Nadia

10: How boundaries will bulletproof your sanity and your business. And what happened to my business when I didn’t have any!

Today we are going to be talking about boundaries, and why you absolutely need them! 

I’m going to show you how boundaries will bulletproof your sanity and your business. And share with you what happened in my business when I didn’t have any! 

The voice for little voices. A podcast for solopreneurs to make you stop dithering and start making it happen. A weekly podcast for solopreneurs, jam packed with support and strategy to help you beat the business blues

 

 

10: How boundaries will bulletproof your sanity and your business. And what happened to my business when I didn’t have any!


Today we are going to be talking about boundaries, and why you absolutely need them!

I’m going to show you how boundaries will bulletproof your sanity and your business. And share with you what happened in my business when I didn’t have any!

What do I mean by boundaries?

In the world of business and potently else where in our personal lives. It is not like the boundaries in 50 Shades of Grey. The boundaries I am talking about are the limits and structures we put into place around us when we are running our business. Not just to keep us sane, but to keep us safe, protect us from being taken advantage of and to also enable us to do business more effectively and make more money – which is ultimately why we’re here.

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The kind of things I am talking about are

  • setting time limits
  • being very clear about your pricing
  • having clear working hours
  • having times we you are not going to answer calls
  • being clear about the kind of work you are going to deliver and the kind of work you are not.

These are all boundaries you can put in place clearly and lay them out for your clients so they understand how they are going to work.

So why is it hard to set boundaries in the first place?

It sounds simple but setting these kind of boundaries can be tricky. It is something I often struggle with because I want to please people. I want to do a good and I want people to be happy because of that it makes it tricky to put boundaries in place to stop me from over delivering and getting involved in things I shouldn’t be getting involved in.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE ANY BOUNDARIES?

I see it time and time again with my clients where a lack of boundaries ends up in a snow balling situation/disaster which can easily be prevented.

I am not going to preach to you and tell you that I am perfect in this area, however I have had a number of experiences myself where I have learnt the hard way.

THE TALE OF DOROTHY AND THE WEBSITE

The story starts out a few years ago when I was first starting out my coaching practice. I was keen to grow my client base and I was doing ok. I had a client who I will call Dorothy.

Dorothy and I had been working together for a while and things were going pretty well. We had had a few sessions and we were working on streamlining some of her business processes and marketing methods as well as improving her website to help save her time and improve the customer experience. Together we worked on a brief for a web designer who was going to go make some changes for her website.

However, when it came to finding a web designer, there was a problem finding someone locally who was on budget. Dorothy didn’t want to spend the kind of money that was required to get the website done properly.

At this point the first set of alarm bells should’ve been ringing. She wanted all kinds of changes but couldn’t afford them. In hindsight what I should’ve done at this point was walk away or provide her with some recommendations for some reliable people and suggest she get in touch, but I did not do that. That was a foolish mistake.

Instead, I offered to help.

I do have some experience in building websites and managing web design projects. But it is so not my idea of fun and it strays way beyond my job description as a business consultant. However, I decided that I wanted to help Dorothy and blur these boundaries. I don’t want our work together to be wasted so I was going to sort it out for her. I promised to find her a freelance web designer and help manage the project.

I got the designer involved and gave Dorothy a price for the work. A fixed price. (mistake #2).

Unfortunately, once the work had started, it became clear that this website was not built in the normal way. It had been coded from scratch, by someone who clearly hadn’t done a very good job. It was a huge mess and it wasn’t something that could be easily altered.

To save time, we decided we would build it from scratch, paste in the text, add in a theme and it would be more straight forward.

The project snowballed. There were hundreds and hundreds of pages, that had previously been hidden and now needed to be included. The work went on and on, and on.

Soon, my time / budget as the project manager had been completely used up.

Here’s where I made another mistake. Instead of going back and saying I can’t carry on with this and asking Dorothy to increase the budget, I sat tight. I didn’t want to let Dorothy down so off I toddled and carried on working.

Meanwhile, in the background, I was neglecting my other clients, because I was so focused on this one project which I was essentially running for free. Madness.

I was making one mistake after another. I didn’t want to let her down. I didn’t want to talk away from the project. I wanted to see the job through. And so it continued week after week.

Until the money ran out completely. The web designer needed to be paid more money, because she’s now working for free on the web design project from hell.

So, what did I do? Did we down tools? Did we insist on an increased budget? Did we hell.

I paid the designer from my project management fee, so she could continue working. I didn’t want to let the designer down because I know she needs the money and I didn’t want to let the client down.

And this is where it gets even more ridiculous!

Eventually the money runs out and I am actually paying the designer out of my own money, not the money I have been paid from the project. I am now making a loss on the project.

And still it continues. And the client is still not happy. This project is the bane of my life. It causes me sleepless nights.

The boundaries are so far gone, they’ve basically disintegrated.

Finally, after months and months. The website is finished. You’d think that would be where it ends. I did too. I thanked the client for the opportunity and handed the project over to the client and the web designer to co-ordinate the launch between them. Phew.

Thankfully I get to take a weekend break in the countryside to recover.

While I’m away, they work on moving the files across to the main domain. Surely nothing else can go wrong.

Oh yes it can! Somehow, at some point during that process all the files get deleted. Something has gone wrong either with the hosting company, or the web designer or the client made some kind of mistake. We’ll never quite know what happened.

The client calls me on the phone, in tears. I’m meant to be relaxing. I’m in a field. I don’t even have wifi. There’s not a lot I can do, and by this point, I had finally stopped caring.

And still, I carry on. I call the hosting company and try to resolve it. They promise to try to recover the files, even though they reckon the client should have had a back up system in place. My holiday is in tatters, and it feels like, no matter what I do the client will never be happy – and that right now, she actually hates me.

I wonder if this could get any worse!

Eventually the site does gets save, and goes live, but still the client is still not happy.

Now, I am getting aggressive emails from Dorothy. I just want to move on and get back to coaching. But I can’t because I’m getting daily emails telling me that I’ve ruined Dorothy’s life and business.

So, to try to salvage the situation and I gave her 50% of the money back.

I am so far out of pocket at this point – it’s not even funny. I reckon I must have lost at least $2000 on this project, and not been paid a penny for all the work I’ve done over the past months.

Despite all this she still hates me. And yes, I do see her from time to time. And she blanks me!

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS SORRY TALE?

You can see from my little story, how a lack of boundaries can escalate.

Not only did I have a hellish few months I ended up doing work so far away from my expertise. I ended up working for free, using my own money to fund the project and then giving my client her money back . T

I made so many mistakes and it all stemmed from a lack of boundaries… and the fact that I had no cojones!

I was just desperate to do the right thing for my client. I was desperate to please her. I wanted her to like me and that was a big mistake.

My clients don’t need to like me they need to respect me. I do struggle with this because I do want people to like me. I can’t help it. Life is much more fun when the people around you that like you!

WHAT SHOULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

Looking back, the first thing I should have done is to be very clear about the kind of work that I do and the kind of work that I don’t do.

Always have terms and conditions when you work with someone. Make it really clear on how you’re going to work together.

Make it clear on what you are and are not going to do.

Don’t give a fixed price on a project that has no limit. Make it clear on how many amends and changes they get and after a certain point how much more you charge.

These are things I now know and implement. However at that point it was early on. I was felling maybe a little bit insecure. I wanted people to rate what I was doing. I wanted people to recommend me but all that happened was I ended up busting my balls for somebody who was never going to be happy or appreciate the work that I did!

 

 

9: The hilarious (and rather less hilarious) challenges of working from home

Today we are going to be talking about the joys and challenges of working from home. How to work from home, get loads done, without getting distracted or losing the plot – and boy are there a lot of distractions!

The voice for little voices. A podcast for solopreneurs to make you stop dithering and start making it happen. A weekly podcast for solopreneurs, jam packed with support and strategy to help you beat the business blues

 

9: The hilarious (and rather less hilarious) challenges of working from home

Today we are going to be talking about the joys and challenges of working from home. How to work from home, get loads done, without getting distracted or losing the plot – and boy are there a lot of distractions!

The voice for little voices. A podcast for solopreneurs to make you stop dithering and start making it happen. A weekly podcast for solopreneurs, jam packed with support and strategy to help you beat the business blues

Find out more

Ahhh. Working from home! A topic I know quite a lot about. And I know it’s something many of you are going to relate to as well.

How to work from home, get a lot done, not get distracted and be comfortable. It is an interesting one because I know there are so many distractions and that we can struggle to stay focused or indeed to stop focusing on work when our working day is over. I’ve been giving this some thought and I have discussed it with my work buddy, Jessie the cat.

Jessie spends her days  snoozing on the sofa in the other room while I’m working; she’s like my little business partner. I’ve actually got to the point where I have become a crazy cat lady who talks to their cat and has been known to ask her for advice. Yes – I talk to my cat. I think this is one of the side effects of working from home by yourself. It has the potential to send you round the bend.
I think there is a lot we can do to help us focus on our work, get more done and also stay healthy in our bodies and minds.

 

GET SOME SPACE

It’s really important to have a dedicated space when you are working from home. Not everyone has the luxury of having their own office in their house but if you can find a little corner of your house which is just for you – that will work.

If it gives you a sense of separation from say the kitchen table and it will provide you with a place to keep your stuff.

If you are storing your business things all over the house you won’t be very productive.

 

DON’T WORK IN BED

You need to set some boundaries for yourself… I ought to too!

I have been known on occasion to work from bed. Sometimes when it gets a little chilly and instead of  putting the heating on I get all snuggly in bed with my lap top. It’s probably one of the worst working from home faux pas!

First of all it is bad for your posture. According to experts… bed is for sleeping and other activities not related to running your business!  By working in bed it blurs the boundaries, plus if you are someone who likes to have a little snack occasionally you will end up with crumbs in your bed.

 

EVEN A TINY SPACE IS BETTER THAN NOTHING

Lets say you end up under the stairs in a little desk and people are bustling past you all day, it may not be the most peaceful option, but it may be your only option.

In that situation I suggest buying some noise cancelling headphones so you can listen to some relaxing music or at least block out some of that noise.

 

TRAIN YOUR FAMILY!

I have set up a system where if I am working from home where I do clients calls and some times they overlap when Jacob is here. We have a system where he passes me notes. They’re pretty funny….

kerching

It is important to let people in your family know what you are up to – so they can support you by offering to tidy up (in exchange for a ridiculously long list of expensive items – see above)

 

LOOK AFTER YOUR BODY

When you work from home there’s a temptation to neglect certain aspects of your health because you are so focused on the success of your business. I know I’m pretty terrible at this sometimes!

Having a good chair is a really important thing. If you care about yourself at all you will get yourself a decent chair! If you are sitting with bad posture it is going to end up coming back to haunt you.

No sitting on the sofa with your legs curled under you with your laptop balanced on your knee. (I do that!)

Making an effort to get up and move about every hour or so is the recommendation from health professionals.

I know we are not all going to do that. I have a very clever method which means I do this on a regular basis. It kills two birds with one stone. I drink a lot of water and then I have to get up and go pee. I am either filling up my drink or going to the toilet – ha ha!

 

HANDLING HOUSEWORK

Ahhh housework! Do you ever get the feeling that when you work from home, people in our family (who shall remain nameless) think that we’ve become a PA to the family and that you can therefore simultaneously work on your business but also do all the jobs under the sun?!

Everyone has different attitudes towards house work. Its really not my favorite thing. I want the house to look nice and I don’t want my office to be based in a pig sty. But I’m not a tidy freak or anything. A big mess mess does bug me though. I ruins my work flow. But when I’m working from home, I’ve learnt to let some of it go. It has to wait until end of the day.

Everyone has their own approach to housework and their own boundaries and I think it is up to us to select our battles. But, don’t spend the whole day doing laundry because you wont get any work done!

 

HAVE SOME STANDARDS

Getting dressed is a good idea. Wearing your pyjamas or lounge wear is a slippery slope. I prefer to dress like I’m going to work. Not in a suit or anything, but in actual clothes! If you just roll down the stairs in your pyjamas and start work, I think it could make you feel depressed.

 

HEALTHY SNACKS

I try to have healthy snacks in the house. I’m a snacker, I admit it. But especially when work isn’t going particular well that day, if I’ve got a house stock full of chocolate I would end up with a butt the size of a house! They’d probably have to winch me out.

 

GET OUT THE HOUSE

It is also a good idea to try and get out of the house on a regular basis. There are plenty of places you can go like co-working spaces.

Have you tried going to a jelly? It’s a thing where people get together to co work for a morning or afternoon. It is a great way to meet people in your area.

I try to go to networking events as well as conferences for a change of scene. Pretty extreme example, but I flew all the way to Dallas for a conference this year. It was amazing. I made some friends for life, loads of business contacts and I loved it. I think I am going to make an effort to go to at least one big conference a year to network, meet new peeps and get all buzzy.

If you sat in the same room with just your laptop week after week you could end up going a little bit bonkers.

 

AVOID DISTRACTIONS

Only Facebook and emails at certain times a day to avoid getting distracted.

Constantly being disturbed by pings you wont get your work done. Plus, just because you use social media doesn’t mean you should be available 24/7 (Note to self: must try harder!)

 

SWITCH OFF

When you work from home the lines become blurred between work and home life. If you left the office and came home it would feel like a clean cut and you would know home at last time to relax and wind down in between. But, when you don’t have that journey between office and home you end up kind of blurring the lines and work just continues.

When I am thinking about work constantly and it is in my thoughts way into the evening and then when I go to bed it is really difficult to sleep. So, having some down time to relax and unwind and not think about work is really important for me.

 

REASONS I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME

  • I love working from home – I get to work how I want, when I want.
  • Being able to take Jacob to school and pick him up is very important to me – even if he so doesn’t appreciate it.
  • I am not great at working for other people. I like to be the boss.And working for myself from home is the ultimate freedom.
  • I love being able to work in cafes if I want to.
  • Although I try to sit properly at my desk I like that I can work in the kitchen or on the sofa and half watch Homes Under The Hammer – if I want to.
  • I never have to commute and have to stand with my face in someone’s armpit on the tube.
  • Working from home can sound a bit mundane but it also means you have the freedom to travel. If you can work from home you can work anywhere. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

8: How to flippin’ focus and be successful when you’re a multipassionate entrepreneur.

The voice for little voices. A podcast for solopreneurs to make you stop dithering and start making it happen

A weekly podcast for solopreneurs, jam packed with support and strategy to help you beat the business blues

 

 

8: How to flippin’ focus when you’re bursting with ideas

 

The voice for little voices. A podcast for solopreneurs to make you stop dithering and start making it happen. A weekly podcast for solopreneurs, jam packed with support and strategy to help you beat the business blues.

Today we are going to talk about how to focus when you are multi passionate. For those of you who haven’t heard that term before it basically means that you like a lot of things and your interested in all kinds of topics and projects and you simply cant focus on one single thing.

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I don’t know if you have read a book by Malcolm Gladwell called “Outliers.” He argues that 10,000 hours is the key number of hours that someone needs to spend working on something in order to become super successful. Forget about that number because some people don’t agree with him. Some people may say its 20,000 hours. It doesn’t matter about the number the sentiment is right. If you focus your efforts on one thing and you really work hard on that one thing then you are more likely to be successful at it.

However, it’s not always that simple. The idea for some people of dedicating your time to one thing and going in one single direction seems a bit boring and is simply something they don’t feel comfortable doing. So what should you do if you’ve got lots of interest and ideas? There are so many things you could be doing. What should you do then? Should you focus on one thing and maybe put some things to one side or is there a way of combining your interest?

I know what its like to be in this situation. A couple of years ago I found myself without a business. I had closed down my PR agency. It was an unexpected decision caused by I think I’ll tell you that story in another episode actually. There were some interesting circumstances surrounding the demise. So suddenly I found myself without a business and without a plan. I was wondering what I was going to do next and I was considering my options.

One thing I was sure about was when I set up my next business it was going to be something that I really enjoyed. The first thing I did was launch a website for fans of French Cinema. How random is that? But I have always loved French films and I had studied French at University. I really fancied myself as an intellectual film critic.

But you know what; a few months down the line the thought of watching another bloody French film made me role my eyes. I was completely over it. The passion was dead for me which is ironic because it is the most passionate culture in the world, but it was a mistake to turn that hobby into a business. That passion should have stayed a passion and was not destined to become my business.

My first suggestion for a multi passionate entrepreneur is to ask yourself “All though I love this do I want to do it everyday?” If you don’t think your passion extends to something you want to do every day it is okay for that passion to remain a hobby.

I think well rounded interesting humans have a range of interests and not every single one of those interests needs to be turned into a business. If you have a lot of passion and interest how do you go about choosing?

I am not going to tell you to follow your heart because this is a business decision. When I work with clients who are multi passionate we work through the options in a systematic fashion and we measure them against a series of criteria.

I am not a fan of boring spreadsheets and charts so it is possible to do this analysis doing some highly sophisticated techniques involving smiley faces and sad faces or hearts. I think it is perfectly acceptable to rate this criteria whichever way you like.

flippin focus worksheetI’ve made you a little worksheet to help you rate your ideas. Click here to download your copy.


 

The key is when you are accessing a business idea you’ve thought about it from a business perspective side. These are the things to consider.

  1. How big is the market opportunity?
  2. How much money could you actually make?
  3. How serious is the pain your people are experiencing?
  4. How easy are your people to reach?
  5. How much do you love this kind of work?
  6. How well established or expert are you in this field.

I suggest that you answer each of those questions for each business possibility. When you look at them and start rating them you will start to see which ones have the biggest potential. You will also see which ones should be kept as a hobby.

COMBINE YOUR PASSIONS

Another method to consider is a bit like basket weaving. If you’ve got more than one business of passion it may be possible to combine things.  Maybe there is a way of bringing your interests together.

When I used to work in innovation that was one of the techniques we used where we would take 2 random links and force them together and see what emerged was a good idea.

PARK IT

But what if the ideas just keep coming? You need some kind of strategy to keep them under control. I so relate to this. Ideas are my thing. I used to get paid to have ideas for big companies. My mum is actually an inventor. I think I have inherited some of that stuff!

Just to give you and idea every time I am in the shower or on a train ride or going to sleep ideas are popping into my head. Often it is useful if I am being paid to have ideas. But it is an infliction in some ways. It is quite exhausting so I used to leap into action whenever I had a new idea. It was knackering and I was all over the place. You end up looking like a headless chicken.

Now I park my ideas and this was another technique I learned. Essentially what you’re doing is writing your ideas down in a safe place for a rainy day. If I ever need to come back to them then I know where they are and they are off my chest.

Don’t underestimate how exhausting it is having these ideas floating around in your head. Not only is it taking up part of your brain power but they cloud your judgement so next time you are thinking of a solution or you’re focusing on growing your business that little idea will just be wiggling around in your brain and it influences what you are doing and its not always the best so I think parking those ideas where they are safe you can get on with growing your business.

TEST YOUR IDEAS

The next thing I suggest that you do is actually test your idea. We can now assume that the ideas you selected theoretically we know that there is an opportunity in the market. We know that there is money to be made. That there is some kind of problem that needs resolving and the people that need you are easy enough to reach and that there is enough of them.

You know you love doing this kind of work and you also know that you have some kind of credentials in this field. So we have whittled down those options and next it is actually up to you to put your ideas out there. I would recommend doing something called and MVP (Minimal Viable Product). I really like using this method because it means you don’t have to commit 100% until you are sure something is going to work. So you can test 2 or 3 options and put them out there to see what works without having to invest to much time or money or heartache into these ideas.

Things you could do to test your idea might be running a webinar on the topic, setting up a waiting list to start gathering people who are interested. You could also run some Facebook ads and access peoples reaction to the ads. You don’t have build anything or sell anything right away but you can start to see which one is going to have the most success.

You could have a very rough prototype for example to start seeing what people think. I think that is a great way to see which one will actually work cause you know in your heart which one you want to work. If you chose one of the 3 to pursue it doesn’t mean the other 2 are put to bed forever it just means you park them and come back to them at a later date.

GIVE IT 100%

When you have chosen the one you want to pursue I want you to give it 100%. No going back on your decisions for at least 6 months. Give it a proper go and the ideas you have waiting should you need them but because you have done the proper assessment and sent out your MVP you should have a much higher rate of success and you should be able to relax knowing that your other ideas are not going anywhere.

ONE LAST OPTION

If all of this sounds great in theory but you still cant focus and you realize you just don’t want to what should you do then? I have actually gone down the route of being a consultant which means I never really need to focus on one thing. It suits me brilliantly because I get to work with clients in their businesses. I work with people for a few months at a time. I am not so entrenched in their business I get to have a birds eye view and get to see what’s going on from the outside. I am able to see what they need to grow their business.

It really gives me a lot of satisfaction and I can get paid to have many ideas because people want to see what I have to say and I get to use my ideas to help other people.

If you feel you cant focus on one thing and you’ve got all these ideas the perhaps a consulting model would be for you. I hope these ideas and suggestions have been useful and there is plenty food for thought. Head over to my Facebook group where you can chat to me and I can give you a hand.

GET SOME HELP!

If you are really struggling to focus and you feel it would be very helpful to have someone to be accountable to then check out the Actionista Academy. Hopefully if you are having problems making decisions I can help you do that.

 

7: The must have productivity hacks for busy solopreneurs to help you get more done, without burning out

The voice for little voices. A podcast for solopreneurs to make you stop dithering and start making it happen

A weekly podcast for solopreneurs, jam packed with support and strategy to help you beat the business blues

 

 

7: The must have productivity hacks for busy solopreneurs to help you get more done, without burning out

Ever felt like you’ve got so much on, you might just spontaneously combust? You’re not alone! According to my recent survey, your biggest concern is how to find the time to get everything done. And, as someone who has a 7 year old and seemingly never ending mountains of laundry, I know how you feel.

Find out more

Which brings me on to my next question, from the lovely Nadine.

Nadine: “Hi Nadia. This is Nadine calling and I have a question for you. I was wondering if you have a formula that you follow for your productivity with our pushing to hard or burning out or getting to overwhelmed. Anything you can share about productivity would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!”

Hey Nadine. Thanks very much for you question. I totally get from where you are coming from. Many of us run the risk of pushing too hard and getting overwhelmed. We get ourselves into a situation where we feel like a deer in the headlights because there is so much to do in order to grow our business and we are not really sure of what to do first.

I don’t have a specific formula although maybe I will craft one and trade mark it! But I do have a number of tips that are going to help you.

Many of the entrepreneurs who join my Actionista Academy come to me in a similar situation. They feel overwhelmed, like they’re not getting enough done and they’re starting to panic slightly because their business isn’t growing in the way that they would like.

My first piece of overwhelm-busting-advice is to…. make a plan.

GET A PLAN

I know it sounds rather boring, but having a plan on how you are going to grow your business is really simple. And if you do it in a right brain way, can be a fun way to start thinking about where you want to take your business and how you are actually going to get there.

Obviously like everything I do I like to make it look nice. It may sound superficial but it does make the planning process more enjoyable.

Without a strategic plan you just send up making endless to do lists. I have fallen foul of this before. You just keep on adding things to the list and never get to the end. You just feel like you are never going to get where you want to go. What’s missing is a goal.

It’s tough. You’ve got limited time available and you’ve got so many things you could be doing.

A few years ago I had a job working for The Body Shop Global in Product Development. It was a great job – I got to create skin care products!

But, every day my diary was filled with all these meetings and conference calls I was supposed to have with all the different regions. My diary was completely filled. I freaked out! There was no time to actually do the work. The important stuff.

When you run your own business, there are so many things you could be doing. Doing everything is impossible. So it comes down to what’s most important. And to work that out, you need a plan.

HOW TO MAKE A PLAN

Start off with your one big hairy goal. For example, How much money do you want to bring in or how much profit do you want to make? Or how many clients do you want reach? Be specific and big and audacious.

Then you work out the key things that are going to get you to that point. What big things do you need to achieve your goal? Think of it like a family tree. At the top the big goal and then the 3 things underneath.

Not a list of 100 things but just 3-4 things that you need to help you achieve that goal. For example does that mean creating a new product? Building a new website? Growing your lists? Forming joint ventures? Getting your products distributed? A certain number of guest blogs?

Now underneath each of those 3 goals you’ll have a list. The tasks you need to do to get to that point.

This method ensures that everything on your to-do list is taking you towards your goal. Not a bunch of random stuff. It’s got focus and it is actually going to help your business and achieve things that are important to you.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

I don’t think running a business needs to be as complicated as we are often lead to believe. I think there’s a conspiracy going on! We’re told by business gurus to use all kinds of technology and tools before you can make it work.

And all this tech gets really overwhelming, particularly if it’s not your area of genius. Things don’t quite work. You need help, but you can’t find someone to help you. So you kind of grind to a halt.

But, do things need to be so complicated?

One of my clients is creating an online course. But she was stuck, because she couldn’t get the tech to work.

Instead of getting her idea out there and seeing if people were interested, she was in full on fiddling mode.

She could have just delivered the course in a series of emails. She could charge an introductory price just to get it off the ground and send a series of emails. Those emails don’t even need to be automated. If she started on a particular day she could run it say for 21 days and even if she sent an email herself on a list every morning that would be fine – to get the ball rolling.

I know there are platforms to run courses on and I know there is stuff to make them really wizzy. But, I would much rather you got something out there then did nothing at all.

If there is a way of simplifying things then I would suggest getting started and doing things rather than feeling overwhelmed.

DELEGATION

Part of your big plan could involve a list of things that you can delegate to someone else.

If you are terrible at anything technical get someone to help you.

I have skills in some areas and zero skills in other areas so that is where I really try to bring people in to help me rather than doing a really crappy job and spending 5 times as long.

I bring people in to help me and I suggest that you do the same. You will have to pay them but there is not point in getting yourself into a hole and feeling unable to cope in say some tech or finance stuff or admin if you can get someone who is an expert someone to do it.

Think about how much your time is worth. If you are able to work on selling one product or getting new clients or serving your clients that will be bringing in a lot more than you will be spending,

80/20

I would like to also mention the 80/20 rule because I think this is really important. The theory says that only 20% of the work you do leads to 80% of the results. Lets just ponder on that for a moment.

Oh my goodness 20% of our work leads to 80% of the results! I think we all know in our heart of hearts this is true.

There are things which we do that will work like a charm and then there are others things which we do all the time which doesn’t really have to much impact but which we may feel we need to be doing because people tell us we should.

I think its fair to say that successful people focus their time and effort on the important stuff not the distractions and on the things which don’t really have an impact on our business even if they wish they did.

If Twitter is not working for your business and it takes up lots of time don’t do it.

Focus on the stuff that actually brings results.

SMART STICKIES

I think there is a lot to be said for streamlining and how you approach each day. You’ve got your 90 day plan now and you’ve got this list of things that are going to drive your business forward but you are not going to attack everything all at once.

I use a highly scientific method called “Smart Stickies” which helps me focus.

I take a small sticky note and I write down the 3 or 4 things I am doing that day. I put them in my dairy and that is it. Don’t cheat by writing a really long list in tiny writing. Just keep it to the top 3 or 4.

At the end of day you’ll actually have got those things done rather than having this endless rolling list which you never complete – which is just a source of frustration.

 

NIGHT TIME REVIEW

Only try this next trick if you are a good sleeper!

I do a little review at night before I go to bed using my sticky note or a notebook and I write down the priorities for the next day. It really helps me to focus and let it go before I go to sleep.

However some people this may have them thinking about work all night. You may want to give that a miss is sleeping is a thing for you.

 

EAT THE FROG

Another technique I use is call eat the frog.

I think it must be called that because people don’t tend to want to eat frogs!

The frog is the thing that you really don’t want to do. It the thing you’re forever putting off. The thing the always gets pushed to next week’s list. Over and over again.

But these are the things that come around and bite us in the butt later. Things like taking care of your insurance, or accounts, or dealing with a complain. That kind of thing.

Eat the Frog encourages us to spend a few minutes each day doing that thing you really don’t want to do getting it done and then you can focus on the really important stuff.

 

POMODORO TECHNIQUE

Pomodoro techniqueI also use something called the pomodoro technique. Before you ask, yes it is named after the tomato shaped kitchen timer.

The idea is you set a timer, you blitz it and then you have a rest.

It really stops you from spending hours on one task. It is a great way to get things done.

I like a deadline because it helps me to get on with it. And then I get to have a nice rest and a cup of tea when I’m done.

OPTIMISE YOUR DAY
I like to think of my time as if I an athlete (!).

If I was training for the Olympics I would like at how I divide up my day and look at when I train best.

I am a really good morning person. Generally before lunch is my great productive and creative time. I save the admin for the end of the day when I am winding down.

When does your brain work best? When is your productivity at its peak?

Once you know that you can design your day around it.

 

TALK TO THE HAND

Are you a people pleaser? Lots of us are.

Being a people pleaser means you end up saying yes to things because you want to help people or you want them to like you.

When it comes to growing a business this is not necessarily the best way to be.

Our time is really valuable so why on earth would you agree to waste it on things you just don’t need to be doing.

When you’re an entrepreneur you can’t continue being everything to everyone. You will have to start saying no to some things.

I was talking about this in the Actionista Academy the other day because one of our members was really struggling to find time to get things done and it turned out she hadn’t had the conversation with her family about prioritizing her business and they weren’t even aware that she felt like this. It wasn’t until she actually told them, look, I need a bit more time to work on my business I don’t have time because I am constantly running around after everybody else, that things started to shift.

So, if that sounds familiar – have the discussion and tell people how you feel, so they can help and support you.

 

OUTSOURCING

And finally, just another quick word about outsourcing. Being a solopreneur doesn’t mean doing absolutely everything yourself.

There may be things you cant do because you are rubbish at them but there are other things that would free up your time where you could run a much more effective business if you weren’t doing them.

If your time is worth $100 dollars an hour then it doesn’t make sense for you to be doing the cleaning. You don’t have to employee people full time. You can bring in freelancers or can outsource using agencies. There are tons of places you can go to find help.

I think one of the reasons we feel overwhelmed is because we try to do everything ourselves and we are maybe being slightly control freakish. Think back on the 80/20 rule and focus on the 20% things that are going to help you grow. And get help with the things other people are better at than you. 

 

6: How to build a tribe on Facebook

Want to build a tribe on Facebook and grow your authority, raises your profile amongst your target audience and grow your business?

Here are my top tips!

 

6: How to build a tribe on Facebook


Why build a tribe on Facebook? It’s a great way to grow your authority, raise your profile amongst your target audience, build relationships with your people, fill your sales pipeline and grow your business- that’s why!

Find out more

Today we are going to talk about Facebook tribes.

I am a big fan of Facebook as a way to grow your audience and to engage with people. Over the years I have tried different methods to build community.

I have tried different software but nothing really compares to Facebook. Since so many of us are on Facebook does it make sense as a business owner to persuade people away from Facebook and spend time somewhere else. I think trying to do that is a fools earned and is not going to work well. In fact I can say this with conviction and it doesn’t actually work.

We are going to talk about how to build up a tribe using Facebook groups. Facebook groups are powerful because they allow you to control your audience. You can control who is allowed in and who you can kick out.

However, there are some disadvantages. You don’t get the person’s email address so you are vulnerable to any changes that Facebook makes or if the group gets taken over by hackers or frozen or deleted and then you run the risk of losing everything.

This has happened to someone I know and it was not fun!

Tip number one is have people opt in or have a way they can opt in once they are in the group so you can contact them by email should the worse happen.

Next up, here are some tips on how to grow your group so it drive your business and raise your credibility and profile.

 

Getting Started 

Adding People

The number of people I speak to say is it ok to just add people to my group? The answer to that is NO. How annoying is it to have someone randomly add you to a group you didn’t give permission to be part of. Is the Facebook equivalent of spamming. It is assuming someone wants to be part of your group. Always invite people to join or email them with the link.

 

Have a Purpose

The second point is your group needs to have a clear purpose. People need to understand why they are part of it. Who its for? Who you are? That you’re the one running the group. You could write a great introduction into the group or you could post a video. The header art work that you use needs to clearly explain what the group is, give the name of the group and set the tone for the group as well.

 

Make it Pay

Next your ready to start spreading the word and inviting people to your group. You can’t charge people to be part of your group if its just the group alone. That goes against Facebook regulations. However you can form a group that can benefit in a membership program. My group has a Facebook group as part of the membership package.

That’s what I do. One of the good things about being in the Actionista Academy is you get to be in this intimate Facebook group where I am able to communicate with you and answer your questions.

 

Less is More

I always get alarmed when I see someone who is a member of 4000 groups. This gives me the clue that they may in fact be a spammer. If you join a group belonging to somebody else I suggest that you participate fully.

It is better to be involved in 3 or 4 groups where you are really involved rather than to be one of those people who link dumps. You don’t want those link dump spammers in your group because they will be breaking the rules.

 

Lay Down the Law

I think every group should have rules. I am not saying be super strict but I am saying have some rules to give people the kind of behavior you expect in your group. Be really clear about the kinds of things you expect from people. The kind of guys you attract are going to be your kind of people. Some rules I have seen are no posting links. No posting your own page. Not promoting opt ins.

 

Building Your Tribe 

How are you going to go about building this group? How will you attract people who hang on to every word you say and can’t wait to buy into your next product or service? Or read your next blog? Or listen to your next podcast episode?

How to build a tribe on Facebook

 

Know Who You’re Targeting

First of all it is important to be focused. Be really clear about the people you want to attract. Its not about having the biggest group out there. 2000 is a good number. Once it gets above that it is hard to manage. It is important to focus and be really clear who you are for.

Lets say your group is created for people who have a particular approach to parenting if you have people in the group with different methodology its not going to be such of a fun place to hang out. You are going to be battling people who disagree with you.

 

Get Them Talking

There are lots of easy tricks to us within your group to engage your audience. I think wishy washy statements about how you are feeling or what are you doing today. People don’t engage with that so much.

 

Always share something of yourself.

If there is a blank space almost and you are expecting people to comment and share their deepest thoughts with you and you don’t go first then that is actually quite tricky.

If you ask a simple question it makes it easier for people to engage.

 

Keep It Simple

Keeping it simple really works so sometimes you can say describe your day in 3 words. Make it easy for people to contribute.

 

 

The Votes Are In

You can also create a poll. You just click ask question and then it adds different question options. Give people the choice and see how people votes.

The reason I am doing this today is because I asked the guys in my Facebook group what they wanted to know about. The top answer was how to build a tribe on Facebook. You get some really great feed back about your guys.

 

Theme Days

The other things I really like to do is create theme days. For example in my group we have “Wins”day. We share the wins that we have had over the past week. It is really great that people know that they come to the group on Wednesday and celebrate their success. It is the same every week and it gives structure and a reason for people to come.

I think having themes if planned properly can boost engagements. So you have to think of some themes that will work for your people.

 

Tag People

This can happen – people are busy and they’ve got other groups they are part of and they’ve got other businesses. One option is to tag people. You can tag chatty people in the group and remind them that you are there by asking a question and asking for their feedback on there. It just nudges them and reminds them that they are part of the group on that you would like their feedback.

 

Freebies

Another thing you can do is giving people free stuff. Invite them to have a free call with you or inviting them to a webinar or doing a Google hangout.  Be of service. See what they need and then be there to help them.

Don’t just endlessly flog them your stuff. Being of service and making your self useful and helping people out is definitely the way to go. Ask what they are struggling with and then be there to answer their questions.

 

What happens if it gets ugly?

Let’s say in your group someone starts posting weird stuff or complaining.

On the plus side, having a group means that you can get in there straight away and fix it – it’s much easier than dealing with people sitting in the pub complaining to their friends.

The way you solve a problem you can really turn that into your advantage and show what a responsible and caring business owner you are!

And don’t forget if someone breaks the rules or doesn’t behave in a way that you approve of, you have every right to remove them from your group.

 

Be Present

Having a group there is a level of responsibility. You need to be in the group. You need to be in there supporting them and you’re the person who is leading the group is really important. So, don’t just create a group and leave people to it. There’s nothing worse than a group where there’s silence!

 

The Lifespan of a Group

Does a Facebook group need to exist forever?

Not necessarily. For example you could have a group which is part of a 21 day challenge you decide to run and you have a group that goes along side the challenge. So you are going to be driving people to your Facebook group and supporting them during the challenge.

But what happens after the challenge? Does this mean you have to be providing support forever? I suggest not. I think when a challenge finishes you should encourage them to sign up for another product. Beware that at some point your group may come to an end.

After all, you don’t want to be managing hundreds of groups where the momentum has diminished and people have lost interest.

 

And Remember …..it’s not about you

Yes, you are the leader of your group, but it’s not just about you. It is not a vanity project for you to showcase the marvel which is in fact you. You are creating a tribe of people who do look up to you but who are there to be supportive and to be encouraged. The group is about them not about you.

The moment the group becomes just about the leader it looses all its value and I think people will soon get board with being there. The reason people keep coming back is because of the value it delivers and the benefits of how it helps them. Be that person who is generous with advice and help and support – that’s what a true leader is.

 

 

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