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Go for the Gold in Your Goals

Inspired by this week’s featured Reflection Weeks episode of the Mom’s Making Six Figures Podcast episode with Jennifer Becker, Managing Partner of Moms Making Six Figures, who believes in the power of staying the course and finding both your passion and purpose in focused one year commitments emulating the training cycle of high performance athletes.


If you’ve ever pursued a physical goal, like training for a half-marathon, or preparing to hike the tallest summit in your state, or wrestled with improving your health, then you know the battle for success is one fought on a multitude of fronts, from your inner critic, to your daily responsibilities, down to the weather, and everything in between, setting your sights on success requires a plan, preparation, consistency, a support network, and strength in the face of adversity. Simply put, athletes do far more than entertain us, they inspire us because they were us, and they are us.  With enough sacrifice and focused commitment to our training season, we can yield similar performance results in the pursuit of our own personal and professional goals.


 Make a Plan

When I trained for a half-marathon, I had a schedule that I maintained to ensure my success.  My daily runs, down to their pace and mileage, my strength training days, and my rest days were all predetermined.  Because I had a plan, I was able to coordinate all the other moving parts of motherhood and my career around my training schedule.  It wasn’t easy by any means, but it was doable.  Without a plan, and consistent progress checks, I would not have been successful in my training.

If we apply this same approach to a simplified and specific target we have in our career, beginning with our end goal in mind and backwards planning a year’s worth of training, imagine what we could accomplish.  Taking the time to plan is essential to every athlete’s success, and our own.

Prepare

Many of us don’t realize the financial struggles athletes undergo before they achieve sponsorship or they have a signed contract in their hands; just like us, they need a day job to fund their day dream and they have to work diligently in both arenas.  This is only possible with preparation.  When we’re pursuing physical goals this may look like meal preparation, hiring a sitter for our long runs, or taking our running shoes on a vacation.

In our career, many of us are living in the day-to-day without a simplified and specific target with a set duration, and without the preparation to achieve success.  If your goal, for example, is to take on 5 additional clients each quarter, what are the necessary steps you will need to include in your quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily plans to take them on?  Would you be wiling to sacrifice a year of Friday evenings if it meant 20 new clients by the end of 2021? What preparation would help you to protect those Friday evenings –childcare, saying no to social outings, etc.—in the pursuit of long-term freedom and financial stability?

Consistency is Key

Athletes don’t exist in some super human form of detachment from emotions and exhaustion; like us, they are trying to keep all the plates spinning while pursuing greatness.  Unlike us, they show up day in and day out without excuse because they have no option but to; they have skin in the game.  If you miss practice, you miss the game, and if you miss enough games, there is someone who is eagerly awaiting their chance to play in your place.

Cal Ripkin played 21 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles.  In those 21 seasons, he also established the record for most consecutive games played, an astonishing 2,632.  When he was asked what motivated his consistency, he replied, “Any day could have been my greatest day playing the game.”

What could you accomplish in a year of consistently showing up to achieve your goals? Just 5 additional hours a week translates to 20 hours over a month, and 6 additional full-time work weeks over the course of a year.  Mamas, you spent longer growing your babies, bringing them into the world, and waking up with them in the middle of the night.  You can do this.

Build Your Support Network

Even in individual sports, athletes rely on experts like a coach, trainer, nutritionist, and physiotherapist to maintain their peak performance. And this team doesn’t even begin to account for their emotional support network of family, friends, and fellow athletes.

Choose and pursue your support network wisely as they will play a key role in your ‘training year’.  Maybe your support network looks like a grandparent taking your kids for an overnight once a month so you can review your progress on your goals, maybe your network consists of a mentor you have a weekly Zoom call with to refocus and align your priorities, maybe your network looks like your spouse taking over the grocery shopping so you can squeeze in an hour of client calls.  Find your people and return the favor or pay it forward after you’ve accomplished your goal.

Hone Your Strength

Unlike most of us, when athletes fail or experience a setback, they don’t give up and they certainly don’t spiral into self-doubt.  Instead, they lean into their confidence in themselves and their training, a confidence that is unshaken because they know they have prepared, that they have followed the plan, and that they have been consistent.  When you have that much faith in your training, you can recognize that sometimes life just happens, and that you’ll approach your next attempt with new resolve and trust in your abilities.

Many of us lack this confidence in our careers because we haven’t pursued the training necessary to be successful, or we abandon our goal well before the expiration date arrives that we said we would give it.  If we can recognize that failure and setbacks are inevitable without throwing in the towel, and instead refer back to our plan, and rely on our preparation and consistency, we will develop our confidence to face adversity.


As we watch the 2020 Summer Olympics and hear the stories of trials and triumphs, maybe we can reimagine our own training plan.  If we were to commit one year to one specific and simplified goal to grow in our career, with a clear plan, the necessary preparation, consistently showing up, and with the support of our chosen team, then perhaps we could also develop our confidence in our own strength in the face of adversity, like the competitors have with all of the challenges presented by the pandemic.  Trust in the training and stay the course.

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Own Your Calendar to Own Your Life

Inspired by this week’s featured Reflection Weeks episode of the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast with our founder, Heidi Bartolotta, who believes in owning your calendar to own your life.  There is freedom in taking back your most finite resource: time. 


One of the perks of mentoring teens through some of their most tumultuous years is getting to be a first-hand witness to their astounding growth as they step into their identity and find their passion for life.  Their contagious energy is also wildly admirable (yes, I realize they sleep in absurd stretches of time, but have you seen what they juggle and accomplish when they are awake?!) and I often find myself thinking back to my own college days while drinking my third cup of coffee, “How do they do it? How did I do it?”

Quite simply, young adults are experts at time management (please suspend your disbelief, I can hear your cries of outrage echoing across the internet).   Really, it’s true.  Their schedules are every bit as demanding and filled to the brim as our own, but they have the hard-wired training and resources to manage all the moving pieces (with our guidance, chauffeuring, and financial support of course). They know the secrets many of us have forgotten when we left the world of 18 credit semesters and part-time jobs behind: the secrets of time blocking and a balanced calendar.  Here are six strategies you can begin implementing today to take back your calendar, and your time, to find freedom for fun and pursuing your passions.


Time Blocking

Unlike teens and university students, most of us don’t have dedicated and focused amounts of time (blocks) throughout our day for specific and similar tasks, like our ENGL 101 course. When we were students, whatever remained to be completed at the end of a class got put on the back burner while we focused our attention on the next block, and it didn’t come back to our mind until we hit our study block later that day.

Looking over your own calendar, begin by identifying all the daily tasks that are an essential and necessary part of your routine, both personally and professionally.  Group like tasks, and assign blocks of time to each.  Instead of living by a to-do list that will inevitably lead to burn out, with time blocking you focus your attention and energy on related tasks in a set period of time; what remains to be done, will remain to be done, and you move on to the next block.

Color Coding

Now that you’ve organized your calendar into blocks of time, designate each block with its corresponding color of your seven chakras.  This isn’t just some new age magic or an excuse to play with colorful pens, instead this technique allows you to see, visually, where your calendar and likely your life is out of alignment.  Each of your chakras corresponds to one of seven energy points in your body; if we’re trying to better manage our time, motivation, and energy, it would make sense to start from a point of reflection to achieve more synergy.

Here is just one way to approach this technique according to LinkedIn blogger John Rampton, “For example, because red is the root chakra symbolizing survival and safety, you would want to use that color for all work-related tasks.  For creative tasks, you might choose to use orange; yellow would represent the items that help you grow; green is reserved for personal events like lunch with a friend; blue equates to activities that express your mind like writing, and indigo is meant for activities that deserve your attention.”

E-mail

It’s a necessary part of doing business, and most parts of our modern lives.  If we don’t manage our e-mail, our avoidance of it will eventually manage us.  You have to commit time to organizing your personal and professional communication, and once you have a system in place, in order to maintain it, you need to give it its own block in your day.  We said we what we said, there is no way around it.  See Do It Yourselfbelow.

Eat the Frog

There’s a reason this time management technique took the business world by storm when it first debuted, and continues to do so.  According to Brian Tracy, the technique’s founder, when you tackle your Most Important Task of the day before you turn your attention to anything else, you can, “go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things are going to [go] all day long.”  Even science proves that our most productive and focused hours are in the morning, before other distractions and tasks consume our energy.

Determine when your “Power Hours” are and dedicate that Time Block to your biggest work frog each day; best to eat it before lunch so you can cleanse your palate as the day continues.

Schedule Everything

If it isn’t important enough to make it on your calendar, it probably doesn’t deserve one of your time blocks.  Conversely, there are aspects of our lives that are essential to our well-being and our soul’s nourishment; if these areas aren’t making it onto your calendar, you’re likely experiencing some alignment issues between your personal and professional life.  Just as you would schedule a block of time for meetings, schedule a block of time to take care of your physical and mental health, whatever that looks like for you. And, if you have a tendency to allow your work day to linger long into the evenings and time with your family and friends is continually being compromised, it’s time to begin scheduling an ‘Out of Office’ time as well.

Make yourself an optional list of ‘electives’ and ‘extra-curriculars’ you’d like to pursue if there are openings in your schedule, but that can also be the first things to be removed when your calendar begins to feel chaotic or life begins to feel unbalanced.  And perhaps the biggest challenge, dare we say it, begin to block open time into your day every single day that you can choose how to flexibly fill depending on what the day and your dreams demand

Do It Yourself

When you find the system, or systems, that work best for you, the most successful entrepreneurs have found that as soon as they begin to outsource their time management, they begin to outsource their control over their own life as well. Maintain your own calendar, reflect on it and refine it often, and share it with the people who it affects the most, but never outsource your schedule to someone else to plan for you.


Teens and young adults are exceptional at time-management because they have no other choice but to be.  When you own your calendar, you own your time and ultimately you own your life.  Fine tune this skill and achieve your personal and professional goals while also gaining better alignment and freedom with your most finite resource: time.

 

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Manage Your Mind

Inspired by this week’s episode of the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast with Brooke Paulin who believes in the practice of managing your mind and the small daily habits that lead to great success over time.


 In a world where we are inundated with more information and more access to it than ever before, we are faced with new challenges like ‘consumer fatigue’, information overwhelm and digital burnout.  The media and social media industries are designed to be addictive in nature, releasing dopamine or cortisol dependent on the nature of the content, that keeps us coming back for more and ultimately conditions our behavior.  Information, and the way in which we access it is not the enemy, instead it is our passive consumption of that content that can wreak havoc, particularly when we are bombarded with negativity, click-bait headlines, and divisive rhetoric.  Just as we fuel our bodies and health with nutrition and exercise, we must manage our mind and the information we choose to fill it with.

With nearly 69% of adults and 81% of teens in the US using social media, it is time for us to become active participants in managing our minds, our mental states, and our mental health.  Here are a few small changes you can make to be better prepared and intentional with the information and inputs you choose.


Reality Check

We would never let our children sit for hours on end, absent-mindedly in front of screens and we shouldn’t allow it for ourselves either.  While it may not seem like you’re spending that much time on devices outside of necessity, your Weekly Activity Report likely shows something different.

Start by taking an inventory of the current time you spend consuming content intentionally vs. out of habit or boredom.  Once you have begun to inventory your passive or active consumption tendencies, track for a day (or longer) every piece of information you digest with a “+” if it is beneficial to your personal life, work life, or overall well being, a ”–“ if it negatively impacted or took away from your personal life, work life, or overall well being, and an “=” for no impact other than time lost.

Seeing our habits in black and white allows us to see where our own struggles actually exist.  It takes five positive interactions to offset each negative interaction; is it any wonder we are more anxious, depressed, and lonely than ever before?

Schedule (and plan) Your Screen time

Self-monitoring and scheduling your consumption habits can change not only your perception of the information you digest, but also, your behaviors.  In 2018 the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that observed the behaviors of 143 undergraduates.  One group was asked to limit all social media activity to only 10 minutes per platform, per day, while the second was allowed to use their social media as usual for three weeks.   The group that limited their scrolling “showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression during those three weeks over the group that continued using social media.”

As Brooke pointed out in this week’s podcast, “I don’t think that some of the top CEO’s, and, you know, multi-million dollar female business owners … I don’t think that they’re scrolling through social media that’s not feeding their mind. There’s no room for that.”  What would you be able to accomplish in a week of limiting your scrolling habits?

Empty the Junk Folder

Once you’ve taken inventory of the information and input you’re allowing in, and you’ve refined your mindless scrolling by replacing it with intentionally scheduled time for content consumption, get rid of anything that isn’t serving you, your mental health, your professional life, or your personal life.

Once you’ve emptied the Junk Folder, take note from some of the most successful people and follow suit by replacing what wasn’t serving you with content that does.  According to research, what makes highly successful people less stressed, happier, and more productive is scheduling their personal priorities before tending to other people’s priorities.  That goes for what you’re consuming too.  Instead of starting your day by checking email, dedicate an hour of your morning hour to be your Power Hour where you replenish your motivation with podcasts, books and curated content that supports your goals, challenges you, and leaves you feeling ready to tackle the day.  Ask your mentors what they listen to, what they read, and who they follow on social media to begin refining your palate.


In order to be successful in managing our mind, our mental state and our mental health, we must be intentional about what we consume and prepare our daily activity and schedules with discernment.  Just as nutrition is fundamental to achieving our health and wellness goals, so is the information we consume.  We avoid pitfalls of hunger by meal planning and preparation, and we can avoid the pitfalls of media and social media by planning and being thoughtful consumers.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” –Alexander Graham Bell

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If you want something, go out and get it!

Meet Stella! She came to the U.S. as a child and learned the value of hard work by watching her parents strive to provide her with a great life. Stella lives by the rule “if you want something, go out and get it.” She doesn’t shy away from challenges. After graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising and Management, she started a small business. Although she has a loyal clientele, Stella knew an additional income stream would be helpful for her and her son, Jacob. Read on to learn more about Stella’s journey! 

Why did you get started with Moms Making Six Figures? 

I was introduced to Moms Making Six Figures by Dr. Barbara Ryan. I was looking for additional income, as I have been self-employed for the last fifteen years. When I sat down with her, I realized how knowledgeable she was and the opportunity to partner with the company just made sense. The entire Moms team welcomed me with open arms. 

They made me feel and believe that I am able to accomplish all my financial and personal goals with them. The extra salary working with Moms Making Six Figures will generate for us will be amazing. 

 In your opinion, what is the biggest factor in becoming successful with your businesses?

The biggest factor in becoming successful is hard work and dedication.  My parents brought me here from The USSR (Moscow) when I was just 6-years old.  We basically came here with nothing. Watching my parents put in the hard work to achieve and provide for us was really inspirational. They instilled in me that I can accomplish anything if I dedicate myself to it.  

Learning these skills at a young age encouraged me to work hard and push on whenever I need to. I started my company, LuminEssence (Permanent hair removal), with the help of my mother 15 years ago. I was so scared. Being a small business owner was a big investment, especially without really knowing what the outcome would be. Fortunately, my business has been a success. I guess you could have figured that out, since it’s been 15 years. (Haha!) But on a serious note, I really worked at making my business a success. I learned how to communicate with all types of people. I also learned how important follow up and follow through is. These abilities have helped me propel my Moms Making Six Figures business, too!   

 Where do you see your future with Moms Making Six Figures taking you?

Where do I see my future with Moms with Six Figures? Hmmm… I see myself as being a leader!  Or, perhaps a major component in the Moms establishment. Honestly, I don’t know. Here is what I do know:  I started with Moms Making Six Figures in October and it’s been quite a ride! I am always working on my business and right now, I am not looking too far ahead.  I know that I love where I am going and only time will tell where I end up.

Focusing on my long-term goals is definitely on my list, but I have a great team to help me figure that part out. These are the best women I have ever worked with and when people ask me what team I am on, I am so proud to say Moms Making Six Figures!

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Not taking the easy road.

This week, we had the opportunity to interview Heidi Bartolotta, the founder of Moms Making Six Figures. Heidi is a fantastic mentor and friend, but most importantly, she is a wonderful mother to her beautiful daughters! Heidi has been very successful as an entrepreneur, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy road for her. Read on to learn more about her journey!

Why did you start Moms Making Six Figures?

If I’m being honest, my initial motivation was completely selfish; I just wanted to create a corporate level income without the pressure, time commitment and rigid structure of a corporate work environment.  What I found, however, was that my purpose evolved very quickly into a desire to help other women achieve the financial success that I was achieving. I have a deep passion to assist women in figuring out the unique challenges each one of us faces as we strive to create businesses that impact the futures of our respective families in powerful, long-lasting ways.  Every time I see photos of one our “Moms” with her child at a mid-morning school event or early afternoon sporting event, knowing that that photo wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t worked together building her business to “get her home,” I feel an amazing sense of pride and accomplishment!  To help women bridge a financial gap at home or help them be more present in the lives of their loved ones, that is for me, why I continue to push in and enjoy this business.

What was it like to make that leap from corporate life to be an entrepreneur?

It was definitely a struggle at first, and I had doubts as to whether I could really be successful.  Questions like “do I have what it takes,” “can I persevere,” “will people I know think I’m crazy,” “what if I fail;” they all popped into my head on almost a daily basis.  One bad interaction with someone could erase the confidence I had been feeling earlier in the day when several other people had seen the opportunity the way I saw (and still see) it.  Focusing on the positive and pushing out the negative was a skill that took a good bit of time to develop, and it was something that in the beginning had to be a very conscious, intentional, daily practice.  The importance of good time management and organization also increased dramatically in importance.  Just because I could now attend every school or extracurricular activity of my girls didn’t mean I should if I was going to build my business into what I needed it to be.  The difference was that when I worked instead of attending a soccer practice, it was my choice and I did it for the long-term well-being of my family; not because my time belonged to a company.

What are the three most important habits in your life that you can attribute to your success?

In no particular order:

Time management.  This is a discipline that has been critical in building my business.  When I look at it, my calendar “doesn’t lie;” meaning that if I haven’t done the work I know it takes to build my business, it’s right there in black and white (yes, I still like paper, though I’m transitioning to full digital!).  As I mentioned above, we women have so many things in our lives outside of our careers pulling at us from all directions for chunks of our precious time.  Being honest with myself and scheduling my work hours and following through on what I committed to do for my business (sometimes even in the face of missing something I would much rather do or see) is vitally important.  There is just a huge difference between knowing what I need to do and doing what I need to do, and time management is what holds me accountable to myself.

Long-term vision and Grit.  These two are so intertwined with each other that I will talk about them together.  Focusing on my long-term goals has helped me tremendously with regard to not getting knocked off course by short-term setbacks and outright failures.  My success in this business was not a slow, steady climb.  Even when I did everything I was supposed to be doing, following all the training I’d received, putting in the work, developing systems for my team and focusing on the positive, the journey was very akin to a roller-coaster.  In those moments when I would look around and think, “what am I doing wrong, why isn’t this working the way it’s supposed to,” it was my long-term vision that kept me in the game.  The ability to look beyond the obstacle right in front of me and see the financial life I want for me and my family in the distance, reminding myself that this is worth it, has proven invaluable.  And the practical side of the equation; the will to win, to not quit, to not let distractions and short-term desires get in the way of accomplishing my long-term goal, that’s what I mean when I say “grit.”  It’s perseverance, will, “stick-to-it-iveness,” and determination all rolled into one.  Combined with long-term vision, there is very little one can’t accomplish.  Now don’t think I always do what I should and don’t get discouraged from time-to-time, because I absolutely do; but these two traits have helped me consistently stay the course and do what I need to do, which has resulted in a great deal of success.

What has been the greatest reward for you since embarking on this journey?

The financial rewards are great, but they aren’t the greatest.  Building a team of women committed to themselves and each other, helping other women achieve their goals and knowing that the more I do that, the more I help my own business, what a blessing!  Knowing that if I make sure the focus of what I do each day is on helping others is the very thing I need to do to achieve my own success is incredible; no stepping on others to climb some corporate ladder, no glass ceiling, no total sacrifice of all I hold dear to achieve financial success and security.  What a paradigm shift this has been for me, and I am just so grateful that I took that first step to build this business.

 

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Knowing your passion!

Talking with Angie Gange this week was an absolute pleasure! Her entrepreneurial spirit shines through in every piece of this interview.  Even through the hardest times, Angie was willing to take a risk and build a business that worked around the life she desired.

What is your business background?

I graduated The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, emphasizing in Entrepreneurship. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to own my own business.  I also wanted to be the first female US President. 🙂

But… a funny thing happened to me – I fell in love with my best friend, got married at 22 and had a baby at 24. Everything about how I was going to live my life changed. I fell in love with that little baby boy. Within six years, I had two more and my husband’s career was flourishing.


I had several businesses I started and ran from home – all so that I didn’t have to go “back to work” and leave my boys. For example, I did things like contractual marketing/advertising from other businesses. I was strong in mathematics, so I started a tutoring business for high school math classes. I am a “wanna be artist,” so I even started a personalized stationery business that my designs got picked up by Nordstrom and Hallmark. And I was fortunate enough to do all this from home.

When my third son was born, and my husband was making enough money for me to sell my business and stay at home, I did. Partly because I wanted to spend time with them and partly because I felt a huge responsibility to make sure I left his world with three really good men. I didn’t want to miss any part of their lives. When they got a little older, I did go back to school and obtained my Real Estate Brokers license. I started my own mortgage firm and was quickly recruited by one of the dads on my son’s baseball team to work for a major bank. It was a great job – four hours a day with a six-figure income, until the recession hit.

And I lost my job.

What happened then?

I was able to stay home until a year later when my husband was offered a dream come true opportunity to become the President/CEO and co-owner of a company. However, this meant that for at least two years he would make less income and would be in Los Angeles Monday-Friday. Our oldest son was a senior in high school and recently accepted to a 4-year university.  The college funds we had saved all our lives were 1/2 what they were when he started high school, due to the recession.

We were advised to pay cash for his education for the first two years, as our CPA said he thought the funds would regain their value (which they did).  So, I was given the challenge to bring in $2000/month – while raising three sons, alone, immediately. To top it off, leaning on my profession/experience in Real Estate wasn’t an option.

I looked at many other options – even considering stocking shelves in the grocery story in the middle of the night. Most “entrepreneurial options” required a huge startup fee, which I couldn’t afford, or travel, which I wasn’t willing to do. I looked at MLMs, but they all required me to invest $1000’s of dollars on inventory and I didn’t have any cash.

One night I remember my husband and I were both awake in the middle of the night stressing about money and I said to him, “do you ever just think that we did everything right and the economy just pulled the rug out from underneath us?”

In January of 2011, my friend, a retired naval surgeon, introduced me to Moms Making Six Figures. After talking with her, doing my due diligence, a little mini “focus group” with my friends and family, I decided that this was the best option!

Tell us about how it worked and what it has meant to your family?

That year, I had the fastest growing business in North America and I did it all from home. I was still the room mom, never missed a soccer, baseball, football game or music recital.

I was able to pay cash for my son to go to college. He is now 25 and college is also paid for now for both our other boys and – my husband’s company is thriving.

I’m proud that I have been able to help over 50 people start businesses, have generated 1.5 million dollars a year in sales, with 0 investment.  I have achieved financial security and my boys, well, they are awesome!