Online Business Tips + Tricks
In my past life as a teacher, this whole self-care piece was practically nonexistent. I was so exhausted always and wasn’t feeling myself. Without feeling whole and happy, was I able to show up as my best and most effective self for my students? Probably not.
Fast forward to being a business owner, and while I had more time for self-care for sure, but I didn’t make it a priority. That is until I did a Tarot and Breathwork session with Amy Kurtesky, an amazing woman who works with other near burn out (or not) creative entrepreneurs. As we were doing my tarot reading (my first one ever), we talked about a lot of things (I was on my couch and Amy’s beautiful face was on the other end of the computer screen via zoom). After pulling some cards, she told me that my business could not survive if I didn’t care for myself. Thus, I realized that self-care wasn’t just for me to feel good, but my business literally depended on it.
Fast forward to my time at Camp Climb, a wonderful weekend getaway for women entrepreneurs. On our last night, in beautiful Iowa, my cohort of my new business best friends joined around in our cabin for our own roundtable mastermind. We were tasked with giving our own little speech as if we were to give a keynote (we were all on fire and hearts ablazin from Jenna Kutcher’s keynote!) So around the circle we went, a group of 20 badass women instilling their wisdom. When it came to me, my take-away from my time in business and being a person was as such:
Your business depends on it. You may feel compelled to constantly care for others or work inside of your business, but you can’t fully show up for people until you show up for yourself. Point blank. And I swear I didn’t even cry as I delivered my mini-keynote, in my target one-piece, after our 90s summer camp-esque pool party. I looked ridiculous but I was so serious. I see so many amazing women prioritizing business or anyone else and it pains me. I’ve been there. Big time. And of course, we need to show up for our loved ones and our businesses. And we need to show up for ourselves, in a big way. Like in a #radicalselflove kind of way.
Mentioning the wonderful Amy Kuretsky again! I won’t go into the details of breathwork as I’m not a breathwork practitioner but doing this practice has healed me in a big way and I continue to practice in Amy Kuretsky’s breathwork subscription on Patreon (it is the MOST accessible way to access this and I HIGHLY recommend it!) Amy also offers 1:1 zoom sessions– I recommend doing one of these with Tarot! Otherwise, check out her breathwork subscription! It’s a sliding scale and can pay what is in alignment with you!
Here’s a little more about breathwork if you’re not familiar with the practice. It’s broken up into three easy patterns. You start by laying down on your couch, bed, or yoga mat with no pillows in order to keep the throat chakra open. Once you start this breath pattern, all the oxygen goes to your head. By doing this, you’re able to release the mind and get into your body. With all the energy swirling around, you end up tingling and crying in the best way. I’ve been able to release A LOT of trauma through this practice and was able to clear my head which was such a powerful feeling. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the beauty of breathwork in a nutshell. I urge you to give it a try!
Duh. I know you’ve heard it before. Also, meditation is such a grounding exercise, such a great activity to do before sales calls or just to reset and realign.
You don’t have to do some crazy practice. Even 5 minutes a day. There are a gazillion apps, and my favorite recommended by my bff Kelsey is actually an app that sells makeup but has the best and easiest meditations. It’s called Rituals– you can choose 5,10,15 etc minute meditations which mainly focus on breath. I just find so much comfort in these meditations. And even just 5 minutes a day can make a huge different. Give daily, simple meditation a try with the free app Rituals, or whatever else app you may like!
Double duh. I know. I feel so often I disengaged from exercise because I felt like it had to be a certain way, and I wasn’t prepared to do it imperfectly. What I mean by that is instead of doing a little mile jog, I felt like in order for it to count or be worth it, I would need to do at least 40 minutes. Eff that. Even walking is great! Just move your bod in a way that feels great!
I used to do rowing (in college for a hot second and again in Chicago when I moved here), and I hate it. So I don’t do it anymore. I realized I love being on the water though, so I now love to do Stand Up Paddle boarding. I used to think it was a silly thing to love, but I don’t care. I also love kayaking and canoeing and biking, my Dad raised me on these activities and they feel so great as an adult! Do I do them all the time? Well, no. But I’ve been lucky to paddle board a few times recently and do the other activities whenever I can!
Other easy and fun ways to move your bod:
She has a paid membership, but I use her free content on Youtube and it’s the best!! Again, I used to think that it wasn’t worth doing if I wasn’t doing a 60 minute sweat your butt off vinyasa class. Now I aim to do yoga every day– even if it’s a quick 5-10 minute practice. It’s so much better than nothing!
Think Zumba ish but not. This guy, Caleb, and his “back up booty” have such fun dances to fun songs on their youtube channel! They also have a paid membership but I use their free content to move my body and have the most fun!
There are so many other amazing ways to do the self-care and it’s different for everyone. It doesn’t have to be a fancy massage (though I do them every month lol), it’s more about doing what fills you up and makes you happy and healthy and optimal.
I’m not an expert healer by any means, but I know what it feels like to be burnt the eff out and I know what practices that others told me about that help me feel so much better and in more of a place to lead and care for my loved ones.
What are your favorite ways to engage in self-care? I have a feeling I may blog more about this 😉
PS are you a CEO and feel like you don’t have the space to practice self-care? I help business owners like you create fun systems and create action plans to bust through your “sticky spots”. Ready to find some space and have the action steps to get closer to where you want to be? We should chat! Click here to book a call with me!
Whether you’re flying for your biz or as a personal perk/ for fun, I’ve jotted down a few of my favorite business travel hacks. Some of these I’ve learned from my husband who has traveled a lot for work. I’ve always been pretty savvy, and being out of my 9 to 5 grind, I’m finding myself traveling more. As I’m drafting this post on the airplane right now, here are the game-changers for me in both business travel and for fun travel.
Everyone in this woo, manifestation, law of attraction world has taught me that life can be easy. And sometimes let things be way harder than they need to be. If you’re a US citizen and have a clean record, it’s super easy. I decided before I went to Alt Summit in 2018, made an appointment for the next day, went in with my documents, did some fingerprints, and there we go. I don’t have to take out my liquids, I usually keep my shoes on, don’t take out my laptop, and typically just do the metal detector. And I just get my butt to the airport 1.5 to 1 hour before boarding and I’m good.
Download the airline app before you’re in the air for that online, free entertainment. United and American have primo free movies and such. But if you don’t have the app when you’re in the air, you’re SOL to watch on your phone.
Unless there’s a starbucks with the exact egg bites you want, bring food/snacks à la Ashley Pardo, private chef and nutritional therapist extraordinaire! She gives her tips on travel eating and dishes all about her hacks on her blog and frequently on Instagram! I even bought my own baby French Press per her advice and bring it with me if I’m going somewhere where the morning coffee isn’t easy accessible.
I packed mango and salad with a tsa approved size cold pack in my suitcase, I got extra search but in TSA pre, it wasn’t a big deal. Anyway, definitely follow Ashley for amazing tips and inspiration around food and life.
Work on the plane if you want, but the internet is slow. I prefer to watch the free entertainment and play my sudoku puzzles on the plane. And my philosophy goes back to the whole “whatever amount of time you have for work, that’s how long it will take you to do the work you need to do” (which I’ve learned from Mike, the Profit First guy referenced in his book, Clockwork, and my coach, Eryn), sometimes you get to relax. You need to chill and relax sometimes!. And if the internet is slow, it’s kind of a useless time to work anyway. Of course, if you feel like pulling up a word document to write a blog post, that’s cool too! Just wait to put it up when you’re internet is optimal. (BTW wrote the first draft of this in a word doc on the plane after some restful sudoku puzzle solving on the airplane just because I felt like it– it was a 2.5 hour flight afterall)
If you’re looking for a credit card, there are some credit cards (my husband just got one with United) with the airlines that give great perks, like access to their special rooms at the airport, like the fancy “Admiral clubs” and what not. Also, if you travel a lot, this is a nice perk. (Mind you, I’ve never been in one of these rooms and don’t hold the special credit card myself, but bae told me it was magical).
I’m obsessed with my away bag. The little carry on suitcase roller board and I love it. I’m typically a pretty light packer but the way I can shove my clothes in and pull on the straps, I usually have ample room for my things! And I feel cute AF with it. Not to mention, there’s the battery you can charge in advance to plug your phone into! (just be sure to remove it if you have to check your bag!)
Are you going anywhere fun soon? For work or for travel? Let me know!
The internet is magical, it can connect and create amazing communities–But NOTHING beats live, in person events. Entrepreneurship is amazing in that we can work with people from ALL OVER the place. It can also feel isolating at times. This is why I love events. Like-minded, inspiring, and courageous entrepreneurs are all in one space, your people! Not only are the connections and community amazing, but you can also get great content to fuel yourself and your biz!
Eryn Morgan is my coach and success strategist extraordinaire! She is hosting an amazing event with killer content!
Who this is for: emerging and established entrepreneurs alike! If you’re looking to make great connections, learn about your business’ lifeline (SALES), bust up mindsets that aren’t serving you, I recommend this event!
I’ll be there too!!
Erin Lindstrom is the visionary and all around shiny woman of Shiny Bitches! I’ve had the opportunity to support Erin in the backend of her business and I am SO excited about her retreat! Erin has a gift of getting high high vibe women together, especially creative entrepreneurs, and aligning them to sell and shine!
While my dog might not let me travel anymore this fall, this retreat is on my wish list!
Who this is for: creative entrepreneurs who are ready to take it to the next level and have the goodness inside of them explode and shine.
Masterminds and Group Coaching is an investment that has been paying off for me, bigtime. You don’t know what you don’t know. And I’ve joined some fabulous women with equally fabulous coaches in these groups. While the groups go on for several months, included is often a RETREAT! And these are the BEST! While you connect to a certain degree on group calls and private coaching, getting together with your biz BFFS is simply the best. This is where I uplevel and expand.
Palm Springs was amazing and I got to learn from the likes of Cyndie Spiegel and Stacy London’s keynote was moving. She was very real and I she waved at me after I said “OMG that’s Stacy London” while people were waiting in the photo line, so that felt special.
Weekend getaways are great and my real and biz bff Kelsey and I went this past August and we had a blast. And Jenna Kutcher was the keynote and she is literally everything. And rumor has it that there is a killer lineup of speakers in the works for 2019! But TBH, I really liked the canoeing and making friends and the pool party 😉
Here are some events that I can’t make this month and I encourage you to keep an eye out on these gals for their next events! Follow them on insta, join their mailing lists, all the things!
Is there an event that you just love? Let me know in the comments!
Online Business Tips + Tricks
There are so many business tools out on the world wide web for us online entrepreneurs. It’s amazing. And overwhelming. Here are some of my favorites after a lot of trial and error, scrolling through facebook groups, and asking my biz besties.
And a little disclaimer: some of these links may be affiliate links, meaning that I get compensated if you use my link to buy a service. (#Ad #TryingToStayCompliantWithThePowersThatBe!)
And please keep in mind that at the end of the day, your needs and preferences may be different from mine but reading what other people have found is a great place to start! Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the biz for a while, here are some options for you! And honestly, I could write about these for forever, so I’m just going to start with few…
This is a no brainer for me.
Acuity Scheduling makes my life so easy with all of the different appointment types I can create, I can charge up front for certain offerings, I can sync it with my google calendar, and I can set it up with the reminders! And instead of going back on forth on when to meet with people, I just send them my link and it’s sooo easy!
I’ve tried a different service and Zoom is hands down my favorite. It’s a reliable video conferencing tool and it’s easy to integrate with acuity (just put your zoom link in your acuity invites and done!) The free version is great but you can only talk for up to 40 minutes at a time. I have the paid version and it’s a bill I’m happy to pay! If you’re new to it, it can take a little bit of time to download the software needed but once you get the hang of it, it’s great!
I recommend Dubsado for sure. It’s a great client management tool (much more than just contract signing). Everyone I know who has flawless onboarding systems use Dubsado. Though it takes a bit of setting up, it can do your contracts, invoices, reminder emails, so many things!
Wanting help setting up your dubsado?? I can help you with that! Set up a call with me to get your dubsado working for you!
Dubsado definitely takes front loading and a lot of thinking about how exactly you want your processes to look like. Engineering the backend of Dubsado reminds me so much of my teaching days and setting up processes and procedures in the classroom so that the rest of the school year could run smoothly. It pays off! It’s work and a lot of thinking up front, AND you will thank yourself later on for getting it all set up!
Otherwise, if you’re looking for something simple, Hello Sign is another Fan Favorite! I have also used Adobe Sign but if you aren’t using Adobe tools, Hello Sign or Dubsado are prime!
This is a WHOLE big discussion. And I have tried so many things as far as accounting software and merchant services (how to capture that cash money via credit card). I’m on my third, yes third, accounting software and third, (again), merchant service. Furthermore, I’m not a bookkeeping or accounting pro, (I have an Aimee to help me out with that), but here’s what I use now. Xero is my accounting software of choice (I know that a lot of creatives love Freshbooks, and Dubsado is cool too, but they just do invoicing, not the accounting piece) and it’s way easier for me to understand. Quickbooks Online seems to integrate the best with Dubsado and QBO is fine, I just prefer Xero now. And Stripe is the best way that I know to take credit cards. I tried doing merchant services through my former bank and it was a nightmare. The pros use Stripe (and so do I)! It’s just so easy to take credit card info that way and Stripe integrates really well with a ton of other softwares! Paypal is okay in the beginning but I recommend using Stripe.
Asana is still one of my favorites, especially their free version. There are others out there like Trello and I’m looking into using Flow for some web development projects. And Basecamp is super robust and great, but at a price! Asana however is a great (free-unless you upgrade) way to communicate with team, assign tasks, and create and replicate processes. The free version is great! I personally don’t use Asana to manage my daily tasks (I use white boards, paper, journals, google docs, etcetera). This tool is really great if you have a project broken down into tasks that you need team to do or that you want to be client facing. A lot of the pros that I know do great with the free version! I also love Flow for web and designed based projects– super easy to replicate templates and makes project managing fun for me!
I also love Google Docs/Drive to write out processes and collaborate on projects. However, once you have a lot of moving pieces (several client timelines, your own calendar, etc) to toggle with, Project Management Software can really help out with that!
If you’re on any virtual teams now a days, it’s all about Slack! You can have a million different channels and it makes it easier to keep tabs on different subjects, conversations etcetera. I recommend this for teams and if you haven’t seen Slack yet, you will if you’re a service provider looking to help small businesses! If you use Slack in your business, I recommend it for internal communication and keep other ways, like Email (or Asana) for client communication.
What are your favorites!? Comment below!
If you’re looking to get any of these products set-up, my team and I can help you and love collaborating on projects that will make your life easier in the long run!! Schedule a call with me here and let’s chat more!
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Hi! I’m Megan Baker, or Meg– I like and go by both, either way, I’m a teacher turned virtual assistant! So I’m the Meg behind Meg K the VA. I’m so glad you’re here! I’m using this opportunity to introduce myself a bit more and give you my back story!
I am midwestern through and through with a love and lust for all things French and travel. I hail from St Louis and transplanted to Chicago right as I was launching my business! I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my husband, Alex, or my dog and assistant, Lucy!
While there’s still a ton for me to learn and my business and I will continue to evolve, entrepreneurship is a great fit for me! I am fluent in French and love to travel to francophone places to teach my husband about francophone culture (and food!). When I’m not out exploring the world or my neighborhood, I enjoy being able to spend time with Lucy, our diva but darling rescue puggle. I also enjoy the outdoors, hanging out on Lake Michigan, spending time with my favorite people and furry creatures, and coffee.
Owning and running my business is enabling me to dream and live the life I want to live right now– and helping my clients to find more harmony and freedom in their lives as well!
My expertise lies in education as I have my masters in Education and recently left the field after teaching for six years (plus some time that I taught abroad). I most recently was a third grade teacher in a French immersion school– so I taught all the subjects like a regular classroom teacher but in French. Okay, so maybe not all in French– I worked with a pretty at risk population and had kiddos who weren’t proficient readers in French or English so I teamed up with my colleagues and delivered intense reading instruction in English.
While I care deeply for my students, I took the opportunity to leave the classroom and try to leverage my gifts in a different way, with the objective of being more impactful for disadvantaged populations. My best friend Kelsey, you might know her from her branding studio, Pinegateroad, planted the seed in my head that starting my own business as a virtual assistant would be a great fit and opportunity for me. Just a few short months before the end of the school year, my husband had an opportunity to move to Chicago with his work. I saw this move as my do or die moment– so I took Kelsey’s advice and Meg K the VA was incorporated in summer of 2017!
From my experiences with writing a thesis for my master’s degree in education, to problem-solving and setting up systems in the classroom, I have transitioned into a VA and am honing in my skill sets and building new ones to support passionate small business owners!
I find so much joy when I’m managing and organizing behind the scenes processes and systems for creative entrepreneurs. I especially love to support graphic designers and other creatives manage their projects so they are free to do their genius work (and RELAX!)
On this crazy journey of launching a virtual assistant business, I’ve realized that my passions and genius lie in being the behind the scenes hype girl building onboarding processes, creating and implementing your standard operating procedures, and getting you to do more of your profit generating (and fun) activities! With the right systems and processes, the profits can roll right in! That’s what I love so much. I’m the second brain to the creative. And while I dreamed of being a principal of a school, I’m loving being the “principal” of my business!
If you’re a creative entrepreneur looking to grow, we should also chat! I would love to talk to you and see how we can help you!