Something out of nothing

Dave Schwab

Fri February 28, 2014 12:49pm

Anne Marie Houghtailing lost a high-profile job during the height of the recession in 2009, but opted not to look for a new job but to move in an entirely new direction. That choice has changed her economic and professional life — and that of a growing number of others.
An advisor, speaker, consultant, author and coach, Houghtailing has since embarked on a new career spreading the gospel of wealth and helping budding entrepreneurs to “capitalize” on themselves.
“A lot of people interested in being entrepreneurs have skills, a product, a service or an idea,” she said. “But the revenue-generation piece, that’s where they get tripped up.”
Noting a great idea or product “is in and of itself not what will determine success,” Houghtailing said, “Understanding how to monetize a business is what governs sustainability. My philosophy is that sales and business development can be ethical, elegant and human,” she said. “My goal is to elevate and professionalize sales efforts in a manner that reflects a company’s vision and humanize an area of business that’s generally not thought well of.”
For a business person to realize their full economic potential, Houghtailing said they must “learn how to translate their skills and talents into revenue.”
“Very few people take the time to learn how to sell because traditionally it’s considered a distasteful activity,” she said. “But the truth is, if you want to be an attorney, you’ve got to get clients. If you’re an artist, you need patrons. It’s critical to your economic success to learn how to monetize your work.”
Once she learned she could create her own economic opportunities, Houghtailing said, “I was completely liberated because I was no longer held hostage by a job or the marketplace.” Her method for helping businesspeople “capitalize” themselves to achieve their maximum economic potential is embodied in her book “How I Created a Dollar Out of Thin Air.”
Her paperback how-to book recounts how she found herself out of a job in the worst economic climate of her lifetime and how — with $5, a MacBook and a truckload of tenacity — she built her own business, dream and a new life.
Houghtailing’s goal with every client is the same: “To come up with a dynamic plan leading to ways to generate revenue aligned with what they do.” Clients of the business coach and consultant say her methods work.
“I got to know her as a member of the Women’s Networking Group of Chula Vista and hired her as my coach in January 2012,” said tax attorney Anne-Marie Diggle Rabago. “By the end of our first meeting, we identified where I could save upward of 60 hours per month, raised my hourly fees by almost 100 percent, and created a short list of clients I was going to let go. With Ann Marie’s help, my business and my life were instantly more manageable, and I had the potential to make more money. She continues to blow me away with her indomitable spirit, caring nature and valuable insights.”
“She has been my coach for two years and in that time I have written two books, started blogging professionally, had two art shows for my photography, created two workshops based on my books and expanded my creative horizons,” said insurance agent Susanne Romo.  “Before her I was a successful yet unfulfilled insurance agent. Now I have both the intellectual and creative success I have always dreamed of.”
Romo said Houghtailing “challenges me to stretch my creative side and has taught me how to tap into the inner artist I had buried under my business success. Since working with her I have become infected with Houghtailingism, a state of mind I define as an overwhelming pursuit of new creative projects while having the time of your life.”
Houghtailing typically works 10 weeks with a given client to develop a revenue-generating game plan for them.
“We figure out a really detailed, actionable plan of how to build a business and move forward from there,” she said, noting how she helped one struggling web design firm.
“We really worked on changing some of their processes for how they managed a (business) lead when it came in,” Houghtailing said. “I worked with them to achieve a high conversion rate, closing more of the opportunities that came through the door.”
Happy with the choice she’s made to develop her own business model and become a “revenue generator,” Houghtailing’s equally pleased to help teach others how to do the same.
“It’s a privilege to do work that you dearly love and to be well compensated,” she said. “Helping people achieve is pretty amazing work. I travel. I meet incredible people who are seeking to reach their full potential.”
Houghtailing said her greatest challenge these days is “scaling a business that’s heavily dependent upon me as an individual.”
“But we’re working on that,” she concluded.
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