A lifestyle business for real people

Mini Miniature Pinscher
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Original Post:

Just a week ago, I drove down to South Carolina to spend a few days helping my Mum settle in to her new home near Myrtle Beach — well, that and drive her four pets down with me (here’s a picture of Mini).

The original plan was for me to leave last Tuesday for the 900-mile trek home (gotta love audiobooks and recorded teleseminars!), but Mum still needed a few things to feel at home.

No biggie…call the hubby and let him know I’ll be driving home on Saturday (today).

My clients may know I’m here based on my tweets and Facebook posts, but otherwise have no idea, nor do they need to.

Then one of Mum’s mini pinschers, Mini, got sick.  I found a vet and took her in.  It seems she’s eaten something toxic and we’re currently in a wait-and-see mode and giving her a combo of meds.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t want to leave Mum without family in the area when we’re not sure what’s going to happen.

Once again, I called the hubby and told him that Mini goes back to the vet on Wednesday and I’ll be leaving once she’s settled whichever way it goes.

A quick email to my Team and we’re all set.

Can you imagine if I had a regular 9am-to-5pm job?

For me, this is what a lifestyle business truly is — being there for my family and friends when needed, the extra vacations are just a bonus. 🙂

Isn’t this reason enough to determine your definition of success and design your business for that?

UPDATED June 15, 2016

My sister’s cancer returned last September and we spent this past March in Virginia getting her proton radiation treatments at Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute.  That was 26 days away from home.

During that trip, I “ran” down to South Carolina to see Mum a couple times. It was obvious “something was up” health-wise.  April 2nd I returned to South Carolina to manage Mum’s health care and provide caregiving.  On May 5th we got the diagnosis that she had Stage 4 Lung Cancer and treatment was not an option.

She passed on June 9th at her home.

It’s June 15th and I’m back in Virginia, soon to return home to Mass for 2 days and then back to South Carolina for at least a month.

Why You Care

THIS, to me, is the definition of a lifestyle business.  I’ve been able to be there for my mother and my sister when they needed me.  Rather than suffer, my business has thrived (During the last 3 months, my business has seen an 11% increase in revenue and a 19% increase in profits, welcomed 2 new private clients including a national non-profit.) and I’m blessed with amazing clients.

It doesn’t happen by accident.

Reality is that our paths are never free of obstacles and while a Lifestyle Business makes it so much easier, here are some tips for navigating while keeping your business, and sanity, on track:

  • Eat as healthily as possible. An easy way to do this is to not have junk in your home.  If you need to go out to get something, it’s less likely that you will.  If you can have groceries delivered cost effectively, do it; use a service like HelloFresh.com or ask someone to shop (from a detailed list) for you.
  • Your oxygen first.  What do you need to do to keep your sanity?  Read?  Garden?  Walk on the beach or in nature?  Go out with friends?  Go for a drive?  Whatever it is, carve out time to do it at least weekly.
  • Boundaries — set and keep them. Taking care of family, friends, household emergencies, whatever can be all-consuming.  Be sure to set and keep boundaries around those things which matter most to you or which allow you to be at your best.
  • Relish the little things. What are those things which make you instantly smile or nourish your soul in some way?  A few of my favorites: fresh flowers in the house (I love taking bouquets and breaking them into many mini-arrangements to spread throughout the rooms), a beautiful mug for my tea, making my bed no matter what, using handmade organic lotions after showers and before bed, going for a daily walk, reading some fiction daily.  Whatever they are for you, make time to include them every day and especially during crazy times to help keep you grounded.
  • Prioritization and compartmentalization. Prioritize what you need to in order to take care of the things needing taking care of (not the best grammar, but you get it 😉  ). This can be tough.  You may need to reschedule client calls (I’ve done it a couple times and it’s never easy, but your clients will understand as it’s not something you do regularly), ask for deadline extensions, etc.
  • Compartmentalize: Whatever you’re doing, do it 100%. When I was at the radiation treatments with my sister, I was there — mentally and physically.  When I’m preparing/eating dinner with my Mum, my phone is in the other room.  When I’m on the phone with a client, I’m in a private location knowing everything else is “good” for the hour.  In other words “be fully present”.  Make sense?
  • Ask for help. What do you need help with in order to take care of things in the best way possible?    For example, while my team usually shoots me an email or picks up the phone if they want me to do something, I’ve asked that they create a task in Asana.  This allows me to instantly see and prioritize all my tasks without worry that I’m missing something.

As for the revenue and profit increases?

There’s that old saying that “work expands to fill the time allotted”.  The less time you give yourself for a task, the more focused you’ll be — think about how much work you get done just before going on a tech-free vacation.

At the same time, if you’re uber-focused on something, you have less time to look around and buy things you really don’t need — after all, you’re too busy getting things done.  🙂

The best thing you can do for your business in case something does happen is to set up a leveraged continuity program, ideally with a steadily converting Escalator™/funnel.

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.”  ~Donna Karan