How Business Survivors Behave

I’m on the beach doing a little light reading—Laurence Gonzales’ Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why.  No beach trash in next to my SPF 70.  And while all of the stories Gonzales tells involve surviving accidents at sea, in the wilderness, or in the air, I can’t help but think about the proverbial “mountains” that we must conquer in business and how these survival tips could come in handy when faced with our biggest business challenges.

In Deep Survival, Gonzales seeks to explain what survivors have that the unlucky don’t.  How can you increase your odds of making it out of an accident alive?  It turns out survivors have some very special characteristics and these traits seem remarkably similar to the traits of successful business owners.  What makes the difference between surviving and perishing?  What do survivors know that the masses haven’t figured out?  And how can we apply these things to running our businesses better?

 They Stay Calm

This is pretty important and discussed throughout the book, Gonzales reiterates that staying calm is the key to surviving any accident.  Why?  Because the human body only has a limited amount of energy and if you are dehydrated and hypothermic, wasting your energy can literally mean the difference between life and death.  Another bonus to remaining calm during a crisis is that calmness usually produces better decisions.  Emotional outbursts usually lead to irrational choices or decisions you’d wish you hadn’t made.  #textsfromlastnight  If you find yourself in a bad spot, keep your cool.  Stay calm.

Similar to surviving a life-or-death accident, staying calm to make business decisions is imperative as well.  In business, you also only have a limited amount of energy—don’t waste it worrying about forces out of your immediate control.  Use your energy to its fullest by only focusing on what you can control—how you manage your employees, how you provide a great experience for your clients, and how could you be doing both these things better.

They’re Really Good at Ignoring “No”

I’m not sure I can say it any better, so I’m just going to quote Gonzales: “There is always one more thing that you can do.  Survivors are not easily frustrated.  They are not discouraged by setbacks.  They accept that the environment (or the business climate or their health) is constantly changing.  They pick themselves up and start the entire process over again, breaking it down into manageable bits.  Survivors always have a clear reason for going on.”

It’s that “never quit” attitude that keeps them going.  Nothing can keep them from living through their ordeal and getting out alive.  Similarly, in business, don’t let anyone break your spirit or take you off track from your goals.  It’s extremely upsetting, but some of our biggest business detractors are disguised as our closest family and friends.  Stay strong.  Stay above “no.”

They Complete Small Tasks

I’ve talked about this in multiple posts, but the power of small is real.  Establishing your daily routine to tackle just a few small tasks and get a little closer to your ultimate goal is the key to business success.  Think about it, if you did 3 things each day that were directly related to your ultimate business goal, at the end of the year, you’d have completed 1,095 tasks.  I wonder how many your competition completed?  Need help prioritizing your tasks?  Check out this previous post.

They Know They’re Smart

This isn’t an IQ thing or an ego thing.  Survivors just know that they’ll make it out.  Call it positive mental attitude.  Call it extreme self-reliance.  But they never have any doubt that they have the ability to make the best decisions they can to get through their current situation.  This also seems to be a factor in business success.  The best businesses are led by owners who never seem short of the confidence that they know they’re on the right track.  In addition, once a business owner survives one setback, they know they can do it again.

So, next time you find yourself in the midst of a business problem, simply recall the Navy Seal motto, “It could always be worse.”  Just kidding.  Actually, this is another key trait of survivors according to Gonzales—they find humor and appreciation for anything that comes their way.  As long as you know you can get through any of life’s or business’s difficulties, you will.  Staying calm, ignoring “no”, completing small tasks, and knowing you have what it takes will get you to the other side of your problem.

I made some notes about my posts for later this week and I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking when I wrote “How to get unstuck” for Thursday.  Hopefully I’ll figure that one out in time!  But, on Friday, I’ll share with you my favorite under-eye treatments.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why, Laurence Gonzales

Allergic to Bananas and Avocados? Here’s Your Smoothie Hack—and It’s Delicious!

I have a few friends that are really into smoothies.  Like they would invite you to grab a smoothie over coffee.  I know, crazy!

Unfortunately for me, I have a banana and avocado allergy, which pretty much makes smoothie consumption impossible.  There just aren’t that many choices that don’t contain one or both of these elusive fruits.  I mean–how is it that every freaking smoothie out there has avocado or banana or both?!

The two are actually linked allergy-wise.  Both contain similar proteins. Apparently, it’s pretty common to have a banana and/or avocado allergy, but I’ve yet to meet another person in my circle of friends or my city, that shares my struggle.

If you’re not sure if you’re allergic to avocados or bananas, here are some signs to look out for:

  1. When you eat bananas or avocados you get a nasty headache–that’s how it all started for me when I was about 19.  This type of allergy can often develop later in life.
  2. When you consume either avocado or banana, it feels like aliens are fighting in your stomach.  The worst!
  3. You vomit … everywhere.  Double worst.
  4. And the scariest … you go into anaphylaxis.  Your throat starts to close.  You get hives or experience itchiness on your hands and face.  Your cheeks turn red or purple.

I’ve experienced all of these signs of allergic reaction.  It’s really important to be careful and recognize the signs of an allergic reaction.  My first symptoms were headaches from eating bananas at breakfast in college.  More recently, when I turned 40, I ate deviled eggs made with avocado oil and went into anaphylaxis–I had to save my own life, which was less than awesome.  It seems like a lot of restaurants are using avocado oil to prepare food, so beware!  I’ve seen many posts on Instagram and in blogs that talk about how to beat an avocado or banana allergy–please be careful!  My personal experience with this allergy is that it has progressively gotten worse, not better with age.

But back to smoothie eating …  in my attempt to eat more healthy, fresh foods, I decided to be more consistent with eating breakfast.  I own two boutique fitness studios and my life is really active keeping up with my employees, my business, and my family.  I’m not usually hungry when I wake up and by the time I am hungry later in the morning, it’s almost lunch, so I wait to eat then.  Not the best way to start the day!

So, I thought … I need a breakfast that’s easy to prepare and portable.  And, of course, it has to taste amazing.  Thus … smoothies!

What’s a busy #girlboss to do?  Make a plan and work that plan!  I researched cookbooks and websites for easy breakfast ideas and tasty smoothies.  I was so excited to find the Simply Real Health Cookbook, written by Sarah Adler.  Check out her website and love, love her Instagram @simplyrealhealth

With all the great smoothie recipes in my Simply Real Health Cookbook, I wanted to give breakfast its due—plus running out the door with a smoothie I could consume as I went about my morning seemed like a good breakfast comprise.  There was just one problem … EVERY SMOOTHIE RECIPE HAD AVOCADO AND BANANA.  Dammit.

So, how to substitute banana and avocado?  Well, I realized if the recipe called for ½ cup banana and ½ cup avocado, I could substitute cashews (1 cup) and blend with all the other ingredients for the same consistency and taste.  And the best part is, I’m not substituting something processed or full of sugar.  Victory!

Pro tip: If you use a high-speed blender like Vitamix, you don’t need to soak the cashews overnight.  Just blend until all ingredients are smooth and flowing freely.  If your blender isn’t super-powerful–get a Vitamix!  Or, you could soak the cashews overnight in a bowl of filtered water.  Totally fine, but you do have to be on the ball and plan ahead the night before.

I love that Sarah Adler, recommends changing your smoothie at least seasonally so you can use the freshest ingredients and not get bored with your healthy morning routine.

Good advice.  I try to change mine each week–I get enough ingredients for 1 week at a time, which makes for efficient grocery shopping, but I’m still switching it up so I don’t get into that dreaded breakfast rut.

So there you go, enjoy your smoothie even if you can’t eat bananas or avocados!  You will no longer be left behind at breakfast.

Check out more of my tried and true smoothie recipes free of avocado and banana.  I’ve also learned how to make avocado-less guacamole (faux guac).  I call it fuacamole!  Yes, it is amazing and will change your avocado and banana-free life.  #forreal

Get my smoothie and fuacamole recipes and live your best Avocado and Banana-Free Life.  Learn more about my Avocado and Banana-Free Life here.

Follow me on Instagram @shesonhertoes to learn what I’m making each week that’s avocado and banana-free.


What’s been Holding You Back? Solve that Problem to Help Your Clients

It’s often said that the best businesses solve problems that matter or that our biggest problems are the source of our biggest opportunities.  What if solving the biggest problem you face personally—I mean, right now—tackling your biggest life problem at this exact moment, was the key to providing an amazing experience for your clients?

Now that I’ve owned my Pure Barre studios for five years, I’ve realized that the best businesses not only solve big problems, but they evolve to continue to be relevant for their clients as new problems surface.  When you first open your business, you’re in the Initial Problem Phase.  You’re solving an identified problem for your new clients.  For me, it was offering an amazing, high-quality barre class since no barre classes of our quality and consistency were available in Winston-Salem, NC.  And that’s been fun.  Building that community of women has been extremely rewarding.

But now, we seem to be entering into the Follow-On Problem Phase—just offering a great barre class isn’t enough.  My clients want to incorporate overall health and wellness into their fitness routine.  They want more variety of classes including cardio and they want to eat and live better.  Basically, they want it ALL.  And come to think of it … so do I.  I want to eat better, have more of a variety of workouts, and live a better life.  Who doesn’t?  What if solving my own problem is the key to moving my business into its next phase?

A few months ago, I came to the realization that most of our studio events were stale and getting boring.  We were in a rut of doing the same events each month and clients were no longer showing the same level of enthusiasm to participate.  What to do?!  If any of you regularly plan events to keep your clients engaged and returning to your business on a regular basis, you know that developing something new can be difficult and time-consuming.  It’s also nerve-racking because you never really know if clients will embrace your ideas until you announce them.  Furthermore, if we were entering into the Follow-On Problem Phase, what exactly was the new problem my team and I were trying to solve?

The biggest problem I am personally trying to overcome is being consistent with my classes and eating better food.  I’ve written how I started the Whole30 and when I finished those grueling 30 days, I felt awesome and didn’t really want to go back to eating like I had been.  Ok, I was totally ready for a Corona or 4, but that was about it.

When you’re single, cooking for one can be less than exciting.  It’s really easy to get into a rut of making the same things or throwing random leftovers together because it seems like a waste of time to prepare a proper meal for just one person.  But that’s so bad—because often time eating for one involves prepared or processed foods that aren’t that great for you and can zap your energy making working out seem like a chore.  It’s a bad cycle to get into—especially for someone trying to lead a fitness community.  Finding Sarah Adler and her website and blog, Simply Real Health ( has been perfect for me.  The blog is full of great ideas, recipes and pictures.  The cookbook of the same name, Simply Real Health is also amazing ($39.95).  I’ve tried almost all the recipes and started eating breakfast more consistently after trying the smoothies.

But what I’m the biggest fan of are the seasonal meal plans.  I just bought Spring and right now, you can download a free 3-day sample meal plan to try out.  The Spring Meal Plan was about $100 and includes 4 weeks of recipes for every single meal.  There are also some great bonus items including healthy snacks, great side dishes to incorporate if you’re having friends over, and a guide to healthy choices in restaurants.  It’s perfect for me because each week I get a complete grocery list, head to the store knowing exactly what I’ll need to make all of my meals each day, and I’m good to go for the week.  Oh, and the best part … everything tastes amazing and is easy to prepare.  Thanks to Sarah Adler and Simply Real Health, my healthy eating problem was solved!  So of course, I had to pass on this gold to all my clients and thus the Pure Health Challenge was born!

As I mentioned before, our events seemed stale and uninspiring. We had just been recycling them from previous years.  It was time to shake things up and drill down to what really mattered most to me and my clients—a total health experience.  Here’s what we came up with and what we’ll be doing in my studios for all of June and July. That’s right!  60 days of Pure Health!

  1. First, we decided that we’d need a baseline to know where we all are with our health. My chiropractor, Dr. Gray, has this body composition analysis machine called, InBody.  We partnered with him to bring InBody to the studios in the beginning of June for every Pure Health Challenge participant to get an assessment including weight, muscle mass, fat mass, water, hydration level and many other indicators to know where they were at the beginning of the Challenge.  After 6 weeks, Dr. Gray will come back to the studio with InBody to measure everyone’s progress.  We’ll literally be able to quantify all of the work completed during the Challenge.  Exciting stuff!
  2. Of course, everyone gets the Simply Real Health cookbook to start planning healthy and tasty meals.
  3. During the Challenge, we’re asking everyone to take 4 classes each week. This seems reasonable and doable.  If you complete 4 classes each week, you’ll earn a small reward from Pure Barre or our other partners, Village Juice and Kleur Shop.  If you don’t complete the 4 classes, just reset the next week.    But, sometimes just starting is the hardest part, so we’re partnering with Kleur Shop to host an evening to talk about what’s holding us back from committing to working out like we know we should.
  4. At Pure Barre, we have special Intensive classes which take our clients further out of their comfort zone to target specific areas of the body and do some exciting new things we wouldn’t normally work in a regular class. Everyone participating in the Pure Health Challenge will have the opportunity to take our Strength & Balance Intensive in June and the Full Body Burn Intensive in July.  Sweat!
  5. And what Challenge calendar wouldn’t be complete with an outdoor Pop Up class?! We’ll have an amazing pop up at Village Juice the morning of Sunday, June 25th and get some great juice and healthy snacks after.
  6. Finally, one of my favorite restaurants in Winston, Spring House, agreed to create a Paleo Happy Hour for all Pure Health Challenge participants at the end of July.  Thanks Chef Tim and Elizabeth for letting us celebrate our good health!

Coordinating all these activities was a huge undertaking, so I’m glad I have my Team to help me.  I’ve never been more excited for anything at the studios!  Figuring out how to solve my own problem of consistently taking class and eating healthy, good food brought about this amazing program of events that will benefit the hundreds of women taking class at the studios this summer.  Going forward all of our events and programming will seek to provide a better understanding of total health—until we reach our next Follow-On Problem Phase.

If you’re local to the area, stop by the studio and learn more about our Pure Health Challenge.  If not, check out the links to Simply Real Health and start the workout you like best in your area.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my newest life hack—how to make a smoothie without bananas or avocados.  I am allergic to bananas and avocados, which makes smoothie consumption pretty difficult—but I finally figured out how to substitute those elusive fruits and now feel like I’m winning at life—or at least breakfast.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Simply Real Health Cookbook ($39.95)

Simply Real Health Free 3-Day Sample Spring Meal Plan


How to Make a Simple Checklist a Powerful Tool

Last week, I told you about a book I just finished called The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande.  I read this book in one sitting.  It was so fascinating.  It’s all about how the simple idea of a checklist can take away the complexity of our lives and have a huge impact on how efficiently and safely we can accomplish tasks.  Atual Gawande is a doctor, so the majority of the examples and stories in the book are from the medical field and how adding checklists can literally save lives and reduce healthcare costs.  The idea of adding a checklist somewhere in your business is so simple, yet so powerful.   A larger discussion of what checklists can do for any business seemed appropriate.  So here goes …

On the surface, checklists seem overly simple.  As smart business owners, do we really need something as simple as a checklist to improve our overall business performance and better serve our clients?  We sure do!  If someone told me they had a tool that was simple for all my employees to use, yet ensured accuracy and consistency across our processes, I’d say, sign me up!  And the best part is … creating a checklist requires time, but it’s totally free.

So why are we so skeptical of checklists?  If they’re so effective and useful, why don’t we use them more often in business?  Why do we overcomplicate things or try to create fancy multi-colored flow charts in PowerPoint?  This is one of my favorite sections of the book found on page 177.  I think it sums up any checklist skepticism and also explains why checklists can be so effective:

“The fear people have about the idea of adherence to protocol is rigidity.  They imagine mindless automatons, heads down in a checklist, incapable of looking out their windshield and coping with the real world in front of them.  But what you find, when a checklist is well made, is exactly the opposite. The checklist gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn’t have to occupy itself with (Are the elevator controls set?  Did the patient get her antibiotics on time?  Did the managers sell all their shares?  Is everyone on the same page here?), and lets it rise above to focus on the hard stuff …”

So basically, incorporating checklists into your business won’t give your employees a pass on thinking critically.  The opposite happens—once employees no longer have to worry about the many details of a simple process, they can actually work towards solving more complex problems.  Checklists provide a structure to complete simple, everyday tasks leaving our minds free to focus on more complicated matters.  But do they really work?

This week, my manager, Emily, created some checklists for all of our front desk associates to ensure they are never without a project during their time working in the studio.  I’m interested in learning the following:

  1. Did the checklists simplify any of our daily tasks?
  2. Did more work get accomplished?
  3. Did we sell more?
  4. Did we retain more clients?
  5. Did I hear any compliments from clients about my employees going above and beyond?
  6. Did the employee have a better understanding of what work to complete?
  7. Did the employee feel more empowered to help our clients?
  8. Did employees pick and choose which tasks to complete?  Why?
  9. Could the checklists be improved?
  10. Was anything missing from the checklists?

Since I employ several different personality-types in the front desk associate role, I’m very curious to see if we will need to create individual checklists or if we can create something that works well for everyone.  I’ll give it a few weeks and report back.  In the meantime, start thinking about how you can incorporate checklists into your business.

The best businesses solve problems that matter—have you ever thought about whether solving a problem that’s been holding you back, could help your clients?  On Thursday, I’ll discuss just that:  how solving my own problems with consistently working out and eating healthy led to some big changes at my studios.

On Friday, I’ll share my newest life hack—how to make a smoothie without bananas or avocados.  I am allergic to bananas and avocados, which makes smoothie consumption pretty difficult—but I finally figured out how to substitute those elusive fruits and now feel like I’m winning at life—or at least breakfast.

Until then, stay on your toes!

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande


Lessons from Billionaires, the Power of Checklists, and How to Say “No”

It’s been a busy few weeks of reading for me.  Check out my top suggestions to help you run your business and life more efficiently …

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, Tim Ferriss: When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it.  I’ve always thought Tim Ferriss was a little wacky.  I mean, he advocates not using a top sheet on your bed to save time—I mean who cares?  Try owning 2 fitness studios, you won’t care how many sheets are on your bed, you’re so tired every night.  The introduction didn’t really lay any of those fears to rest.  However, once I got into this book, I couldn’t put it down.  There was some great advice!  Basically, Ferriss took the highlights from the most influential people he’s interviewed on his podcast over the years and created a book about all of their best advice for business and in live.  I found myself dog-earring pages to go back to review or to buy a book recommended by the person profiled.  Tools of Titans is designed so you can skip around or not read some of the profiles if you don’t want to.  I did a little skipping, but found at least a few paragraphs of each person profiled extremely interesting.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande:  I read this book in one sitting.  It was so fascinating.  It’s all about how the simple idea of a checklist can take away the complexity of our lives and have a huge impact on how efficiently and safely we can accomplish tasks.  Atual Gawande is a doctor, so the majority of the examples and stories of the book are from the medical field and how adding checklists can literally save lives and reduce healthcare costs.  The idea of adding a checklist somewhere in your business is so simple, yet so powerful.  After reading this book, you’ll feel a call to action to see where you can implement checklists in your business or other areas of your life.  This is a must-read!

The Power of NO: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness, James Altucher:  I sped through this book in a few days as well.  Since I tend to over-commit or over-schedule myself, I was hoping to learn a lot from the pages of this book.  And … it didn’t disappoint.  I have James Altucher’s other books on my reading list now.  The big problem with refusing to say “No” to things you don’t have time for or don’t want to do, is that committing to things you don’t want to do takes a huge toll on your remaining time for the things you need and like to do.  The lesson here is the more you say “No,” the more you can say “Yes.”

Next week, I’ll write more about how important checklists are for creating a consistent experience in your business.  I’ll also share how I’ve worked to solve one of my biggest problems, prioritizing my health and healthy eating, which ultimately is better serving my clients.  And finally, I am allergic to bananas and avocados, which makes enjoying a smoothie pretty difficult—but I finally figured out how to substitute those elusive fruits and now feel like I’m winning at life—or at least breakfast.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Are You Stalled Out in Your Business? Why You Need a Visionary and an Integrator

Is this your current business reality?

  1. Show up in the morning to open your business.
  2. Feel overwhelmed by mountains of work—stuff that keeps you from doing the things you would prefer to be doing or keeps you from doing the tasks you enjoy.
  3. Feel frustrated by your employees because you can’t get them to see your vision. But you’re so freakin’ passionate about it!  Ugh!  What’s wrong with them?
  4. Start to drive your employees crazy to the point that they now resent you.
  5. Leave for the day.

Yep.  That was me about a year ago too.  Why was I banging my head against the wall in frustration?  Why are you running into a business roadblock, unable to grow your client base?  Turns out that every successful business has to be run by two key leaders: The Visionary and the Integrator.  If your business lacks the leadership of either one, you’ll find your business stalled out, and unable to reach that elusive next level.  Why is that?  Let me explain …

I recently listened to a great podcast called “How to Find the Perfect Business Partner for Explosive Growth … with Mark Winters” (Mike Dillard, Self-Made Man, May 3, 2017).  During the 45-minute discussion, Mike interviewed Mark Winters, author of Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business.  Mark explained that the Visionary and the Integrator are like two pieces to a puzzle—once you find your match, your business is set for growth.  If you’re the Visionary, you’ll add some “rocket fuel” to your business’ growth trajectory once you find your Integrator and vice versa if you’re the Integrator meeting your Visionary.

So how do the Visionary and the Integrator complement each other?  The Visionary is the dreamer who is always working on “what’s next” and solving all the business’ problems with creativity and unique ideas.  The Visionary isn’t into details and doesn’t really care about how things get done—just that everything happens according to the vision.  That’s where the Integrator comes in.  The Integrator is all about executing detailed plans on a day-to-day basis—and they’re really good at it.  The Integrator seeks harmony in the business amongst employees and works to solve conflicts.  So pretty much, the opposite of the Visionary.  But, both serve key functions.  Without each role, the business would suffer.

Any guess as to which one I am?  I took the Visionary and Integrator Assessments on the Rocket Fuel website and … it was no surprise that I am a Visionary with a score of 98.  I only scored 56 on the Integrator assessment, which is well-below the threshold.  This wasn’t surprising—I’m really not into details.  I like to think up the big ideas and then let my team run with them.  I’m always working on our next step.  So, if I’m the Visionary of my business.  Who’s the Integrator?

Taking the assessments got me thinking: Is my manager, Emily, an Integrator?  About a year ago, Emily got a lot of increased responsibilities and began to solely manage both of my Pure Barre studios.  And business at the studios took off.  Turns out Emily is a solid Integrator with a score of 93 (her Visionary score was 28).  We’re a perfect business match!  Whew—that would have been awkward if she had been a Visionary too.

But seriously, Emily is great at taking my ideas and thoughts and making them happen.  She takes care of all the details, which leaves me to keep working on what’s next.  Sometimes she has to bring me back to reality about what we can really accomplish—but only sometimes.

So, what does this mean?  Well, I was thinking about giving Emily some additional responsibility.  I wanted her to plan out our marketing calendar.  Now I’m realizing, maybe I need to stick to envisioning our events and having her work on the details.  Of course, I want her opinion and input because she has great ideas, but maybe she’ll be more successful spear-heading some other projects including tracking our new clients as they navigate through our sales process—something that requires a lot of patience and detail, two things I have on short supply.  I’m a firm believer in setting my team up for success, which also means making sure they are completing tasks that play to their strengths.

What about you?  Are you the Visionary or the Integrator of your business?  Do you have your counterpart?  If you find yourself stuck trying to keep your business going but constantly feel burnt out or just spinning your wheels, maybe it’s time to assess your strengths and weaknesses and hire someone who complements the areas in which you are deficient.

As business owners, we have to look introspectively and play to our strengths.  But that doesn’t mean you can neglect your weaker skills.  Hire someone that excels in the areas you struggle.  Or conversely, are you having trouble with a key employee?  Maybe you’re both Visionaries butting heads?  Or your both Integrators duking it out for who has the better process.  Either way, the Visionary and Integrator Assessments are a valuable way for you to learn more about yourself as a leader, the key members of your team and how you all work together.  So fascinating, don’t you think?!

I’ve been reading up a storm!  On Friday, I’ll share my latest must-reads.  If you’re into checklists, I’ve got the book for you!  Stay tuned.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business

 Take the Visionary and Integrator Assessments at the Rocket Fuel website.

Don’t forget to check out @shesonhertoes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  I’m working on creating an actual e-newsletter, so be sure to scroll up a bit and “follow” this blog via email as well.

Is “Suffering” a Prerequisite for Business Success?

I had a boss that used to say: “You don’t get more by asking for less.”  And I wholeheartedly agree.  Think about it for a minute.  When you own a business, go ahead, ask for the sale from an existing or prospective client. If you don’t ask for your clients to support your business by making the purchase of a good or service, you won’t grow your business.  Hell, ask for the upsell too.  If you don’t at least try to get your clients to spend more, you’ll never know if you could have taken your business growth one step further.  There is one exception, however, where I completely disagree with this philosophy and that’s when it’s applied to the crowdfunding concept in business.  While crowdfunding has been dubbed revolutionary, it seems pretty bogus to me and misses some key fundamentals of business.

What is crowdfunding?  A quick Google search defines crowdfunding as: “The practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”  So, kind of like, begging.  But, if you do it on the Internet, all is forgiven because it’s “disruptive.”

There have been a few businesses in my area that have successfully completed crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and then gone on to open their doors.  Look, I get it, maybe they were trying to get more publicity or buy-in from the community to validate their opening, but it got me thinking …

Shouldn’t you have to suffer a little bit to go into business?  Meaning, shouldn’t you have to shoulder the burden of suffering working a crappy job to support yourself or save enough money before becoming a full-time entrepreneur or small business owner?  Does suffering to save up your own funding make you better at running your business and achieving your dreams of being self-employed?  I think so.  Here’s why …

You Need Experience

Crowdfunding seems to discount some key fundamentals of business including experience and the ability to create a viable business plan.  It’s crazy, but you really do need experience to run a business.  Even if that experience is guiding you on what not to do, it’s still valuable in shaping how you plan to operate and serve your clients.  In addition to experience, you also need to be able to create a viable business plan including your expected sources of revenue, typical customer, identified suppliers, growth factor, and vision, mission and culture statements, just to name a few.

By relying on a crowdfunding campaign, you are looking to get funding from hundreds or thousands of investors all pledging a small amount, sometimes under $100.  Are any of these investors vetting your experience or business plan?  Probably not.  If you’re receiving funding but no one is asking you the hard questions of what makes your business viable or competitive, maybe it’s not.  You may have presented a great idea for funding, but ideas are different then an actual business model mapped out in a business plan.  Having experience might save you from an embarrassing public failure and putting other people’s money at risk.

You Need Some Skin in the Game

Backing your business with your own money means you will be a better steward of your finances.  When you get a gift of money, do you sweat over every penny to make sure you spend them all wisely?  No, you probably do the exact opposite and buy something you wouldn’t normally purchase because you are treating yourself or operating under the guise that the unaffordable is now affordable.  If you have self-funded your business or are accountable to actual investors, however, your wallet is double padlocked and every purchase is made with calculated intent.  Proceeds from a crowdfunding campaign have the potential to be viewed just like that gifted money.  Other people’s money is easy to spend.  Spending your own money, however, is usually a little harder.

 You Need to be Responsible for Your Own Achievements

Maybe I’m just jaded because I did have to “suffer” for several years working in a job that I didn’t especially like before I had enough money to quit and start my first Pure Barre studio.  But, I have to ask, when did it become “ok” for other people’s financial assistance to be the critical element for realizing our own dreams and goals of self-employment?  Take some responsibility people!  Work that crappy job.  Make those sacrifices.  Save your money by eating peanuts for lunch or surfing reception buffets for dinner (both things I did by-the-way in my first job to supplement my $100/week grocery and meal budget).

When you find yourself sacrificing for the things that you want in life—like being your own boss or opening a business—you know you’re committed to making these dreams a reality.  You also start doing everything possible to reach your goals.  Call me crazy, but being responsible with your money should open whatever doors you desire.  If you haven’t done the hard work and calculated the cost of your self-employed dreams, you haven’t earned the right to pursue them.

Sorry, there’s no easy way to get started opening your own business.  You definitely need experience, some skin in the game and to be responsible for your own dreams and achievements to make your business a reality.  Forgetting these fundamentals in favor of a trend is only going to expose your business flaws and render your business uncompetitive.  If you find yourself with a great idea but no funding to make it happen, take the time to develop a viable business plan and do the work to save the money yourself or find legitimate investors.  E-begging isn’t going to get you very far.

I just listened to this great podcast that identified two roles in operating a successful business, the visionary and the integrator.  Which one do you think you are?  And could you benefit from partnering or employing your counter-part?  Exciting stuff!  Read more in Thursday’s post.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Don’t forget to check out @shesonhertoes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  I’m working on creating an actual e-newsletter, so be sure to scroll up a bit and “follow” this blog via email as well.

Check out my new article in YFS Magazine

I just had another article published in YFS Magazine–that’s Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed.  I started out joining their mailing list and receiving great articles each week until I had a thought that maybe I could write a few of those great articles!

Anyway, my latest article is called the Employee Risk Myth: Why You’re Afraid to Scale.  I discuss some common misperceptions about hiring and scaling your business as well as why its important to embrace the risk associated with hiring employees.  Spoiler alert!  It’s possible for you to mitigate that risk!

Check it out here and let me know what you think.

In case you missed it, here’s a link to my first article: Pure Barre Franchisee Shares 3 Vital Truths About Franchise Ownership


Tomorrow, I’ll have a new post up about whether you should you have to suffer in business.  Meaning, does the suffering to save up enough money to start make your business more successful?

Until then, stay on your toes!

Pucker Up: Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment from Fresh

It’s getting warmer and that means more time outside for sports and barbeques or your annual trip to the beach.  Warmer weather also can mean more humid conditions for your workouts, whether they’re in the studio or outside, which means making sure your skincare and makeup products can withstand that extra heat.  I’ve found a great tinted lip treatment from Fresh. Check out the details below:

Fresh, Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($24.00)

I’m loving this tinted lip treatment because not only does it protect my lips with SPF 15, but it moisturizes, and contains a little color perfect for wearing in the studio.  Lip gloss can get all over the mic cover when I’m teaching (kind of gross).  So, having a great lip shade that’s not going to wear off is a bonus!  #purebarreownerproblems

Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment Hues

There are ten shades to pick from including sheer and some neutrals, so try the one what works best for you.

Next week, I’ll seek to answer the following questions in my posts:  Should you have to suffer in business?  Meaning, if you do a Kickstarter to get funding, is that cheating?  Does the suffering to save up enough money to start your business make you more successful?  And then: Are you a visionary or an integrator?  I’ll also give you an update on what I’m reading—I’ve got a whole stack of new books to help me increase my business savvy and I can’t wait to share!

Until then, stay on your toes!


Make the Time to Do Big Things

Why is it that when we think about doing something “big” we tend to delay making decisions or even getting started?  The thought of starting can seem overwhelming.  Or conversely, you start strong and then after a few days or weeks, your energy fizzles out and you’re back to where you started—not taking action.

One of the things I’ve learned this year, is that “finding” time is futile and useless.  You’ve got to “make” time for your top priorities.  Like—you have to schedule it, preferably as early in the day as possible.  Why early?  When you do the most important things first, they actually get finished.  You won’t run into issues of other seemingly more important things popping up at the last minute, or being too tired later in the day.  Not only do you have to “make” time for your priorities (as in schedule time), you have to be consistent scheduling this time.

Sounds great.  Don’t we have check-lists or to-do lists for figuring out what we have to accomplish each day?  We do.  But … have you ever stopped to think about whether the line items on your list are the “right” to-do’s.  If you’ve defined a big goal or a big task you want to complete, are your to-do’s really helping you reach your goal or get your big task accomplished?  I mean, how many times have you already done something only to write it down on your list so you could check it off—100% guilty!  You know you do it too.

The problem with to-do lists is that creating them doesn’t usually take into account what you need to prioritize—or what you actually need to accomplish.  The dark side of to-do’s lies in their format which gives equal weight to each line item.  You just complete each task, check it off, or cross it out and you’re done.  Yea!  Got that done!  Onto the next …

The thing is, if you don’t stop to think about what is really important to you, you can get caught up in checking and crossing off, but still come up empty making progress on your goals.

I bring this up because there are a lot of things that I want to accomplish this year and I only have 24 hours in a day just like everyone else.  The only way for me to get more done is to work smarter and prioritize.  I had the big goal of writing a book this year—which I recently finished and will be publishing soon (more details on that to come).  How did I make more time to write and still get all of my other daily tasks running the studios done?  Two words: time blocking.

Time Blocking

The concept of time blocking is pretty simple.  You create blocks of time to get your most important tasks completed first and then everything else gets done at the end of the day.  Each night you also set aside a block of time (could just be 5-10 minutes) to plan your next day and ensure your top priorities are actually tasks that will help you reach your broader goals.   Planning the night before means that these top priorities are just in fact that—top priorities not just line items on a list.

If you get to the most important stuff first thing, you’ll actually get important things done.  Imagine that!  You won’t run the risk of being sidetracked or getting tired in the afternoon and not finishing the things that are most important.

To work smarter, you’ll have to build a better to-do list by making your to-do’s things that are actually important and help you accomplish your goals.  But is there a way to actually build a better list?  Or learn to prioritize?  I’ve found that using my Day Designer Planner is a great way to prioritize my top to-do’s and schedule my time blocks.  Let me explain how this low-tech solution keeps me on track.

Day Designer Planner

I love technology.  Anything that can make my life easier or more efficient and eliminate paper and clutter is tops in my book.  Except…my planner.  I tried to embrace my iCalendar.  All the syncing and the iCloud was great, but I was missing appointments or showing up late—A LOT.  And the constant alerts were kind of annoying.  I also had to carry around a separate notebook of to-do’s, ideas and events.  So, I went back to the planner.  But not just any planner, Whitney English’s The Day Designer.

You can get a version of it at Target, but if you’re serious about keeping your schedule, goals and to-do’s organized, you’ll want to spring for the Flagship Edition ($59).  If you amortize that across the year, that’s less than $5.00/month to keep your schedule together—totally worth it, if you’re as busy as I am!  The mid-year version starts June 1st, so it’s not too late to take your first steps to prioritizing and structuring your time.  I’m kind of obsessed with the White Marble cover! 

It’s the layout of the planner that is what I like best about it.  Each day gets its own page starting at 5:00 AM and finishing up at 9:00 PM—perfect for me because sometimes I have to teach an early class.  The appointments are on the left and the to-do’s are on the right, so your whole day is right there on one page.  There is also a spot to prioritize your top three to-do’s which is always helpful when you have lots to accomplish in limited time.  Taking the time to determine your top three to-do’s the night before (as we mentioned in the rules of time blocking) can provide some serious structure to your day and ensure that you are always achieving your most important tasks before tackling other items of less importance.

You can check out free downloads of a day’s page here to test out how the planner might work for you.  Another great free download is the Monthly Goal Progress page—I use this to make sure I’m on track with my larger goals and tasks that can’t be completed in just one day.  And, the Food & Exercise Log or Weekly Meal Plan pages are helpful to hold yourself accountable to your workouts and healthy meals.

What big tasks or goals are you trying to accomplish right now?  Are you having trouble getting started?  Planning out your time to accommodate your top priorities is the first step to actually achieving them.  A simple check-list isn’t going to cut it.  Time block for what’s most important and stick to your schedule.  Setting yourself up for success means having the right tools—whether you get a Day Designer or use the calendar on your phone or computer—find what works for you and stay consistent in your efforts.  Who knows?  You might find that you had time to run your business and write a book!

On Friday, I’ll share a new cosmetic product that I’m using every day—and it’s not from Trish McEvoy.  Crazy, I know!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Day Designer