Blend and Balance

Blend and Balance

For most business owners who are parents to school-age children will be juggling hot potatoes this week, as its half-term. Personally I don’t mind this one as its only a week and it’s easy to flit between the two. Its Easter I am not a fan of, its long with bank holidays and the endless need to have been doing everything.

My kids get bored, they love the week holidays as it’s a little break but the Easter one they get bored, the summer holidays are a very different kettle of fish (where did that saying come from?)

How to manage

Not everyone has the luxury of having family around or nearby, so holidays can be a real juggling act and the sense of guilt, see there is that word again, its an emotion I am working so hard on dispelling for as many parents in business as I physically can, we need to banish guilt, and find a way of making running our business and school holidays work for us.

I blend…………. Not as in Nutribullet kind of blend, but I blend my time between business, children and both. It has taken some time for me to find the right balance and formula so here are my tips on getting through the half-term minus the guilt and truckload of stress!

My Tips for getting through the holidays

Set your intentions – this is the most important step, you need to be realistic with this if you normally work Monday – Friday 9 am to 3.30 pm without the children, then you need to set your intentions knowing that you will have company, take into consideration their ages, are you going to be able to still work those hours?

My two are 7 & 11, they are at that age now where I can do blocks of time uninterrupted, but I know as soon as I jump on a call or do a video war breaks out, so I avoid those tasks until I have business time.

So be realistic, you know that you will not get that normal time, so don’t fight it.

Grab a cuppa and your diary – spend 10 mins looking at your diary, seeing what you have going on, if you know that you have a call on Wednesday then make sure you make that day a business day and work your other days around that, so pick that one thing that HAS to be done and get that planned in and work the rest of your week around that one important task.

For me I know I have a call Monday afternoon, and I have a call Wednesday morning, so I have those days as business days, and the others are blended.

Blend – so when I say blend it’s using your day to please both, so an example of this could be AM family time, watch a film, play games, go for a walk, PM work time, but pick tasks that will only take small snippets of time, save the big tasks for your business days, don’t put big tasks in because if you get interrupted you’ll get frustrated and annoyed and start feeling stuck and guilty.

So, you could schedule some posts, source some images for your blog or newsletter, respond to posts or emails. But blend without GUILT.

Business days these are the days where you get shi!t did! Use these for your full-on tasks, those that you need concentration on, those that you know you can’t do when the children are home, so make sure you use that time wisely, and oddly I get so much more done when I have set time when I know that these things need doing without fail.

Enjoy – we need to remember our children are only small and at school for a really short period of time in the grand scheme of things, so be flexible, be realistic, enjoy your blended time, enjoy those days where you have blocked out to play mum or dad, and DON’T beat yourself up if things go awry!

Half-Term SOS  If you still find that the juggling is too much then you can use my specifically designed package to assist you, you can find out more HERE

I use this process for all of the holidays, it makes for a less stressful time, now I need a process to stop my two arguing…………..any suggestions? I am thinking double-sided Velcro and sticking them to the wall.

Grab your FREE download

Download your FREE 10 Essentia Tools to Nail your Biz today, I give you an insight into the tools I use to run my business as well as supporting my clients.

We all have those jobs!

We all have those jobs!

I am not sure anyone prepares you enough for certain things in life, for an example, no one really prepped me for having children, everyone tells you its magical, but they all miss out those tantrums! And when they become senior school age they forget to tell you about the attitude they grow!

It is the same with business, I often feel we have painted a very different picture, a lot of people will tell you that working from home is liberating, you have the flexibility and the time is yours to do with how you please.

Now, before I get set upon, I love running my own business, I would struggle at the thought of going back to working for someone else and not having that flexibility, but it’s bloody hard! It is hard work, and the one thing that often suffers is family life.

How many times have you worked late?

How many times have you worked over the weekend?

How many times have your rushed Storytime?

We have all done it, but its how we move forward that counts, I have worked many late night, I have worked over weekends (granted not many) we all do, but you need to ask yourself why this is happening? Why am I having to work late, what has happened that day or that week that has made me work late, work over the weekend, miss storytime……………… And there will lay the answer.

More often than not it is a task that has sucked up your time, may it be a huge task, or a task that you are unsure on and need to research, or a task that happens every week/month but you haven’t prepared for, again it’s NOT failure, its realisation, now is the time for you to pinpoint and rectify and claw back that time and NOT feel guilty.

Let’s face it guilt is horrendous, guilty for working, guilty for not working, I mean make your mind up, but lets see if we can provide some tips and tools to help you move forward.

Now ultimately, I would say to you outsource, but that is not always the right solution, or it may not be the right time for you, so what other things can we do to help you.

Identify the task – We all have those tasks that suck up out time, more than many others, but it is identifying this task and figuring out why that particular task is taking up so much time.

Why is it taking so long – Now you have identified the task, now it’s trying to figure out why this task takes so long.  Is it because the task is large and takes up too much time? Do you feel you lack knowledge in completing this task or is it just because you just DON’T want to do it?

If it’s a large task – if the task has a long deadline, break it down, you’ll find breaking it down over a course of a few weeks, will make it more palatable and easier to digest than sitting there for hours trying to complete a task you hate!

Start it as soon as you get it – make a start on it, putting it off will only make the task even worse, so if it lands on your desk on a Monday afternoon, make a start, do 15mins worth, that way you have started it, the worst part is done.

It feels muddled up – Try putting a process in place, I know a lot of people talk about processes but they are pretty important, and if you can look at how you are currently doing that task and then how you can amend it, by maybe adding a step or removing a step, or even bulking steps together to give you a streamlined process.

Not sure how to complete it  – if it is something new or you just don’t know how to complete and you need to do some training, then maybe you need to take some time out each week to train up.

If you can work through these and make small changes you will notice that you will have more control over your time.

Obviously, I would love to be able to support you in your business, help you free up more time, and be able to use that time guilt-free with your family.

My hourly rate starts at £25ph or you can have full peace of mind with a retainer package which you can find here

3 things that are stopping you from outsourcing

3 things stopping you from outsourcing

Hey everyone, so this week I wanted to run through the 3 biggest habits/reasons that are stopping you from moving forward on your outsourcing task.  We all know and I have spoken about in many past blogs that running your own business is amazing yet tough, but we do it as we love it, truly enjoy it.

For me supporting small and medium-sized businesses is super rewarding, I feel I offer one thing, yet my clients tell me I offer them so much more than the task in hand, which gives me an immense feeling of pride and accomplishment.

For one client, not only am I providing business support, but I give her a sense of security as well as having someone there to be your accountability partner, and sometimes that really does help us in business, as we can often talk ourselves out of a good idea, so thrashing out those ideas with someone kind of makes you less likely to sweep it under the carpet!

Why am I here?

If you are running a business, then you will be familiar with things like online marketing, this in itself is pretty much a full-time job, your blogs, your newsletters, your social media posts, keeping up with the latest update and trends, answering your crowd, then you have other tasks, emails, travel arrangements, meetings, diary, creating products or carrying out your services, the list can be quite extensive and daunting.

So why am I here pointing this all out to you, you run a business, you know what you have to do, but I am here to tell you, you are probably the main reason you haven’t taken that step to outsourcing!

 

Here are the 3 top reasons I hear that are stopping you from taking that leap:  

No idea where to start! I have heard of business support and VA’s but when I started looking at the world of outsourcing, it just overwhelmed me!

Firstly, don’t let it overwhelm you, you are doing this to better your business and help you move forward if this is something that is causing you stress then break it down, like with every task you do in business, small chunks are more manageable. Write down the tasks that are keeping you stuck, this is the first thing for you to do, most of my clients said they needed help mainly with their blogs and newsletters, it was something they wanted to do, but was struggling to find the time to either start up a blog and regular newsletter or had trouble keeping it up to date.

My advice is write down the tasks that you feel are keeping you away from the jobs that create your customers and income.  Then I would either connect in your local Facebook pages to see if there are any VA’s in your area, or failing that you can get in touch with a couple of VA societies that have lists of VA’s that either match you in location, price range, experience etc.  I have listed this here:

I am only a small business, its just me, I can’t justify or afford a VA!

90% of my current clients are solo entrepreneurs! I also have clients that have offices and staff, there is no wrong or right demographic to outsourcing, so don’t feel just because its only you are working from your house you cannot outsource! Secondly, most VAs cost around £20-35ph, as well as monthly retainer packages, you will find that most VA’s offer a standard of 1hour a month, and if that is what you need then that is all you need to purchase, do not feel that it is too small to ask for.  In that hour most VAs will be able to draft and or format at least one or two blog posts (how long would that take you?) most could source a couple of weeks’ worth of images for your social media, most can copy type several pages documents, most could make an indent on the powerpoint presentation that has been sat on your desk for a month! Stop justifying your desire to progress!

 

It’s my business, I know how everything works, and I should be able to cope with what my business throws at me!

Ah yes! We have those business owners that will NOT cut themselves any slack and will often be found in the dead of the night or over weekends catching up on EVERYTHING that their business throws at them.  Can I just say, yes, it is your business, yes you do know how everything works but that does not mean you have to do it all yourself! And equally yes there are a lot of things that you should be able to cope with whilst running your business, scheduling in posts, re-purposing your content, marketing your blog I don’t feel are those tasks you should be doing!

Solutions

There are so many solutions out there to help you run your business smoothly, effectively and efficiently, most VA’s are pretty flexible and work around you and your business, you need to stop putting obstacles in your way in moving forward in your business. As I mentioned most VAs can work on an hourly basis with a minimum of 1 hr, use this wisely, outsourcing is vital to your business and your sanity.

Discovery Call

If any of this resonates with you, or your business is picking up and you are finding you have fewer hours to do those tasks, then see this as an opportunity to put something in place now, before you do get into a spin that you cannot get out of, book a FREE call with me and we can run through your sticking points.

 

Signoff

 

Wibbly Wobbly!

Take care of the wobbles

Hands up who has had a wobble whilst running their business? I raise my hand too, now how many of you have them regularly? Yep, my hand is up too! Has anyone told you that this is normal and not to beat yourself up?

I will let you into a little secret, I had a MAHOOSIVE wobble last Friday, it was quite possibly the biggest I have ever had, and it was all over my confidence and my self-belief! The lack of self-belief just sparked off this whiff of doubt which then turned into a complete anxiety attack!

A necessary evil 

I will go out on a limb here and say these doubts and little wobbles that we all have are a necessity in business, I think it’s our way of getting all the fears and obstacles that we put in our way, out there and we are made to address them.  I know if I have a concern I tend to shove it to the back of my mind and try to forget about it, but after a while the back of my mind gets a bit full, so when I go to shove a small issue in my back-office memory bank, my brain says ‘erm nope I’m too full time to get it all out’ and that’s where the wobbles come from.

When we have these wobbles everything comes out, you name it, it’s coming out, from that daft issue a few months back to the full on ‘aaaagggghhh I’m an imposter’ the imposter part comes out because you have reached a limit and doubting EVERYTHING, not because you are an imposter!

What should we do? 

So, what should we do when we have these wobbles or worse an anxiety attack, well don’t do what I did last week, which was to try and fight it and fob it off as it will just win and consume you, my Friday was a complete washout and felt like I had taken a battering my Mike Tyson!

What I should have done was step away from work, have a cuppa, grab a pen and pad, and offload everything that has been weighing on my mind, as well as reaching out to my close network of friends that I have gained in the online world since starting my business, and talking with them about my worries, because I know if I had done this within a short period of time from when it started I could have nipped this in the bud so much quicker than I did.

Pinpoint the issues

I was fortunate enough to e able to pinpoint where my wobble came from, it was down to subconsciously setting my sights too far ahead, yes you know the thing I told you not to do the other week! Well this will be why we shouldn’t, as it tends to sneak up on you and bite you in the derrière.  Don’t get me wrong I am not saying don’t plan, I am all for planning and goal setting, its great for you and your business to see where you are going.  I think for me it was more the panic of securing more clients, my goals are reachable and achievable, I just panicked and wondered am I good enough to serve the pants off more fabulous clients, and Friday my answer to that was no.

I can say that as of Monday this week, my whole mindset had shifted, I felt having that wobble was my way of clearing my head to make room for more amazingness and ideas on how to best support my current and new clients.

Reason

The list for this can be the long as your arm, you may find it is all the small things that have hit you or things you have been storing up over a course of time, then the smallest thing will tip that balance.

  • Not enough work
  • Too much work
  • Lack confidence
  • Imposter syndrome
  • General health, tiredness and diet catching up with you
  • Money worries

Those I have listed are some of the biggest wobble points for many business owners and most are fixable, it’s finding that workable goal.

Pick yourself up

The longer you wallow in the wobble pit the longer it is going to take to get yourself back on track, acknowledge why you are having the wobble, write down workable solutions and dust yourself down and start afresh tomorrow, you must look after yourself peeps! Being a business owner is the best thing I have done when it comes to work, but honestly, it is the most stressful thing I have done too, we are incredibly hard on ourselves as business owners.

So, acknowledge the wobble and the reasons behind it, stop dismissing yourself, and that is a warning to myself as well.

Get in touch

If you have had wobbles and they are connected to not knowing which way to turn with your workload then please do get in touch, I would love to sit with you and go through some solutions in order to make stress levels calm down, even just thrashing out some ideas can make things seem less angsty.

 

Signoff

Habits can be broken!

Breaking habits

 

Happy New Year to you all

I was going to start 2018 with a blog about being kind to yourself and going easy through the month of January, but I have done that in December, and reiterated it on my Facebook page, so I thought this week I would focus on shifting those habits, you know the ones that are keeping you stuck!

We all have them, and research shows we can break habits within 28 days, so if you are thinking of putting any resolutions in place remember to be patient as behavioural and habit changes take time.

Let’s look at those things that can stop you in your tracks and keep you stuck:

Procrastination

This is a biggie and one that hits everyone at some point in the day, yes, I said day, I would be very surprised and would want to work with the person who never gets hit by this.  But instead of beating yourself up over getting hit by procrastination, embrace it and look at it with a different view, look at what you are doing that is blocking you, is the task you are doing too big for the time you have? Is the task too complicated and you just haven’t a clue on how to progress or even start it?

Once you have figured out the why, the how is so much easier, its like drilling down when you search the Internet, can’t, won’t and don’t, won’t give you the answers, you have to be more specific and it’s the same when looking at the tasks that are keeping you stuck.

Tools

You can spend an age searching for the right tools for the job, keep this simple! Pick the tools you need to get by on a day to day basis, aim for the free versions, you’ll find most free versions will be enough to get you started, to be honest, 90% of my daily tools are on the free version and have been using them for the best part of 4 years.  Trello, Canva, Dropbox, most scheduling tools have decent free versions.

Distractions

There are 100s of distractions during your working day, most invade your space without you paying any attention, email, social media, phone, visitors, chores, you name it they are there in abundance, and they may not take up tons of your time, but together they can really eat into your productivity and time.

A couple of tips to get past those distractions:

  • Check your personal social media before you sit at your desk, maybe over breakfast or your morning coffee, this eliminates the need to check it when you log on
  • Log straight onto your business page, and turn off notifications
  • Only check your email twice a day and keep the actual program closed, this avoids over checking
  • If you get notifications on your phone put your phone out of sight or even on Do Not Disturb. If you can turn the notifications off.
  • Be firm with visitors, this took a long time for me as people would see my car on my drive and POP in for a coffee and a natter as I was home, of course, I’m home, my business is home-based, but nearly 4yrs into my business and I have this one under control, that is mainly due to having my office at the end of my garden, I don’t hear my doorbell
  • Chores! Now this one I did struggle with and sometimes still do, before heading out to my office I tend to fly around my house and do a quick tidy up after my children set the clothes bomb off, but I limit that to a certain amount of time then off to work I go, it’s finding that balance to make you feel like you have done some bits but also taking your business seriously.

Changeable

The things I have mentioned are the common ones that I have heard from my clients, these are the things that suck up their time, and make them feel stuck, but these are the things they can change. The small tweaks can make the biggest differences.

This Year 

If this year is the year for you to change what you do with your time, and try to gain control of hours, and outsourcing is on your list, then do get in touch, I am so excited to be able to carry on supporting my current clients and taking on new clients, supporting them and their amazing businesses.

 

Signoff