Do you have an advisory board?

February 8, 2010 at 3:32 PM | Posted in goals, leadership | 2 Comments
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I was talking to my advisory board about a business decision I need to make in the next week. One of the best things I ever did was put together my board. When I have a decision I am struggling with, for whatever reason, these are my go to people. They respect me so much they will tell me the truth, ask me to think through all implications of my actions, require that I tell them the truth and hold me accountable for everything I do and say.

What is my advisory board? I quickly realized that as a solo-preneur I need people to support me. When you work in a corporation you have peers and managers you trust that will help you with difficult decisions and choices within you career.  As a solo-preneur you don’t always have people you trust enough to ask for help or who will be honest and forthright with you. Your advisory board is that group of people (call them whatever you want- board of directors, go-to-people…).

An advisory board may become a critical support mechanism for your business. My board is a loosely held together group of individuals I trust. Their expertise lies in various areas and they are all successful in their own right. Some I have been friends with for years others are new friends and mentors. Regardless they are individuals I respect and who want to see me successful.

Your advisory board doesn’t have to be a formal group that gets together on a regular basis and hashes out your business. I don’t think I’ve ever had all of my board in one place at one time. There are 3 people on my board. I don’t take every decision to all of them. I discuss certain decisions with some of them some of the time.

For a while I didn’t have a board- I found myself struggling with decisions wishing I had some go to individuals. Then someone mentioned putting together an advisory board. I never looked back. It’s been one of the greatest most effective ways I have found to support my business.

If you haven’t put together your board I suggest you give a try.

Walking my Talk

January 31, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Posted in change, gratitude, leadership | Leave a comment
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It has been one of those weeks! A week that makes me wonder why I EVER thought being in business for myself was a good idea. And yet, I have NO desire to go to work for someone else.

This week has made me live all of the rules I preach to my clients. Monday and Tuesday my email was down.  Wednesday I spent 3 hours at the doctor’s office while my partner got stitches. Thursday I spent all afternoon visiting and counseling a good friend who found herself suddenly in the hospital. Friday I tried, somewhat successfully, to get caught up. And here I am on Sunday still catching up from the week.

I have really had to walk my talk this week! Every day I had to find ways to be in gratitude. Some way to appreciate good things going on in my life when it felt like there was so much chaos. I focused on my healthy family, pets and the work I did manage to get done every day.

Sitting in the doctor’s office and visiting the hospital led to a whole new level of gratitude and appreciation. How lucky I am to have a family that is generally healthy and happy!?

Because I am a solo-preneur I can arrange my day to help out my partner or a friend.  The ability to manage my day is a blessing. It’s one of the greatest gifts of being your own boss.

You need to maintain your focus when you are working on your business. Being an entrepreneur requires a certain level of focus and dedication. Managing your time and arranging your day to work for you is tremendously important. I found a few hours each day that allowed me to work without being disturbed.  I maintained focus on items that had a due date, so I didn’t miss my timelines, and on items that are driving revenue for me.

I’m using social media to build relationships and it does help to drive revenue but I chose to focus on other revenue venues. That’s something you need to be able to determine. Of all of the priorities you are focusing on, which are really driving revenue and which can you let drop for a few days without losing momentum.

If you aren’t sure which areas are which take the time to do the analysis. If you are unsure which items create the most business for you contact me.

Luckily my partner and friend are both getting better every day and I am getting caught up. I’m still thrilled I’m a solo-preneur; wouldn’t change that for the world!

Do you make lemonade?

January 16, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Posted in change, goals, opportunities | Leave a comment
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Some of you know I was going to run a training session today.  Fri. morning the class was cancelled. Not because of participants, there were plenty of those. But because of some last minute scheduling issues. The scheduler and the location had a miscommunication, at the last minute the class had to be cancelled.

I had my Saturday planned around the class and was looking forward to meeting a group of local solo-preneurs. The training was going to address many of the topics I address with my clients on a daily basis.

The great news is that time opened up for other things on Fri. and Saturday. Yet, I felt badly for the folks that had signed up for the class. It had been on their calendars for quite a while and now at the last minute it was cancelled.

I decided to make lemonade out of lemons- is that the right saying?? The point is I wanted to figure out another way to share this information with group. I put together a conference call for a few days later, sent an email to the group and folks are already responding to come to the conference call.

What originally felt like a bad thing has now turned around to something great. The conference call is open to the entire group- not just the folks that originally signed up, I still get to meet some wonderful people and share information I know they can use.

That’s the beauty and the challenge of being a solo-preneur- you can either accept a situation that doesn’t feel good or you can find a way to turn it into something great. Either way it is up to YOU.

This goes directly to your attitude. Think opportunity; believe there is opportunity regardless of the situation. All you have to do is identify the opportunity and a way to make it happen.

Your attitude makes all the difference. If you are thinking about opportunities, not in an obsessive-compulsive way, but in a way that leaves you open to change, they will certainly show up. When the training class was cancelled I immediately started to think about how I could get information to the attendees and still have a bit of interaction with them. WALA! The conference call was born!

I’m looking forward to the conference call; to meeting the solo-preneurs and sharing information that will help grow their business. I made lemonade! Join me at the lemonade stand?

Baby, (I’m grateful) for the cold outside!

December 21, 2009 at 9:46 AM | Posted in gratitude, opportunities | 2 Comments
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[tweetmeme source=”jen_conaway”]

Baby, is cold outside! Here in North Carolina it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit when I let the dogs out this morning. Cold enough to make me want to crawl back into bed!

Instead, I took a moment to appreciate the cold. The way my breath curled into beautiful strands of mist in the early morning sunlight. The quiet of the woods, the crunch of leaves, frost on the windows. As long as I know I can go inside to feel warm and cozy the trappings of a cold day are beautiful.

If I didn’t have a warm place to go I imagine the cold day would be more of a challenge than a work of art. I was reminded, again, to be grateful. I am grateful for the roof over my head, for the heat, the food on my table, all of the things that make daily life possible.

I am also grateful for my business. My clients, the flexibility I have because I work for myself, the fact that I do something I love every day, the knowledge that I can help someone create the business and life they want… I could go on but you get the idea.

It may sound airy fairy, but five minutes spent looking at all of the good things about your business can completely change your attitude for the rest of the day. You shift into a more positive frame of mind that allows you to approach everything from that perspective.

You might not have as many clients as you would like, but you have clients. You might not have made your quarterly sales goals, but you made sales. You didn’t make the 10 calls you wanted to make yesterday, but you made 8 of them. Focus on what has gone well and what is going well.

This is a wonderful time of year to take a few minutes and be grateful, for everything you have in your business and personal life. I encourage you to make this a daily habit. First thing in the morning, before you log on to your computer, as your pouring your morning cup of coffee- just breath and be grateful. Make a list in your head of everything you appreciate. The list might include many of the same items every day and that’s ok. My list always includes the dogs and my ‘significant other’.

If you’re really feeling adventurous do a bit of dreaming. How would it feel to have all of the speaking engagements you want? To have your client calendar full 4 weeks in advance? To double your sales numbers for the quarter?

I am grateful for all of YOU!!

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