[FUEL] Liberating myself from tracking my time

By Dawn Shuler Back in 2002 when I started out as a virtual assistant, I got a program called TraxTime to… wait for it…. track my time. 🙂 I punched in and out for every project (client). In the mid 2000s, I added my own business as a project because I would get to the end of my work day, feel like I had worked all day, and only had 2-3 billable hours. So, my company became a client, and I would clock in and out no matter what – for me or whatever client I was working on. Fast forward to now when I’m no longer managing anyone’s business or working per minute, and I still clock in and out. My projects (what TraxTime calls them) are Administrative, Coaching, The Shuler Group (anything that doesn’t fall into Administrative or Coaching), SGC Coaching (the coaching I do as an Associate
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What art has taught me about business

I’ve always loved creating with my hands, and I’ve been doing quilting and cross-stitch for over twenty years.  Over the last couple of years ago, I dared to venture into other art forms:  drawing, sketching, Zentangle, painting, coloring.  I don’t really have that whole “Oh, but I’m not artistic,” as I’ve seen for years the variety of artistic talent.  I mean, c’mon, a painting with a line that sells for thousands? Anyone can be creative with that model as inspiration. The art I create is within my realm, meaning it’s going to look like certain things, and it’s not going to look like others.  And I’m okay with that.  This wasn’t one of the lessons I needed to learn, although I recognize that it can be important lesson for others. So, in my exploration of art and creativity, here are some things I’ve learned… It can be good to have
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Is your vision big enough to pull you forward?

By Dawn Shuler As entrepreneurs and business owners, it can be hard, this job of running a business.  As CEOs of our own business, WE are the ones who have to design the long-term strategy, find new clients, launch new products and programs.  We don’t have a president of board of directors setting the direction and the plan to follow. We have to do that. That means in the midst of life and everything around us, we have to keep the vision strong.  We have to make those marketing calls.  We have to go to the networking events.  We have to follow up. We have to send out that “last chance to register” email. Sometimes we don’t want to.  And, again, there’s no one else setting the direction.  So, if we fall short and don’t sail the distance that day, well, who is really going to notice? The key to
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[FUEL] The Trap of Work, Work, Work

By Dawn Shuler I recently coached one of my clients on scheduling. She has a lot going on, with several big areas of her business she is working at once. We talked about the never-ending to-do lists, everything seeming important, feeling like all you do is put out fires, not working on a big project because if you can’t get it all done right now, hey, why bother? Any of that sound familiar? If you’re a business owner, you’re busy. You’re either working directly with clients, marketing to get more clients, or running the back-end of your business. Throughout my own years in business, I’ve struggled to find a way to manage my time that didn’t result in ending my work day feeling stressed, frenetic, and worthless. One of those attempts was to experiment with making a concerted effort to limit my working day and create a solid ending time.
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Come to the light – OUT. You are already in the light – IN.

By Dawn Shuler I’ve noticed over the years that there is a strong marketing propensity to inspire fear in others.  It goes something like this: You are struggling.  You are challenged by your situation.  And if you don’t fix it, you will continue to struggle and wither.  You are in darkness. Let me show you this pinpoint of light in your dark cave.  I am the light, and only I can lead you successfully out of the dark. As a coach and as a business owner who markets her business, I have a hard time with this avenue.  I actually don’t want to work with someone who is so mired in struggle and challenge that she’s desperate for any relief and will grab onto anything that might give that relief. My clients are already in the light.  Sure, there may be some challenges to overcome (hey, don’t we all have
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[FUEL] The Magic of Consistency and the Myth of Overnight Successes

By Dawn Shuler I don’t know if any other business coaches promise amazing results in no time flat, but the reality is that building and growing a business takes time. And action. Consistent action. It doesn’t happen overnight. “I was an overnight success all right, but 30 years is a long, long night.” ~ Ray Kroc “There are no quick wins in business – it takes years to become an overnight success.” ~ Richard Branson “Most people were startled to find out there were books that preceded Game Of Thrones. I’m a case of working forty years to be an overnight success.” ~ George R. R. Martin What I’ve found since I started my newest reinvention is that everything I put in place at the beginning of this year is now blooming and taking off big time. That’s after five months of a clarified message, brand, and plan, and fourteen-plus
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[FUEL] How to Run Your Business Like a Big Girl (or Big Boy)

By Dawn Shuler In order to successfully run your business, you have to focus on more than just the thing you do (coaching, consulting, assisting, bookkeeping, CPAing, whatever). You have to also focus on the actual running of your business. Some people find the running-of-the-business activities not fun and fulfilling, and so they don’t run their business smartly. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to run your business like a big girl or boy and attend to ALL areas of your business. The good news (see how I play “bad cop, good cop”?) is that you can outsource some of this. The bad news is that you still need to pay attention to these areas and do at least some of the work. You have to be the CEO of your business. What I’ve found in my own business and those of my clients is that once
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[FUEL] About that ideal client of yours….

By Dawn Shuler I know… you hear ALL the freaking time about how you need to know your ideal client, be specific, blah blah blah. Well, I hate to tell ya, but it’s really true. You MUST be able to specifically describe your ideal client. Here’s the #1 reason why that’s hard: you want to be of service. You have gifts to share. Your genius helps light up the world. From that place, you want to help the world! And so you say, “I can help everyone! Everyone needs my services!” While that may be true to some degree, it’s difficult to market to a generic “everyone.” Your most effective marketing is the one that connects and resonates with the end-user, so much so that she says, “That’s me!!! Wow, you really get me!” You can’t do that if you’re genericizing your marketing in order to not possibly leave anyone
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[FUEL] Claim Your Message – 5 Exercises to Create Your Compelling, Powerful Message

By Dawn Shuler Your message – your brand, if you will – is crucial to your business. This message encapsulates who you are, what you do, and who you do it for… along with housing your uniqueness. Everything follows from that core statement. This message is woven through your elevator speech, your website copy, the topics you speak on, your social media updates. Here’s the thing: if you can’t speak concisely, powerfully, and clearly about who you are and what you do, people won’t know what you do! Case in point: as I’ve been talking to more and more people about my evolving direction as a business coach and strategist, people who have known me for years go, “Oh, really? I thought you helped people write fiction books.” OR “Don’t you teach grammar and writing?” Well, not really. (I did teach writing classes, but that was years ago. And I
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[FUEL] How to run your business badly – Case Study

By Dawn Shuler Recently, I’ve had a run-in with a vendor providing a service to my company. I contracted with this business almost a year ago for a service she’s going to provide in the upcoming weeks. She emailed me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that she has to cancel our arrangement due to some work she has to have done in her business. Note that we’re talking about scheduling something 7-8 weeks before our contracted date. Valuing connection and communication, I called her to talk this through. I called every day for three days in a row and left messages. She did not call me back. Because we have a contract, I got in touch with my lawyers to see what we needed to do, and we’re looking at our legal options. She has finally gotten in touch with me, but the situation is still unresolved.
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