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How to have more a-ha! moments

How to have more a-ha! moments

If you’re anything like me, running a business can sometimes leave you with too much mental clutter and not enough breathing space.

The day-to-day responsibilities of running a business make it difficult to find time for creative thinking, new ideas and innovation. Even though you’re being productive, you’re missing opportunities for growth and development.

It wasn’t until reading Success Hangover by Kelsey Ramsden that I began to truly understand how mental breathing space allows you to have more of what Kelsey calls ‘aha moments’.

Free your mind

Do you ever wonder why we often have our best thoughts in the shower? When we do monotonous tasks that require little mental effort, our brains go on autopilot. This frees the subconscious to work on something else in the background.

The more deeply you focus on a task, the more likely your brain is to dismiss unconventional or creative ideas. That’s why forcing yourself to be creative on the spot is often a dead end.

Now, I’m not telling you to move your desk into the shower. I’m showing you why giving your brain a bit of freedom helps you to be more creative and spark those aha moments.

Kelsey’s six requirements for innovation

six

You’ll have to read the book for the full explanation (which I thoroughly recommend), but I want to share Kelsey’s six requirements for innovation. These are elements that she believes are essential to let your creativity flow.

1. Trust

You’ll never implement your new ideas if you don’t trust yourself. You need to believe in yourself and your innovations.

2. Freedom

Having the time, space and opportunity to evolve your ideas is essential for them to be fully realised.

3. Intuition

We’re often told to base our business ideas on facts and not to take risks. However, your intuition is an “overlooked secret weapon” that can lead to amazing new opportunities.

4. Training

It’s important to be competent before sharing your ideas with the world.

5. Being Present

Worrying about the past or the future can sometimes be a hindrance to creativity. Kelsey recommends witnessing what’s happening with the idea in an impartial way.

6. Translating

This means taking your idea and sharing it with the world without fear of judgement.

Are you ready to have more a-ha! moments? 

So, how many of the six requirements for innovation have you got covered? My guess is, if you’re being brutally honest, that you’re possibly not ticking them all right now.

If you’re ready to have more a-ha moments then my live training, 8 Weeks to OBM might be right for you. If you’re not sure, take the free quiz below to find out.  And I’ll tell you to save your money if I don’t think it’s a good fit for you.

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. 👇🏻

Do you hate/like your VA clients?

Do you hate/like your VA clients?

Do you #HateLike your VA clients? 

They’re decent people who do good work. They always pay you on time, and you’re happy to work with them because they’re lovely.

But is there a teeny-tiny part of you that also hates them?

Does this sound familiar?

  • The tasks they assign you are a teeny bit boring.
  • Your ideas are ignored when you speak up.
  • They ring you whenever they like and expect you always to answer.

Even though they pay for only a fraction of your time, and you’re not as involved in their business as you’d like.

You KNOW you can help them in so many other ways, but despite your best efforts, you can’t shift the label of being the “helper” or “admin”.

It might not seem like it now as they’re nice people, but these are non-ideal clients for you.

Benefits of the ‘non-ideal’ clients

Here’s the good news…

VA-ing with non-ideal clients and doing less than interesting work helps you figure out who you do like supporting and the type of work that fulfils you.

Plus, you’ve already done the hardest part which is setting up your own business. Wherever you go from here will be based on leaning into your true feelings and then taking the right action.

Learn from my experience

Sat at the desk

A story for you:

I realised I hated ad hoc client work because it made me feel like I was doing the bare minimum for the client, and I didn’t have the opportunity to shine.

My clients were happy, but I felt I was doing a rubbish job because I knew I was capable of helping them in so many more ways. And it wasn’t aligned with what I did best.

But if I hadn’t offered ad hoc services right at the beginning, I wouldn’t have learned this lesson.

If you feel like the VA title is holding you back, but you aren’t sure where to go next, here are five tips that can help you build your confidence to make the next move.

1. Develop a growth mindset

Keep soaking up all that juicy knowledge that’s directly relevant to your business. Invest in training. Learn every single day. Just don’t fall into the trap of confusing motion with action. If you find yourself learning all this stuff but not making any changes, you might need to call yourself out in that internal BS.

2. Know what you’re good at and where you’re going

One way to boost your confidence as a business owner is to have a clear understanding of what you’re good at AND a clear vision for where you’re heading. We’re not just talking SMART goals – think SMARTEST goals. Having goals mapped out means you’ll feel more motivated by the incremental measurements of success.

3. Stay positively realistic

Negativity will quickly reduce your motivation and suck your energy to move forward. When you surround yourself with positive people, thoughts and energy, all while being realistic about what’s achievable, you will become more encouraged and productive. Surround yourself with positive influences – like working with an accountability buddy. These will give you the extra push when you are feeling unmotivated and be able to help you stay on track.

4. Move past self-doubt

Ack, self-doubt puts a damper on far too many ideas before they’ve even been given a chance. If you are afraid of moving forward, despite believing you have a great idea, break it down into those baby steps. Remember – success never comes overnight – it will only ever come over time. Recognise that the negative self-talk is trying to protect you by keeping you small, and keep taking the right next step towards your goals.

5. Celebrate the small stuff

When you invest in a training course that’s going to progress your career more quickly, celebrate that decision. Or when you sign your first ideal client, celebrate that action. When you sell your first ebook, celebrate that sale. Those little happy dances will serve as a reminder of how flippin’ talented you are and that you can reach your goals and have success in your business.

While I’m here to support you if you decide you want to progress from VA to something more, it’s ultimately up to you where you take your business next. Following the above advice will help to guide you toward what you need to do to improve your business and prove to yourself that you can succeed, whatever you decide to do.

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?

 

How to make your SMART goal even better

How to make your SMART goal even better

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 confidenttenacious, 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.

SMART Goals

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?

SMART-EST Goals

  • 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.

Why you need to reflect and review your goals right now

Why you need to reflect and review your goals right now

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

Regular Reflection

reflection and review

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. 

Goal One

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.

Goal Two

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.

Stay tuned! 

Goal Three

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.