Every week I've been adding new private coaching clients to my monthly calendar. I can actually hear the relief in their voice when we start working together. I wanted to take a quick moment and explain what coaching can do for you and your business.
1. One-on-one coaching gives you personal attention so we can focus on exactly what you're going through.
2. One-on-one coaching tailors our time exactly to your personality and learning style.
3. One-on-one coaching gives you tangible, actionable steps to move your business in the right direction.
If you're tired of wondering if you're doing the right thing, it's time to get a business coach on the phone so you can confidently grow your business!
Which one are you?
Ramp up Rhonda:
You're at the beginning stages of your business. Sometimes you have so many ideas that you're not quite sure where to focus next. You're making money, but not enough. Your biggest challenge is needing a strategy. You want to be sure you're headed in the next direction. You need a plan and you're tired of flying by the seat of your pants. You know you're meant to do something big. You just need a little help getting there.
Next Level Natalie:
You've been in business for awhile now and you have people working for you. You're contemplating changing the name of your business, moving to a bigger location, or really turning up the volume on your marketing so you can get to the next level. Your challenges are having enough time to get it all done. You need a plan and you need it fast. You're ready to really grow, but you want to be sure you're doing everything at the right time and in the right order. You know that with a few strategic moves, your business could really take off.
Benefits of Never Alone Coaching:
1. Monthly one-on-one 30 minute calls. We'll lay out a concrete plan so you know exactly what to focus on next.
2. Personality and strengths assessment, to really understand how you're wired and how this affects the growth of your business. Together, we'll discover how to turn up the volume on what you do best so you can LOVE your business.
3. Website assessment to fully optimize your online marketing approach. You'll receive a video with feedback about your website--what's working, what's not, and what we recommend to get your business moving in the right direction.
4. SEO assessment to ensure your business is showing up online in a big way. We'll give you suggestions on what you need to improve to maximize your online presence.
5. Facebook Page assesssment to unlock the potential of Facebook for growing your business. You'll receive a personalized video with feedback about your Facebook Page so you can crack the code on marketing on Facebook.
6. 9 week Video Course to help you assess your systems. If you can create less stress, more sanity, and more systems at HOME, then you'll grow your business faster.
7. Self-paced journal to help you focus your vision and know exactly where you are headed next.
Is Never Alone Coaching right for you? Let's talk. Book a call HERE.
I have to admit that I was starting to feel a little depressed. I know Christmastime is supposed to be a happy time, but something was pulling me under more and more. I tried to do all my favorite things (reading, drinking coffee, etc) but nothing was helping. I finally realized that I was "gap-focused."
I was spending so much time lamenting what didn't get done this year that I was spiraling down into my own pit of despair. I forgot to acknowledge what went well and what we did accomplish. When I find myself doing this, I call it focusing on the gap. The gap that is between me and hitting the mark.
I really thought I had quit striving for perfectionism, but perfectionism rears its ugly head when I am least suspecting it. The truth is that I am very hard on myself. I have high standards and when I don't reach my own goals, I berate myself.
Tonight my mood turned around when I realized all the good things that happened in 2016. We reached our goal of 430 students at our music school. Our net income increased from 2015 to 2016. We helped to serve more clients than ever before with Never Alone Business Services. I finished writing my book, Happy Kids, Growing Biz.
Do you find yourself focusing on the gap? Do you forget to acknowledge your accomplishments and instead keep pushing pushing forward? If so, you're not alone. Most of us high-achieving business owners don't take the time to actually acknowledge the good things that we have accomplished.
Today, I'm going make a list of everything that was good about 2016. I encourage you to do the same. You may need to enlist the help of your spouse or your staff to help you remember.
Before you make your new goals for 2017, make sure you take a moment to remember what you got done this year. I guarantee it's more than you realize.
I'm cheering you on!
Dear busy business owner,
I know you're working so hard. Especially this time of year. You're buying gifts for your staff, you're making sure that everything gets purchased, you're overseeing the schedules, and you're making projections for 2017. The days are long and the hours are often never-ending.
You also get the priviledge of creating jobs and hiring amazing people. You see the smiles on your clients' faces and you get the joy of making a difference in the community.
And yet, sometimes it all still feels so small. Like maybe it doesn't really matter. Is this all worth it? Couldn't there be a bigger vision? A more glamorous mission?
I want you to know that what you do matters. Your company is your calling. It's a reflection of who you are and what you were created to do. No one is exactly like you. You bring your personality and your preferences and your flare into everything you do. Sometimes the difference you're making in the world feels so tiny. You're so aware that there are bigger things that need to be accomplished--people are fleeing war-torn countries, babies are dying, cancer is spreading. And yet. Listen to me. All you can do is be faithful in YOUR calling. You are exactly where you are for a reason and a purpose. You ARE making a difference in lives, and your efforts spread like a stone dropped in a pond. You may not ever see all the ripples that you are causing. But you are actually required to be faithful where you are and use the gifts and talents you've been given. Because, don't you see? If we all do that--if we all stay faithful to the calling we've been given--then it all works together! We all play our part. And that makes a bigger difference in the world than we could ever do alone.
Does your heart ache for a need? Do tears spring up in your eyes when you see how much is yet to be done in the world? Don't ignore those clues. Use that passion and ache to fuel your desire to grow your company. And then GIVE BACK. Start small. Even $25 makes a difference. But don't stop there. Give more.
This year, set a giving goal. Maybe it's 10% of your net revenue. Or 5% of your gross. Whatever you decide, your giving will increase as your company grows! This accomplishes a dual pupose: you will have a bigger goal outside of yourself and you will know that you are making a difference in the world. You will also have a bigger reason for growing your company and serving more people in 2017!
Don't look down on the work that you do. Don't resent where you've been planted. Instead, remember that you are exactly where you are supposed to do. What you do matters. I believe that with all my heart.
And I believe in YOU.
I was getting a haircut this week and my dear friend (and hair stylist) described a crazy day last week when she was running all over town to get to the bank, and then run to Target for groceries and batteries and dog food. I stared at her in disbelief. "Sweetheart," I said in love. "Why on earth are you wasting all that time?!"
"What do you mean?" she asked in exasperation.
"Honey, I NEVER go to Target for groceries or batteries. You need to order that stuff ONLINE!"
My dear friend is a busy business owner and mom of 4, just like me. She was running all over town getting ready to travel that week. I gave her some huge time-saving tips and I want to share those with you, too.
1. Whenever possible, do NOT go to the bank.
Get your checks automatically deposited into your accounts. You can even take a picture of your checks to be deposited and upload them to your bank. (If your bank doesn't provide this, maybe you need a different bank.) Avoid the bank like the plague and it will save you so much time!! (In fact, as much as humanly possible, get rid of ALL checks! You should be using Square to take payments on site, have clients on auto pay. Use anything except checks that need to be deposited or can be lost or put through the wash. Not that I know anything about that, wink wink.)
2. Order your groceries online.
You do not have time that be subjected to the marketing powers of Target or Walmart or Cub. It's so easy to be sucked into their deals and their shiny displays. Get what YOU need and stick to your list! Every Sunday night, I place an order at www.cobornsdelivers.com. I found a day that matches their delivery schedule and I get my groceries delivered to my door before noon on Monday morning. Some of my friends place an order at Walmart and go drive to the location and they'll load up your car! It doesn't cost anything extra, but it can save you SO much time and stress and effort.
HUGE tip: Go into your previous orders and re-order items that you buy every week. Honestly? This is probably 75% of your weekly order anyway! Don't reinvent the wheel. Just get those basics again.
Also-- do NOT scroll through everything they offer. Use the search bar to find your favorite items and then add them to your cart!
3. Get Amazon Prime.
My friend told me that she had been meaning to get Prime from Amazon (free two day shipping). "What is stopping you?!?" I asked. It's only $99 per year!! (And sometimes you can find a deal on that price!) Amazon Prime means never searching Target for batteries or light bulbs again. Just order them. Amazon Prime means getting the gray sweatpants delivered to your HOUSE and saves you hours of searching, when school or activities send you an email informing you that little Sally needs gray pants for the school play. I even have toilet paper and paper towels on autoship. I'll always need those items so they might as well show up on my doorstep every 90 days without me having to think about it.
You do NOT need to waste your time running errands! You have important things to do!
Here's what you have to get right so you can eliminate the crazy:
1. Get organized.
Are you jumping in the car every time you run out of something (like cat food)? I love to keep lists in my phone and when I'm almost out of something, I add it to my list. I also set reminders so I remember to check my stock of frequently used items (lightbulbs, batteries, napkins, shampoo, etc.). I like to place one order per month for these types of non-perishable things.
2. Plan ahead.
Know the delivery schedule for your online grocery service and place the order on the same day every week. Set reminders in your phone to prompt you to place your grocery order. I know you have a million things to think about--so don't rely on memory to ensure you get this done. Once a month, have a reminder to order the miscellaneous items from Amazon. Take inventory in your house (like you would in a brick and mortar store) so you kknow what you need to order!
3. Find apps to keep you organized.
I store all my Christmas and birthday gift lists in Evernote. I can access my lists from my phone or computer and search lists from past years so I remember what I gave and what names I had. When I shop on Amazon, I write down what I ordered and how much I spent so I don't have to add it to the list after it arrives. My hubby and I love to use MyGroceries, an app for tracking the groceries we need. We can both add items as we run out of items and then we both know what we need.
Is technology holding you back?
We talk to so many people who just hate technology. I get it. Things are constantly changing, and if it's just not your cup of tea, it can be intimidating and frustrating. However, just like learning anything new, you CAN keep trying. Don't let your limiting belief hold you back. Are you hearing a voice in your head that is saying, "I'll never learn this stuff. I'm just not good at technology."?
Turn those statements around and say, "I can learn this. I can try one thing at a time. I won't give up."
Attitude is truly everything. If you believe you can achieve it, you will!
Technology has the ability to make your life simpler so you can get back to what you LOVE to do. Driving around, getting distracted, and wasting time is not improving your business or your family life. If you could free up time to have an evening with your familiy, wouldn't that be worth learning a new skill?
You don't have to do everything at once. What is one change that could you make to free up some time (especially during the busy holiday season)?
How can you take one tiny baby step and make a huge difference in your life? Try ordering groceries. Or picking them up curbside. Or using Amazon Prime. I think you'll be delighted with the results when you just stop, breathe, and readjust your steps. You don't have to overhaul your life-- you just have to make one small change! And it could make a huge difference in your stress levels! Get your peace back this Christmas season.
I'm cheering you on.
If you're a creative person, like me, you probably spent hours choosing your business name. You probably asked all your friends and relatives, took a poll, made lists, doodled, brainstormed, agonized, called your best friend, agonized some more and FINALLY the big reveal! You created a logo and the perfect font and announced your beautiful business name! And then people gave you "the look." The look that said, "I don't get it. What do you do? What's your business?"
Oh beautiful creative people. WE know the meaning behind all the words and the beautiful journey we took to arrive at this amazing name. But other people don't. Other people (yes, sad, but true) are logical and literal (but don't get down on them too much--they do our bookkeeping and we love them!). They just don't understand our amazing creative ways. (That's why they need us in their lives! To make all the beauty appear!) The problem is when our clients are actually the more left-brained, logical type. They are the ones that need to understand our brand, our logo, and our business name, and yet that's who we are confusing!
Story time: When I named my company a million years ago (OK, 20 years ago. But feels like a million years ago) I agonized over the name. I had lists and ideas and doodles--the whole works. I finally landed on Signature School of Music. Because duh--time signatures and key signatures and just like our signature, we are all unique and individuals. Except all that inference was lost on everyone. So I was continually asked, "Why Signature? What does that mean?" So I would explain and expound they would look at me like, "OK, yeah. Sure." So I finally resorted to saying, "A teacher of mine suggested it. I liked it." Response: "Oh."
Fast forward 15 years. It's time to get serious about growing my little music school. I'm tired of make ZERO money. I'm tired of working super hard but never moving forward. So I hire a business coach. And he -GASP- suggests I change my name to the name of my town. Here's the dialogue that ensues in my (freaking out) mind:
"I can't! I'm so attached! I love my name. I've always been Signature School of Music. I live in ROGERS. Rogers is a terrible name for a music school! I can't do it. I won't do it. I can't do it." Oh the drama.
After a year or two of hemming and hawing, I finally decided that I wanted to be THE music school in my town. I wanted the town to have ownership of my business. I wanted my clients to definitively know where my business is located. I wanted the surrounding areas to know where my school is located. So I did it. I filed a DBA (doing business as) and changed my business name to Rogers School of Music.
No one died. I didn't flip out. I cried a little (and saved the sign in my garage for the next 3 years) but you know what happened? My business GREW. People started exclaiming, "I didn't even know this school was here!" (What?? With all my advertising, you didn't know I existed? But I change my name and NOW you notice??)
Yep. The fall that I changed my name (and made a big to-do about it on Facebook and in our newsletters and emails and even got in the paper and invited the Chamber of Commerce to do a ribbon cutting) we got more noticed than ever before. And we GREW. And I've never looked back. No one (except friends in other parts of the United States) asks me why my company is named Rogers School of Music. Nope. It's clear. It's not clever, it's not beautiful, but it's clear and I've gotten so many new clients because of it!
If I can do it, you can too. Sure, you'll cry a little. But then it won't matter because you'll be so happy about all your new business. (And people will find you more easily online because your city name is in your business name! Boom!)
When I finally threw away my old sign that I had stored in the garage for 3 years, I chuckled a little. Besides the day that it came down, I've never looked back. I've never regretted the decision. I only have one regret--I should have done it sooner.
I love organizing. And I love finding tools that will make running my life and business easier. I know every business has very specific, unique needs and it really depends on what you need, but here are a few that I just had to share!
I love Formstack for building forms. I place the HTML directly into my website so it looks like a seamless part of my site. I use it to build forms for Request Info forms, employee and contractor applications, and front desk communication. Formstack will email you the data (you just tell it which email addresses to send the data to) and the info is also stored online in a database. Super helpful for my business!
I use this alllll the time. Literally every single day. Because I am always interviewing and hiring contractors to work for me, I have to keep track of a million resumes, interview notes, availability notes, etc. In Formstack, I can keep notes and easily search for what I am looking for in the search bar. (And even though I'm a pretty organized person, I don't have to be organzied in Evernote! I just throw my notes in there and I can easily search for what I need to find later!)
Evernote is synchronized with my computer and my phone, so I can get to those notes from where ever I am. I can also share specific notebooks with my staff, so they can access the notes of mine that I need them to. My front desk staff has a notebook to track client notes, waiting lists, cleaning lists, etc. We literally use it for a million things.
For my home life, I store recipes in Evernote, homeschool notes about my kids, Christmas gift lists, and so much more.
My paper calendar goes everywhere with me. It's not too fancy, but I love that the hours in the day are listed, so I can easily put in appointments. The To Do list on the bottom of every day keeps me on track so I know what I should be prioritizing and doing for that day.
My Google calendar is essential for keeping my whole family on track. I prefer paper, but my husband is a digital-only guy. Every Sunday night, I make sure our calendars are the same (adding appointments onto my paper calendar or vice versa). When someone emails me a date, I can click and BOOM it's added to my Google Calendar. I especially love the reminders on my Google calendar. My phone will buzz or beep telling me I have a phone call or that I have to leave to take my kids somewhere (you can build in travel time for driving--AWESOME).
I know everyone has favorite tools for running their business and their life. And I love discovering new ones! If you have more to add to this list, please do tell!
I was supposed to be walking out the door. Instead, I slumped to the ground, my back against the door of the bathroom. The door was firmly locked and I could hear my kids scrambling to find their shoes and backpacks and lunches. Tears dripped down my face.
I was at a breaking point. How could I go on like this?
So much swirling in my brain. So many different areas of life to juggle and now it felt like all those balls had fallen the floor. I had dropped them all.
How on earth was I supposed to do everything? How could I keep up with the intensity of raising 4 little kids and also grow my little company? My whole life felt like one step forward, two steps back. I could never get ahead.
On the bathroom floor, I cried out desperately to God for help. "You have to help me figure this out!" Choking out a sob, I let the tears flow. I had to release all the emotions that threatened to strangle me. After a few minutes on my knees, I wiped away my tears, checked my makeup in the mirror, and bravely walked out into the chaos of the entryway. "Time to go!" my voice sang in a false bravado. As I drove, I gripped the steering wheel and continued to pray for answers. "I can't keep living like this," I muttered under my breath. "You have to help me."
Change doesn't come immediately. It's like the changing of the fall colors--you see glimpses, but it's a slow process. Little by little, I started to turn the ship around. I got a steady babysitter to come once a week so I could work ON my business, and not just IN it. I focused on marketing and advertising--so I could get more clients in the door. I spent hours and hours selecting the right staff members that I could trust and train to take tasks off my plate. I put firm boundaries in place and gently said "no" to activities and phone calls so I could focus what I should be doing. (I even emailed my family and closest friends and let them know my schedule--so they could help me stick to it!) I assigned tasks to specific days. Monday was clean the house day and spend time with the kids. Tuesday was staff meeting and client work. Wednesday was dedicated to working on marketing and my website. Thursday was meetings and getting big tasks done to move my business forward. Friday was family day.
Slowly my life transformed. I saw glimmers of hope. I didn't feel so stressed. I made a choice to be fully present with my children and fully engaged in work when the allotted time for work came around. As a result, my company grew. My children were happier. I was more at peace. (And when work ideas popped into my head while I was with my kids, I just jotted them down and saved it for later.)
I committed to dating my spouse regularly. We made it a priority to have a meal together and hang out and laugh and talk one-on-one at least once a week. Joy crept back into my life.
That breaking point was 5 years ago. I'll never forget that day in the bathroom. Something shifted inside of me and I brought my business to God like never before. He was faithful to give me ideas and tools and wisdom and guidance. Every day I still have to come to Him for help. There's no way I can do this on my own. I need coaches and friends and books, and I never stop learning.
If you're feeling completely alone and overwhelmed, reach out for help.
We can help you with your marketing and systems and time management. You can join our coaching program and finally move forward out of this mess. Simply making the decision that something has to change can shift your life in a way you never knew was possible. Just reply to this or click here (https://www.neveralonebusinessservices.com/get-to-know-you.html) to set up a time to talk. Together, we'll figure out a plan. You don't have to travel this road alone--there are others who want to encourage and help you. You really don't have to do it all alone. Let's talk soon. ((hugs))
Do you have a deep aching for something that's missing in your life? Maybe it's traveling or moving to a bigger house. Maybe you wish you could just jump in your car and drive and drive and never come back.
I get it.
There was a time in my life that I was so tempted to just leave everything behind and go start over somewhere.
If you feel frustrated and even angry, LISTEN to those emotions. Those are cues that things need to change. Use that deep determination to accomplish your goals. Do the next right thing. The next task. Put one foot in front of the other. Persevere. Don't give up.
No, there's not a magic pill to fix everything.
Goals are accomplished by just doing what you can, with what you have, where you are.
I know you know this, but we all need encouragement and a reminder sometimes.
Did you know? Teddy Roosevelt's men were in the middle of war when they requested more men! More ammunition! More supplies! He replied with the now-famous words, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." I love that. We all have tools right in front of us. Opportunities. Skills and talents. Your big dreams are slightly disconnected to your next right step. You NEED the big goals, yes, but you need to know the next 3 tiny steps that you need to take on your journey. Look down. What's right in front of you? What can you do right now today? What are you procrastinating on? What are you avoiding? Go do it!!
Maybe you juggling everything on your own. Are you getting burned out from working all the time?
The only way you'll ever get to the next level is if you delegate, simplify, automate, or eliminate certain tasks. You simply can't continue on at this pace. You can't do it all alone. Reach out for help. (Yes, it takes time to get help for that project, or to hire that assistant or nanny. But it's WORTH IT.)
Use your deep aching and longing for change to create a determination that you WILL succeed. And you will. Use your frustration and anger to propel you forward! It's there for a reason! You are MADE to do the things you long for! Those desires are in there for a reason.
I believe in you! You can do this. One foot in front of the other.
Just one step at at time.
Yesterday I made my morning coffee and reached beyond my favorite red coffee cups to one in the back. It was chipped, but held memories of the years when my kids were all babies and I was working SO HARD to grow my company. The coffee cup was a gift from a Mary Kay lady--it has motivating quotes all around the mug and even on the inside. For a couple years, I used that cup every day and as I sipped my coffee, I reflected on the words: "If it's to bee, it's up to me."
Now, I believe in God and He definitely guides and helps me, and of course my husband helps me, too. But ultimately, I am responsible for the actions in my life. I am the only one that can choose the direction I am headed. I believe in personal accountability, and during those years when I had to cut coupons for everything and make meals stretch so I could stay in our grocery budget, I knew it was MY responsibility to sneak in work during every nap and every evening when the kids were (finally) in bed so I could keep moving my business in the right direction.
Yesterday, my eyes welled up with tears as I held that coffee cup and remembered how far I've come. I'm so thankful for the years when I pushed HARD to grow my business. I worked to multiply myself by hiring staff, I studied marketing and copywriting to improve my ads, I studied web-based tools to make my systems more powerful and streamlined, and I never quit believing that my little side business could explode into supporting our family and allow us to travel multiple times a year.
If you feel alone, we are here to support you. If you are hustling every day to grow your company, I'm telling you--I understand!
Here's how we can help.
We can improve your website so it converts visitors into customers.
We can improve your web presence so when people Google you, they find you.
We can create print materials that mirror your website so you have something to put in the mail when prospects call or email you.
Or, we can coach you through the process while you make all theses improvements on your own. Yes, the success of your company is in YOUR hands. But you do not have to walk alone. We've been in your shoes. We know how crazy busy you are. Just email or call us and we'll help you get to the next level faster.
Now, I have to go get some more coffee.
We are moving this weekend to a new home. Although it sounds crazy, this will be my 20th move!
My parents moved every year of my childhood until I was 10. Then we stayed in one house for an epic 6 years! (No, we weren't in the military. No, we weren't running from the government.) Chris and I moved 5 times in the first 5 years of our marriage, and throw in a couple more houses, and it equals 20. Crazy? Yes, but I can't imagine life any other way! The good news is I have very solidified memories from specific years because I just picture the house we lived in at the time!
We have been in the country for the last 3 and a half years, but have decided we are "indoor cats." We love looking outside, but we love being inside more. Let's face it--we own two businesses and homeschool our kids. We aren't gardening or raising chickens.
We needed more square footage and an office that Chris and I can share on the main level of the house, so we found a house 5 miles away that is on a pond and has an amazing 3 season porch. (Yay for an amazing morning coffee spot!) I've been praying and thinking about moving for over 6 months now, but when we started seriously looking, it all came together very quickly--in just a few short weeks.
I'm not freaking out (too much) about moving, because I've done it so many times. And every time, I've learned little tips and tricks. Like labeling every box--for which room it should go in in the new house. Packing every closet full of boxes, so they aren't in our way. Filling the garage with boxes. Carefully wrapping breakables with extra kitchen towels. I've created a system for moving--checklists and procedures--and we do the same thing every time. Even my husband and kids know the drill! We are all on the same page and we know exactly what to do, in which order.
It can be the same in your business!
You can learn from your mistakes and you improve the procedure as you go. When something goes wrong, you can take the opportunity to say, "How can we improve this process?" instead of just putting out fires all day long.
Carve out time to have a "brain dump." Literally write or type out the process for any given task in your business. How do you enroll a new client? List every step. If different staff members play a role in the process, write their name next to that step. How do you order products? Write out every single step. Know what? You're building an operations manual!
Last Sunday, I worked at the front desk of our music school. I haven't worked the desk in over a year! But when I walked in, I knew exactly what to do, in which order (unlock, turn off security system, turn on lights, turn on computer, answer emails and voicemails, etc) because I created the system and I've trained many staff members on how to follow it! Plus, every step of the process is documented in the binder on the desk. There are daily checklists for cleaning and I could easily see what needed to be done on that day.
Does it take time to create these lists? Yes. Is it tedious and exhausting? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!!!
Creating systems will turn your life around. You don't have to spend all your time putting out fires. You can have staff that knows exactly what to do every day and what to do in case of any emergency. It can all be written down with procedures and checklists!
People tell me, "I don't want to be bound by lists. I'm creative! I want to be free!" I get it. I do. But here's the thing--when you create your lists and procedures, you can actually be more free to do what you love. You can have more creativity because you aren't running around like a chicken with no head! Plus--you are probably the creative one, but your staff probably LOVES structure and procedures. So do it for them.
You don't need to move 20 times like me. I understand that I'm special. =) But DO take time to write down your systems. You'll enjoy your business a lot more and your staff will thank you!
If you're not already following me on Facebook, do it now! (www.facebook.com/jenhickle1) You'll see our moving progress in live time! This weekend is the big move! Wish us luck! (How many times have YOU moved? Do I hold the record for the most moves??)
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!