I slept in today.

Today, I woke up at 7 am.

That never happens.

Inevitably, puppy Edge will want to go out and will start spinning circles in his crate, begging me to PLEASE just get out of bed.

Either that or Mimi, the senior basset hound who suffers from doggy dementia will wake up and start pacing aimlessly around the house.

The dogs never let me sleep.

But today, I slept in.

I woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee and laid around until 8.

Then, I started my day.

I did my chores.

I aired and exercised the dogs.

I spent two hours in an online course, learning how to perfect my craft.

I cleaned my house.

I watched the Dog Whisperer (Don’t ask why – I honestly don’t know. I got sucked in. Sue me).

I took a nap.

I wrote three blog posts – all of my content for the week.

I shot and posted a video to my Facebook group.

I built a website from scratch.

I went grocery shopping.

I trained my dogs.

It’s now 8 pm and I’m cooking a lasagna and sitting down with a beer to watch a movie while the dogs play in the yard.

Why am I telling you what I did today?

In my workshops, I’ve been talk a LOT about the things you SHOULD be doing for your business.

Posting content regularly, perfecting your craft, learning new skills, and serving your clients. Not to mention, you should be optimizing your website for the Search Engines, and optimizing your Facebook Ads. And don’t forget to create a strategy to produce and release valuable content.

People look at it all and instantly tense. They get overwhelmed thinking to themselves, “There is no way I could possibly do ALL of that AND train dogs at the same time!”

But the fact of the matter is, it’s only tricky when you first start.

The truth is, it only took me an hour to create the posts and content I needed for the entire upcoming week.

The truth is, it only took me an hour to build a website from scratch – a project I took on to help out my lovely sister as she embarks on starting a new business.

And the truth is, it took me only 10 minutes to shoot and post a video to my Facebook group.

I even got in a midday nap (if you know me, you know I am a religious napper).

I did not work an eight-hour day today. I worked less than 2, helped my sister for 1, and spent 2 hours learning. The rest of the time was spent taking care of and training my dogs, and taking care of my house, my life and my responsibilities.

Thing is, in those 2 hours of content production and 2 hours of learning, my business and marketing strategy got ALL of the attention it needed for the week. 

It was a 4-hour investment. But the payoff will be huge.

I know from experience – it can feel completely overwhelming when you first try to make changes to your business. It can feel impossible. Like there will never be enough hours in the day.

But I’m here to tell you, new habits are like braces. They hurt like hell when you first get them, but after a while, you don’t even notice they are there (unless you eat popcorn). But wouldn’t you agree, the payoff is huge in the end? If it weren’t we wouldn’t waste our time.

So if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, here’s a strategy that helps me.

  1. Write down all of the ideas you have that you want to work on to improve your business strategy. (Don’t look at how many numbers you’ve got – I don’t want you to freak out!)
  2. Number them in order of priority. What do you want to work on first, second, third etc?
  3. Set aside one hour per day to tackle your business strategy. Go ahead – put it on your calendar. It’s far more likely to get done if you do.
  4. Hit the #1 items first and then work your way down the list. Set a timer for one hour and when your hour’s up, stop what you are doing and go for a walk, train your dogs or do something else.
  5. Stick to investing one hour and one hour only every day. Be firm at quitting time, even if there is just … one … more …. thing you want to work on.
Dog Trainer Meagan Karnes with Black Malinois
Photo Credit @ Tamandra Michaels

By breaking down the work you have to do and by writing it down, you’ll get peace of mind that nothing will be forgotten. And by adding business strategy to your daily schedule, you’ll increase the likelihood that it will actually get done. And by being firm in your quitting time, and only allowing yourself an hour per day to work on it, you’ll ensure you don’t feel burned out and you’re always left wanting more. 

Funny thing is, for those of us that are dog trainers, this is the strategy we use for training our dogs. We quit while they are ahead, keep our sessions short and always leave them wanting more … right?

Why don’t we afford ourselves the same luxury?

I’m writing this for you, my crazy, amazing entrepreneur friends.

You are brave. You are strong. You can do this. You’ve got this.

Changing your business strategy can be tough. But I promise. It only hurts in the beginning.

Before long, you will build new habits around optimizing your business, and those habits will become automatic. And before long, you will be churning out awesome content that your clients love, and they’ll be banging on your door, begging you to train their dogs. And before long, you’ll have a perfectly optimized website that you don’t have to give a second thought to.

I promise. It only hurts in the beginning. But like braces, spending time optimizing your business and building new habits around your business strategy will pay off like crazy in the end.

Meagan Karnes
Meagan Karnes

Meagan has been training dogs professionally since 2002, most recently working with private security, military and law enforcement to provide K9s for high level applications. She owns both The Collared Scholar, an online dog training academy, and 690 Security Services, a company that trains and deploys Executive Security and Protection K9s to private customers. She recently partnered with both Average Frog and SM Leaders, who repurpose the proven performance principles of the Navy SEALs for individuals and organizations.

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