Posted by: louiseheasman | February 10, 2010

Top Tips For Getting A Project Off The Ground

Following my post yesterday, here’s what I did to get my project finally off the ground. It’s all too easy to let procrastination and perfectionism take over and sabotage the whole thing so it’s crucial to take back control and move things forward. Sometimes it’s easier said than done but you may find these tips helpful if you are experiencing a similar situation.

Diminish the task

How can you break down the project? Does it have to cover absolutely everything at once or can you chunk it down into more digestible pieces?

By diminishing a difficult task or project you immediately can start to move it forward and the smaller successes will spur you on to completing it fully later. This really helps to keep you motivated.

I love being able to cross things off my list. It really helps me to feel that I’m achieving something. Baby steps and all that…

Remind yourself of the goal or vision

Tapping into WHY you are doing this can really help you see the wood for the trees. Having a compelling vision as to WHY this project is so important can really help you in the motivation stakes.

Try to make the vision or goal really visual. Maybe have a picture of your reward on your wall so next time you are tempted to prevaricate, you look up, see your goal and you feel inspired once more to plough on.

This tip always serves me well. I often question myself as to WHY I’m doing something or want to do something and it’s rather enlightening to see how easy it can be to get carried away with something out of habit or because you feel it’s expected of you. In this case, it was the sales projections that motivated me to keep at it!

Ditch the  lone ranger act!

Enlist help and support from others where you possibly can. Do you really have to do this on your own? If you work from home it’s easy to fall into this trap. By outsource elements of the project it takes the burden off you and helps you to complete the task quicker and maybe even better! So you could end up making more money and saving time – wonderful!

If outsourcing parts of the project to others is really out of the question, how about enlisting domestic help to free up more of your time so you can concentrate on the task in hand? Or how about getting round to outsourcing your book-keeping and accounts which will easily free up a chunk of your time?

I found this tip really helpful the other day. My VA and a good friend came to the rescue! My VA was able to manage several aspects that I hadn’t really considered (I was too close to the project to really see this) and my friend gave me an extra two hours by doing the school run and taking my youngest off to dance class.

Pat on the back time

Another good motivator when you’re feeling a little despondant is to look back on what you have achieved so far. Pat yourself on the back! Acknowledge your successes however small. A big project is a journey and it’s important to recognise your achievements along the way.

Take a deep breath, take a break and come back with a fresh pair of eyes and brain!

I have to thank one of my readers for this tip! It served me well yesterday. Despite the cold and the sleet (I know I’m a wimp!) I took myself off for a brisk walk and I was able to come back feeling invigorated.

I hope that helps! As always, please feel free to share your ideas too.

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Posted by: louiseheasman | February 9, 2010

Is your perfectionist streak sabotaging your success?

I got to a stage yesterday when I felt I was running around in circles. I had a project on my desk which should have been easily completed but it just seemed to be going on and on.

OK, I was also juggling this alongside looking after my poorly 5 year old so maybe it wasn’t the best working environment to be in but sometimes I’ve found that the less time I have to complete something, often it works out better.

That wasn’t happening yesterday. As I say, I kept going around in circles until I heard a little voice (no, not my daughter!) in my head say to me, “Ditch the perfectionism and just get it off your desk – it’s good enough”.

Whilst there are times when it’s really important to pay attention to those little details, there are also times when trying to make something perfect you end up sabotaging the whole project.

Does this scenario resonate with you?

I’d love you to share your tips and techniques on how you’ve managed this type of situation. So please leave a comment or get in touch with me.

Tomorrow I’ll share your tips along with the 5 things I did to get closure on this project…..

Posted by: louiseheasman | February 5, 2010

Are you a business owner OR do you work for yourself?

It’s an interesting one isn’t it?

I’ve just got back from doing the school run and I bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. We were busy catching up on gossip, family etc and the subject soon got around to work.

I explained what I was now running two businesses, told her a little bit about them. Then Sarah started to tell me about her work news and she used an interesting “I now work for myself”…

It got me thinking. Sometimes people decide to sack the boss and go it alone ‘to work for themselves’ and often the reasons for doing so  that it can offer increased flexibility, reduced working hours, more money etc.

But if you apply the ‘working for yourself’ mindset do you in fact run the risk of becoming your worst nightmare of a boss, working longer and harder and for less financial reward?

Whereas if you apply the ‘I run a business’ attitude, does this lend itself to bigger thinking in terms of vision, automation and involving others to achieve bigger goals.

I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on this and how you descibe yourself to others. Are you a business owner or do you work for yourself?

Happy musings on Fun Friday!

Posted by: louiseheasman | February 2, 2010

How was January for you?

Yesterday was a blast! I spent the day on the phone to clients on my Business Transformation Programme who were updating me with their results for the month of January and I was absolutely blown away by all the sessions.

Their results have been absolutely amazing and it’s been a truly humbling experience for me seeing how the vision they had for their business last November is becoming a fantastic reality in January. In just two months, they have been able to transform their businesses and have two of them reported that they had the best December and January ever since being in business! Two more reported that January was their profitable month they have ever had too.

Really amazing stuff! And I’ll share their stories with you soon as I prepare to launch my next group Business Transformation Programme.

In the meantime, it made me think about the common qualities these successful clients shared. You may find these tips helpful if you are busy reviewing your achievements in January and if you’re looking for some inspiration.

How clear is your vision for your business?

Once you’ve defined what you really want and how you want your business to look, it’s easier then to move to the next step. Make it as visual as you can.

Define your strategy or action plan

Break down the things that need to be done into smaller chunks and prioritize them. If you are feeling overwhelmed a good way to focus is to work out which project is going to make you the most money in the fastest amount of time and start with that! As soon as you see the money going into the bank you feel even more motivated to move onto the next project.

Take action

It’s all very well having a vision and your strategy plan but unless you take action FREQUENTLY and REGULARLY your vision will remain just a dream. Turn your vision into reality by sticking to your plan and keep taking those baby steps to reach your destination. Outsource whatever drags you down so you can keep focussed on the end result. Avoid procrastination at all cost!

Believe in yourself

If you are clear about your vision and you have passion for what you do it’s easier to believe in yourself. If something goes a little wrong along the way, don’t worry, mistakes are great! Get back on track as soon as you can and learn from the experience. It will make you and your business much stronger in the long run.

Keep the faith and you’ll get there!

Posted by: louiseheasman | January 28, 2010

What should you be looking for in a Business Mentor?

I’ve had a number of business mentors over the years and I would say they have all have played a major role in helping me achieve the success that I’ve had.

Even though I’m a business mentor and strategist myself now, helping to support other business owners, I find that it’s even more important for me now to use business mentors to keep me on top of my game.

So what should you be looking for in your search for a good mentor? Here is my 3 main criteria:

A good Business Mentor will always challenge you

Sometimes being stretched or challenged can be a painful process but if you are going to make changes and grow, it’s an essential one. Feeling the excitement and seeing the light goes on is often the start of a really rewarding journey. Moving your business forward in GIANT steps rather than getting to your destination at a snail’s pace has to be a priority.

A Business Mentor should always be inspiring

When it comes to selecting a mentor it’s crucial to work with someone who has really exceeded in an area you want to improve or has a proven track record in that area. Mentors need to have that kind of gravitas rather than just spouting theory. So always look for someone who has either been there and done that and/or has helped other business owners like you to achieve their goals.

As they say, actions speak louder than words!

A Business Mentor needs to be solutions orientated

Whilst fresh ideas, angles, and up-to-date knowledge needs to be shared during your sessions, this should be only part of the story. It’s extremely important that your mentor offers solutions, support and ideas on the how.

It can be frustrating if you’ve been inspired by new ideas but really don’t have any idea on how to implement them. You can waste a lot of time and money going around the houses. So a good mentor will always support you in pointing you in the right direction.

So what do YOU look for in a good business mentor?

Posted by: louiseheasman | January 26, 2010

Why Outsourcing Saves You Time AND Money!

When I first heard Bernadette Doyle describe herself as a “recovering loan ranger”, she really hit a nerve with me! Whilst I’ve been outsourcing throughout the last 12 years I’ve been in business, I know I still don’t do it often enough.

My VA (Virtual Assistant) often asks what more can she do to support me and when we go through my list of tasks, we are always able to move some of them from my list onto hers, which does feel great! I just should do it far more often!

Whenever I work with clients I always get them to focus on what they do really well and put in places processes with them to delegate the tasks they dislike doing or aren’t particularly good at. In fact these aren’t the sole reasons for delegating or outsourcing. When you consider the cost/benefit ratio to you and your business, the rewards in saving both time and money considerably outweigh the cost.

Here are a few of my tips for successful outsourcing:

Set A Time Budget

Whenever I have a special project that needs completing (like pulling together a training manual) I give my VA a guide to the amount of time I expect it to take. This way there is no confusion. She’s always clear about my expectations and something like pulling together training material could take as little as 30 minutes to 3 hours. It just depends how many bells and whistles you want! By giving clear instructions and setting a time budget, you manage the project far more effectively.

Set A Financial Budget

This applies to both an overall monthly cost as well as for individual projects. To give you an example, I recently wanted some audios that I had created from running a teleseminar transcribed. I knew colleagues of mine were able to source this kind of work for as little as £25 per hour of audio and some were paying as much as £80. When I was able to set my budget appropriately.

Outsource The Right Project To The Right Person!

Another recent example of mine was that I needed some IT training (nothing too technical but I needed someone to show me some of the bells and whistles on a few programmes). My IT guy is fantastic and I know he would have willingly spent a couple of hours with me on this but his hourly rate is £55 and as I knew that the tuition I needed wasn’t really all that advanced so I decided to source a student from, www.studentgems.com who was able to come to my house, train me up for a couple of hours, all for the princely sum of £20.

So think outside the box too when it comes to outsourcing!

I would love to hear some of your tips or resources on how to outsource effectively so please do get in touch.

Thank you!

Posted by: louiseheasman | January 25, 2010

Time Management Tips For Working From Home Welcome!

After a relaxing weekend with the family, it gets to Monday morning and I often feel like I’m back on that treadmill again! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do, my life, family commitments etc but I do feel that Monday is the start of the race again, and I’m back trying to fit everything in and remain sane at the same time!

So this week, I would really like to pick your brains as to what works for you. So many of us are working from home and juggle our businesses around family life and it would be great to share some successful time management strategies.

Here’s one of my golden rules….

Always clear email on a Friday afternoon so you can start the week without having too full an inbox on Monday morning!

And if I don’t, I always end up regretting it!

I look forward to hearing your golden tips as to how you manage your time effectively working from home.

Posted by: louiseheasman | January 22, 2010

My Top 3 Tips for Working From Home Effectively

Dedicate A Separate Space

Whilst many successful businesses start at the kitchen table, this isn’t an ideal solution for the long term. If space allows, dedicate a separate room to creating the perfect working environment for you.

By creating an office you find that your mindset shifts from house into work mode as soon as you enter the room which helps you to switch off from domestic distractions!

You also get to close the door at the end of the day and switch out of work mode back into home life!

Take Regular Breaks

Whilst this applies if you work in an office too, I’ve found that when you work from home you need to be a little more disciplined in doing this so I regularly use a timer to help me manage my time effectively. Setting the timer allows me to take those 5-10 minute breaks which really help my energy levels too.

And lets face it, one of the benefits of home working is that you can (if you choose to!) conquer the odd domestic chore in a quick 5 or 10 minute break whilst the kettle is boiling.

One example of the smug feeling I get from working from home in the summer is when I use a break to put the washing out! I find it really therapeutic as it’s a mindless task which really helps me to switch off. Interestingly, I often get an inspiring thought or idea which then fires me up when I get back to my desk.

Avoiding Cabin Fever!

Avoid cabin fever by getting out of the house! I often take my laptop to the local coffee shop or library if I need to work somewhere more quiet. A change of scene really helps sometimes.

I also find that going onto to social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, helps me to feel connected with the world! It’s important though to manage your time, so again for me the timer comes in useful as I limit myself to 10 minutes at a time.

Posted by: louiseheasman | January 21, 2010

Pros & Cons to working from home

Following the Dead Bird Incident yesterday (my fluffy boy cat, Adrian, decided to reward me by bringing in a present…), it really got me thinking about the pros and cons of working from home as it’s been a real eye opener for me since I started doing this last September.

With today’s technology having a home based business or working from home is getting so much easier to do.

Here are my 3 pros to working from home:

It’s a great time saver

Whilst this is very obvious for those who’ve had years of long commutes, don’t underestimate the time drain that a 20 minute trek each way to your serviced office can have. Over the course of the week, it all adds up and if you’re like me, my working week is no more than 25 hours, those hours are crucial.

I’ve also reduced my amount of time I spend travelling by keeping face to face consultancy down to an absolute minimum. Working online with clients or by ‘phone from home, is so much time effective.

It saves you money

No more rental costs! Every business owner should keep an eye on operating costs so if you can avoid having to rent an office by working from home, you will save a lot of money each year.

It’s so much more comfortable and convenient!

If it’s snowing outside you can wrap up in comfy clothes, switch the heating on full blast and keep cosy inside whilst you make money.

And on a glorious summer’s day, you have the flexibility of taking your laptop and ‘phone outside and setting up your office in the garden. Bliss!

OK, working from home definitely has its advantages but there are a few disadvantages too…

Here are my 3 downsides to working from home:

Cabin Fever!

At times, it can get a little bit lonely and if you’re lacking inspiration or motivation from time to time, the cat isn’t really going to be much good in giving you a bit of a pep talk!

Living and working in the same environment can be quite challenging in that it can be difficult to switch hats too. Seeing the washing in the machine needs to be hung out can be a distraction! But that might just be me!

If you work from home, you’re not ‘serious’ about your business

Again, it might just be me, but I find that when people know I work from home, they immediately don’t think I run a serious business than if I were scooting off to an office straight after doing the school run. Friends and family love to ‘drop’ in and I seem to be a convenient delivery/drop off point too as ‘I’m always at home’!

You don’t have the physical support infrastructure

Now, I may sound rather pathetic on this one but I’ll still mention it, as for me, this is a definite downside to working from home…

It’s not having the ‘people who can’ around to do or sort out all those little jobs that crop up from time to time. From moving desks around, to putting up white boards, to changing fuses – you know the kind of thing I mean!

I can only outsource so much virtually but my poor long suffering husband does get roped in when he gets back from his day at the office to help me with all these mundane but necessary tasks!

So what are your pros and cons to working from home? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share!

Posted by: louiseheasman | January 20, 2010

Thank you for sharing your one-word mantra’s for 2010

It’s been really fascinating to see what people have come up with.

Here’s a sample (and believe it or not, there were some duplicates too!)

  • Passion
  • Hope
  • Belief
  • Focus
  • Team
  • Freedom (it’s good to have a few others out there sharing my one-word mantra!)
  • Magic
  • Optimism
  • Peace
  • Desire

I really like this idea as it’s great to have a one-word anchor that pulls everything together to help you keep focussed on the year ahead.

Looking forward to reviewing these throughout the year!

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