Category Archives: Business Burnout/Overwhelm

I’m Branching Out! Come with Me and Build a Business You Love.

Do you love your business? Does your business love you back?

What does that even look like?

Imagine waking up each day, excited to work in your business. Imagine enjoying your work, minute by minute. Imagine your business supporting you—giving you the support you need to live a lifestyle you love and make the difference you want to make.

This may sound like a far-off dream, but it doesn’t have to be.

With the right information, tools, and knowledge, you can build a business you love, and that loves you back.

If this resonates with you, then I’d like to invite you to check out my new video, which is all about my new book, “How to Start a Business You Love AND that Loves You Back: Get Clear On Your Purpose and Passion to Build a Successful, Profitable Business.”

Watch it here.

Too Fast or Too Slow: Why the Speed You’re Moving in Your Business May Be Hurting You

Years ago, I was at an event where the speaker was talking about keys to growing a successful business. And one of those keys was speed.Musings_06

He said if you want a successful business, you need to move fast to capitalize on the money-making opportunities coming at you. According to him, the vast majority of entrepreneurs are moving far too slowly. Only a few err on the side of moving too fast, which turns into recklessness.

This really stuck with me over the years, and it made me feel like I never moved fast enough for business success. (Can you say “another way to beat myself up?”)

But, recently, I’ve changed my view around this whole notion of speed in your business. I feel like not only is recklessness a far more common problem than what that speaker thought, I also think in many cases people are doing both — moving too quickly in some areas in their business and too slowly in others. And when either of those happens, your business suffers. Continue reading

Is Your Business Model Right for You? 4 Things to Consider

In last week’s article, “Is Your Marketing Mix Right for You? 3 Keys to Help You Decide,” I wrote about matching your business model with your marketing.

But what if you don’t know if your business model is right for you?

Never fear! This week, I’m helping you choose the right business model for you.

To start, we need to look at what an ideal biz model looks like. Ideally it would be a magical blend of these 4 pillars:
* Your passion (or gift or mission)
* Your preferred working habits
* Your lifestyle choices
* Your financial goals

Okay so let me talk a little about each of these. Continue reading

What Business Model Is Right for You?

For many entrepreneurs, when you first start your biz, you end up with a one-on-one service delivery model. In other words, you sell whatever you do (typically it’s some sort of service) one-on-one to clients.

While this tends to be the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to get a new biz off the ground, it’s not without its limitations — specifically you’re selling your time and you really haven’t leveraged yourself.

Now, you may be expecting me to dive into other business models — like selling group programs and info-products — and to talk about how “much better” they are than the one-on-one service delivery…but that’s actually not where I’m going today.

No, today I want to talk about what makes YOU happy.

Continue reading

Are You Being a Good Friend…To Yourself? 3 Questions and Daring Acts for Making Sure You Receive the Love You Need, From Yourself

Guest blog post by Christine Arylo

Be kind to others. Show up and be supportive. Be there unconditionally and without judgment when your friends are having a hard time. Tell your friend the truth, even when it’s hard. Remember to celebrate you friends. Cheerlead for them, inspire them to go for their dreams. Respect you friends, honor them, appreciate them, be compassionate – in other words love them. 

These are the rules of being a good friend. And while you may not be perfect at always showing up as a good friend for others, you know how to love others well. And when you do show up as a good friend, you feel good about yourself. Proud. Like you are doing a good thing, being a good person. Because you believe that giving love to others is a good thing.

But take that love and friendship and apply it to yourself and something different happens. Suddenly you feel guilty for taking care of yourself, selfish for choosing yourself first, and shy about tooting your own horn. Giving love to yourself in the forms you need it most – compassion, appreciation, nurturing, pleasure, etc. – feels wrong, weird and uncomfortable. In situations where you’d have no problem telling a friend to take a break, stop working, leave a relationship, or go for her dreams, you just cannot seem to give yourself permission to do what you really need. Until now.

This February, I invite you to take a stand for the most important relationship in your life – the one with yourself – by saying YES! to becoming a really good friend – maybe even a best friend – to yourself, and start making sure you receive love you need, no matter what. There’s nothing selfish about that. For the better friend you are to yourself, the more you fill yourself up with love, the more you will be able to give to others.

You will be both a giver and receiver of love!

3 Simple but Mighty Self-Love Practices for Being Your Own B.F.F.
Continue reading

PW Unplugged Radio – Christine Arylo “What’s love got to do with biz?”

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On today’s episode of PW Unplugged Radio, my guest Christine Arylo and I dished on all the ways that loving yourself can actually grow your biz! Yes! You read that right. The more you improve the relationship with yourself, the more your biz will transform (goodbye overwhelm and burnout, hello feeling energized and excited about your biz) and the more money you’ll make.

So if you’ve been feeling like you’ve fallen out of love with your biz (or maybe your biz has fallen out of love with you) this is the perfect podcast to get that lovin’ feeling back. (And just in time for Valentine’s Day!)

Plus Christine invited you all to a free party she’s having on Feb 13 (which just happens to be International Self Love Day) — get all the deets and RSVP right here.

You can hear all about it and more on this week’s podcast. Just click here to download or Listen:

Stuck in the “entrepreneurial lows?” 3 Truths to Help You Navigate Through It

Don’t despair – you’re not alone. Following are some truths I want to share with you, that you can hang on to as you navigate the sometimes choppy waters of entrepreneurship.Uphill Climb

We all talk about the entrepreneurial journey — how when you embark, the highs will be some of the best highs of your life … but there will be some lows too.

The reality is that just as the highs you can reach running your own biz are some of the highest you’ll experience, very few things may beat how low the lows can go.

And when you hit rock bottom, you can REALLY hit rock bottom. Because the truth of the matter is you can’t have the highs without the lows. They’re a part of the journey and they also make the highs soooo much more sweeter.

So I’m not writing this because I want to scare you away from the lows — on the contrary. The lows have made me who I am today (and I wouldn’t trade that). Why I’m writing this is to give you some support and love if you are going through a low right now.

I think the worst part of the lows in the entrepreneurial journey (which is why I think the lows are that much lower) is how alone you feel. You own your own business — who are you going to lean on in your life who “gets” it? And who do you have who can help you through it who has “been there, done that and got the tee shirt to prove it?”

So that’s why I want to share these truths you can hang on to as you navigate the sometimes choppy waters of entrepreneurship.

1. You’re not alone. I know I just said this but it’s worth repeating. When you’re in the middle of muddling through a low, you may feel like you’re all alone — but you’re not. Everyone who has run a business has been there. It’s just part of the path of being an entrepreneur.

2. It won’t last. No matter how bad things look and feel right now, know this is only a part of the journey. Things WILL turn around. And the reality is, the more you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, the faster you’ll experience the turnaround.

Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taking action to change it. Not at all — instead I just want you to really feel this isn’t your “new” reality (no matter how much it may feel like it is) and instead know deep down that it’s just a part of the journey.

3. Only what challenges you changes you. I actually saw this at my local YMCA. They of course were referring to actually doing a tough workout (versus showing up and going through the motions and calling it a workout) but this actually is applicable to all sorts of things in life. If it’s NOT challenging you, then it’s probably not changing you. So if you are in a challenging spot, know that if you’re open and you let it, it could actually be the catalyst that transforms you.

Now if you are stuck in the lows, you may be thinking to yourself “Well Michele, this is all well and good, but I don’t want to be here anymore. How do I get myself out?”

I’m so glad you asked! If this IS you, then here’s something you can do to get yourself back on track – out of the lows and heading into the highs:

Don’t do what you’ve always done.

I’m serious. We’ve all been in lows before and you probably have something you do to cope (maybe it’s a bad habit — like drinking an extra glass of wine or collapsing in front of the television — or maybe it’s something you don’t think is bad, like overworking). I’d like to suggest maybe you DON’T do what you always do, and instead do something different. (And if you’re not sure what that would look like, you could try doing the exact opposite from what you normally would do.)

Regardless of what you choose, just keep breathing. You’re not alone and it WILL pass.

Why Taking Care of Yourself is Good for Your Business

I grew up in the Midwest (Wisconsin) where hard work is not just valued, but revered.

Taking care of yourself is not.

Of all the lessons I’ve had to learn in my business (and trust me there have been many) this is probably one of the hardest for me, and one I have to make a point of remembering.

Maybe this sounds familiar — you work and work until something happens and you stop for awhile. Maybe you get sick. Maybe you get over tired. Maybe a personal emergency happens (and be honest — it probably happened because you were neglecting your personal life to begin with) and you have to drop everything to deal with it.

Whatever it is, outside circumstances force you to take a break. You’re not taking a break for YOU.

Everyone is different, but for me I would battle feelings of guilt when I would take some time off. I should be working. There’s a to-do list sitting on my desk I should be going through. But the reality is your business is like your house. There is ALWAYS something you could be doing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should (or have to) be doing it.

If any of this is sounding familiar, read on. I’m going to share 3 reasons why you need to take regular breaks and be good to yourself.

1. There’s only one “you.” As an entrepreneur, your energy level is intimately tied to the success of your business. If you are constantly sick or have no energy, how on earth can you grow your business? And, for that matter, when you aren’t feeling well, do you really think you’re giving your clients the best service you could be? For the sake of your business and your clients, you owe it to yourself to take time off so you can be the best you can be during work times.

2. Get more done faster. Which scenario sounds better for your business — you wake at 7 am, exhausted and stressed, because you haven’t gotten enough sleep having gone to bed at midnight (and not falling asleep until 2 am) trying to finish “one last thing?”  Or you wake at 7 am (or maybe 6 am) refreshed and energized for your work day, because you knocked off work at 5 pm, took some time off for yourself or your family, and was asleep by 10 pm?

I think you know the answer.

Yes, it can be very seductive to try and get “one more thing” done before you turn in for the night. But the reality is, you need your sleep. And you need time to unwind and get away from the computer before trying to fall asleep, or you aren’t going to sleep well.

Then, what ends up happening? You wake up dragging. So you’re not working as fast or as efficient as you could be. And you don’t finish everything you need to during a normal work day. So you try and catch up at night — and then you screw up your sleep for another night.

It’s a vicious cycle. But if you can flip that, start getting a good night’s sleep each night, you’ll find that you have more energy during the day, you’ll get more done, and you don’t have to stay up late to finish those last to-do items.

This one can be tough to reverse. Be good to yourself. You might have to reorganize your schedule or to-do list for a week or two, so you have less to do during the day and can actually knock off at a reasonable time each night until you get yourself on a regular schedule.

3. Projects expand to fit the amount of time allowed to them. I never took physics but if this isn’t a physics law, it should be. As a freelancer, I experienced this all the time. During my slow periods, I still found myself working nearly the same amount as during my busy periods.

If I had 1 hour of work to do, and all day to do it, somehow it would take me all day to do it. If I had 6 hours of work to do and 4 hours to do it, I might not get everything done, but I would definitely zip through most of my to-do list.

It’s like when you’re about to go on vacation. There’s always this list of stuff you want to get done. You might not get everything done, but you’re probably more efficient the week before your vacation then the month prior.

Now if you start valuing taking time off for yourself, for instance, maybe one day you decide you’re knocking off at 2 to go to a movie or take a nap or go to your kid’s soccer game, you’ll probably discover you get more done that day then you do on the days where you have a huge amount of open time available and no set “end” to your day.

The end result of all of this? You’ll end up working less hours overall, but during those hours you do work, you’ll probably be more efficient, productive, and happy (and you’ll also see your business grow more effortlessly and your clients will also be more satisfied).

 

Is There a 2×4 in Your Future?

3 Signs that the Universe Is Getting Tired of Waiting For You To Step Into Your Greatness

Ah yes, the 2×4. The Universe’s version of tough love.

In case you aren’t familiar with the concept of the 2×4, let me explain. The 2×4 happens when despite all the gentle nudges and taps are being ignored and the Universe decides sterner measures are necessary.

Basically you have a feeling there’s something you should be doing — starting a biz, changing your biz, taking your biz to the next level, stepping out and becoming a speaker, writing a book, etc. — and you’re not doing it. Oh sure, there are plenty of fabulous reasons WHY you aren’t doing it (time being the biggest culprit with money coming in a close second — not to mention “getting ready to get ready” lurking around out there ready to pounce) but at the end of the day nothing is getting done.

So you live with those niggling feelings. Maybe you push them down. Maybe you make plans to start on that magical “someday”. But the end result is still the same. You aren’t moving forward.

Worst, you do all this despite the nudges and taps. Sometimes they’re positive — 3 people in one week confirm you should be offering a new program without any prompting from you, you get 2 requests for speaking gigs in one day. And sometimes they’re negative — your boss announces there’s a hiring freeze, which means you need to put in more hours at the same pay, so even though you hate your job you can’t possibly now find the time to start your biz because you have to focus on doing what you hate. Or maybe one of your core programs (one you know you really need to retire but you’re very nervous about the new program you’ll replace it with) is slowly losing steam — fewer and fewer people sign up for it, and the ones who do aren’t your perfect peeps.

So you make your excuses and keep on walking that path you’re on, even though you really don’t care for that path at all. It’s rocky and full of weeds, beer cans, broken bottles and cigarette butts. But hey — it’s the one we know and it’s better than that mysterious vine-covered trail peeking around the corner.

And that’s why the 2×4 needs to come out and give you a whack — right onto that enticing but oh-so-scary path you know in your gut you need to be on.

Perhaps you break your leg so now you have a whole bunch more time to work on that book. Or that core program finally, completely, bombs in your last launch and now you have no choice but to do something else to bring some cash into the biz.

Whatever it is, if you’ve been ignoring the nudges and taps, the 2×4 may be right around the corner.

So how do you know if this is you? Well, here are 3 signs to watch out for:

1. Is there something in your life you know you need to be doing and you aren’t? (And if this is something that you have lots and lots of excuses for why you aren’t doing it, definitely listen up — I’m talking to you.) Or are you feeling like something is off — there’s something missing inside, you don’t feel complete or you keep wondering if this is “it” — this could also be you.

2. Have you been getting nudges or taps to move you toward this path and you’ve been ignoring them? (It could be months or even years that you continue finding all sorts of reasons not to move forward.)

3. Something is upping the pressure. Maybe the nudges and taps have intensified, maybe you’re feeling like you need to do something NOW or maybe you’re in a funk. Whatever it is, something has changed.

So, if this is you, what do you do? Well I wish I could confidently tell you that I’ve managed to keep the 2×4 from hitting me, but alas you can’t really prove something that didn’t happen. But what I CAN say is if you recognize yourself here, get prepared. Start taking solid steps toward the path you need be on. Put together a plan, write down action steps and start IMPLEMENTING.

You may not be able to avoid the 2×4 completely but if you at least start changing directions you’ll probably lessen the blow when it does come.

When It’s Okay to Quit

The other day when I was running/walking a 10K race, my knee started hurting. It had been troubling me off and on for about a month but I thought I had it under control.

My initial reaction was to grit my teeth and walk through the pain. That’s what I normally do, and it’s what I do when I walk marathons.

But then I reconsidered. I had just passed the 4K marker when it really started hurting so I had more than half the race ahead of me. And then I started thinking, why am I doing this?

Clearly I had an issue with my knee. And I could force the issue and hurt it worse. Or I could quit and work on healing it.

I opted to quit and live to walk another day (sooner rather than later).

So that got me thinking, when is it okay to quit and when should you muscle through it? How do you know if this is the time you should throw in the towel or is this just more of your demons popping up to torture you?

Here’s a little system you can follow to help you know the difference:

1. How important is this? Are you talking about the life of your business (i.e. quitting it all and getting a job) or are you talking about dumping a product that isn’t selling well (and to be honest, you never liked much anyway)? If it’s the product, then yeah — quitting might be the smart thing to do. If it’s your business, then it’s probably your demons doing a jig in your brain.

In my case, doing a 10K isn’t that big of a deal. I’ll do a 10K on a weekend. So to cut this race short wasn’t an issue. Not tearing my knee up was far more important than finishing the race. Which leads me to my next point:

2. How important is it for you to quit? Or what is the cost if you don’t quit? Is there someone you work with (like a customer or a vendor) who is toxic to you? (For example, they’re costing you tons of time and/or money and you’re getting very little in return. Or, worse yet, they’re involved in something unethical that could hurt your reputation, or worse, something illegal.) Depending on the severity of the issues, you probably want to dump that relationship. Or are you just feeling uncomfortable or discouraged or stuck with your business? Nope, not a good reason to quit your business.

In my case, not being able to walk for a month was way too high of a trade off then quitting the race early.

So, here’s how this works. When you’re faced with something you’re thinking about quitting, ask yourself these questions:

  • How important is this?
  • How important is it for you to quit?

Now compare the answers. If the answer to number 1 is high, and the question to number 2 is low, then you shouldn’t be quitting. If the answer to number 1 is low and the question to number 2 is high, then you should be quitting.

Where it gets a little tough is if the answer to both questions is the same. Then, you need to dig a little deeper. One is got to be stronger than the other (for instance, if you’re looking at something that’s really important to you, is the cost not to quit as high as you’re really saying or are you just scared right now?)

My other rule of thumb is answer to the first question is probably the way you should go. If what you’re looking at is very important, then you probably shouldn’t be quitting. If what you’re looking at isn’t all that important then you probably should be quitting. (After all, why are you wasting your time with it if it isn’t that important?)

Are You Working Yourself Out of Your Business?

I admit it.

I’m a recovering workaholic/perfectionist, not to mention having delusions of superhero syndrome.

I know I’ll never be cured. But I can at least work on controlling it.

I also know I’m not alone. Plenty of entrepreneurs and small business owners suffer from this same condition. (In fact, it’s so prevalent I’m thinking about starting a recovery group for this.)

Do you suffer from workaholic/perfectionism/superhero syndrome? Take this short quiz to find out.

1. You think working all the time, including nights and weekends, is a sign of:
A. Success
B. Insanity
C. Just one of the sacrifices you have to make when you own your own business

2. Your to-do list resembles:
A. War and Peace (actually, War and Peace might be shorter)
B. No more than 5 tasks per day
C. It’s pretty long, but that’s okay. You know if you buckle down and REALLY focus, you can get everything done. (Of course, you never have, but that’s beside the point.)

3. The last time you took a vacation was:
A. Vacation? Who needs a vacation? Vacations are for wussies.
B. A couple of months ago and it was fabulous.
C. You’re too afraid to be gone for more then a couple of days, especially if you don’t have your laptop and can check in every day. What if something happens? A new client calls? You could lose the business. Or some crisis might come up and there wouldn’t be anyone to take care of it. It’s just too risky to leave, better to stick around.

4. You believe:
A. People who don’t work very hard yet still are making money are pretty lucky (and also pretty lazy).
B. Being successful also means having a life (and having time to enjoy it).
C. The only way to be successful is to work longer and harder than anyone else. (After all, when you’re not working you’re not making money. So how can you be successful if you’re not working?)

5. Taking time for yourself is:
A. A luxury for only rich (or lazy) people.
B. Something you make a priority each and every day.
C. Nice in theory but unrealistic in practice. After all, your clients have to come first. They’re the ones paying the bills.

Scoring: Well, let’s just say you know who you are.

As entrepreneurs and small business owners, I think one of our biggest challenges is balance. How much time to spend on our business? On our families? Ourselves? And how do we fit it all into the only 24 hours we have?

For me, this has been one of the most challenging lessons. I grew up in Wisconsin, the heart of workaholic-ism. That Midwest work ethic can put people into the ground faster than anything else out there, I think.

I grew up equating hard work with success – if you wanted to be successful, you better be prepared to work your tail off. So when I started my business, I immediately put that ethic into play. If I could get all my work done during the week, there must be something wrong. I must not have enough clients. And I must not be successful enough.

But when you combined my workaholic nature with my perfectionism, that’s when things started to get out of control. There was ALWAYS something I should be doing for my business. Therefore, it was difficult to justify taking ANY time off for myself. Worse yet, I had a little voice in the back of my mind that would say things like if I wasn’t working, then I’m being lazy or procrastinating or something.

And, since my husband grew up in the same state with the same work ethic, he supported my need to be working all the time. Plus, he worked equally as hard himself.

So what was the outcome of all this? I burned out.

My burnout took place in 2003. After I recovered, I realized I had to start doing things differently or I would end up right back where I was again (burned out and unable to help anyone, much less myself). And since I still wanted to help people and I was still passionate about marketing and copywriting, I realized I would have to learn how to run my business differently if I was going to stay in business.

That was really the catalyst for me to change both myself and my business. I had to change a lot of things, including my mindset. It also has made me realize I have to value taking time off for me. If I don’t value it, it won’t happen.

Basically it comes down to this — as entrepreneurs and small business owners, we are our business. Even if we have a team to support us (which I sincerely hope all of you do) how far we can grow and take our business ultimately rests on our shoulders. And if those shoulders are slumped over, exhausted from overwork and poor health and lack of sleep and loss of passion for what we do, then that’s going to ultimately affect how far our businesses will grow.

It’s that simple.

3 Tips to Get You Out of Overwhelm

One of the biggest issues I hear from entrepreneurs is how much they struggle with overwhelm. Unfortunately there’s no easy answer to get you out of overwhelm completely, but if you start making a habit of the below 3 tips, chances are your life is going to get a lot easier.

1.  Get very clear on exactly what you personally should be doing. Look I get it. For years I had a very busy feast-or-famine freelance copywriting business. I know what it’s like to go at your business alone and just how many tasks you’re trying to squeeze into your days.

But the reality is there are only so many hours a day. And there are so many things you can do in one day. And if you’re not clear on the top activities you should be doing, you can quickly find yourself spending hours on tasks that other people should really be doing (or maybe even things that don’t need to get done at all).

Now once you’re clear on what you should and shouldn’t be doing, what do you do with the tasks you shouldn’t be doing but still need to be done? Well that’s where tip #2 comes in.

2. Surround yourself with a team that supports you because they do the tasks you shouldn’t be doing. It’s not just enough to build a team if that team isn’t actually taking things off your plate. The entire point is to have a team that frees you up to focus on your highest-payoff activities.

Now what do you do when you can’t afford a team? Well, what I always say is start small. Maybe 10 hours a month for bookkeeping or to start scheduling appointments. And then you make sure you take those 10 hours and do something that brings you income.

However, for this to work, you need to really make sure you do devote 10 hours to revenue-generating activities, which leads me to my third tip.

3. Set and maintain boundaries. This is probably the biggest tip of all. From my experience, entrepreneurs who are suffer the least from overwhelm are also the best at setting boundaries.

So what do I mean by setting and maintaining boundaries? Here’s a partial list:

  • If you’ve committed to 10 hours a month of revenue-generating activities to pay for your monthly bookkeeper, then you spend that time doing revenue-generating activities.
  • You allow your team to do their work and support you — YOU don’t start doing their work because it’s “easier” than delegating
  • You work during those times you designated as working time, and you don’t work during those times you have other plans. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get up early in the morning or stay up late to finish a project — what this means is you discipline yourself to work when you’re supposed to (and don’t allow distractions to keep you from getting your work done) and don’t work when you should be doing something else — for instance skipping your workout class or cancelling girl’s night out or not showing up for your child’s soccer game.

The last one is probably the hardest to do but if you can master it, it will do wonders to helping you get out of overwhelm.

What Do You Do When You Lose Your Mojo? 3 Tips

It happens. For many of us entrepreneurs, our business is built around us. So when we get tired, stressed, overwhelmed, burnt out or lose our mojo, our business suffers. And when that happens, it can impact us in all sorts of negative ways.

So when we do lose our mojo, what can we do to get it back? Here are 3 tips to help you out:

1. Take care of yourself so it doesn’t happen in the first place. Okay, I realize if you’re already suffering from burn  out and have lost your mojo this isn’t going to help you much, but for the rest of you (and once you’ve gotten your mojo back) this is where you need to start.

So, when I say take care of yourself, I mean more then eating well and getting enough sleep (although it can certainly mean that). What I mean is you have to do things that “fill the well.” That’s more of a creativity expression — if you don’t do things that feed your creativity and fill the well, the well of creativity will run dry and then you’ll be in a fix. But it’s the same concept for you as an entrepreneur.

Basically two things are going on as an entrepreneur — along with doing all those fun things that use up the well of creativity (or well of passion or whatever makes sense for you) you also end up doing things that aren’t your strengths. So, as an entrepreneur, you actually run the risk of burning out from two different sides — emptying the well and draining yourself from doing tasks you hate. (This is why so many entrepreneurs struggle with losing their mojo and burning out, because they don’t realize this is happening, they try and power through it and then it all blows up in their face.)

So what you need to do is take the time to do things that fill your well and feed your soul, plus try and eliminate the tasks you hate. (Honestly, there WILL come a time where you simply can’t do those tasks anymore and that’s a really bad place to be if you have no back up plan.) At the same time, you should do things that take care of your general health and well being — exercise, eat right, sleep more, go out with friends, read a good book, etc.

If you make a point of taking care of yourself and your needs, you should avoid this whole nasty business in the first place.

2. If you are stuck in burn out and have lost your mojo, be gentle with yourself. Look, you didn’t get here overnight and you’re not going to cure yourself overnight. So take a deep breath and know this is a process and you WILL recover, it just might take a little time. (Maybe more time than you want but it is what it is.) Beating yourself up and berating yourself is just going to make the healing process take that much longer.

3. Put together a plan. Start by taking some time off. Even if it’s a weekend. Or just one day. Try and get away from your office and your computer. If you can take a week off, better yet.

Now, if you only end up taking off a day or a weekend, you may still really not feel like being back when you open the door to your office, but remind yourself you’re being gentle and this is a process. I just want you to break the cycle you’re in and clear your head a bit. What you should do now is figure out what you need to be doing to feed your soul, fill the well AND take care of yourself. If you don’t know what those tasks would be, try a bunch of them out. (“The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron can really help fill the creative well if you want a place to start).

Also, take some time to start delegating those tasks you hate doing. Get them off your to-do list. The faster you can stop doing them, the faster you’re going to start feeling better.

And through it all, keep reminding yourself this is a process and it WILL get better, once you’re filled the well, feel better health-wise and get rid of the tasks that drain you.

Biz Success Strategies — Are You On a High or a Low?

At one of Alex Mandossian’s Teleseminar Secrets Reunions, we did a “timeline” exercise. Alex started it by charting his highlights and lowlights from the past 20 years. It was fascinating to see this laid out for us and to know even someone like Alex was in the abyss at a couple of points.

Even more importantly, I learned 2 important takeaways I wanted to share with you.

The first came from one of the participants. He remarked that the timeline exercise really put things in perspective. These were simply events, not good or bad. They were neutral. Whether you’re in bankruptcy or just broke the 7-figure mark, it’s just an event. A fact.

It’s the story around it that turns it into something else. The story is where the emotions come in. And that’s where it gets messy.

The event isn’t the problem. The story is. If you can take the story out of what’s going on, you can look at what’s happening more objectively and objectively make a decision about how you’re going to handle it.

You may have heard the quote that life is about 10 percent what happens to you and about 90 percent your reaction to what’s happened to you. In other words, the event is in the 10 percent — your story is in the 90 percent.

Bad things happen to everyone. The vast majority of successful entrepreneurs I know were either in debt up to their eyeballs or actually declared bankruptcy at some point. In fact, I can’t think of a single successful business person who didn’t lose a significant amount of money at some time in their life — whether from a poor business decision, a bad investment, the market changing or a product that completely flopped. That’s just the way it is.

But, the successful business person picked themselves up and went back to work. They didn’t lay in the gutter and moan about their bad luck. (Well, maybe they did, but it didn’t last too long.) They mostly focused on what they were going to do next to recover.

The unsuccessful business person is the one who allows failure to stop them. The unsuccessful business person is the one who gets so sucked up in the story around the failure they don’t get around to picking themselves back up and trying the next thing.

The second takeaway I learned was about the pattern. Alex’s timeline (as those of people who shared) looked like a sine wave. It went up then it went down then it went up then it went down and it went up, etc.

And that’s what life is like. You’re up and you’re down. You can’t enjoy the ups without the downs. And you don’t stay down because you’ll end up going back up.

So, where are you in your timeline? Are you on a high? That’s fantastic — enjoy it. Eventually it will go down but don’t focus on that, focus on enjoying being on top. Are you on a low? Well, celebrate that as well, because that means you’re on your way up.

Even if you’re on the way down, still celebrate, because you know you’ll eventually hit the bottom and come back up. And life will be all the better because you just came out of the down.

Take the time to do this exercise for yourself. Chart out your most important milestones over the past 10 or 20 years. And take time to celebrate where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. And don’t forget to celebrate wherever you are right now.

The Biggest Mistake Entrepreneurs Make that Impact Their Sales

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Awhile ago, I was attending an event and I met someone who offered a service I needed. We exchanged cards and promised to be in touch when we returned home.

When I got home I turned over all those business cards to my team member as usual to enter into our database for follow up. It was about a month later when I realized this potential vendor had not contacted me or followed up with me. I no longer had the cards so I couldn’t look through them and I couldn’t remember her name or her business name and I didn’t have the time to comb through my database looking for her.

Needless to say, she didn’t get the project. And the sad part was I was ready to give it to her, that was why I thought of her a month later. But she hadn’t followed up so she never got a chance to get the business. I ended up finding someone else.

The morale of the story — you need to follow up with your prospects. Period.

Look, I know you’re spending a lot of time and money attracting leads into your business. You’re networking at live events, networking virtually using social networking, blogging, speaking, and probably a million other things.

So when those leads DO flow into your business, are you following up with them? Are you treating them like the gold they are?

I see this mistake happen over and over again. Entrepreneurs spend so much time and effort to bring leads home and then they never follow up. All those business cards get piled up on their desk never to get into a database. They have every intention of sending out a regular ezine for those online leads but somehow it never gets done. They rarely pick up the phone to connect with a warm (or even hot) prospect.

And then they wonder why their business isn’t growing and they struggle getting clients in the door.

There’s just no substitute for following up. (Have you heard the saying “the fortune is in the follow up?”) Giving someone your business card is NOT the same thing as following up with them. You’re relying on them to not lose your business card AND to remember the solution you offer when they’re ready for it. That just isn’t realistic.

You need to be the one to initiate, build and maintain the relationship. You need to be the one to remind the prospect about the solution you offer and how it will transform their life. Not the other way around.

Now I realize you’ve probably heard this before and you probably already know it. So if you’re not consistently following up, why not? What’s stopping you?

Most likely it’s 2 reasons — time and fear.

You’re busy and you don’t have the time to properly follow up. And you’re afraid you’re bugging your prospects if you do follow up.

I get it. I really do. I was there myself once. But here’s the thing — if you don’t get over those 2 issues, you’re never going to grow your business or enjoy consistent cash flow.

So here are 2 quick fixes to help you get started:

1. Who said YOU have to be the one to follow up? Get some help! Notice in my story I said I handed the business cards I collected to someone on my team to enter into my database. I did not say I was the one doing the entering. Have someone help you. (And the best part is you can probably justify the cost of this help because it directly impacts your bottom line).

2. Follow up doesn’t have to be calling people up and asking for work. Do things people will look forward to getting — send them articles, tips, or maybe something funny that entertains them. Think about ways you can stay in contact with your prospects that’s not about just making sales calls.

Remember, it typically takes 7 “touches” before a prospect turns into a client (and in the “new” economy it’s probably going to take a lot more). So don’t be discouraged if you’re first few attempts don’t turn into anything. Be persistent and consistent and eventually you’ll see your hard work paying off.