Changing “I Wish….” To “I Can…”

Happy Wednesday. 🍁

A few weeks ago while on my daily afternoon walk with my dog, I looked up and noticed the various stages of the leaves changing colors. While I did stop to snap a quick shot with my phone, I found myself thinking I wish I was a photographer right now so I could spend my days outside capturing the beauty of fall.” and then I had an “ah ha” moment. I studied photography in high school and college and still have all of the equipment needed to pick up an old, but favorite hobby. All that was left was a mindset shift from “I wish” to “I can.”

I can take an hour or even an afternoon for myself and head back to the park, or another favorite spot and capture the beauty of the changing season. And to make sure it happens before it’s too late and the trees are bare, I will block out the time in my calendar and then honor it when my reminder goes off. 😎

In the busy weeks ahead as we count down to the holidays and the end of the year, if you too find yourself saying “I wish…” I encourage you to pause, evaluate what it is you’d love to be doing in that moment, and then find a way to add it to your schedule in whatever way works best for you. You don’t have to be a professional to try something new. You can simply enjoy the process of stepping out of your normal routine and trying on a “new hat” for an hour, an afternoon, a day, or even a weekend.

Here’s to finding some time for you in the coming weeks before the craziness of the holiday season is upon us. 🙌🏼 🙌🏾

Change The Where, Not The Who

Happy Woosah Wednesday.

This is a big week for me, as I made my final edits and gave the greenlight for officially sending my first book off for printing. 🙌🏼 🙌🏾

In preparation for the launch, I have been a guest on a handful of podcasts over the past few weeks to share my story. And because it is a book on leadership written for other women on the rise, I’ve met some incredibly amazing and talented fellow female entrepreneurs so far along my journey.

Then, my brain went and did one of it’s favorite things to do and connected the dots…. Each and every encounter has been filled with great energy AND the opportunity to collaborate and amplify each other on our individual missions to help other entrepreneurs. Which lead me to reflect on a time not so long ago, when I found myself in a room that had me questioning if I was “the problem”, when in fact I was simply the outlier in a non-collaborative space.

And then I stumbled across a video clip online that brought it all home. A Black woman in a leadership role was asked to share some advice based on her own experiences. The tip that really hit home for me was “change the where, not the who.” What she meant by this, was when we find ourselves in less than optimal settings or spaces, we (women especially) tend to think we need to adjust WHO we are to fit in WHERE we are. While sometimes this may be true, more often that not, it’s a sign you’re in the wrong place to be your authentic self.

My request of you as you move through the next few weeks is to pay attention to the WHERE’s in your life, especially the ones where you get to be your true, authentic and best self, and make a plan to spend more time in those spaces. Then evaluate what you can do when you find yourself in a space that has you questioning your WHO. Sometimes a simple acknowledgment and conversation can shift the energy, and sometimes you may find the need to limit your time spent in that space to honor yourself.

At the end of the day, we all deserve to be met with more smiles than frowns, so make an effort to maximize your time WHERE you get to be be WHO you are at your core. 😍

Pay Attention To Your Energy

If you’ve seen any of my Woosah Wednesday posts on Social Media, you may be familiar with the term and their purpose. I’ve decided to post them to my blog moving forward, so I’ll start with a quick definition and recap.

DefinitionThe slang term woosah is often used to describe the feeling of relief or calmness in the midst of chaos. In other words, it’s the opposite of feeling stressed out.

A few months back, as another Hump Day Wednesday rolled around, I decided that the negative energy around Hump Day wasn’t something I wanted to associate with Wednesdays anymore, so I set out to flip the script. And while Wednesdays still tend to be my busiest day of the week, my new Woosah Wednesday practice has trained me to look at them from a different perspective. And, more importantly, to stop and breathe if I feel like things are getting out of control.

For today’s Woosah Wednesday post I’d like to focus on energy – both good and bad. As you make your way through the rest of the week, pay attention to your energy with each task, meeting, activity, etc. you complete.

While a successful and productive workday should leave you a bit tired, it should not leave you feeling completely drained. And as we all know, too many draining days strung together often lead to burnout. Paying attention to your energy around your key weekly activities is the first step to shifting your mindset and maybe even your to do list for better end results.

If there’s a task you can’t stand doing, consider delegating it to another member of your team if possible. Or find a way to pair it with something you do enjoy to make it less painful. Conversely, if there is something that you love to do and energizes you, but you haven’t made enough time for it in the past few weeks, block out the time in your calendar now, set a reminder, and honor it when it goes off.

Being a business owner is hard work, but as we’re all heard before, the true key to success is to work smarter. So pay attention to your energy this week and then make the needed adjustments to end your week feeling a little bit tired, but in a good way. 😎 😴

Influencer vs Expert … Which One Do You Really Need To Scale Your Business?

I’m currently re-reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain in preparation for my own book launch and find it even more relevant today than it was when first published in 2012. Here are a few quick facts / observations.

 

In 2012:

  • Instagram had only been around for 2 years and hadn’t really taken off yet
  • SnapChat did not exist
  • TikTok did not exist

In 2023:

  • Both individuals and businesses are making millions on Instagram
  • “TikTok famous” is now a thing and can make you a substantial living
  • Becoming an “Influencer” as opposed to an expert is now the new goal

 

While “loud” people are great at getting our attention and then getting us to follow them, what are they leading us to? As Cain points out over and over again, “quiet” people often have a level of expertise that is overlooked and overshadowed simply because we can’t “hear” them over the “loud” people.

As you’re looking for help to grow and scale your business, I’d encourage you to ask yourself this question… What TYPE of help do I really need and WHO would be a better fit RIGHT NOW?

 

Sometimes it’s an influencer who can help share your message and promote your brand, but … I’m going to go out on a limb and say, more often than not, what we truly need are experts to help us build a solid foundation behind the scenes. As the saying goes, you can’t just talk the talk, you have to be able to walk the walk. Becoming the expert, or hiring one to help you solidify your business and your branding (faster) should come before partnering with the influencer to help spread the word.

 

Why Are Consultants So Expensive?

I’ve been dancing around this post for months, but now it’s time to put the spotlight on the elephant in the room – i.e. – the (perceived) cost of hiring a consultant. Before we dive into the WHY, let me start by clarifying two things.

 

  1. A coach and a consultant are not the same thing. While many may dabble a bit in the gray area between the two, the job of a good coach is to ask the right questions and provide sound advice to help you become a better business owner, leader, etc. The job of a good consultant is to listen, access, and provide solutions specific to issues or problems within your organization or business.
  2. Coaches often work with you long-term while consultants usually work short-term or based on a contract. While a good coach produces positive and lasting results in your personal development, a good consultant will provide positive, immediate, and lasting results in the way you run your business (or at least they should, in my personal opinion).

 

So, why are consultants so “expensive”?

 

  • They’ve already learned the lessons and done the work and will save you hours upon hours of time and headaches of having to figure it out for yourself.
  •  They’ve worked with other similar business owners as well and know from experience what the common issues are, where most people get stuck, and how to steer you toward success.
  • They are most likely “wired” differently than you are as a business owner and approach things from a unique perspective.

 

If you’re familiar with DISC profiles, here’s a quick stat for you. While only 10% of the population is high D (with ISC all coming in around 30%), 65% of business owners are high D. That means you’re just not “hard wired” to create systems and processes.There’s no fault in this, however… smart business owners:

1 – Recognize this

2 – Hire to fill in the gap

And this is where the “expensive” consultant comes in…

Would you spend a couple thousand dollars on a new computer if you knew it would last you at least 5 years and increase your overall productivity? Most likely, yes. Now, would you spend a couple thousand dollars on a consultant who could provide the missing systems, processes, structure, etc. to calm the current chaos and keep it that way for at least the next 5 years? …..

Just something to think about when considering the cost vs. the value when you perceive something to be “expensive.”

 

If you want to learn more about how “expensive” I am, you can do so here. 😎

7 Words To Set Yourself Apart

“Let me tell you about our process…”

 

Over the past several years I have had the pleasure of helping fellow contractors add systems and processes to their businesses to calm the chaos behind the scenes. Today I’d like to talk about another piece of advice that I’ve shared with almost everyone I’ve worked with since launching my business…. The more you can think like a customer the better.

We all know what it’s like to get great customer service, and I’m saddened to say the experiences are fewer and farther between these days. As busy business owners trying to juggle it all however, we often forget that our greatest strength and differentiator is HOW we interact with our customers. They don’t know there’s a pile of paperwork on your desk that could rival the leaning tower of Pisa. They don’t know that you have a deadline for a big job looming that’s keeping you up at night. They don’t know that you just lost a good employee or had to let go of a bad one. All they know is that they need what you offer, saw your name and number somewhere (kudos on your marketing), and now they’re ready to learn more and potentially hire you to do the work.

Now back to my opening sentence… When you answer the phone and a new prospective customer is on the other end, after they say what they’d like to say (please don’t rush them – learn to listen and take notes instead) IF you’d like to set the tone and take control of the conversation (in a good way, of course) I’d encourage you to reply with these seven words.

“Let me tell you about our process…”

A few things happen when you use this as your opening line.

  1. It instantly changes the tone of the conversation and elevates your level of professionalism (oh, they have a process… )
  2. It sets you apart from your competitors (unless they’re also reading this blog)
  3. It gives you more control over the flow of the conversation and hopefully you’ll be met with less potential objections

Now, once you’ve shared these seven words, you will need to follow through with an actual process. 😳😂 If your company likes to get photos and details BEFORE you schedule an in-person estimate or consultation, share this as well as the WHY behind it.

If your company schedules in-person meetings while on the phone, share this and then gather any additional information you’ll need to set the estimator/salesperson up to pick up the conversation where you left off and be prepared to answer additional questions about their specific project once on site.

And before you hang up, be sure to confirm the details and next steps as discussed and then follow through in a timely fashion. Keep in mind, whoever answers the phone in your office is setting the tone and the expectations for the overall customer experience, and you want to be sure it’s a good one. So, think like a customer and then create a process that would make you feel like your company is the best option in town.

Want help with getting this all in place quickly and efficiently? Check out my new stand alone course, The Full Circle Sales Call. This is the “first stop” on my Customer Circle and will get you heading in the right direction in under an hour. 👍🏼

Expenses vs. Investments – A Mindset Shift

As small business owners who are not only responsible for ourselves and our families, but our employees and their families as well, it’s no wonder we keep our eyes on every dollar that comes in and goes out of our businesses. Hopefully we all have a good grip on our numbers (balance sheet, P&L, and yearly budget updated on a monthly basis) and everything is trending in the right direction towards a healthy net profit.

There are a few simple ways to grow your bottom line when running a contracting business – increase your prices, finish your projects under budget for a little extra profitability (without cutting corners, of course) or buy frequently used items in bulk at a discounted rate.

There are also a few areas where I see business owners cut back thanks to getting “tripped up” when considering if something is an “expense” or an “investment.” The first is with marketing, most of which should be looked at as an investment strategy, but more on that in a future post.

The second is with investing in themselves. I posted on LinkedIn a little while back about how ALL athletes have coaches, especially the GOAT’s, but the same isn’t true when it comes to business owners. Many busy business owners, especially those in the thick of it all, look at hiring a coach or a consultant as an expense, and often one they can’t afford right now. Unfortunately, RIGHT NOW is when you need the coach or consultant the MOST. So, I’m encouraging you to flip the script on how you look at hiring outside help – as an investment in the future success of your business.

Depending on what you need help with, that “future” could be mere weeks away, or maybe a few months out for a larger issue that needs a bit more time and attention. Either way, the sooner you get started, the sooner you get to cross the finish line and reap the rewards of your investment.

And if you think you can’t measure the ROI of hiring a coach or consultant in dollars, think about what an hour of your time is worth (especially if you’re the salesperson) and then how much you’ll be saving if you streamline your daily operations or tackle that big issue that just keeps coming back up. As a consultant, I live by the motto that “the fastest way to get something done is to slow down,” and help others see the logic in hitting pause, solving a recurring problem, then hitting play again with some new tools and strategies at your fingertips.

If you, or your business could  benefit from working with a coach or consultant, I highly encourage you to set aside some time on your schedule and some money in your budget to accelerate your growth. Then find someone who’s been where you are and now has what you want, and use their experience to help you avoid the common pitfalls of streamlining or scaling your business. When it comes to marketing, the saying goes “you have to spend money to make money” and the same is true for personal and professional growth. But guess what, you’re worth it.

P.S. – It’s also important to find someone who’s a good fit for you. There are plenty of coaches and consultants to choose from, but working with someone who aligns well with your style and your goals will make the process smooth and hopefully enjoyable. If you’d like to learn more about my style and see if we’d be a good fit, you can schedule a free discovery call here.

What’s On Your Bucket List?

This has been a “milestone” year for me, with my daughter graduating from high school last month 😊 and getting ready to head off to college next month. 🥲

We celebrated by taking a trip out west to Colorado and Utah (Salt Flats pictured). At some point around her 5th birthday, I decided visiting all 50 states would be a cool thing to do and added it to our bucket list. With this trip now complete, I’m up to 41 and she’s up to 32.

To make sure we had enough time to do and see everything we wanted to, it meant taking 8 consecutive days off of work (this included a weekend). The best part of it all was I did not get one “emergency” phone call while gone from our painting business. Flash back 5 years, and that would not have been the case. After a vacation full of “avoidable interruptions,” I made sure to set myself up so that would never happen again. What’s the point of taking a vacation if you can’t truly unplug?

What did it take?

Clear systems and processes that could be delegated and followed in my absence, and taking care of as many things that only I could do before heading out.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, one of the perks is being able to control our own schedules. Unfortunately, more often than not, we quickly fall victim to spending too many hours working IN our businesses, leaving no time for those long weekend getaways or bucket list trips we vowed to finally take now that we “have control” of our time.

For those of us who started with the tools in our hands, the thought of delegation can be a scary one, but is necessary if you’re looking to:

1. Grow and scale your business

2. Be able to say “yes” to that once in a lifetime trip when it presents itself

3. Build a business that can operate without you (at least for a week or two, to start…)

#3 should be the ultimate goal for all business owners, especially if selling the business when you’re ready to retire is on your to do list. This requires stepping out of your comfort zone of “doing it all yourself” and building a rockstar team around you along with solid systems and processes that everyone follows.

Want some help figuring out where the best place to start is for you?

Schedule a free discovery call at the link below. ⬇️

While it may seem daunting, the steps between where you are now and where you want to be aren’t usually as steep as you think. And as the old saying goes, “the best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, but the second best time is today.” Don’t put off building the business of your dreams so you can live the life of your dreams any longer. 😎

Schedule a Free Discovery Call Now

A Little Bit About Me

With over 18 years of experience in marketing, I know that my marketing efforts should be focused on YOU (my ideal customer), but I’m going to deviate from the norm for a minute and tell you a little bit about ME.

Why, you might ask?

Because I want YOU to see why I might be a good fit in helping you solve your current business systems issues.

 

So, here goes:

  1. I’m whole brained – which means I’m both creative and analytical.
  2. I like things done right, but also done fast – which means we’ll knock out your “to do’s” in weeks, maybe months, but definitely not over a full year.
  3. I rank in the 98% for time and priority management – which means I’ll keep you on task to get things done.
  4. I love variety in my work – which means your issue is a fun challenge for me to solve.
  5. I’m a high “SC” on the disc profile (and low “D”) – which means I’ll bring a calm and systematic approach to your current situation and have the patience to help you work through it.
  6. My Strengthsfinder top 5 are: Achiever, Learner, Intellection, Futuristic and Strategic – which means I can help you with the present as well as plan for the future.

And last, but not least….

  1. I love being helpful – which means seeing you benefit from a tip, tool, strategy, or system that I can share with you brings me joy. The more I can help you, the happier that makes me. 😎

 

So if you’re thinking “I need someone like this on my team” schedule a free discovery call and let’s chat about how I can help you get from stressed to streamlined.

Schedule A Call Now.

P.S. – If you haven’t taken a DISC assessment or read Strengthsfinder, I highly recommend doing so to learn more about your natural style and strengths. Then do the same with your team so you can maximize your effectiveness when working together and use everyone’s natural talents to the fullest. 🙌🏼

Is Your Business Built Like A Rube Goldberg Machine?

My younger brother and my daughter have always had a special bond. I blame it on their shared traits of being wicked smart and a little bit naughty. 🙃. They’re both great at “solving puzzles” and from a young age, he loved teaching her how to do things and then teaching her new and “more fun” ways to do things.

When he introduced her to Rube Goldberg, I didn’t know who he was or what he was famous for, but once he explained it, it all made sense as to why he chose to impart this particular bit of knowledge.

You see, Rube Goldberg was known for taking something simple and making it as complicated as possible, just for fun.

Need to open a door? Let’s build the most complicated contraption that doesn’t require you to use your hands, but will turn your entryway into a impassible space once you have the door open…. Want to pour yourself a cup of coffee? Let’s set up the pot and the cup and then add levers, pullies, dominoes, etc. to tip the pot and fill the cup without spilling, leaving your kitchen counter cluttered with non-kitchen essentials….

So what does this have to do with your business you might ask? …. (If you’re new to my blog, you’ll learn quickly that I like to tell stories and then connect the dots…..) Many of us have built businesses that operate like Rube Goldberg machines without even realizing it. As our businesses grow organically, which is part of the natural evolution, we often add steps to our processes or new systems to the mix and before we know it a simple process is now overly complicated. In Rube Goldberg’s case, his “complications” are intentional. I’m encouraging you to do the opposite and be intentional about not over-complicating things.

What’s the best way to do this? Take some time each quarter to work ON your business and re-evaluate your current systems and processes. The goal should always be simple, easy, and repeatable. If they’re not, brainstorm with your team on how to modify them and then try, track and tweak as needed until you get It just right.

Think back to being a kid and building a domino chain that would topple with just one tap. You most likely didn’t get it right on the first try, but if you stuck with it until you got the spacing and angles just right so the small push at the start led to a smooth chain reaction with a clean finish it was well worth the effort.

Want more help with looking at your business from a different perspective? Schedule a free discovery call and let’s chat about the areas of your business that could use some simplification.