Monthly Archives

July 2016

Bianca Sprague meets Green at Home

So, for those of you that don’t know this about me, I am an introvert. Yes, I teach and talk in large groups. Yes, I go out and do social things. The difference is I need to prep myself to do these things and then when I am done, I need to recover with quiet and sleep… sometimes for a day or two. The funny thing about this is I partnered with super extroverts with my best friend, my business partner and my wife. This means I get dragged out to a lot of events. One of these said events was a mixer that was put on by Mamas & Co. for entrepreneurial mamas. Natasha, my business partner, had been a representative for our company with the Mamas & Co. group… or I thought it worked that way. It turns out I also needed to go and be a part of the community.

I was really glad I did!

I had the opportunity to meet dozens of amazing women who were hustling in my area of Toronto, or in the online space. One of these women was Emma Rohmann, the owner Green at Home and co-founder of Mamas & Co., and is a mom to two little ones. Green at Home is for the eco-friendly and health-conscious and they offer amazing resources, services and workshops to get toxins out of your home. Emma started the business while on her second mat leave with her children being the driving force behind the project. After “living green” for over a decade, Emma started digging deeper to make sure she was making the best choices for her family.

bebo miaOne of the many things I love about Emma, aside from the fact that she is also a ginger (we have to stick together), is  that she is non-judgemental with the work that she does. Natasha and I had hosted a lunch BBQ and I shared my love of bleach. Ok, I realize it is terrible toxic stuff, and I love it. I am not ready to give it up. Rather than shaming the heck out of me, which is totally justified, she explained that there are lots of options to replace it and get it out of my home. Not ready to kick my bleach habit, I am closer though, and armed with more info than I was before our delicious wine and grub.

Wading through all the information.

Emma recognizes that there is a lot of information, and misinformation, out there about green living which is stressful or overwhelming for individuals trying to get the scoop.

I did my own research and started blogging to create a more balanced conversation based on facts. I want to make sure my work has meaning, and that I can tell my kids I tried to create a better world for them to grow up in.

And I would call that an amazing mission and passion.

OK, let’s talk about the business side of Emma… Like most moms with their own business, Emma finds it challenging to ‘turn off’ when it comes to her work. Yes, it is awesome being your own boss and she recognizes how hard it is to not keep working away on & in your business.

Being the only one who can make it a success (or failure) puts a lot of pressure on me, and I find myself thinking up ideas and stressing over things at all hours.

Coming from an engineering background, Emma used to have to track her time and now she gets to make her own schedule, which is such a gift when you have children. You can be with them when they are sick, park dates can be incorporated into that 9-5 window and you can do day trips without having to get approval from your boss. Amen! That is why I do my work too!

And the partner piece…?

Emma’s husband is really supportive of her work! In fact, she says that he was championing for her to leave her day job before Emma recognized that this is what she wanted to do!

When I was balancing my day job, Green at Home, and the networking and educational group I co-lead for moms who run their own business (Mamas & Co.), I ended up spending all my free time on my side projects instead of with him. He was incredibly patient, and definitely a key player in the decision to take the leap to entrepreneurship full-time.

I love hearing this so much! I makes all the difference in the world when you have your partner on board with your business plans and goals. It takes more than just a supportive partner, obviously. Emma shares her tips for women who are thinking about starting their own business:

Find a tribe. Like raising a child, it’s so important to have support and encouragement as you build your business. Network and build relationships with like-minded people – it’s amazing what a small world it is when you start connecting with people!

She helps families create a healthier, happier home, simply. She also helps small businesses who want to build their brand to reach the eco- & health-conscious consumer. If you want to know more about Emma, which I suggest that you do, here is everything you will need:

Thank you, Emma, for making the world a better place for all of our children!

Eco Baby Certification

Want to learn from Emma and the bebo mia gals? Check out the Eco Baby Certification so you can be a green expert! If you work with expecting and new families, this certification will help you navigate through the overwhelming eco & green space to support wellness for them and their little ones!

 

Getting the most out of the hours in your day!

You may have your little ones at home with you, or you may have school-aged children, either way, you will need to be disciplined about how you schedule your time to get the most out of the time you have. Without a structure, I found that my clients would complain that they found they NEVER had enough minutes in the day to finish everything that they needed to get done. I get it! There have been days that I have taken Gray to school, come home to my home office, make breakfast, I blink and it is school pick-up time. Those are the days that I wing it. What makes the wing-it days different? Well, I am ALL over the place on those days. Wherever my brain floats or whatever my fingers type in the URL box is what I work on. Ya, I get a couple little things done here and there, but overall I would say the day is wasted. I have clients that live every day like this!

Where the hell does the time go?!

Unitasking When I allow myself to flit all over my first 3 hours will look like this: I will open my email and delete all the shit I keep forgetting to unsubscribe to, respond to the first few client emails, some email from my mom will remind me to wish a cousin happy birthday on Facebook, once in Facebook I lose 45 minutes to something or other, then a client will text asking to resend their invoice, I will open the invoicing program and see who else had not paid and then go over to my email to remind them all after cross referencing with PayPal and my online banking account, which will remind me to open my personal account to pay the hydro bill, then my wife will call asking about dinner and then I will start looking up recipes (not sure why, I always make the same things) and suddenly it is lunch. Where the heck did my morning go? I only have 6 hours a day to run my businesses so I CANNOT afford to have this happen. Can you relate to this?!

So, we know we have all been guilty of this, now what can we do about it? There are five steps that should help you maximize your time:

  1. Unitasking – when you start a task, see that one through until you are finished. If it is doing your product ordering, just do that until it is finished. Do not jump on Facebook, or get lost in your email, or send your invoices. This saves you time and brain power because you get laser focused and do not have to flip around and catch up with the new task every time. When possible, you can set a timer too so that tasks do not suck up too much time. This will ensure that you have time to work in and on your business.
  2. Bundling – Do all the tasks that are the same together. What does this mean? Well, if you have to put on your finance hat, do all the money tasks on the same day, or in the same work slot. I know that when I start working on the books or invoices or banking and change to something else, it takes me 5-15 minutes just to get me back on track from where I was before I left the task. Doing that repeatedly in a day or week or month would add up to lots of wasted time that we just do not have the luxury of giving up! When you are jumping on the phone to call people back or do sales calls, do them all together. You will fly through them and cross that off your to-do list in one fell swoop. Also, when I have to go out of the house, see clients or do sales meetings I like to do my self up more than when I am working in my home office. If I do not have to do that everyday, I won’t! I save that ‘getting presentable’ time by making sure I book my non-sweatpant meetings all in one chunk.
  3. Do your creative tasks in the morning – If I start my day with emails or ‘busy tasks’ I miss the window when my creative juices are a flowin’. This time slot, if possible, should be for your marketing material creation, idea mapping, blog or article or script writing, video making or similar tasks.
  4. Plan your weeks in advance – Pick a day to be your planning day and get clear with what you need to accomplish for the next week/month. Then break those larger goals down into bite-sized tasks and divvy them up over the week. The clearer you are with your task lists, when you get those precious hands-free windows you are not thinking about what you need to do in those slots, you are jumping right into action.
  5. Planning your day the night before – This may seem like it is the same as step 4, it is not. This is a more micro tip. Before going to bed, make a list of what you have on the docket for the next day. This would include getting client packages together, putting materials in the car, packing supplies in your kits or bags, getting items for shipping ready, etc. You can also get outfits ready, if applicable, or do those sorts of prep tasks. Doing this has a dual purpose. First, you are über organized for the next day and second, you usually sleep better when you are not trying to remember your mental lists of what you need to do over the next 24-72 hours. Anyone else run through stuff over and over in their head when it is not written down somewhere?

How you keep track of your lists and schedule and goals is up to you. I use Google Calendar and lots of post-its. I put sticky notes everywhere to remind me what to do and to make my daily lists the night before. They are on my front door so I don’t leave items I will need, they are on my desk with bigger projects to plug away on, and they are always on my laptop to prevent me from multitasking. Rather than flipping over to a new task when something pops into my head, I write it on a post-it and get to it when I am done my daily items. This saves me so much time! I have clients that use a white board or a spreadsheet or a wall calendar or poster board. Whatever tools you will find the most helpful for you, use those.

I would love to hear how these tips worked for you and your life and business. Please leave a comment with what worked and share any tips that you find streamlines your week!