julie cole 1Golden Nuggets from Julie Cole, founder of Mabels Labels

Julie Cole, a founder of Mabels Labels, is the dynamic mother of 6.   She co-founded Mabel’s Labels from the basement of her home .  The other three co-founders are  all related in different ways,    The company was sold to the label giant Avery Labels for $12M.    At a recent Company of Women dinner in the Niagara region Julie shared her 5 nuggets of wisdom  with 30 motivated women entrepreneurs who loved her wise words, delivered with a sense of seriousness combined with a great dose of humour.

1) You Are Not Saving Lives

Get a perspective on your business.    You are not performing life saving surgery.    No, really.   Everything can be fixed if something goes wrong so what’s the point of stressing.   There is always a tomorrow.   And everything can be fixed except ‘death’…..now that’s my own comment, one that I used with my staff in the Corporate world, if they were worried about making a decision.

If you have done your homework but still a little hesitant about making a decision, share your ideas with your colleagues or boss and get some feedback.   Then, trust yourself and make a decision and implement.   Mop up afterwards if it didn’t go quite as expected.

2)  Give up Perfection

At home and at work.   With 6 kids, Julie couldn’t possibly have perfection in either her work or home life.  So give up the guilt about not being perfect. It’s just not possible with only 24 hours in a day, 8 of which should be devoted to sleep.   Her ideas for home:

Give Up Perfection at Home

Let kids solve their own problems…let them figure things out!

Don’t over protect your kids.   Let them go to the park with a sibling.   99.9% of the time, the bad guys who seek out kids are actually people they know and trust.   This could be a coach, family friend, relative, priest etc., not a complete, random stranger.

Get someone to help you with the family chores, ie car pooling, cleaning up.   Don’t be a martyr.   It’s worth getting that help you need, even when you can’t really afford it.   Perhaps buy one less “thing”, let go of coffee at the drive-thru every day and put the money saved towards help.

Give Up Perfection at Work

Get help with the areas in which you are not an expert.   You can’t do it all, especially if you have a family to take care of and can’t devote 12+ hours a day to your business. It’s easy to hire a specialist to cover these areas on a contract basis.

How about making a list of the areas where you need help. Build up your list of valued suppliers to help you.    First people on your list to consider if you are a new entrepreneur; a trusted accountant, bookkeeper, virtual assistant, small business strategist, social media specialist and web designer.

3)  Definition of Success

Success means different things to different people.   Concentrate on what “having it all” means to YOU.  Having 6 kids and founding a company was in Julie’s scope, but not necessarily YOURS.   What can you handle?   Don’t define your success through others’ achievements because this may not be for you.

4)  Plan Your Day Strategically

I love this thought from Julie:

“No” is a complete sentence!    We all know the feeling….many people making demands on your time, your spouse, your kids, your parents, your clients, your friends.   Prevent overwhelm and stress.  Put everything on your calendar with time slots.    If there is no time in a given time in a day to add something else, say “no”.

If you don’t like to say “no”, Mary Fiorello has a great video about how to say “no” effectively to clients, if they want to pick your brain.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXRjwRM5IUM[/embedyt]

Julie reminded us:

“Your lack of planning is not MY emergency”

A great way to prioritize your time and organize clients and suppliers to work on your schedule.  But make sure that you are organizing your time and projects effectively.

5)  Evaluate requests for your time

Julie has 10 questions she asks herself before accepting invitations to events.  Julie didn’t share her 10 secrets, but we all need to evaluate where we spend our time and come up with our own questions.

photo sayingIt all leads back to using S.M.A.R.T. goals when working “on” your business.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Actionable

R – Relevant

T – Time sensitive

Elaine Slatter is partner at XL Consulting Group, a full service small business advisory service, helping clients with strategy and all aspects of marketing including branding, web design & social media.  Elaine is author of “Fabulous Fempreneurship” a complete business startup guide.