Tag: SMRT WOMEN

Running a business is so much more than offering the service or product that you offer. That is likely the part you’re really passionate about - the reason you started a business. But – and you’ve probably already figured this out if you’re along your business journey – it’s only one PART of your business.

 

Running a business is a lot of admin work, book keeping, marketing – all the behind the scenes stuff that actually makes a business a success. Now large businesses have departments and hired staff for all that. There is often a marketing department and a bookkeeping/finance department. There is often at least one office manager or administrative staff keeping things scheduled and on track.

 

But when you’re the CEO of your own business, you’re likely also the CMO, CFO, and so on. You’re all the things!!

 

You need tools and systems that help you wear all the hats without the headache.

 

A time tracking app

If you’re running a service based business, when you’re pricing your services and putting out quotes or estimates, you want to make sure that you’re pricing them right – meaning you want to make sure that the time you’re putting into a project is what you’re getting paid for. This is super hard for many of us, and it’s something that tends to cause a lot of unnecessary stress.

 

There is actually a psychological phenomenon called the Planning Fallacy where people underestimate how long a task will take them. If you’re working for yourself, this can really mess with your action plans and flow. But it can also mean that you’re not getting paid what you should be getting paid.

 

To help me solve that business problem and take the stress out of the “how long will this take” question, I use Paymo, a time tracking tool.

 

I use it to track everything I do and I break the projects down into task types. And then I use that data for future projects so that I know how long a project will take me. I then use that data the next time I am creating a quote or deciding when I am available to take on a project that comes up – or if I even have the availability.

 

If you’re running a product based business, knowing how long tasks take you is equally important. If your product takes you 20 hours to make and you’re only charging $100 um…you need to know that so you can increase your prices RIGHT NOW.

 

Quickbooks: the book keeper of your dreams

Let me share with you one of the most embarrassing things that I have done in my business because of how much I hate bookkeeping admin. I have not billed clients – more than once. I’ve finished the project, they’ve been ready to pay me, and I just ghost them. Like never sent them an invoice and then ignored all their emails and never spoke to them again because I was so embarrassed.

 

Bookkeeping is one of the most annoying business admin things that we need to do as an entrepreneur. Tracking expenses, remembering which clients have paid and which haven’t, following up with the right ones, billing billable expenses to clients, categorizing everything, reconciling bank accounts and blah blah bleh.

 

When I work with clients on their businesses, bookkeeping is something that comes up a lot.

 

I am so excited to tell you that there is a better way. I use Quickbooks. I love Quickbooks. It has taken like 90% of my bookkeeping stress away. It means that I actually DO my bookkeeping, which is an amazing win in and of itself.

 

Yes, it costs money. I pay about $40 a month. Something to know about me is that I am capital F Frugal. I don’t like spending money on things. I hate subscription products. And I’ll usually put in 8 hours of time finding workarounds on a free product rather than pay. But for me a good bookkeeping software is SO worth it. Plus it saves me money because:

  • I record my expenses, which means I can report them for tax time
  • I can track my invoices to ensure I'm getting paid
  • I no longer pay late fees for being late on my GST

 

A social media scheduler

When I lead social media workshops or work with clients on their social media strategies, I’m often asked about scheduling. Hey, I get it, you can’t always be at the ready to post on social media. Even when you’ve planned it all out and batch created your content and are good to go - stuff comes up.

 

There are a whole whack of scheduling tools out there to try out. I use Hootsuite. The free version lets you have three social media profiles connected so you can schedule your posts, tweets, grams, ahead of time. So, you can schedule to your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on. If you’re looking to stay on top of your content strategy and put out consistent content, you’ll want to check out HootSuite.

 

Workflows

This one I’m about to share is a game changer. It’s my absolute favourite tool. It’s actually a system.

 

It’s not only going to save you a ton of time and make you feel like the most organized on-top-of-all-the-balls CEO ever, but it’s also going to eliminate a lot of human error that can cost you money or lead to things not going as smoothly as they could go.

 

Workflows.

 

Workflows are like having a project manager on your team. It’s like having a full time executive administrator making your life easier and watching out for all the small details that you with the millions of things on your plate might miss.

 

Creating workflows for your business is all about taking those big tasks you do and turning it into a sequence of events. It:

  • captures all the details and it captures when things need to happen and in what order so that you can stay on track and not forget anything.
  • anticipates any questions or issues that might come up and acts as a preventative measure.
  • breaks down big overwhelming tasks into step-by-step action plans.
  • Plus, if it is a task you do more than once, it saves a ton of time because you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every single time.

 

One workflow that I teach in my Content Marketing workshops is all about streamlining how you create content. For an example of a super simplified workflow for this...

  1. Looking at the month, fill in any important dates (sales you’re having, holidays, events you’re hosting, “national days”, and so on.)
  2. Using placeholders, map out which content pillars you are sharing when
  3. Map out where your “sell” messages will go
  4. Brainstorm ideas for content for each of the placeholders
  5. Write the content
  6. Find visuals
  7. Proofread
  8. Schedule all your content for the month

You can use workflows for client onboarding, you can use them for when you’re training new staff, you can use them for your monthly book keeping or quarterly business evaluation. Any task that you do somewhat regularly and you want to streamline, you can use a workflow for.

 

I teach how to use and create workflows in detail and much more fully in the Business Foundations Bootcamp. Plus, in that program, I share a bunch of my workflows so you get full access to project systems you can copy and paste for your business.


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If you’ve been reading, listening, viewing – whatever – anything business, you’ve probably heard a million people telling you to NICHE. To really focus on one specific audience, one specific service area, and so on.

 

This can be a scary thing, and is something MANY entrepreneurs struggle with.

Why you need a business niche

 

 

There are a lot of fears and limiting beliefs that underlie niching, and that make it such a struggle for entrepreneurs.

 

There can be a fear or concern about limiting one’s income. We fall into the trap of thinking that if we are choosing to niche our audience, we are limiting our audience. If we choose to just talk to and create products and services for women, well aren’t we just cutting out 50% of the market and our potential income?

 

Another fear that underlies this struggle is one of limiting ourselves. By committing to a niche, we can feel that we are trapping ourselves in a box. Sure, we may want to offer life coaching now, but what if we want to teach yoga later? We often have many passions and skills, and choosing to focus those can feel scary.

 

So yes, niching can feel scary! It can be scary and daunting to feel like you’re saying no to potential customers. It can be scary to feel like you’re limiting YOURSELF and your passions.

 

But, niching is a game changer for your business.

 

When you niche, you choose your audience. You choose the people you are most passionate and excited about helping. And they will see that you choose them. Think about when you get a service or product: do you want something that is trying to please everyone and anyone? That’s general and vague? Or, do you want a business that specializes in you? That is skilled and experienced and focused on solving your problem and meeting your specific needs?

 

When you niche, you get to become really good at working with audiences that you are really excited about. And, what’s great is that there are enough of them. When you build your niche based on research, you can feel confident that there is a big enough audience for you to make your business sustainable and scalable.

 

Niching isn’t about limiting yourself or your business, it’s about clarity. It’s about getting really incredibly beautifully CLEAR on your business and your audience. This clarity will make it easy to build a brand you love and one that feels RIGHT. It will make it easy to build a website, to create content, to choose what services and products to offer. Being this CLEAR is essential if you want to be able to build something meaningful and successful and not get bogged down in overwhelm and the inability to make decisions.

 

Let me repeat that one more time: Niching is NOT limiting yourself or your business. It’s setting the stage for success.

 

And the amazing thing about having a business is that it is always growing and changing. Throughout the business lifecycle, you will constantly be measuring and tweaking your services, products, and approaches. This means that as your business grows and scales up, you may expand into new audiences and have new products and services.

 

Niching isn’t about limiting yourself. It is about focusing your efforts for success and pivoting and tweaking as you learn and grow.

 

Find your niche with these three questions

Ask yourself these questions to figure out your niche – or where you should focus your efforts. Download the free worksheet.

What do you love doing?

Like love so much that you are happy to make it your whole life – learn about it, wake up and read about it, talk about it all the time, and do day in and day out.

 

I always use this example when I am recommending my financial advisor to people – which I do a lot because he is awesome. Feel free to PM me if you want to know who he is.

 

He literally wakes up in the morning and reads about finances. THAT’S HOW MUCH HE LOVES IT.

 

You aren’t going to love what you do all the time, but if you’re building a business that you’re passionate about, you want to make sure that you are incredibly interested in it and want to learn about it and do it all the time.

 

What are you doing when you feel the happiest and most fulfilled?

Are you creating? Are you helping people feel healthier? Are you creating fitness plans or are you motivating in person a group of people and watching them get stronger every week?

 

I still remember my one yoga instructor who so clearly loved teaching a group of students, correcting their form, watching them be transformed through the class. I went back every time I could and I still miss him years later after moving because it was so obvious how much he loved it. I’ve also been to yoga classes where the teacher did not seem to love it. I’m sure they loved yoga but it felt like they didn’t really love teaching a class of people doing yoga – they weren’t modifying anything or checking alignment or helping any of us get better. Teaching classes probably was NOT a great focus for them.

 

What is the thing that makes YOU feel happy and fulfilled? Think back to jobs and projects that you have LOVED and ask why you loved them so much.

 

Who do you love working with? Who would you feel jazzed to work with day in and day out?

For example, if you’re a fitness coach, do you love helping young athletes excel and get to the point where they are competing? Do you love helping body builders compete? Do you love working with people who want to be healthier?

 

I was working with a coaching client in the fitness industry around this very thing. Once she realized that what really excited her was working with women who wanted to be healthy and were motivated to follow through but wanted her expertise and her motivating abilities to get them there, we could focus her services and her marketing.

 

That is the power of this question.

 

Really visualize who you enjoy working with and how you enjoy working with them. What is it that you’re helping them with? How are you making their life better?

 

Takeaways:

  1. Niching isn’t about limiting your potential; it’s about focusing your efforts for success.
  2. Niching is a game changer for your business.
  3. Niching will help you to cut through overwhelm and indecision.
  4. Ask yourself three questions to help find your niche!

 


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Instagram is all the rage these days. With many great features and super high engagement, brands are finding this platform a great way to reach and connect with audiences.

 

In episode 6 of the SMRT Women podcast, we sat down with Kym Rempel of Anto Yukon, a Yukon-based bath and body company, to talk about using Instagram to launch and grow your brand. Made of all natural ingredients, Anto products are produced from a passion for the natural world and travel. Kym launched two years ago and has used Instagram to create connections with wholesalers all across the country. She also runs two local shops (on in Whitehorse and one in Carcross) where she sells her products and fabulous goods from the Yukon and beyond.

Instagram Success Takeaways

Do the research

There are many different ways to use Instagram successfully to build your brand and sell. Any winning strategy is based on audience research. Different audiences respond to different content and different stories. The ideal strategy is a match between how you naturally express yourself and connect and what your audience is looking for. Instagram can be a great tool for this research. Check out competitors, check out people you would love to see follow you and engage with their content. What do their feeds look like? What stories are they telling?

 

Forget shiny object syndrome - do what works and stick to it

As mentioned above - there are many ways to win over your Instagram audience. It can be easy to get distracted trying different things. Research your strategy - choose a few key things to focus on and stick to it with consistency before you go randomly following shiny objects.

 

Tell a story

Whether you are selling a product or service you must tell a story. Give your audience a reason to click to read more, to get excited, to comment and engage.

 

Engagement matters more than followers

Are you caught up in how many followers you have? Worried you haven’t hit the 1K, 5K, 10K mark? Followers are not what matters - engagement is. It doesn’t matter how big your following is, what matters if the people who follow you are engaged and buying. So focus on your engagement stats and ultimately your SALES.


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It’s goal setting season. Spring is here, the sun is out, and it’s time to get out of hibernation mode and chart the summer for your biz. We invited one of our favourite local entrepreneurs, Astrid Grawehr, partner and Director of Operations at Kryotek Arctic Innovation Inc. , into the studio to talk about business success and how the goal post for achievement may not always be what you think.

 

Astrid joined Kryotek seven years ago when mining was booming in the Yukon and “success” was easy to come by. But a shift in the market and a restructure later and her and her business partner were asking themselves “is that all there is?”. We talk to Astrid about having the courage to slow down, reset, and rechart the course to success that feeds all of ourselves.

Have a listen to our convo below and let us know how you set courageous goals.

 

Check it all out below.

Our Goal Setting Takeaways

Rolling with it is cool until it’s not.

Rolling with the punches is how many of us get our business off the ground. We have an idea or see an opportunity, we set things in motion and things get rolling. We run our business by responding to what’s happening instead of leady by creating what we want to create. This can totally work for some folks  - and for many others you will eventually hit a wall where you find some piece of what you have created is not fitting - it's hurting instead of helping. That wall can hit you pretty hard if you are rolling fast. Hitting the breaks every so often is not a bad thing. Ask yourself if you are rolling in the direction you want to go or if you need to change course and you just might get where you want to go.

 

How do you know when it’s not working? Pay attention to the friction.
Where are you finding friction instead of flow? Are you feeling a tightness in your body, are you feeling sick all the time, are you constantly bumping into frustration and annoyance. Friction is a clue to let you know that something is not fitting or working. Follow the friction to find what’s not working and lean into your truest desires to get real about what will.

 

Setting Good Goals Means Being Really Honest with Yourself - and it might hurt.
When you are looking back and what is working and what is not it can be easy to fall into the trap of false motivation. By that I mean it can be easy to feel or see reward that is driven by what you THINK success should be. Other people’s idea of what success should look like. It can feel comfortable to be making a certain amount of money, or to be seen a certain way by you community. But if those things are not leaving you happy and feeling rewarded. If your health is suffering then are they good metrics for success for you? Questioning these things goes deep - into our values and motivations and our mindset. Your ego may get a little bruised in the process - but true reward and fulfillment are on the other side of hard questions.

 

Your fit and needs will evolve over time.
Goals and metrics that fit one day may not fit the next. Be open to your values and vision shifting. Allow those goals and ideas of success that no longer fit to float away and welcome in those that now feel like they do.

 

It takes courage to slow down and make space for reflection. It takes courage to ask yourself the hard questions and be honest. It takes courage to change your day to day activities towards a new goal. It all takes vulnerability and courage. The deeper we lean into that the more success - whatever that means to us - we can find.


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Whether you are pitching your idea to an investor, creating a sales video, sharing on a conference panel, or launching a keynote your ability to speak with comfort and confidence about your business or organization is an important skill to have.

 

In episode 4 of the SMRT Women podcast we sit down with Colette Acheson, local management consultant to talk all things public speaking. Colette is a business owner and non-profit manager several times over. She has honed her public speaking skills in the trenches and in Toastmasters meetings.

 

Check it all out below.

Just do it

The only way to get better is to just do it. Practice in front of a mirror, video tape yourself, practice for your friends - but know that no amount of practice except the actual act of speaking in public will be practice to get you more comfortable and more experienced. Welcome and invite any opportunity no matter how small to flex your public speaking muscles. Pick one thing you want to work on - removing your ums and ahs, working with your voice, figuring out how to hold your hands - and focus on it. Take every failure as a learning opportunity.

 

It’s a whole body project

When you speak your whole body is communicating. Take the time to explore how you stand and gesture with your body to communicate emphasis, but also pay attention to your voice and your jaw. Give them a proper warm up before you ask them to run a marathon.

 

Embrace the Pause

Take a deep breath before you begin. Slow your body down. Take a deep breath between parts of your speech - give your audience a moment to catch up - to let your words sink in. It feels like a million years up there when all eyes are on you, but it’s a short second for the audience and a welcome one.

 

It’s always about the audience

What does your audience need to feel and connect with to believe your credibility? Do they want to be entertained? How can you work with voice, presence and posture, language and storytelling to convey that and get the message across. Are you connecting? It’s important to learn to listen and observe as you speak so you can shift and pivot to keep the audience’s attention as you work through your presentation.


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Networking serves such an important role in our business because it’s all about relationship building. Whether you are connecting with potential clients, mentors and business besties, or partners networking is a great way to meet new people and expand your business. But it can be daunting. Especially if you are introverted, don’t love big social events, or just feel awkward saying hi to new folks.

 

This week on the SMRT Women podcast we sit down with Patti Balsillie, a tourism, strategy, and engagement specialist. Patti has lived in the Yukon for over 30 years. She is the past Chair of the Arctic Inspiration Prize and currently sits on the boards of Destination Canada, Yukonstruct Society and Chief Isaac Companies. She is also a rock star networker so we brought her on to talk about how to networking well and how you can make it your friend - or at least your frenemy.

 

Check it all out below.

There are so many ways to network - pick one that fits your style

Networking can happen in so many different ways. You can go to a traditional mixer event, you can volunteer or serve on a board, you can connect with brands and people you love on social media, you can grab a coffee with someone you haven’t seen a while or want to get to know better- the bottom line is networking is about putting yourself in situations where you will meet new people. So pick a style that suits you best and run with it.

 

Go with a Goal

There’s nothing worse than heading to a networking event only to skulk in the corner all night, not talk to a single person, and then go home and mope about it. Ok - there’s a lot of things worse than that, but it still doesn’t make you feel good. Go with a goal in mind, a mission that you want to accomplish and you are much more likely to reach out of your bubble. Your mission may be to talk to three new people, learn something new, ask a question to some key people who you think will be at the event or even - dare i say it - have fun.

 

Bring a Buddy

Buddy system rules. Just make sure you don’t end up talking to each other all night instead of reaching out to new people. Use the fact that there is two of you to get brave and approach people. Try introducing each other so you don’t have to feel like you are self-promoting. Know each other’s goals and go for it.

 

Have an intro and an exit strategy

It’s totally ok to go with a few canned questions you want to try out on people - whether it’s talking about the latest community news, asking people their story, or discussing something that happened at the conference or event you are attending - go with a few questions in mind.

 

That being said, its very easy to get stuck in a convo that’s no clicking or going anywhere. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move on. Have a canned exit strategy (I’m hungry, need to go to the washroom, see someone I know…) and get outta there.

 

Know how you can serve and what you are looking for

Relationships are built on exchange. Go ready to share your story and tell people how you are excited to serve, share advice or info that you have online in groups if it’s helpful, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and let people know what you need - people are happy to tell you how they can help.

 


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SMRT Women Podcast Ep. 02 Mindfulness in Business with Ruth Lera

 

This week we are excited to welcome Ruth Lera to the podcast to talk about mindfulness and meditation in business. Ruth is an energy healer, mindfulness facilitator, meditation teacher, instructor of energetic self-healing, writer and boreal forest loiterer. She is the author of Walking the Soul Path: An Energetic Guide to Being Human.

 

In this episode, we talk about the busy business brain. Untamed, our brain can stay focused on the fear,  spin us out, derail us, or stop us in our tracks. So many of us start our businesses with the goal of happiness, freedom, and living life on our own terms – the busy business brain can keep us feeling incompetent, not enough, and like we are always behind the eight ball.

 

So what can we do about it? How can we conquer those mind spirals so we can feel confidence and ease and pleasure in our business?

 

Take a listen to find out and see our hot tips below.

Accept the Journey  – Failure is a given
Our brain likes to get so focused on the what ifs. What if people don’t like what I am doing and send me hate-mail, what if I don’t make any sales, what if I fall flat on my face in front of everyone. Mindfulness forces us to accept that these things will happen, or are already happening – failure is a given, life’s ups and downs are a given. The goal of mindfulness is not to make life perfect, it’s to strengthen our brain’s ability to roll with the punches with ease and flow.

 

Practice makes perfect.

Did you know that only 11 hours of meditation will change your brain? That’s like less than an hour a month. Mindfulness can be used in two ways to train our brains. Informally we can ask ourselves the two core questions at any point in the day: while we are driving, cooking dinner, playing with the kids, writing our next blog post. We ask ourselves the question and redirect to create an immediate shift. But this practice gets amplified when we do a formal practice – sit and focus on your breath in silence for 5+ minutes. We fire what we wire, and formal practice rewires our brains.

 

Think of it as a workout. Formal practice is going to the gym to build strength, and informal practice is focusing on your glutes and squat when you go to pick up something heavy at home. You need both to build strength over time.

 

Self -Compassion is key

Finally, none of this works if we are beating ourselves up for not being a “good” meditator. The goal of meditation is not a quiet mind – it’s a mind that notices our thoughts and actively chooses if we want to focus on them or something else. When the little voice says “ I suck at this” we are wiring negative thoughts. Our goal is to practice neutral observation -” I had a thought” and leave the judgments at the door.

 

Mindfulness is simple, but not easy. Five minutes a day of sitting with your thoughts can change you and your business – so why not give it a shot.

 

Do you have a mindfulness practice you use in your business? How does it help you? Any tips you would recommend for folks starting out? Leave a comment on the Facebook page. We’d love to see you there.

 


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SMRT Women is launching a podcast - eep! We will dish mindset, marketing and money tips and inspiration for your badass biz. Whether you are toying with an idea, just getting started, or a biz boss veteran you’ll find practical tools to demystify marketing, strategy and mindset to create the business of your dreams. Want to join us on a podcast? Get in touch and tell us your idea!

 

In our kick-off podcast we talk about idea overwhelm. If you are struggling with which business idea to pursue, drowning in marketing ideas you think you should try, or not sure which new program or product to launch, idea overwhelm can get us stuck - this one’s for you!

 

When we are stuck we don’t act. When we don’t act we don’t learn, we don’t grow, we don’t move our business forward. So how do we get unstuck?

 

Join Selene and Sofia as we talk about how to narrow your ideas, get clear on what matters to you, and clear the clutter so you can see success.

 

Let your strategy be your guide. Do the research, trust it, and always refer back to it

One of the best ways to sort out your ideas is to create a strategy that is your benchmark for yes and no.  Strategy research gives you a solid sense of…

 

  • Your customers and what they want and need
  • Your business vision and values,  what you want to achieve, and what feels good - what feels like success
  • Your business numbers, how much you want to make and your plan for doing it
  • The kind of social impact you want your business to have

Using these as your benchmark you can evaluate your ideas based on whether they will actually serve your audience, whether they will make you feel great and align with your values, and whether they will make you money or take your business in the direction you want to go.

 

This can help you clear the clutter, guide your creative mind, and stay focused.

 

Allow yourself to play, experiment, and fail.

No idea needs to be life or death. When we treat it that way we get locked into overwhelm and we don’t do anything. Take an experimental mindset. Try out the smallest version of the idea, observe what works and what doesn’t. If it fails, change it, scrap it, or  learn and make it better. You might just be surprised at what comes. We learn by doing, not by sitting in our office coming up with ideas.

 

Let go of everyone else’s expectations

It’s so easy to get distracted by the bombardment of well meaning ideas from friends, loved ones, and all the business experts trying to convince you what to do. Well meaning ideas that start with “you should do…” or “your competition is doing xyz you should try it”.

 

All of these ideas can be wonderful and they MAY be useful to your business. They also may not. We can get stuck in marketing strategy FOMO or overwhelmed with the million ideas we SHOULD be doing. So much so that we get stuck and do nothing. When this happens a great place to start is to come back to ourselves. When we get clear on what is most important to us, the ideas We have for our business and what matters to us, we can use this as a rudder to guide our choices.

 

It’s not always easy but giving ourselves permission to shed the shoulds and do what feels right for us is a critical business muscle to flex.

 

Start with one Idea at a time

You have a million ideas for your business, from better marketing tools, to money-making ventures, to how you want to make change in the world. Where to start? With one idea at a time. Develop an idea parking lot  - a place you can write down all your brilliant ideas.

 

Pick one - maybe the one that you are most excited about, the one that is easiest to implement, the one that will make you the most money or the one that is best related to your strategy.

 

Do it. You may get started and decide it doesn’t work. Then you get to move on to your other ideas, maybe it’s brilliant it goes amazingly and those other ideas that were bugging you fade into the background, or anything in between.

 

Have faith that each idea has its time, no idea will ever go stale or disappear if it’s important and you will learn and build on your ideas as you implement them.


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