This guest post comes from Julie Roads of Writingroads
The woods where I walk my dogs every morning are currently coated in a nasty sheet of ice – they have been for weeks. I ran into a neighbor on the trail this morning, and she said, ‘This ice sucks, it’s impossible to walk out here!’
Which is when I realized that I hadn’t really noticed. I had just figured it wasn’t very slippery ice.
Reading that last sentence now, it sounds a wee bit ridiculous. But, I had come up with such a good solution to combat the ice, that I had all but forgotten there was ever a problem. Better yet, my fix enabled me to do something vitally important in my day and for my life.
My solution? Crampons, of sorts. Mine are little rubber soles that slide over my shoes and have 7 well-placed metal prongs that ‘crampon’ to the ice and give me stability. Genius – and apparently very effective.
But this got me thinking about the crampons that I use for my business and my writing. Resources that I have and tools that I use that enable me to succeed as a writer and business owner, if not effortlessly, than certainly easier. Bottom line: they keep me from falling down.
Here are my crampons:
1. A good space. Once upon a time, I worked out of my kids’ play room – on a desk we shoved in the corner. Then, I worked in a friend’s living room – it was quiet – but it wasn’t my own space. About 9 months ago, I made an investment in myself and my business and built a 120 sq. ft. office in my backyard. I couldn’t love it more, everything has a place…and my business has quadrupled since I moved, and settled, in.
2. The right computer. I have a Macbook. Need I say more? My old Dell laptop froze repeatedly, shut down at will and was slower than me & a level 32 Sudoku puzzle. The point is, you have to have technology that works and can keep up with you – is even one step ahead of you or more.
3. Solid partners. Do you how much easier my job is when I can tell clients with confidence to use this graphic/web designer, this fast WordPress design wizard, this tech writer, this printer, this host, this videographer…and on and on. Having them in my tool box allows me to offer so much more to my clients than I ever could by myself.
4. A Virtual Assistant. Yes, I’ve taken the plunge. Do you know that I was holding myself back from growing my business because I couldn’t do all of the ‘things’ I needed to be able to do in order to grow it? If that isn’t ass-backwards, I don’t know what is. Now, with my right hand lady, I’m publishing ebooks, offering my 1-on-1 Intensive, creating an affiliate program and doing about a zillion other things I’ve been meaning to do. The best part? I get to do grow and dream – and my VA always say, ‘yep, I can do that.’ I love it.
Yes, there’s an investment. But the return is so much greater. I’ve decided that my business is worth it. For you, it might not be a VA, it may be some other integral staff member that’s been missing. The question here is: what are you doing that someone else could do for you? Faster, better and more efficiently so that you can focus on what you do best.
5. Time Management. Between client work, marketing, social media, family, food, me-time – the day gets tight. My time crampon is this: scheduling. Without fail, when I have a wide-open day, it ends up mostly un-productive. But when the day is scheduled and my reptilian brain is encouraged to just follow the map, I get the most done.
6. Flexibility. Like the revolutionary Ani Difranco sings,
Buildings and bridges
are made to bend in the wind
to withstand the world,
that’s what it takes
All that steel and stone
is no match for the air, my friend
what doesn’t bend breaks
what doesn’t bend breaks
Flexibility is paramount as a critical tool for business success. Clients cancel, one minute you have 10 deadlines, the next you have none, the internet goes down, you have to work sleep into the equation – all of these things require that you transform your plan at a moment’s notice. When flexibility is utilized, the crisis becomes an opportunity – not a derailing. And it doesn’t break you.
7. Colleagues. I have a tight network of trusted peers that I couldn’t live without. They are my reality check, my idea bouncer-offers, my partners in crime, my support system. They share my joy and hear my disappointments – and I them. We keep each other on our feet with kind words, objective eyes and large senses of humor.
8. Joy. I have had several jobs in my life that I didn’t like. And, big surprise, they are distant memories. Love and passion for my current work brings me purpose, energy and a desire to thrive. Getting the job done is the fun part. This is, perhaps, my most invisible and most cherished tool. It keeps me from slipping and falling every day.
What are the tools that get you through the day, the year? What are your crampons?
Photo credit alextorrenegra