[FUEL] The importance of working ON your business – 7 steps to making your business soar

By Dawn Shuler Michael Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited, talks about the importance of working ON your business, as opposed to working IN your business. The working in is the delivering of your business’s services or products: providing the service, fulfilling the product, writing the proposal, giving the class, hiring the vendors, firing the contractors, sending the reports to the CPA, ordering supplies. Working on your business is far different; it’s looking at the big picture, designing the marketing strategy for the next year, creating new products, deciding to expand, defining new roles and descriptions, professional development. Honestly, most entrepreneurs don’t spend enough time working ON the business. They’re much too caught up on the working IN side. Take a look at your to-do list; what’s on it? I bet it’s a lot of those Working IN tasks. The problem is that Working ON the biz isn’t an item on
Read More

[FUEL] How to organize your ideas, even if you’re right-brained

By Dawn Shuler One of the biggest problems I see with entrepreneurs is what to do with all the ideas they have swirling around in their brains. We entrepreneurs love ideas and possibilities! But if we spin mentally with those ideas and never engage with them, we can get frustrated and overwhelmed. The trick is to get those ideas, thoughts, concepts, and plans out of your head. But if you’re not a left-brained type, you might get stuck with the HOW to get them out of your head. (And if you are left-brained, or a combo like me, these steps might help you as well.) See, you MUST get the ideas out of your head. Because you can’t move forward until you do. I think of all those ideas like strings, and they’re all tangled up with one another. So in that jumbled mess, you can’t see where one string
Read More

[FUEL] Ready, Fire, Aim

By Dawn Shuler I’ve had several coaching calls lately where my sweet little clients want everything to be perfect before they hit the “Go” button. They want “it” to be perfect. They want everything figured out. They want assurance that it’s all going to go to plan. Yeah….. that whole planning thing…. see, planning is great. You need plans. As Eisenhower said, “I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” At some point, you have to actually DO something. At that point, the plan is a useful guide, but the eventual outcome will always look different from the original plan. Here are some things I hear which tells me that people are spending too much time with the aiming and planning part: My elevator pitch isn’t perfect so I can’t go to any networking events. I have to wait until after Mercury in Retrograde is over
Read More

[FUEL] Business Vision Check-up

By Dawn Shuler Last week, I talked about how in this highly-charged, energetic world, we’re constantly evolving and changing, and our businesses change as a result. And sometimes we’re working visions and plans that have become outdated. Yet, here we are…. in the midst of taking action for a plan that no longer fits. Our vision has changed. In order to make sure your actions are in alignment with your Current Vision, you need to do a periodic Business Vision Check-up. This is a way to check in with what you want to do, what you want to be offering, and then how all that plays out in the next 6-12 months of your business planning, marketing, and promotional calendar. First, sit quietly. This isn’t a quick exercise to go through during the commercial break of your favorite show, or in between scrolling on Facebook. Get yourself ready to hear
Read More

[FUEL] Are you working an outdated vision?

By Dawn Shuler I’ve stated for years that I don’t do five-year business plans, not detailed ones, anyway. When I started my business back in 2002, I wrote a business plan that projected five years out, but not with specifics about exactly what I’d be doing to reach those revenue goals, other than just work x number of hours at x hourly rate. Things have changed a bit for me. 🙂 Actually, that’s the point, Back in 2002, all I could see five years ahead was that I would be doing the same thing as what I started out doing, just with more clients and regularly raising my fees. Well, that didn’t take into account my practice taking off, becoming Chief Operating Officer of a virtual training company, and launching a second company. All that happened within three years after I started my business. Since then, it seems as if
Read More

[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] Lifecycle of a Project – Four Phases and Challenges of Each Phase

By Dawn Shuler We all have projects, and as creative entrepreneurs, boy-oh-boy, do the project possibilities multiply! (I’ll talk later about all those unfinished projects. 🙂 If you’re getting that itch again to create something new, take a look at the four phases of a project to see what it is that really jazzes you. It may be that you love one phase over another, and THAT is what has you starting new projects again and again. Phase 1: Design – For most entrepreneurs, this is the fun part. This is the whole reason you probably have dozens if not hundreds of project ideas. It’s that idea of possibility… what can you create? What’s needed? How can you bring your amazingness into the world through this specific thing? Oh, it’s a wonderful thing to dream of creation! Think of the Design phase as the asking questions phase: What is it?
Read More

[FUEL] 5 Simple Ways to Make Progress with Your Marketing

By Dawn Shuler Running an online business requires a ton of marketing… even some things you might not consider marketing. Article writing, blogging, social media updates, sales page copy, campaign emails, video scripts, networking elevator speeches, bios… It can be overwhelming when you think about it. Sometimes it even seems easier to just not do anything. Here are five strategies to help you simplify your marketing plans – and to make sure you continue to market! The first – and the key to any project – is to break down your marketing into bite-sized small pieces. Then, take one task at a time. And if you’re a list maker, then each of those pieces is an individual task – much nicer to your psyche as you try to get things done, and you get to cross off those to-do items more often! If you have graphics (or other pieces) to
Read More

[FUEL] Daily Time Management Model for Amazing Productivity

By Dawn Shuler   That’s quite a claim, isn’t it… “Daily Time Management Model for Amazing Productivity”? There are two reasons I wrote it that way: It’s a model. In other words, I’m not saying this is how you must structure your day, no matter what. Using this model – the way I’ve adapted it to MY life and business – has truly resulted in amazing productivity. For the month I’ve been using this system, I’ve been more productive, felt better, have gotten more done in one month than in most consecutive six months in my fourteen years of business. Okay, that was a mouthful. For those that think in equations, here is a formula: Time Management System = most productive in 1 month > in any previous 6 months I’ve broken down my daily time management system into its various pieces so that you can determine what works for
Read More

[FUEL] Dream a Little Dream

By Dawn Shuler For some people, January can feel like this super productive, let’s get things done time of year. There are all these resolutions and goals and new year energy. Boom. Boom. Boom. Well, I like to do things differently (no surprise there). I slow down and go inward to see what wants to be created. Sure, I do the whole smart business planning thing, but all that smart business planning needs to be driven by something deeper. What do I want to bring into the world this year? What am I being called to do? Is the direction I’m going in the right one for me? How can I use my gifts and genius to an even greater level – and help even more people? So, while, yes, I did set goals for 2016, those goals were based on the deeper, more introspective work I did. I suggest
Read More