"You're holding me back!!" I yelled. I slammed my fist on the steering wheel. I was in my parked car, on the phone, sitting outside of my music school.
I was frustrated.
I was angry.
I felt misunderstood and held back.
It was not my finest hour. But I was fed up. I felt backed into a corner. I was being told to "calm down" and "be patient." I was told that boredom is good. I should get used to it.
Those are not words that resonate with me.
As a creative entrepreneur, there is nothing inside of me that wants to maintain or keep things steady. I thrive on big new projects and coming up with new ideas.
Even if I start something and shut it down.
Even if my big new idea doesn't get any further than my notebook.
Even if I start a website and Facebook page, only to close it up after I realize "This isn't what I want to be doing."
THIS is how I learn. I have to go explore. I have to try things on for size.
It drives Chris crazy.
He's not wired like this. He is wired to get the plan, implement the plan, and keep the whole thing running (thank God). The difference in our personalities can be VERY difficult sometimes. It causes conflict. Hurt. Misunderstanding.
But when we work through our differences, we also form an amazing partnership.
It's just that getting to the "amazing" part can be very, very painful and hard.
Maybe you are a little like me. Maybe you are living in shame from false starts. Maybe you don't even trust yourself anymore.
But the desire to do big things, try new things, invent, start, create. . . it just doesn't go away.
That's because you are an entrepreneur.
I've had many business coaches. Nine that I can count off the top of my head. They each have taught me something different. They each have given me skills that have helped me advance my company forward.
But the ones who provided a community of like-minded entrepreneurs have been the most effective.
I can't do life in isolation. Especially working from home.
I need people who "get" me and who cheer me on. I need a safe place to land when I'm discouraged. I need a safe place to brainstorm when I have a new shiny idea. I need people who TRUST that I can make it happen and not doubt what I am doing.
Let me challenge you: If you are surrounded by people who just want to play it safe, survive the week and get to the weekend, maintain what they have built, or people who are negative, complaining, and super competitive, I challenge you to find a new community.
If you are a woman, surrounded by men, you may need a new community.
If you are a stay at home working mom surrounded by stay at home moms who do not work, you may need to add to your community.
If you are a homeschool mom and the only one of your friends who is working from home, you need to add to your community.
It's not healthy to stay isolated.
YOU are not the one who needs to change. Your support system needs to change.
YOU don't need to blend in. You need to find a group that gets you.
FIND a group of people who celebrates you. Not questions you.
Find people who cheer when you are excited and mourn when you are sad.
You don't have to leave your marriage or abandon your friends. You just need to add to what you already have.
The Never Alone Inner Circle was built for creatives and dreamers. Feelers and thinkers. Passionate people with big dreams and determination to make things happen.
If this sounds like you, explore the program details here:
One more thing: Did you know that most millionaires have SEVEN streams of income? If you aren't wired to just run one thing, then it's time to listen to your gut and start that new thing.
Yes, some people will think you're crazy.
Some people will question what you're doing.
But you'll never know if you're right unless you try.
And who knows? The next thing could be the thing that changes everything.
After all, you aren't starting from scratch anymore.
You're starting from experience.
And check out this week's video I made for you. See if it speaks to your heart.
Several years ago, I was stabbed in the back. A father whose daughter took lessons at our studio, decided to start his own music school--just a few miles away from our location. He opened the doors and still sat at his daughter's recital, in one of seats near the front, looking right at me. He even joined a coaching program that I was in! I was seething. How could he do this to me??
My mentor at that time kindly told me, "There are more than enough clients for everyone. Ignore him. Keep your eyes on your own business."
At first I was furious. I wanted sympathy. I wanted revenge.
Instead, I did exactly what my coach suggested: I ignored him. I focused on growing my own school.
Around that same time, one of the teachers at my music school left and started his own music school a few miles the other direction. This time I didn't give him much energy. "Do your own thing, Jen," I coached myself. I focused on my company, my staff, my systems, my marketing.
I could have frozen in fear. I could have shrunk back and refused to hire anyone else in case they, too, would leave me and hurt me.
I didn’t. I chose abundance. I chose to believe there are enough fish in the sea. There are enough families to serve. The potential hurt is worth the opportunity to serve more kids and more families.
Since these two hurtful events, guess what happened? We doubled our income. Around that time, we were grossing around $500,000 per year. Just 3 years later, we bring in $1,000,000 per year.
You can choose to fight your competition or you can choose to fight your fear.
I worked extra hard. I was attentive to our marketing message. I gave my clients more amenities that the new schools couldn't afford. I doubled down on my time and my discipline to my work time. I added additional streams of income. We now have 3 large streams flowing into our main umbrella company. It gives us security-- if anything happens to one, we know the cash flow will not completely dry up. I have trained my staff to manage and maintain what we have, so I can scout out new streams of serving people. (I love service-based industries. There will always be needs we can meet, people we can serve, and money we can make.)
When I was tempted to flip my lid and throw a fit about new competitors popping up, I took that energy and grew my own company. I asked myself, "What can I do about this?" I can't stop someone from wanting to fulfill their own dreams. I can't stop them from pursuing their passions. But I CAN serve my clients and keep my eyes on my own work.
I'm not interested in dominating my market. I am interested in doing the absolute best job I can for my clients. And that creates a culture of very happy clients who refer their friends. Our reputation is strong. Our name is not tarnished. We work with integrity and we always will.
I don't need to crush my competition. I need to crush my own fears.
I created a video this week that at first might rub you the wrong way. But I have to speak truth. Watch it and let me know your thoughts.
I'm always here to cheer you on.
Dear moms growing businesses,
I know the pull between doing big things and being there for your family.
I feel it almost every day.
The truth is we are called to both. Called to nurturing the hearts of those in our house and called to the dream that GOD planted in your heart.
I often think I'm not doing enough. I'm not trying hard enough. I just don't have my act together.
When I relax, I feel guilty.
When I go to my studio for a meeting, I feel bad for not being home.
It's like I can't win.
Except, the struggle, the pull between both worlds? That's just the life we are living. I don't think there's anything I can "fix" or do better to make that pull go away. It's just leaning into the struggle that brings me peace.
Sometimes I make full Sunday dinners and sometimes we grab fast food.
Sometimes I work long hours and get a ton of marketing done and sometimes I'm in full Mom Mode, correcting homework and cleaning out the closets and driving teens to grab some coffee.
It's never, ever about perfect balance, because balance is impossible.
It's about being strategic.
Strategic with the team I hire, the marketing I pay for, my time, and yes, even being strategic about when I grab some time to rest.
This week I've been down with a bad cold. I have fallen behind on my To Do list and I feel like I've barely seen my kids. I have been tempted to wallow in guilt for "failing." Instead, I'm writing this to encourage you and me that we are all juggling all the pieces the best that we can.
Since I lost my voice and couldn't record a new video this week, I'm sharing with you a video I made in September (when it was still nice outside! Now it's 30 degrees here in Minnesota). I titled it "You don't have to be stressed. You just have to be strategic."
I hope it blesses and encourages you. Here's the link to the blog I refer to in the video: Stages of Business.
Write me back and tell me which stage you're in!
I want to invite you to a Zoom meeting where moms growing businesses can hang out and get some encouragement. We are going to talk about REAL Impact and what that means when you are trying to grow a business AND raise your kids.
It's totally free. To join us, just join my free Facebook group here:
(Sorry guys-- this one is for moms only!)
I'll be posting all the details about when and where and how to join us in the Facebook group. I'd love to see you on this call (you'll be on camera, so use your laptop to join us and throw your hair in a mom bun!).
I really don't think you have to sacrifice your family to grow a healthy business.
I just think you have to do things strategically.
Let's talk about it. See you then!
This week I was honored with an alumni of the year award from my alma mater, North Central University, in downtown Minneapolis, MN. There was a beautiful gala and ceremony and I was presented with a beautiful award, to celebrate spirit-filled leadership and excelling in service through career and community. The next day, Chris and I were invited to have lunch with the president and vice president of the college. Afterwards, we walked around campus and I reminisced about our dating days and all the hours spent in the practice rooms, playing piano and writing music and learning to conduct a choir. How does it simultaneously seem like yesterday AND like a million years ago??
Going back to my college is like seeing a map, all zoomed out. The two pins (college and now) are dropped and you see the twists and turns over the overall journey, but not all the details from the last 20 years. I know we have planted 3 churches and moved numerous times. Had 4 kids. Traveled. Lived. Loved. And while our business has grown and thrived like I never dreamed possible, this is not the life I thought I was going to live.
Back in college, we dreamed dreams that never came true.
I thought for sure I was going to be a music pastor and Chris would be the senior pastor and we would live in a parsonage somewhere.
I never dreamed I would homeschool my kids.
And yet, life takes on its own shape and here we are. 20 years later, with our own kid in college. At the banquet, I looked around and saw faces that have cheered me on and loved me the whole time. I saw professors who taught me and encouraged me and who have continued to teach faithfully for all these years.
Life isn't at all what I thought it would be, but it is sure sweet. And while I feel like I've hardly even begun to do the things I would like to do in life, I am so grateful for all the experiences that have gotten us here.
Sometimes it takes an award to make me slow down and see the big picture view. And I'm so grateful.
When I got home from the awards ceremony, I tossed and turned. I didn't fall asleep for a few hours. I kept thinking and thinking.
What was bothering me?
The next morning I woke up early and immediately thought two things:
1. Coffee. Now.
2. I'm gonna need a nap today.
Then I sat down and wrote this. It's the only way I could express the contrast of a fancy award downtown and life I really live, each and every day.
Maybe you can relate.
I’m making an impact.
I can’t always see it. Or feel it. But I know it’s there.
Mostly I am just throwing in another load of laundry. Putting away another lunch bag. Throwing away rotten vegetables. Making another list.
I’m listening to the teens and coordinating schedules. Buying another birthday gift and making more coffee.
I work when I can, as fast as I can, because time is limited. I think about work while I’m driving and in the shower and, yes, my mind wanders off when the husband is talking about sports again.
I know I’m making an impact. With every person I hire and every client I onboard. With every meeting I squeeze in and every decision that I pray about.
I’m making an impact. Even if it feels like 20 years have flown by and I’ve hardly made a dent in accomplishing my dreams.
Even when I fall short, fail, lose my temper, fall asleep crying. Even when I’m up too early, don’t get enough sleep, don’t make enough meals from scratch. I’m still making an impact.
With every hug and bandaid and email and Target run, I am being faithful and what else can I be?
I turn up my music in my van and pray fervently for wisdom. I sleep when I can and try to enjoy the moment. I take in the sunrise and the sunsets and my kids keep having more birthdays. I can’t wait for an empty nest and then I panic. How will I survive an empty nest?!?
Sometimes the world applauds and hands out awards and sometimes no one notices.
Sometimes the biggest and hardest decisions never get noticed and sometimes social media is both connection and a curse. All your celebrations flood my feed and I get the mail and change the laundry and wonder am I making an impact?
But I am. In my home. With my kids. In my community. To my friends. In the work that I do. I can’t always see it. I often miss it. Because real impact is in the ordinary. It’s in the every day moments. It’s often missed. But it’s the real impact. It’s the stuff that matters the most.
I just can’t always see it.
But I have to believe it’s there.
"Real impact is in the ordinary."
We have been having beautiful fall weather here in Minnesota and it’s reminded me of so many happy memories! When my kids were little, we always took a trip to an apple orchard. They loved exploring and running around and I loved buying juicy apples to eat and bake with.
Over the years, we learned about apple trees (and even had some at our house for a few years). We learned that smaller is better. Pruning the branches is important so the sunshine can hit every branch. Waiting until the right time to harvest the apples is crucial. And sometimes it takes a few years before you see the fruit.
I run three branches of our business: Rogers School of Music, Never Alone Business Services and Never Alone Coaching. Each one is like an apple tree. I keep each one pruned and small-ish, so it will produce good fruit. We pay ourselves first—and then decide how to spend the rest of the profits on staff, leases, automations, and services. I’ve never had the mindset of: “I’ll build this huge machine and eventually it will pay off.” We have intentionally grown slower and made sure we were always on payroll (no matter how small the check was!).
Sometimes we choose to cut expenses and trim branches back, to keep the entire structure healthy. There are programs we have discontinued and services we no longer offer. These branches were sucking our time and attention away from the rest of the business, and were not producing good fruit. It was time for them to go. Sometimes my business has felt “too small” compared to other people doing impressive things. But then I hear about their 12 hour work days and they say it’s impossible to go on vacation. They tell me they are the only ones who can answer the phone or unlock the building. It makes my heart sad and I realize that smaller and healthier is better.
So what do you do if your business is overgrown and not producing fruit (income)?
This week’s video is about apple trees. I want you to hear more about how you can grow your business strong and healthy-- and properly supported. I hope it encourages you as you grow and nurture your business.
It’s never too late to make adjustments or changes in your life! Be brave. Your future self will thank you.
The Inner Circle is Open for new members!
Within our Never Alone Inner Circle, you get the support you need, exactly at the stage where you are at. We form small coaching circles so you can connect with other members on a deeper level. We are always encouraging and supportive--no matter what you're going through or what stage your business is in.
If you want to talk more, just schedule a call to talk. Let's talk about your goals and get you there.
Check out this short video about Tracy's experience in the Inner Circle:
Dear business owner,
You've hit a wall. I get it. Exhaustion is creeping in and you're just not sure if you can keep going.
Maybe discouragement is present and you're questioning if you really went down the right path. Is there something wrong with me? Should I just try harder? Or should I change course? Should I quit?
One thing I know: We are all wired differently. From the time we are born, we have unique qualities and abilities. And yet, teachers keep trying to come up with formulas to teach: "Do it this way and you'll succeed!"
How can one size possibly fit all?? It just isn't possible.
Instead of shutting down what you have been building, let's take some time to examine a few things:
1. Are you paying attention to how you are wired?
Have you done your Strengths Finders test yet? Getting on paper WHO you are and what your unique strengths are will change everything. (Grab the book here and take the test in the back:
2. Build your business around YOUR strengths, not someone else's formula for success. Sure, there are principles that work for many people. But shoving yourself, a round peg, into a square hole, is only going to be frustrating and exhausting. Let's be honest: if it hasn't worked yet, then why will dedicating more time to the same frustrating process work? It's time to change a part of the process. It's time to get honest.
3. Do you have the right people surrounding you to fill in your weaknesses? It's a lie to think you can build your business all by yourself. If you're the ONLY one answering phones or answering emails, you're going to burn out. If you really can't trust anyone to do what you do, maybe you have trust issues? I've worked with enough business owners over the last 6 years to know that if you are white knuckling something, you are probably gripping it too tightly. It's time to figure out what is really going on, make the necessary changes in systems or policies, and get back to what is really easy and almost effortless for you (hint: it's easy because it's your strength).
In this week's video, I explain some helpful thoughts that could bring some clarity and light to your situation. Watch it here:
I really, truly want your business to succeed.
Not just in big numbers to impress people, but so you can get your life back. So you can have time for your kids and spouse and extended family.
I want you to lean on your strengths and set up solid systems so you aren't stressed all the time.
Get the Strengths Finder book here:
If you ever need to talk, I'm here. Let's schedule a call so I can hear more about what's going on. Then we'll map out a coaching plan that makes sense for YOUR unique life and your unique business.
As our clients want to harness the power of online marketing, a question I hear regularly is "Should I pay for Facebook ads or Google ads?" This is a great question because many of the small businesses that we work with may not be in a place to pay for both.
Maybe you've discovered that newspaper ads just aren't working anymore.
Maybe you tried that expensive billboard and nothing happened.
Maybe your numbers are down this fall and you're feeling discouraged and just aren't sure what to do next.
We get it. And you're not alone.
But sitting and stewing and worrying isn't going to solve the problem. It's time to get strategic and put your marketing money in the right place.
Your secret weapon is your website. And driving more traffic to your site is the KEY to a healthy, growing, stable business. Now, which one should you choose? Google Ads or Facebook Ads? Both can be effective, but let's break this down.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Are people already searching for what you do on Google? If people are already coming to you because of your website, let's throw more gas on the fire. Paying for Google ads with the correct strategy from Chris, who is a Google Ads expert (not just setting them up yourself or using a Google rep) can bring you warm leads that are ready to convert to clients. I love Google Ads because it's "pay per click" and you won't just waste money every month. When you sign up for Google Ads with us, you will also get Google Remarketing, which makes your ad pop up on various platforms (like YouTube and the weather app), so your clients will say "I see you everywhere! It must be a sign that I should sign up!" Remember that Google reps want your money, so they may or may not know how to tell you the best strategy for your specific business. Also remembering that using Google Ads Express is a great place to start, but you are paying way too much per click and you can definitely get more leads for the same price.
2. Are you a local business that has a very specific radius of where you draw people? If you own a local business like me, I know that people will only drive so far for music lessons. I know which specific towns will sign up at my school and which town will snub their noses at traveling north on the freeway to get to us. Facebook is a fabulous tool, because we can be very specific with our targeting. Strategically writing ads that convert and knowing which days of the week to run them, is key. Just posting on your page will not bring in new clients. Doing Facebook lives will not bring in new clients. Those are great things to supplement your ads with, but ads are foundational and cruicial to attracting local clients. We can do the back-end, techy stuff so you can focus on just posting the fun pictures of your clients and the funny stuff that is engaging.
I've heard MANY people who have gotten burned from Facebook ad strategists. We only work with local, service-based, appointment-based clients. We will not build long funnels with webinars. That's a different kind of business. Make sure your FB ads provider really understands your business and has been running Facebook ads for clients for several years. Don't let them experiement with your money!
If you're ready to pull in more clients in a strategic, consistent way, let's talk. We can schedule a phone call and listen to your specific situation. Then we will craft a plan that will work for YOUR area and YOUR business.
Warning: There is no need to run ads if your website isn't already working. If your website is not responsive to cell phones and iPads, if it's out of date, if your pictures are old, then we need to fix that first. You won't hear a Google rep or Facebook rep say this to you, because they just want your money. But we refuse to let you waste your hard-earned revenue. Let's get your website right first and then we will fan the flame and get those new clients in the door!
Here's the link to request a phone call. We can't wait to talk soon!
As I've worked with a lot of clients over the years, I've heard one tiny voice sheepishly ask, "Is it actually greedy to want to earn money? Is there something wrong with me?" If this is something you've ever asked yourself, check out the video this week:
I sat down to write the article for my newsletter. I wasn’t feeling it. No words would come and the blank document in front of me seemed to taunt me. The curser blinked. My mind wandered. Then the voices came: “Snap to it! You have a deadline! People are counting on you!” I sighed, closed my computer, slunk back on my bed, grabbed the remote, and chose to close my eyes instead.
For creatives, if we don’t pay attention to the cycles of our energy, we will not be able to do the tasks in front of us. We’ll crash and then beat ourselves up for “procrastinating” and being “lazy.”
I’d like to propose that maybe we aren’t lazy at all, but we simply have cycles of energy that we need to pay attention to. If you are burned out, tired, or have been pushing through too long, you won’t be able to write that newsletter article. You’ll choose sleep instead.
But what if we really dialed into our energy levels? What if we asked ourselves, “What do you need right now?”
When I ask this question, and pay attention to the answer, sometimes I go for a walk, music blaring in my ears. Sometimes I do mindless activities, like laundry or washing the kitchen counters, just to reset my brain and take a break from the computer. Sometimes I have to jump in the car, clear my head, or call a friend. Other times, I feel motivated and excited and sit down and write Facebook ads, teacher advertisements, newsletter articles, and check off a bunch of overdue tasks.
I am going to let you in on a little secret: I set deadlines for my tasks a little in advance so I can give myself some margin. When the tasks pop up, I actually have 1 week to complete them. When they say “overdue,” I am not behind (yet). I have one whole week to fit them in, when my energy allows. I’ve gamed the system and given myself permission to work on things in my business when I have the energy to tackle them.
I use www.todoist.com and have programmed in recurring tasks, so I don’t have to remember what I’m supposed to be doing. (Who has time to keep thinking "What am I supposed to be doing??") Every day, I get an email of the tasks for the day, as well as the overdue ones. Every day, I sit down for at least 30 minutes of “desk time” to look over my tasks, and tackle the ones that feel easy that day. Is this lazy? No, I think it’s strategic.
Sometimes I am in a high-idea generating mood and can get a lot of creating done. Sometimes I am feeling tired or drained from kids or staff issues and I need to do something more mindless. Sometimes I have energy to go networking or thinking of new, creative marketing ideas. Sometimes I need to just take a break and get back to work later.
Don’t let the voices on the internet convince you that you are lazy and unmotivated and that you just need to PUSH and GRIND and HUSTLE. You will be more productive if you go with your natural flow of energy.
And if you find yourself continually drained and unmotivated, ask yourself what is missing in your life. What dream have you shoved down and ignored? What have you convinced yourself is “impossible”? Who has told you that you “can’t” do the thing you really want to do? If you have absolutely no motivation, you could have a vitamin or hormone deficiency. Or, you could be living a version of your life that is too stressful, too boring, or not the life you are meant to live. Have the courage to ask the tough questions and listen to the answers. And if you need a sounding board, you know I’m always here. Let’s book a call and discuss. I’m cheering you on.
Watch today’s video. Then write me back and let me know your thoughts. My suspicion is that most people need to pay attention to the flow of their energy, but I know creative people really need to.
Or we simply can’t create the next thing.
We can't keep going.
We will burn out.
We will want to quit or give up.
You can’t force your creativity. It needs to flow.
Do you pay attention to your flow of energy?
Chris and I created the Never Alone Inner Circle for creative business owners who are selling services and appointments. We know what it's like to juggle work, family, marriage, and even homeschooling. We've been in business for 20 years. 6 years ago, Chris quit his job to work in the business with me. Life has been one big roller coaster, but we know we are called to inspire, empower and encourage business owners.
If you need focus, strategy, and support, let's talk. The Never Alone Inner Circle could be right for you.
“Rest nurtures creativity, which nurtures activity.
Activity nurtures rest, which sustains creativity.
Each draws from and contributes to the other.”
Kim John Payne
I bet you started your business because you're good at something.
Teaching music. Teaching theatre. Tutoring kids. Designing. Decorating. Organizing.
But who taught you about running a business?
Sadly, even business majors have no idea what it takes to manage or grow a small business.
Marketing majors haven't been taught how to close the sale or get a steady stream of new clients.
It seems like growing a small business requires a whole new set of skills. Because it does!
It's a challenging (and thrilling!) ride and one you simply can't afford to figure out on your own.
The wise business owners seek a coach and get help. (I have paid a multitude of coaches to get my business to 7 figures consistently.)
Wise business owners also learn how to identify their strengths and build their business around them.
This week's video is a little longer (and a little more entertaining)! I'm sharing my heart and why I believe it's so important to focus on your strengths as you shape and form your business and as you decide who to hire for your team.
At our Inner Circle Retreat this week, we will be delving deeper into the hiring process and how to set goals for your business and how to reach them.
I'm so excited for our Members who are flying in and driving from other states to join us! (Be sure to watch Instagram and Facebook for live pictures and updates!)
Watch the video here:
Are you ready to be strategic with your strengths?
Let's schedule a call. I'll share with you options for coaching and consulting. I have opened up private, one-on-one coaching sessions and if we are a good fit, I'd love to help you discover how you're wired so you can grow your business more easily and efficiently.
(Also--if you're a bigger business that has many team members, one of my specialties is hosting online consulting with your entire team. We'll assess the strengths of every team member and make sure everyone is in the right role!)
You don't have to keep banging your head against the wall. You just have to discover the areas of strength so you can delegate and automate the rest.
There's hope. Let's talk.
Growing a business is full of ups and downs. One moment you're flying high, the next you're in the depths of despair. And when you're serious about paying off that debt, getting to the next level, or finding a way to pay for the new space you just leased, you may feel like you need some systems or organization to get you there. It might feel like it's time to get serious. Get organized. Even grow up a little.
But what if you're the free-spirited type of person?
What if the thought of boring checklists and structured work days makes you throw up in your mouth a little bit?
Maybe you quit your corporate job because you wanted more freedom. Now you're supposed to impose structure upon yourself?!?
Maybe you have even stopped your own business growth because of the overwhelming silent scream inside of you, demanding, "DON'T BOX ME IN?"
So how do you grow a company and get to the next level when your natural wiring demands flexibility, creativity, and freedom?
After working with hundreds of creative business owners over the last 6 years, here are some tips for you:
3 Productivity Tips for the Creative Business Owner
1. Plan time, not content.
Instead of planning on doing specific tasks on a specific day, just block off "desk time" or "marketing time." Then, on that day, look at your list for the month, and start with the tasks that feel easy or fun. You can go in any order. Do what feels easy. Mix it up. Turn on some music (or even a movie in the background) for the super boring stuff.
As long as you are blocking off time each week for your marketing or admin stuff, you don't have to relegate which tasks you do each minute of each hour. Change it up. You're creatively wired for a reason--use that superpower!
2. Use checklists with freedom
I use an online To Do list that allows me to see what I need to do, without the task disappearing if I didn't get to it right away. In the past, when I put tasks on my calendar or in the Reminders app on my phone, the notification would disappear when the day is over. No bueno. Instead, use a system that allows for flexibility within your week or month. Yes, I have "overdue" tasks. But at least I can see them! Then I do them in whatever order I feel like. I give myself a full WEEK to get some of them done. You don't have to push through or forget it (that's an all-or-nothing mentality). You just need some freedom. I also give my staff permission to bug me when I'm super late ("Hey Jen, do you have that newsletter article?"). The accountability and pressure-prompting appeals to my personality and I actually get the task done when I know my team needs the article so they can put it on the website and get it published for our clients.
3. Go WITH your natural moods, not against them.
Not feeling it? Don't push it. Instead, go for a walk. Dance it out with some fun music. Jump in the car, clear your head with a drive to Starbucks, get your favorite coffee, and allow yourself some friendly small-talk with the barista. When you come back to your desk, you'll be refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle your newsletter, website edits, bookkeeping, or Facebook ads. Don't push through. You'll end up banging your head against the wall. (Nobody has time for a concussion!)
After chatting with a free-spirited, fun, "don't box me in" client of mine this week, I recorded this quick video for you. Please excuse the neighbor kids having fun in the background and try to ignore my slight rocking. I was on my deck, sitting on a rocking chair. I wasn't trying to make you dizzy, I swear!
Listen. You were made with your free-spirit for a reason. You are creatively, uniquely YOU. Go WITH your strengths (not against them) and your company will flourish.
Here's an idea for setting up systems, even when you're a free spirit.
The Never Alone Inner Circle Retreat is coming up quickly! At the end of September, our coaching clients will gather for a time of renewal, clarity, and planning. We'll take two full days to take a look at your business, identify what's working, what's not, and what your next steps should be.
With a focus on business, faith, and family, you'll leave renewed, refreshed, encouraged, and motivated to grow your business in the right direction (and yes, we'll talk about systems that still allow freedom and creativity)! We'll take some time to ask GOD where He wants to lead and guide your business. He wants to give us wisdom. We just have to ask.
(The deadline for the Retreat was yesterday, but I'm extending it 24 hours. If your heart is pulling you to attend, just shoot me an email and I'll see what I can do!)
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!