I need you to know one thing today: You are amazing.
No, I'm serious. You may not really see it or feel it, but you are.
You keep showing up in the lives of your students and staff. You keep improving your studio and making it better. You keep making hard choices and hard decisions and maybe it feels like no one ever pats you on the back. Well, I am today.
I KNOW you are working long hours and making all the hard decsions. I know you agonize over hiring decisions and performance dates and all the million little details that makes your studio keep chugging along.
I know the days are long and the nights are short and you are wearing all the hats.
I know sometimes your employees let you down and teachers make you nuts.
I also know that you LOVE the work that you do. You love the arts and you love making the lives of your students better with music, dance, art, theatre, or whatever you offer at your studio.
I know you have big goals and sometimes you're just tired.
Today, I want you to write down 3 things you are thankful for. Go ahead-- grab a random sheet of paper. What is good right now? What goal have you accomplished? What staff member is supporting you incredibly well right now? What are you celebrating? A new name of your studio? A second location? A record-high enrollment? A stellar recital performance? That you made it through the September rush? It doesn't matter how big or small--just close your eyes and push thankfulness out into your life right now.
Feels good, yes?
It's a trick I play on myself regularly, especially when things are hard. I stop. I think of 3 things that I am grateful for. It's amazing what shifts in that moment. My heart lifts. My mind clears. I feel grounded.
I want you to know that I am praying for you. I know you, the business owner, are carrying a heavy load. A huge responsibility. That's why I know you are amazing.
I hope you feel that today.
I'm sending you a giant air hug right now!
Carry on, strong one. You've got this.
I passionately believe that you are wired with your exact personality and strengths for a reason!
God made you for a purpose and if you are constantly frustrated or banging your head against the wall, it's a clue that you are NOT in your sweet spot! (Don't worry. I've been there. We ALL have!)
Often, we become martyrs. "I'll just do this. No one else wants to."
Or, "I'll be nice to my staff. Even though I suck at this, I'm the boss. Someone has to do it."
Newsflash: Your staff might LOVE to do what you HATE to do! That's because they are wired to do it!
Last week, I was consulting with a business owner who, in the past, had begrudgingly put together their complicated class schedule. His business partner told me, "I LOVE doing it! It's like a puzzle!" They both truly did not understand the other one's point of view. That's because we are ALL unique, with gifts and talents in different areas. If someone loves Excel spreadsheets, by all means, let them handle the details and the data! If someone else loves to come up with the big ideas, let them!
Have you taken the time to really discover your strengths? Have you intentionally focused on them, instead of improving your weaknesses? Deep down, do you actually believe life is just hard, so when things come easily, it's almost cheating? Like it doesn't count?
One of the best tools for finding your strengths is the book "Strengths Finder." Grab it here, on Amazon (link here) and take the test online (the code is in the back of the book). Once you have your results, read the chapters about your strengths. Now glance at the other chapters. Can you relate to the other strengths? Or do they actually repulse you? It's okay. We are all different. And when your whole team can cover the wide variance of strengths, you can cover a lot of territory and can get a lot accomplished! I have team members who LOVE chatting with clients, others who love the numbers and details, and others who prefer to stay in the background, working on the inner workings of the whole operation.
Every time I hire a new staff member, I give them take several personality assessments. I want to know what they are good at and I want them to stay in their strengths. Why? Because they'll have more energy to get the tasks done, they will be happier, and they will stay longer! I want you to do the same thing! BELIEVE that God has wired you for a unique path. It won't look the same as your spouse or team members. That's good! You are called to do something that no one else can do. Embrace it. Lean into it. (I'm STILL learning this.)
And if you are thinking, "I have no idea what I'm good at," then it's time to buy the book Strength Finders and discover some of your unique gifts. At first, they may seem too simple. When you read your strengths, you may say, "Yeah? So what?" But the key is that other people do NOT think those skills are easy at all! They are "easy" because you are wired to do those things.
If you've been told you're bossy, you probably have Leadership skills.
If you talk all the time, you probably have the gift of Communication.
If you tend to go with the flow, you probably have the gift of Adaptability.
If you love to take in information, your strength could be Input or Learning.
If you tackle big things and get a lot done, you probably have the gift of Achiever.
What if you could take some time to discover exactly how God has wired you and dream about how you could turn up the volume on those things in your life? What if it shifted things in your business? What if it actually made life easier and, at the same time, more fun AND made your business grow? (Hint: I know it can!)
I believe in this stuff. But I'd love to hear your thoughts. Send me a message. Or reply to this blog.
Do you agree? Or disagree? Do you stay in your strengths? Or do you find yourself frustrated and can't figure out why? I'd love to help.
Don't stay stuck. The world needs YOU. Beautifully unique YOU.
Need help with your marketing? Want to shine your light and make a bigger difference in the world?
Let's talk. Schedule a free call here:
What our clients are saying:
Vadim Koltsov recommends Never Alone in Business:
Thank you Never Alone for your massive support and super professional approach to build a confidence to run a successful business. You got us to page one of google search with our newly built website just in a blink of an eye, only two months. That was a huge break through for us, not to mention a number of new enrollments that we received from the website. My special thanks to Jen Hickle for being such an inspiration. I am a big fan of yours. Your newsletters are always a breath of fresh air. Immense gratitude! Big Hugs! ❤️
Alicia Burgin reviewed Never Alone in Business — 5 star
I had done one of those cookie cutter websites and was pretty pleased of myself. I got what I thought was pretty good traffic. Until a business mentor of mine said your website just isn't bringing in enough customers. I had Never Alone Business redo my website, and wow what a difference! The amount of traffic to my site trippled! And it only took a few weeks and I was up and running! Never again will I go without Never Alone Business!
Raquel Jackson Kelley-Mendoza recommends Never Alone in Business:
Chris & Jen Hickle of Never Alone are the BEST in the business and you can trust them 100% to get the work done. We would recommend the highly for your marketing needs!
Life is hard. It just is.
Running a business is exhausting and exhilarating and can, honestly, drain the life right out of you.
So what do you do when you're running on fumes and your soul is tired? When you wake up and you're already dreaming of crawling back in bed that night? When you longingly think of unplugging your computer and silencing your phone and hiding under the covers for 36 hours? When you want to hide but people are depending on you and the To Do list is a mile long?
I've just returned from 2 weeks of conferences and traveling. I went from feeling on top of the world to flat out exhausted. My soul is tired. My brain is tired. And yet, there are one hundred things to do and people who need me and who are asking me questions every minute of the day.
So what now?
It's so simple, and yet, "I surrender" thrown up to the heavens can activate God's presence to show up and take over. Sometimes I walk through my neighborhood and pray, sometimes it's just as I go through my day, and sometimes I lock my door and literally kneel beside my bed. It's an act of surrender and it's more effective than working for 6 hours straight. So why don't I do it more often? Who knows. It's the human condition. But when I do pray, my strength is renewed and my soul feels a little lighter.
I honestly hate to have fun. I know, it's weird and terrible. But it means stopping the hustle and the energy flow. It means letting go and relaxing. And it's hard for me! (I know, I'm strange.) But when I do really, truly, let myself relax and play a game or enjoy my kids, or laugh until I almost pee my pants, or ride a ride at Disney World, something shifts. We are made for play and we were created to rest and NOT work all the time. (Yes, I'm guilty of enjoying Netflix WITH a computer on my lap.) Sometimes walking away from the never-ending projects brings clarity when we return. Fun and laughter are healing for our relationships, marriage, and our kids (or grandkids) love it. Sigh. I need to play more often.
As little children, our parents are supposed to meet our needs when we cry, are hungry, fall down, or are scared. When we are adults, we are responsible for meeting our own needs. If you are hungry, are you giving yourself delicious, nutritious food? If you're cold, are you lighting a fire and wrapping up in a sweater blanket with fuzzy socks? If you're lonely, do you pick up the phone and reach out to a friend? We don't have a parent nurturing us anymore, so it's our responsibility to self-soothe. We have to hear what our body and soul is asking for and NOT ignore it. Don't push through. Take a moment and light a candle, play your favorite music, prepare a simple meal. Yes, other people can take care of us, too, but we can't wait or rely on it. We have to really listen to what we need and either make it happen or ask for it. And the next day you just may wake up refreshed. Renewed. Ready to tackle the world again.
Is your soul tired like mine? Do you need a little break? Maybe schedule a massage or a night out with friends. Maybe stop working early tonight and just take care of YOU.
After all, if we don't take care of YOU, what will happen to your employees and your company? We need you to be okay. We need you to be thriving and happy and alive and excited about what's ahead.
So go ahead. Make some plans. Take care of yourself.
I'm going to take care of myself, too.
September is here! I hope you survived your Summer and you are ready for a HUGE, wonderful Fall at your Studio!
This summer, we intentionally carved out some family time with our kids. We enjoyed the Minnesota State Fair last week, famous for its amazing food! We spent a day riding rides at Valleyfair the week before, and also enjoyed renting a relaxing cabana at the water park. It's so important to make these memories with your kids. After all, isn't that why you started your business? To make a better life for your family? In fact, we've already booked two trips for winter to escape the Minnesota cold! Can't wait to travel and relax in the sun when it's FREEZING here in January and February!
I've been spending some time thinking about YOU and how Never Alone Business Services can serve you better. We are adding more team members and we want to be a full service agency to meet all of your marketing needs. Please know that we believe in the arts and we believe your studio is a positive force for good in your community. We are here for YOU so you can do what only you can do. We can manage your website, your ads, and handle the techy stuff. We are honored to free up your time so you have less stress, and so you can manage what really matters: impacting the lives of your students and their families.
We're here for you. So please just let us know what you need.
Now, if your studio isn’t filling up as quickly as you wished it would, usually one of these 3 things is off: your website, your email marketing, or your social media marketing.
When these 3 are all working in unity, your enrollment is buzzing, your phones are ringing, and your studio is filling up!
We enrolled 65 new students last month, pretty much JUST using our website, email marketing and Facebook/Instagram. It WORKS!
If you’re feeling stuck or discouraged, you’re not alone! There’s nothing wrong with you. We just have to figure out what’s missing or not quite up to par.
Message us at email@example.com a free phone call.
Let’s figure out what’s missing and FIX it!
Let's have an AMAZING Fall at your studio!
I believe in the power of the arts.
And I believe in YOU.
There's been a theme emerging this week in many of my circles:
Successful business owners that I respect all agree: it starts at home. When I get my systems in place, when I take care of my marriage first, when my kids' needs are met. . .then my business grows.
Many of my fellow business owner friends are admitting to me, with almost a whisper, "I'm homeschooling this year." And why is that? Simply put: you have better control over your schedule and your life. YOU get full control. Homeschooling and owning your own business work hand in hand.
This month, I've filled about 10 pages in a notebook and created multiple Excel sheets with our fall schedule plan. I'm obsessed with making sure all the pieces are there: date with Chris, family meals, kids' school time, my work time, staff meetings, connecting with friends.
The only reason my schedule runs so smoothly is because I've put the work in to making it all work.
On a couple of my coaching calls this week, I've encouraged people to think ahead. Do not keep putting out the fires right in front of you. I'm already looking ahead to September, October, November, and even January. That's what successful business owners do.
I don't want to just live in the moment. I want to be prepared. And when I know all the trains are running on time and I've done my homework to get all the pieces in place? THEN I revel in the moment right in front of me. The beautiful scent of a candle in my kitchen. The front porch swing and a conversation with my daughter. An impromptu car ride with my son. A movie on the couch with the whole family. ALL of this is possible because I've thought ahead, planned, and put the systems in place.
If you feel like you take three steps forward, only to side two steps back, it's time to stop. Let everything fall around you. Chart a new course. Get help in place. Hire more staff. Plan your entire fall schedule. Plan your week and plan your days. You can proudly say "I live in the moment," but if your reality is constantly catching up and putting our fires? That's not the way to live when you're running a company. Maybe other people can live that way, but you can't. People are depending on you for their paycheck. People are paying you for your services. Now is the time to make a change. It's almost Fall. Get ready. Prepare. Think ahead.
I believe in you. You can do this.
This week, we're scheduled to have some family time. It's scheduled and it's intentional. Because that's the way I choose to live.
Need some practical help with this? Grab my book on Amazon: Happy Kids, Growing Biz.
Need help with your website or marketing? Stop struggling on your own. I have some openings on my calendar this week. Let's talk. Book that call here:
Current clients of Never Alone: Are you in our Facebook group? Join here for the latest updates on social media marketing! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1715473611806455/
This week I shared my thoughts about Facebook's stocks falling and Instagram rising.
When I was young and starry-eyed, I knew I would change the world. I believed I could make a huge difference in lives. I had grandiose plans.
I had no clue I would need money to survive.
We married young and plunged into debt pretty fast, just to pay bills and keep food on the table. I was still starry-eyed and optimistic and had no clue. Chris was juggling the bills and work and I had a toddler and new baby at home. When I found out that we were using credit cards just to buy food, I flipped out. Practicality stepped in. Forget changing the world. Let's change our habits and get out of debt.
We sold our beautiful new vehicle (that we bought for the youth group that we were leading), sold our brand new townhouse that didn't fit our growing family anymore, and moved into a little tiny rambler. We clamped down ALL spending and started digging out of the huge hole we found ourselves in.
Big dreams kinda went out the window. Our reality was not being able to afford fresh produce at the Farmer's Market in the summer--it was simply too expensive. Reality was not even shopping at garage sales because we had no spare change. Reality was getting out of debt and realizing that ministry in a church plant start-up was NOT paying our bills and growing our business was the only way we would actually make more money.
I thought I was turning my back on ministry when I turned my focus to growing my company.
The lives I have influenced in business are many. The mom with the brain tumor, the teen suffering with depression, the staff who is hurting, the teacher who lost their loved one, the random client you encourage, and the lives you touch EVERY DAY. This is our minstry.
I asked God to let us touch lives and show them HIS LOVE and He has. Every single day.
So don't think you're "just" running a company.
Oh, no, my friends.
You are influencing the world.
Every phone call, email, encounter, walk-in, drive-by, new enrollment? A chance to show love and compassion and touch their hearts. Brighten their day. Make a difference.
I'll never forget the years we were on staff at a church. But now I'll realize that I am still touching lives in my business. Maybe more.
This is the path God has given us. He has given YOU your path, too. Walk it out.
Love like He loves.
Sometimes the words of our clients speak louder than anything we could say.
Check this out:
“57 new Ballet students scheduled for first trial class next week after following Jen Hickle’s Facebook guidance... I ❤️ this!!”
Let me tell you: Zoe hated Facebook. Didn’t know how to use it for her ballet school. Wasn’t getting any real students. After our assistance, she is pulling in new students for fall and crushing it!
We also received this email this week:
It has been about a year since we created Fort Myers School of Music. I was very nervous about changing the name as Jay and Kay's has 27 years of advertising equity built up.
Well. . .Last night Fort Myers School of Music won "The Best Place to take Music Lessons!"
What's even better is that due to an error on the newspapers part only Jay and Kay's Organ and Piano Co. was listed, and that was under retail (we won that also).
So. . . the school won solely based on public awareness, created by your marketing program!
Even cooler. . . at the awards ceremony one of the presenters stated to the audience that she had just researched online all the area music schools, and her children will be starting lessons with us when school starts.
This is great proof that your marketing is working well! Thanks,
P.S. Feel free to have anyone in doubt that your system works call me :-)
Here's the deal: July is nearly gone. August is almost here. Bascially, you have LIMITED TIME to get your ducks in a row for fall marketing.
We've cleared our calendar to help YOU. Growing studios is our speciality.
Do you need help with any of this?
I know you have a million things on your plate. Trust me, I get it. I'm a busy parent and a busy studio owner, too.
All you have to do is call out for help and we'll take over. That's what we are here for! Just email us or schedule a time to talk. Our full time mission is helping YOUR business grow.
We are ready for the fall rush. BRING IT ON.
Are you ready??
P.S. We have been helping music studio owners since 2013. Now we are expanding to help dance, theatre, cheer, swim, and art studios. Who do you know who could use some hope and support with their marketing and their website?
Please forward them this email.
You could be the reason someone has the best back-to-school season ever!
Imagine their gratitude. If they are drowning, we can take some tasks off their plate.
We know studio owners have big hearts for little people. They are also short on time and have "To Do" lists a mile long. We get it. And we can help.
We moved into a new house in March and while it's not a "fixer upper" it definitely needed updating out of the 90s. (Which, by the way, was 28 years ago. WHAT?!) We have been doing non-stop projects over here, and utilizing many companies and contractors. And the number one thing that makes me want to pull my hair out? NO ONE replies to their email or answers their phone! Why? Because they are too busy doing the work in their business. But guess what? All of that work is going to go bye-bye when you don't reply to your clients and prospects.
There is nothing more maddening when I, as the customer, feel like I am the one dragging the process along. "Hey, just checking in. Have you scheduled a date for the project yet?" Or "Did you get my last email? What's the next step?" I can literally hear the frantic tone of voice in their emails. "Oh so sorry. We are really backed up." "I apologize. We have been out in the field. I need to check with my partner and get back to you." Makes me CrAzY.
So what would fix this? Systems.
Every business needs someone assigned to their email and phones. NOT the owner. NOT the owner's wife. But a dedicated person who is professional, calm, detailed and who gets things done.
If you are the one doing the work IN your business, you can't also be scheduling everything and handling the billing. You will LOSE YOUR MIND. And then, you will lose your customers.
An easy first step is hiring a Virtual Assistant. This is a person who is dedicated to your business, but not full time. This person will manage your email and phone calls and your schedule and invoice your clients. They won't work in your building and you won't have staff meetings. But they will give you sanity and your customers will be thrilled. The next step is to hire an employee full time. I know you think you can't afford it, but I'm telling you that you cannot afford to sabbatoge your own business and cause unhappy clients to leave poor reviews online.
Please don't be like the painters, landscapers, sign companies and millwork companies that I have been trying to work with.
Just answer your phones. Reply to your emails (within one hour!).
And if you can't do that, then HIRE someone to do it. The money you put out to pay for them will light a fire under you and you'll be more motivated than ever to advertise and get new business to pay for that person. And guess what? You'll have TIME to double your business because you'll have someone helping you. Amazing how that works!
I remember when I took this leap in my business. I was terrified and excited all at once. I spent an entire weekend creating an operations manual and FAQ document. Then I handed the phone to the new receptionist I had just hired. I logged her into my email. I wanted to PANIC. But guess what? We grew faster than when I was doing it! I had less stress. I could think clearly. I could do more marketing. I could see ahead and plan the future. It was a game-changer for me and it will be a game-changer for you. Don't say "I can't afford it." Say, "How can I afford this? How will I make this happen?"
The power lies in your hand. Afterall, you didn't start this business to be crabby and overwhelmed, right?
I've been having a lot of fun posting some fun time-saving hacks on our Never Alone Business Services Facebook Page.
If you don't follow us there, be sure to go like it now: www.facebook.com/jenhickle1.
I'm sending you these favorites from Facebook today in your email, so you can save some time and hassle.
Let me know which ones ressonate with you!
1. File your papers instead of wasting time hunting for that document when you need it.
Need to organize your files better? Paper outta control on your desk?
Keep a simple box on your desk and label the folders.
No need for perfection! Get those piles into files! Get pretty ones that I bought here:
2. Cut out Facebook during the work day. Ninja style.
This is my FAVORITE time-saving hack. If you're like me, you work on your laptop (or computer) and Facebook is open on a tab because you have to stay alert to certain notifications.
I installed this plug-in for Chrome (the Newsfeed Eradicator) and now I can see my messages and notifications, but I can't see the newsfeed (which is filled with fun, but meaningless info when I'm trying to work).
Install it on your laptop and watch your productivity soar.
(Don't worry. You can still read your newsfeed later in the day on your phone!) Grab it here.
3. Don't waste hours trying to recover your Facebook Page!
“Help! I lost access to my Facebook Page!” This is NOT a message I enjoy getting. To prevent losing access to your business Page, be sure you are not the only Admin of your FB Page.
Here’s how to add another person. It can be your spouse or friend!
Do not wait on this. This is happening to people we know. It’s serious. And it takes just a moment to fix!
At Never Alone Business Services, our team is obsessed with your business success.
I hope these tips give you a couple ideas that you can quickly implement!
Let me know if we can take your online marketing to the next level. We are here to help!
Schedule a call with me here.
I’m obsessed. Lately I’ve been loving these 4 apps (some new, some older) and I just had to share how much I love them!
1. Waze. This app is like Google Maps, but it tells you the fastest way to get to where you’re going— around traffic jams and construction. I’ve been using this obsessively lately.
2. Over. This is my go-to app for creating graphics to share in Facebook. It’s not too hard to use and has tons of <free> fonts and overlays. If you manage a Facebook Page, get this app!
3. Scribd. My friend told me about this app and I just recently got it. OH MY. It’s like Netflix— for books and audio books and sheet music!! Pay $8.95 per month and read/listen/play to your heart’s content!! A must-have for book lovers.
4. Shipt. Someone hold me. You know I love ordering groceries but this app activates a real shopper to go to Target FOR YOU and deliver groceries to you within a 1-2 hours!! Hello! Dinner is saved! What a lifesaver for busy people like us!
Let me know if you use these or if you plan to download them!
I’m obsessed with helping you grow your business. And time-saving tools is one way to do that!!
One more thing! I've been mentioning this on my Facebook Page lately
(www.facebook.com/jenhickle1), but I had to share this with you, too. I LOVE the Storybrand podcast.
I am actually NOT a podcast listener. I know it's all the rage, but I have fought against it because I'm honestly not an auditory learner. I would much rather read. BUT, my brother (an Ennegram 3, like me) encouraged me to listen and WOW, I love it. If you are a business owner who is a driven achiever, you will get so much out of the interviews he does and the books he recommends!
How do you listen? Go to wherever you buy apps and get the Podcast app. Or, you can go directly here, just to try it out: http://podbay.fm/show/1092751338
Let me know what you think!
And don't forget: we are here for you. If you need a website overhaul, an SEO boost, or help with your Google AdWords, just let me know. We are here to help YOU succeed in your business.
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!