Finding Your Power

We’re starting a new series and each month, we’ll have an in-depth conversation about a particular word that resonates with the business of fitness and a new ad campaign that our studios are participating in.  This month we’ll talk about the word “power” and “feeling powerful.”  What does that mean to you?  How do you get to a point of being so on your game that you can’t be stopped?

During the conversation, we reference an amazing TED video called, “Your body language may shape who you are.”  Watch it here.

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and 7 other platforms.

Follow me on Instagram and see what I’m working on in my business each day @shesonhertoes

I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.

Build A Better Business 5 Day Challenge

As business owners, we wear a lot of hats—CEO, Director of Marketing, Scheduler, Head Janitor, Costco Supply Shopper—the list goes on.  But seriously, can someone please let me retire from IT Specialist?!

Do you find yourself exhausted at the end of each day … but haven’t made a dent in your to-do list?  Does it seem like you’re working just to pay American Express?  Are you on the verge of massive burnout?  #beenthere

Then, the Build A Better Business 5-Day Challenge couldn’t have come at a better time for you!  The Challenge starts, Monday, May 14th!

Oftentimes, as busy business owners, we are so focused on the day-to-day and getting our massive to-do lists complete that we fail to recognize if all this work we’re doing is really moving our businesses forward.

What do I mean by that?  Well … if you’re doing lots of things, that doesn’t necessarily mean your business is benefiting.  In fact, you might be doing your business more harm than good by doing everything yourself and not delegating work to others.

Yep.  It’s time to take a cold, hard look at how you can build a better business over the next 5 days and whether it’s time to hire an employee to help you take your business to the next level.  Each day, I’ll walk you through a quick, mini-lesson, on how to become more effective and efficient in your business.  You’ll spend about 15 minutes each day making some small improvements—these are the exact steps I took before I took a big leap forward and hired enough employees to help me run my business.

The Challenge starts Monday, May 14th.  Here’s what you can expect over the 5 Days …

Day 1: Find the Remedy to Never Having Enough Time  

I’ll show you how you can easily and quickly determine where you’re spending your time. This is gold!

Day 2: Prepare for Change

Even after 1 day, you’ll be ready to make a change to build a better business.  I’ll walk you through how to plan and prepare.

Day 3: Create the Right Business Environment

“If you build it, they will come.”  Right?! Yes!  I’ll help you get started on an important step before considering hiring a new employee.

Day 4: Double Down on Extra Time

At this point, you will have extra time.  I know it seems too good to be true!  I’ll help you determine the best way for you to maximize your priorities as a business owner.

Day 5: Design Your Ideal Day

No explanation needed!  You’ll create your ideal schedule and I’ll give you the tools to actually make it happen. #forreal

Completing these 5 steps was a huge eye-opener!  And … totally transformed the way I worked in and on my business.

All you need is about 15 minutes each day for the 5 days starting Monday, May 14th.  Are you ready to build a better business?  Are you in?!

I’m in! I want to Build A Better Business!

Click here to receive access to a special Challenge Google Drive with each day’s quick, mini-lesson.  Remember … you’ll only spend about 15 minutes each day building your better business.  I’ll also be on Instagram Live at 6:00 AM EDT to walk you through the steps.  6:00 AM!  I know, but it will be great to start the day off thinking about all the good things you can do to make your business better … and it was the only time that I could consistently join you for these messages all week.  For you night owls … just watch the videos later in the day.  No big deal.  Follow along @shesonhertoes on Instagram.

Click here to gain access to the Google Drive with all 5 mini lessons to Build A Better Business!

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!

 

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.

The Fitness-Focused Guide to Avoiding Holiday Crush

Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t radiate cheer and festiveness during the holiday season.  And that’s ok.  With increased exposure to major stressors, like crazy family members, work deadlines, extra school demands, shopping marathons, drivers that desperately need to review their road skills (Since when did passing on the right become a thing?!  It’s called a blind spot for a reason, folks—I literally can’t see you.), you’re bound to lose focus on why this is the most magical time of the year.

Fortunately, the Fitness-Focused (that’s you and me!) already possess the skills needed to cope with what some call, the holiday crush, or that feeling of immense pressure that sets in during the months of November and December.  You know—pressure to have the most amazing decorations, the perfect meal, and the most thoughtful presents.  To attend all the parties with a smile and the cutest outfit.  Finish the year strong with your business.  Not to mention keep it all together so your family has a special holiday.  Whew!  That’s a lot for one person to handle!

But, as I said, the Fitness-Focused already have the necessary skills to make it through the holidays and actually enjoy themselves.  How?  Simple.  By incorporating the discipline and organization you use to plan your workouts to your holiday tasks, you can avoid the holiday crush and actually start the New Year with a smile on your face.  Here’s what I’m talking about …

Decide What’s Most Important

You set fitness goals and decide in advance what is most important to you before you start your workouts.  Take that practice and apply it to all the events and tasks ahead of you this holiday season.  Ask yourself, what is the most important thing that I want to accomplish before the end of the year?  Or, what is most important to me this holiday?  What do I want to get out of all my holiday experiences?  How do I want to feel as I head into the New Year (rested, fulfilled, energized, happy)?

When you prioritize your goals in the gym, you have something to work towards.  Same with your life—if there is something you want to achieve before year’s out, be it less stress, more time with family, saying “no” to unimportant things, or even cooking more, make it a priority and work towards it.

Whenever I decide that something’s important, it’s crazy—I always figure out a way to achieve it.  Always.  Once I make the declaration that it’s important, my mind immediately shifts into figuring out all the ways I can get to my goal.  But, you have to take the first step and decide your priorities.  Declare them out loud to your friends and family or write them down.  Whatever works for you—but take the first step and you’ll be that much closer to actually getting what you want.

 Make Your List and Check It Twice

Super practical.  Lists keep simple tasks organized so we don’t accidentally skip a step in our haste or hurriedness. (Go back to read a previous post about check lists here.)  When you have 800 things to do it can be overwhelming.  All the shopping, preparing and cleaning.  No worries!  Combine list-making with some of the lessons from The Compound Effect and all of a sudden life just got more manageable.

What is The Compound Effect?  This book, written by Darren Hardy, literally changed my life.  (Um, I am going to a conference where he’s speaking in February and I’m just a little bit excited about that!)  This book is all about making small changes that “compound” to effect bigger more amazing changes.  And it really works.  If you are in the fitness industry you can attest, like I can, that just making one change to workout on a regular basis leads to making other smarter choices about eating and drinking.  Then all of a sudden, you’ve lost weight or are stronger and people are commenting about how good you look.  Anyways, get this book immediately, if not sooner.  Read it.  Implement just one suggestion—after all it’s called The Compound Effect.  See what happens.

Exactly!  Make your list of 800 things to do and then pick one or two to accomplish each day.  Work back from your deadline to create a manageable schedule of accomplishments and you won’t feel so rushed.  And chances are you won’t forget things—or if you do have a last minute “oops” you have plenty of time to take care of it.

I’m putting this into practice right now.  Since I’m hosting our annual Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons holiday party at my new home this year, I have lots to do to prepare.  And last week, I freaked out a little by all the work I had to get done.  Now I’ve got my list and I’m working on just one or two things each day—starting with festive decorating.  Can’t wait to share the party pics with you!  Since I don’t have a lot of furniture, decorating is going to be strong this year.  Haha!

Reward Yourself with Rest

This is the most important part of working out and living life, yet it’s the most neglected and overlooked.  So sad.  When you stay on track with your goals and tasks, give yourself time to rest.  And reward yourself!  After a hard workout, you need time to rest and recover, so you can do it all again.  Same with a busy life—plan some downtime so you don’t get burned out and start to resent all of humanity.

The rewards don’t have to be big or expensive.  Grab coffee with friends, enjoy a nice walk with your dogs, watch a show on Netflix—all of these things count as rest.  Just make sure you use this time to do something you enjoy!  Doing laundry doesn’t count—make sure your rest and reward time makes you feel rested and rewarded.

It’s amazing how those who prioritize their health and fitness are just better at winning life!  Take those skills you’ve been using to motivate you through your workouts and apply them to your life this busy holiday season.  There’s no need to get so frazzled that the holiday crush comes crashing down on you.  No way!  Take the time to decide what’s most important to you, make a list and just do a few things at a time, and finally reward yourself with rest and you’ll set yourself up to avoid some of the stress most people face during the holidays.  Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself!

 

Invest in yourself!  Link to purchase The Compound Effect, written by Darren Hardy.  Click here.

Planning for Big Things in 2018

It’s hard to imagine bigger things happening in 2018 than what have already happened in the last few weeks

I bought a house and moved.

Celebrated 5 years of being in business at Pure Barre Winston-Salem and 3 years of being in business at Pure Barre Clemmons.

Had my first book signing for She’s On Her Toes.

And spoke to several hundred women about my best hiring practices outlined in my book.

But … the beginning of the last quarter of the year signals that it’s time to plan for big things for my businesses in 2018.  That’s right, it’s that magical time of year when I start to do the following:

  1. Set monthly sales goals
  2. Plan marketing events to drive traffic and create leads
  3. Evaluate all spending and create next year’s budget
  4. Set management and leadership goals
  5. Develop my next book idea

The first step … getting organized.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the best tools that I have in my business owner organization arsenal is my Day Designer Planner.  I decided on the Mint Lizard design for 2018, but it was a tough choice stacked up against, Black Spotty (which I had this year), Black Stripe (which I had last year) and White Marble.

I love The Day Designer.  You can get a version of it at Target, but if you’re serious about keeping your schedule, goals and “to-dos” 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!

But 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 dos” 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 dos” which is always helpful when you have lots to accomplish in limited time.

Another great thing about The Day Designer, is the free printable pages that allow you to either try out The Day Designer format and/or work on specific planning opportunities.  If you’ve never used The Day Designer, I’d start with the Free Daily Planning Page and How to Design Your Week pages and see if you like them.  For the more advanced, check out Fall Bucket List, Packing Checklist, Brain Dump, and Books to Read.

Check out the free printable pages here. 

Ok … but back to planning big.  Each week, I’ll create a list of all the steps I’ll take to complete each of these 5 tasks to start business off strong in 2018.  The first 3 are all kind of interrelated, so I’ll tackle them together.  First, I’ll schedule some time to develop our monthly sales goals based on historical information and what I think will happen in the future.  I’ll be working on that this week to set myself up for creating our marketing and event calendar either next week or the week after.  It’s all about doing one thing at a time to get all this work complete.  With a little planning and time management, it shouldn’t be too difficult—which is why it’s important to take the time for your business planning for next year … NOW.

If I’m being honest, I’ll probably save #4 for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I usually have some time to think when I’m driving home to see my family and setting management and leadership goals is definitely a “thinking in the car” activity.  I get some of my best ideas driving!

Leaving … #5.  I had the opportunity to hear an amazing speaker at a conference in Vancouver, Sharon Lechter.  Sharon co-authored Rich Dad, Poor Dad and writes for the Napoleon Hill Institute as well as being an entrepreneur herself.  During her presentation, she discussed how influential women are at making purchasing decisions.  She also talked about how most sales training was geared towards men.  You know the whole, “if you don’t sell, you suck” philosophy.  While it might be true, it just doesn’t have the same motivational response with women that it does with men. Hummm…wonder why?!

Anyways, Sharon’s message was that as women in business, we either sell or we serve.  As in taking the time to understand our clients and serve them to the best that we can.  I’m working on developing a whole customer service training for my team around this philosophy and I thought … wouldn’t this make a great topic for my next book?!

I still have to develop the topic further, but I think it’s so interesting to ponder the sales paradox and how women can actually overcome it.  What is the sales paradox you might ask?  Well, it’s simply this …

No one wants to be sold, yet we all want to buy.

But we don’t want to buy just any old thing.  We want to make purchases that are meaningful and make us feel good about parting with that money.  With each purchase, we aren’t just acquiring stuff or receiving a service.  We’re expressing confidence that we’re using our money to support a great business or that we really value the item we’re taking home.

And because clients are increasingly savoy about what research they’re doing before parting with their money, businesses will have to adapt and shift their sales training to one that emphasizes better serving their clients—it’s all about serving and earning the repeat business of your client base.

And who better to lead the way?  Women of course!  The future of sales is female because women naturally want to help each other out and provide whatever service they can to their friends and community to do so.

I mean, take a look at your social media feed.  How many of the posts are about places people have eaten and had a great time, or products they’ve been using and want to share because they are life-changing or helpful life hacks?  We don’t have to tell the world about our favorite things, but we do … because if it helps someone out, that’s pretty great.  So yeah … I’ll be refining this topic and getting to work writing book #2.  Good times!

Well, I have a lot of work to get done.  So, I’ll leave you with this … what can you do to improve your business next year?  Take some time in the last quarter to set your goals for 2018 and create a budget.  When you have a direction mapped out for your business, you might just make it all happen!  Crazy!

I know I’ve been a little delinquent in my posting, but I’m feeling inspired and refreshed from my break.  On Thursday, look out for 10 Things to Avoid When Budgeting for Your Business.  I think you’ll get some great ideas about how to use your time in the last quarter to set yourself up for good things next year.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Why It’s Important to Celebrate Your Wins

Oh my!  It’s been a wild few weeks for me—literally everything happened in September.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  To recap …

 

  • I attended the annual Pure Barre Conference where I was asked to speak about my best practices for hiring and leading a rock star team, to 500+ owners. Just a little nerve wracking!  That’s a lot of ladies.

Shes-On-Her-Toes-Speaking.jpg

 

  • When I got back from Conference, I bought a house. Oh yeah, and moved.  The moving part wasn’t so bad because I decided to get rid of almost all of my furniture.  This seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that there’s no place to sit, might have been a little rash.

Shes-On-Her-Toes-All-Moved-In.jpg

 

  • Just a few short days after moving, we celebrated some big milestones at my Pure Barre studios—Pure Barre Winston-Salem reached its 5-year Anniversary and Pure Barre Clemmons reached its 3-year Anniversary. And I had my first book signing.  So of course, we had to throw a big party to celebrate!

She's On Her Toes 5 Year Celebration

The three of us have been together since Day 1–cannot believe it’s been 5 years!

  • And the day after the party, I had an allergic reaction to something I ate and basically had to save my own life. Good times.  Sorry … no pictures of my face turning purple.

 

After this swirl of activity, I’m pretty content to get back to basics, like heading out to the grocery store and buying more than one meal at a time, walking the dogs, writing more regularly, and spending time with friends—hopefully at my new house with a place for them to sit.

But as much as I just want to get back to “real life” where a major event isn’t happening by the minute, it’s important to take the time to celebrate my and my team’s business wins, both big and small.

When you own a small business, every sale is important.  It all adds up.  And my team is doing some really incredible things right now—they’re achieving the same level of sales that we had last year with one exception, I was the one driving most of those sales.  This means, that they’re working together and will surpass the standard that I set by the end of the year.  Pretty cool.  I’ll drink to that!

We’re just about to head into the final quarter of 2017 and all year we’ve been gaining inches.  A little progress has been made each month towards our sales goals and towards my goal of giving my team more responsibility to run the studios without me there every day.  It hasn’t seemed like that much has been happening.  And I’m notoriously impatient.  But I can see that we’ve been doing some really great things and they’re adding up.

Our focus going forward into Q4 and 2018 will be to create a stronger health and fitness community amongst our clients.  Next week, I’ll explain how I’m developing more robust customer service training for my team so we can keep growing our client base and daily sales.  I’ve also been reading some amazing books and I can’t wait to fill you in so you can be inspired for a strong finish to 2017!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Seeking Health & Wealth Mastery

I’ve been thinking about how health and wealth are intertwined—you really can’t have one without the other.  If you’re in poor health you can’t enjoy a good quality of life or enjoy even the basic things that most of us would define as “fun.”  Conversely, without wealth, or abundance, you’ll have difficulty reaching a state of feeling healthy, strong and confident about where you are in life.  Without health, you won’t have a wealth of amazing life experiences.  Without wealth, you’ll struggle to reach a healthy state defined as “feeling good” both in mind and body.  So why does it seem so difficult to have both at the same time?

There have definitely been times throughout my working life when I put wealth (monetary gains and career advancement) above my health.  When I worked in investment banking I worked 70-80 hours a week.  I ate all my meals at the office and was lucky to sleep 3-4 hours a night.  A week was deemed “good” if I left the office before midnight on Sunday—that meant I would get a decent night’s sleep, spend some time with my dogs, and have a chance to pack a lunch with real food to start out Monday.  Living such an intense life with little sleep takes its toll—my health suffered and I rarely found time to spend with my friends and family, but I was killing it at work.

Similarly, when I opened my first Pure Barre studio five years ago, I had to work all the time.  That’s what you do when you start a business.  There’s lots to complete to build a business.  Today, there is still plenty to accomplish—we have a new cardio class launching on Monday, August 14th called, Empower, so I have to learn how to teach it; I just hired some new teachers and they have to complete their training; we are approaching our busy Fall season and I have to prepare so we can maximize those opportunities to reach new clients; and … my book is almost finished—just a few more important decisions to make before it will be ready for sale.  But even with that swirl of activity, I’m sleeping 7-8 hours each night, eating well, maintaining a great social life and even starting the process to open another business (that’s top secret for now).  So, what’s the difference?  How am I managing to at least attempt the balance between health and wealth?

I think it all boils down to setting priorities and thinking creatively to reach those goals.  Sure, because I’m my own boss, I have more flexibility to choose where and when I work.  But I’ve found a few tools that have helped me become more efficient including time blocking, creating a Power List, and focusing on one thing at a time (there is no such thing as multi-tasking).

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 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 it done.  You won’t run the risk of being sidetracked or getting tired in the afternoon and not finishing the things that are most important.

Maybe you’ve noticed that I tend to post new blogs really early in the morning—usually at 5:00 AM—but sometimes the posts are later, like 6:00 or 7:00 AM (like today, ah!).  If I couldn’t make time to write first thing in the morning, I run out of steam by the afternoon to write and then I’m off schedule posting.  It’s all about blocking out the time for what’s most important when you’re freshest and capable of working at your best.

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.

The Power List

If you struggle to develop good, lasting habits, then creating a Power List of your priorities is a powerful tool.  The Power List is all about narrowing down to 3-5 activities that you want to incorporate into your life to improve it.  You have to keep the list small and focused because the idea is to actually get everything completed, every single day.  Then, when your Power List becomes habit and you don’t have to actively think about completing your tasks, you can move onto new Power List items and keep growing.

The Power List should be comprised of things that are important to you to create your best self.  Activities like reading 10+ pages a day, writing, working out, eating balanced meals and snacks, spending time outside, etc. … The Power List should not include things you have to do every day, like going to the grocery store, brushing your teeth, or getting to work on time.  Creating a Power List is all about focusing on a few small changes, mastering them, and building good, lasting habits.

Focus on One Thing

Have you fallen victim of the multitasking myth?  Do you actually believe that you can do more than one thing at a time and do each to the best of your ability?

Multitasking is not a strength.  And the ability to multitask should never be used to determine which candidate to hire for a position.  In order to be your most productive it’s important to pick one thing and do it well.  Then move onto the next.

“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.”

–Steve Uzzell, Award-winning photographer, speaker and author

I love this quote because it’s 100% true and a critical component to finding health and wealth simultaneously.  Don’t screw things up.  Focus on one thing at a time.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice productivity to have both health and wealth in your life.  It’s just about working a little smarter to prioritize what’s actually important to you.  Using the tools of time blocking, creating a daily Power List, and avoiding multi-tasking to manage your time can greatly increase your chances of achieving health and wealth.

But is there anything else you can do to get to health and wealth mastery?  Sure!  Eat better.  Specifically, eat more veggies.  But that’s so lame.  Those in the know drink their veggies in cold-pressed juice or smoothies.  Tomorrow, I’ll share my favorite recipes and tools for making great-tasting juices and smoothies.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Why I’m Exiting My Business

I’ve been dreaming of this moment for years—the time when I can start exiting my business.  No, I’m not going to sell it.  Were you worried for a second?  I mean, I’m going to step back and let my Team run it for me—you know, so I can actually live my life and do the things that you probably take for granted like go out to dinner with friends, go on vacation when I want to, or just have one day off each week.

We’ve been dabbling in this for a while, but it’s time to cannonball in.

Let’s review the definition of a business.  According to my business coach, Mary Ann, the definition of a business is:

A commercial, PROFITABLE, enterprise that works…WITHOUT YOU.

This means that you are free to work ON your business not IN it.  The business is fully functioning without you. 

As much as I hate to admit it, my business is almost functioning without me.  Damn.  Guess I trained my Team too well.  Just kidding!  This is great news—I just have to stay out of their way and not screw things up.  How am I going to do that?  Let me tell you …

Empowering Management

The first step to exiting and reaching that place where my business is no longer my life is to empower my management team to take care of all of our daily operations.  My Manager, Emily, has recently been recognized as an “approved manager” for Pure Barre meaning, she now has an @purebarre.com email address and greater access to all the information needed to keep the studios running on a day-to-day basis.  In addition, another employee will be expanding her role as an Assistant Manager later this summer.

In order to empower my Manager and Assistant Manager, I’m going to spend at least the next year working with them to fine tune all of our processes so they become simplified and easy to complete for anyone working at the studios.  We’ll also be working on tracking key metrics so they can report back to me on how the studios are performing—instead of the other way around.  For a smooth transition, I’ll create a monthly calendar of to-do’s gradually giving them more responsibility.

Figuring Out My Next Big Thing

So, this is going to be really difficult for me.  I’m not sure exactly what I want to do next—but I can’t do nothing.  I have a few ideas and I’ll have to spend some time figuring out which is the best one to pursue.  Oh, and did I mention, I have a book coming out?  Publishing seems to be ahead of schedule, so late July or early August for the release!  Shameless plug, but promoting the book should keep me pretty busy.

It will be extremely important for me to have my next steps mapped out following my exit otherwise, I could boomerang back, not leave the business, and most likely make my managers miserable in the process.  This is definitely not going to be easy—but I have hired some amazing employees and it’s time for them to step up so I can step back.

In Thursday’s post, I’ll delve I little deeper into how this transition is going to unfold and then on Friday, a super-serious discussion on hair ties—which ones are the best, which ones actually hold your hair up without breaking it, and possibly answer that age-old question of “Where do all my lost hair ties go?”

Until then, stay on your toes!

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