[FUEL] 4 Steps for Any Successful Business System

By Dawn Shuler I recently had some issues with a business who was providing a service for me. I couldn’t get my messages through: no one responded to my emails or my voice mails. What I found out later was that a former employee had done some damage as she left the company, and the staff was dealing with repeated fires. They didn’t have time to deal with me. (And that’s another system to talk about another day.) So, lots of issues, lots of holes, lots of missing or broken systems. And all of it can be repaired. As I put my systems-and-processes hat on (well, to be honest, I never really take it off), I realize there are four steps to creating success and preventing many issues. It doesn’t mean issues will never come up if you implement these four steps, but many will be prevented, and you are
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[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
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[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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Being poor, not enough clothes, and the emergence of a system

By Dawn Shuler Growing up, I lived in the worst part of Irving, Texas.  Before I could drive, I babysat for my biology teacher and his family, and as he brought me home for the first time, he remarked, “I didn’t even know there were houses back here.” I was beyond embarrassed and shamed.  I knew exactly what he meant and what he was too kind to say. It was what you might picture of a white trash neighborhood:  rusted out junk cars all over the yards, trash piling up on porches and spilling out in the yard, dogs and goats (yes, goats) wandering around.  To be fair, there were a couple of houses that were nicely kept up, but they were an exception. My parents did their best as well: keeping the house painted when it started to peel, planting marigolds in the front yard, keeping the grass mowed,
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[FUEL] Let’s get real… These are the 3 things you need to be doing

By Dawn Shuler While I can talk about the 55+ systems you could implement into your business, in reality, everything boils down to these three things: you need to do work with your clients, you need to get more clients, and you need to make sure the business runs. Boom. Done. End of story. Easy, right? Well, yes and no. You can do the work. Heck, that’s why you got into this work in the first place. You want to serve. All you want to do is have your schedule filled with ideal clients whom you can provide your service, and possibly even transformation. You could do that all day, every day. Bring it on, right?! That’s part one. Part two is getting MORE of those ideal clients. This is where your systems come in. How do you get more of these awesome, ideal clients? Build relationships. You need to
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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] 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
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[FUEL] The Ins and Outs of a Product Launch

By Dawn Goldberg You’ve spent weeks, maybe even months, writing your new eBook or home study system. You brought on a graphics designer to make sure your product rocks the casbah. You’re even ready with a fulfillment company to print the CDs, DVDs, and workbook. You give a sigh of relief… you’re done. Uh, no, you’re not. Now, you have to market the thing that you’ve just spent weeks and months developing. You’re not anywhere near being done. What most entrepreneurs and people who market their businesses online don’t always remember to account for is that marketing a product is as a big a project with as many moving parts as creating the thing in the first place. While “build it, and they will come” worked in the movie Field of Dreams, it doesn’t quite work that way in the online real-world field. Ideally, you plan out the development of
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