Things Will Always Get Better

Things will always get better - Julia McdaidI think it’s fair to say that however well life is going, at some point its likely we will hit a down patch. Or maybe that patch has already happened.

I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t had some low time in their life. You may well have done and you may well be past it now.

So what do you do when you hit the low spots?

Often they creep up on us, we may have had some idea things weren’t going so well. Often though, even with fair warning the reality can come as a bit if a shock.

And isn’t that the problem? When something happens that is causing us upset, distress, grief or other feelings it can knock us for six.

I know it has me in the past.

When something “bad” happens, and I’m hesitating to use that word, it can affect all areas of our life.

It can drain your energy, make you inattentive and even depressed and even not caring about things we would otherwise pay attention to, which can have a knock on effect on other aspects of your life
How often does someone experience a bereavement or illness in the family and end up with financial worries for example.

When unexpected things crop up its easy to take your eye off the ball, often without realising.

So what do you do when things get rough? How do you pull yourself through?

I know when I was younger, and less aware, I used to get very down about things I wasn’t happy with, and get stressed. And I think with hindsight some of that was because I didn’t take action to change things as quickly as I could have done.

For example if you don’t like your job change it. Don’t wait for things at work to change, it just gets worse and you get more unhappy. I have watched a friend get seriously ill from refusing to leave a job she was really unhappy in. And all to get a slightly higher pension.

Believe it will be OK

I am natural survivor I think, though I prefer to consider myself a creator these days. Way way back since my divorce I always thought at some level that things will work out. I have had some tough times, a few years ago after a particularly stressful year on the personal/family front, I was helped and supported by friends. Even then a few months later I was in danger of bad problems elsewhere, yet at very last minute things changed and “saved” me. Also I had made some decisions which eased life a lot, so one way and another I turned things round and gave myself the space I needed

A big part of it was choosing not to get bogged down in the stuff, not giving it too much energy. Yes you have to know the reality of situation and accept it, and if there are practical things you can do, then do them, but that’s it , you don’t then need to worry all night, you do what you can and leave it, until next time you need to have a look.

That’s has certainly been my experience, in many areas. When I find myself starting to focus on things that might happened and starting t worry, I actively move my focus elsewhere, and taking the energy away takes the power out of it. Which means whatever I could have been worrying about no longer dominates my thoughts or my life, and on the whole I’d say causes me a lot less grief than it might have down.

Don’t be alone

When things get rough don’t tough it out on your own, seek support both practical and emotional. Often there are people around who know things you don’t and know ways to shift things in way that makes life easier that you weren’t even aware of.

I’m not trying to make light of rough times or the circumstances you may find yourself in at all. I would just like t say that there is help and support out there and also that a little belief that things will work out alongside some active choice of focus goes a long way.

When Asking For Help Is Hard…..

asking for help can be hard in business. Julia McdaidIt’s one of the things about being a solopreneur, and even more so if you are single as well, you are on your own. Not only are you running your business you are also entirely responsible for keeping a roof over your head, food on the table and all of your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Now I know you may argue that we all are, and I do agree, it’s just that when there is nobody else there at all it can feel very hard sometimes. It’s something I have seen and heard a lot with women entrepreneurs.

As women we are used to helping others, its instinctive, but what about those times when you feel overwhelmed, or down and you don’t know which way to turn?

What do you do when you know you want to reach out and you don’t know who to call? And what do you do when it seems the only way to get help is to pay for it and you don’t have any budget for that, especially of you are in the early days of your business?

Because asking for help, showing vulnerability can be a very scary thing.

At the same time I’d say we all know the value of working with others and the benefits it can have for a business owner, and at least in theory we know we work better with support.

Help may be support in moving forward and growing your business, maybe with a coach or mentor, or a buddy you work with, or it may be of a more practical nature where you are delegating out some of your tasks. It may be appropriate for you to do both, in the long term it almost certainly will.

For some its easy, they have a support network in place and know exactly where to go. For others its harder, they recognise the need to reach out and don’t feel anyone in their circle is the right person to reach to. They may not be confident in who to ask. It’s hard, you are used to working alone, and as I said earlier if you are single it’s even harder, yet that’s most likely when you most need the support.

Having the awareness to know it’s time to reach out is a great place to be, its a big thing to get that level of self knowledge.

To then take that last step and ask for help often feels very hard though. We fear sharing our vulnerable side yet actually it’s an attractive quality and a strength. How often have you found yourself drawn to someone who is totally open and honest.

I know friends who have reached out on Social media and have received an amazing response, they were publicly vulnerable and support came. And if you have a private social media profile where you know all your contacts then maybe its a way you could go to reach out, I know some people prefer to just put it put there and let serendipity take care of finding the right person.

And if that not for you, and it won’t be for all I know, ask your inner guidance for help, for pointers about where to turn. Or ask a friend for a recommendation for the kind of help you need.

Its not uncommon to feel stuck and nervous when it comes to asking for help. In reality you know that if you don’t get help you are likely to end up in a bit of a rut and may even become anxious and stressed, or overwhelm kicks in and overtakes you. When you have reached the point where you know help would be good, you know that if you reach out you will move forward more quickly.

And it’s worth building up a support network so that you have people you know and trust around you. Then when you need to call in help it will become obvious who to turn to.

Time Out Ladies, please… !

Take a break from work to rechargeAs I sit down to write this I am thinking about the ladies I have spoken with recently and what is going on in their lives and business.

I am finding that the ladies I am working with are invariably going through some kind of change in their business, and usually that means growth. It may be re-launching, restructuring, setting up a second business or taking the plunge and leaving employment to take a part time business full time. All different circumstances yet with similar patterns running through them.

And away from the business focus and the growth one of the keys things I find I am flagging up is the need for some “me” time.

It’s all too easy isn’t it when you have lots to do and get all excited about the new project, and have ideas buzzing around your head. You get caught up in the flow, which is great, you get productive, you make things happen.

Unfortunately you often forget about yourself. As a woman you are great at looking after others, and you typically put them first. And I find this can extend to the business too, its your baby after all.

Is this you? Are you really busy doing stuff, having fun yet slowly wearing yourself down?

Or are you taking regular time out, down time away from the business? Because we all need it for many reasons. Not just for a change of scene, it’s great to recharge your batteries, step back and look at things from a different perspective. Often when you are doing something else a fantastic idea will pop into your head, because you have allowed some space for it by switching off for a bit.

And it’s good to physically be in a different space too, whether you prefer to walk in the park or work out at the gym, exercise helps to keep your energy up and keep on top of things, And getting some fresh air helps clear your head and allows for clearer thinking as you will be more alert.

On a practical level giving yourself a break can help with your concentration, and if you are office based and looking at a computer a lot you will be doing your body a favour by taking some exercise, changing position and giving your eyes a rest!

There are all sorts of things you can do to shift your energy and focus on you for a bit, and what you choose will depend on you. You may exercise or meditate, go for a walk, or have a massage or get your hair done. There are no hard and fast rules, and there is no right way.

All I would say is remember you, look after number one so that you have the energy and focus to build and run your business without too much stress or exhaustion. And you will ultimately feel better and think more clearly too.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like some support in keeping you on track why not schedule a call with Julia?

Are You Sacrificing Down Time For Housework?

Give yourself more free time, delegate the houseworkSomething that is on my list of things that bug me, is how busy professional people deny themselves any “me time”

I watch friends and colleagues rushing around all week, then they get home at the weekend and what do they do? Housework, DIY, gardening. And before they know it its Monday again, and they have had no downtime at all.

And then they complain about having no time….

I have one thing to say to you

Get a cleaner! (and a gardener if it applies)

They need the work, you need the time, for a few $/€/£ a week you can have all the little jobs done and give (buy) yourself some free time.

Unless it is your hobby and you really enjoy it, why waste your precious time on things you’d rather not do? How much is your time worth?

And if you choose to, don’t complain you have no spare time….. 😉

Managing Your Business At a Glance

In order to properly manage your business and plan where you are going it is helpful to be closely in touch with what is going on. This includes looking at the numbers. Up to date accounts at least tell you where you are now.

planning is key, know the fundamentalsBut is that enough? I would suggest that in fact that is just the starting point. The thing is, you can have monthly accounts, and if you have a half decent accountant you will have some indication as to whether things are better or worse than last year and budget.

That is only half the story, if your profits are down, is that enough information? I would say not. You then need to ask why? Why are they down , what is the explanation? What is the detail?

For example, sales may actually be up, but some unexpected cost came in that wiped out the benefit and caused profit to be lower. So then you need to know what caused the extra cost, is it a one off, could it have been prevented and so on.

Do you start to see how digging a little deeper gives a much better understanding.

It’s worth asking your accountant to produce reports with notes that cover this sort of thing, so that when you review the figures all the information is there. Yes they may need to come to you first to ask for explanations, or the appropriate department in you company.

For example

Actual Budget Diff
Turnover £5,400 £4,500 £900 orders planned in September brought forward to July
Costs:
Training £300 £150 £150 Jane went on extra course to help improve our Social Media

           
     
It’s always good to use colour too, red for worse than expected and green for better than expected. Again it allows you to see at a glance, and just focus on the things that are off track.

Your most important financial information can easily be reported on ONE sheet of paper.

Taking this further there are also key factors that will drive your business underlying the sales and costs. It is worth measuring these too.

It may take a little bit of work to set up but the advantages of being able to see where your business is compared to the plan is very valuable. To do this we can use a Key Results Sheet.

This incorporates the key financial numbers for your business like profit, cash and value (if appropriate)

It then looks at some underlying factors, so for sales you might measure the number of new referrals, and the average spend per customer as examples. For costs maybe the cost per unit if you sell items in units, debtor days etc.
Also look at non financial drivers, like customer satisfaction and team happiness and how much investment there is in creating new products.

I believe if you combine this with a one page (max) financial summary you have a quick and easy view of all the data you need to manage your business month to month.

Maybe if it’s just you, you will think its too much, and too much work. If you are building a business, start as you means to go on, get the systems in now. You can always start with a simpler version and build it as you grow.

How does this relate to me working with you to be authentic in your business? Well my packages include a good look at your business foundation and fundamentals, giving you a grip of the reality as it is now, plus an overview of what you need to implement to build the business your heart would really love to create. Combining practical business and intuition for a more holistic approach is my unique skill.
Book your free Authentic Business Strategy session to get some pointers, and to see whether its for you