The Secret To Stopping The Insanity

always got“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” ~Someone Smart

 

And today… the secret you’ve all been waiting for… except it’s not a secret! Today we’re talking about change. As much as I value routine, sometimes what needs to happen is you just have to change it up a bit. So let’s look at some of the previous examples from THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY and come up with just one thing that you could do differently in each situation, because just one simple change might be all it takes to get you headed in the right direction.

 

Here are some options for shaking things up, but the possibilities are endless once you realize that just a little change is all you need!

 

  1. Are you struggling with your kids during the same time of day, day after day after day?

Feeling rushed and frazzled at breakfast? Try getting up 30 minutes earlier. Change the menu to something nutritious but fast. Put your kiddos to bed in their clean clothes for the next day (yes, I’m serious)! Is dinnertime your witching hour? Have a picnic on the living room floor. Let the kids help cook something simple. Have dessert first! If it’s bedtime you need to switch up, how about playing some soothing music or incorporating story time? Every little thing counts and can make great big changes in the results you’re getting.

 

  1. Are you having the same argument with your spouse or partner over and over and over again? Instead of going down that same old path of you say this and then he says that and then… throw him for a loop with something unexpected for a change! Try interrupting with a simple “I love you” or “I respect your feelings,” or really go for the gold and come right out with what you need—“I could just use some acknowledgement for the hard work I did today.” Try it. I bet you’ll be surprised.

 

  1. Are you marketing and networking like crazy but still not getting the sales, new customers, or more money that you desperately need? If you’ve been marketing like crazy online, do something in-person for a change. If you’ve been doing everything via text, switch it up and do a video or a podcast. There are so many really wonderful and free technologies out there for you to leverage that could change things up just slightly and give you some of those results that you want.

 

  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? Is work never finished? You have to watch just one more episode of your favorite show? Try setting the alarm for a 9:30 pm bedtime—no kidding, no excuses. Can’t find time to exercise? Sign up for an early morning yoga or Pilates class that will get you home in time to get the kids ready for school. Invest that time in yourself. You are your most valuable asset.

 

I want you to remember that baby steps can create fantastic change in your life. Any one of these small alterations to your daily routine can shift you away from those patterns and habits that are keeping you stuck (and making you crazy), and toward the life you truly want and are working so hard to have.

 

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

 

Which of these small changes have helped you get out of a rut?

 

What are some other ideas you have for making simple changes that pack a big punch?

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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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Why the HP Folio 13 Ultrabook is Perfect for Mompreneurs {and a giveaway}

About three weeks ago as I was planning for the Mom Biz Retreat Denver, and I was struggling to choose which of my four computers to take with me to the Retreat. The choice was really between my 17 inch laptop, my netbook, and my iPad. I needed portability, great battery life, and a powerful processor that would allow me to do my usual multitasking, since we integrate using Social Media, browsing the web for brand and competitor research, and fun things like running videos and streaming music into the Retreat workshops.

The 17 inch laptop has a great processor and is pretty good at all the multitasking I do on a daily basis. But the thing weighs like, 100 pounds, and there was no way I wanted to drag it through airports, on shuttles and in and out of hotel rooms.

My iPad is fun, lightweight, great for streaming videos and music, but even with an added bluetooth keyboard, I find that I don’t go to my iPad when I need hardcore business functionality. It’s more of a fun tool for consuming entertainment and information than it is for producing content.

The netbook is certainly portable–same size as my iPad–but the processor is too weak to even do a decent job of running a Skype session with a client, much less Skyping while also tweeting or browsing the web at the same time. I’ll be passing that little computer onto one of my lucky children.

You guys hear me say all the time how much I rely on technology to give me the freedom and flexibility being a mom entrepreneur demands. I don’t dig technology just to be the coolest mom on the block. But when HP sent me the Folio 13 Ultrabook I’m typing on right now, I completely geeked out. mom biz coach mom entrepreneur laptop for mobility

Even in the box, the laptop only weighed about 5 pounds. I opened it up and found a very sleek, silver machine inside. It took me about 10 minutes to get it unwrapped, set up, and connected to my wireless router at home. Easy-peasy. And within about 20 minutes, I fell in love.

(Keep reading below so you fall in love, too, and learn how you could get one of these fantastic laptops in your deserving hands via my giveaway!)

 

Here’s why I love and highly recommend the Folio 13 for busy mompreneurs:

I sat it next to my iPad and a pair of kid’s scissors so you could get a feel for the size of it…pretty close to an iPad, but better.

  • It boots up faster than I can say to my kids: “No, you can’t play on Mom’s new computer. Go use one of the other laptops.” Seriously. With all my other computers, I have to fire them up and then go make myself a cup of coffee before they’re ready to do anything for me. Time isn’t something I have a lot of, so this is a big deal to me.
  • Call me schizophrenic. I don’t mind. I like to run Pandora in the background so I can listen to my favorite music while I’m blogging, and I’m always posting my Twitter and Facebook updates while I blog. My husband chides me for having “too many tabs in my browser open at once” since it slows down the processing speed so much that I may as well go make myself a snack to go along with that coffee I had earlier. Not so with this little laptop. I do it all, all at the same time, and my Folio 13 keeps on going. It’s been three weeks and it hasn’t crashed a single time. Ask me how many tabs I have open right now (and all the time): eleven. Normal, right?
  • It’s a full-size keyboard, unlike my iPad. I can type 70 wpm on a full-sized keyboard, but I only type about 25 wpm on my iPad. I can’t believe that something this size indeed feels full-sized.
  • Do you blog and tweet in the dark? Yeah, me too. I finally own a laptop that has a backlit keyboard! Cowabunga! I appreciate not having to hunt for the special keys in the dark when I need them.
  • I can stay unplugged for an entire day. At the Mom Biz Retreat in Denver last weekend, I left the power cord for the Folio 13 up in my suite and used my laptop to power my presentations during our all-day work sessions. I had plenty of battery life even when I plugged it back in late at night. Talk about flexibility.

In the interest of full disclosure, HP gave me this laptop to keep (thank you, HP!!!), since I meet the exact profile of the kind of person who could benefit from using it. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have agreed to keep it and tell you about it. But they have me pegged, and I’m so fond of this little gem that I’m doing a giveaway to help one of you love it, too!

Here’s the deal:

You may have heard that Shelagh Cummins and I are returning to Caledon, Ontario in September to host the Mom Biz Retreat there. We are looking forward to returning to the city in which we first launched the Mom Biz Retreats one year ago! We know lots of you are talking about joining us there. So we’re going to give you an incentive: We will giveaway one HP Folio 13 Ultrabook just like this one to one of you who registers for the Retreat! We’re just that committed to helping you get what you need to be a successful mom and entrepreneur. Yeah!

Here’s how to grab one of only 50 seats offered at Mom Biz Retreat Ontario.

 

This giveaway is open to the mompreneurs who register for and attend the Mom Biz Retreat in Caledon, Ontario September 27-30. To qualify for the giveaway, register to attend the Retreat and then leave a comment below telling us you’ve registered and what your top business challenge is. We will cross-reference all comments with our registration list.

  • One entry per person.
  • Giveaway ends at 11pm ET on August 31st.
  • One winning registrant of the Mom Biz Retreat Ontario 2012 will be selected via Random.org.
  • The winner will have seven days to respond to my email (sent to the address you include when you leave your comment on the blog), after which an alternate winner will be chosen.

I’m grateful to HP for providing me the Folio 13! Now, how fast can you register so you can get a chance to win yours? GO!

 

 

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Ask: What else can I offer you?

There’s a well-known rule of thumb in business that says 20% of your customers will generate 80% of your income. The idea is that once they buy from you and have a great experience, they’ll return to buy from you again and again, and will prove to be your best customers.

That was great. What else do you have?

Think of a musical group—let’s say U2, for instance. Yes, they’re musicians, but they are also running a business. If I hear one of their songs on the radio and like it, I may download the album. As I fall in love with every one of the songs on that album, I may start looking around for more of their albums, collecting them over time. And I will likely buy tickets to a concert so I can see them live. And while I’m at the concert, I’ll be tempted to purchase tshirts, commemorative hats, books, DVDs, posters, etc.

My interest in one song that I can purchase for around a dollar from iTunes could eventually lead to me spending hundreds of dollars purchasing U2 songs and memorabilia over time, since they keep coming up with more stuff I want to have.

Build a product funnel that keeps them coming back for more.

That’s a perfect product funnel. I get something I want from a business for very little money and risk (the dollar download for one song), and because I’m happy with my purchase, I go looking for more things I can buy from that same business since I expect I’ll be pleased each time. The marketers for the band have carefully considered what a rabid U2 fan like me would likely want to spend her money on, and they create all sorts of offerings to feed my consumption frenzy. Sure, I have that cool black concert tshirt from 1995, but what about a hoodie, maybe with the new album cover featured on the back? Or a belt? A hat? Why not?

Many of the mom entrepreneurs I coach have come up with a great idea for a business, a product or service, but they’re stumped when it comes to generating enough sales. If they have sold what they have to all their existing customers, many small business owners assume the only way to make more money is to find new clients.

It’s much more expensive and time-consuming to find a new client than it is to sell something new to an existing client. After all, you already know how to contact your existing clients, they already know you and likely trust your business to deliver what they expect, and you already know a bit about what your existing clients need. It takes much less marketing to get your existing clients to buy new offerings than it does to get a total stranger to try you out for the first time.

My advice to you: Take a look at your existing customer base. What did they buy? What else could you create for them that would be incredibly valuable to a person that bought those items from you before? If you’re in the services business, can you package together a few of your solutions and offer them at a discount? Consider the time of year and create something that has seasonal interest (Summer Prep Kit, Back-to-School Guide, Mother’s Day Special, etc.). If you sell products, what else would your customers love to have from you? If you create custom notecards, what about holiday cards, or business cards, or post cards, or flyers and brochures?

By carefully considering what your existing customers have enjoyed purchasing from you and knowing what they need, you can create additional offerings that help fill out your product funnel. And when your product funnel is in place, you’ll always have something else to offer your best customers.

How is your product funnel looking? What can you add to it to satisfy the needs and wants of your best customers?

 

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Ask These Questions

Every year when Spring rolls around, I get a burst of energy. It often brings with it new ideas and a different perspective, giving me the chance to see things that I might not be able to see about myself and my business at other times of the year.

I always ask the mom entrepreneurs I coach to do a check-in on their business each year. After all, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing you always do, even though it might not be working for you anymore.

And every year that you’re in business, you’re likely learning new skills, gaining more information about what your target market needs from you, and seeing interesting ways your competition is providing similar solutions. Are you making time each year to re-evaluate your business and make the changes that need to be made?

It can be hard to know where to start. On today’s Mom Biz Solutions Show (click here for the 15-minute podcast), I teach you the four questions you must ask yourself every year to make sure you keep your business current and relevant. And the good news is, these are the same questions you probably asked yourself when you started this business. The kicker is that the answers do change.

Tune into the podcast to learn what four questions you need to ask to make sure you’re still delivering the best value you can to your clients!

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Top 10 Signs You Need a Mompreneur Getaway

Sometimes busy mompreneurs can miss the signs that we need a break from all the chaos. Managing the homework and after-school events of our children, keeping up with the cooking and the laundry, connecting with our spouse or partner, meeting deadlines we have for client work and coming up with innovations for the growth of our businesses can be too much.

mom biz retreat for mompreneursTrying to innovate, create, re-invent, develop or establish goals for your business can be tough to do when you’re in the midst of daily life. In fact, I’ll tell you that I find it to be nearly impossible. So when I need to make some big changes, figure out something new, or develop or launch a new program or product, I sneak away from my everyday life for a weekend to get it done.

The Top 10 Signs You Need a Mompreneur Getaway

1. You work too much. You’re working longer hours and making less money than you want to. The lack of money causes you to work even harder in hopes of figuring out how to generate more income. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle you see no end to anytime soon.

2. Your kids can’t tell time. You want to be a good mom and you have visions of raising smart cookies, but your kids have learned from you that “Just a minute!” means the vast period of time between when they ask you for something and when you’re actually able to stop working to answer them. Accordingly, your kids are struggling in math.

3. You love the grocery store. Those friends of yours who get monthly (weekly?) spa treatments and massages? Well, they’re just different from you. They clearly don’t have 72 hours worth of client projects to get done in a mere 24 hours. You are a master multi-tasker and take your “me time” while shopping at the grocery store. . .while checking emails on your iPhone as you throw items in your cart.

4. Sleep is for the weak. Look–You learned when you had kids that sleep is something that you must learn to do without. Now that the kids sleep through the night, that’s the perfect time to get your work done. It’s so peaceful and quiet, and you feel so productive working until 3 am! Sure, it takes a while for the computer keyboard impressions to wear off your face since you often fall asleep on the keyboard (literally), but it’s no big deal.

5. Who has time to plan? Just like “me time,” planning is something for people who don’t have lots to do. Your clients keep you so busy with their deadlines that things like business planning and marketing strategies are luxuries you certainly don’t need to waste your time and energy on.

6. You forgot your husband’s name. Yes, yes, you can remember it when you try to, without even having to look at his driver’s license. And of course you love him. He can take care of himself for a few years while you manage the kids, the house and the business. And when that’s all handled, you’ll ask him out on a date or take a nice vacation together. Someday.

7. Your friends have removed you from speed dial. It’s okay. Really. They don’t understand what it takes to be a mom running a business. They can’t even understand why you bother working so hard. After all, they say, isn’t motherhood fulfilling enough?

8. You can’t figure out what to make for dinner. After making 1, 347, 216 decisions today about everything from whether your daughter could sign up for that hockey class after school to whether you should sign up for the flexible home heating program to how you were going to source the materials for your product when your favorite vendor went out of business, you just don’t have it in you to make one. more. decision. Dry cereal for dinner really is nutritious. Says so on the box.

9. You can’t remember why you thought this was such a good idea. You put on a good face when those family members and neighbors ask you why you want to run your business. But truthfully, you realize that your answers have just become a habit, just like saying “Hello?” when the phone rings. You remember thinking it was a really good idea at the time to start this business even though you’ve never been more exhausted in your life, even though you have more responsibilities on you than you’ve ever had, and even though you don’t have all the training and experience to know how to run a business in the first place. You know there must be a reason…Yawn…

10. It’s time. You’ve been working hard, setting goals, making plans, adding more and more and more items to your to-do list, but you just can’t ever seem to get everything done. You’re done with the “hobby” and ready to kick some butt. You know you’re capable of great success, and you’re committed to achieving it. And that includes taking care of yourself, your children, your spouse, your clients, your team, and your brand.

Come getaway with us in Denver June 7-10 at the Mom Biz Retreat.

We are 30 mompreneurs who come together to get things done while getting away from the daily life that keeps us stuck on the treadmill. Grab one of the remaining tickets now before they’re gone!

No more excuses, Mompreneurs! We understand you, and we are committed to you getting what you want. Let’s go!

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How do you spend your down time?

I focus a lot of my coaching and training on how to spend your time effectively as a mompreneur. Mostly, I teach you the ways to spend less time working and be more productive when you do work. A great Time Map is key for any mompreneur to manage her time, so she knows when she can work as well as when she has time to spend with her family (or by herself).

Today, I decided to share with you a result of how I schedule my work time and my down time. Since my Kindergartner doesn’t have school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, those hours make up our regular “together time.” We spend it going to parks, having playdates with friends, hanging out, and sometimes baking. You can see her shine when she gets her one-on-one time. It makes me happy, too.

Here’s a video of how we spent our down time together yesterday. It was a fun day.

 

How do you spend your down time? Share your comments below, or hey–make a video and send me the link! I’ll share it around my social networks for you :).

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Get organized–Go paperless

Take a look around my office or my house, and you’ll find quickly that organizing isn’t my strong suit. I excel at planning, strategy, and systems that support the goals I have. But organizing? I’d rather throw stuff away than figure out ways to sort, label and store it. Such activities hold no pleasure for me.

The worst thing to organize for me is paper. I hate paper. It just keeps arriving in my mailbox, gathering in piles around my house, and waiting for me to file it on my desk. As a busy mompreneur with three kids, I don’t need anymore things to file and put away. Clutter is a constant battle in my house already! Whenever I can, I look for electronic ways of processing things that don’t require me printing things out.

Listen to the 15-minute podcast below as I share some tips for helping you make your work at home office a paperless one.

Just click the play button!

 

Listen to internet radio with Lara Galloway on Blog Talk Radio
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What’s Your Purpose for Being a Mompreneur?

What’s your purpose in being a mompreneur? It’s important to take a step back and remember what’s driving you to do what you do, what gives meaning to how you spend your time. With a clear sense of purpose, you’re much more likely to enjoy your work and build a business that thrives.

But do you remember what drove you to start your business?

Since you’re a mompreneur, I know it involved more than just a desire to make money. Let’s face it: running a start-up company is usually not a big money-making endeavor for the first few years. It’s easy to think that if your goal is to make money, you could more easily do that (on a consistent basis, no less) working for someone else.

Most of the mom entrepreneurs I talk with tell me it’s not about the money (although we have nothing against making lots of money). Instead, we decide to start a business based on our passion, our talents, our expertise and our purpose.

Part of my purpose as the Mom Biz Coach is to help other women solve a problem I struggled with myself: how to do work I love without compromising my commitment to my family.

Tune in to the podcast below to hear more about purpose and how it fits with and ultimately shapes successful mompreneur businesses.

 

What’s your purpose in being a mompreneur? It’s important to take a step back and remember what’s driving you to do what you do, what gives meaning to how you spend your time. With a clear sense of purpose, you’re much more likely to enjoy your work and build a business that thrives. What’s your purpose in being a mompreneur? It’s important to take a step back and remember what’s driving you to do what you do, what gives meaning to how you spend your time. With a clear sense of purpose, you’re much more likely to enjoy your work and build a business that thrives.What’s your purpose in being a mompreneur? It’s important to take a step back and remember what’s driving you to do what you do, what gives meaning to how you spend your time. With a clear sense of purpose, you’re much more likely to enjoy your work and build a business that thrives.

Listen to internet radio with Lara Galloway on Blog Talk Radio

So what’s your purpose? Please share your comments below.

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Featured Mobile Mompreneur: Dixie Lee

It’s my pleasure to announce the winner of the HP ProBook 4425s that I partnered with HP to give away last week.

Congratulations goes to Dixie Lee of BackroadsSolutions.com!

I asked Dixie to tell us a little bit about herself and the difference the HP ProBook will make for her and her family.

From Dixie:

My husband and I have been married almost 15 years. Together, we have a blended family with 4 children ranging in age from 13 to 30.  He is now disabled which requires a number of doctor appointments. Because of this, I decided to take my 25+ years of providing administrative support for middle and senior executives to launch Backroads Business Solutions in May of this year.

My office is set up in a room in the basement and I typically work there until my daughter gets home from school.  Since she nabbed my laptop for school, I have been spending more evening time down there away from my family. I’m so excited to win the HP ProBook because it means I can spend more time with my family and still work on client projects.

As a mom, business owner and grad student, I’m constantly faced with challenges; however, the biggest is time.  It can be a struggle finding enough hours in the day to meet the demands of family, business and school. The key to keeping things running smoothly is planning. Despite the challenges, I love what I do. I’m here for my family, my clients and my friends.

Thanks once again to HP for helping small business owners like Dixie  get the resources they need to be successful at work and at home!

Dixie Lee is the founder of Backroads Business Solutions, a full support virtual administration company. She can be reached at dixie@backroadssolutions.com or on twitter at www.twitter.com/backrdsbiz.

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