Thursday, October 26, 2017

Planning Equals Freedom

Many people become lifestyle entrepreneurs because they want to live to the beat of their own drum.  And with that they want the freedom of time and flexibility to work when they want to, and to spend time on other things they enjoy when they want to.  

This is an "argument" I hear often when I'm working with clients when it comes time to creating an implementation plan.  When it's time to figure out how all the activity and tasks required to grow a business are going to get done.  This can be an overwhelming exercise if you don't buy in to a fundamental truth - planning and the discipline it takes to implement that plan will actually create MORE freedom in your life... and more money!  When you know in advance what you want to happen and how you're going to make that happen, you're not making decisions on the fly and falling into the whole "busy work" trap.  You will actually be spending your time focused on the things that matter, the activities that are bringing real positive results to your business.

Following are 7 tips to help you create more guilt-free time, while still getting the right shit done!

1. Create a 90 day rolling action plan.  This means knowing what needs to happen over the next 3 months...what do you need to accomplish? How are you going to make that happen?  What people and resources do you need?  

2. Book your free time, business planning days, mastermind days, training and learning days... all those days that are important to you and the growth of your business.

3. At the beginning of each month complete this exercise for the next 90 days...if that's too much for you do 60 days.  This way you will know what your priorities are going into each month and where your time is best spent.

4. When determining where to spend your time and resources ask yourself these questions?
  • what is the reward or result of doing this?
  • will this generate leads and sales?
  • will this grow meaningful relationships?
  • what are the benefits of doing this?
  • what are the consequence of not doing this?
  • is this in line with my overall business objectives and goals?
5. When you're creating an activity plan for yourself you need to know, or estimate, how long each activity will take you.  It's of no benefit to be optimistic by underestimating how long your tasks will take you.  You'll only end up working longer, or not accomplishing what you want to either.  Either is not going to move you or your business forward.

6.  When you're honest with yourself about what you want and where you want to spend your time, that will allow you to determine what other resources you need... people?  technology?  automation?  systems?  You CANNOT do it all yourself!!!!  Plus, you're not even good at everything!

7.  Do what you do best, what you love, your secret sauce, what will make the most contribution to getting you to your goals.

Getting what you want is about identifying what you want, creating a plan to get you there, and then figuring out what you need to make that happen.  When I started my business over a decade ago one of the top priorities was having more time off.  I take the equivalent of about 14 "corporate" weeks of vacation... meaning 70 working days.  That doesn't just happen...I need to plan for that.  The first things I schedule are my time off and then my mastermind days.  Then all my other activity needs to get done in the remaining time... Parkinson's law is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion".  When you know what you need to do, and schedule that, you tend not to waste time on stuff that's not important...(is anyone hearing "Facebook" echoing in their mind right now????)  By doing what I need to do when I need to do it, that allows me the time to play  ....  A LOT!!!

Being a Lifestyle Entrepreneur should mean that you're living the kind of life you want... on your terms, and reaching the goals that you have set.  And that is sooooo doable with some planning and the discipline to follow through... discipline doesn't mean a lack of spontanity or creativity, it just means a commitment to do what needs to be done by the deadline that you've set.  It's all about your pre-decisions.

I'd love to hear from you with any tips that you have to share that have helped you on this wonderful journey of being a "Lifestyle Entrepreneur".

Monday, May 29, 2017

12 Tips To Be Your Best You When You Work From Home

  1. Start your day from a place of energy and inspiration – start your day by preparing your mind and body for a productive day.  Exercise, meditate, journal, do affirmations – whatever moves you.  Create a morning program that addresses your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.
  2. Have an office or workspace that you want to be in – design it so that it’s functional but decorate it so it speaks to you.
    3.     Have a daily action plan that is driven by your overall goals and objectives.  Create your to-do list by the results you want to achieve.  Having no overall plan IS a plan – just not a good one.
    4.     Schedule your time – batch similar work, “Eat That Frog” – do the work you don’t want to do first so it doesn’t take up valuable headspace for the day.  Create focus on a project by setting a timer.  And have business hours.  A lot of folks that work from home have a harder time NOT working than working
    5.     Schedule time for email, social media, phone calls etc.  Most people organize their day around other people’s agenda, not their own.  You need to do the important stuff that will move you forward towards your goals.
    6.     Small habits = big results.  What do you need to do on a daily basis to be the best version of you?  Figure that out and stick to it!
    7.     Plan to Connect – get together with like-minded entrepreneurs.  Work together somewhere… go for coffee or lunch… create a mastermind group… join a networking group.  Do whatever it takes to be motivated and inspired.
    8.     Don’t do it all!  Figure out what YOU need to do, then delegate, eliminate or automate the rest.
    9.     Have a system of accountability – try an accountability partner, a mastermind group, a board of directors or hire a professional to keep you on track.  This is probably one of the most important aspects for ANY professional… not just those who work from home.
    10.   Learn to say NO – just because you work from home doesn’t mean that you have the time to be the family’s errand chick.  It’s great to have the flexibility to schedule your work around your life, but not if it means you’re still up at midnight trying to get stuff done because you couldn’t find the time to do it during the time you scheduled for work.
    11.   Understand that you are the master of your technology and stop letting the technology rule your life.  When you’re working on a specific project and have a timer set, let’s say for 45 minutes… then turn off everything that would interrupt you… phone, email, social media etc.
    12.   Invest in the right technology to help you streamline your activity and keep you productive.  There are TONS of technology solutions made specifically for small businesses that will help you automate your business and increase productivity.

    Do you have any tips to share?  Any technology or programs that make your life easier?  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Stop Going it Alone

There are so many great reasons to be an Entrepreneur in NS.  I've been in business for over 10 years and I can't imagine ever working for someone else again.  In general, being an Entrepreneur provides you with flexibility, control, ability to follow through with ideas, you work with who you want and spend time with who you want... it really is a world of opportunities, not limitations.  But being an Entrepreneur in NS brings even more benefits to the business owner.  Here are my top 3 reasons why I feel it's great to be an Entrepreneur in Nova Scotia!!!

1.  I meet the most amazing people!  My world is full of the best, interesting, engaged, enthusiastic, smart and caring people.  Halogonians have a great reputation in general, but Entrepreneurial Halogogians absolutely ROCK!!!!

2.  There are MANY organizations in Nova Scotia that are there to help Entrepreneurs at any stage of their businesses.  There are one on one and group programs... courses... trainings... government subsidized programs... just so many organizations and people that want to help you succeed!!!

3. FUNDING!!!!  There are funding programs for business development, skills and productivity improvement, export development, research, hiring, etc .... the programs offer financial support up to 100%.  I'll be doing a lunch and learn on this so be sure to book early.  I'm sure it will be a popular session!

I've taken advantage of many funding opportunities, business development programs, training and courses.  You don't have to go it alone!!!  I've also worked with many clients that have received funding to cover my fees.  Join me on Thursday, April 13 to get a snapshot of the support that's available to Entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia.  If you want to discuss working with me specifically and what programs would be available for that and don't want to wait until April 13th, we can book a coffee date.   The new fiscal year for funding starts on April 1st, so it's best to get applications in asap.

NS Funding & Programs for Entrepreneurs - book your seat now... space limited.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

My Original Female Entrepreneur Role Model

My maternal Grandmother, Alice Kathleen Brophy (born Bartlett) is my original female entrepreneur role model.  I'm writing this on International Women's Day, understanding that some of you won't read it for about another week when you receive my newsletter....Having said that I feel compelled to honour her on this day.  My Grandmother (Nan) was born in 1915 and was about 4 foot nothing and full of piss and vinegar.  She started a village grocery store in the late forties or early fifties... not sure on the exact date.  Her store was the hub of our fishing village.  She sold everything from fish hooks to bologna.  She gave "tick" to everyone.  Fishermen didn't receive regular pay cheques and Nan provided their groceries and supplies, sometimes for months, until they sold their catch.  There would have been many hungry families if it weren't for her generosity.  She was generous... but she was also tough, smart, honest, kind, fair, loving, a teacher, a tough negotiator, a devout Catholic and above all, an amazing role model to me.  I can remember people coming to the door late at night long after the store had closed to get something for a fisherman's lunch, or for a sick child's fever.  No one was ever turned away.

I am the oldest of her 10 grandchildren and there were many special things that went along with that role.  One big privilege was that I was the first to "mind the store".  I was taught how to document in the "tick" book what was being bought, how to do the inventory, packing and unpacking, shelving and how to add up what was owing to her.  We would add page after page of items purchased over weeks and sometimes months... all in our heads!  No calculators back then!  She was a wiz!  My Grandfather, a fisherman, retired due to health long before Nan passed away.  She ran the store until the day she died at 77, hanging out clothes on a beautiful April spring day.

Here's a really crappy picture I took of her and Grandad in the store on Christmas Day... it was my first camera... I think I was about 13 :).  They are still 2 of my most favourite people in my world.

I'm aware of the many things she taught me, but I'm also aware that there are many, many more things that are simply part of me because of her.  I've had so many female role models and influencers in my life that I could write a book.  Today I am thinking about many of them and thanking and honouring them.  I hope you are doing the same,

Monday, January 09, 2017

The #1 Key to Time Management

I should start this with explaining that I think there's no such thing as "time management".  Time is time... it is 24 hours a day, 60 minutes an hour, 60 seconds a minute.  You can't change this, manage this, move it, add to it, delete it... it is what it is!  What you can do is manage the tasks and activity within your timeframe.  I use this term in this title because everyone is familiar with it and it's used universally.  I just don't happen to agree with it.

Almost everyone I speak with says that their biggest challenge is not having enough time.  What they really mean is that they are trying to do too much!  We all have the same amount of time, it's simply a matter of what activity we try to fit into our lives.  There's an epidemic happening.  We're unhealthy, unhappy, disconnected from the things that are most important to us and spend very little time with the people and on the things that bring us the most joy.  It's an epidemic that is accepted by society in general and if you're not "busy, busy, busy", then you are seen as not be ambitious or successful.  We are being assaulted by information and images from our different forms of technology, almost on a 24/7 basis, that is adversely affecting our mental, emotional and physical health.  This information overload is something you can control and it starts with FOCUS.

The #1 key to "time management" is FOCUS.  When you're clear on what you want to achieve and what you need to do to get there, then you know exactly what you need to spend your time on.  When your goals and objectives are part of your everyday focus it's easy to determine what you need to do with your time.  Simply ask yourself if what you're doing is getting you closer to the results you want.  The Pareto Principal says that 20% of our actions get 80% of our results...WOW!!!  Imagine if you got super focused and got rid of the activity that's not getting you the best results!  What would you do with all that extra time???

Following are 13 tips that will help you get and stay focused;

  1. delegate - This alone will save you hundreds of hours this year
  2. say NO! - when you say no to something you're saying yes to something better
  3. have a system of accountability - usually a person that won't let you get away with crap
  4. allot an amount of time to EVERYTHING - everything takes time so be realistic about it
  5. put a timeline to EVERYTHING - assign a timeline to everything you ask for from someone, as well as to everything you promise someone
  6. QUIT!!! - know when it's time to call it quits on something.  Not everything is worth labouring over
  7. Create and/or participate in a Mastermind Group - there's nothing like the motivation, inspiration, and accountability that a Mastermind Group of trusted colleagues provides
  8. Understand that multitasking is a myth - plain and simple
  9. Schedule disconnect time in order to be more productive - disconnect from technology, work and people.  Disconnect from technology especially...start controlling IT instead of being a slave to it.
  10. Write it down - focus increases with "brain to hand" activity
  11. Create a plan to deal with procrastination - get whatever help you need to do this.  One of the worst consequences of procrastination is the way it affects your self-esteem....  no one can beat you up like you can! 
  12. Do whatever you need to deal with "perfection paralysis"... even if that means therapy.
  13. Plan your activity around your energy - AND... spend time building your energy..  get enough sleep, nutrition, exercise physically and mentally and seek emotional and spiritual inspiration.

I'll look at other aspects of "time management" in my upcoming blogs.  Let me know if you have any tips, tools, techniques or habits you'd like to share regarding this subject.  I'd love to hear from you!