As of January 4th, 2022, 4.5 million people have left their regular gigs. Some of them were voluntary, and some were not. Some of those who left voluntarily did so without a plan, and some jumped all in with the side hustle they were they had been nursing.
I am not a member of the Great Resignation, but I know the liberating feeling of leaving a job that no longer suits you. Remember this guy? While my exit was not as epic, I could relate to how he felt. I didn't have a backup plan, but I was tired of it all.
I was tired of the politics, tired of the good ole boy system, and tired of the same bullshit over and over. It wasn't just my last office job. It was the last few I had taken after the economic downturn in 2008.
I am now in my fourth year of business; I made some mistakes along the way; I even changed the business name after my first year and had to pivot thanks to COVID. Fortunately, it has been a successful pivot (that's a word I have come to despise and love at the same time. Does anyone else feel the same way?).
So, if you're planning on jumping on the entrepreneurship ship, here are some helpful tips. FYI - I made a few mistakes on the way too. It's just part of the process.
There are many obstacles to avoid, but the most significant obstacle will be yourself if you let it happen.
Oh, be prepared not to get paid as much as you did when you were working for someone else. This is the case for many entrepreneurs who are starting their journey.
After walking off my job in 2017, I became a business owner in January 2018. I didn't know a darn thing about what I was doing. But I tell ya what; I'm not looking back.
Carolina was a Personal Concierge before pivoting into the world of Virtual Assistants. She has clients around the country and thoroughly loves being a virtual assistant. The only drawback is that her husband now works from home and knows how often she makes trips to Dairy Queen.
Contact Carolina at Carolina@1440Concierge.com or via phone at 816-522-3281
People often ask me why I started my business and why I chose to be a personal concierge (or personal assistant/lifestyle manager). I laugh a little and tell them how it came to be. I read a book about a woman who was a personal assistant. I thought, there are people who actually do this for a living? I loved the idea. So here is the story for why, but here is how 1440 came to be.
I thought about it for two years before acting on it. When I launched on January 15, 2018, I knew it wouldn't make me rich or that success wouldn't happen instantly, and I was prepared for that.
When I started the company, the name was Carolina on Call. Yes, you read that correctly. Carolina on Call. No, it didn't start as an escort service, but the name made it sound like it was. And I offered a lot of services, probably too many services. But I pushed on anyway and kept going until I got tired of the name.
In the Spring of 2019, I started reading a book written by Kevin Kruse named 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. Mr. Kruse's advice for time management and the power of 1,440 minutes resonated because my business aims to give people more time to do what they want to do. Everyone has 1440 minutes in a day. And that's when I knew 1440 Concierge was going to be my business's new name.
Then COVID-19 made its entrance, and by the end of March 2020, clients had canceled or suspended services. I did not do work for at least three months. I even went so far as to cancel my business insurance. Why waste the $80/month if I was not able to work. I call 2020 the year that wasn't. Or The Lost Year. By July, I knew I needed to change things up before I was entirely out of business.
I was already doing a little virtual work for a few people around the country, but I knew I needed to step up my game. With some well-placed posts, good networking, and a commitment to not letting COVID bring me completely down, I was able to rebound, and business picked up.
A few months ago, something was bothering me; the business name, 1440 Concierge. Since 85% to 90% of business is now virtual and not personal, 1440 Concierge no longer sounded right. I dropped the Concierge (but not legally) to just 1440. And it just feels right!
It's hard to believe, but 1440 is into its 4th year of business! I'm not rich with money, but I am rich with the satisfaction of knowing I am my own boss! And THAT makes me happy.
Being a business owner is not always glamorous or desirable. It is, however, a job in which you spend countless more hours ⌛️ working for yourself than you did when you worked for someone else. And why? Because it's yours and you love the life it affords you.
However, when we get busy, we tend to get behind on the small details of the business. That is why I like to assign one weekday as my Administrative day. My day of choice is Fridays because I can ease into the weekend. And on a day like today - ice and a little snow but mostly ice- it's good to stay inside and get things done.
If you're a small business owner, what do you do to get a handle on the pesky tasks that never get done? Do you have staff to whom you can assign them?
Or do they crowd your dreams, forcing you to get out of bed at 3 o’clock and address them? Hopefully not.
1440 can help you move past those dreams so you can get a solid 8 hours. Learn to delegate, and you’ll sleep better
When I started my business in January 2018, I knew nothing about being a business owner. But I had, and still have, the drive and desire to be my own boss. One thing I learned early on, during my days in corporate America, is to embrace technology, stay on top of the updates, and volunteer to learn new ways of doing things.
Learn it. Know it. Love it (not the same quote used in the title. This is a movie quote from my teenage years. A classic). I have that same philosophy today, and it has helped me considerably.
But, I'm always open to learning new things and new ways to advance my business into more business. So today, I want to talk about......Trello; a project management tool (that was some build-up, 'eh?). For you solopreneurs out there struggling to find a decent project management tool and haven't looked at Trello yet, do yourself a favor. https://trello.com/en-US. It's portable, meaning you can access it from your phone or your tablet, and of course, your desktop computer. And, you can share the board with your clients. When either of you makes a change in their Trello board, it immediately appears for all board members to see. You can assign tasks, send quick notifications, and add milestones to your calendars. There is so much more to learn about it.
It has made my life easier by having everything right there without figuring out in what cloud service a Client keeps her media. I plug a link into the board, and poof, there I am, getting the information I needed without bothering the Client or spinning my wheels.
There is a free version and, of course, a paid version. The free one is great if you don't need members on multiple boards.
Check it out if you're struggling to keep all the things in one central place. Then report back to me and tell me what you think.
This is....a little bit related to my topic. But it's here mostly for laughs. 🙂
Fast Times at Ridgemont High. What kid from the '80s didn't see this movie? Good times!
When I started my business as a personal assistant/concierge, one of the services I offered was online sales management. I liked the possibility of adding this service to the organizing jobs I would take. My first organizing job included online sales management, and it was a success for the client and myself. She was downsizing and selling furniture. It was perfect; we were both happy with the results.
A few months ago, I was asked to sell a woman's wardrobe. The clothes were beautiful and in great shape. If I were taller, some of those pieces would have ended up in my closet. But they had to go. I offered the collection for $800; however, it was well worth $2,000. I posted on FB Marketplace and CL, and I never received an inquiry. Someone suggested Poshmark. So I posted on Postmark, and that was a flop. My sister asked me to sell two brand new wedding dresses for her daughter and daughter-in-law. That also was a flop.
I stopped offering this service because I got annoyed with buyers. I would go out of my way to meet a potential buyer, and they never showed up and then wouldn't answer my calls or texts. And when people would ask me to accept a lower price and I would say no, they would ghost me. Or, I would answer all their questions, and then I heard nothing but crickets. In the end, I was wasting time because the time spent was not worth the hassle. I received two inquiries on the wedding dresses that were both scams (thanks for the power of Googling).
So, I came across this article today and thought I would share it with anyone who wants to try their hand at selling their things or someone else's belonging. Just be aware that scammers are everywhere. I nearly got taken on a wedding dress I was trying to sell on Poshmark. And speaking about Poshmark, you will get a LOT OF MAIL and requests to join other user's sales. If you're going to offer this as a service to someone else, price your services appropriately.
So here is the link. Please proceed with caution, and let me know how you make out! 🙂
Sometimes, life has to slap you in the face to remind you of all the special people in your life. And sometimes, it will sting more than other times. This blog entry is a little more personal this month, but my message to business owners is still here in the article: Don't lose sight of what is important in life.
It slapped me last month during a quick stop at my parent's house on the way back to Kansas City. Within 15 minutes of my arrival at their home, my father suffered a TIA - a Trans Ischemic Attack.
Because of the pandemic, we were not allowed to visit him during his two-week stay in the hospital. It was painful to see and hear his confusion via Facetime or phone. But for an 86-year-old guy, he's doing wonderfully. We are grateful to have him back. He was a daily morning walker, read books voraciously, had an aptitude for language (speaks three fluently), and is a retired physician who had a grasp for mathematics. All those skills have helped him recuperate as my 80-year young mother learns a new routine and a new role.
I have always held my family very near to my heart, regardless of distance. And I am not shy about telling any of them I love them. However, when life gets busy with the business of finally doing business again, it's easy to get lost in the chaos. So for the last month, I have been splitting my time between Des Moines and Kansas City. Three to four nights in Des Moines, and 3-4 nights in Kansas City. Because I am self-employed and can to do some work remotely, I am fortunate to spend this time with my parents.
I know we can't predict what life is going to hand us, but we can do something about creating time for what's essential in life. Make the time to spend time with the important people in your life. You won't regret it. I sure don't.
When I began helping my client last year, the one I wanted to fix was his filing cabinets! 🗂. For an OCD person like me, it hurts to see it like this. But if anything good came out of this whole COVID19 pandemic, it was that his business slowed down (not good for him, of course), but it finally gave me a chance to get these drawers in some kind of order!!! Such a relief to my eyes! I showed up with my toolbox and a step-stool to get to those files waaaaay in the back. There are two filing cabinets with five drawers each, and they all looked the same way. NO MORE!
The next major project on these files will be to create identical labels for the hanging file tabs and the file folders. Seriously, it pains me to see the Before picture. But the After picture? That puts the wind in my sails! ⛵💨. 😀
By placing all the hanging file tabs in the same position, whether it’s left-justified, centered, or right-justified it will help you locate a file much faster. And don’t mess with those insert tabs! Just get a label maker and stick the labels right on the tabs. It just looks prettier too.
Got messy filing cabinets? I have a toolbox to fix that problem for you!
Since most of us are under a mandatory stay-order, I wonder how many are having a problem with their routines. I sure am. The stay-order has, most unforgivably, thrown me into a tailspin of sorts. I still get out of bed and shuffle to the coffee station just off the kitchen — a K-Cup coffee for me and a brewed pot for my husband. Sometimes I'll make myself a keto coffee, but I don't know why. I don't follow keto anymore (I need my personal cook to be living with me again). Anyway, I get coffee, watch a little TV and walk up the stairs to my office. From there, it's anything goes. These last two weeks have been rough.
But today, I did something different. I got dressed, brushed my teeth, and cleaned up the kitchen. I filled my sinks with steaming hot water and added Clorox bleach to them. I let them sit for two hours and voila, they're sparkling clean. Who doesn't love a shiny clean sink? ANYHOO, doing this always makes me think of two people: My sister, and The Fly Lady.
Who has heard of The Fly Lady If you haven't, visit her website—lots of tips there. When the economy tanked in 2008, I found myself with too much time on my hands; my sister told me about The Fly Lady. One of the many takeaways I learned from The Fly Lady was something she calls Shiny Sink 101, and I still do this 12 years later. It feels like I'm wrapping up the week, and I'm ready to start a new week fresh and revived. I know, it's just a sink, but it does make me feel better.
Then I remembered something I stumbled on not too long ago. It's called Five Evening Habits That Make Tomorrow Amazing by Mel Robbins. And who doesn't love Mel Robbins? Although I do not watch her show. Daytime TV is ..... awful.
What is her first step to making tomorrow amazing? Empty the sinks and clear the counters! However, I'm sure it doesn't matter what order you do them in, but doing them does help. But, full transparency here, I don't do all of them. And especially now, thank you, Corona, you B-word, I feel like I'm overachieving if I do even one. Here is a link to Mel's to the PDF if you want a copy for yourself. A simple Google search will return hundreds of lists for productivity and efficiency. Mel's list is good, but it is not the end-all-be-all. Find the one that works best for you. If you want a recommendation on productivity books, I highly suggest reading Getting Things Done; the art of stress-free productivity. I was lucky enough to attend one of his workshops years and years ago, and to this day, I still believe it was the best workshop I have ever attended.
The point I am trying to make is this: to be productive, you must set yourself up for it. It sounds so obvious but, seeing in and black and white, then saying it out loud can make all the difference. And getting dressed and bleaching the sink is a great start. I didn't plan on doing a blog entry today but see? I got dressed, brushed my teeth, and poof! Blog entry!
Now, go slay the day and kick this Rona's ass!!!
As a business owner, it is important to know when and what you should delegate. But not only when and what but also to whom you can charge with duties. Maybe you have a team in place that will take care of the small details. But what if you’re a one-person show, wearing all the hats? CEO, CFO, COO, CMO, CTO?
While it is essential to not only know the when and what of the delegation but whom you delegate to is just as important. One of the most significant time-sucks for business owners is the administrative and personal tasks that, if left undone, can wreak havoc on your success. Consider how much time you spend filing, fielding calls, data entry, travel reservations, or numerous others. Then consider your personal obligations and errands. All those tasks, and others not listed, take away time from job one. Determine the functions that do not require your personal attention and delegate those tasks.
Personal Assistants often double as Business Assistants as well. We will not only man the front desk, do your data entry, and document business processes, we will also pick up your dry cleaning, restock your home fridge, wait for the AC repair person.
With hiring 1099 contractors, you are not required to offer benefits, withhold taxes, pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, or pay unemployment.
A few of the services I have performed for my business clients include:
· Mailings via USPS or email
· Answering phones and handling the reception desk
· Following up on warm leads.
· Collection calls
· Process documentation
· Delivering documentation
· Wait service (waited for delivery in-home and office)
· Workspace organization
· Scheduling meetings
· Calendar Management
All of these duties can be delegated so you can focus on moving your business forward.
Look through our KC Business Mastermind website for more helpful tips to start-ups.
Is your head spinning yet? Don’t know what to do first?
Establishing a routine, especially in the infancy of your business, is critical to running a successful business; especially if you are the one and only employee in the beginning. Why is it important? Because routines help set you up for success.
As boring as it might sound, routines provide a number of advantages, personal as well as professional.
1. Over time, you become more efficient and proficient in the tasks you perform each day. This can include everything from exercising to emptying your email Inbox.
2. You begin to learn and identify how long tasks will take.
3. You become better at prioritizing your to-do’s
4. Your self-confidence increases.
5. You begin to procrastinate less, and you start crossing things off your list of to-dos.
On a personal level, your routine could include personal activities such as exercising, prepping healthy meals, journaling, and meditation. These are some activities that I have incorporated into my weekly schedule. When I get to the gym it sets the tone of the day for me. It boosts my endorphins and I carry that momentum with me the rest of the day.
On a professional level, consider setting time aside to read publications relevant to your business, and listing the day’s most critical tasks you must accomplish. Add all of your to-do’s to your schedule and set a timer (if you can stand it). There are online timers you can use to help you through getting tasks done. Do a simple Google search for “online timers” and you will find many options. Some are elaborate and some are very simple. Consider using a timer on your computer and not your smartphone. Having your smartphone nearby will only tempt you to start checking things that have nothing to do with the task you are currently working on. Try allotting 20 minutes to each task. That way you could knock out 3 tasks in 1 hour. And what busy business owner doesn’t want that?
As the owner of a personal concierge business, I am well aware of the importance of time and making the most of the time we have. I too, have to have assistance from time to time to complete projects.
And remember, it is okay to delegate! Better to delegate than to get bogged down and unable to complete projects; professional or personal.