Ready, Set, Grow!

ready set growSo we’ve determined YOU’RE GROWING. What next? Well, we don’t just want to grow until we split at the seams, do we? While explosive growth can be exciting momentarily, what we really want is to grow successfully—intentionally, focused, with our goals in mind. Your existing structures and systems can only take you so far, as evidenced by some of the crunches you feel as you approach your maximum capacity for sales, for time… for life! Growth is a good thing, so we want to support that growth with positive changes and flexibility in our systems that will allow us to continue to expand our influence and reach outward.

 

Here are some areas we need to examine as we prepare to get growing:

 

Your business plan. Take a look at your current business plan. What’s missing? Let’s narrow the focus a bit by concentrating on what goals you’d like to achieve in just the next 30 days. What strategies do you need to have to make these goals happen? What actions do you need to take to make these strategies happen? Create that 30-day plan for your business and don’t stress out too much about what the extended future holds. One step at a time!

 

Your marketing plan. When you’re full to capacity with clients and orders, it’s easy to get comfortable and discontinue your marketing efforts. Ladies, listen to me when I say that would be a monumental mistake. Do not stop moving forward with your marketing. Create a marketing plan that capitalizes on the great success you’re having and don’t let it waver or wane. It may mean delegating or even outsourcing as you stretch and grow, but keep that marketing plan in front of you and never get too comfortable.

 

Your support systems. Do you have the staff in place to handle the growth you are projecting for the next month? How about the vendors? What about administrative support? Is it time to hire a virtual assistant? A webmaster? Order fulfillment? I know that’s a lot to think about, but what is it that you need in order to follow your plan and allow the growth you’re experiencing to continue? It has to look different than it does right now. These are the “what’s missing” in your current systems.

 

Your high-payoff actions. These are the things that make you money. This is where you need to spend your time. It’s going to be more critical than ever that you keep your focus on these high-payoff actions and know that it’s okay to delegate the rest. Your time is money, so use your time to make money!

 

These are just a few ideas to help you grow responsibly and gracefully. I am so committed to helping mom entrepreneurs have the life they want through the business they want and experiencing that wonderful feeling of success when they find they are doing both. I hope these tips will have you on your way to that kind of success.

 

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

 

What’s missing from your business plan right now?

 

What support systems can you add in order to allow growth to continue?

Continue Reading

Growing Pains

Growing PainsPart of defining success is being willing to grow your business beyond where it is today. Growing pains are good! They are often signs that it is time to push past what we know and move toward that ultimate vision we are working so hard to reach. It’s a scary but exciting place to be, isn’t it? A lot is involved in being ready to grow. It requires having the appropriate structures, systems, plans, and mindsets in place to allow that to happen. Well, so often we don’t even recognize that we have outgrown these systems and structures until we feel the pinches and discomfort of that growth. Sometimes we may even perceive this “pain” as failure, when in reality, it’s a big, red flag that not only are we not failing, but it’s time to make some changes and expand what we’re doing to make room for even more growth. So let’s take a look at some signs that can clue you in that it’s time to grow. Are you ready?

Some signs that you are growing:

Higher volumes. This is a given, right? Woohoo! It’s time to celebrate! Higher volumes of orders, clients, or prices are all obvious signs we associate positively with growth.

But not all signs are so positive, are they? Do either of these look familiar?

Longer hours. In fact, you may be working more and more and more, but you still can’t keep up. You may be sleep-deprived, missing out on family time, or neglecting personal rest and recreation. Sometimes it takes becoming completely overwhelmed before finally realizing it’s time to get some help in order to create space for more growth.

Breakdowns. Are you forgetting things? Dropping the ball? Making promises you can’t keep? You may feel as though your whole world is falling apart, piece-by-piece, but if these sorts of things are happening across the scope of your business and personal life, it may a sign that you are outgrowing what currently works for you.

Growth is messy business. If your life is going along just fine and everything feels great and it’s all handled perfectly, then chances are you’re not growing. That’s the status quo. The status quo feels good. It’s “normal.” But we’re not shooting for normal here, are we, ladies? We are pursuing excellence. And excellence requires growth—breaking through the status quo, pushing past what’s currently comfortable for you, moving beyond what you know how to handle, and having the courage and confidence to go after your dreams.

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

Which of these growing pains are you experiencing in your business right now?

Have you ever felt that you are failing, only to discover you have outgrown your current systems?

Continue Reading

Overcoming The Fear Of Marketing

Overcoming the Fear of MarketingI’d say we generally understand “fear” to be a dirty, little, four-letter word.  As mompreneurs, it tends to present in our businesses looking something like this:  “I am scared I’ll look stupid” or “I don’t know how to do that” or “I’m not good enough at that yet to get paid what I want.”  These are all fears that we have.  They typically show up as a little voice inside our heads that we may not even realize we’re listening to.  It’s really sneaky sometimes.  And even though we probably feel like we’re ignoring them a lot of the time, these fears have a loud way of showing up in our lives because they keep us from doing the things that we really want to do.  Marketing is one of those things that we know we need to do, and we know we want the results, but oftentimes are just too afraid to do it, at least in a powerful way.  If you’re someone who struggles with this, I’m hoping I can give you some tools to help.

 

Here are three solutions to overcoming the fear of marketing:

 

1.  Know your target market.  Underneath it all, if you understand your target market—their top priorities, challenges, and what keeps them up at night—then you can become an expert at what your prospective clients need.  If you become an expert on what your prospective clients need, then you’ll gain some confidence in providing solutions that add value to their lives.  When you feel that confidence, it will be so much easier for you to market yourself—to share who you are in this world and what you have to offer.

 

2.  Create your 10-second elevator pitch.  This unique business statement (around ten seconds, hence the name) tells your niche market who you are, what you do, and why they should care.  You’re going to practice this statement again and again and again so that there is absolutely no doubt, even in your most panicked situations, who your target market is, what value you bring to that market, and how to describe yourself in a way that makes that value evident.  This is a practical tool to help you get out of your own way and overcome some of the fears you may have around marketing yourself.

 

3.  See yourself as valuable.  Yes, you are a mom, and a good one at that!  And any time we put the word “mom” in front of “entrepreneur,” that says something about our priorities.  But just because your first priority is being an awesome mom does not mean that you can’t contribute to the world in other ways.  You can do it.  You are smart enough.  You deserve it.  Those fears inside us that talk to us about “But what if…?” and “But I’m not…”—they’re just fears!  Fears are not the truth about who we are and what we’re capable of, and if we’re going to be successful and if we want to share the wonderful work that we’re up to in the world, we’re going to have to stop them in their tracks.

 

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

 

Do you have a 10-second elevator pitch?  Share it with us!

 

In what ways can you speak truth to yourself instead of fear? 

Continue Reading

What Are You Afraid Of?

What Are You Afraid Of“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

Cliché?  Maybe.  But I think there is something to be said for fearing the fears that frighten us into self-limiting beliefs, indecision, or inaction.  Today I want to talk to you just a little bit about our fears of marketing ourselves—selling ourselves—especially in casual or social situations.  This is a common fear for mompreneurs and one that can be absolutely paralyzing, so we’ve got to take an honest look at ourselves and head this stuff off at the pass, in order to really overcome these obstacles and do what we want to do.

 

So let’s take a look at some of the most common issues we, as mompreneurs, face when it comes to the fear of marketing ourselves:

 

1.  We tend to downplay ourselves and our businesses in casual conversation.  Am I hitting a nerve yet, girls?  It goes like this:  You’re at the park and a fellow mommy asks, “Hi, so nice to meet you.  Oh, me?  I’m just a stay-at-home mom.  What do you do?” and you answer, “Oh, I stay at home too.  That and I have this little business thing I do on the side, but you know…” See how we just downplayed that?  Your little “business thing” doesn’t sound very significant, does it?

 

2.  We are scared of what people think.  Let’s face it; we all know somebody who is just in nonstop used car sales mode, don’t we?  You know the one.  She is constantly promoting herself and generally annoys everyone around her.  We don’t want to be that person!  And so we are afraid that if we are open and expressive about our passions and what it is we do, we will be perceived as pushy—so instead, we keep our mouths shut.

 

3.  We are afraid we won’t say the right thing because we don’t have a unique business statement, a.k.a. the “10-second elevator pitch.”  Because we don’t have a clear and concise way to communicate what it is that we do, we are left with the anxiety of not knowing what will come out of our mouths when asked, and the very real possibility of stumbling over our words.

 

4.  We don’t know what message to deliver if we don’t know for absolute certain who we are delivering it to and what they need.  This is the question of “Why would they care anyway?”  Who are we targeting and what are that niche market’s top pain points.  Once we know that, we can speak confidently about what we do and why it’s important.

 

5.  We have a mindset of insignificance.  Sometimes we moms just forget that we are very valuable humans in and of ourselves, not just as mothers, and not just compared to what we did before we had children.

 

Do you recognize yourself in some of these common fears?  Are you letting limits you’ve placed on yourself keep you from pursuing what it is that you really want and have worked so hard for?  It’s critical that we recognize these beliefs in ourselves so we know what it is that we’re overcoming!

 

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

 

Which of these issues do you identify with most?

 

What can you start doing today to move away from fear and toward success? 

Continue Reading

Why We Settle and What We Can Do About It

Why We Settle and What We Can Do About ItSo we all know we do it, and you can read about some of the more common ways in which we settle HERE, but let’s devote some time to figuring out WHY we settle for less when we deserve what we really want, and then more importantly, what we can do about it.

 

1.  It’s familiar.  Some things bring a sort of sad satisfaction just because they are familiar.  It’s what we know how to do.  It’s predictable.  It’s comfortable.

 

2.  It’s a habit.  We go to work because it’s what we’ve always done.  We communicate with people the way we do because it’s simply how we do it.  There’s not much contemplation behind it.  We don’t even wonder if it’s satisfying.  We are creatures of habit.

 

3.  We don’t think.  Sometimes we put up with things just because we have never thought of doing them differently.

 

4.  We’re afraid.  Fear can be a motivator, but it also has the power to paralyze us in the face of potential change.  If you find yourself beginning a lot of sentences with “But what if…?” you may be settling for less out of fear.

 

5.  We have a mindset of scarcity.  Feeling that there is nothing better out there for us is a mindset of scarcity.  It keeps us stuck and thinking, “This is the best it’s going to be, so why bother trying anything else?”  That’s a bad place to be.

 

These are only a few of the reasons we settle for less than the best, so you may have others.  And regardless of what our reasons are, this is not where we want to stay.  So what can we do about it?  How can we start to shift from settling for less than we deserve to getting more of what we want?

 

1.  Move from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance.  Instead of asking, “What if there’s nothing else out there for me?” we need to say, “What if there are a million better opportunities out there for me?”  Whichever you believe will be true for you.  Be motivated to action by the possibility of opportunity rather than paralyzed by fear of the unknown.

 

2.  Create conditions of satisfaction.  Fill in the blanks in the following statement that will make it true for yourself:  “I will be satisfied with ___________ if the following conditions are met: _____________________.”  What exactly will cause you to be satisfied with your business, your marriage, your family, your financial situation?  Be honest and specific.  And then keep those conditions of satisfaction where you can refer to them at all times, especially when making important decisions.

 

So go for the ideal.  Hold out for what you want in life.  There is nothing wrong or selfish about pushing for the best and making it happen.  Sticking to our standards and operating out of our priorities makes us better moms and better business owners.  Don’t we owe that to ourselves?

 

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

 

What are your reasons for settling?

 

Do you have clear and specific conditions of satisfaction for your life and business? 

Continue Reading

Are You Settling For Less Than You Deserve?

Are You Settling For Less Than You Deserve?“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” ~Maureen Dowd

Let’s talk about “settling.” Okay, truthfully, how many of you tensed up a little bit when you read that just now? We all do this in life, so it’s something we need to address. Why, when we deserve what we want, do we settle—put up with or tolerate—things that are less than ideal for us? We so easily adopt this perception that we don’t deserve exactly what it is that we want, or that what we already have is “good enough.” Now, I’m not speaking out against genuine contentment, but really ladies, there is a difference between being truly content and just putting up with circumstances that are unsatisfying or don’t serve us, and we know it!

Here are some common areas in which we have probably all struggled with settling at one point or another. Maybe this is you right now! If so, knowing really is half the battle, so be honest about where you are. That awareness will come in handy later, when we talk about why we settle and what to do about it.

Relationships. You may have talked yourself into believing you’re in a great relationship if most of the things you need are present, or even if some of the things you need are present, or let’s face it—even if you’re in any relationship at all, no matter how crummy it is. This is a place many of us have spent time tolerating behaviors or circumstances that are not satisfying, not empowering to us, and not adding to our happiness.

Jobs. This is another really common area, especially given today’s economy. So many are putting up with the jobs they currently have, regardless of how awful they are. People are working more, getting paid less, and job security is out the window. And yet, we continue to stay in the dead-end job, despite being terribly unsatisfied.

Routines. We’re mompreneurs. We signed up for two full time jobs when we decided we would raise tiny humans and birth our very own business, and we often have the crazy schedule to prove it! Girls, this is an area we must revisit often. Take a good, hard look at that routine of yours. Is it serving you?

These are just a few of the categories that we commonly struggle with settling in. Financial, spiritual, educational, health and wellness—these are all areas we can choose to settle for less than the best, aren’t they? It’s so critical that you spend some time in self-evaluation and really nail down where what you want isn’t quite matching up with what you’ve got. You deserve the best!

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

In which category (or categories) do you find yourself struggling with settling?

What circumstances would satisfy you most in each of these areas?

Continue Reading

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? 

 

Continue Reading

F-Words Mompreneurs Love

F-words Mompreneurs LoveWhen you say to me wine, I already start relaxing.  When you say girls’ night out, I feel excited.  When you say taxes… But again, they’re just words, right?  And yet words can actually have a lot of power over us.  Well, today we’re going to talk about F-words.  Yes, you heard me right.  F-words—some that we love and… well, some that we as mompreneurs may have overlooked.

 

Here are just a few of my favorite F-words:

 

FREEDOM:  If you’re a mom entrepreneur who has any experience working in corporate America and trying to juggle all that entails, plus raising a family, you know what this word freedom is all about.  You have an appreciation of what it means to be able to determine how you spend your own time.

 

FLEXIBILITY:  What’s a mom, much less a mompreneur, without flexibility?  Flexibility is the ability to spend the day with the kids during a snow day, or go on vacation over spring break.  Flexibility is that tango, that mompreneur dance, if you will, where some days I work and some days I don’t, and really maximizing the time that I have available to me in powerful and efficient ways tailored to my family and business.

 

FULFILLMENT:  Fulfillment is huge.  Let’s face it.  We are some strong, bright women.  This work that we do is not the only thing we could be doing with ourselves.  But we choose this work because in it we find fulfillment; we find something with purpose, something that aligns with our priorities, with things that matter to us.  In this work we find our place in this world, a place of value and significance.  What a powerful F-word!

 

FAMILY:  It is often for the love of family that we start a business so it should come as no surprise that our businesses are often at their very best when we are nourishing and growing our families along with our work.  Learning opportunities abound for the whole family when you own your own small business, not to mention the benefit of added income potential, which brings me to my next F-word.

 

FINANCES:  Granted, this F-word may not be on the top of your list of favorites, but gals, if you are serious about running a business, this is a word we must not overlook. Now this is some medicine of my own I have to take because it doesn’t come naturally for me to want to study the incoming and outgoing of money in my family and business.  But in order to make that money count for the things I’m working so hard for, this F-word is something I’ve got to come to terms with.

 

FEAR:  Fear is like the monster under your bed.  Until you acknowledge it for what it is—probably an old pair of slippers or half-eaten sandwich, if you have kids around—it has complete power over you.  Rather than allowing ourselves to be ruled by the unknown, fear can be an incredible motivator for us in our businesses.  So shine a light into those dark places where fear likes to hide and learn to use this F-word to your advantage!

 

So these were just a few of my favorite F-words.  My hope for you today is that you will find real strength in these words for your life, your family and your business.

 

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

What are some of your favorite F-words? 

How have you come to love some of the more “angsty” F-words in your life (like finances or fear)? 

Continue Reading