How to Save HOURS on Instagram

We all know that Social Media platforms are a great way to get your business’ message out into the world. I mean, if you really think about it, it’s a f-ing amazing way to get your message out because you’re in complete control of the conversation. Your message won’t get misstated, deleted, or watered down.

If you’re like us, there’s never enough time in the day to post—not to mention the rabbit hole of clicking and liking that can eat away at your valuable time. Sometimes you have the perfect picture, but writer’s block takes over the instant you have time to post. Ugh, the struggle is real.

But … it doesn’t have to be. Today we’re going super-practical and talking about some tools we’ve been using to batch our posts thus saving HOURS on Instagram and Facebook.

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

We talk about creating systems in your business ALL THE TIME, and Social is no different.  Having a system to post saves tons of time and eliminates what can often feel like the Social Time Suck.  Want more information on the apps that we’re using to make our posting easier and effective …

MeetEdgar: We use MeetEdgar to post to the studios’ Facebook pages and you can also post to Twitter and LinkedIn.  We love MeetEdgar because it allows us to create a library of content that is categorized based on type of post … and let’s us post when our audience is most active on our Social platforms.

PLANN: If you thought there was no way to schedule your posts for Instagram, you’re wrong!  Thank goodness!  PLANN allows you to create posts in advance and schedule reminders to post on BOTH your Feed and Stories.  You can make sure your Feed pictures have a pleasing arrangement.  And my favorite thing about this app is if you’re posting to  Stories, the pictures don’t have to be taken within 24 hours.  Oh yeah, and you have access to great information on your Insta analytics, including what posts are most engaging, tracking color palette, and even what hashtags have created the best engagement.

VSCO:  If you’re not using this app to filter your photos, you might want to start.  You can save filters to apply to all your pictures to create a pleasing aesthetic for all your Social posts.

Canva: We use Canva to create professional-looking graphics for our posts.  You can even use Canva to create fliers and it’s all super-easy.

Lightroom: If your studio or business has poor lighting or the lighting changes dramatically throughout the day, this app can really help you filter your Social posts.

These are the apps that we’re using every day to systematize our Social posting thus saving us HOURS on Instagram and Facebook.  Hopefully you can use this information to save time and frustration as well!

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.

 

Podcast Episode 13: The Power of Saying “No”

So, how’s it going? How are you?

I’m so busy!  I’ve been so busy, it’s just insane.

And so starts the beginning of just about every conversation in today’s modern age.  And … it’s so f-ing boring, sometimes I can’t even stand it.

Why are we sooo busy? Are we actually doing more … or are we overscheduled and overworked with the wrong things, ensuring we don’t have any time to get anything important done?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of this being busy is more about doing the wrong things than prioritizing what’s most important.  And frankly, that’s sad.

When was the last time you said “No” to someone?  Why is saying “No” so hard?

The big problem with refusing to say “No” to things you don’t have time for, or don’t want to do, is that they take a huge toll on the remaining time you have for the things you need … and like to do.  The lesson here is the more you say “No,” the more you can say “Yes.”

Listen to the She’s On Her Toes Podcast here.

She's On Her Toes

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!

 

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.

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!

Is it possible to become an idea machine?

I was recently elected to the Pure Barre Franchise Advisory Board and with that, I now represent the interest of all the owners in a specific region of the country.  This means I’m also responsible for keeping them up-to-date with important franchise information and helping them to solve problems should they need assistance.  My experience in politics working on Capitol Hill is finally paying off!  Kidding, but kind of not.

In addition, this leadership role has given me the opportunity to help shape some of the bigger decisions being made at the corporate level.  In fact, we have a meeting next week and I’ll need to present several “big ideas” to the group on where we should be going as a brand.  It got me thinking, is it possible to train yourself to always think big?  Is it possible to just become an idea machine?

There seems to be a misperception that your brain can somehow become blocked and you then become incapable of generating creative thoughts—some might call it writer’s block.  Maybe this affliction is real.  Maybe it’s bogus.  But I can report that after writing multiple posts each week and a book over the last eight months, I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced it.  And at the studios, anytime I need to come up with some new ideas, they just flow—mostly when I’m driving.  Man, I can get some good ideas when I’m in the car.  Sure, sometimes I just don’t feel like writing, but that’s not the same thing as not be able to write due to writer’s block.  So, what am I doing that seems to be generating all these big ideas?

I get organized

If I’m going to write something be it long or short, I always start by writing an outline.  At the bare minimum, I’ll write out 1 or 2 sentences that encapsulate what I’m trying to get across to the reader.  But here’s the important part … I do this days or at a minimum 1 day before I actually start writing.  Then by the time I sit down to actually write, I’ve been thinking about how I plan to start and what I’m going to type in advance.  This technique also works really well when you have a presentation, have to teach a class, or have a really over-scheduled day.  If you sit down the night before, plan it all out, something amazing happens.  It’s almost as if your mind works out all the things you need to say or do while you sleep.  Give it a try—I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you.

I make lists

This is a recent addition to my idea generation techniques and I totally stole it from James Altucher.  Well, I mean, I read his book The Power of NO: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness and he suggested that everyone make a list of 10 big ideas every single day.  If you can’t think of 10, think of 20, he says.  Good advice.  If you commit to thinking creatively every day, you’ll never be without an idea to get you where you want to be.  Of course, of your 10 ideas, some won’t be that awesome after you really think them through.  But … there could be that 1 idea that is exactly what you need!  In a previous post, I talked a little about how our events have become stale and a little boring.  Making these lists has been very helpful as I seek to change all of the events and programs we’ve been doing at the studios and try and come up with some new and exciting ideas.

It seems that the ability to freely think creatively each and every day simply involves thinking ahead either by making an outline and getting organized or by actively creating lists each day of big ideas.  It’s all in the preparation.  If you make a habit of preparing, your mind will never run into roadblocks and you’ll always have big ideas right in front of you.

Speaking of which—I’ve been reading an amazing book about creativity and business, so I’ll tell you about that next week as well as why it’s important to step away from my business and let my employees do more.  And finally, I’ll round it out on Friday sharing my favorite hair ties—super important.  By the way, where do they all go?  They’re always disappearing!

Until then, stay on your toes!

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

3 Ways to Get Unstuck in Business

It happens to the best of us.  Eventually you get to a point in your business where you’re just not sure what to do next.  You feel stuck.  Frustrated.  Unsure of your path or even your qualifications to be a boss to your employees.  And getting stuck can happen just when you least expect it.  You can be moving along thinking: “Everything in my business is awesome.  I’m so lucky to be doing this well.”  And then, BAM!  You’re stuck.  And you’re asking yourself, “How the heck did that happen?  I was just on top a few days ago.”  Below are my top 3 ways to get unstuck in business and jumpstart you and your team to get to that elusive next level.

Make Small Changes

If you do one thing for yourself as a business owner, buy a copy of Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect.  Seriously, it’s like $10.20 on Amazon.  Use some Amex points.  This book literally changed my life.  My business coach, Mary Ann, gave me a copy to read before one of our first meetings.  Since reading the book, I cancelled my cable, started reading every day, enacted a strict budget both for my personal spending and business spending, and stopped going to Starbucks every day for coffee (I still drink coffee.  And sometimes go to Starbucks.  Seriously, that would be terrible to have to give up coffee.  But I learned how to make a latte at home—that tastes just like Starbucks.  Check out a previous post on how to make amazing coffee.  It’s really easy and I only had to spend $40 to get the right tools.)  Anyways, back to The Compound Effect…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 work out on a regular basis leads to making other smarter choices about eating healthy food and drinking.  Then all of a sudden, you’ve lost weight 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—I bet you get unstuck.

Start Writing Lists

Making small changes inevitably leads to writing lists.  For instance, if your goal is to save money and you start by not spending money on lattes every day, you’ll eventually get to the point where you’ll start asking yourself, “How can I painlessly save money on other things I use on a daily basis?”  And … you’ll get a pen and some paper and hammer out some lists.  As an FYI, I realized after I made the coffee change that I could compound my savings by ordering the same brand of dog food online at www.chewy.com, switched to buying laundry detergent and gas at Costco, and started meal planning to avoid wasting or spoiling food.  Making those changes and a few others has literally saved me $1,000 a month—kind of incredible!  But writing lists is a great habit to get into because it shifts your mentality and turns you into someone who is always looking for the possibilities.  Once you start writing lists, your brain starts to shift into “how can I make this happen mode” instead of “oh, sorry, don’t have enough (time/money/etc.) mode.”  Still not convinced?  Check out this great blog post from James Altucher called How to Have Great Ideas.

Rearrange the Furniture

I mean this literally.  Anytime I feel stuck in my business, I know I need to shake things up to get a new perspective and the best way to do that is to move around the furniture in our retail area.  All of our fixtures are modular, so we’ll just move the desk to the other side of the room or move the clothing racks around in a new display formation.  This also shakes our clients up and forces them to see the studio in a different light.  Some of them get really freaked out about it—cue the evil laughter!  Because what’s the point of owning your own business if you can’t make a few people uncomfortable.  Just kidding.

Do you find yourself stuck in business?  Or are you struggling with how to solve an important problem?  Try making some small changes, start writing some lists, and rearrange your furniture to get a new perspective.  These things are so simple and easy to implement, they just might work!

Sorry this post is so late on Thursday evening.  I got back from spending some time at the beach and you know how it goes … went into the studios for what were supposed to be quick, easy tasks.  Somehow they turned into hours-long activities.  Tomorrow, I’ll have a more timely post sharing my favorite under-eye treatments—because it’s important to at least look well-rested even if you aren’t.

Until then, stay on your toes!

 

The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy

How to Have Great Ideas, James Altucher

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

How to Make a Simple Checklist a Powerful Tool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, stay on your toes!

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

 

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

Is this your current business reality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, stay on your toes!

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

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

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