Four Ways to Get Ahead in the New Year

2017-goals-photoLet’s look at how you can get ahead in 2017 by focusing on short, bite-sized goals that are easy to meet. Here are four things you can knock out today to set yourself up for financial success this year:

  1. Sit down and add up all the expenses you expect to have in the next 30 days. Take into account any spending money you may need and try to limit your discretionary spending for the next 30 days. Cut back on anything that is not necessary for the next month.
  2. Make a list of all your debt balance, minimum monthly payment amounts, and interest rates.
  3. Compare the income you expect to receive over the next 30 days to your expenses. Determine whether you expect to have any money left over once all expenses are paid. If so, plan to use the extra money toward your debt, focusing on the account with the lowest balance first. If you don’t have any money left over, see whether you can raise some money by selling something you no longer need, doing an odd job for someone, or taking on a second temporary job.
  4. Mark your calendar for 30 days from today to repeat this exercise. In the meantime, only worry about what you can do to take control of your finances for this month. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to look too far into your future. Seize the day!

As always, I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Women CPAs Work Their Assets Off

Let’s face it, accounting work is not for just everyone, especially when you’re balancing mom duties. Not only do you work impossible hours, travel like the globetrotters, bite your upper lip every time a box of receipts shows up on your desk, manage a mountain of e-mails daily, and listen to countless stories from your clients about that one TV or radio commercial that assured him his expense was deductible – you also are the CEO of your family! No wonder you feel like a legitimate superwoman!assetsoff.jpg

So what are other female accountants doing to balance their lives?

  1. Improve your habits, not your goals – You don’t need to set better goals because you already know who you want to be. Instead, you need to focus on the one or two things you can do that will make the biggest difference in your life.   What is that for you?? Maybe it’s changing a routine? Perhaps it’s narrowing your focus? What about having an accountability partner? Do you need more fun in your life? Could it be just simply taking action on what you already know you need to do? After all, imperfect action is better than no action. Take a look at the one simple thing that could modify your life and just focus on it for the next few months.
  2. Throw out the junk – You know you do things daily that aren’t on your life’s priority list. They don’t make one iota of difference in your life or in the lives of those around you. But you do them anyway. So why not picking one of those things and eliminating it altogether. It may just liberate you all the way to less stress.
  3. Just say “no”! – You can’t possibly be everything to everyone. For me, I recently learned to say no by saying “I’m sorry but I can’t commit to this right now but you can certainly count on my prayers.” And not only have I started saying it, I mean it! This gives me the confidence to gracefully focus on my priorities but also the feeling that I can make a difference by lifting up that person or their cause in prayer. After all, sometimes that’s the best way to make a difference!

For more tips on how you can live on the north side of average, subscribe or connect with me today!

 

Time Management Skills for Small Business Owners

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Time management is something we hear a lot about but never seem to get an understanding of what we need to do about it. In this article, you’ll get 4 time management skills for small business owners. You may not like them, but they work.

1) Log your time
Take a day or a week. (A week is preferable) Log all the time you spend doing all your activities. You can grab a sheet or use a spreadsheet depending on how analytical you are. Start from the moment you wake up and end when you go to sleep. Track every single thing you do in a day and the number of minutes it takes you to do it.

2) Go over the log and identify your big time wasters.
Categorize your activities. Figure out how much total time you spent on each activity. Determine the percentage of time you took to do each activity category. You want to find areas where you’re spending too much time like meetings, email, phone calls, etc.

3) Apply the 80/20 rule to your time.
The 80/20 rule says that 80% of your results come from about 20% of your activities. You need to figure out those activities that give you the best results and increase the amount of time you spend on them. You’ll need to keep analyzing this and keep increasing the time on the activities that only get you results. The rest is not important.

4) Delegate your time. 
If you spend a bunch of time on your email, find an assistant to handle your email responses and send you only the most important ones. Email is usually a big time suck. Give away those activities that don’t get results. Give them to an employee who can handle them for you and train that employee to do them for you. Then, trust that employee to do the job you’ve trained them to do and move along doing the things you need get you the best results.

I hope these tips have helped you with your time management. If you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

4 Tips on Finding Your Path and Purpose in Life

4 Tips on Finding Your Path and Purpose in Lifepath

I remember an adult once telling me when I was young that I needed to try different things in order to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember thinking, “How could I possibly just fall into something I love by chance? Into something I’m meant to become? Is it perhaps a bit more predestined than that?”

I’m certain it’s normal to search for meaning and purpose. It is, after all, our nature as human beings. I was reminded this morning of an uber-successful millennial who struck it rich with a tech startup and become an instant billionaire, only to reach age 30 and realize no one cared about him and he was doing something that left him empty. The point is that everyone wants perfection.   Everyone wants financial stability. Everyone wants productivity and some degree of a routine. Everyone wants certainty. Everyone wants to give love and to be loved. The reality is that these things just don’t exist because the perfect version of yourself is constantly changing as you learn and grow! As you expand, your goals expand with you.

Isn’t the search, perhaps, less about attaining the perfect life and more about finding the perfect path?

The Perfection Competition
As you browse through Facebook and Instagram you will see updates and posts of what other people are doing and accomplishing. For me, this has led at times to feelings of jealousy or thoughts that perhaps I’m not accomplishing enough or getting enough out of life. I’ve realized that, when I set concrete goals for myself that are followed-up by smaller goals that help me achieve the big ones, I become more confident. I feel more productive. I feel like I’m on the right path for me. All of a sudden, I can’t identify as much with someone else’s’ perfect life and I feel more fulfilled with my own. So, I’ll ask you, what are your goals for yourself?

Learn the Signs of Misdirection
Feeling uncertain about your life, your goals, or your purpose is all normal. But what’s not normal is to feel uncertain every minute of every day. If that’s going on, I can say with complete certainty you’re not on the right path. Red flags and alarm bells should be going off all over the place for you right now! Instead, try to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings so you can be prepared to take action. Begin briefly journaling those feelings along with your ideas for what may be causing them. What is the root of it all?

Ask for Help
I know for a fact that I am my own worst enemy. But I have to stop and remind myself that, many times, I’m doing better than I think I am. Thankfully, in my case, I have two trusted people who remind me of that. I can be open and honest with them and they will give me a candid opinion of what I should consider changing. Everyone needs someone in their life that won’t just tell them what they want to hear. Do you have someone like this?

Purpose is Divine
I am a Christian and it’s taken me 33 years to realize that, when I focus on anything other than my faith and God’s will for my life, I grow unhappy, worried and frustrated. We all have talents. We all have a reason for being here. So instead of trying to figure it out for yourself, try praying about it. Now that I finally feel like I know what path I’m on, I pray daily that God will give me eyes to see Him, ears to hear Him, a hunger to do His will in my life, and that He will help me with each step along my path. For me, He has been faithful and helped me realize that I can’t do this alone. He has called me to be greater and, because of this, he has blessed me with purpose and passion! So are you praying regularly for purpose?

 

Your Brand May Need a Facelift

faceliftLet’s face it, we all want to develop a winning strategy! According to a recent Forbes article, “When it comes to building your personal brand, a coach can be a powerful resource who can help you get out of your own way, stand out, and take action to achieve the things that are truly important to you.”

1.) Developing a Winning Strategy: Although this article is specifically referring to personal branding, the same is true for what a professional coach can do for you. A coach can clearly set out a strategy that will help you achieve your goals by bringing an “outsider” in with an expert point of view. This can allow you to see strengths and weaknesses that you may have never considered previously. By identifying these items and setting a plan, you will be able to find your advantage in the market.

2.) Gain the competitive advantage: Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you will also be able to identify your opportunities and threats. Knowing the competition is key to knowing how to compete in your market. A coach can help you know what will set you apart from the competition and help you gain the lead over your competitors.

3.) Being free to focus: Another important advantage that coaching presents is the freedom to focus on what is really important. The same Forbes article warns folks that don’t take advantage of a coach, “you could be limiting your career success. That’s because coaches help you identify and focus on what’s important, which accelerates your success.”

A coach takes the pressure off by guiding you through the branding process. A coach can clear up the branding details for you so you can focus on your product or service and know that you have the tools you need to succeed and attract customers.

These are just a few reasons to love what small business coaching can do for you. To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us.

-Valerie

Deciding Where to Focus in Your Business

focus2I’ll never forget the one, gut-wrenching moment when a business mentor called me out on everything great we were doing at our firm. “Valerie, you keep telling me all the things you guys are but what I’m not hearing is who are you not?” It hit me like a bullet between the eyes! He was right! In fact, he was so right that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since where his words haven’t echoed like a freight train in my mind. We had grown an amazing business but were wondering why we couldn’t get to the next level and it had to do with one simple thing…we were focused but not focused enough!

Until that day, I thought I fully understood the power of focus, – in marketing, in strategy, in client service, in virtually every area of our business. For me, focus always came instinctively and, as a business owner, my nature has always been to question whether every action we take will lead to a nice return on investment (ROI).

Return-on-investment usually boils down to money; what will give us the best return for a given investment of resources. I believe you can only pay yourself in two ways: 1) by making more money, or 2) by finding more time to do the things you love. I think we often forget to focus on what parts of our business we find satisfying and fun because we’re too busy focusing on what the market looks like or on what types of customers we can reach.

So, for us, the question, “who are we not?” led us to the answer we’d been searching for all along. It redirected our focus to the opportunities we saw in the marketplace and away from the parts of the business we didn’t enjoy. Today, the payback has been exceptional, and I owe it to a perceptive, bold coach who was willing to risk telling me something I may not want to hear.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you could use some advice on keeping your business goals in focus.