Resting in the Uncomfortable Space: A Diary of Transparent Truth

I DON’T WANT TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR ANYMORE!

At least tonight that is how I feel!  I am over it! I don’t want to write this blog post right now, but since I am feeling this intense emotion right now, I figure there is someone else out there feeling the exact same way!

I am tired.

I have been busting my butt for 2 years now to be constantly overlooked.

I am tired of people positing happy go lucky stuff about their businesses and I am sitting here in the corner pouting.

And then there’s life… that!

LOL That is why I haven’t been doing any videos and blog posting because I am officially debbie downer, party pooper, down and out and feeling sorry for myself.  Everything I am not supposed to be.  Everything all the top guns, preachers and prophets say you shouldn’t be, well doggone it, I  AM THERE!  I don’t want to be spreading my negative energy to the world!  So I got off Facebook for a while, just monitored my business account, shut down to new clients, purged a few that were unproductive and now…..well I am in a rut.  It’s not that I don’t have content, its not that I don’t have people interested in my services, shoot as a matter of fact I started a new venture that is important to my purpose, but the way I feel mentally and physically and spiritually, I am just flat out burnt out!

And I keep racking my brain, like what is wrong with you Ebone? Why can’t you be motivating and encouraging and have all these great things to say?  And I am beating myself up and so I am just praying and seeking God in it and He just keeps telling me, I am the driver of this boat.  You just do what I say.  So when He tells me to write, I write.  When He says Ebone post, I post!  When He tells me to sit down somewhere, I do it.  I am no longer the CEO and Founder of Living Faith Management and Consulting, Chronicles of a New Entrepreneur and Professional Development with EK.  I am now in the backseat waiting for my orders.  It is an uncomfortable place.  I am used to being in control and taking control over EVERYTHING!  It is just a weird place that I am in because I don’t want you all to confuse this place that I am in with unhappiness.  I don’t know how to put it into words, but I am completely content with where I am at this point in this journey.  I know God has a plan, I fully have trust in Him, I KNOW He is going to do what He says He is going to do.  I am simply in unfamiliar territory.  I am in a place that many discuss after the fact.  This is what books are made of…the journey…the hardships…the self discovery.

I have absolutely no idea what the outcome of this place I am in will be. And its okay!  I want to let you know, fellow entrepreneur, that is reading this.  WE…yes YOU AND ME…cause we are going through this together! HAHA WE will remain FAITHFUL in this moment, okay!  We will not give up! We will not let people belittle or downgrade us!  We will post 2 times a week instead of everyday but AT LEAST WE ARE POSTING!  We will conduct business!  We will keep pushing in that 9-5! We will keep praying and fasting and we will confess success and elevation!  We will request the Lord to equip us with every single ounce of knowledge and strength and to active our power in Jesus name and we WILL support one another on this journey.  This place is okay…..trust Him…it will be worth it!

Connect. Create. Inspire.

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Chronicles of a New Entrepreneur: Perils of a Multitasker

I am currently looking at three planners on my desk, multiple notebooks, even more notes, some not in notebooks, post its and gadgets.  I feel like I am doing the most.  My multitasking brain is in full blown overload right now (Hence the urge to do a new blog post).  For most, this is productivity.  I look like I am working hard when people walk by and tis true I am a master ninja today, checking things off my to do list so fast, my head is spinning!  I realize, however, that there are some downfalls to my methods and it has me realizing that there are some traps and perils that may face business owners and really any attempts at organizing oneself and I just wanted to stop and talk about it.  These are all from my very experiences so there is no “calling out” anyone today, although, like a good sermon, if I am touching on your spirit, as my pastor, Pastor Kelvin Bryant would say “Tag your it!”

3 Multitasking Traps you Should Avoid

1. Taking Notes in Multiple Places for Different Tasks

I am SO bad at this!  Now please be clear I am not talking about if you are a writer because I know that requires certain processes, but this could apply to you all as well.  My worst habit is conducting meetings or taking phone calls and jotting notes down on random things and then forgetting what I did with them when I need to go back and complete the task!  This is the worst feeling ever, especially when you have to go back to the potential  client or current client and ask them the same doggone question you all talked about a week ago.  TRAGEDY!  The best solution to this is LABELING and FILING!  You must be firm in this for yourselves

2. Not Checking Calendar before Scheduling Appointments

The WORST!  It happens to me all of the time!  Phone call comes in.  Start talking about needs.  Start making plans….Sure I can do that, what day?  Okay cool!

**Fails to look at calendar.**

**Starts planning and then BOOM!**

You see that something is already scheduled that day!  Now my biggest challenge in this dilemma is that I have to maintain several calendars in order to keep track of both myself and my clients, it is necessary, at least in my brain, plus I really like planners, so maybe it isn’t necessary, but ANYWAYS!  The POINT is that I need to consult my schedule at ALL TIMES! Moving on..

3. Overlooking Important Emails

If you have been reading and/or following my blog for a while, you know I PREACH PREACH PREACH about maintaining the organization of your email inbox.  I believe the structure of your inbox is a pivotal factor in the success of your business and the professionalism of your communication.  There is nothing worse than losing emails, confusing emails, sending the wrong emails, not EVER responding to emails.  I am a virtual assistant so I have access to a lot of people’s email accounts and it is a major challenge to manage someone’s inbox and complete tasks when their inbox is all over the place!  I try to clean my inbox out at least once every other week because sometimes I am just doing TOO DOGGONE MUCH!  I cuss myself out sometimes for subscribing for all these unnecessary emails and for waiting too long to empty them out!  I can’t find ANYTHING when I do this and it is a HOT MESS!

So there you have it! Transparency at its best!  My name is Ebone and I have pitfalls and barriers with Doing. The. Most.

Judge me if you want OR you can just take my advice, that would be awesome too!

Until next time!

#Connect #Create #Inspire

Chronicles of a New Entrepreneur update: I Started a Garden!

New #VideoDiary by little ol me! Just some updates on what I have been doing and some reflections on what I learned in 2017! I am pressing forward to what God has in store for me!

 

If you would like to purchase the growth lamp that helped my potatoes out a whole bunch, click below! ( And yes! This is an affiliate link, I am trying to teach myself how to do this, tutorial to come later!)

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Establishing Boundaries: How I Learned Not to Jump On a Bandwagon

People mean well.

There are so many things in my business I allowed people to influence me into doing things that were awesome and amazing and great advice, but I just wasn’t ready for all of it at one time.

I wasn’t ready to get a full blown website.
I wasn’t ready to invest in a coach, plus that wasn’t the right one for me.
I hadn’t done my research and you know I could have stuck with where I was for a little bit and grown a little more.

I didn’t have to get that P.O. Box.
I honestly couldn’t afford to maintain some of those things and I needed to go at the pace in which God intended for me.
Getting advice, guidance, coaching and mentorship is a smart move in business, on the other hand I learned I couldn’t base every single move off what someone else said. I needed and still do consult with God, request HIS wisdom and do research for where I am in business and make careful decisions.

Sometimes along my journey the decision was to jump, pay for that course, get the info and make changes and adjustments. Sometimes it was…. NO you cannot personally afford to drive to that conference in Georgia, it will put you in the hole, don’t burn bridges, BUT you can’t do that.

Yall…..
Its so hard.
Everyone won’t and doesn’t learn the hard way, but we aren’t supposed to be comparing and lets be honest, many people just aren’t willing to share their journey, simply because its hard as hell. I don’t know many people that will admit every single one of my accounts is in the negative, INCLUDING my business account and I am bringing in steady revenue.

Every single one of your decisions must be strategic. I have learned from so many mistakes as I work my way into my 2nd year in business. I refuse to keep making the same mistakes and following blindly. My decisions don’t come without consultations with God. I am preparing to make some bold moves in business. It’s been on my heart for the past couple of months and the message has been in sermons and my study so I know God is talking to me.

I am not jumping on this without knowing what I am getting into. I am being more strategic and consulting with God on everything and doing my research because the place I am in now has an expriation date. I am on my way UP and so is my business! Take carefeul considerations you guys! Consult with God.

Until next time

Connect. Create. Inspire.

Husband and Wife Entrepreneurship: Perceptions vs Reality

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I know there are many people who were in my life before I met my husband who think I changed when he and I started dating.  I know this because I used to be one of those people who felt this about others, until I met my husband and then I understood it!

When we started dating, I made it clear to him I had no intentions of wasting his time or having him waste mine.  I was dating with intention.  I had spent the prior 3 years, exploring and defining my relationship with God, enjoying and celebrating the end of my 20’s and entering into my 30s and loving on myself.  I hung out with the best of them, exploring the city and trying new things!  I traveled and sought after who God wanted me to be!  I thought I had it all figured out….and then I met JB.  The complete opposite of who I am and completely different than who I thought God wanted me to spend the rest of my life with!  He loved me from the very beginning and I wasn’t certain if that was possible because there were so many factors that I didn’t agree with about him and I kept talking to God and He kept showing me, “you said grant you the desires of your heart, that didn’t mean he was coming in a perfect package.”

So I had to make a decision.  I had to choose to take the time to get to know what God presented before me and decide if I was willing to put in the time and effort to pursue life with this man of God.  I identify him as a man of God because that is who my husband is fully.  See, the perception is by many people that the fact my husband is rough around the edges and isn’t what they perceive as a “Christian” means that he isn’t a man of God.  Well they are so far from the reality if it was sitting in their face.  What God revealed to me very early on is that my husband and I would serve as a special kind of example of what Christ’s love really is and boy what a task it is!

So what this relationship required was my undivided attention and prayer time which absolutely meant some people had to be placed on the sideline.  This included friends this included some of my family, some of his family, church friends, all of it.  But not God.  So if any other Christians out there understand, time with God requires a significant amount of time, we are talking prayer time, fasting, praise and worship, service and leadership.  Those two things together had all of my devotion and time.  There wasn’t a whole lot of time for anyone or anything else and I know it looked bad and some understood and some didn’t.  But that is the difference between perceptions and reality.  What is and what isn’t depending on who is talking.

What does this have to do with entrepreneurship? My husband was an entrepreneur before we met, he just wasn’t channeling it in the right way.  I wasn’t even thinking about being an entrepreneur.  My husband and I started meeting up with my sis Hiranda and her husband because it was important to us to be around other couples.  When we all got together, our entrepreneur minds were developed and now we are all on the journey creating and building empires.  NONE of this would have happened had I not accepted an invitation to go out on a date with my husband for his birthday.  And we just celebrated our 1 year anniversary and God is SO good and I am SO happy.  And that my friends….. IS REALITY! #Connect #Create #Inspire

Virtual Assistant Tips Series: Digital Filing vs Paper Filing

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First of all, I like filing things!  It makes me happy.  And I am so serious!

I am currently waiting on getting a file cabinet for my home office and I. CANT. WAIT!

Before I give some tips on the difference between two types of filing, let me give you my opinion on why filing is so important.  Number one, we (as in us entrepreneurs) need to get more organized.  We have too many things to do and very little time to waste and finding that important piece of paper for filing taxes is a waste of time unless you have it filed in a proper place.  Number two, it just looks good.  I feel better when things in my office are organized, straightened and put in place.  Number 3, you look good to other people.  People for sure take me more serious when they walk in my office and its neat and clean versus when I am disorganized and papers are everywhere.  This is a tested and true fact that my emotions and ability to handle things is determined by how organized I am. (My own experiment of course, so don’t quote me on it!)

Okay so now that I have convinced you that you should file things ( I hope)

Lets talk about two significant differences in the world of filing

Paper filingbinders2

So this is the old school way of doing it, circa 1980s when computers were big bodied and seeming to not be a big deal.  Business and offices kept paper everything and even today sometimes keeping paper just makes us feel better.  There is something about being able to pull the paper itself out in contrast to having to find it on the computer and email or print it.  Paperwork filing most definitely gives us peace of mind

The other perk to paperwork filing is we can organize using folders, binders and/or file cabinets.

If you have been following my blog you know I love binders. (In case you haven’t read it) I use them in my business, mostly because it allows me to carry paper files around for my clients, especially start up paperwork like Name Reservations and Articles of Formation.  This is helpful when they need paperwork for opening up bank accounts and meeting needs.  Of course I could just print when needed, but printer ink is crazy expensive and my goal is to keep costs down.

Folders and file cabinets just make paperwork easy to find.  You create a Receipts folder and put it in there, its there and probably will be there for life (a little faded) unless there is a fire or someone steals it.

So the cons are of course that paperwork can get easily lost, stolen and/or destroyed.  Paper files take up A LOT of space, which can be annoying.  It can also cause you to be a paper hoarder which is bad, really bad, recover with me from this trap! (Haha!)  In other ways it is also harder to send than digital files, you may end up having to fax, snail mail and/or scan, which are all issues within themselves.  So let’s move on to digital filing so you can decide what is best for you!

Digital Filing

Digital filing is the new age way of doing business!  There are apps on top of apps on top of apps available to anyone for online storage of documents, pictures, videos and anything else you can think of! My favorite online storage apps are

Google Drive

One Drive

Dropbox

I will do reviews on those later but my favorite features about having digital filing is that it is SO concise.  I can access files with one click and I can easily send it out without spending a dime….well sort of because online storage will eventually cost you, especially when you are like me and have LOTS of things to store.  I am currently paying $45 a month to Dropbox to hold my files and my client’s files, so it comes with a pretty steep price.  At the end of the day, however, everything is even more so all in one place than my file cabinet which doesn’t require me to take files out, put them in a notebook a haul them around, I can just have my phone with me at all times.

The downfall is….IF this doggone computer crashes, it is a pain.  Which is why I have an external drive for back up and the plus is many of those apps I mentioned have back up capabilities as well.

 

So there you have it, a review of the obvious!  This may or may not be helpful, but either way you need to find a way to keep track of all of your documents because balled up at your feet is no longer an option.  I’m just saying, it stops today! Until next time

connect

The Issue of Money: 5 Goals for a New Entrepreneur

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Listen, starting a business is seriously expensive.  You have to go into the journey understanding you are going to have to make some sacrifices, it comes with the territory.  I knew this from the beginning, you know, I just didn’t realize it was going to be THIS MUCH!  I am in the business of being transparent so I can be honest here with you all in sharing that I am not financially as stable as I would like to be in beginning my business.

I made the mistake in the beginning thinking starting a business was going to help dig me out of what I considered financial hardship, but what I quickly discovered was….yeah no I’m in the same place right now.  The truth is, however, you can definitely gain profit in business.  We see people do it every day, but there are tools, principles, and guidelines you must practice in order to be successful in gaining income for yourself.  Now let me go ahead and give you a disclaimer.  This is Chronicles of A New Entrepreneur so I am right there in the trenches with you.  What I want you all to know is that you are not in this alone, but I also want to introduce you to the people that I use as my guidelines to help me understand the proper protocols to work towards the original goal I had in mind.  So in this post, I want to introduce you to some people, resources and important steps that I have utilized for myself to help me figure out the best way to manage the dollars of my business.  I hope this is helpful to you, so here we go:

  1. Read 10 Mistakes Startup Businesses Make and How You Can Avoid Them by Dee Edwards

This book is phenomenal and a KEY resource for startup business owners.  It is an investment well worth your time AND money.  There are so many key pointers I got out of this book that I have implemented and am working on implementing at this very moment.  Here are just a few:

…Become an investor for your company by drawing up a contract between you and your business

Dee Edwards, 10 Mistakes Startup Businesses Make And How You Can Avoid Them

I haven’t reached a point in my revenue where I can do this, but it is definitely in the plan to be able to do this!  This is my goal for 2018.  One thing I learned is you have to be realistic.  Honestly my business was operating at a deficit for the majority of 2017 and I barely started making a profit at the end of the year mostly because I am still building and putting in systems to ensure I can provide my clients what they need.  I am establishing the budget based on what I did in 2017 and setting some goals, which of course includes drawing up this contract.  Mrs. Dee suggests doing this instead of using your personal funds to pay for business transaction or vice versa.  It is great advice, which brings me to the next goal.

2. Open a separate bank account- don’t mix personal and business

I actually have been doing pretty well on this goal.  There have only been a handful of times I had to use my business account for personal reasons and I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have a choice.  I will be really transparent here, money was really REALLY tight for us at a moment last year.  I mean tight enough where I wasn’t certain I would be able to continue my business because I was thinking I might have to get a second job.  It was scary, frustrating and overwhelming.  My husband and I are a faithful couple and we knew God was going to bring us out, so I did my very best to pretend that my business account was not there.  In the book, Mrs. Dee says ” one of the main reasons business owners mix both personal and business funds is due to lack of money” and she AIN’T LYIN!  I have lived it and I am determined this year to avoid doing this at all costs!  I know this involves healthier budgeting and management practices on behalf of my husband and I which brings me to the next goal.

3. Save!

This goal carries over what I learned about the importance of ensuring your own personal finances are in order before you embark into entrepreneurship. I realize this may not always be realistic, but Lord do I wish I had more stability financially before I went into entrepreneurship.  A Facebook Group by Ce Ce Jones called MPA’s Money Goalers that I joined gives amazing tips on how to save money.  She does challenges and asks really thought provoking questions.  She also answers any questions you may have about finances fairly quickly!  I am deteremined this year to join in on one of these challenges, I am thinking about this one Ce Ce just recently posted.

Money Saving Chart

4. Learn The Art of Taking Donations- Caution

I discovered the “art” of this in working as an assistant in business to my sister Hiranda with Dream Makerz Outreach.  She is the owner of a non profit (a recent major win!) and Dream Makerz is an AWESOME organization so obviously people initially were open to helping.  Well the truth is, most “donations” where in the form of services or ended up being false promises.  The truth is, God was really just blocking us from doing things out of order.  Dream Makerz had not yet been established and we hadn’t fully established the entity and had no bank account.  We realized out of trial and error that it is just better to get things in order before dealing with finances.  Now we did work to find compromises, so people donating time and supplies were things we kind of got around, but money…. we are putting some systems into place for that, especially now that she has the official paperwork!  And a side note to that, I realized to that if I ever took donations for my business, which is a for-profit, I need to write it up as an investment or loan and write it up on contract just in case!

5. I bought an Accounting course off Groupon for $5 (Yes, I’m not exaggerating) and in 2018 I am actually going to take the course.

If this was Facebook I would insert a laughing emoji here! Now can I be honest with yall?  Money and numbers make my head spin!  I went to school to become a social worker and we are not required to pay a whole lot of attention to bottom line and income and expenses and balancing books and what not, so this is all foreign language to me.  The course I bought is so basic, but I haven’t gotten through it yet, but I KNOW it’s a valuable resource that I need to take advantage of!  I mean $5? I’m silly, writing this to you all are making me want to start back on it right now lol But seriously, EDUCATE YOURSELF, whatever you have to do, get some information and make sure it’s LEGIT!