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

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

Get a Vitamix and Change Your Life Forever

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

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

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

Shes On Her Toes Vitamix Smoothie

 

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

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

Homemade Almond Milk

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

3 cups water (I used filtered water)

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

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

Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag, $8.99

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

 

Instant Pot Literally Cooks While You’re Working

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coconut Milk Yogurt

2 cans Coconut Cream

1 t. vanilla extract

3 T. maple syrup

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

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

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

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

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

Belle & Bella Non-Dairy Yogurt Starter, $7.99

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

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

 

Your Excuses Are So Lame

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

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

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

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

“I don’t have enough time.”

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, stay on your toes!

My Latest Business Mistake

Well … I did it again.  Last year, I told you about how one hiring mistake almost cost me my business (Read about it here).  And now, I find myself trying to fix another pretty big business mistake.  Not quite of the same magnitude as I’ve dealt with before, but moving in that direction.  F*ck.

And just like last year, there’s no one to blame but me.  Double f*ck.

What’s this big mistake?  A little background first …

As you’ll recall, for the last 12-ish months I’ve been working on giving my team more responsibility so that I can spend less time working in my business every day.  My team is focusing on the day-to-day tasks while I am working on more big picture things—like how to make more money, how to innovate, and how to add more value to our clients.  I’m working on some pretty big things for She’s On Her Toes—this website is getting some professional help and I’m creating some great courses on how to hire the right employees—so stay tuned for that!  I also have time to participate in Leadership Winston-Salem (Learn more here).  It’s been great for me, more time to do the things that are important to me.  And … I thought we were making great progress with my team.  Until it all came to a screeching halt.  Cue the dramatic screeching music!

My team is currently being led by my manager and my assistant manager.   They have been empowered to run both of my Pure Barre studios, take care of our clients, and ensure all of our employees are working to their ability and contributing to the success of the organization.  And they both do a great job.    But, I have failed them in a pretty big way—a way that limits their potential and our ability to keep growing this business.

I expected them to be able to take over and do all the things that I’ve been doing without teaching them how to anticipate and create a business plan.  Sure, they can perform daily tasks and get the basics done.  But, where they’re struggling is running reports, calculating retention, interpreting sales figures, and planning in advance.

They can easily provide great customer service.  However, they are blissfully unaware of the importance of managing expenses, calculating margin, and analyzing trends (both the good trends and the bad trends).  As a result, we have not been meeting some of our goals and it’s really frustrating to watch.  I know my team is capable of being more than where we are right now.  When you see a group of people working hard, and just not getting it done, when they are completely capable of doing so, it’s just the worst.  And it’s all my fault.  I haven’t been a good leader to them.  I haven’t been helping them focus on what’s important and planning.  But that’s all about to change!

The solution … my managers are going to start having their own meetings with my business coach, Mary Ann (Read more about coaching here).  And they start next week!

This lapse in leadership hasn’t been good.  Am I going to beat myself up about it?  No.  I truly think the sign of an effective leader is the ability to realize when things aren’t working, have the courage to change them, and don’t look back.

Are You Properly Hydrated? Are You Sure?

While Thanksgiving may be over, you’re probably still feeling the effects of that epic meal.  Am I right?  That sluggish, bloated feeling doesn’t just go away on its own.  Time to detox and refocus on health, especially if you’re a business owner—you can’t suffer from brain fog during the last few weeks of the year!

Did you know that staying hydrated is THE most important way that you can keep your brain clear, maintain your appropriate body weight, and stay healthy to fight disease?  That’s right, all you have to do is drink water and you’ll be back on track to feeling energized and break that cycle of over-eating.  It’s true, if you feel hungry, a lot of times, that’s a signal that you’re actually dehydrated.  If you’re thirsty, that’s a signal of dehydration too.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how much water we should drink each day and it seems the answer is: it depends.  Most health experts recommend drinking the water equivalent of half of your body weight in ounces.  But you might need more if you exercise.  And you also want to balance your water consumption with electrolytes from fruits, vegetables, and sodium and potassium from natural sea salt.  Check out this video about how to stay properly hydrated.  And check with your doctor if you have any questions about your individual health.

Drinking plenty of water is at the top of my Thanksgiving detox list as well as getting back into the studio for my 4 classes each week.  OMG—that first class after Thanksgiving was brutal!  While drinking filtered water is best, sometimes it can be a little bland.  Here are my favorite flavored waters to break up that plain water boredom …

La Croix Lime Flavored Sparkling Water:  This is my go-to if I need a little zip.  La Croix is Whole30 approved with all natural flavors, no sugar, and tastes great.  This brings up a great point—folks, check your labels!  If your flavored water contains added sugars or anything that you can’t pronounce or isn’t found in nature, it’s time to switch to a better choice.  Unhealthy foods and drinks are sold at health food stores, so it’s up to you to read the label and put the best, most natural ingredients into your body.

Back to the water … lime flavor pairs well with just about everything, if you’re drinking at mealtime.  There are several other flavors of La Croix, but I’ve found them to be a little weird tasting—like they don’t taste like the fruit they claim to be flavored with.  I’ll stick with lime.

Spindrift Cucumber Sparkling Water: This is my new fave!  This water is made with real, squeezed fruit, so it actually tastes good and not fake.  Cucumber is so refreshing!  I drink this anytime I’ve overeaten—like after Thanksgiving.  Because this water is made with real cucumber juice, it does have 2 calories … but I’m pretty sure I can burn those off at the studio.

She's On Her Toes Spindrift

Trader Joe’s Organic Lemongrass Spearmint Herbal Flavored Water: I love this zesty, minty flavor.  Another great choice to cleanse your palette after a big, heavy, salty meal.

She's On Her Toes TJ's flavored water

Trader Joe’s Organic Lemon Ginger Herbal Flavored Water: I love ginger and this drink doesn’t disappoint.  I like to drink this after dinner as a dessert substitute.  If I’m still craving something sweet, after I drink this, then I have to give in.  But it usually does the trick.

So, there you have it, 4 great alternatives to plain, filtered water.  Let me know which one is your fave!

 

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.

Black Friday–Nope

Black Friday—If I could think of one word that describes Black Friday, it would be “gross.”  Seriously, the whole concept of Black Friday is gross.  And the exact opposite of what my business is all about.

At my studios, we try to create an experience for all clients that is personal and thoughtful.  Our goal is to make everyone feel welcomed and “at home” when they walk through our doors.  We want everyone to leave the stress of work and home behind so they can focus on a great workout that will help them get stronger.  And honestly, I’m not sure how the f*ck Black Friday fits into that.

Waking up at the crack of dawn—or even before daylight hits—and frantically searching for deals is simply not part of our mission at Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons.

Sure, I can support the waking up early part.  As an early riser, I can get an extraordinary amount of work done before everyone else even thinks about hitting “snooze.”  But, I’m not sure how frantically searching for deals furthers our mission of creating a thoughtful and personal experience, or a stress-free studio experience for that matter.

I wrote about how we were opting out of Black Friday last year and you can revisit that post by clicking here.  Still holding firm on that decision.  Here’s why …

Shoppers Are Rejecting Black Friday

Some of you retail business owners might think I’m crazy for taking this approach, but holiday shopping trends reveal that consumers are rejecting Black Friday as “the day” to start their holiday shopping.  According to GPShopper’s “Reality of Holiday Retail: Keeping Up With the Customer” report, one in three U.S. holiday shoppers (32%) actually begin their shopping in October to avoid the immense stress associated with holiday shopping (a.k.a. “Holiday Crush”).  And … GPShopper’s research actually revealed that the largest group of consumers (27%) intend to do the majority of their shopping during the second week of December.

I think this is really interesting for three reasons …

  1. Most stores are likely to have their best holiday inventory selection at this time. This is 100% true for my studios—we’ll have everything we’re going to have for sale by the second week of December.  All of our December orders will have been delivered.  If you’ve been waiting for the best selection, this is it.  Nothing else will arrive before the end of the year.
  2. There’s still time to order. Maybe?!  By shopping the second week of December, there’s still time to order that perfect gift.  Or if it’s totally sold out, come up with an alternate gift that is still thoughtful.  Basically, it’s not crunch time and you still have a fighting chance to get that special item for everyone on your list.
  3. CASH FLOW! Like those in the GPShopper report, I typically do all my shopping during the second week of December and it’s for a very specific reason—those purchases will hit my credit card statement to be paid in February, allowing me to smooth out my outgoing cash.  If you’ve had to spend on a lovely Thanksgiving meal or travel to eat your Thanksgiving meal, extending your payment options for holiday gifts makes sense.  I also suspect that smoothing out cash flow is the main reason that 32% of U.S. holiday shoppers start shopping in October—they’re trying to avoid crushing credit card bills due that first week of January.

Referral-Based Businesses Don’t Need Black Friday

We all know that the true test of a satisfied client is whether that person would recommend your business to their friends.  If your business plan doesn’t include getting referral business from your existing client base, no sale will make up for that lost revenue.  The best thing you can do for your business is to earn your clients’ trust and respect so they will tell all their friends about how amazing you are.

When you have a referral-based business, like I do, no client is going to tell their friends, “Wow, that studio had the best Black Friday sale, so you should start taking class there immediately.”  Instead, they will tell their friends and family about all the little things we do that make the other 364 days of the year an amazing experience.  Being in the customer experience business means that Black Friday isn’t a part of what you’re trying to accomplish.  And if something isn’t furthering your business’ mission statement, then you shouldn’t be doing it.

So …   If you want to know if we have any Black Friday deals, the answer is, “Nope.”  We’ll have classes in the morning to get a good post-turkey sweat (or to get away from your family), but that’s it.  No fanfare.  No wild and crazy blockbuster deals.  If it’s deals you’re searching for, you’ll have to go elsewhere.

I hope that you have an exceptional Thanksgiving and get to spend quality time with your friends and family.  Maybe get a stellar nap in.

On Thursday, I’ll be posting about how the fitness-focused (that’s us!) can avoid the dreaded “Holiday Crush.”  If you’ve ever found yourself hating the holiday season or feeling less festive than you think you should be, then this is for you!

My Why

So incredible!  Yesterday, I attended the annual meeting and luncheon for the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce … and Pure Barre Winston-Salem won the Truliant Best Small Business in Winston-Salem award for 2017!

I mean, seriously?  What an honor.  Winston-Salem was literally built from small businesses growing into large corporations (think RJ Reynolds, Hanesbrands, Krispy Kreme, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, BB&T and the list goes on) paving the way for thousands of other startups and small businesses to make their mark on the city.  And now, my business has been recognized as being the best.  Thank you!  To the Chamber, Truliant, my amazing clients, and my incredibly talented team of hard-working employees—Thank you!

So why do I do what I do?  Being a small business owner isn’t always glamourous.  It can be really hard sometimes.  But, I am motivated by the idea that there is nothing worse than wasted talent in this world.  You know, the idea that everyone has great potential and can accomplish great things.  And for me, that starts with being physically fit to accomplish all those great things.  When your body is strong, your mind is strong and you can do just about anything.

Every day, I get to see my clients do amazing things in the studio that I know help them do amazing things outside of the studio.  I’ve been fortunate to see clients who walk into Pure Barre completely unsure of themselves and their physical capabilities, transform into confident and strong individuals.  I’m extremely fortunate to experience these things on a daily basis.  It’s inspiring.

What if you were at the center of a workplace where everyone was pushed to be their best?  What if your business was bigger than yourself?  What if you could wear leggings EVERY SINGLE DAY?

Yep.  Life is pretty damn good.

Look Forward and Prepare for Possibilities

Networking.  Why does it always seem so lame?  A bunch of people in a room trying to connect and figure out if they can help each other out.  Receptions offer limited time, so your goal is to determine fairly quickly if talking to someone is worth your time or if you need to move onto the next person.  It’s kind of like freshman year for adults—everyone’s a little awkward, except for that one guy who is totally running for Rush Chair of his fraternity (Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman, damn glad to meet you), and if you’re not careful you can pack on 15 lbs. from eating all that bad reception food and drink.  So fun!

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

There is!  I heard about a program called, Leadership Winston-Salem (Click here to learn more), from my business realtor and after learning more, decided to apply.  Yep, you have to apply, have a reference, and be accepted.  Your employer also has to agree to the extensive curriculum and giving you the time away from the office to participate.  Luckily there wasn’t too much red tape to get approval from my employer—the perks of being your own boss!

Leadership Winston-Salem takes about 60 leaders in business around the city and helps these individuals to learn more about their community.  The official mission is “educating, connecting and energizing leaders to serve and improve the community.”  The year-long program is all about “building strong, lasting relationships with other leaders, learning more about the community than you ever thought you could, and being inspired to make a difference in the community.”  Now this is more in my networking wheelhouse.

So far, we’ve had an opening retreat and our first day of speakers and activities to learn more about the history of Winston.  I don’t want to give out any details—in case you decide to participate in the program yourself.  But already I have a big takeaway.

We meet about once a month and each day has a specific leadership principle to keep in mind.  Yesterday’s leadership principle was …

A good leader “looks forward and prepares for possibilities.”

And I really needed that reminder.  Being a business owner is all about the grind.  The day-to-day.  Doing the same things over and over, so that eventually those little things add up to something pretty big.

But as the leader of your business, you have to plan ahead and think about the future.  Where do you want your business to go?  What is your ultimate business goal?  If an opportunity presented itself, would you be ready to take advantage of it?

I’ve been thinking about starting another business in addition to my two Pure Barre studios.  This year, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I would open another franchise or develop something on my own.  I’ve even looked at buying an existing business.

It’s been a slow process and a bit tedious at times.  Coming up with the idea is fun.  But there’s this whole other behind-the-scenes list of To-Do’s—like talk to attorneys and accountants—that no one really talks about.  Not to mention securing a website, building it out, and branding.  Oh yeah, and writing a business plan and assessing risk.  I might be on the verge of starting something great.  Or I might crash and burn.

All the more reason to remember that a good leader “looks forward and prepares for possibilities.”

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.

Designing My Ideal Home Office: The Desk

The desk or workspace is arguably THE most important piece of furniture in your home office.  I mean, if you don’t have a good place to sit down and work, then what’s the point?  But the desk is a lot more than where you work, it’s a place where you’ll keep paperwork, office supplies, not to mention the focal point of the room.  So, it seemed like picking out a desk was the place to start when designing my ideal home office …

She's On Her Toes Office Design

Bulldog approved!

I had seen a lot of posts and articles about IKEA hacks, proclaiming simple ways to make the inexpensive more unique and chic.  Since I have some rather pricey selections on my office inspiration board (click here to see my Olioboard inspiration board), like the console, shelf, and upholstered chair and ottoman, it seemed like a good idea to try and save some money on my desk, lamp and rug.  So, I headed out to IKEA to try my luck at saving.

And save I did!  I was able to buy the desk for … $49.99!  That’s $19.99 for the white Linnmon tabletop and then $30.00 for 2 Lerberg trestle legs.  The legs are grey, which actually looked great with the rug I found, but I wanted a chic look of shiny brass.  So, I went to the hardware store and bought some metallic spray paint.  The spray paint and drop cloth were about $15.00.  So, for about $65.00, I’ve got a pretty amazing looking desk.  What do you think?

She's On Her Toes Desk

I also found this Forsa work lamp for $19.99 and the light bulb (sold separately) for $4.99.

She's On Her Toes IKEA Desk Lamp

I was able to purchase this wool rug (IKEA PS 2014, 4 ‘ 2” x 5’ 11’) for $139.  Compared to the desk and the lamp, this was a splurge, but I love the design and the colors.  Even though I don’t have any other pieces of furniture in the room yet, it would be really easy to coordinate grey, beige, pink or teal to match back to this rug.

She's On Her Toes Office IKEA rug

I’m pretty excited about my choices so far.  Now I just have to find a good office chair.  The choices at IKEA, were a little uninspiring.  I’ll let you know next week what I decide!