Is being connected making you better or just sloppy?

While traveling last week I noticed a family of three at dinner doing something that made me question the way that mobility and connectivity have affected our lives. The parents had both heads down toward their iPhones while their teenage son was sitting undistracted as if dining alone. Don’t get me wrong; I’m just as big an offender as anyone in this area but sometimes clarity can only come from the observation of others. This brief moment made me realize that while we all think that our smart phones have made us more effective, efficient, and successful, for some people and some situations just the opposite is true. Unlike any other time in history, we are living during a time of endless growing possibilities and choices related to how we communicate, work, socialize, and recreate. For those who prioritize and focus the payoff can be profound. The ability to have a family, travel, and be self employed all without missing a beat is possible in a way that has never been possible before. Unfortunately for some, this opportunity turns into a mess of distractions and lack of focus that can result in a never ending workday and lower productivity. The challenge is especially great for the self employed, sole proprietors who need to manage me a client base, scheduling, book keeping, marketing, and support without any outside help. For these professionals, having a clear plan is the difference between success and misery.
Read more

The Gondoliers iPhone

It struck me as funny that on a recent trip through Venice Italy that many of the Gondoliers were using mobile phones before, during, and after the guided tours that they so famously provide to thousands of tourists each year. The gondola has retained it’s original design, polish, and heritage in much the same way that the city of Venice has retained it’s authenticity and unique charm. But the gondolier, while traditional in appearance, has evolved to use modern tools that make the impossible task of managing schedules, client inquires, and payment all while providing the actual service they are offering. It really hit home that the mobile technologies, used properly, give the working man (and woman) a chance to keep up and prosper in thousands of different professions.
Read more

You can’t do it all no matter what you think.

I have spoken to so many successful self employed service providers that have the never fading anxiety that everybody is doing it better than them. It’s not so much about the quality of the product as it is about all the other stuff that surrounds running a business. Networking, bookkeeping, follow up, marketing, planning, new product/service development……the list goes on. Ask even the most successful personal trainer, massage therapist, or stylist and they will likely talk about the administrative and marketing aspects of their business in a way that would make any audience believe that everyone was doing it better than them.

Why the insecurity from even the most successful professionals? Because running a business alone is no different than running a business with a partners or employees. It requires keeping all the admin and marketing tasks on track to achieve long term success. When it’s all on you, the solo entrepreneur, this is a daunting responsibility. We often forget that there are only 24 hours in each day and that sleep is required for a few of those hours to maintain sanity. If one continues to believe that they should indeed be able to do the work of three people and repeatedly fall short of their own expectations as a result, a cycle of self doubt and inferiority can easily overshadow all the amazing things that are probably being done well. We’ve all been there.
Read more