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Hi, friends! I’ve got a super awesome guest post to share with you today! My friend, Tikoshia Davis helps creatives learn how to run their businesses in a way that optimizes their time, increases their profits, and gives them the freedom to enjoy their life. Today she’s sharing her best tips on operating your business like a BOSS. I know you’re gonna love it!

How to operate your business like a boss

As entrepreneurs, we’re creative, visionary, intuitive, and maybe even a bit eccentric. But, one thing many are not is organized.

Maybe you love the stress of being all over the place, getting things done at the last minute, or flying by the seat of your pants. Perhaps you call it being “free-spirited”.

But, let me tell you. If you want to be a pro and operate your business like a BOSS…you need to be organized.

I know this is easier said than done. And, if it doesn’t come natural it can feel like an impossible task because you’re busy wearing a dozen hats in your business already! So, let me give you a few tips to help you get organized and start operating your business like a BOSS.

1. Create an Everyday To-Do List

You know that saying, “Put first things first”? Well, when you create an Everyday To-Do List, you’re putting first things first in your business. The first things are those tasks that must get done everyday. They are those tasks that if nothing else gets done, have to get done. They are the things that at the end of the day make you feel like you accomplished something.

When you’re a business owner you’ve got to define success for yourself. What does success look like to you? Do you feel successful when you’ve written a blog post, sent a newsletter out to your list, and engaged with your followers on social media? Are there tasks that you know you need to do daily, like check your bookkeeping, that you tend to forget?

Write all of these tasks down and put the checklist somewhere where you will see it everyday. This will ensure that you check off the must-dos and also end the day feeling accomplished! Everything else you complete that day will simply be icing on the cake!

2. Invest in a system that helps you keep in contact with your network

If you’re a business owner you know how important it is to network. And, I’m sure you know how important it is to follow-up soon after meeting someone. But, then what? How do you keep track of who to keep in touch with and how often?

Keeping everyone on a spreadsheet with notes is old school. There are more efficient ways of making sure no one falls through the cracks!

Using tools such as Contactually are a must (no, I’m not an affiliate, I really love the service!). I love Contactually because it you can create multiple buckets (cold lead, warm lead, hot lead, etc.) to place your contacts in. And depending on which bucket you place them in, Contactually will remind you when you need to follow-up with that person. It also keeps track of all of your communication in one place (email, Facebook, and LinkedIn) so you don’t have to search to remember what you last talked about.

3. Start and end your day with a plan

Before you do anything, always start your day with a plan of what you want to accomplish. When you do this you are setting an intention for your day. You are starting on purpose, with purpose. Doing this creates order in your day and supports you in staying focused and on task.

You can start with your Everyday To-Do List and build upon it with additional items that need attention. Be sure to be realistic about how much time each task is going to take and schedule your day accordingly.

At the end of the day, make sure to take note of all that didn’t get done so you won’t forget to pick back up with it tomorrow. And, take note of all of the new ideas, challenges, or tasks that need your attention or need to be delegated and add them to the list as well.

4. Create a system for things you do often

I specialize in helping entrepreneurs set up amazing systems, so this is my favorite topic! A system is simply a process you follow to complete a task.

We all have systems in our businesses, you just may not call what you do a system. Systems will make or break your business. Successful systems mean the difference between loving your business and feeling completely overwhelmed trying to keep up with it all.

An easy way to get started in creating systems that make operating your business easier is to set up or tweak is your email management system. Let’s face it, we can’t avoid email and emailing can take up quite a bit of time with reading, answering, and attending to various fires throughout the day.

When communicating with new colleagues, potential clients, current clients, etc., you probably find yourself sending the same types of emails over and over.

Instead of typing the same email each time from scratch, start creating templates for yourself. You can create a template for setting up a consultation, thanking someone for meeting you for coffee, or following up with someone. Simply copy and paste and you’re done!

You can create a great system for responding to emails this way and can easily eliminate stress and free up some time to do your creative work!

5. Use a calendar system for booking appointments

How annoying is it to go back and forth via email confirming a date and time that works for you and your potential client or colleague? Who has the time for that?

You don’t, because you’re a BOSS!

Instead, find a calendar system you love and use it to make it easy for you and them to set up a date/time that works for your meeting AND makes it easy to reschedule. That way there are no hassles with no wasted time. Most calendar systems, like Time Trade, Calendly, and Satori (which I use) will connect with your personal calendar so you’ll never miss an appointment again.

These are my tips for staying organized and operating your business like a BOSS! What are you favorite ways to stay organized? Share with me in the comments below!

 

TIKO 2Tikoshia Davis is a Creative Solutions Engineer and Business Coach to Creative Soulpreneurs. She supports creatives in operating their businesses in a way that optimizes their time, increases their profits, and gives them the freedom to enjoy their life outside their business. Get more tips & inspiration at TikoshiaDavis.com.


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I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately, thinking about how much has changed over the past year.

Monday was one year since I ran the Chicago Marathon. It’s been a year since I joined a business coaching program that changed my life. And it’s been a year since I first released Cake for Breakfast!

To commemorate this super awesome occasion, I’ve got something special up my sleeve. :)

For the next 5 days, Cake for Breakfast is available for $52 (reg. $97)!

(52 weeks. $52. Get it?)

Cake for Breakfast is a self-guided course that will help you figure out who you are and what you want, so you can become exactly the women you want to be. 

(Not in your 20′s? That’s totally cool. This is still for you!)

You’ll learn how to:

 

peach heart  Create a life that makes you feel proud, fulfilled, and excited… every single day

peach heart  Free yourself from negative thoughts + attitudes, leaving more room for the good stuff

peach heart  Remove the guilty pressure you feel to be someone you’re not

peach heart  Recognize the things you do just to make other people happy…and release yourself from those responsibilities

peach heart  Stop feeling like you owe others an explanation for your choices

peach heart  Start giving honest answers to questions about what you want to do with your life

peach heart  Be happier in the here and now as you chase your dreams

What are you gonna get?

 

peach heart  A 50 page workbook full of exercises, prompts, and soul-sparking questions.

peach heart  Three 60-minute AUDIO sessions where I’ll guide you through exercises and walk you through the workbook

peach heart  52 weeks of journal prompts to inspire, motivate, and keep you on track–delivered straight to your inbox (that’s only $1 per journal prompt!)

My hope is that this course will help you begin living on your own terms so that you can finally have the life you’ve always imagined. No more status quo!

Click here to get Cake for Breakfast for only $52 ($97 value).

And if you know a friend who’d love this course as well, feel free to forward this email to them. The more the merrier!

P.S. I’m totally eating cake for breakfast today to celebrate. :)


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How to find out if your thing can become your business

You’ve got a side-hustle that you’ve been pouring your heart into for the past few months (or even years).

You leave the office and come home at night excited to dive into another few hours of creative brainstorming.

Maybe you’ve got an Etsy shop selling handmade wallets. Maybe you’re a health coach seeing a few clients each weekend. Maybe you’re a graphic designer freelancing with any small gig you can find.

You’re ready to take the next step and turn “your thing” into “your business”, but you’re not exactly sure if it’s a good idea.

How do you know if you’ll be able to pay the bills? How do you know if you’ll stand out in a crowded marketplace? How do you know if it’ll still be fun when it’s officially your full-time job?

You’ve got that little voice in the back of head that’s making you second guess yourself.

But don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.

If you love what you do and you’re willing to ask yourself a few questions (and answer honestly), we’ll figure out if this side-hustle can be transformed into a full-time biz you love.

Ready?

How to Find Out if “Your Thing” Can Become “Your Business”

First we need to go back to the basic and see if you’ve got a profitable idea. I mean, is this something that can make money? (Because we’d hate for you to be living in a box under the bridge.)

So, what actually sells?

  • Step-by-step systems
  • Your own experiences
  • Concrete outcomes

This isn’t to say that if “your thing” isn’t a step-by-step system or a promises people they’ll lose 10 lbs in two weeks you’re going to fail. But it does give you some guidelines to follow.

To create a successful business you must be specific with WHO you’re selling to and the PROBLEM you’re solving for them (or the RESULTS you offer).

Got it? Good.

Next question…

What if there are no businesses similar to yours? 

There could be a couple of things going on here:

01. Your dream clients aren’t into spending money… and that’s a problem.

This is what happened to me when I first started Your Super Awesome Life. I chose teenage girls as my dream clients without realizing, hey, most teenage girls aren’t really gonna be interested in paying for a life coach.

So I decided to keep my business model the same, but shift my dream clients into 20-something women.

02. Your business idea isn’t actually that fab (meaning, profitable)… and that’s not awesome.

Unfortunately, it could be true. even if you think it’s awesome. If there isn’t a need or desire for what you’re offering, no one is going to want it.

Although it kinda sucks to realize this, it’s a great opportunity for you to go back to drawing board. What’s your big mission? What did you want to start this business in the first place? Start there.

03. You’ve discovered a gap in the market… and it could be a gold mine.

Just because there isn’t already another business doing something similar, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Somebody has to be the first. Maybe it’s you!

How do I know if I’m cut out for doing this full-time? 

Only you know the answer to that question. And it’s usually one of those things you’re not gonna know until you try it. But if you wanna get a jump-start figuring it out, read this.

Hopefully this helped ease your fears a little. Just know that if your dream clients are willing to spend money to have their problem solved, and you can offer results, you’ve totally got this.

If you still have questions or concerns about whether or not “your thing” can become “your business” I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

[photo credit: geezaweezer]


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the nuts and bolts of starting a business

Let’s just be honest with each other, okay?

Starting your own business is some scary stuff.

I mean, there are times when it’s butterflies and sparkly rainbows and cute bunnies hopping around too, but there’s also this entire other side of business that no one ever talks about.

I’m talking about the side that involves health insurance, business bank accounts, paying taxes, and legal protection.

Even though there are plenty of websites devoted to answering these questions and explaining the process in fairly simple terms, most solopreneurs consider these nuts & bolts one of their biggest road blocks when they’re first starting out.

They procrastinate. They do some research. They update their Facebook status. They scroll through Pinterest for the millionth time.

They wonder if they’re making the right choice, without ever taking a step forward.

When I first started Your Super Awesome, I was so overwhelmed with all the nuts & bolts, it took me two years to get them all into place. Thankfully, nothing awful happened in that time (like a client trying to sue me…), but it could have been really bad.

So, let’s just break it down.

Here are my simplest resources to cover your business booty:

How do I choose a business structure? Should I become an LLC, Sole Proprietorship, or something else?

This is a decision that you’ll wanna discuss with your accountant or attorney because your liability and taxes with be affected.

I decided to make Your Super Awesome Life into an Limited Liability Company, or LLC, and used this website to help make my decision.

Where/how do I get health insurance?

I know this is a huge questions for many of y’all. Here’s what one of my clients said: “I have 20+ sustainable clients, more than enough to go on my own. Benefits are my only hold off!!  Where do you find affordable health benefits when you go on your own?”

Of course it’s going to be different for everyone, depending on your situation. Maybe your partner is still working full-time and they can add you to their insurance plan. Or maybe you’re like me, and you’re single, so you gotta take care of this yourself.

I quit my job in February 2013 and went without insurance for 6 months. When I decided it was time to be a big girl and get my own insurance, I used this awesome blog post to review all my options. I decided to use eHealthInsurance to go through Humana for my vision/dental/medical insurance (for less than $100/month) and it’s been fab.

When do I need to get a business bank account? And how do I set it up?

I started Your Super Awesome Life in January of 2012 and didn’t sign up for a business checking account until January 2014. Word of advice? Don’t do that. :)

When you’re considering opening your business bank account, do it sooner rather than later. You’ll have the piece of mind that you’re personal finances aren’t being mixed with business expenses. Plus, it will help you feel more official and like a real grown-up business.

I use Chase for my personal banking, so they were my first choice for my business banking. Their website outlines the different options for business checking.

Once I knew which option I wanted (Total Business Checking), I looked into what documents were required to open a new account (Articles of Organization, Tax Identification Number (TIN), Assumed Name Certificate or Fictitious Name Certificate if applicable) and walked into a nearby location to set it all up. It took about an hour.

How do I get a Tax Identification Number (TIN)?

You’ll need a TIN to set up your business bank account and pay taxes. More specifically, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for yours here through the IRS, for free.

How do I pay taxes? How much will they cost?

Oh yes, the million dollar question, huh?

Obviously, I can’t tell you the answer because every business is different. What I can tell you is that you should get an accountant if you don’t have one already. They can help you with this and save you hours of headaches.

My accountant was a life-saver at picking out all my business expenses and making sure I covered all my bases. I sent him a print out of my sales and expenses (from GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping) and I was good to go. Last year, I paid about $700 in taxes for Your Super Awesome Life.

How do I track my income and expenses?

There are several options out there, but I use GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping and I love it. It’s free to use and it connects to PayPal. Plus, their weekly, quarterly, and yearly graphs are super fun to watch as your income grows.

Have other question? Ask away in the comments below!

You can find other resources through the U.S. Small Business Administration and Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).

[photo credit: djwtwo]

 


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Is a Freedom-Based Business Right For You?

by Ashley on October 2, 2014 · 1 comment

Is a freedom-based business right for you

You see everyone else doing it and it looks like so much fun.

They’re running a 6-figure business from the beach, sipping pina coladas, and perfecting their crow pose in yoga class.

It seems like the perfect life, but is it really what you want?

Let’s find out!

Is a Freedom-Based Business Right For You?

My clients ask me this question all the time.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula to find out if you’re meant to quit your J-O-B and become an entrepreneur.

But there are a few key factors that can greatly influence (and predict) your success. Yay!

Here are 7 questions to ask yourself before deciding if you should start a freedom-based business:

Are you self-disciplined? Do you have an internal drive that keeps you moving forward? Starting a business requires you to be ambitious and self-motivated because you’ve got complete freedom (and control) to do what you want. Are you the type of person who can hold yourself accountable, even if no one else is paying attention? Because you’re about to become completely responsible for your success.

Are you easily distracted? Does every new meme on Facebook pull you away from your work? If so, you might wanna think twice about jumping ship from your day job. When you start a business, you must be focused and block out any unnecessary distractions (even if they’re super fun, like OITNB on Netflix).

Do you have a burning desire in your tummy to achieve this? Or is this just one of 47,362 business ideas you’ve had in the past year? How do you know this one is different? Is there something bigger about this idea that will keep you going, even after the initial sparkle has worn off?

Do you need the certainty of a steady paycheck? Because, let’s be honest, it’s not gonna happen when you first start a business. Some months will be insanely awesome, while others will leave you hiding under the covers wondering how you’re gonna buy groceries. Can you handle that?

Do you get lonely? Most freedom-based businesses are run by solopreneurs. So if you’re the type of person who constantly needs to be chatting with people, it might be challenging at first. Of course, you can structure your day in way that works for you (get a co-working space or set up shop at Starbucks), but it’s still gonna feel different than chatting with co-workers in the office.

Are you flexible? One of the most exciting parts about starting a business is that you don’t know exactly where it’s gonna go. You might discover that where you thought your business was headed is totally impractical once you actually put it into action. Can you roll with the punches?

Are you clear on your big vision? Yeah, you gotta be flexible, but you also need a plan. I mean, if you don’t know where you’re headed, how are you gonna get there? What is the big picture for you? How are you going to change the world?

If you answered YES, then a freedom-based business could be super awesome for you.

If you had a few “no’s” thrown in there, it doesn’t mean you’re destined to life stuck in the cubicle… But it does bring up a few areas for you to pay attention to as you begin creating your business.

Now it’s your turn!

What do you wanna know about quitting your job and starting a freedom-based business? Let me know here.

 


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