These blogs will help you with your small business needs! Learn organization, technical and practical tools and tips to run a successful business.
In part 1 of this 3 part series there were 6 tips all about planning your work!
Click here to see Part 1: Planning: There is something to be said for a routine!
And without further Ado… Part 2!
Productivity: How to Make Work Time More Productive!
Tip #7 – Figure out if you are an Early Bird or a Night Owl! Get up an hour or 2 early or stay up an hour or 2 late! Make that time work for you. I am a Night owl… the idea of getting up at the crack of dawn makes me shutter! BUT I can be super productive late at night! Schedule work time in where you can be productive while the rest of the house is asleep. Either early or late! YOU choose! If you are a night owl be very careful to not work so late that you don’t get enough rest!
Tip #8 – Dress the part! I’m not saying wear a business suit around your house all day! However, PJ’s won’t make you productive… just comfy and most likely tired! Dress for successful productivity! Well at least for a pop in visitor or a quick errand! Get up, get dressed, put on your “face” and be ready to take on the day! I’ll be writing a blog post ALL about this in the upcoming days to be sure to check it out!
Tip #9 – Have a defined work space! It’s nice to be able to have the flexibility to work in the kitchen, on the couch, in bed, etc. But you will be MORE productive when you have a set place to work. It is not always realistic to have a dedicated room with a door to close… but you should carve out some space for your “office”. This is helpful (especially with younger children) to set clear guidelines and signals for your kids so they know when they need to be quiet or when you are working and cannot be interrupted. My kids know a hand signal that lets them know I am on a conference call and they cannot make noise. Make a List of Do’s & Don’ts during Mommy’s work time and share it with your kids. Maybe let them make up the signal if they come in the room and you need to let them know you are on a call. I am blessed to be able to have a dedicated office in my home, however I do not have a door. So hand signals come in handy and my kids “get it”. You will want to make sure you have systems in place so you CAN work around the house if needed. A laptop, a wireless connection, a cordless phone, and a wireless printer are all helpful in keeping going if you need to be relocated around the house.
Tip #10 – Put your kids to work for you! My 9 year old LOVES this and now my 7 year old is getting intrigued! Find small things they can do… put stamps or address labels on mailing, filling product orders, filing paperwork, stamping your info on your brochures or labeling your products, etc. Let them watch you work or set up a table in your office as their “desk” and give them small tasks to do. As they get older you can negotiate payment if you feel that is appropriate. If your kids are like mine they love to “help”.
Tip #11 – Plan special “Independent Time” Avoid the “We’re Bored!” dilemma with planned activities they can only do while you are working on something where you cannot be interrupted (unless, of course, it is a true emergency!). Find age appropriate things your children can do on their own independently. This can be educational, crafty or just plain fun! Find learning game websites, stock up on some craft kits from the local craft store, have a stack of printable pages with puzzles or coloring from online. The possibilities are endless! Be sure to pay attention to the amount of time you allot… younger kids can’t do 60 or 90 minutes, but maybe older kids can! If you need a larger chunk of time… plan something special (no more than once or twice a week to keep it special!) Find a movie/DVD and serve a “special snack”. Note: don’t plan for things that they could need your help or that they need to be supervised. These should be items they can do on their own, feel accomplished and grow! BONUS TIP: You know your kids… are they a morning, afternoon or evening kid? When do they thrive, when do they have their meltdowns. When do they need you? Look for their pattern and plan accordingly.
Tip #12 – Get your home and office organized! If your office and home are cluttered you are wasting time. PERIOD! Take the time to create systems and de-clutter! You should have systems in place to help keep your household and office running smoothly. There are all kinds of organization ideas and checklists online. If organization is not your thing…ask for help! This is something worth spending some time on to help increase productivity in the long run. I have a blog post about quick clean up tips in the works so be sure to check back for that one!
Tip #13 – Don’t be a slave to the Phone or e-mail! When the phone rings you DON’T have to answer it. That was one of the most freeing changes I ever made in my life! Of course if you are expecting an important business call be ready to answer. Use your Caller ID… you have voicemail or an answering machine… they can leave a message and you CAN call them back when it is a more appropriate time for you and your family. There are very few business emergencies that can’t wait for a better time to be handled when you are more plugged in and ready to handle the call. Same goes for e-mail… DON’T get caught up in constantly checking your e-mail. Turn off that little sound that chimes when a new message comes in. Have a system for when and how you will check your voicemail and e-mail messages. If you know when you will do it you are not constantly thinking about it wasting productive brain space. Bonus Tip! If you have a business line in your home… teach your kids to NOT answer the phone. It is much more professional for the machine to answer than a cute 5 year old. When your kids are old enough… teach them to use the caller ID… if it is their friend they can answer away. If they don’t recognize the number they should let it go to the machine. Bonus tip 2! Take the time to teach your children phone etiquette. Teach them how to answer, how to leave a message and how to ask to speak to someone. This skill will go a LONG way in life!
So there you have it! Do you have any Productivity tips to Share? Post them in the Comments below! Stay tuned for Part 3 Coming Soon!
It’s summer! YEAH! Oh wait… what do I do with the kids when I am supposed to be working from home?? Yes, working from home gives us much needed flexibility, however flexibility is very different than NOT working at all. So I’ve compiled some tips on how to get your work done and still maintain that much needed time with your bundles of joy! I’ve categorized the tips into a 3 part series called The 3 “P’s” – Planning, Productivity and Priorities! The list looks long, however not all tips will work for all work-at-home moms (and dads). So browse through them and try some that look appealing. You can always come back to try more and more until you find the perfect combination for YOUR family! Better yet.. why not let me coach you through it? Ok… Let’s get to part 1 of the list!
Planning: There is something to be said for a routine!
Tip #1 – Plan, Schedule and Plan some more! You are going to need to make a plan, a schedule and get a little creative! Write a list of ALL tasks – work related, kids related, home maintenance related, fun related, etc. Start filling in a Weekly Plan Sheet (see below) or Make recurring appointments on a digital calendar like Google Calendar or even get a large paper or white board calendar you can fill in and post in the kitchen or some common area where everyone can see it. While you will need to be flexible you need to make the schedule and routine a priority.
Once you have a plan and a schedule you must be prepared to revise it… and often! As the seasons change and as your child(ren) grow, their needs will change. There are pros and cons to every age! For example… many infants nap! Instant productivity time! Elementary age children (like my 7 & 9 year olds) usually “need you” but on a different level. And Tweens and Teens… well your main goal is to keep them out of trouble! Kids of all ages thrive on a schedule with routine. Even during the summer you’ll find more peace when you have a schedule even if it is loose. The Key is… the kids need to “know” the routine (and so do you!).
Tip #2 – Sitters, Play dates and Summer camp Oh My! An hour or 2 of dedicated think/work time can be priceless! Don’t be afraid to hire a sitter or find a way to have a few hours of kid free time each day. Find out what summer camps are available in your area or schedule play dates for your kids a few times a week. A less expensive alternative to a baby sitter is to consider hiring a Mommy’s Helper… A Mommy’s Helper is usually a child not yet old enough to babysit on their own but are more than able to help entertain the kids and do light tasks around the house. This opportunity can help them to feel accomplished and get their feet wet before they are ready to babysit without a grown up in the building. The caution here is be careful not to hire a mommy’s helper that needs too much of YOUR help! You can also trade sitter time with other moms & dads that work from home. Don’t be afraid to pick the brains of others in the same position as you are.
Tip #3 – Three Words that can change your family life = Weekly Family Meeting. – We stumbled across this idea a few years ago and it has made ALL the difference. What is a family meeting? Well once per week we sit down as a family (you could sit at the kitchen table or get comfy on the couch or floor) and have a meeting. There is an agenda and everyone participates. We start with each sharing something we are thankful for or excited about. We next go around with concerns or something we need help with. Then we go over the schedule for the upcoming week. We find conflicts or where we need to make adjustments, and figure out who is driving who to where so that everyone is on the same page before the week starts… We wrap up with assigning tasks and going over the chore charts followed by everyone sharing what they are looking forward to most! IMPORTANT: Let the kids have input! This should be a conversation! Kids support what they help create! My kids get excited for family meeting night. Now when I say “week” it’s the “family week” so if your meeting is on a Wednesday your week goes from Thursday to Wednesday. J Give it a try! It is amazing!
Tip #4 – Make Meal Time a Priority! Family meal time is important! Sitting around the table and sharing a meal is quality time at its finest. I am blessed to have worked our schedule out so that all the family sits together for 2 meals a day (in the summer 3 meals from time to time!) In the summer when you make lunch important, sit together at the table and reconnect it gives you the chance to reset for the day. Talk about how the morning went and review what they can expect for the rest of the day. Take the time to connect and for the kids to feel important. You’ll be shocked at what a 30 minute connection over a meal can do for the rest of your day! Tell them about the 2:00 call you cannot be interrupted during and what they will be doing at that time. Dangle the carrot of the next Mommy/Child time planned for the day. We all do better with something to look forward to!
Tip #5 – Plan your meals like you plan your day! Have a meal schedule… no more guessing what’s for dinner! Planning meals save both TIME and MONEY! You can go to the grocery store once per week (or even less often!) Or better yet… make the list and have someone else go for you! You know what is for dinner so you can take things out to thaw in the morning. You can plan cooking time with the kids! In our family when we don’t plan we often end up eating out or getting take out… that cost much more money and is often less healthy.
Tip #6 – Multi-Task with Care! It’s a fact that moms have to multi-task… but you have to learn to be an effective multi-tasker. If you are doing 100 things and not doing ANY of them well what is the point? Learn your limits and if things are getting crazy take a breath and prioritize.
Do you have any Planning tips to Share? Post them in the Comments below!
Stay tuned for Part 2 Coming Soon! Part 2 – Productivity: How to Make Work Time More Productive!
Our mind is powerful… Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Similarly Mary Kay Ash said,” If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.”
This past weekend I was out running and some guy in a maroon car yelled something No-so-nice to me out his car window as he drove by. In the moment it REALLY hurt my feelings. But in the moment I didn’t understand why. I walked the final mile home, choking back tears and letting some flow. I walked in my door, sat down at my computer and wrote this Facebook post:
“To the A-hole who yelled “get moving Fat Ass” to me at mile three of my four mile jaunts… if your intention was to hurt my feelings… you succeeded, BUT only for a moment. Yes, I choked back tears for the rest of my run. I am aware I am painfully slow and I realize I am fat… thanks for the news flash. However, I refuse to give you my power or my confidence. I will be back out there tomorrow and the day after… running at MY pace FAT ASS and all! At least I am OUT THERE! I suspect that if you EVER ran a mile that you didn’t HAVE to you’d have more RESPECT than to yell something like that. Now back to paying attention to people that I care about and that MATTER.”
That post got 19 Likes and 39 comments – all supporting me and bashing that moron for being rude. Thanks Guys! **Blush**
Even though the purpose of me posting that in my mind was to get it out and move on, instead I found myself harping on his words and how crushed I felt in that moment. While I ran today (the exact same route) I continued to process this… At about the same place in the workout that the guy in the maroon car had yelled out at me, I had a new epiphany! I realized that his words were so hurtful to me that day because he was reinforcing what I was telling MYSELF that entire run prior to passing him in his maroon car. My “self-talk” that day was not kind. I was beating myself up for gaining weight, for letting myself fall out of shape after completing a half marathon in October of 2011, for being “painfully” slow, for my clothes being tight, etc. etc. etc. If I had heard anyone speaking to someone the way I was talking to myself in my mind I would have told them how rude and disrespectful they are!
Yes, today I ran the same route, however the “self-talk” was different. I ran the 4.21 Miles in the exact same amount of time, on the exact same roads, in the exact same direction, but this time I felt lighter and enjoyed the run MUCH more. I reminded myself where I came from. I took the time to look around, enjoy the buds on the trees and the sunshine on my face. I listened to my favorite band (Bon Jovi) and sang along in my head. When my legs hurt I said to myself, “you got this! Just go to that tree up there” I sort of made a game out of it. It was the same course but it felt completely different!
What do you say to yourself? Are you getting in your own way? I think we sabotage ourselves much more than we realize.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. ~ Buddha”
We should be paying attention, because what we say to ourselves has a direct impact on our success – or failure. Controlling our self-talk takes practice and discipline. Even when we think we are doing well… that little voice of doubt sneaks in when we least expect it to. The negative talk slowly takes over and becomes our new, unwanted mantra. Before we can eliminate the negative self-talk we must first be aware of it!
The most common form of negative self- talk is “I Can’t” I challenge you to pay attention to when you speak or think the words “I can’t” and then ask “Why can’t I?” Use this awareness with any negative thing you want to replace… change the word or phrase to something more powerful and positive! You can even go so far as to create a positive affirmation. Use ALL your senses…Visualize it, even cut out pictures if you can, Say it out loud in a powerful voice, imagine how it will feel, etc. This works with ANY goal!
By being intentional about what we are thinking and paying attention to how we talk to ourselves, we can create a mindset to achieve the life we are after – whether it’s something personal or something professional, we’re likely to do better and most importantly, feel better about what we are doing.
I’d love to hear some of YOUR positive affirmations… Comment below with an affirmation you’d like to share! And don’t forget to subscribe to be notified when new blogs are posted!
Your Guide to Creating and Effective Elevator Speech
from the 1 sentence HUB statement, to the 30 Second Intro, to the 60 Second Commercial!
You’ve been there… that moment when you‘re asked, “What do you do?” For a split second the excitement pulses through you and you think “THERE IT IS! It’s MY opportunity to talk about my business!!!”…and then it happens… you freeze responding with a nervous giggle or blurt out something that sounds like you just spoke in a different language? The polite response is usually something like, “Oh that’s nice” end of conversation. Networking & referral chance blown! SO what do you do? You consciously create (and practice!) a series of responses that can be used in a variety of different circumstances. When you have a prepared elevator speech you come across more confident and professional when you meet new people who might be interested in your services.
An elevator speech is the quick statement you would offer someone in an elevator who asks “What do you do?” The term “Elevator Speech” was coined because your time in an elevator is limited so your message needs to be short and to the point or about the amount of time the ride in an elevator takes. The goal is not to gather leads or sell something on the spot, but instead to start a business relationship. That begins with a conversation. It is important to have a mindset of “how can I serve you,” not “what can I sell you.” Remember you are beginning to build a relationship here.
You can use this DAILY to find clients and referrals while you are out an about ANYWHERE! It should be second nature and roll off your tongue with ease. You can be your own walking marketing tool!
Before you begin to create, do a little reflection (make some lists):
- Center yourself – Take some deep breaths… then find your confidence. CONFIDENCE will make or break you during 30 second intros! Get excited!
- What is your passion? What are you excited about offering? Make a list of your strengths, adjectives that describe you or your services. What do you want your potential client to feel? What do you want to solve or represent?
- Who is your target market? What does your ideal client look like? It’s crucial to be specific here. Having a ʹgenericʹ elevator pitch is almost certain to fail, so be specific as to who your target audience is.
- Know Yourself and what you have to offer – Before you can convince anyone of what you have to offer them, you need to know exactly what it is you are excited about. You need to define precisely what you are offering, what problems you can solve and what benefits you bring.
Next up: make a HUB statement – Hottest Undeniable Benefit
Your HUB statement is one succinct, distinctive and compelling sentence that allows people to immediately grasp who you work with, on what, and the benefits resulting. This sentence should not mention your actual position or what you do in most cases. By recognizing your hottest undeniable benefit, you will hone in on what you do for your customers. The best HUB Statements appeal to people’s feelings. What benefit do you offer that appeals to people’s feelings the most?
People want to know what you can do for THEM… they don’t really care how long you’ve been in business or want to listen to some techno jargon from your field. They want a clear concise answer to “what do you do” (and more importantly – what’s in it for me).
Let’s get creating…
First you want to choose the “who”? Remember, you are not trying to market to EVERYONE… who is your target market? Be specific! Pick a group you have knowledge about and a passion for. Remember your HUB statement is NOT intended to be an all-inclusive that limits you to work with only THAT type of client. You are using this for marketing purposes… if you try to market to everyone you’ll be too generic and people will lose interest before you finish the sentence.
Second, think of a specific challenge that particular group faces. This is the “what”. Make it something specific AND compelling! What problem can you or your services solve for them?
Finally, think of a few words that describe your undeniable benefit – the unique talent or skill that you will use to support the target market. This is the “how”. How will you solve their problem?
Simple but dynamic words and phrases will come across more clearly and professional. The sentence structure is often something like this, “I work with (who) _________ to (what) __________ by providing (how) _______________.
Write a few sentences down on paper… Let it settle and sit… walk away from it then go back to it, cut out the unimportant words and make it powerful! There you have it! A concise, one sentence HUB statement!
Now that you have a rockin’ HUB statement, broaden it into a 30 second intro. On most people’s 1st attempt you will actually create your 60 second commercial. This can include website or how to contact you, etc. You can then cut out extra words or sentences to make your 30 second intro from your 60 second or vice versa… if you create a 30 second intro add more description etc. to make it 60 seconds.
Begin your 30 second intro by stating your name and company name.
Next give your HUB statement!
Finally restate using different words about what you offer and the benefits of doing business with you. Try to stay away from lingo that someone outside your industry wouldn’t understand. You are trying to be captivating and inviting. Intriguing the listener to want to know more about what you can do for them and what your business has to offer them. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU! Keep the focus on what’s in it for THEM. How will you solve a problem THEY have. But you can express why you are unique, what makes you stand out from the crowd.
Some choose to conclude with “a good referral for me would be_______” and others end by restating your name and company name or website. It really depends on your audience in the moment. You have to go with what FEELS good to you. You certainly don’t want to feel awkward when saying it.
Other helpful points:
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! Did I mention you must practice?
- If you have the opportunity to give a 60 second commercial and you are “done” before the time is up… STOP TALKING! It’s better to give a short and sweet intro than to ramble on.
- If speaking to someone who is clearly NOT your target market or ideal client… Turn it into a referral request… What would be a good referral for you?
- Don’t be TOO catchy or cutsie… you want to be memorable and referable… but too over the top will turn people off.
- WORK ON YOUR HANDSHAKE! Seriously! NO ONE likes a limp handshake!
- Don’t be so serious. Have fun! Be approachable, welcoming & exciting.
- Make an impression! Make a connection! Be memorable!
- Your HUB statement, 30 second Intro and 60 second commercial should be revisited OFTEN. You must keep it fresh and you must change it up for different needs. Every business grows and changes, and your introduction needs to grow and change with it.
- Content is important, but delivery makes all the difference. Find your confidence!
- Adjust the pitch to the person who is listening. Tailor what you say to who is in front of you.
I’d love to hear what you come up with! Send me a message or post a comment. If you need help why not request your sample session or if you are already a client, bring it up at our next coaching appointment!
My Name is Mindy Lipsky and I am so excited to introduce you to Innovative Coaching Services, LLC! I will be bringing you tips, tricks, tools and inspiration through my Blog about both business essentials and lifestyle essentials! I can’t wait to begin this Journey with you! I am happy to meet with you if you feel you need help through coaching! I look forward to hearing from you and sharing my expertise with you!
Business and Life Coach