As this year comes to a close, we take time to reflect on our year. Where we started to where we wound up.
From 1 year ago to now, I have done so much to move my dreams to where they are going. I am so proud of the work, connections and paths that have presented…. I need to thank everyone who has supported me.
Here is to next year, and decade. I look forward to where it takes me, my business and family!
So I have been working as a digital entrepreneur for the 2.5 years and it has been the best experience! The ability to choose the hours worked, be there for the family when need be, and still earn an income and be independent. Now, who wouldn’t want that!
By doing this, you also have made sure that created the boundaries to ensure success – setting up a dedicated workspace, setting office hours, making sure clients know best practices when it comes to workload sharing and communications each day. (Most days at least!)
But sometimes, especially after the year, we all have experienced, there are days that I am noticing that it can become “stagnant” in your environment. Almost becoming something of a recluse as you do the cycle of life: Eat, Sleep, Work, Family Time, and Repeat (don’t forget to shower in there! oh and the School bus!).
The question is – how do you keep your work-life interesting when you are working from home full time? I have been thinking about this more and more of late – and with many of you newer to the work from home culture, I thought why not round up what has worked for me!
Here are 5 tips that might help you from becoming a Howard Hughes recluse and lose touch with friends and life at large:
Switch Up your Workspace!
Keeping in mind, this could be a large-scale upgrade or a small-scale one (or in my case, just built one and we moved, so we are doing it again!) – it comes down to time and money.
If you are lucky to have a workspace of your own, you could start simple and just clean up your workspace. Filing away docs that you don’t need anymore – add new artwork or if possible, move where your desk sits/faces!
It can breathe a breath of fresh air in your space, not to mention, reinvigorate your creativity! If you are unlucky enough not to be able to move your desk around – why not just move around your pictures, pick up a cute new pen holder at the dollar store (thrifty doesn’t mean lack of quality!) By just doing some small POV changes, can reset your brain and not completely upset your workflow or your budget!
Try working in a Co-working Space or in a Restaurant with WIFI – yes, even in the current climate.
There are lots of places (not just Starbucks) that offer free wifi now – you could even go to your local library and work there for a while. Just by getting out and about people, it can give your mindset the shift it needs to recognize that you don’t have to work alone ALL the time. Even in the current climate.
Zoom Co-Working Times – use Tech for a new purpose!
Now we all know about Zoom/GoMeet/Skype – they are amazing conference software that makes telecommute a lot more bearable! But have you ever considered using it as if you are working in a Co-working or Office space?
Find a small group of fellow #WFH folks and see if they would be interested in a 30-min co-working session. You could just keep your camera on, the mic on mute and just work together for a bit. That way if you are working on a project that you want to bounce an idea off of someone, you could share your screen and brainstorm!
This is a way to “meet” at the water cooler without losing precious productivity time! There are groups out there that do that – check it out! Might just help keep your work-life more interesting!
Music – more than just something in the background – that isn’t the TV!
Keeping mindful of unnecessary distractions, have you ever thought about creating a playlist that you play for certain tasks?! With apps like Spotify or Apple iTunes – you can create lists for cooking, relaxation, exercise – why not make a playlist for work? (I even have Sirius XM as an option)
Not just the easy listening either? Have you noticed that some songs or styles give you inspiration? Why not use this music as motivation! It gives you more validation as to why you have paid for that subscription!
Get away from your desk – make sure you take days off and breaks!
It sounds simple, but make life interesting by just getting away from your desk! (This is still a work in progress for me) Let’s face it, the appeal of working from home includes the ability to schedule your day the way you need to.
That doesn’t mean that week after week you have to do the same routine. Take a long trail walk with your loved ones! OR if you have a community bus stop, sometimes just standing around and having a chat for a few minutes is a reprieve from the solitude that we have daily.
Simple or complicated, remember as long as your meeting client deadlines and the quality of work is there – you are your own boss! Remember, this is why you decided to become a freelancer or work from home professional!
Now, this is not an exclusive list! But know what is right for you, your business and your life! I would love to hear more about what you do to achieve the elusive “balance” of work and life! Maybe it could be something I could try!
Recently, I had the chance to chat with my friend, Tara Reid of the INTROVERTPRENEUR PODCAST. We talked about working with an OBM, systems and the mindsets we all have when working.
Here are the show notes for you to check out and an embedded player of the episode. Check it out!
EP 25: Working with an Online Business Manager and Systems in Your Business with Cassandra Comeau
Do you still complete tasks in your business instead of handing them over to a team member because it’s just “easier for you” to do? You don’t have a video tutorial or any procedure in place to help them complete the task for you, so you decide it’s better to keep doing the task week after week or month after month. Once you set up systems that work for your business, it makes it easier to assign tasks to a team member and allows you to continue doing the work you love. Even though many entrepreneurs believe hiring a virtual assistant is where you should start, what you may actually need before that is an Online Business Manager to help you create systems, manage and streamline your business, so that you can run your business more smoothly.
Our guest on the podcast today is Certified Online Business Manager, Cassandra Comeau of CMC Virtual Professional Services. Her goal is to make business simple by helping you set up systems, launch a new social media strategy or just help manage your business. The sky’s the limit – the goal is to help you stay in your zone of brilliance as she is in her own.
In this episode, Cassandra and I dive into her entrepreneurial journey to becoming a certified online business manager. We discuss what an online business manager is, some of the amazing tools OBMs use daily, how to implement systems that make a huge impact, transitioning into an OBM role, and much more.
So, as we all are aware, 2020 hasn’t quite gone to the plans we all had. I know it definitely wasn’t doing what it was supposed to prior to COVID but you know what. I’m okay with it. This year there has been a lot of moving around, not only moving physically but in business as well.
I’m a wee-bit of a control freak when it comes to what action plans I take and how I proceed and this year has proven that I have to release and the right moment/opportunity will arise.
That happened for me and my family quite a bit this year so far. I have released the outcomes I thought, and some better ones have arisen. A lot of learning moments too – pushing for something that we shouldn’t of cost us a little money. We were able to negotiate a better opportunity.
Moving is part of how I’m shifting my business as well. A fresh start.
My Business, I have purged a lot of clients that don’t fit my model this year – purely because I was listening to my own client model, not just saying YES because I’m able to.
My business has shifted a bit too in where I want to take my focus – I’m starting to really work on what I want to work on. Still trying to figure out where I want to take 2021 – but I am taking this last half of the year to put plans in place, create actionable goals and timelines to match.
What have you noticed outside of COVID – how do you want to grow as a person in business. A person in society. What have you realized are boundaries that you will not cross any further?
I would love to hear! As I create my actionable goals, I will be sharing – not only with you for inspiration – but for accountability for myself as well.
… 30 days later – its been one month since everything changed in my house hold and yours. One month ago, my son came home from school thinking he was on March break for a week, and the radio announced that school was shut down til early April, to assist with the flattening of the curve.
So, I thought wow, now its serious. One thing I give all officials – no matter what level of society (government, public etc), we take the care of our children very seriously. So with the decision to extend March break by 2 weeks, we were protecting our kids and helping those who decided to travel over the break time to self-quarantine for the protection of others.
Then, the world really started to change. Essential Worker lists started being created, stores started to implement stricter protocols, our health care front line workers started to fight for us and the government started to figure out ways to help the millions of people who were losing their income.
Lately, I have been seeing a lot of memes on social media that now remind us how we now need to realize that this is our new norm. We should take this time to grieve the “normal” of old, and that we all are now forever changed.
We are watching as our planet is getting time to heal from the pollution, we are watching as families are reconnecting and trying to make the most of these extra moments and as a world of professionals, we are all trying to navigate the world of working from home (something I have been doing for over a year and have LOVED).
I’m trying to maintain some positivity in these uncertain times. For the most part, my house routine hasn’t changed a whole lot. My son being home full time is the biggest change. My routine with my daughter mostly is the same and my husband is an essential worker (he works in home/commercial fuel transportation) so the over all routine that way hasn’t changed.
My business routine has changed more. My clients are reviewing their needs and adjusting (as was expected) therefore I’m slowing down a bit. But I’m also re-evaluating the moves I want to make going forward. I’m re-evaluating my passions and how to integrate them.
I also am taking this time to focus on what I need to do to improve my health. With being so busy, my focus on my diet and exercise has not been top of mind – which is detrimental to one’s mental health. I know this and I know that with all the uncertainty in this world at the moment – I need to fix that immediately. This will have long term positive affects on my health and will benefit my family and my business as well.
So with taking all of that in, I know that my work isn’t done yet – my experiences aren’t done yet and though my dreams and goals have been put on a temporary pause, it isn’t time for me to relax too much.
How have you all been reflecting on this? Where have you realized you need to refocus while have time to do it?
I’m excited to see where my life (business, personal and health) moves forward… and I’m truly excited to see where it take you all as well!
With all the news alerts, changing rules and waiting for funding to help us all through this – I have been finding I have been paying attention to the weather even more than usual.
Since the other day, when the first day of spring sprung, I have been looking outside and watching as the temperature dropped but the sun stayed out. This past weekend, we had a quiet weekend (as did most). Only going out when we needed something, otherwise, just trying to putter at my to-do list and spend time with the family.
Then yesterday, we got more snow (now is that really a surprise, no) and though it is slightly “irritating” right now, I’m trying to keep my glass half-full with all that we are trying to get accustomed to.
With the snow, comes the perspective that we need to live in the moment right now.
With this now coming, that will melt in a few days as the temperature rises again, you can take that as a direct correlation to our social distancing measures.
Though it is short term, it is still needed. Like rain/snow to our water tables, us staying home is also allowing us to socially reset as well. To protect our loved ones, reconnect and do what we can to enjoy this opportunity to slow down for a short time.
Yes, in some ways we are just as busy as ever BUT by forcing ourselves to try to make the best of this (playing games with our kids, getting those things off the to-do list that we have been putting off, or getting ready to pull out the patio furniture for the spring/summer/fall months) – we all can rise to this. We just have to have patience as we grow accustomed to our new reality.
One of a slower pace of old…
One of bringing back the humanity to our lives…
Taking the time to reconnect and make amazing memories that we all can reminisce on in 20 years when the world starts back up again.
This won’t last for ever, and yes our bank accounts might be hurting for now, but just think – you are starting to realize what you are taking for granted aren’t you? Where you are wasting in your life? These are things we can control for now.
Lets enjoy this moment where possible – catch up on a good book, watch amazing movies, play Battleship – try to live in the moment. The rest will come back to us soon enough – maybe we will be even more grateful to each and every benefit that we have.
Hi Everyone! So here we are in the thick of COVID-19, social distancing and disinfecting EVERYTHING. I don’t know about you, but I am so overwhelmed at the news and social lately that I have been disconnecting more outside of reaching out to those who matter – be it my FB Girlfriends, work Collegues via SLACK or just hiding with my family trying to remain calm.
Everyone has financial concerns, everyone has health concerns and there are those who have gone overboard with Toilet Paper (honestly… I understand making sure you have enough for 30 days, but 852 rolls?… I digress).
But this morning I was looking at what was coming up on my calendar (I know, it is so packed right now!) and I saw that today is the first day of spring! So I had to share it… for me, I’m a spring-fall girl. Its not too hot, the bugs aren’t fully running like they do in the summer but it also means that my outdoor furniture can come out again!
I know we are all looking for distraction at this time, but here is my proposition – why not think about the days to come. Right now, we can go outside in our yards and plan – look at our gardens and start the prep work. We can go out and clean up – get fresh air and just be grateful to what is coming to us. Patio Lanterns, outdoor gatherings (someday) and those beers on those spring/summer nights.
What part about spring is your favourite?
What part about the warmer temps brings a smile to your face?
Do you have a picture of your planters/gardens that you would love to share?
Please do! I would love to see what your favourite part about spring is! Share them on your favourite Social platform and Tag Me! So I can see and share it too! To brighten up our feeds from everything – see my links below!
Wow, its been a while since I was back writing! My apologies! I know it has been a while since I wrote and to be honest, it got me thinking – I’m still growing my business but something you see online a lot is finding a good work-life balance.
To be truthful, isn’t that why we entrepreneurs decided to go out on our own – to gain more control on our time so that we are meeting our professional goals while fitting it into our personal?
I have been reading a lot lately about time management, goal setting and the power of outsourcing, as to be able to implement ideal strategies in my business but if you are anything like me, you are still a newer entrepreneur and are still trying to do it all on our own due to budgetary constraints.
It is true, it comes down to time management mostly – but you also need to be aware of your working style. There are some who thrive from working morning and night while spending the in between time with their families. There are some, like myself, that work best early in the day so aim to have work completed by 4pm daily – that way family time can be just that – family time!
So the long and the short of it all, you need to sit and truly look at you who you are as a business owner. Set your priorities – make sure it blends well with your work style too. Time Blocks, Timers, Project Management Aides – all these things are helpful, but if they don’t blend with your work style they will be like the latest fashion trend – in one day, out another.
So what I have done is look at my family – my lifestyle and the client work I love to do – I have sat down and reviewed the tools I have at my disposal and am maxing out their features. This way, I know at the end of each day, that my to-do list is as complete as it needs to be so that when I switch my hat to the family hat – I can truly enjoy the time I have and be present where I am needed.
I would love to hear what you do to figure out your balance – how do you identify the priorities and make sure that you are feeding your business and your personal life equally?
To think how much the workplace has changed just in my 15+ years in the workforce, let alone technology and its impact.
In the last two years, as I was looking to my own career path and what I feel I can best offer, I stumbled across this particular career. The opportunities it creates, the flexibility that one often seeks for their family/personal needs and the fact that with hard work (and very little start up) you could be very successful.
First things first though, I had to figure out what exactly a Virtual Assistant was and what services they actually help with. By researching on Youtube, Facebook and the like, I was very surprised to see that there was very little that a VA could not bring to the table!
By Classic Definition, a Virtual Assistant is “generally self employed and provides professional, administrative, technical or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office/shared work space”.
As for services, as hinted above, you could provide everything from Administrative (Bookkeeping, Email/Calendar Management etc) where you could do similar work as in a professional space, only with more flexibility. On the technical side, this is everything from webdesign, to maintenance on the website, loading products on a site like Shopify and in between. There are creative components as well, document creation, advertising design, branding and more! This is without even considering things like specialty items (Blogging, Course Creation, from scratch Webdesign, Organization… etc.)
Then there are markets to choose from – whether you decide to work with an Agency (where they help you get clients and keep you working) or with individual businesses (i.e. Coaches, Wedding Industry, Real Estate, Boutiques and so much more!) There is much opportunity to be of service and to grow yourself along side your clients.
That is just the tip of the iceberg!
So taking it back to the beginning, I had to look at what excited me most about working as a VA. What came out of that work and discovery, (this might be the same for others) was the opportunity to help business owners grow and live their dreams as I took tasks off their plate that doesn’t serve for them to do, as to utilize their time more wisely.
After a lot of tweaking and work, you too can design your perfect career path, as the statistics show – it will be the future in the business world.
Now for the sales pitch!
If there is anything I can do to assist you or a business owner you know, my packages are here to view. I am happy to arrange a no-obligation discovery call to see if there is an opportunity to help you grow your (or someone you know) business by taking on tasks to free up time to develop and grow.
So far, 2019 has been an eye opening ride. From Full Time Employee to Freelancer. It has been an amazing ride. But any responsible and motivated business owner – large or small – the year end brings a sense of closure and excitement.
Closure in the sense of taking the time to reflect your goals, where you achieved them and where you still have needs of improvement.
Why Did I Not Reach My Goals in 2019?
Things to ask yourself if you didn’t reach your goals – were you too aggressive in your goals? Was there something that happened to deter the sales/intake you thought would occur. Were you needing to do some tweaking to your sales pitch or to your program launch?
With all the moving parts, its important to review what didn’t work so that as you are growing, developing your targets/products/services for 2020 and beyond, as to not make the exact same errors, but maybe new ones to further grow and succeed.
Well! I met my goals in area XYZ! Now what?
Have you ever considered taking what works, and just using as a Template for future success? If you have found something that works, as the saying goes – if it isn’t broken, why fix it? Infact, why not use it and expand on it.
Whether you discovered your signature program or service, it is just the best first stepping stone into further expansions. Now, that doesn’t mean that you cannot sit on your laurels and not improve – listen to your feedback from your clients. Make tweaks – not too many, because there was a reason it worked, but just remember – to progress and grow is never meaning you stand still, or the world could just pass you.
With saying all that – what am I doing?
So, I have been reviewing my year. Looking at things like my books, my journal (yes, my journal) and my reports – what worked, what didn’t and what did I learn.
Now, were there some failures, definitely! I took on tasks that maybe weren’t the best fit, however, I did learn my boundaries in this as well.
Did I have successes? Yes! I found out some more info about my passions, where I still need to work on myself and my business and I even invested in a Masterclass to better learn and grow my business. It was a fantastic opportunity that I am glad I just didn’t pass on.
What does 2020 look like for CMC Professional Services?
Well, to start, expansion. Take what has been working and grow it – meaning taking on more meaning full clients – and working with them to achieve their goals.
It means working to expand on my writing opportunities – more blogging, content creation and copy creation. It is a passion, the written word, and I realized this year, just how much I have missed it.
It also means, more networking – allow you all a better opportunity to learn more about me and my services – even if it doesn’t directly service you, you may have a colleague or friend that is in need and we can work together (if possible) to not only achieve my goals but you/your referral as well!
To Close off this post for now,
This is just the beginning. I am grateful to this opportunity to learn something new every day! Plus, the opportunity to be in service and learn from my clients, it is priceless!