Being an ambitious entrepreneur is a gift and a curse. On the one hand you get things done. You have a vision, you started a business and you’re making a difference in this world (and some money). On the other hand, your schedule is overflowing with client work, networking events and business opportunities. There is always something more you could be doing. The questions becomes: How do you fit it all in?
Here are some tips for managing your schedule as a busy entrepreneur:
Focus on the Big Rocks. Stephen Covey famously spoke about putting your “Big Rocks” first. Look at the mission of your business. What are you trying to accomplish? What is your purpose? Each day, think about the three most important things that will help you move forward on your business – your Big Rocks – and create a schedule to get them finished first. Once you’ve completed your Big Rocks for the day, you can move on to less important activities. And on those days that you’re only able to get one or two things accomplished – it happens to the best of us – at least you know you’ve tackled the most important things on your list.
Bucket Your Tasks. Set your schedule up so that you’re working on similar tasks all day. For example, I schedule all client meetings and coaching calls for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Mondays are reserved for writing and planning. Fridays are my admin day. Creating a solid schedule helps in two ways: 1) you’re not constantly bouncing from task to task and 2) you know exactly what you’ll be working on each day.
Get Rid of the Fluff. Let’s be honest. There are going to be things that just never get done. If you take an honest look at your day’s activities, you’ll see that there are some activities that you’ve picked up along the way that are no longer serving you. Maybe you had a problem saying “no” or maybe it’s something that seemed exciting when you first took it on. Either way, if it is not serving your bottom line, it needs to go. Does this activity align with your purpose and move you forward? If not, then it is time to place it on the back burner.
Figure out Your Energy Zones. Take a look at your energy levels throughout the day and schedule high energy activities when you feel the most alive. Are you a morning person? Crank through your to-do list early on. Do you find your stride after lunch? Schedule your tough mental tasks then.
Take It Easy. Part of the fun of being an entrepreneur is making your own schedule. Make sure to schedule breaks and down time so that you can refresh. That might mean hitting up the gym during lunch or simply setting a timer so that you take periodic breaks throughout the day. Don’t get too down on yourself for having an off day – we all need a break sometimes.
Keep it Professional. Full time entrepreneurs can find themselves slacking on the rigid scheduling. Early morning meetings are replaced with nooners. Business professional clothes are replaced with PJ’s... all day long. It’s fine to make your own rules if you are running the show, but try not to let all of your professionalism go out the window. Keep a clear, daily schedule even if you don’t go into the office everyday.
Once you are able to lock in a solid schedule, you’ll be able to focus on your revenue generating activities and really grow your business. Get laser focused on the activities that will move you forward and let the rest fall to the wayside. And when in doubt, take a little break!
Happy New Year! There’s something so exciting about a brand new year. Whether you believe in making resolutions or not, there is something to be said about having a blank canvas to work on for the next twelve months.
Goal setting is awesome. And it’s totally necessary if you want to keep moving forward and creating an amazing life for yourself. However, during this time of year, so much focus is placed on creating new habits that we end up setting ourselves up for failure by creating unrealistic goals. Or we just talk the talk in January and don’t walk the walk the rest of the year. Let’s talk about how to set – and more importantly – reach your goals in the New Year.
First, let’s think about your theme for the upcoming year. If you could encapsulate 2013 in one sentence, what would it be? I’ll wait... Now let’s dive even deeper and reduce that sentence down to one word. What one word would completely sum up the next year for you? For me it’s “Breakthrough”.
Next find a quiet spot, close yours eyes and envision yourself a year from now. It’s December of 2013 and you’re reflecting on the last year. What has happened during the past year? What went well? What have you accomplished? Of what are you most proud? And what have you learned from your experience? Write down your feelings, accomplishments, and a-ha moments.
With all of this in mind, you’re going to set your goals for 2013. It may be helpful to bucket your goals into certain categories, like Personal Growth, Work, Health – whatever makes the most sense to you. For each category, set an overall goal followed by 3-5 specific tactics. For example:
Overall Goal: I will complete a marathon by October 31st, 2013.
Basically you are going to take your big overall goal and figure out what it would take to make that thing happen – those are your tactics. Make sure that your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
A note about goals – sometimes less is more. It is far more important to focus on making one major change and doing it right than it is to do fifteen things half-assed. Use your own personal compass to determine how many things you can tackle at a time. Goals don’t have to be boring or serious either. Maybe your overall goal is to have more fun this year or inject more adventure into your everyday life – those are both perfectly acceptable goals.
What are you longing for in your life? What would help you become the best YOU you can be? Set goals that will help you achieve this picture.
What is your biggest goal for 2013? Let us know in the comments below!
There are few things that we at Made Woman love more than seeing women support each other and grow their businesses together. So when we were given the chance to send one of our readers to the upcoming At the Helm: Women in Biz event free of charge, we jumped on the chance.
At The Helm will be held November 10, 2012 in Santa Monica and is a unique event for women in business. Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and community leaders from across the Los Angeles area will join together for a powerful day of learning and business growth. You'll even be able to catch presentations from two of our contributing writers--business coach Nailah Blades and health and fitness guru Christine Kwok.
It is sure to be a powerful day as a diverse group of decision-makers from around Los Angeles are brought together, with dynamic speakers in fields from sales and marketing to personal and business finance, as well as health and legal experts. At this special event, the whole woman will be addressed, as well as what it takes to grow and thrive in a challenging economy.
Enter today for:
now for your chance to win FREE entry!
We’ve all heard the saying, “it takes a village.” While that old saying is usually directed towards child rearing, you can also apply it to your own professional and personal goals. Building a strong community is key to achieving your objectives. As a Made Woman, you’ve probably already heard the benefits of creating a powerful network. But what does “networking” entail, exactly? Are you picturing lame events and rapid-fire business card exchanges? And what do you do with this lovely new network once you’ve assembled it? Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be a confusing ordeal. Here are 5 tips for building and managing a powerful network:
Get Clear on Your Why
First things first, reframe the way you think about networking. Move beyond the image of just shaking hands and doling out cards and begin thinking of networking as building quality, sustainable relationships. Next, make sure you’re clear on why you’re building your network. Are you a professional mamacita who is looking to build solid professional contacts in your industry? Are you a savvy entrepreneur who wants to create a community of fellow business owners? Maybe you’re a newly graduated scholar who is ready to begin climbing the corporate ladder. The clearer you are on your purpose, the easier it will be to build a powerful network.
Start with Who You Know
You may have 1200 Facebook friends but the truth is the average person can successfully manage about 150 active relationships. That’s 150 people who already know, like and trust you. You want to make sure you are maximizing the potential of those friendships by actively cultivating the relationships you already have. Begin working through your contact list and update your current network on what you’ve been up to and the types of opportunities you’re looking for. Craft an email that you can tailor to each specific person. This is not the time for a blanket email bcc’d to your entire email list. Cultivating these relationships takes time and the personalized touches you add will go a long way.
Meet New People
Networking presents an excellent opportunity to bring new awesome people into your circle. Identify groups and organizations that match your mission and whose members line up with your purpose. Set a goal for yourself to attend one new mixer or event each month (or each week if you’re a turbo-charged networker). Once there, be friendly, confident and strike up conversations. Most importantly, just be yourself! Allow the people you’re speaking with ample time to talk about themselves; you’ll have plenty of time to follow-up with them later and showcase your talents.
Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up
Networking is worthless if you don’t follow-up. Make sure you contact each person you’ve met within 48 hours. Depending on the situation, you can call, email or send a physical card. All you need to do is let them know you enjoyed speaking with them. If you spoke about something in particular, now is a great time to send that additional information along. You can invite them out to lunch or coffee to continue to nurture the new relationship. Lastly, ask them if there is anything you can help them out with.
Make Yourself Useful
Remember, building your network is all about relationships, and relationships are all about give and take. When it comes down to it, make sure you are offering your network what they need. A simple email with a link to a relevant article can go a long way in keeping yourself at the forefront of your network’s mind and showcasing your value. I make a general rule to end all conversations and coffee date meetings asking the simple question, “What can I do for you?”
Building a strong network is an important aspect of reaching your professional and personal goals. If you take a good look at successful people, one thing they share is a powerful network that they’ve cultivated over the years. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Made Woman with a strong community behind her.
Congratulations Graduate! Your hard work over the past 4 (or 5 or 6!) years has paid off and you’ve graduated. You’ve probably been celebrating non-stop for weeks and you deserve it. But now that all of the graduation festivities are over, and you’re actually face to face with the real world reality sets in: And that means it’s time to find a job. Oh, joy. Let’s look at the tough news first: although things are turning around, it’s still a hard job market and 1 out of 2 college graduates will either be unemployed or underemployed. Now the good news: there are several ways for you to stand out from the crowd to make sure you’re able to snag the job of your dreams.
1. Get Clear
I graduated from college with a glossy new degree in Communications… and no idea what I wanted to do with it. I ended up taking the first job that came my way and spent several years trying to figure out what I really enjoyed doing. It would have been much easier to get clear on what I loved doing first and then go out and look for jobs that fit the criteria after. Got to love hindsight, right?
Begin thinking about what you enjoy doing. Which courses did you particularly like and what organizations did you love being a part of. While you’re at it, get a good sense of your deal breakers. For example, if you know you hate working with numbers, that accounting job may not be for you. Lastly, think about your strengths. What are some things you’re super awesome at and what types of jobs would allow you to showcase your awesomeness on a day-to-day basis.
2. Get Social
I would venture to say that one of the most important aspects of the job search is networking – both online and offline. Hiring managers are people. And people are more keen on giving opportunities to people they know, like and trust. Begin by working your current network. Hey, what are friends for? Let everyone in your circle know that you’re looking for a job and more importantly what type of job you’re looking for. Reach out to your alumni group to get on their list of upcoming networking events. Research your desired industry so that you can attend industry specific events. Networking is nothing without proper follow-up. Make sure to follow-up with everyone you meet within 48 hours so you can continue to nurture that relationship. I see a lot of coffee dates in your future!
3. Build A Personal Brand
We covered offline networking in the previous point, now let’s focus on building your online network. The best way to set yourself apart from a crowd in today’s job market is to create a killer personal brand. Create a simple online portfolio to begin showcasing your strengths – create a website using wordpress.com or sign on to about.me. Think of this as an extended resume where you can include more information on why you would be an excellent candidate for a job in your industry.
Start using social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with individuals and companies in your desired industry. With these tools, you can connect with the movers and shakers in your desired field as well as begin sharing pertinent information to further showcase your skills. Show future employers exactly why you’d be the perfect addition to their team.
4. Do Your Research
Repeat after me: No More Generic Cover Letters. Do not even think about copying a cover letter template and simply changing the company name. Show potential employers that you truly understand their company and department by conducting thorough research before submitting your resume and cover letter. Use the cover letter to truly convey how much you would like to work for their company and why they would be foolish to not have you on board. You can also use the cover letter to showcase a little bit of your personality.
5. Stay Positive
Searching for a job is hard work and it’s easy to become frustrated when things don’t seem to go your way. It’s important to stay positive and keep moving forward towards your goal. Create a structured plan of how you’re going to attack the job search and then work through your plan. Be sure to reward yourself as you hit milestones and keep your positive attitude. You never know when you’re going to meet your future employer and you want to be in a positive, upbeat mood when you do.
The most important part of your job search is being organized and persistent. With the right attitude and these tips you will be off to a great start! Good Luck!