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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Can’t Choose Between Thai and Italian for dinner?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

 

Last week one of my clients was talking about how worn out she was from making decisions. The decisions themselves might seem small to you. Cathy had to decide between frames for her latest pieces of art, choose a brand of paints to use with a new project, find a photographer to shoot headshots for her website, set a time for an appointment for a potential gallery showing, and consider whether or not to book time for an art retreat. Now it was time to choose an outfit for her gallery opening.

Cathy had made lots of decisions and wasn’t ready to make another. She told me she was opting for an old outfit from the back of her closet. It didn’t fit that well and didn’t showcase her artistic brand in its best light. She said that she just didn’t have the energy to go the store and get something special to wear.

Seems kind of silly on the surface. She had made what we might think of as everyday decisions for her business. The final decision about her outfit was an important decision in her ongoing quest to build a brand, yet she was stuck. I told her she was likely suffering from decision fatigue.

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What’s in Your Rewards Jar?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

How often do you reward yourself for your work? If you are like many creative entrepreneurs I know, it’s not very often. Sure you accomplish the items on your to-do list, you make progress towards your goals, and you may feel proud about what you are doing. Then, it’s on to the next thing on the list, the next goal.

Many of my clients take part in what I call a Success and Strategies Summit on a weekly basis. I had been taking time to look at what I accomplished and plan ahead on a weekly basis for years. It made a difference in how much I was accomplishing and the confidence level I had. When I started working with private clients and ICAP members, I shared this more formal practice with them. They began to see how important this review was in their own lives and businesses.

A big part of this Summit is celebrating your successes. Did I mention how often we are on to the next thing and don’t do this?

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Are You Working In Your Brilliance?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

 

This week ICAP had its monthly book discussion, and we chatted about the book Essentialism. Part of the conversation was around what you should be doing as opposed to having someone else do it. Many people have massive to-do lists and don’t stop to think about whether they should be the one doing everything. And, you cannot do it all, as much as you might like to think you can. The problem is, if you are, for example, a pattern designer and are busy doing things like shipping and answering emails, you are not working in your brilliance. What happens is that you become frustrated and your business suffers as a result.

Not delegating for some is really about giving up control. It is hard when you know how to do everything correctly. (Do you really?)

And, you think that by the time you show someone how to do it, you could have done it yourself. Yes, it does take time initially. The end result is worth it.

For others it is not knowing where to start — what to delegate, who to delegate to, and where to find this person you will delegate to.

Here is a system that has worked for me and my clients.

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Do You Suffer From Smorgasbord Syndrome?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Someone recently shared in one of our ICAP Facebook groups that she was trying to tackle too many tasks in one day. She added that she tended to overestimate her available time. That meant she was moving uncompleted tasks from one day into the next day’s list. The end result was making new lists and wasting time and energy. She was not alone with this confession, confusion, and remorse.

I refer to this as the “Smorgasbord Syndrome.” As a child, I can remember my parents saying that my eyes were bigger than my stomach when we had big family celebrations. I didn’t want to miss out on anything that might be good. And, of course, even though I probably left little room for dessert, I didn’t want to miss out on any of those, so I added more to my plate when dessert rolled around. You can guess that I probably had my share of stomach aches.

It’s easy to see how this approach translates into your life and business. You think you have more time to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. You keep saying, “yes, pile more on my plate.” Whether you say that to someone who asks you to do something or just to yourself, the end result is the same. Your life and/or business plate is overflowing.

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Focus on MGAs First

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

As a creative entrepreneur you probably struggle with a never ending to-do list. I know I do. Even as your business grows and you have assistance, it can still seem overwhelming to get everything done in the allotted time you have. The goal of your business is to make money. Otherwise you have a hobby.

The key is to put money generating activities (MGAs) at the top of the list.

If you look at the last five things you did in your business, how many were related to sales or marketing in your business? You need to prioritize those activities if you are going to bring income into your business. Remember that money flows where your attention goes. Here are some tips to do that.

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Do You Have a Don’t-Do List?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

It’s January. A New Year. Open to lots of possibilities.

I know you are as excited as I am about those possibilities and all that you are going to create this year. If your list is like mine or my clients, it’s lengthy. And you are excited about tackling all of it — right now. You want the rewards and the feeling of accomplishment. To do that you probably have lists of all the action steps and milestones for each goal. And you are ready to dive in.

Stop. Ask yourself what is standing in your way to accomplishing those goals in the time you want. I know we all sabotage ourselves with our mindset. I’m talking about more concrete, every day ways that stop us. Here are some examples. Checking Instagram about 10 times a day rather than sticking to your time block for your next design. Snacking on sugary treats when you get bored. Checking email every 15 minutes, or even more often. Not making time for self-care, including exercise, so you have energy when you need it. Can you imagine what you would accomplish if you didn’t have your smart phone sitting right next to your desk?

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Lose the New Year’s Resolutions!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

What’s In a Word?

Many people choose a “word” as a focus tool for the year. I have been doing this since probably 2005 when Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio where I practiced, passed around a basket with words. I chose “openness.” At the time I asked if I could pick a different word. After all, the woman next to me chose love, which seemed like a much better word. I remember Kathy telling me that I was stuck with openness because the word had chosen me.

I went home, taped the word onto my computer, and let it be an anchor as I went through the year. Looking back, I know that this made a tremendous difference in my year.

What it did was allow me to focus on being a person who was more open to opportunities, more open to challenges, and more open to other people. It required me to “be” or work on “becoming” a certain person.

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Small Steps Lead to Big Wins

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Reviewing your previous successes and failures laid the groundwork for setting SMART goals. Setting compelling goals is one thing; getting the goals accomplished is another.

When you craft big goals, it can often seem overwhelming when you think about how to accomplish them. In reality, you won’t know all the “how.” And, you don’t need to know the how. When you are ready for that knowledge, it will show up.

Here are some tips I find that are helpful when striving to reach your goals.

Keep your why at the forefront. You probably have a big why for what you want to achieve in your life or business. A handy tool here is to print it out and keep it where you can reflect on it daily.

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Reframe, Reflect + Reap the Rewards

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

rrr-planning2

December is often the month to look back at your year and plan ahead for the next one. In a recent blog, I discussed starting to plan by taking a look back at the good, the bad, and what you learned during the year.

It’s your chance to evaluate what you learned and look for ways to reframe the challenges that you faced. What are the rules that you believe? How could you change them to serve you better?

For example, if you believe that artists are not good with money, then it’s likely you won’t be good with money. If you try to create a rule that empowers or serves you better, you’ll see the results. In this example, you might reframe your rule as, “I’m smart enough to easily learn what I need to about money so that I can pursue my art and make a profit.” This puts you in charge of your results.

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Look Back and Move Upward

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

lookback

The end of the year is often filled with planning activities. For many creative people the thought of planning is beyond boring.

It can be black and white — after all it does involve looking at numbers. When you get right down to it, though, getting your big dreams and goals down on paper and figuring out how to accomplish them is creative. Especially when you get out those colored markers and pencils!

For more than ten years, I hosted an annual Planning Day, and we always start with looking back. Instead of jumping into what next year looks like, take time to clear out this year. Look at the good, the bad, and the lessons learned. This will let you celebrate what you accomplished and put you in a positive place to start the new year.

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