[FUEL] One Idea – Multiple Steps – A Finished Project

By Dawn Shuler A couple of Decembers ago, we completely remodeled our office, including custom-building a cabinet to take the place of an unwieldy, blocky, and inefficient computer armoire. We knew it was a big project, and we tried to take into account everything we could, especially the needed downtime to tear apart the office and put it back together (with so many pieces of computer equipment and peripherals, no small thing). There were times when I just wanted to give up. “It’s not so bad the way it is now… It will be easier to just leave it the way it is. Will this really help my business?” Deep down, I truly knew I would be happier, more productive, more energetic if our environment was more supportive, beautiful, and efficient. Here’s what I learned from this project, and what I have since applied to any big project I’ve decided
Read More

[FUEL] Are you running your business, or is it running you?

By Dawn Shuler If you’re running ragged and feeling like you’re at the mercy of your business, then your business is running you. Before you go off in a huff, here are some signs that your business might be the one in charge: You don’t think you can take any time off, whether it’s an afternoon or a whole two weeks. You frequently start sentences with, “I have to ________.” You also frequently say, “I’ll just do it myself. It will be faster and easier.” You have no help, no VA, no team. And you say the main reason you can’t get help is because it will take too long to train someone else to do it. You don’t have a clear sense of your numbers: how much is coming in, and how much is going out. You think in terms of “I can’t afford it” or “My business isn’t
Read More

[FUEL] Hate marketing? Change your attitude.

By Dawn Shuler I hear from business owners and entrepreneurs all the time: “I hate marketing” or “I’m no good at marketing.” No wonder they struggle. Somehow, they’ve wrapped up marketing with some idea of smarmy, manipulative, annoying selling. (While there is a difference between marketing and selling, neither is evil.) Marketing isn’t this awful, manipulative, necessary evil in your business. It’s not just a way to let people know about you, your company, and your services. It’s bigger than that. I embrace marketing, and I invite you to do the same. Here are seven ways to change your attitude around marketing. Think of marketing as a conversation. Imagine you’re talking to your girlfriend about this awesome, cool thing you’re doing. You wouldn’t clam up, would you? How would you talk about it? What words would you use? You have to believe in what you’re selling. If you don’t believe
Read More

[FUEL] How wide is your view?

By Dawn Shuler When you’re working in your business (as opposed to working “on”), you’re mired deeply, head down, focused on the minute details and plans. It’s as if you’re looking through a microscope. And that level of attention and focus is good and definitely needed at times. The problem can be when you stay in that mode and feel you have to do everything to the nth degree, or do everything to the nth degree yourself. Imagine what that actually looks like… you’re sitting at your desk in front of your computer or on your couch with your laptop. Your eyes are metaphorically inches from the screen. You’re working a pretty intricate plan with dates and details and to-do’s. You never look up. How much can you see what’s going on around you? Not much, and that can cause problems. If something needs to change, can you even step
Read More

[FUEL] Top 10 Ways to Be More Present in Your Life

By Dawn Shuler As a small business owner, mother, and wife, I’m a busy gal. And as a creative entrepreneur, I have enough ideas to keep me going 24/7 for years to come. And I like to paint, draw, quilt, cross-stitch, write, run, hike… Unfortunately in some ways, though, I seem to be wired to work, work, work, and play after. “I’ll do such and such AFTER I do my work.” Guess when that happens? Yep … never! I never get ALL my work done. What I noticed was that I would get to the proverbial end of regular business hours, and I felt frenetic and panicked and stressed. “Oh, no! I can’t quit now! Look at all this there is to do! I’ll have to work tonight after dinner and after the kids go to bed!” or a plaintive, wailing, “Everything I didn’t get done today will have to
Read More

[FUEL] 7 Ways to Market from the Light (and Leave the Dark Side Behind)

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 consistently markets her business (just like you do), 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. I understand it’s an easy way to market. Marketers even call statements meant to draw
Read More

[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
Read More

[FUEL] Content Creation – 5 Important Areas to Focus on

By Dawn Shuler Content creation is being bandied about nowadays, especially in the online marketing world. Each of us may have an idea of what “content” is, but you might be surprised at how many different things it is. It’s about every single day when you sit down at your desk and put your fingers on the keyboard… what are you creating? Articles Blogs Social media updates Videos Website content Promotional materials (and this is a big catchall category: marketing emails, affiliate materials, speaker queries, graphics) Your bio and other materials about you (think speaker sheet, media kit) Operation manuals Internal and external emails Infographics Worksheets Exercises Programs and the material your peeps in the program get One-off educational materials Webinars Requests for proposals And the list goes on So, when you think about what you need to be writing and the content you need to be creating, it can
Read More

[FUEL] The Truth About “Being ready”

By Dawn Shuler If you’re a business owner, more than likely you want something more: more clients, more revenue, more free time, more speaking events, more expansion, more products. As a business coach, I have a lot of conversations with other business owners about where they are in their business and their goals. During those conversations and follow-up, people tend to be in two different camps: 1) those who are ready to move forward and take action, and 2) those who “aren’t ready.” “Give me a couple of weeks to figure things out.” “I need to get clearer.” “Let me get ready, and I’ll get back to you.” What does “ready” really mean? Most people who say they aren’t ready either mean they don’t have the money (but that’s almost always a reason that covers up something deeper) or that they aren’t clear enough. They think that once they get
Read More

[FUEL] The Spirituality in Creativity

By Dawn Shuler Earlier this week I was at one of my favorite networking events where I highlighted my upcoming Create Your Own Power Words Oracle Deck workshop with my own decks of cards as examples. One woman exclaimed, “Oh, but I have no artistic skills!” I assured her that no artistic skills (in the traditional sense) were required. Another woman commented that while I was claiming not to have been “artistic,” I had been creative. And that’s a big piece of this particular workshop – to allow women to be creative, and to play – with paints, stencils, markers, stamps, and more. This “being creative” piece is of uber importance. We need to let that side out in us. We also may need to redefine what being creative is. It’s not just being able to paint or sketch or draw, although it could be. It could be anything from
Read More