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Monthly Archives: February 2014

The motivation for everything – Hump Day Motivation

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Greg McEvilly of Kammok talks about the two primary motivators behind all our decisions…love, and fear.

I can really resonate with what Greg has to say here, even having a baby in the midst of starting up a business. I met Greg and the rest of the Kammok crew at Outdoor retailer, a couple years ago. These guys have a huge passion for what they are doing, and I have to say I am AMAZED at how much they are doing, being such a young company. It really is mind blowing what you can accomplish when you are motivated by love, and not fear

How to love your entrepreneur

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Caleb, Kristy, and Abigail

Caleb, Kristy, and Abigail

Today, I present you with a guest post from my loving and supporting wife, Kristy. She has been right by my side ever since starting my entrepreneurial  journey with Bearded Brothers. It has been amazing to have such a supportive wife by my side over the past three years. We have both learned a lot during that time, and today Kristy shares her advice for other wives of entrepreneurs.

I’m no marriage or business expert, but I have had the privileged of being married to a visionary man and learning from his entrepreneurial spirit. Our journey has not always been easy and most of what I’ve learned so far has been trial and error (mostly error). Every now and then, women will ask me how I do it. I imagine what they mean is how do I stay (somewhat) flexible and (mostly) sane under the pressure of starting a family business. Well, here are just a few lessons I’ve learned along my path of loving my entrepreneur

1- I am his biggest fan, not his critic. This is especially important in the early, formative stages of the business planning. When Caleb first entertained the idea of starting Bearded Brothers, there was a fair amount of uncertainty in both of us. I could have easily pointed out every reason why this was a risky move, but I chose to cheer him on. Thankfully, I had already learned from wiser women that encouraging my husband to follow his dreams does not mean passively saying, “Whatever you want, Dear.” What it does mean is giving him the space and support to figure things out on his own, knowing that I’ve got his back, even if his idea fails completely.

2- I am his sounding board. This one is probably the most difficult for me to master. Caleb and I have always enjoyed recapping our days over dinner. We share our highlights, problems and triumphs. This was all great, until we started a family business. Now, when he comes home with worries and set-backs, it is personal. I mean, if he comes home worried about making payroll or paying rent on the commercial kitchen, I naturally want to freak out. Because not making payroll means we don’t eat. I’ve had to learn the hard way that what he needs in those moments is for me to listen and let him mentally unload. My job is to let his worries be his worries and not take them on and try to solve them myself. Do I occasionally give him my advice? Yes. But I try to choose those moments wisely.

3- I help him separate work from home. It is so easy for entrepreneurs to be workaholics and I understand why. There is never an end to Caleb’s to-do list and, these days, business is happening 24/7. Making sure your family and marriage get quality time is tough, but so worth it. I suggest communicating early on about expectations. Does the phone turn off at 6pm? Are there appropriate/inappropriate times for checking email? Are tweets and status updates considered date night activities? Having these conversations will hopefully keep you from resenting his work and keep him from being consumed by it.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our marriage and that you will find some benefit from it. Loving an entrepreneur isn’t always easy, but knowing you are following the man you love on the journey toward his dream job is an amazing experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights from your journey!

The happiness advantage – Hump Day Motivation

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So, I thought I would start something new this week. We live in a culture that dreads Monday, lives to get to Friday, and rejoices when Wednesday is here because it’s a sign we are half way through the work week. It’s a sad truth, but something I hope to change. There is no reason we can’t all be doing work we love. So every Wednesday I will post something motivational: a blog post, video, photo, or podcast. The point of this weekly post will be to spread encouragement, as well as to give myself weekly reminders of how awesome life is, and how blessed we are that we are able to work, and have work that is fulfilling and enjoyable.

So, today I present you with a Ted talk by Shawn Anchor on, “The happy secret to better work.” I even took one of his pieces of advice this week about journaling about a positive experience, and sending an encouraging email. It really made a difference in my day

Dealing with the haters

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Dealing with haters and negative people can be frustrating. It’s often easy to ignore the waterfall of praises and compliments and merely laser focus on the one negative thing somebody said about you, or your business. Yesterday, a friend posted on Facebook, “The biggest thing for me, is learning to not take everything so seriously.” This came at a moment when I had been spending a good part of the weekend focusing and worrying about an email I received that I saw as negative.

It’s true; we can’t take everything so seriously. Especially naysayers, when 99.9% of the people that use your product or service have nothing but good things to say. It is so easy for people, especially entrepreneurs to look past all the praise and focus on the loudest person – the squeaky wheel. This is especially true on the Internet. The World Wide Web has given people a voice they would not normally use if they were not hiding behind a screen, miles and miles away from the source of criticism.

So, don’t let negative people drag you down. Ignore the nastiness and focus on your tribe, the people that love you. Chances are you are not going to win over the hater, so focus your energy on keeping your current tribe happy. If you are doing something right, you are not going to please everybody. There will always be haters out there, and they will find you. You just have to make the conscience decision to not let them badger you.

 

6 productivity and time management tips

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Time is finite!

Time is finite!

You have heard somebody say it before, or you have said it yourself, “I wish there was more time in the day.” We all experience this at some point in our life. It doesn’t matter whether you desire more time in the day for personal projects, or work projects. Here are six practical ways to make you more productive and get more done in the day.

Baby steps: Realize your limitations

My first and perhaps most important time management tip is, realize you CAN’T get 10 things done in one day, much less an evening when it comes to personal projects. Come to grips with the reality that time is finite. Figure out what is a truly realistic amount of tasks that can be accomplished in a day. When it comes to projects, think in baby steps. Each day focus on a few things that help you get closer to finishing that project or task.

Utilize a project management system

I’ve recently touted the KanBan method of organization, and recently found a website that lists 10 different tools available for that system. I had only known about three of them when I started using this. But, it really doesn’t matter what system you use. Just use something that helps you stay focused and get more done.

I do recommend going beyond the typical task list. I have found that looking at a lengthy task list can just be overwhelming. It helps to at least break up your tasks in order of importance. Dave Ramsey recommends 4 quadrants; urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent and not important, and things that are not important and not urgent.

The advantage of the KanBan method is that it allows you to visualize your entire workflow, rather than staring at a long list of tasks and projects. You can visually see which things are merely a task that gets done quickly, and which things are a project that are ongoing, as well as projects and tasks that are pending; it essentially turns your laundry list of tasks into a workflow chart that is always moving forward.

Learn to say no

Time is precious. We have to learn to say no to things, especially things that fall into the Dave Ramsey quadrant 4, not urgent and not important. I’m probably most guilty of not saying no when it comes to meeting with people. My nature is to want to help everybody, but I have to remember it’s important to guard my time. So, now I make it a point to only schedule one meeting a week with people that are asking me to invest in them. I also have to be cautious about what calls I take. Too many times I’ve given in to taking a call that I know is a sales person, and 20 minutes later the sales person is still rambling and has wasted his time as well as mine. Learn to say NO, and you will free up more time for productivity.

Close your email and especially turn off notifications

Notifications are the king of distraction. And by king, I mean that annoying little kid that keeps throwing his toy on the ground and wants you to pick it up for him, all while giggling and stomping his feet.  Notifications are nothing more than a pointless distraction. My phone has zero notifications, other than calendar notifications and actual reminders related to life and work.
Turning off email notifications on your desktop email are also super important. It can be VERY easy to get distracted by a seemingly important email when you are right in the middle of working on a project that really is important. Better yet, when you are not emailing somebody, just close your email client completely. If you are able, I would even recommend only checking your email at set times throughout the day.

Delegation

This was hard for me when I first started growing my team. I was used to doing literally everything, and I wanted to continue to do everything despite my growing list of responsibilities. I always felt nobody is going to do this as well as me. This feeling is common amongst entrepreneurs and managers. But, I’ve heard it said, once you can find somebody able to do the job 80% as well as you can, it’s time to pass the torch. Some people will even go as low as 70% effectiveness.

Either way, you have to realize you are human and can only do so much. If having more time is important to you, you have to learn the art of delegation, and don’t be afraid to spend some time training a team member. The time you spend now will free up more time for you in the future. You just have to make it happen. Sure, there will be some bumps along the way, but when is running a business ever smooth sailing?

Cut the cable and kill your television

When it comes to finding more time in the day for productivity, one of the easiest things you can do is kill your television. The result is lots more free time in the evening that can be spent on being productive, as well as more quality family time and time for personal projects. Just about anything has more long-term benefit than watching the latest episode of Breaking Bad.

Literally adding more hours to the day is, unfortunately, not possible. But, you can make better use of the hours you do have. It just takes developing some time saving disciplines: realize your limitations, utilize a project management system, learn to say no, turn off notifications, delegate, and kill your television are the ones I feel are most important. Another great blog for time management skills I recommend is Time Management Ninja. There you will find loads of good content on time management – something we can all get better at.