Select Page
2 quick ways to overcome your challenges

2 quick ways to overcome your challenges

Does this sound like you… 

It’s Friday and you see your friends, work peers and family starting to relax. They are breathing out the stress and work for the week. And they are shifting into weekend gear. Turning off their emails and socials. Getting ready to relax. 

But you’re looking at a to-do list as long as your arm, that task for your longest client is still outstanding, and you haven’t even started on getting that blog/podcast/email out for your business. You have big plans but it’s one baby step forward and then you stall.  

Oh and you’ve got all those niggling problems running around the back of your mind, not to mention to big ones. 

There’s no denying that this year has been so tough.  None of us are immune to the setbacks life has thrown at us in 2020. So, it’s easy to feel down on ourselves and not see the progress we’re making.

I’m curious though – what would happen if you start to look at your problems differently to overcome your challenges?

Two ways to overcome your challenges

We don’t have to be paralysed by our challenges. And if we approach them in the right way then we can make progress on our goals.

Let’s try this >>>

If you stood at the bottom of Mount Everest and looked up, it would appear huuuuuuge and pretty darn overwhelming, wouldn’t it?

What if you changed your perspective and perhaps got in a helicopter and hovered near the top, or moved far away? Then it would look different. Smaller.

I’m not gonna lie – we all have challenges in our lives that can feel a bit too much from time to time. Yet often it just takes a change of perspective to alter how we feel and to come up with creative solutions to overcome a problem.

This could just be something as simple as looking outside of yourself. For example, we’ve all had a family member or a close friend go through some sh!t that’s made our own problems pale into insignificance. And always, in comparison to them, we’re actually doing okay.

Here’s two ways you can approach this.

Look outside yourself

Look outside yourself at the people around you. See how good your life really is and how you are thriving in so many ways. There are eleventy hundred things to make you smile every day. Actively look for those things. See them. Feel them. Tune in to them.

By looking at what is positive in your life, you can overcome your challenges in business. When things start to feel tough or insurmountable, lean back on the things that make you smile.

Visualise your problem

Visualise your problem and shrink it right down in your mind. Imagine you have stamped on it under your feet or chucked it far off into the distance. It’s gone. It’s not with you any more. You are free from it.

By doing this, you’re telling your brain that this problem is no longer important. Now take a deep breath and feel the cooling waves of relief.

Both of these exercises help you to tap in your current reality and change your perspective. Will you give it a go the next time your problems, ahem, I mean challenges, feel too great?

Give them a go and let me know how you get on. 

How to turn your FOMO into JOMO

How to turn your FOMO into JOMO

You’ve probably heard of FOMO: fear of missing out.

But what about embracing JOMO: joy of missing out?

Or even having a personal policy that means you can stop saying yes to the things you don’t want to do AND not feel even slightly guilty about it?

Imagine how it would feel to say NO to:

  • That “quick call” with a prospective client wanting to pick your brain about an idea? We all know they’re phishing for information so they don’t have to pay for the time. And that’s an hour of your day you’ll not get back.
  • Volunteering at your child’s school fete. You don’t want to be mum-guilted into being there, selling crappy cakes baked with snot and hair. You’d rather relax on your weekend after working your ass off on your business all week.
  • Participating in that five-day challenge. You know you won’t learn what you need to bring in the money. It’s another form of procrastinating.

It’d be a relief, right? No more people-pleasing!

If you’re fed up of saying yes because you feel obliged, let this be your permission slip to start saying no to more things. Then let’s get you a step closer towards embracing JOMO.

Learning How to Say No

learn how to say no

My personal rule is that for everything I say ‘yes’ to, I then say ‘no’ to something else. It’s a bit like the one-in-one-out rule of buying clothes to avoid clutter.

But saying ‘no’ can feel like the hardest thing in the world.

I like keeping the peace and I hate letting people down. But my health and wellbeing are more important than making other people happy.

Fortunately, I found lots of resources to help me to learn how to say no, and here are a few of my faves.

Stop Giving a F*ck

Mark Manson’s amazing book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck really helped me to understand which things are important to me and which ones I’m just doing because society tells me I should.

The secret to not giving a f*ck isn’t to say “f*ck it” to everything in life, but to the things that aren’t important to you. This gives you more time and energy to focus on the right things.

I’d thoroughly recommend giving the book a read, but this summary of the main points will give you more of an idea of the f*cking gold (sorry, couldn’t resist!) that Manson’s talking about.

Seriously, Stop Giving a F*ck

stop giving a f*ck

On a similar note, Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck is a cross between Manson’s book and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

It’s like learning how to spring clean your priorities and to “choose joy over annoy”.

The subtitle “How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do” really sums it up. When you put it like that, why would anyone want to spend their precious time that way?!

The book is full of great quotes and nuggets of wisdom that sometimes verge on the offensive by how accurately they call you on your BS.

Do What’s Essential

Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism discusses “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”, which is a great summary of what I believe JOMO to be. McKeown urges us to do “less but better”, choosing quality over quantity in our lives. This means asking yourself “What is essential?” and eliminating everything else.

These 10 essentialism hacks will give you a snapshot of the principle and how you can apply it to your life and work.

Miss Out More

By saying no to the things that don’t light you up or aren’t closest to the money right now, you’ll actually have more time AND mental energy to pursue the most important things to you.

  • Saying no to that “quick call” with a prospective client turns into an hour of writing time for your next blog post.
  • Declining the chance to volunteer at your child’s school fete turns into a lazy morning without any time constraints, means you can wander to the school fete when you feel like it. Just remember to avoid the snot cakes.
  • Saying no to the live training means that you can fully absorb yourself in that TV show, to the point that it feels decadently indulgent because it doesn’t happen often enough.*

It’s a bit like my 8 Weeks to OBM training. If stepping into your OBM expertise is something that you feel really strongly because you know it’s closest to the money right now, then say yes to that and no to all the other crap to make time and space for your personal development.

If the training isn’t what’s closest to the money for you right now, then say no and don’t feel even slightly guilty about that decision.

So go on – what will you be saying no to over the coming week?

And yes, this post has been written from experience.

Not sure if you have JOMO or FOMO re the training? Take my free quiz to find out. 👇🏻

Does your job title hold you back?

Does your job title hold you back?

Does your job title hold you back? Job titles are incredibly powerful labels that we give ourselves as a shorthand to let others know what we do. But having the wrong job title (or even the right one) can hold us back if our dreams are bigger.

Take this message I got recently:

“There are so many aspiring VAs on social media that are charging £10 an hour!”

This VA, let’s call her Maria, is marketing herself as a VA but knows she always adds so much extra value to her clients’ businesses. And Maria feels like she simply can’t compete on price.

Maria doesn’t want to get involved in a race to the bottom and where she’s trading time for money. And this ultimately leads to burn out.

It’s a problem that trips up my subscribers again and again. I call it job title bias because being a VA can cover so many job roles and service levels.  And I want to make sure that none of you ends up being an unwitting victim of job title bias.

Here are three signs that you could be suffering from this too:

1. You’re comparing yourself to what other people with the same job title charge

 

If you find yourself wondering whether anyone’s going to pay you more than £10 an hour for business support, I can assure you that they absolutely will. In fact, the average starting rate for VAs here in the UK is from £27 per hour (and around double that for OBM work).

There’s a great quote for this:

“your net worth is directly tied to your self-worth.”

Kinda hits home, doesn’t it?

 

2. Your marketing only includes your title – like VA or OBM

From my experience in the corporate world, I know that a job title gives a perceived status and that others will judge you on it.

 That’s what humans do by default in cognitive bias – they like to draw comparisons and identify similarities in the quickest possible way, and their conclusion isn’t always right.

If your marketing only includes your title, then you’re always going to be compared against others who do the same.

 

3. You’re regularly asked to mentor your job title peers… for free 

Now let’s be clear, mentoring is incredibly valuable for business development and personal growth. But your time is valuable too. And every hour you’re dishing out free advice to your peers is an hour you lose on your own business development.

I get it – you feel obliged to offer up your time in this way because in the name of collaboration it’s an expectation.

And if you love doing it, then good on you.

Personally, I charge for mentoring because I have spent thousands of pounds on personal development. And I gain a LOT of fulfilment out of helping others, but I also know that my time is both valuable and limited.

 

Are you on the receiving end of job title bias?

If you are, don’t worry. It is still not too late! You can start to turn things around now.

All you have to do is make it super clear about the service you provide to your clients. You can do this by:

  • charging based on the value you provide,
  • sharing regular testimonials to boost the credibility of your personal brand,
  • editing your social media profiles so you’re not being compared on your title alone.

Of course, it is always easier said than done, but it CAN be done.

I want to see you succeed, so I hope this blog is useful in helping you identify if you are a subject of cognitive bias based on your job title.

And the first step is to make sure you know what it is you’re offering.

I’m seeing a LOT of VAs who are charging VA rates but offering OBM services. So those business owners are seriously struggling to shift the VA title bias and charge their worth.

I want to help as many people as I can with this, so I’d really love it if you could complete my 10-question survey, Are you a VA or OBM, which is a little further down this page.

 

Over to you now…

Go do the quiz below, and feel free to let me know your results….were they what you had expected?

 

Are you a VA who’s already working as an OBM?

Are you a VA who’s already working as an OBM?

Which one are you?

I’m just going to say it: there is some serious confusion about the difference between a VA (Virtual Assistant) and an OBM (Online Business Manager) that I’d like to address.

 

In short: more partnering, less helping

The OBM partners with their clients on a strategic level.

They offer advice and support based on their own experience and the hours they’ve invested in training and self-development. In fact, they’re thirsty for knowledge and want clients to directly benefit from their ongoing curiosity and personal development.

They plug into the big picture of the business, have a clear understanding of where the client wants to go, and know exactly what pieces of the puzzle need to be in place in order to create success. And OBMs are often hired to project manage those moving operational pieces to ensure progress is being made.

The role requires total proactivity all round, particularly when managing team members. Personality-wise, they take personal responsibility for the client’s success so they truly thrive when treating the client’s business as though it were their own.

OBMs present solutions, not problems. Their ideas are heard because their knowledge is respected. And their mantra is: ask for forgiveness, not for permission…. Is that what you already do?

They help shape the marketing strategy and determine which metrics are to be measured based on their own experience of working with other clients, and what they know about their client’s business. They have sight of the financials behind the business and will creatively identify gaps in the current reality versus where the business needs to be to meet its goals.

It’s a chunky role that requires a lot of brain space to do well, so in terms of pricing, they charge a higher hourly rate than a VA, or perhaps a packaged-up offering that’s value-based rather than tied into trading time for money. As time progresses and trust is built with their clients, they feel so confident in the results they can get for their clients that they propose a base pay combined with an incentive structure directly linked to actual sales.

Because of the huuuuuge amount of information an OBM stores in their head about each client, their sweet spot in terms of productivity and mental capacity means they can only work with a select few businesses at any one time.

 

The problem

What I’m seeing more and more often is someone who’s marketing themselves as a VA, charging VA rates, doing the day-to-day doing, but then also assuming all or part of the role of OBM – ie adding masses of value to the client in terms of strategic planning, operational support and hiring team members, managing projects through to completion, and rolling their sleeves up in whatever area they feel they can step into. That’s a heck of a role when charging VA rates.

 

My experience of this icky-ness

I am sharing this with you because I used to be there myself. And the truth is, it was hard work working hard all the time, and it left me feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, and heading for burnout.

What was worse, because I was using so much creative energy on driving forward my clients’ businesses that I didn’t have the time or inclination to work towards my own dreams. I had big goals of taking on employees, buying myself a car so we could become a two-car family and I could gain some much-needed freedom, launching a podcast, helping more people step into their own big dreams through coaching, and actually having more time with my family.

The entire situation helped me stay small and far away from my income goals. I had zero time or energy to invest in writing the training course that safely remained in my head, or create and implement my own marketing strategy. It was flippin’ exhausting.

Please don’t let that be you.

If just one person reading this is inspired to take action — to raise their rates, ditch the high-demanding clients who want the moon on a stick for a fiver, or steps fully into their expertise — then this post has been worth it.

And, of course, if you’re working your socks off and would like to step into the shoes of the ambitious OBM you actually are, download my idea sparks here or let’s have a virtual cuppa to talk about how we can elevate your role.

 

The Real Danger of Comparison-itis

The Real Danger of Comparison-itis

Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game in business. And it’s one that I hear from a lot of my clients that is holding them back. It’s also something that I can relate to quite a lot because I’ve done it myself. It’s known as social comparison bias, but I often refer to it as comparisonitis.

We live in a world where we only need to show the best bits of our life. We get to airbrush out all the messy stuff, our failures, and what life really looks like. But here’s the funny thing, while we all sugar coat our lives and business online, lots of us also compare our reality to others’ shiny rose-tinted view of their world.

Comparisonitis

This topic has been on my mind recently, from speaking with my clients, and more so since I came across this photo from 2018 on my phone.

The truth behind that picture from 2018 was that I’d been all-consumed by feelings of comparisonitis, jealousy, resentment, gap focus, call it what you will. It wasn’t fun and I felt pretty shit about myself. In fact, it was a picture perfect representation of how I felt at the time.

I don’t like telling people about this time in my life because I am afraid that people will judge me or think I can’t be happy for them when they share their successes.

It was also at a time in my career when I was doing pretty well to the outside world. But inwardly, I felt like crap.

My way of coping with this has been to hide and withdraw from social media. I reasoned that if I stopped looking at what others were doing then I couldn’t work myself into a tizzy. And that if I kept playing small by staying behind the scenes, then I wouldn’t feel so rubbish about myself.

In fact, I still have those feelings sometimes, even now! It took me years of practice to ensure that I don’t let this mental comparison game completely take over what I think and do.

Stay in your lane

Slowly but surely, I no longer felt so left behind — I felt catapulted forward with speed and badassery.

Here’s how I managed to overcome this: I played a little game of Stop, Start Continue.

If you haven’t used this tactic yourself, you simply think about the situation you’re currently in, and figure out your next moves in terms of:

– what isn’t working and needs to stop
– what changes you need to make and start doing
– and what’s already working that you need to continue

Mine looked like this:

STOP:
– I stopped following whose social media accounts made me feel less-than.
– I stopped staying subscribed to email newsletters that kept on telling me that I needed to be performing at 110% every single day.

START:
– I started to list all the unique qualities I have and why I am the best person to help my clients succeed.
– I started to map out meaningful goals for ME, not ones based on what others had achieved.

CONTINUE:
– I continued to remind myself why I’m here and what I’m working towards.
– I added these to a post-it note and stuck it on my desk as a visual reminder.

Here’s how to get back in your own lane:

  • Play your own game of Stop, Start, Continue
  • Revisit the reasons why you set up this business in the first place. Remind yourself why you’re here and what you’re working towards
  • List all the unique qualities you have and why you are the best person to help your clients succeed
  • Temporarily unfollow people whose social media accounts make your feel less-than
  • Unsubscribe from email newsletters that kept on telling you that you need to be performing at 110% every single day.

Set your goals

The most important tip here is that I mapped out meaningful goals for me, not ones based on what others had achieved.

Finally, the only person I am now comparing myself to is yesterday’s version of me.

Protecting your mindset and wellbeing is important all of the time, but it really is even more crucial right now. And it all starts with surrounding yourself with the right people.

Sometimes people think that I have it all together… but in reality, I am human too! I actually have quite a number of secret fears that I had (or still face) when it comes to running my business, and I look forward to sharing more of them with you.

Work with me

I transform ambitious OBMs into well-respected business consultants who feel more fulfilled and energised by their work. Fancy a virtual cuppa? Feel free to book in here.

I kinda have to address this: daily habits

I kinda have to address this: daily habits

There has been something that has been bothering me a lot, and I feel a very strong need to address it officially.

Here are some thoughts I have about daily routines and why following someone else’s Insta-perfect-early-alarm-brush-teeth-chug-water-make-bed-drink-green-smoothie ideology is the key to… well….nothing but feeling pretty crap about yourself.

Just a few days ago, I read yet another post from a thought leader (who I hugely admire) about how there were six things he did every day without fail, and how he believed that ticking through those tasks meant he was guaranteed to have a productive and successful day.

He kept going on about how his routine would, ultimately, save the reader from a life of unfulfilled potential (a pretty bold statement, don’t you think?!).

Now, I have nothing but respect for this person, but I disagree with him that following his exact daily routine will help you achieve your biggest goals and dreams. Now, let me explain why…

My thoughts about daily routines

First, a disclaimer:

I feel that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with exploring what habits and routines work for other highly successful people.

After all, turning to an expert for their tried and tested methodology often means there’s less of a learning curve for us novices.

So please don’t start throwing eggs at me if you don’t share the same opinions as me. You know I’ve always been 100% authentic with you in my emails, .

However…

Personally, I do not believe that one-size-fits-all daily routines actually exist.

I urge you to find a routine that works for YOU.

Instead of setting the alarm at 5am for a prescribed hour of yoga followed by journalling because that’s what one of the gurus does, I say you’re better off turning inwards to figure out whether you’re even a ‘morning person’ at all, or whether journalling is even important to you.

To give you an example, pretty much every daily routine I read about involves getting up early and making the bed. Both of those small things, so say the experts, will give me a sense of pride and set me up for success throughout the day.

Here’s my issue:

✅ I am a morning person so getting up early works really well for me (I’m writing this email at 4:22am and the silence in the house makes this quiet time at the desk feel indulgent – I LOVE it). I know I’m most productive at this time. I know I’ve had enough sleep to wake up refreshed, and I also know I do my best creative work around this time.

❌ I don’t give a crap about whether or not the bed is made. I just roll out of bed and don’t give straightening the duvet or plumping pillows a second thought. Shock horror, right? The truth is that it’s totally meaningless to me and it absolutely does not have any bearing on how productive the rest of my day is going to be.

I can’t preach to you about how getting up at 5am and leaving my bed a mess is going to help you feel more fulfilled in life if you’re a night-owl who gains a sense of pride when you see your nicely made bed.

What works for me, isn’t going to work for you. And that’s why we can only ever turn to other people to gather examples of habits, and then create our own plan.

Honestly, sometimes it is hard to look at someone who’s highly successful and not want to emulate them in some way – it can feel like a fast-track way to their levels of achievements. But what works for them isn’t always going to work the same way for us mere mortals.

Oh wow, I sure am on a roll today! Let’s end off by super-charging this with value for you.

Instead of following someone else’s daily routine, what about cherry-picking their ideas to create your own routine? It then becomes a plan that contains elements within its structure that work with your own energy levels and lifestyle.

 Here are some mix-and-match elements to use as ideas to get you started:

  • Set the alarm an hour earlier
  • Make your bed
  • Move your body
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Plan one business development task you will do without fail
  • Journal how you see the day going
  • Journal how the day went
  • Meal plan for tomorrow
  • Get your clothes out ready for the following day
  • Use a sleep tracker app to monitor your sleep quality

Have a great day ahead, stay amazing and start creating a routine that works for you.

 And if you need help with creating an individual masterplan for greater levels of success in your own business, my six-month mentoring and coaching programme is now open. WOOT! Feel free to book in for a discovery call.

 

👉 PS – if your inbox needs weekly inspiration like this, feel free to sign up for email updates here.