Confidence Waning?

Confidence Waning? Meet Rachel.

Growing up, my mom used to tell people when I’d be looking in the mirror analyzing my crooked nose “She’s not conceited, she’s convinced”. Little did she know I was tearing my appearance apart. That “confidence” was actually self doubt, but no one knew it. Mom didn’t know any better, only that I sat perched on our bathroom counter endlessly staring and smiling and turning my head one way or another.

I’m pretty lucky that I can put on an alter ego like nobody’s business and be “on” when I need to. It’s a learned skill, perfected over time when I had to fill a role bigger than I was.

It’s not always the healthiest choice, but it’s served me well many times.

Authentic confidence appeared something others were born with, that I had to fake my way through. Whether it be a job interview, or a first date –  I never felt quite authentic about who I was. As an adult, I straddled the fence between cursing entrepreneur and conservative christian. Sometimes, it felt as though I didn’t fit.

Second guessing each decision –  whether what to wear after trying on outfit #42 or if I should put on the red lipstick or the mauve. I didn’t want to feel like a fraud, and honestly, I thought I was in most situations.
So, how does a scared little “grown up” girl afraid that no one will like her build a wildly successful business in just a few years when I had the confidence of a peanut? I’ll share with you the three mindset shifts I have to continuously revisit to move from terrified to triumphant in a second…

But first, a story. I was invited to speak at an event in Vegas, last minute – and when you’re asked to speak on stage in Vegas, you don’t ever say no. Unless it conflicts with values people, then run! Thankfully, this did not.

Alas, I said “sure”  and proceeded to have the biggest case of anxiety known to man. “Go Confidently in the direction of your dreams” had nothing on me. I was headed straight for the donuts, instead. I didn’t know what to wear, what to say, how to act. I had fear for how people were going to receive me alongside the likes of Dan Martell, Melanie Duncan and even the founder of Ugg Boots. These were big time players and I was about to walk into a playground much more sophisticated than I thought I was. I was struggling to find any ounce of authentic confidence in me. Alter ego tools weren’t working and there wasn’t a mirror in sight that could convince me that everyone wasn’t staring at me calling me an overweight fraud.

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Enter… Rachel Luna. A fire cracker, Puerto Rican born Marine with enough confidence to fill the entire Pacific Ocean.

A woman who requires no validation, Rachel reminded me of three things you need to know when your confidence as an entrepreneur is waning…

  1. There are liars living in your head. That’s right. You may not have invited them in, but girl, they are there, and if you’re ever going to get this [enter your dream here] to take flight, you have to kick those liars out.
  2. There is not a scenario in this world that you can’t navigate. Will you stumble? Yes. Will you survive? Yes. Should you let your baby ego get bruised? Nope. Carry on, Soldier.
  3. Marketing and shiny messaging don’t make you a better you. YOU need to become a better you, and that starts with figuring out what the exact next steps you need to take are, to grow a business and a life you actually believe in. No fraud necessary.

So, I walked that room and proclaimed it as my own. I prayed silently that God would show up and calm my rapidly beating heart so I didn’t drop dead on the walk up to the stage. I chose that I would embrace this opportunity and not take the easy way out. I was facing fears, confidently. And it felt real. I couldn’t have got there without Rachel that day.

So….what happened during my talk? Oh, the worst things ever…

Wardrobe malfunctions. Broken Microphones, buzzing speakers, and nerves for days. Did I survive? Yes. Will I ever speak on stage again? Heck yes.

I learned that I do fit in. That the lies in our heads are bigger only there, in our minds. Not in reality. I embraced that I do have a place in this space and that I can “do you” with more confidence than I ever imagined when armed with the right tools. Rachel thankfully showed up at the right time to remind me.

Rachel teaches all about confidence in her course Confident Entrepreneur Academy and it’s a brilliant program. I’m re-working through the modules, getting my head on straight and leaning into who I was made to be, instead of fighting the desire to be someone else.
And you can, too. To learn more about Rachel and her program, click here. No Affiliate Links necessary. Check it out, and join me to becoming a CONFIDENT Entrepreneur ready to take on your world. Crooked nose, red lipstick, and all.

Worth A Thousand Words

You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The little phrase has never felt so true until just last week.

Recently, I’ve been working on rebranding my business. I love my logo, my pictures and everything that has lead me to where I am today. However, as we grow, we have to refine what we have.

Through all of the website changes, mood boards and copy that comes along with rebranding, there is one little culprit that has haunted me… HEADSHOTS!

I’m all about taking pictures of my kids and other people… maybe the occasional selfie with someone famous, but heaven help me when I need to have my picture taken. Not only do I have to face that I’m not behind the camera, now I’m going to plaster it on my website, in articles and any podcast that interviews me? Oh man…It’s a big freaking deal!

Last week, I made a trip out of state to meet with a brand photographer. I have a few take-aways from my experience that I hope will help you out when it’s your turn to smile for the camera!

Full disclosure, this was my second attempt at getting great photos. Much more money than I ever wanted to spend and lots of time and frustration later, I have finally arrived at images I’m proud to plaster all over the interwebs.

Worth A Thousand Words
#1 Hire professionals. Real ones.

My first photo shoot was a disaster. I was trying to listen to “professionals” that told me what to wear, where I needed to be for the shoot to ensure a “global feel” for my business, and as a result I made poor choices out of alignment with who I am. I’m heavier than I’d like to be right now, and I was very timid about having photos taken. I relied on “pros” to ensure I’d end up with shots I was proud of, and well, the first go-round, that didn’t happen. The second time, I worked with true professionals in their craft, Annie Marie Photography and Branding Expert Kelly Lucente, of ReTool Marketing and came away with some sweet shots. A similar experience happened with our web design.  (I’ll save the website debacle for another day, but let me tell you – it’s been painful – and expensive to learn that working with people who claim to be professional and have integrity, often don’t. Trust your gut. Always)

#2: Be You

There is only one you. Tell the world! I have a tattoo that is special to me. I don’t want to cover it up, I want it featured in some photos. It’s the baseline for all that I believe, so why not show it off?! What sets you apart? Funky hair, cool glasses, a piece of jewelry that’s special to you? Find out what it is and use it.

#3: Be comfortable

I should preface this by saying that in a few of my shots, I wore some AMAZING shoes. Normally, I’m not a high heel girl, but gosh, they’re pretty! While I did wear these gorgeous shoes for a short, short time, I also dressed comfortably. Branding isn’t about selling something that you aren’t. I’m a jeans and comfy shirt kind of gal. So, what did I wear? Jeans and some super cute sweaters. While it’s important to look nice, be comfortable. It makes the long photo session much easier! I was talked into believing I had to wear bright colors, and be flashy. I’m not flashy. I’m down to earth and really the kind of gal that wants to sit across a table and have coffee with you while we talk business and sales funnels!

#4: Change is good

This whole time, I’ve been nervous to share this new look with the world. I love to scuba dive. Give me the ocean and I’ll stay there for days. Give me a new logo and I’m petrified to share it! Just the other night, I was sent a sample of my site. Can I tell you something? It’s beautiful! Every hesitation that I had over colors, logos and everything in between was washed away. (See how I’m building anticipation for my new site… clever, eh!)

#5: Get a support system

It’s important to have people in your corner that will give you good and thoughtful advice. I don’t want a bunch of “yes” people. I want people on my team that will tell me what needs to change. I was told that the logo I wanted was “too safe”. I was hesitant, but trusted my team and went for it. Looking back, I’m so glad I listened to someone else. I had to put down the fears I had about going in a disruptive direction to my market, and after I saw it all coming together, wholy moly, it’s lovely.
What your website, logos and headshots say about you can be incredibly valuable. It truly does say a thousand words before a visitor has read a word.

Above all else, be sure that your brand reflects you. Not the version of you that you think the world wants to see, but the authentic you. If you’ve got horror stories to share, let me know! (I felt quite alone during this mess) and, be bold and share the successes too. Small wins help those of us who are in the thick right now know there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Stop Missing The Mark

I know I’ve been blasting, and even rapid-firing, promotional text for Todd Herman’s 90-Day-Year program. I’m one of those people who gets really excited when something works really well for me, especially after I spent so much time searching for a solution.

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I’ve shared what my struggles were, and when I was looking for an answer, I wasn’t really sure what I was even looking for. That’s part of why Todd’s 90-day program took me by surprise. How could I accomplish more in 90 days than I had been able to achieve in years? I’m glad I was curious enough to dig in deep and find out.

All I knew going in was I was continually missing my mark. Time and time again, I was falling short of my goals, my aspirations, and my bottom line. I couldn’t pinpoint where my mark was off. Was I setting the wrong mark? Was I working incorrectly, and that’s why I kept missing my mark? Did I have an unrealistic idea of what a mark even was?

Maybe it’s because he comes from the world of Olympic Sport and Fortune 100 Business where “the dramatics’ are pretty much the norm. Whatever the reason, Todd is really dialing up the drama on this one.

On Wednesday, December 16th (two days from now!) at 1pm EST, Todd is hosting a special LIVE webinar.

Before you go on thinking that this will simply be a live ‘rehashing” of everything we’ve already covered, giving you glimpses inside the 90 Day Year Business Achievement Masterclass Series, let me tell you…

That would be HUGE mistake.

Not only will Todd be breaking COMPLETELY new ground here (saving the best for last), he’ll also be revealing his craziest, most life-changing (literally) BONUS yet.

I won’t spoil the surprise.

But I will tell you this…

The new BONUS that Todd will be revealing is a special, step-by-step technique that he uses to get his athletic and business clients “into the zone” on command.

It’s a technique that allows you to essentially get out of your own way and fully embody the TOP PERFORMER within you who is capable of doing absolutely anything.

It’s pretty much the definition of a “Secret Edge”

And something you can reliably lean on anytime you get stuck on a task that “YOU” are not particularly up for:

>>> Making a sales call
>>> Hiring or firing a team member
>>> Writing an email or sales letter
>>> Launching a new ad campaign
>>> Meeting new partners or collaborators at a conference

Imagine being completely fearless in the face of the activities you used to cleverly avoid?

Yep. It’s that powerful.

You won’t find it ANYWHERE else. (the technique is 100% unique to Todd)

And the only way you can get access to it is by registering for the special 90 Day Year Live Webinar…

… and then staying till the very end for the big reveal.

As a fun aside, I’ll reveal a little secret: apparently those fancy glasses Todd rocks so well are actually a part of this technique

(hmmm… very interesting) I might invest in a cute pair of specs myself, now.

Register now to see the SECRET TECHNIQUE revealed LIVE

As an extra incentive, I want to share with you I’m told Todd will also open up the Q&A lines so you can ask your biggest questions about the 90 Day Year Program.

I’ve been on these calls with Todd before… He’s been a part of my (completely transformative) life for the better part of this last year. I can tell you he’s a straight shooter and is honest and direct in letting you know if you’re the right type of person to plug yourself into the 90 Day Year System and achieve jaw-dropping results in your business.

So if you’re on the fence…

Or even if you’ve already decided you’ll be joining me inside the program, but simply love the dramatics of a major announcement:

Then sign up now and watch LIVE as the curtain gets pulled back on perhaps the most powerful performance technique you’ll ever experience.

I’m getting my popcorn ready right now. It’s going to be that good of a reveal.

I only recommend products or services I have used myself and believe strongly in. As a result, I may receive a commission on products or services purchased through my links. 

Reaching Unparalleled Performance

You know when you see a celebrity you respect and admire, you get a little star-struck? Maybe their role in a particular film really resonated with you. Maybe their #1 single was really moving the first time you heard it over the radio. Maybe the book they wrote changed your life.

I feel a little star-struck when I get to interact with Todd Herman. And yes, you’ve heard me talk so much about him, but for good reason. When I really believe in something, it’s because I have concrete evidence of its value in my life. Todd’s 90-Day Year program is concrete for sure.

When I went from goal setting to goal surpassing, it was all the proof I needed to become a believer.

ReachingUnparalleledPerformance

I suspect this brand new framework Todd released, is the missing link between goal setting and goal achievement. I was a little let down when Todd completely destroyed the myth that setting S.M.A.R.T goals was the best way to achieve success in life and business. It challenged my way of getting things done.

Even though my “success rate” with S.M.A.R.T. goals has historically been on par with whispering sweet nothings to the universe with my fingers crossed, I still needed something to lean on. So the second that paradigm crumbled, I was left disoriented. Disillusioned. Yet curious as to what his “master plan” would be to replace such an enduring paradigm.

The answer…..THIS. A second video.

In no uncertain language, Todd has just released THE model that millions of entrepreneurs will be using very shortly to achieve inevitable outcomes in their business…

… with more speed, focus and efficiency than ever before.

And in addition to building your own personal achievement engine (this isn’t passive viewing), he’ll also be filling your Evernote with how he stumbled upon the biological mechanism for entering into “flow states” and how with the help of his mentor Jim Rohn, turned it into a repeatable process that you can just as easily plug yourself into.

Also: What “Mental Toughness” really means in the world of high-performance and how you can instantly upgrade your mental game. Moving on to why simply scheduling your tasks isn’t enough to guarantee progress and the vital importance of constant measurement and feedback loops to keep you improving over time.

Watch it now…

And don’t forget to download the worksheets that will allow you to immediately implement Todd’s powerful O.P.P.framework.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of online marketers and self-help gurus who feed us “free” information that obliterate our current way of doing things… only to offer some overpriced “solution” to fix it.

That’s why I’m so grateful Todd released VIDEO 2 which helps us re-build a more powerful foundation for achieving inevitable success with our goals in 2016 and beyond.

Not too many coaches would have the chutzpah to stand before an audience of savvy (and skeptical) entrepreneurs and proclaim to have a framework that allows them to achieve a year’s worth of EPIC wins in just 90 days.

And it doesn’t matter how well researched, proven and battle-tested his methods are.

(as you’ll see in Video 3, Todd goes to EXTREME lengths to prove the efficacy of his systems).

Nor the fact that he’s spent two decades working in the trenches with Olympians, pro athletes and Fortune 100 CEO’S in the world’s most grueling competitive environments.

Regardless of ALL that, Todd has shown a crazy amount of courage to make his claims, knowing that they could easily trip up the BS detectors of a VERY smart audience.

But that’s the promise Todd has made us.

To help ambitious entrepreneurs like you and I reach levels of unparalleled performance while outgunning our competitors with the advanced achievement systems that allow us to rack up game-changing win after game-changing win.

And while the first two videos in his 90 Day Jumpstart Series gave us a strong peek into that possibility…

Video #3 (which Todd JUST released)… pulls back the curtain on the ENTIRE 90 Day Year System.

What Todd reveals is a robust, yet elegant 8-Phase Model that breeds 100% confidence that the results he promises are not only “possible”…

… but downright PROBABLE when armed with the right system.

He also aims his rockets at a bunch of widely popular “mindset” myths that his research proves do wayyyy more harm than good.

(If you’ve ever bought into the nonsense that you need to “go big”… or start with a meaningful “why” then you’ll want to watch this right now)

Anyway, you know the drill.

Don’t want to spoil any surprises for you.

After you catch up with video 2, go load up VIDEO #3, and come face to face with the advanced achievement system that will drive your success in 2016 and beyond.

I only recommend products or services I have used myself and believe strongly in. As a result, I may receive a commission on products or services purchased through my links. 

 

Change Your Business in 90 Days

When 2015 started, we were off and running to meet new goals for the year, grow our business, and work smarter than ever before. We hit the ground running, but before long, we had completely run out of steam.  We were playing catch up rather than getting ahead. I was falling into the same routines and traps I had worked so hard to get out of. That’s when we found Todd Herman.

He was a total game-changer. And he can transform your business like he helped ours. In my friend Todd Herman’s new 90 Day Year – Business Achievement Masterclass series, I guarantee you you’ll be thinking the same thing I did all those months ago: it couldn’t have come at a better time.

I won’t speak for you, but right now is the time of year when I like to cozy up with my sticky-notes and white board and start sketching out my big business goals for the coming year. Revenues to hit, products to create, team members to hire, new systems to implement – all of it! I always thought I had a pretty good handle on this goal setting thing.

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I always relied on the trusted S.M.A.R.T. goal formula that’s been the “gold standard” of the self-development industry for the last few decades. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? But I always felt like there was a piece missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it felt like a big piece, as year after year, the planning formula became less and less effective. I racked my brain – WHY?

Until I got to 7:38 of Todd’s breakthrough training video, and it completely DESTROYED everything I thought I knew about goal setting and achievement.

I realized everything I achieved in my business actually came in spite of any goals we’d set. Not actually because of them. Hiring my first full time employee. Hitting Revenue Goals that previously were on a vision board for 5 years from now.

Had I only approached my goals in this way from the beginning, I would have achieved MORE in FAR less time, AND I would have done so with more clarity, predictability, and fewer bags under my eyes. Hello – Mom of four children trying to run a business over here!

If I had known when 2015 started, I could change my business in 90 days, and continue to replicate that cycle of growth and short-term goal achievement, I would have had far fewer sleepless nights. Finding Todd mid-2015 set us on a course for permanent change in our business and I couldn’t be more grateful.

So if setting S.M.A.R.T goals has long drawn your suspicion, and you’re ready to ditch them in favor of a proven goal ACHIEVEMENT system,  join me in watching Todd’s first training video, and learn:

The 3 reasons why SMART goals are a surefire way to sabotage your success in 2016 (ever notice how millions of business owners set them, yet only a handful ever achieve something on a large scale?)

The hidden “leak” in your day-to-day routine that may be robbing you of up to 80% of your productive efficiency… and how to instantly patch it up for good.

The “Nike Paradox” and why the pervasive “just do it” business battlecry is short-sighted, and even disastrous, in helping you sustain long term, continual achievement.

The subtle differences between the OW and WOW mindsets, and how with just a few simple tweaks you can move from a self-sabotaging, anxiety-driven entrepreneur caught in the constant comparison trap (Hello! Sound familiar?!) to a confident, motivated, constantly-improving high performer.

Why setting goals beyond 90 days sucks all the air out of your motivation, leads to crippling procrastination, and goes against the way your brain is naturally wired. (say WHAT?! Totally true!)

This is the most proven and advanced achievement material previously hoarded by only the world’s highest performers.

And now, not only has Todd democratized it for the rest of us…

… but he’s presented it in super-elegant, easy to digest training.

Dive in now and take the very first step in becoming a top performer in your life and business.

You’ve always known me to share my tips and tricks for doing business better – and this is one of the best secrets I could share with you. Start next year on the right foot, and let Todd show you how to keep running.

P.S. In case you’re wondering…

Who’s Todd Herman:

Simply put, he’s the BEST, no-bs, Peak Performance Coach you’ve never heard of.

Why?

Because while all the “mindset gurus” and “self help starlets” were busy spamming your inbox with one pseudo-scientific claim after another…

… Todd was in the real world trenches, showing up day in and day out on the world’s most pressure-packed stages, coaching professional athletes, Olympians, Fortune 100 CEO’S, and high-level entrepreneurs on how to perform when the stakes are highest.

He’s dug into the science… and even brought on third-party Harvard researchers to independently validate the claims of his systems.

All in a singular effort to make YOUR success in 2016 quite simply… inevitable.

Here’s your first step in making that happen.

 

Because I believe in Todd and his teaching so much – I want you to experience it too. By clicking on the links in this or any post on priorityva.com, I may receive a commission on purchases made.   *this post contains affiliate links*

Why We Use Teamwork (And Love It)

I’m not just talking about the phrase as a cliche, though teamwork as a principle and philosophy really is the best way to get ahead in business. I’m actually talking about the program app called Teamwork. It’s a brilliant idea and a brilliant product. We’ve started using it at Priority VA and I’m excited to share some of its special features with you today.

Teamwork

There are several time-management and task-management programs out there, but in our time utilizing Teamwork, I’d say we’ve found the butter for our project-management bread.

Teamwork goes well beyond the standard task or to-do list. It allows projects to be assigned to team members, with a deadline date assigned, just like most other programs. It also allows far more transparency, however. Project owners can log their time directly from the project list on the specific task(s) they’re working on. This allows their clients and/or other team members to see how project time is being utilized, and how involved a project really is.

We’ll be using this feature for sure, to monitor the time of our VAs so our clients can see exactly what their budgeted time goes toward, and we have the ability to recommend an increase in VA hours if need be, to ensure the client is getting everything accomplished in their business as efficiently and effectively as possible.

If a client thinks a project will only take an hour, simply because they’re not aware of the behind-the-scenes effort it takes to accomplish it, Teamwork lays it all out in the form of logged time, milestones met, and a detailed log of tasks accomplished or left undone in a certain time-frame.

Once tasks or projects are marked complete, they don’t go away. They’re moved to a searchable field where they can be pulled up later. Want to see what your team spent time completing last week? Pull it up on the “everything” tab, and have a look.

It is an incredible resource not only for our internal team at Priority VA, but for our clients as well. If clients don’t have a software they’re already using for time and task management, we’ve got a solution for them. They can host a project on our Teamwork program, and watch it unfold from every aspect, start to finish.

Another great feature about Teamwork, is the capability it has to integrate with cool programs like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. It’s not a stand-alone product, but works well to integrate with other programs, and more are being added all the time. If you’ve been working on a project in Google Drive, upload it to Teamwork and let the magic happen from one central spot.

The dashboard is not only a place to see all projects at-a-glance, but it’s where we’ve pinned our mission and goals for our business. When I log in, not only can I see what everyone is working on, but I’m reminded immediately why we’re doing what we do every day. The message isn’t there solely for my benefit, either. Everyone on my team who logs in sees it first thing. There’s no better method to inspiring ourselves than to have the visible reminder at the top of our screen every day.

It’s absolutely mobile, as well. I’ve got it on my iPhone and can pop into the virtual office at any time, no matter where I am. If I get a call while I’m out supporting my local coffee shop (because it’s all about supporting them, and not my caffeine habit), I can log in and view Teamwork with the push of an icon. I can add notes or change details without having to be tied to my computer, or having to write down notes on paper I’ll forget to look at later once I’m home.

Teamwork could (and has, for us) absolutely transform how tasks and time are tracked, managed, and carried through to completion. We dove in head first and have adopted it as our go-to management program. We’re making sure all of our VAs know how to use it, are logging in, and reaping the benefits it offers.

It’s simple to navigate, entirely user-friendly, and one of the best switches we’ve made to date.

If you’re looking for a powerful, non-overbearing program to help you keep track of your to-dos, calendar, and deadlines, look no further than Teamwork.


(Please note this is an affiliate link that will allow you to purchase the specific level of service you desire from Teamwork.)

On-The-Job Training in a Virtual World

Are you the only person who knows how to do what you do? And are those tasks and responsibilities becoming so great in number, you’re losing sight of why you set out to chase this business dream to begin with?

I hear you, partner. Loud and clear. That was my own struggle with being a VA, and needing VAs of my own to help me grow my business. How would I train them in, and show them everything that was in my head?

On-The-Job Training in a Virtual World

Most of us – if we get hit by a bus tomorrow – will leave those we work with in a big lurch as far as how to carry on the day-to-day. On-the-job training, even and especially in the virtual world, is a MUST. So how can you do it? If you’re not in the same office (or state!) how can you train someone in on the procedures that are floating around in your subconscious?

Have no fear, my friends. I’m going to lay down some on-the-job training techniques you can start using today, to make sure your knowledge vault is safely placed in the brains of your colleagues. Or…something like that.

1. Record It

My favorite training tool is the screen capture. I’m crazy super enthusiastic about creating a learning environment for my team (and my clients) that is kinesthetic. We all learn differently, so creating videos for my team is a great way for me to address several different types of learning. Viewers hear my voice, see my screen and what I’m doing, and then I also document the process with written instructions, so those who need to print off a checklist, can.

Those who just need to “see” me doing a specific task can do that by watching the video. We, as team leaders, need to remember our teams – and therefore, our businesses – are comprised of all kinds of different types of learners. We need to be sure we know how our team members best receive communication, and give them the information in the way they need it (not necessarily in the way we need to get it out there).

2. (Pro-Tip) Put Your Best to the Test

If you’ve built out your team and have a “ninja” (or “unicorn”) on your hands, let them test-drive what you’ve just shown them. They’ll not only document the heck of the system while they’re testing it, but they’ll probably find faster, more efficient ways to implement the workflow you have in mind.

3. Make Time

Be sure to set aside some training time. A 15-minute screen share (that can easily be done through Skype or Zoom) can save you hours of back-and-forth emails. Don’t neglect the value of real time. Working virtually is fantastic, but sometimes there is no replacement for actual face-to-face communication. Hop on a webcam call and talk it out!

4. Incentivize!

Give your team a reason to want to learn. Yes, people – pay your team! If you’re creating a new system, and especially if your team hasn’t ever heard of the process, program, or software, don’t be cheap. Pay them to learn it. They will be more engaged in your training, knowing you care enough to pay them for their time.

If your team doesn’t have time to learn, their implementation of whatever the process is will take far longer. Not to mention, it will cost you more money. If your team doesn’t know how to use the system you’ve implemented, you run the risk of lower productivity, lower engagement (from them trying to self-teach the process), and lower morale from frustration or burnout.

Finally, here’s a tried-and-true method to teaching any new skill or system:

  1. EXPLAIN the expected outcome (what will be learned).
  2. SHOW how something is done.
  3. Trust your team to DO it.
  4. REVIEW how they did it.

What have you done to teach your virtual team your processes and programs?

Exploring The Freelancing Frontier

So much of our life is structured around the corporate world. We school for corporate jobs, we choose our careers from corporate fields, and we plan our day around rush hour traffic.

Until we feel that surge of crazy within us that says, “there’s got to be something different!” and we chase after it. We pursue building our own business. Freelancing. Working on our own terms.

Explore

Being an entrepreneur (freelancer, independent contractor – I’m speaking to all of us, no matter what we call ourselves!) is an adventure like no other. Sometimes we can feel pretty alone, or out there, left to wander and discover what works on our own. We may be the only ones we know of offering certain services or implementing certain tactics, and it’s easy to feel a little lost.

Taking the leap from the known and structured world of the corporate world to start blazing your own trail in the freelancing market can be the scariest move you’ll ever make in your life. But it can also be the most rewarding. You can’t let fear get in the way of your future. Sure, you might fail – but what is failure, really? Just a way to learn new ways that work, right?

Even when you go into the entrepreneurial world knowing what you’re after and how you’re going to get there, sometimes the journey can turn out not at all how we expected.

The other day, I came across this “Freelancer’s Guide to the Galaxy” and you know – it might have helped me remember my “why” when I first got started in the virtual business market. It’s a clever map on the areas you’ll encounter as you start down this freelancing business path, all the way to your finish line at retirement.

I love this guide because along with being cute and creative, it also really hits home. Yes, there ARE times I’m going to panic or second-guess my route. There ARE time I’m going to feel totally disconnected or isolated from the rest of the world because I don’t have to leave my house to get my work done. There have been times I’ve felt the tempting call back into the corporate world! But gee-whiz, I know these are all stages of the process in entrepreneurship. This guide marks it all out beautifully.

I’m happy to share it with you today – along with a special pro-tip. As you’re in the trenches of your work world, you’re doing it to make money. And making money means getting paid by people to do your work. And getting paid by people to do your work needs you should have an invoicing system. Enter Freshbooks.

Check out FreshBooks and see how they can transform your invoicing systems for your business. I’m no accountant, but I feel like if I were, I’d love my clients a little more for having systems like Freshbooks in place.

Share your own galaxy discoveries with us! Let us know what your navigation of this new frontier has taught you.

FreshBooks_GuideToTheGalaxy

The Secret Behind Systems

We talk a lot about working smarter, not harder. Being more productive over being problematic. It doesn’t only make life easier for you, but for everyone you work (and live) with. You have to find the tips and tricks that work best for you, but you also have to be using them.

Claiming systems is great, but only giving voice to them rather than implementing them is a losing battle. If you broke your leg and you were given the choice of talking about a cast or wearing one, you’d obviously choose to wear one so you could heal. If your business is in disarray (or even if you’re simply trying to prevent it from getting that way), you’re going to need to use certain systems rather than just think about having some.

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So what can you as a business owner do in the way of functional systems? You’ll especially need some in place when you have other people working for or with you. But where do you start? How do you develop a workflow? As always, I’m so glad you asked!

A system is basically a roadmap for anyone working in or joining your organization, to figure out how you like things done, and to replicate outcomes you’d create for yourself, often at a fraction of the time (and cost) it would take to do it yourself. This speeds up growth and gives you tremendous traction in growing  your business.

1. Get it Documented

The first thing any entrepreneur needs to do is document their work days. This can be done in a physical or electronic notebook or journal, but the key to effective outsourcing and delegating is documenting how you spend your time during the day. I like to make four columns and label them “Love to do”, “Hate to do”, “Don’t know how to do”, and “Don’t have time to do”.

You’ll quickly see there are things in your business you love to do and you should absolutely work to keep doing those things yourself. The things you don’t know how to do should be delegated or outsourced first, followed by the things you hate to do.

Getting rid of those tasks will free you up to do the things you “don’t have time to do”, which are generally tasks you also enjoy, or the “money making tasks” in your business that sometimes get moved to the back burner when you’re working in other areas of the business.

2. Make it Accessible

After you’ve nailed down your list of tasks, you’ve got to get them recorded somewhere. Personally, I recommend a task management software or a systems databank so anyone on your team can access what they need to keep the ball moving downfield. I recommend online tools like Asana, Trello, TeamWork, Wrike, or Basecamp to help you document not only your tasks, but the systems that need to happen to complete them.

Don’t skimp on this process. Be detailed. Once your tasks and processes are documented correctly, you can easily assign anything you don’t need to be messing with to your VA.

3. Calibrate

The next system you’ll need to implement is what I like to call “calibration calls”. Weekly (or daily, if necessary) calls or check-ins with your team simply to calibrate. Just like anything else we want to maintain and keep running, we need to calibrate our teams. It’s a great way to explain and measure expectations and adjust, realign, or correct anything that’s off. What tasks are people working on and what are the roadblocks to completion?

If you commit to regular calibration calls, you’ll soon see that often, the roadblocks in your business, are actually you. Using your team to bring this to light will not only help you become a better leader, but it will help you gauge where your time is being spent. If you’re posting on Instagram instead of writing copy you said you’d get your team for the sales page, it’s easily identified, and an even easier fix. Make adjustments from there.

No one is exempt during a calibration call. Everyone on the team has a say and a responsibility to do what they say they are going to do. This removes any roadblocks in the way of the team’s success.

4. Run the Relay

I’ve seen the best systemization with my clients and VAs in the form of passing the baton. Think in terms of your business being a relay race. You have a firm destination in mind: your finish line. For you, it might be launching a blog or your first online course. You know where you’re headed. You’re off and running, and you’ve got the baton.

You write the blog, you have the opt-in content ready to go, you have the concept and content for your course mapped out and it’s time to hand the baton (all of that information and detail) to your VA. They take it off your hands and are off and running. They publish the blog, design your opt-in, and set up your autoresponder email series.

We’ve all seen the videos of the runner who trips and falls and another runner helps them up, running alongside them to the finish line. That’s what your VA is to your business. You will fall. You’re running fast toward your goal, and there will be mistakes. You’ll trip up. You may even scrape a little skin and you’ll most certainly have your days you’ll want to burst into tears (or bust out the wine bottle) and give up.

Your VA will be there to run alongside you, pick you up, throw your arm over their shoulder, and they’ll help carry you to whatever the finish line is in your business. Maybe it’s your first podcast episode or hosting your first webinar. Your VA is there to take the baton for you, help you get where you’re going (even if they have to drag you!), and get you geared up for your next race.

Having the right systems in place is only part of the solution. You need the right people on your team, too. Get in touch with me today and I can help you accomplish both.

3 Realistic Stress-Busters

I’ll admit it. I was stressed out. It wasn’t the first time, and I know it won’t be the last, but I was having a day. You know the kind – where everything that can go wrong does, and the encouragement offered up from others includes things you probably need to hear, but really don’t have time (or mental energy) to listen to?

I was way past my wit’s end; I had left that behind in someone’s morning cereal bowl as I rushed around to get everyone fed and where they needed to be on time. This isn’t what I signed up for, I thought.

I did what I had to do to try to nip my stress in the bud. I Googled it. I came across this article, and I’m not gonna lie, reading it stressed me out even more. So many steps! So much planning ahead! So many new habits to implement!

What we need, people, is a true-blue realistic approach to busting stress when it comes up. And it will come up. Stress is a part of life, and I don’t have time to incorporate 40-bajillion new, “better” habits to make my stress disappear. I need something that works now, that I can do in the moment.

Here’s my list of things we can do – right away! – to calm our nerves and lower our blood pressure.

Stress-Busters

1. Breathe Deep

Do it again. Don’t just take in one deep breath and let it out in an exasperated sigh. (Busted…) Take a minimum of 4 good, full, all-the-way-to-the-bottom-of-your-lungs kind of breaths.

If you’re making yourself dizzy, you’re breathing too fast. Slow down. Count to 10 in between breaths if you have to. If you’re still super-tense when you get to 4 breaths, take a couple more.

Breathing deep does amazing things for your physical and mental health, especially in a stressful situation. It oxygenates your blood, relaxes your muscles, and clears your head.

Try it. Right now. Sit up straight, close your eyes, and take a slow, deep breath.

There. Feels good, doesn’t it?

2. Walk Away

Don’t abandon anything, just take a step back, stroll around the block (or your coffee table a few times), and put some of your energy that was fueling your stress into fueling your movement.

They say movement is amazing, and I guess I can’t argue. I’m at my desk for many, many hours during the week, and as comfortable as my chair is, I have to admit it boosts my spirits when I get up and walk around for a while.

If something comes across my computer screen that immediately sends my sensors into stress-mode, sitting there staring at it makes me want to pull my hair out. Getting up and walking away, clearing my head (and breathing deep), and putting a little bit of temporary distance between myself and the situation, makes a world of difference.

If it’s raining outside, or if you’re docked for any amount of time you’re not at your desk, do a little stretching instead. If you have glass walls in your office, get people talking while they watch you do lunges around your workspace. Might as well make it interesting for them, and spread the love of stress-reduction by way of entertainment.

Sometimes I pray whatever went wrong will miraculously fix itself if I get up and disappear for a little while. That usually doesn’t happen, but because I gave myself and stress-situation a little space, I usually come back better prepared to handle it.

3. Fill ‘Er Up

Every article you’ll Google about stress reduction will tell you to eat right and choose healthy snacks. That’s fantastic if you’ve thought ahead, had a moment to do some grocery shopping in the middle of your stressful situation, or if you’re already predisposed to healthy snacks. Good for you.

For the rest of us, I don’t want to add personal shame to stress. I don’t have carrot sticks at any given moment of my week, and I almost NEVER have them when stuff goes down and I’m tasked with solving the world’s problems. Sneaky carrots…

What I do have, or can get my hands on easily, is some water and cashews. The cashews come with M&Ms, chocolate chips, and peanuts in the bag, but hey – it’s what I’ve got. Trail mix is survival food.

Drink water, make the best food choices you can with what you have readily available and accessible, and give your body some fuel. Stress saps a ton of energy, and your body will need something to run on other than the fumes stress leaves behind.


There you have it, folks. Three simple, realistic steps to change your life and how you manage stress. Weigh in on our little chat here – I’d love to hear if these three things work for bringing calm back to your chaos!