In interviewing the eleven service-based solopreneurs and small business owners that participated in the three-part article series that I wrote on the productivity evolution for 6-figure and seven-figure business owners, I was privileged to learn the "back stories" of their businesses and hear about some of the mindset shifts that they experienced as they moved past milestone after milestone to arrive where they are today.
One of the most fascinating of these stories is that of Jeanna Gabellini of MasterPeace Coaching.
As is true for most solopreneurs, Jeanna did everything herself when she started her business. She now realizes that she was not conscious of "being productive" during her start-up phase. As her business grew solidly into the five-figure range of revenue generation, she hired an assistant and a Web consultant and began delegating responsibilities. But interestingly, she became more overwhelmed instead of less so! She was hyper concerned about filling her pipeline and went to bed each night feeling that she hadn't done enough, even if she had worked a 12-hour day. She worried that if she didn't get more done, she would not attract and enroll the clients that she needed.
It was only when she stopped working so hard and began to live life for herself - not for her business - that she moved into the six-figure arena. She learned to be present in the moment and to have fun again. She began taking Fridays and Mondays off in addition to weekends . . . and she TRIPLED her income that year!
Seems counter-intuitive, right? Jeanna will tell you that the opposite is true. Through MasterPeace Coaching, she helps people to double and triple their income by using the power of intuition and fun in addition to proven business strategies. She teaches that how you feel is more important than what you do and how much you do when you're working and that you are more "on purpose" and get better results when you're having fun.
When she was still earning a five-figure income, Jeanna hired a series of coaches to work with her to improve her time management skills. Though she was "super organized," she was never satisfied with the state of things in her business and always wanted to do more. She was so passionate about her business that "everything sounded fun" and she genuinely wanted to "do it all." But this led her straight into overwhelm. Despite the coaching that she received, she felt "dysfunctional" because she followed all the advice and instructions that her coaches gave her but still felt overwhelmed. It took her quite a while to realize that it was more her "inner game" than her productivity that needed attention.
Jeanna had an "aha" moment when one of her coaches got her to critically examine the things that she was committing herself to and to ask herself what saying "yes" would mean for her and her business. Her coach advised her only to take on things that put money in her bank account, gave her more joy, or freed up more time. She learned that anything she said "yes" to needed to take care of her own needs before anyone else's.
Another one of Jeanna's coaches worked with her to teach her how to live in the present moment. Jeanna found this to be extremely challenging work, saying that she felt that she was "chemically reacting to the coaching." But after four months of grueling effort, she had the breakthrough that would change her life and transform her coaching philosophy.
Later, Jeanna worked with a holistic organizer that she credits with transforming her life in another way. She remembers the organizer saying "I think I can increase your productivity and have you feel more at peace and more free." Though Jeanna was incredulous, the organizer succeeded in doing exactly that by convincing Jeanna to use a schedule and to program chunks of time for her projects and tasks. Jeanna has wholeheartedly embraced this approach and finds that she has to do a lot of self-management when she does not allocate her time in this way. She feels uncomfortable, even afraid, when her work hours are not adequately "chunked."
Systems are another productivity tool that Jeanna once feared as being constrictive but now uses as a means of freeing herself to work "on" her business as opposed to "in" it. She is constantly looking at where she can create more systems to streamline daily operations.
Jeanna currently works with a virtual team of 6 persons, including a business manager, a copywriter, and social media consultants. She hires a nanny to watch her children and do household chores. Her kids visit their grandmother several times a week as well, so Jeanna has plenty of quiet time to work at home. She recently shared that she is looking at a huge increase in profit for 2013, so her work practices are definitely serving her well!
To close our interview, Jeanna shared these final words of wisdom about productivity and how it relates to her business:
Productivity starts the moment you get out of bed. It is critical to get your mindset in place before you do anything in your office at all.
Your mindset impacts everything you do. You can have the best systems, but if your head is not in the right place, it's going to be a very bumpy ride all day long...
To read additional articles in the "Six-Figure to Seven-Figure Entrepreneur Productivity Evolution" series and other articles by Monique, click here.
If you'd like to work through your productivity challenges with a mentor so that you can experience more joy, more passion, and more profits in your business, click here to schedule a discovery session with Monique.