Business Tips and Tricks

Strategies of Being Self-Employed

Sitting at my desk this morning struggling on what to write about….. I don’t have many days like this but I am grateful for A LOT of past posts to go back and rewrite or tweak.  Today is one of those days….  I wrote the original post in 2014.  It seems like a lifetime ago.

 

2014 was a busy year for me…. my Thirty One business was thriving and I was working a J.O.B. part time.  I think back to why I wanted to work for myself – in the beginning, oh so many years ago, I thought it would be fun to turn a hobby into making money.  Work when I want, do something I love which at the time was making premature baby clothes and the success would happen.  I never really thought about the business side of things.  It was my first learning lesson in owning my own business.  BUT the dream to be my own boss never died…

There were may other self-employment attempts which worked for a season…. let’s fast forward to today… today, my reason for being my own boss is so different.  I need to be able to make my own hours, I want to make money at something I love, and I need to have the flexibility to work when I can since my MS seems to decide to flare up at the worst times..  Being my own boss allows me to be available for family too.  It has allowed me to pay off old credit card debt.  It is a blessing I am truly grateful for.

Over the last year or so, I have split my time between my Thirty One business and my craft business ” Angels by Hope”.  I will always be a Thirty One girl but I struggle with providing the same quality customer service I did in past years.  Lists no longer seem to help and I get confused easily.  So hard to keep up with all of the amazing prints, products and specials.  My angels, on the other hand, have allowed me a creative outlet to move at my own pass.  I make angels, people buy them.  On occasion I get an order or two and can quickly get them out.  On days I struggle – I do nothing knowing I have stock to carry me through my next show.

I have heard many say “I want to be my own boss” or “I want my own business”.  They quickly join the direct sales bandwagon only to find out it takes work.  YUP!  Yes, your product may be amazing and sell itself.  Yes, the first few months are awesome because everyone wants to help you BUT what happens when friends and family stop buying to “help out”?  Many give up but there are some great strategies to help you build a successful business.

A blog on self-employed.com about “flexible strategies for the self-employed” had some great tips.  I’m not sure if they work for everyone but check them out and let us know what you think.

#1 – Strategize Your Time

Are you attached to your mobile device?  Are you a multi-tasker?  Believe it is or not, it could definitely be a problem.  I am forever sneaking in time to check my phone while waiting in line at the store.  Some would say this is great time management….. BUT since my business relies on connecting with other people, I can’t really connect when my head buried in my phone in the checkout line, right?  It is possible to “kill two birds with one stone” but be aware of your surroundings.

#2 Work Anywhere, Anytime

Inspiration can strike at any time. Are you able to leverage the motivation into something tangible? Keep this in perspective.  Being inspired is AWESOME but working all of the time, is not.  Make a note of things, take a picture but you don’t want to be remembered as the one who missed out on XYZ because you were working.

#3 Access to Everything, Everywhere

Do you use the cloud?   I am a MAC girl but I definitely am still learning how to use the cloud.  The idea of the cloud or Google Drive is you have the freedom to access your computer, no matter where you are, near or far.  Some days, I am grateful I don’t have access as I am sure my family is so I stop working and treasure the moments with them.

Your business is flexible, not optional#4 Flexible Living

Don’t use work as an excuse to not partake in the joys of life. Say “yes” and then figure out a strategy to make it happen. Isn’t this the main reason we all wanted to have our own business…

So, what are your thoughts on being self-employed – the good, the bad and the ugly?  Share them with us..

Have a blessed day!

Business Tips and Tricks

How To Energize Your Business

It’s HUMP Day and I am trying to get energized! I’m in a slump with my business. I’m not sure if it is MS related or if I am in-between “why” or if I just need a jumpstart!  What is a girl to do?

When all else fails go back to what worked in the past.  So I pulled up an article on the DSW website entitled “Seven Ways to Energize Your Business“.  I need some motivation.  I need to find a purpose.  I need to figure out what it is I really want to do (when I grow up! LOL)

Here are some of their suggestion which I tweaked just a little.  I mean a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do, right?  
  • Establish priorities. I used to be a multi-tasker, trying to tackle everything at once. MS has changed that AND I usually forget what I am doing without a list.  I’m looking at things now through my recovery eyes.  Just One Day (or step) at a time.  So, list all your priorities (or to dos).  Then focus on one or two items at a time. I have lots of ideas squirreling away in my head but once I get them on paper, it is easier to put them in perspective.  I keep a list on my planner so I can cross it off when done.  I love seeing the pink lines which mean I have accomplished something for the day.  Prioritizing takes the stress off. I helps you  to focus on one thing at a time with the comfort of knowing you will stay on the right track.
  • Be as efficient as possible.  What are your time suckers????  Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, binge watching on Netflix?  A time sucker is anything which distracts you from your daily goals.  I have been known to put a picture of a “security camera” in front of me as a gentle reminder I have work to do.  Don’t have a lot of time to “work”, grab that list of two of three things and set aside some time to get them done TODAY.  You will be amazed at how accomplished you feel when you cross them off the list as done.
  • Combine your work with different areas of your life.  No matter what kind of work you do, you can combine it into other areas of your life.  If you truly love what you do, this will be easy.  I am struggling with my purpose lately so some days this is a little bit more difficult.  As a Thirty One Director, it is an easy!  I use and carry our bags every where I go. People comment about them and I share how awesome they are. As for “The Angel Connection“, this is a no-brainer too.  I always have an angel on.  I am learning to change up my angel so it POPS when I wear certain shirts.  Seems basic enough, right?
  • Actively manage your time and stop wasting it.  Time management may be easy for some but for me it is a struggle.  I am getting better with the help scheduling things in my planner.  Color blocking used to work but now it confuses me.  I still set aside time for family, work, my Thirty One and Angel Connection business and time for me (ok, so maybe sometimes this gets pushed to the side).  Manage your time when it comes to activity or exercise.  Add it to your calendar so it becomes a part of your every day life and you aren’t wasting the small amounts of time doing nothing when you could be active.  I know, I need to practice this one myself!
  • Commit to learning new things.  Lately, it seems like I am learning something new every day.  The struggles with MS has made this an ongoing process.  I invest in my professional development because it helps my business and my team.  You can learn new things in a variety of ways like reading a blog, watching a video, listening to a conference call, a networking meeting or a formal conference/ training.  And a way that works for you.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  There are going to be bumps in the road but you can learn from them and then you MUST let them go.  Sometimes it is easier said than done – whether it is in business or in life.  Just because you hit a bump or deal with a little negativity, it doesn’t diminsh all the positive work you have done.
  • Laugh more. I am learning to laugh at myself.  I feel like this was so much easier before MS.  The truth is sometimes I just don’t get the pun or joke.  It kills the punchline when someone has to explain it to you.  In recovery, I am learning to laugh again.  It is a process but one I am enjoying.
The lesson is simple – we tend to look at our lives as separate compartments – business, family, work, spiritual, etc. – which very seldom merge together.  When they do, it is often in a negative way – why not take the positive lessons we have learned in each part of our life and apply them to every part of our life as we take this journey through life.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, So You Want to be a Leader?

Leading By Example

Today I should have been heading to National Conference for Thirty One’s 15th Anniversary.  Instead, I am at home struggling with so many things.  Health issues were the main reason for not going but right now it is hard to wrap my head around it.  I’m ready to sit on my pity pot and feel sorry for myself.  The truth is 95% of my downline is not attending conference.  So as a leader, I need to take the lead and show them how to make the best of what many would say is a bad situation.

National conference is when the NEW Fall/Winter products are debuted.  The holiday line is showcased.  Upcoming specials and incentives are highlighted.  As a leader, I get to see what is coming in the new year to help us as consultants grow our business.

So, it is time to step up.  To show my team despite the setback of not being a conference, we can run our business successfully and create excitement for our customers.  I need to remember: “Leaders are in front of the pack because of what they do.  They take the lead!”.  Are you a leader with your direct sales company?  Do you want to be?

Here are three ways leaders stay at the front of the pack:

Leaders lead by example!  Your team members will follow your example.  Set the pace for your team by consistently selling and sponsoring.  I tell my team consistency is the key to success.  Consistency for you and your business may not look the same for me and my business. When you remember the “speed of the leader determines the pace of the pack,” you will be inspired to model those actions you are encouraging your team to take.

Leaders employ discipline!   I’m not always disciplined BUT I do have a routine which I adhere to every day which helps.  Leaders understand success requires daily action toward goals despite the demands of other obligations.  Develop the skills of organization and time management so you can make the most of the time you invest in your business.  Jim Rohn said it best, “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”

  • Non-Party Plan Leaders:  It is easy to lead when your calendar is full of events, appointments, and meetings.  When your personal business is strong, you have places to train new Consultants. When you have a strong personal business, you are confident, excited, and unstoppable. I know I am!  If your personal business is not where you want it to be, take a look at your calendar.  Go back to the basics which made you successful!
  • Party Plan Leaders:  It is easy to book more parties and recruit more Consultants when your personal calendar is full.  When you have a strong line up of parties, and vendor events you have a place to train new Consultants.  When you have lots of parties, you are confident, excited, and unstoppable. If your party schedule is not where you want it to be, take a look at your calendar.  Pick the days you want to hold parties and use the time to get on the phone.  I know it can weigh 500-pounds but it will make a difference.

Be willing to:

  • Use a time management system which works for you – paper, digital, whatever!
  • Schedule time to work on your business. Set aside time for specific tasks and get them done!
  • Release time wasters.  Does binge watching a TV show bring you closer to your dreams?  Can you postpone scanning Facebook until you have a full schedule of business?  No, scanning Facebook will not book parties for you!  Do you spend a lot of time talking to friends about your business?  It is is not the same as doing business.

13697068_10157255058245220_4151882212395503940_n.jpgLeaders hold themselves accountable for their success!  Take responsibility for the results you achieve through your business.  If I am not happy where my business is, it is no one’s fault but my own.  When we place blame on others or make excuses for missed opportunities our power is diminished and it takes away from our ability to lead others.  Embrace life’s lessons, learn from them, and then let go so you can move on toward your remarkable future.  Letting go is hard but it is the only way we can more forward.

Be grateful for the mess of success; it’s more fun than the desert of loneliness.  I’m going to celebrate the awesome year I had over the next few days.  I’m going to stomp on those inner gremlins who want to play the comparison game.  I am going to lead my team to success as we launch the fall selling season.  What about you and your team?  What are you going to do?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

Time Management – Does it Exist?

 Are you a hot mess?  Are you already dreading this week and it is only Monday morning?

Today should have been my first day back in the office after being gone for a week BUT Irma had other plans.  I did spend some time in the office last week BUT I’m not sure how much I actually got done.  It is Monday and I am playing the avoidance game.  Avoidance is a time waster which leads to being hard on yourself, right?

When it comes to business especially one online – wasting time will be the death of it.  I don’t mean time you take to renew your physical and mental powers because we need to do it in order to keep going.  I’m talking about the wasted minutes and hours which get out of hand….. the black hole of Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram.

I have talked about time management in the past and really wonder if we are managing our time or our tasks?  When I sometimes find myself obsessed with everything BUT working productively in my business I go back to the basics:

#1 – Block distractions.

I know it can be easier said then done.  How often do your keep multiple tabs open so you can see if you get any messages.  Block email and Facebook alerts (all social media), turn off your phone (or at least lower the volume) and hang a “do not disturb” sign on your home office door (if you have one).  What are the things which distract you from getting work done?

#2 – Set a time to begin work – and stick to it.

When you turn on your computer for work, give yourself a certain amount of time (10 minutes or so) to surf the ‘net and review your email before you begin.  Set a timer if you have to so you can then focus on work.  Switch into work mode and don’t look back until you’re done.  I have done the back and forth thing, jumping from one thing to another and the end result is my brain becomes mush and it is more difficult to focus.

#3 – End your work at a set time.

This is a tough one for this workaholic.  Hubby works the swing shift so I try to set my work hours accordingly.  Does it work?  Sometimes.  I do some early morning hours, then head back in the afternoon till the early evening.  Are there times when I spend more on my business and less time everywhere else?  Yes, usually for several days during the month when I am closing parties or it is the end of the month.  I am practicing on a regular day, setting a time to stop work so I can refresh myself both physically and mentally. I find when I do this, I am more focused when I am in the office.

#4 – Distinguish busy work from working toward goals.

I am so guilty of this.  Busy work can be a waste of time. Remember the “black hole” I mentioned earlier, the truth is you may be procrastinating.  Did you set a goal which is TOO BIG or are you afraid of failing?  They should scary you but you can break them up into manageable steps.  The best way to beat procrastination is to take action!  Do something to move forward

 

What is your best tip for managing your tasks instead of your time?  We all have 24 hours in a day, there is no changing it.  The difference is how we decide to work during those hours.

Would you like some more great tips on Time Management which have worked for me?  Fill out the form below:

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

Get Energized for Business & in Weightloss

This is a repost from April of 2013….

#1 – Establish priorities.

As in business, we try to tackle everything at one time. List your priorities and focus on just one or two items at a time. The same thing in your weight loss journey – one step at a time. Eating more fruits & veggies.  Exercise. Cutting out carbs. Prioritizing a list takes the stress off and allows you to focus on one thing at a time with the comfort of knowing where you will go from here.

#2 – Be as efficient as possible.

In my business, this is a little bit easier to do when I avoid Facebook, Piniterest and anything else that distracts me from my goals for the day. I even put a picture of a “security camera” in front of me. This is my gentle reminder I have to practice what I preach when it comes to office hours. In my weight loss journey, the same can be said – excuses or reasons why we don’t have time to take a 10 minute walk, eat the right foods, go to a meeting or as Weight Watchers would say “get active”. Don’t be a computer zombie or a couch potato, move even if it is up and down the stairs or around the block. Get up during commercials and move.

#3 – Combine your work with different areas of your life.

For me as a Thirty One Director, it is an easy to combine areas of my life. I use and carry our bags every where I go.  The best is when I get to combine work with a trip to North Carolina to see my daughter, Belinda. As far as my weight loss journey – it is not just a “diet”! Yes, my goal is to reach my ideal weight but I am also learning how to care for myself by eating right and moving more. Seems basic enough, right?

#4 – Actively manage your time and stop wasting it.

Time management may be easy for some but for me it is a struggle so calendar blocking has become my friend. My monthly calendar is color coded so I can manage time with family, work, my Thirty One business and time for me (sometimes this gets cancelled). Manage your time when it comes to activity or exercise. Add it to your calendar so it becomes a part of your every day life and you aren’t wasting the small amounts of time doing nothing when you could be active. I know, I need to practice this one myself!

#5 – Commit to learning new things.

My professional development is important to me because it is an investment in my business which helps me personally and my team. You can learn new things in a variety of ways like reading a blog, a video, a conference call, a networking meeting or a formal conference/ training. The same is true about my weight loss journey. I continue to learn new tips and ideas from my Weight Watcher meetings.

#6 – Don’t sweat the small stuff.

There are going to be bumps in the road but you can learn from them and then let them go. Sometimes this is easier to do in business then when we are losing weight. If you lost weight but are suffering from a small set-back like some weight gain or a plateau – look back on what worked and what didn’t. Protect your loss. Just because you gained a little doesn’t negate all the positive work that you have done.

#7 – Laugh more.

I have learned to laugh at myself. I LOVE what I do – who wouldn’t love to party every time they go to work, right? The same has been true in my weight loss journey . I have found  finding humor in everyday life makes me a happier person.

This might be lot for a Saturday but the lesson is simple – we tend to look at our lives as separate compartments – business, family, work, spiritual, etc. – very seldom merging together. When they do, it is often in a negative way – why not take the positive lessons we have learned and apply them to every part of our life as we take this journey through life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!