Category Archives for Productivity

Avoid Overwhelm And Get Results Instead

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_DtC0eV7LE[/youtube]

How many times have you sat at your computer and spent hours and hours there and in the end feel like you have been working all day and got no-where.  There is just so much you COULD be doing!  All the things to read in your emails, great ideas popping out of your head, blogs to write, videos to produce, people to chat with – the list goes on and on.   You fiddle with this and that doing bits and pieces and in the end, it’s easier to go and get another cup of coffee and start again tomorrow….

This used to happen to me all the time (and sometimes still does).  What I have found is that if I make sure I include this ONE activity that I share in the video, every week I am more likely to stay focused, on track and get the results I want.

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New Experiment in Time Management

I have been invited to do a presentation in early March to over 350 members of a National Organisation on the topic of Time Management and Managing Work Flow. So as my mind began to sift through just how I do manage my self and what my ‘systems’ are for working, I also began to think about a few new ideas. **Note – I don’t believe you can manage ‘time’, but you can manage your ‘self’.

AT the moment I’m going through a re-vamping, refining, and re-evaluating phase as my business continues to grow. I thought it might be useful to you if I shared some ideas I’m trying out.  While I have many systems already in place for managing work flow that I’m sold on, what I am sharing with you right now are EXPERIMENTAL.  If they prove successful, I’ll have more to say here in the future about them.

  1. Shorter Emails.  If you receive a tonne of email, you know what it’s like to feel overloaded by it.  This is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be not much longer than three sentences, or even less.  It’s also okay to ‘finish’ your email conversation without a whole heap of back and forth ‘ok’s’, ‘that’s great’ type of replies. It’s not about being rude, but being respectful of everyone’s time, and being more efficient.
  2. Fifteen Minute Meetings.  Similar to the above, but a little less regimented.  Many meetings can actually be made for 15-30 minutes or less.  When I have a scheduled coaching call of 30 minutes, we get straight to the point, discuss what needs doing, any problems, and off we go….. Next.  It’s not that I care any less but rather that I value my time and my client’s time too much.  If the same call is scheduled for 45 or 60 minutes it does not necessarily mean that a whole lot more gets discussed or any more progress is made. Take note of your meeting lengths and see how much more invigorating it is when they are short, yet the productivity remains high.  If your meetings are not related to a specific coaching session, but more administrative, try for 15 minutes tops.
  3. Free Day.  I used to cheat really badly on this, but I am improving!  A “free day” is one in which there is NO business activity  of any kind: no emails, no blogs, no phone calls, no reading articles, no meetings….NOTHING (maybe a little Facebook for fun!). Right now I have at least one scheduled FREE day per week.  The purpose is to allow for real refreshing, rejuvenation, and creativity to flow.  My goal is to eventually reach 3 FREE DAY per week.  This does not mean that I’ll be spending 3 days doing nothing… these days will be filled with family time, spiritual and charitable ventures, and recreation.

Any additional time I get from implementing these strategies will mean I can spend more time on a simple marketing plan that will allow continued business growth.

I’ll let you know how the experiment goes!  Leave me your comments on how you manage your ‘time’ or what your biggest time wasters are.

Time or Money. Getting It Right

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrrwPmb8vZU[/youtube]

Want To Grow But Unsure Of What To Work On First?

The very thing that stops most people in their tracks when they are looking for business success is overwhelm and procrastination with what to do next to grow their business.

When the idea of starting your own business came to you, I bet you were excited and a little anxious. But you just knew that you could make a ‘go’ of it.  What does ‘making a go of it’ mean to you?  Does that mean you have some extra cash to buy yourself some treats or take the kids on holidays?  Does it mean luxury overseas trips?  It is different for everyone, and that’s ok.  What is not okay though is when you get ‘stuck’ and begin to face the fear that things are not turning out how you wanted them to. And worse still, you keep allowing this to be your reality.

Has your business idea become a monster?

You may have heard me say before; I believe business monsters are created in two different ways.

Monster A: Let’s say you get a website, your have your business cards and maybe some flyers. Whether your focus is online or offline, your door is ‘open for business’. Days go by, weeks go by, maybe even months go by and you realize that you are not attracting clients like you thought you would.  It’s about now that you need to justify to your family why you are still hanging onto this business idea.  The money you had set aside for this business idea is slowly diminishing and people are starting to ask you “how much longer”…

Monster B: “Hectic and Time Consuming” shouldn’t be the first words you use to describe your business!   “Yes, but…” I hear from clients all the time.” I want to build my business but I’m already worn out!  I’m working six and seven days a week.  I have no time to myself.  I constantly have to work to keep up with the clients I have to get the money I want to be earning.  I’ve got lots of great ideas but I don’t know how to bring them together and I don’t have the time to focus on anything else right now.”

I can appreciate these words.  All the time I see business owners with unfinished dreams because they are frustrated and burned out.

If your business sounds like either of these business monsters it’s because you are not focusing on what your business needs most right now.

It’s either Time or Money.

You may have heard it said “a confused customer does nothing”.  Well, the same can be said for you when you are all alone, trying to figure out what it is that you need to do next to grow your business.

With so much information so easily available, it’s no wonder that it’s a major problem when you get distracted with all sorts of ‘shiny bright objects’ that are promoting the latest trends, gadgets or ideas.

It’s common for you to be feeling guilty about how little income you are bringing in.  You really do want to be contributing to the household income more than you are but it just doesn’t seem to be happening. You need to get more clients in the door!  It’s money driven activities that you must spend your time on.  This usually means marketing, or sales.  Or it could be a combination of both.

Once you are implementing a good, simple marketing plan, very quickly you will get more clients and the cash will start to flow.

You can then invest these funds to buy yourself more time. Things like technology, systems, team help, coaching.  When you invest in these time saving strategies, you’re business success will start to soar.  This in turn will return you more money. You will be astounded how quickly this cycle begins to take momentum and become unstoppable.

Before you know it, you will have the business success you are dreaming of.  It’s just a matter of knowing what the current motivating factor is within your business right now, and taking focused action to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Check regularly what the most important motivating factor is within your business; time or money. Too many people don’t do this process and they wonder why they don’t get the success that they know they should be getting.

What Did You Think? Please leave us a comment!

Take A Break AND Keep Your Business Growing – 10 Top Tips

As soon as the holiday season approaches, many business owners see things slowing to little more than a crawl.  They maintain just the bare essentials to keep things ticking over until into the New Year.  I believe the holidays give you a splendid opportunity to take some quality time for yourself but also to evaluate your business and prepare yourself for a fabulously successful 2011.

Here’s a list of the top 10 things you can do to move your business through this slow period with success.  If you want to spend quality time with the family, and only focus on just one thing, you’ll be well ahead when you welcome in the New Year.

1. Maximize your website. This is your opportunity for you to gather clients and make money 24-7 while you are out having fun.  Make sure your web copy is great and speaks to your clients’ problems.  Create free reports or some videos on hot topics that will act as great lead generation or client attraction tools.

2. Give life to your email list – or create your first one.

This is one of the most valuable client building tools you can use.  It allows you to regularly offer promotions and sales to your warm prospects over a long period of time.  If you haven’t yet created your own e-zine, then the New Year is a perfect time to release issue number one!

3. Browse your bookshelves for your holiday reading.

If you intend on some lazy days or days at the beach or in the sun, then you will want some light reading.  I am sure there are some of your favourite business books on your shelf that you could grab out.  There is still time to order some you may not already have.  I have set aside “Ready, Aim, Fire” by Michal Masterson and “Endless Referrals” by Bob Burg books of choice for holiday reading.

4. Reduce your email box to ‘zero’!

How long have some of those emails been there – unread or pleading for action?  Delete anything that is old.  I also like to set up folders to automatically file emails using ‘rules’ as they come in.  Your program may also allow this.   Vow to start the New Year with a clean email inbox.

5.  Don’t stop at emails – do the whole office…

Pop on your favourite music and let loose on your office space.  Does your desk currently look like a bomb shelter?  Drag in a big rubbish bag and be harsh.  Toss what is not needed and file what is.

6.  Reassess your team.

As you plan for a busy 2011 you will need to make sure you have the right team in place.  If you are finding yourself getting bogged down in administration tasks then you are not spending time ON your business.  Hire a virtual assistant, book keeper or perhaps house cleaner.  All of these people will allow you to spend more time doing the money making tasks and maintain focus on the big goals for your business.

7.  Do you need to update software?

Videos are now seen as an essential marketing tool.  Do you need to upgrade your camera, get a tripod or perhaps even upgrade your computer?  Your technology is crucial to your business so you should maintain it in tip top condition.  Clean out or archive any old files and be sure your back ups are up to date. It’s a good time to get acquainted with software that you can use to automate some of your marketing activities so you are still visible to your clients while taking some down time.

8.  Stay in touch with your clients.

Even if you are not where you want to be yet, your business would not be where it is today without the clients you have.  The thing most people crave is appreciation and acknowledgement so this is a great time for you to thank you clients for their business.

9. Plan your first 2011 activities.

What is the quickest way you can get a cash injection into your bank account early into the New Year?  A paid teleseminar is a great option.  You can either host it yourself or invite a special guest to interview.  A special price point is a great incentive for those who sign up before the New Year.

10.  Be grateful for everything you HAVE achieved during 2010.

Often we forget to take time to celebrate our achievements when we are so focused on the next goal.  I use a journal to write down all my achievements, big and small, several times a week.  For the end of the year, I would encourage you to spend sometime doing this.  Being grateful for what you have will allow room for you to invite the Universe to deliver you more!

Take the time to also appreciate the friends and family that you have, and to remind yourself of what the holidays are truly about.  Take time to soak in the sun (or snow for our US companions), play with the kids or grab a movie.  You will be back at work before you know it.

Let me know below how you plan to spend your holiday break….

Strategies for Surviving and Thriving in Business

AS your business is growing, it is important to make sure that you don’t lose your mind, that you always have fun and stay real to your self.  If you compromise on these things, no matter how hard you work now, it will not be lasting without costing you dearly on a personal level.
I know from personal experience, that if you don’t feel busy, there is the risk that you don’t feel productive either.  The good news is, you don’t have to work your buns off 14 hours a day.  It’s ok to show your weaknesses, to be yourself and still thrive.

So what are the secrets to avoid feeling overwhelmed, working like crazy while keeping the profits increasing?

One of the first things you need is to make sure you have an effective, money making website. An effective website is one that is low in maintenance, easily updated and has a way of capturing your clients’ details so that you can build a relationship with them.  The idea is NOT to spam them with junk, but deliver them valuable information that helps them to solve their problems. If you think your business is restricted to your local clients, you are losing money faster than a leaky bucket.

There are simple ways to ensure you maximize your organic rankings in the search engines.  A couple of  these are: correct use of long tail keywords and tags on your posts and in your copywriting, particularly your headlines; giving pictures on your website a keyword rich ‘title’; and installing TweetMeme and AddToAny which are two favourite  f*r*ee plugins from WordPress.  These will mean your blog posts are automatically sent into the social media world without you having to do anything else once you have uploaded them to your website.

WordPress is the most ‘google friendly’ platform for a website to be built. All the top, fast growing companies have their websites in WordPress.  Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama and even Ebay all have their websites built in WordPress.  It is an immediate advantage for you when it comes to organic rankings.

The content on your web page needs to be changing often for you to maximize your search rankings. By being able to make small changes yourself means you can save lots of money and time waiting for a web developer to make minor changes for you. The message through your copy on your site needs to be consistent and reflect how you can solve your target audience’s problems.

You are not required to do everything yourself!
I still see people running a business where they have developed quite a large list or client base and insist on doing every little job themselves.  As a result, they are exhausted and quickly losing the energy to give 100% to working with their clients and on their business.

When I ask other marketers who have a much bigger business than me “What would you do differently if you knew then, what you know now?”.  Without fail, every time, they say they would bring on a team much sooner.

Your clients need value.   They need you supporting them.  It is hard for you to focus on the money making activities when you are running around uploading articles into sites, or cropping photos or editing music, especially if you are like me, and not very good at these tasks.  Doing all these little tasks drains your creativity.  One of the biggest drains on your energy can be personally answering all your emails and always being available on the telephone.  I have been willing to do these two tasks up until now, but it is time for me to hand them over to someone else.  I can spend more and more time with my clients, creating products, teaching and inspiring which is what I do best.  If you want to be the CEO of your company you need to get rid of these tasks to someone else – and quickly!  This will give you more time for the money making activities.

I hear many people say they will get some team help when they are making some more money.  Believe me – getting the team on board will be what allows you to make some more money.  Your team can be to help with website, graphics, uploading, editing, writing and much more.  A good way to divide the tasks is to do more of what you enjoy, and to get someone else to do the rest.

Have the belief that you will survive and thrive.

In most instances, it is your belief system that will be the biggest obstacle preventing you from achieving your dreams.  It is a BIG factor in your success.  Some of the most common beliefs that hold people back are:
“It doesn’t feel right for me to earn more money than my husband/man in the house”
“I have to work harder to earn more money”  – this stems from a fear of lack of money.
Thoughts like these will sabotage your actions.  Business is always challenging, but if your mindset is good then your business will prosper.  Your thoughts will seep through your conversations and into the energy you put out to your clients.

A signal that you may have some belief patterns holding you back is if you find yourself as an ‘information junkie’.  This is a way of hiding behind your own thought patterns by thinking that you still need to learn something more before you are ‘good enough’ to take your brilliance into the world in a big way.

Whether you realize it or not, one of the things you want is more money!  You have to become comfortable with that idea.  It is not wrong to want lots of money.  In fact, you can do more to help others in so many ways, if you have more money. Until you are completely comfortable with this you will subconsciously block opportunities.

Have a mindset that will allow you to ask for money and be willing to receive it. I have a couple of things that I do to put me into a ‘millionaire mindset’ each day.  Working on my mindset is something I spend a lot of time on.  I am looking forward to doing some personal work with PJ McClure during 2011. He is one of the world’s foremost authorities on mindset and author of “Flip the S.W.I.T.C.H.”.

I would encourage you to drastically reduce the amount of exposure you have to sources of negative impact such as television, news and radio.  Increase the time you spend reading books based around success principles and spend more time having fun with friends and family.

Your Client Building Task For The Week:

•    List the tasks you do.  Review them and mark each of them that could be done just as well by someone else.  Find that ‘someone’ to do them for you as soon as possible.
•    Write a daily gratitude journal where you list at least 5 things that you are grateful for. No matter how big or small.
•    Create a folder in your email called “Kind Words”.  Whenever you receive a complimentary email, file it in this folder. Refer back to this folder when you have moments of doubt

Think Bigger!

Success has its own set of problems, as just about anyone who has built a small business knows.

As I strived to reach the point where I was earning a good income from my business and seeing my business grow by leaps and bounds, a new kind of trouble emerged.  I had to learn how to grow and keep up with the new workload if I wanted to embrace that growth and still have any kind of work life balance.

Most of us are well acquainted with that place of overwhelm.

Overwhelmed, overworked yet still hanging on to our dream to have the success we know we deserve, and have achieved in other areas of our life before now. It is possible to build your dream business while still working another job if you are prepared to make lots of sacrifice, late nights, early mornings and feeling exhausted.

But if you are ready to think big?  When you finally make this decision, it becomes much easier to invest money in setting up systems that you need to have in place, creating your web presence, and any other tasks that do not need your direct input.   It is a financial input, but it is money well spent.

Make Your Business Scalable

Most people struggle for a long time trying to do everything themselves.  For some it is the fact that they just can’t let go of having complete control. For others it is an issue of trying to save money wherever possible.  I know just how you feel – it was exactly the same for me for a long time!  It wasn’t until I started to outsource some technical tasks that I truly realized the benefits.  This meant that I could now concentrate on the real money making tasks that would ensure my business could keep growing and generating revenue while also increasing my operating margin.  This is something that every growing small business faces at some stage and you always have to be careful that the cost of expansion does not put you dangerously in the red.

Sure, it cost me money to hire an assistant, but had reached the point where I couldn’t afford not to hire someone if I wanted to keep growing.

In his book the Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial  Freedom, Robert Kiyosaki points out that it is difficult to achieve wealth as a self employed person.   I was recently reminded of this when a friend working for herself was advised that she had to take a period of ‘time off’ to recover from an illness.  In this instance this illness will severely affect her income, as would many other instances that can sideline your business.  Your bank account will be impacted very quickly!

So how do you avoid such pitfalls if you are a solopreneur?  Kiyosaki suggests creating business systems that work independently of you.  “If you have a secure system that produces more and more money with less and less work, then you really do not need to worry about living below your means”.

The trouble is, so few people know just how to create the type of systems, products and programs that will allow them to reap the benefits of recurring income, even when they are spending time away from their business.   It can be as simple as setting up autoresponders to send your email newsletter out automatically, re-purposing work you have already created and selling it on a sales page, creating a video that you upload onto YouTube that drives traffic to your website, or creating programs that your currently deliver on a small scale and upgrading that to reach a wider audience.

All of these things will allow you to reap the benefits of enjoying a continued income stream while you spend your time marketing your business further and being creative on new programs and products. In other words, the activities that will increase your bottom line even further.

I have assistants now that handle my book keeping, website upgrades and sales page creation and newsletter and article submissions. This allows me to scale up my business big time and at a much faster rate.

The one thing you do need to decide though is….  Are you even prepared to think big?

Leave me your comments and tell me how big you are thinking.

Fay

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