I’m trying some new, fun and interesting things this month on my blog. I had my first guest blogger last week when Ponn Sabra wrote a post, Simple Tips to Help You Blog Faster. Today I am participating in a Cross Blog Conversation with a new friend, Benecia Ponder.
Benecia and I are both participating in the Stretch Yourself Challenge this month and this is one of the activities we are doing to stretch ourselves.
If you have never heard of a Cross Blog Conversation let me explain….
You get to “listen in” on an interesting conversation between two people. (Benecia and I) But instead of an in-person conversation, it is on our blogs. You can chime in if you want in the comment area. Benecia kicked off the conversation yesterday with her post, Cross Blog Conversation with Robin Smith and today I am responding to her questions.
Benecia’s website is The Unstoppable You Revolution. Benecia and I are both solopreneurs building businesses doing work we are super passionate about. We’re also both at a place in our businesses where we are ready for more. We are stepping it up so that we can impact and serve more people.
I’m so glad we are doing this Stretch Challenge together.
I was surprised to learn as a professional speaker, you don’t feel comfortable starting conversations. I had to chuckle when you mentioned checking your phone messages and running to the restroom to give yourself pep talks.
You did a great job of initiating this conversation, even if it was intimidating.
For the past couple years I have been in learning mode. Learning as much as I could, but not activating or implementing. In August, I vowed to change that and I have been actively implementing since then. I write for people and it seems all my time is going to writing for others. Just as you mentioned, “I was helping others to step it up, but I was not doing the same for myself.” So, I joined the “stretch” to focus some time on my business and taking it to the next level.
Benecia asked: You help entrepreneurs grow their businesses by enhancing their social media presence. Have you ever helped a client with something and then realized that you needed to do it for yourself?
Answer: All the time. I will come up with great ideas for blog posts, find little tweaks that need to be made to clients’ websites, etc. and I make sure they are well taken care of. My motto is to exceed expectations! But till I get them all fixed, I sometimes don’t have time to do my own.
Also, I am a great cheerleader for others to take care of themselves, to get enough rest, to celebrate the little things, to give themselves grace and not push themselves so hard. I need to take my own advice in these areas.
Benecia asked: How did you handle it?
Answer: I can’t say I have handled it as well as I would have liked. I still work a full time job. I enjoy the work, but it takes a huge amount of my time. So my time to work on my business is limited. I will admit, that sometimes I get stressed. If I have lots going on at work and my personal life and then a couple big projects for clients, I cheat myself of sleep and that has very negative consequences. (Ask my husband! lol)
What I have done this month is cut back on some client work to make a bit more time for my own stuff. I just finished a couple big projects for clients and instead of jumping right in with the next big thing, I have carved out some time for the things I want to focus on for the stretch. I’m still doing the routine work for clients, just not extra projects.
I always try to over-deliver to clients and end up short changing my own business. After tracking my time I realized I was giving customers their allotted time and some of my time to over-achieve for them. Now that I realize it is a problem, I will take the steps necessary to better schedule my time. Come May I will pick back up on projects and seeking new customers, but I hope to be more strict with my time and allow equal time to work on my own projects as I do for clients.
I’m also making a concerted effort to get more rest. Four and five hours of sleep every night is just not enough. I’ve also been trying to give myself more grace. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.
Benecia asked: Do you have any strategies to make sure that you’re “practicing what you preach”?
Answer: Yes, I do.
1. Track your time. I found this to be extremely helpful in realizing customers were getting much more of my time than I had allotted for them. So now I am sticking to strict time limits. Yes some things will take more time, but on average, I should be able to complete the work in the time allotted.
2. Know the difference between actual working online and wasting time. Commenting on facebook to personal posts, answering email etc. is important and deserves its own time, but if it isn’t actually part of the work you need to do, it is a waste of your valuable time.
3. Schedule specific time to work on YOUR business and YOUR projects. If you don’t, time will disappear and your work won’t get done.
4. Schedule sleep! Yes, I actually write on my schedule, “Go to BED!” If I don’t, I will be up till 2 AM. I am a night owl, but going to be at 2 and getting up at 5:30 or 6 gets old. Anyway, sleep affects your focus, your concentration, your thought processes, your mood and so much more.
5. Schedule other down time for fun. I love what I do and I could work all day and all night. But that makes for a boring person. So I deliberately schedule downtime and fun activities.
6. Accept that sometimes “good enough” is truly good enough! Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. It is OK to eat soup instead of a gourmet meal. It is OK to ask others to help you do laundry, etc. It is ok to get a job completed without over-delivering sometimes.
Questions for Benecia:
Now we will turn the conversation back to Benecia to answer some questions.
1. You encourage women to be positive and live their passion. How do you stay motivated to encourage others?
2. Have you ever helped other women with an issue and realized you also needed to help yourself?
3. Have other women’s issues ever been depressing for you?
4. What strategies can you share for staying positive?
5. What is the one thing you wish ever woman would believe?
I’m hoping you are getting more comfortable with our cross blog challenge. I can’t wait to read your responses tomorrow.