Because of snow days…

Lights flashing through the bedroom windows, the scrape of the plow as it clears the snow from the driveway – ah, the sounds of a 4:30am wake-up call… 😉

As I write this, we’re in our first real snowstorm of the season, and while normally it would have been a snow day for the kids, they had to make a quick shift to remote learning this week due to their first positive case, so alas… no day off just yet.

It reminds me, though, of one of the very reasons I wanted to be my own boss…

and that was so I could skip the stress when the kids’ schools called a snow day (which happens quite frequently in the northeast).

I didn’t have to get permission from a boss to take the day off or use a personal or vacation day.

I’ve never had to have a discussion with my husband about who was going to stay home from work to be with the kids.

Plus, come on, snow days are just FUN. 😉

So, after the kids finish classes today, maybe we’ll go play in the snow, or (more likely ;-)), maybe we’ll light a fire and watch a movie – just because we can.

And I LOVE that about my business – the flexibility of it, the freedom of it… and that’s probably one of the reasons you’re your own boss too.

This year has likely been one when you’ve needed to have a lot of flexibility, especially if your kids have been remote learning, or if other members of your family needed care, or if your own business was forced to change due to the pandemic.

Wherever you are today, I firmly believe that our best times lay ahead.

I’ve been spending time, energy and money in preparing to both make that happen and enjoy it when it does.

I’ve simply refused to let this time in lockdown be in vain.

So while we may not be able to control what’s happening externally, we CAN control what happens in our business and our life.

I’d love to share more about this with you in my free mini-workshop that’s coming up soon.

I’m calling it the Online Business Reset – because I believe that’s exactly what we all need as we turn the calendar to a new year…

… a reset that includes more freedom and flexibility for you. 

Reserve your free spot here

If this was helpful, I’d love it if you’d share it using the buttons below – thanks so much!

The snow as it piles up in our backyard this morning….

10 Ways to Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Your Summer

If you’re anything like me, you start looking forward to summer as soon as the calendar flips to a new year. 😉

Why not take advantage of summer’s slower pace and people’s more casual attitudes and plan to not only take time off but to make some money while you do?

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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.

Want to know more details about how I’ve made this work since 2006 and how you can too? Just click the image to download my free guide!

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Give more to be more…?

Ever have a project due or a deadline looming
that really stresses you out?

Well, that was Chloe’s shark project for her science class.

This girl had a vision, and she made it come alive, but wow – what it took to get there was some serious time reconfiguration, lots of that time spent in the Fabrication Lab at school during lunch, recess, and after school when she wasn’t at musical rehearsal, and lots of support, though she did all the work herself.

This photo is her completed project, and I have to say, from it coming home in many separate pieces to 4 hours later to completion – I’m impressed.

I’m even more impressed that she had a really great attitude about it all – even when she had to go back to store at 7:30pm to get less strong magnets! (Thank you, James, for taking that trip with her.)

But something she said while she was hot glue gunning struck me (I admit, with a tad bit of unease)…

I commented that she didn’t need to do something, that it was fine the way it was, and she just smiled at me because she was going to do it her own way anyway (she is so my daughter) and said, “But Mom, I’m a perfectionist.”

Yikes!

From a recovering (almost) perfectionist, I cringed a little. But I also recognized that part of the reason this project was stressing her out wasn’t just the limited time she had to work on it, but because it’s really important to her to do well.

In this case, she saw clearly what she wanted and she went for it – focused, determined, and yes, it took more because she wanted it to be more.

And that’s not a bad thing at all.

And it made me think, where in my business could I give more so it could be more?

You?

I’d love to know your thoughts…

Cheers,
~ A

Wiping out overwhelm bit by bit

The next two weeks are a bit overwhelming with so much going on, both personally and business-wise, so I took time yesterday to clear the decks.

I boxed up a ton of old binders and notebooks to go to the recycling center. I started filling my ‘summer bin’ mostly of books I want to read over the next few months. And I’m about 75% through my inbox as I head to zero before we leave for the lake.

I walked into my office this morning feeling considerably lighter and more energized to move forward.

I also made a list of exactly what needs to happen when over these next few weeks. Now I just need to focus on that list. 😉

I share more about wiping out overwhelm here:

http://aliciaforest.com/how-to-wipe-out-overwhelm/

Enjoy!

Cheers,
~ A

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