How to Squelch Self-Sabotage

August 26, 2015 by  
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Mom entrepreneurs know that in this crazy life we’ve made for ourselves we have to be ever ready and willing to adapt, rethink, redirect, and commit, as decisions are made, projects shift, and offerings change. We set the best goals, don’t we? But if we’re not careful, despite our best intentions, we can get stuck—in the old ways, down that familiar path—and our most common obstacle? That girl in the mirror!

Self-sabotage. We all do it. So let’s set ourselves up for success by learning how to identify it and thwart it so we can get out of our own way and continue in the direction we want for ourselves.

Be honest.

Are you setting goals that you’re really passionate about?

All too often we set goals because we think we should. We do what others want us to do. We make plans based on what the world says “success” means. Ladies, that is not powerful. And when we set goals around anything other than what matters most to us, what we want for ourselves, and what we’re really passionate about, self-sabotage is sure to follow. Give yourself permission to set goals that bring you happiness and make you feel successful.

Are the rules you’ve set for yourself to achieve your goals too rigid?

Let’s be honest. Many of us entrepreneur types have at least a little bit of rebel in us, don’t we? We see a rule and we think, “But why?” and then promptly challenge it. This goes for the rules we set for ourselves as well, especially if they are unrealistic or excessively rigid. Rules are great and help us get where we want to go, but make sure the rules you set are serving you. Rules can be an unnecessary burden or they can be meaningful stepping-stones on the path you choose for yourself. You get to decide!

Are you talking bad about/to yourself?

“You are so lazy!” “Ugh, you should know better by now.” “Again? Really? When will you learn?” Girls, would we say these things to our children? Of course not! Then we shouldn’t be speaking to ourselves in this way. Setting goals is an intention of self-love. We make plans and have hope for our future because we care about ourselves. We need to speak to ourselves accordingly. Positive, encouraging, empowering, affirming words go so much farther than negative self-talk.

Be accountable.

We’re not made to go through this life alone, and the world of business is no exception. Be willing to be honest with a friend or partner you can trust. Share where you know you might engage in self-sabotage. Open up about what you need in order to avoid it or get you back on track when you fall into old habits or patterns. And be that accountability for someone else when they need it. We’re all in this together. A little honesty and accountability go a long way on this journey to success!

5 Things I’ve Learned Coaching Mompreneurs

August 14, 2015 by  
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A recent project has had me looking back at my years of clients (can you believe I’m a terrible record keeper?) and thinking about ways these women’s lives have changed after working with me. Now, don’t get me wrong—this is not about patting myself on the back. I can only ask the questions and get the wheels turning; each woman I work with has to come to the right conclusions for her and then take action. Sure, I help think through decisions and then add a layer of accountability, but when it comes to getting the work done? That’s for my clients to do!

As I’ve looked back, I’ve also realized some important lessons I’ve learned as I work with a variety of women in all stages of life who work in vastly different industries with different goals. That’s what I want to share with you today, so here they are:

  1. Everyone (especially mompreneurs) need to get clear about their priorities. This is EVERYTHING about success as a mom business owner. How will you know you’re “succeeding” if you don’t know what that looks like for you? (Shameless book plug: in Moms Mean Business we walk you through the process of identifying your priorities. Order it here!)
  2. Even now, most women need to let go of what success looks like for stereotypical entrepreneurs or even what the women themselves think their success should look like based on external factors. We are not twenty-somethings who are bootstrapping the next Facebook in our basement. We can’t work 60-80 hours per week fueled on Taco Bell and Red Bull. We also probably won’t have a picture-perfect Pinterest house and a perfect coif. We can’t be all the things to all the people. We define success for ourselves!
  3. After identifying priorities, we need to follow those to their most likely result and then be realistic about our expectations. If family, marriage, and business are your priorities, then sitting on other community committees and volunteering for other organizations may have to wait for another phase of life. Asking yourself: if these are my priorities, what kind of life will I have?
  4. Once we are clear about their version of success, we have to follow through with those priorities. Which is why finding out what those priorities really are is paramount to success. If you’re neglecting your business to volunteer for hours at your kids’ school, you’ll just end up resenting that time if copying worksheets is not one of your priorities. And vice versa: if your marriage is falling apart because you spend every evening working on your business, you’re going to be similarly unhappy if that marriage is one of your priorities.
  5. It is absolutely, 100% okay to ask for help. Whether it’s from coach, a friend, a mentor, a mental health professional, our family, whatever, asking for help is not weak. When you have a strong support team, you are better equipped for the many challenges of owning a business and having a family (or either of those on their own)! Asking for help does not mean you’re not cut out for the life you have or that you can’t do what you’ve set out to do. In fact, you won’t be able to do what you want without the right help. So circle the wagons and get some people around you who you can trust!

Conditions of Satisfaction—How, When, and Why to Say No

July 24, 2015 by  
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We mompreneurs, as we’re working hard to grow and develop our businesses, can sometimes slip into a pattern of saying yes to things that really don’t serve or work for us. In fact, we may even find ourselves signing clients or accepting projects that flat-out stress, drain, or overwhelm us… which can’t be good for us or our businesses! We say yes to these things for many reasons, many based on fear: fear that we may miss out on an opportunity, fear that no one else may ever hire us again, fear that we won’t have enough money, or fear that if we don’t say yes to absolutely everything our businesses will fail to grow. Well, let me tell you, ladies—fear is no way to grow a business!

So today I want to talk about the benefits of learning how, when, and why to say no. My hope for you is that you won’t operate out of fear, but from a place of strength, power, and worth, and it’s my belief that saying no, when appropriate, is an amazing tool to help you do just that.

It’s really all about what I call “conditions of satisfaction.” These are the things that bring you fulfillment, that make or break this business for you, that work for you, and that ultimately bring you satisfaction in your business, home, and life in general. These are your non-negotiables when it comes to what makes you happy, and these are what should drive your decision to say yes or no when an opportunity comes knocking at your door.

Here are some examples of how your conditions of satisfaction can help you know when to say no:

  • If working from home so you can be with your children and not have to put them in daycare is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job will require you to travel or work from a remote location.
  • If working with other mom entrepreneurs is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job will require you to work primarily with businessmen in corporate America.
  • If doing work that is meaningful and stimulating is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a job that bores you or conflicts with your conscience comes up.
  • If working only Monday through Friday during business hours is one of your conditions of satisfaction, it will be easy to say no when a project requires that you be available evenings or weekends.

Take time to nail down your conditions of satisfaction. They are different for everyone. There are no right or wrong answers here. But the point is: you get to choose what brings you satisfaction! You get to decide what is important to you, what you’re passionate about, and what makes you happy to be doing what you do. Those are the things by which to live your life, work your business, and help you decide when to say yes to the opportunities that move you in that direction and no to those that don’t.

30 Day Challenge: Note Writing

July 14, 2015 by  
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Recently, I took part in a 30 day running challenge. I ran at least 1 mile every day for a full 30 days. I’d never tried, let alone completed, a challenge like this before. The idea is that the further into the challenge you get, the less likely you are to break the streak. This is a common method for helping people make or break habits—in fact, there are a slew of apps you can download that simply track whether or not you completed a single task for the day.

Using this tactic, I’d like to challenge you to do something for the next 30 days:

Write and mail a handwritten card or note to a friend or old business contact. This is NOT a sales call. In fact, I want you to NOT mention business. Not even a “let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you out!” message. These notes should strictly be: I’ve been thinking about you, how are you? No business cards, no brochures. On Sunday, write the card and get it ready to send out, then mail it with your Monday card. Or, you can write out a week’s worth and mail them each day. You cannot, however, write out 30, plop them in the mail, and call it a day. You need to touch one of the cards every day. We’re making a habit here!

Why a card? Well, personally I’ve never been great with mail. Birthday cards, thank you notes, Christmas cards… all a challenge for me to remember. I’m more of a take-you-out-to-lunch or bake-you-a-tart kind of friend. But I love to get real mail, and I love to send it, when I remember. So, let’s all take some time and write out these cards and reconnect with some old friends and colleagues.

Are you ready for the challenge? Pop over to my Facebook page and comment on the challenge post to let us know you’re participating. We’ll keep you accountable with some check-ins.

Why Your Kids Need to Have Chores

July 10, 2015 by  
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We have a theme going this month—hopefully helping you get your kids lined up and organized for the summer. This includes schedules, chores, and hopefully imposing a little order on how your days go this summer. Typically, summer is a time of fly by the seat of your pants improvisation for moms and kids alike. Which is fine, sometimes. Many of us welcome the break from the rigidity of school year calendars, while some of us dread it. Or maybe we all fit in there in the middle somewhere. I know I do. However, one of the things I love about the summer is the flexibility to do with it what I want! And this summer is no exception.

My situation is probably a little different from many of you. My kids are older now (the youngest is 8), making it much easier for me to put them to work independently while I get things done. They can do a lot of helpful things around the house, too, lightening my housekeeping load and learning some life skills along the way! Which brings me to my main point today: kids need chores. They need responsibilities, even tiny ones (tiny people and tiny jobs). And the sooner you start them doing chores, the better—it becomes a part of their normal routine.

Here are some things to remember when giving kids chores:

  1. Set expectations. When the chore is to “straighten bedroom” tell them what that means. Be specific, and be ready to remind them (probably a couple of times) what your expectations are. Once they get the hang of a task, you won’t have to keep telling them what you mean when you assign them the task.
  2. Be realistic. A 6 year old will have different abilities than a 10 year old. His vacumming job is just not going to be like yours. Keep that in mind when you assign jobs and make sure the tasks are age-appropriate. (I have a list of jobs by age coming out in my next newsletter. Be sure you’re signed up!)
  3. Don’t redo the job. If your daughter worked hard to mop the kitchen floor, and you went behind her and redid it, how will she feel? Why would she try the next time she does a job if she knows you’re going to just do it yourself anyway? It can be tricky, especially if you are detail-oriented, but instead of redoing it, try this: “Great job honey! Let me show you a trick I’ve learned for next time you do it.”
  4. It’s not about you. If it were, you could just hire a cleaning crew and call it a day. Chores are about learning life skills, developing fine and gross motor skills, being part of the family, and learning to be responsible. Remember that is your main goal, especially when kids are younger and just learning to do a lot of the tasks.
  5. Keep it in perspective. This shouldn’t make or break your day. Sometimes, kids will pitch in, do the jobs, and be awesome. Sometimes, they will be jerks and you’ll have to nag them the whole day. Most days, they’ll fall somewhere in the middle. Just try to remember that it’s not the end of the world, it’s just chores, and you’ll all survive!

So that’s it! Kids can do a lot of chores and help you out, if you let them. They’ll also go off into the world knowing how to make a bed, do laundry, clean a kitchen, and take out the garbage. Not a bad deal when you think about it! How do you get your kids to do their chores? Weigh in on my Facebook page!

I Dare You!

June 10, 2015 by  
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We all love a good dare, don’t we? Remember when we were kids, how those simple words, often delivered with a smirk and a twinkle in the eye—“I dare you”—were all it took to bring us to action? Well, I’d like to challenge you with a little dare today. Feel free to let it take you back to the days when you just couldn’t resist. This is one dare that I believe has the power to change the course of your business and your life. Are you ready for it?

I dare you to reach out and connect with three of your past clients or customers today in a meaningful and authentic way.

What—you thought there would be more?

Okay, admittedly there is more to this dare than initially meets the eye, because this really is a loaded challenge if you’re paying attention.

In this age of social media, we connect with so many people on a daily (or even hourly) basis. But these connections are for the most part brief, shallow, and when you’re in business for yourself, ultimately with sales in mind. So when I say “reach out and connect,” I’m not talking about “liking” a status on Facebook; I’m not talking about re-tweeting something a past customer posted on Twitter; and I’m not talking about sending a canned sales proposition via email.

I’m talking about reaching out to someone you have lost touch with in a meaningful and authentic way. This could be a handwritten letter on beautiful stationary just to let someone know you’re thinking of them, a card that you take the time to choose just especially for that person, even a heartfelt, personal email to follow up on something you saw they were up to on Facebook lately. I’m talking about fostering real relationships just for the sake of fostering real relationships. I’m talking about staying connected to the world in an authentic way just because we are humans and that’s what we’re made to do. I’m talking about putting aside the business to be about the business of life… just because. No business card. No coupon. No call to action—just because.

As entrepreneurs, so much of our lives is automated. We have systems and processes in place for nearly everything we do. And that’s great and necessary and efficient. But today is a gift I’m giving you, should you choose to accept it. Today I dare you to just be a good human. Today I dare you to rekindle that little magical spark that happens when you reach out with genuine affection and a desire to just connect with another person in this great big automated world that we share. Did you take the dare?

Leave me a comment about your experiences. We can all use a little encouragement in this business of being human!

What Type of Business is Best for You?

May 22, 2015 by  
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What kind of business is best for you? Are you hearing me? Do you think about this? I think we all get to a point in life and business where we need to evaluate if what we are currently doing is what we need to continue to do, or if it’s time to move on to the next thing. Let’s take a look today at some helpful considerations when beginning to make that big decision, because as entrepreneurs, we are multifaceted, multitalented people; we can do anything! But what’s BEST?

  1. Your interests and passions. Each of us has “a thing.” That thing (or things) that we are just super passionate and lively about. What are you excited about? What do you get worked up about? What brings you joy? What animates you?
  2. Your skills, talents, and experience. Everybody is good at some things and not others. Make a list. What are you good at? What training do you have? What types of jobs have you held in the past? What types of activities do you do in your spare time?
  3. Your geographical preferences. Do you prefer to work from home in your jammies or do you like the commute-to-the-office concept? Is the type of work you’re most interested in confined to a specific community or locale, or can it be done virtually, worldwide? Do you have little kids at home, necessitating a home office, or are you free to travel or be away from home during the day?
  4. Your preferred business model. The sky is the limit here. Passive streams of income, in-person coaching, video trainings, group programs, product based storefronts—virtual or brick and mortar. Consider your personality, goals, and potential offerings. All these affect the type of business model that will ultimately be best for you.
  5. Your availability. How many hours per week do you want to work? How many CAN you work? Be honest about your lifestyle and the needs of your family at this stage in life. There is a time and a season for everything. Maybe you can give 15 hours per week or maybe you can dig deep and give 40. There is no wrong answer except that which doesn’t serve you.
  6. Your income requirements. This is absolutely up to you. What kind of business are you considering and what type of income is it able to generate, given your needs and availability? How much income do you need in order to make ends meet? Consider overhead and possible staffing needs, supplies, and last but not least, time.

These are just a few ways to evaluate what type of business may be best for you right now. Things change—we change—and because of that, sometimes our business needs to change as well. Change can be good. Take the time to discover what’s best for you!

Prioritizing Your Health

May 11, 2015 by  
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We hear it all the time. “You SHOULD prioritize your health.” “You SHOULD exercise.” “You SHOULD eat right.” Well, I’d like to propose that prioritizing your health is not at all about what you SHOULD do. It’s about what’s right for YOU—what you need, want, and works for your stage in life, business, and family. I think most of us do WANT to prioritize our health, at least to some degree or another; however, many things get in the way of putting that motivation into practice. Let’s address some of the most common issues that can present as challenges to putting ourselves first when it comes to our health.

What is the main obstacle to you making your health a priority?

  1. Work. If work is what’s keeping you from taking the time to take care of yourself, it’s time to make some boundaries. I think we can all agree that when it comes to work, especially as mom entrepreneurs, we could work 24/7 and still not run out of things to do. Make your schedule. Stick to it. When “work time” is over… it’s actually over! Feel free to move on to what’s next—time for family, time for hobbies, time for healthy meal prep, time for YOU!
  2. Family. If family is what’s keeping you from making your health a priority, it’s time to ask for help. Running a business is hard, especially when yourkids are young and depend on you for nearly everything. If you can’t afford a full time babysitter or daycare, or it’s just important to you to be available to your children, consider utilizing a “mother’s helper.” Pay a trustworthy pre-teen in the neighborhood a few dollars an hour to simply play with your kids for a little while so you can take a walk or pop in an exercise video or work on preparing a healthy dinner. Taking that well deserved break can make all the difference in your productivity and your health, both physical and mental!
  3. Busyness. If it feels like much of your day is occupied by shuttling kids, meeting with clients, busting out deadlines, it’s time to plan ahead. It can be challenging to take the time to eat well. When you’re in the car and your stomach is rumbling, that fast food “restaurant” at the next light is a very real temptation. When you’re chained to your desk and the clock is ticking, anything quick, from a box or a bag, may be your first instinct. But there are ways around that processed food trap. Try throwing an extra large smoothie together in the morning and drinking half for breakfast and the other half for a snack later. Have veggies and fruits cut up in the fridge, along with some healthful dipping options like hummus or yogurt dip. String cheese or nuts are handy options for portable snacks that pack a high protein punch to satisfy hunger on the go and keep the urge for junk at bay. A little creativity and a bit of planning is all it takes to set yourself up for success!

So wherever you are and whatever your biggest challenges to prioritizing your health, there are steps you can take to a healthier, happier you. Make a goal. Make it a small one. Make a change toward health because it’s important to you. You’re worth it!