Entrepreneurship Out of Necessity?

The Kauffman Foundation’s “National Report on Early-Stage Entrepreneurship in the United States” in 2020, indicated a spike in the number of new founders with few other income options, compared to those who transitioned from existing jobs to entrepreneurship as an opportunity.

This is concerning because desperation can make one focus on what there is to gain from owning a business versus the work and risk it takes to sustain it.

In addition to an article in the November 2020 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine entitled “5 Questions Every Founder Must Ask,” let me add a few questions of my own:

·      Is your family supportive? Are they well informed as to the business idea, the possible gains, the risks and the home responsibilities you’ll have to off load as you build your business?

·      When you plan your day, are you able to prioritize, manage your time and follow through?

·      Is your work environment free of distractions and interruptions?

·      Have you a way to handle stress, get a good night’s sleep and sufficient exercise?

Being your own boss and creating something that folks will pay for is an enticing proposition, but one that requires “eyes open” all the way.

When we report to someone else there is a structure. As a founder, you need to create your own structure. Let me help you plan, get things done (even the more odious tasks!), done well and on time. Contact me at [email protected]

Scheduling “Gnat Time” For Those Pesky, Little Tasks

You know what I mean. It’s that cluster of annoying little tasks that take anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes each. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you encounter a swarm of pesky little tasks each week that need attention: accepting a Zoom invite, scanning a document, signing off on a purchase order etc.

COREageous Entrepreneur subscriber, Terese from Boston, complained, “They (the pesky little tasks) are like gnats whizzing around my head throughout the day. I have to stop what I’m doing and swat at them. Today, I counted nine gnats that took a huge bite out of my productivity. How can I control the gnats?”

Terese makes a good point – research shows that when you shift your attention from one task to another, thoughts about the first task persist and intrude while performing the second task. It’s called “attention residue.” It can take several minutes to regain focus on the first task after the switch and, because it is not a clean transition of focus, mistakes can result. If gnats bug you intermittently throughout the day, the attention residue they leave behind can gobble up a couple hours of your prime time.

A COREageous solution:  You’ve heard of “nap time,” so how about “gnat time?” Just as you would carve out a block of time for a nap, carve out a time to swat gnats in one fell swoop. Here are four ways to do so:

  • Reduce the swarm of gnats by delegating or saying “no” to as many gnats as possible.
  • Corral your gnats, list them, and set aside a block of time a day (or once a week if they are not time-sensitive) to swat at them one at a time.
  • Schedule your gnat times at low energy times of day. Preserve your prime time mental energy slots for deep work.
  • Share your calendar with your staff so they know when not to send gnats your way.

Accounting for your time may “gnat” be your thing. Yet it is a COREageous skill for getting things done, done well and on time. I can help. Contact me at [email protected]

A COVID Question For You

Although COVID-19 has been tragic in many ways, it has created numerous opportunities as well. I was curious to see, aside from the vaccines and possible cures in the works, what positive effects were occurring on a personal level. Last night, I wrote to a dozen of my COREageous Coaching alums and asked them to complete this sentence:

If COVID-19 had never happened, I would not have_______________________.

I received over 25 thoughtful responses – thank you to those who contributed! But to keep this post short, I chose five to share:
Vickie: … had the time to realize that I was spinning the business out of focus, trying to be too much to everyone. I met with my team (remotely) and got consensus to return to the roots of our purpose. They were pleased, I was relieved.
Peter: …had the time to seriously connect with my best clients, only to find that one of them was ready to move on to a competitor! I listened to him and to his concerns; I let him yell at me, then it was over. I gave him my word that I’d fix the problems by the end of the week. He was back on my roster, we’re good. He appreciated the call. Awesome.
Maya: … had the opportunity to create a contingency plan in case something like COVID or worse struck again.
Hunter: … ended a particularly unhealthy and troublesome relationship that was hurting my business and me personally.
Phillip: …reunited with my 94 year old father after 5 years of silence. He was very angry when I announced that I was leaving a very cushy job to follow my passion; he didn’t get it. Still mad, but we talked. It’s better now.

In these next 2 or more weeks, the time is ripe to re-focus, repair and re-invent yourself and your small business. What can you do to make the best of this bizarre period of time?
Core Coaching may be the answer. Contact me at [email protected]

How the COREageous Cap COVID19

During these challenging times, COREageous entrepreneurs and their teams:

• Put their thinking brain in charge of their emotional brain and make smart decisions.
• Put politics, past transgressions and personal vendettas aside.
• Spend time perfecting their product or service in preparation to come back.
• Communicate frequently with vendors, customers and investors.
• Build alliances with the community and companion businesses.
• Cultivate skills through training and coaching that enhance teamwork, sales, communication and emotional intelligence and management skills.
• Stay upbeat and positive. Find humor and share it with others.

Use this time to make your startup stronger and more competitive! Contact me for online help at [email protected]

How to Use Your Three Week Staycation

If you are one of the lucky or unlucky ones (depending on how you see it) who have a three week or more hiatus from work, this is the opportunity you have been waiting for to get stuff done! Consider this five step approach:

1. Look at your to-do list and prioritize. Decide your prioritizing criteria. What factors will you use to tease out the top 3 most important tasks on your list: time-sensitivity, hi personal value, health-related, affordability, access to the needed resources? If you select a task according to your priorities, the greater chance you have in starting and finishing it.
2. Assign the top three items to week 1, the next three items for week 2, etc. For each of the three tasks you chose for the week, list the steps from start to finish.
3. Assign some rough time durations to each step.
4. When is the best day or the best time of the day to do each task? Consider your energy level, the availability of the resources or the people you need to help you.
5. Carve out blocks of time for each step or group of steps in your calendar.

Looking at the schedule you have created, think about how great it will feel to accomplish so much, because you had a plan. Even if you only finish one or two of your top tasks, it’s a darn sight better than what you would have done without a plan!

Need some help in following through with your top three tasks? Quick! Contact me ASAP before your Staycation time runs out! [email protected]

Meditation for the Meditation-Averse

There are many people who don’t find meditation relaxing. As a matter of fact, for these folks, meditation can be anxiety-producing. Quiet space can become a vacuum for worrisome thoughts to seep in and flood one’s mind with a torrent of terror.

Here’s a meditation method that helps the meditation-averse. It is centered on the breath, brings one into the present and challenges one’s focus at the same time. This form of meditation takes up a lot of mental space and allows little room for the usual culprits to find an opening.

1. Find a quiet spot to sit up tall with shoulders relaxed (not too comfortable of a spot to make you sleepy) and close your eyes.

2. Start with 10 breaths by slowly breathing in through your nose on breath #10 and breathing slowly out on #10. Do the same with breath #9, #8…to #1.

If you lose your place, or other thoughts sneak in, that’s ok, just go back to the breath # you remember. You won’t want to start over, so the object is to keep the count in your head as you breathe. Gradually, work up to 15 – 25 breaths for a sitting.

If you still find your mind drifting to unhelpful thoughts, then make it more challenging. Count each breath backwards as before, but when you inhale do so on a count of 4 (about 4 sec), hold your breath for a count of 7 (about 7 sec) and exhale for a count of 8 (about 8 sec).

This method requires a bit more “thinking” than the average meditation guru would recommend, but it can help meditation-averse folks get the benefits of traditional meditation.

Need more ways to regulate your emotions and improve your focus? Try Core Coaching. Contact me at [email protected]

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