Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

How to Take a ‘Workation’ this Summer

As the weather in Toronto is expected to reach a balmy 34 degrees celcius today, I thought it would be a good time to write about entrepreneurship and summer vacations. The kids are out of school and the beach is calling but does that mean we small business owners will be taking time off? If you can’t take a true vacation, you do have some options.

According to Regus Canada, “a recent survey that found 41 per cent of entrepreneurs will be dealing with email, making calls and attending to significant pieces of work while on their summer vacation.” This is often described as a “workation.” But in order to do this, you need to be well-prepared. Below are some tips and tools you can use to support your workation:

  • Be prepared with virtual office tools. Here’s a recent blog that I wrote about how to setup an “anywhere office.”
  • Set expectations with customers that you will be away and that you might be a little slower to respond to e-mails and calls. Or, let them know far enough in advance that you can deliver on major projects before-hand.
  • Have a back-up plan in case you wifi or computer goes down. Is there an internet cafe or library nearby that you can use to check-in on your e-mail? Also, back-up your files on a USB stick or in the cloud so that you can access them on another device.
  • Try to win a free virtual office! Regus Canada will be giving away five virtual offices until the end of 2012. Visit the Regus Canada Facebook Page to enter the “I’d rather work virtually anywhere than the office this summer” contest.

Do you have a workation tip for other small business owners? Please share in the comments section below.

Feel the Fear, Then do it Anyways

Earlier today, I read a great blog post entitled “Nice People Don’t Change the World,” by Joel Runyon on his Blog of Impossible Things. Image purchase from iStockPhoto.com - Girl on a diving boardI love his message that we are trained from a young age to learn how to be nice. But the act of always trying to fit in and go with the flow often gets you nowhere fast. In order to “do something that matters,” you need to go against the grain and take a chance. This means that you may not always be perceived as “nice” or “compliant” in some peoples’ eyes.

As a small business owner, one who has only been self-employed for about a year now, I have learned that being courageous doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small, tiny steps. Each time I push my own boundaries, I gather-up the courage to go one more step beyond.

In the meantime, I’ve faced many naysayers and people who have told me that I am “too nice” to run my own business, that “I don’t strike them as a hunter,” that what I am “trying to do is hard,” or that “I’ll just see that it can’t be done.” To that, I say, I’ll do it anyhow.

While I won’t say that I am changing the world just yet, I have managed to create a new reality for myself — within a career of my own imagination. I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I’ve had in the past twelve months for anything.

Likewise, I certainly wouldn’t have the courage to keep going today, had I not taken the initial first step to go against the traditional way of earning a living.

A friend of mine has recently started her own small business – selling unique paper from all over the world. Yesterday, she told me that she is going to exhibit for the first time at a wedding tradeshow. She wants to target her product to brides and wedding invitation designers – an excellent place to start. Her biggest fear is that no one will like her product and that she won’t succeed. However, by never taking the chance to find out if people like her product, she might never learn what works and what doesn’t. Just by going through the experience for the first time, she will learn so much about what she needs to do next in order to succeed. I know she’ll be a great success if she just takes a chance.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s a new year and a new opportunity to finally take that tiny first step. If you do one small thing that gets you closer to that goal that you keep postponing, you’ll have the courage to go even further. As my old competitive swim coach used to tell me, “feel the fear, then do it anyways.”

Image source: iStockPhoto.com

What entrepreneurs can learn from dating

It has often been said that looking for a job is just like dating. You know in your gut when you think you’ve found “the one.” Well, I believe that the same can be said for prospecting for new clients and customers as an entrepreneur.

When you’re out meeting new people at conferences or social networking online, you’re looking for people with whom you have enough chemistry to have that first initial meeting. From a simple phone call or e-mail exchange, your goal is to then go for coffee or lunch to get to know and understand each other. Even if you are selling to customers instead of clients, the desired outcome is the same. Ultimately, we are trying to build long term relationships (or partnerships) with our customers, rather than “acquire” them.

Perhaps, just like in love, that’s the difference between people who are looking for commitment versus those that are looking for a one night stand. Below are some links to great blogs from Canadian startups and entrepreneurs about fostering relationships and impressing customers and clients:

Some of the key lessons from these stories are to communicate openly, go out of your way to make your customers happy, and be yourself. This advice resonates with any great relationship. Do these sound possible for your business? If you have other stories worth sharing on this blog, please pass them along.

Image source: iStockPhoto.com