Starting a Business: What Skills do You Have?

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So you finally made the decision to start your own businessNow what?  Do you know what type of business you will run?  What are you passionate about?  What would you like to do?  What would you be good at?  What skills do you have?  Answering these crucial questions will lead you to understand what your new business will look like.

Luckily, for me, I managed medical practices for a lifetime.  During those 32 years, I gained countless administrative and managerial skills.  When it came time for me to decide what type of business I would start, it helped me to compose a list of things I knew how do to and things that I was good at.  I then I re-examined my list and drew a line through the skills that I did not like to do, the ones that did not fulfill me; the ones that stressed me out.  If you are going to do your own thing, you might as well be happy doing it, right?  For example, the first thing that I crossed off my list was “Managing People”I knew for certain that I no longer wanted to manage employees.  I needed to choose a business that I could do on my own with no need for staff.  With each skill that you cross off you will get closer and closer to what your new business will look like.

There are so many things to think about during this process.  What services will you offer?  Who will you be offering these services to?  What industry will your clients come from?  Do you live in the correct geographical area to be able to find these clients?

Are you a hard worker?  Owning your own business means that you will have to toil until all the work is done.  There is no such thing as a time-clock, at least at first.  There will be no 9-5 office hours for quite some time…maybe never!

Can you work alone?  Do you need daily socialization that co-workers provide?  Initially, you will probably be the only one on the payroll.  Will you be able to handle the seclusion of working hours on end alone?

Do you have support of family and friends?  Going alone is not easy and you will have days where you feel frustrated and even scared.  Do you have people to share these feelings with?  People that will try to understand and support you?  When you are your own boss, you have to be everything to everyone.  You will need to learn to balance your new business with your spouse, children, family and friends.  Do you have financial support? You may very easily have to forgo a steady paycheck for some time.

Go ahead and move forward with lists, research and planning.  This is the time to create the framework of your business.  Take one day at a time.  Do not lose focus or sight of why you are doing this.  You have a lot to do so get yourself organized.  If organization is not a skill that you possess, hire someone that can help you stay organized and on top of all the tasks of starting a business (detailed in a future post).

Owning your own business is hard work, but rewarding.  You do not have an easy road ahead of you but you do have one that will be exciting, life altering and well worth it.

About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Sheri helps small business owners save time, money and frustration by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks.  Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.    

www.anotheryouerrands.com                937-416-2207

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Networking and Loss

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Networking.  What do we know about networking?  We know it is big in Dayton, Ohio.  We know there are a multitude of networking groups that offer meetings in the morning, at lunch and after business hours.  We know the goal is to meet with other people to see if our business is a good fit with theirs, how and if we can partner with other businesses and to get to know people in hope of gaining referrals.

Loss.  What do we know about loss?  We know it is traumatic.  We know it is heart breaking.  We know there are a multitude of emotions that are ever-present with loss and grief.  There is shock and disbelief, infinite bursts of sadness, disconnection, feelings of anger and lethargy.

I met my friend, Linda Lee Rahn, at a networking meeting a little over 3 years ago.  Tragically, Linda lost her 29 year old daughter in October.  In addition to everything the Rahn family was going through they also found themselves with sudden and unexpected funeral and estate expenses.  Something that no one experiencing this type of loss should have to deal with.

Networking.  What do we know about networking?  I know that in less than a day and a half, 45 people from local networking groups helped to raise over $4000.00 in donations via a Go Fund Me campaign for the Rahn family.  I was overwhelmed with the donations, calls and e-mails from people that Linda and I had met at networking events.  So many reached out with prayers, meals and support.  I will now think of networking in a totally different way.   Yes, it is still about business but I have seen that for many of us it is also about friendship, compassion and encouragement.  Thank you so much to the people that reached out to Linda during this time.  Please continue to do so.  I am proud to be part of the Dayton networking community.

About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Sheri helps small business owners save time, money and frustration by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks.  Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.    www.anotheryouerrands.com  937-416-2207

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Reflections on the Past-Questions for the Future

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I officially opened my personal/virtual assistant business, Another You, LLC, 2 years ago in August.  It has been an exciting and eye-opening couple of years. Years that I am so blessed to have experienced.  Being a female entrepreneur has allowed me to bring money into our household and afforded me the time to take care of my family and take better care of myself.

My past career was in medical practice management. I answered to physicians and was responsible for staff (upward of 25). Tough gig! I love that I work for myself. I have only me to answer to.  I do not have to worry that others are not doing their best for my clients or my business.  I like that the success of my business was/is solely my responsibility.

Two years ago I started out with 0 clients and a lot of time.  Today I have a lot of clients and 0 time. Not that I am complaining as this is exactly what I wanted. I have clients that I work every day and others that hire me for projects only. I love the variety of my days. I love learning about my clients industries such as IT, law, travel, politics, non-profits, etc. I have had the pleasure to work with wonderful small business owners who treat me with the utmost respect.

I have learned so many new things and have reminded myself that I am smart and if I don’t know something, I can learn it easily. I have been given the chance with 2 of my clients to get back into my past with medical coding and billing.  I was even able to teach myself a new medical software program this summer!  Regretfully, I have also had to learn some hard lessons. Lessons such as, even though your client may be a local small business owner, you cannot always trust them to pay their bills.  I have also had to learn that not all people are true to their word or their written contract.

So where do I go from here? So far I have met my 1 year goals and my 2 year goals. Now I need to decide what is next.  What do the next 2-3 years look like?  I have cut down on networking because I am busy working on client accounts. I am receiving additional work due to client referrals.  I had 3 small business owners contact me this week regarding my services!  I only have so many hours in my day. When the days become too full do I stop taking on new clients? Do I hire someone? Not sure either of those options sound good to me.  But I know that when the time comes to make that decision, I will do what I have done these past 2 years and that is to make the one that works best for me, my family, and my business.  I love being a solopreneur!

Happy 2 year anniversary Another You, LLC!

In Loving Memory…

penThese past couple of weeks have been inundated with worry, tears, loss, and family. My sister in-law, Penny, passed away last week 3 days after a cancer diagnosis. Just turned 65, Penny was going to retire in July.  Her children, my nephews, have now suddenly lost both of their parents in the past 2 years…and they are in their early 40’s. I remember when my grandfather passed away, my mom saying that she was no longer anyone’s child. I never really thought of it that way. How devastating for them.  I watched as my husband, Bo, mourned the loss of yet another sibling.  I am reminded how fortunate that I am to still have both of my parents and my sisters.

Two days after Penny’s passing my mom had knee replacement surgery. As I sat in the hospital looking at my aging, worried dad, it reminded me how precious life is and how we never really know what the next few days will bring us.

I do my best to live my life with faith and positivity and do not wish to bring anyone down with this post. I do, however, think that it is important to be reminded that we do not know what tomorrow brings. As you read this, I would ask that you pick up the telephone and call your parents, children, siblings, family members and friends. Tell them you love them. Schedule a time to visit or take them to lunch. Hug them every time to see them.

My business is all about time. All of our lives are busy with our day-to-day responsibilities and most of us do not take…no make…the time for the ones that are truly the most important to us. Let’s all do something today to change that.

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.~Unknown

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207

It Takes a Village…(To Run a Business)

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In 1996, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton published the book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. The focus of the book was on the impact individuals and groups outside the family have on a child’s well-being. The book’s title is attributed to an African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Recently, I met with a woman who, after retirement, started her own consulting and coaching business. She thought she would start a business doing what she loved and also have time to enjoy retirement with her husband. So she hung out her shingle and before she knew it her small business flourished and she got busy; too busy, in fact, to do it all herself. Her  business had turned into a wonderful success but she was working more than she wanted. She was not spending the time she had envisioned on herself, her husband, family and friends. She loved the work but understood that something had to be done. Being the well-rounded woman that she is, she was not afraid to admit that she needed help. She began outsourcing some of her work. She delegated scheduling, calendar management, social media marketing and was now discussing the delegation of other business matters to me. During our conversation, she mentioned that, “It takes a village to run a business.”

Outsourcing is a term borrowed from the corporate world that refers to contracting out a business process to a third-party. Applied to small business, outsourcing is about taking things that we need to do to run our business and having someone else do it. Outsourcing just 4 hours out of your 40-hour work week gains you a 10% increase in time that you could be spending with clients, friends and family. The average “working” person according to Dr. Wetmore of the Productivity Institute, spends less than 2 minutes a day in truly meaningful conversation with their spouse or loved one. Think about how you would improve your life, relationships and business with an additional 4 hours a week.

So, how do you know when to outsource something? Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Am I doing this task “after hours” or not at all?
  • Am I procrastinating on this task?
  • Do I dread starting this task?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to outsource some of your tasks.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness, but rather that of being proactive. Asking for help is not a sign of failure, but yet a sign of success. Any of us who have done it or know someone who has, understands that it takes a village to run a business. By handing off tasks that don’t require your time, energy and unique skills, you will be able to focus more on both your business and relationship growth.

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207