When you think about a goal for your business (or yourself), it’s generally something that will make you more successful. For whatever success looks like for you. How we measure success is very much a personal thing. It can be money or awards and recognition, or it can be something completely different.
But success – however you see it – needs action.
And I want to ask the big question here: what do successful people do that others don’t?
Successful business owners
Because it’s not wealth or connections or luck or their horoscopes, or getting up at 5 am and having a morning routine set in stone.
It’s their attitude towards life.
Successful people are confident, tenacious, and driven.
These are all attitudes, not skills.
So I’d love to take a hot moment and explore how we can set you up for success with your goal-setting for the second half of this year.
And the default advice is always the SMART snore-fest:
Specific >>> know exactly what you want
Measurable >>> be able to follow the progress
Achievable >>> be within your capabilities
Realistic >>> be possible to do while staying directly relevant to your core strategy
Time>>> you must make time to do the thing and set a deadline
You’ve heard of it before, right? It’s not a new concept.
So here’s a challenge to crank it up a notch.
What if I asked you to make your goals not just smart, but smartEST?
Exciting >>> you need to feel flippin’ excited about the goal! It needs to light you up! Tune into how achieving this goal will make you feel. Maybe: proud, assured, secure, successful, encouraged, delighted. The list goes on.
Super-charged >>> your goals need to disrupt your current status quo and explode through those comfort zones that you have going on in your own universe. The things that give you the sweaty palms just thinking about them. Great things never come from comfort zones. Keep stretching yourself.
Task-driven >>> it’s not about creating a goal and then hoping you get there, it’s about detailing aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall of the teeny-tiny tasks you need to tick through along the way to stop the overwhelm and promote progress you can measure. If you don’t do this, you’re likely to move into procrastination through overwhelm.
Whatever your goals are, they’re going to take time, focus and dedication to achieve. So when you consider what’s next in your business game plan – things like updating website copy or email marketing, the next step is to break those goals into tasks and deadlines and be superlative using the SMARTEST method*.
* I totally made this up. In all honesty, I was hoping for a TRETIS-related acronym, but I’ll have to save that idea for another day.
Gosh, time flies and we’re hurtling towards the second half of 2020.
I think it’s fair to say that this year hasn’t gone to plan for any of us, so here’s a quick recap of what’s happened in my world since January:
Review of my 2020 so far
I started the year on a total high and a JFDI attitude
I was pregnant and wanted to work ALL the hours to save ALL the cash to have a proper maternity leave (my mat leave with Freya was cut short because my role was made redundant)
A blog I wrote about networking was featured in a well-known entrepreneurial e-magazine
An uh-may-zing author agreed to come on my podcast show (total fangirl moment right there!)
Then the pregnancy turned into another miscarriage with complications that lasted for months
I couldn’t align diaries with the superstar author between time zones, so the interview was cancelled in between hospital appointments
I was invited to an entrepreneur’s podcast… but she’d announced her own 13-week pregnancy scan photos and I honest-to-god couldn’t face it because I felt jealous… so I politely declined
No matter how much I loved the VA Matchmaking side of my business, it wasn’t profitable, nor did potential clients see the value, so I closed it down
Coronavirus hit and suddenly life and priorities felt very different
Doing #AllTheThings no longer seemed so important
I think we all need to make time for regular reflection and introspection, and I like to do this every six months, coffee in hand, to set the right tone for the rest of the year (pandemics permitting).
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve kept coming back to and tweaking my goals for the second half of 2020, and I wanted to share the biggest ones with you.
To spend no more than five hours each week on business development
I class business development as writing marketing materials (social media posts, weekly emails, blogs, repurposing existing content), social media engagement, and training.
I’m curious – do you think five hours a week is too much or too little?
I ask because I’ve been averaging around 11 hours a week on business development. Thank goodness for those stats hitting me in the face via Toggl… and no wonder I’m tired.
This is all about working smarter, not harder (read more about that here). I want to challenge the idea that working less is going to have a hugely detrimental effect.
And I feel super inspired to do this after picking up the book Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women by Kate Northrup. So, I’m gonna try it over the next three months.
To create more innovative solutions and enable you to play bigger
I have a heap of ideas that I know will help you (and others like you) make bolder decisions and achieve success more quickly.
PDFs, courses, a membership. I’m chock full of ideas.
BUT I haven’t moved forward with any of them. Yet.
To update my website
When I closed down my VA Matchmaking business, I removed the vast majority of pages from my website. It felt too overwhelming to tackle rewriting everything all at once.
During this second half of the year, I’m going to add in my services and a regular blog. Plus all the other juicy stuff that helps explain to new people how my core values and skills help transform OBMs into highly successful (and well-paid) business owners.
So, there you have it.
There’s nothing like sharing your goals with a business bestie to stay accountable.
And I think it’s really important to set goals because it gives focus and direction. You know the saying, “the only way to coast is downhill”.
What about you? What is your #1 goal for the second half of 2020?
I love to know more about your plans.
Here’s to a productive rest of the year – I hope it goes more to plan than the first half.
I was tidying out the photos on my phone and was reminded of this thing on Facebook. It’s something that is insanely relevant to your dreams of achieving greater levels and kicking more goal-related ass.
Based on what I’ve been talking about recently, I think you’re going to relate….
Be your own competition
Let’s repeat this so the thought sinks in:
“A champion is someone who enters the competition with themselves” – Todd Herman.
Whaddaya think? To me, it feels like a wake-up call of a quote. I ruddy love it! When I saw it in my phone’s screenshots I immediately thought of ambitious people like you reading this, because it’s such a valuable mindset reminder right there in that quote.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, .
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.