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Episode 38 – How Lucy Peach The Power of the Period made me look at business different

Episode 38 – How Lucy Peach The Power of the Period made me look at business different

Episode 38 - How Lucy Peach The Power of the Period made me look at business different

This week I saw Constance Hall post about a book she is selling in the Queen’s shop. Written by Lucy Peach Called Period Queen. Later that day I saw Em Rusciano interviewed Lucy on her Podcast Emsolation – You can’t lock down glitter (Listen Here)

And I have to tell you. It spoke to my soul. Not only as a woman, but as a business woman. There is a power in our period, and in the phases of our cycle.

Lucy has spoken on the Power of the Period at two TED talks. I urge you to listen for yourself as we all have different cycles and we all will take away something different from her talks. You can listen to the 18 min long talk in Bunbury here, and the 10 min long talk in Perth here.

For me, the part that hit home was the realisation that I feel most aligned with who I am in my second week of my cycle. And I have placed an unfair expectation on myself to be that version of myself every day. I am not going to sustain that version of myself all month with the ebbs and flows of my cycle.

I have spoken before about your time table in your business and the importance of scheduling out non-negotiable time for yourself from your work calendar. Well I am taking it a step further. I am going to schedule out even more time for myself on weeks 1 and 4 of my cycle.

On week 1 I need to rest, and honour by body while it sheds the contents of my uterus no longer needed. I will reflect on my month that was, find ways to improve a little more next month, and not be so hard on myself to get shit done.

On week 2, I will schedule In time to develop new programs and services as I know ill have the energy and hustle nature to get it done.

On week 3, I will make sure that I check all new opportunities that come my way against my strategic plan instead of yelling “FUCK YES” at the proposal.

And on week 4, I will schedule out time in my calendar so that Week 3 me can not load me up with shit to do in her good YES-to-everything mood. And in that time I will channel what is usually rage into more creative pursuits. Which for straight line, black and white, logical me – is super bloody important.

I am going to pay more attention to my cycle not only for my personal life, but for my business life too. I’d love to hear your thoughts after you listen to Lucy’s Ted Talk. Leave me a comment below on what your key takeaway is.

Episode 37 – Working IN v Working ON your business

Episode 37 – Working IN v Working ON your business

Episode 37 - Working IN v Working ON your business

Working ON and Working IN your business is a term you will hear often in the business world. It’s something that needs balance for your business to grow and be successful.

Before we can find the balance, let’s first explore the difference between working in and working on.

 

Working In your business may look like:

  • Completing billable tasks
  • Client Meetings
  • Handling questions from leads
  • Lead generation
  • Creating newsletters, creating and posting content to social media, recording and editing podcasts
  • Invoicing and Bookkeeping

Working on your business may look like:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Working on the big picture tasks
  • Sourcing new products
  • Creating new products or services
  • Creating systems and processes
  • Networking

 

When you start you will find yourself doing everything. You will most likely be the main person working IN your business and growing it. We often throw ourselves so far into our business that when its time to expand – your clients do not want to deal with anyone but you. This especially true of service-based business.

If you want to be able to grow and scale in the future and take on staff there are a few things you can do to set up an easier transition for your clients and customers

  • Use a generic email like info or hello instead of your name
  • Create your processes and procedures along the way so new staff are easily trained
  • Create templates for use on social media so your branding is consistent
  • Create a tone of voice document for staff to follow

Essentially, you want to make sure you are not the crucial cog in the chain of events for your business to operate. Not only will this make it easier to scale, but it is easier to exit and sell later also. And if you want to seek funding from investors – they will want to know that your business doesn’t depend on you to run. That’s a very high risk of failure for them.

When you’re a solo owner-operator, it can be difficult to find that balance between working IN and Working ON. If you’re not working IN – your not making money. If you’re not working ON – you’re not growing.

So what’s the secret?

Here are my three tips for keeping the balance:

1) Schedule time for everything. Know when in the week you can spend time on marketing, social media scheduling etc. Know when I the week you are going to complete your accounting, and know when in the week you will work on new services or source new products. This will look different for everybody. For some, it may be 30 mins or an hour every day. It might be one whole day a week or fortnight. Or for others it may be a 3 day weekend away to focus on the growth of your business. Or you may do a mixture. It’s ultimately up to you. There is no hard and fast rule. Just that you schedule the time.

2) Automate all your repetitive tasks. The more you can automate, the less hands-on your need to be and the longer it will be until you need to hire a staff member. Automating doesn’t have to be scary, and you don’t need to be a tech wizard to automate your business. Reach out if you want to know more about how to automate your business.

3) Make the time to strategically plan your business. You can get distracted by shiny object syndrome when opportunities come along in your business. Having a plan can help you see which opportunities are going to get you closer to your goals, and which are a waste of your time and resources.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you work more ON or IN your business? Or have you found the balance?

Episode 36 – Systemising your business

Episode 36 – Systemising your business

Episode 36 - Systematising your Business

Want to know the secret to be able to scale your business and increase your profits?
It’s all in your systems!

Systemizing doesn’t have to be tech-based – it could just be a checklist. Though tech can make it easier to share with your team, and use on the go.

But first, find out your capability, and if you’re uncomfortable with tech – start with one thing at a time. But don’t let your fear of tech rule it out. You can absolutely learn.

Why do we systemise?

  • If it’s a repetitive task either automate or outsource it – leaving more time for billable work
  • You can keep track of your leads and not miss a sale
  • You can keep track when a client is coming to the end of the program, and you can sell to them again
  • It takes the icky feeling out of selling
  • It means you can scale easily and quickly

How do we systemise?

  • Take a week to note down every task you do and how long it takes you. Anything you are repeating – implement a system
  • If you already have a system – but it’s in your head – your need to start creating procedures (you van screen record, and hove someone create the dot points later if your time poor)
  • Procedures are important. If you get sick OR a child gets sick, or you just want to go on holiday, procedures mean someone else can step in with very little training.

 

My 5 tool suggestions for systemising:

Asana – This can really be the hub of your business. It helps track projects, you can schedule your internal admin tasks, create social media schedules. There is so much you can do in Asana. If you like checklists, this may be the best online tool to start with. It’s just like an electronic checklist.

 

Canva – Set up templates so it’s quicker for you, and easy for a VA to use. It saves your branding colors and fonts for you. Once you take the time once to create your image, You can re-use again and again quickly and easily. 

 

Email Funnels – You want to map out a nurture sequence for all new leads so your warming them up without lifting a finger. You also want to map out email series for when someone purchases from you. Map out your entire customer journey and find the spots you can automate

 

Template Email Responses – If you send the same email repetitively, but that cannot be automated, set up some templates so that you can reduce the amount of thinking and typing you need to do. In Gmail its called a canned response. In outlook you can just save it as a draft email. You leave spots in the email for you to customise. EG – an email you would send after a session with a client

 

Note taking app – You can use Evernote, Google Keep, Onenote by Microsoft, Dropbox paper. Somewhere you can dump your research , your blog post ideas, your content ideas. One that has voice to text is a great idea if your out and about. Use it as your bran dump so you never forget again. It can save on the multiple not pads in your office too.

 

Let your systems do your admin for you – You can hold out on the VA for longer and save some money.

Episode 35 – Bootstrapping your Business

Episode 35 – Bootstrapping your Business

Episode 35 - Bootstrapping your business

What Is Bootstrapping?

Bootstrapping is building a business from the ground up with nothing but personal savings and the cash coming in from your first sales.

The word bootstrapping has come to be used for a variety of other self-starting processes.

Bootstrapping has its origin in the early 19th century with the expression “pulling up by one’s own bootstraps.” Initially, it implied an obviously impossible feat. Later, it became a metaphor for achieving success with no outside assistance.

There are some great reasons to go down the bootstrapped pathway, instead of seeking venture capital – the biggest reason being that you retain full ownership, and answer to no one but yourself.

 

Here are my tips for bootstrapping your business.

 

1. Pick a Co-Founder or Business Partner wisely

Having two perspectives heading the business can be critical. When bootstrapping, the vast majority of the work is done internally, so co-founders need to complement each other’s skillsets. If you’re good at different things, you have a better shot at being able to do everything between the two of you, keeping expenses low.

But is Co-founder always the right choice? Make sure your both equally invested, and absolutely get a formal contract drawn up. You might decide a partner of co-founder isn’t for you – that where tip number 2 comes in.

 

  1. Find a Mentor that knows your business pathway

Finding mentors and advisors that can help lead you on the journey is helpful. But not if they did it with a ton of capital to help them. You need someone familiar with Bootstrapping.

They can be friends and family or even co-workers, but you’ll need to look for somebody that has more expertise in starting a business than you do. They don’t even need to have been that successful. Learn from their mistakes, as well as their wins.

 

  1. Design a business model that generates cash quickly

Not all businesses are right for bootstrapping. The most successful bootstrapped companies have a business model that generates cash as quickly as possible. Without any cash inflow, you’ll burn your reserves before gaining any real traction.

If your idea involves a ton of tech, perhaps an app, and you don’t have the expertise or funds to get it going, you may need to start off trading your own time for money. Hopefully, it’s in the same field as you want your app to be sold in. But its not always crucial. Find your Minimum Viable product and use its sales to fund your app.

 

  1. Plan EVERYTHING

Plan your business down to the cent. You won’t have money to throw at ads on all social platforms. So, concentrate on one to start with. Know your target market and know for sure there is a market to sell your product. And make sure your business is viable. No point selling if you have to sell at a loss.

 

  1. Watch your cash closely

Create a separate bank account and only transfer in what you can afford to lose. Plan every expenditure and find items second hand where you can. Step away from that brand-new MacBook air, you don’t need it. And asses what return you are going to get on your spending. If it’s not going to help you make more money – don’t buy it.

And avoid the credit card! Racking up credit card debt is the fastest way to get in a hole. You may never recover. Instead, talk to suppliers and ask for extended payment terms. This can keep the cash you have in your bank longer, and you may be able to generate income from the items you have on that account. Credit cards should only be used when you are absolutely sure you will be able to pay it back. Maybe you know you have a good 6 months track record of sales and need a little more to buy from your supplier in bulk. You know with 90% accuracy the items will sell, and the money you save buying in bulk will get you ahead. This is when a credit card can come in handy. Not on the roll of a dice first launch.

Or maybe you need to start with pre-sales. Offer items at a cheaper rate in exchange for customers waiting for delivery. It’s also a great way to test the waters with your product.

 

  1. Cut Personal Expenses

You’re not going to be taking a wage for some time. In fact, you are going to be putting your own money into the business. Call the mobile phone company and move to a cheaper plan. Cut off Netflix, reduce your internet plan. All the little re-occurring expenses add up.

If you own a flashy expensive car, consider selling it and purchasing a cheaper one o fund your business and keep you afloat. Reduce as, much personal spending as you can.

 

  1. Don’t outsource jobs you can do yourself

Unless you absolutely do not have the skills, outsourcing should be the last thing on your business plan. Nothing is impossible to learn. You just need to know what things are worth your time learning, and which are not.

Now accounting is a great example. No, you shouldn’t take the time to learn how to do a tax return. Absolutely outsource that. But you can learn to take care of your own bookwork. Paying to have your accounting program set up correctly, and a bit of training can save you a tone of $ down the track. And you need your financials up to date at all times to assess where you’re at. You do not need to outsource to a bookkeeper.

Where you can, barter. Maybe you know a good accountant, and they need something you can do. You can exchange services and barter with each other to get the job done. Just make sure it’s something that is going to get your business ahead. And don’t barter with everyone – you don’t make any money that way.

 

  1. Don’t take no for an answer

When your small and starting out, some vendors and suppliers won’t want to work with you. Sometimes though, getting to know them and forming a relationship goes a long way. Start now before you need them and create a genuine connection.

Share your story with everyone you meet. Sometimes it’s ho you know that makes all the difference.

Be persistent. Use your charm and personality to get what you want. It will not be easy at first, but once you establish connections, they will be more than happy to accommodate you.

 

Bootstrapping a business is difficult, but it’s by no means impossible. With the right amount of hard work, collaboration, and passion you can make it work. Bootstrapping may take you longer, but it may provide the best outcome for you in the long run.

 

Episode 34 – A conversation with a Mental Health Counsellor

Episode 34 – A conversation with a Mental Health Counsellor

Episode 34 - A conversation with a Mental Health Counsellor

The audio from this week’s podcast comes from my Live Session with Noni Croft – Mental Health Counsellor.
Noni, and I reveal the reasons (like super self-reliance, pain around trust and love/hate relationship with rest) hurt us as entrepreneurs and the root causes of burnout, plus most importantly how to overcome them.
You can find out more about Noni on her website

Episode 33 – Fuck the Hustle

Episode 33 – Fuck the Hustle

Episode 33 - Fuck the Hustle

I am tired. Tired of hearing guru’s tell us to hustle. Tired of being told I need to pump out 100 pieces of content a day. Tired of hearing my clients so upset that they are not good enough.

The truth is – hustling doesn’t have to be a 24/7 thing.

On this week’s podcast, I talk about how when I finally gave up the hustle, I got my life back, and my business still flourished.

When I began my bookkeeping business, I had no money, no capital, nothing behind me. I used to follow her all of those gurus around the place that we’re pretty well known, and I used to watch everything that I could.

I would watch all of their you tubes, I would watch all of their Instagram stories. Read all of their blog’s to try to learn as much as I could from them.

When you spend time immersing yourself in all of that you can get this real sense of external pressure to push and hustle and grow big, but mainly hustle.

One particular guru who, I’m not going to use their name, has been quoted many, many times in saying that they don’t go to bed until all of that emails are replied to, even if that means that they don’t go to bed until two in the morning. Now, that’s ridiculous, he has a chef cooking his food for him every day. This person does nothing but their business and create content every day.

This person has a camera crew following them all day to create that content. And if they don’t go to bed till two in the morning, they’re also not waking up the next day, making school lunches, feeding babies any of that. So it can become quite dangerous as a business owner to listen to this stuff and be told you must make 100 pieces of content every day. You have to be on every social media platform. Don’t go to bed until all of your work is done in the day. You have to push, you have to hustle.

I’m sorry, but the hustle is bullshit.

The hustle makes you feel like you can’t stop working. You have to work at night. You have to eat your lunch at your desk. You have to work all weekend and sacrifice time with your family and time looking after you because that will all pay off one day and then you’ll be able to live the hashtag laptop lifestyle.

No, that’s not right, and it’s not fair to put that on people without giving them extra information and extra support.

In fact, the hustle made me so sick that I now have adrenal fatigue, and I spent four weeks in agonising pain pushing through before finally having my gall bladder taken out in emergency surgery.

When we go into that mindset, when we listen to this hustle, hustle, hustle, push, push, push 24/7 It really puts external pressure on us.

Now when you are a business owner, you kind of live your business 24/7. It is really hard to turn that off. There is such an expectation to keep going. It’s your source of income. If you stopped working on your business today and you have nobody else working with you, you aren’t gonna be making and the income. (hot tip – you can if you automate!)

So where do we find that balance? And that balance is what we want to look for. I’m not saying don’t hustle, I hustle and I hustle hard. But, I hustle in one very specific block of time every day.

So I want to give you my five top tips, to keep you safe, healthy and well in your business so that you’re not living that hustle lifestyle burning yourself out.

Tip 1 – Set a timetable each week.

Now, if you are a parent, you will know that this timetable sometimes will get thrown out the window for the day. The timetable may go out the window for a week. But the important thing is that you have one to come back to. You can use Excel or a piece of paper or even Google calendar.

Whatever tool you like best, and I want you to first put in all of the non-negotiable time. In fact, just black it out so that it doesn’t matter what that non-negotiable time is for. I don’t care if it’s to walk a dog. If it’s to sit and read a book, you don’t have to justify your non-negotiable time to anyone. It might be attending your kids parades to see them getting an award. It might be going on watching them play sport in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter what it is, it is your non-negotiable time so black that out right now.

And if that non-negotiable time happens to fall between nine and five, the usual business hours, that does not matter. It does not mean that you have to then work all night because you took the morning off to go and watch your child getting award. Absolutely not. So that’s number one in your timetable.

Tip 2 – Schedule in the time in the week that you’re going to work on your business.

Now, this is the time that you’re either doing administration and accounts work or you’re hustling. You’re doing your marketing. You’re creating your content. You’re coming up with the ideas and doing strategic planning. This is your hustle time. And then after that, what is left is the time that you have to work in your business.

Now that’s really important because when you do your financial planning, you need to know how many hours in the week that you have to work in your business, especially if you are trading time for money as a service-based business.

Tip 3 –  When you need it, do a business sprint.

Now there will be times in your business that you experience peak times. Some examples are a florist on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. All of those occasions you may have to work extra time in those weeks to be able to fulfill those extra sales. But that’s going to buy you time off later. If you’re working in the bookkeeping or financial industry, every quarter you have a spike in work. So you might even choose to have two months of working life than one month of part-time working life when it’s not as busy, especially at the end of the financial year. 

When we are needed more in our business rather than on our business. So that’s where you look at those requirements when you are schedule ahead. So if you’re going to launch a new product, don’t do it at a busy time of the year for you.

But if you do have to do a business sprint and sacrifice your time and work some weekends – put an end date on that. Is it just this weekend to get one little thing done? Is it a couple of weekends in a row? And if you are going to be working all weekend, it might be a good idea to decide what time in the day you are going to finish up – and stick to it. 

Tip 3 –  Automate as much as you can.

Now, I know when you’re starting out and you’re bootstrapping that sometimes money for subscriptions is hard to come by. But I want you to make a list of the things that you would like and the costs that are associated. Then work out which one of these is most important to you and is going to create the most return on investment for you.

If a $20 per month subscription means that you don’t have to be replying to emails all the time because your emails are automated, or if it means that you have a chatbot on your Facebook, because that’s your biggest lead generating tool, think of how much extra income you could generate saving that time.

So have a look and assess which of tools you’d like to use and where you can automate and which ones you’re going to implement and in what order. Which ones are most important for you?

Tip 4 – Reuse your content.

Now I’m a big fan of batching your content. I spend one day per week creating and scheduling my content for the week ahead. I used to do two weeks but at the moment with the changing environment, I do one week. I schedule that for Friday’s, my day where I like to do a lot of my administration. I like to work on my business. I don’t like to do too much client-facing work on a Friday because I am tired by then. And I know that my energy is down with my adrenal fatigue. I don’t have an unlimited amount of energy to give people, and I know that they’re not going to get the best of me on Friday. So I saved that work for a Friday where I’m quite capable of creating the content. Now, one podcast can become a blog, that can become at least three or four pieces of content for social media. Take little snippets of each paragraph and use it as your captions on their social media. Reuse your content, split it up into pieces and see what you can do with them.

Tip 5 –  Get yourself organised.

Use a task management tool or even just a notebook. Make sure that all of your tasks are scheduled in for a particular day so that you can ignore it until that day. So, for example, my content creation. If I come up with a fantastic podcast or block idea during the week, I have a project in my favourite tool, Asana. I have a little brain dump project in there called podcasting, blogging and content ideas. So instead of me being distracted and doing it right then, it’s in Asana and ready for me when I’m going to be creating that content, and I don’t forget about it.

Also, what’s really handy is when I do work weekends I schedule in the work that I’m going to get done on that day. And in fact, I love my little note pad so that I can get one more tab on the PC closed on the weekends. So I’m not being distracted and I can physically cross them off.

When I do have to do those important tasks that need me to work nights and on weekends, I want to get just those done and not be distracted by everything else.

Getting yourself organised, having task management or even just a way to be able to brain dump your ideas means that you can stay as productive as possible during that time in the week that you’ve set aside for billable work.

If you are having trouble getting organised and you’re not sure where to start or you’d like some handy tips on getting organised, well, I can help. I have a free five-day challenge. It’s not one of those challenges where you have to wait for the start date and join a special Facebook group and interact in the group every day to get the content. No, it is all in my learning management system. On my website inside the action takers portal. Sign up for it, it’s free and you start any day that suits you. You actually have access to all five days immediately, but I’ll send you an email every day to remind you to log in and have a look at the next day’s content.

So you can see that that hustle lifestyle is absolutely bullshit. You don’t have to follow that at all, but just a few little tweaks to your week to get you really organised so that you can hustle when you need to, will absolutely make the world of difference to you and your business and to your health.