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2019: Year of Intentional Action

2019: Year of Intentional Action

In January 2019 I vowed to commit to taking action in my business and my personal life.  At first, I started the first few months great. Yet like most of us, I started to lose some of my enthusiasm as difficult decisions and disappointments occurred. I struggled with making decisions for fear of making the wrong one. Yet I realized that taking action is the only way  I will make progress so I did. Yes, we all worry about making the wrong decisions, losing face, losing money or other important but not relevant things that keep us up late at night. But in order to have a different life, we must do things differently. I know how it turns out when I don’t take action, so I decided to find out what happens when I do. 

I was in Florida for the first quarter of the year visiting family so it was an ideal situation for stepping outside of my comfort zone. I networked with new people as well as those I had not seen in a long time. I spent time communicating to others how I solved problems by providing online business support for business owners as well as forming new relationships.

In the past, I had not done much networking so taking this step was huge for me. You might be asking yourself, what does she mean by “take action”?  By this, I mean making immediate decisions quickly not haphazardly, with confidence. In the past, I was slow to make decisions or worse over-analyzed the ones I did make. So 2019 was a year of decision making and choosing to take action. 

It’s December and because of this commitment to taking action, I have worked with more clients, earned more income and collaborated with other business owners on projects that generated income for all. Was this easy? No. Did I make mistakes? Yes! I never said I would take perfectly intentional action. Stepping outside of the zone of the ordinary to move toward extraordinary takes action and commitment. Perfection is not necessary when there is consistent action. 

I have been in business for 5 years this month. 5 years!!  Yet, I can honestly say the most amazing transformations have occurred in the last 2 years. By choosing to invest in my business and taking action, I have transformed my business into a company. What is my word for 2020? Check out the blog next month to find out…

Are you ready to transform your business? Start with investing in yourself. What are the tools and resources you need for your business to succeed?

Schedule a call today to find out how you can transform your business in Italy for 2020. 

Consultation:  Level Up Italy Business Retreat

https://vppconsultation.as.me/

Saving Time with Planning and Systems

We recently returned home from a trip to Florida. It was an extended stay and I loved it.  I was there to spend time with family and care for a family member having surgery. Sometimes I get questions about my flexible schedule and how it impacts my business.

The best thing about working for yourself is you are the boss. You set your own hours, you determine where and how you will work. It is also the worst thing about working for yourself. Have you ever have an unorganized boss?  Early in my career, I did. You have your projects to work on and then out of the blue you are given random assignments that need to be completed TODAY! It’s not fun, yet everyday business owners behave like “ the unorganized boss”. By not planning and setting up your day with intention and focus we are not getting the most out of our time.

I was able to travel to another state for 4 months because of planning but mostly because of systems implemented to be efficient and using a work plan daily. We all have those occasional things “pop up”.  Family emergencies, last minute client work and new business opportunities can throw a wrench in any schedule. They can all be accommodated with minimum headaches and drama if you are organized and efficient in your business.

Where do you start with getting organized? How you plan your week is key. What are your goals for the year, the month? This is important when planning your weekly activities. What is the first thing you do in your day? How do you start your work? Your number one task should be to create a work plan.

Did you say you don’t have a work plan?  It is necessary to plan your week to stay on track. Your marketing strategy leads to a plan of action. How do we reach goals without planning? It’s like a budget for your time.

I had a week in February when I decided I was going to work on my business “freestyle”.

I figured I have been doing this a few years, I know what needs to happen.  (Note: This did not include client work.) So on Monday after my client work was done at 11 a.m and was ready to get to work. It took me two hours to decide what I would work on. Yes, it took me two hours, with lots of overthinking and analyzing, finally ending in overwhelm. Full disclosure, I am that person that analyzes almost every decision. Three days later I gave up and created a plan to catch up on the work I missed, :-).

It is intentional planning and organized processes that enable me to work from any location.  Knowing what your goals are for your business will enable you to think strategically about what you will be focused on each day, each week, each year. I know planning and creating systems for your business can be time-consuming and it is not sexy, but it is productive. For the solo entrepreneur, systems can be the difference between working 60 hour weeks and 20 hour weeks.

There’s so much involved in creating a business that the idea of adding one more thing may seem daunting. Start by creating the processes and systems that will save you the most time and keep you organized like the client onboarding or billing/ invoicing and work in the others as you go. You may feel overwhelmed just thinking about it, start with baby steps. Go through one task and write down the steps as you work through it. Documenting a system does not have to be fancy. You can even record short explainer videos from your desktop instead of creating checklists or other word documents. It is up to you how you set up your systems. You can systemize one task at a time.

Before you get started, think about where you would like to save the most time and be more efficient. Is it client care or even lead generation? An efficient system for your business will prepare you for growth as well. As you get more clients you will start to think about getting support or growing the business. This is where systems in your business are key. By implementing systems in your business you will gain a high-level view of the areas of your business where you will benefit from support as well as how to create your strategy for growth.

If you are ready to start creating your systems, signup here for my a free checklist to help you get started.   http://bit.ly/2Wnrl0W

How to Systematize Your Financial Processes from Invoicing to Tax Preparation

Are you working hard as a coach or consultant, getting new clients, serving the current ones yet you still feel like finding the time to take control of your money is impossible.

Invoices don’t get sent on time. Past due balances are ignored. Taxes aren’t done. And maybe worst of all, you have dozens of recurring payments that go out automatically each month, yet you have no idea what they are or if you are using the programs you pay for.

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, for a lot of “successful” businesses this is reality. When you work at home, and you’re accountable to only yourself, it’s easy to let these little things slide until, like an avalanche, they have a devastating effect on your business.

The good news is, cleaning it up is easy, when you take the time to put some trusted systems in place.

Start with your billing. Sign up for (and use) a system such as FreshBooks or Harvest, which will automate your timekeeping and produce an invoice with a single click of a button. Then put your billing day on your calendar as an unbreakable appointment.

Log into your timekeeping app, generate your invoices, and click send. You’ll be done in a jiffy. Not only that, but most billing systems automatically send follow-up messages for unpaid invoices, so you don’t have to worry about tracking down those slow pays.

For your expenses, use a single system. That might be PayPal or a dedicated credit card or even your business checking account. Whatever it is, be sure it has a reporting feature that will allow you to send monthly statements to your accountant. At the end of every month, bundle that up with your sales report and your receipts, and send it off. When tax time rolls around, you’ll be sitting back with your feet up while everyone else scrambles to find documents and update their accounting system.

If you do your own taxes (kudos to you!) then look for tools that will integrate easily. For example, you can download a QuickBooks file right from PayPal for super-fast reconciliation at the end of every month. That alone will save you hours of “doing the books.”

Just putting these two simple systems in place can easily save you 10+ hours per month, but the even larger benefit is that the money work will get done. And what that will do for your cash flow is priceless.

Automation in your Business- Email Marketing

Every solo business owner wants efficient and productive ways to manage their business. There are many ways to save time in your business and one of the best ways is to use automation. From booking appointments to managing your schedule to sending invoices, automation will not only save you time, but can help you make money while you sleep. Basically, automation tools allow systems and processes that you have put in place to run smoothly and will ensure that important steps are not missed; automation can save time and can increase your business’ productivity.

Another area where you can automate your business is your email marketing. You are probably familiar with email marketing on the consumer side of things. You have probably signed up for a variety of email lists. Whether it’s a store in your local neighborhood, or an online business, if you get emails from a business, you’re on their list.

So, let’s view it from the business side of things. You have most likely heard of the saying “the money is in the list,” and this is true. You need a list to build your online business and this is one way to constantly build your relationships with your clients and prospects.

Email Marketing can be your number one marketing tool. It is one of the foundations of online marketing, and it’s rooted in direct marketing. Email marketing is very cost-effective, and it’s easy to do!  Plus, Email Marketing helps you build a relationship with your customers and potential customers, as well as helping you create passive income.

You would set up an autoresponder communicating with your prospects and by delivering valuable content over time you have a very effective way to build trust with your prospects and make money while you sleep.  Sometimes, all you need to do is just remind people that you exist and how you can help them.

Success Secrets for 2018

In the next few weeks I will be posting secrets to success in 2018. The secrets are a compilation of tips and tricks from successful business people all over the world.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” -Alexander Graham Bell

Secret 1: Figure out What You Want to Do and Why

You must know what you want to do, be and have before you can be successful.  So many people want success but feel lost. They know they want to earn more money and they try a variety of business models, but they don’t have the clarity to move forward.

The world’s most successful people know exactly what they’re doing and where they’re going. These individuals have a clear plan of action and will stop at nothing to make success happen. If you want to be successful, you must do the same. You must plan, stay on track, and adjust course where necessary to do even better.

In addition to knowing what you want to do, you need to know why you’re doing it.  A strong why is a foundation for success.  Without a why, the things that derail us, the bad days when nothing is going right, will leave us overwhelmed and discouraged. A strong why will keep you going when you’re tired, when you’re frustrated, when you’re wondering if it’s all worth it, because the answer is always the reason for moving forward.

What are you doing in your business right now? Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in a slump and you’re ready for some major changes. Maybe you have no idea— you buy various products or work with coaches that are supposed to help you to become successful with the “latest” fad or trend in business, but it hasn’t happened for you yet.

It’s probably because what you’re doing right now isn’t truly in alignment with who you are. You’re dabbling in things; desperately clinging to the idea that one of the “things” is going to help you become successful. But the difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is that they aren’t waiting for a product or a method to make them successful.

They have the mindset that they are the ones who hold the success. They turn the method into a success, not the other way around.

Do you have that mindset? If not a switch in mindset can have amazing results for you.

Consider Your Values

I strongly believe that you’ll be a more successful if you align your business with your value system. You must believe in what you’re doing. Yes, you can be successful even if you don’t follow your passions and even if it’s not exactly in line with who you are as a person, but if everything is in alignment, it will be much easier, enjoyable and much more satisfying.

So, what are your values? Do you feel lost if you aren’t in an area of business that helps people? Do you value creativity and innovation? Are you an artist at heart? These things are closely related to your value systems and what you’re naturally drawn to. Consider this when you plan and shift your business in 2018.