How to Take the Summers Off

One of the questions I get asked the most is how I take the summers off, so I thought I’d answer that a bit for you in this post.

The purpose of my sharing this is about much more than just taking the summer off – or any extended holiday.

It’s to help you, the Lifestyle Entrepreneur, to get really clear on your plan for the next 6-12 months and beyond, what it’s going to be about for you, both from a pragmatic view as well as from a big picture view.

Preparing to Take Time Off

You likely know that I take 12 weeks off (half of June, and all of July and August) as vacation to spend it with my family at the lake where I spent my summers growing up.

When I first decided that I wanted to be off for the entire summer, I had to figure out how to make that work and still run and grow my business.

In the beginning, it was a very slightly working vacation, maybe 10% of the time.

The first time I did this, I did certain things to prepare for it:

1. I decided on what main projects I was going to focus on, two in total.

2. I decided what my VA would focus on, all the admin details that I didn’t want to be troubled with, but that I had a hard time letting go of beforehand.

3. I went through all my paper files and only brought those with me that I had to have to work on those 2 main projects. (As a back-up, I used a remote access program in case I had to get something on my desktop).

4. I cleaned up my laptop so when I was online I could focus.

5. I let my clients and customers know (more than once) that I was on vacation, that I would respond to emails but that it might take a little longer than usual, but that I was also living this model.

Those were basically the things I did to get ready.

What happened?

Much to my surprise, because I think I was so busy-busy all the time that I wasn’t moving forward very quickly with anything and spent a lot of time putting out fires, I was actually MORE productive – and MORE profitable – during those summer weeks than I had been the previous 6 months working from my home office.

Here’s What Made the Difference

So what was different?

1. I chose two main projects to focus on that only I could do (writing my book and my membership program) and either let the rest go (absolutely nothing negative happened as a result) or delegated it.

So I was really focused on my ‘genius’ work, which is what will always bring you more money sooner than focusing on fixing your website or other admin tasks you shouldn’t be doing.

2. I had scheduled work time. This was a biggee for me. At home, I worked when the kids slept (naptime or nighttime) and then all kinds of in-between time when they were playing by themselves or when Daddy was taking care of them.

During those early summers of implementing this model, I only worked a total of about 2 hours a day, during pre-wake-up time and post-bedtime, 3-4 days a week. I’d get up at 5:30am and work for an hour or so before the kids woke up, but that was also my time to sit on the dock, watch the loons and write in my journal – and drink my coffee while it was still hot.

When I worked it was only on those one or two projects, and answering emails that were a priority, like those from private clients. Anything else I did was a bonus. I wasn’t stressed at all, and when I was with kids, I was completely focused on them, not on my business.

Since then, I’ve restructured my business so that I don’t offer anything ‘live’ with me while I’m off for the summer, my coaching and training programs end around Memorial Day weekend, and the only work I do over the summer is write the personal note in my online newsletter each week. Almost everything else is done and queued up before Memorial Day or is delegated to my team to take care of while I’m off.

There’s quite a bit more to it than this, of course, but if you’re seeking to take more time off, whatever time of year it is and for whatever reason, this should get you thinking about the first steps to take so you can do it too.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – comment below or share in our Facebook group here

How to Unhook from the Future

Chloe has a children’s book (which is now a movie) titled Milton’s Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman, which really simplifies the concept of living in the present moment, and how the practice of that will, for the boy in the story, eliminate fear and worry.

I wanted to explore that as it pertains to your business, with a slightly different slant. I wonder if you, like so many of my clients, and myself as well from time to time, are so hooked into the future that we’re missing the NOW and not fully enjoying the journey?

So how do we unhook from it to allow what we truly want to come to pass without always feeling like we’re striving for it?

Here are 5 ideas:

1. Let go of the goals that take you away from the present.

Let me say first that you can have everything you want – and there’s no judgement here on what those things are.

That being said, do you want a mansion, to be the #1 speaker in your market, to be the one with the biggest email list in your market, to be a New York Times bestselling author, to make a million dollars? There’s nothing wrong with any of those lofty (yet completely attainable) goals.

And, what happens is when we’re so focused on the sexy dream we tend to get ourselves so riled up about getting there that we miss all the amazing stuff happening NOW.

What I’ve noticed is that people get impatient, sad, frustrated, and even angry when they’re so focused on the future goal that the present seems uninteresting at best, despairing at worst. The antidote? See #2.

2. Polish the present

I want to encourage you to stop striving so hard and thrive in your present. What I mean is that if you make what you already have better, and polish what’s already good and working, you uplevel your life without expending that energy on something that doesn’t exist yet.

Yes, it’s about appreciating what’s already good and right in your world and in your business AND it’s about how you can make what’s already there fulfill you even more. It’s true that if you make the most of what you already have, you’ll get more and better of it with a lot less effort on your part.

3. Don’t plan so much

I’m all about having the big picture plan down to the day-to-day details, and yet I know that most of the time, the plan changes.

One of the reasons we – as business owners – plan so much is because it gives us a sense of control and it helps to alleviate the fears and doubts we have about knowing what we’re doing.

So have the plan and be willing to be flexible with it. Let it be a guide but not the only way. If you get wrapped up in THE PLAN you’ll actually hold yourself and your business back from being able to adapt quickly when things change – and they always do.

Assess if you spend more time planning than doing – and if you do, stop right now. And if you tend to fly by the seat of your pants more often than not, you might want a lightly-built framework around you to give you some sense of stability.

4. Get out of the striver’s club

Stop trying to acquire a better future with others who are striving. It’s just too exhausting. I’m not saying to surround yourself with lazy folks, but get out of the overdrive club if you want to relax into a currently compelling present instead of an exhausting still ‘out there somewhere’ future.

5. Get off the ‘if/when’ rollercoaster

I admit this is a pet peeve of mine. Not from people who are decisive, but from people who use it as an excuse to not be happy now. When you make ‘if/when’ statements, you’re living in the future. Dreaming and visioning is one thing; otherwise it’s a holding pattern for you but even worse, you’re not enjoying where you’re at right now!

Now take and implement these five ideas to unhook from the future so you can enjoy the present – I promise you’ll thank me for it. 🙂

I’d love to hear you thoughts on this – please comment below…

Where Are You Missing Leverage in Your Business? (Part 1)

If you’re a woman entrepreneur who’s building a leveraged online business so you can keep your family first, this is for you.

As the same, I’m always looking for ways to leverage what’s already working in my business to improve my results so I can grow my business more quickly without more effort.

Where in your business could you do the same? Take this mini-assessment to find out.

__ 1. Do you know your priorities?

You need to know the highest-payoff activities to focus on in your business before you can fully leverage them for a far greater result.

If you often feel scattered, and that you’re too often flying by the seat of your pants, and you would LOVE to have a much more streamlined and simplified process for creating flow in your business on every level, it starts with knowing and focusing only on what matters.

What’s your #1 highest-payoff activity in your business today?


__ 2. Are your sales lacking?

If you’re not making as many sales as you want, there’s likely some missing pieces in your sales flow. I’m sure you know that just putting something out there online does not equal a successful offer. There are several critical pieces you need to have in place first, and then a strategy to convert from offer to sale.

What is the #1 missing piece in your sales process today?


__ 3. Do you abandon your current clients/customers?

It is far easier to sell something to someone who has already bought from you, and yet this is one of the most common places where entrepreneurs leave money on the table.

What is the natural next step you could offer to your current clients/customers?


__ 4. Do you leave your prospects hanging?

70% of your sales are in the follow-up. Don’t leave your potential clients and customers hanging just because your offer went live. Keep touching base with them, making sure they don’t feel abandoned, that you truly do want to help them.

Where in your current or next offer could you add a follow-up process?


__ 5. Do you have an “easy yes” offer?

Do you have a way to work with your market that’s an easy yes for them? I’m not talking about private work at your highest level. I’m talking about being able to experience your work in a way that leverages your time yet supports your client as well?

What simple product or program could you create that walks your client through your process in a do-it-yourself way?

These are just 5 areas to be looking at where you could up the ante on what you already have in place in your business – or what you should have in place to create the success you desire. We’ll cover 5 more in Part 2, but in the meantime, spend some time figuring out for yourself where you can apply the above to start seeing better results for less effort.

If you want to know where you’re not leveraging in your business, be sure to get my free mini-assessment here

 

About Being Lucky…

I’m a believer in creating your own luck (thus why I don’t buy lottery tickets).
 
Actually I don’t usually use the word luck because I think it’s too easy for people to use it as an excuse, and not in a positive way.
 
I’ll share something personal here – I bristle whenever someone says to me how ‘lucky’ I am to have such well-behaved kids. Don’t get me wrong – I know how blessed I am to have two happy, healthy, whole kids. No one is more grateful for that than I am.
 
And yet, that comment (and similar ones) always comes across to me as if James and I had nothing to do with it, that it’s the luck of the draw that we have well-behaved (most of the time) children. Are you kidding me?
 
It’s the same thing in your business. I’m not ‘lucky’ to have a multiple 6-figure business. I created it, I earned it. And I did that by doing 4 things consistently:
 
1. Learning
 
I’m always learning something new or re-learning something I already knew. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. If you’re not growing, your business won’t grow. The more you grow inside, the more successful your business will be. So whether I’m learning a new marketing tactic or studying ‘divine success’, I know that learning will ultimately show up in the success of my business and my life.
 
2. Implementing
 
Of course if you don’t implement what you learn, what’s the point? I implement more often than most, which shows up in my success. I’ve also learned to delegate much more to my team which means we collectively get a lot more done. My coach’s request to you is to pick one thing you’ve been meaning to implement, either choose to do it yourself or decide who to delegate it to, pick a completion date and get it done!
 
3. Leveraging
 
You can’t create a truly lucrative business without leveraging as much of your time and your talent as possible. One way I do this is via my ‘3+’ rule. Whenever I’m trying to decide whether or not to implement something, I ask myself if I’ll be able to use whatever it is I’m considering in three or more ways.
 
A simple example of this is writing articles about my area of expertise. When I first started out, we would publish the articles in my ezine, make them a blog post, and submit them to article directories. Now, we do those three things as well as post a podcast, submit that to podcast directories including my Artist’s Page at iTunes, submit it to niche publications, and more.
 
4. Mentoring (with and to)
 
I’ve had at least one mentor since I was 13 years old. One of the many lessons I learned from him was that I didn’t have to go it alone, that I could ask for help and be given it without strings attached. As I grew up, I’ve had different personal and professional mentors, which is why it’s always an easy decision for me to make that investment, in both time and money, especially when it comes to my business.
 
And being a mentor to other women entrepreneurs is absolutely part of my path. It brings me great joy and allows me to give them the lift they need to go from where they are to where they want to be.
 
Which of these four resonates the most with you right now? Pick one and create your own luck by putting it into action right away.
 
I’ll be sharing a lot more how-to’s in my upcoming free workshop series – join us here:
 

A few of my new favs…

People ask me all the time what I’m reading, listening to, watching, and following as I continue to grow my lifestyle business, so I thought I’d share some timely goodies with you today. 🙂

So, I stumbled across Rachel Hollis when I found a bunch of unused credits in my Audible account. Her book, Girl, Wash Your Face sounded interesting and had a lot of good reviews, so I downloaded it and started listening to it on my walks last spring.

It just celebrated its 1-year anniversary and has been the catalyst for Rachel’s rise to the top of the inspirational/motivational speaker/writer circuit.

In the book, Rachel gets really real and is an engaging storyteller – but it’s her voice that drew me in (and I’m not a auditory learner) and the fact that I felt like she was sitting on the couch with me, talking with me, not reading her book to me.

Check it out here. 

And just out on Amazon Prime is her documentary/behind-the-scenes look at her live Rise event, Made for More

I took Chloe to see it in theaters last month and I don’t know who enjoyed it more – me or her. But it’s definitely something to watch yourself, with your daughter, with your girlfriends. It’s a keeper…

See it here 

And her next book, Girl, Stop Apologizing is available for pre-order (Chloe actually pre-ordered it for me for my birthday since it comes out next month, which is my birthday month ;-)) right now too.

Pre-order here  (there’s a cool bonus when you pre-order too).

If you’re looking for some inspiration and motivation, with a solid dose of realness, and genuine fun, check out Rachel – she’s pretty cool. 🙂

Note: Those are my Amazon Influencer links, so I may receive a tiny (and I mean tiny ;-)) commission if you purchase through my links. That said, I never recommend anything I haven’t purchased and loved myself.

2 Woo-Woo Moves & 2 Practical Steps to Reaching Your Dream this Year

 

What’s your dream?
 

If you haven’t spent a few minutes thinking about, visualizing, writing, or creating a vision board about what you want to bring into being in 2019, take at least a few minutes today to do so.

Mine is to complete my manuscript of Book #2. 🙂

Truth be told, that’s been on my dream list for more than a few years (and at least since my first book was published in 2014), but as much as I wanted to write my next book, I wasn’t really doing anything about it.

Do you have a dream like that too? Here’s what I’m doing that’s helping me stay on track that may help you too.

1. Write it down

Write down your dream every single day. I’m serious. Add this 10-second ritual to your morning to support you in achieving your dream. And handwrite it – that makes all the difference.

I write, “I’m a NY Times Bestselling Author” every single morning. Will Book #2 get me there? Who knows? But I’m setting my intention and sending it out to the Universe every single day. I won’t be surprised when it happens – giddy, but not surprised.

2. Create a container for your dream

In my case, that’s Scrivener. Scrivener is a word processor and project management tool created specifically for writers, but that really doesn’t even come close to covering what it actually can do. In my case, it gives me a separate place to write my book. Not jumbled up with Word or Pages, which creates just one long document.

Scrivener works the way my brain works. When I wrote my first book, I created a table of contents, chapter headings, and some of the front and back matter in Word. I printed those out, 3-hole punched them and put them into a physical binder. Then I would add pieces of content I’d already written by printing them, punching them and adding them to the binder wherever made the most sense. I’m a visual person and if I can see how something fits together, it’s much easier for me.

But Scrivener does that for me! I created a binder and I add chapters as I go, that I can easily re-organize however I want. And the best part is the cork board, where I can stick post-it notes of content I want to be sure to include in my books somewhere – stores or tips or concepts I want to expand on.

What container do you need for your dream? Is it specific software, or a course, or an artist’s date (like in The Artist’s Way) with yourself once a week to work on it? Is it a coach or mentor or a friend who holds you accountable? What will support you in moving steadily towards your dream?

3. Ask for help

Ok, now I’m going to get pretty woo-woo on you. I’m going to share something I learned from Christy Marie Sheldon many years ago called What Would It Take. Now, I don’t know why this works, and honestly, I don’t care. But it works for me and when my clients embrace this, it works for them too.

Here’s what you do. Think of your dream. Then ask this question to the Universe.

“What would it take for <fill in your dream>”?

An example of one of mine is: “What would it take for me to become a NY Times bestselling author?”

Now, here’s the trick. You’re NOT asking for the HOW. You’re putting it out to the Universe to send you the HOW. That may look like an idea that pops into your head, an email that shows up, the course or program or book or a conversation with someone that will help you move closer to your dream.

Sidenote: If you have a hard letting go of the HOW (like, ahem, me), this is an excellent practice for you.

I ask my WWIT when I’m getting ready in the mornings (I actually have WWIT written on my bathroom mirror to remind me) and it’s not the same every day. I ask about what’s the priority for me in that moment, so it might be “WWIT for me to manifest an extra $20k before my birthday?” or “What would it take for us to be awarded enough financial aid for the kids to stay at their school?” or “What would it take for us to find the right next cottage to book for the whole summer?”

By the way, those were ALL ones I’ve put out there and here’s what happened: I made/manifested (pick your preferred word) $22k in 6 weeks (10 weeks before my birthday). We received an award package for the kids’ tuition that was way beyond what we could have ever expected. And we’re heading into our third summer at the perfect ‘next’ cottage.

I don’t question it, I just do it. And perhaps the lack of attachment to the outcome helps too. 😉

4. 15 minutes a day

Now to get back to the practical… I work on my current dream for 15 minutes a day. I write for 15 minutes in Scrivener, usually early morning, though sometimes it happens later in the day. But I can always find 15 minutes to write even if the muse is missing and the writing is crap. Writing from a blank page is always hardest. Rewriting is easy. But you can’t rewrite it you don’t get something down first.

Sometimes I write longer than 15 minutes but never shorter. We’re 21 days into 2019 and I’m at 9069 words. At this pace, I will end up with at least 100k words by the end of this year, which roughly equals about a 210-page manuscript, which is more than enough to publish it.

How can you chunk down your dream in 15 minutes a day?

If you’re not sure, ask yourself what’s ONE thing you can do today to move forward towards your dream? If you’re still not sure, do a mind-purge of all the things it’s going to take for you to achieve your dream and keep it handy. Look at it every morning and pick one thing. Even if that one thing can’t be completed in 15 minutes, you can at least get started and keep working on it in your 15-minute dream-achieving time, right?

There you have it. This is how I make stuff happen. A little woo and a little practical equals a lot of dream-achieving. Try it, and let me know what happens!

 

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