Tag Archives: focus

3 Ways Establishing Priorities Makes Life Easier


We all have moments when everything seems like it needs to be done right away. ASAP seems to be the deadline for everything these days. In order to avoid overwhelm and frustration, it’s important to establish priorities in all areas of our lives, and here’s why:

  1. Priorities help us create boundaries

When you have identified what’s important to you, it makes it easier to say yes to the right opportunities and no to others. When we aren’t sure what a priority is for us, it can be easy to get caught up in other people’s priorities. We find ourselves unable to say no to things that we don’t want to do because we aren’t clear on where we want to be focusing our time and energy. If you don’t want to feel like you’re constantly being pulled in every direction, you need to establish your priorities and share them with the people in your life!

  1. It helps us to manage our time

When we know what our priorities are, we know where to focus our time. We aren’t easily distracted by shiny objects, and we don’t wake up in the morning wondering what we should tackle today. Priorities help us focus on our goals, on what’s important to us. Too many of us are busy giving big time to small tasks. When we are clear on our priorities we give our time to things that matter. Consider the goose that laid the golden eggs. What completed tasks will bring you closer to achieving other things on your to-do list? Figuring this out can help you establish priorities that will help get you closer to accomplishing your goals.

  1. Priorities help us maintain momentum

When we know what’s important to us, we give it constant attention. You know what I’m talking about. You’re working on a project and when you look at the time you wonder where the last 5 hours went. When we’re passionate about something we eat, sleep and drink it. Establishing priorities fuels our purpose. It gives us permission to focus on the things that matter to us. You can’t make something a priority without committing to it. Commitment means doing it even when we don’t feel like it. It gives us power to push through even the most difficult challenges.

Without priorities we can feel like we’re spinning our wheel s in mud. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated by everything there is to do when you have no idea where to start. Taking the time to sit with your tasks and prioritize them will save you a lifetime of future hassle and aggravation. Have you set your priorities for the next 30 days?

If you need help identifying your priorities, check out these free tools designed to help you prioritize your life.

Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution. She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!






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5 reasons why entrepreneurs should travel



Life as an entrepreneur can often be stressful and overwhelming, with business commitments and client demands. Planning a vacation is usually the last thing on your mind when you’re trying to run your own business. Surprisingly travel can have some very real benefits for entrepreneurs, so if escaping the Canadian winter isn’t a good enough excuse here are 5 reasons why entrepreneurs should travel :

Relax and renew your mind

Many entrepreneurs overlook the fact that you can actually suffer from mental fatigue – your mind gets tired too! Travel allows you to let go of your troubles and focus on something other than work. Whether you’re lying on a beach or hiking up a mountain a new environment and change of scene can alleviate mental fatigue and relax your body as well.

See different business environments

Travel gives you the opportunity to learn not only about a new culture but a new business environment as well. Whether you realize it or not traveling as an entrepreneur will strengthen your business acumen as you are exposed to different races, cultures and countries. It’s always good to know about how business is conducted in different countries, if you do choose to go international at some point you’ve already got a head start!

Make new connections

Networking is an important part of business so don’t limit your network to just local or national contacts. You never know when someone from another part of the world may require your expertise or vice versa. Travel is a great way to meet new people and make new connections. Whether you travel in a group or solo you’ll inevitably meet and make new friends who in turn will become a part of your international network.

Discover new opportunities

Exposure to different environments and cultures is a great source of inspiration. Traveling can help you discover new business opportunities and ideas as you learn about how different people live and different countries operate. Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck thinking inside the box. You can also discover new export or import opportunities based on needs at home or in other countries. Your next great business idea or solution may be only a trip away.

Learn new things

Traveling enriches your life with new experiences and new skills. Look at vacations and travel as a learning opportunity rather than an expense. Whether you’re simply taking a historical tour or using a guidebook to learn the local lingo, travel will always afford you the opportunity to learn new things. It’s a great way to learn a new language or skill. Learning is something that should never stop regardless of age.

Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world.  She can be reached via WebsiteTwitterFacebook or her Blog.

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Be Fearless


Typically in this space I touch upon issues of concern relative to communications in general or communications strategies for small business. Today however, I want to challenge you to face 2016 not just with improved communications skills but also with confidence, clarity of vision, a renewed focus and, this is the big one – fearlessly!

No doubt, at more than one point in your life you have been afraid. Maybe of the future, of failure at school, work or sports, afraid of giving birth (that’s a big one!) or of embarking on a new career.  What was it that helped you overcome that fear? OK, in the case of giving birth you kind of had no choice but in the absence of the onset of labour pains – what helped you to take the leap of faith necessary to move past your fears?

Perhaps your answer is “courage” or maybe “resolve.” Still others might say it was  “opportunity” or that the timing was “right.” Perhaps you were given the gift of money whether through a packaged buy – out or an inheritance. Whatever your answer, being fearless had to have been a part of the process.  This doesn’t necessarily mean to suggest you were without fear but rather, that you embraced your fear and forged ahead regardless.  So how can you encourage being fearless?

Becoming fearless involves strategy.  Yes certain elements like timing and opportunity are important but having a strategy in place that you can act upon for when the timing is right will help create potential success.  Have you, for example, made a list of the pros and cons for your potential action? Have you done research? Have you anticipated all the possible outcomes and planned for them accordingly? Have you considered getting some coaching to help you bridge the gap between your fear and your determination and resolve?  If you have a plan in place with clearly defined, specific and measurable goals this alone will help reduce your fears.  Proactive planning tools will help you to achieve your dreams and while they may not eliminate your fears entirely, they certainly help you anticipate and plan for them, reducing fear to something much more manageable.

So GET PLANNING! Be specific. Always remember however that a little bit of healthy fear is a good thing. It’s natures built in “fight or flight” response. It keeps you alert and aware to potential pitfalls but by planning for them, you can face your fears – fearlessly!

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business


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3 Indicators You’re Focusing on the “Right Stuff”


I’m constantly being reminded of how powerful our focus is. Whatever we focus on expands. Good, bad or otherwise, we get what we spend the most of our energy on. While it can be a scary notion, the good news is that the choice of where we focus on minds remains in our complete control. Here are 3 ways to know your focusing your energy in a productive way.

  1. Despite any challenges you’ve encountered, your still passionate about your goal

Passion is the fire that fuels us in the pursuit of our goals. If our goals aren’t big enough, or meaningful enough, it’s easy to lose heart. When we focus on why we chose the goal, what achieving the goal is going to mean for us, those around us and maybe even the world at large, the bumps and bruises along the way are worth it. Challenges don’t discourage us from the things that are important to us. Instead, they show us what we’re made of, and empower us with the strength to make the once seemingly impossible, possible.

  1. People are starting to notice your efforts

Persistence pays off. When you persist in the achievement of your goals, things start to happen and people begin to take notice. Maybe you’ve started things in the past and left them incomplete because you lacked the necessary passion. This time is different, and the people around you can see that. What’s exciting about this is that when you commit to your goals and remain focused no matter what, people around you want to contribute to your success. Big goals are impossible to achieve on your own. We all need support to make our goals a reality. With the support of others, you’re unstoppable!


  1. Even in moments of darkness, opportunities present themselves to restore your faith

Have you ever had moments when you actually begin to question if you really know what you’re doing? Maybe you’ve even considered looking for a job, thinking that it might be time to think about a “Plan B”. All of a sudden, it happens – it seems like the heavens open and opportunities start showing up. They may not all pan out, but you know have a renewed faith and excitement about the possibilities when it comes to the goal you’re working towards. You see enough of a glimmer to believe in the existence of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that these moments occur to encourage us not to give up. They are a reminder of the idea I talk about at the beginning of #2 – persistence and commitment pay off. Keep your eye on the prize and you will reap the rewards!

Remaining positive in the pursuit of our goals can be challenging, but it is necessary. Negative experiences are a part of life. We all experience failures and disappointments in our personal and business goals. How we choose to deal with them, and what we choose to focus on always remains in our control. What will you choose to focus on today?

Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution.She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!






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3 Tips To Get The Most Out of The Holidays!


It’s that time of the year where there is a lot going on that could so easily compete for our attention, or stress us out. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of the holidays and enjoy it as well.

  1. Set the Intention

Decide on what you would like to get out of the holidays; is it to spend more time with family and friends, is it to be stress free, is it to ensure you don’t overspend going into the New Year, or is it to reflect and plan for the year ahead. Whatever it may be, visualise what it is you want and create a clear mental picture of it. In “My Book on Mindset”, I talk about ‘Picture’ and the Power of Visualisation; the more we are able to clearly picture what we want, the more it becomes reality as our actions and thought process begin to align to the image we are holding.

  1. Stay Focused

Once you’ve set the intention on what you want out of the holiday, it’s time to plan and focus. With a lot of what I’m going to call holiday fanfare, one can very easily get distracted – family and friends wanting your time, giving of gifts, Christmas events, and retailers working double hard to lure you – hence the need to stay focused and have a plan.

Create a list of the top three items you want to accomplish, and constantly refer to it to keep you focused.

If your goal is to not overspend this season, set a financial budget and avoid the temptation to buy unplanned or expensive gifts, sales events, or splurge on outings.

If your plan is for a stress-free holiday, define what that means to you, identify those things that would usually stress you, and plan on how to avoid them.

  1. Plan to Enjoy the Season

I believe this is a season of love, joy, and good tidings. Make a decision to fill your mind and heart with gratitude, and choose to enjoy the season. Choose an attitude that in spite of what may be going on, and all of the hustle and bustle, you will be thankful and grateful for what you have. The more gratitude we have, the more we open ourselves for more – the simple Law of Attraction – what we are, we attract. Allow yourself to take in the Christmas music, the movies, and the good cheer.

The decision is yours to make on what you get out of the season. Set your mind on what you want, focus on what you set your mind to do, and open yourself to enjoy the season. Your mindset determines your attitude, your attitude determines your choices, and your choices determine what you get out of the holidays.


To learn about Yvonne’s latest book on Changing your Mindset for greater results, visit http://www.oliveblue.com/changeyourmindset/

Yvonne is an Author, Speaker, Change Consultant & John Maxwell Leadership Coach who is passionate about working with Individuals, Entrepreneurs and Organisations to help implement change they want and achieve their goals.

She can be reached at:  http://www.oliveblue.com/ https://www.facebook.com/oliveblueinc https://twitter.com/oliveblueinc. https://www.youtube.com/user/ChangeYouWantTV

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Where’s your focus?


One of my most favourite quotes is by Dr. Wayne Dyer: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. It didn’t always make sense to me, but once I did, I totally got it! When you focus on what’s working, and on your goals, you find opportunities where they once didn’t exist.

As entrepreneurs, it can be challenging to focus on what’s working when there are times when it can feel like very little is. It’s in these times that we have to look at our glass as half full. If we focus on the failures and mistakes, we can be left unmotivated and defeated.

In expressing gratitude for the business we do have, we open ourselves to opportunities to gain more. Staying committed to the end result keeps us motivated to look for ways to make the goal a reality. Focusing on achieving the goal rather than how difficult the journey has been, empowers you to plow through the obstacles.

I know that staying positive gets a lot of slack as being a bit Pollyanna. I think that choosing to be positive is the only choice that makes sense. This isn’t to say that you should celebrate the difficulties you encounter. It just means that instead of letting the disappointment swallow you whole, find the lesson in the experience and move on. Choose to be happy anyway!

I can tell you from experience that persistence pays off. The only way you’re going to persist in the achievement of your goals is if you stay focused on the goal, and not on the past or current negative experiences. Opportunities exist all around us to bring us closer to successfully attaining our goals. When we focus on the wrong things it blinds us to the very things that can bring us out of the fog.

Haven’t you ever experienced moments where it seemed that your life was flowing in complete synchronicity? These things don’t happen when we’re bogged down in negativity. They appear when we’re in a positive mindset, excited about our goal and open to any and all options to bring us closer to its achievement.

In The 5 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests that we begin with the end in mind. Keeping the end in mind is what’s going to give us that staying power regardless of what’s going on around us. Keep your eye on the prize, and it will be yours before you know it!

Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution.She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!






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The Biggest Mistake Made When Networking!


A few months ago I attended a networking event where someone walked up to me, and the first thing they did was give me a business card, spoke barely a few words and walked away, and I noticed they did the same with others, distributing their business card. I was at another networking and business event, where someone brings out a BIG bundle of business cards to give me one, and this left me speechless, but with a strong desire to revisit the art of networking.

Considering the amount of information out there on effective networking, one could be forgiven for assuming the art of networking would be common knowledge. The biggest mistake that unfortunately is still happening is when people see networking as an opportunity to ‘sell’, ‘promote’ or ‘get’ as much possible to their benefit.

Networking can be described as the process of interacting or engaging in communication with others for mutual assistance or support. Note the word ‘mutual’? When networking is done properly, its benefits can be endless, and includes making business contacts, establishing new friendships or relationships, or seeking advice and information.

Networking is not a race to distribute as many business cards or get as many cards as possible. Yes networking is effective for building your professional career or business, and I can testify to having great results from networking, but this happened when I was being present in the moment, being authentic, and interested in the other person.

From my own experience, trainings attended and reading done, one key point that cannot be overemphasised is that ‘Networking is about building Relationships’. Only in getting to know someone and vice versa can a need be met effectively. We need to change our mindset from focusing on not just what we can get, but to also what we can give. The law of nature and reciprocity has proven that in giving we are bound to receive.

 How to Network Effectively

  1. Prepare beforehand by having a positive attitude and think of what you would like to achieve from attending i.e. meet two new people today. However, keep an open mind at the event, which could open you to receiving more than you expected.
  2. Have your elevator pitch/speech ready on how to introduce yourself effectively; short, to the point and effective.
  3. If you feel lost, nervous or struggle to join a group that is already in conversation, find someone on their own and introduce yourself.
  4. Develop the art of small talk; start a topic in relation to the event you are presently at, a related current affairs topic or admire something about the person you want to start the conversation with. Some simple conversation starters include ‘great event…’, ‘Is this your first time here…’
  5. Listen and focus your attention on who you are talking with, imagine how you would feel if you were talking with someone and they are constantly looking around or at their cell phone.
  6. Use open-ended questions that will help keep the conversation flowing, as opposed to closed-ended questions that solicit a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
  7. When you receive a business card. Write a note on it to help jog your memory for the next time you look at the card.
  8. Make sure you follow up after events; it could be call to say hello or how well you enjoyed meeting them. This helps to create a connection that you can work towards building.
  9. Networking does not start and end with formal events, you can also network effectively at social events and online on social media.

We are constantly faced with opportunities to network in the many facets of our lives, and what you do with your opportunity has the capability to positively and significantly impact your life or not.

Share some of your networking stories or tips with us below. What do you think of Networking?

To learn about Yvonne’s latest book on Changing your Mindset for greater results, visit http://www.oliveblue.com/changeyourmindset/

Yvonne is an Author, Speaker, Change Consultant & John Maxwell Leadership Coach who is passionate about working with Individuals, Entrepreneurs and Organisations to help implement change they want and achieve their goals.   

She can be reached at: www.oliveblue.com . www.facebook.com/oliveblueinc . www.twitter.com/oliveblueinc.www.youtube.com/ChangeYouWantTV

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‘Journaling’ to Entrepreneurial Success

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One of the ways I approach finding effective strategies for building my business has come from very targeted research. This research involves looking to those who are farther along the entrepreneurial journey than me, then identifying what they define as contributing to their success.

One standout trend across industries was the use of journaling, in many different capacities. ‘Journaling’ is a term used (in this article) to define an individual who is taking time in their day as a part of a regular routine to physically write/record personal information, ideas, experiences and reflections.

You may have heard recent studies of science backing up the benefits of putting ‘pen to paper’ (ie: Mueller and Oppenheimer’s research found individuals had increased ‘conceptual understanding’ and consequent success in applying it to their work). Or you may have a personal practice of journaling for creative expression but not thought of it as a business tool. Even if you haven’t had any experience with journaling at all, I wanted to bring to you some of the methods (and benefits) that research has shown can contribute to success in business, so you can create a system that will work for you.


  1. Problem solving

Using journaling is actually a way to see solutions that may otherwise not have been seen, as ‘Fast Company’ (online) reveals. This process can include: asking questions, brainstorming solutions or writing from different perspectives. All of which can provide an alternative way to process complex information, beyond typing.


  1. Evaluation

Once you have written on a regular basis, it gives you an opportunity to review what has been written and find patterns and changes in momentum across a defined period of time. Using this type of reflection after the journaling has occurred was key in Julia Galef’s (President of the Center for Applied Rationality) work with her clients. She uses this strategy (along with her signature system) to help others change long-standing (often not helpful) opinions about themselves to create new patterns of behavior after this type of process.


  1. Focus

One downfall to using technology (widely known) is the abundance of distraction. Quick processing and easily found information make it easy to change activities with a click of a button. Using pen and paper gives you the opportunity to literally only have ‘one thing open’, no need to resist clicking on a new tab. Once your journaling is done, it is encouraged that you then simply ‘put it away’ and not disrupt the rest of your work that is not related.


  1. Productivity

A recent Harvard Business School study actually found that using ‘journaling’ (by reflecting at the end of the day) could increase productivity by up to 25%. This is based on the participants in the study being able to ‘visualize’ what is important and therefore make more progress towards a particular goal.


I can appreciate that all of these strategies (and subsequent benefits) can be integrated into your workday; no matter what business you are building. We live in a very abundant time in our lives, because technology is advancing and becoming very accessible to all. The great thing is, so is paper. By using journaling strategies in conjunction with digital tools you have an opportunity to create a system that can produce the results you want in your growing business.


Tamara is the owner and designer at ‘Your Pretty Pages’ where she provides templates, planners, guides and resources for creative entrepreneurs to get and stay organized. To support your successful planning, Tamara has just released the ‘Entrepreneur’s Journal’ which you can find here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/YourPrettyPages

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Successful Planning, Successful Week

Tamara 14 (1)

Planning your workweek in business can sound like a simple process – but if you have ever been interrupted, fell behind on deadlines or forgotten an appointment, this article is for you. I believe it’s not about managing every minute, it’s a new fresh perspective that includes being prepared, flexible and in-line with your work habits, style and personal preferences.

To plan a successful week I have used my experience with other female entrepreneurs who care about accomplishing a lot within a week and found some universal strategies that can be utilized in almost any business out there.

  • Schedule the unexpected:

Business owners are some of the most motivated people I have ever met so I find ‘over-planning’ to be a problem for a lot of us. This happens when we fill every moment of our calendar and fall behind immediately when even one phone call goes over our allotted time. This can cause stress for not only the day, but for the rest of the week as we play ‘catch-up’ to get back on schedule. A way that I have found to combat this issue is to dedicate some time in your week for ‘yet-to-be-determined’ tasks, projects or obligations. Later in the week is usually best. When you aren’t able to finish something in the time you allot or you get an unexpected request, you are able to now be flexible and rely on the safety net you have designed into your week already.

  • Identify low energy tasks:

It’s natural to have fluctuations in your energy levels as your day progresses. You may feel sharp, motivated and full of energy in the morning or feel tired and a little stiff in the afternoon. It’s easy to identify these times when you are experiencing them, harder to match your tasks to that energy if you are not prepared. The way to do this is to schedule tasks that require less concentration with those low energy times beforehand. Give yourself some time to answer ‘general email’ questions, tidy up your desk or look on social media when you are feeling less energized and save high-energy times for creative, developing and more intense projects. This will help you balance your day, which will help your overall week.

  • Pick a focus:

Within each of our businesses, there is always something that needs attention. Instead of trying to do everything all at once, my recommendation is to pick one focus and stick to it. This produces success because you are not reacting to interruptions, which take you away from that highly productive and focused work. You may be thinking that it is not practical to only do one thing a day – your emails still need to be answered. The way to do it successfully is to keep your focused work (what you really want to complete) in one of the higher energy times of your day (as identified in the previous topic). This gives you quality time that is in-line with your already established habits to really get it done.

  • Bundle ‘Away’ tasks:

Luckily we are in charge of our schedules so we can decide when to do our supply shopping, networking events, doctor’s appointments and ‘out-of-office’ tasks. I have always recommended that business owners pick a time in their week – every week that will be dedicated to these tasks. The benefits are far reaching as you are not only creating habits for yourself, but also creating reasonable expectations from others in your life. Which could be customers, family and also make delivery schedules more regular. I often recommend scheduling these days in the middle of the week when you may just need a change of scenery too.

Overall, when you see how much choice you have in planning your week and use these strategies to integrate your personal preferences you are going to be able to get more done in your week and enjoy it along the way.

Tamara is the owner and designer at ‘Your Pretty Pages’ where she provides templates, planners, guides and resources for creative entrepreneurs to get and stay organized. To support your successful planning, Tamara has just released two all new version’s of the ‘Entrepreneur’s Planner’ which can be found at https://yourprettypages.com/planners/

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Maintaining Focus While Changing Direction



As small business owners, especially solopreneurs, we have the advantage of being able to take the liberty of changing the direction or focus of our business. What started out, perhaps, as business coaching with businessy topics as a mainstay, may over the years turn out to no longer fulfil you. Or we find the goods we sell are becoming outdated and no longer desirable to our clients, as evidenced, for example, by more and more bookstores closing as e-Books and e-Readers grow in popularity.

Human growth, as it happens, doesn’t end after puberty. Sure, overall physical growth may end there, as does hopefully the propensity of having oily skin or acne, and making dubious decisions, yet personal and intellectual growth thankfully continues throughout our entire lives. I think that’s a good thing, as long as we recognise that it can bring with it the desire for and necessity of significant life changes and tough decisions every few years or decades.

When we become business owners, we have a specific type of business in mind that excites us. It provides us with the drive, inspiration, creativity, passion, and overall positive feelings required to get us started in the scary world of self-employment. All of these are also the traits our potential clients will feel attracted to. They want someone who is well versed about their product or service, passionate, believable, and therefore likeable and trustworthy.

All these good emotions can go through a less certain and firm ‘appearance’ during a business transition period, when we find ourselves wanting or needing to change direction with our products or services. Maybe, as in the example above, business coaching no longer excites us because our course of life changed us to wanting to focus more on reflective, heart based, and personal skills sets, like life coaching.

Our time of transition from one business to another can then be a very tricky journey. While we build a new business idea and become excited about the new prospects it holds, and satisfaction it will bring to us and our clients, we often have to maintain a level of momentum and passion for our ‘old’ but still current business; A balancing act that can leave us with one foot in and one foot out of the door.

Therein lies the challenge of ‘keeping face’ towards your existing clients, while perhaps already starting to have conversations with prospects for your new venture. Niggling in the back of our mind may also be the lure of going back to a full-time J.O.B. with that tempting steady, but fixed and often less upwardly mobile income.

But then the many advantages of being our own boss remind us that that’s really where we want to be! And that’s worth the journey, even a little bit of discomfort along the way.


Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE co-working space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new start-ups.  Contact her at:http://www.beachbusinesshub.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter

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