this simple tool has brought in thousands of dollars in business

When it really comes down to it, running a business is a relationship game. It’s about the relationships you have with fellow business owners. It’s about the relationships you have with collaborators and referral partners. And it’s certainly about the relationships you have with warm leads and prospects in your business because they’re the ones that lead to growth.

The problem is that managing all those relationships – and all the details you need to remember about each one – can feel like a full-time job. So most of us end up neglecting those relationships and letting opportunities and potential clients slip through the cracks.

The solution? You guessed it: a simple system to keep you organized, and keep your business top of mind with the people who can influence your success.

Enter my outreach spreadsheet.

Want to be more productive this year?

As you go head-to-head with your new, 2019 business goals, you may find yourself wondering how you’re going to get everything done in the time you have available.

After all, if there’s one thing every business owner says they need more of, it’s time. 

So you’re probably thinking about your productivity, and how you can be more efficient and effective with your time as you work to grow your business and achieve your goals this year. 

I admit that I think a lot about productivity too. In fact, I’d say I’m a bit obsessed with productivity and efficiency in business – and, yes, I get that my interest in these topics makes me a bit of a geek. 

But I have a good reason for focusing on productivity. I’m interested in it because I know that your productivity has a big bearing on how much success you’ll experience this year. 

this is what I want for you in 2019

Right now, I hope that you’re getting ready to enjoy your holidays. That you’re planning on spending some time unplugged. That you’ve entered a season of slowing down so you can recoup and relax and unwind.

I’ll be doing much of the same this season – in fact, this is the last post I’m writing in 2018 as I’m taking the rest of the year off to enjoy winter break with my family.

But before I officially sign off for the year, there’s something I want you to know – actually there are a few things.

I want you to know…

my secret to simplifying ANYTHING in your business

As a business owner, you likely deal with dozens of things that feel overwhelming and time-consuming each day.

Simplifying all those things can feel complicated.

But it doesn’t have to be because you can simplify anything in your business, whether you’re trying to uncomplicate your marketing efforts, refine your service packages, streamline your customer experience or simplify your schedule so you can make better use of your time. 

It’s just that it’s hard to see how you can simplify things when you’re knee-deep in the trenches, running your business day-to-day.

Fortunately, I’ve created a process that will help you simplify pretty much anything. I use it with my clients, and you can use it too by following these three steps: 

ask yourself these questions before you hire a business coach

If I had to guess, about now, you’re probably making plans for what you want your business to look like next year. And as you do that, you may also be thinking about investing in a coach to help you reach your goals. 

If you are, I bet you’re doing your research and weighing your options. You’re asking for referrals. You’re considering the coaches you currently know of and checking out their web sites to see what they offer these days. 

In this stage of seeking support, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. After all, you have a lot of options to choose from and it’s not always clear which coach is the best fit for you. Alternatively, you may feel like too many coaches are a good fit, which leaves you with the challenge of trying to pick the perfect one. 

want to make your marketing feel good and easy? here’s how

Marketing your business can feel plain overwhelming. 

You’ve got to juggle your social media posts, your content, your outreach and your publicity efforts AND keep up with all the new trends and tactics. (You know, the ones the experts say you have to do if you want to be successful). 

It’s enough to drive anyone mad - especially when marketing your business doesn’t feel good or doable given everything else you have on your plate. 

Though it might seem impossible now, I want you to know that you can market your business in a way that’s completely manageable and that feels good. All you need is the right strategy for you and the right plan to keep you organized. 

this is how I only work 25 hours a week

I used to spend a lot of time working. I was the kind of small business owner who worked a normal 9 to 5 schedule, then padded those hours with extra work on the evenings and weekends. 

Part of the reason I put in so many hours was that I enjoyed my work. But if I’m being really honest, the other reason I worked so much is that I refused to bring on any kind of support in my business.

I was committed to doing it all myself and did not see a future where I delegated tasks in my business to someone else.

I simply didn’t think delegating was for me. I didn’t want to let go of control in my business. I didn’t want to bring on support and have it take away from my bottom line. I didn’t want to spend time finding people to outsource things to or figure out what I should pass off to them. 

don’t have enough hours to get stuff done? Read this.

A few weeks ago, I had a DAY. A day where time felt really hard to come by. A day where I was facing unexpected interruptions and limitations. A day where I was juggling a lot of demands. 

With all that going on, I didn’t have many hours to work. It would have been easy for me to give in to overwhelm and decide that productivity could wait for another day. 

But I knew that wouldn’t benefit my business one bit. So I did what I always do to make the most of my time on days when it’s in short supply. I got focused and maximized the time I did have so I could still move my business forward in spite of my constraints. 

you don’t need a business plan (but you do need this)

Last week, I was running through the forest and listening to a podcast interview when the host asked her guest, what is one thing you think every business owner needs?

Her response? A business plan.

That’s interesting, I thought. Because while I highly encourage my clients to plan for the present and future in their business, I never make them write a formal business plan. 

Formal business plans can require page upon page documenting every little detail of a business. They’re the kind of thing you present at an investors meeting to drum up funding. They’re what you bring to a bank to get a loan or what you present to a potential business partner before they come on board.

They’re useful and have their place. But if you’re a solopreneur or small business owner who wants to run a simple, sustainable business, I don’t actually think you need one. 

two unexpected benefits of streamlining your business

There are a lot of reasons to streamline your business but the biggest reason often comes down to money. 

Simply put, many of my clients hire me to help them streamline their business because they know they’re leaving money on the table. They know that opportunities to grow are passing them by. They know they could reach the next, more profitable level in their business but can’t figure out how to get there because they’re hustling too hard and in a state of pure chaos behind the scenes. 

So yes, money is a motivating factor.

But it’s not the only reason my clients want to streamline their business. It’s just the most obvious one. In fact, there are two other big arguments for simplifying your business that you may not have thought of yet – and that’s what I want to share with you today in this short video. 

Do your packages need an overhaul? Read this.

Ever wonder why some business owners feel like they're running a streamlined business while others feel like it's a hot mess behind the scenes? Most often, the biggest difference comes down to their packages and services.

Because try as they might to create simple, appealing, profitable packages, many business owners struggle to get this foundational piece of their business down. 

Maybe one of these situations sounds familiar:

tired of putting your most important work off for "another time"? try this simple trick

Earlier this month, I did a coaching session with a wonderful business owner where we focused entirely on her schedule. Our goal was to design a schedule that would help her get to her top priorities, namely the projects she knew were key to growing her business but just wasn’t making time to do. (I suspect you have these too.)

The schedule we mapped out was solid. It was structured. It included plenty of time blocks for her to focus on the growth-oriented projects in her business right now.

But we both knew her biggest challenge would be sticking with that schedule. After all, I can help my clients carve out specific time for their big picture projects but if they don’t protect it and commit to using it, they won’t make any more progress than they’re making now. 

thinking of hiring someone? wait, try this first.

Plenty of experts in the online space will tell you that you’ll have more success if you hire a team of people you can delegate tasks to so you can focus on working in your zone of genius.

I agree that it’s a smart move – and yet, it isn’t the first step I advise my clients to take when they want to start delegating.

Because even though I see immense value in having a team, hiring one can be a big commitment and can take up valuable resources. That's why I took a smaller, more affordable approach when I first started delegating. Instead of immediately looking to hire, I identified the to-dos I needed to stop doing and the areas that were huge time sucks in my business. Then I explored how I could delegate those things to a tool or software instead of an actual person. 

This is an option many entrepreneurs and small business owners overlook when it comes to delegating. Because of that, they miss opportunities to get time-consuming tasks off their plate without adding big line items to their expense sheet.

you’ve got a choice to make about the rest of 2018

Take a look at your calendar. You’ve got 3 months. 13 weeks. About 90 days, and many, many hours to make shifts happen in your business before the curtain goes down on 2018. 

And yet, I’ve heard quite a few people hinting that they’re not going to use those hours to their advantage. That they’re going to pause (or just continue to procrastinate) on their big picture projects, their revenue-generating ideas and their goals to streamline their business so they can grow with more intention and ease. 

Essentially, they’ve decided it would be ok to put their goals and plans aside for now and just maintain where they’re at for the rest of the year.

5 surprising ways you’ll benefit from streamlining your business

A few months ago, I started working with a personal trainer to help me get in better shape. What surprised me most is not that we reached that goal but that, through the process, I’ve benefited in ways that were completely unexpected. 

In fact, some of those unexpected benefits are more valuable than the initial results I was chasing. Like I’ve grown an inch taller and have more confidence. I have more energy. I can better keep up with my kids. And I can suddenly manage the physical demands of remodeling our little midcentury ranch. 

Like I said…these results were completely unexpected. All I wanted was to get in better shape.

It strikes me that the same thing is true in the work I do as a business coach. Clients come to me with a specific goal to streamline their business so they can grow to the next level. But as I walk them through my coaching framework and help them simplify, they experience a bunch of benefits they didn’t see coming. 

THIS is a gold mine if you want to streamline your business

When it comes to streamlining your business, systems are king (though admittedly, not the most sexy thing). 

To uncover the ones you need most, many people will tell you to do a systems audit, where you look at everything you do in your business and identify where a system, process or workflow could help you streamline things behind the scenes. 

I’ve also recommended this approach in the past because an audit is the most obvious place to start.

But through my work with my 1:1 coaching clients, I’ve realized that a systems audit can feel like an awfully big, awfully overwhelming way to start working on your systems – and my goal is always to keep you out of overwhelm. 

three simple ways to make time to work ON your business

You’ve heard how important it is to work ON your business, and you recognize that time spent on big picture projects, new offerings, products and services will help your business grow to the next level.

And yet, you can’t seem to find time to make it happen. 

Instead, you spend long days running the day-to-day in your business. You’re buried by email. Social media sucks you in, then sucks up half your day. Client work or product fulfillment fills most of your calendar; administrative tasks eat up the rest. 

Before you know it, you’ve gone another week without working on your business.

consider this BEFORE you set your September goals

I truly want you to set big, audacious goals for yourself and your business this month. Goals that will stretch you. Goals that will challenge you in new ways. Goals that are designed to take your business to the next level. 

And yet, I have to share one caveat when it comes to setting big business goals: after you make them, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself stuck in indecision, analysis paralysis or overwhelm. More likely, you’ll feel a combination of all three.

Ever wonder why that is? Why the moment you set an exciting goal for your business, your motivation lags and overwhelm and confusion set in? 

skeptical that simplifying actually works? (read this for proof)

I’ve never been shy about sharing the ways simplifying and streamlining my business has helped me grow more, and allowed me to live a more rich, fulfilling life. Case in point: I’m writing this on a sunny patio as I wrap up my fourth vacation this month. I know I wouldn’t be enjoying this time off with my family – and resting easy that my business is still growing while I’m away – if things were a hot mess behind the scenes. 

I don't share things like this to brag about how great life is or how much freedom and flexibility I’m enjoying. Far from it. I share because I want you to hear what’s possible for you if you commit to building your business like a simplified entrepreneur.

That said, I know it’s scary to make the leap. Because even though doing less and enjoying more freedom sounds dreamy and even though you think you’d like to run a simpler, more succesful business, you might have trouble believing it could work for you.

After all, the way you’ve been operating in your business (let’s just call it all out hustle mode) has got you this far - and it’s hard to see how doing things differently will help you grow to the next level.

are you stuck? this is for you

As a parent, I’ve noticed something while watching my girls at play this summer. (Don’t worry non-parents - this lesson applies to you too.)

What I’ve noticed is that my girls spend at least half their playtime in planning mode. I’ve watched them lay out elaborate outfits for performances. I’ve watched them make up rule after rule for a new game. I’ve watched them debate all the details for make-believe play, talking at length about what their fictional names, ages and more should be. 

Sometimes they take action and actually play after all that planning. Often, they don’t.

Ironically, I’ve noticed the same thing happens to us as business owners.