5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make During the Holidays

It’s hard to believe that December 1st is upon us.  It feels as though this year has rushed by but I’m grateful for each day that has passed.  However, as an entrepreneur once the Thanksgiving week passes, it is tempting to shift into cruise control and coast through the end of the year.

Here are five tips to avoid common mistakes that entrepreneurs make during the holidays.

  1. Don’t take too much time off. When you work for yourself and have the power to control your own schedule, it can be tempting to take more time off than necessary.  Having the freedom to travel and make time with family may be one of  primary reasons you became an entrepreneur but it is important to make sure you balance that freedom with keeping your business viable.  Think very carefully about how much time away from your business activities your business can tolerate without losing momentum.
  2. Set goals. At the beginning of each year, you should set revenue goals for your business.  If you know that you want to take time off during the holidays, make sure that you have factored that into your annual goals.  This is also the time for you to begin setting goals for 2011.  Goal setting one of those passive activities that you can do while traveling, while enjoying a drink in front of the fireplace, etc. As you’re enjoying your down time, give yourself the time to dream about what you to accomplish in the new year and commit those ideas to paper and begin to create your master plan for 2011.
  3. Get out and network. You will probably receive lots of invitations for holiday parties and events.  Obviously, this a great opportunity to get out and have some fun but you should also be making connections with people who can help to achieve your goals in 2011.
  4. Don’t empty your pipeline. It may be tempting to complete all of your projects so that you can start the new year fresh, however you should also have some projects that will begin in January so that you are not starting from zero on January 1.  The worse feeling is not knowing where your next client will come from when the new year begins and having to start rebuilding your business from scratch.  You goal should be to be able to hit the ground running once you return from your holiday vacation.
  5. Use this opportunity to connect with old clients. Sending holiday cards or e-cards may not seem like a profitable activity but think again.  These cards are a great opportunity to connect with old clients and let them know that you are still around.  This subtle reminder of your existence and letting them know you are thinking of them will go a long way in maintaining a connection with the client and possibly remind them to use your service again.

Just because you can…

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should do it.

This is especially true if you are good at doing a certain thing.  People will see your ability and try to figure out how they can use it to their benefit.  Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean that you should, especially if it is not in line with your goals and passions.  When evaluating your involvement in a potential project, make sure that it is a mutually beneficial situation otherwise it will be hard to fully commit yourself, even if you know that you have the ability to do it.

More than 140… is a new segment to my blog.  I don’t always have time to write 500 words but sometimes have things on my mind that require more than 140 characters so check in often for my morsels of thought.

It’s a new season

One of the joys of living in the south is being able to experience all four of the seasons.  Our winters are mild compared to those of our northern neighbors but we more than make up for it with the scorching summers.  However, this is my favorite time of the year because the leaves begin to change and the air begins to cool.

As the seasons change, it often causes you to pause to reflect on some changes that can be made in your life.  I can’t believe that it was just a year ago that I began this blog and jumped head first into social networking.  I didn’t follow my own advice and took on the mantra that I could do it all.  You know the caveat to my “You Can Have It All” motto… you CAN have it all but you have to choose what all means, all should not be taken literally.

I didn’t do that.  At the time I was very involved in my local community, holding numerous offices and being a member of several organizations; I then began to blog everyday, thought I was ready for a relationship that would lead to marriage, was still running two companies, offering myself for public speaking engagements and preparing to begin a multi-state ministry.  Just looking back over the list that doesn’t even cover all of my obligations, I should have seen that I was headed for a disaster.  No one person can handle all of that responsibility in addition to being a single mother and attempting to live some semblance of a life.  Yep, I was on a collision course for disaster because one my primary triggers for an increased glucose level is stress.

By now, you may be asking yourself, “What was she thinking?”  Honestly, I wasn’t thinking.  I was so busy doing and trying to make a difference in the lives of those around me that I didn’t think about myself or what I wanted.  On a few occasions when I came up for air, I would ask, “Why am I doing all of this? What am I trying to accomplish or prove?”  Yes, it is nice for people to consider me an inspiration or to be thought of as a role model but couldn’t I attain that without doing so much?

My biggest fear was letting those around me down.  Once again, I wasn’t following my own advice.  You will never please everyone and sometimes you won’t please anyone.  Our purpose in this world should be to live a life that is pleasing to God.  Was my hyperactivity getting me any closer to heaven?  Some will argue yes because I was killing myself, literally, and fast tracking my death.  Guess what?  Life will go on with or without me but I hope to stick with it for a little while longer.

It’s a new season and I have renewed priorities.  I may not blog everyday and I’m ok with that.  I may not complete my next book by the end of the year but that’s not a big deal.  I won’t be aspiring to leadership positions in many organizations because I want to focus on my ministry.  It’s a new season and I had to make some changes.  Working from the time I wake up until I almost pass out in front of my laptop is no longer the life for me.  I’m over being stressed out because of lengthy to do lists or living outside of my passion and purpose.

When my life is over, I pray that my works will speak for the type of life I wanted to live.  I pray that I will have lived the purpose that was intended for me but I am one person and I have the same 24 hours as everyone else.  At one time, I thought that I should do as much as I could in those 24 hours but now I realize that my health is more important than wealth and my true friends understand rather than feel disappointed.  Not everyone understands the amount of self-imposed stress I was under  but I could rarely relax and almost always felt anxious about the things that I couldn’t get accomplished.

What’s next?

As I move into my new season, I will be making a few changes and while continuing to work on having it all…

  • Personally: I want to have a successful relationship; I want to devote the amount of time to make someone else feel as special as I want them to make me feel; I want to take more personal trip than for business; I want to take some cooking classes and play golf regularly
  • Professionally: I will be establishing a faith-based business consulting firm that offers business plan and marketing plan writing services as well as one-on-one consultations; my next book will probably be released around the beginning of next year when I continue my national book tour; I will continue to speak at professional, social and religious events
  • Spiritually: I am so excited about the future of my ministry and look forward to continuing to represent the young adults in my denomination and ensure we have a voice in the future of our church

There will come a time in your life for the seasons to change.  It will be a time for you to shed some leaves in order for new ones to grow.  It may get cold and dreary after a while but rest assured that spring is around the corner.  God will never to bring you to something that you don’t have the strength to make it through.  I went through so many emotions to arrive at these 1,000 words but to God be the glory because I feel like I am living with a renewed energy and focus.

It’s a new season and I am happy for the change!


Success Secret #38

As I read the Facebook statuses and Twitter posts of the people in my network, I have noticed that most of friends are part of the 20% of people who I believe work as hard, if not harder, as I do.  I have also noticed that many of them will disappear from the virtual world for a week, two or three.

Initially when I noticed these disappearing acts, I would find myself concerned that something had happened to them.  However, they usually pop back online after a time and jump back into the conversation with their blogs, updates and tweets.

Success Secret #38… take some time to savor your successes.  We all have to live our priorities and focus on those things that are most important to us.  Sometimes social networking makes the cut and sometimes it doesn’t.  But we have to always be conscious of the time that we take for ourselves.  During those times of winding down, disconnecting and relaxing; you have to also remind yourself of the things going well so that you have the motivation to jump back on the horse and ride again.  Otherwise, your hiatus may last a little bit longer than you may have originally planned.

As the summer draws to a close (yes it really is August already), kids are getting ready to go back to school, plans are being made for an end of the year push to make your goals; don’t forget to take some time for yourself and spend some time reflecting on all of things that went well or things that are going well.  It’s ok to keep pushing to get more, do more and be more but at some point you also have to remember how you got to this place and avoid burn out.

Sometimes I find it hard to wind down but I have to remind myself that balance is just as necessary for me to become successful as doing the work.  If I am not balanced and make it to the top, it is almost a guarantee that I won’t be there very long.  Sadly, the higher you climb without balance in your life, the longer the fall to your resting time.  Take some time along your journey to smell the flowers and rub some sunshine on your face.  You only get one shot at life, don’t spend it all working or all relaxing.

Success Secret #35

It’s hard to believe that there can be any more success secrets left so this segment will probably be closing soon.  To keep it real with you, all of the articles that I have written have been from my personal experiences and have been real lessons that I have learned; however, my real secret to success… Success Secret #35… is that I grind harder than probably 80% of the people that I know.  I can honestly say that in the course of one hour, I get more done than most people do in a whole day.

Last week, I was watching Bethanny’s (Real Housewives of New York) spin off show, “Bethanny Getting Married” on Bravo.  She is in therapy because the chick has some issues.  Sadly, I can relate to a lot of her issues and feel like she’s on a career path that I would not mind following.  However, her therapist asked her why she worked so hard.  What was she trying to prove?  I felt like dude was talking to me.  I work part time consulting for a not for profit; have my own event planning, media and consulting companies; I’m working on three book projects while self publishing the first; write a gazillion blogs per week; am involved with numerous organizations; am a single mom to a very active 4 year old; and the list goes on… When he said that to her, I was like “WTH! Why do I work so had? What am I trying to prove?”

Why am I doing all of this? I have so much undealt with crap from my childhood that no one wants to talk about, no one wants to be bothered with and I just go with the flow and sweep it under the rug.  On rare occassions, like right now, those issues start to surface and the hurt, damage and emotional baggage that I pretend doesn’t exist begins to rise up and honestly, I don’t know what to do it.  So… I write to give other people advice that will hopefully keep them out my dark abyss, I consult in hopes that entrepreneurs will have the chance to live their wildest dreams and I focus on being the friend to everyone around me that I always wanted in my life.

There are days that I just don’t feel like playing this game called life but God blessed me with a little boy whose sweet little face awakens me each morning and forces me to sweep those issues back under the rug and focus on creating a life for him where those demons don’t manifest into his reality.  I am blessed to have cleint calls and emails coming and going all day so that I don’t sit too long and think about what could or should have been in my life.  I grind harder than most people because it keeps me distracted from the monsters in the closet trying to get out and reek havoc in my reality.

Honestly, I don’t know what success means.  I want to have it all – personal, professional and spiritual development.  Some may even argue that I have arrived but deep down I know I won’t be there until I can establish an emotional connection that isn’t guided by logic or reason.  When will I be able to lead with my heart instead of my head?  For some my blog probably seems really random – from relationships to politics to business and everything in between – but my blog ~ lakeshawomack.com ~ is about this complex 5 foot 4 inch chick living in a town of 3,000 people using a dial up internet connection to keep other people from shedding the same tears that she does when finishing a glass of Grey Goose and Diet Mt Dew in a room with nothing but herself and her laptop.

Success is what you make it.  Yes, I probably give some practical advice that may make your life a little bit better but on the real, just be thankful.  Do what you can for who you can at all times and realize that the world is bigger than you.  My feeling of success comes from knowing that those around me are happy and taken care of because I have yet to reach a place where I can truly say that I am anything more than blessed…

It's just me... no make-up or fancy photographers

Blog of the Week (July 2): Stiletto Power – Fight the Urge to Multi-Task

Charisma K. Adams, Stiletto Power

Blog Link: http://www.charismakadams.com/

Author: Charisma K. Adams

Twitter: @SEConsultinginc

I am truly blessed to have more work than I imagined coming in to my businesses but that also means that I have to DO a lot of work because so many people count on me to deliver and help them create successful businesses.  I once thought that working on everything at once was the only way to manage my projects.  I did not believe that focusing in one task, completing it and then starting another would help me accomplish everything on my to do list.

This week’s blog of the week by Charisma K. Adams is for everyone who thinks like I did.  She provides some practical tips to help you manage your workflow and maximize your productivity.  Check out Fight the Urge to Multi-Task (You’ll Thank Me Later) and spend some time looking around her site.  She offers lots of practical advice for women in business.

Success Secret #41

I have worked with a couple of clients that are excellent planners.  I mean they can conceptualize their business from start to finish, they can see their business idea from the color of the chairs in their office to the prints on the walls in their lobby.

However, many people that I meet including clients, friends and acquaintances have a similar problem, which leads to success secret #34… Continue reading