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Creating Business Zen: Your Pathway from Chaos to Harmony

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Creating Business Zen

Your Path From Chaos to Harmony

Liesha Petrovich

Contents

Foreword

1. The Perfect Business for You

2. Getting Real, Or Stop Right Here

3. Building a Strong Foundation

4. Finding Business Zen – The Minimalist Mindset

5. Distracted, Stressed and Overwhelmed – Or The Successful Business Killers

6. Easy Rules for a Stress-Free Empire

7. Become a Time Lord – 15 Tools To Help You Master Time

8. Your Business Contingency Plan

9. Breathe In, Breathe Out

Afterword

Foreword


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The Stress Loop:

I don’t think I can do this.

Why can’t anything ever go right?

Why don’t clients ever pay on time?

How am I ever going to pay the bills this month?

Why is this so hard?

I don’t think I can do this.

Sound familiar?

No one wants or likes stress. It makes life miserable, gives us insomnia, and creates unwanted anxiety, fear, and frustration.

So why would you ever choose to build a stressful business?

The answer is, of course, that you wouldn’t. Yet somehow, it just turns out that way. Not by design, but by circumstances. Maybe you let a small situation turn into a larger nightmare, or maybe you made a bad choice that you now have to live with. You thought it would be fun and exciting to own your own business, and now you’re too stressed out to sleep.

Wherever you are on your business journey, take the time to really think about stress. Are you living day to day reacting to things you could have prevented? Do you spend more time dealing with situations beyond your control? There are things you can do to plan or prepare for stress, or reduce the amount of stressful situations in both your personal and business life.

Creating Business Zen is both a mindset and way of life. It’s your key to a more productive and profitable business, because you can run your new empire better when your mind is not bogged down with stress, worry, and frustration. Running your business should make you feel confident, happy and fulfilled.

Ready to get your Zen on?

Chapter One

The Perfect Business for You

You’ve always dreamed of owning your own business. The freedom to be your own boss, and the opportunity to create the life you’ve always wanted. You know you’d be a huge success…

But you don’t have 90 hours a week to spare.

The term “lifestyle business” is one that is created specifically to support your personal lifestyle and income requirements. It’s not created with a “profits above everything else” mindset. George Cloutier, author of Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing, believes profit is the only reason to start a business – and I agree in theory. While there can be no business without profit, the driving force behind a business doesn’t need to be strictly financial.

A true lifestyle business isn’t black and white. It’s not huge profit or complete failure. It’s about finding a balance between living your dreams, and being financially secure. Maybe you have a young family, and want to stay at home with your children. Maybe you want to travel, and don’t want to commit to a long-term career path. Maybe you don’t want to live for work, but want to work to live.

It doesn’t matter why you want a lifestyle business, only that you design the perfect job for yourself.

Your Business, Your Way

Your priorities may be your family, traveling, or finding time to volunteer. The concept of a lifestyle business is to create a business that supports your unique goals and dreams. Working 60 hours a week on a business is stressful and frustrating. Plus, it puts a huge strain on your health and wellbeing.

The key to creating a lifestyle business is to develop timesaving strategies and systems, so you don’t have to work your fingers to the bone. It’s about making smart choices, and designing a business that supports your personal needs.

If you want to run a successful business, and live a well-balanced life, you can build a business designed to fit your unique situation. With the right strategy, tools, and support, you can truly create a successful business without sacrificing any aspect of your life.

Ask yourself these questions if you’re just starting your business:

  1. What’s the main reason you want to be a business owner?
  2. What’re the main priorities in your life? (Family, traveling, philanthropy, health/fitness, money, etc.)
  3. Does your current business plan allow you the freedom to pursue all your main priorities?

Ask yourself these questions if you already own a business:

  1. Does your business and personal life often interfere with each other?
  2. What do you dislike most about being a business owner? (Be honest!)
  3. Is your current business flow on most days, or do you feel like you’re constantly forcing it to flow?

I don’t know your situation, but I understand dysfunction. I’ve lived dysfunction, in every single area of my life (who hasn’t!). I’ve worked when my kids were sick, had rude demanding clients, broken arms and on crutches (not at the same time), zero cash flow, deaths in the family, a husband with major medical issues, and so many dirty dishes in the sink that my daughter drank from a bread pan…

I wish I made up the last one, but sadly it’s completely true.

My point is that life is hard. Business is hard. It’s time to come up with a plan that makes everything a little bit easier. You’ll never come up with a plan that solves all your problems, or prevents major disasters from happening.

That doesn’t mean you can’t create a business that is more balanced and less stressful than the one you have now.

Chapter Two

Getting Real, Or Stop Right Here

Before we move any further on our path to business Zen, it’s incredibly important to get real about your life.

This only works if you’re honest and real about yourself, your business, and your personal situation. If you’re not willing to be completely honest with yourself, just put this book down now.

It’s a waste of time going any further.

Here are a few examples:

Let’s say I’m self-centered, pushy, and controlling (and I don’t want to hear from anyone that I am – this is an example people!). I’m trying to grow my business, and I attend several networking events per month, yet nothing is working. I get the feeling that people try to avoid me. All I’m trying to do is sell my stuff, which I could easily do if they would just listen to me!!! What is wrong with them??!!!

Or I’m frazzled, overwhelmed, and constantly late to everything. Of course, I am! I have 3 small kids and a husband to deal with – I’m not superwoman! Sure, I don’t always come off as professional when I slow down enough to talk to potential clients. I can’t be professional when I’m dealing with constant messages from my husband about what we’re having for dinner!

Or even this:

Let’s say that my life seems to be crumbling around me. I can’t think straight because I just don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m drowning. It’s not just my business, but my entire life. I feel sick mentally, emotionally, and physically. I show up, but nothing gets done. I just want to curl up and cry.

I don’t know your situation, and it’s none of my business. Only you know your issues and how serious they are. Nothing will get better unless you’re willing to be honest with yourself. If you’re willing to take a long, hard look at your current situation, I’m ready to help.

Chapter Three

Building a Strong Foundation

I’ve taught karate for almost 20 years. We always start with the basics – it’s our foundation. We often explain this as a pyramid. Basic kicks, punches, and blocks make up the bottom layer of our pyramid. Throw in a few push-ups, sit-ups and squats for good measure. Then we move on to more difficult techniques. We’ll never be good martial artists until we master the basics.

You’re reading this right now because you’re hoping to achieve business Zen. Yet, you’ll never achieve any kind of Zen until you shore up your weak spots; or until you cut them out of our foundation.

There are many different core aspects of our lives that make us whole. Here’s mine:

Family: Spending quality time with my family and extended family will always be a top priority for me.

[*Spirituality: *]Pursuing my personal belief system and investing time and energy into pursuing my own truth.

Health: I know I’m not useful unless I’m healthy, so I try to eat healthy and exercise with a focus on prevention.

Philanthropy: I try to give back whenever I can to the causes I’m most passionate about.

Purpose: Money isn’t the reason I have a business; it’s the consequence.

Yours will certainly be different, as we each walk our own path in life. However, each brick in your foundation needs to be tended, strengthened, and maintained. For example, what do you need to do if you’re currently depressed? Have you seen a doctor, therapist, or nutritionist? What are the steps you need to take to get healthier?

That one is hard because it’s difficult to do when you’re already depressed. However, you’ll never achieve business Zen if you’re struggling with a major internal issue. It’s really that simple. Sure, you may have some good days, but your foundation will crumble if anything major happens.

No one knows you better than you know yourself. What are the weak spots in your foundation? What can you do today to help strengthen each brick on the bottom of your pyramid?

Big Issues Take Time

We are talking about HUGE life issues – not simple challenges. These parts of your life are incredibly personal and complex. I’m certainly not suggesting we can solve any of these in this book. Let’s say, you’re feeling very disconnected, and know that some aspect of your spiritual life is off. Saying “I’m going to fix this today” will never work. However, you could start focusing on finding the answer by trying different spiritual practices until you find the one that fits for you.

Remember that I said ‘each brick needs to be tended, strengthened, and maintained.’ I didn’t say you could cover it with adamantium and move on to the next issue. None of your core aspects will be easy to deal with, and you may feel that you’re running in survival mode most of the time. Yet, you still want peace, harmony and a decent profit.

Figure out your core issues. Decide which ones need tending, and which ones are stable (for now). Get professional help if you need it. Actively work towards keeping your foundation strong. Don’t hide your head in the sand or pretend it’s okay when it’s clearly not. Question everything until you find the answers you’re looking for.

It’s hard work, but finding your Zen means creating a balanced and strong personal foundation; and it means understanding that this process is a lifelong journey, not a destination.

Chapter Four

Finding Business Zen – The Minimalist Mindset

I’m an aspiring minimalist.

From the first moment I stumbled across Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists, I was hooked. It was a definite aha moment in my life.

Here’s how they describe minimalism:

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

It was the middle of a recession, and my business definitely took a hit. Who’s didn’t? I streamlined as much of my business as I could to survive, and eliminated everything deemed unnecessary. I felt like we were failing because we had to cut back.

When I started reading about minimalism, I could see streamlining wasn’t the same as failure. This was great because I definitely felt like a failure when I couldn’t afford real phone service and switched to a cheaper track phone. When things started to turn around, I didn’t want to go back to spending money on fluff.

Supersize Is The Norm

Our culture is overwhelmed with “Supersized” drinks, mansions, and companies. Perhaps these influences have impacted our belief that bigger businesses are better. But this does not have to be the case.

If we focus on substance over size, sustainability over consumption, we can create a solo business that is efficient and profitable. This may seem entirely conceptual (and it is), but changing your philosophy from “Bigger is Better” to “Business Edited” will allow you more freedom, flexibility, and profit.

Living Business Edited

You may want to grow your business into a thriving company. And that’s a great goal. But the philosophy can be the same. Create a business based on substance over size. Bigger is not better. Become an expert in efficiency and embrace the less stuff, less overhead philosophy.

Here are a few examples of how to live Business Edited:

  • Focus on a niche instead of trying to do everything for everyone (think small target market over large target market)
  • Get rid of paper – no one reads brochures!
  • Embrace technology that helps you integrate and organize (think iPad over PC)
  • Choose sustainable and local whenever you can
  • Create a leaner office space
  • Choose dual purpose items
  • Don’t purchase “stuff” – purchase only what you truly need

Minimalism Your Way

My brand of minimalism isn’t the same as yours will be. As each situation is different, and everyone’s goals and priorities are unique; it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do everything exactly the same way I do. My vision would never work for you, just as your vision of minimalism won’t work for me. Joshua and Ryan describe how minimalism is different for everyone:

A 20-year-old single guy’s minimalist lifestyle looks different from a 45-year-old mother’s minimalist life.

Even though everyone embraces minimalism differently, each path leads to the same place: a life with more time, more money, and more freedom to live a more meaningful life. That means that everyone can define his or her own version of minimalism. It’s not about giving up all your possessions and living out of a suitcase; it’s a philosophy and mindset that can be applied to any business.

It’s figuring out how to run your business efficiently, effectively, and affordably. It’s bootstrapping at its best. It’s understanding that striving for simplicity isn’t the same as being simple. Like The Minimalists said, my version of minimalism isn’t the same as yours: but our goals are the same. We all want to cut out anything unnecessary, and free more time to spend on our priorities.

Why spend the majority of our time on things we despise doing? We didn’t start our businesses to spend time on tasks we hate. We started our businesses so we could spend our days doing what we love. Striving for business minimalism lets us clear out the stuff that’s holding us back, and allows us to focus on what really matters.

And isn’t that why we started our business in the first place?

Chapter Five

Distracted, Stressed and Overwhelmed – Or The Successful Business Killers

Let’s talk about our little secret. The things we don’t want anyone to know…

Being self-employed is the best thing in the world. You are the captain of your ship. You are in charge of your own destiny. You don’t to answer to anyone. Being self-employed is your dream come true.

But on some days, it can be your worst nightmare. No one in business really talks about “feelings”. Instead, we talk about business.

Here’s what we say at networking events:

A business peer’s question: How’s your business going?

Your answer: Oh, great. Just signed a new client.

[*The truth – if you were brave enough to say it: *]And she’s demanding, rude, and I hate dealing with her. She makes me hate my job. I really just want to go home and crawl under the covers.

We pretend because we don’t want to show our vulnerability and perceived weaknesses. We don’t want to seem like we don’t have EVERYTHING under control. We don’t want them to know the truth.

But here’s the thing: we all have days when we are horribly distracted, completely stressed out, and feel like we are drowning. No one can escape life. This is what real life is like. These are the realities of being a business owner.

Instead of hiding under the covers, let’s do something about it. Maybe you’re not feeling this way today, but you might tomorrow. So now is the time to take action against the trio of business success death: distraction, stress, and feeling overwhelmed.

Distraction: The Productivity Killer

Why you are distracted isn’t the issue. The real issue is you are avoiding work that you need to finish. Here’s a few ways to improve your focus and increase your productivity.

1) Turn off your phone. On average, people check their phones at least 10 times an hour. That’s crazy and a huge distraction. So turn off your phone!

2) Stop surfing the web; same idea as with your phone. Try one of these apps if your self-control is lacking.

3) Schedule time for distractions. Reward yourself when you finish a task and take a break. Just limit the break time to five to ten minutes of distraction activities.

The 3 best productivity tools: RescueTime, Anti-Social, and StayFocusd. Enjoy!

Stress: The Positive Attitude Killer

Yesterday I wanted to kill someone. Not literally, but I did want to punch someone. Ever have a day like that? Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life; even a normal part of your business life, but too much stress will hinder your overall chance for success.

I’m not a big fan of relaxation techniques to reduce business stress. I love to meditate, but that doesn’t help me when I’m super stressed in the middle of a project. Creating a plan of action is what helps me reduce stress.

List the top reasons your business stresses you out. Then find a way to reduce or eliminate the source of that stress. For example, if it’s a client, consider letting that client go (this can do wonders for your stress level!). If it’s finding new clients, work on a marketing plan. Start thinking about the sources of your stress, and create an action plan that will help you reduce your overall business stress.

(Note: I’m going to share an anti-stress action plan, so don’t worry!)

Being Overwhelmed: The Success Killer

Some days I have so much to do, I simply don’t know where to start. So I jump around from task to task, and try to do a little of each. Or I don’t do anything at all. This is a huge success killer. We all have busy lives, and we all need to figure this out.

Doing nothing is not an option.

It’s much like overcoming stress – create a plan. My favorite tools for planning are Workflowy and Evernote. And if you really want to cut back on the amount of time you work, read The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. It totally changed how I think about time, and it has some great ways to streamline your business.

Chapter Six

Easy Rules for a Stress-Free Empire

As a business owner, you’re the captain of your ship; you make the path, you lead the way. It’s the same in your personal life – no one can limit what you do in your life, except you.

In Killing Rapunzel, I shared why I believe you’re the only one that can save you; just like Rapunzel who sat in the tower (brushing and braiding her means of escape!) waiting for anyone else to come save her. She had the power to do it herself the entire time.

It’s the same with creating business Zen. You’re the only one that can change your situation – no hero is coming to save the day. You’re the hero in this story. You have the power to create any kind of business you want. Work part-time, full-time, home-based, traveling, online or off… you’re the one that controls how it’s designed.

I can give you some basic rules, but it’s ultimately all up to you. Here are some ideas, easy ways you can create less stress in your life and business, and hopefully inspire you to explore other areas of your business/life you could streamline.

Be Stingy with Your Time

Your time is the most valuable commodity you have – be extremely stingy about it!

In fact, time is your biggest asset. To achieve business minimalism, you have to treat time like something tangible. It’s not an unlimited resource, as we only have 24 hours a day. It’s not something you can give to everyone. It’s not something we can get back once it’s gone.

Before you say yes to anything, figure out if it contributes to your goals or is an unnecessary time-waster. Choose to communicate by email instead of meeting for lunch. Don’t join business groups if it doesn’t contribute to your bottom line. Don’t volunteer to be on a board if it doesn’t move your business forward. I like doing those things, but I don’t need to do them.

It’s up to us to figure out what our priorities are, and focus on those things first. If you focus on unnecessary time-wasters first, you won’t reach your goals. It’s really that simple.

I can’t change the fact that some families do not have an equal distribution of responsibilities. Some dads do more, and some moms do more. We can’t expect equality across the board.

But… we all have the same 24 hours a day. No more, no less.

The only way to find more time for your business is to take time away from other duties. Therefore, for you to find more time to devote to your business, you need to find ways to organize your day more efficiently.

Break Up With Nightmare Clients

“People either inspire you, or they drain you – pick them wisely.”

– Hans F. Hansen

You know who they are. They make you cringe when you see who’s calling. You’ll do anything to avoid actually talking to them. They keep you up at night. They are the clients you wouldn’t wish on your worse enemy.

If you ever want to achieve Business Zen, you have to break up with these people. You can’t control every aspect of your business and some days will just suck. But you can control whom you work with.

As business minimalists, we strive to eliminate clutter and keep what has the most value. Breaking up with these clients is essential to achieving peace of mind, and reduce your stress levels.

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Dealing with Business Vampires

We’ve all had to deal with people we don’t like. People who suck the life out of us like a Business Vampire.

If you have a business associate who is making your life a living hell, and you can’t break up with them (sorry!), than you have to change the relationship. Since you can’t stake them and they may press charges if you throw holy water on them, here’s 3 quick ways to change your interactions:

  1. Eliminate every personal interaction. That means stop being “friends” on Facebook, and decline every social event they attend (that you can – don’t risk your business).
  2. Change the way you communicate. Don’t call, just email. Don’t set a meeting unless you have an agenda (and stick to it!).
  3. Keep it professional. Don’t be nasty or snarky – kill them with kindness. Keep every interaction as pleasant (and fast!) as you possibly can.

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Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

You may feel like you’re discovering new, uncharted territory as you build your business. However, business is not new. There are millions of business owners who have been right where you are – trying to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Whatever problem or challenge you might face creating your lifestyle business, someone else has likely experienced the exact same thing. You could spend hours, days or weeks trying to create the perfect business plan. Or you could learn from the mistakes of others.

Regardless of the industry, you can find a guide or mentor that will help you succeed. If you want to start a freelance writing business, try Carol Tice’s The Step-by-Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success: How to Break In and Start Earning – Fast. If you want to sell your own natural holistic products, read Start Your Own Herb and Herbal Products Business from Entrepreneur Press. There are mentors for every industry out there.

Your goal as a lifestyle business owner is to work smarter, not harder. You don’t have to blaze a new trail or start completely from scratch. Find an expert in your industry, and learn from them. By embracing a mentor, you can avoid common mistakes, and create a stronger business from day one.

The key is to learn from others – not to reinvent the wheel.

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Escape Chaos with Simple, Essential Rules

When you operate your life and business without a few essential rules, you risk daily chaos. I think these rules help, but you may need to create your own. In fact, I beg you to create a few rules that help you build a framework that supports a stress-free business.

Remember, you’re the Captain. What rules will help your ship sail smoothly?

Chapter Seven

Become a Time Lord – 15 Tools To Help You Master Time

Running a business while juggling a family is extremely hard. For some reason, you tell your family members “I’m working” and those words somehow translate into “I’m working but I’d be thrilled to drop everything and help you”.

When you’re balancing your business and family, you’ve got to become a Master of Time. Or a Time Lord – which is even better.

The old saying, “Time is Money” is completely true. But it goes beyond that – time is your biggest asset. It’s essential that you start treating your time like Scrooge treats money. Get stingy with it!

To help you begin to see time differently, I’ve put together a list of 15 tools to get started.

Stop Getting Sucked into Facebook (or Pinterest, Instagram, or any other time-wasting social media platform!)

Sometimes our screaming kids aren’t the problem – it’s getting sucked into Facebook and Instagram. If your productivity is suffering because you get sucked into the social media vortex, try one of these tools.

Focus Booster is an easy to use app based on the principles of the pomodoro technique. It works by setting up 25 minutes intervals, and then reminds you to take a break.

StayFocusd: It’s a Google Chrome extension that will limit the time you spend surfing websites that don’t help you get the job done. It’s a bit extreme, but so is the number of hours we use social media.

Self Control: A free Mac application to help you avoid distracting websites.

Rescue Time: A personal analytics service that shows you how you spend your time and provides tools to help you be more productive.

Get Organized Already!

In a world where the average person looks at their phone 150 times a day, it’s time to embrace organizational technology; while there are hundreds available, here are a few of the best.

Evernote: The PREMIER organization tool – it has so many features I can’t possibly list them all.

WEEK Plan: Inspired by The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change from Stephen Covey, and Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity from David Allen

WorkFlowy: Take notes, make lists, collaborate, brainstorm, and plan (love this one!)

Cozi: Great calendar if you also have to manage your entire family

Trello: Keeps track of everything, from the big picture to the minute details.

Remember the Milk: Popular to-do list that’s everywhere you are: from your phone, to the web, to your Google apps, and more.

Toggl: Simple time tracking tool and free timesheet alternative.

Don’t Forget To Take Breaks

Sometimes I don’t think I breathe when I’m in the middle of a project. I can go hours without moving from my chair – not a healthy move! Taking breaks helps our mind stay sharp and allows us to stretch and reduce eyestrain.

Plus, you can’t work well when you’re sick.

EyeLeo: Reminds you to take a break for your eyes.

Workrave: Assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks, and restricts you to your daily limit.

Regular Breaks: A free tool that helps you setup a healthy break pattern and tracks your success

Change The Way You Think About Time

These tools are just tools – they’re only solutions if you use them.

The trick isn’t necessarily learning to use a cool new app – it’s deciding to find a way to take charge of your time. It’s learning how to streamline your life and your business, because we don’t have a Tardis. We can’t go back and forth in time and fix whatever is broken. Instead, we are simply women who want our life to balance.

Chapter Eight

Your Business Contingency Plan

Something crazy is always happening. Just because you’re a business owner doesn’t mean you’re immune to this crazy ride called Life.

Do you feel like you spend all your time putting out fires? It’s the dreaded stress/reaction cycle. Things are going well until… BAM! Something derails your life – which derails your business.

If you want your business to run smoother – which will make your life run smoother – it’s time to come up with a contingency plan. Here’s a link to the Google Docs version of this plan:

Your Business Contingency Plan on Google Docs

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Emergencies Vs. Standard Stress

Life can punch you in the gut when you least expect it. You can’t possibly prevent those

types of life-altering events, like an unexpected or tragic death, a life-threatening illness or even divorce. On the other hand, standard stress is something you can prevent. Like having a safe place for your kids to go if they get sick and you have an important meeting, or keeping clients who are so stressful they make you cry.

There is certainly a difference between emergencies (non-preventable) and standard business stress. But the principles on dealing with them are the same: If you fail to plan, plan to fail.

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Goals for this Plan

1. Prepare for emergency situations

2. Prevent standard business stress

3. Have less stress, frustration and worry

4. Have more time to spend building your business

5. Live a better, more peaceful life

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How to Use this Plan

It sucks to think about emergencies. Last year, my 4-month-old niece died unexpectedly. To say it knocked me on my ass is an understatement. It stopped my life and business for weeks. I didn’t feel like working or smiling at clients, and I certainly didn’t feel like making small talk. I wanted to punch someone.

But I had to work.

That’s why the first part of this workbook deals with emergency situations. You don’t have to sit around thinking about the absolute worst thing that could happen in detail. Just think what your business would need if something truly awful happened. Who would you call?

Who could help? That way, if something ever happens, you don’t have to think about planning. You just have to follow the plan.

The second part deals with standard business stress: the kind of stuff that is completely preventable. You’re always running late to meetings because you can’t get your kids out the door on time. What could you change (get up earlier, make their lunch the night before, etc.) that would prevent that from happening every single day?

If you’re like me, you feel 100% better once you have a plan in place. Once you’ve created your contingency plan, print it out and keep it in a binder. Share it with all the impacted parties (spouse, partners, clients, etc.).

And trust me – you can reduce the amount of stress in your life and business. You just have to brainstorm and make the plan!

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Emergency Situations – Not Preventable

1. How would my business be impacted if I couldn’t be there tomorrow or needed to take a temporary leave?

2. Who could I call to help? (Write down names & numbers)

3. What’s my written emergency policy for clients? Include refund policy if applicable.

Example: I always try to provide my clients with the best service available. However, emergencies do happen. I value your business, but I am a solo business owner and I want to prepare for every eventuality. In case of an emergency situation, I will inform you as soon as possible that I will not be able to [insert your specific service]. I have contracted [insert name and/or company] to step in if I am not available. My refund policy is [for example: full refund within 30 days].

My emergency policy is:

4. Who would I need to inform about an unexpected schedule change? (Write down names & numbers)

5. What resources would I need to get through an emergency? For example, insurance, bank accounts, etc. Do NOT put down account numbers if this plan will not be secured. Just list where the information can be accessed or a phone number.

Standard Business Stress – Preventable

1. List the top ten challenging situations in your life/business

2. Choose the top 3 challenges to tackle first:

You’re going to tackle these challenges first. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Brainstorm at least 3 ways to prevent this situation from happening
  2. Brainstorm at least 3 contingency plans to stop/reduce this from happening
  3. Solution to try first

Also, list any additional resources or support you’ll need to stop or reduce each challenging situation from happening.

Example Challenge: Stressful Clients

Stressful clients suck!

But without customers your business will obviously fail. But what if you hate your clients – can your business survive without them? It may be incredibly scary to even consider dropping someone as a client. What if you never get another client?

But also ask yourself these questions:

  • How much stress does this client bring to my life?
  • How much time do I devote to working for, thinking about, or stressing about this client?
  • Could I spend this time devoted to either acquiring new clients, or servicing my existing clients?

When you understand how time and stress relate to each other, you can see clearly how important it is to eliminate problem clients. Not only for your well-being, but for the overall health of your business

Brainstorm at least 3 ways to prevent this situation from happening:

  1. Fire them (in a nice way)
  2. Create a stronger client policy
  3. Raise my prices

Brainstorm at least 3 contingency plans to stop this from happening:

1. Fire them (in a nice way)

Give them plenty of notice, and recommend other people that can do your job. Keep it short and sweet. You don’t have to justify why you made this decision, but you can add that it doesn’t fit into your business model at this time. It can go something like this…

Tactful Client Dismissal Letter:

Mr. Jones,

I have decided it would be best if we did not renew your contract for next year. While I appreciate the opportunity to work with you, my business is moving towards a more automated model. I will not be able to handle your account the way you want or expect. Therefore, to ensure accounts success, I will be recommending three people who can replace me.

Kind Regards,

Liesha Petrovich

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2. Create an extremely specific client policy

This is something you should do BEFORE you have problem clients. Every business is different, but think of your specific business and the scope of your job.

Specifics can include:

  • Standard price
  • Possible additional prices
  • Deadlines
  • What happens when deadlines are not met (on their part)
  • Duties
  • Job specifications
  • Expectations (both theirs and yours)
  • Timeframe
  • Your work process – from start to finish
  • Your guarantee (if you have one)

Put your specifications on your website, client contracts, and verbally explain your process. This way, you are both on the same page and there are no surprises. If they forget, remind them they have a copy.

3. Raise your prices

One of the easiest ways to get rid of a client is to raise your price to a ridiculous level. Send out a notice to this client about your upcoming rate change. Again, be specific. You don’t have to send it to every client, just this one.

You do NOT have to justify your rate change. However, you can say business circumstances forced you to increase your rates. Period.

They may find someone else, or they may agree. I would not use this tactic on someone you don’t want as a client, because they may take you up on it, and then you’re back to square one. But for annoying clients, this may be the way to justify the time you spend on their account.

Chapter Nine

Breathe In, Breathe Out

I’d love to tell you that you will achieve business Zen in 10 easy steps. I’d love to share secrets to creating a stress-free business that you can set on automatic. I’d love to tell you it’s very, very simple.

But I’d be lying.

This is difficult stuff. Some days will seem to fly in a happy blur of productivity and excitement (and hopefully profit!). Other days will make you want to run screaming into the wilderness, never to return. It’s not just that running a business is hard; it’s that life is extremely challenging.

Life, in all its wondrous complexities, is a wicked bitch. She’ll knock your teeth out when you least expect it. She’ll take everything from you and expect you to get back up. She’ll show you the most amazing things, and laugh when you forget there is beauty in the world. You’ll fall off the horse a million times, and the only way to survive is to get back on the damn horse.

Balancing your life and business will always walking a tightrope. Some days, your balance will amaze you. Some days, you’ll struggle to stay upright. That’s the way life is. It’s opposing forces always battling for dominance in your life. You’ll never control the unexpected forces that come crashing into your life and business like a freight train.

So focus on the ones you can control, and make a plan on how to survive the ones you can’t.

A friend of mine teaches martial arts and explained how many of his students call him in stressful situations. After his 3rd emergency call of the day, he said he wished he had an answering machine to deliver the same message, as his advice is always the same: breathe. He says you can’t handle any crisis until you are centered and believe you can achieve that by breathing. I agree.

Achieving business Zen is a daily battle, and one you’ll sometimes lose, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is giving in to the chaos and accepting that stress is just normal. Sure, some stress is normal, but you can probably minimize your daily stress if you choose to figure out a plan. If Plan A doesn’t work for you, switch to Plan B. I’m currently on Plan Q, and who knows how long that plan will work. So here’s what I do:

Breathe in. Breathe out.

And get back up and try again.

Afterword


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Ready to rock business ownership?

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Get over 100 cool side-business ideas at

http://microbusinessessentials.com/100-side-biz-ideas/

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And if you have any new ideas to add to the list, contact me here

http://microbusinessessentials.com/contact-me/


Creating Business Zen: Your Pathway from Chaos to Harmony

Ready to find business enlightenment? Creating Business Zen is both a mindset and way of life. It’s your key to a more productive and profitable business. Because you can run your new empire better when your mind is not bogged down with stress, worry, and frustration. Because running your business should make you feel confident, happy and fulfilled. Not crazy, stressed and slightly homicidal.

  • ISBN: 9781311199973
  • Author: Liesha Petrovich
  • Published: 2016-05-18 16:20:11
  • Words: 6825
Creating Business Zen: Your Pathway from Chaos to Harmony Creating Business Zen: Your Pathway from Chaos to Harmony