I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Jolene Forrester, owner of JoRetro to talk about the changes in her business. The transcript is below:
Jolene: I'm Jolene Forrester; I'm the owner of JoRetro. It's a vintage shop in Havre De Grace, Maryland. And we specialize in items from the 50s through the 70s, useable things like housewares and clothing.
Nettie: Really fantastic stuff! You were a member of the Sappari Momentum Program. Tell us a little bit about what things were like when you signed up to participate?
Jolene: Well, I was in a much smaller shop at the time, and I had spent the last year working there full-time after being laid off from a full-time corporate job. And I felt like I was just not being productive, things were just sort of going along week after week and the same things were happening. But I felt like I wasn't growing the business, and I felt overwhelmed with some things and just I guess I was procrastinating on taking care of things.
So when I saw that you had put the video on about the group that you were starting, that just seemed interesting to me. And I thought that I could benefit from that. From years of having to write goals in the corporate world, then all of a sudden you're responsible and there's no one to be accountable for what you're doing.
Nettie: Absolutely. When you're the boss, right?
Nettie: There's no one above you that's saying, "Are you getting that done today?"
Nettie: Right now we're sitting in Jolene's new store. We're going to take a tour around in just a bit. But this wasn't really part of what you were imagining. What were you thinking you were working towards in the beginning?
Jolene: Well, it's kind of funny. I mean, ultimately my first item that I wanted to take care of was to renovate my home. And so I think if you start with what's the biggest issue in your life and then everything kind of goes from that point backwards to get to that goal. So my goal was I want to renovate my home but I have so much inventory, and why do I have so much inventory? And I'm just tired of lugging it back and forth to my small store.
My goal was to minimize the amount of storage that I had in my home, and to figure out a way to do that. Working with you I thought I should look for a new space. And at first started out with just a space for storage possibly near my existing shop, which solved part of my problem but not really all of it.
Nettie: Right, exactly. When you were really moving forward on that and you had a place picked out, you had measurements, we talked renegotiations.
Nettie: That was really going forward. And then things shifted, how did this happen? How did THIS become an option?
Jolene: Well, being in the program and everyday having you reach out in text message - what are you going to accomplish today, what are your goals today? It kept me focused on that goal. And as I investigated, "Okay, so this is an option, the space is available, it's reasonable rent, it's right near my space." And talking to you about how does that achieve the goal, the ultimate goal, and how does that benefit the business, I started to feel like it really was not ... It was a band-aid, it wasn't a real fix.
Nettie: Right, exactly.
Jolene: And I think a lot of times when you do something and it's not scary, it's probably not enough. You know what I mean?
Jolene: It was very comfortable, would've been easy, I had a floor plan, I knew what I needed to do to move in there. But it's still was going to take some work and some money. In the meantime the same property manager said, "I have another property I want you look at." And at first I kind of dismissed it, but I hadn't really investigated it. So you encouraged me to take a look and and just see.
Jolene: I mean, it does no harm to go look. And then that became more of a reality at that point.
Nettie: Nice, so something that wasn't even on the plate.
Nettie: And suddenly right here. You mentioned the daily check-ins, what did you find helpful about being in the Momentum Program?
Jolene: Well, we did do the goal setting, and bringing that back into a short-term goal instead of a year out, and focusing on small steps that makes it so it's not so scary. I think that that was really important.
Nettie: Good. I'm glad that was helpful to you. If there was something, if somebody's thinking about doing this, and maybe they're standing in front of that webpage that says, "Here's everything that might be possible for you." And they're just teetering on whether or not they should sign up, what would you say to them?
Jolene: I would say if you're afraid to make a drastic change in your life, and you think that nobody around you is really going to support you, this is the program for you. I mean, you know my husband was not supportive.
Jolene: And I even initially didn’t tell him I was moving. But ultimately I did and I might do get a buy in there. But I think sometimes your friends they're not maybe the best business associates. And actually whether you want to change something personal in your life or business-related I think having an outside person that can kind of guide you without that emotional feeling that a relative or a friend might have, who thinks, "I'm not sure if that's a safe thing to do."
Being part of the program you just refocus every day, and make a person accountable. Because you know you're going to get that text or you're going to get a phone call, and you're going to ask - what are you doing today to meet that goal? You're the one that sets the goal. You don't set the goal.
Nettie: No, I don't set the goal.
Nettie: I don't even have to know what you do.
Jolene: Right. But the encouragement on a daily basis is not something most people even get from a boss at a job.
Nettie: Right, that's true.
Jolene: Because you have some ultimate schedule of things that you take care of during week's time frame, and you may have this long-term goal for a quarter or the year. And I know I wanted to look long-term, but you have to step back and make those small steps or you never get to the long-term because it feels it's too overwhelming.
Nettie: It is. It's a big thing too. Even if you're setting out 90-day goals, 6-month goals you get in front of what you're specifically doing right now to achieve that and it can still be overwhelming.
Jolene: And I think some people might say, "Well, I can't afford to do it." But I honestly think that you probably can't afford not to.
Nettie: Yeah, be responsible.
Jolene: If you're stuck, if you really feel like - I'm not accomplishing things. Because all the little things that you're not doing are costing you money, I mean, in a lot of ways I wish I had moved sooner but I probably was ready, so the timing was right. And even when I did move I debated it - should I take both spaces or just one? And I mean, honestly it was like, "Well, I've already come this far. Let's just go outside my comfort zone a little bit more and just take both." And it made all the difference.
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Mentors, Coaches, Accountability Partners, Master Minds are all great ways to help ensure that you will succeed in the goals you set. Having someone to be accountable to means that you do not carry all the pressure of getting your goals done. You have someone checking in to ask, “Hey! Did you do that thing you said you would do?” Most people want to honor their relationships and to impress the person they are accountable to, and so they will work to complete the set task on time.
Specifically, accountability partners have a cooperative relationship with each other. In a partnership that works well, each person is giving equally to the relationship over time even if it is not the same amount on a daily basis.
Having an accountability partner can truly launch you towards your goals, as you are no longer isolated with your mind and your schedule, plodding along. But being a partner is equally rewarding. Paired well, you will find someone that challenges you in all the right ways, holds you to your goals and provides feedback and insights by asking good questions. It’s worth the time investment.
I have been in an accountability partnership about 10 times. Some were great; others, not so much. Here are the key ingredients:
I provide that support daily to my Momentum Program participants. If you would like to learn more, let’s set up a time to talk.
Looking for more on the power of accountability? Check out these articles:
Today's post was written by Jen Hickle, owner of Never Alone Business Services. I hope you enjoy!
I dropped the ball.
I dropped ALL the balls, honestly.
It's hard to juggle everything: parenting, work, marriage, the landscaping, the homework, the staff, the dishes, the laundry, the mail, the bills, the emails, the everything.
And the other day, everything came crashing down. I had overscheduled the whole family. We were running around like maniacs. We were fighting about who had to use the vehicles. Emails got forgotten, meals were eaten on the road, laundry piled up.
With my head in my hands, I chastised myself. I knew better than this. I knew I should have said "no" to that opportunity and that extra project, and I shouldn't have tried to do everything all at once.
But it happens, doesn't it? Especially at this time of year. End of the year programs and projects, open houses, birthday parties, new summer schedules. It all piles up and the calendar gets filled, whether or not we want it to. And then there's all the stuff that must get done no matter what: the laundry and the dishes and the emails. Everything is screaming "I'm important! No, I'm important!" and no matter how strong you are, it can just overrun you and leave you feeling helpless.
So what do we do?
Sometimes, we break down and just cry.
Sometimes we mute the phone and the email and let things fall down. Yes, we fail. Then, we go back to what works.
Monday is for marketing.
Tuesday is the staff phone call.
On Thursday, the house gets cleaned.
On Saturday, we do laundry.
On Sunday night, we order groceries.
These systems are my sanity. And when they are running, they keep me sane. And when I'm tired? I fall back on them.
When I ask myself, "what am I supposed to be doing right now?" my systems answer. I go to www.Todoist.com and I check what I should be doing today. What is overdue? What can I delegate. I survey my paper calendar and the digital family calendar. What's coming up? What do I need to prepare for? I check in with my staff. I center myself. I make a fresh To Do list on a small Post-it note. What is my focus? I know I can't do everything so what can I do right now?
The trick is getting these systems set up. And then following them! (That's the hardest part, isn't it?) And yes, we all need flexibility. Last week, when we had multiple open houses to attend, family coming into town, and birthday parties to prepare for, thing fell between the cracks. Stuff got forgotten. But today? Today I'm going back to the trusted systems. They keep me afloat during the busiest times. They keep me going. They run my world, even when I'm tired. Especially when I'm tired.
Weary warriors, hang in there.
You'll make it. You will. I believe in you.
Have you heard of the Strengths Finders assessment? The tool, discussed in the book of the same name by Don Clifton, which provides you with your top 5 strengths. These are qualities that positively define the work that you do. It’s actually very handy. I have asked clients to use this tool as it quickly gives insights on what they are great out and how that affects the work they are (or are not doing). The strengths fall into four categories: strategic thinking, relationship, executing and influencing. It is my guess that if you call yourself an achiever (one of the words on the Strengths Finders assessment), you have one or more strengths in the executing category. You are a ‘get things done’ kind of a person.
You get things done no matter what. It is in your nature. It’s why people turn to you and why they know they can rely on you when the project is important.
My Strengths Finders words are Input, Harmony, Analytical, Discipline and Learner. To boil that down, I like to gather information, make plans, get things done and ensure others are happy about the plan. I can relate to you going and doing all the time. If you are at all like me, you may not know HOW to pause and relax.
Recently, I met with a very powerful group of women, led by Victoria Whitfield. We come together live (virtually) twice a month. The discussion this month centered around the energy that we take on from other people and refreshing our own energy. I was not alone in feeling that this topic really hit home. After a very difficult month of May, personally, I realized that I have not yet let go of or refreshed my energy. In other words, I have not taken a break.
After the meeting, I spoke to another attendee, an entrepreneur. Both of us were feeling emotional and needed to talk through the experience. Even though our reasons were different, our response to the stress we were experiencing was the same:
Is this you, too? Are you part of the ‘Get It Done’ Tribe??
If so, I want you to give YOURSELF permission to take a break. Listen to your body, listen to your mind, listen to your spirit.
If you have a tendency to put others’ needs first as well, then this permission slip is especially important.
Here are your next steps:
1 - Read the permission slip (print it if need be and post it on your wall)
2 - Schedule a time to take inaction :-)
Here are a few ideas of things probably not on your to-do list that will not help you pay the bills (they will but that is another post!) Bath, journal, long walk in the woods, sappy movie with popcorn & wine, cry, nap, talk on the phone to a friend, massage, yoga, run, dance (naked in the rain for bonus points!), belly dancing, read a beach novel.
3 - Add breaks to your schedule. Saturday morning, ‘me’ time or whatever works best for you. Put it on the calendar. Non-negotiable.
You cannot go and get things done all the time. You cannot be stuck in ‘on’ position. But sometimes what we are stuck on is ‘not feeling’. Allow yourself permission to relax, let the emotions flow and get back to your ‘to-do’ list after.
You can also check out The Balance Maven® for more tips on how to carve out time to care for yourself. My friend, Jennifer Flynn, is a pro at teaching busy entrepreneurs how to balance work and play. She is a business and lifestyle strategist who specializes in helping overwhelmed entrepreneurs and small business owners end the war between work and play.
As the owner of The Balance Maven® and creator of its signature program Balance YOUniversity™ she supports clients with both her Balance Maven Business™ and Balance Maven Life™ platforms. It is her mission to show you that you CAN have both personal and professional fulfillment. From tangible processes to achieve what you want, to creating superior time and money saving business strategies; she helps you build effective systems to streamline for efficiency and end overwhelm, one step at a time. In maximizing productivity you will create more free time with profitable results leading to a healthier business and a happier you. You were born to have your cake and eat it too!
Visit her website and take her Balance IQ quiz to see how well YOU protect your "me" time.
Having a fulfilling career and a happy, well-supported family life, while feeling energetic and focused IS possible.
It’s open enrollment time in the Momentum Accountability Program. This is where YOU get the support you need to get your big goals done and the reminders you need to take care of yourself in the process. With all that you are seeking to achieve, doesn’t it make sense, to be fully supported in the process? Find out more and apply today. (Applying is free however space is limited. Applications are reviewed ensure this is a good fit for all!)
Being an entrepreneur and business owner is hard! Once you have your business up and running it's not uncommon to hit a few snags: scalability, staff retention, launching growth projects, getting enough sleep!