Getting Your Solopreneur Work-Life Balance Just Right

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So many of us dream of working alone. We’ve worked for the man, we’ve faced massive commutes and long hours. We’ve had jobs that leave little time for a social life, that mean that we have to work weekends and holidays, and our relationships and health have suffered for work. We imagine that working for ourselves will be completely different. 

We think that we’ll work when we want to, when it suits our lifestyles. And that we’ll always take time off work when something important, or fun comes up, that we want to do instead. We know that we’ll work shorter hours, take more time for ourselves, and get a lot more rest. That our stress levels will be low, our relationships will flourish, we’ll be healthy and happy, and that our previously elusive work-life balance will be perfect. 

This is rarely the case. Most solopreneurs find that they become workaholics. They can’t stop. They never take full-days off, they always put work first, telling themselves that it’s ok because they love what they do, and they can’t go ten minutes without checking work emails or updating social media plages. Many solopreneurs are terribly stressed out, and their work has spilled into their lives, leaving no balance at all. Here are some tips to help you to claw that balance back.

Stop Being Solo

Sometimes, the only way to get back a little time for ourselves is to accept that we can’t do it all alone and ask for help. This applies to most areas of life, not just businesses. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to hire staff to work side by side with you, which isn’t always possible if you work from home. You could outsource your IT Solutions, or hire a freelance VA to help with admin and social media. You can still feel like you work solo, without having to do all of the work. 

Make the Most of Flexibility

One of the reasons that you went solo was probably a search for more flexibility. You have it now if you want it. There’s no one making you work, but you. Remind yourself of this when you need to. 

Write Down Your Priorities

What are your priorities? Why did you start working alone? What did you most want from the arrangement? Did you want to spend more time with your family? Or spend time with friends? Would you like to exercise more? Or spend more time outside? It’s all too easy to forget our priorities in life when we’re so busy, so write yours down and leave them somewhere that you can see. 

Write Things Down

Writing things down has another benefit. Writing to-do lists can help you to manage your time more effectively, making it easier to stick to a schedule, clock off when your list is completed (don’t keep adding to it!), and take entire days off. 

Make Plans for Life

Sometimes we need firm plans in place to give ourselves permission to take time off work. Make plans with friends, and make bookings so that you are less likely to cancel.

Grow Your Business Without Stretching Yourself Thinly

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When it comes to business and working for ourselves, the aim of the game is to grow and make it a thriving success. You are finally doing something that you feel passionate about, and that you are making money from with a flexible working and home life approach. However, the problem you may have is stretching yourself too thinly. There are a lot of plates to spin and sometimes too much to think about. With that in mind, here are some of the ways that you can grow your business without losing your mind.

Outsourcing where needed 

One of the biggest temptations that all business owners will have when it comes to their business is to manage and complete everything themselves. If you want a job done properly, you may as well do it, right? Wrong! This is where you end up not doing things to the best of your ability. Outsourcing can be a real asset to your business, and there are many avenues you can choose, depending on your strengths and weaknesses. Companies like Simplified can offer things such as IT services, websites you find online will give you access to freelancers who can take on roles such as website development or social media management. Work out where your time is best focused, and then consider outsourcing the other elements. 

Working on your time management 

You might need to take some time out to figure out some of the best processes that work for you when it comes to time management. As a business owner, even if you do outsource certain aspects of your workload, you will still need to manage your time and prioritize the things that need to be done quickly. This is when looking into different time management options can help you to succeed in this. There could be many different things you could consider and try that work for you. 

Analyzing your business regularly 

Each week or month, depending on the type of business you have, it will be worth it to sit down and analyze the results. This might be the amount of sales, and the popular times in which they were made. What brought those customers to your business? Was it a deal or an advert? Then look at other things such as website analytics, the demographics of your customers. These things can help you to make better decisions about things moving forward. 

Making allowances 

Finally, even though you may be a business working from home, it is also important for you to make some allowances. This could be anything from having a storage unit for your stock, a dedicated office in your home to help you work better, or even getting to the stage where you lease an office or shop and hire staff. These are exciting prospects and could definitely be a great way to help you move the business forward without stretching yourself and could help you to be more successful moving forward. 

Let’s hope these options have given you something to think about within your business.

Time Management Tips For Self Employed People

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When you first become self-employed it can be a little bit of a shock to the system not having a ‘clocking in’ or ‘clocking out,’ and someone to tell you what time you can eat and use the toilet, yes that sometimes happens! But once the initial excitement and fear wear off, you will find yourself with a workload you had no idea you would be facing, all the time in the world but no idea how you are going to fit everything in. 

If you’re lucky you will have developed some time management skills at least before you take the plunge to work for yourself, but if not, here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Assess The Load

This one sounds a bit like the beginning of a manual handling training session, but it really is ultimately the same thing, you need to know EXACTLY what you are dealing with, write it all down, add it all up and then prioritize the workload. Discover what it is you need to do first, and then you will be able to allocate the right amount of time to it! You can quickly become overwhelmed at the beginning, but if you follow this piece of advice from the beginning, you will soon find yourself gaining momentum and smashing through your projects

Use Tools

You have the tools of the trade at the ready, you’ve worked out precisely what equipment you need to get your job done and to run your business effectively, you have the software you need too! But have you considered time management tools? There are lots of different apps and websites that will be able to help you keep on track and delivering results before the deadline is reached. You can also find training on this via Powercall Training too. You’ll thank yourself for doing the research on this one! Don’t forget to keep a very clear and updated diary as well to avoid double-booking yourself! 

Remove Distractions

If you are self-employed, there is a change you’re working from home a lot, which is a great position to be in, except it’s possibly the place with the most distractions you could find! Postmen, pets, and neighbors are always going to be around with their noise and distraction tactics (especially the dog!), so if you can make a space out of the way just for working in, that has fewer distractions you will find it much easier to keep focus. Also, don’t forget to keep social media and messenger services closed when you need to stay on track, this is a significant drain on your attention span!

When it comes to starting out in the self-employed world, then you will want to gather as many resources as possible and keep to the plan. If you’re naturally organized with incredible focus, then you should be fine, if not, well then, start by assessing the load and take it one step at a time! Before you know it, you’ll have a little bit more time free to grab a sandwich maybe!

 

Mindset Struggles Most Entrepreneurs Face

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If you’re an entrepreneur you probably already feel somewhat different to 90% of the population, and that’s a perfectly normal thing to feel like a bit of an outcast at times, but with entrepreneurship your mindset really has the biggest impact on your success, so in this post we’re going to share some of the main mindset struggles that entrepreneurs face so that you can be prepared for them and overcome them properly.

You don’t think small talk is an efficient use of time.

If small-talk bored you before, it’s about to get worse.

You’ll find yourself starting sentences with “did you see that really awesome Facebook Live the other day?”, and “how’s the launch going?”

Unless the other person is interested in talking about business, success, marketing, mindset, or something equally tantalizing, you’re just not going to be interested.

You may even start to wonder what “normal people” talk about – though it certainly won’t interest you.

It will bother you that people don’t think your job is real.

You can try and explain to your friends/family/random people you meet, but, really – what’s the point?

They just don’t get it.

Even the most well-meaning relatives will ask you if you’re “okay for money” Or if you’ve considered looking for a “little job yet.”

It’s probably best not to mention the fact that you’re more than okay for money because you actually make more in a month now than any “little job” could afford to pay you in a year.

This can lead to them thinking you’ve become some kind of drug lord –  not just “doing something online with websites” as they previously thought.

You think everyone should start a business.

And you don’t shy away from telling them so. A friend asks for some career advice: “dude, are you nuts?  Start a business.”

It will actually start to annoy you that most people just don’t see how much better it is, and you will passionately tell everyone you meet that business is the way to go, and even come up with ideas for things they could create.

Mostly, they won’t be interested, though – so don’t take it personally.  Just try to hide “the look” – you know, the one that suggests they just told you they’d like to stand in front of oncoming traffic just to see what happens.

Stop trying to convince them – not everyone can be or should be an entrepreneur.

Never in your life will you feel so in control and out of it at the same time.

How’s that for a crazy feeling?

Honestly, you will wake up everyday, and from one minute to the next, will be in complete awe at the fact that you can literally create income on demand, that you have purposely designed your life in a way that allows you to do this.

The next minute you will be in a complete panic for the the exact same reasons – it’s all on you.

You’ll change your mind a lot.

Entrepreneurs are crazy idea machines, so whilst one minute you’ll be bursting full of passion for your latest business venture or launch, the next you could have a brand new idea and want to start something completely different. All of this is fine and entrepreneurs change direction all the time by buying and selling their business on places like Dental Practice Exchange and other marketplaces, however, it’s also important to know when you’re truly inspired or just dealing with a case of FOMO.

Predators Lying In Wait For Your Fledgling Business

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Just when you’re trying to find your feet is when your business is at its most vulnerable. It can’t suffer the bad press, the financial loss, or the loss of time that bigger businesses can sustain. Here, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the biggest killers of young businesses and what you can do to protect yourself against them.

Tax troublemakers

Business tax is not an easy subject to get a comprehensive grasp of yet making a mistake and getting audited is one of the things you want to avoid the most. Even if it’s found that your books are entirely clean, you don’t have that kind of time to waste. That’s why enlisting the help of an accountant to help you better understand your own bookkeeping and to make sure that you’re entirely compliant is essential. Learning to become tax efficient is always a good idea, too. By spending your money in the right way, you can save more of it in the long run.

Digital devils

Businesses are becoming more and more reliant on tech. For that reason, they’re all the more vulnerable to when that tech goes bad. From potential hackers trying to steal your data to the simple downtime that comes from hardware failures, using teams like https://www.terminalb.com/ can help you ensure you’re protected from the biggest risks associated with your tech. Outsourcing while the business is still small is a more cost-effective way of managing that risk, too. You may not have enough systems and users to justify the costs of paying for a full-time support team, so instead use those who operate on an as-you-need-it basis instead.

Interrupting interlopers

Being productive and making the best use of your time right now is essential to your success. Too much wasted time and you’re not productive enough to meet the goals that are going to help you grow to a sustainable level. Tools like https://www.timelog.com/ can help you measure exactly how you use your time, helping you find more productive ways to schedule your day and showing the distractions that get in the way that you can find ways to streamline or avoid altogether, if possible.

Safety snafus

When it comes to costliness, few things can sting a fresh business quite as badly as a slip, trip, or fall. This is just one example of the kind of workplace health and safety failure that can lead to having to pay out that workers comp deductible, at best, but can end in legal action at worst. One hurt employee could be all it takes to stop your business in its tracks, so have a health and safety audit with the help of teams like http://www.escsafety.com is worth looking into. You can become much more aware of the potential risks of the office, as well as policies you can put in place to ensure employees avoid them if you can’t fix them outright.

You have to be like a watchful parent to your business while it’s still young. As it grows, the risks mentioned above become no less important, but it’s at this critical stage you should be most concerned about the potentially fatal damage they can do.

 

Here’s How an MBA Can Help With Personal Development

An MBA is a great way to develop hard business and finance skills, but technical skills aren’t all you’ll learn in an MBA program. Soft skills like communication, public speaking, stage presence, writing, etiquette and confidence are just as important for success in the business world, and most MBA programs focus on helping students develop them. As you advance in your MBA studies, you’ll find that these skills become key components of your personality as you grow into a more effective leader.

You’ll Gain Credibility

Is credibility really a skill that can be cultivated? It sure is. As you attend MBA classes and learn more about the world of business and finance, you’ll gain confidence, charisma and a persuasive influence that will give you credibility in the eyes of colleagues and employers.

Just having the MBA credential will increase your credibility, because recruiters know how much work it takes to complete one of these difficult degree programs. Just the fact that you chose to do an MBA at all speaks to your work ethic, drive and ambition. You’ll come across as someone who sets, and achieves, goals for his or her career. You’ll develop your work ethic and sense of corporate responsibility, too, both of which will make you seem more credible.

You’ll Learn More About Business Etiquette

If you’ve been in the work force for a while, you likely already have some sense of proper business etiquette. You may already know how to dress, how to listen actively, how to behave at business lunches and professional meetings and how to prepare for presentations and conferences.

However, attending business school will help you hone and develop your business etiquette. For example, many online MBA programs in California and around the country offer their students study-abroad opportunities, where they’re able to travel to major cities around the world, network with business professionals from different cultures and pick up some cross-cultural understanding of business etiquette. That’s an opportunity you may not have already gotten in your professional life. You’ll also have the chance to develop your interview skills, learn how to ask the right questions in a conversation and improve your business email etiquette.

You’ll Become a Better Communicator

Communication skills are so important in business, whether you’re giving a presentation, writing an email or congratulating Tom from accounting on the birth of his new baby. MBA programs are excellent at helping students grow their communication skills, especially since they expect students to carry themselves as managers and leaders from day one.

In your MBA program, you’ll learn stage presence and public speaking skills from classroom presentations and, later, from giving presentations during corporate consulting projects. You’ll learn how to modulate your voice and practice your gestures to become a more effective presenter. You’ll also attend writing workshops that will help you develop your written communication skills – and taking classes online will help with this, too, as writing will most likely be your primary method of communicating with classmates and professors.

Of course, you’ll also learn collaboration and negotiation skills. Even online MBAs place a lot of emphasis on learning to work well with others, and you’ll become extremely familiar with communications technology if you go the online route. You’ll also develop the ability to present strong arguments in negotiations with employers, vendors and clients.

You’ll Cultivate Excellent Time Management Skills

Just about any graduate school program will teach you time management skills, because almost all of them are extremely rigorous. In an MBA program, you’ll be on a tight schedule to prepare, present, and submit assignments, and deadlines will be non-negotiable. By the time you’ve finished with your program, you’ll have great self-discipline and rock-solid time management skills. You’ll also learn the fine art of prioritizing, whether it’s to decide which assignment to work on first, or which events and electives to participate in versus which to leave out of your busy schedule.

Earning an MBA is a great path to a higher salary and a better career, but it’s also a means of deep and meaningful personal development. You won’t be the same person on graduation day that you were on the first day of class – and that’s a good thing because the person you’ll become will be a better, smarter, more confident and knowledgeable you.

The Importance of Finding The Time For Fun

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Time is an incredibly precious resource, much more valuable than money, and one of the best ways we can consume our time is to use it having fun… yet, we live in such a busy and chaotic world that fun is often pushed to the backburner of life, with productivity, making money, and getting things done seen as a much higher priority.

In addition, we are so digitally connected today that it can be hard to switch off from checking emails and social media notifications, even when we should be relaxing for the night or doing something relaxing with our family.  We now, seem to always be on the go as our work life balance has certainly been knocked off kilter.

Whether you work for someone else, yourself, or own a business many people don’t seem to be able to find the time to fully switch off, disconnect from work and enjoy their lives – it’s like we’ve stopped making time for fun and replaced this with being on a constant treadmill of work that is often referred to as the rat race.

The reality is that we need to proactively make time for fun stuff.  Here’s some tips on how to make the best use of your time in order to get things done as efficiently as possible and therefore have free time and headspace to fully enjoy your life.

  1. ORGANIZE YOUR TIME

The convenience of online working and online studying means you have much more time to enjoy your life.  We spend far too much time living in reaction to work – trying to fit our lives in, yet it doesn’t have to be that way; the amount of time you can save by having a good planning system in place is phenomenal… a lot of “time management” comes down to first planning your tasks so that you can keep on top of things with ease.

  1.  OUTSOURCE

The power of outsourcing is huge from a time management perspective.  There are many things you can outsource from having people write up your audio recordings, to managing social media presence and web development.  However, outsourcing isn’t just about outsourcing tasks to people; today there are many ways that data can be incredibly useful to our business growth, but rather than struggle and get to grips with it yourself, it can be a time saving, and therefore money saving, idea to outsource the learning to cloudstream partners for instance as you are essentially reducing your learning curve.

  1.  THE PARETO PRINCIPLE

The Pareto Principle, often referred to as the 80/20 rule suggests that twenty percent of our activities account for eighty percent of the outcome.  You therefore want to focus on the tasks that are going to have the greatest impact and get these done first.

In summary, it’s important to make time for fun, and not to focus solely on work, but the only true way to be able to enjoy your time is if you have got enough done to enable you to relax, rest and have fun rather than for your mind to be preoccupied with work.

Why Routines Should Be Mandatory

daily routine

People ask me all the time, “What’s the biggest difference between having a boss versus being your own?

Besides a steady paycheck, my response is: a lack of routine.

Parents stress how children need routine and structure to survive (it’s true I have 2 kids under 3 years old). But what works for kids also works for adults.

If you work for a company your routine is taken care of during the day, but if you’re an entrepreneur or even work remotely it’s up to you to set a routine.

I’ve been on my own since 2007 and through much trial and error here’s what works for me:

Morning workouts – I try to exercise 5 times a week in the mornings between 6:30-8:30 AM. I don’t consider myself a morning person, but with 2 kids I don’t have much of a choice. Since I’m up anyway, I force myself to go to the gym regardless of how I feel. It’s become my morning coffee and when I don’t stick to this routine I literally get cranky and feel lethargic.

Task time – I know I do my best work from about 10 AM-2 PM. As much as possible I try to find a quiet place with minimal distractions and accomplish as much as I can. Since I’m a pretty organized person I schedule everything into my phone with alerts so I don’t have to think about what to do next. This uninterrupted time is when I plan my workshops, speeches, marketing, etc. Protect this time, it’s necessary.

People time – Around mid-afternoon I usually hit a wall, so meeting with people, Skype or phone calls are scheduled between 2-5 PM. Conversations energize me, so whatever creative juices I am lacking usually get rejuvenated through interactions. Of course sticking to this schedule isn’t mandatory, but over time you pinpoint what flows best for you and go with it.

Routines promote productivity. Without them distractions will rule your life. I’m a planned person, but don’t consider myself Type A. The nice thing about routines is they can change. Tinker with them to see what works best. What matters most is to have them.

Routines are like boundaries. They determine what is useful and help us decide what to say yes and no to. That’s why they should be mandatory.

3 Reasons Why Parenthood Is A Great Time To Start A Business

parentpreneur

At first glance the title is perplexing, but starting two separate businesses while each of our children were born gives me some credibility to speak on this subject. The timing seems illogical, but if you’re an action-oriented person like myself, ideas only become reality if executed quickly. Here are my thoughts why juggling a newborn and a startup makes sense:

1) Efficiency – Time is fleeting as a new parent. Newborns need their parents to install routines even though initially they resist them. Transition to entrepreneurship and you can never have enough time in the day to accomplish your dreams. As a new parent you could be working on your business plan in the dark while baby is sleeping. Since you’re up from the crying it’s a perfect time to research and e-mail on your mobile phone. Meetings are a perfect excuse to find extra help so you can make progress on your business while gaining some rest and sanity from your little one at home. Parenthood forces you to be creative when it comes to spending your time. The lack of free time means you’re wiser with the little you have. Nothing makes you hyper-focused more than the fear of your baby waking up from a nap.

2) Parallels to Learning on the Fly – The most unprepared you’ll feel as a parent is when you arrive home from the hospital. The most unprepared you’ll feel during launching a business is when you start. Both responsibilities can be studied, but nothing is a substitute for experience. Parenting is about trial and error and you only get better by doing it. That’s very similar to the success rate of starting a business. First time owners have a less than 30% chance for success, but if you keep trying your chances increase on the next business. The message here isn’t to have 5+ kids, but to understand that both parenthood and entrepreneurship are about adapting and pivoting accordingly. The more rigid you are in your thinking, the harder it will be to thrive in today’s changing market. Commit to a learning mentality and you’ll figure out what to do next.

3) Teaches Kids Entrepreneurship  – When my kids get older I’m going to tell them we started a business when they were born. Whether it’s a success or failure isn’t as important as following your dreams. Skill sets such as: sales, networking and communication aren’t taught in school. They are taught in the “streets.” We are moving towards an economy where it will be mandatory to have a side hustle, so age shouldn’t be a factor when experiencing entrepreneurship. My wife and I have talked several times about giving our children their “college fund” for school or starting their own business. As college graduates, we don’t de-value education, but we also believe it doesn’t guarantee you anything either. What our kids decide to do when they grow up is their decision. We just feel our job is to provide them with choices.

Becoming  a new parent may be the most inopportune time to launch a business, but then again…you’ll never know until you try.

Look Up In the Sky! It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s…

Skywriter

Did you know that skywriting is usually an advertisement: personal, business or celebratory? It’s kind of like a modern-day status update on your favorite social network. You’re letting the public know something about yourself.

When’s the last time you answered “busy” for the question, “How’ve you been?” We say it like it’s a badge of honor, but why? Does it make us feel more important if we don’t have enough time in the day to do what we want? Seems contradictory doesn’t it?

What if I told you a program could help decrease your “busyness” and give you more control over how you spend your time? How much would that be worth to you? Well that’s why I’ve designed an 8-week online bootcamp geared towards achieving work life balance. Enrolling in this course means you want control of your most valuable currency: time. Get your freedom back and have more free time to do what you want!