How to Align Your Time with Your Priorities

I know how it goes: things get busy and a little chaotic and then we just go on autopilot. We know we should be looking at our time and how we spend it, and make sure we’re doing what matters.  We know that. But, if you’re like me, when things get busy, it’s easy to lose sight of the prize. Whether it’s as a mom and things start to slide (you know, laundry) or in your business. For me, with business, this looks like getting really caught up in something: website tweaks, a new pitch, an offer for my mailing list. It could be something totally worthwhile, but it gets all consuming and comes at the expense of other things—ahem, my actual priorities.

It’s BECAUSE I’m so busy and frenetic that these rabbit holes are so appealing: I want something to focus on. I’m exhausted and need to narrow in on something. I know I’m not the only person who experiences this, one of my clients had this exact situation this week. When this happens, we have to take a step back and ask: why do I feel this way?

Dealing with and acknowledging priority shifts

For this particular client, the “aha” moment came when she realized there had been a massive shift in one of her top priorities. We had been working on growing her business, and she had been rolling. Hitting milestones, working hard, achieving her goals. Until this shift. Then things started to slide. She wasn’t getting things done, she wasn’t excited. This is because she had, without realizing it, changed her priorities. Rather than focusing on really aggressively expanding and working in her business, she wanted to step back and put some focus on her family. That’s a pretty big switch!

If we don’t regularly check in with our priorities, we can stay busy and not even realize the shift enough to change the way we spend our time. Guess what? You are allowed to change your priorities, but only you are keeping track of them. No one else is going to be able to adjust your schedule based on these priorities changing.

How to know if you’re not aligning time with priorities

Like me, like my client (in this example and many, many others), you’ll want to take a look at your priorities if you feel overwhelmed, stressed, and like you aren’t making progress. If you achieve the goals or milestones you set out for yourself and STILL feel stuck, something is disconnected. It’s time for a reevaluation of priorities and your time. It can work either way: you’re not spending your time in ways that support your priorities OR your priorities have changed and the things you USED to do to honor those priorities are for the wrong priorities.

Either way, you’ll feel frazzled, frustrated, and ready to throw in the towel.

So, take the time regularly to check in with yourself. Ask yourself how you’re feeling about your time. Are you doing the things that support your priorities? Are they the right priorities? Have you experienced a big change personally or professionally that could shift your priorities? Are you just clueless, frustrated, and don’t even know where to start? Let me help you! This is what I do as a coach. I help you find and stick to your priorities. Contact me today for a free discovery session and we’ll see if we’re a good fit.

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How Much Time You Should Spend on Your Competition

I want to talk to you about your competition. This is a topic that comes up now and then with my clients, especially when working with business owners who have innovative ideas. They often feel like they don’t have direct competition, which makes it hard for them to judge if they’re on the right track.

I also have clients who spend too much time focusing on competitors. This habit can be disempowering; causing entrepreneurs to think their competition is better along with a practice of cutting themselves down and minimizing their accomplishments. So, what’s a mompreneur to do when it comes to competition? Here are some tips to help you find a sweet spot that will help you stay competitive and sane.

Use Competition as a Benchmark For Growth

Looking at your competition is something you want to do, this is especially true if you want to know if you’re on the right track with growing your business. When I started my business, I felt like I had no clue about a lot of things. I had so many questions about how many clients I should have, what I should charge, the number of hours I should work each week, how much my expenses should be, how I should market, and what services I should offer.

These types of questions are why it’s important to stay close to your competition. By understanding your competitor’s model, you can create metrics for your business that will help you measure a reasonable amount of spending and growth.

Study Your Competition To Get Great Ideas

You can learn about different ways to offer your services and products to your target demographic by studying what your creative competition is doing. By paying attention to what other business and life coaches were doing, I learned about a variety of offerings that I implemented into my business such as membership groups,Facebook groups, retreats, and getaways.

Contact Your Competition Directly

It might seem daunting and even crazy to contact your competition, but there may be people you already know in similar industries who are willing to sit down and speak with you. I know a lot of moms in various entrepreneurial groups that I’ve been a part of who are ready to talk about this kind of stuff.

Find a buddy in your marketing or networking support groups. If you don’t have any of those, then you should probably consider joining one. This is a useful practice for entrepreneurs who want to bring something new to the marketplace and can’t find a direct competitor to use as a benchmark.

If you want to know if you’re on the right track, you can network with people in similar industries that are not in direct competition to get an understanding of their business models. If you are a business coach or life coach, you could talk to a personal trainer or business consultant. If you are in retail, you can connect with someone who owns a brick and mortar store that sales something different from what you offer.

By talking to competitors you can get a guide of what seems reasonable, but you will still have to figure out what works best for your business.

Consider Who You’re Comparing Yourself To

When measuring yourself against your competition, it’s important to consider what stage your business is in. You don’t want to waste time comparing yourself to a large multi-level corporation if you’re a solopreneur. Also, consider the amount of time your competition has been in business.

While it’s ok to study companies in a different stage from yours to get ideas or to determine if you’re on the right track for growth, don’t get paralyzed with self-doubt from comparing your endeavors to theirs.

Get A Coach

When I first started my business, I sought advice from coaches. If you’ve never run a business before, a coach is important because they can point out different aspects of your business you may not have considered. I found doing this helped me figure things out instead of flying by the seat of my pants. As a coach, I can help you figure out how to beat your competition.

Understand That The Bus Goes Where You Steer It

You have an influence on how things go in your business. If you find yourself becoming obsessive about every move your competition makes and all it’s doing is making you feel sad, or like you’re not doing well, it’s time to stop. It’s disempowering and causes you to lose focus on your goals and the success you have already achieved. It’s not efficient, productive, and doesn’t yield great results.

Sorting through what your competition is doing and how that needs to compare to what you’re doing is an important thing to figure out. But also realize if it makes you feel bad, sad, and like you’re not getting anywhere. It might mean you’re getting too obsessed with stuff that’s not going to help you.

But if focusing on your competition makes you feel creative, inspired, and you are learning something new, then that is healthy competition.

Want to find out more about your competition and how it can help you thrive? Ready to kick off 2017 on the right foot? Contact me today for your free discovery session!

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How to Know if You Should Pivot Your Business

As both mothers and entrepreneurs, we are all familiar with the ever-changing life stages that we go through in our lives, families, and businesses. These stages are often defined by our children, their ages, our businesses, careers, our ages, and other circumstances. And, of course, these all very much have a tendency to impact one another.

When to pivot

So, how exactly do you determine when to pivot? Consider if you or your business have needs or goals that are not being met for any reason. Have you noticed a steady decline in new clients or your profit margin? Remember that your entire reason for having established goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in the first place was to be capable of tracking and measuring them. Then consider possibly why you are not achieving them. This is the signal that it is time to pivot. You just need to determine what to pivot for your business specifically. Some of the most common and effective can be:

  • Changing your target audience: Sometimes after many years of working with a certain demographic, you naturally gravitate toward another. This isn’t something to pull away from, but rather something to embrace. It is very important to be super clear about who you are specifically marketing to as to not waste time or resources marketing to whom you have always marketed to instead of who you should be.
  • Changing your niche: Have you found that your products or services seem to hold a lot more value to another niche or category than you originally intended?
  • Changing your business name: Does your business name still reflect your primary products or service offerings or have those changed since your businesses establishment? Does your business name still serve you and your zone of genius or does it unintentionally wind up minimizing you and putting you in a box where you don’t necessarily belong? Though changing your business name or branding can feel like a scary jump, especially for established companies, remember that your clients who already value you will follow you, but new clients can be more aligned with your current value.

There may even come a time that you decide you are truly interested in selling your business entirely and making a much, much bigger pivot. Maybe you want to start another company that you feel will allow you to be more intentional about your gifts and your long term life goals. The need to pivot is certainly not always out of desperation or a big event in your life. Having to make a change or pivot is not something to be afraid of or avoid altogether, it is simply being a responsible mompreneur and staying ahead of the curve!

Thinking about a big change? Not sure where to start? This is where I can help you as a coach. Contact me today for a free discovery session and let’s find out if coaching is right for you!

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How to Know What and When to Delegate

Have you also noticed that as an entrepreneur and a mother we easily get caught up in doing the same things over and over? We often let our old responsibilities become so engrained in our minds as what “needs to get done” that we just get into a routine to accomplish them.

Unfortunately, over time it can become more evident that you are outgrowing some of those responsibilities or chores. Some of the things you have always done become a waste of time and resources that can easily be delegated to others. Delegation is a skill set that a hear a lot my clients say they don’t think they can efficiently do. They have a fear of losing the control of their work quality and having to trust someone else to do something that they can do and do it as well as they would have.

Many of my clients have told me in the past that they simply don’t believe a leadership comes naturally to them. And, though this is a very understandable concern, it’s also one that proves consistently to be a non-issue. Of course, there are coaches out there (like me) that can and will happily help you to feel confident to grow into a leadership role.

You Already Know How to Lead

But what most of my clients fail to recognize or give themselves proper credit for is that as a mother, you are already a leader! You already successfully delegate things that need to get done to your spouse, your family, and your children. Chores that need done around the house like yard work, laundry, dinner planning and preparation are (hopefully) passed out evenly amongst the others around the house. As a mom, it probably just makes no sense to do everything on your own while everyone else sits watching TV. As as true as this is for your home, it is absolutely just as true for your business.

In order to reach the next level of productivity in your business you really need to consider reaching out and asking for the help you need. Once you determine what you need someone to do, it is also critical to ensure that you organize yourself and your needs so the help you do hire can be as effective as possible for you.

The beauty of having someone who wants to help you is you can rely on them to really step up and step in, just taking some of the easier tasks off your plate that are time consuming. And, as a bonus, just think about how much time delegation will actually give you to spend with your children (or friends, or sleeping).

Baby Steps to Delegation

And remember you don’t have to think on a enormous scale here, either. Think about simply hiring a part-time, capable virtual assistant. VAs can help with so much because of the blessing of new technology. Simple tasks that you spend considerable time on or busy work (think social media, bookkeeping, marketing or even just simple sales follow up for your webinars and program participants). In the long run, it takes so much less money to pay someone who is proficient and professional, particularly if you calculate how much time you spend on the tasks plus your hourly rate.

The fall season is a great time to take a step back and start considering some business areas where you can use some help. You still have time to get organized to implement and hire that out in 2017 and take some of your own time back! Not sure where to start? I can help you! Contact me today for your free Discovery Session.

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What Do You Need to Include in Your Marketing Plan?

Marketing is something that unfortunately can easily fall through the cracks for mompreneurs when they are trying balance everything else they have going on in their lives. It can be overwhelming to remember that a healthy marketing plan will help to foster a healthy business and a happier life. It’s important that on a specific schedule (whether that is yearly, quarterly or whatever works for you), you sit and really get to the bottom of your business plan and vision going forward. Once you have a vision for your next steps in your success, then you will need to incorporate your marketing plan. Your marketing plan is a big part of how you will actually get to those goals or visions in the amount of time you have allotted.

It can be a common misconception to hear my clients tell me “Well, I don’t need to do this because I am just a small operation. I have no team to manage, it’s just me”. This is not the mindset to allow yourself to have. Take this piece of the puzzle from much bigger, more successful companies and corporations. There is a true link to success and a solid marketing plan that helps you to focus your efforts for the quarter or for the year.

To get your plan really clear and targeted, think about which specific product or service you want to focus on this year. Which of your offerings are the easiest, most enjoyable for you to sell and which ones are the most profitable? These should be the ones you are putting the most marketing effort into.

Once you have chosen your focus items, you need to decide how you want to market them. This can be a fun process because you should try to mix both consistency with some experimentation. Do you already have a great following or engaged community on Facebook? Then, obviously you should allocate some of your marketing budget in front of that audience, but also consider trying a new marketing avenue to tap into a new audience. Always had lots of Facebook success? Maybe it’s time to try Instagram or Twitter.

In addition to changing up your marketing avenues, consider a shift in your content as well! If you have always only done blog posts, then maybe now is the time to try hosting a podcast, creating some online courses, or attending live events. How about adding some speaking engagements? Try to do some of them for free for small, local groups and offer true value to the attendants. Offering value for free will only inspire them to consider maybe how they could use what you do in other ways for themselves or their businesses.

Once you have created your plan, don’t be so proud that you try to just file it away in a desk somewhere. A plan is only as good as the action which it inspires. Keep it accessible and easy to see and focus on regularly. Consider yourself your own boss telling you what to do and take real action. Ask yourself how to get the ball rolling by considering who to call about events, how to make connections, and what to search.

Also be sure to look at your competition while you are considering your action plan. You might need to shift the way you are marketing to understand when the mood or language changes about a service or offering you may have. I have a health-centered client that has been doing a wildly successful 21 Day Detox program 3-4 times a year for the past three years. In ramping up to start marketing for the next session, she did some research to learn that her industry has started to really dislike or have a negative opinion towards things that are consider “detox” programs. So, she tried shifting to calling her program a “refresh” to remove that association for her program and get back to a more positive connotation. What happened? Believe it or not, her signups actually completely dropped off. She was so upset and frustrated after having been so successful to lose that momentum, but unfortunately marketing can be a very fickle beast. You need to be constantly studying and learning new things about your niche or audience and seeing what will truly work for you.

The lesson in all this? Make an appointment with yourself in the next week or so to spend 30 minutes reviewing your marketing plan. If you don’t have one, or it’s been awhile, schedule more time to get one started. The time you spend working on your business will pay dividends if you commit to it. Need help? Contact me today for a free discovery session and we’ll see how I can help you get your business and marketing plan on track.

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Do You Need a Coach?

business coaching

Being a coach, it is an unfortunate belief that I am always going to push the importance of a coach and that it is always a great idea to hire one. But, you all know I’m more about upfront honesty than a hard sell! I want anyone hiring a coach to be doing it at the right time and for the right reasons. Sometimes it is just not the right choice or the right time. I have had a couple women come to me about hiring me for coaching and, believe it or not, I have actually helped them realize that maybe it’s not the right thing for them right now. I have done this because I care about their success and their investment and maybe they just weren’t quite there yet.

Coaching Takes Work on Your Part

For example, coaching requires a lot of work, commitment, and inspires change in many facets of your life and business. So, if your absolute priority right now is the need to keep things the same, then it is probably not an investment that you are really ready to make. There is nothing wrong with needing some stability, sometimes we all need that in life. Maybe you have gone through some major changes and upheaval recently and you just need some time for recovery. Coaching requires you being able to look forward into the future and for you to make changes, and sometimes if you are in a fragile or delicate place then it may not be right for you and could even do more harm than good, in some situations. Healing may need to happen before you can make the progressive changes that coaching brings. Therapy is always a great option for help during your healing time.

Coaching is NOT a Blueprint

Additionally, maybe you are just looking for a best practice, a blueprint, or a tried and true path to a certain achievement or goal. There are some coaches out there that market themselves like that. They lay claim to having a blueprint and a path of how they achieved something and that you will do it that way too—you will achieve precisely the same results. Those coaches are really a bit of a hybrid. What they are actually selling is more of a product than a full coaching experience. They really fit more into the realm of a business consultant than a true coach. A coach will ask you a bunch of how and why questions about what you are looking to accomplish. How will it fit into your plan? How will it mesh with your priorities and your lifestyle? These are questions you will need to answer for yourself and your coach.

Coaching Helps You Find Your Version of Success

The time to hire a coach is when you are really ready to make adjustments and changes for the sake of progress. When you find yourself saying “I’ve tried this and that” or “I’ve GOT to make the changes or decisions and I know what I need to do, but I don’t know how.” A coach will help you to determine what is really best for yourself, your business, and your family on a one-on-one basis.

It’s very easy to get sucked into every different version of success, but which one is the best for you, your business and your lifestyle right now? Some people can spend $10,000 on a program that requires 60 hours per week of work to achieve the results, but they just had a new baby. That simply isn’t realistic and is going to require you to push yourself far too much and you may still not achieve the results because there are simply different needs for mompreneurs. A coach will help you to develop the goals that you need to fit with the stage of life that you’re in.

Coaching Means Support and Accountability

My core belief is that people need to decipher what their priorities are, then have support to create goals that align with those priorities. The last piece of the puzzle is having someone to help them stay accountable to those goals. I believe the most crucial time to hire a coach is when you have a major lifestyle change. Things like having a new baby, quitting a part-time job or getting a job, retiring, adding on employees or expanding your business are times when you could use the clarity and assistance that a coach can really provide.

In the end, it is not always right to hire a coach and that’s perfectly fine. It is always important to do what is best for you, your business, and your family. Feel free to connect with me and we can do a free 20 minute strategy call and I will help you determine if it’s your time for coaching!

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Summer Mastermind

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Who: Past or new clients interested in some summer accountability, but not full-on coaching OR interested in coaching but can’t afford it.

What: Group coaching on a bi-weekly call/video chat, led by Lara.

When: Week of July 11 – Sept 19th (6 calls total)

Why: Prevent “summer slide”, check some to-dos off your “working on the biz” list

Pick your payment option and register now. Get all these session for $399 or for 3 monthly payments of $149.

1 x $399 3 x $149

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Things to Think About When Setting Your Prices

If there is one question that can keep you up more than any other as an entrepreneur, it is probably the question about how you value what you do or sell. How do you set effective prices?

Trouble can easily be created when you set your prices too high or too low. It can be very challenging to know exactly where you should be pricing—it’s not an exact science—but there still is some science that can help you. Pricing can be especially difficult if you are just starting out in your business or if you are rolling out something new. How do you know whether it’s the right price and if it is going to work for your audience?

There are three key factors to focus on when setting prices:

  1. Your target customer
  2. How much your competitors are charging
  3. Understanding the relationship between quality and price

It can be a very common mistake, especially in the beginning of your business, to underprice everyone else. It is a common misconception that if you are the least expensive, you will get more volume, purchases, or sign ups. This is simply not always the case. If you have less of a reputation than the competition you are undercutting, you risk being perceived by potential customers simply as cheap. You will see that most people are unwilling to purchase from someone who they believe has less value.

As a dear friend of mine always says, be wary of the bottom feeders or the ones who are just looking for the cheapest price. That person will never be loyal to you, they will always move to the lowest price.

Who is your ideal client?

No matter what you are creating, if you take the time to figure out who your ideal client is, that information will serve you well in the long term. Are they an avid shopper? Coupon collector? Are they more price or value sensitive? Customers need to believe that they are getting the best value for their money. It’s hard to drive value when someone cannot come in and touch something physically, so you have to focus on creating your customer experience.

What are your costs?

Something that absolutely everyone should do, but gets skipped all too often is knowing your costs. What costs do you have do you have to run your business, develop your products or services? Hard costs and soft costs should both be factored into your overall price model. Do you have costs for labor, marketing and selling or operating expenses? Literally, keeping the lights on, using your cell phone for your business, mileage on your car and your personal fixed assets. These are all things that are depreciating in value and being used due to you owning your business.

How much do you need/want to make?

It is also a critical step to define what your revenue target is for the year. From there, you can determine how many of each product or service you need to sell to reach that target, which can in turn shed some light on your pricing structure.

What value do you add?

Always remember your individual value that you bring to the table. Do you add extra services, guarantees or bonuses that your competition do not? What do your customers receive for buying from you instead of someone else? Figure out what your audience will pay for what you are selling, and then consider what you can do to distinguish yourself from the rest. Your pricing will fall into place.

Need help figuring out the answers to these questions? Not sure where to start? Contact me today for one-on-one coaching!

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How to Acknowledge Your Accomplishments

This is a notoriously busy and crazy time of year for everyone, myself included. Between business, personal and family engagements it can be hard to keep up. Today’s blog is about taking the time needed to really step back and reward yourself for the past year and set yourself up for success in the coming New Year.

Shift Your Focus

We are going to go over an end-of-year / closure exercise that I did with one of my coaching clients who is a psychic and tarot card reader. She is somewhat on the “fringe” of society and convention with what she does, so to speak. We were first got together she struggled with accepting what she does, the value she possesses and presenting herself to others with confidence.

We were speaking and she was going over in her mind all of the things she had said she would accomplish and hasn’t yet and was beating herself up about it. I had to ask her to stop and take the time to really acknowledge the ground that she has covered since we started working together. She has developed the confidence and ability to articulate to other what she does and place herself in front of her audience and that is huge ground to have covered.

Share Your Wins

There is so much power in sharing your successes with a group who really supports and encourages you. It’s a great feeling to share your accomplishments and allow yourself to be celebrated. If you don’t have that environment yet, find a group or individual that aligns with you, understands what you are up against and can genuinely support you and celebrate your “wins” with you.

Recognize the Importance

My psychic client was not accustomed to celebrating herself, acknowledging her successes, being proud of and rewarding herself. Feeling accomplished and successful will make you feel good, as helping celebrate others will feel amazing for you.

When you have to hunker down and push through being not motivated, knock downs in business and in your personal life, you need some padding. Some “emotional money in the bank”, as I like to call it. Being acknowledged is banking some of that emotional currency that you can “withdraw” when you need a little push, a little spark and a reminder that is is all worth it in the end to accomplish your goals.

Develop a Reward System

Consider developing a reward system for yourself when you accomplish tasks that you find you tend to procrastinate or let fall through the cracks. A different reward for the size (and pain) of the task you completed. It may look something like this:

Small reward for finally sitting down and writing a letter or email to someone that you have been putting off (like a customer service issue, for instance). Maybe go for a walk or a run, listen to some favorite music.

Medium reward for entering a couple months worth of receipts that have been piling up into your bookkeeping software. Consider possibly lunch or dinner with a friend or a treat just for yourself.

Large reward – get good at knowing where your profits are (net income vs net expenses) goal to be more profitable and completing your books for months. Large rewards can be subjective for all of us but maybe consider a small road trip to a nice dinner or show?

The type, size and kind of rewards will be different for all of us, but they are important to have in place ahead of time to give you just that little extra incentive that we all sometimes need to get things accomplished. Recognize how much ground you have covered this year instead of focusing on things you wish you had done. Celebrate your accomplishments and put some rewards in place to help you knock out some more of your goals.

Let’s jump into 2016 with some power!

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How to Know When the Time is Right For a Startup

If you’re a mom, you have probably, at some point in your life, asked the question, “When is the perfect time to have a baby?” The answer is inevitably, “Never!” We can never be 100% prepared to do something we have never done before. It’s true with starting families and it’s true with starting businesses. However, there are a few things we can do to wisely evaluate the timing of a startup to maximize our likelihood of success. Here are some questions to consider if a startup is in your future:

1. How about those finances? It’s all about the money, honey! Okay, so maybe it’s not ALL about the money, but let’s be honest—we’re not just cultivating a new hobby here, so we’ve got to talk about compensation. How much do you want to make? How much do you NEED to make? This is different for everyone, so take stock of your particular circumstances. Does your husband have a good, stable, full-time job? Can you pay the bills and keep the lights on with his income alone? Perhaps you have the freedom to develop and grow a startup right now without the pressure of needing a large amount of profit immediately. On the other hand, if your situation is such that your number one priority RIGHT NOW is financial gain and security, then it may not be the right time for a startup, unless you can hang onto your day job as a safety net.

2. Are you established? This is a HUGE factor in whether or not now is the right time for a startup. Do you already know how to do what it is you are planning to do in your business, or are you starting up a business that is totally new to you? You may already be working in your niche and with your target audience. If that is the case, it may not be much of a leap to starting your own business in that market. If you are just entering your chosen field and are not already acquainted with your ideal client, that doesn’t necessarily mean that now ISN’T the time for a startup, but you will need to factor in the extra time and energy it will take to build your business from the ground up. It can be done, but be realistic and understand the level of commitment it will take to be successful over time.

3. Do you have the support you will need for a startup? Support comes in many forms. Maybe it’s having your spouse or partner’s buy-in on how you’re spending your time, what resources you’re using, and how much financial contribution you are able to make when you hit the ground running. Perhaps it’s having friends or family who are able to shoulder some of the childcare needs you may have so that you can devote time to the business. Who is going to help you run your life, your family, and your business when you need support in these areas? If you’ve got these helps in place, now may be a great time to get started. If not, take the time to put these supports in place before you launch your business. It will give you a better chance at success when you are ready to get moving with things.

So these are just a few tools you can use when deciding when the time is right to start your business. I hope they help you find the clarity you need to confidently move forward when that time comes!

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