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Tag: entrepreneur

Should We Start A Business If We Don’t Like Our Jobs?

We’ve all been there, endured that daily drudge to the office and thought to ourselves, why am I even here? If we don’t like our jobs, we start to think about what else we can achieve in life. As our brain starts to daydream more and more, we could very well think of pragmatic approaches to appease our frame of mind. Starting a business is one of those things that we will give consideration to for the very simple reason that we’ve got some control over our lives because we set the hours. But if we hate our jobs and we really think that starting a business is a viable approach, should we dive right in?

Plotting Your Course

You’ve still got to work hard at your day job but give yourself the space to plan every single particular of the business. Whether you want to start a business yourself from scratch or go for a home based franchise, these questions all need answering. The great thing about having a job that provides a steady income means that you can focus on what is feasible and remain pragmatic.

The Big Mistake Most Budding Business People Make

It’s that notion of time. We may very well feel that we’ve got to strike while the iron is hot, but if we jump ship from our current job and think this will give us the fear to put our plans into overdrive, the fact of the matter is there’s a lot that we don’t have control over. It can be very motivating to get a home office set up, and making it an efficient entity, but there are so many other things that have to align to make the business work, but also profitable. It’s far better for you to start planning your business when in the security of a job. And the added bonus of this is that you will feel a bit more motivation, so the daily drudgery won’t feel so bad.

You Have Something To Fall Back Onto

As exciting as it is to finally take control over your life, you’ve definitely got to think about if it will take off. Leaping from the security of a full-time job into something that will be considered risky could mean you end up with nothing. Your business could go down the tubes and you have no means of earning money if you leave your job. The best approach is to have your full-time job but also start your business as the equivalent of a part-time one or side hustle. That way, you are gradually building up your knowledge and skills on a part-time basis, and when it gets to the point that the business becomes viable, this can start to take over your life. And when it gets to the point that you are so busy you cannot realistically keep both aspects going, then you will have the confidence to say goodbye to your job.

Unfortunately, not liking your job isn’t reason enough to get going. But if the job is taking over your life in an unpleasant way, you should focus on getting a better job that will still give you some sense of accomplishment, but also enable you to push forward with your true passions.

 

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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business

More people than ever before are starting their own business. Even though global companies like Amazon dominate a wide range of market places, it seems like almost everyone is starting a brick and mortar or e-commerce store. Those that aren’t are starting businesses as freelancers, consultants, influencers, photographers or dog walkers. You probably know at least a few people that have given up their jobs to go it alone, and you might be eager to do the same.

But, many of these businesses fail. Many small business owners and sole traders rush in. They see everyone else doing it and they long to follow. They want to make money for themselves, building a business, doing it their own way and making money for themselves. They fail to plan and prepare, and even if the launch goes well, many of them struggle to grow and make enough money. They stagnate, and after a short time, they have to give up to cut their losses.

If you want to turn your idea or talent into a business that grows and develops over time, it’s worth taking your time to ask yourself these questions first.

Is Your Idea Any Good?

One massive problem many people have is that they assume that because they are good at something, other people will want to pay for it. This, unfortunately, isn’t always the case. If it were, we’d all be making money from our hobbies and interests. Businesses that do well are often less glamorous. Cleaners, dog walkers, window cleaners and other people that offer a service that other people don’t like doing, often make money consistently.

Whether you want to offer a product or service, take the time to do some market research. Look at who else provides the same thing, and ask yourself if your business would be better, different or cheaper? If not, can you expect to do well?

How Will You Fund Your Business?

There are many businesses that you can start with very little cash. But, whatever your startup costs, you also need to budget for things like marketing, website development, staffing, and any loss of income you face while you get going. Do you plan to use your savings? Do you need investment? Will deals like semi truck financing help? The key to understanding what funding you need is a financial forecast and business plan. Without these, it’s almost impossible to know what you need.

Are You Committed?

You might think that if everyone is doing it, it must be easy. You might look forward to setting your own hours and working around your family. But, starting a business is tough. If you want to make it work you need to put in the hours, and the commitment. You need to be prepared to give up your evenings and weekends and give your business your all. To do well, it helps to have a strong support network and an understanding family. Ask yourself if you are willing to give your all and if you’ve got people around to help.

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6 Affordable Desk Improvements to Make the Day at Work Go by Faster

Spending too much time at your desk? You might feel comfortable, but most of your bad habits can lead to long-term problems. Ergonomics can reduce your risk of health problems and create a comfortable work environment.

There are simple and affordable adjustments you can make to your office environment that will make it safer. Some of these changes can also increase your productivity.

Ergonomic Upgrades

It can be easy to forget about your office environment when you’re knee deep in work. Sometimes it creeps up on you before you know it. Save your body from the strain of aches and pains with some of these affordable ergonomic upgrades.

One way is to elevate your computer or laptop to eye level. This can save you from hunching over or straining your neck. If your computer is your work machine, elevate it to your eye level using a standing desk or laptop stand.

Swap out your traditional desk for a standing desk. Some of them cost as little as $20. If you want something fancier, invest in an adjustable desk or tread-puter. Even taking a break from your desk every so often can be a break for your neck.

Hardware

There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to investing in the right hardware for your computer. If you’ve been stuck with the same mouse and keyboard all this time, then it’s time for a change. If you’re using a laptop with an external mouse and keyboard, this can lead to carpal tunnel down the line.

Tired of cramping your wrists with a worn-out keyboard or wireless mouse? Invest in a new keyboard and mouse set that’s ergonomically designed. While it won’t make your computer run any faster, it’ll save your wrists from using cheap hardware.

You should also invest in a bigger, clearer monitor as well. It’s one way to improve your work experience. This allows you to see multiple tabs, screens, or applications all on one screen without straining your eyes.

The future is wireless. Gone are the days when you’d forget you had headphones on and tried to move away from your desk only to have them snatched from off your head. We’ve had wireless headphones now for a good few years. They are a good idea in case your job requires you to make calls or you just prefer having some music on while you work without bothering anyone else.

Software

If you’re pushing yourself too hard on a given project, you should be taking regular breaks to give your arms, eyes, and wrists a break. If mental reminders aren’t cutting it then install AntiRSI, Timeout, or Workrave on your laptop or computer. These programs remind you to take a break and get up from your desk every so often.

Eye strain can happen to those who write code or copy all day long. Two ways to correct this issue is to increase your monitor’s refresh rate and install ClearType or EyeDefender. You can also use a darker desktop theme to reduce the amount of time looking at a bright screen.

Mobile Apps

The productivity app DeskTime can help improve your performance. This automatic time tracking app allows you to increase your productivity so you can focus on more mportant tasks. You won’t find yourself hunched over your desk, trying to get that project done.

The aptly titled Office Ergonomics allows you to set up your workstation to prevent discomfort and cramping. This mobile app includes animated graphics and interactive tips for setting up your office environment for optimized comfort. These tips will allow you to make changes with the things that you have, and help you uncover new solutions.

Cloud Storage

One option to improve your work experience is on the cloud. You can move most of your important documents and files to a cloud-storage service. Most of these services are free and allow you to delete local copies once you moved them to the cloud.

This frees up room on your computer’s hard drive. It also makes it easy to move those files when it comes time to upgrade to a new computer.

There are plenty of cloud-storage services available, including Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and OneDrive. Most of them allow you to backup photos to the cloud, while others are strictly for documents. Your options depend on the type of operating system you own, the amount of storage you need, and how much you’re willing to invest for storage.

Sleep Support

Sometimes changing your sleep routine can help improve your work life. How your joints feel at work can be influenced by how much sleep you get at night. The ideal sleep position for a great night’s sleep is on your side with your knees bent and a pillow placed in between the knees. Your head should be placed on a single pillow.

You should also have a regular sleep routine. This includes falling asleep at the same time every night and banning electronics from your bedroom. You should avoid using any screens (including the television) at least an hour before your designated bedtime.

Lighting

Lighting isn’t just for decorating – it’s beneficial for your eyes. A desk light is important for reading documents and files. The right lighting can prevent computer vision syndrome, blurred vision, dizziness, dry eyes, eye fatigue, eyestrain, headaches, light sensitivity, and other problems.

People underestimate the amount of light they need to work on a task. It’s important to choose a light that’s attached to an arm that you can adjust to your liking. Position the light opposite to the hand that you write with, and shine it on papers but away from the computer monitor to cut down on glare.

Lifestyle Improvements

Changing your lifestyle can also improve your work life. If you spend most of your day sitting at your desk, it’s important to schedule regular work breaks. Take two to three 30- to 60-second breaks each hour to give your body time to recover.

 

Drinking more water throughout the day will have you getting up from your desk more to refill your bottle and to make trips to the bathroom. This will ensure that you’re taking regular breaks from your desk throughout the day.

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6 Ways Smart Tech is Impacting the Office Environment

Smart technology is all the rage. We have “smart” phones, “smart” homes, and “smart” appliances. As smart tech continues to evolve, there’s no wonder that it has impacted the office environment.

Tools such as cordless phones that work with smartphones and intelligent VoIP hubs only begin illustrating the new smart workplace. Behind the scenes, intelligent routers and automated data management workflows provide just a shadow of things to come.

You don’t have to wait for the future to enjoy the benefits of smart tech in your company. Get a glimpse of what’s possible by learning about the following ways a smart workspace can impact your business.

Collaboration

Already, Office 365 and Google Docs have allowed you to work with people around the world to edit documents. Cloud-based file sharing apps enhance that collaboration.

Now, smart tech has enhanced collaboration via screen sharing, allowing multiple people to work together on the same workstation. Meanwhile, virtual reality enables people to work together in 3D spaces to design and build everything from buildings to entire cities.

Most of all, smart collaboration technologies will permit you to draw from global labor pools. As a result, you can access world-class talent while building highly functional distributed teams.

Communication

Smart tech is allowing companies to move away from traditional email correspondence and telephone conversations. Already, consumers have grown to expect to interact with their favorite brands across multiple channels.

Now, you can get communications packages that unify all your communications within a single interface. Tools such as live text or video chat, for example, enable customers to choose how they contact your firm.

Smart technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are now automating communications. Thanks to chatbots and similar tools, you can let “virtual” agents handle basic service requests, saving your human agents for advanced tasks.

Home Offices

Smart tech has dramatically increased the capabilities of home offices. Thanks to the ubiquity of the cloud, you can slash overhead by hiring remote home-based workers rather than traditional employees.

As long as remote workers have internet access, they can connect with the same communications and collaboration tools they would use in your facilities. Your remote employees often show a higher level of job satisfaction and often produce more than their office-bound peers.

Small operations such as home-based businesses can also benefit from smart tech. By relying on innovative cloud solutions, a one-person operation can have the same capabilities as a global enterprise.

Time Management

Modern time management apps can “learn” your behavior and automatically update your schedule, helping you to get more done in less time. Thanks to artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms, smart tech can also help you prioritize your tasks.

Smart time managers can automate employee scheduling across multiple shifts and locations. When you have the right app in place, employees with smartphones can directly enter and edit their availability information.

If you normally use spreadsheets and manual data entry to calculate hours and wages, smart tech can help. Many time management apps will automatically populate your accounting and payroll apps with relevant data, saving time and improving accuracy.

Satisfaction

Call center software can now monitor customer interactions, including voice conversations to tell you when a customer is becoming agitated. Such systems can also assess agent performance and provide training recommendations.

Furthermore, smart tech can help you assess customer sentiment after every interaction by providing targeted surveys and follow-up emails. Similarly, you can use smart tech to identify upselling opportunities that can enhance the customer experience that you provide.

Smart tech can also improve customer satisfaction and retention through personalization. For example, social-media-aware CRM systems can learn about your contacts and use that data to craft targeted email messages.

Security

Thanks to smart tech, you can now exercise greater control over your network, workstations, and other IT resources. For instance, smart routers can proactively monitor network traffic and almost instantly disconnect suspicious activity.

Smart technologies are also improving antivirus and anti-malware applications, helping them to uncover threats before they become fully understood. Soon, intelligent apps will eliminate the need for virus definition databases and their associated updates, further improving your online security.

Smart tech can even improve the physical security of your company. Biometric devices can control access to every section of your facility, helping to reduce the damage caused by thieves and snoops.

 

In conclusion, smart technology is transforming the way people work. By embracing this trend, you and your business can work smarter, faster and thereby achieve a satisfying work-life balance.

 

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4 Hobbies You Can Turn Into a Stream of Income

Our Guest Post today comes from Heather Redding. Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer from Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys reading and running. Street photography is her artistic outlet and she likes to capture everyday little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

Enjoy!

While you may need extra money from a side hustle, you may not want to spend long hours working at a job that you find boring or uneventful. It’s not really a secret that doing something that you love is the best job there is. This is why monetizing your hobby into a side business may be a great idea.

There are several wonderful hobbies that you may enjoy doing and that you could use to generate some extra money. Here are a few excellent hobbies that can easily be converted into moneymaking side jobs:

1. Blogging

Blogs are increasingly popular, and there are a seemingly endless number of them available. You may not realize it, but many people actually hire a ghostwriter to write their blogs. Therefore, if you enjoy writing, you could easily partner with a blogger who writes about topics that you are interested in, and you could generate steady income by writing a few blogs per week for an established blog.

Another great idea is to launch your own blog. With so many options available these days you can easily build your own site and begin posting content. Make people notice your blog by stoking emotions and engaging your readers on social media. When you do this, you build a loyal following and encourage sharing online. As a result, your blog will have more pizzazz than you have ever dreamed.

There are different ways that you can generate income from writing your own blog. For example, if you develop a large following, you can sell advertising space on your website, or even promote products inside your blog posts. The larger your following is, the greater your income potential may be.

2. Photography

While some people enjoy writing in their free time, others enjoy taking beautiful photos of people, urban scenes, nature scenes and more. You may not realize, however, that you can monetize this hobby in multiple ways.

If you have excellent photography skills and can produce impressive images, you may be able to do portraits in an in-home studio or even offer wedding photography services. You can also sell your images online. Some websites allow you to copyright your images and then sell them online to businesses and others who might need them for marketing or other purposes. The more images that you offer for sale, the greater your income potential may be.

3. 3D Printing

If you have tinkered with 3D printing recently, you may be excited to take your hobby one step further. Whether you are into jewelry, toys or 3D printed artwork, you can use your passion to sell the products you make.

Nowadays, 3D printers are almost unmatched in their ability to create customized items. Therefore, selling unique and personalized items that are made to order is a great way to make some money on the side. You can create a line of your own products, and then sell these items on Etsy, eBay, and other e-commerce platforms. Hosting a booth at local arts and crafts show may draw even more interest to your 3D products. 3D printing is an exceptional way for you to turn your creativity and passion into a potentially lucrative side business with minimal upfront expenses.

4. Baking

While some of the famous TV bakers and chefs make it look easy to create impressive cakes and pastries, the reality is that this is more challenging than it initially seems. If you have mastered you cupcake toppings and know how to keep your soufflé from collapsing, why not offer your services to moms struggling to create birthday cakes or businesses in need of delicious snacks for their events?

You can get the word out and even offer samples of your products at local fairs and community events that allow you to set up a booth. Keep business cards handy at these events, and include a link to your professional baker’s website to further encourage others to place orders.

These are just a few home-based side businesses that you can pursue if you want to monetize your hobby. However, there are other hobbies that may easily be monetized as well. Focus on a hobby that you enjoy, and explore different ways to turn your hobby into a moneymaking side business.

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7 Useful Skills That Every Entrepreneur Needs

To successfully launch and grow a company, an entrepreneur needs a unique skill set as well as ample knowledge and patience. Almost every startup has its ups and downs, and very few follow a straight, upward path to profitability. If you want to increase the likelihood that your new startup will be successful, consider nurturing and refining these specific skills that can serve an entrepreneur well.

Ambition

To succeed with your startup venture, you need to have an ample supply of ambition to combine with your talent and vision. Ambition can give you the drive to work harder and smarter while remaining committed to your endeavor even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Ambitious people are generally willing and able to put in the extra effort to get the job done right, and they do not look for shortcuts along the way. You should mix your ambition with a clear plan of action so that you know how to act to achieve your goals.

Willingness to Learn

Some people stop educating themselves when they graduate college, but learning is a life-long activity. You should always focus on evolving and improving yourself, such as through books, articles, documentaries, seminars and more. Your industry is in flux regularly, and you need to stay updated in order to properly lead your company. You should be in regular communication with industry leaders, or you should at least be in touch with their blog post or other published works so that your knowledge remains relevant.

Assertiveness and Confidence

You need to instil a sense of confidence in others, and the only way to ensure that others believe in you and trust you is to have full confidence in yourself. After listening to what others have to say and after developing an educated stance on a subject, verbalize your thoughts with confidence and assertiveness. People often trust assertive people. When you feel unnecessary pressure to act against your will or instinct, put your foot down with a firm response that voices your opinions tactfully.

Creativity

The most successful entrepreneurs embrace creativity in themselves and in their team members. You cannot expect to run a successful business always walking the tried and true path. There will be times when you need to be a trailblazer by thinking outside the box. You can encourage creative thinking by always talking to new people, reading new books, ordering new meals at a restaurant you frequent, changing your office or living room layout and more. Keep your mind open to new possibilities, and always push yourself toward innovation by setting lofty yet attainable goals for yourself and for your team.

Ability to Listen

Communication is critical to the success of any business owner, and active listening is a vital component to effective communication. You must be a people-person, and you should have open, honest, two-way communication with your customers. If you are striving for success you will need to commit to providing a great customer service, which includes listening to what your customers have to say, especially complaints.

Always listen to what other people have to say, and avoid the rude inclination to interrupt others. Bothersome chatter and self-promotion can also be irritating to others and could reflect negatively on others. If you are talking, you likely are not listening to the thoughts and ideas of the other person. Know when to be quiet and focus on what others are saying, and focus on their non-verbal cues as well as your own for more effective communication. However, you also need to know when to speak up, such as when your team needs extra motivation to push forward.

Courage and Risk-Taking

It is not enough to simply think creatively as an entrepreneur. You also need to be bold and courageous enough to act on your innovative ideas. While some ideas will be clear winners, others may require you to stick your neck out there and to be gutsy. In the words of John Burroughs, “Leap, and the net will appear.” Never be afraid to take chances even when they seem far different than anything ever attempted before, but in the same token, you should research all options before deciding how to proceed.

Perseverance

Almost all successful entrepreneurs can describe a series of road bumps and hurdles they had to navigate over on their path to success. These individuals who accomplished their goals did not turn around or grow fearful when faced with a challenge. Instead, they remained patient and optimistic through various challenges. You cannot possibly succeed if you give up, so the best thing to do in order to succeed is to keep moving forward.

Entrepreneurs are often highly successful people, but the path to be successful is rarely easy. You need to have strong knowledge in your field, and you also need to develop each of these skills carefully. While they can help you to be a better business professional, they could also help you to enjoy a more meaningful, productive life.

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7 Tasks Your Small Business Should Outsource

Author info:

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Josh McAllister. He is a freelance writer and independent business consultant. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family. You can reach him on Twitter @josh8mcallister

Many entrepreneurs want to minimize overhead as much as possible and to accomplish this, they may try to tackle every task that needs to be completed. While entrepreneurs are typically very talented individuals, most are not a jack-of-all-trades. Even those very few individuals who have the skills and expertise to tackle most tasks successfully may not have the time to do so efficiently. The American Psychological Association indicates that multitasking can actually result in a 40 percent decline in productivity.

Outsourcing specific tasks to talented experts can help you to free up more time to focus on money-making activities relates to your operations. While you may spend some money hiring freelancers or contractors, you may enjoy a higher net profit as a result because of your own wise use of time.

Furthermore, outsourcing allows you to take advantage of the highly skilled insight and efforts of true industry experts. Remember that hiring subcontractors rather than full-time employees can help you to keep overhead low. This is because you do not have to pay subcontractors benefits like health insurance or deal with payroll taxes and other related expenses. These are some of the most common tasks many entrepreneurs should consider outsourcing.

1. Bookkeeping

Accounting and financial management tasks are critical to the success of your business, but it can take a lot of time to keep your books updated regularly. You simply cannot afford to neglect this important task. After all, you cannot possibly make sound financial decisions for your business if you do not know where you stand financially at all times.

A professional bookkeeper can complete these critical tasks more efficiently and accurately, freeing up your valuable time to work on other important tasks. As your operation grows in size and complexity, having a skilled and experienced bookkeeper becomes even more critical.

2. Payroll

Calculating and processing payroll regularly can be time-consuming and stressful, and it comes with legal rules and regulations that you are required to follow. These federal, state and local tax laws can change periodically, and it is up to you to understand and comply with these laws.

Calculating payroll can take hours of your time each week, and a simple mistake may lead to a tax audit and substantial fines. This is an area that you simply cannot afford to make a mistake in. With this in mind, it makes sense to outsource this task to a skilled third party.

3. Marketing

Your marketing efforts are directly linked to your sales numbers and overall profitability. You must successfully market your goods or services in a cost-effective way to remain on budget, but you must also actively maintain existing relationships and reach new customers.

Many entrepreneurs who keep marketing efforts in-house fail to follow through on marketing with consistency. They also struggle to produce amazing results. Outsourcing your social media marketing and content marketing efforts, for example, to a skilled professional may help you to improve your conversion rate and ultimately generate more revenue each year.

4. Customer Support

Depending on the type of business you run, you may find yourself dealing with customer support issues frequently. This can be a drain on your time or on other employees’ time.

While it is critical for you to keep existing customers happy with excellent customer service, your skilled in-house team also needs to actively recruit new customers.

If you choose to outsource your customer support needs to a third party, choose the company with care. Hiring a professional team that operates around the clock and that can provide dedicated service to your valued existing customers can benefit your company substantially.

5. Administration

With a very small business, administrative tasks may be relatively easy to keep up with. However, as your company grows in size, simple tasks such as answering phones and managing appointments can begin to take up a significant amount of your valuable time each day.

A virtual assistant can be hired to tend to these tasks, and he or she may also help with invoicing, collections, email management, database activities, direct mail campaigns, and more. While this can free up your own time, it can also make your company seem more professional and established to your business clients and partners.

6. IT Support

Technology is critical to most businesses, but it also is constantly evolving. You may not be able to afford to have your computers go down for long hours at a time, but you also may not be able to afford to hire an in-house IT expert to keep up with repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to your system.

Hiring a local consultant or contractor makes sense, and you can also save additional money by using an infrastructure as a service model. With this type of plan, your technological equipment and related systems are outsourced. Remember to choose a local IT contractor who can respond quickly, and look for a professional with experience handling cyber security issues for the best results.

7. Design

The image that you portray to customers and clients is affected by your design efforts. Everything from the photos you add to a brochure to the images in a blog, email campaign and more can affect your company’s brand and image.

Some entrepreneurs will use advanced design software programs with great results, but it can take time and effort to learn how to use these. Paying a skilled professional to do this work for you can help you enjoy fabulous results while also staying updated with the latest trends. Because you cannot afford to fall behind in the design of your marketing materials, e-commerce site and more, hiring a contractor makes sense.

Entrepreneurs today may be competing in a more advanced and complex marketplace, but they also have access to an exceptional range of outsourcing services. Not every task should be outsourced, so it is up to the entrepreneur to review the options and to make wise decisions that are best for the company. Ideally, you will outsource tasks that your own team is not well-equipped to handle. However, you should always weigh the pros and cons of hiring a contractor versus in-house employees.

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I’m Busy

stopglorifybusyIt is time to stop glorifying busy. I have said so several times in the past year and a half. So I’m not making a new resolution, but just offering up some food for thought as I end my “staycation” over the holidays, one I used to some planning for next year, and…

Yeah, I confess. I worked too. It was too easy. I was at home, which is also where my office is, and a few things just “came up.” If you know me, you know I am a workaholic. But one of the things I did do was limit my hours. I also decided on a fitness plan, something I have lacked for about the last year, and it shows. So going forward, I will be changing some things. If you have done business with me before, or will again, I may be referring clients to this blog post often.

I’m going to take better care of myself. I did a piss-poor job of this a few times throughout the year. It didn’t help anyone, because if I am not doing well, there is little likelihood I can help you succeed. And I need to be healthy physically, spiritually, and mentally. The balance makes me better at everything I do.

saynoI may tell you “no” more often. This is something everyone I know needs to get better at. Everything you are offered is not an opportunity. Sometimes a task is a distraction. More than once this year, I said “yes” when I should have said “no.” So it’s not personal, but I have a goal to keep my hours reasonable, my tasks manageable. It might be timing or any number of reasons, but if I tell you know, realize it isn’t personal. I’m just trying to stay focused and healthy.

I’m going to limit my business hours. If you call or text, and it is business related, outside of set hours, you may not hear back from me as soon as you would like. I’m an early riser, but I probably won’t be answering your e-mail at 5 a.m. Or 9 p.m. I disciplined myself earlier this year this way for a while, and it worked really well. Of course, then I fell off the wagon into workaholic land again. If you want to talk about business after 5 p.m., you better have made arrangements ahead of time. Otherwise, I will talk to you sometime the next day. I will make exceptions, for good reasons, but won’t do it all the time.

I’m focusing on my writing and editing. In the ideal world, these are the only two things I would do, all day long. In the real world, I do research, teach, consult with museums, and many other things. They all help pay the bills, so I can keep working at home. But I may not add much this year. In fact, the idea in the long run is to cut some things out entirely.

So why am I putting this blog post out there, first thing of the year? Well, it will keep me accountable. To myself and those around me. It will also serve as a reminder, to those who want to step over boundaries. I can always refer them to this post. This is how things will work. And I can read it myself. As a reminder.

Whatever you are doing this year, resolve to be healthy. Take care of yourself. And stop glorifying busy.

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Hitting the Reset Button

reset buttonThe last two years have been full of mixed emotions and turmoil. The last three months have been especially trying. I’m not telling you so you’ll feel sorry for me, but more to share something with you I’ve discovered as a freelancer and a writer, some things I think you can apply to your life no matter what you do.

Get away. I took a trip in October, business and pleasure mixed, but away from the hustle and bustle of my everyday life. The time away showed me some simple things.

  • Stuff kept happening, whether I was here or not.
  • Items that were ‘vital’ and ‘urgent’ were still waiting when I returned.
  • My real goals were being neglected.

Returning offered a dose of both humility and reset thinking. Putting your personal needs aside does more harm than good, and directly impacts your ability to help others. Staying true to your goals is vital for your own happiness.

thankful_calmEvaluate relationships. There are people who you interact with who are good for you, and those who are bad. There are even those you are bad for. Taking a step back and reevaluating those relationships leaves you choices: repair the relationship or cut ties and walk away. Neither choice is wrong in every case, but knowing the issues are there is vital.

Start saying no. The two most powerful words are both yes and no. The most underused in the world of the entrepreneur is no. Simple fact: not everything is an opportunity. Sometimes the best way to move forward is to hone your focus, and say no to things that don’t fit.

I’m thankful for the trials of the last few months, and for the last two years, even as rough as they have been. The many issues have brought me to this point, where I can hit the reset button.

I can’t wait to see what happens next. What are the areas in your life where you should hit the reset button? I’d love to hear from you.

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