You know that feeling when your body has changed shape and your clothing doesn't fit quite right? Or when your once-perfect home has features you no longer need? Well, if you're a teacher, trainer, or coach of any sort, after a time your training materials may not fit your needs either.
Let's say you created a wonderful teleseminar a few years ago, with PowerPoint slides and downloads. The topic really speaks to your heart-based business, and it's been well received every time you offered it. You're preparing for another class, and you notice some references to a spiritual practice that no longer fits your belief system. Or perhaps you want to include material from a book you just read. These are indicators that what once worked for you no longer does.
Take advantage of these cues to read through your material. Does the overall "story" you're telling in your teaching represent the story in your current practice? Do the action steps you provide your students still make sense? Take a highlighter to the areas you want to revise, and draw a line through items you want to delete entirely.
While you're at it, examine your business practices in the same way. Do your rates work for both you and your clients? Do your speaking / teaching fees match your value? Do you have items you need to delegate to someone? Make sure that all aspects of your business still "fit," and if they don't, take action to tailor them!
And if you need help in the process, I know a great Spiritual Virtual Assistant who'd be delighted to help - Holly@
I've never liked that label - "dummies." Let's change it to "newbies"! If you have never been exposed to something, you are ignorant, not stupid. Now with that established, I want to explain a few simple things for "newbie" entrepreneurs (and for your home office as well) to simplify your record keeping using Excel.
Nearly every computer has some form of Excel or spreadsheet software, and they operate in nearly the same way. When you open the program you're presented with a screen full of little boxes - called cells. On the left are numbered rows, and at the top are lettered columns. This gives you a convenient "name" for each little cell. The one on the top left is in column A, row 1, so it's called "cell A1." Got it? Its "address" is A1.
Let's say you want to make yourself a simple "database" of contacts so you can have easy access to contact information for everyone you know. You'd want to start typing in cell A1 and go across into B1, C1, etc. Type the column names (headers) you want to use. A1 could be first name, B1 last name, C1 phone number, D1 email address, and so on - type in every category you want to capture.
Then below that, in cell A2, start typing your data. First name: Joe, last name: Smith, and so on. Continue to add the specifics for each person. When you're done, guess what - you've built a simple spreadsheet! GO YOU!
Now for the sexy stuff. Let's say you want to find out who of your contacts live in your state. You don't have to poke through the entire thing to find them. You can sort! Click on any cell in your State column. On the top right of your menu at the top of your screen, you'll see something that looks like this:
When you click on the icon you get choices. So now, you can sort the state cells alphabetically, and easily see your Ohioans. There are other ways, more complex ways, to do the same thing, but this is the easy way, for you Newbies!
You can use this simple recordkeeping method for anything: checkbook balances, calendar entries, deadlines, medications, whatever you can think of. Take some time to poke around in Excel and learn other things you can do with it. Have fun!
Anyone who knows me or has read my blogs knows that I encourage organization in life and work. And yet I have not always been good at goal setting. From a Law of Attraction standpoint, not to mention practically, I learned the value of setting goals.I've always used lists - and sometimes to excess! - to keep track of tasks, shopping needs, spiritual goals. (Read my post The To Do List.) Yet I did not break down my goals to plan my work week until just over a year ago. I knew what I needed to accomplish for clients or for my own business, but just attacked the list one item at a time based on priority. When I was presented with the idea of planning one week at a time, I felt such relief! I was no longer looking at a long list of obligations, but instead, a short, easily managed list.
One of the several spiritual business coaches I follow suggested that we plan our week on Sunday or Monday, to create a good work/life balance and yet accomplish what is necessary. For the last year, I start my Monday with a brief planning session. I take a look at the long list, at my current clients' wishes, and my time available, and from this information I write down the goals I want to reach for that week. This short-term planning helps me stay flexible, avoid overwhelm, and maintain my balance.
Give it a try yourself. Don't get so caught up in list-making that you feel anxious or controlling. Instead remind yourself that your intent is to make life easier for yourself! Sounds like a plan, Stan!
Decorations are down, parties are over, and life is back to post-holiday normal. For many of us, now is the time for the dreaded "T" word . . . Taxes! Ugh. A process nobody enjoys, whether you prepare quarterly statements for a small business or whether it's time to start organizing receipts for April. Too much of a project? Here's the answer - small bites!
I've worked with clients on both ends of the "prepared" spectrum - some with regular monthly updates of beautifully organized spreadsheets, and some who try to cram a year's worth of work into a few days. Which is better? I can't say. We all have different work styles, and what works for one may not work for another. However, in terms of low stress and efficiency, the first way is usually easier!
There are loads of online expense templates for any software system you might use (or SHOULD use if you don't now): Excel, Access, Quickbooks, etc. Even if you just use a simple Excel spreadsheet, taking half an hour each month to organize expenses is much easier than rushing to beat a deadline with a year's worth to go through. Go through receipts, bank and Paypal statements, and any other documentation you have. Enter each expense into your spreadsheet and add them up. Voila!
An easy way to stay organized is to use envelopes - even used ones from mail you've opened. Label each envelope with an expense category: Supplies & equipment, mileage, meals/entertainment, internet, contractor expenses, website and domain expenses, etc. Put all your business receipts in these envelopes as you sort through them, and when you're ready, all you have to do is add them up and enter into your spreadsheet.
Use these same envelopes to store receipts throughout this next year as well, and come next quarter's accounting, your recordkeeping will be a breeze!
My next post will cover ways to make going through statements eas
If you're in the holistic game, whether a body or energy worker, a reader, a health expert or any other medium, your business is dependent not just on what you do, but on what you say. How do you say it? And to whom?I recently posted about finding your writing "voice." But in today's high-tech world you'll want to find your speaking voice as well. Research shows that video is THE most effective marketing tool, and having video of yourself on your website (or at least online like on Youtube, if you don't have a website) is crucial to success. In fact, 51% of all consumer internet traffic is through internet video, with greater content recall. You and your message will be remembered if you offer video!
A high-quality product does not mean high expense. Excellent quality video can be made from a good smart phone, and today's digital video cameras are inexpensive. But it's not just the equipment that matters - it's YOU! Practice by presenting to yourself in the mirror! Give yourself a brief introduction to yourself! Try talking to a friend or relative with whom you're completely relaxed. Without judgment, notice your facial expressions, vocal tone and pitch, how well your personality comes across. It's YOU that sells yourself, especially in a service business.
There are lots of videos and resources to teach you how to create effective marketing videos. Take action now in the new year, and resolve to really shine your light to those who need what you have to offer. Just do it!
What do you think of when you hear that word - service? Do you think of military service? Customer service? Restaurant service? Religious service? What I want to talk about for a moment is this:
I believe it's a best practice to periodically review the service and services we provide. Think about the definition of what you do: "I provide massage therapy." "I educate about nutrition." "I write inspirational blogs." Whatever service you provide, how do you know that it serves your clients? Solicit feedback, get a year-end review, and if necesary, make any changes to your offerings or how you do your business.
Let's say for example that you provide microwave cooking classes. You do a great job of it. BUT, now that the dangers of cooking that way are known, does your service really serve? Time to update. And if a client relationship or a service you offer no longer serves YOU, then contribute to your welfare by making a change!
I've written about this before, but I have seen so many grammar sins lately in the media that I have to rant one more time, this time on comma use. Wait! Don't leave me yet, this will be fun!
Commas, the difference between "Let's eat, Grandma" and "Let's eat Grandma."
"The Panda eats, shoots, and leaves" vs. "The Panda eats shoots and leaves."
"It's raining, men" vs. "It's raining men."
"I love, Lucy" vs. "I love Lucy."
Then, of course, there's this magazine cover that made the rounds earlier this year. Mmmm, a nice family dinner!
I will not bore you with the specific English Teacher sentence structure lessons, but suffice it to say that commas define separate elements of a sentence. Used correctly, they clarify your meaning, as can be seen in the examples above. Used incorrectly, they not only cause confusion, but can give your readers a comical or horrific impression of you!
Here's a fun web page that lists other common grammatical mistakes, along with one of my earlier posts. There are countless internet resources and books available if you want to study up on what is correct. Just be sure to use an America resource, as British conventions are a bit different.
So, off you go now to write correctly. And let's not eat Grandma!
Next time you're in a conversation with someone, pay attention to their words and yours. Do you ever say "I know what you mean" or "Can you see what I'm saying?" These are clues to how you and the other person think, communicate, and learn, and understanding this can open up a whole new level of communication!
I love to write but I'm not as adept a speaker. And I'm a visual / kinesthetic learner, which means that I remember what I see or do far better than what I hear. This explains why writing is an easier way for me to communicate, since it involves both vision and touch. What I hear I do not retain, and I cannot "think on my feet" and process information only in my head as during a speech.
I recently caught myself saying to someone "I see what you mean" and laughed at myself: unless there's a large cartoon balloon over their head, obviously I cannot literally SEE what they mean! But my words represent how my brain works (uh-oh, that could be dangerous!).
You can improve your own communications with friends, family, and clients by really listening - do you hear a client use words that indicate they learn by listening? Or does your spouse often start sentences with "see"? Then use those words yourself as you speak or write to them - this helps flip their brain into the mode that works best for them. And don't think you're stupid if your brain works best one way or the other - we're all wired differently! That is what makes the world go 'round. See what I mean?
So you have great ideas. So you have a lot to teach others. If you don't have a way to communicate them, so what? Well anybody, and I mean anybody, with a desire to communicate can do so - whether through blogs, articles, stories, books, newsletters.
You could be the one who failed creative writing in school, or struggled with English classes, or who can't spell your way out of a paper bag, but that doesn't mean you should not try to write. All you need is a willing partner! Every great partnership begins with a shared need. Richard Rodgers would have gone nowhere without Oscar Hammerstein's wonderful lyrics!
Let me give you some starting points. Think about your ideas, what you want to communicate, and how - what medium you want to use. Jot down some concrete topics, and under each one, make note of a few major points you would want to get across. Essentially, you're making a simple outline - no, don't panic, this is NOT English class!
Find someone who knows your field, or who knows you well, who IS a good writer, who loves to communicate, and who "gets" you. That could be anyone: a ghost writer, a gifted friend or family member, a Virtual Assistant, a blog writer, anybody who has experience with writing and communicating ideas. Not to inject a negative note here, but be sure it's someone you trust, to whom you can show your notes without fear of interference with your ideas.
Collaborate on how you want to express your ideas. Do you want to write a book? Communicate with clients with a newsletter? Of the media listed above, what appeals to you?
Consider the amount of material you have to share. Do you have many separate ideas that would appeal to a magazine or blog site? Or do you have a wealth of material on one topic that would communicate best in book format.
Organize your thoughts with your partner, create a fleshed-out outline, decide on your target market (to whom do you want to "speak"?) and GO FOR IT! Nothing will ever happen unless you try, and as we all know, regret is a very unpleasant experience! Create, express, communicate, write - "build it, and they will come!" There is little more satisfying than seeing your name in print - I should know! *
* (see Signs Along the Path, a Guide to An Inspired Life, a Kindle or paperback book, co-authored by Holly with John Davis.
This is not the first time you are hearing of how clutter affects your energy. Did you ever think of email as clutter? Sure, we are all annoyed by spam, “good luck” chains, “like this because I do” emails. If you think of your email Inbox as your living room, your perspective will change in an instant!
First thing in the morning you answer the doorbell to find a guy with a big artificial grin. He pushes his way into the house where he captures you in a corner and says “Here’s my story and if you tell ten other people something great will happen to you today.” Ridiculous, right?
How would you feel if you had people flooding your living room with demands while at the same time the phone rings off the hook, and the postman just dropped off 50 urgent letters to be answered. Stress? Pressure? “Get the HECK off my back!!”
When your Inbox is full of unopened emails, that’s exactly the energy you’re creating. Every time you open your email program and see Inbox (237) you’re going to feel stress, consciously or unconsciously. That number 237 reminds you that there are 237 demands for your attention that have not be dealt with while you take care of other matters. Why have that hanging over your head? Let’s do something about it now.
First off, let’s examine why these emails are unopened. Are they spam? Then DELETE them and change your spam filter so they stop coming! Are they in the “I might want to read this later” category? That’s like having a mountain of magazines on the floor. DELETE them!
After you’ve cleaned those categories out of there, look at what’s left. What really, truly, honestly needs an answer? Then ANSWER it! If it’s old, then open with an honest apology for taking so long – no excuses, just an apology.
What’s left after that? Things you need to do? If an email is very old, it’s probably too late to address, but only you and the sender know the answer to that. If it’s not old, then either flag each remaining email (if your email provider has a way to mark them) or print out and make notes. Prioritize what you can do quickly, preferably for the oldest outstanding issues. Address these tasks as you would any others on your to-do list.
Now, take another look at your Inbox. Hopefully it now looks like this: INBOX (no numbers after it!). What can you do to prevent the buildup recurring? Improve your spam filters. Tell friends and family to stop sending you junk mail. Get off the mailing lists that no longer matter to you. Address the others as soon as they arrive and your virtual “living room” will stay clear of unwanted invaders!
And if you need help with the process, I know a great resource: Holly@LightseedsOffice.com!
Welcome! These stories, tips and tricks are intended to help you save time, and be more organized and effective in your work. New items will be added frequently so check back often.