How often do you hear ‘let’s meet for a coffee and a chat’?
Now then, I am more than happy to give an initial free consultation to anyone who needs help. We all need a helping hand at times. But what rankles me are those that you have this chat with who then want to follow it up in more detail over a coffee. They know you can help them but they don’t want to pay.
These people are those that I know personally and because of this connection, they seem to think they can use my services and not have to pay. (The strange thing is that they never offer me free products or services that they sell).
I wrote an article ‘Can I Pick Your Brain’ a while ago now but thought it would be useful to come up with a few more answers to those who don’t value your time or expertise.
For those who think you are dumb and will fall for the coffee invite just for them to bombard you with questions.
“I would love to meet for coffee. It would great to get away from the office and have a break from the business talk for an hour.”
People who are in the frame of mind that they want everything for free, usually don’t want to meet in their social time.
Say ‘how about we meet for a drink. You could pop over to (somewhere close to you as they usually also want you to go where it’s convenient for them) when I finish work on (insert day). It would a lovely way to wind down after a busy day.”
Both these responses make it clear that you are NOT going to be talking business. It’s quite satisfying when you hear the person on the other end stumbling for a response.
For those that have made it clear they want to pick your brains for nothing
Don’t be afraid of offending these people. They aren’t worried about offending you.
“I’d love to take you up coffee but unfortunately coffee doesn’t pay my bills”
“I’ve never found that discussing business over coffee is the most effective way of giving advice. I’d be more than happy to book you in for an appointment. I’ll email you the details to get you booked in.” Then send them your paid booking link. I promise you won’t hear from them again.
These two responses are more direct but very effective.
Alternatively, “I don’t have time for coffee but more than happy to book you an appointment in my office”. This is slightly softer and keeps the channels of communication open.
An even more softly, softly catch-all answer would be “I’d love to but I’m currently snowed under”.
Ultimately, just be straight with them.
Tell them “If it’s a coffee and a chat I would love to meet up but being open and honest here, if you are just trying to use it as an excuse for free advice, I’ll be a tad offended”. Now let them squirm with embarrassment.
And don’t feel guilty. Remember, if you did all of these free coffee requests, your business would rapidly go downhill and your paying clients would get to hear and get pretty pissed off.
Your business. Your rules.
And just for fun. After initially writing this post, I was sent this which I think is just brilliant!
Do you have any responses you would like to share? Leave them in the comments box below.
A HOME OFFICE VERSUS AN OFF-SITE OFFICE
Which office type is best for your business?
Every company or business establishment have their own office space where customers or potential clients visit them to conduct business. An office is a place where all professional matters are handled and any business transactions are conducted. Having an office premise gives a professional image to a business and is preferable for many small business owners.However, some people find working at an office inconvenient whether from commuting time, restricted opening hours if the office is within a shared building etc. Or, they may simply not be able to afford the premises. Therefore, many small business owners decide to run their business from a home office.
How do you choose?
Working from Home
Home-based business owners set-up their home office where they handle all work-related tasks. In fact, most set-up their own home office where they can entertain clients and business associates at home. Many find this a convenient set-up since they can attend to their work while being able to still spend time with their family.
However, the accessibility of the comforts available within your home, it is easy to fall into the wrong idea that you are not working. Hence, you need to develop a sound level of self-discipline in order to separate business from pleasure and focus on what you need to do at work.
Which is better?
There are several considerations that one has to make before deciding whether to opt for a home office or an off-site office instead. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that one is the better option over the other. The best way for you to decide is to come up with a checklist of these pros and cons. Then, determine whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa.
Also, you need to consider your own attitude towards work. If you are the type of person who had to be constantly reminded and lacks the initiative to work on their own, then setting up a home office could be a devastating idea. Below are a list of pro’s and con’s that would help you come up with a decision.
Home office: Pro’s and Con’s
- You have more freedom of flexibility in terms of working hours.
- You can reduce costs such as office rental, fuel usage (from driving to and from the office), and tax deductions.
- It is convenient since you won’t have to dress up just to get to work. You can have your breakfast or spend time with your family and then conveniently check your email.
- If you’re the type who needs to get motivated to work, a home office might not be conducive to you getting your work done.
- There are a lot of potential interruptions at home.
- There are a lot of home office considerations to make such as securing all office equipment you need at home, office furniture, and some other operational needs.
Off-site office: Pro’s and Con’s
- The level of pressure and urgency motivates you to produce quality work.
- The working environment is ideally designed to make working easier for you.
- You have access to all of the equipment or tools you need to conduct your work.
- You have to commute from and to work daily. It becomes more difficult for those who live far from the office.
- Dealing with other workers within the building can be difficult for some, especially with clashing interests and personalities.
- The expense or renting the premises
The decision is now yours as to which is best for you and your business. Whichever you choose, ensure you have everything you need to hand in your premises and make it a professional, yet comfortable place to work.
HOW TO DEAL WITH OVERWHELM AND GET THINGS DONE
At various times in our life, we find that there is so little time and so much to do that our minds get so full of to-do lists that seem to never end. This inevitably ends up with us getting trapped and unable to move forward as we do not even know where to start.
Try some of the ideas below to help empty your mind of these never-ending swirling thoughts and to be able to move forward with a clear vision.
Replace Negative Self Talk With Positive Self Talk.
Be kind to yourself. Negative thoughts are those that stop us from doing what we really want to do. This negative self-talk tells us that we have failed and are so disorganized that we can’t go ahead and do things. It tells us that we don’t know enough, are not good enough and don’t have the skill or talent to make our small business a success.
Unless you really commit long term, you will never know what your ability or capacity is. Take some time to be kind to yourself and think about how you can do it rather than how you can’t. Write down a list of all the strengths and skills you already have that will help you achieve your tasks. Eliminate “I can’t” from your vocabulary. You can always learn a new skill set but you must change a mindset in order to succeed.
Clear up incomplete tasks.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by how much there is to do? Do you have all types of to do lists? Have you done a walk-through inspection of your home office? As you look around your office space, you may notice things that have been left unfinished. Make a list and take time to conquer each of these incompletes. Replace, fix, or toss items that are damaged. Buy items that will enhance your environment and your productivity. Get rid of the old items that are cluttering up your location. Better yet donate them to your local charity. It will be someone else’s treasure. If you have not used it in a year, do you really think you’re still going to use it? Pack it up in a box and if you do not use it in six months, give it away! The item is not serving you well and you’ll be amazed at how much lighter you feel.
Write down your to-do list.
Don’t rely on your memory to remember everything that you need to do or accomplish. Some of those tasks may be daily and monthly, or even yearly. Buy yourself a diary in which to jot down all those things you need to get done. As you write down what it is you need to accomplish each day, you will have a clearer picture and focus on the things that you need to get done. You may break them down into different tasks and delegate them.
Determine your priorities.
When you decide what your priorities are in your business you can better channel your energy to accomplish those priorities. As you take care of your priorities, the rest of your life tends to move with ease because you are focusing on what really matters to you. You may find that a lot of those things that were clogging up your mind were really not important after all and can be scrubbed off your list.
Work on your biggest action items first.
When you have a deadline to finish a big project, it can be a bit overwhelming. Some projects seem larger than others. We can often talk ourselves out of what we need to do by changing the subject or choosing to do an easier task first. We tend to put these important tasks to the side and even procrastinate when approaching that task. However, when you start with the biggest task item first the other tasks seem to be that much easier. By doing the hardest or most difficult task first, you will be more motivated to continue with the rest of your list.
Cut down on the number of webinars and TV shows you watch.
Think about the webinars and recordings that you watch. What purpose are they serving you? Are they merely entertainment or educational? How do they benefit you? By cutting down your viewing time a half an hour each day, you are gaining more time to do other things that will be more fruitful in moving your business forward. It is no use keep on watching to learn new things if you never actually put them into practice.
Check your e-mail only twice per day.
Email is a time waster; we can get drawn into emails that do not help us obtain our goals. Allocate certain times of day to check your email, perhaps you need to let people know that you will check your e-mail at specific times during the day. This allows others to know that you are busy and they will have a better sense of when to expect a reply from you. Unsubscribe from mailing lists that you have joined over the years.
Clear and prepare your desk for the next day.
This process can take about 15 to 20 minutes on average. Throw out anything that you think you do not need. Use the one-touch paper method. When you touch paper, you need to decide if you are going to file it, deal with it, or dispose of it. Paper clutter can overtake our lives.
Take a break from what you’re working on.
There are times when you need to get away from the computer and your desk in order to clear your mind so you can look at your project again with fresh eyes. When we have been working steadily, we can lose sight of our vision of the end result. Sometimes, if we spend time away from a project and then later go back to it, we can think more clearly and generate many new ideas. The best way to clear your mind is to sit in silence and write down whatever thoughts come to your mind. Write down the crazy and extreme thoughts, these are the ones that can lead to creative thinking. You will be amazed at the results; some of your ideas could be groundbreaking.
Stress reducers like exercise, meditation, and prayer are fabulous ways to de-clutter your mind. Exercise not only rejuvenates us and keeps the blood flowing; it also helps our body to get in the best shape ever. Meditation is wonderful for clearing the mind. Prayer gives us hope for future and beliefs and we can achieve.
Declutter your mind daily. Each time you declutter your mind you make room for new ideas and opportunities. You will feel calm, cool, and collected and ready to take on the challenges and opportunities that come your way.
Related article: Having a mini meltdown
The day was so perfectly planned. I was starting an all new women’s small business club. I had run them a few years ago and I had been asked incessantly to start them up again.
I wanted it to be something different. Not just one of those networking groups where all that happens is that everyone is simply waiting for their turn to speak and hand out their business cards with no real interest in anyone but themselves. I wanted this to be a fabulous group that would grow together and support each other so that everyone came away with something positive each time.
I had obviously sold this idea as the group was oversubscribed within a few days of me opening up bookings.
And one lady, an existing member of my Small Business Kit, was prepared to drive for 3 hours in able to be able to attend!
As she was coming such a long way and didn’t know the area, I suggested she come to my house for 9:30 am and I would then drive her to the venue.
I had visions of her arriving at my home and seeing what a super sophisticated woman I was in all my perfect make-up and beautiful clothes and she would admire my domestic goddess status with my wonderful home being so perfect and welcoming.
What happened was ……
I woke up on the morning and started to load the car with a flip chart. display board, refreshments etc. It was only at this moment in time I realised I was going to have to create a Houdini type of act to be able to fit this all in the back of my car! After much faffing, grunting, groaning, pushing and shoving, it finally all went in.
However, I was left looking like I had been dragged through a hedge backward!!!! It was not a pretty sight!
I dash back into the house and check the time. It’s ok. I have time to shower, wash hair and then come down and vacuum the carpet of blonde dog hair from my Labrador who has started shedding her coat in the last 24 hours (only someone who owns a Golden Lab will understand the absolute blizzard of hair they can create just from one 5 second body shake when shedding their coats!).
Off upstairs I go and start the water running. I am just putting my foot into the shower when the phone starts to ring. Should I ignore it? Yes? No? Of course, I can’t ignore it. It might be the lovely lady on her long drive who is lost. I dash to grab the phone and no, it’s not my lady. It’s a family member who is ill at the moment.
Wrenching with my conscience of needing to be there for her but also conscious of time, I let her know I am busy and need to dash. But she really needs someone to talk to and I can’t not listen. Over 45 minutes later, I manage to get in the shower.
Oh, s***! I’m seriously running out of time.
I get out of the shower, check the time and realise I only have half an hour before my lady is due to turn up. Time to start getting slightly hot under the collar.
And then it happens. THE DOORBELL RINGS!
No!! It can’t be. It must be the postman.
I dash downstairs in old (but incredibly comfy) dressing gown, old faithful, but seen better days’ slippers and a towel wrapped around my head. Yes, it’s worse case scenario!
My lady has arrived early!!!!!!
I let her in and was in the middle of explaining my predicament when blonde bombshell Molly (my Labrador) comes bounding out to say hello. She instantly jumps up and sheds a few pounds of hair all over the beautiful poncho that my guest is wearing.
Cutting the story very short or we would be here all day, there was only one thing for it. I hustled my poor frazzled guest into the kitchen. I told her under no circumstances to take her shoes off or she would end up with feet resembling those of a yeti from the carpet of hair on the floor. I then thought sod it, showed her where everything was and told her to make us both some tea whilst I went and got ready.
Eventually, I made it back downstairs, although needing another shower due to antics of the morning so far getting me somewhat hot and bothered.
We sat down together in the kitchen and started to greet each other properly and sip out tea.
Then all hell broke loose. I saw the cat trying to catch a fish out of the pond in the garden. I stood up but the dog got there first. The ensuing chaos could really make a comedy sketch. The cat has a fish, the dog is now chasing the cat, I am now chasing the dog and my poor guest is sat looking on in astonishment.
I’m a fake!
Hell. My cover really is blown! I’m faking this super sophisticated domestic goddess status. My life is generally chaos!
Eventually, we got to the business club and I simply had to relay the story to the other ladies.
And do you know what? I think they loved me all the more for it. One lady said how she followed me and listened to me because I was so real. She loved the fact that when I did my live videos my dog would suddenly bounce into view and on more than occasion knock the camera over.
They loved that I wasn’t sat in perfection with the humungous vase of roses, the bone china, the stilettos, hair done by (hang on, who is a top hairdresser these days?) and picture-perfect makeup. They could relate to me. And that made me so happy.
I simply don’t have to be perfect. I just have to be me. Chaos and all.
And do you know the best thing? My lovely guest is coming back again next month. Yippee!!!!
Have you had a perfectly planned day that went pear shaped? Share your experience below and let me know I’m not alone!
Let me take you back in time. This week, I was having a sort out and came across the following diary entry. It was certainly an emotional read looking back.
29th October 2007
10 months ago I woke full of enthusiasm and ready to take on the world. I had so many ideas and was fully energised to turn them all into a wonderful business that I could run from home and that would give me the income I had always dreamt of.
I would be able to work when I wanted, from where I wanted and to my own rules. No more being told where I had to be, what I had to do, when I could take a break or when I could take a holiday.
Profits from the business would go into my pocket, not that of some faceless bodies sat in their ivory tower. I would sing to my own tune and have both the financial and time freedom that I had always craved.
And here we are today, nearly 12 months down the road. I have endlessly worked more hours than I ever have. Weekends off with family are a distant memory and if I do get to spend time with them, every waking moment is worrying about the lack of sales and diminished bank account.
I have started numerous programs and flitted from one to other without results.
I have watched endless webinars, touched on what they have taught me, but never really put them fully into action, or if I did, the results didn’t come flooding in as expected.
I have about 16 unfinished business books my bedside as I jump from one new idea to the other.
This morning I woke up feeling exhausted, drained and tired of trying so hard for so little return.
I’m tired of making excuses to my husband that the money will come in time
The first thing I did was go online and skimmed through available jobs and now just want to cry. I don’t want to go back there and admit defeat.
But maybe it’s time to face the facts that perhaps I’m simply not good enough and I don’t have what it takes.
Why does everyone else make it look so easy whilst I struggle so much?.
So, what are my choices today? Do I keep struggling on or do I admit defeat?
I just want to sit down and cry. I just want to let it all out to someone who will listen and not judge. I don’t want another ‘discovery call’ with a coach who is simply out to sell me something. I just want someone to understand what I am going through so that I don’t feel so desperately alone.
Phew! There we have it.
This was an entry from diary back in 2007. A lot has happened over the last 10 years. But does this resonate with anyone else out there today? If this is you, I beg you, don’t suffer alone. I have been there and done it. I am one of the lucky ones who has come out the other side. But it wasn’t easy. (I had to go back and get a 9-5 job after this entry but came back fighting again with many lessons learnt).
I got suckered into to paying for ‘high level’ coaching that simply wasn’t worth the money and left me feeling more deflated than before. I spent a small fortune that I couldn’t afford with promises of great returns that never came to fruition.
I know what you are going through.
I run my business today because I genuinely want to help people. Believe it or not, it’s not all about the money for me. I am in a privileged place now where money isn’t an issue for me. Yes, I still like to earn enough to afford me the little luxuries in life but I also have the flexibility to give something back.
So if you are suffering, come have a chat with me. I will listen. I won’t judge. I will help if I can and if that is what you want. There will zero sales spiel. That is not what this is about. This is me giving something back.
As a lovely lady said to me recently:
“You’re support and genuine caring is much appreciated in so many ways – thank you – I am gaining confidence by the day, I am continually making progress and continually remaining positive x x x.”
Drop me a message in the strictest of confidence if you would like a shoulder to lean on or an ear that will listen.
Is this a sign of confidence or madness?
I am talking to myself!!!
Oh dear! Do you talk to yourself too?
I have found myself more and more frequently talking to myself.
When my family come home at the end of the day, they regularly tell me I ramble on randomly and they have no idea what I am talking about or who to.
I apparently seem to be getting worse over the years which I can only put down to working from home on my own with no one else to talk to but myself.
I find myself reprimanding myself if I make a mistake with something. I jump up and do some whoop whoops when something goes fantastically well. I tell myself off out loud when I find myself procrastinating. I tell myself to buck myself and that I CAN do it when faced with a particular challenge that I am struggling with.
All to the amusement of my faithful dog who joins in at times of excitement as she misconstrues this as being time for a walk!
This all sounds rather innocent but the frightening thing is I realise I am turning into my mother. She constantly talks to herself and it used to baffle me as to why she did it. I thought she was turning mad and now I am doing the same thing.
So, why do we really talk to ourselves? When I started looking this up on the internet the word ‘psychiatrist’ and ‘counselling’ popped up too much for my liking along with feelings of loneliness etc. People in movies who talk to themselves have been portrayed as being eccentric and suffering mental illness.
As I only talk to myself at home and not out in public (I think!!), I don’t really believe I am going mad (although many would argue with me). I just like to believe that talking to oneself is thinking out loud.
I found a note from a study conducted by Dr Adam Winsler of George Mason University who deduced that children who talked to themselves were more confident and participated more actively during class compared to their more introverted peers. He deduced that by chatting with themselves, they were able to put their problems into perspective and reflect upon their actions.
So that’s the theory that I am sticking with!
Tell me, do you talk to yourself when working from home?