My New Year’s Resolution: Take More.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I figured, “Why not?” Focusing on making ourselves better and doing Write it on your heart quote showing woman looking out to seaour work more effectively doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. I certainly have room for improvement, so I think laying out some strategies to become the person and solopreneur I strive to be makes sense.

 

In thinking through what I’d like to achieve in 2017, I discovered a theme.

 

I realize I need to “take” more.

Take stock.

Why is it we tend to dwell on what’s not right or what’s lacking in our personal and professional lives? I intend to start and end each day on a note of gratitude, taking stock of all I have to be thankful for.

Take 5 more often.

I’ve learned that overextending myself and cramming too much into too little time doesn’t benefit anyone. Not me. Not my family. Not my clients. Not my friends. When I need breaks, I’m going to take them. None of us can sustain a schedule that doesn’t leave room for rest and recovery.

Take a deep breath.

It seems as though we’re always jumping. Jumping to conclusions, jumping to judgment, and jumping at chances. But leaping before looking can lead to poor decisions and destroyed relationships. I vow to allow myself the time to take a breath and listen and think before offering opinions and making choices. I don’t know anyone who has ever regretted or suffered as a result of carefully thinking before speaking or acting on something, do you?

Take care.

Rushing never yields quality results. By consciously and methodically taking care, I can better avoid making those stupid little mistakes that gnaw at the core of my being for hours on end. Doing it right the first time saves time and sustains self-confidence.

Take a chill pill.

I’m a worrier. Not so much about myself but about others who I care about and who are going through difficult times. That’s not productive. Worry helps no one. What does help is keeping a cool head, giving a shoulder to lean on, providing guidance, and offering a helping hand.

Take it with a grain of salt.

Constructive criticism from trusted advisors and other people who care about you can serve as valuable feedback to move you down a more successful path. But naysayers offering unsolicited advice or making disparaging remarks about you or how you do something typically don’t have your best interests at heart. I intend to take their words with a grain of salt and consider their motivation. If someone offers harsh words that aren’t in the spirit of helping you improve, then it’s likely they’re driven by jealousy, rivalry, or by an inherently mean disposition.

The Overarching Plan For The New Year

So, my plan to take control of 2017 is to take more. What have you placed on your list of resolutions? Could you benefit from taking more, too, in the New Year?

 

Couldn’t We All Use A Little More Of This One Thing In The New Year?

 

You might have thought I was referring to money, but that’s not it.Yin Yang symbol

 

While most of us welcome the free flow of cash into our small businesses, there’s something else that’s a bare essential for our success—and for our sanity. It’s often difficult to acquire and equally hard to maintain.

 

Patience.

 

I admit it; I often lack it—particularly during rare but aggravating extended periods of non-stop misfortunes, miscellaneous challenges, and mishaps. I’m guessing you’re no stranger to those streaks. None of us is immune to them.

 

I’m in the midst of one of those uncharacteristic phases now…in October, our 11-year-old boxer mix, Luna, passed away. In mid-November, we adopted a 7-month-old rescue pit bull puppy, Lulu, who is the epitome of stubbornness. A week after adopting Lulu, my husband broke his ankle, rendering me the sole dog walker, trash taker-outer, meal maker, etc. And my 90-year-old grandmother’s health took a turn for the worse, and she is on her deathbed.

 

No violin music, please. I know a lot of people are dealing with situations far more dire, but it has been challenging nonetheless.

 

And so, my patience has been put to the test. And it has failed as much or more often than it has passed.

 

When we lose our patience, our loved ones—those who give us unconditional love—are the people who typically bear the brunt of it.

 

And impatience can put a hurting on our businesses, too, if we don’t recognize its signs and make an attitude adjustment in time.

 

Potential Small Business Pitfalls From Lack of Patience

 

  • Inability to take well-meaning constructive criticism favorably
  • Sending “short” emails that have an air of annoyance
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • Difficulty thinking creatively
  • Exuding tension and frustration on calls (or in meetings) with customers
  • Impaired flexibility in accommodating the unexpected
  • Avoidance of business-building networking events

 

These side effects of impatience can kill productivity, stop growth in its tracks, and leave a bad impression on clients.

 

Unfortunately, curbing impatience doesn’t always come easily, and being in business presents more than enough adversity to wear on entrepreneurs’ tolerance.

As a small business owner, you deal with all sorts of headaches, including:

  • Employees or subcontractors who aren’t reliable.
  • Clients who have unreasonable expectations.
  • Prospects who balk at your rates and question your value.
  • Tech issues with your smart phone, website, laptop, etc.
  • Projects that don’t go according to plan.

 

So how do you find the patience to deal with all of that and more? It requires awareness and, ironically, patience with our own selves and our inability to control everything to a T.

 

I wouldn’t say it’s a New Year’s resolution per se, but as 2016 comes around the bend, I have promised myself to be more aware of and to give pause to how I react to and respond in trying times. I’ve given myself permission to exercise patience with myself in order to exhibit more patience toward others in stressful situations.

 

I wish you patience in the New Year, too, along with whatever else you have your sights set on personally and professionally.

 

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Guilty Pleasures

 

 

Guilty pleasures.Guilty Pleasures

Those harmless, little indulgences we enjoy, but feel like we shouldn’t because others would think us silly (or insane).

I have them. You have them. Everyone has them.

So strong is their lure that we can’t help but give ourselves over to them despite the risks of ridicule and whispering behind our backs.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

My guilty pleasures? Here they are in no particular order:

  • CBS’s “Survivor” – I haven’t missed a single season since the show began in 2000.
  • Thrift shopping – I love getting good stuff on the cheap.
  • “Gilligan’s Island” – I own all three seasons on DVD.
  • Rummaging through Walmart’s $5 DVD bin – I scored “Clueless” and “Legally Blonde” last week.

My most embarrassing guilty pleasure by far, however, is one that sadly no longer exists: “Flavor of Love” on VH1.

And now you know. No more secrets.

Three reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty about your guilty pleasures.

Provided your guilty pleasures aren’t at the expense of anyone else’s well-being and they don’t turn into an excuse not to tend to responsibilities when you need to, embrace them.

Guilty pleasures can do you good.

  • They give you a much needed—and deserved—break.
  • They free your mind from worry.
  • They stimulate your creativity.
  • They strengthen the bonds with family and friends who share the same guilty pleasures.
  • They make you happy.

Yes, they might be awkward to admit to, but don’t feel guilty about having them.

Your turn! C’mon, be brave…comment here to share your guilty pleasures!

If you liked this post, you might like these, too:

Five Reasons Solopreneurs Should Get Away and Go Wild

 

Taking A Break Without Breaking Business Momentum

The Right Way To Earn Small Business Bragging Rights

Leadership expert Steve Gutzler wrote a post that made me pause to think about the qualities of being self-employed that I tend to Bragging guyemphasize when talking with other professionals.

 

Upon reflection, I realize I too often share about my packed project schedule or the fact that there never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. It’s as if being overworked or overwhelmed are valid markers on the path to success.

 

They’re not. There’s no glory in excessive stress and leading a professional life that seems to control us rather than the other way around. What’s the point of being your own boss if your business is the boss of  you?

 

Sure, we need to work hard to build sustainable businesses, BUT that’s not what should earn us bragging rights as solopreneurs and small business owners.

 

What should give us something to gloat about?

  • We can choose the types of projects we want to work on.
  • We can choose the clients we want to work with.
  • We don’t have to ask anyone permission to leave work early on a beautiful summer afternoon.
  • We can plan our work schedule around our kids’ ball games and play rehearsals.
  • We can enroll in any professional development course we want without someone telling us it’s not relevant to our position.

 

Having lifestyle flexibility is nothing to feel guilty about. It’s OK to step away from work and enjoy other things.

 

And you shouldn’t feel like less of a business professional because you have the ability to do that when others don’t.

 

Isn’t it time we wore THAT as our small business badge of honor?

 

Of course, having the ability to do more than work all the time means finding the discipline and resources to plan better and work more efficiently.

 

Accomplish that and you’ve really got something to brag about!

 

Your turn! What do you find yourself quickest to communicate when talking with others about your experience in self-employment?

 

Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Four-Letter Word I’m Removing From My Business Vocabulary

Can you guess what it is?

B – U – S – Y

Perhaps not what you were expecting, but that’s the one: “Busy”Strikethrough of "busy"

The reason? We use…no, we OVER use…it to such a large degree it has become nearly void of meaning. Ask someone how their week was: “It was busy!” Ask someone how work is going: “I’m so busy!”

Busy, busy, busy. We’re all busy in our own minds, and we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve lost all sensitivity to and sympathy for the busyness of others. I don’t think most of us even empathize with other busy people because we always think we’re busier than they are. I know I am. You probably are, too.

Banning “busy”

I’ve decided that no matter how hectic or crowded my professional and personal plates get, I will no longer refer to my schedule’s condition as “busy.”

That doesn’t mean I won’t let people know if I’m unavailable to attend a meeting or work on an assignment; it just means I will choose other words to more meaningfully express my situation. Something like, “I’m sorry, but I have other commitments this week. Could we look at some alternate dates toward the end of  next week?”

Saying you’re busy means nothing because “busy” is relative. We all have different tolerance levels for taking on responsibilities. Others will have a greater understanding of – and maybe even an appreciation –  for your workload and schedule conflicts if you communicate your busyness in other terms.

No more “busy” starts today

Starting today, I hereby banish the word “busy” from my vocabulary. If you catch me using it to describe my present or future calendar’s condition, I expect you to call me out on it.

Not only will banning “busy” result in more accurate conveyance of my working availability, I expect it might also alleviate some stress. Ever notice how just thinking about how busy you are seems to push your blood pressure to the ceiling?

Unfortunately, eliminating busy from your pool of acceptable words won’t remove tasks and projects from your schedule, but I expect it could remove the propensity to think so much about how busy you are. And that could free your brain to better focus and accomplish more in less time so you’ll be less busy all the time. Here’s hoping anyway!

 

Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post
By Dawn Mentzer

 

EVERY Small Biz Owner Has 168 Hours per Week to Work With. Are Yours Working for You?

Fact: We all have the same amount of time to work (and play) with.  Clock/Time image

24 hours in every day.

168 hours in every week.

None of us who run our own businesses seem to have enough time – ever! And we all talk about work/life balance, but recognizing what it really means to us, let alone achieving it, often evades us. Many of us really don’t know how our time is being spent each day and each week.

If you get stressed out, irritable, feel like you’ve taken on too much and are falling behind, or your family complains they’re getting the short end of the stick…it’s probably time for a time reality check.

Do you have a handle on how you’re spending your 168 hours each week?

To figure it out, start with tracking approximately how much time you spend on the following activities:

Sleeping – Face it. You need it. Some people function better than others on lesser quantities, but I personally find at least 7.5 hours per night is the magic number for me. (7.5 x 7 days. That’s 52.5 hours per week spent on catching z’s!)

Billable Client Work – If you’re a freelancer or professional services provider like me, you want a reasonable amount of this “bring home the bacon” time in your schedule. Too much of it, however, can leave you burned out and overwhelmed when you can’t keep up with all the other business-related tasks you need to tend to. According to freelancing expert Laura Spencer in an article on FreelanceM.ag’s website, generally 6 hours of billable client work per day is what most freelancers can accommodate in combination with their other responsibilities. Of course that could be less depending on the freelancer and varying other professional and personal demands.

Administrative Tasks – Invoicing, recording expenses in Quickbooks, responding to emails, managing your computer files, etc. It all needs to be done, and if you’re a solopreneur, it likely all needs to be done by you.

Marketing and Social Media – Depending on how many online social media channels you’re active on and how many networking groups you’re  involved with, this could require a substantial amount of time every day.

Volunteering – Community involvement can be a win-win all around if you’re giving back without giving up too much of your time. You definitely want to keep tabs on this one!

Exercise – Like sleeping, I consider exercise a necessity personally and professionally because it directly affects my energy level, optimism, and ability to think clearly and creatively. If exercise is a regular part of your routine, it’s good to have a grasp on how much time you’re devoting to it. Not so much to limit it, but rather to make sure you don’t neglect it.

The categories above are the things I consider “professional essentials” and that’s where I’ve focused my efforts in figuring out how my time is distributed every day. I’m presently in the process of zeroing in on it all using a combination of time tracking via the tool Toggl and my own handwritten records.

Next step will be to put it all of my actual data in a pie chart similar to the one below. If you do the same, you’ll be able to get a visual on the time you have left for you (and for those who might be complaining they’re not seeing enough of you!).

 

Time tracking pie chart

Something to note…whatever free time (represented by the powder blue wedge) you have won’t likely be distributed evenly across all seven days. Most people’s weekends contain a disproportionate amount of free time compared to Monday through Friday. So, for example, if you find you’ve got 60 hours of free time per week, you might be using 43 of them over the weekend. That leaves just 17 hours to share throughout the work week. That’s less than 3.5 hours per day for things like running personal errands, homework with the kids, cooking and eating, bathing, reading before bed, watching a movie or a TV show, and whatever else you do in your spare time.

Kind of scary, right? But fear not! While you might be surprised (or perhaps shocked) by what you discover about how you’re spending your time, you’ll also be empowered. Having gone through the exercise, you’ll be able to recognize inconsistencies between how you want to spend your time and what you’re currently spending the majority of your time and effort on. What then? Use that knowledge, make adjustments, and take steps to bring your reality closer to what you consider your ideal work/life balance.

 

Your turn! What techniques and actions have you taken to keep your work/life balance in step? What time management tips can you share with other small biz owners? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment!

 

By Dawn Mentzer – a.k.a. The Insatiable Solopreneur™
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Solopreneur Squared: The Benefits and Challenges of Having 2 Solopreneurs Under the Same Roof

As a “solo” solopreneur, you might find those around you don’t always understand what you’re doing and why it Solopreneur2sometimes demands so much of your time and energy. While my family has always been extremely supportive, they don’t know first-hand the challenges and stresses of trying to do it all. How could they – except through what I tell them – and I’d rather be spending quality time with them than complaining. Still, wouldn’t doing business as a solopreneur be easier if those closest to you would know what it’s like to walk in your shoes?

Who better to ask that question than a pair of husband and wife solopreneurs? I reached out to Steve and Sherry Smith, who both operate as solopreneurs under the same roof in Lancaster, PA.  Steve runs both a marketing firm focused on helping business embrace new technology in their marketing efforts and a successful restaurant consulting business. Sherry owns and operates an interior design company that she started on the west coast, now pulling many of those design influences into her work for clients here in the east. Together, they juggle the responsibilities of their independent businesses and their family.

Check out this Q&A with Sherry and Steve to find out the behind the scenes of how they got started on the road to dual solopreneurship – and get a glimpse of what it’s like to have two solopreneurs in the same house. Plus, they share some good advice about balancing home and work life that’s relevant for all of us.

My Solopreneur² Q&A with the Smiths:

Who ventured into being a solopreneur first? Whoever did it second, what inspired you to follow?

Sherry: Ever since I met Steve he had always desired to be in business for himself, but honestly I believe both of us ventured into solopreneurship around the same time. I made my mind up to launch Design Elements, Ltd. in the spring of 2006 (after months of discussing with Steve and with his encouragement) and made it official in February 2007 after leaving a full-time position at the Tahoe Tribune….just 4 weeks after they awarded me ‘Sales Rep of the Year 2006’. Not good timing for them, but I had already laid a few months of ground work for the launch of Design Elements, Ltd. While we lived in Lake Tahoe, Ca., Steve had a few different experiences with solopreneurship, but the industry he kept coming back to was restaurant consulting.

What has been your primary motivation in being your own boss?

Sherry: Really lots of things: Passion for interior design and helping clients realize they can, with my help, create a space that reflects and enhances their lifestyle; being my own ‘boss’ and driving my own ship and all the good and bad that goes with that; also being able to create a team around me that allows me the opportunity to grow and guide accordingly.

Steve: I always have been a leader. From a young age as a competitive athlete, I seemed to naturally fit the role of team captain. In business, my mentors have been people like John Maxwell and Tony Dungy, both men of faith and excellent leaders. So this leadership has driven me to my charge which nowadays, at the age of 52, is the calling to help others succeed.

I imagine having two solopreneurs in the family allows you to share some resources; how does that help you in your independent businesses?

Sherry: I believe one of our major resources is our ability to collaborate on any type of project that each of us is working on. Because we have three businesses/brands under one roof (Restaurant Rescue Consulting, Local Mobile Apps and Design Elements, Ltd.), we are often bouncing ideas and strategies off of one another – and that ultimately benefits our clients.

Steve: I must agree with Sherry. For me, having her as a strategist is very powerful and enables me to better serve my/our clients!

Does sharing resources ever cause issues or problems? How so?

Sherry: Well…I would refer to the answer above about collaboration. Both of us have a tendency to interrupt the other with our ideas, questions, or general need for feedback. This “sense of urgency” on one person’s part isn’t always shared with the other :). It isn’t easy being married and being solopreneurs, and we do struggle with when to wear what “hat.” We are all in, and our efforts are 24/7, and there is sometimes a blurred line with being “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and being solopreneurs. We value each other’s skill set and experience and know that we have a synergy together that does help our clients.

What would you say challenges you most about having two solopreneurs in the family?

Sherry: In addition to knowing when to be “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and when to be solopreneurs, I would have to say the challenge of establishing quality family time with our daughter. I need to be better at telling myself to stop working and to focus on family. That is extremely hard for me because there is always a list of “to do” items that continually grows an evolves.

Steve: For me I’m not very patient sometimes and tend to want “my answers” immediately. So respecting each others space and time is paramount.

What would you say are the biggest benefits of having two solopreneurs in the family?

Sherry: Flexibility.

Steve: Amen… time for our daughter!

Do you find it difficult not to get overly involved in each other’s businesses? How do you draw the line and not step on each other’s toes?

Sherry: No, not difficult. I think Steve does his thing well with Restaurant Rescue Consulting, and I do my thing well with Design Elements, Ltd. We respect each other’s expertise in these distinctive industries and usually use each other as sounding boards on any variety of issues relating to leadership, coaching, marketing, sales within our respective projects.

Steve: Yep…what she said!

If you could give just one piece of advice to couples who are thinking about running two independent solo-businesses, what would it be?

Sherry: Know each other’s goals and plans for achieving success in each other’s respective businesses, and then be flexible, because plans never go exactly like they are on paper. Ideally, give each other more grace, patience and understanding….on both sides of the track – in your marriage and in your business.

Steve: Respect and patience!

Anything else you think is important to share?

Steve: Legacy..What can we give? Who can we serve? How can we teach our daughter? This is what matters most!

Sherry SmithAbout Sherry Smith
Sherry owns and operates Design Elements, Ltd., a Lancaster, PA-based interior decorating/design, home staging & redesign company focused on creating solutions to fit clients’ unique styles and preferences. She originally started her business in beautiful Lake Tahoe, CA, and has brought that West Coast influence to Central PA. From color consultations to complete remodels, Sherry has experience with space planning, style identification, furniture and fabric recommendations, lighting and fixtures selections, and case goods and accessory options for homes and businesses. 

About Steve Smith
Steve is a founding partner of Local-Mobile-Social Marketing, a Lancaster PA firm that helps businesses understand Steve Smithhow to market themselves effectively with new technology in this new world. He also runs a successful consulting business, Restaurant Rescue Consulting. Over the past 30 years, he has opened and operated more than a dozen start ups in the hospitality industry. His experience includes working with recognizable brands including Intrawest, Vail Resorts, and TGIFridays. His laser focus on aligning marketing strategy with business goals and objectives has enabled him to deliver his clients results that make a stronger bottom line.

Dealing with Small Biz Stress: How Solopreneurs Can Take Control and Get Better Life Balance

Solopreneurs come from all industries, diverse business backgrounds, and  with varied expertise and skills. I find it Yoga personfascinating to discover what other solo biz owners like most about being solopreneurs – and what they find most challenging.  Although we’re “solo,” we’re all in it together really. We can learn from each other and all become better small business owners as a result.

My Q&A with Solopreneur Dr. Ann Lee.

Ann owns Health for Life Clinic in Lancaster, PA. As a solopreneur in the healthcare field, she faces some unique business challenges, but there’s also a lot that she has in common with the rest of us. Within this post, not only does she share what she believes are the perks and pitfalls of solo biz ownership, she also provides some helpful advice on how we can all better deal with the stresses of solopreneurship.

As a solopreneur, what do you find most rewarding about owning your own small business?

Ann: The freedom and creativity you can have with owning your own small business . . . if you have an idea – you can implement it quickly and see right away if it works or not. You get instant feedback, and can work on improvements quickly. Clients can give you feedback, and they can see them incorporated the next day. You can really make a difference in people’s lives, and clients notice and appreciate the work that you do.

As a solopreneur, what do you find most challenging about owning your own small business?

Ann: Because your business is your lifeline, you will dedicate and sacrifice a lot of time and effort into it. It is totally rewarding in the end, but it is up to you to set your own boundaries and still have a ‘good work life balance.’ So the most challenging is setting those boundaries.

In your practice, what health complaints do you hear most from patients who are solopreneurs or professionals which can be attributed to the stresses of being in business?

Ann: The most common health complaints are those attributed to stress: high blood pressure, insomnia, digestive complaints, sore/aching muscles and joints, chronic fatigue and dependence on coffee.

What are some lifestyle changes business professionals could consider for alleviating stress and performing better mentally and physically when under pressure?

Ann: The most challenging thing to do, as I mentioned before, is actually scheduling time regularly throughout your schedule for mini-vacations or stress relieving activities. If you don’t schedule it, it doesn’t happen. And if you don’t make it a priority, it doesn’t happen either. I find professionals who schedule relaxing activities regularly such as golf, yoga, meditation, perform better and are able to create better business relationships. There are many options available for relaxing activities that resonate with you and fit into your schedule.

A simple nutrition tip is to never skip breakfast, to start off your day with a full tank of gas.

To maximize restful sleep, it helps to unload your thoughts on a piece of paper before going to bed, or to have a to-do list always on hand so that it doesn’t stay on your mind to ruminate over while trying to go to sleep.

Ball’s in your court!

Some wonderful takeaways, right?! I think Ann hit on one of the biggest challenges we all face as solopreneurs. We put so much time, energy, and focus into our businesses, but we often neglect the bodies and minds our businesses need to succeed. I know I could definitely do a better job at getting enough sleep, stepping away from the stress, and living in the moment when with family and friends. How about you?

My thanks to Ann for sharing her experience as a solopreneur and for giving us sound, sensible advice. Now it’s up to us to use it!

Dr. Ann Lee of Health for Life ClinicAbout Dr. Ann Lee
Ann Lee, is a naturopathic doctor & acupuncturist, serving Lancaster, PA in complementary & alternative medicine, with a specialty in infertility (natural fertility). At Health For Life Clinic, Inc., she provides patients with comprehensive, personalized healthcare through acupuncture, naturopathic and holistic medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, herbs, and lifestyle improvement. For more information about her and her practice, visit her website.

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By Dawn Mentzer

Yoga Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An Unexpected Benefit of Being a Solopreneur

When I decided to follow the self-employment path, I had some expectations of the perks that would come with the Thumbs upterritory…

  • Flexible schedule
  • Freedom to pursue the type of work I love most
  • Less drama and politics than in a corporate setting
  • More control over my workload

But there was one immense benefit of being a solopreneur that I didn’t see coming – new  friendships.

As a result of networking both online and off, working closely with clients and their clients, volunteering with community organizations, and joining local business groups, I’ve made a lot of professional connections. And in the process, I’ve made some near and dear friends. Friends who are ever-encouraging and truly understand the triumphs and terrors of being in business for yourself.

Don’t misunderstand…I love my non-business-affiliated friends from before I became a solopreneur, too. But I’ve found the friendships with roots that trace back to in-common professional experiences to be a directly positive influence on my attitude and motivation toward entrepreneurship.

Some ways my friendships formed from professional beginnings enrich my life include…

  • They provide a willing and experienced “sounding board” for sharing entrepreneurial thoughts, ideas and fears.
  • They help me sort through problems and challenges some other friends might not be able to relate to.
  • They sometimes guide me to professional opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have found.
  • They show me how to laugh and maintain the fun in business even when the going gets tough.

Of course, friendship is a two-way street! I strive to return the same level of support and encouragement to my business-based friends.  It’s that healthy give and take that I believe makes these friendships so powerful and satisfying.

So, as you follow the road to being a solopreneur, expect your circle of friends to grow and change over time. But never ever force a friendship for the purpose of professional gain. As with any other friendship, one with its beginnings based in business should happen naturally – quite simply because you genuinely like each other.

Your turn! How has being in business for yourself changed your circle of friends? What professionally-related activities have led you to new friendships?

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Solopreneurs, Let’s Celebrate Independence this 4th of July!

This 4th of July is for you! As we celebrate our independence as a nation, don’t forget to celebrate your independence American Flag/Shieldas a solopreneurial small business owner, too!

As as solopreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in the constant and accumulating “to dos” that you face day in and day out. That often prevents us from recognizing our achievements. Our accomplishments often happen gradually over time as opposed to us experiencing them in single, gloriously victorious moments.

So, pat yourself on the back. Fix yourself a special cocktail (you know, the fancy kind with an umbrella and swizzle stick). Relax with family and friends. Reflect on how far  you’ve come. Take time this Independence Day to acknowledge and celebrate the fruits of your labor.

And if you need some justification for doing that, remember how hard you’ve worked and what you’ve achieved…

  • You’ve put in long hours.
  • You’ve sacrificed.
  • You’ve conquered fear.
  • You’ve conquered doubt.
  • You’ve succeeded.
  • You’ve failed.
  • You’ve built something from the bottom up.
  • You’ve defined yourself.
  • You’ve discovered your strengths and areas of improvement.
  • You’ve stuck with something through good and bad.
  • You’ve built a following.
  • You’ve contributed to supporting your family.
  • You’ve helped your community.
  • You’ve made others’ lives easier.
  • You’ve created professional relationships and friendships that are long-lasting.
  • You’ve lifted others up with advice and feedback.

What can you add to the list? I know you can!

No matter what  efforts and accomplishments comprise your list, make this 4th of July a day to not only observe our nation’s freedom, but also one to celebrate your independence as a solopreneur. You deserve it!

Image courtesy of nirots / FreeDigitalPhotos.net