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Too Many Demands on Your Time?

Many years ago, after my husband and I both graduated with advanced degrees in health-related fields, it only made sense that we open our own clinic and go into business for ourselves. After all, I had a background in accounting, he was a skilled acupuncturist, I was a skilled therapist, we had everything we needed. Running a business was going to be easy. Or was it?

It didn’t take long to know I was in over my head. What did I know about marketing, websites, social media, insurance billing and so much more that was critical to our success? Little to nothing.

All I wanted to do was see my clients, collect payments and enjoy my flexible schedule. Instead, I was learning new skills, dealing with insurance companies and negotiating rental agreements. There was always something to do and it felt like somebody always wanted something from me. And that hasn’t changed over the years.

Women business owners are especially susceptible to losing balance in their lives while attempting to juggle a home life with all the demands of running a business. You may find yourself on the bottom of the priority list, saying yes to things you should be saying no to and often feeling exhausted and/or getting sick.

If you want to stay in business and maintain your sanity, your self care has to be a top priority. Here are some tips for putting yourself higher on the list and for saying no more often.

How to put yourself higher on the priority list:

  1. Make a list of all the areas in your life that you manage. This is fun to do on a mind map. (Visit
  2. What is more important than you? Notice how it feels in your body to be less important. What’s the body posture that goes with feeling less important? Notice how the body posture would shift if you were just as important or more important than whatever you identified. Experience this new posture for thirty seconds.
  3. Do an honest evaluation of your priorities.
  4. Assess how much time you spend working, resting, playing, and taking time for yourself.
  5. Determine what an ideal ratio would be.
  6. Journal or list what action steps you could take to achieve balance.
  7. Commit to taking one small step in that direction.

How to say no:

Think about saying no in a situation where it feels challenging to do that.

  1. Notice what images come to mind when you think about saying no, what sensations you feel in your body, and any thoughts or beliefs you have about saying no. Be willing to allow any uncomfortable memories to arise.
  2. Find the posture of no in your body. If you notice you are shrinking or contracting, try on a bigger, more firm no. Notice if you enjoy it or feel a little frightened by it. Either way, keep practicing.
  3. Practice saying no in areas that are less uncomfortable and build up to the more difficult ones.
  4. Think of a friend who is really good at saying no and imagine being him or her in those tough situations.
  5. Play with saying the words “yes” and “no” for as long as it takes to notice they are both just sounds.
  6. Imagine your inner child saying, “No, no, no,” as she stamps her foot and throws a fit.
  7. Don’t look for excuses. Just say no. The more you feel you have to defend your no, the more it will feel wrong that you are saying it.
  8. Remember that you have now put yourself higher on the priority list and if you say yes to others, you are saying no to yourself.

Melanie SmithsonMelanie Smithson is the author of Stress Free in 30 Seconds: A Slightly Irreverent Approach to Navigating Life’s Challenges and the e-book, Reclaiming an Adult Relationship to Play. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist, Certified Sedona Method Coach and co-owns Smithson Clinic, Inc. ( with her husband, Gail in Lakewood, Colorado, where they live with their supreme playmate, the four-legged Beatrice. Melanie offers workshops and trainings throughout the world. To learn more about Melanie, visit

Order your copy of Stress Free in 30 Seconds now on Amazon

Marketing is a coordinated effort

If you’re only using one marketing method, you’re not diversified enough. Pick at least two or three, make sure your campaigns complement each other, and do them consistently to get results.

Networking womanIf networking is one of your marketing methods, expand your horizons and network in several groups. Bring business cards, flyers, brochures – never attend a networking event empty-handed! Include a QR Code so people can instantly check out your website on their smart phone, add you to their contacts, or sign up for your newsletter. Ask the people you meet to connect on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter… wherever you have a consistent presence.

Were you counting? That’s 6 easy, free or low-cost methods, all geared towards meeting and following up with your prospective clients, referral sources, and power partners.

1. Networking
2. Printed materials
3. QR Code
4. Website
5. Newsletter
6. Social Media

Take out your Marketing Plan this week and see where you can coordinate your methods and increase your results. No Marketing Plan? Today’s a good day to start one.

PS: A little uncomfortable making small talk with strangers? Read our 10 Conversation Starters for Great Networking

Passion – Does it Make a Difference?

If you are passionate about what you are doing, does that mean you are going to be more successful?


Passion for businessYes.  If you are passionate about what you are doing, you possibly have a greater chance to be successful.  One of the biggest reasons is that you are much less apt to resent the hours and sacrifices it takes to develop your company.  The 24/7 effort becomes a labor of love and enjoyment instead of drudgery.

Being passionate inspires a positive and optimistic attitude which attracts loyal clients, quality vendors and multiple opportunities.  A passionate person attracts success.

Yes.  Being passionate about what you are doing is a decided plus.


So when is passion Not enough?  When is the answer No?

It is good to be passionate, but the Key depends upon how that passion is utilized.  That passion needs to be focused on thinking through, and strategically planning its milestones of action from inception to its projected maturity.

How many times have we heard, “If you have the passion, success will come.”

Unfortunately there are small business owners who take that as a literal proclamation, using it as an excuse to sit back and wait for success to happen.  They forget that a business concept cannot become a tangible reality until it is converted into actual profit & loss numbers and an effective marketing program supported by a well-developed operating system.

The passion for some individuals are hobby activities like skiing, hiking, horseback riding, reading, computer games, sewing, gardening, etc..  But can any of these be developed into a source of income capable of supporting you and your family?  Can enough income be generated to take care of you after you no longer chose to work, or unable to?  If so, can it happen within a time frame that you will be able to enjoy it?”

With a certain amount of ingenuity, and it is developed within a profitable business model, the answer may be “Yes”.

A cautionary note:  It doesn’t matter how passionate you are about something.  When you need for it to cover all expenses for the rest of your life, then you had better be sure it is capable of doing so.  Don’t trust your “gut feeling”, or depend upon your passion to carry you through.  Ask for an outside professional review.  With your future in the balance you will be glad you did.

Chances are by this time, the positive fruit of your hard work and strategic planning is beginning to show, or at the very least you can see attainable success on the immediate horizon.

The best news is that even if you didn’t originally feel passion for what you are doing, with the confirmation of your success your passion will reveal itself.

Yes.  Being passionate about what you are doing is a very good thing.

Stephanie Lewis, My Next 30Stephanie Lewis, President of My Next 30  Ph: (303) 653-7418

Stephanie Lewis has owned and/or consulted numerous companies within a wide variety of industries. Her focus now is entirely on small to medium sized companies wanting or needing help to get to that next level, and people planning the new business they’ll run for their next 30 years.

To Stephanie, ensuring a company is solidly positioned and “on-the-grow” is the most exciting thing in the world.

Lew West Company/My Next 30™  All Rights reserved 2012

Win a Ticket to the Mile High Small Business Forum!

The Mile High Business Alliance is presenting a Small Business Forum on Friday,  June 1, from 8:00 am  through  7:30 pm.

Johnson & Wales University
7150 E. Montview Blvd.
Denver, CO 80220

The forum is a full day event that includes workshops to strengthen your business, breakfast, lunch, and other refreshments for attendees as they make their way between workshops, sessions and networking opportunities. The day will be concluded with a networking reception where you can connect, relax, and listen to live music. Appetizers and drinks will be served.

Keynote presentations by:

  • Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock (morning)
  • CEO/Co-Founder of Survey Gizmo, Christian Vanek (afternoon)
  • Vice Chair of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, Matt Bauer (evening reception)

I’m one of the presenters, as well, with 2 sessions in the afternoon: “Purposeful Networking“, and “Claim your marker on the Google Map,” two popular sessions from past BW4W events. If you missed either one, here’s your chance to hear one or both of those topics.

You can find descriptions of the Business Forum, and all the sessions here:

Tickets to the event are $100 in advance, and $125 at the door. This is a great deal for a full day of training, PLUS it’s a great place to network with other small business owners.

Want to get in for FREE? We’ll draw one business card at the workshop this Saturday, May 12. RSVP now! Come, hear our great speaker, and you might be the lucky winner!

Remember, too, if you bring a guest with you who has never attended a BW4W event, you get to choose a prize from our “Gifts for Guests” table.

See you Saturday!

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