It’s Time. Time to Focus on Other Things.

One of the tough things about being an entrepreneur and owning a business is you always have to be “on.”  You’re the one who motivates your team and keeps them moving to grow the business.  But at some point, you have to ask yourself … who is there to motivate me?

And so, I find myself at the ActionCoach 2018 Business Excellence Forum in sunny San Diego with my business coach, Mary Ann.

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Here’s our view … the historic Hotel Del Coronado.

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Selfie on the beach–look at that blue sky!  Juust a little windy.

If you recall, I attended last year’s conference in Houston and won an award for Best Service Based Business Under 25 Employees (Click here to read all about it).  I left that weekend feeling inspired and looking forward to putting into action all of the great things I learned.

But … this year is a little different.  Why?  Because I’m not necessarily looking to pick up useful tips for the daily operations of my business.  Instead, since my team, led by my managers, Emily and Christina, are already doing that, I need to focus on giving up parts of my business to them.  This time around, I will be learning how to bring about my most transformative identity shift … becoming the visionary for my business … and that’s it.

That means I’m going to have to stop teaching (at some point soon), which is something that I really like doing and is meaningful to me.  The simple fact is, I have 20 teachers, so I really don’t need to be filling that role.  I’m not even the best.  Several of my teachers do a much better job than I do.

Why am I clinging to this role?  Teaching is something that most of the owners in my franchise value and many of us are extremely proud that we are teachers.  Teaching the Pure Barre technique and showing our clients how amazing class is defines us.  It’s why we opened our studios in the first place.  And in the beginning, it probably is important for an owner to be a teacher and set the standard for the experience in your business.  But with most things, your role evolves and eventually you need to ask yourself, “Is teaching what’s best for moving my business forward and growing?”  I think I’ve just answered that in the previous lines:

I have 20 teachers.  I have 2 managers leading those teachers.

Time for me to focus on other things.

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!

 

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.

How Many Years Does It Take to Become an Overnight Success?

I have to shake my head when people talk about “overnight success” in business.  You know, “She’s just an overnight success.  Her business has really taken off.”  Or, “All of a sudden he’s doing really well and his business just grew overnight.”

Ok, so as I’m writing this, I’m literally laughing out loud.  Folks, there’s no such thing as overnight success.  No magic.  No fairy dust that is sprinkled over a business so that in six to twelve hours (a rough estimate for overnight) it doubles in revenues while holding costs to a minimum.  There’s only hard work and persistence.  You, the customer or outside observer (we), just didn’t notice all that seemingly boring, behind the scenes activity until the business got big and exciting.

No one wants to acknowledge a business owner for all the boring stuff, like successfully completing their annual worker’s comp audit, or consistently making phone calls, emailing or texting clients to remind them to buy again.  And it’s super unsexy to think about how often that business owner vacuums or goes to Costco to buy enough toilet paper so the business never runs out.  Yet, all these seemingly boring, unexciting tasks lead to this perception of “overnight success.”

Why do we, as outside observers, ignore the struggle and the grind and instead pay attention to what appears to be shiny, bow-wrapped stories of success?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s more exciting to recognize people who have seemingly accelerated the business journey.  When was the last time you heard about someone being acknowledged for their patience and ability keep after their business vision day-after-day, year-after-year … all while never running out of toilet paper?

So, next time you go to praise someone for their overnight success, ask them how many years it took to reach it.

Why You Need to Hire These 3 Personalities to Run Your Membership-Based Business

Not gonna lie, owning a business with a membership-based model is pretty stellar.  Having reliable, predictable revenue coming in each month gives any business owner a lot of confidence when planning a budget, knowing when to reinvest money back into the business, or when it might even be possible to give your hard-working employees a bump in pay.  A business with a membership-based model has a lot of options that a business relying on one-off sales simply does not.

There are, however, some unique considerations when hiring a team to run a membership-based business.  You can’t rely on one type of salesperson to take care of your members or clients.  Since clients may be visiting your business multiple times each week or even every day, it’s important to match your employees’ personalities with those of your vast, diverse group of clients to provide excellent service and keep your clients coming back for more.

Here’s why your membership-based business needs the following 3 personalities:

The Natural

We all know someone who could sell ice to an Eskimo or a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white on a 90-degree day—basically, a sales natural.  When you walk into a business and you are greeted by The Natural, you feel welcome and at home.  Everything is easy.  They’re easy to talk to and you feel comfortable.  So comfortable in fact, that you can’t help but find something to buy.  Whether it’s a product or service, you are excited about your purchase.  Maybe you frequent the business more often or start spending more time there because The Natural is so friendly.  Hell, you might even become friends!

And it’s obvious why having The Natural around benefits a membership-based business model.  You can always count on The Natural to win the trust of your clients and make the sale, over and over again.

 The Friend

But not all clients respond to The Natural.  In fact, many prefer the quieter demeanor of The Friend.  You know … someone who is just so nice, you can’t help but want to be around them.  The Friend might not be as out-there or gregarious as The Natural, but hiring The Friend to serve your clients is critical.  The Friend is honest.  The Friend is trustworthy.  The Friend would never push you into making a bad purchase—they’re looking out for you.  And that’s why many of your clients prefer to be helped by The Friend.

Make no mistake, The Friend, can make the sale.  But, The Friend is more concerned with ensuring your clients get genuine help and honesty when contemplating a purchase.

 The Achiever

Every business needs The Achiever—the ringer!  You know, it’s 5:00 PM and unfortunately, you had to make a big return … um, we need to make $600 in the next 2 hours otherwise we don’t make our daily sales goal … or we’re $15,000 shy of our monthly goal and it’s the 30th.  Ah!  Who do you task with saving the day and making it happen—that’s right, The Achiever!

When presented with a seemingly impossible challenge, The Achiever, finds a laser-like focus and gets it done.  The Achiever is highly motivated by challenges, SPIFS, a bonus, or even recognition of being the best.

And I wouldn’t know anything about this motivation, even though when I worked at Victoria’s Secret during the summer in high school, I won every single SPIF just to prove I could do it—including a contest to open the most Victoria’s Secret credit cards.  I opened 25 in one day!  I think the second-place finisher opened 7 over the 2-week contest.  It was a landslide and I won what seemed like a life-supply of underwear.  Turns out it was just enough for 4 years of college, but I won it!  Whoop!

But back to your membership-based business … you’ve gotta hire The Achiever because there will be a time when you need someone to rise to the occasion and save the day, ‘er goal.

Fortunately for me and my membership-based business, I’ve managed to hire several Naturals, Friends and even a few Achievers (besides me).  It’s worth noting that The Natural and The Friend could also turn into The Achiever under the right circumstances—the personalities do have some crossover.

If you own a business with a membership-based model, take a look at all your employees.  Do you have a good mix of the 3 personalities to match your vast, diverse group of clients?  If not, make an effort to incorporate some ways to identify either The Natural, The Friend or The Achiever in your next round of interviews.

I spoke with several members of my team before writing this post and they all easily identified themselves as either The Natural, The Friend or The Achiever.  So, if you’re trying to think through each role in my studios, give it a go and post a comment.  I’d love to hear which personality you are in your own business.  Or if you’re an employee, which of the 3 personalities you most identify as your own.

If you know someone who would enjoy this post, please share to help grow the She’s On Her Toes community.  And if you haven’t already, please follow She’s On Her Toes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @shesonhertoes.

On Thursday, I can’t wait to tell you all about my new Vitamix blender and how it’s literally changed my life.

Until then, stay on your toes!

 

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!

When Things Seem Out of Your Control in Business

“It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”  -Chinese Proverb

One of the most difficult things about being a business owner is accepting the fact that a lot of things impacting your business are completely out of your control.  Things like the weather, the economy, a catastrophic event, or overall trends in your industry can all have a huge impact on your business and there’s not a damn thing you can do about any of them.

I myself, experienced a period about a year ago when everything in my business seemed out of control (read about it here).  I’m not going to lie, it was an extremely scary time and at one point, I thought I would lose everything—as we all know, the exact opposite happened.  But as a business owner, how do you cope with that uncertainty?  When things seem out of your control in business, how can you remain calm to make sound decisions when all you’re thinking is, “I’m scared.”

I was in my studios working this weekend, and stopped to re-read an article that appeared in the local newspaper about 5 years ago featuring Pure Barre Winston-Salem.  I framed it; walk by it every day, but I haven’t read it since I hung it on the wall.  The article discussed the “new” trend of the importance of working out and how local residents were now placing value on health and fitness.  Now, in most places the subject of this article might not even be news-worthy.  But since Winston-Salem serves as the corporate headquarters for both RJ Reynolds (think Reynolds Tobacco) and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a focus on fitness in the community seemed important to discuss.

The article listed several big box gyms and a few smaller boutique fitness studios in the area for readers to check out and start their new fitness journey.  Of the 10 listed, only 3 are still open … my business, the YMCA, and a Crossfit gym (owned by good friends of mine).  Wow.  The Y’s not going anywhere, so what special secret had my friends and I found to stay in business?  I can’t speak for my friends, but I guess I do have “secret” for coping with and managing things that are out of my control … I don’t worry about them.

Instead, I think about all the things that are within my control.  I focus my efforts working ONLY on those things that I can control.

Oh man, are you confused after reading that?  It really is that simple.

I can’t control the weather.  I can’t control the economy or the aftermath of the 2016 Election.  I can’t control if one of my employees sleeps in and doesn’t show up to teach.  I can’t control if someone sees how great my studios are and decides to open a competing business.  And I definitely can’t control if my clients would rather eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts instead of drinking green juice and eating vegan, non-dairy desserts.

But I CAN control how I REACT to all of these things.

I try not to get sidelined by problems.  Instead, I try to jump straight to thinking about their solutions.

Turning problems on their head and re-focusing your energy towards finding solutions takes some practice.  For most people—including me before I adopted this way of thinking—this also requires a total mental shift.  Why?  Because it’s easy to be negative and complain about all the things that go wrong in your business.  It’s a lot more difficult to take the time to find a solution, create a plan, and stay disciplined while executing that plan.

Does this mean I’m never frustrated with how things are going in my business?  Of course not.  In fact, I get frustrated and mad about my business all the time.  I have a rule.  I can only stay angry about something for one day.  After that, I have to move on and solve the problem or just let it go.  And if the first solution I come up with doesn’t work, then I try something else.  This is why I love working for myself—when you are constantly challenged to solve problems and find solutions, it’s pretty rewarding to add up all of your accomplishments.  The studios probably average about 1-2 problems each day we’re open, and after five years, that’s about 3,650 solutions found.  That’s a lot of accomplishments.  No wonder I feel like it’s time for a vacation!

If you find yourself stuck in the vicious circle of negative thinking because things just feel out of control in your business, take a step back and start to think about what you can control—your reaction to what’s going on around you.  Focus on improving yourself as a manager.  Focus on only working on what you can control and see what happens … You might just create some light in all that darkness.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Did you see my book’s on Amazon?  Check it out here:

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My Employees Don’t Need Me Anymore. What’s Next?

Yesterday, I walked into one of my studios and my manager told me she was working on our August schedule.  Great.  I sat down expecting to be asked a question about how to do something or to help her out with a problem.  Instead, she told me she didn’t need me to work that much in the studio or to teach.  I was immediately filled with mixed emotions.  I was so happy that she had things under control, but I was also a little sad.  My business has taken a lot of my time and energy—ok, almost all of my time and energy since I opened my first location.  What am I supposed to do now?

I’ve been asking myself “What’s next?” a lot recently.  My business turned 5.  I wrote a book and am anxiously awaiting the final steps in the publishing process—so close, about a week left until the book is available for sale!  I’ve hired a great manager and now an assistant manager, and will be focusing on training them to run the studios on a day-to-day basis.  So, what am I going to do now?  How will I occupy all this new-found time?

While I’ll always be involved in my studios to some degree, I’m thinking about starting another business and entering the ranks of serial entrepreneurs.  I’m still in the discovery phase and not ready to announce what I’m planning, but when you are your own boss, it’s important to diversify your revenue and protect yourself financially.  So, if starting a business is risky, why would owning multiple businesses be better than owning one?

You Won’t Be Starting from Scratch

If you started one business, find a second that complements your existing business, so you won’t be starting from scratch trying to build a brand-new client base—sell to your existing list. My next potential business endeavor is very complementary to my Pure Barre studios.  In fact, it’s the same business model of working to get every client on a membership to earn reoccurring, predictable revenue each month.  That’s what I know how to do—create a sales process that works to convert first-time clients into members and create an environment that people want to keep coming back to visit day-after-day, week-after-week, and in a lot of cases year-after-year.

My clients will also be very interested in this potential business idea and will most likely want to try it out (just an FYI, it’s not fitness).  Starting any business is difficult and challenging, but if you already know who your client is, where they live, where they hang out, and that they already support your existing business, chances are they’ll be interested in checking out your next business, which means you won’t have to build an entirely new client base from scratch.

Diversifying Revenue Protects You Financially

Financial advisors are always telling investors to diversify their holdings, meaning don’t put all your money in one investment, especially don’t put all your investment savings in the company you work for.  The same is true for businesses—if you can start one business, get it established and find a trusted manager and rock star team to help you run it, starting another business will help diversify your income like you’ve been advised to diversify your investment portfolio.

There are two ways to diversify one’s income, active and passive.  You can actively start another business or get a second job to earn income.  Or you can earn income passively, by renting real estate, selling a book, or adding dividend-earning stocks to your portfolio—you’re not actively working towards earning the money, this income is just showing up into your bank account.  Earning both active and passive income is a great way to diversify and protect yourself financially, especially if your business is cyclical.

You’ll Never Be Bored

By starting another business, you’ll get to learn new skills, solve new problems, and expand your capabilities as an entrepreneur.  With all these new challenges in store, you’ll never be bored and will always be learning.  Besides the obvious personal and leadership development, starting another business can also expand your network and possibly lead to other opportunities to serve in your community.  All exciting!

I don’t know about you, but the more I have going on, the more I can get accomplished.  Since I have a great manager and rock star team to help me run my studios each day, it’s time to start looking at my next opportunity.  I mean, when your employees tell you they don’t need you anymore, I guess you have no other choice but to listen!  But they’ll always need me to sign their paychecks …

I’ve been reading several of Tony Robbins’ books, so I’ll give you a run-down on them in my post on Thursday.  I might even have another update for my own book.  Eek!

And on Friday, the start of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I’ll share some of my top picks for Fall boots—because it’s never too early to make your Fall boot purchases.

Until then, stay on your toes!