The Digital Glue Podcast

EP: 30 - Business Minimalism: Achieving Your Dreams With Less

June 08, 2021 Episode 30
The Digital Glue Podcast
EP: 30 - Business Minimalism: Achieving Your Dreams With Less
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The Digital Glue Podcast
EP: 30 - Business Minimalism: Achieving Your Dreams With Less
Jun 08, 2021 Episode 30

“There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.” – Brian Tracy, Motivational Thinker and Author 

 

Welcome to Episode 30: Business Minimalism: 
 Achieving Your Dreams With Less! 
 

Minimalism is a true lifestyle characterized by the pursuit of simplicity ... 

As humans, our hindsight is 20/20 and we tend to narrate our lives in reverse. We also tend to think that this lifestyle doesn't jive with an entrepreneurial one. But not everything has to be about ambition and cutthroat ladder climbing. And being the best of the best no matter the cost …!

So, today I want you to think of your mess as your message ... Less is more. 


Here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...

  • What is minimalism? And what you should do FIRST.
  • Our ultimate list of untangling business “hacks”!
  • Tips on achieving work / life balance … Yes, it’s real!
  • How to hack your budget in 6 simple steps.

 

Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!

Show Notes Transcript

“There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.” – Brian Tracy, Motivational Thinker and Author 

 

Welcome to Episode 30: Business Minimalism: 
 Achieving Your Dreams With Less! 
 

Minimalism is a true lifestyle characterized by the pursuit of simplicity ... 

As humans, our hindsight is 20/20 and we tend to narrate our lives in reverse. We also tend to think that this lifestyle doesn't jive with an entrepreneurial one. But not everything has to be about ambition and cutthroat ladder climbing. And being the best of the best no matter the cost …!

So, today I want you to think of your mess as your message ... Less is more. 


Here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...

  • What is minimalism? And what you should do FIRST.
  • Our ultimate list of untangling business “hacks”!
  • Tips on achieving work / life balance … Yes, it’s real!
  • How to hack your budget in 6 simple steps.

 

Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!

Minimalism is a true lifestyle characterized by the pursuit of simplicity ... 

As humans, our hindsight is 20/20 and we tend to narrate our lives in reverse. We also tend to think that this lifestyle doesn't jive with an entrepreneurial one. But not everything has to be about ambition and cutthroat ladder climbing. And being the best of the best no matter the cost …!

So, today I want you to think of your mess as your message ... Less is more. 

That being said, it's time to dive into today's special “untangling” episode where I share with you HOW to once and for all rid yourself of your business life's excess, in true favour of focusing on what's really important for you and your business. And all with a FUN LIST of entrepreneurial hacks. But in an unconventional sense beyond platforms and decluttering as we just talked about shiny object syndrome in a recent episode, so we figured we don’t need a recap on that (just yet!) -- in order to create simplicity, fulfillment, freedom, and of course happiness!

Because as we like to say … HAPPINESS IS DECLUTTERING!

Before diving into the biz “hacks” themselves, let’s talk a bit about minimalism …

In today’s world, minimalism is mainly thought of as people who live out of a backpack or cram their life into a tiny house. But that’s not the only minimalist lifestyle that’s all the rage … Minimalism can be easily applied to business as well. In all instances, it’s a mindset rather than an outrageously blind purge. It is all about creating freedom through simplicity -- by removing what doesn’t serve you well -- or at all -- in pursuit of …

  • Freedom from the stress of “busy work”.
  • Freedom from excess financial worry.
  • Freedom from weighted responsibility.

The reason most people migrate to a life of entrepreneurialism is for that glorious life of freedom. And if done right and with grace, style, and simplicity, you will achieve greater freedom in not only your business -- but your life, too! Win-Win!

The middle of 2021 is rolling in, which means year-end isn’t too far away …
(OIY how time flies!)

I want you to be able to use today’s episode as a workshop for yourself for planning the rest of 2021, and your dreams and goals to achieving true business minimalism for the year(s) to come -- and making it (hopefully!) your best business year yet! 

I know in my heart of hearts, you want to grow, flourish, untangle, expand on new ideas and make a successful breakthrough. And creating this kind of plan for yourself is only going to happen because YOU are going to MAKE IT HAPPEN. 

Here’s what you should do first …

  1. Be clear about your goals and what you’d like to achieve.
  2. Take a stand for what you believe in and invest in yourself.
  3. Make a plan by setting real, measurable, and attainable goals.
  4. Decide how you’re going to set clear (and organized) actions.
  5. Think positive and condition yourself for success.
  6. Give yourself permission to make extraordinary things happen.

All those steps are exceptionally important to making what feels like the impossible, possible. Especially those last two on the list. 

Soooo …

Whatever you do, do not limit yourself (or let others limit you) because there is so much possibility in the world today! Keep those naysayers on the wayside and don’t let their perception become your perception. And truly make a conscious effort to become more aware of your thoughts because mindful thinking will help you reach reality by making your dreams reality!


Now to mosey on into a perfectly fitting quote by none other than Brian Tracy, who is an amazing motivational speaker and author …

“There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking.”


We all dream BIG dreams! But you need more than just some fancy coloured post-it notes, and some long-winded to-do lists to make your goals a reality. You need a real plan to move you closer to your dream business every single day.

And that is where our “untangling” hacks come in …

Take a moment to ask yourself … Is “more” (of anything) actually better?

Entrepreneurial hacks truly have a lot to do with mindset. You first need to believe in yourself and your business before you can take any additional steps on the path to growth. This way you will not only flourish and grow in this big bad world of business … but thrive beyond just surviving!

It’s all about the endgame. Which for every entrepreneur is all about achieving massive results and crushing goals. We like to refer to these folks as “Goal Diggers!”

So, alright goal diggers … It’s HACK TIME!

First on the list might sound like a strange one (at first) …

HACK PEOPLE.

Business life isn’t just about the technology in this insanely busy social-heavy world we live in. It’s about the people. Which is something that is often underestimated. It’s about the impact we have and create (especially thanks to platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook). So, instead of constantly analyzing the ever-changing algorithms and the big data that runs alongside it, put yourself in touch with the human part of it all. Make connections -- real authentic connections -- and turn those connections into the data you are looking for.


HACK YOUR BRAIN -- STICKY NOTES ARE YOUR FRIEND.

My team and I seriously use coloured sticky notes all dang day long. Both pen to paper and virtually. We paste them everywhere to remind ourselves of the things we want and need to get done. It helps us manage not only our time and tangled clients' time but also the after-hours time in our lives -- even for the simplest things. For me personally, these fun-coloured pieces of paper keep my mind clear and leave room for the real tasks at hand so I don’t have to try to remember (or worry about forgetting) anything else besides the important items I’m taking care of.


HACK THE GOLDEN DOOR (re: OPPORTUNITIES).

You know that saying “opportunity comes knocking?” … Be the one who always opens the door and welcomes with open arms. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a rut and looking for an escape route, pondering on forging a new partnership, or perhaps looking for a second chance at something -- or with someone. It’s all about breaking through.

That spark inside that grew us into the entrepreneurs we are, came from some door that was opened, perhaps even an unplanned meeting. And that’s literally all it took to light the fuse that was dimly flickering. So, take advantage of #AllThings that land on your path and be alive to all possibilities. Be willing to take risks, step over the boundaries of vulnerability and fear, try new things and be a believer. 

Entrepreneurs who build real businesses not only benefit from these growth opportunities, but they also create jobs which in return triggers more defining moments.


HACK TIME.

I do my best to guard my time fiercely. This may sound extreme, but it’s honestly one of the simplest and most effective tactics for anyone to live by. Why? 

Because the demands on our time are greater now than ever before. With information coming at us in every possible direction at a rate faster than we can digest it, responsibilities handed to us faster than the speed of light, and trying to find as many ways as possible to get each daunting task into your day! But there is a way to get more done of what you need and want with less distraction. 

In short … you must schedule your “stuff”. And no, not just meetings and appointments, but all the stuff that matters most. And you can do that by scheduling what we like to call “time blocks” into your day -- and your calendar or project management app. So, don’t delay and start building those time blocks to keep yourself laser-focused.


HACK YOUR HABITS … GET (AND STAY) ORGANIZED.

Okay, let’s just be honest here for a second … We all know that one person who constantly has their life together, is never late, their house is always spotless, and they always seem to have a plan. So, instead of feeling the opposite and like you’re always falling off the track, it’s really as simple as implementing some solid organization habits for yourself.

And to put it perfectly, as Jon Trosko, professional organizer says …
“Organized people are not born, they’re built.”


HACK YOUR THOUGHTS.

Being an entrepreneur is kind of like playing a game of chess. You must always think at least 3 steps ahead. You must think long-term and have a true vision for your endgame. Think big and small in all directions. Do the work that needs to be done but also don’t forget about the path you are working towards. All the while, taking time to step back, look at the bigger picture and provide direction to your overall vision. Then let success soak its way in.

HACK THE HECK OUT OF YOUR TO-DO’S.

Before I end my business day, I take 15 minutes to list everything I need to accomplish the next day (sometimes even the rest of the week), then open my trusty Asana platform and create specific notes, lists, and tasks for those items. 

This allows me to quickly see all I have, want, and need to do, as well as what kind of time is involved. I do this every single day as it always allows me to get my to-do list completed. It also helps me gauge whether I need to delegate some of my to-do list, so I’m not overworked and wearing too many hats. 

Which we all tend to do from time to time!


HACK PERFECTIONISM – YOU CAN’T BE A PRO AT EVERYTHING.

It’s tempting to wear every hat in the business, especially if you love to learn new things and technologies. But if you want to wear all those crazy entrepreneurial hats, you will need to pull more than one rabbit out of each in order to be extremely successful at #AllTheThings. Soooo … that’s why I like to remind people that even though Virtually Untangled offers a unique array of creative and organizational services … I don’t claim, nor want to be, a pro at everything. 

I will give it my all, do plenty of research and help in every single way possible if the client wants or needs me to. But I never once said I was their CEO or a pro at it all. But I also never turn down opportunities either. 

I choose to focus on my “secret sauce” by focusing on my strongest talents, which is what I like to do most out of all our offerings, and get assistance from others to take care of the rest.

If you try to be a Jane (or Jack) of all trades but you’re only skilled partially, you’re actually only hurting yourself -- or your clients -- because it will take you twice as long as someone who has the proper skills, and it won’t be as polished as it needs to be. So, try discarding some of those crazy hats.


HACK WORKING SOLO … CREATE YOUR DREAM TEAM.

To some, working remotely and running a virtual team seems like "black magic". Time is money. There are only 24 hours a day and it is just not humanly possible to work 24 hours in one single day. But if you reach out and use the help offered by trained professionals and Virtual Assistants (VAs), you may feel like you're accomplishing that much but in less time. The job of your “dream team” is to boost productivity so that you can continue to do what you do best, while your dream team takes care of the rest!


HACK PREDICTABILITY.

I knew for most of my life that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But it was difficult to walk away from that reliable 9 to 5 paycheck. It was a hard decision and took me longer to get to where I am today than I would have liked because it was way too easy to see how easily one could fail. I was stuck in a 9 to 5 safety net. But that was not the mindset that was going to help me succeed. So, I compared both paths and, in the end, I came to the conclusion that there was no right, or wrong approach -- I just needed to follow the one that felt most right to me.

What I’m getting at here when I talk about hacking predictability, is that we have to take time to figure things out for ourselves and shift our mindset in order to take that god-forsaken scary as hell leap. We must become comfortable with the uncomfortable, learn that vulnerability is our friend, seek the gifts in our imperfections (thanks to Brené Brown) and learn to grow from there.

Now onto one of my favourite things …


HACK PRODUCTIVITY.

Something I see frequently in my line of business is that often, people do not finish their day feeling accomplished. So, they end up judging themselves, myself included from time to time. 

The pressure is on to be as productive as possible to get where we want to go. Often, we are our own worst critics and think that calling out our laziness or inefficiencies can lead to some sort of mindset adjustment to get around the roadblocks to our success. 

First off … give yourself a friggin’ break already! If you want to increase your productivity, you must make the decision to do so, stop being harsh and start implementing new ways (and tools) to improve your productivity. This will not only reduce time clutter (and those nasty stress wrinkles) but you won’t believe how much you will be able to accomplish all the while increasing your business's revenue.


HACK FEAR.

Simple. Short. Sweet. You DO NOT need permission to be an entrepreneur. We are not born with the fear of failing, but we are however taught to be embarrassed by it. But that doesn’t have to be you … Be passionate about your business and don’t limit yourself. And just plainly stop asking for permission. #JustDoYou


HACK PEOPLE’S PAIN POINTS.

Being an entrepreneur is all about problem-solving. If there are no problems, there is no business. So, take time to properly define the problems of your people, audience, and clients -- clearly. Don’t just jump right on in all willy-nilly. Truly take time to understand. Then challenge things from all angles, all the while being aware that there is usually only one true painkiller.

In short, be a painkiller in a world of vitamins …
Identify said problem, consider all the options then choose the best solution.


HACK THE GAP.

You’re probably wondering what I mean by “the gap”. The gap is what stands between your goals and the horizon. And learning to adjust this gap is what will create your hugest mindset shift.

It’s not just about setting calendar goals then setting loftier ones when the others have been accomplished -- and smooth sailing on the Pacific. Take time to commend yourself for a job well done before hopping onto that next cruise ship. Take time to contemplate how far you’ve come and the imperfections you’ve learned from. 

There will always be something new so, take some well-deserved time to stand tall and be proud of what you have already achieved! 


There has always been a lot of controversy on this next “hackable” topic ... 

HACK WORK / LIFE BALANCE.

If we were to define “work/life balance”, we would probably say that in order to truly enjoy your life, you should only have to wear your “work hat” between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. And having the ability to forget about your business outside of those hours. 

But as an entrepreneur, I can attest that this is not the case. 

There are plenty of entrepreneurs out there busting their butts to the ultimate limit wondering … Is balance even possible? Well, I’m here to happily announce that the answer is YES! 

But this also means that we must work hard at creating and preserving a space in our lives for the things that matter the most. As Vanessa Loder, Contributor at Forbes, likes to call this, “creating whole life alignment”. 

Balance doesn’t just happen. We need to be intentional about establishing those margins within our daily lives. We must be courageous and aware to recover balance.

Wondering how you can get on board with this thing called “balance” that you’ve never yet found? Wondering how you can somehow find more time to do the things you love? 

Well, here is our tried, tested and true, tip list …

  1. Before you agree to something don’t just see if you have space in your calendar for it, also check your goals and only say “yes” if out of pure genuine interest.
  2. Be open about your needs and communicate them. Whatever you do, do not hide them, and expect others to guess what makes you feel balanced and fulfilled.
  3. Defend and respect your boundaries by having clarity around your core priorities and goals. There will always be another email to reply to or a problem to take care of, but you need to personally respect your own boundaries because if you don’t, how do you expect others to respect them?
  4. The perfect 50/50 split is possible … wrong. First off there is no such thing as perfect. Sorry to burst your bubble. Your goal here should be a holistic view when it comes to your commitments -- both at work and home. There will of course be spillage in either direction, but the key to having any real type of equilibrium truly depends on your ability to accept the fact that flow is required and sometimes a bit of sacrifice.
  5. In most entrepreneurial workspaces, there seems to be a trend of only having one speed … and that’s lightning fast. Dial things down a bit by having several gears to being mindful, which in all reality can only lead to better decisions and healthier choices.
  6. Energy is the main component of high performance. Make sure to set clear boundaries between the early morning eager beaver and the “can’t wait to get home” mode in your mind.
  7. Making good progress always makes one happy but to be consistent with our daily tasks, goals, and projects -- one must also take care of oneself.
  8. Stop doing things that just keep adding stress. Start making time for yourself to learn new things. Another way to reduce stress is by writing lists to prevent less important tasks -- like picking up milk after your next meeting -- from taking over important brain space.
  9. Find ways to “break free” to stay grounded. Some good examples to take into consideration are reading, yoga, meditation, journaling, exercising, and listening to mindful podcasts. Doing these types of activities will help you get in touch with your core values -- and what matters most.


Okay, now to ease the virtual pain and suffering of our last “hack” on this list … Which is something folks don’t like to talk about much -- those dolla dolla bills ya’ll!

So, we put our heads together as a team to "untangle" all the angles on this one … But as short n’ sweet as possible!


HACK YOUR BUDGET.

Money might make the world go-round (as we shared in our recently released e-guide – which just launched June 2nd!), but it can be tough to keep those dollar bills of yours organized. So, whether you’re financially independent for the very first time, or in need of a personal finances’ refresher course, here are some personal tips of ours for smart money management ...


  • Step 1: Create a budget.
  • Step 2: Set up a spreadsheet to record payment due dates and auto-renewal dates. 


You do not want any surprises, so keep this IMPORTANT document where you can always see it. If you pay for a virus protection program for your computer, for example, and this is a subscription that renews annually, you need to know the renewal date and the amount. If the subscription is on auto-renewal and you forget about it, the item will not be included your budget. You will be surprised when your actual bottom line does not match your projected bottom line because you did not keep track of that expense. 

I also like to add my monthly recurring payments as a task reminder in Asana (and a special app in my phone) and then add them into my budget spreadsheet upon payment made -- due to the fluctuating USD/CAD exchange rates.


  • Step 3: Evaluate your budgeted bottom line.


If your budgeted bottom line is a positive number that you are extremely pleased with, you may not need to save money! But, if your bottom line appears as a negative number, however, or if it is too low, you need to find more income sources or possibly even lower or eliminate some expenditures. The quest to find more income sources takes you back to your business plan, and specifically to your marketing plan -- and is, perhaps, a topic for another day! 


  • Step 4: Constantly review the expenses in your budget.
  • Step 5: Remove unnecessary expenses and evaluate your new bottom line on a regular basis. 


Do not skip this step! It is very important. Removing expenses automatically changes the bottom line of your budget. That is the beauty of spreadsheets. Remove anything that is not necessary or that you can defer to next year and see how much better your bottom line looks. 


  • Step 6: Identify ways you can save money on business expenses.

Use coupons or online promo codes. Buy in bulk when you can. Pay for software and apps annually instead of monthly. Use low-cost alternatives for advertising. Make your data storage “live in the cloud". Outsource instead of hiring full-time employees. And embrace telecommuting – which is pretty easy nowadays amidst the pandemic.


To become hugely successful at finding that perfect mixture of all these hacks revolves around setting realistic goals and expectations for what an actual business in your niche looks like – and more importantly … what YOU WANT it to look like.

So, stop trying to separate things. Stop following every influencer on every platform. Stop trying to do everything like everyone else does … accomplish your professional goals in a way that works most comfortably for you. Stop wearing all the hats and ask for help when you need it. And most importantly .. Stop not being YOU! We NEED YOU just the way you are, as you offer something nobody else does, YOU (and your expertise)!

This adventure we are on will always be a work in progress. So, it’s simple really ... Follow your dreams, be a goal digger, be mindful and resilient, cut yourself some slack, and course correct when you need to.