As a busy mompreneur I’m always on the hunt for productivity tips, life hacks, and real-world inspiration from other successful people. Yet, what I often locate is refined, packaged advice that makes everyone out there seem so much more WITH it than I am. Can you relate?!
Take for example interviews with successful company owners and mompreneurs who gush about how amazingly proficient they are… how they started and grew their business while simultaneously managing multiple children as the primary care giver… and who share ‘helpful’ insights on how to increase productivity (they get up at 5am, workout every day, practice meditation = success).
Yet when I read these ‘helpful’ insights I often find myself thinking: ok, yes, I can try those things but is that REALLY what is going on in your life? Is that your BEST, honest advice? Are you for REAL?
To me, having also founded and expanded a new business, and co-founded another, while raising kids – my REAL advice would be something more along the lines of:
- Prepare for good days and bad days.
Some days you will be up at 5am, dressed, finished checking emails and serving your kids a hot breakfast by 7am. You will get all of your emails addressed (in the same day!), deliver 2 major projects before the deadline, buy groceries, cook a lovely supper, and tuck your kids back into bed with a smile. These are the days you feel buoyant, productive, and truly kick-butt. High five to you!
Other days you will be forced out of bed at 2:30am by a child with a nightmare [bloody nose/random question/projectile vomit] and unable to get back to sleep so it will take 3 cups of coffee and a lot of wall staring before you can even fathom making your children toast. And those emails? They won’t get addressed at all, because the school calls in the middle of a critical deadline to pick up a sick child. Finally, when you go to make supper that night you realize you forgot to buy an essential ingredient. Pizza it is.
My REAL advice here is… it happens. Yes, it likely even happens to those that don’t admit it. Those business owners that make it look easy and seem to have all of their ducks in a row? They have bad days too. So, when a bad day derails you, keep in mind that tomorrow is a new day.
- Be ready to experience highs and lows.
Like the teeter-totter at your child’s playground, be prepared to swing up and down. There will be moments you fist pump, jump with joy, and scream with excitement. These joyful moments might stem from securing a big client, making a large breakthrough, or receiving some much overdue recognition and reward. Revel in it! These moments were hard-earned and well-deserved.
On the low-end are times you’ll be completely overwhelmed by your long to-do list (why does it just keep growing?!), feel spread too thin, and cry more times in the day than you smile. In a nutshell, these moments suck.
My REAL advice is…try to enjoy the ride, no matter how bumpy. And when it seems you are stuck on a particularly bad low, reach out to a trusted friend or colleague for some safe venting and support. I also find chanting the mantra “this too shall pass” helps calm frazzled nerves. Really.
- What works for one might not work for another.
In the endless pursuit of how to improve ourselves: work faster, be more productive, become more present (the list goes on and on) we hear conflicting advice and are bombarded with ideas from fresh-faced business owners who ‘understand success’. I personally take some tips to heart and give them my best try and toss others aside. It all depends on how I feel and what I might be seeking to support my current mental state (see #2 above).
After a lot of trial and error, here’s what I’ve come to realize. Not everything works for everyone.
My REAL advice is…. take insights, tips, and advice with a grain of salt, looking past glossy social media photos and refined feedback to seek answers or resources that REALLY resonate. When you feel connected to something, encouraged by someone, or motivated by an idea…go ahead and give it a whirl. If something doesn’t yield the results you were hoping for…. move on. This is ok.
You are unique, your situation is unique, and you might have unique needs. Don’t aim to be like somebody else; just be you.
Finally, some last REAL reminders (take ‘em or leave ‘em):
- You are AWESOME
- Be yourself
- Prioritize what matters – to you
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Reward yourself from time to time (or often)
- It’s ok to make mistakes
- Be your own cheerleader
- Don’t give up
— Adrienne Tom is the co-founder of CareerPreneur Partners.
Need a place to vent, learn, or grow?! We are here to help. Reach out via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE RESUME LANDSCAPE IS ALWAYS EVOLVING
Over the years resumes have evolved, rather significantly.
Back in the 1930’s, resumes were used as a formality in the job search – if they were required at all.
In the 1950’s some of the more professional fields requested a resume that was written using a typewriter. Many job seekers hand-delivered resumes to a company of interest or used traditional ‘snail mail’.
By the 1980’s, the digital age was well on its way. Resumes were written using word processors and began to take a more professional approach. The fax machine entered the scene as a popular means to deliver the document.
Later in the 1990’s job seekers could sit at home and search for jobs using the World Wide Web. Online applications started to appear and resumes could be uploaded or emailed.
In the 21st century, we see the traditional resume of today has evolved well beyond the basic career chronology it used to be. Job seekers employ savvy branding strategies and concise impact statements to help them stand out in tough markets. Although online job applications remain a popular choice, they aren’t the most successful strategy.
Today’s resumes now include visual aids and resume design to support more popular – and more successful – job search tactics: networking, in-person applications, and referrals.
Although the traditional resume remains the most important tool in the job search toolbox, times have changed. Content alone is no longer ‘king’. Design matters too.
Modern resumes demonstrate how content and design can work together, complementing one another to better position and promote job seekers. Design can be leveraged to guide a reader’s eye, segregate key content, and draw attention to important facts.
How can you create a resume that gets your clients noticed? With the help of design.
Your job as a resume writer is to arm your clients with the best possible tools and strategies to support individual job searches. With referrals and networking generating the greatest response, clients require marketing tools to support these opportunities…and with this in mind, a design resume is required.
Are you interested in learning more about resume design? Unsure where to start, or what strategies you might be lacking? Need a few pointers to elevate your files?
Our new tutorial Resume Design: Secrets to Success demonstrates design capabilities and walks you through the application of basic to bold design, using simple, strategic steps.
Gain first-hand insights from 2 award-winning resume writers, learning how to create award-winning, eye-catching resume creations of your very own. Access the complete tutorial details here.
We all have bad days. Days where things don’t go according to plan or a new challenge pops up.
During these tougher days and unexpected moments of struggle, I’ve found myself floundering for both motivation and support. I’ve looked around and thought “help!”.
And during these moments of vulnerability I’ve also felt at odds…. because aren’t I the coach who should be helping others; not the other way around?
Yet, even great coaches can benefit from coaching.
For example, the other day I hit the wall, hard. On top of being burnt out from managing multiple roles I was also faced with an unexpected situation that left me at a loss for how to proceed.
Instead of responding to the situation alone, in a potentially negative way, I reached out to another coach for help. I realized that I needed a second set of eyes; a removed opinion; and some gentle guidance.
As a coach, I’m regularly called upon here at CareerPreneur Partners to help others, but this time it was MY turn to seek assistance.
The result? Relief.
The coach provided a new perspective and much-needed problem resolution tips. The investment in ME saved hours of worry, angst, and uncertainly.
In just 1 phone call, with a professional that I trusted, my problem was eased and my burden lessened. I was able to move forward in my work, better supporting myself AND others.
From this experience, my appreciation for our CareerPreneur clients has grown even more. I’m so darn proud of those who have reached out to say ‘help!”. Strong professionals who recognize the benefit of coaching and who practice what they preach.
You might be a long-standing business owner or seasoned career professional and still face days where you are left at a loss for words…or ideas…or resources. And when this happens, we are here for you. Just a phone call away, offering customized solutions and care.
Let’s ease your burden, together.
— Adrienne Tom is a 9X certified career professional who has been offering career services and coaching to clients for the past 10 years at Career Impressions. She is also the co-founder of CareerPreneur Partners.
As a small business owner and independent practitioner you are likely faced with a range of challenges each and every work day.
From figuring out how to generate new sales, build your network, innovate your offerings, and balance all of the demands of working for yourself – there is never a dull moment in the life of an entrepreneur/mompreneur/ careerpreneur!
In the Fall of 2016 I was welcomed to Forbes Coaches Council to expand my own professional network. Part of my work with this group is sharing expert insights on a variety of topics each month.
Although I registered with Forbes Coaches Council under my other business (where I share job search and career tips), I also apply my business coaching background to share business insights that would be valuable to the CareerPreneur community.
A few of my recent Forbes.com contributions – along with a WEALTH of other tips and advice from industry experts – can be located in the posts below. Enjoy!
My Tip: Remember: Some Of The Best Things Happen When You’re Uncomfortable
In times of stress or discomfort, remind yourself that some of the best things happen outside a comfort zone. These experiences can both challenge you and help you grow. Commit to giving the situation a try with your best effort, and keep expectations low to alleviate additional pressure. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” then focus on achieving the opposite result.
My Tip: Set Priorities
Before you can excel, you must be invested. To boost #productivity and focus, start each day by prioritizing tasks. Identify where your efforts are best spent, then dedicate appropriate time for them. This will ensure you don’t end each day feeling defeated because efforts were wasted on low-priority items. Build self-discipline by managing your #schedule and controlling where you focus energy.
My Tip: Keep Pivoting
Innovation is often the key to long-term business success. Those who innovate stay competitive. What works can always be enhanced. What isn’t working can be improved. Trial and test, then evaluate and re-purpose to identify areas of your business that could benefit from transformation. Make changes strategically and pivot with purpose. Think ahead to stay ahead.
My Tip: Check Your Email Less Often
A huge time-sucker, and often a cause of stress and distraction, is email. According to Radicati Group, the estimated amount of emails sent and received per day, around the world, will be 246 billion by 2019. To increase productivity, set aside times throughout the work day for email. Address the urgent, flag others for follow-up and return to email only at designated times to reduce interruption.
My Tip: Step Back And Say No
Everyone faces a sea of opportunities and demands, but to excel, you must be selective and focused. You can’t ride every wave that comes along without eventually going under. Identify priorities and schedule them appropriately. Foster essentials in alignment with goals and be OK with saying no to anything that distracts you from your plan. Sometimes you are needed most “on the shore.”
My Tip: Be Consistent
Great networkers are always networking. Professionals who pursue networking only when they need something (e.g., a new job) typically don’t generate the same results as those who network continually and consistently. To raise visibility, network frequently. Create a reputation as a dependable contributor — someone who engages and shares — not just when a goal is trying to be achieved.
My Tip: Be True to You
Be authentic to who you are, the values you have, and the skills you excel at. Authenticity is imperative to branding success. Avoid pressure to constantly reinvent yourself or overstate and inflate your message. A simple articulation of who you are and what you are good at – shared succinctly and clearly – will suffice to nail down your brand.
My Tip: Adapt Your Communication Style
We all gravitate toward people we like and relate to. To close deals, top sales professionals need to recognize and adapt their communication style for different audiences. Demonstrating flexibility in communications and approach — and modifying strategies for each unique target — is paramount to information sharing, buy-in, and winning the sale.
My Tip: Engage Difficulties
If you are finding it hard to get engaged with people or projects at work, it could be a sign of burnout. To help get yourself back on track, try to identify the root cause and seek support from peers, management, or professionals. Burnout is often due to overwork or a mismatch in work and skills. Addressing the issue of burnout is important to avoid progression into depression or illness.
My Tip: Focus On The Quality Of Your Work, Not The Quantity
Clocking more hours doesn’t always translate into better results. Demonstrate value through continual professional development. Take on new tasks. Make it a priority to exceed deliverables with valued insights and outcomes. Your reputation as a dependable, qualified worker will certainly start to outshine those who work long but produce less.
My Tip: Expand Your Knowledge
Start by identifying areas, topics, or skills you feel less confident about and work to address them. Professional development (classes, volunteer work, special projects) can expand your knowledge base and eradicate uncertainties. For example, if you struggle with speaking/sharing with peers in meetings, join Toastmasters. The more you know, the less you will second-guess yourself.
My Tip: Listen More Than You Talk
Start by building and fostering relationships where you do more listening than talking. Learn about the needs of others, and identify ways to align yourself with their requirements. By demonstrating clear value, you won’t need to conduct hard sales or pressuring networking tactics to get people to hear you out. Listening to learn puts others first, helping build trust to secure investments.
Although I didn’t personally contribute to this post, it contains valuable information worth sharing – to help you GROW your business!
— Adrienne Tom is Co-Founder of CareerPreneur Partners and Founder of Career Impressions.
Got a burning business challenge? Reach out via email to let us know how we can help here at CareerPreneur Partners: email@example.com . We support small business professionals and career pros with the resolution of a wide range of business challenges.
Here at CareerPreneur Partners, we regularly hear from career professionals who are starting new independent practices and need assistance. With the start of a new business, come new challenges. A common theme in our industry is managing clients.
We are often asked:
“How do I locate the right clients for me?”
“Do I need a client services agreement?”
“What do I do if a client pushes back during the process?”
Improved client management comes down to three things: defined service structure, clear expectations, and formal processes.
A defined service structure includes specifics around your services and the unique value that you offer. Clients are looking to engage with career professionals who can offer them career or job search assistance. If your website or marketing materials do not clearly outline services, qualifications, and the value of the investment – you are not likely to attract right-fit clients or close sales.
Clear expectations summarize what you can offer the client and what you need from the client in return during your work together. Often, career pros create and share a service agreement with clients to clarify responsibilities, requirements, and timelines. A lack of service agreement can lead to push-back, potential liability issues, or service abuse.
Finally, a formal process ensures that you have what you need to perform at your best for each client. This may include a well-defined intake process, delivery timelines, and an appropriate compensation model. Without a formal process you may find yourself working too long on projects or devoting unpaid time to clients. These issues reduce income potential and cause unnecessary stress.
Here is a longer breakdown of some tools and processes needed to support client management:
- Targeted demographic. Consider the type of client you wish to serve and tailor your marketing messages accordingly. Understand what qualifies as a ‘right-fit’ client for you. You might decide to serve all levels and types of professionals or you might narrow offerings more exclusively (e.g. new graduates). Regardless, knowing your service demographic and their unique needs will support business success.
- Clear service offerings. Clarify your specialized service offerings. These might be exclusive amenities like resume writing or a range of career and job services, including career assessments, career coaching, and job search strategies. Align offerings with client needs and promote the value you afford. Clear services and value will eliminate the ‘busy work’ of addressing questions over and over.
- Service agreement. Ensure expectations are clear by creating and providing each client with a service agreement. Clients need to know their role in the service process and what they can expect from you in return. Service agreements eliminate push-back, abuse, or things like ongoing/endless resume edits.
- Payment structure. Figure out your value and price services competitively. Research the industry to get a good understanding of what to charge and implement a way to share cost details with prospective clients. Invest in a method for collecting and processing payment (PayPal is a common platform).
- Booking procedures. Save time and lessen redundant administrative work with distinct booking procedures. When clients are ready to proceed, make it easy for them to select appointments, pay for services, or complete required homework. Develop a method (spreadsheet) for tracking clients. Create email templates for things like schedule selection, payment options, and service confirmation. Keep track of payments and delivery dates.
- In-take process. Identify the information needed from your clients to best serve them. If you are writing a resume, consider a questionnaire to help capture content. If you are providing interview coaching, request specific details from your clients in advance to mock interview sessions. Standardizing requirements will keep services on track.
- Service wrap-up. Finalize services clearly and distinctly so clients are aware that your work together has come to a close. Thank them. Ask for referrals. Wish them luck on their journeys. Provide additional resources or suggest alternative and additional services that you feel would further benefit them.
If you find yourself struggling with any aspects of client management – reach out to let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org). We offer customized, affordable, one-on-one coaching. Or take advantage of our complete Drive Your Success training program.
— Adrienne Tom is an 8X certified career professional who has been offering career services to clients for the past 10 years at Career Impressions. She is also the co-founder of CareerPreneur Partners.