It is still pretty much a fact of life that female entrepreneurs who are also moms do take on more family-centric roles, especially when they work from home. How female entrepreneurs can thrive in biz and life is something we talk with our coaching clients about. It is easy for any work from home entrepreneur to be drawn into non business growing activities like mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, running the children to activities, cooking dinner… you get the idea.
Juggling motherhood (and fatherhood) and a business while working from home can be challenging. We have some tips for helping entrepreneurs thrive in business and in life because what is the sense of “having it all” if you can’t enjoy it all?
How Female Entrepreneurs Can Thrive In Biz And Life
What are you committed to doing for your business? Focus on the commitments you’ve made and the commitments you have to fulfill. Don’t focus on motivating yourself to fulfill those commitments — motivation can be fleeting. You need to focus on your long term goals and how you will meet them. If you’re not motivated, you may not thrive as an entrepreneur. Your commitment will drive your motivation.
Are you keeping up on your personal and professional development? It is easy to work from home and lose touch with the outside world and even current trends in your niche. You need to focus on your personal and your professional development and your business results will follow. Schedule time for personal and professional development.
“I just can’t do it/have it all.” If you think that you will live that. Don’t hold onto limiting beliefs. If you want to have it all and you plan to have it all and you ask for help, you just might be able to have it all.
Be creative. You may need to have more flexibility with time and resources when you’re working from home. Be creative and learn to go with the flow. Your home office may not be perfect or have a room with a view, but believe you will get there eventually and be creative with your current space.
Don’t give into distractions. If there is someone there with the kids, close your office door. Let the children know that you’re working and cannot be disturbed. If the kids are at school, but the floor needs to be mopped or the lawn mowed, close the door or pull the blinds. Don’t be distracted by chores during your working hours. If you simply can’t let it go, give into your distractions on your lunch hour.
Have fun. If you’re not having fun as an entrepreneur, why are you doing it? Sure, there are times when being a business owner simply is not a great time, but those bad times will pass. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and the fun may just flow back into your day.
Don’t forget to practice self care. You cannot run your business and care for your family and give no thought to yourself and your self care. If you get ill or burned out, who will run your business and your life? The time you take to go to the gym, walk the dogs, lift weights or run on the treadmill is time well spent!
What are your limiting beliefs? What is holding you back in your entrepreneurial endeavors?
Life imitates art. Chances are you have heard that phrase before. Life also imitates business and vice versa. How can you use life lessons in your business practice? There are myriad ways. Whether life and business have thrown you a curve ball or if you’re crossing the finish line in life and business ahead of the pack, use these lessons, wins and losses to help your business thrive.
The way in which you handle curve balls reflects on your resiliency and attitude. A positive attitude and a tendency toward resiliency will help you roll with it and get back on your feet. Finding a way to bounce back from a loss will also go a long way in growing your business and sticking it with it when the going gets tough.
Use Life Lessons In Your Business Practice
Here are life lessons to remember when things aren’t going the way you planned:
Take a chance. If you don’t put yourself out there, you may not be considered for a promotion or a project. If you don’t let family members know you’re interested in something, chances are they won’t ask. You need to be present and you need to speak your mind.
When you’re dealt a devastating blow in life or in business, the way in which you face it and take stock will help you grow and get back on course. No one is saying that you can’t take some “you time” to regroup or lick your wounds or grieve, but you don’t want to let that cloud shadow everything you do. Ask for help. Don’t go it alone. Be human and vulnerable.
Know when to give up. There are relationships that will never materialize. There are business projects that never move forward enough to your signing a contract. You need to know when to just throw in the towel. If you know you have done your best and done all you can, you can walk away knowing it didn’t materialize due to your lack of perseverance.
How do you handle wins? Are you humble? How do you face challenges? What do you do when you’ve suffered a loss?
Productivity is, and always seems to be, what every entrepreneur wants to become. How to be a more efficient entrepreneur isn’t all about productivity. Efficiency is about putting processes in place ot take care of those tasks that are regularly on your schedule, getting more done in less time and having time for yourself and your life outside of the office.
Being ambitious is great, but if your ambition is killing you slowly from stress or is damaging your relationships, it’s time to rethink productivity and efficiency.
How To Be A More Efficient Entrepreneur
Make your mornings easier and more relaxing. Plan your morning the night before. This includes planning what clothes you will wear, what food you will eat for breakfast, what you will do for lunch and what task is first on your list when you sit down to work.
Know your peak efficiency times and do your hardest, most intense work during those times. If you’re more creative in the morning, do your most creative work then. If your energy is flagging in the afternoon, set that time aside to do tasks that may not necessarily advance your business goals, but are necessary — bookkeeping tasks, returning phone calls, planning your next day.
Get up and get moving. It’s easy to say, “I don’t have time to get on the treadmill for five minutes every couple of hours… but you do. You need to make time for your health. If you’re a solopreneur, who will run your business if you fall ill? Obesity and sedentary lifestyles are the death of us and our health. Take time to clear your mind and move your body.
Pay attention to your schedule. If you’re working ten to sixteen hours a day, are you truly accomplishing stuff for ALL of those hours? We know you will get more done, feel better and be more efficient if you work fewer hours but focus more fully during those hours.
Stop multi-tasking. I’ve written about this before, but I know people still pride themselves on multi-tasking. Stop. You are NOT performing any of the tasks that you’re multi-tasking well. Focus on one task at a time.
Turn notifications off. Get in a habit of checking email every couple of hours. Turn off email notificaitons. Turn off notifications on social media. Don’t let yourself get distracted by notifications as that will pull your focus out of the task at hand.
Just say “no.” You don’t have to say “yes” to everything. In fact, you shouldn’t. You should say “yes” to those tasks and projects that further your personal career or your personal and emotional needs. If you don’t want to disappoint, tell the person you will get back to them by the end of the day. Don’t fret too long on making a decision as this will dran your emotional energy.
“I’m not a salesperson. I’m a (fill in the blank with the type of business you run.) Guess what? You are a salesperson. If you weren’t making sales then how would you be in the business that you’re running? That wasn’t meant as a trick question but how to be a salesperson is something we talk with our coaching clients about.
Making sales is the only way to stay in business. Even if your business runs on referrals, you still need to be the one who closes the deal — again you’re the sales person!
How To Be A Salesperson
You need to be willing to shake hands, interact with people online and tell people about your business, how great it is and why you’re the best person to provide them with the unique goods and/or services you’re offering. It’s business ownership 101, truly.
Here are my best tips to be the best salesperson you can be.
Be yourself. You don’t have to act like someone you’re not to make a sale. If you have a product and/or service that solves a pain point, it may sell itself, but it will be you and your personality that seals the deal.
Be positive. Too many business owners find they are experiencing drudgery and burnout and that shows through. Be in a good, GREAT, frame of mind before you attend any networking events or pick up the phone to talk with a potential client. No one wants to work with a negative person.
Be encouraging. Even if someone doesn’t want to buy your products or hire you for your services, you can still connect with them and foster a relationship. In fact, you definitely want to foster and build relationships. Encourage the person you’re speaking with in his or her endeavors and even if you can’t help them, if you can offer an introduction to someone who can then do that!
How strong are your sales skills? How much time do you set aside a week to make sales? Don’t neglect sales then have to scramble if you begin losing customers — that is not a good position to be in.
Entrepreneurs need to have a business plan. This phrase may strike fear into your heart, but a business plan doesn’t have to be frightening. In fact, business plans made simple should be the focus of any business coach with whom you work.
If you are spending days, weeks or months preparing your business plan you’re procrastinating growing the business and isn’t that the reason you became an entrepreneur? To run a business?
We want to work with our clients and get their businesses up and running and here are some ways to do just that.
Business Plans Made Simple
Keep it short. There is no law that says your business plan has to be hundreds of pages, or even fifty or twenty pages long! It can be short. It can be ten pages if you can fit all the relevant information in it.
Make it look good. Don’t scratch out your business plan on a bar napkin. Make it look and feel professional. Insert your business name and logo. Insert page numbers and sub heads and bullet points. Make it readable and something you’d be proud to show an investor.
Keep the language simple. You don’t have to insert $100 words when a $.10 word will do the same. Write your business plan the way you speak. Make it easy for your audience to read and comprehend.
Don’t use cliches or acronyms. Just because you understand the meaning of a cliche or an industry phrase or buzzword or acronym, don’t assume your audience knows what you’re talking about.
Don’t use too many graphs, charts or colors. If you need a diagram to illustrate a point, use it wisely. Don’t overwhelm the plan with images.
Use whitespace. Leave room for the reader’s eye to get a rest and a break from the text.
Have your business plan proofread and edited. Remember your eye and brain will fill in words and pass over misspellings if you’ve spelled that same word incorrectly for years. Don’t rely on spell check to catch all errors.
Insert a table of contents. Don’t make the reader have to flip through every page if he is only searching for a specific bit of information. Many word processing programs will insert a table of contents or you can design one once the plan is complete.
Business plans, whether you’re looking for investors or not, will help keep you focused and moving foward with your business. It is an entrepreneurs’ friend. If you don’t have a business plan and are afraid of making one, let us know, we can help!
You still have one month — March — to get back on track if you’re not where you want to be. You also still have time to celebrate successes and amp up your efforts so you can sail into the first quarter on a business upswing!
Review Your First Quarter Business Success
What can you do, right now, before the first week of March has passed to propel your business toward its first quarter goals? Here are a few things to consider and implement:
Your business goal is to turn a profit. Don’t underprice products and services. You can’t and never want to compete on price. It’s a losing game.
The terms of the deal are sometimes more important than price. Don’t accept any a you can’t ethically live with. Don’t accept a deal that devalues your business or crosses a line with your business mission and vision.
Plan a cushion into all contracts because many deals take longer and cost more to implement than you’ve planned for.
Persistence, perseverance and promotion = Keys to success.
Do you need to course correct? Knowing what went “wrong” will help you do that. Make certain you write down wins, losses, lessons learned and any other items that will help you move forward with purpose.
Are you ready to move your business forward? Are you on track to meet your projected first quarter goals? If you’re facing challenges, let us know and our business coaching service may be just what your business needs!