Category Archives: Personal Development

30 Day Challenge: The Property Investor

On Thursday 16th May 2013, at the Basingstoke Entrepreneurs Roadshow, Agnes Cserhati of AC Power Coaching set a challenge to meet 30 people in 30 days.

You can read about the challenge here.

Tuesday 28th May: Day 10, Meeting 4

The Property Investor

Last Friday, at the 4Networking Meeting in Ferndown, I met Bernadette Lloyd.

Bernadette Lloyd - Procubed


Bernadette is the Area Director of this 4N Networking Group, and is MD of Procubed Services.

Procubed Services provide a number of Professional Services, but one in particular interested me: Property Investment.



Bernadette invited me to a local Property Investors Network meeting. I have invested in property in the past, and I still have those properties, but I haven’t been actively investing for several years, so I was interested in going along.

The meeting was in a hotel in Poole, and I met Bernadette briefly before the meeting, while networking with other people. Some were experienced investors, going along to meet fellow investors, and to see Simon Zutshi, the founder of the Property Investors Network, who was one of the speakers. Others were brand new to Property, and just wanted to see what it was all about.

Simon Zutshi is a very bubbly, knowledgeable, confident man, without coming across as arrogant. He has clearly been very successful in property investment, and his idea in setting up this network is to share that knowledge, and create a supportive environment for people who want to get into property investing.

He runs training courses on how to buy property for investment, but I was pleased to see that, although these courses were mentioned and promoted at the meeting, it was not an over the top sell, sell, sell approach, which made it a much more pleasant experience.

In addition to Simon giving us some thoughts on buying property in the Bournemouth area, there were 3 investors from the local area giving us stories and examples of properties they had bought, to give us an insight of the kind of deals that can be made.

Overall, a very insightful evening.

Bernadette is on one of the training programmes, so I hope to meet her again to get an insider’s view of the courses and programmes.

Lessons Learnt – Don’t discount old business ventures that have ended. I had pretty much decided I would not invest in property again, and that I would consolidate the ones I already have, but this has fired up my interest again, and who knows where it might lead.

PS – Tony Laws, the MC and host of the meeting called me a couple of days later, just for some feedback on how I thought it went, and we agreed to meet for a coffee next week – so that’s another of my 30 Day Challenge booked!

chris smith


Bye for Now.

Chris Smith

You can follow Chris Smith on Twitter


30 Day Challenge: The Power Coach

On Thursday 16th May 2013, at the Basingstoke Entrepreneurs Roadshow, Agnes Cserhati of AC Power Coaching set a challenge to meet 30 people in 30 days.

You can read about the challenge here.

Tuesday 28th May: Day 10, Meeting 3

Agnes Cserhati, The Power Coach

agnes cserhati


Today I met Agnes.

Agnes Cserhati is a business coach, mentor, entrepreneur. You can find her on Twitter, and via AC Power Coaching.


The story of how I met Agnes is a great example of how Social Media has changed our lives.

One Saturday morning a few months ago I was having a lie-in with a big mug of tea, browsing my Twitter Timeline, and I noticed a HashTag #SatChatUK. It seemed to be a group of people, mainly small businesses, chatting about their week. So I joined in and said hello, and one of the people chatting was Agnes.

Agnes mentioned she was setting up an office in Germany, in Bonn. About 5 years earlier, I had spent a lot of time in Bonn, when I worked for T-Mobile, so we had a bit of a chat about Bonn, and started to build a little rapport, as you do, over Twitter.

Over the next few weeks we exchanged a few “Hello”s, and some views on putting the world right, and it came out that Agnes was speaking at an Entrepreneur’s Roadshow in a few weeks in Basingstoke. So I decided to go along.

At the Roadshow I met Agnes IRL…[ In Real Life :o)  ] and during her talk, she gave us all the 30 Day Challenge. I decided to take it on, and as I am currently looking for a business mentor, I asked Agnes if we could meet for a coffee to discuss it. She could be one of my Thirty!

….and here we are. I wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t for Twitter networking.

So, to business today.

Agnes told me about her businesses, and specifically the services she offers as a business coach. I liked her approach. She suggested we structured the coaching sessions with more time, and more intensity at the beginning, when she is understanding what I want, and I am implementing the first changes, and then gradually reducing the sessions as we monitor what impact the changes have made, and fine tune them.

I explained to her what I was looking for, and the 2 specific issues I am looking for help with. One is a decision relating to Cashflow management, and one a recruiting issue.

I wanted someone who is flexible, someone I could talk to whenever I had an issue I was struggling with.

I also wanted someone who would hold me accountable for actions I promised to take. I often find that I know what I should be doing, but I find reasons for not doing it.

I’ll speak to Agnes again in the coming days, and I hope we can work together.

Lessons Learnt – I knew this anyway, but it is important to spend time with people outside of your usual day to day business community and work colleagues. You get new ideas, new enthusiasm, and people who can point out to you any false assumptions you might be making.


chris smith

Bye for Now.

Chris Smith

You can follow Chris Smith on Twitter.



30 Day Challenge: The Frustrated Team Member

On Thursday 16th May 2013, at the Basingstoke Entrepreneurs Roadshow, Agnes Cserhati of AC Power Coaching set a challenge to meet 30 people in 30 days.

You can read about the challenge here.

Friday 24th May 2013: Day 6, Meeting 2

The Frustrated Team Member

OK, I know I am behind on my schedule to meet 30 people in 30 days, but don’t give up on me yet!

Gorgeous pastries


Today I met up with Graham. He had suggested a patisserie he knows not far from where he works. Wow. Absolutely gorgeous cakes and bread and pastries. If I worked nearby, I would put on a stone in a month!


I have known Graham for a few years. We met at a Business Networking Meeting when he was a Mortgage Broker, and I was buying properties to Let out.

Graham is very professional, a hard worker, great at what he does.

He joined my Kleeneze team 18 months ago, and I was certain he would build a strong, successful team, to give him the residual income he was looking for. The main issue for him was finding the time, as he also had other commitments with clients as he is an accountant/financial project manager.

When Graham joined Kleeneze, he hit the ground running. He delivered lots of catalogues to the areas where he lived, received loads of orders, and built up a good, loyal, customer base. He qualified for loads of bonuses and Incentives.

But what Graham really wants to do is start recruiting, and building a team, to provide a residual income. The question was, when would he find the time to do it?

A couple of months ago Graham had some delivery problems. Some goods arrived damaged. This happens occasionally. It is frustrating when it happens, but thankfully it is not all that often. However, when it happens to you, it is painful. As Graham is very busy, he became very frustrated and angry at the time it took to get replacement goods back to him, and the time and effort for him to deliver the goods to his customers, while at the same time trying to repair any damaged loyalties.

Graham went quiet – I didn’t hear from him for a while. he stopped putting in orders, and I was certain that the frustration had been so bad, that he had decided to leave the business. I had pretty much resigned myself to losing a great team member.

When this sort of thing happens, It is easy to think…

  • If he wants a chat, he’ll get in touch.
  • If he decides to leave, there is nothing I can do about it.

…..and for a few weeks, that is how I had felt.

But after taking on Agnes’ 30 Day Challenge, my mindset has changed. I am starting to experience the value of face to face meetings. So I rang Graham, and left a voicemail. He emailed me back and we arranged a date/time.

I was steeling myself for a fairly difficult meeting, expecting Graham to tell me all of the reasons why he was leaving.

We sat down, coffee and almond croissants at the ready.

….and Graham was mad. He was very frustrated with the delivery problems. And with other problems I hadn’t realised – meetings that had been arranged at short notice that he was unable to attend.

…but, he did see the bigger picture! Kleeneze is a business of 2 parts. The first is the retail part. Primarily catalogue delivery. That part does give you short term income. There are occasional problems, as with any business. The second part is the team building part – recruiting, sponsoring, coaching, supporting, and celebrating successes with your team members. This is where the big residual incomes come from, and Graham sees that. He knows that is why he is really in Kleeneze.

So despite the short-term frustrations he has faced, we ended with a successful meeting, starting on the longer term plans for growing Graham’s team, and building the part of the business that he really wants to do.

Lessons Learnt? Meeting people face to face allows you to understand what the other person is REALLY thinking! It gets SO MUCH MORE done than texts, emails, and incorrect assumptions!

chris smith


Bye for now

Chris Smith


You can follow Chris Smith on Twitter

30 Day Challenge – I ate my Frog!

On Thursday 16th May 2013, at the Basingstoke Entrepreneurs Roadshow, Agnes Cserhati of AC Power Coaching set a challenge to meet 30 people in 30 days.

You can read about the challenge here.


Friday 24th May 2013: Day 6, My Frog:

Eat That Frog

It’s funny how working IN your business gets in the way of working ON your business.

Since Sunday (Day 1, Meeting 1) I have been working like mad IN my business, but making ZERO progress on my 30 Day Challenge. Well not exactly zero. I made a couple of appointments to meet people next week. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. (That’s what people say when they get off to a slow start!)

HOWEVER, I just wanted to say another big thankyou to Agnes Csherhati for helping me to eat a frog.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, get a copy of “Eat That Frog!” by Brian Tracy. This is a great book about defeating procrastination, and doing the most important things for your business, even if they are not the most enjoyable things.

My Frog, which I have not been able to eat for about six months now, has been to go to a local Business Networking meeting. I used to go to Networking meetings about 5 years ago, and I know they are a good way to make contacts, meet new people, and do business, but I was nervous of going to talk about my current business, Kleeneze, so I kept finding reasons for not going….

  • I need to deliver some orders on that day.
  • I haven’t prepared what I am going to say.
  • What if I don’t know anyone there?
  • I have a blog post to write.
  • … etc

However, now that I have taken on Agnes’ 30 Day Challenge (and am running behind on my target!), I have a strong reason TO go. Imagine how many new people I could meet if I go to a Business Networking Meeting!

So I did.

This morning I went to the 4Networking meeting in Ferndown. I had a really good time. I met a dozen or so people who were all really friendly and welcoming. What on earth was I worried about?

But isn’t that always the way with frogs?

So I now have a bunch of appointments lined up in the coming week or two.

Here’s some of the people I’ll be meeting…

Bernadette Lloyd - Procubed

Bernadette Lloyd of Procubed Services

Bernadette is the Area Director of this 4N Networking Group, and she is also a property investor. I have invested in property in the past, so Bernadette invited me to the local Property Investors Network meeting. Result!


Neil Jarrett - BHF


Neil Jarrett is the local Fundraising & Volunteer Manager for the British Heart Foundation. My daughter Sophie had open heart surgery earlier this year, so it is a charity close to my heart. I’ll be meeting Neil to see how I can help.


Jo Hansell - Nimbus Solutions


Jo Hansell has a computer training and support called Nimbus Solutions. Jo welcomed me to the meeting, and was really helpful in introducing me to some of the other people at the meeting. I’m meeting Jo just to learn more about her business, and see if I can direct some business her way.


30 Day Challenge? Pah!

You can follow Chris Smith on twitter

30 Day Challenge – Dave, the tenant

On Thursday 16th May 2013, at the Basingstoke Entrepreneurs Roadshow, Agnes Cserhati of AC Power Coaching set a challenge to meet 30 people in 30 days.

You can read about the challenge here.

Sunday 19th May 2013: Day 1, Meeting 1

I got off to a gentle start today. I met with David. David is a tenant in one of my flats. He is young, ambitious, smart, and he keeps the flat looking immaculate! A perfect tenant.

The purpose of the meeting was 2-fold. Firstly, David wanted to review our tenancy agreement. He would like to commit to staying at the flat for a further 12 months, in exchange for a reduction in the rent. I was happy with that. I always think a good tenant is worth their weight in gold. The previous tenant in this flat was a nightmare, I had to go to court to get them evicted, incurring court fees, and months of lost rent. David is a breath of fresh air.

Secondly, and this was the part relating to the 30 Day Challenge, I asked David to take a look at my Kleeneze Business Opportunity.

I hadn’t expected him to be interested, as he seems very focussed on his career at the moment, but I thought he might know someone who might be interested.

To my surprise he said he would like to look at the info for himself. He was familiar with Network Marketing, as a friend had taken him to a meeting for another opportunity recently. So he said he would certainly take a look at the information. I left a couple of business cards with him to pass on to friends.

Will this lead to a new team member? I don’t know, but you never know. This is a numbers game, and the more people you show the opportunity to, the more people will join.

Lessons Learnt? Don’t prejudge anyone. Speak to everyone about your business. You never know who might be interested.

30 Day Challenge

Meet 30 People in 30 Days

A few days ago I met Agnes Cserhati at the Entrepreneur Roadshow in Basingstoke. (check out #erb2013 in Twitter).

Agnes is a very bubbly, motivated, experienced entrepreneur, and she was giving a talk on her experiences, and giving recommendations for new or budding entrepreneurs.

Agnes at the Entrepreneur Roadshow, #ERB2013

Agnes at the Entrepreneur Roadshow, #ERB2013


Find out more about Agnes at

Social Media for Business


or follow her on twitter:





Amongst all of the hints, tips, and advice she gave, Agnes set us a thirty day challenge: Business is all about relationships, and in this world of Social media, [Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn], it is important to actually meet people. her challenge was to meet 30 people in 30 days.

So, going to the pub with a mate doesn’t count, but 30 people who could help you, or you can help, and start work on a relationship.

Now those 30 people may not transform your life or your business, but it will start to develop some great habits that can become a way of life for a successful entrepreneur.

So I decided to take on that challenge, and document how it goes.By doing this, I hope it will commit me to sticking with the challenge when things get tough….

Day 1, Meeting 1 – Dave, the tenant

Day 6 – I ate my Frog

Day 6, Meeting 2 – The Frustrated Team Member

Day 10, Meeting 3 – The Power Coach

Watch this space for the next instalment of my 30 Day Challenge!

I hope you enjoy reading about it

chris smithBye for Now

Chris Smith

You can follow Chris Smith on Twitter

Are you climbing your staircase?

Are you climbing your staircase?

Or are you waiting for the things to come to you?


The world is changing. You can’t stand still. You must either climb, or you will descend.


I’m talking about your life, the quality of your life. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.


So if you have a job, and you go in at the same time every day, do the same stuff, and go home at the same time – you are standing still.


However, the world is moving – prices go up, new gadgets come along, kids get more demanding. If you are still doing the same thing that you’ve always done, you’ll be getting the same wages, and you’ll miss out on things.


If you want to improve the quality of your life, you must climb your staircase.


What does that mean? It means learn some new skills. Make yourself more valuable. When the next promotion comes along, and your boss sees that you’ve been putting in some extra hours, that you have some more skills, and you’ve been doing an evening class – there’s a good chance you could get it.


Jim Rohn has a great story of life in USA – he talks about work and pay being like a ladder.


First you have to get on the ladder. At the beginning it pays only $4 or $5 an hour, but learn a new skill or have a good attitude, and you can step up.

If you work at McDonalds they pay you $4 an hour. If you whistle while you take the rubbish out, they pay you $5 an hour.

See – good attitude doesn’t take much, and you’ve taken a step up the ladder already.


Most people do it the wrong way round –

“When they give me a pay rise THEN I’ll have a good attitude”

Why should they?

Have a good attitude first – put in some extra hours, learn some extra skills, become more valuable – THEN they will give you a pay rise!


So if you feel you want a change in your life…..

  • Take a look at the Staircase you are on.
  • Face the right direction.
  • Now take a step.


Bye for now

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Where’s your special place?

Where’s your special place?


Do you have a special place? Here’s mine. Let me tell you why it is special to me.

My special place


This is Goredale Scar, a spot in the Yorkshire Dales near Malham.


About 10 years ago, my Dad and I went for a walk round here. I don’t see my Dad very often, maybe once a year. We live at different ends of the country, and I guess we’re just not the communicative type. ….and then when we do meet up, we chat for about 5 minutes, and then run out of things to say.


Anyway, we had agreed to meet up for a walk. I was coming up North for a couple of days, and we decided to meet at Malham, and walk around the tarn, and the cove and so on. My dad has always been the organised type, so he brought the map and planned the route. I had never been to Goredale Scar before.


So we walk out of Malham, along the road towards the Scar, beautiful countryside, pleasant weather. We were making idle small talk, and admiring the dry stone walls and the sheep. As we come to a field which has a camp site in it, Dad turns off the road and into the field.


We walk along, through the campsite, and take a path which follows this lovely stream. Either side of us the Valley walls rise up steeply…

(Looking back from Goredale Scar towards the campsite)


This is really beautiful countryside, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead, as I can see the valley walls are closing in…..


…. we continue to the end of the footpath, and have to tread carefully amongst lots of stones, and the stream bed. At this point I can see the Waterfall….


…and I am thinking, “wow, the footpath must take a hidden route around the side”, but I couldn’t really see where it could go.


My dad keeps walking carefully along the stream bed towards the Waterfall, gets to the foot of the waterfall, and says “Right, I think it is safer if we climb up this side. The other side is a bit damp and slippy.”




Damp and Slippy?


Now I am sure we had discussed going for a walk. Taking ropes and belay devices and suchlike had not entered the conversation.


However, I didn’t think of myself is being a scaredy cat, and I didn’t want to decline the invitation to climb, so I just swallowed hard, and waited to see where my Dad went.


…and up he went, large rucksack on his back, climbing up the side of this huge, vertical, cliff face (well, when I say huge, vertical, and cliff, I exaggerate a little) but I can tell you I had a fair old surge of adrenaline flowing round at that point.


So I started climbing behind him, carefully placing hands and feet, and every time I looked down, all I could see were the jagged stones at the bottom of the waterfall, and what a mess they would make of me if I fell.


After a couple of minutes, the climb became less steep, and we were able to scramble up to an area where we could stand up and catch our breath. Well, catch my breath.


I looked back and saw the other walkers at the bottom of the waterfall looking up at us in awe (well that’s what it looked like to me), and I thought to myself “Yeah! we are on the top of the world!”


The buzz of the adrenaline, and the feeling of excitement having attempted and succeeded in something that I could not imagine myself doing was amazing.


We then carried on along the path to Malham Tarn, around to Malham Cove, and back to Malham village for a pie and a pint. At least, I assume that’s what we did, because to be honest, I can remember a lot of detail of that 5-10 minutes at the waterfall, and I can hardly remember any of the remaining 2-3 hours of the rest of the walk.


I guess that is why this place is special to me.


I work hard on my business, and it can be stressful at times, but every now and then I like to go and visit Goredale Scar.


I have never climbed the waterfall since, but just as you walk into the stream bed, and approach the waterfall, on your right hand side, there is a ledge that you can climb up to, which gives you a view down onto any other walkers in the area, and it is large enough to sit and have a sandwich and a drink, and listen to the water, falling down the Scar.


I remember back to that unexpected, scary achievement of 10 years ago, and all of my worries and stresses of my day to day life drift away for a little while, and I remember that, even though I had not planned it, just for a few minutes, I was on top of the world.


Do you have somewhere special to you?


Bye for Now

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Are you following the right path?

Are you following the right path?

Actually – are you following any path, or are you just wandering along aimlessly without any plan or direction…..

are you following the right path?

This photo is from the New Forest, Hampshire, near where I live. Last week I was just stretching my legs, getting some peace and quiet, and I came over a small hill and saw the footpath leading off ahead.


It made me think – this could be like the footpath of your life……




Some people have a dream, a goal, or a destination, and they plan the route, they decide which footpaths to take to get there.

Other people live in the moment, and they don’t know where they are going. They just react to whatever life throws at them, avoid the difficult paths, and just stick to the easy life.


Are you on the right path?

If you can answer YES or NO, that’s GOOD. If you have no idea, thats BAD!


YES?      NO?

If you answered YES, or NO, that means you have a clear goal, perhaps to get a promotion by the end of the year, so that you can save up and buy your first house.


If you answered YES, then maybe that’s because you know what you need to do to get that promotion, what skills you need to learn, what extra commitment you need to make, and you are learning those skills, you are making that commitment.


If you answered NO, then maybe that’s because you know what you need to do, but you are struggling to learn the skills, or you are unable to make that commitment. HOWEVER – at least you know that you are on the wrong path. You can find a different path, a different route to earn the momney to buy that house, and that path may require skills that you CAN learn, and commitments that you CAN make. All you need to do now is decide to change paths.



The big problem is if you answered I DON’T KNOW to the question. If you don’t know whether or not you are on the right path, then maybe you don’t know where the path is leading, or even if you are on a path. Maybe you are simply being blown by the winds from pillar to post, not sure whether one direction is better or worse than any other.


That could be that you don’t have any dreams or goals, so you just live from day to day, spending money as soon as you receive it on consumables. – food, drink, clothes.


If you don’t decide on a path, your life will continue to be what it has always been. Are you happy with that? Yes? That’s great, I wish you well. No? Then you need to discover a dream, set a goal, and find the right path to achieve it.


Bye for Now.

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Design Your Best Year Ever

I saw Darren Hardy speak at a Kleeneze showcase in 2011, and I really liked what he had to say. Very motivating, Clearly a very driven man, and with a lot of advice that clicked with me.


As part of the conference gift pack, we received a copy of one of Darren’s books – “Design Your Best Year Ever


If you feel like you are drifting along in life, never making any progress, promising that this year is going to be different, but then it never is….. then this is the book for you.


It is all about goal setting:

  • Dreaming big;
  • Breaking the dreams down into manageable chunks;
  • then setting yourself small achievable tasks so that you achieve your dreams.


The book is split into two halves.

  • The first half explains how to set fantastic goals, and then how to achieve them.
  • The second half is a workbook, that takes you through a whole year, week by week, monitoring your steps, until you have achieved your goals.


It really does help you to do what it says on the cover. Don’t just hope for a good year, but DESIGN YOUR BEST YEAR EVER.


I found that it really keeps you focussed, keeps you concentrated on the important things to achieve your goals, not the day to day distractions that leave you with nothing.


If you are an action-taker, but need some structure to help you achieve your goals and dreams, then this is the book for you.


Bye for now,


Chris Smith 🙂