Why You Need A Book Of Awesome (And How To Make One)

Why You Need A Book Of Awesome (And How To Make One)

Have you ever had a day when you fell out of love with your business?  When it all felt too hard? Maybe a mean customer had a dig because they were in a bad mood. Perhaps things just keep going wrong. Maybe you’re just tired and grumpy and need a break.

The thing is, we ALL get those bad days. No matter how long you’re in business, it never goes away, it’s just a different level of bad day.

It can be really hard to snap out of a bad day; to get your enthusiasm back when you really don’t feel like going on but I have something that might help. I recommend all my clients do this as soon as they start trading, even if their first bad day is a long way in the future- just so it’s there, in case.

I’m talking about a Book Of Awesome – it’s the name I came up with for something you can easily create to help lift your mood and get you back in the business groove.

What’s A Book Of Awesome?

A Book Of Awesome is a book of all the lovely things people have said about your business. All the testimonials. All the nice comments on your Facebook page. All the complimentary messages people have sent. All the lovely things people have said to your face, or said to you or about you on the phone.

It’s a book dedicated to YOU and YOUR BUSINESS.

And if that sounds a bit weird and self-indulgent, I promise there’s a very good business reason for doing this.

Why You Need A Book Of Awesome

If you’ve been through a bad day in your business you’ll know how difficult it can be to snap out of it.

What starts off as a bad day can actually turn into something much worse and I don’t just mean a bad week or a bad month, although that often happens and it’s horrible. No, I’m talking about the knock-on effects a bad day can have on our business.

Because our energy is all wrong while we are down and fed up and sad or hurt or annoyed, our productivity goes right down. We don’t feel like working. We would rather feel sorry for ourselves and have a bit of a business duvet day. Which turns into two days. Then three.

Because we’re out of the business having our very own pity party, things start to slip. We get behind on making or creating, on marketing, on admin. So when we finally DO ‘snap out of it’, we are miles behind and have a huge catch-up job to do.

And then there’s the THING – the thing that set off your bad day in the first place. That nasty comment or bad review, that grumpy customer or glimpse of a competitor’s stuff that made you feel inferior. THAT doesn’t go away. It sits there and festers in your head, or eats away at your brain, consuming your thoughts to the point where you are totally distracted and can’t get anything done.

If you get stuck in this horrible place that started off as a bad day (and by the way, it happens so easily because you’re working alone and have nobody to talk to about it) then your confidence plummets, everything seems pointless and you wonder why you bother. And THAT is a sure fire way to break a business.

This is where your Book Of Awesome comes in.

This book is more than a book. It’s a treasure chest of joy and happiness. It’s packed full of wonderful, positive energy.

One glance reminds you why you are doing this. You can see the difference you’ve made to people’s lives. You can see the happiness you have brought to others. You can see what they think about you and your business – the positive things. You can see how AWESOME you are. And it’s OK to celebrate this and indulge yourself in it – in fact it’s not just OK, it’s ESSENTIAL.

Reading your Book Of Awesome is a reminder of why you set up this business. It’s a reminder of why you do this, through good days and bad. And it’s a gentle but firm shove back into your business, accompanied by warm, fuzzy thoughts.

How To Make A Book Of Awesome

Well, it’s as easy as you might imagine.

  • First of all you need a beautiful notebook. One that feels too good to use. The one you’ve had your eye on, that you were going to treat yourself to – or the one you’ve had stashed away for a special occasion. This notebook has to make you smile. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does have to be especially gorgeous.
  • Secondly, you have to set aside an hour. Just an hour out of your life. And in that hour you go through your emails, your Facebook page, your messages, your texts, your reviews and you look for all the lovely & complimentary things that everyone has ever said about your business. All of them.
  • Then either print them off and stick them into your notebook along with the name and date of the person concerned, or just copy out the words by hand with a particularly gorgeous pen (obviously it has to be a special pen, that makes you smile).
  • Now take some colouring pens and doodle pretty patterns wherever you like in the notebook. Draw little frames around the lovely words. Make some art out of it. Draw balloons and flowers, draw whatever makes you happy. Get the kids involved if you want. This book has to make you smile.
  • Then, when you’ve added all the lovely words about your business you can find, you find a page near the back or inside the front cover where it’s easily found and you create your BIG WHY PAGE. You remind yourself why you started this business and what the big dream is. You can write it, or stick photos of the kids in there, or print pictures off and stick them in – there is no wrong way, you just create a page that sums up for you why this business matters to YOU.

How To Use Your Book Of Awesome

When you’re feeling fed up or hurt or down or defeated, dig out that book.

Have a break. Grab a cuppa. Raid the kids’ chocolate stash and start reading. Read all those lovely comments about your business and think about when you received them. Think about how happy those customers were. Think about how it felt when you did that job, or made that sale. Think about the good times (hmm sounds a bit like a dodgy eighties song from my youth). You get the idea.

Your Book Of Awesome is your antidote to crap. It’s your wake up call. It’s your gentle shove back into business, to do what you do best for customers who need you. It’s a business saver. And you need one.

No business owner should have to tackle a bad day without a Book Of Awesome. It’s time to make yours happen.

3 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Stuck

3 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Stuck

Why does that happen?

One day we’re full of enthusiasm, bursting with energy and raring to go. We feel like we can take on the world!

The next day we wake up and feel, well, STUCK! Like we’ve lost the plot. We feel blank, panicky and scared. We feel overwhelmed and fed up. And most of all we can’t think what we need to do next, so we just stay where we are, in that stuck place.

The trouble is, being stuck is bad for business.

Not only does it stop you getting things done, it also plays havoc with your confidence. You get that little voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough to do this. The more you try to get unstuck, the more you panic when it doesn’t work and before you know it you’re in a full-blown crisis and feel like you will NEVER be able to make this business work.

What can we do to get UNstuck?

Well, first of all you might find that it’s nothing to do with the business.

Your being stuck might be to do with everything else APART FROM the business, but it’s the business where you feel the effects.

It’s difficult to focus on your business when you’re working full-time in another job, have a young family or elderly parents to care for. It’s REALLY hard to focus on your business when you have money worries or health worries.

It’s HARD to find the time, ANY time to spend on building our business when so many people and things need your attention.

Let’s face it, the only ‘ME’ time some of us have is after 10pm once we’ve seen to everyone else and by that time we’re too exhausted to think, let alone do something useful for our business.

If you’re anything like me you’ll often find yourself falling asleep while putting the kids to bed and then waking up an hour later feeling totally groggy & disoriented and completely unable to do anything useful for the rest of the night.

And that’s not even touching on the rest of the stuff we have to do – mums or otherwise – just to keep the house going, people and pets fed and watered and life carrying on as usual.

No wonder we’re worn out!

I know you’re amazing (you’re running a business, despite everything else you have going on in your life), but I also think you have to be realistic about your situation.

If you’re constantly trying to prove to the world that you’re an all-singing, all-dancing superstar every moment of every day, pretty soon you’re going to get tired.

And when you get tired, you get stuck.

Head of finance, social media queen, marketing guru, super saleswoman, team leader, designer, manufacturer – how are you supposed to be ALL of these things at once?

Again, this usually happens by necessity at first because finances are tight, but even as your business grows you may tell yourself ‘this is how I’ve always done things’.

The thing is, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

How Can You Get Unstuck?

1. Well, you could ask for help!

It won’t kill you to put your fierce independence to one side occasionally and admit you could do with some moral support and hands on help.

And don’t be afraid to outsource, swap skills, seek a mentor, work with a coach or ask for opinions on your Facebook page – anything that will help you share the load.

[Tweet “When you’re caught up in the details of your business, you can lose sight of the big picture “]

2. You Could MAKE An Hour To MAKE A Plan

Every day, I work with incredible, capable, determined women who have forgotten to take a moment to think about their goals for the future and where they want to take their business.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know which direction is the right direction?

It’s like expecting your sat nav to guide you from A to B when it doesn’t know where B is! You would just drive aimlessly or end up going round in circles. When you set clear goals, you will find yourself becoming unstuck and sometimes everything else needs to wait – if you can MAKE an hour to do this, you’ll SAVE many hours down the line.

3. Get Rid Of The Mind Monkeys

Mind monkey chatter – those little voices in your head. Those disempowering, nagging, miserable beliefs that rattle about when you least expect it and certainly could do without it – ‘You’re not good enough’, ‘you’re not clever enough’, ‘you can’t charge that’, ‘when are you going to get a proper job?’– you know the ones I mean.

Mind monkeys play on your worries and insecurities and take you down when you least expect it. The thing is, mind monkeys love it when you’re feeling confused. They love it when you are floundering. They HATE plans. So guess what you’re going to do? Look to the point above and make a plan – the mind monkeys can’t come and cause panic if you know WHAT you need to do, WHEN and HOW you need to do it.

To ‘unstick’ your business, you have to challenge those monkeys – gag them, shoot them, send them on a one-way ticket into outer space. They’re not welcome here.

My best advice when you’re stuck is to be kind to yourself.

To stop beating yourself up.

You’re doing the BEST you can in your unique circumstances and sometimes it means you go slower than you would like, and sometimes it means you need to park up for a short time while you clear your path of obstacles. We all have to do it from time to time. Life doesn’t stop, the business will still be there when you come back.

Once things calm down a little you’ll feel ready to tackle the business again – not only that but the time you spend NOT focusing on your business will sometimes actually help your brain come up with loads of new ideas, so when you DO come back you’ll be raring to go. It’s never usually as bad as you think – your job is to look after yourself amidst the drama and make sure you can hit the ground running when the time is right. Look after you, awesome business girl!

 

How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Other Business Owners

How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Other Business Owners

OK admit it – how many times lately have you looked at someone else’s website, or products, or business card or shopfront and thought to yourself, with a heavy heart ‘she’s better than me’?

And how often have you thought about doing something new or different and then thought ‘I can’t do that because…I’m not clever / businesslike / techie / young  enough?’ (delete as appropriate)

OK we need to talk.

I was chatting to a lady in one of my Facebook groups recently and she admitted that the BIGGEST THING holding her back was that she kept comparing herself to other people and coming up short.

In fact she was really hard on herself.

  • She would browse competitors’ websites and pick faults with her own.
  • She would look on Pinterest and see a hundred beautifully shot products that were ‘better’ than hers.
  • She’d find herself trawling Facebook looking to see who was making what, how much they were charging and whether she thought she was as good as them.
  • If it wasn’t the products she felt inferior about, it was their marketing, their copywriting, their design work.

When I asked her how often she found herself checking out other people’s stuff, she said ‘I do it every day’.

When we chatted about it, it turned out she was spending at least half an hour (that she would admit to) and probably more that she was in denial about, EVERY DAY measuring herself against other businesses and people and feeling fed up.

Let’s do some maths – 30 minutes every day, for 5 days per week is 2.5 hours per week (and let’s be honest, it was probably WAY more than that). That’s 10 hours per month. That’s 120 hours per year. That’s 5 DAYS A YEAR!

5 days a year NOT working on her business. 5 days a year NOT having a rest. 5 days a year NOT doing something that made her feel good or helped her build her business. 5 days a year beating herself up.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

When we put it in perspective like this, she went very quiet and then got quite upset.

She realised she was wasting time and not JUST wasting it, actually spending time on things that were harming her business because that’s exactly what was happening.

When you spend time measuring yourself  against other people or feeling you’re not good enough that’s you’re choosing to spend making yourself feel bad.

When you get obsessed with what your competitors are doing, thats time and energy you’re not spending on YOUR business.

When you waste 5 days a year dragging yourself down and feeling inferior, that’s not healthy and it doesn’t make you happy. And it all starts with spending half an hour a day ‘just checking’ what everyone else is doing. Before you know it, it becomes a habit. Then it turns into a little obsession. Then it turns into 5 days a year of self-sabotage.

So, I want to ask YOU something. Are YOU guilty of this? Are YOU falling into a habit of ‘just checking’ other people’s stuff and wishing you were them?

If so, I want to challenge you. Ready?

I want you to spend HALF AN HOUR PER DAY working ON your business or ON yourself – making yourself feel great and helping your business to grow. No checking competitors (it doesn’t matter what they are doing), no beating yourself up.

If you spend 30 minutes every day on POSITIVE things rather than NEGATIVE things, you’ll see a BIG CHANGE in your business and your life, very quickly.

Are you up for the challenge?

She’s Better Than Me

She’s Better Than Me

OK admit it – how many times lately have you looked at someone else’s website, or products, or business card or shopfront and thought to yourself, with a heavy heart ‘she’s better than me’?

And how often have you thought about doing something new or different and then thought ‘I can’t do that because…I’m not clever / businesslike / techie / young  enough?’ (delete as appropriate)

OK we need to talk.

I was chatting to a lady in one of my Facebook groups recently and she admitted that the BIGGEST THING holding her back was that she kept comparing herself to other people and coming up short.

In fact she was really hard on herself.

  • She would browse competitors’ websites and pick faults with her own.
  • She would look on Pinterest and see a hundred beautifully shot products that were ‘better’ than hers.
  • She’d find herself trawling Facebook looking to see who was making what, how much they were charging and whether she thought she was as good as them.
  • If it wasn’t the products she felt inferior about, it was their marketing, their copywriting, their design work.

When I asked her how often she found herself checking out other people’s stuff, she said ‘I do it every day’.

When we chatted about it, it turned out she was spending at least half an hour (that she would admit to) and probably more that she was in denial about, EVERY DAY measuring herself against other businesses and people and feeling fed up.

Let’s do some maths – 30 minutes every day, for 5 days per week is 2.5 hours per week (and let’s be honest, it was probably WAY more than that). That’s 10 hours per month. That’s 120 hours per year. That’s 5 DAYS A YEAR!

5 days a year NOT working on her business. 5 days a year NOT having a rest. 5 days a year NOT doing something that made her feel good or helped her build her business. 5 days a year beating herself up.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

When we put it in perspective like this, she went very quiet and then got quite upset.

She realised she was wasting time and not JUST wasting it, actually spending time on things that were harming her business because that’s exactly what was happening.

When you spend time measuring yourself  against other people or feeling you’re not good enough that’s you’re choosing to spend making yourself feel bad.

When you get obsessed with what your competitors are doing, thats time and energy you’re not spending on YOUR business.

When you waste 5 days a year dragging yourself down and feeling inferior, that’s not healthy and it doesn’t make you happy. And it all starts with spending half an hour a day ‘just checking’ what everyone else is doing. Before you know it, it becomes a habit. Then it turns into a little obsession. Then it turns into 5 days a year of self-sabotage.

So, I want to ask YOU something. Are YOU guilty of this? Are YOU falling into a habit of ‘just checking’ other people’s stuff and wishing you were them?

If so, I want to challenge you. Ready?

I want you to spend HALF AN HOUR PER DAY working ON your business or ON yourself – making yourself feel great and helping your business to grow. No checking competitors (it doesn’t matter what they are doing), no beating yourself up.

If you spend 30 minutes every day on POSITIVE things rather than NEGATIVE things, you’ll see a BIG CHANGE in your business and your life, very quickly.

Are you up for the challenge?

4 Easy Ways To Deal With Bad Days

4 Easy Ways To Deal With Bad Days

You know how it is; you’re pootling along quite nicely in your business and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, BAM!

You’re stopped in your tracks and your perfectly HAPPY day becomes a BAD DAY.

More often than not, it’s something as simple as a snarky comment on your Facebook page or an email from a grumpy person or a snidey mum at the school gates.

It doesn’t take much to send your mood plummeting and send your mojo running to the hills.

The trouble is, once you’re on that slippery slope it’s really hard to climb back up to ‘happy’. Once you’ve decided today is a BAD DAY, your whole energy shifts.Things that wouldn’t have bothered you yesterday are BIG DEALS today.

And, ironically you’ll probably attract MORE bad things because those mind monkeys in your brain will be on a ‘BAD DAY’ spotting mission, looking for more evidence to prove that today is REALLY BAD.

Ack!

So what do you do, when you’re in this situation? How do you stop a BAD DAY turning into a BAD WEEK?

1. Remember This Awesome Quote

Well, you can begin by printing off this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Finish each day and be done with it.  You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day.  You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Isn’t that great? In other words LET IT GO! Leave today behind as soon as it has finished and start again with a fresh outlook and fresh attitude and fresh energy tomorrow.

That’s a GREAT attitude to have! And it’s exciting! You get a fresh start and a fresh chance every single day! Yay!

2. Put It In Perspective

The other thing that really helps when you are having a bad day is to think “will this matter in 5 days or in 5 weeks, 5 months or 5 years’ time?” Is it a life changing bad day? Or is it just a little bad day? 

Even though it feels like the end of the world today, there’s a really big chance you’ll barely remember it in a couple of weeks. Life goes on.

3. Take Control & STAY PROFESSIONAL

When you’re having a bad day it’s really easy to react emotionally. 

Your instinct is to get back at the person who’s causing your bad day and SORT THEM OUT, but if you deal with them NOW, when you’re hurt and angry, that’s really not going to help and could cause all sorts of trouble in the future.


Let THEM rant. Let THEM look like a DRAMA LLAMA

STAY PROFESSIONAL AT ALL TIMES.

Be strong and silent in public. Don’t rant on your Facebook page. Don’t leave nasty messages on THEIR Facebook page. Don’t fire off angry replies to their emails. However angry you are right now, however much you want to give your side of the story, don’t. Stay strong and professional.

If it’s a customer sending furious messages to your FB page, reply saying you’re looking into the situation and will come back to them privately (ideally at a specific time, then keep in touch with them). 

Do not rise to THEIR emotion. Do what you can to sort out the issue – stick to the facts and do whatever feather smoothing you need. Don’t take it personally. 

Not only will this approach stop the issue spiralling out of control, nobody can ever come back to you and say you handled it badly. If you stay professional, it will earn you respect. People watch these things – potential customers on your page will be watching to see how you handle it and that will determine whether or not they buy from you.

4. Create A Book Of Awesome

Take all the nice things people have said to you about your business, nice Facebook posts, nice emails, nice feedback and put them all together in one lovely special notebook. This will become your Book of Awesome.  

Whenever you have a bad day you can dig out your Book of Awesome and see how much people love you and your business. It’s there, in black and white! 

You can’t argue with the evidence. It will shut up those mind monkeys who tell you you’re no good and can’t do this – they LOVE bad days. Bad days are when you listen to those pesky monkeys even more closely.

So, there you have it. Once you realise you’re ‘having a BAD DAY’ do your best to snap out of it – don’t let it have any power over you and do your best to shut up the mind monkeys. The sooner you move on, the sooner you can get back to being happy and building your awesome business.

My Competitor Confession (It’s Not Pretty)!

My Competitor Confession (It’s Not Pretty)!

Today I’m going to share something really personal and it’s not pretty, so I feel a little nervous!

But I know if I felt like this then you might too, just don’t judge me!!

Have you ever had a competitor drive you crazy?

You know what I mean, right? They seem to be EVERYWHERE – in the papers, all over social media, everywhere you look, they’re there. It’s infuriating!!

In the early days of my business there was one lady who used to frustrate the heck out of me. She was everywhere. People were talking about her and singing her praises and everyone (it seemed) LOVED her and her business.

I hate to admit it, but I was really jealous. This woman brought out the worst in me – somehow her success was pushing all my buttons and making me feel inferior, envious and MAD!

 

One day, when I found myself muttering about her again, I had a big wake up call.

All of a sudden I realised that I’d just spent most of the morning obsessing over this woman’s business instead of working on my own. I should have written my newsletter but I’d got distracted by something *she* had done and I had lost track of time.

That’s when I knew it had to stop.

I had to get a grip and LOSE this jealousy.

I had to focus on MY business.

Immediately I decided that, the energy inside me shifted.

I banned myself from looking at her stuff or mentioning her name for 2 weeks, so I could break my bad habit.

Then I started to look at her stuff again to see if I could work out why it affected me so much.

And I realised a LOT of things.

1. Her success was down to lots of hard work on her part.She didn’t just get her huge following by accident, she had WORKED at it and she deserves her success. She had ploughed a lot of time, money and energy into her business and now she was reaping the rewards. She was (and is) pretty awesome, really.

2. In my head, her success somehow made me feel inferior. Now, you’ll probably be nodding and saying to yourself ‘ah, that’s all about YOU, Claire and nothing to do with her’ and you’d be right. My own insecurities and lack of confidence at that time had made me jealous of her – totally irrational, I know. It was a big lesson for me and was the beginning of me learning a lot about myself – it’s been an interesting journey!

3. Also in my head (damn those Mind Monkeys) I felt that if people loved her, they wouldn’t choose me. How silly is THAT?? We’re like chalk and cheese. Apples and pears. We’re nothing alike and we BOTH brought really valuable things to the world. Her stuff was GREAT for HER crowd. They loved her. But some of them loved me too. Which is FAB. There was definitely room for us both.

These days I think very differently.

When I see someone else in my field being super-awesome, I know how much effort that’s taken. There is no magic pill. They have put a LOT of work in to be shining so brightly. I am secretly (and sometimes openly) in admiration of them. I might be a bit envious too, but in a ‘Darn it! I wish I’D thought of that’ kind of way.

And these days I shine a lot brighter, myself.

I’ve accumulated a few haters and copycats along the way but that’s par for the course for any successful business owner. The main thing is that I MIND MY OWN BUSINESS. I focus on what I’M doing, on what MY customers and clients need, on what I ENJOY doing.

And I have no idea what my competitors are doing but I’m hoping they’re doing the same.

If this hit a nerve then that’s good. Because, it means you can do something about it. Also, you might enjoy this blog.

Are Your Competitors Freaking You Out?