I am embarrassed.
When I started my business and learned about the concept of blogging, I used to blog every single day of the week. Of course back then, I didn’t have any clients — well I had one. A pro bono client. And that was about the size of it.
Fast forward almost 4 years and my blogging habits have, well, um, become spotty at best. And as I look at the last date I actually posted here… my face turns a bright shade of red.
Unfortunately that’s “leaked” into other areas of my business as well. Although my income from my part-time home business is going amazingly well (like making more than I ever did while working full time plus in an office or college classroom), my systems and processes are all over the place.
Just like with this blog. In all honest transparency, for many things I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants. Sure, I have deadlines I create for myself that I *mostly* meet. And I have a few things that are working amazingly well. But I think a lot of work-at-home people can relate — there’s a lot of reacting going on.
Oops an email just came in. Let me respond to that.
There’s a direct message on Twitter from someone who wants to chat. Better find time.
Just got a phone call about a speaking engagement. I need to get them what they need right this second.
And so on.
What happens is that without any real systems and processes in place, some important tasks, as well as those “that’d be nice to do someday” things tend to fall by the wayside. Not because I don’t want to do them. Or not because I’m not getting other things done. It’s just I haven’t had a solid system for everything that has to happen.
Lucky for me I have My Fabulous VA, Rebekah Jones. (Whew– breathing a big sigh of relief!)
Rebekah is an amazing virtual assistant — someone who handles lots of my “should be systematized” tasks. She makes running my business easy and fun.
Since the beginning of my business I’ve always worked with a VA (used to be My Lisa was my go-to woman for just about everything until she decided to get out of the VA biz onto bigger exciting things for herself!). Whether I had the income or not. Why? Because I *knew* that having a fabulous VA would be necessary to get me to the place I wanted to be in my business. And I was right! Working with my VAs has allowed me to do what I am best at, which has allowed me to bring in plenty of income to pay them and myself.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “How do you work with a VA?” And importantly, “How do you work it so you are extra profitable with a VA?” Well, I talked my own VA, Rebekah, into teaching a class with me tomorrow night to tell you.
We’re both excited because this class is specifically designed for coaches, consultants, speakers, and other heart-centered service-based entrepreneurs. And it’s also for other VAs who want to know the magic formula to find your most fabulous clients.
As for me, much to Rebekah’s relief, this year I am developing systems, process and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for my business. I’ve made it my theme for the year. That means writing down schedules for everything and sticking to them. Like when I’ll be blogging.
SO now, I invite you to do a couple of things:
1. Visit http://WinningBusinessRelationships.com now to see the invitation video we created for you.
2. Comment below about what areas you need better systems in and what systems you have in place that are working for you. (I need all the help & suggestions I can get!)
Wow! The response I’ve been getting to my 4th quarter challenge has been amazing! Yay for you if you’re joining me by publicly announcing that “you’re in” on my previous blog post or if you’re silently following along. Whatever you do… just take some action and git ‘er done!!
Today I’m sharing with you a strategy I want us to use to help keep focus and get more done — possibly in less time. I call it my 15 Minute Sprint.
Now I will share with you, this idea is not mine entirely, although I did grab the hashtag for Twitter . If you’re following me on Twitter you’ll see where I announce I’m getting ready for a #15MinSprint. And then when to begin.
Here are the simple rules:
- Grab a timer. I use my iPhone because I always have it with me. You can use a kitchen timer, your cell phone, whatever is handy — set it for 15 minutes.
- Turn off ALL distractions. During this 15 minutes you are to focus on 1 TASK ONLY!! That’s it. Just the one. That means no email, no Tweetdeck (I know who you are!), no phone calls. FOCUS on your 1 project. I mean, really, it’s only 15 minutes. The world can wait.
- Be accountable. Share with us here on the blog that you’re doing your #15MinSprint. Or share with your Twitter followers. I’ll be creating a special column for #15MinSprint-ers so I can track for you and cheer you on!
- Plan only 3 #15MinSprint sessions per hour. Why? Because you need to take a break occasionally. We work at home for goodness sakes! Get a cuppa tea or coffee, read your email, tweet, chit chat with a girlfriend, throw in a load of laundry… whatever you want to do. But don’t plan more than 3 #15MinSprint sessions per hour. Trust me. With those 3 — in 2 hours you’ll get done more than you have in a day other times!
- Organize Your Day. As you look at your list of to-dos prioritize what you need to get done and then make sure you do those things. Have no more than 3-5 “need to dos” for the day. Then add an extra “would be nice to do” — something like cleaning out your inbox, filing, sorting thru a pile on your desk, etc. Even if you don’t get the full task done, you’ll be amazed what can happen with just 15 minutes!
Ok– so those are the rules. Simple, right? I wrote this post in during a #15MinSprint. What will you do with yours? Comment below & go go go!!!
Here in the Chicago area the sun is shining and it’s a cool brisk Monday morning. October has arrived in full gorgeous soon to be multi-colored force!
For business owners that means it’s the final quarter of 2009.
As I look at my never-ending to-do list and all the things that need my attention I found myself wondering where to start. Do you ever get that same feeling?
If you’re like me, you have a to-do list a mile long— but there are other thing mental to-dos that somehow keep getting passed up day after day.
So during this final quarter of 2009 I decided — I’m not waiting until 2010 to make some positive changes in my life that will affect my productivity and move my business forward.
I decided to act now. And I thought I’d invite you to join me. Then as January 1, 2010, arrives we’ll be set to hit the proverbial ground running!
We’ll be working on things like basic organization, getting a handle on finances, laser-focusing on our messages, and finding ways to repurpose what we may already have to better serve those in our professional communities. I’ll be sharing the same resources and tips I’ll be using all along the way.
What does this have to do with communication or public speaking? Simple. When you focus on improving yourself and moving your business and life forward, you send the message to yourself and those around you that you are serious about your success. You clear the space — both mental and physical — to allow other possibilities and beneficial relationships to develop that will propel you toward your goals.
What’s my motivation? Easy. I need some accountibility. If I tell you I’m going to do something, you may know me well enough by now to know if I promise you something I’m gonna make it happen.
Plus, sometimes working on your own can be a lonely enterprise. It’s awesome when you can create a connection with someone or a community and move forward together.
I’ll be posting here regularly about my progress and looking to hear how you’re doing as well. There is no charge to follow along… I’m doing this for me as well as for you to motivate and inspire us both to further greatness.
If you’d like more direct help from me, I invite you to consider joining my Communication Success Network just for the next 3 months. Then each week during our group chats we can support each other more directly — along with everyone in the group. Plus you’ll get direct coaching from me, as well as all kinds of other cool bonuses.
So tell me now… are you up for the challenge and serious about your success? Comment below & throw your hat into the success ring with me!!
As I write this I am in the process of multiple projects.
Now I know, you may be thinking, “But Felicia, I heard you’re supposed to focus on 1 thing at a time to be the most successful?”
That advice is only partially correct.
You see, just because I have several major projects happening at once doesn’t mean my focus is split. In fact, I’m able to focus even more clearly on on task at a time, allowing me to get the projects done. How? Read on.
I know as a small business owner or micro business if it’s just you, there are A LOT of tasks to keep up with. So how do you stay productive and focused with so much on your plate at one time? And how in the world can you get it all done?
With a little help.
Right now as I write this, my ezine is being prepared to go out this morning and I’m in the process of a major re-launch of a program I created from scratch. Yet, I’m writing this blog post confidently knowing the other work is getting done. Because I have help from 2 fabulous Virtual Assistants, Lisa Wells and Rebekah Zobel Jones. Both are members of an organization called International Virtual Assistants Association, a group of dedicated administrative professionals whose sole task in their business is to help you with yours.
Pretty cool, right?
You can have the same secret weapon I do — and find your own highly qualified VA to help you with your specific needs by simply going to www.IVAA.org and completing a Request for Proposal (RFP). Likely within minutes you’ll have emails from VAs ready and able to do the tasks you need them to do.
Here are some of the tasks I have my VAs do for me, either regularly or as special projects both now and in the past:
- format & send my bi-weekly ezine Creating Connections
- manage my calendar and appointments
- send email reminders of appointments and events to my clients and group coaching members
- upload new files to my website
- format & upload sales pages to my website
- manage my shopping carts
- manage my affiliate programs
- deal with website tech issues such as hosting and URL management
- respond to email inquiries for affiliate promotion requests, appointment requests, etc.
- send me regular reports and updates on my various projects and provide me with a to-do list based on those projects
- handle customer service and technical issues
- maintain my website to keep it current
- manage my books
- handle all my travel details & create itineraries for when I travel
- format and create pdf files for various teleseminars
- format & create order forms for speaking events
- create and revise powerpoint presentations
- I could go on & on!
What that all means is in the middle of a super busy week I can take the time to write on my blog, Tweet, talk to clients, or any other number of tasks I’d rather be doing. Talk about a win-win situation!
IVAA.org is THE place to find someone to help you. Oh– and my budget for my VAs? One works 5 hours per month and the other is 10 hours per month. As you can see, because they are experts in what they do, it doesn’t take them long to do what needs to get done.
So now you know… my “secret weapon” isn’t a secret at all. It’s getting help from experts who can get the job done!