advice

May: The Month of Madness

Month of Madness

Dare I say, May has been the most insane month of this entrepreneurship journey thus far.... and it was completely self inflicted!! In my scramble to gain clients, build a portfolio, and make a living I signed contracts for 2 wedding day coordination, full planning services for a meet and greet and a wedding, and re-lauched a local chapter of a national networking group all while picking up as many shifts that I could get at the Tmobile Arena for income.

Even though this month was pure madness, the main takeaway is that I made it through. It was rough, exhausting, stressful and mentally challenging but I made it through! Now looking back I am so grateful for the lessons learned throughout this month of madness. 

Lesson #1: time management

My time management skills are still a work in progress but working so many events and being at the arena every day I could get forced me to get serious about my work time. If I had 2 hours to work, I couldn't afford to waste 30 min of it on Facebook and reading blogs. I had my task lists for each week and reviewed them and updated nightly. And with time being so tight this month I made sure my designated work time was just that, no procrastination. I put my phone on DND and made sure to remain focused on the task at hand.  

Lesson #2: financial planning

Taking on so many contracted events in May meant I received payment in the months prior and had to budget to make sure I was able to make it through the month. So my actual income for May was extremely low. Also, with most of my contracts taking place on the weekends I missed out on some major income days. I make sure to look at my projected income 3 months out to ensure I am going to meet my financial goals. So far its giving me enough time to plan to make any adjustments for compacted contracts.

Lesson #3: sales and marketing

An obvious realization I had was during the planning phases of an event the last thing I have time for is sales and marketing. Procedures need to be put in place and I need to remain strict about continuing with my sales and marketing even with an event in the works. I need to get to the point where I am working from one event to the next.

Lesson #4: outsourcing

Speaking of sales and marketing, I decided to make it a goal in the near future to hire someone, at least for a couple hours a week, to do some sales and marketing tasks. If I had someone that took care of sending out proposals, replying to emails and scheduling social media it would relieve a huge task load. 

Lesson #5: overextension

I also learned to be more careful in accepting contracts, to place a limit on the amount of events per month and work toward spreading them out throughout the year. Overextension is a real thing and I definitely exceeded my limit this past month. In the future I will be tactful about the events I accept. 

Overall, May was crazy, hectic, exhausting, stressful, a little out of control and a great learning experience that I needed to go through as an entrepreneur. 

So next time you have a rough time ask yourself "But did you die??". Laughing but serious!

 

 

Wordy Wednesday - Update on Events by Kirk

It has been 7 months since I left the day job to work on Events by Kirk full-time. Being an entrepreneur is everything that you read about; its hard, exhausting, discouraging, and takes an insane level of determination and sacrifice. I have begun to greet rejections and "no" with "thank you, do you have any feedback" and then immediatly moving on to the next. Building the life you want has alot to do with also working on yourself, your personal restraints and drawbacks. The areas that I am working on are stress management, focus, not to be as hard on myself and my relationship wih money. In my spare time I have been reading alot, journaling and I have added meditation to my morning routine.

One of the reoccuring pieces of advice in almost every article about success I've read and books on entrepreneurship is the importance of listing your accomplishments. In working towards anything, its so easy to get caught up what you want your end result to be that you forget to acknoledge the progress you have made. In training for a marathon the rookie mistake is to still think midway through your training "theres no way I will be able to run 26 miles, the marathon is right around the corner". What you often forget is to acknowledge that you used to get winded after 15 min of running and now you are able to run 10 miles! You haven't reached your goal but you are on the right path and if you were determined enough to make it this far you will be able to make it on the day of the marathon. Even I have forgotton this important piece of advice, so in honor of this key rule I am going to list my accomplishments of the past 7 months

  • Marketing plan complete
  • Website redesign
  • Business foundations in place
  • Event consultation packages
  • Significant Q4 income
  • Hired by 2 travel directing companies
  • Working at T-Mobile Arena for additional income
  • T-Mobile is flexible enough to not affect the progress of my business
  • Made entrepreneur friends
  • Attending 2 networking events per week
  • Improved networking skills
  • Becoming known locally
  • 4 contracts signed and paid
  • 2 partnerships
  • 1 modeling gig (weird but cool) 
  • 1 social media management

Now, admittedly, I am not yet where I want to be in my business but just listing my accomplishments tells me I am going in the right direction. 

Happy Wordy Wednesday everyone!! In the comment section below, let me know what your greatest accomplishments were this past month!

How To Stay Organized in Your Business

Photocred: annawithlove.com - Marketing inspiration!!

Photocred: annawithlove.com - Marketing inspiration!!

When launching a business staying organized is an absolute MUST! Here are a few of my daily necessities in staying organized with the hectic schedule of an entrepreneur.

Day Designer – I discovered the Day Designer and it has CHANGED MY LIFE!! I tried several different planners but the Day Designer is everything I have been looking for in a planner. It’s ideal in keeping my days organized and scheduling my goals in my business and in my personal life.

Pros

  • monthly overview
  • pages for notes
  • hourly breakdown
  • to-do checklists
  • area for daily “download”
  • inspirational quotes
  • encouragement for daily gratitude (SO important for entrepreneurs)
  • sturdy (I carry mine with me EVERYWHERE)
  • downloadable worksheets to determine goals and goal focus for your year

Cons

  • size (large and heavy for a purse)
  • only available online
  • sells out quickly and is only released specific months

Website: http://www.daydesigner.com

Toggl – Toggl is a timekeeping app/ website that allows you to track the time it takes for you to complete each task. This particular app is free and available on mobile devices and desktops. Seeing the time you are spending to complete each task allows for you to maximize your time and plan accurately.

Pros

  • free!
  • ability to log in and keep a history
  • ability to categorize tasks into different “projects”
  • ability to run different report summaries
  • ability to have others on your team log their time under relevant projects
  • manual or timer option

Cons

  • desktop and mobile app is limited
  • must log in to the website to view full range of capabilities
  • must upgrade to use billing capabilities

Websitehttps://www.toggl.com

iPad w Logitech Keyboard - For those of you that don’t know me entirely, I am a MAC USER! You will not find me standing at line outside of an Apple store the day of a new release (inefficient use of time) but I am all about efficiency and my Apple products have been the greatest decisions of my work life. I work from the home office with my 8 yr old iMac that still runs like the day I bought it and when I am out and about working or traveling I have my iPad with my Logitech keyboard. I blog, plan, market, build spreadsheets, email, attach files, research with no restrictions. It’s the perfect complement to my iMac!! Any files I need are on the cloud and easily accessible from my iPad. It’s so necessary to be able to work from anywhere with no restrictions or preparations.

Pros

  • ability to work from anywhere
  • small and easy to carry
  • Logitech keyboard is sturdy and holds charge for months
  • keyboard is magnetic and compact
  • perfect complement to iPhone and iMac

Cons

  • does not hold files, must always work off cloud

Website: (duh) http://www.apple.com/ipad/

Mophie charger case - I feel like this is a no brainer but it’s so inexcusable in 2015 to run out of charge in your phone. As an entrepreneur your phone is your lifeline and you will be on it more than the average adult. Searching around for an outlet or charging your phone in a random hallway of a public space is such a hassle and waste of time. The Mophie case is a phone case that goes directly on your phone and has a switch that allows you to charge when you get low.

Pros

  • easy
  • convenient
  • charges your phone

Cons

  • a little pricy
  • gives you one charge
  • case is bulky

Website: http://www.mophie.com

These are all the things that keep me organized though the daily responsibilities of being an entrepreneur. Now the only thing you need is a professional bag big enough to carry everything with you! What are some things that get you through your day?

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Advice to the Solopreneur

Solopreneur. I bet you’re thinking “Now she’s just making up words!”. My definition of a solopreneur is a person who suffers a psychosis or an abnormality of the mind and decides to venture into entrepreneurship solo. While we may all in fact be a little crazy, the abnormality that we have is; drive, passion, crave for success, a little obsessive compulsive disorder, and the need for control (hence the solo). I believe whole heartedly that I have this psychosis, which I have learned to be proud of. I discovered this word is commonly used among others who have decided to start a business on their own, without a partnership. It has kind of been a support system to know others are going through the same thing. While I am sitting at my computer for hours, I know I am not alone, there are others doing the same exact thing.

Typically those who venture into a partnership each have their own strengths to bring to the table and split the responsibilities evenly. Working solo, I do not have such luxuries. Every day I find myself learning more and more about starting up a business and I feel that this is great benefit to me as business woman. I am an event planner, I know how to plan and execute an event but now I am forming a whole new side of myself; Kirk, the solopreneur. Having to wear multiple hats in running a business is difficult but with perseverance I know I will conquer them and achieve greatness for Events by Kirk.

My advice for those stepping into solopreneurship;

Be patient - Starting a business is time consuming and being that there is only one of you, it will take time to get everything in order before the business takes off. Set realistic timelines and goals for yourself so that you may see the progress unfold.

Don’t get overwhelmed - Doing this solo means you are in charge of several different things, most of which you will be learning throughout the journey. There will be alot of Googling and moments of doubt. Make a check list for the week or month and focus on one task at a time and cross out the tasks on your list. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed find an activity that helps you take your mind off of the business; working out, yoga, reading, musical instruments. Schedule time to point your focus elsewhere for a few hours a week.

Know when to ask for help - Those who have chosen to go solo typically have a slight belief they are Superman (I know I do), but you will spend way more time trying to figure out a tough issue than just asking for advice or help. If you are having tech issues and are not techy at all, don’t waste days trying to read up and figure it out on your own, ask someone. If you are not into finances, seek financial advice. Marketing not your thing? Ask someone!

And finally, Hang in there, this advice is for myself as well. I keep reading that success is measured by the way one accepts failure. As solopreneurs we will fail, we will fall, but as successful business women and men we will pick ourselves up and carry on and learn from our previous losses. Once we loose the fear to fail, we will truly be successful.

Good luck fellow solopreneurs, we are all in this together!