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General Biz

When you feel like you’ve wasted your money (3 tips)

By | CEO Tips, General Biz | No Comments

Broken Piggybank

Let’s be real – we ALL have moments where we feel like we’ve wasted money. Where we didn’t get what we thought we would get. Where we spent more than we should have. Where we said yes to something and later regretted it. Where we tried something new and it didn’t pay off. Where we bought something – or joined a program – and didn’t get the value we expected or didn’t do the work to get the results.

The simple fact is, this is business. Not everything will payoff the way you hoped it would. And even though this isn’t FUN – you always get to choose how you let it affect you.

Here are 3 tips for when you find yourself in a situation where the ROI (return on investment) was not what you thought it would be.

#1 – Don’t take it personally

Don’t beat yourself up. Be gentle and look for the lesson in this experience.

You always have the choice to view it as a failure or a lesson.

Choosing failure will stop you in your tracks – you will look to assign blame (be it on yourself or others) and will use it as an excuse as to why you don’t have what you want. Why you haven’t made progress. Why it’s OK to stay stuck cause “X happened to me!” or “I must suck, maybe I’m not meant for this.” It is VERY easy to get stuck here!

OR you can look for the lesson woven into the experience. What did you learn from this? What would you do differently next time? What has this experience taught you about yourself? About how you handle stress? About how you are able to handle disappoinment?

Often, if you are willing to see the lesson you will find that it is ultimately worth WAY more than the cost of the experience.

#2 – Make an ROI based decision

Most money decisions in business fall into one of 3 categories:

  1. A ‘Run Towards’ decision – where you spend money towards the potential of what could be, the big dream
  2. A ‘Run Away From’ decision – where you spend money looking for the easy path or hoping that someone will come in and fix it for you
  3. ROI based decisions – where you are clear on what exactly you are looking for as a result of the investment

The first two are decisions based in emotion – passion/hype or fear. Emotion based decisions can be a powerful force to help us breakthrough, but they can quickly turn to disappointment or regret if there isn’t a clear measure of success.

A healthy investment of your money will always have a clear ROI attached to it. Maybe you want to double your profits in 12 months. Lose 20 pounds by summer. Launch a program that brings in 50 new clients. Learn how to communicate with your kids so that they listen.

When there is no clear measure of success you can’t tell if something is working or not. All you have to rely on is the emotion that drove the original decision… as the passion/excitement fades then so does our satisfaction with the result.

Commit to ONLY spending your money when you have a clear ROI to go along with it.

#3 – Own your role in the success (or lack thereof)

The superpower of any entrepreneur is personal responsibility – owning our part in the journey.

If you didn’t get what you thought you were going to get in a program, did you talk to the person about it? Were you willing to reach out to have an honest conversation and to look for a solution? Or did you secretly seethe and complain to those around you. If you did this and still weren’t happy did you ask for a refund? It’s not always easy to have these conversations, but weigh that against the cost of saying nothing.

Did you do your part of the work required to create success? Did you follow the steps that were laid out for you? Do what your coach asked? Reached out for support when you felt stuck? Any investment is going to require some kind of action on our part to reach our ROI, success is never handed to us on a silver platter.

We can’t control what others do or don’t do… what we receive or don’t receive. But we always have a choice in how we respond to the situation. 

Money is a renewal resource. Part of the beauty of being in business is that you ALWAYS have the option to create more income. Don’t get caught up in the things that didn’t work. Look to what you really want and continue to invest in the steps that will get you there.

What Kind of Business Do You Really Want?

By | CEO Tips, General Biz | 4 Comments

(an excerpt from The Entrepreneur’s Trap)

I am amazed by how many people I know who are trapped in businesses that they actually never wanted in the first place, simply because they weren’t clear on what they really wanted or got caught up in looking at others around them and feeling like they should do the same thing.

Take, for example, my friend Bryn Johnson of BrynJohnsonGroup.com:

“After leaving my corporate job at Monster.com in 2010 I was ready to devote myself to my business and invested heavily in coaching and support to do so. After a couple of years I found myself miserable – I was making money hand over fist with amazing clients but was not motivated by my work at all. I came to realize that I had hired a staff to build a business with me that I didn’t want.

After coming dangerously close to burnout I took some time to get quiet and pay attention to what I really loved doing. I had actually known all along what I really wanted to do but had given that up for the “sexy business model” that so many others were touting. I realized that in paying attention to those around me I had ignored my own inner voice. I’ve since shifted my business model to do the things I love to do the most (and which had been a big part of my success in the corporate world) – speaking and writing. Once I made the decision to do what I really wanted the opportunities came pouring in – such as being invited to be an expert blogger for Monster and to host my own radio show. I’m now loving my business for the first time ever.”

I want you to explore what kind of business you really want, and this starts with exploring your why.

Step #1: Why Did You Start Your Business?

There are three common whys for entrepreneurs when it comes to starting a business:

  • Freedom – being able to do what you want when you want to do it
  • Money – making as much as possible in order to enjoy everything it allows you to have in life
  • Meaning – being able to serve from your purpose, helping people in the way that you were meant to do so

Each of us has a driving why, and probably a bit of the other two as well.

Freedom is my driving why. I created my business for the simple fact that I hate it when people tell me what to do (my first word as a child was “no” – go figure!). I don’t want someone to tell me I have to do X or be somewhere at a certain time… and I certainly don’t want someone to tell me what I have to wear! (You want me to wear pantyhose? No thanks!) I like to be able to do what I want to do with my time, be it working or not (hence the reason I take a firm stand on not working weekends). I like to be able to express myself the way I want to through my work instead of trying to fit into someone else’s mold. This is why I consider myself unemployable these days (LOL).

Meaning is my secondary why, as I simply can’t sustain doing work that has no meaning. I remember this from my days of being employed, in particular with my first job as an accounts payable clerk for the head office of a large grocery chain. Yes, the work was necessary to the running of the business. But what kind of impact was I having on the world at large? What difference did it really make if I was good at my job or not? I simply wasn’t motivated to be the best darn accounts payable clerk in the world. Fast-forward to my work today as an entrepreneur… I LOVE the fact that the work I do has an impact. I love when someone says something to me like, “Tina, because of your program I’m able to take a vacation with my family for the first time in three years.” Or “After reading your book I finally know what I want to do. Thank you!” The work that I do matters, and that is really important to me.

Money is the why that’s third on my list. And I’ve come to realize that it’s not actually that important to me. Don’t get me wrong; I love money and enjoy all that it allows for me, my family, and my business. But it simply isn’t my driving force, and anytime I’ve tried to do something simply for the money, it wasn’t enough to motivate me. I’ve tried to set goals based on money alone, but if they aren’t led by freedom and meaning, then they simply fizzle out.

What is most important to you? What is your WHY?

It might have been a while since you considered this for yourself. Or this might be the first time ever. If you feel unsure about your why, try stepping back a bit and looking at decisions you’ve made in the past. It was actually only recently that I realized that freedom is my driving why – up until that point I would have said meaning was the first one. But when I realized how many times I’ve made decisions in life based on freedom, it was obvious. And since then I’ve come to use it as a touchstone for all that I do. The reason I had to write this book is to help you get more freedom along with money and meaning.

When you are clear on your why, it will help to define everything else in your business, including how much time, money, and effort you are willing to put in (or sacrifice) to create the level of success you want.

For example, someone who is driven by freedom may not be willing to work lots of hours, whereas someone driven more by money might be totally fine with working many hours in order to reach their financial goals. Someone driven by meaning might be OK with sacrificing certain things in life in order to fulfill what really matters to them.

Your why becomes the touchstone for making decisions about how to run your business.

Next week we will look at Step #2 – Finding the Right Business Model for your Why

What is your Why? Comment below to share your top why, and how you use this to drive your business.

And a nod to Simon Sinek’s great book Start with Why – if you haven’t read it yet I HIGHLY recommend you do, or check out his popular TED talk.

This is my last time teaching it live [OBM Certification]

By | General Biz, Team & Outsourcing | No Comments

We do our Online Business Manager Certification Training live every 2 years – we start next week – and this will be my last time leading the program.

When I wrote the book Becoming an Online Business Manager back in 2008 I knew I was committing to something much bigger than just me. I was committing to the birth of an industry – where virtual support professionals could break the bonds of being ‘just an assistant’ and step up to play a bigger game with their clients (and themselves.) I wanted to give people like me (get-it-done driven folks) an opportunity to partner with amazing visionary leaders – to work together to create profitable businesses that make a difference.

Since then we’ve trained hundreds of amazing professionals to become Certified Online Business Managers, who in turn have served thousands of businesses in their growth journeys.

Why is this my last time teaching the program?

My role as leader in the Online Business Manager Industry has been – and continues to be – some of the most fulfilling work of my life. As a leader I know when changes need to be made to serve the greater good of our community, now is that time.

Put simply, it’s a natural evolution of the industry alongside my own personal growth. I’ve always had a vision that others would step up and step in alongside me to continue to support our industry, and it will soon be time for me to pass the baton of our training to my long -time partner and friend Tiffany Johnson, who was in the very first OBM Training and has worked tirelessly to support the industry with me now for over 6 years.

Given that this will be my last time leading this training I am planning to go out with a bang! We teach the program live every 2 years so that we can update the materials and provide the highest level of strategy & knowledge to our OBMs. This time around we have made changes to the curriculum that I KNOW will knock the socks off of our participants, and I can say with full confidence this will be our best training ever.

If you care to join me LIVE for the OBM training this will be your final chance to do so.

>> Details at: http://certifiedobm.com

Know someone else who might make a great OBM? Just send them to http://certifiedobm.com to learn more…

How I set my schedule (a behind the scenes peek)

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | 3 Comments

Originally posted on March 12th, 2015.

calendarsnapshot

If you are anything like me, you are constantly juggling all the “stuff that has to get done” with the balance of your life. I’m a single mom of 2 young girls with a rocking biz BUT I refuse to work 24/7.

Here’s how I structure my schedule so that I only work about 30-35 hours a week, have weekends off and ample time to spend with my girls.

First, I book off time throughout the year for:

  • Vacations – this comes first! (if I don’t book these in advance then months will go by without me getting a break, and I get grumpy… just ask my team)
    I also book off the weeks when my girls don’t have school – ie: spring break– when they have a week off we like to head down to our family cabin for some downtime.
  • Events you are leading – if you do events, conferences or retreats as part of your business go ahead and book those out for the year in advance
  • Events you are attending – pop these in your calendar now, including any masterminds you are a part of (assuming you know the dates already)
  • Non call weeks – I spend A LOT of time on the phone, it’s part of my work… and as much as I love connecting with people it takes a lot of energy. One of my mentors suggested making the last week of every month a “call free zone” so that I have a bit of breathing room, time for thinking and bigger projects. Since implementing this I’ve loving come to call this my sanity week. 😉

Now, let’s look at my weekly schedule:

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How to manage your time effectively when you are crazy-busy!

By | CEO Tips, General Biz | No Comments

Here’s the way I like to roll – work hard, play hard.

When I’m working – I’m working my butt off! My work day is 9am – 3pm and my days are non-stop GO GO GO. And when I’m not working I unplug 100% (oooo yea baby!)

I know I’m not alone in crazy-busy land… didn’t I see you there just a moment ago? 😉

So how can we manage our time effectively and get stuff done when we are crazy-busy? Here are 3 things that help me stay sane and end the day feeling productive.

1) Get it Out of Your Head

Thinking about everything we need to is EXHAUSTING! Carrying all of our to-do’s around fills up our brains and takes up valuable space and energy. Having to constantly stop to think ‘ok, what’s next’ or having that moment of ‘oh no! I forgot this!’ can be more tiring than doing the work itself.

The most important habit for time management is to download everything from your brain into an online task/project management tool (we use & love Teamwork*) or if you aren’t an online person you can use a daily paper planner. You also want to assign specific dates to get the tasks done, and then you can forget about it until that time! Now your brain is fresh and clear to do the work instead of constantly thinking about it.

2) Focus on What is Closest to the Money

If you are anything like me you might have many days where you have SO much stuff on your plate that you simply can’t decide what to do next. When faced with a mountain of tasks ask yourself this simple question:

What is closest to the money?

Pick the top 3 things that are closest to the money and get them done FIRST that day. Then even if the rest of your day goes to hell in a handbasket (as my mom likes to say) you can end the day knowing that you’ve done work that matters. And you might be surprised to find that some things on your to-do list are NOT actually that close to the money – even though they feel really urgent.

3) Be RELENTLESS with delegation

Take a look at your to-do list right now and ask yourself:

“Do I really need to be the person to do this?”

If you are a control freak like me (ahem…) then as a default you will say yes. Because you know you can do it, you can get it done well and who the heck has time to train someone else right?

Believe me I get it – I ran my business solo for 10 years… but there comes a time when that simply isn’t sustainable anymore. There comes a time where doing everything gets in the way of progress – of doing the work that really matters. If you aren’t sure what you should be doing yourself vs. what you should delegate check out this video re: creating your Yes List.

So how do you handle the crazy-busy days? Share your productivity (and sanity) tips below.

That ONE pesky thing – let’s get rid of it shall we?

By | General Biz | 6 Comments

Originally posted on December 12th, 2013.

December can be a weird month for many of us – we are gearing down a bit to end the year and head into the holiday season, which means we might be feeling like we aren’t accomplishing much for the month. Here’s a quick exercise to end the year on an accomplishment high.

3 Things to Do Before the End of the Year

By | General Biz, Success Mindset | 2 Comments

Before you unplug for the holiday season, I have 3 more quick things for you to do… they are fun and simple, I promise!

1. Book your Vacations for next year

If you know me at all you know that I take a stand on taking time away from your business – to relax and recharge. This isn’t just a ‘nice idea when you have time for it’ this is essential for the health of you and your business (just do a quick search on the long term effects of stress and overwhelm – yipes!)

The best way to guarantee you take a vacation? Book it NOW – before the end of this year. If you don’t do it now you may end up not taking time at all (or worse, taking work on your vacation because you didn’t plan for it properly! ugh) You don’t need to know exactly what you are going to do yet, you just need to book it in your calendar. You might plan for a week off once a quarter or a longer vacation in the summer. Or both! It’s up to you… and bonus points if you actually pay a deposit on a trip so it’s guaranteed and you can’t change your mind later. <- I gave this assignment to a client today. 😉

2. Decide what you are going to STOP doing next year

This is the time of year where we plan ahead – where we create a vision for what we want to create next year and map out how we are going to get there. This means adding a bunch of stuff to your to-do list, and if you are already busy this is daunting!

Success comes from knowing what to STOP doing, as much as it comes from knowing what you are going to do next. Is it time to stop doing the tech & admin stuff in your biz, so you can focus more on growth activities? It could be time to stop offering certain revenue streams that are no longer profitable or no longer fit your vision (I encourage my clients to let go of 1 or more things that make up the bottom 10-20% of their revenues.) Maybe you need to let go of old habits or relationships that no longer serve you. Letting go creates space for what is to come.

3. Celebrate the lessons of this year!

What did you learn this year? Maybe you reached your goals, maybe you didn’t. Maybe your year turned out much different than planned, in a good way or not. Yes, we want to acknowledge the hard results of the year (money, # of clients, etc) – those things are important. But do you ever really celebrate WHO you are becoming as a result of the experiences of the past 12 months?

Where have you become stronger? Where did you take action in spite of fear? How did you surprise yourself? What did you learn about others? Being in business is the ultimate personal growth journey – we learn so much about who we are and where we need to grow. So celebrate your lessons! Write them down. Share them with a friend. Soak them in. The fact that you are brave enough to be on this journey at all is a celebration. 🙂

So, did you do it? Pop in your comments below and let me know… I especially want to hear about your vacation plans!

Inspirational quote "People who bravely go after what the want are more successful than people who try to live safely" on sunset sunrise rural road and light leak effect grain film liked background

5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting your Plan Done

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Success Mindset | No Comments

It’s easy for me to say you should be working on your 2016 planning right? You know that – and I’m sure you’ve seen a plethora of articles and promotions telling you the same thing. (Tis the season to be planning… fa la la la la 😉

So why haven’t you got your 2016 planning done yet? Here’s the top 5 reasons I see my clients struggle with planning:

1) IT’S BORING

If you are a creative person you might think ‘bah humbug!’ when it comes to planning. You might yawn or cringe when you think of planning. Or you might even want to run screaming!

Planning is actually a creative activity – it’s the process of tapping into your DESIRES, making a DECISION on what you really want and then creating ways to BRING IT TO LIFE. This is a creative endeavor, and I daresay one of the most powerful ways to channel success in your business.

It doesn’t have to be your favorite thing to do, but it can certainly be a lot more enjoyable when we invite creativity to the table. You can plan with sticky notes, markers & poster board. You can plan with notebooks, spreadsheets and checklists. You can plan with a handful of friends and a glass of wine. There is no right way to plan, so long as you end up with a clear path to your success.

2) ADDICTED TO THE CHAOS

I spent the first 10 years of my business flying by the seat of my pants – and a part of me loved it! I would wake up each morning not knowing what would land in my lap. I would open up my inbox wondering ‘who’ would be there. I would tackle challenges as they arose with pep and vigor because I am a master fire-fighter and put HUGE value on being the one to swoop in and save the day.

And I would spin my wheels, year after year… things were OK but I was stagnant, never really getting ahead. And at a certain point I became tired of constantly chasing success and living in uncertainty.

That is when I started to plan ahead and work towards what I wanted – instead of just waiting to see what would show up for me. I let go of the idea of ‘going with the flow’, picked up the paddle and started heading intentionally towards success. (The first year I started planning was also the year I hit 6-figures in my business – not a coincidence.)

As long as you are addicted to the chaos your plan won’t matter – you will always be at the mercy of the day.

3) DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

Maybe planning isn’t the issue. Maybe you haven’t tapped into the TRUTH of what you really want to create next year? There is no point trying to create a plan until you are clear on your DESIRES.

What you want is going to change. It’s going to evolve. What I want becomes deeper, more refined each year as I continue to grow.

As a default we tend to just say we want the same things that we wanted last year. But is that really true? Maybe you are avoiding the truth of what you really want. Maybe it will require some big changes. Maybe you are afraid or letting people down or afraid of what they might think.

Creating a solid vision – what you want and why – is the foundation of any plan. It becomes the fuel that will drive you through implementation. The touchstone when you are having one of those ‘I think I’ll ditch this plan and go get a job moments’.

4) RESPONSIBILITY IS SCARY

Let’s be real – you could create the most amazing plan in the world and fall flat on your face. Creating a plan brings the assumption that you are going to be successful, and yet there is no guarantee that you will!

This is scary stuff. What if you pour your heart and soul into your plan and it doesn’t work out? What if your butt is on the line and you fail? This is where business really calls us to step up – to be willing to risk the plan.

If you don’t plan you can’t fail right? And yet the true path to success lies in taking responsibility for ALL of the journey. Not just the good stuff.

Going with the flow is a good way to abdicate your success. It’s a way to say ‘well, it must not be meant to be’ or ‘I guess it’s not my time’. You are completely disempowered when you rely on something outside of yourself to bring success your way. When you wait for permission, to be told it’s OK to go for what you really want.

Planning is the first step in personal responsibility. In claiming our birthright as powerful beings who are serving our purpose and making a difference.

5) DON’T HAVE THE TIME

You can either spend the time upfront planning – or you can spend the time later spinning your wheels, making it up as you go, dropping balls, picking them up again and scrambling your way to success.

There is no such thing as not enough time – time is the great equalizer, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. What you really need to consider here is:

You have a choice as to how you want to run your business.

Do you want to put off planning and stay stuck in ‘make it up as you go with the flow’ mode? Crossing your fingers and hoping that success shows up someday.

Or do you want to be a strong leader who is willing to DECLARE what she wants, is committed to her VISION and is willing to do the HARD WORK upfront to make it happen.

Someone who is willing to say ‘alright world, here’s what I’m going for and I may fall flat on my face but I am going for it anyways!’ Bring it on baby…

Which do you choose?

 ** Want some help with your plan? Check out our Planning Made Simple process – jump in and start planning for success TODAY **

 

 

 

9 Surefire Ways to Drive your Team Nutty

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Team & Outsourcing | No Comments

Originally posted on November 28th, 2014.

Not only have I been the support person (as an OBM for 8 years) I’ve also trained and mentored virtual support professionals now since 2007 so I have the inside scoop. I hear the stories. Some of you may be frustrating your team… quite often without even realizing it.

Here are the top 9 ways that you may be driving your team nutty.

1. Changing your mind and not committing to a plan.

One of the best ways to get the most from your team is to decide what you want ahead of time (ideally 90 days out at least) and commit to the plan. Every time you change your mind it means wasted work, wasted time and in many cases having to do things over and over again. Not only does this frustrate your team but it means you are paying for work that you no longer want or need (and quite often puts your team in a crunch having to fast-track your new idea.)

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not to say that you can never change your mind – we all do it at times. But when it’s the norm vs. the exception (ie: bright shiny object syndrome) that is really going to drain your team.

2. Not giving them time to get to know you and your biz

It takes someone at least 90 days to really get to know you and your business. Yep, you read that right – we’ve tracked and tested this for years now.

You know your business inside out, so you may forget that any new people who are working with you have alot to learn about how your business is run. That’s not to say that they can’t do great work while learning – they can – but you do need to be OK with the fact that they won’t know everything overnight. They will have questions. They may need to clarify stuff. Be OK with that and ready to answer.

3. Expecting them to read your mind

The key to successful team leadership is to master communication. Your role as a leader is to be crystal clear in what you want from your team – be it a simple task or a big project. You need to be clear in your request, the deliverable/result you want and the deadline.

Expecting them to “just keep up and figure it out” isn’t going to be enough – especially if they are new to the team and don’t know you yet (as per the previous point.) If you aren’t clear in your requests you won’t get what you want – simple as that.

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I don’t care how much money you made

By | CEO Tips, General Biz | No Comments

It could be 5, 6 or 7-figures in a year, month or day.

That doesn’t impress me… what I really want to know is:

  • How much money did you KEEP? Did you make a profit? Did you pay yourself? I’ll take a strong profit over higher revenues any day…
  • Can you do it again? Or was this just a one-time thing? Show me this level of success consistently for a year…
  • Did you go into debt to pay for that new car? To take that fancy trip? Buy those new clothes? Show me how you really live day to day…
  • How much time did it take? Did you work yourself (and your team) to the bone 24/7? If you can’t show me a sane way to create success then I’m not interested…
  • Were you 100% aligned with your strategy? Or did you follow a formula that is proven to work financially but felt ‘off’ on a deeper level? The short term benefit of ‘success at all costs’ will erode our hearts over time…

There have been many times in my business where I’ve said no to the money.

No to working 24/7, exhausting myself and having my kids look at me as a stranger.

No to using strategies that I KNOW would work but didn’t feel right for me in that moment. No to following the latest fad in the ongoing cycle of how to create success quickly.

No to making money just for money’s sake… in a vain effort to prove myself and get to join the ranks of people who make more money than I do. (The entrepreneur’s form of peer pressure…)

I’m in business for freedom, meaning and money – in that order. I am willing to give up ‘more’ money if it impedes on my freedom – if it forces me to do work that isn’t aligned and takes my weekends away.

I am here to do work that matters – that makes a difference in the lives of my clients and allows me to serve from my purpose.

And yes, I want to make money – I already make a great living. Yes, I would like more money and I’m A-OK for it to be a long burn vs. an explosion.

Money matters. Freedom matters. Meaning matters.

If I can’t have all 3 then I’m not interested… what really matters to you?

#profitfirst #gettingreal

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