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.
It's a simple fact: people want connection. They want to know a real, living, human being cares about them. This is such an easy, simple thing to implement into business or ministry, and yet most of us are missing the mark.
Through connection, you can grow your business with 3 simple systems: using your website, email, and Facebook. (Chances are, you’re already using these 3 things! Whoo hoo!)
The #1 mistake that 90% of websites make is not capturing the reader’s attention with BENEFITS for the reader on the home page. Why should people choose your business? What sets you apart from other businesses just like yours?
Home page rules
The average visit on a website is 1 minute! To make matters worse, between 21-79% of your readers only look at the first page they land on. They won’t even attempt to click through your other pages.
You have only seconds to grab the attention of your reader and give them the answers that they are seeking. Are they looking for pricing? Contact info? Directions? Information? Do you have the answers to THOSE questions on your front page?
If you have sentences like: “Thanks for stopping by our website. We hope you will browse around. Let us know if you don’t find what you are looking for” then you are WASTING an opportunity to connect with your audience! You need to GRAB your reader’s attention with a headline (or a question) that they are already asking.
If you have a very beautiful "cool" website without the pertinent information, you will frustrate your reader. If your website is not on a responsive theme, they may not be able to see anything because your site originally designed for a desktop computer. It’s hard to keep up with all the changing trends! If you haven’t updated your site in the last year or two, it's time for a redesign.
The right Pictures
Make sure you have pictures on the home page of your site! Your site should reflect your audience, so pick pictures that look like real people (not like fake models or stiff stock photos). Portray the clients you are trying to attract! The best thing you can do is take real pictures of your real clients!
Answer the questions they are asking
Make sure you have text on your home page. Answer your audience’s questions quickly and swiftly, and let them know why they should choose YOU.
Search engines love text (and can't "read" images with words on them) so this will help when users are searching for what you do.
Call to Action
The very last item on your home page should be a Call to Action. Do you want them to call? Stop by? Request more information? Make it clear. People are in a hurry and want to be told exactly what to do!
Next week we'll talk about email and Facebook!
I was the editor of our school newspaper in high school. It was supposed to be a rotating position, but right away it was clear that I was the one who loved editing, correcting grammar, and cracking the whip on deadlines. I remember sitting in Government class, secretly editing articles and passing them back to my fellow newspaper contributors. It was a position that I loved so much that my plan was to pursue Journalism in college. (Until God made it clear that I should major in music. But that's a story for another day.)
An important consideration for any newspaper team or editor is the article that is "above the fold." You know the newspaper that's folded in half, lying on the stand at the end of the counter at Starbucks while you wait for your grande latte? You scan the headlines, right? You might pick up the paper and look underneath. But the most attention goes to article above the fold.
The same is true of your website. First impressions are everything and "above the fold" is valuable real estate. For websites, we want to maximize the first few seconds the reader is on your website. Is it clear what your business is all about? Does the reader know what to do next? Are the pictures visually clear on who the target audience is?
PLEASE don't waste the top half of your home page with announcements: "Enrollment ends soon. Hurry!!" or "We will be closed on Labor Day." These announcements are for your current clients. Use email for your announcements, not your website. Your website is mostly for new visitors. Potential clients. You have only seconds to win them over and to keep them reading. Please don't waste those seconds on "insider information."
If a reader can't decide in 3 seconds that "this is the place for me," then you've probably lost them forever. Use only 2 different fonts on your page, keep your colors clean and appealing, and use photographs that are happy, smiling, and that draw in your reader.
Make sure your address, phone number, and email address are front and center! This is super important for both current and prospective clients. Please don't make the reader search for this important information. Also, be sure to have a link to your Facebook page in the upper right hand corner. (Social Media is how clients can peak into the life of your business and decide if they want to work with you.)
First impressions are everything. If you are stuck on how to improve your site, ask a friend or co-worker to give you their opinion. Then listen and make changes!
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 don't know about you, but it's been a crazy month so far! Things have been going wrong and staff has needed to be replaced. Kids schedules are being set and adjustments are being made for the whole family.
My friend said something really profound to me the other day. When I lamented that things keep going wrong, she said: "It's okay. You're just getting clear on what you really need."
Woah. That hit home. Every time something goes awry, I get more clarity on what needs to be changed and improved. Every time a staff member doesn't work out, I realize what I need to look for next time. Every time something breaks down, I realize I need to put a new system in place to prevent the same thing from happening next time.
Owning a business is tough, my friends. (It's also awesome.) It is definitely NOT for the faint of heart! There is so much to manage and so much to do. There are always problems (and they land on your shoulders, because you're the business owner).
But now is NOT the time to quit. Don't give up. Instead, use this opportunity to figure out what you really need. What support is missing in your life? Who do you need to hire? What new system needs to be in place? What can you tweak or improve?
I memorized this poem when I was young and it's always stuck with me. (It's longer than this, but here's just a little taste for you.)
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Whatever you're going through, please know that you're not alone. We're here to help you and encourage you and cheer you on. If we can help you with any of your business needs, please let us know. We're cheering you on.
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.
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!