5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed

In the past week or so, I’ve had a few of my clients tell me how completely overwhelmed they are feeling.

   Work is manic.

   The business is taking off.

   I’m trying to juggle multiple jobs as well as a family.

   It’s even started affecting my sleep!

Coincidentally, I’ve been reminded recently of a number of methods I use to help reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm when everything feels like it’s getting on top of me.

 

Top 5 tips to stop feeling so overwhelmed:

In no particular order, here are my top five suggestions to immediately reduce feelings of anxiety, worry and stress.

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14 Secrets to Achieve Conscious Business Success in 2014

In case you hadn’t noticed, January has left us for dust!

Have you set your priorities for 2014 yet?

I’ve put together a list of 14 priorities for conscious business success identified by respected business experts, bloggers, and media characters.

Let’s not get overwhelmed and try to do everything though. I’d suggest you pick three from the list below and focus on nailing them!

14 Secrets to Achieve Conscious Business Success - Zest e-Biz : Conscious Business Success

1. Grow your business

Just today I came across a fantastic info-graphic in an article from brainpickings.org, detailing the difference between a ‘growth’ mentality and a ‘fixed’ mentality.

My take on the article is that in order to achieve conscious business success it is crucial that you focus on a growth mentality by:

  • embracing challenges;
  • persisting after set-backs;
  • becoming an expert in your field through continual disciplined effort;
  • improving based on constructive criticism; and
  • learning from others and being inspired by their success.

 

2. Create more time to do what you are passionate about

This may seem counterintuitive, but stay with me. Spending more time on what you are passionate about…assuming that what you are passionate about, you are also very good at AND it results in making money…is more like to benefit your business than you being a Jack-of-all-trades.

I first came across this concept when I read Jim Collin’s book ‘Good to Great’. Recently I’ve been thinking about it more as I’ve finally embraced the concept of outsourcing. Kelly Exeter, from A Life Less Frantic, put it nicely when she said,

   Spend time doing what you are really good at [and passionate about, assuming it makes you money] so you can pay people for what THEY’RE good at.

 

3. Develop a clear direction and purpose

Without a clear purpose or vision it is easy to let the weeks and months slip by without noticing.

   Having a vision speeds up the journey to success, but more than that, it gives us a reason for doing what we do.

Don’t be caught reflecting on 2014 wondering why you didn’t achieve your business goals. Have a clearly defined vision that you can use as your guiding star. Then set realistic goals that are aligned with your purpose and therefore more likely to be achievable.

 

4. Set clear objectives

It is easy to get distracted without clear objectives in business. Someone tells you about the latest craze with social media marketing and you drop what you are doing and follow them like you would someone dangling a winning lotto ticket.

Having 3-4 clear strategic objectives that are aligned with your vision in business are gold when it comes to filtering out all the noise. Ensuring that your goals, plans and daily activities are all aligned to at least one of your strategic objectives will help you stay focused in business.

 

5. Work backwards to set financial goals

Setting the intention to manifest $100k in sales is all very well, but if you don’t have the capacity to deliver and that goal doesn’t carry any meaning for you, the intention is worthless.

Set your financial goals and then work backwards to ensure you have the time and resources to deliver on those goals. Where you don’t have capacity, something will need to change: either your goals, or the way you work.

Most importantly though, focus on why those goals are important to you or your business. WIll they help you reinvest to create bigger and better products or services? Will you use the money to finance specific lifestyle choices? Or do you want to donate some of your earnings to a worthy cause.

 

6. Use proven structures to put plans into action – don’t reinvent the wheel

As tempting as it is to be original in an attempt to stand out from the crowd, when it comes to business someone has almost always done it before. And done it well. Particularly when it comes to business planning.

Save your precious time and effort by using templates and building on them! The sooner you have your business plans and systems in place, the sooner you can get back to doing what it is that you are really good at, leaving your unique mark on the world that way.

 

7. Get support – even when you don’t think you need it

It’s so easy to get caught up in your business that you forget to work ON your business. Having independent support will help you take an objective perspective on your business.

According to the Inside Small Business magazine, studies have shown that businesses who have support (either from a coach, mentor or from government funded institutions like Small Business Centres), are more likely to achieve success faster.

Just like a fitness coach, you get the pep talks you need to improve motivation, they keep you accountable and more often than not they have done it before saving you costly time and mistakes.

Not convinced? Check out my post Yes Coach! 7 Reasons You Should Have a Business Coach.

 

8. Set yourself up for success

There is a great saying: “Don’t ask, don’t get”. Remember to ask for the sale, say yes to opportunities and be ready for growth.

This means having the right systems in place so you are ready to take opportunities that present themselves.

It also means seeking help when you need it. You are never going to be good at all aspects of business. I know I’m terrible at book keeping and techo website stuff, yet for a long time I persisted thinking it was saving me money.

   In reality, yes – I was saving money, BUT more importantly I was burning time and definitely not MAKING more money.

Focus on growing the parts of the business you are best at. Learn to delegate or outsource the rest.

 

9. Learn from your mistakes

Some of the most successful names in business like Jobs or Branson have not been immune to failure. Embrace (calculated) risks and learn from your mistakes.

   Sometime when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.

– Steve Jobs

Obviously learning from others’ mistakes is far more cost effective. But don’t stall your growth for fear of trying something new.

 

10. Celebrate your wins

Probably the most understated priority in all businesses:

   Make time to celebrate your wins.

Don’t forget to pause for applause. And do it often. I learned this concept from Erin, Productivity Queen over at Activate28. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of chasing goals, but don’t let that get in the way of celebrating your results, no matter how big or small.

When we stop to appreciate what we have achieved, we become more present in the now. Gratitude for what we have almost always leads to more of the same. Focus on an abundance rather than a lack of achievement.

 

11. Build your network

The saying ‘many hands make light work’ is not infamous for no reason. Don’t try to go it alone.

Simon Sinek talks about how being part of a supportive community is as important as having strong self-belief in his interview on The Good Life Project. His argument is based on human behaviour dating back to the cave-man era. Scratch other peoples’ backs and more often than not, they’ll return the favour.

You never know where the next sale may come from.

 

12. Engage your tribe

It’s all very well having ‘likes’ on a facebook page or names on a database, but if you don’t actively build a rapport with those people you’re missing the point. People like to be part of something, a higher cause.

Natalie Sisson talks about great ways to engage your tribe by building trust and creating value. It can be as simple as doing what you say you will do, personally messaging people on facebook or email, listening to what your clients really want and delivering that.

Engage your following and you’ll have the a willing audience who will listen with all ears to your next offer.

 

13. Increase productivity

“I just haven’t had time.” Sound familiar? Productivity, time management and motivation are terms bandied around on social media and in conversations all the time. “If only there were more hours in the day.”

Well there are 24hrs in a day (unless you want to get all metaphysical) and that is it.

   It is how you use those 24hours/day that matters.

Problogger made an excellent point at the 2012 ProBlogger Training Event in Melbourne, that you can achieve anything with small, disciplined steps that are aligned with your priorities. Even 10mins every day (set the timer on your phone, you’ll be amazed at your productivity) can result in a written book, a new product idea or a completed sales forecast.

 

14. Own your choices

Finally, make business decisions confidently. I read a great article in the local paper recently written by Kelly Davy, an amazing facilitator at the Small Business Centre here in Karratha. She very accurately states that we are all responsible for the choices we make.

She encourages small businesses to “get educated, make your decision, and most importantly believe in your decision and own it”. Not too dissimilar to this great quote I stumbled upon recently:

   Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.

– William H. Sheldon

 

So there you have it. 14 top priorities for conscious business success. Which ones resonated most for you? Do you think I missed something?

I’d love to know your TOP 3 priorities for business in 2014. Leave a comment below.

 

Stop financing your DIY efforts!

Time for me to walk the talk…

Stop Financing Your DIY Efforts  //  Zest e-Biz

At the end of last year I did the fantastic Coping With Jane ‘Web Celeb’ course. During our one-on-one coaching session Jane stopped me (mid sentence) and asked,

   why are you planning to invest in a graphic designer for your eBook when you haven’t yet updated your website?

People will be hooked by your eBook and you’ll be directing them to a website that does not truly represent how amazing you are!

Needless to say I took this great advice on board and starting preaching it to my own clients, stressing the importance of sound investment in their business image.

One of my favourite bloggers, Kelly from A Life Less Frantic, often talks about synchronicity. Well I experienced my own ‘aha’ moment last week when a couple of messages from the universe came into alignment.

I received the weekly blog from the CEO of the local chamber of commerce which asked the question:

   Are you footing the bill for DIY?

Then I had a session with one of my coaching clients and we got talking about her website. I heard myself reiterating the key points I’d learned from the Web Celeb course as well as some tips I picked up from a HerBusiness podcast recently and this question came to mind again.

So I asked my client…

   How many hours do you think it would take you to update your website?

Double it (as these things always take twice as long when they are not one of our key strengths, face it) and then multiply that by your hourly rate.

Both of us sat there in silence for a moment.

There is no way in hell I would I pay a graphic designer that much to update my website, let alone design a new whiz bang one with all the fruit!

I think my client had a similar reaction.

Then it hit me! How can I have these conversations with my clients and then hope that any new prospective clients will engage with me based on the state of my current website.

What am I waiting for? I have a fantastic rapport with my graphic designer who recently did my logo.

So I made a pact with myself. I’d write about this and publish it as my first blog post for 2014 to hold myself accountable, and to prove that I do in fact walk the talk 🙂

I emailed Liv yesterday restarting the conversation we had late last year about a new website design. Just this simple step gets me excited! I get to hand over this massive weight on my shoulders and get on with running my biz more effectively. No more 2-3hr sessions at a time updating and re-trying four times to get something aligned just right by myself! Hello new professional website!

Already I feel like I have so much more time on my hands to do the things I AM good at, like developing my strategic plan, writing my next eBook and connecting more with my amazing clients.

So I’ll ask the question again,

   How much are your DIY efforts costing you?

Please leave your answer in a comment below if you are looking for some get-off-your-butt-and-do-something accountability, and support of course 🙂

The Link Between Mindfulness and Business Success – A Manifesto

The key message I took away from the Pilbara Women’s Network luncheon held recently, was to:

   Pause to reprogram your brain.

My very first Zest e-Biz client (and now close friend) Amanda Ewin from North West Podiatry was chosen to speak alongside registered psychologist Christine McKee from BE Institute.

I felt like a proud mother. Not because of the influence I’ve had on one aspect of Amanda’s incredibly inspiring life, but simply the privilege of being part of her journey.

The Link Between Mindfulness and Business Success - A Manifesto - Amanda Ewin - North West Podiatry

Amanda is reprogramming her genetic blueprint to move to a place of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.

She is a mountain bike champion and business excellence award winner, in addition to being a wonderful mum to two gorgeous girls and an active participant in the Pilbara community.

Previously a ‘do-er’ Amanda consciously stopped running endlessly from one thing to the next. She now meditates or does exercise every morning before sunrise. The breathing techniques used during these activities have improved her focus during the day, helping her achieve business results more strategically.

You can read more about Amanda in the article I wrote for the Pilbara Echo last week – page 8.

Achieve Conscious Business Success

With the help of the very talented Kelly Exeter from A Life Less Frantic, I created the manifesto below as a giveaway for the luncheon.

I couldn’t have found a better match for my brand and the inspiring messages that were delivered by both Amanda and Christine.

In her keynote address, Christine said:

   Our brains receive over two million bits of information every second via our five senses.

By pausing, we are able to react to a situation for what it really is, instead of autopilot kicking in and our actions being influenced by pre-conditioned beliefs, habits and memories.

This mindfulness (being present in the moment) so that we are able to – PAUSE – before acting, improves our ability to achieve business success as well as improving our overall wellbeing.

Amanda and Christine are just a couple of fantastic examples of this in practise.

My gift to you – a manifesto.

A soon as I got these in the mail I stuck one to my fridge. Developed based on a number of issues I see my clients facing, I also struggle with a lot of these things myself. However, when I honour them, my business (and personal life) both seem to flourish!

The Link Between Mindfulness and Business Success - A Manifesto - Zest e-Biz

Click on the image to get your FREE downloadable PDF version.

Which statement resonates most with you?

Why not set the intention to focus on it in 2014 by leaving a comment below 🙂

 

How to Learn & Grow by Researching Your Competition

How to Learn & Grow by Researching Your Competition - Zest e-Biz Get to Know Your Competition

 

   So, you think I should just call my competitors and say ‘Hi, I’m in competition with you, I’d love to know more about the services you offer’?

Recently a small business centre facilitator advised me to do some research on my competition. Unsure about how to do this, I was shocked at the suggestion that I should, “Just pick up the phone and be honest”.

Hmm… be honest. I wonder if they’ll hang up on me?

Research your competition : don’t ask, don’t know.

So I picked up the phone and dialled the number on the least threatening looking business card.

We got chatting. The longer we talked, the more I thought it was not just me who found the conversation valuable. I believe the specific targeted questions I asked below, helped build the confidence of my competitors as well as myself.

  1. What specific products or services do you offer?
  2. In addition to these tangible deliverables, what else do you believe your clients get from working with you?
  3. How would you describe your target market?
  4. Have you done a SWOT analysis lately?

Obviously my main goal was not to make my competitor feel better! So what did I gain from the exercise?

Each conversation I had helped me refine my own individual selling position and realise that my main product, the Soul Biz Plan Workbook is actually very unique.

Even more importantly one of those conversations has potentially resulted in an affiliate who agreed to send business my way! Who would have thought.

Everyone has a unique selling position.

This is especially true if you deal with your customer directly.

I am fast learning that more often than not,

  People want to do business with you is because YOU are YOU.

Your personality, your strengths and your beliefs are what attracts customers and ultimately builds a loyal following.

That being the case, it is very rare that someone will be offering the exact same service, or product, as you.

When I realised that the business coaching services I offer are in fact slightly different to my competitors, I noticed that we could actually work together. When clients do not fit our own target market, we can refer them on, and vice versa.

Don’t compare.

Very often we are quick to compare ourselves to others. Usually to people who have achieved great success already. And then we wonder why we are not like them!? I’m certainly guilty of doing it. 

How to Learn & Grow by Researching Your Competition - Don't Compare - Zest e-BizSource: Tsh Oxenreider via Pinterest

So often, the reality is that those people are further along their business journey. I bet if you looked at some of their original work or website copy (if you can find it), you’d see that like you, everyone starts somewhere.

Sarah Prout recently wrote a blog post that said:

   When you compare yourself to others you start to second guess yourself and lose sight of your own uniqueness.

How to Learn & Grow by Researching Your Competition - Zest-eBiz-Get-to-know-your-competition-today

So what did I learn from researching my competition?

   Ask the questions, get to know your competitors better. But don’t compare, simply be inquisitive. Then celebrate your own unique selling position!

Not only would I have never discovered what I wanted to know, but I would have never found out what I didn’t realise I wanted to know. Like hanging up the phone and knowing that a competitor might actually send business my way!

I hope this has inspired you to do some research about your competition. Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear how you go!

Top Tips for Business & Blogging – Recap of Problogger Day 1

As Day 2 of Problogger commences, I thought I’d write down all the great tips & tricks I picked up yesterday before I forget them!

From Little Things Big Things Grow

“Build a workflow around small tasks and make them a habit.”
“Have goals to filter opportunities”
“Look for sparks! What gives YOU energy? What are your readers responding to? Where is momentum gathering? Then act quickly before the spark goes cold.” – Darren Rowse @Problogger

Finding Your Voice: Building Your Brand

“Use what you’ve already got when building your brand.”
“What you tell people your brand is will be different to what each individual thinks of your brand.”
“We are whatever people tell us we are – we can’t tell people our brand.”
“A brand is a gut feeling you get when you think of something/someone.”
“Determine what you stand for : what is your unique voice? Be consistent.”
“Don’t be something you’re not.” – Stan Johnson @BrandDNA

How to get brands knocking on your door:

– Brands want stats –> Google Analytics
– Look out for Pinterest!
– $ don’t come from PR agencies, but they can be the conduit for $ from brands marketing departments
– Seek out brands who are already active in social media, don’t waste time educating other brands about blogging
– Use twitter to build relationships and “flirt” with brands
(Thanks to the amazing panel: Lorraine Murphy, Nikki Parkinson, Eden Riley and Mrs Woog)

Marketing Your Products

10. Practice makes perfect – practice on other products
9. Set a date
8. Lock up your product – even if it feels unfinished
7. Know your angle
6. Make a plan – split it into pre-launch, launch month & post-launch
5. Ready your audience – share the prep experience
4. Make it sellable
3. Active tracking – be ready beforehand
2. put the writing on the wall
1. Get the green light from someone else before launch – soft launch first
– Shayne Tilley @ShayneT

Making Money & Changing the World

“Find role models – like minded individuals, but in different areas”
“pay attention to the questions Pete are asking”
“Emotional connections/needs stronger than educational connections/needs”
“Share a genuine agenda”
“Treat work as important part of life & make time for it”
– Chris Guillebeau @chrisguillebeau

 

Great day, fantastic material presented and amazing people to connect with.

 

For anyone keen to get in on the action, get your virtual ticket now and join in on twitter:

 

p.s. Thanks to the Problogger team for organizing an event with such a great atmosphere for meeting and connecting with people & still being able to feed my 4 month old boy – who is loving exploring Melbourne with Mr Mum 🙂