What Kind of Help You Should Hire First

If you’re looking to grow your business, or you’ve reached a plateau of some point, it may be time to hire help. (You can read more about that in this blog post: How to Know it’s Time to Hire Help.) But what kinds of tasks can you outsource? What kind SHOULD you outsource? Here are a few ideas of where to start:

  • Things that are critical to your business, but aren’t your expertise. Sure, you may have taught yourself some tricks of the trade, but if you could hire an expert for bookkeeping, marketing, order fulfillment, or other tasks, you’ll save time and be able to scale up. An expert may seem expensive, but s/he has the experience to do things faster and more effectively than you—covering more ground and doing more than you could.
  • Things you can outsource for a fraction of what your time is worth. A virtual assistant is a great tool for your business. From data entry to social media maintenance, order fulfillment to birthday card mailing, you can save SO much time giving these more mundane, time-expensive tasks to someone else.
  • Things that are a day-to-day part of your business, but take a lot of time. This is more for business owners with brick and mortar locations. It’s worth it to have a receptionist, office manager, or others who can be the “first line” when it comes to your customers.

You don’t have to delegate away everything you love about running your business. In fact, that would be miserable! The point of delegating is to make time for the parts you love, and dispense with the ones that you don’t like, take too much time, or just aren’t profitable ways for you to spend your time.

If there are parts of your business that aren’t necessarily your expertise, but things you love (like doing your social media or contacting customers) of course they can stay on your plate. But there are ways to streamline those so you can still participate without them taking too much time away from the activities and things that make you money.

Want to delegate, but aren’t sure how to get started? I’d love to talk to you about how you can grow your business with help. Contact me today for a free discovery call!

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Is it Time for You to Find a Business Partner?

Taking an honest look at your goals is one of the best ways to determine if a business partner is right for you.

An assessment that brings your priorities into focus will also help you find the right partner. Wherever you are in this decision-making process, there are a few things to consider when contemplating partnership.

Are you tired of making decisions by yourself?

Many entrepreneurs find joy in being their own boss and calling the shots, but being the sole decision maker can get tiresome and lonely. If you can relate to the saying, “Two heads are better than one,” you may want to consider bringing in a partner.

Sharing the joys and struggles with someone in the trenches with you can eliminate the feeling of loneliness. Plus, having a partner you can trust, will give you the freedom to unplug and take an occasional vacation.

You lack certain skills that are necessary for your businesses to grow

Investing in additional training or hiring freelancers to take on tasks is a great option to support your businesses’ growth, but will these be the best long term solutions?

Taking on a new skill-set means the possibility of overloading yourself with more work. You could hire freelancers as an alternative, but they may not have your level of excitement and dedication to the mission. Sharing the workload with a partner who is invested in the business as much as you are and has strengths in areas that you lack could make your business more robust in the long-run.

You need additional funding

As your business grows, you may decide to change the formation of your company, hire a full-time staff, or offer new products and services. This type of growth often requires additional funding. If you don’t readily have access to large sums of cash, investors can provide the funding you need to help your business grow and open doors you may have never imagined.

While it may seem like an entrepreneurial jackpot to have someone invest in your business, this reward doesn’t come without a few risks. Depending on the terms of this partnership you might have to make a few compromises that result in your business growing away from you and out of your control.

Creative Flexibility

When starting as an entrepreneur, it’s often necessary to wear many hats. This type of multi-tasking can drain your creative spark and make it hard for you to move your vision forward. Having someone to share ideas with can bring a new zest to your business.

For each circumstance listed above, you must ask yourself if a partnership is the best way to solve your problem then explore all possible solutions. Having a clear understanding of your goals and the options available to you is the best way to determine if it’s time for you to find a business partner.

Partnerships can make or break your business. If you’re still struggling to decide if it’s the right move, this is where I can help you as a coach. Contact me today for your free discovery session if you’re ready to kick off 2017 on the right foot!

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Where to Start if You Want to Grow Your Business

Today’s topic is for all my ladies who have dealt with desiring intelligent, purposeful business growth but aren’t able to see the path forward that will lead them there.

Right now, I am currently working with a lot of fitness studio owners who I am trying to help with this crossroads. Fitness studio owners, as well as many of the other mompreneurs that I work with, are “bootstrap” business owners.

“Bootstrap” business owners are those that start their businesses often times by taking small loans from themselves, family or sometimes banks and then really get in there and get their hands dirty. These entrepreneurs are very strong, self-reliant and driven people who are ready to really do all that it takes to move their business in the direction of their vision of success.

These individuals have often invested their personal assets (from college or retirement accounts) or that of close friends and family who really believe in them, their ideas and their future success. And though it is a wonderful thing to have those around you willing to genuinely invest in your dreams, it also has a tendency to put a lot of extra pressure on them to perform well enough to be capable of paying those loans back.

Once they get their business open, these are the business owners who are working ALL of the time and relying on their perseverance and grit to get them through and past the first year of business. They handle all of the marketing and networking while also being the one teaching the classes so they don’t have to pay someone else to do it and lose valuable profits. This business model is passionate and inspiring but it also very quickly leads to burnout. And especially in the case of a fitness studio owner, it leads to not only emotional burnout but also physical. Handling everything on your own takes a real toll on both your body and your mind.

Now, I’m not against doing the hard work for your business and occasionally making a crazy sacrifice for your dreams. I think that is something that is within every true entrepreneur, but if it is to be done, it’s important to have healthy boundaries around it. There needs to a plan and a defined beginning, middle, and end to the push you are making. It cannot be forever because not only is it simply not sustainable or healthy, but it can also very quickly form bad habits.

Beyond Bootstrapping

It can be hard to know what steps to take once you finally decide that your bootstrap time is coming to an end and you need to grow your business. What do you do now? What does true “growth” even mean? This is important, so read it twice if you need to, but growing your business needs to be an intentional choice. This is not something to come to by accident or just to let it grow in all directions without any guidance because it can (and will) take over. If you let your business run you instead of the other way around, it will eventually start to feel like the “job” you left years ago because it was controlling your priorities and running your life.

After you have decided you are ready for growth, you need to sit down and really make some S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

The traits of a S.M.A.R.T. goal are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results, and Time.

Here are some things to think about as you get started:

  • Decide what portion of your business you want to grow and how you intend to watch or measure that growth as it happens.
  • Do you want to grow sales or profits?
  • Are you looking to up the numbers of products, programs or services you delivered versus last year?
  • What about the possibility of expanding your business resources or space?
  • Now, consider the option of hiring some addition heads and minds to help you in your business.
  • Could you use a business partner or office manager?
  • If you decide you aren’t ready to commit to a full-time employee, have you considered the option of a freelancer or online contractor to free up some time and help you accomplish some goals?

Asking and answering some of these questions for yourself can help you to really understand what your own definition of a successful business looks like and ensure you are able to see the path to growth and to enable yourself to really act on that path. So, what is your next step? Not sure? Still don’t know where to start? I’d love to help you make some plans and goals to get your business to where you want it. Contact me today for a free discovery session and let’s get started!

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Oh Crap. Now What? I Hate This.

Sometimes, being an entrepreneur can be very trying and difficult on all of us and we will begin to feel like we have made a mess that we will never be able to fix. Have you ever felt a loss of control or disheartened and frustrated in your business? Have you felt like your business somewhere along the way just got away from you and your initial plans?

I hate to hear when someone I’m working with feels disenchanted with their work because something isn’t going the way they think it should be. They jumped in because they really believed in something and thought they could create a business around themselves and their families, but it hasn’t gone as smoothly as they were hoping. They were sick of being the “grunt worker” and wanted to start bringing home some of the lion’s share, some of the pride and acknowledgment as well as some of the profits.

These are all great reasons to start a business. But unfortunately, more often than not, I wind up talking to people who feel like things grow out of their control and don’t know where to go from here. In the beginning, they felt like they owned their business and now it feels like their business owns them.

Are you feeling hated on or bossed around by your business a little bit?

Now, honestly, all of us feel a little unmotivated some days. Sometimes you get up and your business just doesn’t fire you up like usual and you can’t put your finger on exactly why that may be. Sometimes, it just means other external or internal factors are in the way of your normal go-getter entrepreneurial spirit. It absolutely does not always that you need to be done with your business and wipe your hands of the process. It doesn’t always mean that your business has run it’s course and is done, sometimes it’s just a phase.

But what do you do when you really realize you are over it and don’t like the way that it is going? You decided that it’s not an attitude issue or a phase and you feel like your business has grown away from you? You find yourself considering a big change like going back to work, changing major business plans or finding new clients or a new niche. Whoa there, slow down!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is a normal cycle and a normal growth pattern for an entrepreneur. Sometimes your business will grow in a way that doesn’t necessarily align with you or your original plans or ideas and you will need to learn how to handle when this happens.

One of the first things to do when you are feeling miserable in your business is to take a step back. Look objectively at the situation and consider if there are things you dislike but are doing anyway out of a feeling of obligation? A first major step towards helping your situation is taking ownership of the fact that under no circumstances do you HAVE to do anything you do not want to do in your business. It feels like you HAVE to do things a lot in business, but it’s just untrue. you are making a choice.

You have to set very clear boundaries in your business or you can get lost on your vision. In the hustle and bustle of being an entrepreneur, you have forgotten about your initial boundaries when you started your business.

You slide into bad habits and you never feel strong and confident enough to be direct with clients to help them to realize and abide by those boundaries. Do not fear being perceived as rude. Your clients can’t abide by rules and boundaries that you never tell them are there. You can be direct and strong while also being careful, gentle and respectful. Simply telling your clients gently about your boundaries can help shift the dynamics back to what you do and why. Cut out the excess. Let your clients know that you value both their and your time and need to focus on the task at hand.

Are you feeling burnt out on your business? Chances are you need to check back in with your priorities and ensure they are setup to support you in your business. Could your priorities have possibly shifted? You may be experiencing this pain and difficulty because your priorities have evolved and you need to recognize. It’s important to consistently re-evaluate your business to ensure that as much as you work for it, it also works for you.

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Setting Goals for 2016 – What Do You Want to Get Done?

It’s here. The end of 2015. Is it just me or does it feel like it just got here?

Last week we talked about acknowledging and appreciating your ground covered and things accomplished this year. We also talked about taking the time necessary to reflect as to why you maybe didn’t accomplish some different things you had initially set out to do? Did you struggle to find the motivation or inspiration to push yourself just the little bit further? Did you learn something from your audience or market and decide to switch gears to some new, different goals?

The holiday season is usually the time that I sink in and slow down just a little. I don’t take on new crazy goal setting or new challenges. I slow down and enjoy family, food and some time to just breathe and reflect. So this week, we are just going to do an exercise with thinking, no pen or paper required.

Things to consider really thinking about:

  • Why you do your business?
  • What knowledge and skills you have acquired so far in your career?
  • How is that going to affect your life and business next year?
  • How is your life going to change next year?
  • Is it going to be the same?
  • Are you expecting a new baby?
  • Have kids leaving for college?
  • Are you going through separation or divorce?
  • Moving states or cities?
  • Job change for your partner or spouse?

Your lifestyle is absolutely going to impact your business and the goals that you set for yourself. Help yourself by consider your life and the changes you will experience before setting any goals for 2016. Considering your life and any changes can help you make your goals more realistic and achievable.

Are you hoping / planning for growth in your business in 2016? In what manner? Is this finally your year for scaling up? Considering some new employees or a new partner? How about a new passive income stream or branching out your services by offer a new live event or presentation? Could you benefit from a new marketing strategy?

This is not putting pen to paper. This is just about really thinking on your goals and hopes for 2016. Time for reflection on 2015 and projection for 2016. What most fires you up and gets you most excited? These are what will help you bring new business and profits. It feels great to acknowledge yourself and the work you put in to yield your results. Productivity makes us feel powerful and good. Stressed out and overwhelmed happens when we are stretched too thin.

Think about what you want your life to be like in 2016. Not goals. Separate. Just what you want your life to be like in 2016. Is your business too demanding for you right now? Is it taking over your home life? Your marriage and time with your children? Are you taking care of yourself and your mind, body and spirit? Taking care of family and life and business can be too much sometimes. Acknowledging when it’s too much is a powerful thing.

How do you want to FEEL at the end of 2016?

We will talk in January about how to make that happen for you and your business. We will discuss how to create an action plan to get you there. But for now, Happy Holidays and thank you so much for listening / reading along with me in 2015!

When I resume podcasting in January, I will officially have been podcasting for 7 years. Holy cow! I think that is a huge accomplishment and maybe deserves a celebration! I am bad at thinking of that stuff though, so please let me a comment with any ideas you may have!

And also, if you have any questions or have a big decision to make this year, I’d love to help you. Find out more about working with me.

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How to Land Your First (or Next) Client

Today I want to cover some of the fundamentals of how to land your first client. I realize some of us have been in business for a long time and are far removed from the wonder and excitement of that long-anticipated first client, but many of these basic principles bear repeating from time to time along the journey. So whether this is your first client or simply your next, take time to refresh your mind and your business with these rudimentary, yet powerful and effective strategies.

Know your target market’s pain points. What problem does your ideal client experience that you can solve? You may offer an amazing, impressive, ingenious product or service… but if it doesn’t address a specific problem that your market has, chances are you’re not clear on who your audience is and what they need most. So do your research and be sure that there are people out there who need what you have to offer.

Know how they spend their money. What do your potential customers or clients spend their money on? Do they buy things for themselves, for their families, for their businesses? Do they pay top dollar for spa treatments and expensive technology or are they more practical and pragmatic? What are they willing to invest in? Do your homework. Understanding your market’s financial profile will give you a better picture of who they are, what they’re interested in, and how you can best serve them.

Know your Unique Business Statement. Do you have a UBS? If not, get one! If you know who your ideal client is and what they need, and you understand what they spend their money on, the next thing you need is to be able to tell them who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you—in 10 seconds or less. If you can’t do it quickly, then you’re not focused enough, because being great at what you do isn’t the be all and end all; you’ve got to be able to say it so that people can understand it.

Know your value. I can’t tell you how many small business owners or mom entrepreneurs come to me with the idea that because they are small, or because they are just starting out, they’re not worth much above nothing. If you feel that way about yourself, you’re not doing you or your clients a service. You can offer a small sample of your product or services, but don’t give away the farm—know your value and stick to it.

Know how to make your sale. Ask them to hire you. Seems simple, doesn’t it? But how many times do we find ourselves in a situation where we are just not prepared to make that sale? Have your calendar ready. Have your terms of payment lined up. And then ask them to hire you!

I hope this has been helpful. These are just some really simple steps to take to land your first (or next) client, and I think we can all revisit them along the way. Now go out there and put them into action!

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Permission to be Successful

We’re gearing up for a month of talking about success: defining and measuring our success, feeling successful, and more. Today, though, I want to give you something really special. It’s permission to be successful.

You have permission to be successful.

So often in our lives we get buried under negative self-talk and our own doubts and fears, not to mention the negativity and doubt of those around us. Sometimes, our own predictions of failure become self-fulfilling. But not anymore!

Everyone deserves success. You deserve success.

Sometimes, we have survivors guilt: our business and life is going well, but our close friend or even partner/spouse is having trouble in certain areas of their lives. This leads us to downplay or feel undeserving of what we’ve achieved. Baloney!

You earned your success.

Don’t let comparison steal your joy! Often we hear that in the context of giving yourself a pep talk when you feel less than about what you have, but it works the other way, too. Allow yourself to feel deserving of success. You are working for it, so let yourself have it!

You have permission to be successful.

Say it to yourself “I give myself permission to be successful.”

For more about success, check out my latest podcast: “Why is it so dang hard for mompreneurs to see themselves as successful?

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I Dare You!

We all love a good dare, don’t we? Remember when we were kids, how those simple words, often delivered with a smirk and a twinkle in the eye—“I dare you”—were all it took to bring us to action? Well, I’d like to challenge you with a little dare today. Feel free to let it take you back to the days when you just couldn’t resist. This is one dare that I believe has the power to change the course of your business and your life. Are you ready for it?

I dare you to reach out and connect with three of your past clients or customers today in a meaningful and authentic way.

What—you thought there would be more?

Okay, admittedly there is more to this dare than initially meets the eye, because this really is a loaded challenge if you’re paying attention.

In this age of social media, we connect with so many people on a daily (or even hourly) basis. But these connections are for the most part brief, shallow, and when you’re in business for yourself, ultimately with sales in mind. So when I say “reach out and connect,” I’m not talking about “liking” a status on Facebook; I’m not talking about re-tweeting something a past customer posted on Twitter; and I’m not talking about sending a canned sales proposition via email.

I’m talking about reaching out to someone you have lost touch with in a meaningful and authentic way. This could be a handwritten letter on beautiful stationary just to let someone know you’re thinking of them, a card that you take the time to choose just especially for that person, even a heartfelt, personal email to follow up on something you saw they were up to on Facebook lately. I’m talking about fostering real relationships just for the sake of fostering real relationships. I’m talking about staying connected to the world in an authentic way just because we are humans and that’s what we’re made to do. I’m talking about putting aside the business to be about the business of life… just because. No business card. No coupon. No call to action—just because.

As entrepreneurs, so much of our lives is automated. We have systems and processes in place for nearly everything we do. And that’s great and necessary and efficient. But today is a gift I’m giving you, should you choose to accept it. Today I dare you to just be a good human. Today I dare you to rekindle that little magical spark that happens when you reach out with genuine affection and a desire to just connect with another person in this great big automated world that we share. Did you take the dare?

Leave me a comment about your experiences. We can all use a little encouragement in this business of being human!

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Declutter Your Digital Biz

Email Waste

Spring is coming! And with the freshness and newness of spring comes that age-old desire to freshen up our homes, our businesses, our lives. So today we’re going to examine some ways we can apply that itch for cleaning up, simplifying, and even starting over, in some cases, to an area of our work that has the power to clutter up everything from our computer to our minds—it’s our digital business.

Here are some ways you can get a handle on it:

Declutter your email. Okay, girls, let’s be real. My email inbox has a tendency to become a crazy, hairy beast with lots of arms and legs that frequently gets out of control. Honestly, I just have way too many emails in my inbox, and chances are, you do too.

  • One of the most effective ways to manage the mess is to start with today, working your way backwards in time, deleting anything and everything that doesn’t hold your interest. Seriously. Make quick work of it. You probably won’t even have to open many of the emails to know if it’s something you want to keep.
  • Since you’re already giving attention to each email to determine whether or not it’s worth keeping in your inbox, when you see an email from a sender you’re no longer interested in receiving communications from, go ahead and take a few extra seconds to open that email and unsubscribe. I know this feels tedious and time consuming, but trust me—it will pay off in time and energy saved later!

Declutter your lists. While we’re on the topic of email, let’s talk just a moment about your email database. We talk a lot about email list building, but not all contacts are worth keeping. Find out who is or is not opening your emails. If it’s been six months, nine months, or a year since someone has read what you send them, it’s time for some decluttering!

Declutter your social media. Unfollow dead leads. Unlike pages you are no longer interested in or that are no longer serving you. Get rid of that stuff—it’s nothing but excess weight. Clean up your accounts, get a really clear newsfeed or Twitter feed, and the experience will be much easier and more navigable for you.

Declutter your digital systems. Take a look at your daily processes and determine what’s not a fit. Take note of things such as invoicing, bookkeeping, email templates, letterhead or other forms of digital branding. Where can you simplify or streamline to make your systems more efficient?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed—and even stuck—with the clutter of trying every new thing, or the clutter of hanging onto what used to work, or the clutter of using multiple platforms to accomplish a single task. Ease up on yourself and be smart about decluttering your digital biz. You’ll be glad you did.

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4 Questions To Declutter Your Mindset

HELLO!
We’re kicking off some spring cleaning here at Mom Biz Coach! And to start, I’ve got 4 questions to ask yourself to declutter your mindset. If you start here, your clarity can start to spread to other areas of your life and business!

1. What does it mean for me to be successful? Not “What do I think of when someone else says the word success?”Not “Who in the business world do I view as being successful?” What is success for me—for my life and my business? Success isn’t about how you see somebody else living it. It’s about the hand of cards you have been dealt and how you choose to play them. Success—and happiness, for that matter—begins with a clear vision of what that means to you.

2. How will I measure my success? It is so critical to have method to our madness! Now that you have taken the time to really nail down what success is to you, it’s important that you know when you’ve reached it. We do that by defining specific metrics by which we can measure our success and know—and celebrate—when we’ve hit the mark and when we need to keep pushing toward the finish line. So when you reach the end of 2015, how will you know you have been successful?

3. What is the biggest problem I solve for my clients? If you are a mom entrepreneur, chances are you don’t do just one thing. You fill many shoes and wear many hats. Some of that is necessary and some of it is just clutter. But there are some things—maybe even one thing in particular—that you do best, that nobody else does quite like you do, that brings happiness and fulfillment to your life. What is that one thing? Let go of the “Well, I really should be doing this” or “Well, I have done that,” and take the time to get really clear on that one big problem that you and your unique business solve in order to make your world a better place.

4. What must I do to make room for success in my life? When we’re doing spring cleaning around the house, wespend a lot of time and energy decluttering. We go through drawers and closets and containers full of clothing, deciding which items are staying and which are going, what fits who, which things have been outgrown. We do this to make room for the new! Same thing goes for mental clutter. Make room for success in the coming year. Get rid of what doesn’t work, what’s holding you back, what you’ve outgrown to make room for new opportunities that will bring you closer to your goals. You deserve it. And if you make room for it, you will achieve it.

Are you ready to declutter your mind and get ready for success? Which of these questions are you having the most trouble with? What is the easiest to answer?

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