Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Business bestie: Who? Why? How? What?

We have all grown up with BFFs (Best Friends Forever). Your BFFs might have changed over the years or stayed the same. It does not matter. Having that one friend (or many) to have your back means a lot! You share everything with them. Your successes and failures! Your hopes and dreams! E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Sometimes, your best friend is not an entrepreneur like you. So even though they try to understand your situation, their point of view and their solutions might not be the ones you are looking for!

What do you do at such times? Who do you talk to regarding achievements, goals and successes in your business? An ideal situation would be having a Business Bestie!
When I speak of Business Besties, a lot of questions come to your mind. Who is a business besties? Why do I need one? How do I find her? What do we do when we are together? Keep reading to get answers for all of these questions!!!

WHO is a Business Bestie?

Sometimes when we are overwhelmed in our business, we end up cursing ourselves for creating the mess we got ourselves into. That is when we start having doubts about our capability! We need just one person who swoops in at that time and offers us something we need - a word of encouragement, a sympathetic ear or an ability to make us look at ourselves in a more positive manner! That is a Business Bestie. They are the first people we go to when we have that brilliant million dollar idea! They are the ones that we go to when we think we have failed miserably! They are the ones who have our back, share our work, give us tough love when we need it and offer advice that we respect. They are like BFFs but for our business. More often than not, the relationship between Business Besties is much more than just business! They know so much about each other! They are a part of our lives, sometimes much more than our families!

WHY do you need a Business Bestie?

Here are a few reasons why I think you need a business bestie.

They love and support you. They will love you through your failure and your successes. They will support every decision you make. They will help you get over your mental blocks and move on towards a successful business! Just like your best friend extends you full support in spite of anything! Just like she might curse you when you are alone but with fight like a wild cat if anyone else says the same things as she says, your Business Bestie will point out your shortcomings to you, but will support you and your business before anyone else!
They share your work. You do not need to even ask them to do that. Every time you create something new, your Business Bestie is the first to share! They are the ones whom you talked to before you created your stuff so they know it as much as you do and can talk about it with confidence.
They give you a kick in the butt if needed. If you are being an ass, they will let you know and will not hesitate in bringing you back on track. They will tell you when you are doing it wrong. They will reason with you. they will try to explain it to you. And if you still do not understand, they will be ready to kick you in the butt!
They inspire you to do better. They are the ones whom you do not want to let down. They constantly know the right things to say and do to keep you motivated. Just like when you were kids, you worked hard at studies because your results pleased your parents, you work hard in your business to please your Bestie! Not because she is someone to be pleased; but because you value her pleasure as much as you valued your parents' happiness.
They understand your business woes. They have worked on the ideas of your business as much as you have and they understand exactly what you're going through. You can share any troubles with them and they will help you overcome them and find solutions - that work!!!
They will give you honest feedback. They will definitely give you an honest feedback. You can depend on them to tell you if your product is overpriced or if the combination that you are working on will not work!
Remember, having a Business Bestie is not a one way track! You will have to do the same things as they do for you if you want it to work! So unless you're ready to put in the same amount of efforts in HONESTLY helping someone grown their own business, do not expect them to do that for you. If you feel you cannot do it, or you do not have the time to invest in that kind of relationship, opt for a business coach! They will charge you a fee to do all these things!

HOW can you find a business bestie?

The first option would be to look at all your existing friends. Is there someone who is also running a business? She might not run a business similar to yours, but as long as she runs one, you surely can become Business Besties. You already have that connection and trust in your relationship. Becoming Business Besties is the natural next step.
The next place to look would be a community of women entrepreneurs. Be it your local community or an online one. A good option would be to pay a visit to a local business that is run by a woman and introduce yourself and get acquainted. Just talking about what you do with others, helps you in building your 'tribe'. Will you be Business Besties with all women that you meet like this? NO But you will have a tribe! A common group to come to in case you need anything. Maybe one of them will become your Business Bestie, but it wont happen overnight! This relationship needs trust. And that has to be built!
What if you do not have a local community of women entrepreneurs? BUILD IT! You can always take the first step to build what you want! Start by visiting your local exhibitions and craft fairs. Better still, if your business will be helped by it, book a stall. Connect with other women who are running businesses and then develop a relationship beyond the exhibition or fair. Once you get to know them, start promoting them - WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING in return! Just promote them. Compliment them on things done well. They will start reciprocating your actions soon and in no time will you have a roaring network of women who support you! But remember - TAKE THE FIRST STEP!
As your relationship with your fellow women entrepreneurs develops, get to know them better. Meet regularly and start discussing your business with them. Start by discussing common problems and issues that all of you face. It will help in breaking the ice and women will feel safer to share. Be the first to offer solutions. Get them to trust you. Be a leader. After regular interactions with your group, you will realize you connect with some of them more than the others. Let your friendship grow naturally. And you will have your Business Bestie!WHAT do you do when you have a business bestie?

Now that you have your Business Bestie, we come to the next question - WHAT next? I highly recommend meeting regularly. If you are in the same town, meet up for coffee every week. Make it a habit of keeping one day of the week aside for your Business Bestie. If you live far away or meeting up every week is not practical, make it a point to talk to each other often. I call Kausalya almost every day! We talk about a lot of things related to both of our businesses. The ideas that we have. The problems we're facing. The success we have achieved. She is sometimes the first to know about my achievement even before my husband knows! Staying in touch is the key here - regularly.

One thing that is super essential for a Business Bestie relation to work is that you should not feel insecure. You should NOT look at her as competition even if you are in the same business. There is enough room for both of you to grow, and some more! You need to trust the other person to make this work. You need to be honest with them.

Here are some topics that you can discuss when you meet, if you do not know where to start :

Ideas for growth of businesses
Struggles you are facing
Upcoming events and how you can help each other
Requirements in your business
Work-life balance
Promotion of products or events for each other
Financial advice
Feedback about products and services
Anything else that is bugging you!
And you can always gossip about that one woman who is a pain in the a*% for both of you!!!

Do you already have a business bestie? Or is your childhood friend also your business bestie? What do you two do when you are together? Did you find my tips useful? Do leave me a note in the comments.
Friday, June 4, 2021

Self doubt : How to tackle it and turn it around?

Do you have a big idea that has been brewing in your mind, but you have not felt confident enough to actually go through with it? There something holding you back. That little voice telling you that your idea might not be as brilliant after all!
That, my friend, is “Self-doubt”

It can poke it’s head up in the best of times. You have been working hard on your idea; researching, designing, even making it. And then as you start getting ready to share it, something happens, inside you. A little voice from somewhere starts talking to you. It usually starts with, “But…” And then your thoughts spiral right out of control.
But, is it really that good?
But, will it really work?
But, is it really worth it?
But, am I really capable?
It’s not easy to stop. The butterflies in your stomach start making you queasy and you just feel like giving up altogether.
Today I am going to tell you how to tackle the beast that self-doubt is. Together we will slay it and tame it to make it work for us.

Accept it. It is very essential to sit down and accept that you are having doubts. You might want to just push it away and keep working, but I do not recommend that. The more you push away your doubts, the stronger they get. Denying them will only delay the inevitable and then when it rears it’s head, the time might be the most inconvenient and if you are not strong enough to push through, it might even end up making much more damage. I would suggest taking some time off and acknowledging your doubts. It’s like you are telling your mind, “Hey, I am listening to you”.
Scan them. Scan every doubt you have thoroughly. See if there are any valid ones. If it were a friend of yours in your place and they came to you with these self-doubts, what would you tell them? Put a little distance between yourself and the doubts and look at them to check their validity. Discard aside the ones that are unjustified. If you find yourself questioning your capacity, try to think impartially about it. Are you really unqualified to do it? You do not need a formal education. You need desire and clarity. Do you have it? It helps to go back to your why at such times. Why did you start thinking about it in the first place?
Search solutions. If you were presenting a paper and someone asked you questions at the end would you not take time to defend your ideas? Do the same here. I love writing down my doubts and then kind-of arguing them on the paper. It helps put things in perspective and it also helps me better my product or presentation. Find solutions for each doubt that you have. If I feel that my quilts might not sell if I only use imported fabric to make them, I know it is a valid doubt. It will make them costlier. I can then work out if I can use a combination of Indian and imported fabrics to make them more affordable.
Be prepared. The biggest self-doubt is the fear of failing. Imagine what will happen if you fail. It is not always the worst thing. Even if you fail at what you are doing, there is always something else that you can do. Decide what you will do in case of the worst case scenario. You’ve prepared a bunch of bags to sell online and no one buys them. What can you do? Well, you can always gift them to your friends and family on their birthdays and special occasions. That will save you money and you will get some constructive criticism so that you can find out why it happened. Once you have gone through these steps, you will realize that you are more than ready to go ahead with your idea, without an ounce of self-doubt. There will be hurdles, there will be times when you hear that little voice come back and tell you “I told you so” but now you will be prepared to deal with any situation that arises and make the most of it.

Are you ready to tackle your self-doubts and slay your goals?
Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Why did your goal fail?

How often have you set goals and worked hard to achieve them and yet, have faced failure? I have. Many times. There are many instances where I have worked hard a diligently, but it has got me absolutely nowhere.

When I spent a little time thinking about why it happened, it also made me realize what I could do to change it and achieve success with my next one. Today I’m going to focus on 3 most common reasons I saw recurring in my own failures.
Unrealistic estimation. I realized that I always over or under-estimated myself. When I look at what I can do in a day, I usually over-estimate myself. I put too many things on my list and end up feeling bad when I cannot check them off. I make a to-do list and mentally make up the deadlines throughout the day. It will take me an hour to write a blog post and then 10 more minutes to edit the required images. In reality, it takes me close to 90 minutes just to get started before I decide the tone is all wrong and I just press Ctrl+A and delete! So at the end of 3 hours, I am done with the writing, but need another 90 minutes to find the right images and another 90 to edit them. Now when I look at the clock and see that the whole day went by and I did not complete the 4 other blog posts I was supposed to finish today, I get deflated and just give up altogether. When I think of my business growth, I realize I usually under-estimate myself. More often than not, I am much beyond my own personal growth goals by the end of the year. I did find a great solution for this problem. Now I think with a timeline of one week / month/ quarter. I do not set daily goals; I rather choose my focus for the week to achieve monthly goals. If I do not write the blog posts on time, I can always back-date them! On my CEO day, as I like to call it, which is the first Wednesday of every month, I take time to make a list of topics I would like to write about on my blog. This is usually a very rough framework and my focus is on writing 3 posts a week. I just make a list of topics against the dates in my bullet journal. I then spend at least 90 minutes every day writing about any topic that appeals to me THAT day or time. Sometimes, I just find my mo-jo and write 5 posts in an evening. Sometimes, I struggle through the introduction. But my goal is usually achieved and I have 12 posts posted on my blog in a month. I also usually work in advance. So while you are reading this in May, I am already working on my June posts.
Not believing in myself. A lot of times, I have set goals, especially when it comes to financial ones, and failed at them because deep in my mind I have believed that I don’t deserve it. I have been working on my mind-blocks and I think I am getting over them. It is a struggle. I need to remind myself that I am worthy! I am as valuable. I find that while I do not struggle to price my physical goods – the quilts I make or the in-person workshops that I take – I do struggle with pricing my online services and feel that I have over-priced them. I had a really hard time pricing my eBook. While I made a lot of sales at the $24.99 price, I had to struggle to remind myself that it isn’t about how much I have spent to write it, but about the value of the content that I am offering. Now I just think if I would pay that amount for the item if I had the money and needed it. It usually helps me price my products and services better and also boosts my self-esteem.
Not having a plan. Before reading about the concept of SMART goals, I had totally no idea what I was doing. I was randomly deciding things like I want to grow my business or I want to earn more money but had no clarity or means to measure them. I researched a lot of goal setting techniques and then came up with my own which, since then, has worked flawlessly for me. You can join the masterclass that I am teaching to learn the technique that I have developed from my experience. Believe me, it works. To sign up, you can just email me.Do you also struggle with achieving your goals? Have you ever thought about the WHY? How can knowing the reasons help you? Did you find my tips helpful? Do you have one of your own? I would love to know. Just drop me a line in the comments section below.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Creating your routine

We all know the importance of creating a routine and sticking to it helps us increase our productivity.  I myself have benefited from it immensely. So today I am going to help you create a routine.

 Before I teach you how to create a routine for yourself, I want to first highlight why having a routine is essential to me.

  1. It gives me a sense of security. When I have a set routine that I follow every day, I am not stressed with the fear of the unknown. Knowing that the day is not going to bring any (big) surprises helps me stay calm and focused on my tasks.
  2. I get more done. I know that I have a limited time allotted to the  task on hand and that helps me focus my complete attention on it without giving any scope for distractions. The end result is that I get a lot more done in a lot less time.
  3. My work is better. I don’t multi-task. I am not sending out email as I prepare breakfast while also getting my son’s homework done while I catch up with my husband. This keeps my mind sane and the people around me get my complete attention when they are with me. 
  4. I don’t put off tasks. I find it easier to just go with the flow and complete the task than put it off. It restricts my procrastination (though it does creep into some other parts of my day) and I get most of my important tasks done. It feels really good to be ticking off stuff from my list!
Now that you know why I love having a routine, let me tell you what mine looks like. I am a morning person and so my day begins very early. I love those couple of hours to myself, while the rest of the house is fast asleep!
04.15 am to 04.30 am : Wake up, brush & freshen up
04.30 am to 05.30 am : Exercise & Meditate
05.30 am to 06.00 am : Tea and journaling
06.00 am to 07.30 am : Work – Client work.
07.30 am to 08.30 am : Work - Blogs, emails etc
08.30 am to 09.00 am : Personal grooming
09.00 am to 10.15 am : Breakfast with the boys and quick chores around the house.
10.15 am to 10.30 am : Get desk ready.
10.30 am to 02.00 pm : Office Work (my day job)
02.00 pm to 03.00 pm : Lunch
02.00 pm to 06.00 pm : Office Work (my day job)
06.00 pm to 08.00 pm : Chores around house, Errands etc
08.00 pm to 08.30 pm : Prep table for Dinner, bath etc 
08.30 pm to 09.00 pm : Dinner
09.00 pm to 10.00 pm : Winding down, TV, catching up with my boys etc.
10.00 pm – Time for BED! (though on some days I’m crawling into bed by 9.30 itself)
When you glance at it, it does not look like too much. And believe me, it is not. I have maids who do the cleaning around the house and cook food. I get a good six  to seven hours of sleep which works really well for me. I do not set an alarm on Sundays and wake up whenever I feel like. Even then, I’m usually up by 6 to 7 am.
How did I come up with this routine? It has evolved over years and keeps on changing along with my phase of life. It varies on Saturdays and days that my son does not go to school because we like to spend more time together on those days. In the lockdown, when I did not have maids, it looked drastically different.
Now let me tell you how you can build your own routine!
Make a list. Actually, make 3.
  • First, the non-negotiables. These are things that have to be get done around the house every day.
  • Next, the add-ons, things that would be extras but you would like  them to get done in the day, preferably everyday or maybe weekly or even less frequently to keep your house running smoothly. Do not forget to write the frequency you would like to do them.
  • And last, but not the least, your dreams, things that will make you happy when they are done! I know this list is going to be a long one.
The first time I made mine, it was about seven pages long! Include tasks that are being done by someone else at the moment. This is your master list of tasks that need to be done to help your house run smoothly. I prefer making a separate list for work and home. I feel it becomes easier to handle it that way.
Allot time. How much time does it take to complete each task? Just take a pen and write against the list. If there is someone else doing the task, write their name and strike-through the task (you should be able to read it). At the end of this step, you should have a list with just the tasks that need to be done by you!
Delegate. Look at your list and mark the tasks that are for you that you can further delegate to someone else.
  • Maybe your son is old enough to sort the laundry – go right ahead and delegate it to him.
  • Maybe your husband will be able get your children ready for school while you take care of breakfast. Ask them.
  • There might be tasks on the list that might look like a total waste of your time. See if you can hire help for those. In India, we have household help in most of the houses. So most of the cleaning chores like sweeping, mopping and usually the dishes too are done by the maids. See if you can hire someone to do these tasks for you.
  • Now take your final task list and categorise it according to frequency.
  • Daily, Weekly, Bi-weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Half-yearly and Yearly.
  • Once again, put the time required for each task against it so you know exactly how much time you need to allot to it.
  • Take each category and further sub-categorise it according to the areas of work. Eg. Household Chores, Cooking, Errands, Maintenance and Planning could be your sub-categories for your home. This sub-categorisation will help you club like tasks together so that you save time hopping between them.
Mark it in your Calendar. 
  • Download the blank calendar I have created for you.
  • Print it out and start marking your tasks in it. I use a pencil so that I can make changes necessary. If you do not want to use a calendar, just make a post-it for each task and move it around.
  • Start with the Yearly tasks. Divide them equally among all months. Make sure it is possible to do what you want to do in that month. For now, don't assign a date. Just assign a month.
  • Similarly, add the Half-yearly & the quarterly tasks. Make sure that they are all spaced out evenly so that you are not too burdened with them at a time. Remember the time it takes to complete them too. “Wash all curtains” and “Flip the Mattress” are not going to be equal, time-wise.
  • Now take the monthly and bi-weekly tasks and start marking them into the calendar (in the next month). Once again, make sure you space them out evenly. Just mark out the weeks you want to do them in.
  • Then take the weekly tasks.Take your calendar and open it to the current month, start writing the tasks onto the relevant day starting from the next week. Try to space them out evenly so that you spend roughly the same time doing weekly and bi-weekly tasks everyday.
  • After you are done, its now time to  deal with the daily tasks. Take a piece of paper and start writing the tasks from tomorrow that need to be done in the morning. Write the ‘evening’ tasks separately. Other tasks that might be needed to be done in the middle of the day go into a third list. Now you are ready to build your routine.
Build your routine. Take a good hard look at your list of daily tasks divided into morning, afternoon and evening lists.
  • Add up the times that you will need to spend in each slot (morning, afternoon & evening). Don’t forget the weekly tasks. You need time for them too.
  • Now check your current routine to see if you have that time available to do those tasks. If you have, cool! Mark it in!
  • But if you find that the time you have in hand is shorter than the time you need to finish them, think about how to accommodate them. Could you have a shower instead of soaking in the tub? Can you leave for work half an hour late? Or maybe you can move some of the tasks to the evening slot (provided you have time there).
  • Pencil in your tentative plan on the daily planner. I keep my daily planner sheet in a plastic sheet protector and any changes I made I can write using a dry erase marker! Sometimes, I write everything using a Frixion (heat reactive ink) pen, so that when I want to change something, I just use an iron or a hair dryer to get rid of all the writing on the paper!
Try out your routine. Try out the routine for at least a week.
  • Keep observing how things are working out for you. Do not make any changes in the routine right away. May be it is something that requires getting used to. Just give it time.
  • If you cannot keep up with any task for more than three out of seven days, you need to change it.
  • Anything less, deserves another chance. Keep making changes to your routine, till you no longer have to look at the sheet everyday.
  • Do keep glancing at it once in a while though, so that you do not forget any weekly or monthly or any less frequent tasks.
I usually build up my work routine first, so I know how much time I have to give to it. And then build my personal routine around it. I find that building a routine is something that you need to revisit every few months, especially if there has been a major change in your life - like the lockdown, an illness, change of schedule of the kids etc.
Having a routine helps me go on autopilot without missing the essential tasks that need to be done. It takes out the 'tension' from everyday.
I am sure that building your routine is going to help you in your productivity immensely. Do you have a routine that is working awesome for you? Do you have a tip for our readers that worked for you? 
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Changing directions in your career

Do you feel stuck in your career? Do you feel like you need a change of direction? Do you want to do something new but are scared that you might not be able to go through with it? Today’s article will help you take that decision. 

If you feel like you are stuck or tied up, believe me, I can understand. I have seen many people facing that situation when it comes to the careers they have chosen. 
I have been there myself too. I was working as an architect, when I discovered quilting on a sabbatical. but it took me five years to be sure that I wanted to actually make it into a career. Since then I have grown as a quilter. But recently I discovered that my main passion was to help others find their passion. And that led me to starting dobedobedo!!!
I help people to convert their passions to their careers. And being stuck is a very common situation that I see in the process. You feel you want to do something other than what they are doing at the time. But you are afraid to take the leap. And rightfully so. Sometimes, it might not be the most ideal situation. Especially if your career is helping you take up important financial responsibilities at home. 
So how do you know if you are ready? And what should you do to make the change smooth?
1. Step back and look again. The first thing you need to do is to step back and look at it from a different perspective. Sometimes the solution to your problem is not a change in career but something else within your life. Sometimes you are just plain bored. And a change of direction in career will not help you deal with it for a long time. You will get bored again. I highly recommend consulting a career coach (me!) at this time. I can help you analyse your strengths and come up with the decision. Changing a career is a big deal. So think it through before you take the leap. And once you are ready, give it all you have.
2. Be prepared for change. A lot is going to change when you change careers. Your income, your lifestyle, your routine even your stress levels. Be ready for the changes that this is going to bring. If it means leaving a well-paying job to start a business, get used to saving more money even before you actually put in your notice. If it means getting up early, start getting up early right now! Be prepared to feel rotten for a while. Our mind and body does not accept change easily. Give it enough time to adjust.
3. Visualise what you want. Create a picture of what you want your career to be like. Close your eyes at least once every day and imagine. Run a movie before your eyes of the life that could be yours after you make the change. Observe your reactions and feelings. Do you feel scared? Terrified? Feeling a little scared is okay, its even good – it helps you stay alert. Btu if you are downright terrified and that feeling in your stomach is not going away, you need to rethink your decision.
4. Do a trial run. If you are planning on starting a new business, I would highly recommend doing a trial run. You can work weekends on your new business while you still work your 9-to-5. If you plan on starting an online shop, I recommend making a few items and trying to sell them on Etsy first. Think of this like trying on clothes when you are shopping. You want to make sure that not just it fits, but it does not pinch you anywhere and that you are comfortable in it. 
5. Define your goals. Now that you’re sure what you want. Define your goals clearly. Be precise in your goal setting. Make sure you know clearly what you expect – only then can you start making it happen. Look at the big picture. Make sure all your intermediate goals are in alignment with your big picture.
6. Create a plan of action. Now that you have defined your goals, make an extensive list of things that will help you achieve them. Write every little one that you can think of. Make the plan as detailed as you can – it will make things easier for you. This, again, is a wonderful time to consult a career coach. Just drop me an email if you want me to help you do it. 
I hope my ideas will help you take your decision and make the change in your careers smooth!