I stumbled upon Lori’s profile and found myself instantly drawn to her approach—creating systems and organizing our businesses so that they don’t run our lives—so that we have time for margin and rest all while being super productive! As someone who has been in that overwhelmed place of not knowing where to start, working all weekend and late into the night and constantly spinning my wheels, I can say I get it! It wasn’t until I started putting systems in place, focusing on my true priorities and learning to say ‘no’ that I actually saw my business take off! Yes, less truly is more!
For many, September brings the start of the new school year, and for all of us, the start of fall! I love the change of seasons and the new perspective it brings, so I asked Lori from Lab Creative Co to share a bit of her behind the scenes…as well as come practical steps you can implement today to say goodbye to that feeling of overwhelm!
Lori is a gem and I know you will be empowered by her advice!
Connect with Lori:
Welcome to Women Who Flourish Lori! Here’s our conversation together!
Women Who Flourish: Cultivating Organization and Clarity in Business with Lori Behle
Tell us a little bit about what you do day to day for work?
L: My day to day work typically consists of creating content, one-on-one video calls with clients, and working on setting up systems and implementing technology for my clients. Outside of that, I typically set aside one day each week for administrative work and one half-day for education/personal development.
Your heart and soul is helping women entrepreneurs run their businesses in a way to avoid burn-out and do the things they love but also that move them forward. As a woman who wears “many hats” myself and also has so many passions, dreams and projects, how can we keep those aspirations positive and productive, rather than falling into the trap of overwhelmed and overworked?
L: Such a good question! Being multi-passionate is an amazing thing, but with so many passions, dreams, etc., it can be tough to figure out how to break down each vision into manageable steps and avoid distraction. My biggest tips for multi-passionate entrepreneurs to help keep them positive and productive are to outsource and set aside consistent work time to prioritize.
Outsourcing is a huge help when growing your brand and business(es). I always tell my clients the example that if you were to work for a larger business, you would rarely find someone trying to do everything. Rather, each employee has a specific role, in a specific department within the business. Small business owners shouldn’t put pressure on themselves to successfully wear all of the hats in their business. By outsourcing work you don’t enjoy or work that drains you, you free yourself up to focus on the parts of your business that you’re best at, which saves you TONS of hours in the process and allows you to focus on accomplishing those dreams.
As for prioritizing, there’s a quote that says, “It’s not a lack of time, it’s a lack of priorities.” Prioritizing your dreams and passions and the steps that fall within each of them boosts productivity in a big way and prevents you from spending time on things that aren’t moving you towards your goals.
How does getting really clear on your purpose and vision play a role in all of this?
L: I am all about analogies, so I’ll share an analogy I once heard that does an incredible job of showing the importance of getting clear on your purpose and vision! The analogy is this: If you leave a person in a desert with no frame of reference to know where they are going or where they came from and you tell that person to walk in a straight line, they will inevitably start walking in circles. The same is true in a business with no clear vision – you’ll end up caught in a cycle of taking one step forward and one step back, without making any real forward progress. Save yourself the time and effort and clarify your vision and purpose before taking any other steps! If you’re not sure how to get started, here are some questions to help kickstart your vision brainstorming session:
- In five years, what do I want my life, my time, and my business to look like? Get specific!
- What kind of impact do I want my business to have?
- Why did I start this business, dream, etc.?
- What are four to seven core values that I want to define my business?
I am a big believer in saying ‘no’ when something doesn’t align with my long term goals for both my business and my family—and we know that often life and business are so interconnected. How do you encourage your clients to intentionally say ‘no’ and find that balance between work and play we are all aiming for?
L: Learning how to say ‘no’ is a tough, but important thing to get comfortable with! One of the first things I ask my clients to do when I start working with them is to brainstorm what their “ideals” are. These are things like the ideal amount of hours they would work each week, their ideal number of clients, ideal location of work, ideal number of days off, ideal amount of time they want to spend with their family, etc. This creates a goal for them to work towards. Once they have this “ideal” mapped out, I challenge them to write out all of the things in their business that they feel like are keeping them from that. Next comes the hard part of figuring out which things they have to sacrifice in order to achieve their ideal. I am a big believer in the concept that you have to say no to “good” things in order to be able to say yes to great things!
Have you always been an organized woman or did this mentality shift come from your own struggles?
L: I would say that I’ve always been a reasonably organized person, but it shifted in a big way once I started working remotely. I am originally from the Midwest, but shortly after I married my husband we uprooted and moved to a small town in Northern California where there weren’t many places in my field to work. I started doing freelancing and was working from home 40 hours a week. I was surprised by how challenging it was to stay focused and productive or even to just figure out how to structure my days. Learning how to work from home is definitely a transition!
Over time, I fell in love with helping other small business owners find organization and freedom in their daily schedules and within their businesses. Since freelancing allowed me to work behind the scenes for dozens of different creative businesses, I realized that often times the part of their business that caused them the most stress and that they enjoyed the least was the organization/systems component. Since that component was my favorite part, I figured I would start a business around it with the goal of helping as many creative business owners as possible. It’s cool to look back now and see that the move, although challenging at the time, was ultimately the thing that sparked this passion and ultimately this business!
To any women who feel overwhelmed, burned out and exhausted, like they are constantly burning the midnight oil, what is one positive change they can implement today?
L: One quick and easy positive change I would suggest is at the beginning of each week or each night, write out all of the things you have to do that week or day. Often times we waste so much time just deciding what to do next, but this helps you go into each day with a specific list of what you need to conquer that day.
What are a few of your favorite productivity hacks specifically for women?
L: For women in business, the top 3 productivity hacks I recommend are spending a week tracking your time (and setting aside time to assess the week), getting an app to schedule out your social media (I recommend Plann or Planoly), and always, always, always using a scheduling program for client meetings (I recommend Acuity). These are three quick and simple things you can implement that will save you loads of time each week. I recommend tracking your time because at the end of the week you’ll have a super clear picture of what aspects of your business take up the most of your time and then you can act accordingly. Some good questions to reflect on after tracking your time are:
- Did the bulk of my time match up with the areas of my business that bring in the most profit?
- What were the biggest distractions during the week?
- Are there any things that surprised you?
- What things can you reduce, simplify, or eliminate?
How have you seen productivity, routines and discovering your true purpose in life and business impact your clients health and even your own health?
L: In my own life, productivity and systems have been instrumental for me in recovering from burnout as an entrepreneur. The feeling of going into each day knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished and working specific hours that I choose for myself is such a freeing feeling. Before implementing systems, I was constantly worried that I was going to miss something and I was always feeling frenzied trying to get everything done in a day. I would have to jam in work around family events and it was so hard to fully get away from my work. I have seen this first hand in my client’s lives as well. It has been SO rewarding to help other female entrepreneurs get set up for things like maternity leave, three-day weeks so that they can spend more time with their kiddos, or simply being able to help get them back to the parts of their business that bring them the most joy.
How would you define healthy living?
L: I would define healthy living as having the freedom and discipline to choose things that are beneficial to your mind, body, and soul. For me, I find I am living my healthiest life when I am practicing work-life balance, nourishing my body, living each day with purpose, and spending time with people I love.
What are some practices or routines you do each day that you believe are directly tied to your success?
L: Entrepreneurship comes with a lot of ups and downs, so I try to start off each day with reading and prayer. This looks different for everyone, but for me, I have found it to be really helpful in staying grounded and motivated throughout the course of each day.
What does it mean to you to flourish?
L: First of all, I just love the word flourish! To me, flourish means to grow in abundance without comparison. It’s the idea that any person, business, etc. can become or do something spectacular in their own specific way or area. It’s the desire to “bloom where you’re planted” and make the most of what you have, where you are.
If you were a taco, which flavor and toppings would you be and why?
Loooooove tacos! Carne Asada with chopped cilantro and onions and a side of guacamole. I can never say no to guacamole!
What is one quality you look for in a friend?
A good question-asker/listener.
What is one thing you say no to and why?
I am working really hard on saying no to negative self-talk currently. It’s amazing how subconscious negative self-talk can become.
Favorite time of the day?
Your word for 2019?
Cultivate – I want this year to be about cultivating new passions, dreams, hobbies, and goals and continuing to grow current ones.