Possibility Thinking

Have you tried it?

Think about something you would love that just seems too challenging and too far out of reach….. Something you’d love but can’t see how you can make it happen.

Then get a piece of paper and pen and play with it. Think about ways you ‘could’ do it, what resources you have, what or who you could call on, or call in…

If you’re a writing person write it out and let the ideas flow, if you think in pictures then draw. It doesn’t matter how, just keep playing.

I like to crunch numbers (really!), so if it’s something where money is involved I crunch numbers, what do I need? how does that break down? how could I do it?

So I do this and I write, as I like to write too, and I find it brings out ideas once you get in the flow.

And it really does boost your attitude and move you from “I want it but I really can’t see any way…” to “I really can do this”

Dreams become do-able in short, and once you have that belief, well then you just need to go out and take action! 🙂

Let me know how you get on, and what you start creating.

Time To Stop This Craziness

Sometimes, when its all getting too much, you just have to STOP!Are you enjoying the summer? Its school holidays now and for many an excuse to rest a bit more and work a bit less.

Not for everyone though, to some the nice weather just makes them feel guilty because they want to be out in it but feel under pressure to get on with other things.

 

Time for me
At this time of year the first thing I do once I’m up is take the dog to the beach, and we stay there for between one and two hours. I don’t check the time, we come back when we’re ready. That’s me time. I mostly don’t book appointments too early in the morning, and I only ever check the time on the rare occasion I do have a commitment.

Yet among the entrepreneurs I know, not many do things like this.

Too many folks are too “busy”

All too often I see people running around way too much, if you talk to them they keep on about how busy they are and don’t have time for things. Yet they are still keep adding more to the diary. And at the same time they are constantly making excuses for not doing things.

Typically these people are not hermits, 9 times out of 10 they’re at all the social events you can imagine as well, and all the business events and conferences.

Take a break

You don’t have to go to every social event, catch up with every friend and acquaintance every time. You don’t have to do it all

You do need to take a break, give yourself day off, quietly, on your own, or an evening off. On your own, not with the pressure of social and fitting in with others

Or you might be forced into it
If you don’t rest your body is eventually going to make you, and you very likely won’t like the way it does it!
Here’s the thing, if you’re feeling stressed, for whatever reason, you need time out. You’re already making excuses for the things you don’t deem to be a priority, yet what is left is still too much.

And its not just you
Plus the people you are turning down are seeing you doing the other things and out and about all the time, and they are noticing, if they are switched on they are noticing that you’re not making them priority. Particularly if you post your every move on social media!
Your clients can see it, your friends can see it

So not only are you slowly making yourself ill, you are also unconsciously upsetting people around you or undermining their faith in you.

Too much inspiration?
And then there’s the other side, the entrepreneurs blessing and nightmare. You just keep getting more ideas. You do, don’t you? It’s normal.

What’s not normal is trying to implement every idea as soon as it comes to you. Where did you suddenly get time and energy? Either you put off something else, because this is exciting and in the now, or you’re trying to do it all, which means you’ve added even more to the “to do” pile!


Actions you can take

If you already promised to do something, don’t just say you can’t do it now, or you don’t have time, ask someone else to take over. Or delegate if you have someone you can hand over to.

If you get all these ideas and you want to do them all, write them down, keep an ideas book with you, and then do one at a time

If your feeling stressed, stop. Take time out. Really the world won’t end if you have a breather, nobody will die if it’s not all done today, honestly.

Be responsible
At the end of the day you have to take responsibility for what’s going on in your life. You can change things and you can make choices. Step back, breathe, and ask yourself what is the right next step for you. And do that.

If you feel that your life is a bit crazy and you’re looking for more balance why not check out my new workshop? How to Get Back to Balance: Know What You Want, Create More Time, And Get Back in Control of Your Life and Your Business read more here

First published by Authentic Edge, August 2015 © Julia Mcdaid

Does your space feel good?

Home office with lightWhen you’re in your workspace, what do you see when you look around you? Take a look and make a note. What does your desk look like? What’s on the wall, on the floor, what can you hear? What can you see out the window, can you even see out of the window?

Now that you have absorbed it all how does it make you feel? Is your space a comfortable place where you feel relaxed and productive or does it feel busy and hectic, or drab and depressing? Do you like it, honestly?

A good workspace makes for good work

Today I wanted to talk about environment. Because the environment we work in can have a huge impact on our productivity and arguably even our quality of work.

I think it can make a huge difference to how you feel and your ability to focus, in fact studies have been done that back this up.

If you are working in an environment that uplifts you, it stands to reason you will feel happy and positive and will so will be creative and produce good work.

Equally if you are in an environment that makes you feel low, unhappy, and irritable or trapped, what kind of work will you produce as a result?

 

What a poor environment looks like

Consider these two examples:

An ex-partner of mine had a home office, for the out of hours work done at home. The desk was covered in piles of paper, inches deep, the floor the same. And when he wanted something he mostly didn’t bother hunting through for it he just asked the person who had given it to him to send it again, which was incredibly annoying to the people he worked with.

Someone else I know works full time in a spare room, with barely any daylight. It’s literally like a cave. Plus it doesn’t have direct heating or cooling so needs heaters in winter and fans in summer. Its not surprisingly that she doesn’t spend much consistent time in there, instead using any excuse to come out – making coffee, answering the phone, watering the plants etc

In both cases the environment is not great, and not conducive to a productive and happy working time. Whilst both of these people are motivated and generally productive, they are getting irritable and grumpy, and distracted without realising why. And from what I know not producing as well as they would like to.

 

How to improve your work environment

So what can you do to make your environment healthy and happy? A place that you feel good and produce good work.

Whilst I understand that you may or may not have a separate office to work in, there are still things you can do to maximise your working space. Even if you work at the kitchen table!

Think about where you sit and what you can see. Perhaps you can move so that you have a nice view or more daylight? Even just face a different way. You do need enough light, and ideally daylight.

Keep your workspace tidy. Whilst this one sounds obvious, it can be hard when you are busy and working on more than one thing. Have storage area close by, and only have what you need in the moment on the desk. This avoids mental clutter that is distracting and affects your focus.

 

Sort it out

It’s worth sorting out all your stuff, throw away things you don’t need and only keep what is necessary. Clear your desk, your cupboards and your drawers.

And make sure you have enough room to work, another downside of too much on the desk is not having space to work comfortably.

Your desk/workspace and chair should also be comfortable for you. You spend a long time sitting there so don’t use furniture that makes your body ache! And make sure you like the colours. If at all possible have the walls and furnishings in colours that appeal to you.

After all looking at walls in a colour you hate is not going to make you feel good is it?

 

Add in things that make you smile

Then have some things around you that uplift you. Whether this be trinkets, candles or motivational posters. If you like plants, have a plant or two. They are good for the environment as well.

If you like music on play music while you ae working, either something uplifting or classical is best.

 

Take out distractions

Finally aim to minimise the distractions. If you have moved your to do pile that is a huge help, now think about other things that might take your attention away. If you work at home, can you remove reminders of the laundry and housework from your line of sight? Can you find a way for the kids not to disturb you for a couple of hours?

 

Now it’s your turn

Do you get the idea? Think about what you really need and like and make your working space perfect for you, as far as you can. It can only make things better 🙂

 

First published by Authentic Edge, July 2015 © Julia Mcdaid

Julia supports women entrepreneurs in creating the business and the life they love, through coaching/mentoring and training. Read more and grab some useful resources at www.authenticedge.co.uk/welcome

 

 

 

We’re in the same room – but are we doing the same thing?

A copy of my article published in the Sunday Times of Malta today

Julila Mcdaid article in Sunday Times Networking, for many, is a fundamental part of their business life. Whether they like it or    not.    And some do really love it, others tolerate it and some are overwhelmed. So does it make a difference whether you are a man or a woman?

I can remember way back when in the days when I was a young accountant, I used to go to business networking events and they could be pretty stuffy. The attendees were mainly men in suits. I got quite used to being a woman in a man’s world.

But is that what it’s all about? Is networking a man’s game?

Traditionally business networking certainly was a man’s game, things like the Masons, Rotary, Lions Clubs and so on were men only. And it’s not so long ago that the same applied to golf clubs, yacht clubs and similar places.

That’s not to say that only men networked, you would see men networking at these business groups as well as in the coffee shops, at the golf club, the sports club and so on. And the women would be networking at the shops, in each other’s houses, at school and more recently in places like the gym or spa.

Over the years though business has changed, it’s much more open and mixed so you have to play things differently. As a result many organisations have opened up and are much more balanced between men and women. And of course there are also women only networking groups too.

So how does it all affect you as a business person when you want to network?

Well the thing is we are different. We’re all human beings and all business people but the masculine and feminine think and act differently.

Just as in sales it pays to understand the customer and speak their language, so it is in networking. At the end of the day it’s a all about communication, so the better you can understand how to communicate with different people the more effective you can be.

So don’t limit yourself to only half the marketplace, make sure you can connect with both and so maximise your target audience.

And the way to do this is to understand how we do it differently so that you can then adjust and communicate to the other half of the room. None of us can expect the others to communicate like we do, men are more direct with fewer words, whereas women like to chat. Women naturally read non verbal signs better, men are naturally more competitive and look for recognition.

 

We perceive it differently

We tend to have different priorities generally, men do what they need to do to succeed, including being where they need to be and putting in long hours, its built into who they are. Women typically have other priorities and want more a flexible business.

And we define it differently too. Men call anything networking where they could get business, whether it be golf, a formal networking event or whatever. Women on the other hand call all non official networking events, socialising. So to them voluntary groups, school meetings, sports etc is social and not networking (even if they are networking without realising it).

We also often have different business goals and reasons for being in business, which will affect our networking goals and so the way we network.

We are made differently

As you would expect women tend to display more feminine traits and men more masculine traits. So when they are networking women are often better listeners, more likely to actually hear what is said. They want to collaborate so are looking to work together. And they will place a premium on relational aspects of networking, feeling that it is important to get to know fellow attendees.

Men typically are problem solvers and tend to be task oriented and will likely also be interested in status.

We may be looking for different things, the women are often looking beyond just the networking, the men are on a mission, they have a plan and a strategy. They are there for a reason and want to achieve what they set out to do.

These differences are also noticeable in terms of preparing for networking when new to it. Whilst men have a tendency to want to learn to do things on their own, so will dive in to networking and learn on the fly. Whereas a woman is more likely to learn some skills before she goes.

Build on the differences

The bottom line is we are the same but different. We see things differently, are motivated by different things and have different targets. As a result the way we approach networking varies, not only between individuals but between men and women.

If we take the time to understand and learn from each other, we can utilise this information to improve our own networking and communication skills, and ultimately our business results.

 

First published in the Sunday Times of Malta on 22 February 2015. Copyright Julia Mcdaid – author

 

Beyond the Resolutions

Beyond the New Year Resolutions Authentic EdgeHere we are, one week into a New Year and, if you are anything like me, for the last few weeks your inbox has been full of mails about setting new year resolutions, intentions and goals, letting go of 2014 and creating success in 2015.

Although we can make changes at any time we choose, this time of year is when we tend to give it more energy. The changeover of the calendar year is when we sit back and look at what has happened and the changes we need or want to make as a result.

It’s interesting to note that where I come from the majority of companies have their financial year end in March in line with the tax year. So financial targets for the business, or budgets, if they do them, will be set then. It may be worth thinking about whether you want to align the two!

Have you set goals?

Do you set resolutions or intentions, or new goals at New Year? Have you done it for 2015 yet?

And did you take some time to look back over 2014 to see what happened, review what you created and learned, notice what worked and what didn’t?

Lets face it, its always a good time to let go of what didn’t work and to build on what did, so knowing what that was is great for moving your business forward.Click to Tweet Now

Life gets in the way

I know it’s not always as easy as it sounds. As a woman you often have distractions, you are at an age where life is impacting you in a big way. Maybe you lost parent or you are caring for a parent, your kids are growing up and becoming independent, or maybe you lost a partner, or a relationship broke down.

These are all things we have to deal with in life and all of them can distract us from business, however dedicated we are.

And rightly so you may say, we have to prioritise and (sometimes) its right to put family first. If something major happens clearly that is the case.

Create a business that supports you

With this in mind though isn’t it perhaps a good idea to include things in your new goals and planning that will help you cope in the event of unexpected and unplanned circumstances.

Even if you are not dealing with any major life or family events now, prepare yourself for it if it happens. Build in systems and back up to support so things can continue without you if you can’t be around for a while.

This is good business practice anyway, and ultimately adds value to your business, though perhaps often we do not really think about how it can help us as an individual not just the business.

Moving forward

If you have already set your intentions or goals, consider whether you have included anything that adds support to you as an individual, as well as just making your business better, and if not what could you add?

And as always if I can help in any way please do get in touch, I always have the odd slot available for a quick chat.

New Year, New Start

How to make your new business idea happen

As we are at that time of year, I though I would reproduce this article I wrote a few years back, to help you if you are looking to make the leap with your own business.

New Year New Start, Kickstart your new business
Introduction

Have you read all the stuff about New Year resolutions in the press? Articles on what to do, how to lose weight, how to detox, how to diet and how to save money. Are you fed up of the sight of them?

Its true that Christmas and New Year is a time for reflection and taking stock. It is often the only time that you have a few quiet days away from work to think about where you are and what you want to do. And it is equally true that a lot of people do make decisions about things they want to change in their lives.

Generally if you want to make changes to your life it falls into one of three areas: making more money, having more free time or having more fun/a better life. Most of the new year resolutions we hear and read about fall into the last category and relate to improving your personal situation for example losing weight or getting fit.

However, a few people do look at the bigger picture and decide they want to do something completely new. If this is you your reasons are probably a desire to take control, have more money, totally change your lifestyle, and often the means chosen to achieve this is to start your own business.

So if this is you – then how do you make it happen? It is true that you can create a life with more money, more free time and more enjoyment by running your own business, but where do you start?

What does it mean to you?

So you’ve decided you want to run your own business? What does that mean to you? Think about what it means in terms of your lifestyle, the time you want to spend and what you want to achieve, as well as what precisely you want to do as a business.

Do you know? I hear from quite a few people who have decided to run their own business or work from home but don’t actually know what business they want to be in! If this is you don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Clearly until you decide you cannot move on to the next stage of actually getting going, so if you don’t know think about what you enjoy doing, what skills you have and what experience you have. What could you do with these? And don’t just think about the obvious things – you don’t have to just “give yourself a job” doing what you did for your last employer.

Talk it over with other people, they will see different things to you so will give you a different aspect on your thought process. If you don’t have something of your own perhaps you might want to look at buying a franchise – there are many different types of business available.

Do some research. Look into the type of business you want to run and find out what is happening in the industry, where the demand is and how you could fit into that.

Once you know what you want to do, you want to get it right first time if you can. We have all read the statistics about new businesses – some 80% of them don’t make it. So how to you give yourself the best chance?

How do you make it happen?

In order to get your business off to the best start I think there are a number of things that you can do. In a nutshell they are planning, passion, people and practicalities.

Firstly passion – will you be doing something that you enjoy? I hope so! If you don’t answer yes to this question, then why are you thinking of doing it? If you enjoy what you’re doing it will seem a lot easier and you will ultimately be more successful than someone who doesn’t.

Secondly planning. This comes in at all stages of setting up and running your business and at many levels. To start with you need to look at your goals or vision for your business. Once you have a clear picture in your mind about what you want to do think about what you want from the business and what you want to achieve. This will be different for everybody, we all have our own goals and ideas so don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or wants. Are you looking for an income, a high profile, a good reputation, or any combination of these and other things?

Think about how long you want to do it for, and how you will get out of it when that time arrives. Think about whether you will sell the business, pass it on to your family, or just close it down.

All of these things will have an effect on how you plan and structure your business.

“begin with the end in mind”

Thirdly – people. If you look at any famous entrepreneur and look at how they achieved what they have done, you will find that none of them did it alone. Most will cite a mentor or coach who supported them. It is a great idea to get yourself somebody like this who can help you focus your ideas, and keep you on track with your plans. This could be a business coach, a life coach, a professional advisor another business owner or maybe even a friend or family member.

Start to think about building a support network of people who can help you, and people you can share ideas with. This might be through face to face meetings, by telephone or on line.

And once your business is up and running you will need to think about staff, suppliers and of course customers. But that is for later. Here we are looking at getting you going.

Finally, the practicalities. How do you Start Up Right? Where do you get all the information about tax, VAT, employing staff, computer software, where to work, selling and so on?

Many people start in business with no real idea of what is involved. I don’t doubt you are an expert at your trade, or skill or you wouldn’t be contemplating starting a business – but have you run a business before? Do you have the first idea about what to do for tax, financial information, and marketing? Often people learn these things as they go, and find out about what they need to know when it is too late – often at great cost. How often have you heard “if only he had told me that before…”?

To avoid this it is worth putting in some time up front to find out what you need to know. Do some research – there is plenty of information on the internet now. And ask the experts, you will need to use professional advisors such as accountant in your business, so take the opportunity to find out some useful information whilst you are interviewing them. That is why I wrote my eprogramme, so that people could find out about all of this kind of information in one place.

And once you have done your thinking and research and decided that the business is right for you you need to take action! A great idea is completely worthless…. until it is turned into action. Without action there can be no success.

Remember Nike – Just do it!

Summary

Making the decision is often the hardest part. Once you have decided to run your own business and know what you need to do you can move forward with the planning and research to make it happen.

Think about what you need to do to move towards your goals. It helps to involve others to help you. This may be by bringing in an expert, or it may mean reading a book, listening to tapes or watching videos. Learn from those who have done what you are trying to do.

Think about whether it would help you to have a mentor or a coach. Promising someone else that you will do something usually means you are much more likely to do it. It often helps to have someone who can act as a sounding board, or ask you some searching question s to help you on your way.

And most importantly of all – go do it!

NB my eprogramme referred to in the article was the core information for the contents of my book 101 Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs.
If you are thinking of starting a business, or already started, and would like some outside input why not schedule a call with Julia to chat about it?

First published by Julia Mcdaid on the Start Up Right website

Simplify Your Office, Simplify Your Life

simplify your office, simplify your life and businessWhen I moved last year, one of the key things that I wanted to do was make sure I had an absolute minimum amount of paperwork around me. And because I was moving I wanted everything to be simple and streamlined.

But you don’t have to be moving to make life easier for you in your office.

There are lots of ways you can simplify things.
 

Clear the clutter

In practical terms, clearing the clutter is a great start. Not only do you not have things lying around everywhere, you improve the energy flow around your environment which can only help creativity and productivity.
So it’s worth sorting out all your stuff, throw away things you don’t need and only keep what is necessary. Clear your desk, your cupboards and your drawers.

Go digital

And get your paperwork scanned. We live in a digital age and now you can keep everything on a miniscule disc. Or if you’re like me in the Cloud where you can access it from anywhere.

One caveat here, you do have to organise it at the beginning to make life simple. So ensure files are scanned together and in order, and then stored in similarly labelled folders online. Then you can always find things.

And going forward just periodically scan and file any new paperwork that comes in, and shred the originals. It defeats the object of you keep paper and digital copies.

Cloud storage

I highly recommend getting a full Cloud storage solution which also runs backups. That way you don’t have to remember to back up – a major improvement, and your backup is not in the same building, also good security. You can access your documents from anywhere with any computer, or most smart phones. And in the event your computer crashes you have everything there, ready to reinstall at the press of a button. This has happened to me and it really is a lifesaver.

Create a routine

On a personal level it’s also great to have a routine, that way you don’t waste time deciding what to do or jumping from one thing to the next, for example some people have admin days on Friday, or maybe you write first thing and check emails at lunchtime. Keep it standard and only do things in the right slot, then you don’t get distracted. It helps you focus too.

What else can you do to make things simple?

Get someone else to do it

Well you can also outsource some of your work, have someone else deal with all the admin or accounts for example, or perhaps your social media.

Minimise Mail

You can also get your mail handled by someone else. Either a secretarial service which will open it and either forward or deal with it directly, or use mailing house and just get mail sent once a week, so you are not dealing with bits and pieces daily.

Fewer Phones

Do you have more than one phone? perhaps it time to go down to one, or have a dual SIM phone so you can still keep two numbers. Or you can use virtual numbers such as Skype In numbers. You can have a geographical number in nearly any country and people call that but it comes through on your Skype, or you can forward it wherever you want.
Or alternatively you could use a call answering service to take all your initial calls, that way you only deal with the important ones.

You can think of more ….

These are just a few ideas to help you start to streamline and simplify your office and your working. I’m sure you can think of plenty more, please do add any thoughts in the comments.

Just think about this question, and see how you can make changes.

What takes up a lot of your time and energy and how can you turn that around?

If you are looking for some support in moving forward or finding more time to get everything done, why not book a call with Julia to chat about it?

First published on the Authentic Edge Blog www.authenticedge.co.uk/blog

You Already Know It – Really!

You know the answers, really you doEverything you’ll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body.
Dan Millman

You’ve heard people say that you already know everything you need to know I’m sure. Or that everything you need to know is inside of you.

And with all the opportunities to learn new stuff all around us do we really need to go on more courses when we feel stuck? It can be so overwhelming, and sometimes so easy to think that another course is the answer, you get all these promises about what you will learn or what shifts you will make.

But will it really make a difference?

In all truth, it depends.

It depends how much you have done already and what kind of action you take as a result

Have you ever done a training and sat there thinking, ” I know this stuff” ? I know I have, and sometimes it isn’t that we need to learn it again, it’s that we need to start using it and acting on it.

So sometimes a course acts as a prompt or a reminder and that is what kicks us into action, other times it is literally money down the drain.

Its more than possible that the first time you weren’t ready to hear it, or to act on it so you need to hear it again when the time is right

But then that begs the question – do you?

Often it is the same stuff, packaged up differently or with a different focus. So doing more and more stuff is really just revision of what you have already learned.

I made a decision a while back that I wasn’t going to pay for any more big trainings.

Having learnt to take notice of my intuition I know that it is a great guide, OK sometimes I don’t connect and listen but that doesn’t stop it being there when I do

I also know that I have learnt a lot of stuff, and on top of that I share a lot of it with others so I do know it.

So I believe I don’t need any core formal trainings, what I need is to call on my reserves of existing knowledge and pull out whatever is appropriate in the moment, and usually intuition can help me with that if it’s not immediately obvious.

Even if you weren’t ready when you first heard it, tap in, use your intuition, you do know what you need to know, just trust yourself.

And yes I get that’s there are circumstances when you need to learn something technical, some “how to”, and that’s great, its about recognising what is necessary and what is more of the same, and also learning to trust what you already know and to tap into it and use it.

Listen to your intuition. It will tell you everything you need to know.
Anthony J. D’Angelo

It really, really will.

If you have something you need to make a decision on or are struggling to find a way forward, perhaps intuition will help. To book a session with Julia to tune in together , or talk it over some more fill out the Contact form.

First published on the Authentic Edge Blog www.authenticedge.co.uk/blog

An Unfortunate Lesson In How Not To Do Customer Service

spa time, how not to do customer serviceI went for a back massage today, in a very well known spa. I actually had a voucher so was using that, and thought I might relax and enjoy the facilities when I was there.

I thought. Unfortunately it clearly wasn’t policy to encourage guests to stick around. Whilst I had a really, really good massage, everything else about the experience was well below par, to put it politely. So I wouldn’t go back, or recommend it. How bad is that?

This was a perfect example of how not to do customer service. And perhaps a reminder that however wonderful your product or service, if you don’t look after your customers they still won’t come back.

So what went wrong?

Well firstly I couldn’t even find it. There was sign in the car park, but once I reached the appointed floor, no signs. Nothing to tell me where to go.. So I went through he only door that actually had anything and found the gym, still no signs. eventually I asked at gym reception to be sent through and to the back.

So reception etc was OK, the treatment was great, except the therapist had cold hands! Like icy cold, how will that help my muscles?

As soon as she had finished I got the up sell, with the recommended items being brought to reception and placed on the desk, despite the fact nobody had asked if I wanted them or told me the price.

I was offered a glass of water afterwards, but not the opportunity to sit down and drink it, that too was brought out to reception after the first sip.

So I was processed, payments rung up, thank you, off you go……

Hang on a minute. They missed a bit. At the time of booking I was told I could use the facilities, and that I would have free parking.

Did anyone even show me where the facilities were? Or give me towel or robe or anything? Did anyone sort out my car park ticket?

Er, no. To all. Not a mention

What a missed opportunity, honestly. We go to spas to be spoiled don’t we? To have a little pampering, and relax.

How easy it could have been to wow me, and have me telling my friends how great it was. Not only was no effort made to impress, simple things that happen at most spas weren’t done. Things like showing me the swimming pool, sauna etc, the changing rooms, giving me a towel. Showing me where I could relax after the treatment, bringing my water there. Letting me peruse the recommended product and packages, not assume I would take them without question.

I think there are things to learn for all of us. If you market yourself a 5* you certainly need to maintain regular decent standards, and at least meet industry norms. An excellent service or product can be cancelled out by not looking after the customer, not ensuring the small things are covered.

And the sad thing is, none of those “small things” cost anything, apart from a little time and attention.

I would hope that a smaller business would not make these mistakes, but if you have staff be sure that they are doing what you would do and treating customers as well as you do yourself. In this case it may be a staff training issue, however it is costing them customers and money.

8 Essential Ways You Can Avoid The Overtiredness Trap

How to avoid the overtired trapDo you ever get that feeling when you are so exhausted you just want to sleep…. only you have all these things still to do?

As a woman running a business of course you will feel tired sometimes. You are busy keeping everything running smoothly and growing your business, not to mention having all sorts of other things to do from different parts of your life, leaving you frequently feeling like you are juggling all the balls in the air.

And just when you think you have everything under control , something happens that tips you over, usually something that you have no control over, some outside influence, and suddenly you don’t have enough time for everything, and the more you try and fit it in the more tired you get, until before you know it you feel exhausted and you find things are starting to slip.

Or often it may just be something as simple as a disturbed nights sleep, or an unplanned late night. Yet it can knock you for six.

If you are overtired sometimes you feel too tired to sleep at all, even when you go to bed, do you ever get that? I have done.

In our current world it is acceptable to be tired and overworked, and seen as strong to push through it and keep going.

But lack of sleep can make you restless, irritable and quite possibly lead to illness. It can also affect your diet and eating habits, as you try and rush meals or eat on the run, and so your health suffers.

So you can get sick because your defences and immune system are lowered when you are run down.

You probably lack energy and force yourself to do things, to keep going. Tiredness affects your productivity and effectiveness, you find you can do simple admin tasks but put off the big, important stuff.

So what is the answer, there are plenty of reasons not to succumb to overtiredness, and I’m sure you can add more. More importantly how do you stop yourself from ending up there in the first place, or how do you move on from it?
Well actually there is a lot you can do and I have complied a few suggestions for you.

Things you can do to help the situation

Eat properly and regularly – its very easy to let eating slip when you are busy, and end up eating on the run or eating convenience or junk food. Changing to a healthier diet and a regular eating plan will definitely help improve the tiredness.

Watch the caffeine and sugar intake – both of these will give you a temporary lift, but later you will end up feeling even worse, so its better to keep them to a minimum and eat healthy snacks.

Acknowledge when you are tired – it may sound simple but its so easy to keep pretending you are OK. Even if you don’t acknowledge it to others, acknowledge yourself.

Sleep when you need it – yes really. If you are tired you get to a point where anything you do becomes ineffective, and you can only really do mundane stuff. So really you are not gaining anything by trying to push through.

I found this out when I used to do BNI breakfast meetings. Where I lived I had to be up around 5.30am to get ready and to the venue in time for the early start. So by about 3.30pm I was literally dropping. So eventually I realised it was better to sleep for an hour then start again than pretend I was working and do nothing productive for the next three hours.

So if you work at home or are able then stop and sleep for an hour or so, then start again. You will feel heaps better and get more done.

Take naps – if you find you are often tired, find a way to incorporate naps into your regular routine. In the summer I take a siesta every day, because I need it, I get up earlier and don’t go to bed earlier to compensate, so siestas are the answer. These Mediterranean types know what they are doing!

Plan your time to do your most important work when you are most effective – if you are tired it is much easier to do mundane routine tasks than more creative and productive work. So keep these jobs until then, and focus on the important things when you feel most awake and energised.

Have a regular routine – if you are tired its easy to let your plans slip. Combat this by having a regular routine, and not just for work. Eating, sleeping, exercise and work tasks. That way you get into a kind of autopilot as you do the same each day.

Take time out for you and to socialise – they say a change is as good as a rest. You can also feel fresher and more energised by doing something different now and again, and taking time to do the things you really enjoy. It gives your brain a rest, and who knows you may even be inspired with new ideas too.

Remember, always be kind to yourself, and what suits you won’t suit someone else, so find your own plan , one that works for you, and then stick to it.

You can change your life starting from today… get some support, or some ideas and guidance, lets chat about it.
Schedule a call with Julia

First published on the Authentic Edge Blog www.authenticedge.co.uk/blog

Forget The Theory – Entrepreneurs Need to Be Practical

Be practical as an entrepreneur - www.authenticedge.co.ukWhat do you think? When you first make the leap and set up your own business you had to learn all about how business worked – didn’t you? Well, if you were a perfectionist type then I expect you did. Or maybe you are someone who has to get it right, and get everything lined up before you start? So you delay because everything isn’t quite right.

You don’t have business cards, and your website isn’t right, oh and you don’t have enough followers on Twitter yet……

Does any of this resonate?

Maybe, maybe not.

It won’t get you far…

But where does it get you if you think like that? Not far is the answer, in reality. You won’t get clients and earn money by sitting home playing with your website or perfecting your business cards. Do you even need them anyway?
At the end of the day to get going and make things happen you just have to get on with it.

Here’s the reality. There is only you, you can’t do everything. So forget what you “should” do and do what you can. Focus on the important stuff first. (And that includes knowing what the important stuff is!)

Wherever you go you will always see articles and book and websites telling you all the theory, and how you should set everything up so it is done properly and effectively.

But, being practical, as I’m sure you are being an entrepreneur, these are written for bigger businesses.

Do it your way

You have to do the best you can with what you have got, without killing yourself in the process. Knowing as I do how entrepreneurs are inclined to overwork, I believe this reminder is very important!

Whilst you need to know where you are going and have your targets and so on, you don’t need a formal business plan in the format you would for a bank. not unless you are taking out a loan anyway.

Do you think that Richard Branson had a formal business plan when he set up Virgin Records? Somehow I don’t think so. He may have had some kind of plan but I don’t think he spent thousands getting some accountant to do a fancy formal plan for him.

Work within your budget

It’s the same with all aspects of setting up and running your business. If you are on a budget, you have to work within it, which will influence the decisions you make.

As an individual you only have so much time so you have to prioritise and do what you need to do – which means what is right for you and your business, and your clients.

And because you will never have time to do it all you have to decide what won’t get done. And this is another way to get practical. Delegate the stuff that you don’t; have tie for. There will be stuff that is not urgent and needing your immediate attention, but needs doing. For many this is things like accounts, admin and maybe social media.

Get creative

And again if you’re on a budget how can you make it happen? You need to find a way that works. Obviously you can build your business and sell more to create cashflow to pay for it, but until then you need to be practical. Maybe you can swap or barter services. Be creative, channel those ideas to something useful as well as towards products and creative thinking.

Adapt to suit

There is plenty of theory out there about how to run your business, and it is based on certain assumptions that may or may not apply to you. The bottom line is the academic stuff is based on medium and large businesses, and they are very different to small business. In fact translating big business advice to a small business can be detrimental, because its not appropriate.

So whilst there is sense in it and definitely things you can learn and use for guidance, always be practical, do what suits your business and your resources. Filter out the good bits and adapt. You will know what works and what doesn’t .

Blog first published on www.authenticedge.co.uk

Overwhelming Being A Female Entrepreneur

Overwhelm and female Entrepreneurs - Julia McdaidI wondered “can I write a whole blog about overwhelm? Really?”.
Truth be told I think I can, and then some. It is widespread in the entrepreneur world. And I particularly see it as I work mainly with female entrepreneurs, and for some reason overwhelm seems to plague them more than most.

It is usually the biggest cause of not getting things done. Do you find that? You have so many things to do you don’t know where to start. You are almost certainly in overwhelm, all the tasks become too much, and you can’t see the wood for the trees. So you fiddle about, do a bit here and a bit there, but not really with any focus.

Why does it happen?

Usually the reason you fall into overwhelm is that you are trying to do everything yourself. Sometimes there is just too much to do and other times it just feels that way because you are doing it all. As a woman it is typical that you are trying to do everything and look after everyone and everything.

And that I think is where we fall over. The focus goes, no focus, no planning, just a busy head and a busy desk and not a whole lot of productivity. Or of course you may spend all your time planning, and none actually doing, it can be an avoidance tactic!

And being an entrepreneur its likely you are also an ideas person too, so you are always having new ideas and thinking if new ways to do things or new things to try or people to call or connect with, the list is endless.

Is confidence a factor?

I think sometimes another cause of overwhelm , or at least a contributor is lack of confidence, or lack of belief. Sometimes we know what needs doing but we are scared to do it, or scared of what might happen if we do, so we put it off. And the more we put it off the scarier it becomes, and the more our to do list accumulates, until we get really caught up in the “must do”,” have to”, “need to do” etc.

So what is the answer?

How do you step out of it and move forward more effectively?

Well, I am a great believer in lists, and notebooks. Often the problem is that you have too much going round in your head, so if you can get it all out that lets you think more clearly.

Use “to do” lists for all the things you think of that need doing, and use a notebook to capture all those ideas. Once its written down you know you have a record so you can let it go until you have time to develop it further.
The same with lists, write it all down so it’s out of your head. Then each day sort out the list and the priorities to create a “to do” list for that day with all the most important things.

You can still keep the main list with all the other things as a reminder, and to create lists for the following days.

Look after yourself

And it is important to ensure you are fit and healthy too, make sure you look after number one. If you don’t you will end up exhausted and possibly ill, I have seen it happen and its not fun, so please take this seriously. It’s common for female entrepreneurs especially to leave their health on the back burner, I think it’s our caring instinct.

Little things like taking regular breaks, eating properly – and regularly, and taking daily exercise can all help you to feel calmer and more focused, as well as making you stronger to deal with everything else.

Don’t go it alone

Another way to make your life easier is to identify the things you can outsource and get help. I know this can be hard to do, especially when you are used to doing everything. And also budget is often a constraint here. Its so easy to believe its all cost and so you might as well just do it. But the real cost is to your time, and not having that time to do the more important things. Your role in your business really is one of managing, creating and maybe customer facing. Things that are not your strengths or not fun for you can and should be delegated to someone who can do it for you. This frees up so much time and brain space, which really helps you to do the important stuff.

So in summary, to get out of the overwhelm trap, look after yourself, tighten up your time management and prioritising, learn to say no, delegate things other people can do.

And if you are finding tough and would like some support, or some ideas and guidance, do get in touch with me and lets chat about it.
Schedule a call with Julia