Don’t get fixated on your planner this New Year

Sorry but another planner ain't gonna fix your business. Try this easier solution

It’s tempting to get “goo goo gaa gaa” over creating new goals at the beginning of the year.

  • The sales teasing you to buy new planners
  • The webinars inviting you to set powerful intentions
  • The books, blogs, the articles that beckon you to live your life fully
  • The feeling of being left out if you don’t make big goals

I love all of it.

But please don’t buy into the hype this year.  Don’t get stuck planning.  Get started on DOING.  Because I want to see you smile when the clock strikes December 2017.

Stop stressing on the possibilities.  Yes, those are wonderful. But what matters is:

  • Can you be consistent?
  • Can you set a plan that YOU can work with?

THIS is one of the game changers of running a successful business.  Delivering on what you promise.  Rolling up your sleeves to pick goals that will transform your business.  And staying the course until it happens.

Need help getting started? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Tell someone WHO WILL HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE

I remember the first time I met an entrepreneur who was at the top of his game.  He asked me what I would do to help his business.  I shared some ideas that I thought were brilliant.

Then he asked me when he should follow up.  Because clearly I would have accomplished them.

#mouth drop

The powerful lesson I learned is ideas are a dime a dozen.  I find it rare when I talk to other entrepreneurs that they don’t have ideas.  Even when the creative juices are not flowing easily.  You can create solutions, ideas ,and possibilities for your business.

But do you get them done?

And I’m betting their goals that you pay attention to.  The IRS, your mortgage company/landlord or bill collector figure out how to get your attention.  They set a date and hold you accountable.

 

So set the same “pressure” for your own business.  Find someone who won’t let you escape.  Someone who will hold you accountable.  Hire a coach.  Work with a mentor.  Or get a friend who is serious about business building.

But stop planning by yourself.

Dream big and break it down into small

At random times, my Mom would fry up some chicken livers.  Ever had them?  You walk into the kitchen and it smells AMAZING.  All of the onions and peppers grilling.  The smell of good darn seasoning.  And your mouth starts watering.

Until you take the first bite.

My Mom was old school. And if she cooked something, you didn’t have options.  You ate what was put before you.  So I learned at an early age how to handle eating liver.

Cut it into a million pieces.  And keep chewing.  Until I finished.

I encourage you to follow suit.  When the goal scares you. Makes you cringe but you know it’s good for you.  Or you just are not sure because it seems too big.

Start taking small bites. And keep going until you finish.

 

This way when you hit the bumps, you’ll finish your plate.

The bumps like:

  • You had to return back to work on Monday morning after a week off on vacation
  • Or you had a fight with your significant other and have a big client meeting
  • Or your stack of payables is larger than your receivables

Break your goals down into manageable chunks.  But keep moving forward even when it gets rough.

  • Are you working on your first website?  It’s hard to write all of the content.  Gather the images and decide on the brand.  So stop procrastinating.  Just put up the home page and let it go live.  Keep working on the rest.
  • Want to be more consistent about marketing your business?  Find one strategy that you can do in 10 min daily.  Email 1 LinkedIn contact.  Call 1 person from the stack of business cards on your desk.  Break down social media or blogging so that you are present on a regular basis.  Stay focused on being consistent. And keep the tasks small and manageable so you can stay consistent.
  • Want more sales?  But scared of making calls?  Start first with interviewing people about their needs.  Their pain points. Don’t stress over making the sale.  Understand deeply why they need the solution in the first place.

So don’t put the pressure on yourself of making six figure out of the gate.  Working on the beach for three hours a week.

Yes, you are talented.  Yes, people need your solutions.  But start small and stay consistent.  There is a reason why two year olds get what their heart desires.  They keep it easy to remember. And they are relentless about following up.

So embrace your relentless two year old self and wrap it up with your learnings, ideas and insights you have gained as an adult.

I’m wish you nothing but success!

 

You must do this before you zone out for the holidays

Because you can do this 1 thing and set better business goals next year

This is the one key task you must do if you want to set better business goals next year

Take an honest look at your numbers.

I know.  This isn’t the “whoo hooo we are goal setting ” moment that you wanted.  No planners.  No cool strategy maps.  No vision boards or business plans.

Instead, it’s a quiet moment of reflection for some.  Or a “Let’s come to the altar and pray ” moment for others.

All you need to do is ask yourself two questions:

  1. How much did I make?
  2. How much did I spend?

Do not JUDGE your wins or “fails”

If you are anything like the Type As I often work with, you’ll feel like a failure.  It’s easy when you start thinking about your plans for the year.  The comparisons with other businesses.  And what you know in your heart your business can earn.

Instead consider yourself a researcher.  Someone gathering data.  Numbers that don’t mean anything.  No stories.  

The Freelance Isn’t Free Act: 3 tips to leverage this NYC opportunity

3 tips to take advantage of getting paid as a freelancer in the wake of the NYC Freelance Ain't Free Act

I’m still in shock.  The New York City Council recently passed the nation’s first bill that protects freelancers who are not paid on time.

Yesssss!!  This is a game changer.

The bill will protect New York City based freelancers who are not paid by their clients.  Highlights include:

  • Freelancers can require payment within 30 days
  • If they are not paid, they can make a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs
  • If they win the complaint, they can sue for damages plus the original fee

The bill still needs to be signed by Mayor DeBlasio.  But all signs look good.

In the interim, check out City Council member, Brad Lander’s website.  As well, you can google, Freelance Isn’t Free, for more deets.

(And for those of you outside of NYC, stop sulking.  Start talking to your local politicians about the importance.  And check out FreelancersUnion.com.  They are pushing for nationwide acceptance).

This is a game changer.  But consider if your business is ready to take advantage of this major opportunity.   Here are a few thoughts to get you started:

Stop worrying about your marketing being perfect

You are missing out on people who WANT  to work with you.  But they have to hear from you on a regular basis.

If you are trying to juggle the “crazy” of finding new clients while managing your existing clients, I salute you.

And if you are a perfectionist who only submits flawless work,  I challenge you.  Stop worrying about it being perfect when it comes to YOUR marketing.  Just get it done.  Get more out there.  Stop stressing that it can only be perfect before you publish it.

What does “obsessing over the details” look like?

  • Writing, rewriting and rewriting a blog post.  But never hitting publish
  • Spending hours designing pretty pictures in Canva.  But never hitting publish
  • Scribbling down the best ideas you heard at a fancy event about networking.  But never implementing them

Perfection doesn’t pay the bills.

You are missing out on people who WANT  to work with you.  But they have to hear from you on a regular basis.

Do you really need a business phone if you are 1 person service business?

Don't drop the cash 'til you figure out the full impact

Yes, you look professional and it's a tax write off. But you might want to dig deeper. How does it affect your business model, your brand, and your leadership?

Short answer:  You look professional and it’s a tax write off.  But you might want to dig deeper.

How does this decision affect your business model, your brand, and your leadership style?

I know you are probably thinking: “Malla, I’m just getting a phone.  It’s not that deep”.

Yeaahhhhh.  It is.  Adding an additional expense has a direct impact on your business.  You want to consider a few things.

Like:

  • Extra time – Someone has to answer it
  • Extra money – There is a new bill
  • Extra time – It can be a distraction

So how do you decide?

Before you jump into the final decision, consider creating a decision matrix.  While it takes time to develop, it will save you in the long term.  It’s pretty likely that you’ll make future business purchases.  With the decision matrix in place, you’ll make them based on strategy AND your gut intuition.  So consider these ideas:

Why service professionals struggle when they start a business

There are so many things to learn when you hang out your shingle. Start first by speaking so that your prospects understand why you

Over the years, I’ve encountered many people who want to start a service business.  Rather than working any longer for “The Man”, they opt to hang up their own shingle.  No more office politics.  No unfair promotions.  Just the projects that they are enjoy.  And checks that they don’t have to share!  Yessssssssssss!!!

Most working professionals do their research.  So they start out like this:

  • Legal registration
  • Print business cards
  • Get a website
  • Start social media accounts
  • Locate office space
  • Wait for clients to show up

And for many, the client “wait” isn’t long.  Friends and family are happy to oblige during the first few months.  They are celebrating and happy to get quality services at a rock bottom rate.

But after a few months, the love of friends and family is gone.  The list is tapped out.  And there are no new recommendations.  So the marketing marathon begins:

  • Networking events
  • Conferences
  • Online groups
  • Social Media
  • Paid ads

But the results are ……crickets.  Alot of proposals.  Alot of “that’s too expensive”.  Alot of “If I had money”.

Why?

Because the biggest thing that many service professionals miss is:

Why it’s so freaking hard to find your future customers

 

Because it doesn't have to be so hard to find your peeps if you make this one mental shift

But why is it so FREAKING hard to find these people on a regular basis????

You get all dressed up for a networking event.  Pass out a ton of business cards.  Schedule follow up via phone and email.  Spend hours on social media posting, liking, and following.  (Well, maybe it was only 20 min.  ‘Fess up.  I was there too laughing at jokes on #BlackTwitter!  lol)

You’ve even tried paid ads and special incentives.  The online marketing gurus constantly talk how this stuff works and suggest ads.

But…nothing.  Crickets.  Silence.  You’d have an easier time finding an empty register at a Back to School penny sale.

So, here is an idea to ponder.

If you build it, they WON’T come

Before you spend a dime on your website, do this

Try these 3 steps before you spend a dime on building your website. I waited patiently.  I knew the question would come up.  It always does when I talk to someone who recently got the entrepreneurial “spark”.  You know that moment when you realize that your passion is something you can get paid for.

So I can just put up a website and people will buy my service? 

Yeahhhh. But.

There is whole lot between “build it and they will come” and your idea.   You’ve got to invest in the marketing, planning, and host of “oh my goodness this is tough” moments.

Yes, you need a website.  But before you spend a DIME, consider these three ideas FIRST:

Why Walmart closing stores matters to your business plan

Low prices are not enough. What are you doing to show customers you provide value?

Customers want something new.

You might have heard  that Wal-Mart is closing stores in several small and rural communities.  It’s a tough blow for many of those communities.  Because their small businesses were hit hard  when Wal-Mart came to town.  And now that they are leaving, customers are stuck with few options.

My friends, that spells opportunity for you!

No, I don’t mean that you should open a retail store.

But pay attention to the trend.  When the world’s biggest store starts closing stores, something is shifting.  Even if it’s only a fraction of their stores.

It means something is not working.

And that my friends… Is a great thing for entrepreneurs.

“When inspiration wanes, how do you get the OOMPH to continue on?”

Shout out to @ScobeScribe for starting this thread on Anchor!  In case you haven’t heard, Anchor is my new social media friend. You can talk for 2 min audios asking questions and sharing ideas back with your community.

Here is my response for how I make things happen. And if you suffer from analysis paralysis…this one is for YOU!! lol