When was the last time you had a date with your significant other?
Too often we get so wrapped up in our work we forget what we are doing it for. In most cases, it is to build a stable future for ourselves and our loved ones, so why do we lose the importance of spending quality time with our loved ones whilst building our businesses?
I know I was guilty of this in years gone by. My husband would suggest going out for a drink but I always had something to finish. He would come into my office to have a coffee and a chat but I shunned him telling him he was interrupting me. He would say “let’s do something this weekend” but I was either buried in work or too tired to want to do anything but hide under a duvet.
Where was the sense in that?
I was directly sabotaging the very thing I was trying to achieve with my business! I wanted to build a successful business that would give us both the income and time freedom to do what we wanted when we wanted. It was right there, right then under my nose already but I couldn’t see it.
Does this sound familiar?
If it does, then stop. Go book a date with your significant other. If you live alone this may be a close friend or family member. Give them the time they deserve. Life is short. We need to remember to enjoy the moments we have here and now and not be blinded by the bright lights of the future.
Mr T and I now regularly have dates. We book them ahead in the diary and don’t let anything get in the way. These dates vary from a couple of nights away in a cottage somewhere to a simple afternoon walk with a picnic. The important thing is that we spend quality time together with no interruptions.
And we must be doing something right as yesterday was our 31st wedding anniversary (yes, I was a child bride – not really). And we celebrated with a tiny bbq and a bottle of fizz on the beach with family. Just perfect.
It never ceases to amaze me that every day new business ‘coaches’ pop up all over social media. Where do they come from? What experience do they have and more importantly, what results do they get?
Over the years I have had a few coaches come to me as a private client to find out how to grow their business. I always ask my clients how they came to do what they are doing now. All too often when I ask coaches what led them to their career choice it’s a case of they didn’t know what to do with their life, they had a chat with a friend down the pub who was in the same predicament, came up with an idea for them and was told “you’re really good at this. You should be a coach”.
Hmm! Is that really enough? In my book, far from it.
I spent years in the industry learning from the best. I spend years in my professional career as a business consultant. I spent 12 months undertaking my qualifications which included being escorted by an assessor to a number of my appointments with clients. The assessor then followed up with these clients to ascertain what credible impact I had on their businesses. (I’m proud to say that my assessor told me it was the first time he had learnt a lot from one of his students).
Many of these new ‘coaches’ I have discovered over the years have tried unsuccessfully to start and grow a business but find that they can make it up as they go along by setting up as a coach. After all, it’s simple, isn’t it?
Set up and call yourself a coach.
Do some clever marketing (fake it until you make it!)
Get some clients.
Let them ask you questions.
Go google the answer or search in forums.
Copy the answer
Send to your clients and hey ho! They will think you are marvellous!!
Little do people know who is really behind the mask.
But hang on! What about the real-life experiences here? What about when the answer you gave has been tried before but failed as there are so many variables with each and every client. Experience over the years gives the knowledge to spot when one solution will work for one particular client and when that same solution could spell disaster for another.
Experience allows a coach to pick up on the unspoken signals that something other than what is being said is causing problems that are preventing the business from working.
In my opinion, there are now more ‘business coaches’ setting up each week than I’ve had hot dinners. Anyone and everyone seem to think they can be a coach these days and set up whilst giving quite frankly dangerous advice at times. I firmly believe a licencing structure should be put in place for anyone wishing to promote themselves as suitable to be a business coach, consultant or advisor. I’m currently discussing this very subject with powers far higher than me about how to legislate business coaches.
But does it matter to you?
I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know below.
Harsh words coming up ladies. Take a seat if you need to.
I have spoken with a number of ladies this month who haven’t completed tasks that have been set as part of their 1:1 coaching with me. This has left me somewhat surprised as I always check their commitment at each call and never leave them without them being confident they can do what I have suggested.
But this month, I have had clients tell me they are going to leave it to the universe to tell them when the right time is to move forward.
Well here’s some breaking news.
This is just a sad excuse for not getting out of your comfort zone and doing some work. The universe wants you to get off your arses and sort your problems out yourself!!
Too many of you are using the universe scenario to stay in your comfort zones and not do any real money-making activity. Yes, use visualisation (it works), work on your inner self (so important) but you must take physical action also.
The universe isn’t going to pay your bills and your comfort zone is going to get bloody well uncomfortable when you start to get final reminders through the post.
If you want success badly enough, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse.
It’s up to you to take responsibility for yourself and your success.
I can hear the offence taken by many of you already and if you don’t like my straight talking, I’m not going to apologise. I don’t sugar coat things. I tell you how it is. Now it’s up to you.
How badly do you really want success?
Here’s an exercise for you to help you decide.
Take a seat, close your eyes and take the time to imagine the following scenarios:
12 months from now, you have shied away from fully promoting yourself. You have no bookings and no income. You are no further forward with your business than you are today.
Your friends and family ask you how your business is going. You feel sick to the stomach. You regret that you didn’t plan and block out time to work properly in your business. You regret you didn’t stay focused and just worked ad hoc over the last 12 months.
There is no money in the bank account and you know your partner is getting fed up of hearing the same story that next month you will have new clients. You know you won’t as you don’t really believe in yourself.
12 months from now you are sat looking at your bank balance. You have a regular income that covers all your bills and provides for all those extra luxuries in life that you enjoy.
You open your emails and see a number of testimonies from happy clients and who say they are recommending you to everyone they know. Oh, look!! Two new bookings have just popped up in your inbox!
Your partner asks you how your business is. You beam with pride and tell them you are treating them to a weekend away as you are doing so well.
Really sit and visualise both these scenarios. Which one do you want in 12 months? Number 2? Then focus on this. Bottle the feeling of scenario 2. Think this scenario through before you go to sleep at night and when you wake up every morning.
It’s your choice. If you want it badly enough, you will do what it takes. You will take action. You will plan. You will get focused. And you will do one thing every single day to take you closer to your goal. You WON’T give up.
If you don’t really want it, you will make excuses.
How often do you hear ‘let’s meet for a coffee and a chat’?
Now then, I am more than happy to give an initial free consultation to anyone who needs help. We all need a helping hand at times. But what rankles me are those that you have this chat with who then want to follow it up in more detail over a coffee. They know you can help them but they don’t want to pay.
These people are those that I know personally and because of this connection, they seem to think they can use my services and not have to pay. (The strange thing is that they never offer me free products or services that they sell).
I wrote an article ‘Can I Pick Your Brain’ a while ago now but thought it would be useful to come up with a few more answers to those who don’t value your time or expertise.
For those who think you are dumb and will fall for the coffee invite just for them to bombard you with questions.
“I would love to meet for coffee. It would great to get away from the office and have a break from the business talk for an hour.”
People who are in the frame of mind that they want everything for free, usually don’t want to meet in their social time.
Say ‘how about we meet for a drink. You could pop over to (somewhere close to you as they usually also want you to go where it’s convenient for them) when I finish work on (insert day). It would a lovely way to wind down after a busy day.”
Both these responses make it clear that you are NOT going to be talking business. It’s quite satisfying when you hear the person on the other end stumbling for a response.
For those that have made it clear they want to pick your brains for nothing
Don’t be afraid of offending these people. They aren’t worried about offending you.
“I’d love to take you up coffee but unfortunately coffee doesn’t pay my bills”
“I’ve never found that discussing business over coffee is the most effective way of giving advice. I’d be more than happy to book you in for an appointment. I’ll email you the details to get you booked in.” Then send them your paid booking link. I promise you won’t hear from them again.
These two responses are more direct but very effective.
Alternatively, “I don’t have time for coffee but more than happy to book you an appointment in my office”. This is slightly softer and keeps the channels of communication open.
An even more softly, softly catch-all answer would be “I’d love to but I’m currently snowed under”.
Ultimately, just be straight with them.
Tell them “If it’s a coffee and a chat I would love to meet up but being open and honest here, if you are just trying to use it as an excuse for free advice, I’ll be a tad offended”. Now let them squirm with embarrassment.
And don’t feel guilty. Remember, if you did all of these free coffee requests, your business would rapidly go downhill and your paying clients would get to hear and get pretty pissed off.
Your business. Your rules.
And just for fun. After initially writing this post, I was sent this which I think is just brilliant!
Do you have any responses you would like to share? Leave them in the comments box below.
Every company or business establishment have their own office space where customers or potential clients visit them to conduct business. An office is a place where all professional matters are handled and any business transactions are conducted. Having an office premise gives a professional image to a business and is preferable for many small business owners.However, some people find working at an office inconvenient whether from commuting time, restricted opening hours if the office is within a shared building etc. Or, they may simply not be able to afford the premises. Therefore, many small business owners decide to run their business from a home office.
How do you choose?
Working from Home
Home-based business owners set-up their home office where they handle all work-related tasks. In fact, most set-up their own home office where they can entertain clients and business associates at home. Many find this a convenient set-up since they can attend to their work while being able to still spend time with their family.
However, the accessibility of the comforts available within your home, it is easy to fall into the wrong idea that you are not working. Hence, you need to develop a sound level of self-discipline in order to separate business from pleasure and focus on what you need to do at work.
Which is better?
There are several considerations that one has to make before deciding whether to opt for a home office or an off-site office instead. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that one is the better option over the other. The best way for you to decide is to come up with a checklist of these pros and cons. Then, determine whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa.
Also, you need to consider your own attitude towards work. If you are the type of person who had to be constantly reminded and lacks the initiative to work on their own, then setting up a home office could be a devastating idea. Below are a list of pro’s and con’s that would help you come up with a decision.
Home office: Pro’s and Con’s
You have more freedom of flexibility in terms of working hours.
You can reduce costs such as office rental, fuel usage (from driving to and from the office), and tax deductions.
It is convenient since you won’t have to dress up just to get to work. You can have your breakfast or spend time with your family and then conveniently check your email.
If you’re the type who needs to get motivated to work, a home office might not be conducive to you getting your work done.
There are a lot of potential interruptions at home.
There are a lot of home office considerations to make such as securing all office equipment you need at home, office furniture, and some other operational needs.
Off-site office: Pro’s and Con’s
The level of pressure and urgency motivates you to produce quality work.
The working environment is ideally designed to make working easier for you.
You have access to all of the equipment or tools you need to conduct your work.
You have to commute from and to work daily. It becomes more difficult for those who live far from the office.
Dealing with other workers within the building can be difficult for some, especially with clashing interests and personalities.
The expense or renting the premises
The decision is now yours as to which is best for you and your business. Whichever you choose, ensure you have everything you need to hand in your premises and make it a professional, yet comfortable place to work.
At various times in our life, we find that there is so little time and so much to do that our minds get so full of to-do lists that seem to never end. This inevitably ends up with us getting trapped and unable to move forward as we do not even know where to start.
Try some of the ideas below to help empty your mind of these never-ending swirling thoughts and to be able to move forward with a clear vision.
Replace Negative Self Talk With Positive Self Talk.
Be kind to yourself. Negative thoughts are those that stop us from doing what we really want to do. This negative self-talk tells us that we have failed and are so disorganized that we can’t go ahead and do things. It tells us that we don’t know enough, are not good enough and don’t have the skill or talent to make our small business a success.
Unless you really commit long term, you will never know what your ability or capacity is. Take some time to be kind to yourself and think about how you can do it rather than how you can’t. Write down a list of all the strengths and skills you already have that will help you achieve your tasks. Eliminate “I can’t” from your vocabulary. You can always learn a new skill set but you must change a mindset in order to succeed.
Clear up incomplete tasks.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by how much there is to do? Do you have all types of to do lists? Have you done a walk-through inspection of your home office? As you look around your office space, you may notice things that have been left unfinished. Make a list and take time to conquer each of these incompletes. Replace, fix, or toss items that are damaged. Buy items that will enhance your environment and your productivity. Get rid of the old items that are cluttering up your location. Better yet donate them to your local charity. It will be someone else’s treasure. If you have not used it in a year, do you really think you’re still going to use it? Pack it up in a box and if you do not use it in six months, give it away! The item is not serving you well and you’ll be amazed at how much lighter you feel.
Write down your to-do list.
Don’t rely on your memory to remember everything that you need to do or accomplish. Some of those tasks may be daily and monthly, or even yearly. Buy yourself a diary in which to jot down all those things you need to get done. As you write down what it is you need to accomplish each day, you will have a clearer picture and focus on the things that you need to get done. You may break them down into different tasks and delegate them.
Determine your priorities.
When you decide what your priorities are in your business you can better channel your energy to accomplish those priorities. As you take care of your priorities, the rest of your life tends to move with ease because you are focusing on what really matters to you. You may find that a lot of those things that were clogging up your mind were really not important after all and can be scrubbed off your list.
Work on your biggest action items first.
When you have a deadline to finish a big project, it can be a bit overwhelming. Some projects seem larger than others. We can often talk ourselves out of what we need to do by changing the subject or choosing to do an easier task first. We tend to put these important tasks to the side and even procrastinate when approaching that task. However, when you start with the biggest task item first the other tasks seem to be that much easier. By doing the hardest or most difficult task first, you will be more motivated to continue with the rest of your list.
Cut down on the number of webinars and TV shows you watch.
Think about the webinars and recordings that you watch. What purpose are they serving you? Are they merely entertainment or educational? How do they benefit you? By cutting down your viewing time a half an hour each day, you are gaining more time to do other things that will be more fruitful in moving your business forward. It is no use keep on watching to learn new things if you never actually put them into practice.
Check your e-mail only twice per day.
Email is a time waster; we can get drawn into emails that do not help us obtain our goals. Allocate certain times of day to check your email, perhaps you need to let people know that you will check your e-mail at specific times during the day. This allows others to know that you are busy and they will have a better sense of when to expect a reply from you. Unsubscribe from mailing lists that you have joined over the years.
Clear and prepare your desk for the next day.
This process can take about 15 to 20 minutes on average. Throw out anything that you think you do not need. Use the one-touch paper method. When you touch paper, you need to decide if you are going to file it, deal with it, or dispose of it. Paper clutter can overtake our lives.
Take a break from what you’re working on.
There are times when you need to get away from the computer and your desk in order to clear your mind so you can look at your project again with fresh eyes. When we have been working steadily, we can lose sight of our vision of the end result. Sometimes, if we spend time away from a project and then later go back to it, we can think more clearly and generate many new ideas. The best way to clear your mind is to sit in silence and write down whatever thoughts come to your mind. Write down the crazy and extreme thoughts, these are the ones that can lead to creative thinking. You will be amazed at the results; some of your ideas could be groundbreaking.
Stress reducers like exercise, meditation, and prayer are fabulous ways to de-clutter your mind. Exercise not only rejuvenates us and keeps the blood flowing; it also helps our body to get in the best shape ever. Meditation is wonderful for clearing the mind. Prayer gives us hope for future and beliefs and we can achieve.
Declutter your mind daily. Each time you declutter your mind you make room for new ideas and opportunities. You will feel calm, cool, and collected and ready to take on the challenges and opportunities that come your way.