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Set Your Business GPS!

biz-gps

Recently on my way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I got caught in a mass of slow traffic. Anyone from these parts knows we only have one way to reach the beach, and that’s using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis. Its two spans date to 1952 and 1973 and can’t handle today’s traffic. Slow-downs and waits are a normal occurrence, particularly during the summer, so I try to time my trip to avoid them. Despite my best efforts, I was stopped.

Because of the nature of the journey, my GPS isn’t of much use. It can’t re-route me across the water! As I edged along, I thought about the GPS you set for your business.

The beginning and end points

Your car’s GPS won’t work without a starting and ending point. It’s the same in your business. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go.

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Grow Your Business With a Business Journal

Business Journal

One of my favorite practices as a creative arts entrepreneur is to keep a business journal. As the leader of your business, you have so many hats to juggle that it helps to have a place to track those ideas. It also helps you make decisions about where to grow your business and yourself.

I know that my clients who keep a business journal, find it extremely valuable, a real difference-maker in their businesses. This is true regardless if journaling is done in a pretty book, on an iPad, or with our weekly Success and Strategy Summit tool.

Have you been putting off journaling for your business? Here are six reasons why you should start:

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The power of a pause

You’ve spent the past three months either staying close to home, sheltering in place, or some variation of that. You’ve given yourself to others during this time. Perhaps you were unexpectedly homeschooling. Or caregiving in your home for someone who was sick. Or sharing your workspace with your spouse. Or just worrying about keeping your life and business going. 

Add to that the racial and political turbulence that came to a head in the past couple of weeks. Perhaps you were one of the many who participated in peaceful protests over the weekend. Or maybe you simply paused social media on #blackouttuesday. 

If you kept up with any of what has been going on in our world, you can see that it’s noisy. Emails, blog posts, podcasts, traditional news outlets.

I recently read that the “typical” person receives 120 emails a day. That same person spends 11 hours a day connecting online with media. On a daily basis, you can read 1,331 newspapers, listen to more than 550,000 podcasts, and read more than 2,000,000 blog posts.

It’s enough to give you a headache or more if you try to keep up.

While you may think you’ve paused during the pandemic timeframe, in all likelihood, you did not. Not if you kept up with the noise. You experienced many stresses “behind the scenes.” 

For my part, I actually felt like I was waiting for the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back early this week. In addition to the two aforementioned contributors, my house was in disarray from painting and trying to downsize. I had a couple other house issues that contributed to my stress. I had some business deadlines. And, I felt so cut off from human contact and conversation, other than my husband and a couple of morning walking friends. I felt an entire smorgasbord of emotions running through my body.

For me, the way out was to acknowledge the stress and look for something to help alleviate it. I ended up meeting a friend for lunch — albeit a socially distanced lunch. This was the first time I’d really allowed myself to pause and take a break from what I consider my “now-regular world.”

That short pause was needed. That short pause was not enough. 

It was a good reminder of the power of pausing in my life.

I need to do a better job of protecting my energy, and maybe you do, too. 

Monday after my lunch, I took an evening walk with my husband and Button, our dog. I asked my husband what his blessings were for that day. When he finished, I started to recount mine. I had so many blessings that I realized that the camel waiting for the straw would wait a bit longer. That pause made the difference for me.

What can you expect from your pause?

As I said, I found my lunch pause powerful. I also said it wasn’t enough.

As I continue to add in more pause time, it will force me to slow down and create space. The benefit of space is that you start to see things from a different perspective. You can see where you are, what you want to do, where to make adjustments. It’s a reset and a restart.

You will not see these if you don’t honor the time for yourself.

Moving forward

As we move into creating what we might call our “new normal,” remember to add some “pause time” into your schedule. You may use that for getting away from the vast amount of media. Make time for your own art. Dance. Play music. Add a meditation practice. Add time for stillness and reflection. Spend time in the quiet space just being. It’s time for self-care.

As for me, this week, thanks to the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, I’m participating in a 21-Day Reset starting with a 5-day Fruits and Greens Smoothie Menu. I am keeping my focus on whole food nutrition. I’m making sure I get enough sleep. I’m getting the right amount of exercise. I’m spending time outside enjoying nature. I’m making art. And, I’m being grateful.

It’s your turn!

Do you need to add pause time into your life? How will you do that?

Love and light,

Morna

Being woke

This past week has been a heavy one. I’m horrified by the actions I see. I’m sad for where our country is. I’m sad for the lives that are lost. Lots is broken. Lots needs to be fixed. 

And, I’m uncomfortable.

I don’t feel right sending out our regular ezine this week. I do not feel like business as usual.

As a white woman, I cannot grasp the black experience. We all filter everything through our own lens. And one of my lenses is the white woman lens.

Sure I have good friends and colleagues who are black, friends whom I respect. I’ve dined with them. I’ve chatted at book clubs with them. Prayed with them at church. Shared experiences with them. Had them as overnight guests in my home. Had real conversations. But I can never know their experience, their lens.



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Practice — and success — look different for everyone

In our current COVID-19 state, some things have opened; others have not.

Yesterday I went to an outdoor yoga class. It was at the local Y. The class was limited to nine participants. We were socially distanced, each of us having a parking place for our mat.

It was nice to participate in a “normal” activity. I came away relaxed and with a feeling of peace. Wonderful for our times.

I used to practice yoga on a regular basis. Today, I don’t practice as much as I’d like. No real reasons. I just don’t.

So what does this have to do with your creative arts business? Here are three lessons I took from the class.



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Live your life by choice not by chance.

I’ve been thinking a lot about intention lately. 

With our stay-at-home order still in effect in Maryland, I have had a lot of time for reflection. Reflection about what is important in my life, what I want to do in my business, how I want to spend my days.

For years, I had a note on my bathroom mirror. It reminded me every day to think about what my intention was. 

What is your intention/choice for today?



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Boost your business with video conferencing

We’ve been in our current sheltering mode for nearly two months. Regardless of when we exit this, our ways of doing business will be forever different.

One of the most significant changes will be around technology. More people will continue working from home. More people will continue using the Internet than ever before for learning.

If you haven’t quite yet embraced this, it’s time to jump on that bandwagon.

On our Members’ Studio coaching call this week, we focused on using zoom, one of the video conferencing platforms. As an early adopter of zoom, I’ve seen its power in connecting people as well in teaching and presenting content.

Here’s a bit of what we shared on our call and thoughts on how I use the platform.



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The Secret of the $5,000 Notebook

We’re at the start of a new month. Did you take a look at your numbers for the first four months? Are you where you want to be revenue wise?

If you aren’t, I’m not surprised. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and all bets are off.

Most people I’ve talked with are not experiencing growth for the month. They are, instead, looking for ways to increase revenue going forward.

I have a friend who she shared her secret of the $5,000 notebook sometime back. I bet you have a similar notebook full of cash and you don’t even know it.



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Are You Juggling Too Many Balls?

One of my clients recently commented that with all her responsibilities she felt like she was juggling a lot of balls in the air — managing the shop, its employees and its inventory, her charitable obligations, and her responsibilities with two young kids at home plus her husband.

And this was before the challenge of COVID that we are living in today. Now she added home-schooling for her kids.

Can you picture yourself there?

I certainly can. At any given time I have content to write or deliver related to ICAP and our Members’ Studio, lectures and workshops to prepare for events where I am speaking, coaching calls with clients, planning for upcoming events or launches, not to mention the various balls I am juggling as a wife, sister, aunt, friend, and homeowner. I’ve added mask maker and more cooking to my list at this time. It truly could make you dizzy.

And, I know your life is not any different than mine or Beth, my client. How do I, and you, manage to juggle these responsibilities and not succumb to the falling balls? Here are some tips.

Outline your responsibilities

You have to get a handle on what you are responsible for in your life, so start writing. Create a list of your responsibilities and relationships.

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Let chaos become your opportunity

These are crazy, chaotic times we are in. You have lots of unknowns.

Are you bringing in business — and income — today? If you are, that’s great.

Can you maintain a positive cash flow? And for how long?

Do you have a rainy day fund? How long will it last?

How long can you stay the course before making changes? And what changes can you make?

Even if you are in a positive cash flow position, you need to think about what will happen in the future. Right now.

While you do have unknowns, one fact remains. You are in control when it comes to your business.

Part of getting through the chaos is making sure you’re in a better position once you get to the other side. Here are some ideas to help shift your business as we move forward.



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