Run Little Mouse, Run!
Morgane commented on the Brand Spankin’ New Items post:
I was thinking that if i had to manage my own company, the first thing that would scare me would be managing my time.
Anne-Marie, i would love to know what a day or even a week at BB look like?
I know i am curious! )
Thanks for sharing your passion with us.
I’ve had variants of this question before and requests for the Bramble Berry story. It feels odd to talk about myself as though I am doing something extraordinary or special. But, then I look at the statistics and realize that with the help of my team, we are doing something cool. We’ve beaten the odds (knock on wood) and are among the (sadly low percentage of) 3% of women-owned businesses in the nation grossing over $1million dollars. (Can I hear a ‘Woot Woot!‘?). So, if my experiences will help you reach the next pinnacle in your success, I want to help.
My days vary greatly. Some days start at 4:30 a.m. when I leave the house for what I (gritted-teeth) lovingly refer to as my ‘Seattle Days.’ Those days end around 10 p.m. when I make it back home, both excited about what I learned, forward looking and frankly, exhausted. The Bellingham -Seattle – Bellingham commute can take up to 6 hours with traffic and usually clocks in around 5 hours. Thankfully, there’s Audible Books on Tape for the traffic crawl. Other days are in the office, loaded to the gills with email, soapmaking, phone calls, interviews, meetings and customer service tasks. Just publishing my daily schedule would probably be useless for you – but explaining my thought process behind how I plan my schedule might be helpful.
I plan my month using PlanPlusOnline software by Franklin Covey. I split my month up by percentages.
- 15% Planning
- 10% Executive Education & Learning
- 40% Implementing Big Rocks & Doing General Management ‘stuff’
- 25% Blog Projects & Writing, SoapQueen.TV & Social Media
- 10% Travel* (for press stuff, speaking engagements or education)
- The extra 10% – Working Out/Eating Healthy
- The extra 10% – Friends & Family
*in difficult months, travel can account to up to 50% and the perfectly planned month goes out the window!
There isn’t enough time in the day/month to do everything so my days start early and end late. That’s the only way I can fit it all in and, it’s the extra 20% that really makes a difference to how I feel about my schedule. If I am working out, eating right and spending time with family on a weekly basis, a 12 hour workday seems easy.No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’m always hooked into my iPhone (and before that, my Treo).Last month, my cell phone used up 298,440 MB of data, I sent 910 text messages and received 843 text messages (and that doesn’t include Twitter). I check my email first thing in the morning and emails are the last thing I look at before going to sleep. It’s not pretty. It’s not romantic. And it’s not what my husband would prefer – but that’s what it takes for me to run my small business. You have to get up earlier, stay up later and work smarter than everybody else.I can count the number of movies on *one hand* that I’ve watched in the last decade without a laptop sitting on my lap. And, even with all of that, I love my life and feel lucky and blessed every day.
Bellingham Mastermindmind Group
I’ll spend a few posts over the next few weeks explaining the various categories, what they mean and why I devote time to them.
Executive Education includes:
Business Book Club
Conventions (Soap Guild, Sales & Business Specific ones)
Reading self-improvement & business books on my own time
Subscriptions to: Inc, Fast Company, Fortune, Fortune Small Business, The Economist, Success Magazine, Money
What this does to my schedule: 2-3 days in Seattle for learning events and roundtable business discussions with the Entrepreneur’s Organization, Women Business Owners and Women President’s Organization, two evenings a month (thankfully in Bellingham!) for the Mastermind Group business discussions and Business Book Club and some local business events sporadically in the evenings. I read in the mornings before work, carry magazines with me everywhere for downtime and have trained myself to read in the car (as a passenger, not the driver!).
Why I devote this much time to things that don’t directly make me money: When I started Bramble Berry, I had an undergraduate degree in psychology and criminal justice. I went back to school and received my Masters in Business Administration 4 years ago and don’t want the learning to stop. Every day, I run into things I haven’t done before, challenges that seem to appear out of nowhere and paths that make no sense. Having a strong base of knowledge and other peoples’ experience to draw from helps to make me a better leader and make decisions that not only benefit Bramble Berry but ensure that there is a business for decades to come.
Business doesn’t come ‘naturally’ to anyone. Certain God-given abilities give people an edge (example: being able to sell anything to anyone) but financial literacy, appropriate human resources skills, marketing strategy, operations – all of that needs to be taught.
With the CEO of Ford, Alan Mulally at a *free* event I heard him speak at
What if you don’t have the money to do tons of executive education?Get creative! Classes at the community college, attend evening (free or close to free) lectures, start a Business Book Club, start a Mastermind Group and explore these ideas with other people and go to the library monthly to read the business magazinesUltimately, how you schedule your day is up to you and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. The next post I do will be about the 10% Planning that I spend my month on – what the planning looks like and why it’s important to do.Please ask questions – leave comments – I want this to be a helpful series for you and I can only make it helpful through your feedback.