Helping Yourself When You Work Alone and From Home

Helping Yourself When You Work Alone and From Home

When you work from home, starting out with your own business, then you take on a lot of roles. You are the financier, the budgeter, the accountant, the marketer, the admin team, and the CEO; it can be a lot. Of course, this is how a lot of small businesses start out, and getting to grips with a variety of different aspects of the business can be important. However, in order to grow the business, you need to make sure that you are able to do the real big things that are going to grow it, rather than getting caught up in all of the emails, calls, appointments, bookings, and other admin. So here are some things to think about, in order to make your small business grow, and so that you don’t overwhelm yourself with all that you need to do.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

Hiring a virtual assistant is just as it sounds; someone to assist you, but done online, rather than in person. Which is why this can work great for many solo-business owners. There are a number of virtual services sites online that you can hire from, as well as using freelancers. It can be a good idea to have documents like an NDA ready for them, so that you can’t give away any information about your business. They can take control of a lot of things that need to be done, but that don’t need to be done by you. Then you have time to focus on the growth aspects of the business.

Set a schedule

When there is so much to do, it can be very tempting to just do things as and when they come in. But the truth of the matter is that you don’t need to be sat at your desk all afternoon going through emails. New ones will come in all of the time, so you can’t possibly do that, as you’ll deal with one and then another will come through. So instead, you should set yourself a working schedule, so that you know exactly what you should be doing and when. It can be a good idea to set yourself a timer too, so that you don’t go over schedule. When you do this, you will be able to get much more done throughout the day, and you’ll be able to prioritize what needs to be done first.

Be strict with working hours

There is no getting away from the fact that when you work for yourself, and when you work from home, there is always something to do. But you need to remember that although this is the case, you need to avoid burnout and give yourself time to relax, as well as proper weekends or days off. As a result, you should set days and times that you will work, and when you won’t. Of course, there can be some projects of events that will differ and need more of your time, but on the whole, setting yourself working hours and sticking to them, can really help.

Photo Credit: image

This is a contributed post.

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Why It’s Important to Spend Time NOT Working

Why It’s Important to Spend Time NOT Working

Last Friday morning here in Quebec, we had a province-wide power outage that affected over 900,000 people due to a major wind storm of 100 km/h (62 mph). The power outage lasted in our case almost 48 hours.

I took this time to do some reading, clean up my office, read some more and after sunset hubby and I enjoyed eating some snacks, playing crib and a dice game called Bupkis by candlelight. We tried to make the best out of the situation and enjoy the quiet time with no distractions. Other than it being cold, we actually had a nice 2-day break.

This got me thinking, how I had no choice but to take time off and despite the conditions, I completely enjoyed it. I got a few things done, spent quality time with my husband and pets and did some reading. Not bad for 2 days with no electricity.

So let me ask you…

When was the last time you took time off from your work?

When was the last time you spent your evenings actually spending quality time doing something you love or with your family and not in front of your computer or phone, finishing up all the work you need to get completed before the morning? You tell yourself it’s just a few emails. It’s just a small project. Maybe a phone call or two. You’re tired and you’d rather be doing something else, but this has to get done!

Why You Need to Take Time Off From Work

While it might feel like you have a ton of work to do and your business will crumble if you take some time off, it’s vital that you take deliberate time off from work. According to recent studies, stroke could be an even bigger risk than a heart attack for people who are overworked! The study found that individuals who worked more than 55 hours per week had a 13% greater risk of a heart attack and 33% more likely to suffer a stroke than people who worked 35-40 hours per week.

This is just one of the many health problems that occur in overworked people. There are many other health risks that the stress and exhaustion from overworking pose on your mind and body. According to a summary report in The Economist, “…the greater the number of hours worked per year, the greater the likelihood of premature death and poor quality of life.”

How to Get More Time Off

“Take more time off work,” is much easier said than done. Your business needs you; you might be bursting with ideas, or laden with responsibility. Taking time off isn’t something that happens naturally or easily!

That being said, it’s important to make time off a priority! Here are three ways you can get more time off more frequently:

1. Take Short Breaks Throughout the Day

Just like you schedule in meetings, calls, events, and projects, you need to schedule in a few short breaks throughout your day. These don’t have to be extended periods of time, but letting yourself rest, meditate, eat, or just relax for 10 to 15 minutes every few hours throughout your day will help.

Switching your attention to something calming or enjoyable throughout the day helps your brain work differently and solve other types of problems. It helps you relax more and be more prepared to better handle your workload.

2. Take More Vacations

Generally, employees are offered a set amount of vacation days per year. Unfortunately, it’s rarely a sufficient amount of time off to be considered healthy! Less than two weeks off work for an entire year is hardly anything, and many employees don’t even use up all their vacation days! Not to mention, when you own your own business, vacation days are so much harder to take!

When was the last time you went on a vacation, be it a long weekend trip or a few weeks long? How often do you let yourself have a significant time off where you don’t bring any work with you? Increase that time as much as you can. Get into different environments. Replenish your passion and energy!

3. Take a Whole Day Off Work Every Week

It’s so tempting to pull out your phone and answer emails throughout a lazy Sunday. It’s easy to get on your computer and work through a project over the weekend. “Days off” aren’t actually days off when you’re working!

Challenge yourself to put your work away for an entire day at least once a week. Don’t get on your phone to respond to messages or use your computer to finish projects. Relax for an entire day, you can always get back to work the next day.

Remember to choose you, rest is important for both your mind and body.

Have an easy day and remember to take breaks 🙂

​Robyn

PS: Are you looking for support on your next launch? Click here and let’s talk!

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How to get organized for the new year

How to get organized for the new year

I hope you a great Holiday with your family and friends! My Christmas was spent with family where we had delicious food, some karaoke singing, loads of laughter and lots of memories to cherish. 

Today here in Canada is Boxing day, a day full of great after Christmas sales. Who doesn’t love a good after Christmas sale no matter where you live.

…Before I get into that, tell me… are you ready for 2018? 

Are you feeling good about the New Year and its possibilities?

Have you ever looked at a fellow entrepreneur and wondered how they manage to get it all done and organized, well the answer might surprise you.

They’ve got good systems.

It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel, instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.

No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:

  • Work faster and produce more
  • Produce higher quality results with fewer mistakes
  • Easily outsource the tasks you don’t like to do

Here are 2 tools that will help you get better organized for 2018

The Magic of Templates

Oh, how I love templates! How many times do you answer emails from potential clients? What about responding to customer inquiries? Or mailing your JV partners about an upcoming launch?

These tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be re-purposed for specific situations. 

Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access.

While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email. Simply instruct your assistant on the proper use of your templates, and you’ll be free to do other, more important things.

Checklists Prevent Mistakes

It might seem counter-intuitive, but when you do the same tasks repeatedly, it’s easy to miss an important step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed.

But when you create checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task.

You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document or you can use Wunderlist, Google Keep or Todoist to name a few.

If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system such as Trello or Asana allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.

Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you set up a new product in your shopping cart or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete.

Now back to boxing day… I want to help you get better organized for 2018, so, I am offering the 12-month marketing calendar program for only $77, click here to buy it now.

This 4-module program will help you plan your entire year, get clarity on when you’ll launch your programs, help you deliver high-value content that builds relationships, and helps you earn money.

Click here to get the 12-month marketing calendar program for $77

PS: This course includes every step you need to take to make this year your best business year. It’s time to put your big ideas into a custom-fit plan without having to stress over when, where, and how – ever again (at least not for the next 12 months)!  Click here to BUY the 12 month marketing calendar program Now!

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3 Things Your Business Plan Must Have

3 Things Your Business Plan Must Have

Businesses of every type, need a business plan. Don’t think you can skip by on this important step because you have a service based business instead of a physical product. Every business can benefit from a business plan.

Here are some steps you can take

Focus.

When you create a business plan you need to focus on the reasons for the business:

  • Who do you want to serve?
  • What do you want to provide?
  • When do you want to start?
  • Where will you set up shop?
  • Why do you want to start such an endeavor?
  • How will you meld all these things together to create a prosperous business?

These are the primary reasons why you’re going into business and they should always be at the forefront of your mind when making decisions.

Something else to focus on is your big dream. How much money do you want to make over the next 5 years? Do you want to sell multiple products or have several locations? Everyone’s big dream will be different but you should write it down as part of the plan.

 Plan.

Think of your business plan as a mountain. Your mission statement is at the base of the mountain while your big dream is at the peak. Everything in between is what you need to plan and these steps should also be incorporated into a business plan.

  • What products do you want to create?
  • How often do you want to produce a product?
  • How can you implement some passive income or affiliate income into your business?
  • Are there any speaking engagements or online summit opportunities that will expand your reach and your followers?
  • What can you add to your sales funnel for those not yet ready to commit to coaching?

Action Steps.

This is where your planning steps are broken down into smaller, actionable steps. Instead of just saying I want to write a book, break the process down further.

  • How much time can you dedicate each day to writing?
  • Do you want to self-publish or find a publisher?
  • You’ll need to hire an editor and someone to design the cover.

These are actionable steps that can easily be crossed off your to do list once completed.

Don’t be thrown off here, it can sometimes seem overwhelming. You don’t need to plan 5 years’ worth of action steps at one time. The idea is to plan a year at a time, keeping your focus in mind, so that the action steps become a pathway or a blueprint to your big dreams.

I think it’s important to plan the year ahead, I suggest you prioritize the time needed to put together a clear and detailed business plan for the next 12 months.  This will help your business as well as your personal life because you will have more time for family, friends or whatever it is you choose to do in your off time.

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Not all tasks are created equal

Not all tasks are created equal

It’s unavoidable. As an entrepreneur, you will need to work in quite a few areas to keep the wheels turning in your business.

  • Marketing manager.
  • Accountant
  • Blog writer
  • Coach
  • Technical support staff.

While understanding that these tasks need to be performed, you still need to realize that not all tasks have the same purpose. For instance, marketing outweighs accounting, because without marketing, there will be no money to manage.

In addition, you also have to think about the amount of time it takes you for each task you are doing. If it takes you the whole day to tweak a design on your web page and delay sending an email to your list, you have basically lost a whole day without doing anything constructive

While it’s true you may have a nicer looking web page or website, you missed your chance to send traffic to your offer on your website.

Ah yes! In a perfect world, you would very easily put on your CEO hat and assign the tasks, but in actual fact, we don’t always have that choice. Usually, we need to be more clever and use our time more wisely.

Sort your Daily Tasks that need to be dealt with first

Everyone has their own special capabilities and expertise that they like and prefer to do. Perhaps you love to do Technical Support but dislike Marketing. One thing is very clear, you must put those tasks that will make you money at the top of your list. Whether it’s creating your own products, or contacting potential clients, or hosting a telesummit or something completely different. Pinpoint those specific money-making tasks in your business and make sure to put them at the top of your list each and every day.

Know the Difference Between Important and Urgent

In his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey recommends prioritizing tasks based on a time-management grid. Every task is assigned to a quadrant of the grid, based on whether it is urgent, important, both, or neither.

Once you have classified a task on the grid, you’ll instantly realize what you need to be working on. As an illustration, marketing and planning are important but not urgent. A ringing phone is urgent, but not important. The sales page for your new program, which is launching tomorrow, is both urgent AND important.

Before you sort out your daily to-do list, think about where each of your tasks falls in the grid, and assign them appropriately.

Will you always be working on the ideal job for right now? Most probably not. Neither will you always use your time as ideally as possible. But by making a mindful attempt to coordinate and sort out your days, you’ll find it’s a lot less difficult and overwhelming to manage your small business.

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Scale Your Business with these 4 Automated Systems

Scale Your Business with these 4 Automated Systems

There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s journey where you realize you simply cannot do it all by yourself.

I know that when you’re just getting started you need to be the “chief, cook and bottle washer.” But as your business grows, it becomes obvious that trying to do everything is only going to lead to:

  • Frustration (when critical tasks don’t get done and deadlines are missed)
  • Burn out (when you’re working yet another 12-hour day)
  • Overwhelm (when your to-do list is longer at the end of the day than it was at the beginning)

I know that there are many ways to combat this business-growth obstacle, but one of the best is automation.  I want you to imagine a completely hands-off system that works for you even when you’re spending time with your children or even hiking on a remote mountain.

But there’s a more important reason to automate: it helps you scale your business. Think about it, the less manual work you have to do, the more time you have to do the money-making tasks such as networking, marketing, and client support.

1. Paid Traffic

Chasing organic traffic is a true exercise in frustration. You’ll spend all your time creating content for your blog, other people’s blogs, YouTube, social media, and other web properties. All that content creation leaves you little time to work with the clients you’re trying to attract.

Instead, you can invest in some quality paid traffic, and get off the endless content creation train. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

2. Email Funnels

What happens when you get a new subscriber or if someone buys a product? Do they just sit in waiting on your list until you have time to send an email?

While broadcast emails have their place—especially in time-sensitive promotions—be sure to also set up an autoresponder/sequence series to:

  • Welcome new subscribers and help them find their way around your site (and your offers)
  • Nurture buyers so they know they’re in the right place
  • Make additional offers based on what someone has already purchased or shown an interest in

And the best thing? Once your autoresponder is set up, it will continue to work even when you’re not.

3. Social Media Management

Yes, it’s important to be personable and engaging on social media. But that doesn’t mean you have to log in to Facebook just to post a link to your latest blog or YouTube video. Automate that kind of update and save yourself hours of time each month. Not only that, but you won’t have to worry about missing an update, either!

4. Calendar Management

If you have clients, partners, a team, or are often asked for interviews, then an automated calendar is a must. Rather than endless back-and-forth emails trying to find a mutually available time slot, simply send your calendar link and let your client, project manager, JV partner or anyone else choose a time that works for them. Your appointment will automatically appear on your calendar, and you’ll even get reminders (if your calendar supports that).

There are dozens of options for automating every aspect of your small business. As you grow, you’ll find new and better tools to make everything run more smoothly. For now, though, implementing these four ideas alone will save you hours of time every month.

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