Crisis Management

New Business Overwhelm? You Need To Know This!

Image of fountain pen and to-do list pad, sympbolizing a way to overcome New Business Overwhelm Experienced By Entreprenuers
Your new business will prosper with manageable goals!

 

Nothing beats being an entrepreneur! Fueled with enthusiasm and amazing ideas for your new business, those first weeks and months when you decide to go for it are like a honeymoon in a luxury resort. Every day is a new treasure of exploration, and the mundane world seems very far away. We all start out with some dream of an overnight success story, because our products and services are completely awesome!

Until the overwhelm sets in.

In our rush to get our business launched we spent hours late into the night setting up the framework, domain names, web sites, and producing products for prospective clients. We are launching a new business with a single mindedness that makes it practically noble to ignore housework, yardwork, shopping, laundry, and a slew of other daily life-tasks.

Look At This Mess!!

Just as in a new relationship, reality eventually hits us hard – probably sooner for solopreneurs still working a full-time day job.

You can ignore the stats after you first go “live” convinced the public just needs to find you before your offering will be on fire! Then after Tweeting your heart out, adding more blog posts, or whatever you do for marketing ……. crickets.

It is awful to discover that you really did build a better mousetrap, but the world has not beaten a path to your door… or your website! Worse, you lift your red-rimmed eyes from the cruel statistical reports and look around your home at all the chores that have piled up in the meantime.

A Shakespearian Moment

You are discouraged and disillusioned, with a hefty dose of overwhelm thrown in. I know, I have been there (and go back to visit that place occasionally.)

“To be or not to be, that is the question”. Or, “What would Shrek and Fiona do?” if your frame of reference is a little more contemporary. It is a dramatic time of reckoning… with yourself.

Your first inclination may be to chuck the whole entrepreneur thing. It would be easier to hide in your swamp or tower and obsess about everything that went wrong.

Don’t give up. You are the star of this show! Your business success, like “true love”, is closer than you think. Just like any hero, you have to go through a few adventures before you can learn what your true love actually looks like.

And like any hero, you will need to make some sacrifices.

Changing Focus

What about your dreams, your vision of your new business? Your dream are great, that’s what got you started as an entrepreneur. But to keep going, you have to let go of a static image of your successful business. Be prepared to refine and re-define what success looks like to you.

This does not mean flying by the seat of your pants without a business plan that includes measurable goals, and a written calendar of progressive steps to get you there. It means giving up the notion that anyone is really an overnight success.

Make your business goals reasonable and your steps manageable. Track your progress, and celebrate the positive trends. Do you have fifty new followers? Is that twice what you had last month? You want a daydream? There’s one for you! If you double your stats each month, where will you be in a year?

What are you learning as you go? You may find that your first business vision was too small! Plan big for the future but keep your present planning steps small enough to be executed well.

Gathering the Clan

Every hero has helpers along the way and every hero stops along the way to lend a helping hand. By the climax of the story, everyone has played a part in the hero’s big success.

You will need to sacrifice the idea that you can do this all alone.

Joining a community of like-minded people will give you tools, tips, and encouragement. You will have a place to bounce ideas, get feedback and learn how others have dealt with problems you are having.

Tip: Identify your weaknesses and find experts in those areas for coaching.

Did your first launch flop? Do you need help with launching, branding, marketing or video production? There are established experts that offer free webinars, cheat sheets and paid courses in these and other key areas critical to online entrepreneurs. The added bonus is that the best experts have community forums that you can join!

Be the Boss of Your New Business!

Back to the annoying reality that there are only so many hours in a day, we are still faced with cooking, cleaning, laundry and other domestic details. Remember that sleep and exercise can be skimped on for only so long before your overall performance suffers.

You must allow adequate time for sleep and exercise. I have calendared an audible alert on my phone to remind me to Go To Bed!! My husband even recognizes the sound now, and it marks a shift in our evening activities. I start to get sleepy when I hear it. Pavlovian, but it works.

The more negotiable tasks can be delegated or skipped all together. You are the boss, so you get to decide: delegate or don’t do it!

You can hire a maid service to clean every other week. You can hire a teenager to mow the lawn and pull weeds. Do you really need to cover your house and yard with holiday decorations this year? Can you skip making 47 dozen cookies for the exchange?

Alternately, you may find it helpful to hire a Virtual Assistant to help with some business related tasks to free you up for content creation and personal care.

The bottom line is, every hero gets smacked down at least once before they triumph. They keep going, build community and adjust their strategy until finally, they find what they were looking for. Success!!

You are the hero of your business story! Has your vision changed? Are you building community? How’s that delegating thing going for you? Please share in the comments below!

Be Ready for Surgery! Getting Your Docs in a Row

Geting your docs in a row before surgeryBe ready for surgery by getting your docs in a row! If there is surgery in the future for you or a family member, these tips for planning ahead will lessen your stress and make the process run smoother.

It’s time to “get your affairs in order”. Depending on your perspective, that can sound pretty dire … or may conjure visions of a wild weekend in Vegas!  A non-dramatic reality is that we all have administrative responsibilities to deal with in our everyday lives and planning for surgery adds to the list of forms and documents we have to deal with. Dealing with them in advance will make your life easier in the weeks before and after surgery.

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Elder Care Emergencies – How You Can Be Prepared

how to be prepared for elder care emergencies It is all too common for older folks in failing health to end up in the emergency room. Even if their elder care providers include an assisted living arrangement or a nursing home, they will be transported to the hospital if they fall and break a bone or have a medical crisis.

More than 6.8 million people over the age of 65 ended up spending at least one night in a hospital during 2012, according to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging.

The Center for Disease Control reports that more than 2.5 million older people are treated in the emergency room each year for injuries from a fall, and one out of five falls result in broken bones or a head injury.

There are steps you can take now that will help you be ready to respond to an elder care emergency.

Getting Your Docs in a Row

Before your elderly loved one is too sick or confused to sign legal documents, it is a good idea to get written permission for you to talk to doctors and make treatment decisions for them. Your parent can also fill out a form that makes it clear how much life-support they would want.

There are different kinds of permission forms

One kind is a medical power of attorney. A medical power of attorney allows the doctors to speak with you and lets you to have a say in treatment choices. A medical power of attorney does not give you the right to make any financial or property decisions for your parent.

If your parent is already in the hospital, you can ask the hospital, usually through the hospital social worker, to help you and your parent complete a medical power of attorney and have your parent’s signature notarized.

The hospital will usually ask if your parent has Advanced Directives. Advanced Directives are a way for your parent to make it clear how much medical care he or she wants if they are too sick or hurt to express their wishes.

Advanced Directives let you and your parent discuss and make decisions on treatments or life support ahead of time.

For example, my dad was very sick and facing major surgery. He made it clear that even if he was unconscious, he did not want food or fluids withheld. He had a real fear of starvation.

That information was put in writing, so we were able to reassure him that his wishes would be respected. With that done, he was less anxious going into surgery.

A Durable Power of Attorney gives you the legal authority to conduct all your parent’s business, including financial business. This kind of document is best prepared through an attorney to protect the interests of everyone involved.

Start Your Engines

Keep you gas tank topped off. My mom had multiple health issues and frequent small strokes the last few years of her life. We were in the same emergency room so often we joked about carving notches in the bed rails.

It only takes a few minutes to top off the tank. I made a habit to swing into the gas station anytime my gas level hit ¾ of a tank.

That may sound extreme, but the last thing you want do on the way to the emergency room is stop for gas. And you can trust me when I tell you that you do not want to be standing in a cold rain getting gas so you can get home after spending 24 sleepless hours in a hospital waiting room.

Heels and Toes

Now that your car is gassed up, stash a bag in your vehicle with good walking shoes and a change of comfortable clothes.

When we were taking care of my mom, I worked full-time in an office where I was usually wearing a skirt and heels. Not the best attire for traipsing up and down the hard floors of a hospital any time I needed a cup of coffee or to follow Mom down to X-ray.

I kept a bag in my trunk with sneakers, socks, a T-shirt and jeans and a hoodie. Even if I didn’t change my whole outfit, swapping the high heels for socks and sneakers made a huge difference in my staying power, and patience, for a lengthy hospital visit.

Can you Hear Me Now?

Keep a spare charger for your phone and other devices in your car. Remember to add an adapter in case you need to charge your phone in the car.

Do you know if your car has to be running to charge a phone or other device? If you do leave an electronic device to charge in your parked car, make sure you cover up the cord as well as the device. Don’t tempt a thief to smash out your window to grab your device!

Keep a phone charger with you in the hospital. In hospitals with limited outlets in waiting rooms it is pretty common to see folks sitting on the hallway floor with their phones plugged in while they scroll and text.

I quickly learned to get in the habit of scoping out chairs near an electrical outlet when I would walk into the cafeteria or a waiting area. I knew that if I sat down on the floor, I wouldn’t be able to get back up!

The phone battery runs down fast when you have lots of family members to update, so charge that puppy up at every opportunity. But, never ever leave your phone plugged in and walk away, even to step out of your parent’s room.

We all dread that call telling us our Mom or Dad is hurt or sick, but a little preparation in these four areas will help you tend to them with a few less distractions.

Are you caring for an elderly relative? Please share you experience in the comments below!

Anxious About Terrorism? What You Can Do Now!

Busy women can take affirmative action to prepare for thier family's comfort in the event of an emergency.
Take Heart! Prepare for Your Family’s Comfort

The primary mission of my blog has always been to provide quality content that will support my readers in managing challenging life events. I hope to accomplish this mission by offering organizational and planning concepts that empower women to purposefully rise to any challenge.

The terror attacks in Paris sent waves of shock and concern around the world. As we all continue to offer prayers and support for the Paris victims and their families, we are reminded that terrorism is a grim reality of our world today.

It is distressing to think this could happen close to our home. Even if you live some distance from the location of an event, your family will be affected if there is a terror attack in your region.

I am touched by this Cheyenne proverb:

“A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors or strong its weapons.”

So take heart! Just as we can take steps to prepare for winter storms or hurricane season, there are affirmative actions we can take now to be more in control of our family’s safety and comfort.

Service and Supply Interruptions

After the attacks, the city of Paris was immediately closed down and the residents were ordered to stay home. The borders of the country were closed.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, American planes were grounded for days and interstate highways were closed around Washington and New York. Most businesses in the greater metropolitan areas closed, at least for a day or two, as workers reeled from the collective shock and stayed home to hug their family members.

Don’t wait until the last minute to replace daily necessities. Don’t assume your local store or gas station will always be open for you. Get in the habit of planning a week or two ahead.

Fill up your gas tank. Do it today, and keep it topped off. It only takes a few minutes to pump a quarter tank of gas.

Refill medications at least a week before they run out. Most insurance plans allow you to order refills 10 days before the prescription runs out. Better yet, arrange for long-term medications to be filled in 90 day supplies. Those can be refilled up to 30 days before the supply runs out. Ask your pharmacist if you are unsure about the refill options under your plan.

If you rely on fuel oil or propane for winter heating or cooking, you might want to consider arranging for your delivery now, if you haven’t already. Not only will you be good to go for the season, but you will avoid a huge price jump if things get worse in the Middle East.

Communication Breakdowns

On September 11th , when the attacks occurred my youngest son and I were both in the area of Frederick, Maryland. My oldest son was working in Rockville, and my husband was driving toward Washington, DC to meet with a client in Georgetown.

I worked in a large corporate office, and we alternated between trying to make calls and huddling around live streaming images on computer monitors. Several of my colleagues had family members working at the Pentagon.

None of us could get a call through. Lines were jammed or totally offline. Cell phones, land lines… nothing was getting through.

It was hours before I learned that all my family members were safe. Thankfully, my husband stopped at a hardware store before making it as far as the beltway. Learning of the attacks, he turned around and headed home.

Have a communication plan with your family members. Texting can sometimes work if voice calls won’t go through (and uses less battery power).

Consider having a designated person outside of your area that can be the check-in for your family. Make sure everyone has that number on their phone or in their wallet. In our case, when the Washington DC metro area call lines were jammed, we may have each had a better chance at reaching my brother in Ohio.

Agree in advance who will pick up your children at school if it will be outside normal dismissal.

Comfort Foods

Stock your pantry with easy to prepare foods that are comforting to your family. Aim to keep at least a week’s worth of meals in the house.

Don’t wait until you are completely out to replace your normal supply of basics like milk and bread.

Even if area stores remain open, during times of high stress and uncertainty, who wants to plan meals and go grocery shopping? Give yourself a break for a few days.

Take a few minutes now to jot down a short menu of easy to prepare meals and snacks using shelf-stable or basic ingredients. Make purchasing these items a priority. Chili and cornbread crackers? Macaroni and cheese? How about tuna salad and crackers?

If you cook for someone with special dietary needs, what do you need to have on hand for them? Will you need to stock infant formula or baby foods?

Use and replace your “comfort” meals on a regular basis. It is a huge help to have a go-to meal on hand for busy days, and it will keep your supplies fresh.

Always have a supply of bottled water on hand. The Department of Homeland Security recommends at least a three day supply of one gallon per day, per person.

I like to have the same supply of water for my pets, as well as dry and canned pet foods and enough extra cat litter on hand to last a week or two.

Non-Food Comfort

Think of the things you would hate to run out of if you are already stressed. In my house that includes things like toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags and facial tissues. Keep in mind that paper products get used up faster when everyone is unexpectedly home for a few days.

Some homes will want to have a reserve of special items like feminine hygiene products, baby diapers, or adult incontinence products.

I like to have batteries on hand for all my devices, including remote controls and flash lights.

If you have young children, set aside some games or craft supplies to distract them from worried grownups and distressing news coverage.

Regardless of where you live, the news of terrorist attacks are disturbing, and even frightening. We can’t control what some lunatic might do. But, by making some simple preparations for our home and family, it does let us take back some sense of control. These are things we can do!

For more detailed information about responding to specific threats, check out the U.S. government information site Ready.gov

Do you have concerns about terrorism? Would you like to see more discussion on how we women can take care of our families during an emergency? Please leave your comments below. Thank you!

 

Mom Against Germs! How To Plan For Flu Season

11022015blogpic

Here we go again! The flu season is upon us. On top of the annual threat of influenza, we can expect the usual rounds of colds and stomach bugs.

There is never a good time for anyone to get sick, and having the flu or another ailment work its way through the family is exhausting on the main caregiver – usually you!

While you may not be able to keep everyone healthy this season, armed with your planner you can be organized and ready to deal with seasonal sickness.

When to Call a Doctor

Anyone who is pregnant, very young, elderly or already dealing with other medical problems like asthma are at high risk for flu complications and should be seen by a medical professional if you think they have the flu.

For folks not in a high-risk group, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) most flu cases can be treated at home without a doctor visit or prescription medications.

High risk or not, if anyone in your family is sick with severe symptoms you should get them medical attention right away. Severe symptoms may include:

  • Breathing problems like shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Blue color around the person’s lips or fingers
  • Dehydration symptoms like a crying child with no tears
  • Decreased urination
  • Changes in skin color or texture
  • Mental confusion or excessive sleepiness

Trust your instincts. If someone in your family is sick and you are worried, get them checked out!

Setting Up Your Planner

Don’t wait for someone to get the flu to create a medical information section in your planner. Or, go ahead and create a separate planner just for emergencies that includes medical information for your household.

Planning for Emergency Contacts

Have a page with contact information for each doctor or medical group that your family normally visits. Remember to include telephone numbers for after-hours calls.

On the contact page, include your local hospitals, urgent care and pharmacies.

If your regular pharmacy does not offer 24-hour emergency service, find the nearest one that does so you won’t have to hunt that information down in the middle of the night if you ever need it.

Do you have pets that would need to be cared for if you had to be at the hospital for a day or two? Is there a friend or neighbor you can call if that happens? Include that contact information, too.

Family Medical Information

You might have your family‘s “vital statistics” in your head or in your wallet, but what if you are the one that is sick, or you have your hands full with a sick child?

Having all the information in one place will be a huge help to you or someone else who is caregiving if you are flat on your back.

For each person in your family, create a page with their full name, date of birth, and social security number (often used by medical providers to identify medical records). For children, it would be helpful to include a current weight.

Make a copy of each person’s medical and pharmacy insurance cards.

List any current medical conditions, and the name and dosage of any medications the person is taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. Note if the person received the flu or pneumonia shot this year.

Remember to list any known allergies!

Calendar a reminder to update this information section regularly.

Organizing Your Home

The last thing you want to have to do is drag yourself or a sick kid to the store for supplies if there is illness in your house.

Start now to gather the things you will want to have on hand for care and comfort if any of your peeps come down with colds, flu or a stomach virus.

Groceries for Cold and Flu

Chicken soup, of course! Canned soup is shelf stable and easy to heat and eat.

Fluids are very important so lay in a supply of ginger ale, herbal teas, sports drinks like Gatorade and special drinks like Pedialyte if you have little ones.

Popsicles can be helpful for getting fluids into someone with an upset stomach or sore throat.

Some easy to prepare and digest foods to keep in the pantry are a variety of juices, soups, puddings, Jello, crackers and toast.

What would you like to have if you are the one that is sick?

Have on hand over-the-counter age-appropriate cold remedies and fever reducers as recommended by your medical providers.

If you have pets, remember to keep items like pet foods and cat litter on hand so you don’t have to run to the store for pet supplies while you are already busy or sick yourself!

Germ Warfare

You will want to have disinfectant wipes and cleaning solutions for wiping down bathrooms and sick rooms, and generally around the house to prevent spreading germs.

There comes a time for every mom when she ends up cleaning up puke and diarrhea. Have a box of disposable gloves and masks that you can wear when handling soiled bed linens or clothes.

Disposable is definitely the way to go. Paper towels, paper cups and plates, and lots of plastic trash bags for lining wastebaskets, puke buckets, and laundry baskets.

Tip: For older kids and adults that may watch television in bed, cover the remote with a zipper-type plactic bag to keep it clean!

Do not cover a baby or small child’s pillow or mattress with plastic bags, they could suffocate! Use a waterproof mattress cover made for that purpose.

Stock up on boxes of tissues. It is amazing how many boxes of tissues can get used up by someone with a bad cold! I like to include the tissues that are infused with lotion in my stash because they do help prevent sore noses.

Toilet paper. You definitely do not want to run low on toilet paper. Flushable moist wipes are very soothing for someone who is spending a lot of time in the bathroom.

Paper lunch bags are great for collecting dirty tissues. Fold the top of the lunch bag over to keep it open and fasten it to the side of the bed with a binder clip. Throw the bag away every day or as soon as it is full.

Entertainment

Have some special things to bring out to entertain your recovering patients. Remember that coloring books are not just for kids anymore!

Small puzzles, playing cards and books on tape can be enjoyed by someone that needs to stay in bed.

What are your tips and tricks for taking care of a sick family member? Will you be organizing and planning in advance for this flu season?

Do you want to hear more on the subject of planning for family illness?

Please leave your questions and comments below!

Lights Out! More Planning for Storms

More ways to prepare for storms
Storm-ready to do list!

In Part I, you gained some ideas to help you have an organized plan in place for safe lighting, a way to communicate, and a source for news and emergency instructions during power outages.

In Part II, you will learn tips for heating and cooling your space during an outage, food storage and cooking.

Keeping Cool

We were in the path of the Super Derecho that left a 700 mile path of destruction at the end of June 2012. Our power was out for several days, while daytime temperatures soared in the triple-digits with stifling humidity. It was awful!

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Lights Out! Planning for Storms

 

Ready for Power Failure
Love my crank radio and extra phone charger!

Power outages can happen to anyone, anytime. Summer storms, winter storms, hurricanes or a pick-up truck wrapped around the pole on the main road can cause a loss of power that last from minutes to days.

Are you ready for when the lights go out? Planning and organizing now will keep you from fumbling in the dark. There are so many things you can do right now to get ready for the next big storm. You will be ready!

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How to Have a Perfect Pity Party

Pity Party Cupcake

One of my beautiful nieces posted on Facebook this morning that with a full moon in Pisces this Saturday, she was going to curl up in solitude with tissues and comfort food.

Having no clue why a full moon would be tissue-worthy, I looked it up. It turns out that in astrological circles having a super full moon in Pisces will create some kind of emotional Armageddon. Holy hanky, Batman!

It occurred to me that there are plenty of times a girl needs a good cry, and you don’t have to wait for a full moon.

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Elder Care Emergencies – 4 Ways to Be Prepared

It is all too common for older folks in failing health to end up in the emergency room. Even if they are in assisted living or a nursing home, they will be transported to the hospital if they fall and break a bone or have a medical crisis.

More than 6.8 million people over the age of 65 ended up spending at least one night in a hospital during 2012, according to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control reports that one out of three adults over 65 suffered a fall in the last year and up to a third of those were seriously injured.

If you take care of an elderly parent or other family member, you should be prepared for a trip to the emergency room.

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Staying Organized During a Family Crisis

Being organized is helpful for staying on top of all the normal tasks of everyday life. While being organized is handy under normal conditions, it becomes a survival tool when a family is hit with a crisis.

Here is the system that got me through a huge family emergency.

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