Business

  • Four mistakes to avoid when hiring and growing a team

    Are you looking to hire a team member and not sure where to start? Here are four mistakes to avoid when hiring.

    If you’ve been in business for a while then you know that the things you handle today look very different from what your schedule used to look like when you were starting out. At some point, every business owner needs to face the reality that their business can’t just be their baby. It needs to grow and become a fully-fledged company with a team to support its growth and objectives. And this is what inspired me to highlight these four mistakes to avoid when hiring new talent for your business.

    But most often, entrepreneurs will leave this hiring decision until they are completely overwhelmed. And worse off, the panic hiring that follows actually makes the situation worse, and not better.

    So what pitfalls and mistakes should you avoid when hiring, if you know that you can’t continue trying to handle things on your own?

    First of all, please read this blog to find out how to prepare your business for a team. Because it’s not just about finding the right person to support you.

    Ok, let’s look at the 4 common mistakes to avoid when hiring. And I don’t just mean a permanent employee. It could be a contractor, a once-off done-for-you service provider, anyone you outsource work to.

    1. Waiting until you are completely overwhelmed

    The problem with this is that you end up having to take time off everything else in your business to focus on finding and onboarding a new team member. And most likely you end up taking shortcuts to get someone because you don’t have the time (or the clarity) to look for the right person.

    Instead, start putting your outsourcing wishlist together. What are some of the tasks in your business that you wish someone else could do at the wave of a magic wand? 

    Start preparing now. Even if you still have a couple of months or milestones to hit before you can accommodate a new team member in your business.

    2. You are not clear on what you’re hiring for

    Another mistake to avoid when hiring is lack of clarity. Often when I speak to entrepreneurs about hiring they are usually thinking about hiring a virtual assistant first. But this is not always what you need when you are starting to expand your team.

    Let’s say you spend a lot of time creating content. Maybe you need a copywriter or a content manager instead of a virtual assistant. But you won’t know this if you haven’t properly assessed what happens and what you do in your business that is taking away from the time you have to grow and serve more clients.

    Once you have clarity on what exactly you need to outsource at this point in your business, you can then start to put a job description together. And putting a cute post in a Facebook Group that you are hiring is not a job description. You need to have clearly thought out

    • What this hire will be responsible for
    • How they will perform their work
    • How frequently they will work in your business
    • What tools or support they will need to get their job done
    Are you looking to hire a team member and not sure where to start? Here are four mistakes to avoid when hiring.

    3. You hire first then organize later

    This is a common mistake people make when hiring. Because everyone thinks hiring is just about getting someone who’s really great at what they do. But they need to be in an environment that gives them the best chance to succeed.

    And if you think your new team members are going to come to the rescue and organize your business for you, this almost always doesn’t happen.

    Instead, you spend a lot of time trying to handhold and get your new team member up to speed. And sometimes even get distracted from the things that only you can do, as you get used to working with someone else in your business.

    Maybe they even start suggesting different ways of getting things done. But because you haven’t thought through this, you dismiss their suggestions.

    It is so crucial to set up the systems to support your team members before you hire. Once you have a new team member, you are going to have to make adjustments in how you get things done, how you track and delegate, and without the foundational systems in your business, this is going to be an uphill battle that you don’t need right now.

    So if you already had a team and made the mistake of hiring without any organization or systems in place, that’s ok. You can always start putting the systems together, and even co-create them with your team. I always say that yesterday was the best time to set up systems, NOW is the next best time to do so.

    4. Thinking that hiring is a magic bullet

    Yes, hiring someone will definitely make a difference in your business. But if you think that your new team member is going to solve all 55 of your problems in one week, think again.

    The onboarding process alone could take up to a month especially if you do not have a business operating system in place. 

    I also see entrepreneurs not adjusting their ways of working when they hire someone. And then blaming that person when things aren’t going the way they imagined. You are going to have to change your processes and adjust to having someone else in your team. This could mean, 

    • Explaining why you are doing certain things a certain way
    • Getting things done earlier than usual if there are dependencies in tasks that you have delegated to your team

    Let’s say you’ve just hired a podcast manager, and you would easily record and edit a podcast episode the night before it was meant to air. You can’t do this and expect your team member to edit and create a high-quality episode unless you change the way you get things done. 

    So hiring definitely requires some adjustments in how you do things in your business. But it is possible, and it is very rewarding if you set your team up for success. The return on investment is far outweighed by the upfront work, systems, and organization that is needed before you onboard new team members.

    If you want to know my exact method to prepare your business for massive growth, check out this free training.

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  • How to prepare for massive growth in your business with a team

    Are you ready to grow your team? Here are tips on how to prepare your business for massive growth with a team.

    Introduction

    You are doing all the things in your business, but you’ve realized that it’s not sustainable. Most of us start our online businesses as solopreneurs, and I get why it’s not always the easiest thing to let go of doing everything and let someone else do it for you.

    But it’s the key to growing your business. No one has more than 24 hours in a day! At some point, your business responsibilities are going to outweigh the time you can realistically spend on your business on a day-to-day basis. 

    So, if you’ve been trying to figure out how to create capacity to serve more clients and scale your revenue, growing your team is going to be a critical part of your success going forward.

    But where do you even start? With that cute little post on Facebook that you’re looking for a VA?

    No! There is much more to growing a team than finding the right person. And this is often the part that female entrepreneurs miss the most. They wait until they are completely overwhelmed and then start panic-hiring. The purpose of this blog is to help you prepare for your team so you can maximize your return on your team investment.

    But first of all, let’s clear the air on the misconceptions around growing a team.

    Misconceptions around growing a team

    I can’t afford it, it’s too expensive.

    There are so many ways to grow a team. You don’t need to have a permanent employee right off the bat. Instead of thinking it’s too expensive, think “How can I get the help I need with the budget I have?”. I have a team of contractors in my business, and sometimes I get people on a very short-term basis to help me out.  

    Hiring means I am giving my profits away to someone else.

    Think about what it’s costing you to do all the things in your business. Doing all the busy work is taking away from the time you have to do the activities that actually = money in the bank. So would you rather limit your capacity to grow your revenue? Or hire help and free up your time for the money-making activities that only you can do?

    It’s quicker to do it myself.

    While this may be true, it’s certainly not the best use of your time to do all the admin work that’s necessary when you’re running a business. 

    No one does it better than me

    Instead of thinking that only you can do what you do in your business, have you thought about all the skilled people out there that only create graphics or manage digital workspaces or write copy? I want you to start asking yourself how you can hire people that do things better than you so you can focus on your mastery and the things you do best in your business.

    I got to where I am as a solopreneur, I can get to the next level on my own

    This is a very common misconception. But when you started out you probably had half the responsibilities and tasks on your plate than what it looks like right now. So while you may have easily gotten to those 5K months on your own, it’s only going to get harder to get to the next level without any help in your business.

    Why you need a team to grow your business

    As a female entrepreneur, wearing all the hats in your business is not uncommon. But it does become overwhelming when you have more clients to serve and more responsibilities on your plate.

    As your business grows, doing inbox maintenance, social media management, and all the busy work in between can easily become the bain of your existence.

    This is when a new hire can literally save your life. Hiring someone to do this work more efficiently is a much better use of your money and time than trying to do it all on your own.

    Think about it in terms of the opportunity cost. When you spend an hour managing your inbox, you are forgoing the opportunity to spend an hour serving a client and making actual money in the bank.

    And worse off, if you could hire the thing out at a fraction of your hourly rate. It makes no sense to be doing all the things in your business.

    And more time freed up means:

    • More time to focus on your zone of genius and perfect your mastery
    • Increased capacity to serve more clients and give them a world-class client experience
    • Less time spent working in your business and more time working ON your business
    • Protecting your wellbeing by ditching 12-hour work days
    • More time for income generating activities = more money in the bank
    • You can finally take time off your business & feel confident that you won’t come back to chao

    Before you start growing a team

    Before you make that decision for your first hire, there are some adjustments you are going to need to make in your business.

    Adjust your ways of working

    Let’s say you are hiring a podcast manager. The days of recording your podcast the day before it’s meant to be aired are going to be a thing of the past. Adjusting your processes and ways of working is such a critical aspect of your team’s success. And without systems in place, this almost becomes impossible to do.

    Set up a project management system

    If you’re used to keeping sticky notes and notebooks to remember what to do in your business & when then now is a good time to elevate yourself into a more organized system. Read more about how to set up your project management system using my favourite tool over here.

    Your project management system will enable you to easily onboard your new team members, assign them tasks and create workflows that are easy for them to follow, and never have things falling through the cracks.

    Create thorough SOPs

    Your SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are going to be so so critical in feeling confident about delegating to new hires, and the actual success of your new hires. An SOP is simply a detailed job description of how to get a specific task done in your business. You can read more about SOPs over here

    Prepare an onboarding pack

    Don’t leave your team members hanging once they are on board. Create an onboarding pack which you can use for every new team member who joins your crew.

    I love using my business dashboard in Asana for team orientation because it has all the important information about my business in one single place.

    Be clear on what you’re hiring for

    Your first hire should not always be a virtual assistant. In order to know what you need to hire for, you need to assess how you are spending your time in your business. And which areas need immediate attention. 

    We cover a number of exercises in my Solo to CEO VIP day, which I invite you to check out over here.

    In conclusion, 

    Growing your business with a team is going to be a game-changer for your business. But before you start looking for team hires, prepare your business so that your team members have the best chances of succeeding.

    Growing a team takes a lot of work, and doing it without the proper foundational systems in place is only going to cause more friction and stress for you than when you were alone in your business.

    So even if you’re not feeling quite ready to grow your team, start preparing before you’re ready. Create your foundational systems, set up your project management systems, put SOPs in place. Then get that dreamy outsourcing wishlist down so you know what your next move will be once you are ready to grow your team.

    Are you looking to scale your business or grow a team? Let’s chat about how to prepare your business today so that you and your team (or future team) can thrive. Book your systems audit over here.

    Are you ready to grow your team? Here are tips on how to prepare your business for massive growth with a team.

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  • Asana vs. Trello vs. Clickup: Which one is right for your business?

    Are you having trouble picking the best task management tool for your business? Here's a detailed post on the pros & cons of Asana, Trello & Click-up and tips on how to pick the right tool for your business.

    In this post, I will share some of the best task management tools used by online business owners. I will give you a view of the pros and cons and how to determine which one is right or best for you and for your business.

    In this podcast, I talked about what a work management space or system is. And today I will give a review of some of the tools that you can use to put your work management system to use. To briefly recap, a work management system is a way to streamline how you perform your business’s day to day activities and how to delegate them to your team members or to outsourced members.

    A work management system makes sure that everything is more streamlined and organized. It replaces the whole notebook and sticky notes all over the place kind of system. And it’s used interchangeably with the words; project management or task management. In case you’ve heard those words as opposed to a work management system, they all mean the same thing.

    Misconceptions of task management tools

    There’s one right tool that everyone should be using

    The first misconception is that there is one right tool that everyone should be using. I know depending on the people you follow on Instagram or on social media, you may have seen people promoting a specific tool because that’s what they specialize in. They will want to put that specific tool in the best light.

    You cannot switch task management tools

    The second misconception is that you cannot switch work or task management tools once you settle on one today. It’s like you’re stuck with it for life and there’s no going back.

    First things first; There is no one right tool that everyone should be using. It is all relevant to your business, your business needs and how you as a person prefer working.

    For the second misconception, you can always change project management tools. In fact, some of the project management tools have a functionality that allows you to migrate your tasks and workspace from one specific tool to their tool. This functionality was created because they know that sometimes you might need to change tools in the future. And that’s why that functionality is there.

    So, you can definitely change tools once you pick one. But it’s obviously best to pick one and stick with it because switching tool comes with a lot of change management that you need to take into consideration. You’ll have to learn a new tool all over again. And that’s more time you’re spending, trying to learn a new tool instead of trying to further grow your business or serve more clients or focus on what you do best.

    Asana, Trello & Click up

    I am focusing on Asana Trello and Click up. These are the three most popular task management tools use by online business owners and specifically in the coaching industry. There are others out there but I’ll be focusing on these three.

    Before I give the pros and cons, here’s some background based on hardcore facts about these companies.

    Asana netted $142 million in revenue in 2019, Trello netted 1.6 billion in 2020. Trello is owned by a company called Atlas. Atlas as a company is what netted the 1.6 billion, but it’s still a good indicator of how well Trello is doing because it is part of this company.

    Click up is probably the newest of the three companies and the newest of the three tools. Click up has been estimated to have a net asset value of $1 billion. And it’s estimated that they made revenues of $30 million in 2019. It’s evident that their revenues are lower, but it is a newer company, but it’s still valued at quite a high amount.

    The reason I shared these statistics is to show that these are all great companies. The financials, performance and profit of a company is a good indicator of how well they are selling and how well their core product or service is doing. The fact that all these three companies are doing relatively well is an indication that their tools are good for use.

    Remember, there is no one tool that is better than the other. It is all relevant to your business. The most important thing is that you pick what works for you.

    During my VIP day session, I help you perform a systems audit and we also do a review of the tools that would be best for your business and how you want to run your business. If you need extra help in figuring out what is going to work best for you can reach me here.

    Advantages of Trello.

    1. Works well for visual people & its user friendly.

    Trello is great for visual workers and it is super user friendly. It has a really nice user interface and you can drag and drop tasks around.

    2. Works great for people who are starting out

    For me, Trello is more of a database or a way to store information. As opposed to a way to track and manage and monitor and delegate tasks. This is my view based on how I have been able to use it. It is still a great tool if you want to start off with something that’s really simple and user friendly.

    Disadvantages of Trello

    1. Inability to view all your tasks

    You can’t see all your tasks in one dashboard. Because tasks are organized based on the board in which they belong. It’s not possible to have a view of all your tasks that are on all your boards. This is why I think it’s best for storing information, as opposed to tracking all your tasks in the different moving parts of your business.

    2. Not ideal for collaborating & managing tasks

    It’s also not the best for collaborating and managing tasks since your tasks are grouped by board. And you may have different tasks across different boards.

    It’s also not possible to see tasks that you’ve allocated to different team members as opposed to the tasks that are grouped by board.

    3. The Kanban style view

    Trello was built on a Kanban-style view. This is where you view tasks as a group of lists, which are then part of a board. And your tasks are moving downwards and your lists are moving to the right. This is the default view in which you view your tasks.

    It is possible to view your tasks by calendar view. But Trello wasn’t built for you to be able to view your tasks from a different point of view such as; Calendar view, Gantt chart view or timeline view. The timeline view allows you to see when tasks are starting or when tasks are ending.

    I actually used Trello when I was started my coaching business. I then switched to Asana after two months of using Trello. Because I realized that it just wasn’t going to work for what I wanted to achieve in my business and how I wanted to support my clients.

    Advantages of Asana

    1. User friendly

    Asana is also a really great tool in terms of its user-friendliness. It has a really nice user-friendly interface and it’s very easy to learn and understand.

    2. Works well for team collaboration

    Asana works really well with teams because you can actually view tasks that you’ve allocated to others. You can view your tasks in one dashboard. As opposed to viewing them in segmented different boards, based on how you have organized your tasks in your business.

    3. Has a free version

    Just like Trello, Asana also has a free version. You can get by with the free version for quite some time, as you learn how to manage tasks. And how to use project management tools and features effectively. I would highly recommend you start with the free version, especially if you’re not sure if you’re going to stick with that tool for the long haul.

    4. DIY Set up

    With Asana you can totally set it up yourself. You do not need to have an expert help set up. Unless you really do not want to get involved in the tech and you would really rather have someone else help you set it up. I can help you set up Asana if you prefer having someone help you with that. This is one of the services I offer my clients.

    Disadvantages of Asana

    1. It’s expensive to upgrade

    It is a bit expensive to upgrade. Because you have to buy a license for each user and that’s how Asana has set up their pricing.

    For example, if you have a team of three you will need to have a license for each team member. And if you have clients in your work management space you will have to have a license for each client. And at the minimum you will need to buy five licenses, each license is valued at around $999.

    Therefore, the minimum entry price in order to unlock all the premium features is about $55-60. This is quite steep especially for online business owners who are just starting out. Since there are so many other tools that you need to subscribe to in order to run your business effectively.

    Some of the basic features like start date, viewing tasks assigned to others are only available on the premium version. Unfortunately, there are quite a number of great features that would be nice to have on the free version. But they can only be accessed if you’re subscribed to the paid version which is a tad disappointing.

     2. Limitations on how to view tasks

    There are limitations in how you can view your tasks. Asana offers viewing tasks from more points of use than Trello. With Asana you can view tasks by calendar i.e., you’re able to view how your tasks in a specific project fit in your calendar. It has the list view option and the board view or Kanban style view (Trello’s default view).

    But there are other more advanced views that are not available on the free version of Asana. For example, if you want to view your tasks by timeline or chart view, this is not possible on the free version.

    Now that being said, Asana is my preferred tool currently. Because of the balance between its user-friendliness and the number of features you need to get by with managing your business.

    Click-up

    Click up is the new kid on the block of all three task management tools. As I was researching how Click up started, I learnt that they assessed the tools that were there in the market. And assessed all the gaps that those tools were not fulfilling. And how they could help businesses further streamline their business management.

    I definitely think they have achieved that and they embody that in terms of the tools and features they keep adding to their tool.

    Advantages of Click up

    1. It’s cheaper to sign up

    Click Up is much cheaper to sign up for if you want to go onto the premium and paid version from the onset. They have a free version available but from my point of view, you almost need to sign up for the paid version in order to get the best out of it.

    2. Lower Cost per User

    The cost per user is also lower as it is around $5 per user at their lowest-paid version in comparison to Asana, which is around $999.

    3. It replaces a lot of other tools

    Click up can be used as a database, it can be used as a calendar. And they’ve recently introduced their emailing feature. With the email feature, it’s possible to send emails from Click up as if you were sending it from your Gmail account.

    4. All in one tool

    Click up is marketed as an all-in-one tool. But I would like to qualify this by saying all-in-one tools do have their weaknesses.

    I will use an example of a coach who specializes in helping graphic designers grow their businesses. That coach is much more specialized and is going to deliver a much better service to designers than an all-rounded business coach who helps anybody and everybody. The same goes for tools. A tool that is specialized in streamlining one area of your business is going to be way better than one that does all the things.

    I feel like the other functionalities on Click Up such as; emailing, calendar and database are all great. However, they will not have all the features and functionalities that Calendly would have when it comes to calendar management. Or the features and functionalities that Airtable would have to manage information in a database.

    5. Offers more ways to view tasks

    Click up offers way more ways to view tasks. I counted around 11 different ways to view your tasks as opposed to Asana which is around five and Trello which offers only the Kanban view style. This is quite a big plus for people who want to view their tasks in many more different ways than just the typical group or list view.

    Click up also offers embedded views. Meaning you can see things from other apps within Click up. They offer integrations just like Trello and Asana. But they go a step further and allow you to actually open documents or files within Click up without going to that specific app.

    For example, you can access and open Google files without actually going to Google drive and having to open your file from there.

    6. Offers more features & functionalities on the lowest version

    Even on the lowest version, Click up has a lot more features and functionalities. But remember to ensure that those features and functionalities are going to work for and fit in your business.

    Disadvantages of Click up

    1. Extremely steep learning curve

    Click Up’s con is that it has an extremely steep learning curve. And I would not recommend DIYing your Click up set up especially if tech is not your strong part. I would only recommend DIYing if you have enough time to learn it and to set it up properly at the get-go. If you want to DIY setting up your work management space in the shortest amount of time, then I would not go for Click up.

    However, there are a number of different experts out there. There are so many different OBMs integrators, myself included, who can help you set up Click up. And you won’t have to get bogged down into the details of the tech. And trying to understand all the features and functionalities.

    2. It can be overwhelming

    Due to all these features, bells and whistles that come with Click up, it can be quite overwhelming. This is why it’s best for you to get someone to help you set it up.

    What to consider when picking a task management tool for your business

    Here are a few things to consider when picking which tool is going to be right for your business.

    1. What does your company and team look like now? And what do you envision it to look like in the future?

    Are you a one-woman show or a lean team? Or do you plan on growing your team into a fully-fledged business and corporation type kind of setup? Depending on what you envision your team to look like, that will determine whether to go for something simple, like Trello or something that has all the features and functionalities like Click up.

    2. What do details and project management meant to you?

    Are you a visual or detail-oriented person? Is project management something you’ve always wanted to incorporate in your business and make the most use out of?

    Or do you want something that is simple to replace your notebooks so that you don’t have to lose view of your tasks? And you don’t have to take 10 minutes trying to find out where you wrote that important note about your business.

    3. Do you have the support & investment you need to set up your preferred tool?

    Lastly, do you have the support in getting up to speed? Or are you going to have to do this on your own? You obviously need some investment in getting support to help you set up a complicated tool like Click up. In comparison to a tool like Trello and possibly Asana, which you can set up on your own.

    The investment is going to be a key consideration in deciding which one you settle on for your business.

    Nine Must have features for a task management tool

    Here are nine features that I would say your task management tool should have.

    1. An overview of all the tasks in your business, in one place.
    2. Being able to drill down to specific teams or team members in your business.
    3. Ability to switch between different views because people work differently. You might prefer working with a list view while your team members might prefer working with another type of view. And you want to be able to easily switch between different views so that you are getting the most out of the tool. While maximizing your productivity at the same time.  
    4. Ability to integrate easily with other apps to further reduce manual work. For example, you can integrate your task management tool with Slack. That way you can discuss specific tasks on your work management tool on Slack. Without having to copy and paste the task that you are referring to as you are communicating with your team members.
    5. Being able to time track when you are performing certain tasks. Time-tracking is so critical in making sure that you understand which tasks take a lot of your time. Which tasks could you potentially delegate and save so much time on? Toggl is the time tracker that I use and I’ve integrated it with my Asana workspace. And you can definitely integrate it with click up as well. I’m not sure that Trello has that functionality.
    6. The ability to easily collaborate with team members. Collaboration in terms of messaging team members, assigning tasks and following up easily all within your task management space. Ensure that this is as simple as possible so that you’re not getting bogged down in the details of the work management space. Or worse, you have your work management space, but you’re still using email to do back and forth task assigning.
    7. Automating recurring tasks. This is one of the features I love about Asana because you can easily automate recurring tasks without having to create a new task all the time.
    8. Having task templates which is really important in putting your SOPs into play. And making them real living documents in your business by creating tasks that are related to your SOPs. On Asana you cannot create task templates on the free version only on the paid version. Whereas with Trello, you can create task templates both on the free or the paid version. And on Click app, you can do so both on the free or the paid version. So that’s just something to think of.
    9. A tool that offers you customer support. Otherwise, you will spend hours and hours trying to figure out something in your task management tool. Yet you could have contacted online customer support and they would have given you the answer immediately.

    In conclusion,

    All the three tools that I have talked about today, Trello Asana and Click app are all great. And they are backed by great companies, which is evident from the statistics I shared about their revenue and performance to date.

    PRO TIP: Determining which task management tool is right for you depends on your business. What is best for how you work and how your team members work?

    I would recommend trying each of the tools maybe for a week or two and see which is the best fit. Get feedback from your team members if you have a team. Let them tell you which one they feel more comfortable with the pros and cons.

    If you need help to get onto the right task management tool from the get-go, we can chat about my VIP day. And how I can support you with this. We’ll also talk about the other different systems that you need in your business to get your business streamlined.

    As stated earlier, trying and testing them out is really great, because they all have some form of free version. Then. make a decision once you have gotten a feel of all of them. Be intentional not to prolong this because you do not want to spend hours and hours trying to figure out which one is good for you. Settle on one and if your business outgrows its features and functionalities, then upgrade to a different one.

    Listen to the full podcast here.

    Are you having trouble picking the best task management tool for your business? Here's a detailed post on the pros & cons of Asana, Trello & Click-up and tips on how to pick the right tool for your business.

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  • How to take a real vacation from your business

    As a solopreneur, have you ever been on a real vacation? Learn how you can take a real vacation from your business without it coming to a halt.

    There’s a misconception that online business owners don’t have the luxury of disconnecting completely from their business. Well, I’m here to tell you, you definitely can! To make it real and practical I actually went on vacation so that I can share some of the practical things that I did for my business. I am hoping that by sharing these tips you’ll realize that you can take a real vacation from your business.

    I am sharing the things that I did to ensure that I enjoyed my well-deserved time off without being constantly tethered to my phone, trying to figure out what’s happening in my business. In order to take a real vacation from your business, you definitely need to do a lot of planning in advance.

    Reasons why you should take a real vacation from your business

    Rest happens in the resting phase

    I recently saw a post on Instagram, where someone asked; What if you actually needed to take time off to rest in order for me to be more productive? And that totally resonated with the book a have been reading i.e. the 5:00 AM club. The author, Robin Sharma talks about growth happening in the resting phase. Growth actually happens in the resting phase as opposed to the performing phase of your business when you are in the throws of the daily hustle and grind.

    Why is that? Reflect back to when you have come up with the most amazing ideas in your business. Think about when you have come up with those amazing kick-ass strategies that have seen you level up income in your business. When have those ideas come up and when have those plans come up?

    They’ve probably come up when you’re in solitude and quiet. As opposed to when you have been so busy working on that to-do list and trying to get all the tasks done. That’s why it is important to take time off to rest and to review and think of your business. You don’t need to do anything formal like writing down notes or work on your laptop.

    Use the time off to totally disconnect so that you can take time to reflect and think of;

    1.      What has worked well in your business?

    2.      What could you maybe do differently?

    3.      What are those ideas that you could come up with during that time of rest and minimal distractions from the outside world to make your business even better?

    It’s an opportunity to uncover your team’s strengths

    It’s also an opportunity to stretch your team and uncover strengths you never knew were there. Here’s how. You have a number of tasks that you do as the CEO that you’ve never delegated to your team members. Going on vacation is a great opportunity to know if they could actually do some of those tasks once you assign them to your team.

    You’ll be able to see what will work because they are going to have to do those tasks, whether you are there or not. And maybe they might not have access to ask you questions and to get clarification. It’s a really great way to see how they work under pressure and when they are stretched.

    You might come back and they’ll tell you that they actually enjoyed a specific task, which would be a plus for you. Because that would be one less thing for you to do. And one thing for your team members to do and to do really.

    Having fun

    You only have one life to live. If you are going to live your life, working all day, all week, all year long, where is the fun in that? Right. You want to be present as a mom if you’re a mom. You want to be present with your family if you’re going to taking time off with them. It’s the only way to enjoy the things in life that you actually started your business for.

    A lot of us started our businesses to get more freedom. Location freedom, time freedom and to have more flexibility. Now, if you are not taking time off, you are not having freedom. You just replaced your 9-5 with a business that probably takes away more freedom than when you had your 9-5.

    How to prepare your business for an actual vacation

    Tip 1: Plan, Plan & Plan

    The first thing is you want to do is plan your vacations well in advance for at least two to three months. That way you have time to make sure you’ve prepared your business for when you actually take that time off.

    Go through your list of tasks in your work management space, and it’s also an opportunity to do a task audit. This will help you identify the tasks that are solely on you to do, and what could you possibly automate or delegate.

    I know sometimes it’s difficult to know what you could automate because you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe you don’t know that some of the tasks you’re doing manually can actually be automated. Feel free to reach out to me here once you’ve done your task audit and I could share a few tips and pointers on what you could possibly automate.

    Tip 2: Work on your tasks upfront

    Put in some time every single day for at least a month or two weeks to work on the tasks that you typically do upfront. There are a lot of tasks you can actually batch upfront without even having to delegate or automate them.

    And the one that comes to mind right now is content creation! Content creation can be done upfront you don’t have to do it on the go. You actually shouldn’t be doing it on the go, because that is when you can have a major content burn.

    Think of other tasks you can do upfront, like client deliveries. You could probably move the dates forward so that you can finish some of the deliveries in advance. Consider completing some of the milestones of your projects so that you don’t have to work on them immediately after you come back from your vacation.

    Tip 3: Systems to support your business while away

    Ask yourself what are the systems that your business could use while you are away? Systems are a long haul and a long-term game. It’s not something that you can wake up today and have a fully-fledged system tomorrow. It’s something you need to think of upfront.

    But there are certainly certain activities you can do upfront before you take a real vacation from your business. This will sort of set the wheels running in getting your systems in place. And maybe you already have systems in place. For example, a client management system that you use to automate your client onboarding and management process. But there could be certain things in your client management system that you could optimize to make it more efficient.

    If you don’t have any systems in place, think of some of the tasks that are critical in your business. Especially income-generating activities around lead generation, client management & onboarding and how you can potentially automate a few of those tasks upfront.

    Like I said earlier in this blog, you don’t know what you don’t know. I would love to have a chat with you once you have figured out the priority tasks in your business. The tasks that you potentially need to have automated and tech to help you support your business while you are on vacation.

    Business activities that could be automated

    Email Marketing

    Email marketing is an area that requires system support while you take a vacation is your email marketing system. You can definitely schedule your emails to be sent out to your email list while you are away.

    Lead generation & tracking

    You can set up an automation so that your lead generation spreadsheets are updated while you are on vacation from your business.

    Inquiry Management

    Set up an automation to manage any inquiries made about your services while you are away. Your business doesn’t have to come to a halt just because you are taking time off.

    As a solopreneur, have you ever been on a real vacation? Learn how you can take a real vacation from your business without it coming to a halt.

    Tip 4: Automate and or delegate

    Be very careful around delegating versus automating because there’s no need to delegate tasks that can be automated. That is going to be a waste of time on your team while you are away. Try not to delegate tasks that you could automate. If you aren’t sure that you can automate them, let your team members research and see if there’s any way, they can automate some of these tasks.

    There’s one thing that we recently automated in my business. At the back of my mind, I knew that it could be done I just hadn’t done it. Every member that joins our Facebook group they are meant to get added on to our email list. Previously, the process was manual where we had to copy and paste that information from Facebook group onto our email list.

    So, a few weeks ago as I was preparing to take a vacation from my business, I created automation with Zapier and Flodesk i.e. my email marketing system. Now every time someone joins our Facebook group, they automatically get added on to our email list. And now my VA has saved close to an hour of her time every week trying to do this.

    It’s so important to also look at your systems from that point of view. That way you can free up time with your team and have them focus on the more higher-level activities that actually require human interaction and engagement.

    Tip 5: Set an autoresponder

    The next step is to set your autoresponder responder.  Make sure you have a solid, auto-responder. Be very clear on when you will be away and who can be contacted while you are away. If there are any frequently asked questions around your services, include them in your autoresponder.

    Include details on where they can find out about your services by adding a link to your website. You can also embed your service guide or just attach it to your autoresponder so that people can have a look at your services while you away. And make sure it is very clear whether you are going to be partly available or not available at all.

    When I started in my career, I was terrified of including that I wouldn’t be available for emails on my out of office email. I then realized that if you do not set your boundaries right, people are going to step right over your boundaries.

    And if you indicate that you won’t be available for emails, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose out on potential clients and leads. That could actually be an indicator to your potential leads that you’re actually a woman of integrity. And you know how to manage your business and they might want to learn how you’ve been able to do that.

    Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries in your autoresponder or on your out of office email. Because that is literally going to set the tone for how you enjoy your holiday or not.

    Tip 6: Communicate with your team

    Communicate with your team and let them know what you are going to do upfront and what they need to do. Delegate your tasks as early as possible, lean into your SOPs. If you don’t have SOPs create simple loom videos. These will help your team members understand what the tasks are about. That’s probably the fastest way you can delegate tasks in a way that there are not going to be left trying to figure out how to do it on their own.

    When you come back, make a point of creating documented SOPs around these activities. That way that the next time you take a vacation from your business, it will be easier. And you won’t have to do a lot of legwork upfront.

    Tip 7: Trust your team

    Trust your team members to handle things while you are away. I know a lot of us are superwomen and supermoms we want to do everything our way. Sometimes we don’t have sufficient trust in our team members to be able to handle things. But trust me, everything is going to be okay.

    Trust and empower your team members and they are going to deliver. And most likely they actually going to over-deliver and you will be blown away at what your team members can do in your absence. So, don’t be afraid to delegate.

    Tip 8: Set your boundaries & eliminate guilt

    Make sure you set your boundaries when it comes to your team. I’ve already talked about setting boundaries in your autoresponder but make sure you set your intentions and keep them.

    For me, my intention is at least in the first three to four days of my vacation, I am going to completely switch off from social media. And my VA is going to manage my social media platforms on my behalf. Your VA can help you engage with people on your behalf, they can help you manage your Facebook community if you have trained them upfront on how to do it.

    My plan when I take a vacation from my business is to switch off completely from social media. This allows me to zone in to just being present. I zone into thinking and reflecting on my life, my business and anything else I want to reflect on while I am away.

    Eliminate guilt by doing work upfront. A lot of times we don’t set boundaries because we feel guilty! We feel guilty that if we don’t check our emails or respond to a client inquiry within a certain period of time, things won’t work out or things are going to fall apart.

    But if you do the work upfront, you will be able to set your intentions and boundaries and keep them. You’ll remain true to your intentions while you are away on vacation from your business. And while you are.

    Tip 9: Take a day off once you’re back from your holiday

    You don’t want to return from your vacation and the next day you are back in the throws of the day-to-day activities of your business. Take time to ease your way back into work. And this is something that I was intentional about. On the first day, I eased my way back and I took the day off from my 9-5 as well.

    I use this time to check my emails, plan out the rest of my week, review anything that I need to review, check-in with my team members and my clients. This way you don’t have to have that sad feeling that your vacation has ended and you are back in the day-to-day hustle and grind. Just ease your way back in and feel more in control when it’s time to get back to work.

    In conclusion,

    I hope this blog inspires you to take a real vacation from your business soon. Plan out your vacation and spend time with your family and friends and yourself too.

    Listen to the full episode here.

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  • How to go from busy to boss with a work management system

    Have you been running your business without a task management system? Its time to upgrade and scale your business with a work management system.

    If you are still using to-do lists, “sticky notes” and five different coloured notebooks, that system could possibly work for you in the first few months of running your business. But when you reach a certain point in your business where you are running with a number of things, serving numerous clients, and maybe you’ve even hired one or two people you’ll realize that the sticky note and notebook system is not sustainable.

    You’ll find that the notebook and sticky note system can easily result in things falling through the cracks. And it can easily result in things just not moving as streamlined as they should be when you are a business owner.

    So I want you to ask yourself these questions:

    Do you want to open your laptop and spend a hot minute just trying to navigate the scattered to-do list and tech tools that are barely integrated with your daily mode of operations? Or do you want to have a business that runs on autopilot while giving you time for YOU and for YOUR business?

    The truth is, the way your back-end looks and the way you run your business always reflects on how well you can deliver your promised client experience, and how fast you can scale your business. 

    Because when you don’t have a streamlined back-end, you by default start working on the busy tasks and don’t have time to be in your zone of genius, doing what you need to do to take your business to the next level.

    The Answer? A Work Management System!

    What is a work management system?

    A work management system is just a way of organizing, tracking and managing your work as a business owner to streamline your business activities. A work management system is also referred to as task management or project management system.

    You may be familiar with Asana, Trello, Click up or JIRA. These are all examples of tools that can help you create an efficient work management system in your business.

    It is so important to have a system to manage your day to day work. Not just because you want to be more organized, but because you want to give your clients an amazing experience. You want the way you manage your business to reflect your brand and reputation. These are some of the very important reasons why you need a work management system.

    Why do you need a task management system

    To see what’s happening in your business

    Make sure you know, what is happening in your business at all times. There’s no need for you to be walking around with five different notebooks and sticky notes. And God forbid, some of those sticky notes get lost, or the kids use them as their toys. Imagine how detrimental it would be if those million-dollar ideas got lost in those sticky notes. 

    A work management system gives you the ability to see what’s happening in your business. It provides a workspace where you can keep your ideas, notes about your business and strategy all in one single workspace. Having all that in one central space makes it so much easier to refer to both yourself and your team members. And having it on a digital platform is much more effective than having it in notebooks and sticky notes.

    Stop being the bottleneck of your business

    It’s so easy as a CEO to not realize that you’re being the bottleneck and the one who’s actually holding things off. When you are taking note of your action points on a notebook while having back and forth emails with your clients or your team, it’s very easy to miss a key date or to even double book yourself.

    Having a work management system is going to eliminate that completely. With a work management system, at the click of a button, you will be able to see what’s happening and what needs to be done. You will also never double book yourself or have an unexpected deadline come up because all that is an easy purview.

    Get rid of unnecessary anxiety

    Make sure that you are not having unnecessary anxiety. For me, having papers all around gives me so much anxiety. And having an online work management system has helped me in just eliminating that stress and anxiety.

    Having flexibility and adaptability

    As a business owner, you need the flexibility and adaptability to move things around in your business. This is especially crucial for heavy-duty projects such as launches.

    For instance, you might have planned for certain activities to be done on specific days or weeks. And ahead of that time, you realize that it’s actually too much of a workload for yourself or even your team members. You want to be able to move things around easily and communicate that with the other people you are working with.

    On the contrary, if you are doing that on notebooks and sticky notes it’ll be one long strenuous process. You’ll have to remember where you had written those specific notes, scratch out the dates that you had put in, add the correct dates and then email and communicate with the people you are working with to notify them of the change of plans Sigh!

    Now, with a work management system, there’s no need to go through that hassle. All you need to do is drag and drop and move tasks around depending on the work management tool you’re using.

    Things you can do with a project management system?

    I have already mentioned; managing your team, managing your work and the things that you need to do. A work management system is really like a to-do list on steroids. It eliminates the manual nature of having to write things down and keeping tabs on where you wrote things in different notebooks. It allows you to have everything in one place.

    Client Management

    You can use a work management system to manage your clients. I use it to manage my client projects. Every time I onboard a new client, I create a new project in my work management system. Within it, I assign them tasks and they can keep tabs on the deliverables that I need to give them. It’s just a much more streamlined and better client experience. It is also a better experience for me too because I do not have to remember my tasks for the week. All I need is to go to my work management system, open a specific client project and see what are things need to be done.

    Content Creation

    Did you know you can use a work management system for content creation? I have a whole content bank in there and a content calendar for each of my content media channels. And you can use it to streamline the process and collaborate with other people.

    If you have a virtual assistant who helps you with content creation, you can communicate with them easily on the work management system. As opposed to sending her emails and 50 different messages to remind her of things that need to be done. You can do all that in your work management space and make the communication so much easier and more streamlined.

    Lead generation and Sales

    I have a lead generation project within my work management space, where I keep tabs on the hot, warm and cold leads.  I make sure I keep tabs, monitor and track them. It’s so much easier if I need to assign some of the leads to my VA to help with the follow-up.  As opposed to having that on a spreadsheet or even worse, having that in my head.

    That’s the one thing I would love you to do as a first step when you are ready to create your work management system. Put your lead generation list on your work management tool. Do not keep that list in your head because you are bound to forget things. And you will leave money on the table by not following up properly and not having a proper lead generation system.

    Product development and launching

    I use my work management system for launching! Especially when it’s those long launches like challenges or master classes, where there are so many moving parts and a launch can take anything from six to eight weeks.

    It’s so much more streamlined to have everything in one place and for me to see what’s happening; where are the gaps? Which areas do I need help with? Versus having all that in my notebook, and not being able to track it in a more streamlined way.

    Team Management

    Last but not least: “team management.” I’ve mentioned having team members in almost all of the previous areas. It’s so useful when you have one workspace for everyone in your business.  

    At the start of the day, they know what needs to be done, their responsibilities and their tasks. They don’t need to be asking you every now and then because they also have access to your work management system. It makes it so much better because you are all on one page.

    Everyone knows what is happening, who is holding things off and who is the bottleneck in the business. Hopefully, there are no such people in your team. The work management system holds everyone in your team accountable. It allows you to easily track and monitor everyone’s work without having to call them and being on the phone all the time. Or having to do so many emails and back and forth, trying to make sure things get done on time.

    Have you been running your business without a task management system? Its time to upgrade and scale your business with a work management system.

    How to determine which is the best project management system

    I mentioned Asana Trello, Click up and JIRA earlier on in this blog. But I know that there tends to be a lot of people online who will tell you that one or another tool is the only tool that will work for your business. You may want to read this post where I talk about these tools and how to know which one is going to work best for your business.

    And even though I do have my preferences, it is going to be different for each business. There is no single business that looks alike. We all have different goals and visions for our business. We all have different setups and methods of operation, so one system does not necessarily fit all businesses.

     Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you figure out which work management tool would be best for your business:

    1. What does your team look like currently?
    2. What does your team construct look like?
    3. And what are your future plans? Are you planning to just be a lean outfit or are you planning to hire a really big team over time?
    4. What is your working style and preference? Do you want a system that’s robust or do you just want something that is simple to replace your notebooks and your sticky notes?

    It really depends and differs from one person to another. And this is something we talked about in my VIP Day, where we help you pick the right tools for your business, depending on your strategy and vision. Because like I said, it is different for everyone.

    How to optimize your work management space

    Step 1: Pick your tool of choice

    Obviously, the first step is picking your tool of choice. If you are really unsure and you need help, check out my VIP day. You and I will go through the motions and make sure that you are picking the right tool for your business, from the onset.

    Alternatively, you can read this blog, where I show you how to set up your workspace specifically in Asana. Asana is my preferred work management system right now, but I have used the others and they are great.

    I will briefly highlight the other work management tools. Trello is really good if you are looking for something simplistic. Click up is great if you are looking for a robust system and you want something with all the bells and whistles.

    Step 2: Create a hierarchy for your workspace.

    The workspace is going to come as an empty shell. You are going to have to put in the necessary projects and teams so that everything is well organized within your workspace.

    I like to use the four core areas of business for my hierarchy. So, I have a team for; sales, marketing and content creation, operations and client management. And then within each of those teams, I have separate projects. For example, with my client team, I have separate projects for each client.

    Step 3: Create tasks

    Thirdly, create tasks for each of your projects from your standard of procedures or just by migrating your notebook and sticky notes into your space. Because you don’t want to still have that system as a way of tracking your tasks. The goal is to have one work management system.

     Step 4: Allocate tasks and team members to the appropriate projects

    It’s best to do this from the onset than just having one big project with so many different tasks and different things, all bunched in one project.

    If you have a team, ensure that each of them is actually relevant for those projects. For example, with my social media manager, I do not have her in my team for operations because she’s only helping me with content creation. So, she is only a team member of my content creation, project and team.

    Step 5: Setting up a weekly task’s project

    Make sure you have a separate project where you can track your weekly tasks. I have one that is called weekly planning, and that is where I put in my top three priorities for the week and the main task(s) for the week.

    PRO TIP: Link your tasks to the other relevant project(s). For instance, your task is to create a specific piece of content that is relevant to your content creation project. You can actually link your task(s) in your weekly planning project to the other relevant project(s) and you’ll view them in both projects when you open those project workspaces.

    To have a better understanding of how to set up your business in Asana as your preferred work management system read this blog. I show you how to actually do this in practice. If you have any questions or need help ensuring that you create your workspace the right way, slide into my DM I’m always a DM away.

    If you would prefer to have someone else support you in creating your work management workspace, feel free to reach out. It’s a service I offer through my systems set up service where we help you create and set up your project management and client relationship management systems.

    In conclusion,

    I hope this post has convinced you of the need to have a work management system for your business. Remember having a work management space is way more than the tool that you use. It is more of what you actually put in that tool and how you set it up so that you can be more efficient, save time and be more streamlined in how you manage your day-to-day activities in your business. Listen to the full podcast here.

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