May 27, 2008

Plug Yourself In

Posted in Life at 4:27 pm by mumpreneurs

One can’t complain. I have my friends. Why, someone talked to me only the other day. – Eeeyore

It may not be a revelation to you, but the computer you’re sitting at right now probably wouldn’t work for too long if it wasn’t plugged in :P. The thing with appliances is they need to be connected to some form of power source in order for them to work for any prolonged period of time. Now here’s where it gets really tricky though – so do we!

Now before you think I’ve completely lost the plot and have been watching too many Doctor Who episodes (which may be quite true), let me explain myself further.

As a Mumpreneur I know most of us are either home based or micro business based – in other words we are pretty much it as far as our business is concerned. And I know that the vast majority of us are really serious about getting our businesses up and running, looking after our clients, and growing to where we want our business to be. Which often means that there are many hours each and every week spent either in isolation or with our beautiful under 5′s for company.

There might be school drop off or pick up where we can chat to other mums. There might be networking events where we talk to other business people. There may even be the odd minute or two where we can sit down and talk to our ‘significant other’ (should we have one).

What I often find missing from the Mumpreneurs life is the real connections. As women (which is what we are before we are mothers, before we are business people, before we are wives) we need to connect to others in order to keep our power source (our heart or our soul) charged.

I know we think we can do it on our own. I know we can go for quite a while showing how self sufficient we are, how well we’re coping, how we love what we’re doing. But at some point the battery light starts flashing and things start to get a little sluggish.

Leap ‘n’ Bound: Set an intention this week to really connect with at least one other adult. Not on a superficial level but where you feel you can open your heart just a little. Someone who you can trust to be vulnerable with and who can be the same with you.

Do you get to connect on a regular basis? Is connection missing from your life at the moment? Have you connected with someone as a result of this article? Why not share your experience with your fellow Mumpreneurs by clicking on the comments link below.


April 29, 2008

Start Making Some Great Mistakes…

Posted in Life, Self Development tagged , , at 2:35 pm by mumpreneurs

There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.

 - Richard Bach 


My sister had her first baby early on ANZAC morning (25th April). She named him Thomas and we went down to visit her yesterday afternoon.

We walked in to the room and she looked absolutely shattered (can you remember the feeling?). Her milk hadn’t come through yet and Thomas had spent most of the afternoon trying to feed and not sleep.

I don’t know about you, but when I had my first child I had a very similar experience – for about four months! So when I saw her it all came flooding back to me. The frustration of not knowing what to do, of feeling guilty, and even blaming the baby.

Of course by the time you have the second you seem to have sorted a few more things out, and feeding and sleeping were a lot easier. 

So I tried to help the new mum by sharing what I learned and put into practice between the first and second children that made all the difference. First I explained the ‘rules’ I had learned – like put the baby down to sleep when he’s still awake. Then I showed her what I meant by doing, and getting her to listen to the difference in cry’s. 

 

At the end of the day though, there are some things she will only learn by doing, by making mistakes and by trying again. And the best thing I can do for her is to give her the benefit of my experience, let her make mistakes, and then be there for her when she needs some help, a pat on the back or a few hours of peace and quiet!

As we were driving home (the hospital is about a two hour drive for us) I reflected on how this was so similar to coaching (OK so I may be a little obsessed with what I do…). I work with my clients by sharing what I’ve learned, sometimes showing examples of what I’ve done. This all helps to shortcut some of the pain out of the learning process.

At the end of the day though, if you are growing and learning, you will make mistakes – whether being coached or not. The difference between those that will succeed and those that probably will not, is the ability to get up and try again, and again, and again. This is where coaching can help you to not only find the lesson, but give you the support you need to stand up proud and carry on.

Just like my sister won’t give up on her son’s eating and sleeping habits, neither should we give up on heading to where it is we want to get to.  

Leap ‘n’ Bound: Making mistakes is a wonderful way of learning if somewhat humbling at the same time. If you’re not making mistakes are you really stretching yourself enough to grow? Spend some time this week noticing your mistakes and what you’re learning from them. Are you growing or do you simply gloss over them and move on to the next ‘baby’?

Are you afraid to make mistakes? Have you made mistakes recently that you’ve learned a big lesson from? Why not share your experience with your fellow Mumpreneurs by clicking on the comments link below.

April 8, 2008

Party Pies a Good Lesson?

Posted in Time Management tagged , at 5:05 pm by mumpreneurs

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.

- Anthony Robbins

Have you ever watched young kids at a birthday party?

It’s so funny watching the different personalities emerge when it comes time to the party food.

There’s the ‘gotta have a little bit of everything on my plate, and better do it fast before it runs out’ kid. Then there’s the ‘I love those lollies/party pies/grapes and I’m gonna grab the biggest handful I can, and then grab another one just in case’ kid.

There also seems to be the ‘I’ll just hang back here until it’s not so scary and hope there’s something left’ kid. Oh, and the really lovely ‘I’ll just take a bite of this and ewww, I think I’ll put that back where I found it’ kid.

I’ve found it’s also interesting watching the different business personalities emerge

There’s the ‘gotta have my fingers in lots of pies in case one of them pans out’ Mumpreneur. Then there’s the ‘I am going to throw myself into this business lock, stock mortgage and kids’ Mumpreneur.

There’s also the ‘I really want to start my own business but I don’t know what to start it in so I’ll wait for someone to come along who can show me’ Mumpreneur. And of course the ‘I’ll start this business and ewww, it’s not making money fast enough, let’s try the next one, and oops, the next one, and oops, the next one’ entrepreneur.

You know, I think at some stage throughout my life I’ve been every one of these entrepreneurs. Strange as it may sound, I’m really glad I have been. Because each phase has taught me something new about business, not to mention something new about myself.

So what’s the best way to eat party food?

Well when you think about it, I guess eating one thing at a time makes the most sense right? Even if there are a few different things that you’ve carefully selected on your plate, you can only fit one thing in your mouth at a time.

And that’s what I’ve found so far with being an entrepreneur. It’s OK to have more than one thing on your plate (although some of us are better at it than others), but to do anything well you need to focus on one thing at a time. This includes what you are focusing on within your business as well as any different businesses you may be ‘sampling’.

Leap ‘n’ Bound: If you feel a little divided at the moment, take a stand and choose the one thing you are going to focus on for the next x number of days. You don’t have to let everything else go, but perhaps just shelve it for a while until what you have chosen is working as well as you would like.

Do you see yourself in any of what I’ve discussed? Do you agree or disagree with my conclusion? Click on the comments button below and share it with your fellow Mumpreneurs.

March 19, 2008

Inspiration or de-motivation?

Posted in Life at 12:10 pm by mumpreneurs

Whenever two people meet there are really six present. There is each (wo)man as he sees himself, each (wo)man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.
 
- William James


Have you heard the saying Possession is 9/10ths of the Law? Well here’s my twist on that saying… Perception is 9/10ths of Reality.

Let me explain.

I’ve been coaching Mumpreneurs for well over three years now. The thing I’ve found is that no matter who I’m coaching or what business they are in there are definite similarities in all of us.

One of them is the belief that almost everybody else out there is doing better than we are.

We look at other mums and feel inadequate in our parenting skills. We see they have better relationships than we do, cleaner houses, more money and wonder how their children are such angels.

We look at other business owners and notice how quickly they build their business. How much money they are making and how many awards they win. We see their face in every newspaper and have a slight green tinge as to how wildly successful they must be. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and coming up short in nearly every facet.

And yet here’s another similarity…

We all look on the outside much more in control, successful, and ‘with it’ than we feel on the inside. So while we are looking at others in awe, we are looking only at our perception of their projected self. And they are doing the same thing back to us.

Now I believe there’s a good side to all of this. When we have the belief that others are doing better than us, it can cause us to strive to do better. It can motivate us to go that little bit further and leave behind the complacency.

Unfortunately there is also a ‘tipping point’ where this can turn into a downward spiral. This is when the gap between where you are right now, and where you perceive others to be seems to be so great that you simply give up. Your self doubt takes over and you decide that you can never reach such a height so it’s easier not to try.

So what I want for you is to be able to look at others as a source of inspiration rather than a point of comparison. What I want for you is to understand that what you see is usually not reality but a mixture of your perception and their projection. Things are never quite as they seem!

Leap ‘n’ Bound:  Take hold of some real courage this week and look within rather than without for motivation. Give yourself some applause for how far you have come and for where you are going. Every Mumpreneur is on their own journey and it is going exactly how it should be right now.

Do you have anything to add to what I’ve said? Do you agree or disagree? Click on the comments link below and share with all of us.

March 4, 2008

Time to Stress Less

Posted in Guest Authors, Life at 1:27 pm by mumpreneurs

 The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.

-Sydney J Harris 

This week we are going slightly wide of topic with a guest authour. Although this isn’t what I would normally talk to you about, I do believe it is an extremely important topic for us as Mumpreneurs. There are always times when stress gets the better of us and I find it really handy to have an ‘on-call’ list to remind me of some of the things I can do to calm right down.

So here it is…

If you are like many of us, forever multitasking, aiming for perfectionism but forever falling short of your perceived ideal, then welcome to the world of stress we create for ourselves. If you’ve been feeling a little tense late ly, overwhelmed with busyness, experiencing aches and pains, stomach upsets and fuzzy thinking, then perhaps your body is trying to tell you something! Coolum health promotion consultant Krishna Everson of Vitality Options shares ways to lighten the load with these simple stress busting ideas which have been compiled with the help of local residents.

  1. Take the dog for a walk along the boardwalk.
  2. Burn some relaxing essential oil, try Lavender, Neroli, Clary Sage, or Geranium.
  3. Take a bath in a candlelit room with some calming music.
  4. Weed the garden.
  5. Take regular time out to pray.
  6. Exercise regularly.
  7. Phone a friend.
  8. Read a book of inspirational thoughts.
  9. Lie under a tree looking up at the sky with your headphones on playing your favourite relaxing music.
  10. Watch a funny movie for some light relief.
  11. Do something creative.
  12. Enjoy the journey. Instead of asking am I there yet let things happen in their own time.
  13. Sing in the shower at the top of your voice.
  14. Take at mental vacation. Close your eyes and take a moment to imagine your favourite place until you feel better.
  15. Reevaluate. When faced with a potential conflict situation ask yourself: is there a threat here? Is it really worth a fight? If I fight will it really make a difference?
  16. Breathe deeply and slowly to counteract the reverse acute stress response.
  17. Take 5 minutes outside breathe deeply and slowly which reverses acute stress response (fight or flight).
  18. Check your posture. Are your shoulders down and back straight?
  19. Drink plenty of water. 200ml every hour will keep you hydrated which will reduce fatigue and help you to function to your full capacity.
  20. Learn to recognise your stress signals. Once you are aware them, use an appropriate technique from this list each time they arise.
  21. Have a full body massage. Massage is relaxing and rejuvenating, relieves tight muscles and eliminates bi-products of stress.
  22. Do one thing at a time. Work out what is most important, and do that first.
  23. Be a kid! Take time to play once and a while, it will bring a smile to your face.
  24. Learn to say no – especially when already feeling over-extended.
  25. Reduce or quit the caffeine. Too much caffeine mimics acute stress response.
  26. Get plenty of sleep. For best results retire and wake at the same time each day.
  27. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Poor nutrition leads to sluggishness, fatigue and reduce your ability to cope.
  28. Watch less TV.
  29. Pace yourself Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  30. Dwell on the positive.

To book a massage (on the Sunshine Coast), learn more about aromatherapy to reduce stress or to purchase music for relaxation, contact Vitality Options through their website at http://www.vitalityoptions.com.au/

Leap ‘n’ Bound:  Pick your favourite one or two points and put them into practice – today :). If you take the time to focus on one point each and every day you can only improve both your business and your life.

Do you have other favourite ways of reducing your stress levels? Why not share your experience with your fellow Mumpreneurs by clicking on the comments link below.

February 19, 2008

What’s your definition of marketing?

Posted in Marketing at 12:49 pm by mumpreneurs

The sun’s energy warms the world. But when you focus it through a magnifying glass it can start a fire. Focus is so powerful!
 
- Alan Pariser

You may not realise it yet, but regardless of what business you think you are in, you’re actually in the marketing business. You can have a fantastic service or product, but without the right marketing chances are it will never see the light of day. Conversely I know of some pretty ordinary products – and service providers – but their marketing has meant extreme success.

Yet if you ask 40 people how to define marketing you will probably get 40 different answers. What I really want to share with you today is a definition of marketing that can really spark your imagination. It’s a definition that I’ve found fits into my business philosophy.

Marketing is focusing on your customers needs rather than your product or service – and profit is the by-product. – Jay Abraham

What does this mean to you?

This means several things to me. First, you need to know your customer. Exactly who are they? What are their needs, their wants, their wishes and desires?

Secondly, once you know who they are, you need to listen to them. To what they are saying about your industry and what they are not. What are their biggest frustrations about dealing with your competitors? How can you use this to your advantage?

It also means that your business has the scope to become much more than what it is right now. If you really know your customers, and really listen to them, then you will find there are products or services that they need and want that make sense for you to provide.

It might be through the form of joint ventures, it might be something you can do yourself. However you do it though, you can be assured the loyalty of your clients will increase, your word of mouth referrals will increase, and ultimately your profit will increase.

 Leap ‘n’ Bound:  I am asking you this week to really consider this definition of marketing and what it means to your business. Where do you think your focus is currently – your product or service, or your customer? Where are the gaps that you can help your customers get their needs met?

If you really get into this way of thinking about marketing it can change the whole meaning of your business. What comes up for you when you start thinking of this? Have you already put changes in because of your customers? Share it with us all by clicking on the comments link below.

January 29, 2008

The Crusty Demons Challenge

Posted in Self Development at 2:02 pm by mumpreneurs

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

-Ambrose Redmoon.

Today was back to school day for a lot of Aussie Kids after our big summer hols. Boy what a morning. Does it ever get easier? The kids were fine, but I was definitely feeling more than a little anxious. Would the teacher be ‘right’ for my child? How would the other kids behave toward my little angels (well I can dream right)?

And to add to the anxiety my kids have to catch the bus for the first time this afternoon. I have no idea what they’re meant to do – but thankfully one of Kyra’s friends is catching one so she can help them through it. It sure does bring up a whole lot of fear.

Speaking of fear, I watched a Crusty Demons special the other night. I’ve only heard of the Crusty Demons because Codey, my five year old, has a friend who is crazy about them. From what I can tell they’re a group of motor bike riders who tour around doing dare devil stunts.

So on this particular show (at Ipswich in Queensland) they were attempting to break world records by jumping the furthest distance on a motor bike. This one guy (Trigger) was aiming to fly over 250 feet through the air! They had spent hours getting the landing pad just right, making sure the take off ramp was positioned at exactly the right spot and the run up was long enough for them to gather the amount of speed needed to make this jump.

So did Trigger break the record?

Well, no-one knew. As he came down to land he almost collided with the MC who was still standing on the top of the landing pad. Can you imagine the fear that comes from being nearly 80 feet in the air and realising that you might be just about to die? Not to mention taking someone else along with you.

Kind of puts things in perspective doesn’t it.

Have you ever tried to do something in your business where you’ve put a lot of work into it. Possibly even all your heart and soul, only to have something go horribly wrong at the last minute? Maybe a website. Or a workshop. Or perhaps a big promotion. And then when you get it out there for the world to see – the world hasn’t taken any notice.

You feel like you’ve taken a fall. You secretly tell yourself how hopeless you are. Perhaps you vow to yourself ‘never again’. And you shelve your big plans for something a little bit tamer. A little bit easier. A little less likely to fail.

Needless to say after this close call, Trigger was pretty shaken up. He decided there was no way he was going to have another attempt and was saying goodbye to the crowd. Then, along came his friend, who basically said to him ‘Mate, you need to get back up there now and have another go. If you don’t do it now, you never will’.

After initially hesitating Trigger went right on out there to begin his run up again.

Now even had he not broken the world record with this attempt Trigger would have been a hero. The courage it takes to get up from a blow and have another try is what hero’s are really made of. Of course Trigger not only made the jump, he smashed the previous world record by another 24 feet.

At some stage every one who takes a risk will suffer a knockback. The bigger the risk, the bigger the potential knock back. That doesn’t make you a failure. But what makes you a hero is when you can get up from each of these knockbacks and take another run at it.

Leap ‘n’ Bound:  What have you given up on too quickly or too easily? Do you have the courage to stand up and try again? Even if you might just be knocked down again? Who knows, it might be your turn to break a record.

What does this article bring up for you? Is there something you tried that perhaps you’d like to publicly commit to trying again? If so, click on the comments link below and share it with all of us.

January 15, 2008

Those that do and those that never quite get there

Posted in Goal Setting, Time Management at 11:17 am by mumpreneurs



Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.
- Jim Rohn
Wow – who would believe we’re half way through January already? I hope you had a wonderful festive season and if you were lucky enough to have some time off you really appreciated it! Now for many of you it’s back to business as usual. Or is it?

At this time of year we often reflect on where we’ve come from and look to where the new year will take us. We set ‘resolutions’ and if we’re good we set ourselves some new goals for life and business. But for around 90% of us our resolutions will be forgotten by the end of January, and for more than 60% of us our goals will not be achieved by this time next year.

Why is that?

What makes the difference between those that achieve their goals and those that don’t make it? Are they smarter? Do they have more money, more hired help? Well, possibly, but that’s not why they achieve their goals year in and year out.

‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’ – Annie Dillard

And in that quote lies the difference.

How do you spend your days? Do you spend them preparing to take action? Do you make lists, clean your desk, answer a few emails, play a game of solitaire, make another list then it’s time for a coffee? Or do you take a section of time to do your planning, and then get stuck into your first task until it’s finished?

At the end of day it takes more energy to do one than the other. So the decision, on a daily basis, is up to you.

Leap ‘n’ Bound:  I ask of you this week to be conscious each and every morning of how you are going to spend your day. It’s the little things you do that add up to where your will be this time next year. Will you choose the little things wisely?

Have you set any goals for 2008? A great way to hold yourself accountable to them is to share them with others. Click on the comments link below and let us know.

December 11, 2007

When the little things are big

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:31 pm by mumpreneurs

Doing little things well is a step toward doing big things better.
- Harry F. Banks
My daughter lost her tooth yesterday. It’s not her first one, but every one is just as exciting to her as that first one was. She raced up to me after school proudly displaying a hole, and a tooth taped to a piece of paper so she wouldn’t lose it.

Last night we put the tooth in a little cup next to her bed so the Tooth Fairy would be able to find it easily. The excitement was high along with the speculation about what she could spend her money on once it came (that whole $1 was going a long way!).

And what happened this morning?

The tooth fairy forgot to come! When I got up to get ready for my breakfast meeting my daughter was staring out the window looking to see if she might still have been on her way. You can imagine how I felt.

At this time of the year when everything is so hectic it is easy to over look the little things. But it’s the little things that make all the difference. It’s the little things to you that may be much bigger things to your customers.

So I encourage you to take some time over the next few weeks to step back and check that you’ve covered those little things.

When my daughter came out to the kitchen she found that the tooth fairy had been. She’d left a note in her lunch box which said ‘I’m sorry I didn’t take your tooth last night but my bag was too full. I’ve left some money for you and I will come back and get your tooth tomorrow night. Love your friend, the tooth fairy’.

So when you find you’ve forgotten something – don’t panic. Just make a good job of apologising and maybe make someone’s day.

Leap ‘n’ Bound:  My challenge to you this week is to find one little thing each day that you can do that will make someone else’s day. Leave a note in a lunch box. Put a chocolate in with your outgoing invoices. Give a stranger a big smile as you’re walking through the supermarket.

Do you have any stories where you’ve forgotten a little thing but made up for it? Or perhaps you’ve done something little that turned out to be pretty big. Click on the comments link below to share them with the rest of us.

November 27, 2007

What on Earth Would you Say?

Posted in Marketing, Online at 5:33 pm by mumpreneurs




Information is power, but it is pointless power if hoarded. Power must be shared for an organization or a relationship to work.
- Max Dupree, Leadership is an Art, 1989, 104-5
Last issue we talked about articles and just what they can do for you and your business. What you might be left wondering is just what on earth you are going to write about!

The short answer to that is – write about what your target market would be interested in.

Sometimes what your target market is interested in is pretty obvious. For example I have a fair idea that you [[name]], as part of my target market, are probably interested in articles that help you to grow your business, or perhaps keep your stress levels down.

Sometimes it can be a little harder to come up with topics. So let me give you a few tips that have helped me and my clients.

The most important part of all this is to have a clearly defined target market. If you don’t have this yet, or if your target market is broad enough to include just about everybody then you might want to read one of my earlier articles ‘Exclusivity is the Key’ which you can find on the website at www.leapsnboundscoaching.com/freestuff.html.  

Ask yourself what your target market’s biggest questions are in relation to to your business. One of the easiest ways to find out is to ask them! If you signed up to get the free report from my website you would have received an email a few days later asking what your biggest question is about growing your business or decreasing your stress. The questions I have received from this have helped me to write many articles!

To help with search engine rankings think about what your target market would use as search terms in Google if they were looking for what you are selling. You can then write an article based around these. And you will need to be a bit lateral here. For example if you are selling Scrapbook Albums people may be searching for ‘things to do with photos’ or ‘unique presents for Christmas’.

It may be that you look at the benefits people are looking to get from your product or service. For example if you are a masseuse your clients are looking for stress release. What other ways could they release their stress along with a good massage? What about an article on how to have the perfect relaxing bath after your massage?

Leap ‘n’ Bound:  I challenge you this week to think about what your target market is likely to read. Do they read magazines? Do they read online? Do they read newspapers? What type of articles can you write that would suit the publications your target market is already reading?

There are many different angles you can choose from which to write an article. What have you found the most success with? Which angles have I missed that you have used? Click on the comments link below to let us know.

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