Video: Let’s Talk More About Networking

Ok, on Tuesday, I wrote about networking and gave you my 3 ways to maximize your networking opportunities beyond attending lame receptions.  When I graduated from college, I worked in Washington, DC on The Hill, and I had to go to a lot of receptions.  I mean a lot.  But, just showing up and standing around with a drink in your hand doesn’t always ensure you meet the right people that can help your career or your business.

But, since you can read the post, let’s get a little deeper …

Networking Is So Lame: How to Make Connections That Don’t Waste Your Time and Actually Benefit Your Business

Networking.  Why does it always seem so lame?  A bunch of people in a room trying to connect and figure out if they can help each other out.  Receptions offer limited time, so your goal is to determine fairly quickly if talking to someone is worth your time or if you need to move onto the next person.  And then sometimes you get stuck in those dreaded conversations with people you don’t really want to talk to, but just can’t seem to find a polite way to get away from.  Um … I think I’ll go get another drink.  Great, I’ll join you … Ah, perfect!  Damn!  Foiled again.

It’s kind of like freshman year for adults—everyone’s a little awkward, except for that one guy who is totally running for Rush Chair of his fraternity (Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman, damn glad to meet you). 

And if you’re not careful you can pack on 15 lbs. from eating all that bad reception food and drink.  So fun!

Unfortunately, networking and creating relationships are what business is all about.  So, networking isn’t something you can skip out on.  Building true business relationships isn’t done in 30 seconds while standing around with a drink in your hand.  There’s got to be another way!

I’ve found 3 ways that turn networking on its head.  If you’ve reached the point of never wanting to attend another reception again, keep reading …

Be the Main Attraction

Being the main attraction means the following:

Speaking to a group

Teaching a course, seminar or class

Participating in a panel discussion

Basically, doing anything where you are considered an expert and people are attending the event to see you.  Being the main attraction is my #1 way to effectively network—because it works!

As a fitness studio owner, there are many ways we can create opportunities to become the main attraction at an event.  I recently spoke to The Professional Women of Winston-Salem, where I talked about the importance of building a great team to help you run your business and discussed several reasons why we, as business owners, don’t act quickly to hire employees—I call it the Employee Risk Myth.  Check out @shesonhertoes on Instagram for a video clip.

This was a great opportunity because everyone attending the event was interested in hearing what I had to say.  I had a captive audience interested in my business and the message I was delivering.  To turn this into an opportunity to attract more clients to my business my manager, Emily, and I did the following:

We got everyone’s contact information:  By holding a drawing for 1 free month of Pure Barre classes, we were able to collect about 40 names, emails, and phone numbers that we can follow up with in the next few weeks.  It’s January!  If you’re wanting to workout, this is a great month to start, so our odds of getting these women in the studio to give Pure Barre a try are pretty good.

We told everyone what our goal was:  In my speech, I worked in some great language telling everyone that our goal was to get them all signed up for their first class before leaving.  And we didn’t quite get all of them, but we signed up about 10 women with about another 10 wanting to look at the schedule on their own time.  Wow!  Half the group was eager to convert.  And … we made a contact to schedule another event where Pure Barre will be the main attraction.  Did I mention, we can still contact all the others in attendance, because we got their information?  #winning

Here we are … waiting for everyone to rush the table and start the year off committed to fitness!

She's On Her Toes Networking

When you’re the main attraction, you get to run the show.  You can easily introduce yourself to everyone—they are all there to meet you.  You can get contact information to thank them for attending and invite them to try out your business.  And you can explain why you’re there in the first place, what your goal is—and it’s amazing, people will help you reach that goal.

Join a Mastermind Group

A mastermind group can take many forms.  Some are paid, some are free.  But they all seek to provide members with a way to meet, share ideas, and learn from each other in business.  The concept of a mastermind group was created by Napoleon Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich, which is a She’s On Her Toes must read, as well as the more modern Think and Grow Rich for Women.  Check them out below:

Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill ($11.41):  While you might be tempted to skip this book and just read the newer, modern, more woman-focused Think and Grow Rich for Women, you’d really miss out.  This is a classic business book that almost every successful business mind has read.  I think it really emphasizes the point that the fundamentals are long-lasting and always the first place to start when looking to build or grow any business—whether it was back in 1937 or at the present in 2018.

 Think and Grow Rich for Women, Sharon Letchter ($14.17):  I really enjoyed hearing Sharon Lechter speak and her book was just as insightful.  When Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937, he included 13 Steps to Success—but at that time all the major business minds and heads of companies were men.  Sharon goes through each of the 13 Steps and applies them to the lives of modern women.  I love her concept of living “one big life” instead of trying to find the elusive “work-life balance” that never quite seems attainable.  A must-read!

But back to masterminds and how they can help you network … joining a group of like-minded business professionals can really help you out in your own business.  One of the reasons traditional networking (think wearing a name tag at a reception) just doesn’t work for everyone is that not everyone in attendance is of the same like-mind as you.

In order to get the most out of attending events and interacting with people, they all have to be on the same page as you.  That’s why masterminds can be so effective—everyone in attendance is usually there to help each other, make connections, and simply get help solving business problems.  The whole “two heads are better than one” and “sometimes you need to step back from the problem” philosophies at their best.

Take Matters into Your Own Hands

In this world of trying to amass the most followers and likes, it’s easy to dismiss the value of a single relationship.  In networking, quantity means nothing.  It’s the quality of your business relationships that matter.  Instead of relying on receptions and networking events hosted by others, take matters into your own hands and simply invite the person or people you want to meet to meet with you.  What?!  Actually, reaching out to someone and inviting them to meet you?!  It’s so crazy, it just might work.

Since everyone’s time is valuable, it’s important to explain why meeting with you would help the other person.  You’ll have to do a little research …

What is their business mission?

Do they support any charities?

Do you both have similar interests?

Figuring out how you can add value to what they’re doing can generally help you secure a meeting.  Who knows, maybe this person has been wanting to get together with you too?!

If you’ve found networking lame and a huge waste of time in the past, it’s time to look at other ways to make quality business connections.  Attending events where you and your business are the main attraction, joining a mastermind group, and then simply working to cultivate quality relationships one meeting at a time can help you build a better network that will help support your business.  Think beyond lame receptions and evaluate attending events where you know you’ll meet other like-minded business owners and quality leads.

Check Out My New Home Office

It’s been about 2 months but I’ve finally completed my new home office.  Remember way back when … when I literally just had a room.  No furniture.  No desk.  No lamp.  No file cabinet.  Just some boxes and a bunch of books and papers that were in complete disarray.  What?  A cardboard box isn’t a file cabinet?

She's On Her Toes

Well … not anymore!  Check it all out!

As you’ll recall, I made a trip to IKEA and purchased my desk ($49.99), rug ($139), and desk lamp ($19.99).  I voyaged out one more time to purchase a Vittsjo double shelf ($79.99) and pulled off a pretty spectacular IKEA hack.  After spray painting the shelf the same color as the desk legs, I added some drawer pulls (also purchased at IKEA) to the top, making the shelf look well … like it hadn’t been purchased at IKEA.  In fact, one of my friends thought it came from a pricey local furniture store.  Nope!

She's On Her Toes Home Office 5

Here’s a detail on the top …

She's On Her Toes Home Office 4

But saving money on some things allowed me to spend more on others.  I bought this cool boho chair from a local designer’s showroom—I begged her to sell it to me after spying it in her window while waiting to pick up a pizza—true story.

She's On Her Toes Bulldog Approved

Bulldog approved!

This lamp was purchased locally.

She's On Her Toes Home Office 7

And these vintage file cabinets were literally dug out from under layers and layers of furniture at a shop near my house.

She's On Her Toes Home Office 1

I’m really excited to have such a great work space.  And … I have a lot to do in 2018!  Check out my new business idea One Life Foods Market here.

I hope everyone has a fabulous New Year’s.  Let’s make 2018 a year of action and a year of success!

I’m Gonna Do It! My New Business Idea: One Life Foods Market

It’s often said the best business ideas come from solving a problem.  And that you have to be passionate about a startup business for it to succeed.  As the owner of 2 Pure Barre studios, I’m extremely passionate about fitness and living a healthy life.  I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I can’t imagine not working out.

But there are two parts to that … what about the healthy life?  Yeah, there’s this whole healthy eating-thing that goes along with staying physically fit and you can’t really ignore it.

Unfortunately, the business that I already own doesn’t integrate healthy eating into its offerings … so, I’m gonna do it!  I’m going to start a new business to help solve a pretty big problem I’ve been facing: How to eat healthy meals when I’m too busy to cook.

Something tells me many of you struggle trying to solve this problem too!

What if there was a solution?  What if a business existed that eliminated most of the time required to eat healthy at home?

I will be launching One Life Foods Market (www.onelifefoodsmarket.com) to do just that.  Sorry, the website isn’t up yet—but it will be soon!

One Life Foods Market will be the place for busy people to buy healthy meals when they’re too busy to cook for themselves.  The business will have 3 tiers:

  1. One Life Foods Meal Plan—Want to cook, but find yourself totally uninspired when you get to the grocery store? Me too.  But it’s funny, when you have a meal plan along with a grocery list of all the things you’ll need for the week, shopping is a breeze and cooking is fun.  There are enough things in life to worry about, eating and making good food, shouldn’t be one of them.

This is how the business will start—the website will have monthly meal plans for sale.  I’ll be able to gage interest in the concept with minimal investment and spend time getting feedback on what meals customers like best or what could be improved upon.

  1. Pre-Made Meals Membership—You just don’t have time to cook, but want to eat healthy. Ordering your meals in advance for the week and picking them up would be your dream come true.  It’s mine too.  Luckily we know each other!

You may be wondering where the “market” part of One Life Foods Market comes in.  Assuming the feedback from the meal plans is positive, One Life Foods Market will open a store front for the pickup of pre-made meals.  The business plan will be to sell various types of weekly meal memberships—think meals for 2, 3, or 5 days made just for you.

  1. Hungry Now for a Healthy Meal—You got it! Simply walk-in and grab a meal or two.

Couldn’t plan ahead and order?  Work deadlines cutting into your cooking time?  Or just made a snap decision not to cook?  Walk-in and select a tasty meal.  Grab some healthy snacks, maybe even a bottle of wine.

So, what do you think?  Lots of work needed to build One Life Foods Market—branding, building and launching the website, marketing, finding the store front, opening, and hiring employees.  My first tasks will be to build and launch the website as well as do all the legal stuff that you have to do when starting a business.  I’ll keep you updated on the progress right here on www.shesonhertoes.com

I’ve made some big progress on outfitting my new home office, and on Thursday, I’ll reveal some pics!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Did I Accomplish My Goals for 2017?

Last December, I announced that my one-word mantra for 2017 was “GROWTH.”  Specifically, growing my business by either opening another studio, acquiring another studio, and increasing our retail sales by selling more workout apparel.  And since it’s about a week from the end of the year, I can confidently report that I accomplished NONE of these things!  Was 2017 a total failure?  Of course not.  Here’s why …

After evaluating these three choices, I realized that there were actually some better options out there.

Selling More High Margin Services

In addition to selling classes at my Pure Barre studios, we sell performance workout apparel including leggings, tanks, tees, and anything else you might need during a heart pumping, sweat streaming workout.  And that’s a great complement to taking class—clients are always going to need the right apparel to enhance their experience in the studio.  But … there’s this thing called margin.  Gross margin is defined as the total sale minus its cost of goods sold, divided by the total sale, expressed as a percentage.  Put more simply, the gross margin of a clothing sale is much less than the gross margin of a sale from our classes.  Put even more simply, it costs us much more to sell clothing than it does to generate income from classes.

After careful evaluation, it makes more sense to think of new and innovative ways to sell more classes and generate revenue from other high margin services or products that have a very minimal cost of goods sold, rather than chase lower margin sales from clothing.  Selling clothing will remain an important part of my business, but we will be focusing our time on creating more high margin sales opportunities.

In fact, we’ve just rolled out Pure Barre Elite, which will allow clients to purchase 2 special classes each month including an Intensive class which is usually 75 minutes and focuses on a particular part of the body, like thighs, seat, abs, or arms for more intensive work.  The 2nd class will be a more instructive class called Classic Elite, which will give clients more understanding of the Pure Barre technique through hands on corrections and tips on form.  Both classes will keep our most loyal clients challenged and learning throughout the year.  A win/win for everyone.

Diversifying My Income

Financial advisors continuously advise their clients to diversify their investments to mitigate risk, so it only makes sense to diversify my sources of income as well.  Building the audience to www.shesonhertoes.com has allowed me to earn some additional income from book sales and soon from the course I’m writing called How to Hire a Rock Star Team (It should be ready in a few weeks!)

Starting a New Business

Finally, after considering my options of growing the studios by either opening a new location or acquiring an existing one, I have come to the conclusion that I’d rather start a brand-new business.  There are a few reasons for this: 1) I’d really like to start something from scratch and develop the business plan, branding, and building of my own unique concept.  2)  I have a new interest (It’s complementary to fitness!) and I think it makes a great business idea.  3) Since my team is doing an amazing job running the studios, I have the time to work on something new.

What is this new idea?  I’ll tell you about it next week.  I’m really excited about this new challenge!

Until then, I hope you have a Merry Christmas!  And … stay on your toes!

 

The Struggle to Start: Why is Getting Started the Hardest Part?

Ok.  Since I moved into my new house, I’ve become a bit of a procrastinator, which is totally unlike me.  I’m always scheduling myself so I have plenty of time to work on a project.  I would work on it a little bit at a time and then revise and work some more.  This was a great process.  I never felt stressed or pressured and I always got the work done in plenty of time.  Well lately, my new process is the exact opposite …

I know I have to do something.  I keep putting it off.  That little voice inside my head tells me I need to stop procrastinating and just get started.  And then I put it off some more, which leads to an all-consuming feeling of self-loathing and frustration because by this point, I should be finished …  which then leads to me finally sitting down and starting.  What gives?!

There seem to be a lot of articles written about how procrastination is a good thing.  Apparently, it means you are contemplative and waiting to get all the information before making a decision.  I call bullsh*t.  Putting off work sucks.  It’s unproductive and could really have a negative impact on your business.  And repeatedly putting off work creates a bad habit of laziness, which is definitely bad for your business.  Ahhh!  I don’t want to be a procrastinator!  Make it stop!

Part of my problem is that I have a lot of big projects I’m working on right now.  They are all pretty complicated and involve a lot of time.  So, it’s hard to prioritize.  I’m also not really sure how to complete all of them—as in I don’t have a plan.  And thus, the procrastination.

One of the things I’m working on is updating www.shesonhertoes.com and increasing the audience to the website.  So … if you know someone who would like the content of the blog or the book, feel free to share with them!

Maybe you didn’t know this, but I single-handedly created this website.  Sure, I got a template, but I did the formatting, got the pictures, selected all the things you can see and click on.  And it worked out pretty well for a while, but apparently, it could be a little easier to navigate.  I hired a web-marketing firm to help me make some website updates.  Maybe you’ve seen the pop-up to get 5 Steps for Effective Interviews—you should check that out!  It’s great information about the 5 things that every employer should do during an interview to hire the best employees … and it’s free.  Just click to download.

Ok, but back to the website … working on the website updates has been great.  I was getting all the things the web-marketers wanted finished.  They wanted copy for email templates, I created copy for email templates.  They wanted ideas for graphics, I gave them ideas for graphics.   Until the web-marketing experts recommended that I create some courses to sell on creating a hiring process and how to host an interview to hire great employees.  WTF?!  I wasn’t really prepared to do that between now and the end of the year.  It sounded complicated, not to mention a ton of work.  Plus, I don’t know how to create a course.  I thought I could put them off and maybe they’d let it go.  But no, these people were relentless.

But, it turns out I do know how to create a course.  So now, I’m writing and creating a course called How to Hire a Rock Star Team.  And all the procrastination just about killed me.  I’ve been putting this off for about 3 weeks and giving every excuse known to man.  After realizing I wasn’t going to get out of creating this course and doing the work, I finally sat down … and started.  And … it really wasn’t that hard, once I started.  Damn.

Instead of creating excuses, all I had to do was sit down and develop a plan.  I outlined the parts of the course.  I wrote each section and created the supporting materials.  That’s right!  Supporting materials—this course is legit.  And now, this week I’m recording audio, because just reading some stuff would be much less effective than if an actual voice was narrating to you.  Err, telling you what to do.

There you have it … lots of exciting things happening with www.shesonthertoes.com.  Check out 5 Steps for Effective Interviews and be on the lookout for the course, How to Hire a Rock Star Team.

And speaking of procrastination … I finally got my home office together.  Well, almost.  I have a few finishing touches, but I’ll share some pics with you next week.  Don’t worry, it will be finished!

Until then, stay on your toes!

When You Buy $25 Leggings, I Can See Your Underwear: A Public Service Announcement and a Lesson in Getting What You Pay For

Every business owner faces their own unique challenges.  And as the owner of 2 boutique fitness studios, I’m no different.  But lately, I’ve been confronted with a challenge so unique that I can’t keep quiet about it anymore.  It’s time to shed some light on a subject that really should be kept in the dark—really dark, like pitch black, can’t see anything dark.  Like, why do you think we turn the lights off in that part of class dark?!

Folks, it’s time to let you in on the cold, hard, sometimes drafty truth.  And perhaps it’s something you’d rather not come face-to-face with.  But unfortunately, as the owner of a fitness studio, I’m confronted by this problem (some might call it an epidemic) every day while teaching your class.  Something very serious is happening in gyms, boutique fitness studios, car pool lanes, and the very streets and parks where our children play … millions of women are wearing leggings and due to their poor quality, they are inadvertently exposing themselves to, uh, well … everyone.

She's On Her Toes PSA See Thru Seat

The sad fact is, if you buy cheap $25 leggings, I can see your underwear.  Sorry, but I can.  And I’m not talking about panty lines—don’t get me started on that one.  I mean, whatever you’ve got on, I know all about it.  Just this year alone, I’ve seen polka dots, stripes, and flowers.  I’ve seen teeny tiny thongs, full-coverage briefs, and every cheeky style in between.

And … if you’re not wearing any underwear, well, I’ve seen that too.

To the woman who wore control top panty hose during class, don’t kid yourself, while we pretended not to notice, we knew those weren’t leggings.  And yes, we saw your underwear too.  Frankly, thank goodness you were wearing some!

What can be done to protect the innocent from seeing your see-thru seat?

Remember, that price is a direct reflection of quality.  In the fitness world, quality leggings are made with performance fabrics, which are more expensive, but have you covered—if you know what I mean.  What is a performance fabric?  Fabric that is created or engineered for various types of use where the blending of the fibers creates an added or enhanced benefit.  You know, like increased durability, UV protection, moisture-wicking, protection from mosquitoes and ticks, not to mention wrinkle or fire resistance.  Performance fabrics can even have anti-microbial properties as the result of weaving together fine silver threads with the other fibers to prevent odor and bacteria from growing on your clothes.  For real that happens.  Bacteria grows out of the sweat from your clothes, you can thank the military for that type of added protection and performance!

When you’re looking to make a leggings purchase, take note of the fabric.  Does it seem strong and durable?  Or can you already see that the leggings will be see-thru if you put your hand against the back of the fabric?  If you bend over, sit down, or move around does the fabric give or stretch with your body?  Or does it sag?  Be diligent before completing a new activewear purchase.  Look at all the angles.  It’s all about fabric, fit, and function.  Is the fabric of high quality?  Does the style fit your body properly?  And finally, does the legging support the function or activity you will be wearing it for?

The lifetime of a legging should be measured in years, people—not 2 washes or, gasp—1 wearing!  Which brings up another point—caring for your performance fabrics is crucial to their continued use of keeping your backside covered.  Harsh detergents can break down fabric.  And the dryer is your leggings worst nightmare.  Please line dry.

Customer service matters.  Small studios, like mine, are stocked with high-quality performance leggings designed to move with your body and keep your personal, private areas just that—unseen by public eyes.  We know how each legging fits, because we own them, wear them, and teach in them.  So, if it seems like we’re over-eager to sell you a high-quality pair of our leggings, please remember that we have a stake in preventing the epidemic of see-thru seat from spreading.  Ahem.

In summation, Women of America, just because you’ve turned your back to a problem, doesn’t mean it will go away.  It’s time to stop the madness.  It’s time to remember that you really do get what you pay for.  So, while you saved some money buying those cheap $25 leggings with one click online, you lost a bit of your dignity wearing them.  That is a high price to pay.

I’m Not a Business Genius, I Just Don’t Quit

One of the most interesting things about owning a business is, eventually you realize your success isn’t defined by how smart you are.  It’s true—you could be the smartest person out there and fail spectacularly in business, or you could be of average intelligence and just crush it.  Why?

Success in business isn’t about who’s smarter.  It’s about persistence.  If you have above average intelligence, then good for you!  But, intelligence alone, won’t predict whether your business succeeds or fails.  Your daily habits and approach to building your business are what determine its soundness.

This is really important to think about—in business, you will never be limited by your intelligence.  The only limits you’ll face will be the result of your own bad habits, poor organization, or lack of mental toughness.  Wow.  That’s pretty powerful.

So, what do the best in business do that others don’t?  Whether you’ve been invited to join MENSA or struggled to make it through high school, doing these 5 things can dramatically increase your business success …

 Brush Off the Word “No”

Most people might think being successful in business is the result of great marketing, smart financial decisions, or maybe just “luck.”  But I think it’s more about persistence.  Specifically, being able to brush off hearing the word “no.”  As a business owner, you will hear “no” ALL THE TIME.  Like maybe every other word.  There is always a reason, be it valid or an excuse, for a client or prospective client to tell you “no.”  And hearing the word “no” over and over again can get really frustrating—if you let it.  The best in business don’t let “no” get them down.  In fact, they don’t even hear “no.”  They hear “not now” and move on.

 Become Goal-Oriented

If you don’t have a goal, you’ll never succeed.  END OF STORY.  Why?  Because without goals, where are you going?  What are you trying to accomplish?  You don’t know!  It doesn’t matter if you have small goals or big goals.  Without something to work towards in your business, you won’t have a focus and your business will remain stagnant or start to decline.  The best in business set goals and create plans to reach them.  They are always working towards a new target and moving their business forward.

 Read Books—Yes, Actual Books

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, if you’re not reading books—yes, actual books—you will really struggle to succeed in business.  As in, you’ll fail.  Y’all, seriously.  MAKE TIME TO READ.  It’s important.  Why?  Because being a business owner requires a lot of mental focus.  When you read, you are training your brain to focus and process information.  You are also learning, continuing your education, and making yourself better.  Think about it—if you read 10 pages a day, which is not a lot, you would read 3,650 pages a year.  If the average business book is 250 pages, you’ll have read 14 books.  Do you think your competition reads 14 books a year?  If you do, then you’ll have to read more.  If you don’t think they’re reading, then how much better off are you for putting in that time?  Like light years better.  The best in business are always looking to improve.  And improving means continuing your business education by reading actual books.

Right now, I’m reading The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael A. Singer.  I just finished The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story, by Michael Lewis. 

I highly recommend The Compound Effect, Success Principles, and The Little Red Book of Selling

Listen to Podcasts

I thought about not including this one because I’m sure some of you will take the invitation to not read and just listen to podcasts.  You’d be doing yourself a huge disservice.  Listening to podcasts should not replace reading because listening doesn’t allow you to train your brain to focus and process information like reading a book does.  So why listen to podcasts?  Simple, podcasts give you access to business information in real time.  Most of the business podcasts out there discuss what’s happening in business right now.  There are some great practical applications and ideas being discussed that could be significant for your own business.  The best in business keep up with new ideas and aren’t afraid to learn from others and apply what they’ve learned.

Here are the podcasts I listen to each week:

The MFCEO Project

Girlboss Radio with Sofia Amoruso

Self-Made Man

Side Hustle School

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

TED Radio Hour

 Eliminate “Can’t” from Your Vocabulary

As soon as you eliminate “can’t” from your vocabulary, you replace it with “How can I.”  What would it mean for your business and frankly your life, if you stopped placing limits on yourself and stopped saying “I can’t.”  What if you instead started asking “How can I?”  Hopefully you can see how powerful this one little word is.  Instead of shutting down ideas, you will start thinking of possibilities.  The best in business are always looking to innovate and create.  They have a curiosity that isn’t limited by “can’t.”

While being smart gives you plenty of advantages, in business, your success is defined by your habits—mainly your persistence to just keep at it.

The last page of my book She’s On Her Toes, includes this poem.  I’m not sure who wrote it—there are at least two different authors attached to it and the book I first read it in didn’t attribute it to a known author.  I’ve read it hundreds if not a thousand times.  And I think it pretty much sums up what business is all about.

 

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit—

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

 

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a person turns about

When they might have won had they stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—

You may succeed with another blow.

 

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

 

Success is failure turned inside out— (This is my favorite part!)

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,—

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

 

I’ll leave you with that … success is failure turned inside out.  Success isn’t always about who’s smarter, has the best marketing campaign, or is better funded, it’s about turning every opportunity into a way for your business to get better.  It’s when things seem the hardest that you know you’re onto something.

Don’t Have Time to Cook, You Do Now — With Vitamix and Instant Pot

I always have a lot going on with my two businesses, writing this blog, pondering the start of another unrelated business, and taking care of my 3 dogs, but I try really hard not to compromise on cooking and eating healthy meals.  With some planning and a few tricks, I can pretty much make most of my meals at home, unless I choose to eat out.  And I don’t count popcorn and wine as a meal.  How do I do it?  I’ve got the help of my two favorite kitchen appliances.  If you don’t have time to cook, you do now …

Get a Vitamix and Change Your Life Forever

After living in blender hell for years, I finally got myself the Vitamix 5300 (certified refurbished), in black with the cookbook.  And life really did get better.

How?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  When you own a powerful blender like the Vitamix, you can easily eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Since getting my Vitamix, I’ve been able to blend … everything!

Shes On Her Toes Vitamix Smoothie

 

I’ve been able to consistently eat breakfast, which has always been a problem for me.  I can blend anything (including ice) with ease to make smoothies.  I’ve made soup on a weeknight.  And been able to put pesto and other healthy sauces on just about everything.  But the best thing about my Vitamix is that I can make my own almond milk.

Now, making your own almond milk might seem super time-intensive and only for “those crazy health nuts.”  But it takes about 45 seconds and saves me about $10 a week.  As a bonus, I know I’m not eating any hidden sugars or additives—check your nut milk labels!  Your seemingly “healthy” almond or cashew milk is likely loaded with sugar and other additives and preservatives.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup almonds, soaked overnight (I use the raw, sliced almonds from Trader Joe’s)

3 cups water (I used filtered water)

And … that’s it!  All you do is put almonds and water in the Vitamix and power it up.  Crank that baby up to 10 for about 45 seconds and … you’ve got yourself some almond milk.  You can pour the almond milk into an air-tight, glass container to store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  You can strain the almond milk through a nut milk bag to make it more like what you’d buy in the store—if you don’t strain, you’ll get the full fiber from the nuts and the consistency will be more grainy.  I don’t usually strain my almond milk because I like the grainy texture—I find it filling.  And yes, you can put homemade almond milk in a Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother to make an amazing latte!

Click Here to see the Vitamix I purchased: Vitamix 5300 (Certified Refurbished), $359.99—Now $259.95! 

Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag, $8.99

Libbey Glass Milk Bottle with Lid, 33.5 oz., $9.92

 

Instant Pot Literally Cooks While You’re Working

I like to joke that my dogs would be perfect if they vacuumed up their own hair and had dinner ready when I got home from work.  Luckily for them, I got an Instant Pot, so they’re off the hook … for dinner.

Have you heard of the Instant Pot?  You need one.  Like now.

What exactly is an Instant Pot?  It’s a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Saute Pot, Steamer, Warmer and Sterilizer all in one!  Basically, it uses pressure and steam to speed up the cooking process, so what takes an hour or more on the stove will take about half the time in the Instant Pot.  There is also a “Delay Cook” feature that allows you to put all the ingredients in the pot and start cooking so it’s all ready when you get home.  While I was at our Team Meeting on Monday night, my Instant Pot made Fresh Fennel Shredded Chicken:

When I got home, it was ready for me to saute and reduce.  While that was happening, I made some crispy quinoa.  My time spent cooking was 10 minutes and I poured myself a glass of wine to enjoy while I was stirring.  Check out my Instagram stories for a video of the Instant Pot in action!

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I made amazing Creamy Tomato Basil Soup in about 30 minutes:

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It would have taken more than an hour on the stove.

And this is so crazy … I even made my own yogurt with coconut milk.  I researched several recipes and combined a few to come up with this one, which was a really tasty Greek-style yogurt and made with only 5 ingredients:

Coconut Milk Yogurt

2 cans Coconut Cream

1 t. vanilla extract

3 T. maple syrup

1 package yogurt starter (Click here to see the one I used)

1 T. grass-fed beef gelatin (Click here to see the one I used)

Combine coconut cream, vanilla extract and maple syrup in the Instant Pot and push the “Saute” button to bring to a boil.  When the coconut milk is boiling, turn off the machine and remove the pot to cool down to 100 on the counter.  Use a thermometer to take the read and make sure the mixture is at 100—super important because the yogurt cultures won’t work if the milk is too hot.  Gradually whisk in the yogurt cultures and put the pot back in the machine.  Turn the Instant Pot back on, close the lid and push the “Yogurt” button.  Set the time for 8 hours.  While the yogurt is forming, you can sterilize some glass jars and lids to store it in.  After the yogurt is finished, remove the lid.  While the yogurt is still warm, gradually add the gelatin and whisk together.  Pour the yogurt in the glass jars and put in the fridge to firm up for about 4-6 hours.  Add any toppings and serve.

Since this is a pretty long process, you could cook the yogurt overnight.  Or I made mine first thing in the morning, mixed the gelatin in later that day and enjoyed eating it the next day.

Check out the Instant Pot I own: Instant Pot 6 Quart 9-in-1 Multi-Use Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Saute, Steamer, Warmer and Sterilizer, $119.95

Belle & Bella Non-Dairy Yogurt Starter, $7.99

Beef Gelatin Protein from Pasture Raised, Grass-Fed Cows, $24.95

Think you’re too busy to cook.  Think again.  You just need the right tools and a little planning.  Bon Appetit!

 

Your Excuses Are So Lame

When grappling with a big decision or making a significant life change, it’s amazing how easy it is to come up with excuses not to move forward.  After a while, the excuses multiply and build off of one another.  If you’ve reached this point, you’ve created such an intense fear of starting in your mind, there’s almost no way you’ll make the decision.  And you’re off the hook.  No risk of failing, because you haven’t even started!

We’ve all had these feelings of not wanting to fail, so we self-sabotage.  Similarly, if something is going to be hard, we start down the path of making excuses rather than just going after it.  You know, that new workout routine, eating better foods, mending or ending strained relationships, starting or quitting a new job—there are a million ways to make excuses and avoid being uncomfortable or the dreaded “f” word—failing.

But excuses are so lame.  I’ve been making a few for myself over the past few months about why I haven’t started moving forward on a new business idea that I have.  And I’ve reached the point where I’m getting disgusted with myself and my lack of decision.

I haven’t even been creative with my lame excuses sticking to the usual:

“I don’t have enough time.”

“What I want to do is going to be hard to get started.”

“I need more education/training/information/research before starting.”

So, I’m calling myself out for my bullsh*t, putting a plan together, and getting started.  Because if I really manage my time more efficiently, I will have more of it.  Sure, it will be hard getting started, but so are a lot of things that are worthwhile.  And, I don’t need more of anything—just less excuses.

What are you making excuses for in your life or business?  What can you do to move beyond self-doubt and get started?  Then get to work!

Piggy-backing on the excuse of not having enough time … there is no excuse to not be cooking healthy food in your own kitchen.  I’ve found 2 appliances that I use every day and I’ll share with you how I’m using them to prepare delicious, healthy meals even though I’m “too busy.”

Until then, stay on your toes!