What I learned while taking care of my father

Over the last 15 months, I had become the main caretaker of my father after he suffered an injury at his home in another state. For several months, during this pandemic, I traveled between states to become his healthcare advocate until eventually I moved him to live with me and my husband. Thankfully, I was and am the CEO of my own business, so I was able to structure my time around the business of taking care of him. Shortly after returning to his home, unfortunately we lost my father after he suffered another injury. His death and the fact that we’re less than 40 days away from a new year caused me to reflect on some things I’ve learned and how they’ve impacted my business and how I work.

1.       Systems – having systems in place was MAJOR. Because I had systems in place, I was able to travel, enforce boundaries, interact with clients, hire team members, track financials, and grow my business. I was able to PLAN, Process, and Manage – EFFICIENTLY!

2.       Team – having and accepting help from a support system was just as major. Even temporary support is support. The team members I was able to have in place to help on both personal and professional sides were immense in having a successful year.

3.       Grace – I networked with many entrepreneurs throughout the year. The one advice I received most from other successful entrepreneurs and small business owners was to be gracious to yourself and take the break you need without feeling guilty. Sometimes slowing down and maybe even just taking a break helps with any overwhelm we feel. It gives us time to breathe and think of what is possible next.

4.       Recount the good – tell your stories, enjoy the good times, laugh as much as possible, bask in the successful completion of task and projects, congratulate the team, THANK your team.

5.       Debrief – we all know sometimes things didn’t go the way we would like. Debrief on what went wrong, what could have made it better, and how you can show up differently. Being successful requires the good and the bad, but here is a word of CAUTION: do NOT stay in that place too long. Don’t dwell on the wrong, inaccuracies, missed tasks, or bungled projects too long. Learn the Lesson and move on!

6.       Move on – Know when to let go and don’t be afraid of doing so. As a military veteran and lifelong truck driver, my father showed me three things: he wasn’t afraid to go; he wasn’t afraid to let go – of people, places, things, and ideas; and he wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. Sometimes, we must reflect and ask the hard questions. But we must move on. Life doesn’t stop and as an entrepreneur, business doesn’t stop. You either adjust or get left behind and lose all you’ve worked for.

7.       Mindset – Your mindset must change to become successful. Sometimes, we can’t control what happens, but we can control our mindset. Changing your thought process leads to changing your actions and responses. Your mindset will change how you manage your business and life, or how you don’t manage them for that matter. Changing your mindset will teach you to focus on your strengths, learn from your mistakes, and become stronger in your natural abilities.

8.       Pivot! – If you’ve ever watched Friends, you know the episode where Ross yells Pivot repeatedly when they’re struggling move his newly purchased couch to his apartment. Well, life will yell at you in the same way. Pivot! Do you need systems and boundaries in place? Pivot! Do you feel overwhelmed and know you can’t do everything alone? Pivot! Do you need other resources and team members but don’t know where to start? Pivot! Were there missteps in the assignments or tasks that having a standardized process could’ve alleviated? Pivot! Need a mindset shift? Pivot! Afraid to let go? Pivot! If there are any questions you have for me, feel free to reach out to me by clicking here. If you’re curious about how I can help, click here. But as a new year is coming quickly, join me as I and others in our ecosystem scale our businesses and Pivot!

 This is dedicated to you, Daddy. Rest in Power.

Keep Your Business Organized with a CRM Program

Keep your business organized with a CRM Program. Staying organized is paramount if you want to run a successful business, especially if you have multiple clients. Investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software program is one such way to stay organized while building your client relationships.

In its simplest form, a CRM program is like an online address book, or an old fashioned Rolodex (remember those?!) that keeps your client’s information all in one place. Basic info such as address, email, phone number, and birthday can be collected when they sign up for your services. Then, as you get to know them better, you can also ask for various personal or business information that can help you know your clients in a deeper way.

Many CRM programs have spaces for notes and next steps, such as follow up phone calls or sessions, so at the beginning of each day your CRM will provide an automated to-do list based on those next steps. Have you tried to keep all these details in your head or logged into your phone calendar? You will know that sometimes items get missed or forgotten, which can damage your credibility. Automating the to-do list process saves you time, money, and embarrassment.

Adding a Personal Touch to Your Client Relationships

Building a client relationship also means building a friendship with that person. Yes, YOU are the owner and the one with the expertise but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly outside of business. Learn about their business or their life; ask about their family; wish them a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary; ask questions about their latest vacation. Any little tidbit of personal information that comes up in your sessions, emails, or other conversations can be noted in your CRM and added to your to-do list. A simple email with, “Welcome back from vacation! Let’s get your next session booked,” adds a personal touch to your relationship.

Have you ever considered sending birthday cards to your clients? If you gather that information during the onboarding session, note it in your CRM program. Then every week or month, you can do a search for birthdays and send out cards. Sending eCards is certainly simple but also consider sending handwritten birthday cards with a simple message. That’s one way to stand out from the crowd since everyone’s email is jammed these days.

What Else Can a CRM Program Do?

Very often CRMs have an email system integrated so you can send individual messages or bulk messages instead of paying for a separate email provider. These email services also allow you to segment your clients based on what packages or products they purchased so you can run dedicated campaigns just to those people touting your latest products.

CRMs also offer ways to track leads so you can follow up with them on a regular basis or send them emails specific to their needs. This is especially handy since you always want to gather people into your sales funnel and you don’t want anyone falling through the cracks.

As you can see, CRM programs can handle a variety of tasks that keep your business organized. One note: there are dozens of CRM programs so do your due diligence when researching. Pricing structures vary considerably but also, choose a program from an established company that offers support and security updates.

Get More Tips for Personalizing the Client Relationship

Even if you’re just starting to research CRM options, you can still personalize your client relationship with tips I’ll share when you book a Strategy session with me. Spend up to two hours with me where we will work together to plan & create strategies to grow your business. Curious if we would be a good fit for each other? Check the services page on my website or go HERE to connect for a coffee chat. What could it hurt? Looking forward to talking with you soon!

Strategic Planning

Are you wondering what is a Strategic Planning session and how can it help? Sometimes called Business Intensives or simply Strategy Sessions, a strategic planning session is the process of reviewing the general overview of your business. This process allows us to identify and prioritize strategic objectives that are necessary to grow your business.

In your business, you as the Business Owner, have to figure out how to manage clients, grow your business, balance the finances, and remain visible. It can all be a little overwhelming. You would like someone with more of  a high level insight about what you should do next. You want to decide what’s next and what or who will help reach your goals. But sometimes, those goals require someone else with the skills or expertise you don’t necessarily have. 

Inside this session, your strategic objectives would be identified because these are the things that will help you stay on track in business. In a strategic planning session with me, we map out the next 90 days or quarter which helps you focus to become more strategic. You have to find time to work ON your business, not just IN your business.

Are your systems, processes, and procedures set up correctly? Are they even set up? Do you have a team and are you delegating effectively? Are you thinking about hiring or adding to your team? I’m sure you have realized by now that you are not the expert at everything.  How financially steady is the business? This one is a biggie! Many are making money but are not managing the money well.

A Strategic Plan will help identify the areas that are keeping you stuck and then create a plan to move your business forward over the next 90 days. Let’s strategize, create a plan, and establish goals in which you will own the deliverable for implementation.

Sounds good? Click HERE and let’s connect for a quick coffee chat. It couldn’t hurt and will help more than you can imagine. Let’s do this!

VA, OBM, or Strategic Consultant?

My beginning was in a dream. Seriously, I actually had a dream years ago, woke up, and wrote what I dreamed – which was of me doing the work I was great at but remotely from home in my own business.

But I didn’t know where to start. So I went back to school to finish my degree. In one of my business classes, I had an assignment to create a business plan. So I thought, why not just put your dream in a business plan. Couldn’t hurt, right? It did so well, my professor wanted to enter my business plan in a national business competition. I did not know at the time that what I had a dream of would become its own industry: Virtual Assistant (VA)! I was working on small projects here & there but I had a full-time job as well so I didn’t want to rock the boat and go all in.

Fast-forward a few years, and for the last time in my corporate career, I was caught in another layoff. While I continued working on small projects, I applied to many job openings. Oh, I got the call backs for even 2nd and 3rd interviews but could never quite land the jobs. Divine intervention? I am sure it was! I had to take the plunge and put my many skills into my dream.

Of course, I started off wrong! But my mistakes can be your gain. I started my business offering a few different services. Too many different services as a matter of fact. I gained clarity after taking so many courses, revamping my offerings, and re-launching. Through it all, business grew fast and over the years, it became clear to me that I needed to leverage my knowledge and experience because my clients were often looking for something more that what the VA industry knew as a Virtual Assistant. They were looking for or needed an Online Business Manager (OBM).  I wished I had invested in a business coach much sooner. As I said before, my mistakes can be your gain.

You may be wondering what’s the difference between a VA and an OBM. You SHOULD be wondering what’s the difference because I’ve seen so many business owners often say they need an “assistant”. They then proceed to come up with a wishlist of OUT OF SCOPE duties of a VA they were looking for.

What is the difference between an OBM and a VA?

OBMs are managers. They strategize and then assign tasks to the team for implementation. VAs are implementers who carry out the tasks, usually with detailed instructions. 

OBMs are responsible for the daily operations of the entire business or project. VAs are responsible for only their work or tasks. 

OBMs lead teams which often include a VA. VAs are team members. 

OBMs work with the business owner to discuss strategy and priorities. VAs get things done without control over workflow or priorities.

OBMs focus on Management. Inherently, they must shift from doing all the things to managing. VAs focus on doing…or Implementing.

Entrepreneurs and business owners usually hire VAs when they’re ready to grow and need help with various tasks and projects. VAs are wonderful and invaluable! Most times, when growing a business, this is where business owners should begin.

Often when the business owner becomes overwhelmed and can’t or doesn’t want to be the one who is managing the day-to-day operations, they want someone who can step in and take over this responsibility. This is when an OBM would be ideal! The OBM would essentially become the right-hand man – or woman in my case. 

Strategic Consulting

So you might be saying to yourself, “I’m looking for a higher level of support but I’m not quite ready for an OBM”. You’re very hands-on, or not comfortable with turning over the managing of your “baby” to someone else, or you may not be financially ready for an OBM yet. Maybe you’re looking for clarity and support to get your business to the next level, but you don’t know where to start. Are you full of ideas, but feel paralyzed when it comes to taking action? Or you know you want to SCALE, but the idea of hiring a team is overwhelming. You feel…STUCK.

These are the EXACT struggles many of my clients have faced before they began working with me. This is my Zone of Genius. I help entrepreneurs gain clarity and provide solutions for your Business Systems, Operations, and Team.

I have spent the last few years working with some of the most amazing business owners in the world to help them create systems and implement strategies that foster growth.

If you’re ready to dig deep and do the work, together we will sort through the ideas in your head, the challenges you are facing, and break them down into actionable steps to get you where you want and NEED to be in your business.

Ready to discuss the possibilities? Click HERE to book a FREE discovery call.