Business

Success on your own terms

What does success look like for you?

Define success in your own way!

Is it a nice house with a two car garage?

Is it being a manager at work?

Is it making six figures?

Is it travelling two times a year… maybe three?

Is it simply MORE?

Success can be a bit of a sneaky/tricky/slippery beast. Why? Because we don’t really know what success means to us.

This is what *I* “knew” from growing up in my world.

Success looked like :

  • Finish high school and go to university and get a degree. And then a Master’s. And then probably a PhD.
  • Get a good job and move up the ranks as high as possible
  • Buy a house
  • Buy a car
  • Get married
  • Have some kids
  • Buy a bigger car
  • Buy a bigger house
  • Keep getting promotions (you need more money)
  • Provide for your kids – sports, music, all the opportunities to make them well-rounded individuals
  • Go on trips – bring the kids and expose them to the world and culture
  • Keep going until the kids move out, you retire, and then you’re done

Do you recognize this picture of success?

Has yours ever been like it?

I thought it was mine – but it wasn’t – I never created it, it was just what I thought I was supposed to be working towards for a really long time.

Now… don’t get me wrong. It’s not at all a bad picture. It’s a fairly nice picture to me, even as I think about it now. But I needed to make sure my definition of success and the goals I was creating for myself were MINE.

So, let’s talk about how I journeyed on this path:

I got a degree (just one) and then later I got a diploma. I travelled overseas, I bought a car, I got a job in my field, I got a promotion, I bought a house, I got married, I had a baby, and then I didn’t wan’t to go back to my job.

WHAT?!

Wellman Family

I jumped off my path – and I was okay. I was okay with less money and “less success” because I wanted to be with my kid more. I wanted to feel less stressed and I wanted to explore the life of being an entrepreneur (I started my first business – an online clothing store – during my maternity leave).

So, I jumped off the path, but here’s what I called that..  "Choosing to not be successful right now."

But that wasn’t what that was – that was me defining what success looked like for ME. Because success was quality time with my family. It was not feeling stressed all the time. It was making sure I had the flexibility in my life to try new projects and business ideas. And by that measure, I was really successful!

As my kids got older and my businesses changed and I became a marketing coach and then a business coach, money and career success came back to the forefront. I had to re-visit what success was going to look like for me.

As an entrepreneur, a lot of what I saw in role models was to work all the time and HUSTLE to build the biggest, fastest business possible. I didn’t want that and, at first, it was hard to believe that was okay.

Because what I wanted was to work school bus hours and I wanted to take 10 weeks off a year to spend a lot of the school holidays with my kids and still have time to do things for me and with my husband.

That wasn’t what I saw as possible. I saw making lots of money and being successful or again… choosing to be less successful. So, I thought I was choosing to be okay with not being successful for awhile longer.

But really, I was simply defining what I wanted MY success to look like:

  • Creating a community of support for business owners
  • Coaching business women and helping guide them to a place where they love their business and are make good money doing it
  • Spending time with my kids
  • Spending time at the cottage
  • Having the flexibility to start new projects that call to me when I want to
 Women Talk Ottawa  - one of the communities of support I am building

Women Talk Ottawa  - one of the communities of support I am building

And so by that measure I AM successful... not putting it off awhile longer!

And here’s the other thing – it turns out you don’t HAVE to work crazy hours and hustle all the time to make good money. I didn’t need to sacrifice decent money to do all those things. I just needed to realize the way I was building success didn’t have to look like how others were doing it!

I am SO successful and I believe you all can be too.

I challenge you to spend some time with your vision of success.

Is the one you have now the one you created? Or is it one you inherited? Or is it one that was formed by society or family and expectations from the people around you?

What does success look like for you?

Are the things you’re striving for the things you truly want?

Something I see in a lot my work are many people living their lives on autopilot. I challenge you to ACTIVELY choose what success looks like for you – on your own terms.

It took loads of pressure off my back to know that I get to choose what success looks like to me, and it can do the same for you!

Sometimes it's the little things

I was away in Windsor, Ontario enjoying some peace and quiet when I recorded the following video. I often talk to clients about the importance of taking the time to sit, to reflect, to think, to be, and to journal.

These simple things can help you figure out what you really like to do, what's important to you, and what motivates you. This is important to the health of your business because when you're not paying attention to your feelings then you're not taking care of yourself, which in turn makes it hard for you to take care of your business.

Sometimes it's the little things that you do that can make the biggest difference. This could mean taking a few minutes to journal everyday! If you're looking for motivation on what to journal try using prompts i.e., use the prompt, "The thing I love about my business is..." or "If I didn't have to work today, I would love to..." or "I'm scared that I might..."

Take some time to think about the little things in your life and your business. Let the thoughts flow and see if anything interesting comes out of this time well spent. Don't be afraid of what might come up. Let your stream of consciousness flow. You need to think about these things and write about these things in order to move forward in your business.

And if you want some help and guidance in figuring it out, book a call with me and we can figure out if I'm the right person to support you forward on your entrepreneurial journey!

 

My Favourite Business Books

I have a list of business books that keeps getting longer and I wanted to share a bit about some of my favourite business books with you. For each I’ve explained what the book is and who I think might benefit from it and why. As I find more books that I love I will add them to this list. 

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A couple of quick notes:

1)   I don’t read business books; I listen to them as audio books. I learned a few years ago to stop forcing myself to read business books (because that’s what all other successful business owners seemed to be doing!) since I just couldn’t get myself to focus on them. Instead I listen to audio books when I’m driving, cleaning and exercising. It’s a great way for me to truly focus on the content. So, always pick the way to ingest content that works best for YOU.

2)   Where possible I’ve included affiliate links. Feel free to grab the books elsewhere, but I figured if I’m sharing the links and it’s just as easy for you to grab the books from those, I’ll make them affiliate links. :)

3)   I don’t always finish a business book right away, but there are still a lot of great lessons and I come back to them and slowly work my way through them. Don’t beat yourself up if you need to do the same thing. Make sure you have a sense for why you’re reading a book and investing time into it before you start reading it – it will really help you stay on track.

Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

Book description:

You already have everything you need for an amazing career. In fact, you’ve had it since day one.

Starting on the first day you got paid to scoop ice cream or restock shelves, you’ve had the chance to develop the four elements all great careers have in common: relationships, skills, character, and hustle. You already have each of those, to one degree or another.

Now it’s time to amplify them and apply them in a new way, creating a Career Savings Account™. This unique approach will give you the power to call a Do Over—whether you’re twenty-two, forty-two, or sixty-two. You’ll have the resources to reinvent your work and get unstuck. You’ll even rescue your Mondays as you discover how to work toward the job you’ve always wanted!

Why I like it

Sometimes we need a do over in life, sometimes we need a pivot, a change or an updated. Jon Acuff is amazing at coming up with simple stories and tasks to remind us of all we have available to us when we're ready for change - the support network, the skills, and all the things we think aren't there but actually are.

This book may seem like it's about changing your career but I think it's just as much about up-levelling your business.

Who is this for?

Anyone looking to up level their current business or change their career.

Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2n8U35M

Thank and Grow Rich

Book description:

Thank & Grow Rich is for anyone interested in hooking up with the magnanimous energy field of the cosmos. Author Pam Grout, who likes to call herself the Warren Buffet of Happiness, says it all starts with getting on the frequency of joy and gratitude. Thanking (rather than thinking) puts us on an energetic frequency—a vibration—that calls in miracles. Science has proven that when we observe the world from a place of gratitude, when we use our attention to spot beauty and gaze at wonder, we develop the capacity to radically rev up our day-to-day experience. Brazen gratitude, it seems, provides a portal—an entry point—straight into the heart of the field of infinite possibilities described in Grout’s bestseller E-Squared. This book also offers an updated perspective on abundance, which goes way beyond financial capital. It shows readers how to grow and expand their creative capital, their social capital, their spiritual capital, and much, much more!

Why I like it

I'm all about gratitude in my life and business right now and this book is an amazing reminder to appreciate what we have, be thankful for all that is going well, and to put our brains and hearts and selves on the frequency of receiving.

This is a book about the law of attraction, miracles, and tuning in to the possibilities of the universe. Definitely higher on the "woo woo" scale than most of my recommendations, but I think you're going to be seeing a lot more of that from me moving forward.

Who is this for?

This is for you if you're looking to feel more connected to your business, to all that you do and to letting more good and abundance flow to you.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.ca/Thank-Grow-Rich-Experiment-Shameless/dp/1401949843

The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate

Book description:

In THE MYTH OF THE NICE GIRL, Fran Hauser deconstructs the negative perception of niceness" that many women struggle with in the business world. If women are nice, they are seen as weak and ineffective, but if they are tough, they are labeled a bitch.

Why I like it

I was excited to read this book because this is something I have struggled with. I often feel that all the steps to success given to women are done so that they should be more like men. That women can't be respected if they're too nice; that they can't get ahead if they don't have a more of a cut throat attitude.

While this book didn't have tons of new information for me, it was really nice to have my feelings on this reinforced by a very successful woman (and other women she knows). You can be kind and nice and still get ahead. That doesn't mean you can't be aware of how to make sure you're being compensated fairly and it doesn't mean that you don't still have to be a good boss (a good boss isn't always happy with everything and asks a lot of their employees). You still need to do those things, but you CAN do it while feeling good about yourself and not feeling like you have to be harsher and gruffer and not show that you care about people (and this is the messaging I feel is more prevalent out there).

Who is this for?

Ambitious women who want to succeed without losing themselves in the process.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.ca/Myth-Nice-Girl-Achieving-Becoming/dp/1328832953

Audible link:  https://www.audible.ca/pd/Business-Money/The-Myth-of-the-Nice-Girl-Audiobook

It Starts with Why

Book description:

 START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

Why I like it

As a coach, I’m regularly asking people WHY they do what they do. It’s a question my coach asks me many times, and to be honest, one I struggle with.

This book goes into figuring out the why in you that helps you stay interested and motivated; the why in you that ties your life together. The why that helps you understand what opportunities you should take and which ones you should skip in your business.

Simon Sinek has a great TedX talk that is a good primer for the book.

Who is this for?

If you haven’t gotten clarity on what your purpose is, who your ideal client is, or how you’re going to decide what comes next in your business, this book can help you start to figure that out.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2hCGSu8

Audible: http://amzn.to/2znItYE

Finish

Book description

According to studies, 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. You’ve practically got a better shot at getting into Juilliard to become a ballerina than you do at finishing your goals. 

For years, I thought my problem was that I didn’t try hard enough. So I started getting up earlier. I drank enough energy drinks to kill a horse. I hired a life coach and ate more superfoods. Nothing worked, although I did develop a pretty nice eyelid tremor from all the caffeine. It was like my eye was waving at you, very, very quickly. 

Then, while leading a thirty-day online course to help people work on their goals, I learned something surprising: The most effective exercises were not those that pushed people to work harder. The ones that got people to the finish line did just the opposite— they took the pressure off. 

Why? Because the sneakiest obstacle to meeting your goals is not laziness, but perfectionism. We’re our own worst critics, and if it looks like we’re not going to do something right, we prefer not to do it at all. That’s why we’re most likely to quit on day two, “the day after perfect”—when our results almost always underper­form our aspirations. 


Why I like IT

If you've ever beaten yourself up about not finishing something you started....

If you've ever created all kinds of reasons to put off starting something until you've done a long list of other important things...

If you've ever given up on something because you can see how you're never going to get it right anyways...

Then you might also want to read a book I just finished :)

First, let me tell you that while I try to read a lot of business books, I have a hard time with them. I don't have a lot of extra time to listen to audio books and I don't have the capacity to sit down and read them on paper.

So when I finished this entire audio book in 3 days the irony that it was a book on Finishing didn't escape me :)

Finish by Jon Acuff hits you right in your perfectionist tendencies and makes you realize that you may need to let go of your desire to do it all, so that you can actually start accomplishing more.

Plus he does it while being funny, which is my favourite.

Who is this book for?

If you've been struggling with getting started on projects, or finishing them, I highly recommend this book.

And if you, like me, struggle with reading paper versions of self help books, check out Audible. It's made me the biggest difference for me, and Acuff touches on why that might even feel like cheating in this book, when it really isn't :)

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2xSPVKd

Audible link:  http://amzn.to/2znItYE

Confidence Code

Book description:

Working women today are better educated and more well qualified than ever before. Yet men still predominate in the corporate world. In The Confidence Code, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay argue that the key reason is confidence.

Combining cutting-edge research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition—with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women in politics, media, and business—Kay and Shipman go beyond admonishing women to "lean in."Instead, they offer the inspiration and practical advice women need to close the gap and achieve the careers they want and deserve. 

Why I like it

Whether you realize it or not, as a woman you may approach decisions and your life differently then men when it comes to confidence. I really enjoyed this book because it made me understand how women deal with confidence and gave me tips and ideas on how I can make changes to increase my confidence.

Who is this BOOK for?

If you struggle with sales, with negotiations, with making yourself heard, with reaching out to new people or any of the main things I hear small business owners struggle with, I encourage you to read this book and see where you can start making small changes that can have a big impact in your business.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2vxD2rY

Audible link: http://amzn.to/2znItYE

The E-myth Revisited

Book description:

An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.

Why I like it

Most of us start our business because we’re good at a thing, as opposed to ‘good at business’. The thing is, we need to be good at business and not just the “thing” if we’re going to grow a successful business. This book helps you understand how to shift your mindset from one of doing the work, to one of running the business. One of the most important actions to take after that mindset shift is the creation of systems. 

I fought against creating systems for a long time – mostly because my personality type isn’t one to refer back to systems, but for other clients I work with I see them resist because they feel like it’s silly to write down systems just for themselves when they know what and how to do things without one.

Systematizing your business is one of the best ways to make sure that your business stays on track and is set to grow.

Who is this BOOK for?

If you have visions of growing your business beyond just you, if you have visions of selling your business, if you know you’re going to be ready to start outsourcing soon or if you feel like you’re always overwhelmed and never have time to get all that you want to get done (or need to get done) done, then this book is great at explaining why you may need to shift your thinking and what steps to take to be poised for the next steps.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2hDqjOO

The Big Leap

Book description:

Why I like it

The Big Leap was a game changer for me. It helped to identify where and how I was getting stuck in my business. There are times that I self-sabotage when things are going well and there are times that I self-sabotage before things are going well. Understanding that I’m doing this and looking for the solutions to stop myself from doing it was THE most important first step I took in seeing my business go from just okay to really taking off.

Who is this BOOK for?

Do you ever find yourself in a place where you feel stuck? You want more, but you never seem to be able to get it?

Or do you ever feel like things are going really well, but then they start to fall apart?

This book will help you identify where you’re getting stuck and why – and awareness is the first step to making changes.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2wmKW56

Queen of Distraction

This is not a business book so I’m sneaking it in because it spoke to me personally.

Book description:

Do you rule the realm of disorganization, clutter, and chaos? Are you constantly battling to get things done? Are you ready to give up and toss your day planner into the dungeon (otherwise known as your closet)? If so, you might just be The Queen of Distraction . And whether or not you've been formally diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you probably already know that something's got to give. The Queen of Distraction presents practical skills to help women with ADHD achieve focus and balance in all areas of life, whether it's at home, at work, or in relationships.

Why I like it

I was diagnosed with ADHD close to the age of 40 and listening to this book really helped me to realize a couple of things.

1)   A lot of the shame I feel around my inability to do certain things is self-created and really normal.

2)   My brain works differently than other people’s brains – that doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it different. Embracing other ways of doing things, the best way for YOUR brain, is key to decreasing frustration and finding success. Also, you just need to cut yourself some slack. 

Who is this BOOK for?

If you find yourself feeling perpetually disorganized or suspect you might be a woman with ADHD, this book is great at helping you accept your differences and move forward to solutions. This book can help you move out of “this is how I SHOULD be doing things” to “this is the way I can do things.”

Amazon link: http://a.co/cN0m9Au

3 business lessons from my trip to Antelope Canyon

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This winter I visited Antelope Canyon, Arizona. I’d never even heard of it before we were brought there as part of a tour of the Grand Canyon, but now everyone needs to know about it.

It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. My husband, Eric, and I went into this underground cave that you can only visit if you take one of the tours run by the Navajo as it is part of a Navaho Tribal Park.

But that’s not really what this story is about… even though I would love to show you the hundreds of photos that I took there. :)

As we were driving out of the dirt parking lot in our little tour van, one of the van wheels slid into a sandier patch and started to sink. Our tour guide clearly hadn’t driven in anything that you might get stuck in before and so gunned the gas pedal, which spun the wheel and sunk us in further. We were stuck.

Having grown up in Canada, I’ve gotten stuck before – not in sand but in snow – so I knew that things needed to be done slowly and knew what to do to try and get out of the situation.

“Maybe try to rock it?” I suggested.

He nodded and got out of the van and started walking across the parking lot.

Confused, I watched him go and as he leaned down to pick up a few small bowling ball sized rocks I realized that a language barrier (his first language wasn’t English) and a lack of context, had him completely misinterpreting what I meant when I said he should "rock it."

Lesson one: Don’t assume people have the same information and context you do when you’re trying to guide them. Be as clear as possible and make sure they really understand what you mean.

Soon everyone in the van was out and a couple driving an RV stopped and started pulling out supplies and, together as a team, people tried to figure out what to do.

Lesson two: People like and want to help. Don’t assume that you’re being a bother when you need more people to get something done.

The problem was, there were now too many cooks in the kitchen, and nobody really acting as a leader, nobody really running the show. Then we heard someone yelling and I saw an older lady, clearly an elder from the Navaho Tribe, walking over as briskly as she could, with a clear purpose in her eyes, and she brought some of the other women of the tribe with her.

She tells everyone to stop, gets one of the tour guides in the van and tells her what she should do to get the van moving properly, and then tells everyone else to just push the van as hard as possible. Within two minutes the van was out of the sand.

Lesson three: Sometimes we just need to go to the voice of experience and let someone be the clear leader so things get done and move forward.

Soon we were in the van heading back to Las Vegas, and I couldn’t help but think my last experience in the Grand Canyon was a great lesson that I needed to really take note of (and share with you!).

Here’s what I hope you takeaway from this:

·      Definitely add Antelope Canyon to your “bucket list.”
·      Always make sure you’re being clear and people understand what you actually mean when you’re helping them.
·      Know that people want to help you, don’t try to do everything alone (if you’re not in the Biz Studio Community - join us! There are LOTS of people there who want to help)!·      Sometimes you need help from a confident leader with experience.

Systems 101 for your business

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As a business owners, there are certain buzz words you hear over-and-over again, in any industry or on any topic. You hear them so many times you start to think, “I’d better get on that," but then you think... "I don't know what or how to do it?"

When it comes to owning a business, one of those buzz words is 'systems' for your business.

And you think to yourself... "Great. Systems. Ok… I guess I’ll figure that out… later."

I want to share a bit more about what systems are and what they can mean for your business – because systems do not need to be complicated and having them can mean creating consistency in your business. Consistency means less headaches for you, more brand recognition and a great reputation.

SO… what is a system anyways?

It’s pretty simple, a system is when you write down how something in your business should be done – step-by-step.

That’s it.

Think of it as a way to have someone else be able to do what you do in your business should you have to walk away.

“Lara, I’m not going to walk away from my business and if I do, the business isn’t going to exist any more! I don’t exactly have time to write down all the things I already know how to do just so I can do them myself.”

And therein lies the problem with systems – that’s how most of us feel about them and what stops us from getting them down on paper. We don’t see any kind of pressing need and so it gets put off and put off... and put off.

The thing is, until you get them down it can be really hard to grow your business and on top of that, no matter how well we know our own business, we forget steps too, especially when we get really busy. 

Examples of Systems

A system can be as simple as a bulleted list of actions and steps you take in your business. It can also include instructions, templates of content for different things, and more. It’s basically whatever you think you need to run your business efficiently, which means that it’s hard to explain and possibly vague for you to grasp what you could do. So, let’s go through a few examples:

Sales

 The beautiful packaging at  Jolie Folie

The beautiful packaging at Jolie Folie

You probably have a process for your sales.

If you sell a product, this includes creating a receipt, putting the product into a bag, box or envelope (possibly in a very specific way), and maybe writing a nice note to include in the package. That’s a system – if you wanted someone else to deliver your product to a customer exactly the way you would so that it always has a consistent look and feel to it, you've already got a simple system, you just need to write it down.

Onboarding

When you have a new client, what needs to happen? How do you want to welcome them? Right now, are you being as consistent as you want to be and are all the steps happening every time?

There are all kinds of things you could include in a system for a new client:

Do you want to send them a note or a gift?
Do you need to create a paper folder and a digital folder?
Do contracts and non-disclosure agreements need to be signed?
Do they need to be added to any email lists or Facebook Groups or membership sites?

What are all the pieces that need to take place to make sure that your new client has an amazing experience? List them in a document, and you've got your onboarding system.

Invoicing

When you invoice someone, do you always include the same information? Do you have a process if they paid by email money transfer that’s different than if they pay by cheque or by Paypal or credit card? If there are multiple payments do you have to manually input anything?

If you need to track any hours for your invoices, how do you track those, where do you track those, what information do you need to extract for the invoice?

Invoicing is a task that often gets outsourced sooner than later, if you have your process written down, you'll be able to share that with someone else so they can take invoicing off your plate and you'll feel confident they can do it the same way you would.

For all three of these examples, putting every step down for something that you do on a regular basis will help make sure that you maintain regular quality and that you can pull people in to help support you when you’re ready.

How will you start creating systems in your business? Where will you start and what are you going to get on paper first?
 

ACTION STEPS:

1.     Read/listen to the E-myth Revisited.

2.     Make a list of all the things you do regularly. Then, pick the thing you most often miss steps on or that you are most likely to outsource and outline it step-by-step in a Word document.

3.     Leave a comment and let me know what system you’re going to be working on so I can cheer you on!

4.     Check out the Biz Advantage and get feedback on your systems during the weekly coaching calls or in the Facebook Group!