wait.

Steve and Lauren were in charge of demolition.  I was in charge of sourcing everything – including new furniture and lots of other stuff we’d just given away or sold for pennies.

… and then the surgery was postponed.

In a way it was appreciated because there was no way we were going to get the floor down in a week, let alone everything else done.

However, the delay meant that we had to go back to the island, get the rig out of storage, find a RV park with availability (easier said than done) and Steve went back to work.

2015-08-26 15.30.32After a few more surgery dates which came and went, Steve finally had his surgery on July 28th (5 weeks after the first date) and we moved into the condo with Lauren for his recovery time.

We were also able to get one last boating trip in… and Lauren got up on the wakeboard on her first day!

Even though it didn’t work out the way we thought it would, it was all good in the end.

As I type this blog post, we’re on day 7 of our first road trip and I’m writing as Steve drives over the Coquihalla.

Steve is doing well and he’s got the okay to travel.

I’m finally able to get back on track business wise as well.

The Universe has a remarkable way of making things right, all in due time.

Are you living your dreams?  Have you made big plans then had to postpone them but you’ve never given up on them?  Share below in the comments…


Living Your Dreams

Well, we’ve done it — we’ve sold our rental property and our house.  For the first time since 1992, I haven’t owned any real estate (and at one point we had 3 homes).  We decided to go all-in with our location independent lifestyle.  As I type this, I’m sitting on the patio of a condo I rented in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

We sold 99% of our belongings for pennies on the dollar.  All those treasures I’d found over our 20+ years together are gone.  The high-end stuff that we bought when business was booming is gone.  The masks I bought as we travelled the world are gone.  Photo albums are gone (I kept a few of them but basically no photos of our lives before we met.)

My walk-in closet has been reduced to a 4′ wide closet which I share with Steve and the stuff that was in the hall closet in the house.

I have to remind myself “it’s just stuff”.  It’s stuff that we actually don’t need.  It’s stuff that weighs us down.  It’s stuff that we have to let go so we can follow our dreams.
DreamI’ve been longing for this type of lifestyle for years.  My first mentor had me write out a list of what I wanted for my life and one of the items on it is “living where I want to live”.  I wrote that because Steve was in the military at that time and we’d just received a posting that neither of us wanted.  We knew that we would be posted one day, and that’s why I created a flexible, portable business right from the start — we just felt like we were being punished when we were posted to this particular base — so Steve quit and we decided we’d figure out the pension side of things later.

When the effects of the 2008 / 2009 economy nearly destroyed my business, I moved my office back home after all my employees quit one by one.   I was in a really dark place for a while.  My pity party went on far too long.  I was lost, confused and lacked confidence for quite a while.

When I started to pull myself back together and figure out what I wanted, the dream of living where I want to live while I continue to make money resurfaced.   I took myself through an exercise that I ask my clients to do — imagine your ideal lifestyle and your ideal day.

Document with such clarity that an actor and director could reenact this day — from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed.  Where are you?  Who are you with?  What does your bedroom look like?  What type of accommodation are you living in?  What do you smell? See? Feel? Taste?  What do you do in the day?  Who do you talk to?  … and so on…

My ideal day takes place in a villa in Tuscany.  I am living a jet-setting lifestyle and I’m making money as an entrepreneur, author, speaker and consultant. I have a few brands and they are managed by an excellent leadership team.   I am a subject matter expert on reinvention — both personal and business — and I get paid well to help others do the same.  (There’s more to it than this but this is the simplified version.)

With our eldest daughter settled in her job and talking of plans to buy a house with her boyfriend and our youngest daughter starting her second year of university, Steve and I started talking about bringing this dream to life.  I wanted to sell everything and travel the world with nothing more than a backpack.  While this is not unusual if you are in your 20’s or 30’s, we are 50.    We are “supposed” to be using this time in our lives to pay off our mortgage and build up our retirement fund.   We decided we’d rather enjoy being together and travelling the world while we still have our health.  We’ll figure the rest out later.

2014-09-11 16.13.15Steve wasn’t quite ready to have nothing though.  He needed an in-between.  A place for his stuff, a place to call “home”.

Last summer we bought the “Bellagio” a 2012, Montana Big Sky 3585sa from a couple we met at our eldest daughter’s horse show.  We had never been inside a RV before and we were blown away at how spacious they are — 2 TVs, fridge, convection/microwave and a shower… we were so green… haha!

We moved into the rig (I still don’t know why they are called rigs and now it’s a bit embarrassing to ask) at the end of August with the intention of travelling North America for 2 years before selling it and moving overseas until we get bored and want to come home.  It didn’t quite work though as our tenant was a problem and we ended up breaking the lease and moving back into the house in December.   We put the house on the market back then too.

When we accepted the offer on the house in early February, we decided to bite the bullet and renovate the rig.  There was nothing wrong with it, except it wasn’t to our taste.  It was 50 shades of brown and I’m more of a 50 shades of grey kind of person (no, not in “that” way).

2014-09-11 16.41.10We figured, it’s only about 400 square feet, so how much time would it take to install a washer/dryer combo unit, rip out the carpet, paint all the walls and cabinets, install vinyl laminate and replace the bathroom vanity?

I can honestly say we have never underestimated the scope of a project as badly as we did this one.  It’s been 2 months of many hours each day on work days and full days on days off.

We got as much as we could get done together, done before I left but there was so much more to do.  We couldn’t move the rig from our friend’s driveway because it was still torn apart.  We obviously couldn’t move into it when we moved out of the house.  So since March 26th, Steve has been living in a hotel and busting his butt trying to get the rig back together before joining me here.  I hope he is able to leave it knowing that he’ll be able to move it and move into it when he goes back home — I’m here for a month and he’s here for 18 days.

The transition hasn’t been as smooth as we hoped but it is what it is.  We’re now living our dreams.  We’ve started our new chapter.

I can’t think of a better way to spend our 20th wedding anniversary than back in the place where we got married and started creating dreams together.

Are you living your dreams?  Share below in the comments…

If Time and Money Were No Consideration

Antique clock and coins on wooden table on dark color



My friend Lynne Sagen posted a question on Facebook “If money or time were no consideration I would…”

I didn’t have to think about it at all because I learned long ago that time and money are two of the most common excuses for not doing or committing to something.

“I don’t have the money” is the most common excuse.  Oh yes, you do have the money — it’s somewhere and you will find it or earn it if you are committed to whatever it is that requires that money.

If you have the opportunity to change your life and you are committed to changing your life, you will find a way.  That’s what commitment is all about.

I found a way myself when the opportunity to write a book with Jay Conrad Levinson arose.  Becoming an author was never in my bucket list but when the opportunity arose, a part of me said “You’ve got to do this.  You have to find the money to become certified and to take time off to write the book.”  I was still reeling from the downturn in my business and the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars from three failed software attempts.  However, I made it work — I cashed retirement funds and I used frequent flier points and I was at his home about 2 weeks later.  Becoming an author changed my life.

Now don’t get me wrong here.  I’m not advocating for reckless spending.  If you say “I don’t have the money for those ridiculously expensive shoes that I’ll wear once because they will kill my feet.” that’s smart but the real reason you choose not to buy those shoes is because you don’t want or need them.  You may not have the money but don’t make it about the money.  If you change your excuse to say “These shoes aren’t for me”, then you aren’t making an excuse, you are making a statement.  Choose your words wisely.

time-to-reinventThe second excuse is “I don’t have the time”.  Again, I’ve used this one many times.  “I don’t have time to go to the gym.”  “I don’t have time to volunteer.”  “I don’t have time to head home and make a healthy lunch before my afternoon appointments.”  The reality is I have time — and you do too.  If you don’t want to do something be honest with yourself and instead say “I don’t want to go to the gym.”  “I don’t want to volunteer.”  “I prefer to have fries and a burger at the fast food restaurant.”   The decision doesn’t change but the story you are telling yourself and the message you are sending does.

The last excuse is energy.  “I don’t have the energy to do that.”  This excuse is a bit different but it’s still an excuse.  We tend to take on too much.  We don’t set strong boundaries for ourselves or for others.  We have demanding jobs which suck us dry at times.  We don’t take care of our health.  We make money and time excuses for eating properly and working out.

Instead if we made a conscious effort to understand what our ideal lifestyle looks like, what our ideal day looks like, we will start to make decisions to lead us there.  We’ll set boundaries.  We’ll turn off the TV and go to the gym or make a healthy meal or go to bed.  We’ll stop doing things which drain us.  We’ll start doing things which give us energy and fulfill us.  We’ll switch the excuse to be a statement.  “That doesn’t interest me.” or  “I’ve chosen to focus on this instead.”  are powerful statements rather than excuses.

Choose your words wisely.  Don’t make excuses.  Make empowered statements instead.

My Reinvention Process is S.U.P.E.R.

Stop doing what no longer works for youReInventYourself

Understand where you are now, how you got here, where you want to go and what you need to get you there

Plan your reinvention

Execute your plan

Readjust as necessary

Here’s How I Responded to Lynne

Never stop travelling sharing my message that we business leaders can and should change lives in a positive way —

Our lives by being in better alignment with our businesses;

Our families lives because when we’re doing what we are meant to do and loving our lives we are less stressed, wealthier, happier, healthier and we can take our love for life and deliver happiness, safety, security and fun to others too;

Our customers lives because we deliver the solution they need to positively impact their lives and we deliver it consistently according to our brand promise so that our customers know what to expect every time (which lessens their stress too);

Our employees lives because we use our strong vision, mission, purpose, values and passion to attract the right employees to help us get there AND we treat those employees with respect, admiration and appreciation.

Our community because we share our insight and success with other leaders and employees to help lift them too and exponentially enrich the lives of others.

I could go on forever because I’m soooo passionate about this but I’ll stop now and spare you all

I said to hubby that even if I win the lottery I’d still do what I do, I’d just be able to do it in a bigger way right now. I have 2 passports good for the next 10 years, so this is what I’m working towards regardless of time and money considerations.

What would you do if time and money were no consideration?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Travel — One of the Best Reinvention Tools

Travel-Package-TypesWhat is it about traveling to far off destinations that is so ingrained in our humanity?  From the beginning of time, our species has traveled to populate the planet.  Later, explorers set off to discover “new worlds” and today travelling from one continent to another can be achieved in less than a day.  But why do we travel?  Many of us travel for business and although it may seem glamorous to be in Monterrey, Montreal and Montreux in the same month, this isn’t the type of travel I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the type of travel where you come back a “new person”.  Travel where you’ve rejuvenated your mind, your body and your soul.  Travel where you experienced new cultures, new foods and new ways of doing things.  Travel where you leave your comfort zone and stretch yourself and travel where you witness innovation and ingenuity, which inspires you to change elements in your life and/or business.

Travel takes us out of our box — literally!  The box that is our life, home, our office, our community.  It is one of the best and most fun reinvention tools I know of.  If you are stuck in a rut, get out of it by travelling somewhere you’ve never been before.  The more it unsettles you, the better it will be for your reinvention!

But, don’t just jump on a plane and go half-way around the world and expect the comforts of home.  This type of travel is a change of scenery but it doesn’t give you the total experience you could have by immersing yourself in your new surroundings.    If you cannot bring yourself to jump in with both feet and live with the locals, at least spend some time during your stay getting to see what life is like for them.  Gain an appreciation for those who live in your chosen community.  How is their life similar to yours?  How does it differ?  What can you learn?

I’ll never forget walking through a favela in Rio de Janeiro, seeing the gorgeous little white dresses hung to dry across the streets.   I saw pride in those little dresses — I imagined the Mom getting her little girl ready in her Sunday-Best to go to church.  The families who live in this favela are very poor.  It’s dusty and smelly and there are signs of violence everywhere, yet these families are proud.

As an aside, while we were walking down the street our tour guide paid no attention to the car that passed us.  Inside, the passenger in the front seat had a machine gun on his lap.  We were a bit freaked out and we wanted to get out of there quickly but she kept on walking!  It turned out he was a policeman and as we were enjoying the hospitality of one of the families — in an impeccably clean home — an arrest was made without incident.

Our hosts — the Brazilian tourism department — really didn’t want us to go to the favela for safety reasons and I can understand why.  Anything could have happened while we were there — we could have been caught in a cross-fire, we could have been kidnapped, we could have been robbed (not unlike other parts of the world, including in our own back yards!).  Nothing bad happened though and the impression I was left with still stays with me nearly 10 years later.   We took a calculated risk by going to the favela as a group with a tour guide, who paid for our safety, and we were all glad we did.

It’s for this reason, I travel as often as I can.  I do things that are out of my comfort zone — not always this brave — but I still do things that give me the “tingles”.

If you feel you need to reinvent yourself or your business, get out of your house and travel somewhere.  It doesn’t have to be half-way around the world, it can be a short drive away.  Just make sure you experience something new — it could be a new food; it could be a new recreational activity; it could be a volunteering experience.  It doesn’t matter — what does matter is that you come away from your travel experience with something which gives you a different perspective, a different experience and a new memory that will remind you to keep taking steps toward your dream life.

This time next week, I will be on my way to Playa del Carmen where we’re doing something “new”.  It’s not as far removed from our comfort zone as my favela example yet it is a step toward our location independent lifestyle goal.  We’re staying in a condo, rather than an all-inclusive resort, which isn’t a first for us because we have done the same in Italy, France, Canada and the US – but for some reason it’s not as comfortable for us to take this step in Mexico (I know we’ll laugh about this perception as soon as we get there).   We’ll be taking taxis and shopping knowing only a few words of Spanish.  We’ll be ziplining and snorkeling in cenotes.   We’ll even be going to Coco Bongo for our daughter’s birthday — that’s an experience that words can’t quite describe!

We’ll each be getting out of our comfort zones and proving to ourselves that we can indeed live our dream of traveling the world while I continue to write, speak, train, consult and coach.

What are YOU doing this month, this week and today to achieve your dream life goals?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Lesson In Tenacity

Honey_badgerHere’s what happens when you don’t give up… gotta love his ingenuity and tenacity!

Would you try as hard to get what you wanted?  Sadly most people quit right before their breakthrough.

If you truly want to reinvent your life or transform your business you must be as tenacious as this honey badger.  If your why is big enough you will find a way to achieve what you want.

Your original idea might not work and that’s fine.  None of us bats anywhere close to 100.  We try things and they work, we try things and they flop, we try things and they don’t work as well as we hoped.

We try things and then people react and it screws up our plan.

We use our wise judgment and we make the right decisions with input from those who we can trust.

But don’t just quit because it’s hard.  Be a honey badger and stick to your vision and your goals.


Be sure to comment below and to share this with your friends!

If you’d like to know more about how to transform your business or reinvent your life, contact Carol or check out how to work with Carol

What are some of the ways you keep going when others would have given up?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Make Money While You Play

SkiingIn my experience, most people – employees and business owners alike – have the desire to work less and play more while making more money.   I fall into this category myself and I have an answer.

Many years ago, when I was on the management team at Whistler Mountain, I was permitted to ski during my work day as long as the work was done.  I was a supervisor in the data processing department and my boss didn’t think the work was ever done, so I didn’t get to ski.  My boss liked to keep information to herself and she was always busy.  I believe it was because she thought she would be indispensable, which of course, is an illusion.

Things were about to change dramatically the second year when she announced her pregnancy.  She was forced  to share her knowledge and prepare me to take over while she’d be off for 6 months.  Training started slowly but then, as a result of complications with her pregnancy, my training became a crash course – and then she was gone for about a year.

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… and so on.


During that time, I took the opportunity to implement something I’d learned as a manager at McDonald’s Restaurants – I created a training manual with each and every task we were responsible for doing.  The manual was a piece of work!  It outlined with absolute detail step by step what to do.  Each line started with a verb and explained one activity to do.  If there was a “caution” to be aware of, it was outlined right there and then.

The manual was so thorough that when I needed to bring in others to help with time sensitive projects (e.g. seasons passes or yearly tax reports), they could pick up the manual and get to work without any need for training from me.

The manual was also the reason why I skied for a few hours almost every day that season.   You see, my team knew exactly what to do, what to watch out for and how to fix problems – without me.  I had delegated away my job – and I loved it!  Needless to say, my boss was not a happy camper when she came back and I left shortly thereafter.  If she hadn’t come back though, I would have had the ammunition to request a raise because I had created efficiencies within the department.  I would also have had more money in addition to the play time I’d created.

When I created my business in 1996, I took the same approach.  In order to maintain consistency for the customer experience, while minimizing errors and unproductive time, each and every task was documented and updated as we evolved.  As part of the onboarding process, new employees were given the manual and taught how to use it.   They were instructed to update it if it was unclear – as long as they followed the same format.  As part of our culture we continuously looked for ways to do things better and to wow our customers, so the manual was always being updated.  Again, it was a piece of work, however, this time it looked a whole lot better too because we were able to capture screen shots with highlights and captions too, which was better for those who learn visually.

The second part of making money while I played – and slept – was a result of the business model I chose.   I firmly believe in the “make it once, sell it multiple times” mindset, so I had commissioned software to be developed to streamline administration of incentive and loyalty programs.  After the software was built, we were able to sell it over and over again.

Because of the systemization and the “make money while I played” model, I was able to go on multiple vacations each year with my family and still make money.  I suspect I actually made more money as I wasn’t there to “interrupt” my team!   The highlight of my approach was when I spent a month in Europe with my husband, daughters and Mother-in-law.  I would check in every couple of days to get an update and answer any questions and I would login to the software to spot-check work and check to see how much we’d made.

Although I no longer use my software, I still use the make-money-while-you-play model combined with systemization.  I write books, create courses, devise formulas (the F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ for reinventing business is one of them), produce events — including my Reinvention Show— and I speak on stage and as a guest on podcasts and other shows.  With systemized processes, I can outsource the parts that don’t require me.  And to be honest, when I have systemized everything there will be no need for me to do anything except for create, lead, mentor, teach and play.

The keys for you to work less, play more and make more money are simple:

  • With your customers in mind, review every process, procedure and task to ensure that it contributes to a positive customer experience while also contributing to your profit.
  • Adjust any policies, processes and procedures that are not producing a positive customer experience while also being profitable
  • Review your business for passive income opportunities
  • Review your business for recurring revenue opportunities
  • Now systemize everything – outlining which elements of a process or procedure must be done each and every time and which elements are open to employee discretion within predefined parameters.
    • For example, non-negotiable elements will include safety, security and handling of confidential and proprietary information.  Other non-negotiable elements will be based on standard operating procedures to ensure consistency in your customers’ experiences with your organization.  Discretion may be based on how to handle complaints or requests.  My team was encouraged to look for ways to “wow” a customer, so if, for example, a reward was backordered from our regular vendors, they were allowed to go to alternate vendors.

How do you make money while you play?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain’s Kolbe A Index


Carol’s talents.

When he/she is at his/her best, Carol starts problem solving with Quick Start:

  1. Carol begins a project by brainstorming.
  2. Next, Carol checks facts.
  3. Then, he/she looks for several alternative routes.
  4. Finally, he/she will look for pre-made solutions.

Carol’s Natural Strengths

There are four Kolbe Action Modes® indentified across the top of the Kolbe Chart. Each Action Mode represents a natural pattern of behavior that helps you make better decisions — your natural strengths.

Improvising (8 in Quick Start)

Carol deals with risks and uncertainty by Improvising.
For instance, he/she might:

    • Create a sense of urgency
    • Initiate change
    • Improvise solutions
    • Experiment
    • Promote alternatives
    • Initiate innovation
    • Originate options
    • Generate slogans
    • Defy the odds
    • Ad lib stories and presentations

Explaining (5 in Fact Finder)

Carol gathers and shares information by Explaining.
For instance, he/she might:

  • Create documentation and instructions
  • Review the data
  • Edit the details
  • Work within priorities
  • Start with the highest probability
  • Use terms properly
  • Respond appropriately
  • Test analogies
  • Consider all of the evidence
  • Rewrite and fact-check written materia

Adapting (3 in Follow Thru)

Carol arranges and designs by Adapting.
For instance, he/she might:

  • Create shortcuts
  • Revise approaches
  • Thrive on interruptions
  • Diversify
  • Switch tasks frequently
  • Be flexible
  • Cut through bureaucracy
  • Do several things at once
  • Keep everything accessible
  • Find ways around problems

Imagining (2 in Implementor)

Carol handles space and tangibles by Imagining.
For instance, he/she might:

  • Create abstract images
  • Conceptualize solutions
  • Envision circumstances
  • Capture the essence
  • Symbolically portray
  • Find intangible methods
  • Create temporary fixes
  • Mass produce
  • Deal with abstractions
  • Concoct out of thin air

We Lost a Friend, Husband, Father, Grandfather and Marketing Legend — Jay Conrad Levinson

Carol-with-Jay-and-JeannieYesterday, on October 10th, 2013, the world lost an incredible man — friend, husband, father, grandfather, mentor and marketing legend – Jay Conrad Levinson.  Jay was the Father of Guerrilla Marketing and author of many books which sold millions of copies world-wide.

He was also part of the creative teams that made household names of The Marlboro Man, The Pillsbury Doughboy, Tony the Tiger, Mr Clean and many other well known brands.

Jay created a movement — guerrilla marketing — while teaching at University of California in Berkeley, where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were two of his many students.

Jay didn’t believe in retirement, any more than he believed in working more than 3 days a week (something I’m sure many of us strive for).  He lived to enjoy life — and it was evident by the stories he told.

Approximately 20 months ago, an opportunity crossed my path to write a book with Jay.  I had never seriously considered writing a book and yet when I heard I could write with this legend, I jumped at the chance.  I didn’t know why I felt so compelled to take up this offer — an offer that would require a considerable investment in both time and money.  The time, I had — the money, I didn’t.  However, I cashed in a chunk of what was left of my retirement funds and found myself in his home a couple of weeks later for Guerrilla Marketing Intensive.  It was here that I was welcomed into the guerrilla family and we decided that I was going to write Guerrilla Tourism Marketing.

Writing this book with him changed my life.  I became a published author and a best selling author but that’s not all that happened.  I continued to go with the flow and follow a path I didn’t quite understand.   This path has become a lot clearer this year — it’s how I became known to many as the Queen of Reinvention — and it all started because Jay believed in me and my abilities.

I took my family to visit with Jay and Jeannie back in March and we had a blast listening to their stories — the story of how they met, the story of their first date and how they got engaged on their first date.  We heard stories about their travels in their RV, we heard stories of children and grandchildren; we heard stories about Berkeley and we heard stories about his days in the advertising industry.

Jay then engaged in a wonderful conversation with my daughter Lauren about university and writing and making a difference before inviting us into his office to look at his mementos and all the pins on the map that indicated where he’d travelled.

For all the successes Jay achieved one would think he would be “unapproachable” yet he was far from it.  He was a legend, he was authentic and he was an incredible man that I am honoured to have called a friend and a mentor.  Jay, you will be sorely missed by many.


Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at and reach her at