Should you do it?

Should you do it?

One of the recurring questions I get about our business is, “How do you work together?” It seems most people at one time or another have worked with a couple that has started a business. Often, I hear horror stories of spouses shouting at one another while the employees search for another job before the divorce papers are handed out.

My husband and I have been in business for 16 years so I thought at this point, I could offer some good tips on how to have a healthy marriage and business.  A new business is like a very demanding child that requires constant care. You must feed it and tend to its every need. The business child tends to have severe behavior problems and you never know when it is going to spit up on you. As time goes on, you both develop and grow. The pride you feel when you step back and look at what you built can be amazing.

Starting a business with your spouse can be a great benefit. You know you always have someone who has your back (in business that is sometimes hard to find). If you use the steps below, you might have a chance at creating something great.

How committed are you?

When you are first deciding to open a business, consider all of the negative consequences it will have on your marriage. How will you balance your family? One (or both of you) will have to work a lot to get things going, who will carry the heavy load of the business vs the heavy load of the family? Are you both fully committed? A business won’t be successful without great sacrifice. What does that mean to you? The more questions you can iron out in the beginning, the easier the decisions will be when you get to them.

Decide who has the final say

Some people live an altered reality believing that they can always agree on everything with their partner. There are times that you won’t agree. One of you has to give. Things are a lot easier if you understand who the controlling partner of the business is. That being said, the controlling partner should always consider their spouse’s opinion and never take control for granted.

Have the same vision

What does success look like to each of you? What is failure? When do you call it quits? Make sure you are on the same page for how the business will grow.

Clear well-suited roles

In the beginning of the company, both partners typically do what it takes to make it happen. Natural roles begin to form. One person is better at sales, while another is good at administration. Know your strengths and weaknesses and those of your partner. Talk about what roles you think you would be best suited.

Leave the business at work

Ok, I admit this one is the hardest for us. We are a 24 hour business, so there is always something going on.  Try to the best of your ability, to separate work from home. I am chuckling to myself as I write because while I was in early labor with one of my children, my husband had a business meeting in the lobby of the hospital. The good news is, he had cleared it with me (it was early labor) and it was an important meeting – see what I mean about being on the same page? If we were not on the same page- I would probably still be seething in anger rather than chuckling.

The good news is that it is possible to have a healthy business and marriage. It is not easy, but life is not easy. It is a journey to be walked. Personally, I could not imagine anyone better to walk it with than my spouse!

Serena Ayscue and her husband Jeff created ByDesign Technologies. A software company that services the direct sales industry. They are currently in their 16th year of business and support companies around the globe. You can learn more at

Betty Feng and her dog Bing once he retired

Betty Feng and her dog Bing once he retired

In my last post, I talk about dogs that parachuted into war. Bing was a dog that was given to the army by 6 year old Betty Fetch and her family. They could no longer afford to keep him because of food rationing. He was trained with other dogs and on one of his early missions over Normandy on June 6th, 1944 heavy anti-aircraft rained on the plane. Bing became was so afraid of jumping out of the plane on that they pushed him out with an encouraging boot.

Upon parachuting out of the plane, he landed in a tree, had to be cut down and was later wounded in action. He recovered and went on to have many missions and save many people.
He saved countless Allied lives. During a second jump into Germany, Bing was sent on a dangerous mission to look in a house. As he approached the house, he realized that there were enemy troops and sounded the alarm. His human teammates surrounded the house, took the Nazis prisoner and Bing became a hero. He received the highest military honor an animal can win in the UK for his bravery. After his death in 1955, he was buried in a special cemetery in London. If you visit Duxford, you can see a life-size statue of Bing, complete with a parachute.

How does this dog’s story relate to us today?

We each have unlimited potential. Some of us need a good kick in the butt to get us going, but once we choose to believe in ourselves we can do great things! We are trained to do great things, but when the time comes, we cower in the corner. We forget how great we are. I am thankful to the people in my life that push me to be more. The world is waiting on your greatness. Bing was just a dog that someone had to surrender because they could not feed him. No matter what your past story was, your future can be great. Live it! Be brave! If you are a leader, encourage those around you to live to their potential. If you are growing into a leader, listen to what those around you are saying. Understand that they are pushing you for a greater purpose!!

There is a great page with photos of these dogs here: parachuting dog photos

At the Networking Reception, ByDesign partnered with SOC's McCabe Ave Foundation

At the Networking Reception, ByDesign partnered with SOC’s McCabe Ave Foundation

On March 3rd, ByDesign Technologies partnered with Send Out Cards to offer an evening networking reception and exclusive tour of the Send Out Cards Facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This event allowed invited industry executives an opportunity to experience an additional company tour while enjoying good food and conversations with like-minded individuals. The executives were divided into small groups to tour the facility so that each group felt as if they had a private tour and were able to ask whatever questions they wanted.   As the evening continued, Vanessa Hunter and Steve Shultz from Send Out Cards spoke and talked about the partnership with ByDesign. Sonya Cooper-Turner thanked Send Out Cards for their hospitality and presented a check from ByDesign to Send Out Cards Foundation, the McCabe Foundation.  The McCabe Foundation has a twofold mission.  They desire to help inner-city youth live their dreams and provide inner-city neighborhood improvements that enhance life experiences of the youth.

Upon leaving, each guest was given a bag with gifts from ByDesign, Send Out Cards and several invited vendor partners.  It was a great event and ByDesign is looking forward to having others.


200171399-001Well, I am ashamed to say that life has gotten the best of me.  I have not posted to this blog since October.  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  Lots of good things have been happening, I just haven’t taken the time to write them here.  But today I came across something so good that I felt I had to share.  It was on personal responsibility.

Kody Bateman, the president of Send Out Cards wrote a great blog. Personal Responsibility, it spoke to me.  So many times in life we blame others when things don’t go our way.  Surely we could not be responsible for doing something stupid.  But so many times we are, aren’t we?  Great leaders don’t blame others for life’s dissapointments.  They take them as they come and learn from them.


I admit it, I did not watch all of the NBA Finals games.  I was traveling and while in a hotel room flipping channels I came across the end of game 6.  It was an amazing game!  The Miami Heat needed the win to push to Game 7.  In an intense back and forth battle with the San Antonio Spurs, they came out on top.  Thursday evening, I stayed up late to watch Game 7.  Here are some lessons I learned:

Never Give Up

Both teams played hard to the end.  Anyone who watched the games saw great warriors.  No one gave up.  Both teams were exhausted but continued to push themselves.  At the end of game 7, I wondered if the Heat was going to just hold the ball and let time run out.  They didn’t. They went for another shot that put them farther in the lead and basically sealed the game.

We must never give up as we go through and deal with issues.  In our professional and personal lives hard battles are going to come and they may never feel like they are going to end, but we must keep pushing forward.  In the end, those that keep working are the ones who come out on top.

Practice makes perfect

LeBron James is getting a lot of recognition as a great basketball player.  People compare him to Michael Jordon and there is a lot of debate surrounding how great he is.  His final shot of the game was a jump shot.  This is a shot that he had been practicing because it was not his strength.  If we want to become great at something, we must practice.  I think it takes a lot of courage to pull out one of your weaker shots during a high stress situation.  To me, that reinforced the amount of practice that had been done.

We must work to become better.  It doesn’t just happen.

Even Professionals Miss (a lot)

Wayne Gretzky said “you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  There were a lot of balls that were thrown up that missed the basket.  Layups, jumpshots, 3 pointers and foul shots, they were all missed.  What I feel is important is not that they were missed, but what happened after they were missed.  Everyone kept going for the ball.  No one stopped, pointed or stared at the individual who missed.  The game went on.  While every shot and miss is recorded, it is not discussed during the game.  The entire team keeps going and playing hard.  Later, they will sit down and the individual will look at where they can improve.

I found this infographic that talks about LeBron James’ shooting percentages in game 7 vs. the other games.    I am confident that James was well aware of his percentages going into game 7 and knew what he needed to do to improve.

We cannot be afraid to try.

 Leaders Keep It Together

As the pressure mounted, my focus turned to Duncan and James.  Both are clear leaders of their teams and both had to respond to the pressure that was building on each of them.  As the lead switched back and forth, the pressure only intensified.  And then ever so slightly, Duncan cracked….He missed two shots.  Normally, this would not be a big deal, but in this game 2 shots could determine the win or loss.  Then several of his teammates started to become desperate and a foul was called on them.  On the other side of the court, James was as cool as a cucumber.  His rate of play did not show anything but confidence and his team remained at the same pace they had all game.

When there is a stressful time, your true leaders will emerge.  They will be the ones that are calm and in control.  They understand that how they react affects others and will seek to temper everything about them to move their team to victory.

Only One Team Gets the Trophy

While we may all want to be winners, only one team will come out on top.  We may pacify ourselves by saying “next time,” or “that was our best game yet.”  In the end, there is only one winner.  If you are defeated, you must accept it and seek to change it the following year.  All teams must continue to work hard, practice and improve because as in life, the game will start again very soon.

woman leader“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives”  –William James


Take a moment and think of the leaders you know.  Do they have bad days?  Would you know it was a bad day if they did not tell you?

Most leaders understand that thought patterns, directly correspond to how you relate to others.  I can guarantee you that leaders have trouble.  In fact, leaders typically deal with more challenges than the general public.  So, how do they smile and continue through them, while others panic and hide?  How do they lead while every little annoyance in the world is nipping at their pants leg?

They believe in themselves.  They understand the power of a team.  They know inner thought effects outer change.

One of the most powerful tools someone can have is the ability to believe in oneself.  As I type this, a caution runs across my mind, because some people believe in themselves when they should not.  Be wise, listen to those around you, if someone is telling you that you need improvement in an area, listen.  A wise leader believes in their personal strengths because they have proven to themselves and others that they can accomplish what is in front of them.  As they continue to accomplish things, their confidence grows.  They listen carefully to critiques and look for opportunity to improve.  They seek out opportunities and opinions on how they can improve.  It is a quiet confidence that leads to knowledge that they can face whatever comes their way.

Great leaders understand the power of a team.  Every challenge that you face will not be in your wheelhouse.  You may or may not have the tools you need to deal with it.  This is where a team comes in.  Great leaders have a team that they trust.  They know that they can depend on them and if something challenges them that they may not be able to handle; their team will rise up behind them and give them the extra strength needed.  They know that with their team, they will receive the wisdom, help and strength they need to conquer the task.

Great leaders know that inner thoughts effect outer change.  If a person always thinks negatively, they will live their life disappointed and disillusioned.  Leaders think about how things can improve and then they work to make it happen.  They think though the best way to approach a task or someone.  They think about the consequences of saying certain things.  They know that once the inner thought leaves, it is on a mission and whether good or bad it will play itself out.  Leaders seek to make sure that all that exits their mouths creates positive change.

So, do leaders have bad days?  You better believe it!  But believing in yourself, your team and your inner thoughts helps leaders to continue to lead even through the challenging moments.

Where are you leading today?

Are you a High Performer?

How do you plan your day?  I have found the strongest difference between high performers and average performers lies in this question.  How do you plan your day?

High Performers know the answer, Average Performers struggle…. do you know the answer?  Whether you have a home MLM or party plan company or work in an office below are 5 characteristics that can help you figure it out.

High Performers Have a Plan

High Performers always have a plan and are looking to “double their money”.  They think through every single event and determine how many other tasks they can achieve while on their way.  If you are walking down to a meeting, can you drop off paperwork or complete another task on the way?  If you are going to complete a programming task, could you add in 5 minutes more and make it 10 times better?

High Performers know their daily schedule

High Performers know their daily schedule.  They use Outlook or another scheduling tool and they refer to it often.  They use every minute to their benefit.  This does not mean they never get to stop and smell the roses, it just means they know when they can.

High Performers don’t procrastinate

High Performers don’t procrastinate.  Alyce P Cornyn, a well-known speaker on sabotage says, “Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.”   Everybody has things they don’t like to do.  They still have to get done.  If you are going to be a high performer, you cannot sideline the items you don’t like.  You will find that they create baggage that ultimately will grind you to a halt

High Performers are prepared for interruptions

High Performers are prepared for interruptions.  We all know that things at some point are not going to go the way they were planned.  A high performer thinks through the events and seeks to mitigate all risks knowing that there will be something they missed.  If an issue arises, they are able to deal with it because it did not take them off guard.

High Performers listen well and offer feedback

High Performers listen well and offer feedback.  They listen to what the people around them say and take it into consideration.  They offer feedback when it is appropriate for a more favorable ending.

How are you doing?  Are you high performing?  If not, try to initiate a few of these characteristics.  You will find that you are well on your way!!

Serena Ayscue is an owner of ByDesign Technologies.  A company specializing in software for the direct selling industry.

In 1984, Dry Idea deodorant launched an advertising campaign that was one of the best in history.  Their tag line was “Never Let Them See You Sweat.”  They had all kinds of celebrities do commercials with 3 nevers, the last being never let them see you sweat.  Here is a link to one of the commercials.  http://

While this is a witty campaign idea, the point it adds to leadership is invaluable.  The best leaders are cool under pressure.  No one around them knows the storm that is brewing.  A great leader is a calming presence.  It is our human instinct to jump and run when there is an issue, but we must always remember that people are watching.  You never want to cause your followers to have fear.

So, in a difficult situation how do you lead without causing panic?

1)      Take a moment and breathe

2)      Decide if someone needs to take your place while you take care of the problem

3)      Do not run.  Move at an acceptable pace.

4)      If a plan is in place for this type of emergency follow it.  If not, make it up

5)      Demonstrate calmness in everything you do.  Your speech, body and actions should show that you are in control.

As Dan Reeves, head of the Broncos said, “Everyone feels pressure, winners don’t let it show.”

Break through Boredom and Lead!

Even the best self-starter can lose focus, coast and become bored.  We are getting things done but it has become mundane.  Even when we are still producing good results we can be experiencing boredom.  So what can we do to get out of this rut?

Work Like You are Being Watched

Some of us work out of our home.  It is very easy to coast at home.  Others of us have a manager that trusts us to get our work done.  While we may be performing what is asked of us, how can we do more, become more and produce more??  Is there a way that we can innovate and create more efficiency?  If we knew our job depended on producing more faster, what would we change?  Make the change and make it happen.

Use technology tools

There are all kinds of technology performance tools that can motivate you.  A whole segment of the market has been devoted to this.  Some are as simple as using a timer and breaking your work into timed episodes while others involve intense meters and logging.

Surround yourself with people who inspire you

Nothing is more motivating than hearing from someone who inspires you.  Whether the person is a friend or a famous speaker, take the time to listen.  Their words can cause you to be more creative and achieve more.

Breaking through the boredom barrier has to be done if you are going to be successful.  Other people will leave you in the dust and reach the top first if you remain apathetic and satisfied with the status quo.  Don’t be left behind, LEAD!!

As a child in the church youth group, we used to play a game called Caterpillar.  Everyone would line up with their hands on the shoulder of the person in front of them.  The leader would then run like crazy, twisting and turning, trying to get people to let go.  Some great leadership lessons can be learned from that game.

Stay Close to Your Leader

The closer you are to the leader, the better you are able to anticipate their next move and stay with them.  The first five people holding on to the leader rarely got thrown off.  They were able to stay connected.

Communication is Key

If you are the leader and are planning to make any change, communication is what will save your team.  If you were leading the caterpillar game and shouted, turning left, everyone would be able to follow you.  If you make quick turns in policy or procedure and don’t tell anyone, don’t be surprised if you find them on the floor.

Pay Attention to Who You Follow

Sometimes when I was playing the game, I would be behind someone who would just let go. They were not committed to the goal.  If the person leading you is not committed, they will let you fall.  Sometimes in the party plan, mlm or direct selling world, we might get someone who has pulled us into the business but is not leading us.  If that is the case, find out who their sponsor is.  Move up the chain until you find a leader that helps you stay connected.

Keeping everyone connected is the goal of any healthy organization.  It is also a challenge for all healthy organizations.  Healthy organizations are growing and must constantly keep in mind that the chain behind them is getting longer.  This requires an increased commitment to leadership communication and encouraging their team to listen and follow the right person.