July 19, 2019

Episode 8: Take a Break

Have you taken your vacation? If your response is “No,” you are not alone. Taking time off is a challenge as a solopreneur. Sometimes it’s because we’re too busy to get away. Often we’re either reluctant to step away from our business or simply never get around to making the plan to take time off. 

It is important to take time off because we need to regain perspective, get inspired, and simply rest. These summer months are the ideal time to plan a getaway. Corporate life tends to slow down in the summer, so take advantage of this dip in activity. 

  • If a real deal vacation isn’t possible, take a working vacation. Set the expectations with your clients, advising when you’ll be working. The rest of the time is for you and your family.
  • Plan a retreat to work on your business. Pick a cool new hotel or nearby locale you’ve been wanting to visit.
  • Get help from a virtual assistant while you’re away. You might realize you like it and choose to continue working with them, which could lead to expanding your business. 

What is your ideal way to make sure you take time off as a solo business owner?

Today’s episode was inspired by a recent MuckRack article pointing out the two major ways PR pros can be annoying to journalists: PR agencies requiring staff to use pitching techniques that no longer suit the current journalism landscape and client expectations focused on producing call logs over long-term results.

Rather than become another barrier to journalists doing their jobs, how can we improve on this?

Education: help clients understand the value of moving away from a focus of activity for activity’s sake. Journalists are outnumbered by PR people so constant contact to show “productivity” will not achieve the actual goal.

Results: together with the client, decide on the desired, measurable goal and work toward achieving it.

How do you balance client expectations with maintaining good relationships with your journalist contacts? We’d love to hear from you.

 

The secret to managing it all? Don’t. 

Wait, what?

It’s true. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s a signal to stop and do an evaluation. You may even want to schedule a business retreat so you can truly focus on your business.

You may have too much on your plate. Take a look at whether your clients are profitable. Is it time to raise your rates, expand your team, or turn away business?

As a business owner, you get to choose. Choose what is best for you.

Some tips to keep your work life in check: 

  • Create or update your lists
  • Practice self-care
  • Shift your focus from Time Management to Energy Management

We’re not saying you should miss deadlines or leave projects unfinished. It’s likely that the same drive that motivates us to be solos is also the culprit when we are hard on ourselves. We need to learn how to balance that drive.

In this episode of That Solo Life we discuss the situations where it would have been wise to take the time to think things through and seek feedback from colleagues before moving forward with an idea. We get it, life moves fast in PR and in the business world, but maintaining credibility – yours and your client’s – is key.

 

Does it feel as though every holiday is used as either a branding opportunity or an excuse to sell something? A recent article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, How Earth Day Became Public Relations Day, prompted this question. Newsjacking or creating a promotion aligned with a holiday isn’t necessarily wrong but as PR practitioners we want to be mindful that it is the most authentic way to have a voice within the context of the particular holiday. Join us as we discuss how to best navigate the temptation to hop on the holiday promotion bandwagon.

Today we’re joined by our guest, Dr. Glenn McElhinney. He is president and CEO of Transformed 4 Life, a company helping people to experience wholeness through change in mind, heart, and behavior. He brings over 35 years of experience in counseling and consulting individuals, couples, families and organizations. Dr. McElhinney was an associate professor of psychology for over ten years, holds a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary and a Master of Divinity from Grace Theological Seminary.

His work with Transformed 4 Life is based on the belief that people don’t have to be stuck where they are. There’s always the opportunity to transform your situation, becoming better and different at what you’re doing. This comes by learning what true wholeness is and using that as the lens to view all aspects of your life.

Me, An Entrepreneur?

Dr. McElhinney came to entrepreneurship “through the back door.” It began when he was doing his graduate work. His internship required that he complete 900 counseling hours, but the clinic available to the students only had two hours per week available for the program’s interns. As a result, he contacted organizations to find out if they needed someone one hour a week to provide counseling services.

Thirty years into his career, after budget cutbacks at his employer, he once again he started making contacts, seeking people and organizations who might need his services. He also worked with a coach, who advised his assessment showed he was an entrepreneur. He hadn’t thought of himself as an entrepreneur but soon realized that his behavior of immediately seeking solutions rather than waiting for the opportunities to come to him was, well, entrepreneurial.

Wholeness. What is it and why does it matter for an entrepreneur and their career?

Our culture thinks of wholeness as this ideal of perfection. Dr. McElhinney views wholeness as a sense of contentment with who you are and who you’re designed to be, and not trying to pursue being someone else. The moment you start comparing, it becomes an enormous distraction from relying on and going deep with who you are as a person. Wholeness does not mean there will never be sadness, betrayal, or injustice, but it does mean we have the opportunity to transform the more we dig deeply into who we actually are.

Focusing our full energy on developing who we are frees us from the distraction of trying to be something we’re not. When a person knows what their core theme, their core value, is, then the environment is irrelevant. Wholeness gives us a clarity into our competency.

The reason a lot of people get stuck or feel like they’re spinning their wheels in work and life is because they spend a lot of time working on who they’re not and trying to improve that, which is never going to accomplish anything. If you think you need to be, or that you are, a complete package in your work, you’re hurting yourself because you’re not open to the notion that there are other people who could help you excel to accomplish your goals.

Embrace the Lies You Believe about Yourself

What?

Dr. McElhinney’s work has shown that internally, people know who they are, but they end up believing the lies about them. One of the exercises he does is to have people list the lies they believe about themselves. The reason a person believes these lies is because there’s often some element of truth in it. They then need to identify the kernel of truth and not let it define them in life.

For Solo PR Pros, this can mean that we use these areas of weakness and design our businesses around it, by not offering a certain service or by building our team to fit those needs.

From Assessment to Wholeness

Dr. McElhinney uses the Pro-D Assessment. It takes into consideration:

  • Your Mission (passion),
  • Your Competencies (aptitudes, abilities, strengths)
  • Your Styles (behaviors and characteristics that make you unique)

 The Pro-D Assessment converges the three to give you a uniquely complete profile, including: 

  • Career value areas
  • What work culture you’re best in
  • Educational areas to help you continue to grow
  • Caution areas
  • Who you are when you’re a team leader and when you’re a team member.
  • Core Theme of your passion

When you can look at this profile every day it and know it’ll never change, there’s great freedom to move forward, embracing what you’re not good at and to let that go. The assessment prevents the second-guessing. Doubt is the greatest destruction of any entrepreneur. This removes the wasted time and energy of asking “What if?”

As Dr. McElhinney says, “Solopreneurs are transforming the culture with what they’re doing. It’s exciting to come alongside people who are really interested in success.”

Visit www.transformed4life.solutions to learn more.

Solo PR Pro premium members, log in to the member site for additional free resources.

Would you like to learn more about Solo PR Pro and the benefits of membership? Visit SoloPRPro.com.

 

Going solo in business is scary, no matter your career path. In today’s episode, we talk about fear, what it means to us, and what it might mean to you.

Know this:

  • Fear never really goes away, and that’s okay.
  • The fear that you don’t know enough or you’re not doing it right is more common than you think. (And guess what, you DO know enough and you ARE doing it right.)
  • Embrace the things you’re not as good at and move on. Take those cues as openings for collaboration.
  • Welcome the “good scared” – these are the opportunities that will bring you the most growth.
  • Failure is not an f-word. It’s a teacher.
  • Nothing is certain. And that’s okay, as long as you are planning for the next shift.

How to fight the fear?

  • Acknowledge that you know enough but you can never learn enough.
  • Attend professional development sessions – to learn new things and also affirm your current knowledge.
  • Stay up to date with current events within your profession and the business world in general.
  • Have the confidence to add people to your team in areas where you don’t know enough.
  • Have a village, a safe place where you can go and ask questions of your peers as well as receive affirmation.

Fear is all about your perspective. There will always be something to challenge you in your professional life. Use these moments to improve and grow.

What is That Solo Life? It’s a podcast all about keeping it real and talking about the topics that affect solo business owners, especially those in the public relations and communications world. Co-hosted by Karen Swim, founder of Words for Hire and owner of Solo PR Pro and Michelle Kane, founder of VoiceMatters, the goal of this podcast is to bring the community and knowledge of Solo PR Pro to a new channel.

Listen to this first episode to learn more about the origins of Solo PR Pro and what it can bring to your business!