We can all use a little more self-confidence these days. Self-confidence can often be in short supply in trying times but there are ways you can get it back. When your self-confidence is lacking, you need to take control of the situation and make yourself-confident again. You can accomplish a lot more with self-confidence than you can without.

Once you know how to create confidence, you become a powerful person. Confidence breeds more confidence which is a direct link to success.

So how can you get your self-confidence back?

Try one or more of these techniques and see how your confidence soars!

Make a to-do list.

Having a to do list ensures that nothing will fall through the cracks and allows you to see what is on your plate. From there, choose 3 to 5 tasks that are the most important to accomplish for the day, prioritize them and then get them done. You will be amazed at how awesome you will feel as you tick the items off the list.  Show yourself that you can be productive and successful.

Each time you make a list or a plan and execute it, you have more confidence in yourself.

It doesn't matter what it is you accomplish, just the act of accomplishing  is not only motivating but a big self-confidence booster.

Keep your biggest goals to yourself.

Revealing your big goals to others can be enough to make you consider quitting if the feedback you get is not positive. This is de-motivating and will make you question your goals.

Improve your posture.

How you use your body affects how you feel. If you sit and stand tall, you’ll feel more confident, try it;  sit up in your chair and see how much more confident professional you feel. In fact, many salespeople make their calls standing up for this exact reason.

List all your positive qualities and accomplishments.

There are plenty of things you can admire about yourself. Even if you have to call your mom and friends for inspiration, make a list of all your positive qualities. It won’t take long before you feel a little confidence welling up inside of you. Keep the list handy for future reference and keep adding all your accomplishments to it.

Remove those things from your life you’ve been tolerating.

We tolerate too much in our lives. It is important to get rid of everything and everyone that is a confidence and energy sucker.

Do something you’re good at.

What are you good at? Whatever it is, you feel better after doing it. Try to spend time each day doing something that you know you’re great at. Your self-confidence will increase.

Exercise.

Exercise provides more than just health benefits. It boosts your willpower, stamina, and self-belief. Exercise also reduces anxiety. All of these things can’t help but boost your self-confidence, too. It’s important to try to get at least a little exercise each day.

End Result.

It’s probably not possible to feel confident 100% of the time, but you can come a lot closer than you think. Even in challenging circumstances, you are the same.

Self-confidence is always right there, you just have to see it.

These simple actions are an easy way to find the self-confidence you’ve temporarily misplaced.

Share with us what works best to boost your self-confidence! We would love to hear from you!

You can accomplish anything if you’re willing to fail along the way. Failure is a consistent part of success. The most successful people fail far more often than those who are less successful. If you see every failure as a lesson, then you will learn from your mistakes and use them on your road to success.

Life is full of setbacks. The question is whether you allow failure and other setbacks to derail your efforts. Everyone can learn to better deal with these common annoyances on the road to success.

Failure is a funny thing. It feels embarrassing and catastrophic, but that’s rarely the case. You fail every day. When you think your keys are in the kitchen drawer, but discover they are not, you failed. However, you don’t let it bother you. Instead, you just look somewhere else. Try to adopt the same approach to all failures.

Dealing with failure can be that simple. If your first attempt doesn’t work, try something else. The same can be said for your 30th failed attempt. Most people try a time or two and then give up. They decide it either can’t be done, or the stress of failing becomes too much to bear.

Try these recommendations to overcome failure:

Maintain your composure.

Nothing will derail your progress like becoming emotionally distraught or quitting altogether. Undesirable results happen more often than not. It’s important to understand this fact. When you expect that you’ll sometimes fail, it won’t bother you nearly as much when you do. Just keep going.

Determine what went wrong.

If possible, determine the error in your approach. Do your best to understand exactly what happened and why. If you don’t understand the issue, you can’t correct it.
Maybe you just need to try again. Some things just naturally have high failure rates, like sales. For some products and services, you might face 100s of failures between successes. There’s no reason to fret, just try again. And again. And again.

Alter your approach.

It’s important to keep improving your method. No matter how great you are at something, it can always be better. Take a few minutes each day and adjust your approach. Learn from others who are successful and have failed multiple times.

Look for alternatives.

Maybe you need to try a completely new approach. There are often multiple ways around any obstacle. Maybe you can find a better alternative. For example, if you’ve been cold-calling for clients, maybe it would be better to:

  • Cold-email
  • Ask people you know for referrals
  • Show up in person
  • Attend meetups or conventions
  • Send postcards
  • Pass out flyers
  • Send lumpy mail

If you’ve thoroughly investigated one method, try another.

Sharpen your axe.

Sometimes it’s not about how hard you chop at the trees. It’s about how sharp your axe is. Develop yourself each day. Work on your general sales skills, if you are a salesperson. Learn something new to advance your career forward, like a new skill or software application.

Work on your coping skills.

Figure out the best ways to handle the stress and other negative emotions that commonly accompany failure and setbacks. Keep your options healthy. Calling a friend, exercise, and meditation are examples of acceptable options. Using drugs, alcohol, or food are examples of unhealthy coping strategies.

The Other Side of Fear is Freedom

You can’t succeed if you can’t handle failure. Most of us are far more afraid of failure than we should be. Just remember on the other side of fear is freedom. A failed sales call isn’t a life and death matter. The most successful people fail more often than they succeed. It’s just part of the game.

One of the best ways to predict your success is to look at your ability to handle failure. Successful people handle failure without any undo fuss. Try this next time you fail and see if you can turn your failures into successes!

We would love to hear from you! What steps do you take to deal with failure or fear? Leave us a comment below.

Good Luck!

Often when people hear the term “Law of Attraction” (LOA), they usually respond by saying ““it’s all hooey” or “its voo-doo”.  However, for us believers, it is a life altering concept that can provoke profound positive (or negative) change in our lives.

According to Wikipedia, the Law of Attraction is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. The belief is based on the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from "pure energy". And that through the process of "like energy attracting like energy" a person can improve their own health, wealth and personal relationships.

Power of Our Mind

The work of quantum physics has demonstrably shown the incredible power our mind has over our lives.

You don’t ever have to understand the physics part to enjoy the benefits of the LOA. The LOA is a force in life whether you choose to believe (or utilize) it or not.

Every second of the day, the universe is responding to our thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative. By using our thoughts positively, we create positive outcomes by manipulating the universe into giving it to us.

Hundreds of years ago the Law of Attraction was first thought to have been taught to man through the immortal Buddha. Buddha wanted it to be known that ‘what you have become is what you have thought’. This belief is deeply intrinsic to the Law of Attraction.

Western Culture came up with the term ‘Karma’ for what the universe brings. What you give out to the world (such as joy, anger, love or hate). That is what will ultimately show up in your life.

Choose What You Want

In its simplest form, LOA is about choosing what you want. Then feeling the emotions associated with already having it, and then "releasing desire". That is, let go of the outcome and relax.

It's like putting an order in at a restaurant. Once you've told the waiter what you want. There is no point in getting anxious, because you know your order is on the way.

When we choose to utilize the LOA, we are choosing to manipulate reality to our benefit.

By choosing positive emotions we are telling the universe that we want more of these feelings in return.

And if you really want to get specific, you can use visualizations to tell the universe exactly how you want those feelings returned to you.

Affirmations and Visualization

To use the LOA effectively you must use cognitive reframing techniques as well as affirmations and creative visualization. These will replace limiting, self-destructive negative thoughts with ones that are more aligned with what we want... that is, positive thoughts.

A key component of the philosophy is that in order to effectively change a negative thinking pattern, you must also “feel’ that the desired outcome has already occurred. Meaning you visualizing the positive situation you want to create. This combination of positive thought and positive emotion is believed to allow one to "attract" positive experiences and opportunities by achieving resonance with the energy of the LOA. If you want to be in abundance, think, feel and act as if you are already in abundance.

Movement of Energy

The LOA is a universal law, similar to gravity, and is about the movement of energy. The concept of movement of energy has been scientifically proven. Everything emits energy and it’s the level of which will determine what shows up in your life.

The best way to ensure lack is to focus on “lack”.

What you focus on grows.

If you focus on abundance, your life will become more abundant.

Now this does not mean that business will just fall into your lap. You must take action consistent with creating the desired outcome. Like networking or doing a webinar for example, to gain exposure to people who want and can pay for your service.

However, more business will come your way from your efforts and positive beliefs. To make it work for you, you just have to set the intention of what you want and then become a vibrational match to it.

Let's say you want to lose weight for example. You would imagine and visualize how you would look and feel at your goal weight.

You Shape Your Life

The most challenging part of the LOA is accepting the realization that if we create what happens in our life then every single one of your experiences in life, good and bad, has been shaped by us alone. For many, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Especially if you feel that you have been dealt a particularly hard life or current situation.

Rejoice though because the universe is always on our side, it roots for us to win! The more time you dedicate to learning how to use the Law of Attraction effectively, the more fulfilling and rewarding your life can be. There are no restrictions; open your mind and enjoy the natural abundance of the Universe.

Life is a blank canvas of possibility; you are in control of what the finished picture looks like. If you can hold onto an idea and a belief, and actually see it in your mind’s eye, you can make it happen- with some effort on your part of course.

We all need time off from work to either “recuperate” or ‘recharge”, depending on your point of view.

Work Free Zone

The concept of a “Free Day” comes from the world renowned Strategic Coach program for Entrepreneurs. It is defined as a 24 hour “work free zone”.

The day goes from midnight to midnight and during this period anything or rather “everything”, work related is taboo. This means, absolutely:

  • No checking your work email account
  • Noo conversations about work with anyone
  • No catching up on industry reading
  • No planning
  • nothing work
  • Zip
  • Nada
  • Zilch.

If friends are coming for a BBQ dinner there can be no discussion of work related issues. I can hear the cries of horror as I write.

Many if not most people will cringe and declare “I can’t do that, no email? no reading? or even talking about work??”

I can almost feel some of you convulsing at the thought of not checking emails or texts. You may be thinking, "What if a client sends a text?" "What if I have this deal going on???"

What if, what if?

Exhausted?

Well, what if you end up in the hospital because of work induced exhaustion? What if you are so run down that your body triggers a switch leaving you with a lifelong chronic disease?

I lived the latter scenario. I worked like a dog and ended up being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It was most likely triggered by the stress of working 65-hour weeks.

Although it is a 24-hour day, you do sleep during part of it. The day is based on waking hours.

However, do not take advantage. Free time only means time away from work. It's not from mowing the lawn or getting your taxes done. And, you can take it on any day.

Personally, my Free Day is Sunday. I am used to putting in some work hours on Saturday but Sunday is sacred. I enjoy hobbies, my dog and do my personal chores.

Common Misconception

Free Days are so important. Unlike the traditional thinking on “days off”, they are based on a completely different theory.

Current culture believes that you must work hard. If you do you will be rewarded with time off or a vacation.

The big problem with this theory is that by the time you take that vacation, or day off, you are too worn out and exhausted to enjoy it.

It’s a common misconception to think that it is a badge of honor to not haven taken vacation in years or to work 70 hours a week with no rest.

To me, that is not something to be proud of, but rather, worried about!

Time off is not a reward, it’s a necessity!

Free Days are based on the principle that you absolutely need to recharge your batteries at minimum weekly to face the days AHEAD with the vigor and vision to make them productive, to have the time to unclutter your mind, remove any thoughts of work, get respite from any stress, and to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for any upcoming obstacles you may have to deal with.

When you look at it as a necessity versus a reward or badge of honor, it becomes clearer how important this day is.

Fresh New Perspective

Some of my best ideas and solutions have come to me during or after these days and in general my work days are much more productive and creative.

These essential Free Days provide me with a fresh new perspective that was contained in my subconscious mind but with all that mind-numbing clutter in there- could not come to the surface.

Truth of the matter is you can’t afford not to take a Free Day. Your brain needs to regenerate and can only do so effectively when it is free of work related issues. It gives your mind a complete respite from any obstacles or challenges you may be facing, (or to come), and relieves any stress (good or bad) you may have.

Free Your Mind

By doing this you free up your mind to create new thoughts and novel ideas and solutions that your conscious brain never could have otherwise without this time for it to breathe. You allow your subconscious mind the freedom and the space to create the kind of brilliant ideas that usually come to you in a flash, like when you have “aha” moments.

These cannot happen if your brain is so full of negativity, worry and fear, or just plain stress, that a normal workday may have.

Albert Einstein once said, and I paraphrase, “You cannot create a solution using the same mind that is created the problem”.

So, it’s only by clearing out the mind clutter that our brains are free to roam uncharted areas of the subconscious and where unique and inspiring ideas can form.

Just A Little Preparation

The Free Day is part of a week that also contains Buffer Days and Focus Days. Too long to be discussed in this blog, (and perhaps an idea for second installment) Buffer Days are preparation, meeting and task days where you perform tasks that are important and need to be done but are not revenue producing.

Focus Days are for work that you expect will generate income within the next 90 days and work you are already being paid for.

Time Management System

These 3 days constitute Strategic Coach’s “Entrepreneurial Time Management System” (ETMS). Because everyone’s responsibilities are different the System is completely personalized based on each person’s situation.

An activity can be a Focus for one person and a Buffer for another. For example, if you are invited to give a keynote address at a convention, the drafting of it may be buffer for someone in the industry coming to talk about their experience, however, if you are a speaker by profession, you are likely to be earning a living from that speech so the drafting of it would be a Focus activity.

Once you have mastered how your tasks are categorized your quality of life will begin to improve dramatically, you will be more productive, work less and make more.

Dramaticly Change Your Life

I can guarantee you that if you implement this one change in your life, take a Free Day every week, you will see a dramatic change in the overall quality of it.

Even if you do not work or are a stay at home parent, this System gives you complete control over your time, not the other way around which is how most people live.

In turn, you will sense a reduction of overall stress levels, the ability to generate innovative ideas, increased confidence and focus and more, generally within a month.

The benefits are cumulative so the more you use it the better you get at it, especially if you are using the entire ETM System with all 3 different day categories.

However, the Free Day, in and of itself is a powerful regenerative tool. It takes time to master but is most definitely worth mastering!

Start off with 1/2 a Buffer Day and work your way up if you cannot do it all at once, but promise yourself and commit to getting to the full 24-hour period.

I learned the ETMS some 10 years ago, and it continues to have the most significant impact on my life. I enjoy an outstanding work/life balance and am immensely productive on the right things at the right time.

You're In Control

Just imagine for a second how incredible it would feel to be completely in control of your agenda and how you use your time. How would it feel to control your time instead of it controlling you?

Enjoy your Free Days with abandon, without guilt or remorse for not “working”.

Just know that this time-out makes you a better “worker” and someone who controls their own destiny!

Please comment and share your first Free Day experience with others.

Want to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Time Management System? Reach out to me!

Have you recently decided to shift gears or make a change in your life? Anything from learning a new language to changing jobs or your career can be both exciting and frightening at the same time. Why?

You can prepare but you can’t always control the pace of your progress.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary transition means “passage from one state, stage, subject or place to another (i.e., change)”. Some of the synonyms for transition include development, alteration and the word shift, which is where I’ll focus for a few minutes.

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck behind someone who’s new to driving a car with a manual transmission (aka stick shift)? It gets obvious pretty quickly when you’re on a hill and they start to drift backwards.

There’s no way to avoid this newbie because you’re on a two-lane road and can’t pull around them. So you sit helplessly -- watching and waiting for impact.

Sometimes you may feel, regardless of your efforts, your progress has slowed to a crawl. Let me remind you... even though you’re only inching along (like in rush hour traffic) and it feels like you’re sitting still - you’re NOT.

So STOP being so hard on yourself!

Even when a shift or transition is positive it doesn’t happen without detours.

Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we have to be “perfect” even when we know that’s unrealistic.

Follow a Process

When you’re trying to learn new skills or brush off old ones (like interviewing for a job in a new arena or starting a business) you need to remind yourself there’s a process, and possibly a learning curve to get from points A to Z.

Every goal requires a process. Occasionally, the sequence doesn’t matter, but usually doing things out of order take much longer and that’s when you are able to execute the steps that way.

Using my car example, I never thought of myself as being well coordinated, but despite that perception I still had to follow a specific sequence of steps.

After starting the car, I had to put it in gear to drive it. I had to depress the clutch, then shift to first gear, depress the clutch, shift to second gear and so on as my speed increased. All the while I had to maintain consistent acceleration with my right foot.

The first few weeks were mentally exhausting - probably the way you’re feeling as you learn a new skill (language or instrument), search for a new job, prepare yourself for a new career or business, etc.

Eventually, you’ll discover your rhythm and won’t have to think about each step. Once you have a plan, you’ll have a better idea what you need, and how to get there.

Just remember, you aren’t the first person learn how to fill in the blank. There’s only one way overcome your hindrances. You have to be willing start over even when you have temporary failures.

People Who Overcame

Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything” as a child and even fired from his first two jobs because he wasn’t his productivity was didn’t meet the standards set by his employers.

Lucille Ball was seemingly a late bloomer as an entertainer but “I Love Lucy” has been in syndication for decades. She also ended up being the first woman to run a TV production company (Desilu Productions).

Walt Disney failed and declared bankruptcy before forming the Walt Disney Company.

Oprah Winfrey is one of the celebrities who uses both her first and last names but is known worldwide by only her first name. Yet, she’s been very open about the multiple episodes of molestation and rape she endured as a child. Still she overcame those traumatic experiences as well as several in her professional life before launching her Oprah show which ran for 25 years. Of course, she started her OWN Network after walking away from her popular Chicago-based show.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States endured many public defeats, as well as private ones. Before he was elected president in 1860, he experienced devastating events such as his sweetheart dying, business failure, a nervous breakdown and political losses.

Read more inspiring stories here:

Despite situations that would have deterred many people, these leaders in their fields persevered. They stayed focused on their goals rather than dwelling on their defeats or being deterred by them.

When they experienced failure they kept going. Use their examples to inspire you. Your goal may not be life-saving but it can be life-changing, which means somebody is waiting for you to step up and tell people what you have and how you can help them improve their lives, their businesses, etc.

In summary:

Shifting gears can be both thrilling and scary at the same time, but transition allows us to find more fulfillment as we enrich the lives of others.

Sometimes we are Our Own Worst Enemy.

It's important to remind yourself when you set a goal, it doesn’t mean the achieving it will be all smooth sailing. You may stumble and even feel like giving up occasionally.

Although, it may be intimidating the most direct path to attaining our goals can be met by following these steps:

  • Identify your goal.
  • Picture yourself achieving it.
  • Implement your plan.
  • Be patient with yourself during the process.
  • Reach your goal!

Share in the comments the one goal you are working on right now.

Have you encountered obstacles? If so, how have you motivated yourself to keep going rather than allowing them to stop your progress?

The key to success in a home office-based business is to conduct yourself as you would at an external office.

Home offices have many advantages including the savings on traditional business expenses such as rent and transportation, meals and parking. There is usually no traffic jam between your bedroom and your office! There is generally also less staff to manage and the total overhead expenses are very low. Additionally, you save time by not have to commute to work and can set your own hours and priorities.

Many equate home-based businesses with small returns but that is the farthest thing from the truth. Home businesses can earn just as much, if not more in many cases, than bricks and mortar ones. And at significantly less expense. Like any business, returns are based on effort and productivity.

It takes a real commitment and discipline to work at home. The commitment aspect was discussed in Part 1 of this blog series.

Home Office Setup

In this post, we will look at the important considerations in setting up and running a home office.   Let’s look at what is required to make your home office one that supports you, your business and your success.

EQUIPMENT

The first step is to make a comprehensive list of all the things you will need to run your business.

Being successful in a home office requires creating a space that promotes efficiency and productivity. It also must be a space you enjoy spending time in.

It must be set up with the same tools, furniture, and equipment that an external office would have. This includings a computer and printer, business phone, storage, a proper desk (not an Ikea table!), office supplies and personal decorative items.

Insofar as equipment is concerned, a phone, a computer and an all in one printer are the standard basic requirements.

If you are working on your computer all day a dedicated work desk may be all you need.

It can be tempting to skimp on key equipment and splurge on less necessary items, such as office carpeting. Money should first be invested in creating a proper workspace. Invest in a good solid wood desk and a comfortable executive chair that can provide back support.

If you see clients at your home office you will need guest chairs and maybe even a small conference table, space permitting.

STORAGE

Most businesses need storage, but how much you need depends on how paper-driven your business is and the number of supplies you use daily and/or if you are required to carry inventory.

A bookcase can be an excellent storage unit. You can put your files in nice file folders and supplies into decorative baskets. Then add some fun and interesting personal items to make it feel like a reflection of you.

I personally have a separate dedicated home office space with a big mahogany executive desk (that I am in love with!) 2 chairs, 2 small filing cabinets, and a bookcase. All in all, my home office is a real “workplace” designed for work and nothing else.

As a decorating note, the color blue is associated with success. My office walls are a lovely sky blue.

Making your list of requirements will help you to determine how much dedicated space you will need for your office.

DEDICATED SPACE

This can be a separate room or a secluded part of the house where you can work quietly.

Sometimes you can use partitions to create the enclosed home office feel.

If you are always on the phone then enclosed dedicated space is best, unless you are home alone while you work.

If you are using a room in your home you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage and utility expenses from your revenue at income tax time.

ROUTINE

Next, you need to create a daily workday routine and determine your office hours. Setting a routine will help you differentiate business hours from private time. Your hours should correspond to the hours that your clients keep so you can always be available to them.

If you need to leave the office forward your office telephone to your cell phone.  Being available is quintessential in client-based businesses.

Establishing regular office hours can also help minimize distractions, and unannounced calls, or drop-in visits from friends or family.

Once your office hours are set, don't forget to hang a clock on a wall or place one on your desk, even though your computer has one. When working from home it is easy to lose track of time and before you know it you have worked 15 hours 4 days in a row!

GO HOME!

Even though you work from home, there still comes a time when you have it to call it a day and “go home”.

My morning routine consists of getting dressed for work, putting on my jewelry and then opening the lights in my office. At the end of the day, I close my office lights and door, change clothes and remove any jewelry. It may sound silly but removing my jewelry is significant as I do not wear any in my private life. Now my private time begins.

INVEST

Invest in your home office. If you need to purchase equipment such as a computer or a printer, for example, do not try to save a bundle. These are your work tools and you need to have items that will stand the test of time; not break down just when you need them the most.

When it comes to phone lines make sure you have a separate and dedicated business telephone number. You don’t want your children to answer the phone or be able to pick it up during one of your own calls. This gives the impression that you are not running a real business. Of course, this can include using a cell phone, or a VoIP (Internet-based) phone.

A toll-free number is always a good idea.

LIGHTING

Have lighting right above you and a smaller task or desk lamp for close up work. This prevents eye strain and headaches often associated with long term computer use.

DIGITAL SECURITY

When it comes to your digital data make sure you purchase a backup drive or subscribe to an online service. You should automatic backups scheduled every day, or even several times a day.

Losing all your information in a crash or from a virus is every business owner’s worst nightmare. There are great online backup service providers that back up to a cloud and are not expensive. Personally, I like Carbonite, as it is efficient, quick and cost-effective.

It is important to have a battery backup for your computer in the event of a power failure. This gives you the time you need to save documents and close files before it all gets lost.

Make sure you always have the latest anti-virus software. A virus can shut you down for good.

INSURANCE

Make sure to purchase proper business insurance. Home office contents are not generally covered by a standard home insurance policy and therefore requires an extra rider.

You should also consider business interruption insurance against loss of income. This will protect you in the event that you cannot operate your business because of a flood, fire or theft.

Ensure your assets are at replacement value (and not at today’s value). This would be what it is going to cost to replace the item years from now.

If you are required to carry inventory you will need additional insurance coverage for it.

BRANDING

Make sure you have a professional email address with your company name, not a Yahoo or Gmail account. A proper email address shows your professionalism and realism.

A website is especially important even if it is only one page, Again this shows that you are in business for real.

Separate the personal from the professional in order to keep things in order.

FINANCES

You will need to set up a proper business bank account. Income and expenses of your business and your personal income and expenses should never be mixed.

Store personal bills, checks, mail and records in a different place in your home from your office. Fully segmenting these two parts of your lives.

At tax time this is invaluable as there are many deductions to be had for home office space, equipment, and supplies. The more you can prove that the office is a completely separate and dedicated entity the better in terms of tax benefits.

What this all comes down to is that a home office is a place of work during working hours.

The more effort you put into creating a dedicated workspace that suits your needs, personality and lifestyle, the more productive and hence, successful you will be.

You will be spending a lot of time in this space to take the time to really “make it yours” with personal knick-knacks, photos and other items that make you feel supported and productive.

TIPS OR QUESTIONS

Share your home office tips or questions with us below. We would love to hear from you!

8 Million People Work At Home

Over the past 10-15 years the number of home-based workers has increased exponentially.

There are 2 types of home workers; (1) those employed for corporations and working at home often called “tele-commuters”, and (2) business owners and the self employed.

According to recently released data from the US Census (2018), 5.2% of workers in the US worked at home in 2017. That’s 8 million people!

The rise has been aided by improved internet connectivity and the demand for more flexible work environments. In fact, the number of employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40% in the past 5 years. The number of regular telecommuting employees (excluding the self-employed population) has grown by 115% since 2005.

Increased Productivity

The same study showed that two-thirds of managers report that employees who work from home have increased overall productivity.

What’s more-, 86% of employees say they’re most productive when they work alone at home as it is devoid of distractions like the noise, the water cooler gossip, loud colleagues or meetings that are a waste of time.

Sixty-eight percent of millennials say that the option to work at home significantly increases the value of a position and would greatly influence their desire to work for a particular company.

I do a lot of work in the franchise industry and home-based concepts are enjoying a growth spurt of enormous proportions. There is a home business for every skill you can think of from financial services to home cleaning, to décor, coaching and consulting, and literally hundreds more. A large proportion of home-based workers are women.

I have had a home-based office for nearly 20 years, and I must admit I love it. Many people who work in conventional offices comment on how lucky I am and that they too wish they could work from home. But, having a successful home office is a challenge and must be worked at.

Self Discipline Is Key

A home-based office is a wonderful place to work and can extremely lucrative provided you have the self discipline to manage one. Discipline is the key to success. You must still have a “work routine” even though you are not in an external office.

This means getting up every morning at the same time and getting dressed “for work”. It is not a license to get up late and work in pajamas. Your clothes have a large emotional and psychological impact on your productivity. When you are dressed for work you feel more professional. You do not need to be dressed to the nines, casual Friday attire is acceptable. You should be appropriately dressed so that if someone wants to meet you at the last minute, that you would be able to go out with some small changes or as dressed.

It also means that you do not do any chores such as laundry or cooking during working hours. You would not have this luxury in an external office so why would you at home?

Working hours are for business only- otherwise the day is a blend of personal and business tasks and nothing really gets done well. When work gets mixed with chores, the days blend into one another and people wonder why they are not productive or generating enough revenue.

This takes a high degree of discipline and commitment. It is essential to treat your home office in the same way you would treat an external office.

Dedicated Space

A home office is a professional space dedicated solely to work. It is not a corner of your dining room table but a distinct space that is equipped and organized like an external office. Ideally it’s a separate room, or a secluded space where screens can be used to delineate the office boundaries.

Dedicated Time

The next essential task is to develop habits that signify the beginning and end of the work day. I come to work in the morning and my day begins when I open the lights in my office. I am now at work.

At the end of the day, I close the lights and “leave” my office. It is only at this time will I do errands or chores.

You must develop some meaningful action, such as closing your computer or turning off the ringer on the phone, to signify that the work day is over. This is essential so that your working hours are more productive and when you leave the office your time is your own and you can enjoy it without guilt.

Days of the week will become meaningful and you will enjoy a balanced quality of life. While it may sound silly- I only wear jewelry on work days. For me, putting on and taking off my jewelry signifies the beginning and the end of the work day and differentiates work from play time.

No Better Place to Work

The reason people fail to be successful in a home office is because:

(1) they do not treat their home office with the same respect as an external one and/or

(2) they lack the self discipline required to create and maintain routines and structure.

It is critical to maintain a normal workday morning routine as discussed above.

Respect and discipline are the keys to home office success. There is a misconception that home businesses make less money and are small business. That could not be further than the truth. However, like any business it depends on the efforts of the owner.

Working from home actually adds challenges. But if you have the skills to meet them, there is no better place in the world to work.

In Part 2 we will discuss how to set up your home office for success.

Your Home Office

How do you make your home office a success? Share your ideas and comments below.

Whether you’re saving for a family vacation or you want to buy your first house or you just want to increase your savings, you’re not alone.  It’s more important than ever to have a financial plan in place. For some that may include turning their hobbies into cash. This can be easily done with the right resources and can be a lot of fun; no matter if you're wanting just a little extra cash or if you want to turn it into a full-time business.

FB LIVE: Turn Hobbies into Cash - Here's the HOW TO!
KUTV Fresh Living: Top 3 Steps
Come see me speak about this at Joyful Living Conference in Richfield UT on Feb 17th! Use code "richfield" to save 50% off your tickets.

 

More and more people are becoming entrepreneurs, especially in Utah. Utah is listed in the number one spot on CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has Utah listed #1 for innovation and entrepreneurship and #2 in high-tech performance in 2017.

 

With the economy like it is many people are spending less and becoming penny pinchers due to lack of income. We are finding that we aren’t able to have as much fun as we wanted five years ago.

There are a lot of very talented women who could turn their skills and/or hobbies into cash or into a real business. It’s not as hard as you think and there are loads of amazing free resources to help when you're ready.

 

I quit my day job in 2011 when I found the need to be home with my children due to their health.  Now 7 years later I have been providing services for and mentoring and training hundreds of women all around the world on how to start, build and grow their own businesses from home. Many have started virtual assistant businesses, health. life, or fitness coaching businesses, and other businesses as well including small online shops.

 

The Internet is full of amazing people who are ready and willing to help. However,  there are some that just can’t be trusted. More than half of my clients over the last 7 years have told me horror stories of being ripped off my online providers. I myself have been taken advantage of a few times when I didn't do my research. That’s why I want to help be a resource for women who want to find the right people to work with so I started YES! Women’s Network.

Aren't sure where to start? Join YES! Women's Network today for help getting started by meeting women who are already doing what you want to do.

There are a lot of ways you can turn hobbies and skills into cash; and it’s lots easier with trusted resources, free or low-cost training, and inspired connections.  The good news is... you're in the right place!

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how you could earn some extra cash:

#1 - Crafts

So many women are blessed with the gift of craftiness. Homemade creations are highly sought after personalized gifts. If you are crafty you could turn this into a surefire way to make money selling your goods. Homemade and vintage items are where many shoppers are turning for original creations. Especially if you are already selling your creations at local festivals and farmers' markets. How many times I find items that I want to be able to buy more of and when I ask the owner if they are online and they say no. This surprises me! If you are crafty be sure to consider not only offline sales but online sales as well. Before you know it, your homemade creations, whatever they may be, could be the latest Internet craze.

#2 - Shopping

Do you like shopping? I’m not a fan of shopping and I avoid it at all costs, but my daughters love to shop. Becoming a personal shopper could save you money and make you money at the same time. There are so many busy men and women who would prefer to hire out their shopping. If you’re a great shopper you could help your clients with everything from making travel arrangements, finding hotels, buying personalized gifts, or even doing personal shopping like for groceries and household items. Personal shoppers could help their clients find clothing, pick up medicines from the pharmacy, or even just running errands. Personal shoppers could charge anywhere from $15 - $20 an hour or 10 to 15% of the total purchase according to paysale.com.  Just be sure you don’t shop for yourself while you’re shopping for your client or it would defeat the purpose.

#3 - Baking

Baking is a talent that so many busy men and women are envious of. Who doesn’t love a homemade fresh cookie or loaf of bread? Many entrepreneur friends of mine have said that having a personal chef is at the top of their bucket list. If you have this skill you may want to take advantage of it and share your talents with others while making some cash. I see on Facebook several times a week one of my friends selling her cinnamon rolls. She posts that she is going to make x number of pans, how much she wants for them, when they will be ready, and they sell out every week! The majority of people who don’t have time to bake are willing to pay for it, especially if they can pay online and pick it up on their way home. This could turn into catering small events like baby showers, weddings, family reunions, small office parties, or other gatherings. As long as you're selling baked goods that don't spoil (like cream pies, etc.) you don't need a license to sell at most farmers' markets, although some do require you meet their standards and guidelines to be accepted [source: mt.gov]. If you stick to one or two items and do them well -- bread and muffins, for example -- invest in a creative logo and packaging, and set up a plate of samples, your products should sell themselves.

#4 Pet Walking & Care

Do you love pets and just can’t get enough? Why not try doing dog walking and pet care? Instead of spending money to get your own why not have the freedom to care for other people’s pets? Most dog walkers charge between $10 and $18 per walk depending o the location and the number of dogs. Overnight dog sitting can be billed for even more according to Christine Rochelle in her article for aol.com.  It’s best to start your business with people who know and trust you. It’s a big responsibility to take care of someone’s pets. Once you have established a small list of clients you could ask them to recommend you to their friends and coworkers.

#5 Organizing and/or Cleaning

“I would pay someone to just come in here clean up and get me organized!” I’ve heard this many times from entrepreneurs who work 10-15-20 hours a day. Many of us spend our days sitting in front of a computer and simply don’t have time to clean out the garage, deep clean our kitchen, or take care of our yards. If this is something you enjoy doing, I can practically guarantee you that you can do this and make some pretty good money. I actually know several organizers personally who are doing pretty well. They are hired to take care of hopelessly unorganized people for a fee. The organizers I know will to and either helps their clients or actually do the work for them. Everything from cleaning out a disorganized closet to shopping and stocking their homes with things like linens, toiletries, and everyday items. Especially around the holidays when they also help with the putting up and taking down of decorations.

#6 Administrative, Writing, Editing, and others

This is how I first got started as a real estate virtual assistant! When I first needed to work from home I wanted to take the skills I had from the Corporate world to start my business. I loved working with real estate agents helping with their paperwork and I knew I could do it from anywhere as long as I had a phone and the internet. From there I grew my skills into being a speaker, digital marketer, coach, mentor, and creating this network. Now, my daughter does editing for many of my clients and I help with building online businesses. If you think about it, anything an administrative assistant does now can be done from anywhere except putting a piece of paper in a folder. An most offices are digital and filing in person isn’t needed. So, if you like writing there are businesses looking for you to help with their blogging. There are businesses looking for help with editing, marketing, data entry, editing websites, research, help with social media, graphic design, and many other administrative skills. There is a virtual assistant academy on YES! Women’s Network that will teach you what you need to know and other resources to get you started as well.

Other hobbies that could turn into cash:

  • Photography
  • Website Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Drawing
  • Music
  • Couponing
  • Blogging
  • Affiliate Marketing (selling other peoples products)
  • Mowing Lawns and Shoveling Driveways
  • Selling from our Garden
  • Canning
  • Garage Sale Flips
  • Tutoring
  • Teaching Classes
  • Decorating Homes
  • Running Errands for the Elderly
  • YouTube - Teach Lessons

Here are a few hobbies turned cash of clients and friends of mine. They are all having a lot of fun. Some are making more money and have turned into a real business than others, but all are making money from home which is super cool!

Lanmom Originals
Ridgetop Virtual Solutions
Pam Bennett
GigiGoes
Tiia Lin
Primary Wellness
The Happy Gal
Everflect
Paula's Kitchen
Somer Lang
Scrap n' Things
Love to Bake You Happy
Love You Dear Photography
New Mexico Farm House Designs
Build It Mom
Just One Elle
Romance Enhanced Consulting
1 Sister 2 Sister
Crafty Thrivin LLC
Beyond the Shaker
Hand Picked Daisy

Decide what you like to do and what you want to do then join YES! Women’s Network and let’s find a way you can turn that into cash!  Be sure to join our community and share your ideas with us so we can all pitch in and help you get started today.

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Building a Food Storage On a Budget - Part 1

When I found myself single in 2010 I was very grateful for the food storage I had been building. I had 5 children and no income for 9 months. If it wasn't for my food storage we would have gone hungry, not had laundry detergent and many other necessities that we needed.

I didn't start out my adult life with a food storage but I did learn from watching my parents that it was important. We had always had a food storage growing up. There were many times in my youth where it was our main source of food. So, when I got out on my own I knew it was necessary to start one.

One day I was asked to teach a class about food storage at my church. I knew nothing about starting one or how to have one in a small apartment. There was also no internet at the time to go searching on to help me. I asked and learned from watching a very dear friend of mine who had nailed it. Her food storage was the envy of anyone who saw it and still is.

 

Lastly, another dear friend was an endless resource of knowledge. Kati Kiefer, founder of True Couponing. In 2009 Kati's husband, James, received a large pay cut and they quickly found themselves in a difficult financial situation. Because of this Kati, with her degree in accounting, quickly figured out creative ways to reduce their monthly grocery bill from $600 to $200. Since then she has helped thousands of people do the same thing.

 

With these amazing women as examples in my life and a bit of research as well, I've gained a wealth of knowledge. I'll share with you some of the best ideas for how to get started and how to do it on a budget. To make it more simple and easier to follow, I'll break it into 3 different posts.

 

Where and How do I Start?

Starting is a lot easier than you think it will be.  Here's the three-step plan to getting starting:

 

#1 Decide to Start with Intention

I know. I know. This is pretty obvious, right? Well, did you think to yourself when you saw the title of the post, saw a picture recently, or even while reading this post that you should start one? Did you do anything about it? Did you make a real decision? Did you tell your significant other or have a discussion about it with your family? Or did you just think, "humm... I should probably start a food storage." Then the thought was quickly pushed to the back of your mind? If you're like most people, that's actually what happened.

Here's how I decided to start and set my intention:

  • Have a family meeting and get my husband and children on board and helping
  • Clear a place for the storage by the end of January
  • Work out what we need in our 72-hour kits and complete them by February 15th
  • Create a list of food storage that our family needs to have for 1 month
  • Spend an extra $5/month to fill my pantry to double its current size
  • Spend an extra $10/month to add to my 3 month supply

These are just a few of the steps that I'm going to take now that I have decided. What about you? What are you going to do to get started?

HINT: It doesn't have to look pretty! You don't need a bunch of fancy shelving and containers. My first good storage was stored under my bed, in closets, and we even used it to make tables by stacking.

 

#2 Make an Action Plan

This is the part that so many of us get hung up on. I don't know about you, but thinking of needing a food storage gives me anxiety! I immediately think of a wall of 5-gallon buckets with whole wheat in them or spending thousands of dollars on shelving and containers. Then I imagine coming in from the cold to try to find something to feed my crying babies and not knowing at all what to do with what I had. Am I alone?

Start with storing water and a water filtering plan. This is a must and shouldn't be put off. Put this one at the top of your list. I'll even challenge you to do this one thing before the end of the week.

One thing I learned very early from my friend 26 years ago was that I needed to store what my family would eat. First, go to a site like Provident Living and enter your families information. This will show what is recommended to have and in what amounts. THEN be sure to consider this list as a starting place to create your own real list depending on your own families tastes. She explained to me that if we never ate whole wheat it would be a bad idea to have it in storage.

My recommendation is to start with a 1-month supply and begin rotating this through your regular meals. This is a great first goal to set. You'll be surprised how quickly you'll get this done.

Next work on a 3-month supply, then 6-month, then 9-month, then 12. Before you know it you will have created a great system for storing and using your storage. Then if/when something unexpected happens you will be secure in knowing you have a store of food that your family will use.

 

#3 Track Additional Needs & Add

We need to be sure to store more than just food. What about medicine?  Do you have pets? We all use soap and other cleaning products so we need to be sure to store these as well.

Over the next 10 days or so, be sure to track what items you may need to store outside of food items.

Other things to consider are a generator for electricity, oil, gas, and things that you may need in case of a major disaster.

 

WARNING: If you are like me you will soon find that you have way too much information and quickly lose steam. This happens when we research a topic and sign up for every free list or download. Then we get bombarded with so much information our heads explode. So, I've saved you the trouble. Here are a few links to sites that I recommend.

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY do not sign up for every one of them or use every one of them as a resource. Chose ONE or TWO that you enjoy or find valuable. Once you have learned what you can from them chose another one or two to learn from next. Sometimes too much information can be overwhelming.

I'd love to hear from you! What food storage ideas work for you and your family?

Now that you're on your way and determined to have a food storage... CONGRATULATIONS!! This is a BIG step and honestly, the rest is much easier. Knowing and understanding that this is important to have a food storage will get you so excited. When you start seeing 1, 2, 3 cans of food turn into several shelves of food... well, you'll just get more excited.

So, what is the next step? You'll need to find a smart place to store the food. This can be tricky if you have a small apartment or if you are going to be doing a lot of moving. It's also tricky if you don't have a lot of money.

How amazing would it be to build or buy shelving that's perfect for food storage? But, most of us can't do that, so we have to come up with smart and clever ways instead. Here are some things to consider and keep in mind:

Consider Temperature

This is very important as food will go bad and be useless or even cause harm if not done right. We don't know when we will need the food storage so we need to plan on storing it for anywhere from 1 month to 2 years.

Heat, cold, dryness, and humidity could all ruin food.

I'll admit I'm not an expert on this and since it's so important, I've found this information on Family Survival Planning. Be sure to check out this article for even more on storing your food storage.

"If you live in an area that has four seasons, or very high temperatures and humidity, long term food storage can be difficult. If you live in an area where homes do not have basements, food storage must be kept somewhere in your home at a constant temperature (around 70°F). Cement basements are ideal because they are below ground level (for the most part) and therefore, maintain a pretty constant 50-60°F, which is ideal for long-term food storage. Lacking a basement, just know that the higher the temperatures, the shorter the shelf life of stored foods. But don't let that stop you from getting prepared.

"If you live in a hot and humid area: For the best food storage conditions, a dehumidifier would be a good investment.

"If you live in a hot and dry area: Air conditioning is the most logical solution, but it takes electricity. Right? That's ok as long as we have electricity. In the days before electricity, people dug root cellars in order to store their garden produce, jerky, and grains in a cooler environment. Is that a possibility for you?"

Find out more about Long Term Storage and Short Term Storage on their website.

Rotate It

 

Rotating your food will keep it fresh and keep your family comfortable with the food you have stored. Then if you don't have money for groceries for a few months, you'll already know how to use the food and you'll know your family loves it.

The old restaurant rule always applies, FIFO, First In First Out. Knowing and planning to rotate your food will ensure that you're storing it in a way that makes it easier.

Another great reason to rotate is to inspect your storage for signs of spoilage or signs of pet infestations. If cans are bulging or seeping liquid from the seal, they will need to be thrown away immediately. Those are almost sure signs of botulism poising, which could be life-threatening. For jars you'll want to check to see if the lid seal is still intact by checking to see if it pops back up when you push down on the top.

When you bring home new food to add to your storage or when you take from your food storage to use it, you'll be able to keep track of your inventory. It would show you how much your family is using, how long the items are on the shelf before they are used, and ensure you have stored the proper kinds of foods.

Remember that list you made of what you need? Be sure to keep that current during rotation. Every 3 months you'll be able to adjust your purchases to match your families needs.

I've tried doing this each time I've gone to the store and it can be difficult. So, doing a family inventory about every 3 months is a good idea. If there is one food that you have never used in those 3 months, consider it. Would it be best to keep adding that particular food? Will your family use it? Is there a certain food you can never catch up on? Maybe you run out of it before you have more to add to it?

Another few tips about rotating:

  • Try new foods slowly to see if your family will use it
  • Be sure there are dates on everything, use a Sharpie (the tiny "use by" dates can fade, or be unreadable under certain conditions)
  • Store like things together similar to how the grocery stores do it, this saves searching time
  • Label your shelves if possible to make access, inventory and restocking easier
  • Put the heaviest items on the bottom shelves to prevent shelving falling over
  • Move items that are about to expire in the everyday cabinets to be used quickly
  • To rotate cans easier, use boxes with one row of cans so it's easy to add to the back, or use tilted shelving where the front is lower so cans move down, Food Storage Made Easy has a great video and a downloadable plan for building a shelf like this
  • Use recipes in your weekly meal plans that include food from the food storage (If you're storing dry milk be sure your family would drink it. Try mixing 1/2 regular gallon milk you buy with 1/2 gallon dry milk. This way your family gets used to the taste and it saves you money.)

Create and Find Clever Storage

My first food storage was under beds in the boxes they came in. I cut them in half so they were only one can high and slide them under. Dates written on the top, all I had to do was pull out the box, check the dates, add new cans to the back of the box, and take from the front.

I also built storage shelves with cinder blocks and Plywood.

We found a bunch of cinder blocks at a friends they weren't using and then had the plywood cut at the hardware store where we bought them. Not great for floor to ceiling shelving, but it worked great for 3-4 shelves high in the garage.

Here is a great list of sites that have some super clever ways of storing food. Many of these can be done on a very small budget.

I'd love to see how you are storing your food storage! Leave a comment with a picture or idea below.