From time to time as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with small business experts that could benefit my audience. This is excerpted from my #smallbizchat interview on Twitter with Michelle Mangen @mmangen is a Virtual Assistant specializing in Accounting, Payroll, Excel and Social Media services. She helps sole proprietors and small businesses by reducing the amount of time they spend on administrative and accounting tasks while helping them to achieve a better work/life balance. Her social media skills include WordPress and Aweber set-up, and copyediting. Michelle is skilled in analyzing problems, troubleshooting crises and delivering alternative solutions. She constantly revises and “tweaks” the process to get project complete as quickly and efficiently as possible. She’s a valuable resource to grow your business and realize your full potential.
Smallbizlady: What keeps self-starters from finishing their projects?
Michelle Mangen: A number of things can prevent self-starters from finishing their projects – for example: needing info from someone else, lack of focus, interruptions, too many things to do, overwhelm
Smallbizlady: What role does isolation play in getting things done?
Michelle Mangen: For me having isolation while getting things done is critical. When I am deep in a project I will go as far as to turn off the phone & email because I am easily distracted, especially by the email. Always wondering what goodies are waiting in there for me.
Smallbizlady: As entrepreneurs since we do 12 jobs minimum. What strategies do you suggest for handling daily tasks and the “to do” list?
Michelle Mangen: Strategies I swear by for handling daily tasks and my “to do” list are: writing everything down, scheduling appointments with myself, outsourcing what I’m not good at, learning to say NO.
Smallbizlady: How do we get through all the little frustrations that pile up at work?
Michelle Mangen: I think this is to be defined by each person. For me, I just try to keep it in perspective. For me, projects and clients equals money and satisfaction that I am making a difference in the world, one business owner at a time.
Smallbizlady: What are your top 3 strategies do you use to help people finish what they start?Michelle Mangen: 1. Set aside the appropriate time for the project – for example: don’t start a 3 hour project if you only have 30 minutes
2. Try to anticipate what may be needed from others before starting
3. Bullet points of what still needs to be done – try to get “full picture” outlined so it seems more manageable
Smallbizlady: How do you keep going when you feel completely overwhelmed?
Michelle Mangen: As counter-productive as it may seem that is when I actually take a break. Even 10 minutes “away” can make all the difference in overwhelm (or a few very deep breaths). If I’m really feeling overwhelmed I’ll call a friend to have a five minute vent.
Smallbizlady: What if I realize I need help to grow my biz? How do I find a partner?
Michelle Mangen: I know this is right around the corner for me. I’m working on finding people to work with me that share same vision, drive and have skills that I don’t. I have been outsourcing several of my own administrative tasks for several months now and I am continually trying to see what else I can hand off to others.
Smallbizlady: How do you turn away a client without looking like a jerk?
Michelle Mangen: I am upfront and tell them I don’t think it’s a good fit. I also offer to help find someone else who may be more suitable.
Smallbizlady: How do you keep from getting overwhelmed with a new idea/project, especially when you’re short on time?
Michelle Mangen: Normally it’s my own “wish” list that I get overwhelmed with. I have many things I want to learn & I feel as though I cheat myself sometimes. If it’s a big project I will break into 30-60 min sessions. Again, I write everything down so I can revisit ideas at a later point. If I am really overwhelmed with my own list I will sit down and re-assess the list. There are times I find that things I wrote down several months ago no longer interest me.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9pm ET follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
For more tips on starting or growing your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog at http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com