11 Steps To Owning Your Path

your path

Owning your path. That sounds like a great idea, right? We’re all on a path, most of them winding, some quite crooked, with a fair amount of bumps along the way. But that path is ours, so let’s dig into what it means to really own it and how we can apply that to our businesses so that we are moving forward into our future with confidence and intent.

  1. VISION. Your vision is your focus—what your eyes are fixed on. Whatever you focus on you get more of. So adjust your focus to the positive, to what you hope for, to where you want to go.
  2. WHY. Things are going to get tough. Things are going to get messy. You’re going to get confused, distracted, discouraged. Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing ensures that your motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward is coming from within, not based on all the external circumstances that you’re facing.
  3. CULTURE. Who you are, how you’ve done things up to this point, your habits, and your mindset are critical forces in determining the path you will choose. All these things come together to make you who you are. Embrace it!
  4. POSSIBILITIES. Don’t get trapped by a “But this is how I’ve always done it” mentality. Open yourself up to the world of possibilities that awaits you when you replace old habits that aren’t serving you with a mindset that says, “This is possible.”
  5. EXPERIENCE. Experience is the skills, knowledge, and expertise that you have acquired over the course of your life. Acknowledge your strengths, the things you are best at, and determine how you may use them going forward.
  6. COMMITMENTS. This is the “owning” part of owning your path. This is where you put a stake in the ground and declare, “It will be done because it matters to me!”
  7. PRACTICE. Practice is the opposite of perfectionism. It’s the opposite of fear. It is being willing to stink at something and keep trying until we get it right. Keep practicing!
  8. SUPPORT. Support is so critical to owning your path—both giving and receiving it. Get the help you need from others and invest time and energy into others to help them on their own paths.
  9. ACTION. This is where the rubber meets the road! Baby steps are still steps. Take action and make it happen!
  10. ACCOUNTABILITY. As internal as owning your path may seem, we need external drivers to keep us on track. Accountability is a good and necessary element of success, whether it is enlisting the guidance of a coach or simply checking in with a likeminded accountability buddy.
  11. CHOICE. This is all about your choice. It’s at the heart of everything. There is freedom in realizing that no one is making you do this, that this path you’re on is your choice, and that nobody can take away the success you find along the way because nobody but you has gotten you there.

I hope these tips help inspire you to really own your path. Do you have others you would add to the list? Let me know on Facebook!

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5 Things I’ve Learned Coaching Mompreneurs

mompreneurs

A recent project has had me looking back at my years of clients (can you believe I’m a terrible record keeper?) and thinking about ways these women’s lives have changed after working with me. Now, don’t get me wrong—this is not about patting myself on the back. I can only ask the questions and get the wheels turning; each woman I work with has to come to the right conclusions for her and then take action. Sure, I help think through decisions and then add a layer of accountability, but when it comes to getting the work done? That’s for my clients to do!

As I’ve looked back, I’ve also realized some important lessons I’ve learned as I work with a variety of women in all stages of life who work in vastly different industries with different goals. That’s what I want to share with you today, so here they are:

  1. Everyone (especially mompreneurs) need to get clear about their priorities. This is EVERYTHING about success as a mom business owner. How will you know you’re “succeeding” if you don’t know what that looks like for you? (Shameless book plug: in Moms Mean Business we walk you through the process of identifying your priorities. Order it here!)
  2. Even now, most women need to let go of what success looks like for stereotypical entrepreneurs or even what the women themselves think their success should look like based on external factors. We are not twenty-somethings who are bootstrapping the next Facebook in our basement. We can’t work 60-80 hours per week fueled on Taco Bell and Red Bull. We also probably won’t have a picture-perfect Pinterest house and a perfect coif. We can’t be all the things to all the people. We define success for ourselves!
  3. After identifying priorities, we need to follow those to their most likely result and then be realistic about our expectations. If family, marriage, and business are your priorities, then sitting on other community committees and volunteering for other organizations may have to wait for another phase of life. Asking yourself: if these are my priorities, what kind of life will I have?
  4. Once we are clear about their version of success, we have to follow through with those priorities. Which is why finding out what those priorities really are is paramount to success. If you’re neglecting your business to volunteer for hours at your kids’ school, you’ll just end up resenting that time if copying worksheets is not one of your priorities. And vice versa: if your marriage is falling apart because you spend every evening working on your business, you’re going to be similarly unhappy if that marriage is one of your priorities.
  5. It is absolutely, 100% okay to ask for help. Whether it’s from coach, a friend, a mentor, a mental health professional, our family, whatever, asking for help is not weak. When you have a strong support team, you are better equipped for the many challenges of owning a business and having a family (or either of those on their own)! Asking for help does not mean you’re not cut out for the life you have or that you can’t do what you’ve set out to do. In fact, you won’t be able to do what you want without the right help. So circle the wagons and get some people around you who you can trust!
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Conditions of Satisfaction—How, When, and Why to Say No

satisfaction

We mompreneurs, as we’re working hard to grow and develop our businesses, can sometimes slip into a pattern of saying yes to things that really don’t serve or work for us. In fact, we may even find ourselves signing clients or accepting projects that flat-out stress, drain, or overwhelm us… which can’t be good for us or our businesses! We say yes to these things for many reasons, many based on fear: fear that we may miss out on an opportunity, fear that no one else may ever hire us again, fear that we won’t have enough money, or fear that if we don’t say yes to absolutely everything our businesses will fail to grow. Well, let me tell you, ladies—fear is no way to grow a business!

So today I want to talk about the benefits of learning how, when, and why to say no. My hope for you is that you won’t operate out of fear, but from a place of strength, power, and worth, and it’s my belief that saying no, when appropriate, is an amazing tool to help you do just that.

It’s really all about what I call “conditions of satisfaction.” These are the things that bring you fulfillment, that make or break this business for you, that work for you, and that ultimately bring you satisfaction in your business, home, and life in general. These are your non-negotiables when it comes to what makes you happy, and these are what should drive your decision to say yes or no when an opportunity comes knocking at your door.

Here are some examples of how your conditions of satisfaction can help you know when to say no:

  • If working from home so you can be with your children and not have to put them in daycare is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job will require you to travel or work from a remote location.
  • If working with other mom entrepreneurs is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job will require you to work primarily with businessmen in corporate America.
  • If doing work that is meaningful and stimulating is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job that bores you or conflicts with your conscience comes up.
  • If working only Monday through Friday during business hours is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a project requires that you be available evenings or weekends.

Take time to nail down your conditions of satisfaction. They are different for everyone. There are no right or wrong answers here. But the point is: you get to choose what brings you satisfaction! You get to decide what is important to you, what you’re passionate about, and what makes you happy to be doing what you do. Those are the things by which to live your life, work your business, and help you decide when to say yes to the opportunities that move you in that direction and no to those that don’t.

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Why Your Kids Need to Have Chores

chores

We have a theme going this month—hopefully helping you get your kids lined up and organized for the summer. This includes schedules, chores, and hopefully imposing a little order on how your days go this summer. Typically, summer is a time of fly by the seat of your pants improvisation for moms and kids alike. Which is fine, sometimes. Many of us welcome the break from the rigidity of school year calendars, while some of us dread it. Or maybe we all fit in there in the middle somewhere. I know I do. However, one of the things I love about the summer is the flexibility to do with it what I want! And this summer is no exception.

My situation is probably a little different from many of you. My kids are older now (the youngest is 8), making it much easier for me to put them to work independently while I get things done. They can do a lot of helpful things around the house, too, lightening my housekeeping load and learning some life skills along the way! Which brings me to my main point today: kids need chores. They need responsibilities, even tiny ones (tiny people and tiny jobs). And the sooner you start them doing chores, the better—it becomes a part of their normal routine.

Here are some things to remember when giving kids chores:

  1. Set expectations. When the chore is to “straighten bedroom” tell them what that means. Be specific, and be ready to remind them (probably a couple of times) what your expectations are. Once they get the hang of a task, you won’t have to keep telling them what you mean when you assign them the task.
  2. Be realistic. A 6 year old will have different abilities than a 10 year old. His vacumming job is just not going to be like yours. Keep that in mind when you assign jobs and make sure the tasks are age-appropriate. (I have a list of jobs by age coming out in my next newsletter. Be sure you’re signed up!)
  3. Don’t redo the job. If your daughter worked hard to mop the kitchen floor, and you went behind her and redid it, how will she feel? Why would she try the next time she does a job if she knows you’re going to just do it yourself anyway? It can be tricky, especially if you are detail-oriented, but instead of redoing it, try this: “Great job honey! Let me show you a trick I’ve learned for next time you do it.”
  4. It’s not about you. If it were, you could just hire a cleaning crew and call it a day. Chores are about learning life skills, developing fine and gross motor skills, being part of the family, and learning to be responsible. Remember that is your main goal, especially when kids are younger and just learning to do a lot of the tasks.
  5. Keep it in perspective. This shouldn’t make or break your day. Sometimes, kids will pitch in, do the jobs, and be awesome. Sometimes, they will be jerks and you’ll have to nag them the whole day. Most days, they’ll fall somewhere in the middle. Just try to remember that it’s not the end of the world, it’s just chores, and you’ll all survive!

So that’s it! Kids can do a lot of chores and help you out, if you let them. They’ll also go off into the world knowing how to make a bed, do laundry, clean a kitchen, and take out the garbage. Not a bad deal when you think about it! How do you get your kids to do their chores? Weigh in on my Facebook page!

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Time Management Tips for Mompreneurs

timetips

timetips
If you—like I do—sometimes feel that you’re only barely managing to juggle motherhood and all the ins and outs of running a business, then it’s time to take a good, hard look at how you spend your time. Especially on the cusp of 2015, after the frenzy and chaos of the holidays, the following are some of my favorite time management tips to help you manage your juggling act a little better!

1. Get a routine. Now I understand that there are those of you who will balk at the idea of a formalized routine. But hear me out. While it’s totally not necessary to plan your day in strict, 15-minute increments, a regular schedule of sorts will support the flexibility you value in your life, allowing you time to work on and in your business, as well as time for household chores and family events. Start by creating a loose schedule—morning, lunchtime, afternoon, dinnertime, evening—for Monday through Friday, blocking off office hours and your regularly scheduled daily activities, like packing lunches, getting kids off to school, and so on.

2. Break down your office hours into manageable chunks. This one is simple, and you can block off time by just observing your habits. Is there a particular time you tend to work on the computer? How about returning emails or phone calls? Schedule time to work on your business—marketing and the things that cause your business to grow—and in your business—actual, billable hours of production or face-to-face client time.

3. Make appointments for yourself. You would never stand up a client with an appointment. Why not show yourself that same respect? Need to work on your website redesign? Make an appointment! Have a marketing concept that needs to be fully fleshed out? Set a time for yourself to work on it. Give importance to the things you want to accomplish by putting that time and date on the calendar, and then showing up for that appointment.

4. Schedule downtime. Yes, productivity is important. Yes, as mom entrepreneurs, it seems that 24 hours is never enough. But taking care of yourself is a priority, and it needs to be planned for! Try alternating tasks that require mental focus with good-for-you breaks—a walk around the block, a healthy snack, a phone conversation with a friend—whatever relaxes and recharges you. You may be surprised at how productivity soars when you’re fresh and energized.

These are a few tips that I use to manage my time as a busy mompreneur. All of this will help you round out a really ideal schedule for you, adding up to more time to get things done in a way that makes you feel productive and purposeful—not overwhelmed. I hope these are helpful to you!

Which of these tips can you implement today to help you get control of your time?
What other tips would you include that keep you focused and productive?

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The Definition Of Insanity

Albert Einstein Quote

Albert Einstein Quote“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein

 

Sounds simple enough. Even if it’s not completely insane, I think we can all agree that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different is at the very least… well, not very bright, right? But yet, I can speak for myself when I say that in business, and especially in motherhood, there have been times I know I’ve been certifiable, according to this definition of insanity! We’ve all been there. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we waste our time repeating actions and patterns that don’t yield the results we want?

 

Let’s take a look at some of the common places in our lives that we could be exhibiting signs of insanity, according to the definition above.

 

  1. Are you struggling with your kids during the same time of day, day after day after day? Before school, dinnertime, bedtime—you know the drill! I refer to it as “the witching hour.” Whenever it is at your house, you dread it, because the same thing goes down every. single. day.

 

  1. Are you having the same argument with your spouse or partner over and over and over again? You know how this one plays out. There is a topic that always sets you or your partner off, without fail. Someone says the word, and it’s all downhill from there—you say this, he says that, and the end result is nothing short of predictable.

 

  1. Are you marketing and networking like crazy but still not getting the sales, new customers, or more money that you desperately need? You’re in massive action. I mean you are just out there making it happen. But it’s not producing the results you’re after.

 

  1. Are you having a hard time finding time for your own health and well-being, even though you claim it’s one of your top priorities? You can just never seem to get enough sleep. It is impossible to find time to exercise. Date nights or girls’ weekends are a thing of the past. These are all things that are important to you, but for some reason or another, they’re just not happening.

 

These four areas are very common pitfalls for us mompreneurs to get stuck in. These are the areas where we tend to compromise some of our best skills, talents, knowledge, and expertise, in favor of getting stuck in a rut of routine that simply doesn’t serve us. So ladies, it’s not really about insanity, is it? Look around you. Look at those kids around your ankles that will one day be great big teenagers. Look at that brand new business that could one day be an empire. Things change. We need to be ready to change along with them.

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

 

In which area are you exhibiting signs of insanity?

 

What patterns, habits, or routines are no longer serving you?

 

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Two Hours To Success

Two HoursSo we’re kind of hitting that point in the marathon of our fiscal year where we have to strategically plan to get the stuff done that matters most in order to reach our year-end goals. And I know how important that is to you. As mompreneurs, if we’re going to invest blood, sweat, and tears in this work that we love, we do not have time to waste. We’ve probably all heard the joke, “How do you eat an elephant?” and the answer is “One bite at a time.” And yet, eating an entire elephant can still feel very daunting when contemplating that first bite—even worse if you’re a vegetarian! But all joking aside, tackling a big project can seem impossible in the beginning, and that’s why I want to give you some bite-by-bite steps to help you be effective and efficient and ultimately, successful.

 

When we start our businesses oftentimes we haven’t given much thought as to what it takes to make it all happen with regard to daily operations, much less the larger projects that will drive us forward by leaps and bounds. These are the things that you won’t knock out in a single day, or a weekend, or maybe even a month, and just like the elephant, it is likely that we will feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed by the task before us. What if I told you that your “one bite at a time” is actually very manageable, measurable, two-hour chunks of time that can easily fit into your daily schedule?

 

Everybody is different. Some are night owls, some early-risers, some late afternoon, so you be the judge of when that laser-focused, super-productive time is for you, but we all have one. Just pick two hours when you will be at your best. Any more than that and your productivity will naturally fizzle out. We’re just not made to concentrate for longer than that. So set yourself that two-hour budget—and here’s the challenge—let nothing else get in the way… not laundry, phone calls, social media, text messages, email… nothing. Just sit down and bust it for two hours. At the end of those two hours you will have accomplished more than you thought possible toward completing that “impossible” project that had you so stressed out. That two-hour chunk moves you forward beyond your imagination.

 

At the end of the day, we all have the same 24 hours to work with. You can find two hours to dedicate to what matters. I want you to sleep. I want you to spend time with your family. And you have to get some of the daily operations of your business done. But can you put off some housecleaning? Some errands? A TV show you love to watch? Look at your schedule for today and tomorrow. I bet you can find it. And those smaller “bites” of that huge project that’s going to catapult you to success are what will get you to the finish line.

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

 

What elephantine project have you been putting off starting?

 

Where can you find that two-hour chunk to get you headed in the right direction?

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Top Mistakes Mompreneurs Make

Top Mistakes Mompreneurs MakeIf you’re reading this blog, chances are you are a work-at-home mom, just like me.  And just like me, because for one reason or another you too decided to take on the roles of both full time mom and entrepreneur or business owner, we tend to find ourselves in very similar circumstances.  So I’d like to share with you today some of the biggest mistakes we, as mompreneurs, can face, in order that we can fend off these obstacles, keeping our eyes on the prize.

 

1.  NOT SETTING BOUNDARIES.  This is probably the biggest mistake I’ve made in my career as a WAHM.  If you have kids, you don’t need me to tell you what boundaries are… because your kids are pushing them!  Am I right or am I right?  Setting expectations with yourself, your family, and your clients lets everybody know when you’re available to them and when you’re not available to them.  Boundaries=stress averted!

 

2.  TRYING TO DO IT ALL YOURSELF.  Asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re weak or that you’re not smart enough or good enough—which are some of the crazy conversations we have rattling around inside our heads.  Trying to do it all by yourself is a recipe for burnout.  If you are committed to the success of your business, your family and your life, get the support you need.

 

3.  NOT BLOCKING YOUR TIME.  All mompreneurs figure out sooner or later that the most efficient use of our time is not to steal a moment here and a moment there to accomplish everything from business emails to grocery shopping to laundry.  Set aside specific times for specific tasks and then be committed to the task of the moment.

 

4.  NOT FOCUSING ON YOUR MONEYMAKING TALENT.  We all got into business doing what we do best.  These are the things that make us money, and these are the things that need to be our top priorities.  Do what you do best first and save the rest for last, or better yet, delegate, delegate, delegate!

 

5.  NOT HAVING A BUSINESS PLAN.  Just like you wouldn’t take off for vacation without a destination or a roadmap, if you want to reach your goals in business, you have to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.  Once you have a plan, it’s amazing how ambitious you’ll be at making your plan work and reaching those goals.

 

These are just a few of the top mistakes mompreneurs make, including some from my own experience.  Maybe you have some “favorites” you can add to the list!

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

 

Have you fallen into any of these traps? 

 

What can you do right now to avoid or set right some of these common mistakes? 

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In The Zone: The Comfort Zone

In the Zone: The Comfort Zone

In the Zone: The Comfort ZoneToday I want to talk with you just a little bit about when being comfortable may be holding you back from being really successful.  Now it’s perfectly natural for us, as mompreneurs—women who have essentially signed up for two full time plus overtime occupations—to naturally gravitate toward what’s easiest for us.  It’s a way of managing all that’s on our plates, keeping our heads above water, normalizing, maintaining.  And sometimes what’s easiest is also smartest, because let’s face it—when you’re CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of your business and household, the “work smarter, not harder” principle is definitely worth considering!  But there are times that comfort and ease and “normal” (whatever that is!) can work against what we really desire out of life, and we need to be on the look out for ways we let our comfort take precedence over our greater vision.

 

Here are some common ways we get stuck in that comfort zone.  Think about which of these may be true for you:

 

1.  Your habits aren’t serving you.  Okay, moms—admit it—we ALL know what this looks like.  We’ve committed to allowing the children a certain amount of time in front of the TV.  But we’ve had some deadlines we’ve had to make on a project for work… and if we can just eek out a little bit more time from the afternoon… and it’s just this one time… And before we know it, the kids have developed an affinity for the couch and they’re whining and fighting and we really aren’t getting anything done now anyway.  And we do the same thing in business, don’t we?  Little slips can become big problems over time.

 

2.  You want to grow.  Doing what you’ve always done in the way you’ve always done it is not going to work when it comes to personal or business growth.  It will keep you where you are rather than helping you get to where you want to go.  Normal and safe and comfortable is not what you’re shooting for when you want to grow because growing means moving outside those boundaries that currently exist for you.

 

3.  You’re setting goals.  Any time you vow to move toward something new or different (as is the case with a goal), you are, by definition, leaving your comfort zone.  You have to push past what’s familiar in order to get to that goal.  And since goals are set to align with our values and priorities, the temporary discomfort associated with charting new territory is well worth the effort.

 

These are just a few of the ways that being comfortable keeps us from being successful.  Identifying these areas of weakness can help us to head them off at the pass, as we continue to press outward on those boundaries, toward the greater prize.

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment! 

Do you struggle with wanting to stay in your comfort zone?

In what ways is staying comfortable holding you back? 

 

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Sanity-Savers For Mompreneurs With Day Jobs

Sanity Savers For Mompreneurs With Day Jobs

Sanity Savers For Mompreneurs With Day JobsMom, business owner… day job?  When you’re CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of your business, sometimes this is what your startup company looks like.  But you know the old adage, “It’s hard work but somebody’s got to do it!”  So if you’re a mompreneur who is dedicated to putting your family first, starting your own business, AND still working hard at your day job, here are some of my favorite sanity-savers to help you power through this challenging, yet exciting time in your life.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT:  Here comes the tough talk, sisters.  If you are a mompreneur and still working a day job, it is not a long-term option for you to keep working around the clock, doing what needs to be done whenever you can find a moment.  That approach is not going to lead to business success.  So here are three sanity-savers to help you get a quick grip on time management:

 

1.  GET A ROUTINE:  If the kids are in school, craft your routine around their school day, where possible.  If they’re not, or if you work your day job until after they’re home, it is necessary for you to get a sitter.  Having someone available to watch the kids, get them dinner, and orchestrate the bath/bedtime dance even a couple nights a week can mean the difference between a successful, rested and present mom and a frazzled, exhausted and harried one.  You only have 24 hours in a day, so designate that time in such a way that you can make each moment count, for your family and your business.

 

2.  CREATE BOUNDARIES:  You cannot say yes to everything!  Ultimately, you are the only one who can choose how you spend these precious hours that you have.  Remember that saying no to one thing is the ability to say yes to the things that matter most.  So get used to saying no!

 

3.  USE THE ADD METHOD:  Automate, Delegate, or Ditch it!  Get things off your plate that are not your strengths or that don’t matter to you.  This is a huge part of spending your time wisely.

 

PLANNING:  We all know that leaving everything until the last minute is a recipe for disaster, but constantly going full speed ahead is a sure path to burnout as well.  We’ve all heard the saying, “Fail to plan and plan to fail.”  It’s true!  Here are a couple strategies to keep you sane while you plan for success.

 

1.  BABY STEPS:  As mompreneurs, we have to be okay with baby steps toward our goals.  The best way to keep track of the ground we’re making is by having a fabulous business plan.  It’s so important to be able to measure those baby steps against our greater vision.  It may be slow going, but baby steps will get us there every time.

 

2.  GET A MARKETING PLAN:  Modern technology allows us all to be amazing marketers for our business, so take advantage of that.  But if marketing is really not your thing, don’t be afraid to apply the ADD Method to this one!  Do what you’re best at and then automate, delegate or ditch the rest!

 

SUPPORT:  If you want to preserve your sanity, you’re going to need support.  You cannot do this all by yourself.  Family, friends, a VA… a housekeeper, for crying out loud!  Life is too short to try and do it alone.  Get the help you need and focus those moneymaking talents in the ways that matter most.

 

I hope these sanity-saving strategies are helpful to you as you work toward living the dream of growing that business you know is going to give the freedom, flexibility and fulfillment you’re searching for as a mompreneur.

 

I love hearing from you, so leave me a comment!

Which of these sanity-saving strategies have you tried?

Are there any others you’ve had success with on your mompreneur journey? 

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