What Happens (To Your Work) When You Die?

When you are self-employed, or have a small business, the matter of your own death is a bit more complex than if you are an employee.

DeathofBusinessFor instance, if you are a health practitioner, or a professional who has clients, what would happen to them if you die suddenly?  Or even die less suddenly?

Do you have a plan in place for who would look after your clients, or take them on?  This may not be so important if you are a hairdresser, or a joiner, but if you are in the healing professions, it really does need to be taken care of.

As an ex-counsellor and psychotherapist, I had a supervisor who knew she would be contacted by my clients if I died. This was professional behavior – in this field, the sudden departure of an important person in one’s life can have far-reaching effects.

The same might be true for a professional dealing with the healing of someone’s body. To be left high and dry if your practitioner dies is not pleasant. Knowing that your practitioner had a plan in place should this happen, including a recommended person to contact, will help your client in any transition that might need to happen.

Other points to consider when thinking of your succession plan (as it is known) are:

  • Be clear about your intentions with the business for after you die
  • Do you want the business to continue after you die? If so, how, and with whom at the helm?
  • Who do you want to have access to any business bank accounts?
  • Who gets to pay any employees, and how should they be paid?
  • How will professional bodies be informed?
  • What about leases on premises?
  • What about insuring against yourself dying, if you are the sole proprietor or key to the business?

The more you prepare in advance, the easier it will be for those left behind if you do die.

In Gifted By Grief, I wrote about The List – questions that I asked Philip a few months before he died. Difficult questions, such as ‘what do you want to be buried in?’ and ‘when should I sell the car?’ and ‘what kind of coffin do you want?’ Not to mention making sure I had his passwords and user names.

This, and the purely business-related questions above, are vital to limit the distress for your loved ones. They will be upset enough about you popping your clogs, without having to make decisions that could have been taken beforehand.

The List is something that many people agree is a good idea to do – but not that many actually DO anything about it. Or they do it, but only a bit of it.  If you’re interested in joining a group focused on helping you complete these kind of questions, email me and express your interest.

There’s no doubt it’s easier in the company of others doing the same thing. So email me now and I’ll get back to you asap.

Why Letting Go Is Essential For Your Business Success

SAM_0822It’s a lot easier to fully move on to a next stage in your life or business if you’ve taken the time to acknowledge what’s gone before. Actually, it’s essential because you can’t go forward properly until you’ve fully accepted where you are right now.

So please be kind to yourselves as you reflect on the following questions!

Preparation:

Allocate a time in your diary to attend to this exercise; allow at least an hour or so of uninterrupted time. Get your last year’s diary so you can easily remember what’s happened.

Now answer the questions below.

Reflection:

  1. What did you accomplish in the course of the last year? (this can be huge things you feel inordinately proud of, or just tiny things but in their own way, equally important)
  2. What did you learn in general? What business lessons did you learn?
  3. Did you have any dreams that came true?
  4. Did you have any disappointments? If so, what did you learn from them?
  5. How did you limit yourself? How can you stop that in the future?
  6. Did you have any areas that felt out of balance? (eg how many days did you take off from your work? Or did you need to actually work more, or in a more focused way?)

Your business figures

This is important because it is a factual measure of where you have been, where you are now and therefore helps you in where you want to go. So often I’ve heard people be disappointed in themselves until they look at their figures and see that they have actually made progress.

A: What was your gross profit?  (that’s the total amount of money that came in to your business)

B: What were your total expenses?

C: And your net profit? (that’s A – B)

(Keep these figures, because you want to be able to compare them to next years).

Notice how you feel about this section. If you don’t know your figures, you will probably have to find them out for your tax return anyway, so you might as well do it now. But set up a system if you haven’t already got one, for monitoring this on a month by month basis. It makes it really easy when you come to do these questions!

When you write the figures down, you’re likely to feel ecstatic, pleasantly surprised, disappointed, embarrassed – or maybe some other emotion. Just check in and see how you feel. Remember they are only indicators of what’s been going on factually – they are NOT who you really are, NOT a measure of your self-worth, NOT set in stone. These figures can change, and will as you learn more, apply what you’re learning, and grow within yourself.  Plus, that’s just what your lovely ego thinks – and the real you knows a lot better than that!  So listen to your own wild wisdom if your reaction to your figures is less than you’d like it to be.  In other words – be kind to yourself!

Marketing

  1. Find out, if you don’t already know, what were your top-selling services or products. Set up a system to monitor this if you haven’t already done so.
  2. If you have a mailing list, by how much did it increase in 2014?
  3. If you do social media, what happened there? Did you make strategic decisions to increase or decrease your following? Why?
  4. What marketing actually worked for you? What was your most successful strategy?

Finally – what did you most love about your business in 2014?  And what did you hate the most?  And what are you most grateful for?

Now comes the creative bit – take a few moments to sit silently with the results of your questions.  Listen to your own wild wisdom about how it wants to express your gratitude for what you have received and given this past year.   It may be through colours, like mine; but you might rather sing your gratitude, paint it, sculpt it. You might want to dance it, cook with it, or sew something. Or you might want to knit, craft, or model something. This is your gift to yourself, expressing your own gratitude for everything that has happened this year, including all the things you weren’t so keen on, because they ALL have contributed to who you and your business are now. Wow!

Check out this link to get your 2015 Workbook from Leonie Dawson, so having let go of 2014 you can jump right into the next year in the most creative way possible!

Do you have a business or are you in a J.O.B?

How does the word ‘business’ make you feel?  On the recent Wild Wealth Programme one thing that emerged was something I’ve seen over many years in this profession. It’s the effect this word has on many solo professionals.

When I had our complementary health clinic, there were few practitioners who considered themselves as anything other than ‘having a private practice’.   Some even described what they did as ‘just seeing a few clients’.

When you don’t think you are running a business, then it’s very likely you don’t conduct your financial affairs in a business like manner. This then means that it’s likely you won’t have a separate bank account for your business, that you trade your time for money, that you maybe don’t even pay yourself. These are not great things if you are wanting to build a sustainable business!

So today I’m asking you one of the questions from the Wild Wealth programme.

When you consider the statement ‘I am a successful business person’, how do you feel, what kinds of thoughts go through your mind?

How you respond to this statement will tell you something both about your idea of business and your idea of success.   Post your response by clicking on the number at the top right hand of the post, I’d love to hear from you!

And while we’re about it, here’s a few more illuminating questions:

  • Do you do all you can to limit the amount of money you bring in so you don’t have to pay any tax?
  • When do you pay yourself – after all the other bills, or are you top of your list of priorities?
  • Do you consider your only source of income to be that from your business?

All of these questions will tell you about how you view not only your business, but your wealth creating capacity.

The more successful practitioners in our clinic almost invariably did consider they were running a business, and often had the back up to help them do that, whether that be part-time administrative help, book-keeping, coaching or other advisers.  And part-time could be literally a couple of hours a week, or sometimes even less. But the great thing was, they had a business mindset.

So do you have a business mindset? Or are you really in a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke). Because if you’re in the second category, you’ll never be able to really reap the benefits of owning and running a real business, such as most of what you do being tax deductible; knowing exactly what the numbers in your business are saying, to help you make decisions; or making a profit and being able to do what you like with that.

One of the first things you can do to take you further with developing your business is to pay attention to your money – start to love it, that’s what paying attention is about! You can do this by using the Radical Income Welcome Toolkit, which if you have already bought, I wonder are you actually using?

The Toolkit enables you to start to think about your money in a radically different way, a way that lets you love it for what it is, as well as what it can do for you. You’ll be able to identify your Money Comfort Level, and also be putting into practice a very simple but really effective method of welcoming in more income.   All of which is essential of course to a growing business!

If you haven’t already bought it, I invite you to do so now – here’s the link. It’s incredibly good value, check it out now and see what I mean!

Intend or Plan – what’s the best?

I spent last weekend in a glorious renovated Victorian hunting lodge way up in the uppermost part of Scotland, amongst the heather, lochs and the deer, celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday party. It was a time full of conversation, walking, fine food and wine, and simple, ordinary pleasure.  Here’s a pic:

Tim Slack Appreciating People croppedThe man I’m sitting next to is Tim Slack of Appreciating People . He told me about the idea of Commander’s Intent, a military term used to describe what a successful mission looks like, and it’s not about having a plan and sticking to it.  It’s about having an intention.

Commander’s Intent fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in enemy situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of Commander’s Intent is to empower subordinates and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed battlefield environment. Commander’s Intent empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. Commander’s Intent is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.

If we transpose the word ‘successful leader’ instead of commander’s intent, it reads

A successful leader fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of a successful leader is to empower others and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed environment. A successful leader empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. A successful leader is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.

You may not recognize yourself as a leader, especially if you are not employing others in your business. But you are – you are the leader of your own organization, even if it is just yourself you are leading. Remember Louise L. Hay, founder of Hay House Publishing, who was 88 just the other day.  She began by self-publishing her ‘Little Blue Book’ way back in the early seventies and running her first workshop for a handful of people in her living room.  She started leading herself, and slowly and steadily, step by step, employed others to help her get her message out to many more people.

So do you have an intention for your business, or do you have a plan?  Perhaps you have neither, of course. The only challenge with neither is that it is very easy to get distracted with tempting opportunities that may lead to you never completing anything, not following up with someone, or ending up wandering around with no sense of accomplishment or purpose. Not that that is bad, of course, but it may be somewhat dissatisfying.

But a plan according to Appreciating People is at the other end of the spectrum, and  too limiting. However, an intention allows for flexibility, clarity of purpose and simplicity.

Which falls in line with the blog post I wrote a while back about ID’s (intention-directions)

Finally, remember Eisenhower’s quote: ‘Plans are nothing, planning is everything’.

So I ask you today – what is your intention for your business over the next three years?  Remember, keep it simple, clear and flexible.

If you can say it one sentence all the better – it can always be padded out. Mine is to enable many more thousands of people to tap into their own Wild Wisdom and use it to affect their businesses and the lives of others in a positive manner – I have various ways I’m currently operating to do that, but in essence that is it.  What’s yours?

Do You Ever Feel Overwhelmed in Your Business? (If so, read this!)

Asking for support is something that many people have difficulties with. I’d like you to imagine the following scenes and discover which one is most familiar to you.

Do you sit alone in your office, working on every aspect of your business, tearing your hair out when you can’t understand something, and then giving yourself a hard time because you can’t understand? Do you spend hours trying to work something out, or to familiarise yourself with an aspect of your business that is not second nature? Maybe you even feel ashamed or stupid when you find yourself stuck, not knowing what a ‘portal problem’ or an ‘app’ or a ‘url’ is (all examples of things I have not known and felt silly about!).

Or… Continue reading