A Mindset Shift for Upgrading Business Boundaries

look.jpg

 

They are the things you didn't know you needed to know about when you started your practice. How you can manage around your time, friends and family, what you will or won't do for clients, around getting paid and more.

I recently spent 30 minutes talking with a client around why she let what happened with a client happen, and what new way of looking at herself and her work could prevent it from ever happening again.

I have to confess, every little policy and boundary I have in place is a direct result of some weird, "keep me up at night" situation in my practice.

Now if weirdness comes up, I either point to "the details of working together" hand out that they agreed to, or have a "we need to talk conversation" and offer some coaching around what I see.

Sure there are always clients who bail after they invest or never participate in their investment in your work, that's normal. And there's not much to be done about that besides making sure your business is not affected by other people's whims.

When you're beginning to consider upgrading how you do what you do, and how you are with clients, one of the first ways to ease into this is to look for evidence of what you want.

Could you look around with new eyes, and look for professionals doing their thing, caring, but not care-taking?

Could you look for examples (in and out of your field of expertise) that show you that you can be caring in business but still be firm around what's cool and what's not in your practice?

This is a lot like those rare, great teachers you had in your school days, that inspired you to be your best in class, but didn't bend the rules for you either.

First look around and look for evidence of professionals walking this line in simple, effective and elegant ways.

Be it from your past, a local service provider, someone you admire from afar or someone you personally know.

This will give you courage to establish healthy boundaries for yourself as well.

Heres to setting healthy boundaries that allows your business and clients to bloom,

karin-sig.jpg

P.S. Need a mentor for your coaching, consulting biz or private practice in the year ahead? Come check out my Biz YOUR Way Studio and see if my intimate and accessible program is right for you.

The Thing About Me-Time (For Mombots Everywhere)

schedule-fun.png

 

Ever notice how much "easier" it is to stay home each night, snuggling into the couch? Drew and I are mostly ready to drool by 6:30pm most nights. Between running our respective businesses and the kids (and everything else!), we give each other high fives for making it to 6:30pm each day. Seriously!

But when Alex turned 3 last year, it was a total and rude awakening. I kept feeling like "I just had a baby." (Well, I did get knocked up again and had baby #2 within that span of time, so I was either pregnant or nursing for 3.5 years. What can I say, I'm irresistible to my hubby. hehe). But the greater truth is this: Alex was no longer a baby and didn't need me for every little thing (but I kept acting like it) and another little girl was right behind him. There was never going to be the perfect "oh, go take some time for yourself" moment. In fact I had to schedule it or it just never happened. And so here's what came to my mind...

I thought: If I don't start carving out some personal time now, instead of waiting for someday, one day later, I'm going to crack and my hubby will leave me because I'm turning into one crazy psycho bitch from hell who is always grumpy and frumpy. Sigh. (Yes, in those exact words, more or less.)

But here's the thing about time "just for you." Be it just to get some breathing room, refresh your energy or focus on your dream biz and it's evolution (if you're like me, your biz IS your ART and it's your life's work that will grow and evolve with you even when the kids are grown).

The thing about me-time is it's in the category of "fun." And when you're not having any fun, you think you don't need fun. And then fun seems like hard work. And you get pissed at other people having fun (your hubby!) And when fun-loving folks suggest "go have some fun" you get even more pissed... at them!

Don't they know I have a business to run and shit to get DONE! Sheesh. And then you've become a Mombot. That's when you just handle one mom thing after another, become absorbed in being mom or biz maven and forget the joy, sexiness and hot, throbbing good time you can have when you prioritize fun and enjoying the ride.

What I've realized is that fun takes effort. To put on some nice clothing, perhaps a lip gloss and go have fun. And the first few times, it's not that fun so you wonder "why bother." But trust me, you're just thawing out. At some point, fun becomes fun.

FUN is deliciously rejuvenating like nothing else. So tonight, for no other reason than to have some fun, I'm making margarita's and something Mexican for dinner. (The mombot me says that's just a waste of time and just "make something easy." Mombot me is a real dud.)

I'm flexing a new habit of grabbing fun where ever I can.

I have cold hard evidence that when I'm not having fun in my life, my business suffers, my marriage suffers and even my health suffers. So heres to enjoying life and having fun (while you build your dream biz too!)

karin-sig.jpg

P.S. Need a mentor for your coaching or consulting biz? Come check out my Biz YOUR Way Studio and see if my intimate, and accessible program is right for you. Looking forward to hearing from you! Find out more here.

I Call B.S. On "Saving the World" with Your Business

Unsplash9.jpg

 

I'm sorry if this makes you mad, but I gotta say it.

I call BS on "you are hoarding your medicine that can save the world, if you don't get out there and share what you know."

I call BS on it's your "sacred mission to help others".

I call BS on all the marketing stuff that says "you better help make the world a better place or else you're being selfish".

Here's what I think...

All of that is truly well intentioned but it totally trips up coaches, consultants and practitioners.

It makes you create a biz that "looks right" but often doesn't feel right, because you think what you truly want isn't socially acceptable.

So you dress up what you really want with a "saving the world" business.

You real desire of not really wanting to work that hard, or wanting to make a boat load of money while helping others for a living (gasp! can you really say that??); of wanting lots of people seeking you out, being kinda famous and hundreds attending your events (eeek! you can't say that, right? so you call it "I want to make a BIG impact"); or your real desire of just having a life full of wellness related activities that feel fun and relaxing, but you can't just do THAT, can you?

So it leads you to obsess about "contributing" and on earning your place in the world.

So you start a biz and it's always feast or famine because you're not THAT interested in running a biz, you just want to have fun.

But you can't just do THAT, right?

Or can you??

You "serve" others by being radiantly happy.

A happy woman creates such a ripple effect in the world, just by being who she is and dripping her happiness here and there.

It’s inspiring.

It’s life changing for everyone who comes into contact with her.

And that is enough.

Heres to keeping things real,

karin-sig.jpg

P.S. Need a coach that can help you design your biz and life to fit YOU? Come and work with me and see if my program is right for you.

How to Deal with Conflicting Intentions in Your Biz and Personal Life

The stress of living with the energy of "either/or." IE I'm either a striving biz woman or at home present mama. I'm either successful and alone or happily married and playing down my ambition. I'm either rich and out of touch or poor and spiritual. It's all a big fat lie.

I know I'm most stressed when I feel pulled in by the "either/or" of motherhood vs work. And when I'm in this place, I always think the solution to everything lies in one or the other camp. "If only I had more work hours, then I'd really accomplish it all." Or ,"maybe if I didn't work, everything would feel better."

And naturally, when I'm in this place, not much progress happens. It's almost as if every intention I have - both as a mom, and as a business owner - gets cancelled out. And that's exactly what happens when you have conflicting intentions in your personal life and in your business life.

Ironically, I'm the most happiest when I occupy the in-between place. When am integrating all of my life into my everyday. My work hours reflect my "off-line" life desires. My work has healthy boundaries that leave space and time for life's pleasures such as a peaceful, relaxing lunch, true down-time and "after hours" time to just be.

Happiness in business, to me, must reflect all of me, not just the "business me." You know your biz is only reflecting your "biz self" when it feels like it's driving YOU into the wee hours of the morning or late into the night. Or when you just aren't having a lot of personal life fun.

But when you integrate your real life - your family, relationships that matter to you, exercise, being outdoors, the things that make you feel wealthy beyond any bank account number - into your daily business life, you will find, my friend, that your life and work will flourish much more easily and enjoyably.

Integrating all of you into your biz. That's where its at.

Here's to living and creating your way,

P.S. Ready for mentoring with someone who gets your entire life? Come check out the Studio.

Seek Advice that Encourages You to Go For It (And why I don't listen to just anyone about business.)

Where are you getting your advice from? I used to try to listen to my elders and family about my business, but then I realized, they had never work for themselves or created anything out of the ordinary. So naturally, what they shared with me about my business dreams was always tinged with fear and worry about security, being safe, and being responsible.

Get advice from people who have created something cool, who have gone for something that made them shake in their boots a bit. People who find it "normal" to go for it, rather than try to talk themselves out of their dreams. People who are deliberate about their career and life choices. That's who to ask for advice from.

Because when you're doing something new and different (for you!), you'll need to remind yourself that you're in good company. When I couldn't afford coaching, I read a lot of biographies to help me feel like I wasn't alone in this endeavor. (There's always a way to get support. Libraries are the best for this!)

Above is a picture of Robin Berg who wrote her book with us. A life long dream of hers! And it's a great resource for going within when making decisions for your business and life.

Here's to living and creating your way,

P.S. Ready for mentoring with someone who gets your entire life? Come check out the Studio.

"Everything Sucks, Some of the Time" (Even in Your Dream Business)

 

I read the book "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown and it's like seeing my own philosophy of coaching laid out for me.

Fun! In McKeown's book, I read the following story and it reminded me very much of what we're doing here:

He shared a story of a man who was asked to fix a failing organization in about 90 days. And there was just SO much to do, he couldn't see how to do it. Long story short, he realized by figuring out what was the biggest "constraint" to making progress, and by focusing on fixing THAT, he quickly would see momentum and improvement. Without fixing the constraint, no matter how much more work or new ideas they would try to implement, nothing would take root, nothing would work.

Nine out of 10 times, when new clients come for coaching, they think they need to do much, much more. But more often than not, we remove things, restructure things and focus on doing less in order to gain traction. It's so contrarian to how American culture thinks. Do more, be more, buy more, take massive action, etc...

Back to the story about that man asked to fix an ailing company in McKeown's book. He turned around that organization by addressing the biggest "energy leak" in the company.

So what about you? Could you make incredible progress, by first addressing a big "energy leak" in your own life? Be it in your work life or home life, sometimes, making one small, well-thought out change, can be like a little hinge that swings a big door.

Here's to doing less, but better (Thanks Greg!),

P.S. Ready for mentoring with someone who gets your entire life? Come check out the Studio.

Signs that your biz is telling you to write your damn book already

Sign #1 Your clients, friends and colleagues are always telling you to write a book. When you already have clients, and they're telling you this, you can use your book to begin to leverage your time and business.

IE create a group program and have your book's intention become a lead generator for your groups and events. (That's just one idea!) And um, hello? This is a very, very good sign!

Sign #2 What you do is a bit tricky to describe, given its transformational nature or outright complexity, and you're not a huge fan of trying to explain what you do.

If this is you, consider writing a book to simplify and clarify what it is you do for others, and for whom, and plan on using your book as a glorified business card.

(A lot of people in our Book program use the process to clarify their niche and rebrand.)

This will save you time, energy and boost your credibility when meeting potential referral partners, for networking and especially so if you're new in business.

And it will simplify your marketing. IE you could design all of your marketing to point to reading your book as an opt-in and first step to deciding if you're the right solution for them.

 

Sign #3 that your biz is saying "write yo book already!" :)) You find yourself saying the same thing, over and over again, with your clients (private or group.) This is usually when coaches, consultants and practitioners get a wee bit bored.

And the dark side of this situation is it's also when people start new things and throw out the stuff they're bored with. You know the saying, "don't throw out the baby with the bath water!" right?

Well this sign is telling you it's time to repurpose what you know, into a passive revenue stream like home study products or a book (that leads to a product or a course.) That's what one of our authors did. She actually didn't want any more clients and wanted a way to help the folks who couldn't afford her consulting fees.

Here's to living and creating your way,

Karin

P.S. Ready to heed the signs? Get a copy of our free book on how to Write Now! How Writing Your Book for Your Business NOW is the Best Way to Attract More Money, Establish a Rock-solid Brand, and Become the Go-to Expert in Your Field at http://bookin90days.com/join

 

 

Zen and the Art of Life Maintenance

Why do we, women in particular, lie to ourselves about the time we actually have to do things? And why do we put off the maintenance of life? Now by "lie" I don't mean consciously so. I meet many women who are driven to achieve something but the foundations of their life are not strong enough for their dreams to take root. The maintenance of their life and work isn't there to sustain any of their ideas.

I know when things get messy or I put things off in my life, I begin to feel a baseline anxiety and pressure that I feel I carry around. I start to hurry, rush, and make irrational decisions that promise a quick fix. I crave sweets too - LOL!

I think this can also show up in taking way too much on, not knowing how much time you have to work on your biz (after the real maintenance of life is peacefully tended too), to debt, clutter, putting self-care on the back burner and so on. (I’ve done this all by the way and more!)

The maintenance of life are things like: filing, getting ready for taxes, paying taxes, restoring order in our office, in our kitchen, setting up simple systems to handle the stuff of our practice and of our life, taking care of the home and all that entails, setting rules of what’s okay and what’s not okay with clients and other people in our life, setting boundaries around our time, shoveling the driveway, even daily exercise (some of you have exercise thing down, and if so, it might be worthwhile to see what works for you there and how you could leverage it into the behind the scenes of your practice),... and so on.

bird on grass

This is the stuff of daily habits, routines, personal/professional rules, and boundaries.

My husband once said to me… "you either pay for this on the front end or pay in interest on the back end." You don’t care for your body now, you’ll pay for it, with interest, later on as you get older. You don’t handle your incoming mail, you pay for it with missed bills, late fees, and all manner of little dramas. We all know this intellectually, but yet, we put life maintenance off.

Yet I can think of many reasons why women in particular, seem to put this stuff off...

  • Were you taught to care and maintain your wellbeing in this way outside of beauty and appearance?
  • Were you taught this in school? School teaches stuff of books, not stuff of life.
  • Women are often taught to please, caretake and play a role that assigns value to making sure everyone’s needs are cared for before they care for themselves (of course, not always, but it’s pretty normal).
  • Culturally, American life applauds being busy, fabulous and reaching extreme levels of success. And maintenance is not at all sexy and somehow feels less important that pursuing all of that.
  • We're encouraged to be more, do more, learn more, especially in the entrepreneurial circles and end up chasing the next thing because that’s what’s considered valuable (heck, even my beloved PBS has "be more" as their tagline.)
  • The word “maintenance” isn’t sexy and much of what we’re talking about isn’t sexy, but it is the stuff that tends to create peace, a sense of readiness and projects a professional “I have my stuff together” vibe.

All of this makes it so easy to put off the maintenance of life.

I’m not making excuses, but sometimes it's good to see how you might have got here in order to consciously choose how you wish to be in life, going forward.

The foundations, the maintenance of your life is like a garden; when it’s not tended to, it causes lots of drama. And it’s simply hard to have a happy practice, or build an empire or delicious feeling lifestyle biz without tending to this. I dare say it simply won't work.

I know this shows up for me too. The iffy maintenance of my physical fitness, often shows up in my iffy maintenance of scheduling me-time (and then getting resentful when hubby does it regularly and without a hitch).  I'm so ready to make 2015 the year of letting that go!

So what about you? If you were to take a cup of tea’s time to sit, breathe and reflect about this, what’s your best guess as to why life maintenance (in any form) gets put off?

Is it a way of thinking? Is it a sneaking suspicion about what you might believe to be true or valued? Could there be a way to reframe whatever's there to naturally call your best self forward?

For me, when I paused to check in on this, it seems it was about "everyone else’s needs is more important than me." So I would put this stuff off because “oh it’s just me, that can wait.” Now I playing with “everyones needs are important and so are mine!” Corny, but hey, it seems to be working. :)

I’m curious how this lands for you. Share what you like, if you feel inclined to of course, and what you might want to move towards to. Thanks for reading!

How to Stop Saying Yes to Everything, and Start Saying Yes to the Right Things for YOU

What do you do when asked to "participate" in something but you're unsure if it will work for you? A client in my coaching Studio asked how to respond to an opportunity, that she felt might be a bit too much work, but she didn't want to turn it down either.

My rule of thumb is this: People are always going to ask you to "participate" (aka offer your services in some way) in the way that works for them. But you get to decide how you'll ultimately deliver your services.

I call this "the pivot." You respond with "yes energy" and appreciation for the invitation. Then you pivot and offer an idea of how you COULD participate (in a way that would work for them, but most importantly, that works for you too, because if it doesn't, you won't be in biz for long. It helps to see taking care of your biz like caring for a living breathing person, and it gives you courage to do things like this).

IE Someone asks me to present on X topic at a networking group. I don't want to talk about X topic. But I'd LOVE to talk about writing and self-publishing a book (because that's what Drew and I are currently focusing on - see how that works?).

So I respond with "Yes, thank you so much for inviting me to speak. I'd love to.... However, here's a topic I have found to be really relevant to XYZ folks, and I'd love to present on that topic or something similar to that. Might that work for you?" Something like that.

Sure, they may say no, but as long as it's a win-win for you and them, they mostly say yes.

Solopreneurs like us tend to say yes to most anything (hey, we love to share what we know!) but it's important to have some standards as to how you spend your energy in your biz so that it actually supports and nurtures you and your biz too, not just everyone else.

Hope this helps!

Karin

These private practice stories are embarrassing, but YOU can prevent them from happening

Hey there! Watch the video version of this message here:http://bit.ly/embarrasingpracticestories

When I started my career as a coach, I believed you had to go all out.

I worked all day and all night.

Sometimes I would get up late, and work until 2pm and then take a break, and then work again well into the night.

That's what you do when you start a business or private practice, right?

You hustle, say yes to any and all opportunities that come your way, including taking on clients that you know aren't the best fit for you. You need experience and cash, right?

Unfortunately, this often led to some pretty miserable situations in private practice.

Things like...

The local business owner who had his secretary call and cancel at the last minute, for nearly every appointment.

I called him on it and he confessed he wanted to change and begged me to keep him on as a client.

But when he did show up, and I asked him if he really wanted to be here, he would cross his arms and say "Well, I'm here, aren't I?"

Then he fired me after I needed to reschedule ONE appointment.

I know now, that the poor guy didn't want to change, but felt he should, and these types of clients are pretty normal to run into. Now I know how to keep these folks out of my practice.

Or the obese client who desperately wanted to lose weight, DESPERATELY, and I took her on because, well, I really needed the money. (Even though I didn't have experience with weight issues). And she seemed nice.

Until she yelled at me when I asked her why she was working an 80 hour work-week as an assistant to a chiropractor, which I gently suggested had her body stuck in high stress mode and unable to lose weight.

She hung up on me when I said that, then begged me to keep her on, which I did because I wanted, no NEEDED to help, and then two years after working with me (yes, TWO YEARS LATER) she started a blog bashing me and turned my name into the Better Business Bureau for not refunding her money. (She never asked for it).

It turns out she had an old email address that I never maintained. (Another behind-the-scenes issue to iron out!)

Getting a call from the Better Business Bureau was no fun either. I turned to my school for help and they didn't have much to offer.

But deep down, I knew I should have cut my loses and refunded her money at the first sign of trouble, and got her out of my world, but I was desperate. And I really wanted to help!

Lesson learned #1: The willingness to help is healthy, the need to help is not.

Lesson learned #2: Desperate coaches attract desperate clients who need a scapegoat.

These days, I can tell by the very first contact with a client, even in an email, whether I want to work with them or not.

I've attuned myself to FEEL everything that's unsaid.

There are patterns I notice right away; things that people say and write, that tip me off to whether they are a good fit or not.

path through the fields

For example... when I receive an email like this:

"Karin, I want to work with you. Send me your rates and details of working together. "

You would think that would be a good email. They're ready to invest, right?

But oh no, I know better.

All of that info is available on my website for those who do their homework.

The tone of that email was a red flag suggesting someone who's looking to give me a job, a job of making over their practice, rather than someone looking for a mentor to partner in a deep and meaningful way.

And it's a sign that if they're not doing their homework now, they aren't going to do it when they coach with me.

All of this has led to creating some healthy, empowering boundaries (for myself and my clients), including simple rules, policies and procedures around EVERYTHING in my practice.

From how I use my time (clients only on 2 days per week, that's it! And there's a reason for it.)

From how I organize my work space, how I do email, set up my business home base on my computer... (It's gotta be streamlined or you'll be frazzled and scattered!)

From how I deal with clients testing me before they hire me... (this is totally normal, but how you deal with it makes or breaks their success with your services.)

From how I welcome clients into my practice (it's all about the policies baby!)

And more fun stuff that makes my life and work so much easier, happier and sustainable.

On Monday, Feb 2nd, I'm hosting a 10-day "Get in, Get it Done and Get Out There" training on getting all this "stuff behind the stuff" handled so that you don't have to go through the painful, keep you up at night situations I went through.

You're probably not desperate like I was, but maybe you're ready to organize and upgrade the way you work for 2015 and attract clients in a way that feels more flowing, freeing and fun.