Finding A Balance With The Right Tools

It has been awhile, hasn’t it? Well, I’m back!

I would first like to thank those of you who sent congratulatory messages my way. It’s well appreciated! I have returned to the workforce as a new Mom to a wonderful and spritely baby boy. I’m now fully immersed in changing diapers, keeping up with creating new fancy foods for my kiddo’s insatiable palette in his Baby Bullet and trying to keep my mind in order long enough to figure out which project I’m working on.

Image courtesy of wordle.net

Truthfully, I have thankfully been able to be selective about the projects that I’ve taken on since having my son. While two fantastic opportunities came my way that I couldn’t pass up (I’ll share news in the next post!), balancing the new work life/mom life situation has been absolutely insane. Especially as a telecommuting mother. I have many questions that I ask myself every single day! How do I find a working equation that’s best for me? What tools can I use to make my workday effective and productive?

So here I am with a solid predicament but equipped with a few handy tools that I use on the regular. Beforehand, they were simply my amazing work aids. Now, I refuse to work without these tabs open and ready to go. I’m really big on being efficient with my time; for myself and for my clients. No one likes their time to be wasted. Therefore, when I’m not feeding or tending to my little one, I do use the silent time to work on projects on deck.

I use time management tools such as Harvest and Toggl to make sure I keep track of the time used on each project. To stay on top of my projects, I use Asana to assist in the progression and strategy of my client’s requests and I leave all of my invoicing at the end of the month to Wave.  I’m going to have to add the Pomodoro Timer to the list as well because sometimes we get so wrapped up in our duties that we forgot to step away and take a break. Do you know about the Pomodoro technique? If not, be sure to get yourself acquainted.

Thankfully, the applications listed above are my lifesavers! There are many more applications on the market that can assist you with your company tasks and keep you organized and in step with your projects. Search them out and find the right ones that agree with you. Which applications do you use? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…

Paycheques and Passivity

Well, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

I can be quite frank and state that my life/work balance was skewed for a while. However, now being passed the halfway mark of my pregnancy (yes, I’m expecting!), everything has slowed down considerably. And it’s a wonderful thing.

Recently, while I was speaking with a few fellow entrepreneurs, I asked what was the one thing as a small business owner that irks them on a daily basis. The response? Chasing clients for their payments. Now, I would think that is a bone of contention with every business owner. While we all love what we do and are proud that our thriving business continues to shine, why does the aggressive and frustrating nature of a bill collector have to be added to our roster?

It should be as simple as providing the service and in return, the client provides payment for the requested services. Now, I’m not speaking about difficult or unsatisfactory clients (it happens!). but clients who love your work and have nothing but accolades ready once your work is submitted, but are nowhere to be found when net 30 comes rolling around. My belief is: if you requested the service, you should have the allotted funds set aside to pay for it. Why the excuses?

By the way, as a client, what you do with your money (who has and hasn’t paid you) has absolutely nothing to do with my invoice being cleared. I am a service provider and I shouldn’t be privy to your financials. Sometimes things do happen that are totally out of our control, however, we all know that when it’s time to pay hydro, your phone bill and rent, the value of each bill is set aside for it to be paid on a monthly basis. Small business owners and freelancers provide a service, why is the situation drastically different?

I ask myself these questions every day. Yes, there are always ways to safeguard yourself. You should never start a project without some sort of compensation (but that doesn’t always ring true for us freelance writers). Also, be sure to add on interest rates for late payments etc. However, those methods don’t always work.  It’s really daunting being in the position to take someone to small claims court or having to constantly email and call in order to receive some type of response regarding your invoice. And most of the time, you’re lucky if you even get a response. Aggravating. A nuisance. Absolutely unnecessary.

As a business owner, do you have any tried and tested ways of clearing your monthly invoices? Share them with us in the comments below. Perhaps you have a trick that we haven’t tried as yet. At this point, we’re definitely willing to try a trick or two!

 

Progressing and taking on challenges as we go

I know, it’s been a minute since I have come through and I apologize profusely for the neglect. As we all know, there is merely an excuse for missing out on my monthly chat with you all.  However, I am going to fully explain my legit excuse and hope it strikes a nerve of forgiveness in you.

The joys of being an entrepreneur allow for you to initially focus on your baby that you’ve birthed to share with the world, but to also try other avenues that may become available to you as you progress on your entrepreneurial journey. Now, when I say other avenues, I do mean those that are aligned with what you would like to pursue and that are true to what your brand is about. There are endless opportunities available to you once you hone in on what it is that lights your soul on fire and how to successfully monetize it. If you feel that you already have your path in line (and may I add, nothing is ever that easy, but you will get there if you haven’t already!) and would like to add additional projects to your branding stream, I say go for it!

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That’s where I’ve been. Gearing up for 2017 and the many projects that I have in store for you that have nothing to do with Soulafrodisiac Online Consulting per say, but everything to do with my branding of Soulafrodisiac. This company falls under my Soulafrodisiac umbrella, and it also allows me to partake in my love of writing on a different level. However, the opportunity to bring other projects to you that I know you will enjoy is exciting and will definitely be rewarding come next year. If by any chance you feel that there are projects you feel the need to accomplish, sit down with a good friend or trusted advisor, receive feedback regarding how to go about implementing said project and if it is the right fit for you. Need help? Reach out to those who you trust and know can assist in executing your plan and vision. Use your network wisely, you never know what can come to fruition.

Progression is essential as an entrepreneur and as a person. Period. Take on those challenges head on, show them who is boss and continue to grow your empire exponentially as you see fit.

 

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Stressed? Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

 

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You know that feeling?  When  your brain is on overload and your never-ending task list seems to grow bigger as days pass, and nothing you do even seems to scratch the surface off of the exasperating  mountain climb you have ahead of you?  Yes, yes you do.

Well, believe it or not, it’s normal. What a lot of us tend to forget is that we are human. There are plenty of super powers bestowed upon us as entrepreneurs. You sometimes tend to uncover a few that you had no idea were hidden in the depths of your soul. However, you will have occasional moments where you may feel overwhelmed. Drained. Overworked. Simply burnt out.

Yes, there’s always the prospect of taking a vacation (self-care is essential!). But if it’s one thing that some of us have to learn, it’s the mere exercise of bending at will. In that, I mean—not being afraid to ask for help. Now, I know that Mom and Dad always told us, “If you want something done, you have to do it yourself…”, but asking for assistance should never be taken as a sign of weakness. You honestly cannot do everything by yourself. It takes a village. Even a one-man company can grow leaps and bounds after some time and extra hands equals extra help.

There are many options available that can allow you a little bit of flexibility and support along the way. Ever thought of hiring an intern? Or perhaps even getting someone you trust to assist with admin for a few hours? You would be surprised how much this could help in the long run. Asking for help will enable you to close a few of those pesky tabs that remain open and untouched on the regular. And oh, what a relief it will be.