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Attending Events: A Crucial Element in Growing a Small Business

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Women business owners are constantly bombarded with opportunities to attend events. Whether the events focus on networking, business building or creating a desirable work-life balance, these events are constantly touted as life-changing, knowledge-building and business-growing. Female entrepreneurs may wonder why there are so many events out there – and whether they’re effective.

Savvy business owners, coaches, consultants and educators create events to help others find success – and by choosing to attend an event that fits her specific needs and desires, and by then putting her new knowledge to use once she returns home, an entrepreneur greatly increases the likelihood of getting a good return on her investment. .

Here are some points to consider when deciding whether to attend an event – and if so, which one:

Knowledge is Profit: Research shows that when a female entrepreneur invests in her business by investing in her own knowledge, she sees a huge payoff. New knowledge can be the key that jumpstarts profitability in any business because it increases an entrepreneur’s effectiveness in the area of focus. If it’s knowledge an entrepreneur is after, then she should select an event based on how well it will cover the areas where she feels she needs more information, such as marketing or business plan development. Because live events often do require a substantial investment, a business owner should read through the material carefully to ensure that she will learn exactly what she needs to know during the event.

Recharging is Vital: Every hard-working female entrepreneur runs the risk of falling into the day-to-day rut of running a business – especially when things are going less smoothly than she would like. In cases like this, attending an event can revitalize a business owner. Simply getting into a new environment, being around new people – and getting away from the confines of her office – may provide her with a much-needed break from the daily grind. When she attends an event designed to meet her needs, the business owner then has the opportunity to gain new knowledge while recharging. No one operates well when they’re exhausted and drained. To operate at the high levels of performance most female entrepreneurs demand of themselves, they must take time out to refuel – and sometimes that’s as easy as getting a change of scenery among a group of like-minded professionals.

Networking is Crucial: Sharing experiences with other women in her shoes can greatly improve a woman business owner’s experience, outlook and attitude, as she works to grow her business. Attending an event with other women of similar mindset can provide a stimulating environment in which to share ideas, success stories and even hardships. Also, it can provide an opportunity for women to find partnership or affiliate opportunities that can stimulate growth. Finally, every woman business owner needs a support system; attending events is an excellent way to build such systems.

For female entrepreneurs, knowledge, recharging and networking are vital components when seeking business growth and personal improvement. Attending an event – one that is designed to meet her specific needs in a certain area – is a fun, easy and educational way to get all three!

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Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at www.janeoutofthebox.com

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Can We Really Manage Time?

admin Posted in Work at Home, Work at Home Tips 1 Comment »

It’s a buzz word. Time Management. We manage everything to death! Can we really manage time? It seems to me that time manages itself on its own. I look at the clock and I never see the hands skip ahead or stop for a break. I would sometimes like it to begin to move backwards, but wishing won’t make it so! Can we stop or start it? I wish we could. We cannot manage time any more than we can schedule when the sun will rise or set!

Time Management is defined as self management and event control. What we manage is not time but, we manage ourselves and how we use time, and schedule and prioritize events. Time will pass regardless of what we are doing. There is no special way to freeze it or bottle it up to use a later time. So when we say “time management” we are really referring to the art of balancing events to increase our personal productivity.


Moving faster and faster does not improve our productivity. My father had a great saying, “the hurrieder I go, the behinder I get”. Many times if we try to move faster we end up making mistakes that would cause us to have to repeat the task in order to complete it properly. Increasing our speed does not necessarily increase our productivity. Increasing our speed is guaranteed to raise our stress levels, but not our productivity. So if self management does not mean stepping up the pace, what does it mean?

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
-Mohandas K. Ghandhi

* Self management really relates to several things.
* Self Discipline
* Emotional Control
* Problem Solving Skills
* Communication

Learning the art of self discipline and emotional control is crucial, but often learning new problem solving skills and communication can speed up many difficulties that related to time. Think about those four areas. Where can you improve?

Event Control

Event control really relates to the tasks and how we schedule those events. You know your events are not scheduled well if you arrive everywhere out of breath , and you feel like your day timer has a life of its own!

Firstly, to be effective in managing our tasks we need to decide what things are important to us; to set goals. It is important that we decide what it is that we want out of our life and schedule our time to reflect this. In deciding our goals, we then need to rank importance or prioritize over all of our tasks in general and relate them to our goals. It is important when setting these goals that you remember to have personal and family goals too. You have a life away from work or your business. And remember this, if you are not setting and working towards your own goals, someone else will have you working towards theirs. (And maybe that is why your schedule is so full!)

The second part of event control has to do with grouping like events together. If you set a day specifically to run errands, you are often able to combine trips. I remember reading stories when I was younger where women running the household set certain days for certain tasks. Often they planned their days a little better! You remember: wash on Mondays, baking days were Saturdays, etc. It is only since technology has advanced and we have become more affluent that we lack organization. How many of us think nothing of jumping into the car to run to the store, several days a week? If we just went to the local store, it still takes more time to make three trips than it does to make one! So the trick is to combine like items together. If you are scheduling appointments, try to arrange them so that they fall on the same day. You will be dressed for success and out already anyway, so try to do them all on one day! If you have administrative errands to do, do them all at one time too!

About a month before Christmas a friend asked if I had done my Christmas baking. My reply surprised her. I told her no, I would do it all on one day. I explained that if I did it over the course of several weeks, I would take the sugar out of the cupboard six or seven times, and I would have dishes to do as many times as well. In addition to this I would have the general clean-up that we have to do after baking to do six or seven times as well. Therefore I do it all one afternoon and it is over and done. I involve the kids and we make it our bake day. In the end, I spend less time doing it all and it is less stressful and it does not all get eaten before the next baking day comes! Take some time to review your events. Can you schedule errands to be done all at once instead of on three separate occasions? Look at where you spent your time yesterday and add up all the trips out you made.

Grouping our tasks into different types of days is instrumental in how effective we are in doing the important things at the right times. Grouping days keeps us focused and we spend less time running around doing errands and tying up loose ends.

Working smarter means that we organize our tasks in a way that we begin to use our time more efficiently.

Managing our events means that we must begin to work smarter. Most of us have been raised with a strong work ethic. We believe that working hard will get us what we want out of life. This may or may not be the end result. One thing is certain, there are only 24 hours in a day, and we can work hard and long but if it is not effectively organized then all we end up with is a tired body and frustrated mind. Learn to work smarter, not harder and you will find that 24 hours really can stretch!

Mandie Crawford, author of “When Every Second Counts” and owner of
www.mandiecrawford.com responds to what she views as a growing need for the public to slow down and simplify their lives. Mandie now teaches Time Management, Organization, organizes homes and offices and  is a certified behavior consultant. Mandie also coaches people and  assists them to get their lives in order, and motivates them to set and reach their goals.


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Women and Success

admin Posted in Work at Home 1 Comment »

Is the quest for success wearing you out? We women may be from Venus, but in our desire to have it all, we have been spending way too much time on Mars! We have bought into the idea that success is about the bottom line, financial achievement, status and winning. We have looked to our relationships, our salaries, our achievements and our possessions to define ourselves and measure our
success.

And we have mastered "doing". We have become skilled at working full-time jobs, all the while managing our homes, our families and our primary life relationships.

 
But at what price? Personally, I reached the point where I had to admit that my level of doingness had evolved into full-blown workaholism and was threatening my health, my family and my sanity.
I first set out to master the material world years ago when I attended a seminar called "Yes! To Success", an intense three-day program where I learned how to set goals (daily, weekly, monthly, one-year, five-year and lifetime), how to manage time and how to dress for success. I still find many of the techniques I learned then to be valuable tools for managing life today.

But somewhere along the way something shifted inside me. Going over my goals once or twice a day in the hope that I could somehow make it all happen, I began to see that activity like this was mostly about doing, often characterized as a masculine quality.

And about three years ago, the effect of this approach to living started to become clear, when I found myself frustrated and dissatisfied with the person I was becoming. Despite having done a great deal of work on myself, I was still critical, judgmental and controlling, I didn’t like my husband, and I spent a lot of time pretending that he was responsible for my unhappy state. My body hurt all the time.

Our circumstances were trying. I spent half my life (so it seemed) making the six-hour drive between two homes in the Midwest; one in Minnesota, one in Iowa. We had uprooted our comfortable, small-town living situation when the company my husband worked for moved everyone to their Minneapolis headquarters (we kept our Iowa home because it was my base of business). Just months later, my husband was laid off. But by this time, my stepson was thriving at his new high school.

Together, we decided that my husband would not look for another job, but take time to do some writing and pursue interests he had never had the time for. My income was sufficient for us to live on at the time, and I loved my speaking work, so it was not a pressure for me to support the family, in fact, I was happy to do it.
Then, like so many industries and professions, the speaking field was hit hard when the events of 9/11 occurred. Slowly, what had been my primary livelihood began drying up.

What more can I do? would have been my normal response to this situation at one time. But I didn’t want to do more. I was exhausted, as I had been for years mentally, physically and emotionally from all the driving, managing two homes, and the stagnation that seemed to be settling into my marriage as my husband and I sat in front of our laptops all day. And although I had very little work, I always seemed to be working.
Instinctively, I felt that if I were to find balance in life, that elusive thing most women in our society are struggling to find, it would have to be by culturing whatever was the opposite of masculine drive, energy and focus: the so-called feminine aspects of nature. As I sought to learn more about the feminine, I became more and more intrigued by the possibility that the deeper, feminine principles at play within every human being are as much a part of successful, happy living as the so-called masculine ones.

I began talking to women and collecting their stories. And my discoveries were both surprising and life changing.

I discovered simple themes like honesty, self-love, forgiveness, integrity and surrender. You may look at some of these words and immediately think, Oh, I already have that one, and I’ve got that one down and that one, too. Some of these words may make you react strongly. I understand because I, too, am a woman who does not do well with a word like "surrender" ! Even the word feminine is one that can push a woman’s buttons these days, conjuring up images ranging from frills to submission.
But far more than qualities, these words are principles that, when operating in a person’s life, can deeply influence and enliven the soul’s destiny: intention, intuition, faith, courage, compassion, attention, self-expression.

I am learning that these feminine principles are, simply, more about "being" than "doing". Humility, openness, commitment, wholeness. As many writers and speakers have pointed out, we are human beings, not human doings. When we combine the receptivity, the intuition, the healing and the humanity of the feminine with our ability to act in the world, life changes for the better. We get to relax. We get to feel at peace with whatever is going on around us. We get to tap into the magical river of life where our days seem to flow.

And we are able to know, with the deepest understanding possible, that these are the things that make life truly successful. This is the innate and authentic power of the feminine and the true soul of success.
I have learned that practicing self-love is harder than we think and the key to everything. That the relationship between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual is more than a New Age platitude, it’s the key to healing on every level, which is fundamental to true success. I’ve learned that how I live my life at this moment, no matter what I’m doing, is more important than any plan for the future. And I’ve learned that divine grace is at work in the universe 24/7 all we have to do is open to it.

Don’t get me wrong; I care about money and being admired by others, too. But these days, I find that I care much more about other things like spirituality, passion for living and trusting the never-failing guidance of my heart. I don’t want to lead a mundane existence. I want to feel that most of what I do is meaningful, and I want to explore new territory all the time. For some time now, my mantra has been: I want to be in the world in a new way.

I believe that most of us long to return to a more balanced way of living. We want a new barometer of success that includes inner experience. In fact, we hunger for inner riches along with outer ones, and we feel ourselves poised to break through to a different and deeper experience of success in our personal and professional lives success that includes a sense of peace, freedom and deep fulfillment.
Ever and always, I want to be in the world in a new way. Please, come with me.

Adapted from the introduction to The Soul of Success: A Woman’s Guide to Authentic Power, Health Communications, Inc., copyright 2004 Jennifer Read Hawthorne,

www.jenniferhawthorne.com

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Jennifer Read Hawthorne is the author of Soul of Success: A Woman’s Guide to Authentic Power. She has co-authored such bestsellers as Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul. See www.jenniferhawthorne.com.

 

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