5 Goals to Achieve This Year

If y0u’re up for it — I am going to push the envelope a little today and actually give you five goals to try to achieve by the end of the year.

Remember you are never going to know if you are capable of something if you don’t take that first step.

1. Go small

This may be a big one to start with but here goes-Downsize.  Look at all aspects of your business whether that includes employees, vendors or service providers.  If you find that there is a way for ONE provider to handle multiple jobs than cut back.  This may sound strange but sometimes less is more when it comes to project management as well as financial costs.

2. Take Time to Invest Fully

Make this the year that you completely focus on not only getting to know your customers but also their specific needs.  Once you make this commitment, find the best way to communicate.  Whether that is through a blog, social media, QR codes, or even a weekly newsletter; find out which option works for them.  There is no use in spending quality time and content on an area your customers do not even use.

3. Refresh your website

Take the time and really go through your website.  Analyze and make notes as you look over what you have currently.  Then, go on the Internet and find your biggest competitor.  Look at their website and make notes on what things stand out the most.  Once you do that, write a plan on what to change and a timeline to get it done.

4. Real Life Social Networking

Put some effort into networking by signing up for an industry conference or seeking out a local meet-up group. These are invaluable ways to develop relationships and share advice with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

5. Put time for you on the calendar

It’s up to you to keep yourself motivated and inspired.  Be sure to reward yourself for specific milestones like a big client win, meeting a tough deadline, or working “overtime” for multiple nights on end.

Sticking to all of these 5 goals is a lofty for anyone. Follow the tips that ring true for your situation, and adjust as needed. Do you have other goals for your business this year?

 

It’s All About the Questions

There is a quote by Albert Einstein that says “If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.”

This quote says it all when it comes to the topic of this week’s blog.

It’s ALL About the Questions!

This is actually STEP 2 – AFTER you figure out your goals and outcomes of what you want from doing your survey. Creating questions for your survey products is incredibly important because it will shape the answers you will receive and ULTIMATELY what you will be able to do with that information.  Through this questioning process you will step closer to finding success in your business.

Step # 2 –It’s ALL About the Questions!

When you are coming up with questions, there are SO MANY types of questions to choose from. So let’s start with this— phrase:

“Short, Sweet & to the Point”

One way to keep questions “Short, Sweet & to the Point” is to use open-ended ones. These are the questions that will bare the most fruit for you in your surveys.  A lot of researchers and statisticians don’t particularly like open ended questions because they are the most difficult to measure because each answer is unique, so when sifting through 10k open ended answers, it can be overwhelming in going through all of them. So I highly recommend using open ended questions when you:

1.  Want detailed information in the respondent’s voice

2.  Don’t have good solid answers to create a multiple-choice—because a lot of times you can miss an answer because you didn’t give them one they would have chose. (When you create multiple-choice you’re forcing them to answer your answers that you’ve created.)

The real key to using open ended questions is they can really help not only shape your business, products, etc.; they can also shape YOUR MARKETING.  They write the answers in their voice and will give you key words and key phrases that you can use when you market to them.

Here are some guidelines for you to keep in mind as you create your questions.

1.  Are you questions short or wordy?

  • Simple and concise words are the best to use

2.  5th Grade is your target when it comes to the understanding level.

  • Do not make assumptions
  • Everyone needs to understand them

3.  Stay Away From Complicated.

  • Complication will lead to people not wanting to participate in your survey

4.  Keep your goal and the main thing you want to achieve in mind.

Next week, I am going to take you deeper into how to create those easy and inviting questions that will give you the answers to help shape your business.

PLUS– FREE 60 Minute One On One Call with ME!

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Solving the Mystery of What Your Clients Want

Whether you are an entrepreneur or working directly with clients starting from scratch with a new idea is hard, especially when it comes to creating new products. Knowing exactly what your clients need and are looking for is pretty much like a guessing game.

Unless… you know the secret of predicting exactly what your clients want and are looking for.  Today, I am going to share that secret with you.

In fact, it is extremely simple…all you have to do is ASK THEM. The key to this “Secret” is realizing the core of what your clients or prospects want lies in doing a survey—asking a series of questions:

  1. What do they want?
  2. What are their biggest challenges?
  3. What keeps them awake at night?
  4. Based on the above information, what new tools should we create for them?
  5. What is the best format for these products/tools? Online? Printed? Audio/Video?

By doing a survey, it is more than a client asking random questions.   It is about the whole survey process, which includes:

  • Figuring out the goals of your survey and what you want to accomplish with it
  • Implementing the whole survey process
  • Getting a Big Response
  • Using your Results in your business

Over the next few weeks, I will share my secret with you as well as the entire process that goes with it.

Avoid Focusing on Set-backs and Seek out New Opportunities

Avoid Focusing on Setbacks

There comes a time in one’s personal and business life, where a setback comes in and rears its ugly head.  When it does come, because we know at some point it will, a person has two choices. They can either sit there or focus on all the negativity that comes with it.  Or they can come to terms with the reality of the set back  and push forward.

It is as easy as A.B.C.

 stands for Ambiguity.   A trait that is tied to most entrepreneurs which holds the meaning: The possibility of interpreting an expression in two or more distinct ways. When facing a setback, especially one that leaves a person in a negative situation, the best thing to do is look at in an ambiguous way.  Instead of focusing on how negative this setback is, look at it in a positive way.  And turn a problem into an opportunity. Real Life Application:  Make a list of 10 to 20 positives you can gleam from this particular setback.   “I am not sure where I’m going but I still prepare myself diligently for the journey every day” ~Peter Baskerville

stands for Build.   A setback requires a person to start over or build from the bottom up.  Take the list that you made of 10 to 20 positives and use them to make a game plan.  Part of making this game plan will help you build confidence not only in yourself but also in keeping a positive outlook on this setback.  “Whatever good things we build end up building us.”
~Jim Rohn

stands for Commitment.   In this time where your environment as well as situation is unstable, you have to be committed.  More importantly, you have to be committed to yourself foremost.  Now that you have made a list, a game plan, write up a commitment contract where you outline what you are committing to.  “There’s a difference between interest and commitment.  When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit.  When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. ”  ~Tom Robbins

 

It’s a Balancing Act

Continuing with the balance theme… there are so many areas of our lives these days requiring our attention and not just when we get to it but sometimes like it needed to be done yesterday.

Work, relationships, personal time, school, emotional, physical, mental, etc are all aspects of life that require balance.  If balance is not established, you may find yourself feeling or saying something like this;

“I am drained, exhausted and overwhelmed.”

“I wake up in the morning and automatically feel tensed and stressed.”

“My life is chaotic and out of control.”

“I need to change my life but have no clue where to start.” 

                                                                                                           “I cannot focus at all!  No matter what I do, nothing is working!” 

These five statements all reveal one thing – you are lacking major balance in your life!  There is no reason for you to wake up feeling tense and stressed just from getting out of bed.  If you find yourself relating to those five statements, then please continue reading.  I am going to give you three simple and easy ways to find balance in your life once again.

1.  Personal down time is a MUST! 

When you are overwhelmed with life, most likely you have little to no personal downtime.  This is a time where you are doing an activity or even activities that you enjoy to do.  It is not something you feel like you HAVE to do.  The key word being: enjoy.

There is a reason I put this step first because it is the hardest step for anyone who has an unbalanced life to follow through with.  The best way to start to put this step into practice is by giving yourself 30 minutes every day to do something fun.  Once you are in the habit of scheduling in 30 minutes of personal time, then begin to increase it by 15 minutes at a time.  Eventually, you will have at least an hour to two hours of personal time scheduled each and every day.

2.  Remove Draining Negative Tasks/Activities

 One of the biggest reasons people feel overwhelmed and anxious is because of negative, draining tasks/activities.   These activities take our focus away from the things we need to be doing, thus putting us further behind with our daily to do lists.  They also put our frame of mind in a negative place, which can attribute to tension, stress as well as anxiety.

Examples of these tasks/activities include gossiping with co-workers, focusing on all the negative aspects of a task, constantly listening to someone who is complaining or venting, etc.  The best way to avoid these types of tasks/activities is to only participate in ones that enhance as well as add value to your life.  In addition, by avoiding these tasks/activities, you are able to save valuable time-especially at work.  By focusing on the positive aspects, you are giving yourself more time and welcoming positive energy.

3.  Prioritize Errands & Chores 

 Look at everything you are responsible for doing and make a list.  As you go through each item on your list, write beside it at least one alternate, easier way to complete this.  For example, are there groceries, stamps or other items you can purchase online that are delivered to your house?  You would be surprised of not only how much time you save but also money.  Another option is trading services or favors with neighbors and friends.  An example of this is offering to watch your neighbor’s kids a certain amount of days for mowing the lawn.  The key to this time saving tips is to trade tasks that you enjoy doing or that you were planning on doing.

These three simple and easy tips are only the start of finding and achieving balance in your life.  Do not allow those five statements at the beginning of this blog be a part of your life.  Life is too precious and short for it not to be enjoyed.

As always, please share your comments or your own ways of how you found balance in life.  Have a wonderful week! And find time to ENJOY!

It’s All In the Balance

When life is hectic, especially right now with the holidays, time seems to slip from our hands and balancing life, work, kids, and other things is hard to do.  Yes, I can tell you to take a breather but that might make you hyperventilate.  So instead, I am going to ask you to stop and take a moment to read these seven tips on how to balance everything.

1. Don’t overbook.

This may seem unusual to people who try to crowbar as much as possible into every workday. The problem is things rarely go according to a prearranged agenda. That means a lot of time falling through the cracks chasing down appointments, unreturned phone calls, and other items that simply are not going to happen. Instead, keep your to do list as simple as possible but productive.

2. Prioritize.

The secret to booking your time effectively boils down to knowing what is important and what can wait. However, it is critical to use the sharpest knife possible in trimming the essential from the secondary.

3. Learn how to say no. 

One of the biggest land mines to effective time management is recognizing you do not have to agree to everything and with everyone. Use your priority criteria to identify requests that simply are not worth your time.

4. Organize.

Bringing your time in line is not just a matter of scheduling. The mechanics of how you operate can be every bit as important. That means organizing most every element to allow as smooth a workflow as possible.

5. Use technology.

Although personal habits and practices can do wonders for time management, do not overlook technology yet another weapon to make the most effective use of your workday.

6. Nothing is Perfect .

Try as we all may; time management is not an exact science. Do not stress out—and waste time in the process—by obsessing over every second of time. Do what you can and enjoy whatever time you spend more pleasantly or productively.

How to Get Motivated

Now that we have kicked the procrastination habit, seemed appropriate to talk about staying motivated.

What is motivation? This simple but complex word can bring both disappointment as well as accomplishment.  It drives you to take action but can also drive you to not want to do anything.  Motivation is a word that everyone struggles with at one point or another but how long this lasts is up to you!

Are you finding it hard to keep motivated – especially with the holiday season upon us? Do you find yourself going strong and then BAM!  Something comes up and it takes a lot to get your motivation back on track.  The ironic thing about motivation is when those rough times come your way, if you keep it going, you will succeed.  Motivation is not easy but with a little hard work it is achievable.

Here are five tips to keep your motivation going especially during this time of year:

1.   When you have set-backs, the worst thing to do is to focus on the negative.  Instead re-focus, and do not hesitate.  Make a plan and go with it.

2.  Stay positive.  The number one reason people lose their motivation is due to negativity. It is like a disease that overwhelms your entire train of thought.  So just don’t go there!

3.  Believe in yourself.  When you start to doubt yourself, motivation starts to slow you down.  Before you know it – your motivation is gone. Be a believer.

4.  Acknowledge the progress you have made.  By looking at everything you have accomplished, it will jump start your motivation.  And reward yourself for this, it is huge!

5.  Stay focused at all times.  Keep a to-do list to remind you of everything that must be done.  By doing this, it will help you keep your eyes on the prize.  And let you see just how much progress you have made.

There is no such thing as “Instant Success”.  Everything in this world takes time, work, and motivation.  Motivation is not easy but with a little hard work it is achievable.  Let me know what helps keep your motivation!

Have a good week!

How to Really Get Things Done, Check Things Off Your List, part 2

Last week, I gave you three tips on how to avoid that ugly 15 letter word called: PROCRASTINATION

The next three tips I am going to give you is an important part of checking things off your list, so you can actually get things done.

Tip#4: Do the Hard Things First  

When you are writing your priority items down (Tip #1), avoid putting those “Tasks” that you loathe last.  In fact, I bet one of the reasons you have procrastinated and are behind is because there are tasks you don’t like to do.  So, for example, if you HATE balancing a financial spreadsheet, put that down first.  Remind yourself if you get those “HATED” items done first you will have the fun items, things you enjoy doing, to do at the end of the day.

Tip#5: Make a Commitment  

The best advice I heard concerning procrastinating, is to commit to doing a certain number of tasks at the beginning of each day.  By making a commitment, you are more likely to stick to it.  If you are like some people who may say “I tried that and I have no problem letting myself down.”  Then ignore that thought in your head and move on to the Tip #6.

Tip#6: Accountability  

Everyone has a friend or co-worker in their life who will keep them straight and not take bogus excuses. Let them know you are struggling with procrastination and need someone to help you get over it.  Email them your list and ask them to hold you accountable. At the end of the day, that person can contact you (or vice versa)  and ask you “What did you get done today?” It is important to choose a person that won’t let you off the hook if you don’t keep that daily commitment.  You both can even set up a consequence/award system.

I hope you enjoyed these six tips which will help you overcome: PROCRASTINATION!     Make sure you let me know what you think about these tips or
even share some of yours!  See you next week!

Part 2 of : Am I the Type of Person People Want to be Around?

Last week, I shared with you my thought process of examining myself with the question “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”  This week, I am going to finish with the last two parts.  As I explored these two subjects, I made a promise to be completely honest with myself.  So, I encourage you to do the same.  In order for you to truly evaluate yourself, remember complete honesty is key.

1. What kind of presence do I leave with people?

Defining someone’s presence is a hard quality to explain.  Basically, it involves how you are in regards to socially, self-confidence, and body language.  Believe it or not, these three characteristics are hard to fake once you get over that first impression.  Let me break these three characteristics down for you to understand better:

  • Socially- It’s also about – are you an Extrovert – get your energy from others, or an Introvert – getting your energy from being alone and recharging?
    • Are you the type of person who has a hard time talking or being around others?  An introvert?
    • Or are you someone who can easily start a conversation with anyone around you?  An extrovert?
    • If you are the second type, chances are socially you are the magnet others are drawn to in a group.
    • If you are the first one, the only way you are going to be that magnetic person is to take a risk and get out of your comfort zone.  Push through your fear to start a conversation.

The key is to simply BE
YOURSELF – otherwise you are going to appear awkward and the situation may be
more uncomfortable. I find being honest is always best
.

  • Self-Confidence vs. Arrogance
    • There is a huge difference between being arrogant and self-confident.
    • An arrogant person knows everything and does not want to hear any other opinion but their own.
    • A confident person will take the time not only to listen to other’s but also is curious, open minded, and wants to hear others thought processes and beliefs.

A confident person
attracts others naturally by their self-belief to get any job/task done, being open-minded,
and showing others respect in all areas of life. 

  • Body Language
    • Body language often speaks much louder than verbal words.
    • If your arms are crossed, you avoid eye contact, you are constantly moving your foot or fingers, and slouching, you are sending a verbal
      message.  This type of verbal message is not a good one.  All these movements tell someone else that you are not approachable and do not want to be bothered.
    • Positive and welcoming body language includes direct eye contact at all times, arms are in a relaxed position, you are engaged in the
      conversation, smiling and asking open ended questions.

Sending positive body
language is an open invitation to anyone around you.  People will be drawn to approaching you
rather than being scared or shy. 

1. Am I honest?

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to communicating with others.  If the people around you know they will always get an honest answer from you, then it’s easier to trust.  Not only that, honesty communicates openness automatically.  If someone needs advice or has a problem they will come to you because of your honesty.  This does not mean you have to reveal every single detail of your life. At the same time, don’t exaggerate or make things up when sharing something with others.

Hopefully, you as a reader have been inspired to examine the type of person you are around other people.  Remember, in order to be effective and make an impact on other’s life, you have to be willing to examine yourself and change if needed.

Am I the Type of Person People Want to be Around?

In my last blog, I encouraged you to pay attention and be aware of whom you’re hanging out with. As I wrote and posted that blog last week, the thought came to mind “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”  I am going to share my thought process as I evaluate if I truly am the type of person someone wants to be around.

1.      Do I personally encourage others? 

Believe it or not, there is a real and fake way to encourage others.  Can you identify a real encouragement versus a fake encouragement?

  • Encouragement One: (You and someone that works for you – you tell this to someone else.)

You: “I think Melanie is the glue that holds our business together. 

Department Manager: “Hiring her as Project Manager` was the best thing for our business”

You: “She really has done an amazing job at re-vamping the daily project flow.  We have gotten three more clients in the two weeks since she started as Project Manager.” 

  • Encouragement Two: (You and Melanie, someone that works with you.)

You: Melanie, you really have a natural talent at organization.  The amount of work you have been getting done this past two weeks has been phenomenal!

Melanie, Project Manager: Thank you.  I am glad you gave me this opportunity to prove to you what I can do to help your business. 

You: Keep up the good work-especially with getting new clients!  I have full faith in you and your potential! 

If you said, Encouragement One was a fake way to encourage people, than you are right!  Granted, before I explain this, know that both options are good ways to encourage others but option two is more personal.  Telling  how much you appreciate Melanie, who works with you, is a form of encouragement.  The reason it’s fake is you are not taking the time to tell Melanie as well face to face like in encouragement two. When you encourage others, PERSONALLY tell them.

2. Am I always saying “No” to new ideas or offers? 

  • In Your Business:

When it comes to running a business or overseeing a group of people, this is something where you must find the right balance.  I am not saying to always
say “Yes” to all the off the wall crazy ideas someone may come up with.  In doing this, your business may run the risk of going off track and losing its main focus.  What I am saying is this: If someone presents you with an idea that comes with a detailed proposal, don’t say NO right away.  This is especially true if they hardly ever share ideas or is relatively new.  By saying “NO” right away, you are presenting yourself as unapproachable.  At the same time, pay attention as you can apply this principle to your personal life as well.

  •  In Your Personal Life:

Do you hear your friends often say “You’re going to say no but I’m going to ask…”?  Have your friends all of sudden stop asking you to go out with
them?  If yes, you might want to evaluate how much of a friend you are being by always saying no.  It’s true you have to find a balance between family and friends, but both need attention and that can be challenging. The key is to find the right balance best for you.

Tune in next week as I cover the last two parts of my thought process in answering the question “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”