A couple of things I learned while I made this series

Endless summer Summer is a great time for thinking and planning but not really for doing. I followed along, too, not just with Janet’s business, but with my own. I thought a lot about what we were doing in my other business, but I was distracted; it was a lot of material and it went by pretty quickly; people were on vacation.. Those are all the reasons I didn’t apply what we did right away.

It did work, because since then I closed one business and opened two more.

The information is not enough. We need support to help us get past some of those things that trip us up. We need accountability to help us keep moving forward.

I need response and feedback. This was a tough one for me. The hits on the website went down as the series progressed. That was disheartening. I kept going because I said I would and because I wanted to create the material, but it was hard to do while I was thinking that no one cared. I got over it.

Now I have the basics for a workbook for Your Effortless Business and the start of a novelette about Janet’s Business.

The scheduling feature in WordPress is very slick. I took the kids on a 2 week adventure in the middle of posting the series. One caveat: the time is EDT not your geographical time.

Plan your work and work your plan works. Knowing what I needed to write every day, kept me on task. I need to free-range write at times, too, but having a plan for a while and especially in the summer made for an easier summer.

I enjoy writing fiction way more than I thought I would. It’s like Steven Pressfield and Anne Lamott say, the story comes; place your hands over the keyboard and wait. Before you know it, the story comes. In this case, I did direct it somewhat because the story had to follow the 8 week course. Try it, you’ll see.

This was a wonderful experience for me. I am not a structured person, so it was a new experience as well and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

What task have you taken on lately that is out of your ordinary way of doing things? What projects have you started and finished that made you feel great about them?

8 Weeks to Your Effortless Business – Outline Links

Week 1 All About You

It’s all about you.

Worksheet 8 Weeks to Your Effortless Business – Week 1

Week 2 Predictability

The more predictable, the easier for everyone.

Worksheet Your Piece of Your Effortless Business

Week 3 STARTING

It won’t happen until you start.

Worksheet Starting

Week 4 – Getting Paid Well

It’s not all about the money, but you can’t do it without it.

Worksheet Get Paid Well

Week 5 – How?

Figuring out what to do is easier than figuring out how to do it.

Worksheet How

Week 6 – Team

Your team is bigger than you think and they want you to succeed.

Worksheet Team

Week 7 – Changes

Doing the same things gives you the same results.

Worksheet Change

Week 8 – Environment

Make your environment work for you.

WorksheetEnvironment Worksheet

 

If you enjoy this series; if it helped you, please pass it along to another business owner.

Week 8 Environment – How did you do?

How did you do?

What changes did you make in your environment that made your business more effortless?

Do you see how your environment can add or detract from making things effortless?

Are you noticing your environment more?

The Crew Talks About Janet

The 5 of them. Maggie, Michelle, Robb, Steve and Alex watched Janet drive away. Robb lit a cigarette, Maggie grabbed her water and Alex pulled out another sandwich. “Break time” said Steve.

“Janet is the first real boss I’ve ever had. I like working for her. How does she compare with other bosses you guys have had?” asked Michelle.

Robb started, “I like that she doesn’t swear, and yell and get all bent out of shape. My last boss thought that if he didn’t ride everyone, we would all slack off and rob him blind. He said that all the time, not about us, at least not to our faces, but it’s how he treated everyone. I like how Janet trusts us to do the job well and in good time. I don’t feel stressed here, and maybe it takes a little longer, but not by much. As a matter of fact, I don’t mind staying the extra hour to finish up a job, or hustling to get the work done when it’s needed. Sometimes I forget to add those extra hours, so it probably works out exactly the same, but the atmosphere here is way better.”

“I like that Janet cares about safety. My last boss, I swear all he did was figure out where the safety inspector was. He’d call and tell us to get our gear on and sure enough, the inspector would show up. He’d look at us with our hard hats and our harnesses, tick his report boxes and drive on. Most of the time he didn’t get out of the truck. I’ll bet that cost the boss a few bucks in kickbacks. It also cost him when Lennie fell that time and broke his back. Did you hear about that?” asked Steve and Robb nodded.

“He couldn’t run it through Workers’ Comp because they would have investigated. Janet doesn’t just say she cares, I feel safe working here.” Finished Steve.

“I like how Janet treats me like a real person. She’s talked to me about getting my high school equivalent and about money management. She cares about me as a person. Other bosses have been okay, but they only cared as far as me showing up ready to work hard for my minimum wage. Janet told me she feels bad paying me labourer’s wages, but I told her that was the job I do. She told me she would like to see me improve so she could pay me more.” Alex said.

“I like how Janet trusts me and is showing me how to take on more responsibility. We’ve talked and I feel like there are opportunities to advance here. I think I’d like to get into project management and Janet is helping me. I’m not getting younger and I need to think about the future.”added Maggie.

“Janet’s done a lot to make us all feel happy about working with her.” Michelle summed it up.

“I don’t know if I’d go all the way to happy. Next you’ll be saying we are ecstatic about it.” joked Robb as he put out his cigarette and stashed the butt in the tin he carried for that purpose.

They all thumped him, grabbed their gear, safety and otherwise, and went back to work.

Janet Sees her Environment with New Eyes

Janet pulled into the job site just after lunch. She gathered up the papers that were strewn over the seat and stuffed them back into the file folder. She pushed them into the space behind her seat. She laughingly referred to it as her file cabinet. She kicked the water bottles, empty packaging and coffee cups away from the door so they wouldn’t fall out.

She was still wearing her business meeting clothes from her meeting at the bank. Maggie smiled at the juxtaposition of the contractor’s messy truck and the smart looking business woman. Then cocked her head and stopped smiling.

Michelle, :”Hey boss, when are you going to get a new truck, or at least clean that one?”

“Very funny!”

“I mean it, Janet. That’s your office, isn’t it? And it looks like a wreck. What do you think your customers think? What do potential customers think? Could there be jobs we didn’t get because of it? It’s the face of your business.” continued Michelle

“I’d have a hard time thinking in that kind of mess. I need a calm, serene place to do my best thinking.” Everyone was surprised to hear that from Alex. He was such a physical guy, the idea of him needing a serene place to think had them all pausing to think.

“I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing good clothes in there. It looks messy, so it seems grimey.” added Maggie.

“My last boss’s truck looked like that. He was forever losing receipts, forgetting to invoice people and not tracking our hours properly. Somehow he didn’t make the connection between his messy truck and not being able to run his business efficiently.” said, Robb.

Janet’s crew looked at her to see how she would react. She turned to look at her truck and saw it with new eyes. That was her office and it was the face of the Careful Roofers that others’ saw. Her truck didn’t project the concept of careful roofers.

She thought about how she did her best thinking on her back deck. She thought it was only because of the timing, but she now realized it was the environment as well. She thought of the nice places she liked to be in and how she felt in other places.

“You guys are right. If you are okay here, I’m going to fix that up right now. I’ll be back in a few hours.”

Keys to Crafting Your Effortless Environment

Communication
Your Environment communicates to people about who you are and how you see yourself. You will want to make sure that the story your environment is communicating is accurate.

Your mind is your most important environment so it is vitally important that you guard what is communicated to your mind. Do not fill your mind with the equivalent of junk food. Fill your mind with enriching, creative, thought-provoking communications.

Time and space to think
Your environment should give you and your staff time and space to think. That may mean a comfortable place to rest, stimulating decor and some privacy.

Sell what people want to buy
The second part of selling what people want to buy is to create an atmosphere of value and to make it easy and conducive for your clients to pay you.

Mastermind
Your mastermind is an important part of your mind environment.

Week 8 Your Environment Exercises

Your environment can make or break your best intentions. Think of the dieter who keeps their favourite candy in the house. Or someone who wants to get 8 hours sleep a night, but is addicted to late-night tv.

A cluttered desk makes it hard to find what you need. A cluttered mind makes it hard to remember what you need to and adds to your stress.

My office is a 20 minute walk from home. That was a deliberate choice because I wanted an environment that made it easy to walk every day.

Here is this week’s worksheet to have you thinking about your environment.

Environment Worksheet

Week 8 – Environment

This week we look at how important it is to have your environment work for you.

We’ll look at the different environments you inhabit and control.

Look around you. How can you make your life and business more effortless by making some minor changes to your environment?

Week 7 Change – How Did You Do?

Change is hard to do, but it gets easier with practice.

How did you do?

What did you change?

What else will you change?

Janet Gets a Pep Talk

Knock knock!

Janet glanced at the clock. It was still only 7am. Who could it be at this hour? She tried to shake off the insecure thoughts as she walked to the front door so she could put a happy, public face on.

“Mike! Come in. Coffee? Why didn’t you just come around back?”

“Good morning. Yes, the usual, you always have good coffee. I wasn’t sure if you were dressed to receive, yet.”

Janet laughed at that and glanced down at her cut offs and baggy T. “You have a point there. At least I’m decent today. Let’s sit out back.”

“This really is a little piece of paradise you have here.” They both looked around at Janet’s garden. Janet smiled to herself thinking Mike didn’t know much about gardens if he couldn’t see the neglected plants that needed weeding and deadheading. Those delphiniums needed to be moved into a sunnier spot and the day lillies needed to be divided again.

Mike looked at the neglected plants and tried to remember the last time he had seen Janet’s garden look this bad. It was still beautiful and it was peaceful. “We haven’t talked in a few weeks, Janet, and I wanted to see how you were doing with your business growth.”

“Oh, you know, things take time.” Mike just looked at her. He wasn’t letting her off the hook that easily. “We have more work than we can handle and the two crews are going steady. Maggie is ready to step up to take over ordering the materials and maybe some of the team building. She has great ideas, but it feels like things are coming too fast. I haven’t had time to figure out what to do.”

Mike smiled. He knew exactly how she felt. “Change is hard. It means letting go of the way things were. Most people experience feelings of loss. Odd isn’t it. but true. People also have feelings of loss of control. It’s not unusual for people to go on binges of some kinds as a way to gain that control. Some people will pull back and try to make things the way they were, but you can’t go back. You are going to experience all kinds of strange feelings.”

“So, it’s not just me? I’m not unusual?” Janet joked.

“Oh, Janet, yes you are unique, but what you are feeling is not unusual.”

“Sometimes it feels like I haven’t done anything at the end of the day. I don’t always know what I should be doing. I should let Maggie do more. I should mentor her. But then what do I do? On the other hand, I know I should design systems to make the business run better, but I’ve never done that before. See what I mean. I can spend whole days trying to figure out what I should be doing, all the while doing busy work that I don’t need to do.”

Now Mike was outright laughing. He gave Janet a hug. “Congratulations, you have graduated from self-employed roofer to business owner. You can do this. I know you can. I know it, because you grasp what needs to happen. Running a business is pretty straightforward and it’s not rocket science to make a very good business. But it’s not easy and the hardest work will have to be done in your head. You do know what has to be done and you have the ability to do it and to learn how to do the parts you don’t know, yet. As many businesses as there are in the world and as many millions of roofing companies there are, yours is still unique because it’s yours. Even though all those businesses are similar, you can’t take their experiences and know for 100% certainty that you will get the same results and that is scary. Know this, Janet: you will get YOUR results. You will get out of it, what you put in. Your business will be awesome because it’s built by you. You need to square with the fact that you won’t always know how it will turn out, but you will always be able to manage it. Now, go and do what needs to be done.”

Janet wiped away tears. She took a deep breathe, squared her shoulders, looked Mike in the eyes and said, “Thank you. That is exactly what I needed to hear. I CAN do this. Have a great day, Mike. I have work to do.”