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sabrinajayy

Lifestyle

On Staying Inspired

staying inspired

It’s easy to fall into that trap. Doing the day-to-day routine. At a certain point you begin to feel bored and unmotivated. Even as an entrepreneur. It can be easy to slip into that space where you feel like you’re working a job. or that life isn’t that exciting anymore.

That’s why I think it’s important to mix things up from time to time. And no, that doesn’t mean drastically quit your job or move to another country. It means staying inspired to accomplish whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.

Inspiration. What is it? It’s what pushes us to move forward. To be better. And aspire to be greater. It’s what lets us know that nothing is impossible.

how to stay inspired

However that feeling of inspiration can go away if we let it. It goes away when we surround ourselves with the same old for too long, when we can expect every word to come out of someone’s mouth, and when we know how our days are gonna go.

Without inspiration I think we’re walking zombies.

In today’s world where do we find inspiration? Do we find it by scrolling through Instagram and watching others seemingly fabulous lives? Maybe for some, this is inspiring.

There’s no right answer to this. Everyone’s source of inspiration is different. It’s very personal.

I think that it’s important to intentionally search for inspiration in our lives, and not to give up on this search.  Inspiration can be found in the littlest moments. It’s not always found by looking to the super successful or the famous. It can be found in the simplest things like watching a father bond with his son.

Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant. There is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks. – Johann Gottfried Von Herder

Staying inspired triggers new ideas, fosters aha moments and can provoke us make big changes in our lives that help us grow as people. Here are a few things we can do in our daily lives to stay inspired:

1. Make it a habit to do things outside of your comfort zone

When we’re uncomfortable magical things happen.  We either overcome adversity and are given that boost in confidence to do more. Or maybe what you’ve been fearing comes true. In either case, you learn. You meet new people. You have a new story to tell. Lessons are learned. And maybe some new ideas could spark.

 

2. Read.

I cannot stress this enough. Reading allows our minds to wander and allows our imagination to run wild. Everybody interprets books differently, no matter what you’re reading.  And it’s through exploring new points of view and opening your mind to new things that you find new sources of inspiration. By reading you can become inspired by a character, the story, the author, or maybe even a conversation you had about the book with someone else.

Read. And don’t be afraid to read different genres than you’re used to. Read novels. Read history books. Read philosophy.  Don’t limit yourself.

 

3. Travel.

Make it a point to learn about other cultures. There’s something about being in a different place and witnessing how others live around the world. No matter how different others may seem, we all still love, laugh, and cry.  This may inspire you.

 

The common theme through all of these is learning. Gaining knowledge and wisdom through experience. Don’t be afraid to open your mind to new thoughts and new perspectives. Inspiration, whatever that means to you, will come through that.

What inspires you?

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Business Lifestyle

How You Can Apply Essentialism To Your Business

apply essentialism to your business

I recently read the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown, and it changed the way I look at pretty much everything.

So what is essentialism exactly? It is the disciplined pursuit of less. The whole idea is to design your life and not let things happen to you. We have so many options and opportunities but no time to do everything – even though we are pressured to say yes to everything all the time. Essentialism is about being able to “filter through all those options and selecting only those that are truly essential”. Living by design, and not by default.

Less but better.

apply essentialism to your business

I think we call all take away valuable lessons from this book, especially entrepreneurs and business owners. I used to take on so many responsibilties and always felt like I had to be busy to feel like I was accomplishing something. Throughout the book, Mckeown explains how we can live an Essentialist life.

How you can apply essentialism to your business

Essence.

The mindset of the essentialist is that we have the power of choice. In life, we tend to forget that options are things and choices are actions. We ALWAYS have a choice. When you give up your power to choose – you allow others to make choices for you. Having this incredible power of choice is great, but it’s not always easy. This is where discern is important. The essentialist distinguishes between what is valuable and what is worthless, and most things are nonessential, it is up to us to discern what is actually necessary.

In making our choices, there will inevitably be trade offs. An essentialist asks him or herself “which problem do I want?” rather than asking “how can I do both?”. Choices and trade offs are part of life; they’re not always easy to make, but if we make them strategically, we can make the most of it.

Takeaway – don’t feel like you have to say yes to everything in your business. You don’t have to accept every project or client. You don’t have to master every skill and take on every role. Figure out what is essential for you to provide the most value and be the most effective, and do that. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s better to do an amazing job at one thing, than a mediocre job at multiple things.

 

Explore.

How can we figure out what is essential in our lives? We need time to explore. An Essentialist takes time to escape – to get rid of all distractions and just think and reflect on life. An Essentialist also knows how to really listen. There is so much noise in our lives, and it’s important to weave through it all and listen to what is really important. Read between the lines. 

In addition to taking time to think and reflect, essentialists make time for play. This keeps our creativity alive and helps with stress. Essentialists also make sleep a priority – sleep makes us more productive in the day.

Takeaway – Take care of yourself. You don’t have to be “on” all the time. Take some time to rest, think, read, journal, sleep and have fun. When we take care of ourselves, we’re more clear on what we want out of life and what is important.

 

Eliminate.

Once you take the time to explore what is essential, it’s time to eliminate the non essential. This is where you must determine what you’re going to say no to, and really discover your priorities. McKeown states that we should have an “essential intent” – a statement that is inspirational, meaningful, concrete and measurable. It is this essential intent that will guide you and provide clarity.

It’s hard to say no when we’re asked for something. Many of us have a fear of that awkward moment; we don’t want to disappoint people. Essentialists only say yes to things that really matter. They set limits and boundaries that eliminate the need to say no.

Essentialists also know when to uncommit – when to let go of something that just isn’t working and realize their mistakes. They also actively edit their lives by cutting out distractions and unnecessary details.

Takeaway – Take your time when creating your mission statement for your business and use it to guide your business when making decisions. Having a clear purpose and vision will make it easier for you to determine when to say no, and when to say yes.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to set limits and edit your business- it could be something simple like limiting the times that you check your email, or what times you schedule meetings. For example, maybe you need to refine your services or packages, or edit your workflow to make your process smoother for your team.

Eliminate the unessential. And focus on what’s important.

 

Execute.

This section of the book discusses how to execute the essential things in life as smoothly as possible. Essentialists do this by focusing on being present in the now. Figure what’s important in the moment and to focus on that. In addition to having focus, essentialists have routines, practice extreme preparation, add buffer time for unexpected events, remove obstacles (things that slow down progress), celebrate small wins, and reward progress.

Takeaway – Using these essentialist principles for execution will help you complete tasks more efficiently. Be extra prepared in your business and have contingency plans for emergencies. If you need one week to complete client work, tell them you need 10 days, or 2 weeks instead – giving you buffer time.

“Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter” Greg Mckeown

 

 

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Business

How to Work from Anywhere

work remote from beach

Last year i spent one year in Barcelona working in my business from overseas. People would ask me what I was doing in Spain and would usually assume that I was either studying or working at a regular job . Whenever I would say that i was working on my business remotely from abroad, I would always receive puzzling looks – and still do to this day.

Granted, I do have a partner on the ground in Toronto, who I obviously wouldn’t be able to do this without, I still run the bulk of my business remotely.

I hesitated to do this at first; I was paranoid to leave my brother and go across the Atlantic knowing that I wouldn’t be able to physically be there to monitor everything (I’m super hands on). But guess what? It all worked out. We still made money, and now we are more productive than ever.

We’re more productive because me going overseas forced us to create systems and simplify our process so that we could operate our business smoother. We were forced to make every aspect of our business efficient or else everything would be disorganized and things wouldn’t get done.

I’m a super organized person by nature, and so setting everything up was a challenge that I enjoyed conquering. What I learned throughout the process:

  1. There are sooo many tools you can use to go remote now and businesses should be taking advantage of this.
  2. We were wasting too much time doing unnecessary tasks. Me going over seas forced us to breakdown our workflows and processes and eliminate things that were a waste of time.
  3. Learning how to let go control and outsource work allowed me to focus only on income generating tasks.

Even if you have a brick and mortar business, implementing these steps and going through this process will make your business so much more simplified which will allow you to really work on more income generating tasks and development.

Work smarter not harder.

6 steps you can take your business remote

1.   Learn to let go of control

This is the first and probably most difficult step. If you plan on traveling or working remotely, you won’t be physically present to speak to people and you’ll likely have to trust at least one person to take care of some aspect of your business. This is where a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs struggle. Growing your own business is a personal thing, trusting people to handle part of it is not easy initially. We work so hard to get where we are , and we’re afraid that people will mess that up. The truth is, that in order to be successful, you need a team. And that entails picking the right people and trusting that they will have your best interests at heart. It all begins with letting go of control and realizing that you can’t do everything.

I remember when my brother and I first decided to hire people for our business. The first time we sent our photobooth attendant out on their own to a wedding, I was a nervous wreck. We were both glued to our phones and monitored everything. We didn’t want a thing to go wrong. But guess what? Everything was fine. Once you get over that hump and trust people you gain a confidence that allows you to take your business to the next level.

So before you take your business remote, realize that you will have to let go control at some point, in some respect. Completing the next steps will prepare you to do this with more confidence.

 2.    Map out your workflows and processes

First thing you need to do before you can go remote is to simplify and map out your processes. Doing this will allow you to look at your business and see where you can simplify, optimize and outsource. Having clear processes and workflows will keep you organized.

These processes will vary on your business. Some key workflows to create:

  • Leads/Sales workflow – when someone inquires about your services, what process do they go through? Map out each step taken, every email to be sent and phone call to be made.
  •  New client/onboarding workflow – How do you introduce new clients? Do you have an orientation or a welcome process?
  • Project/client workflow – When you do get new business, what is the process that you go through to complete your job?
  •  Employee/team management  –  How you schedule employees, process for payroll , team meetings, etc.
  • Accounting/bookkeeping – How you keep track of expenses and sales.
  • Marketing and lead generation – How you generate leads for your business, social media calendars, email sequences, sales funnels and monitoring progress

 3.    Digitize your workflows

After you’ve mapped out your workflows, digitize them. No paper, no filing (unless absolutely necessary). You can’t work remote when you have paper files located in different places. When everything is online or computerized, you and your team can access anything anywhere.

There are many Saas (service as a software) companies that can help you with this. Working in the cloud is great because you can access your files anywhere. These online software make your workflows super easy to execute and keep everything organized. What’s great about these software, is that they are web-based, and many times are accessible across all devices. A lot of these software have integrations with different types of apps and other programs as well.

Types of business software you can use:

  • CRM software (customer relationship management) that help you manage leads, new sales, projects, jobs, etc.  Some popular ones are Salesforce.
  •  Project/Business Management Software – While you can use really popular ones like 17Hats, there are many niche-specific CRM that may have features related to your type of business.
  • Accounting – try online software like Quickbooks Online or Freshbooks.
  •  Employee/Task Management – communication apps like Slack are great, project managment apps and software like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp are popular. You can also time track with apps like Toggl and measure your productivity.
  • Marketing Automation – social media management programs like Hootsuite and Buffer are great, Coschedule for content marketing and blogging.
  • Email Marketing – Mailchimp, Aweber, Convertkit, etc.

Depending on your business, a combination of just a few of these apps can revolutionize your business. Investing in these programs is worth it.

For example, I personally run my business using Pixifi (CRM for photographers), Trello (for task management and team management), and Quickbooks Online for bookkeeping. Along with Dropbox for file storage, and Office 365 for email. That’s it.

Find which software will work for you. Most have free trials. It may take some time to set everything up, but once it is, it is the biggest lifesaver.

All of the software I use can be accessed as long as I have internet. So freeing.

4.  Use cloud file storage

Other than using Saas software and apps, you probably have other documents to store. In addition to saving your files locally to your hard drive, having all of your files accessible in the cloud is key for working remotely.

Programs like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive allow you to store files online, create folders and collaborate with others easily .

All of these have free plans with a generous amount of storage space, you may need more space, but it is pretty inexpensive!

5.  Automate

Once you’ve figured out which online software to use and your workflows, maximize your use of these by automating the repetitive tasks for business to take the load off.

For example, automating follow up emails to leads/clients is a big timesaver. Along  with creating email templates for everything. Most CRM software have this function.

Another thing you can automate is marketing – your email sequences and social media management can be scheduled in advance so that you’re not scrambling for posts everyday.

You can also create to do lists and schedule reminders for tasks so that you stay on track. This is why it’s key to map out your workflows and processes – every email to be sent, document to be drafted, form to be completed and step taken – so that you can automate as many of these as possible.

6.  Outsource !

Once you have your workflows and processes organized and as much of your processes automated as possible, finding tasks to outsource will lessen the time you spend on your business and allow you to focus on growing your business and pursuing other projects.

When deciding what to outsource, make a list of tasks you dislike, things you’re not good at, and repetitive tasks.  Figure out what you’re actually good at doing and consider hiring for complex tasks that aren’t your forte.

Building your virtual team will take trust, guidance and good communication. The more organized your business is, the easier it will be to outsource tasks.

Going remote is one of the most liberating feelings when being a business owner. Now that we have the technology to operate from anywhere, this has become a viable option for many business owners and entrepreneurs.

The key to going remote successfully is being organized and having clear processes in your business and operations. Clear communication is also extremely important to make sure your team is on the same page and can operate without you having to be babysit them.

You don’t have to want to be a world traveller or nomad to work remote. Maybe you want to work from home to have more time with your kids, or maybe you want to be able to take 1-2 week vacations without having everything fall apart. Regardless of the reason, going remote saves you money and gives you and your employees more freedom.

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Travel

Visit St Vincent and The Grenadines

visit st vincent and the grenadines

Visit St Vincent and the Grenadines

This month I traveled to the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to visit family (my father is originally from St. Vincent). While being there for 2 weeks, we took a day trip to the Grenadines where I literally fell in love.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines comprises of the main island St. Vincent and a series of 7 smaller islands called the Grenadines. These islands are absolutely breathtaking and a particularly popular for yachts and sailing.

We took our tour with Fantasea Tours. Our trip began on a speed boat which took us to Bequia, the largest island of the Grenadines, where we picked up another couple for the excursion. We then headed out into the sea towards the Tobago Cays.

visit st vincent and the grenadines

On the way to the Tobago Cays we passed Canouan and other Grenadine island which looked so beautiful. The sand so white and looked empty. Truly a jewel and quite untouched. Our tour guide mentioned that a small airport will be opening on the island.

visit st vincent and the grenadines

The Tobago cays is a marine park with beautiful reefs, and sea turtles. Once we arrived, we were met with a bunch of catamarans and yachts of other people visiting the cays. There weren’t many people there and it still felt like we had the place to ourselves.

We jumped into the crystal clear water and snorkeled. Spotting some colourful fish and sea turtles. Amazing.

After snorkeling, we head to Mayreau for lunch. Mayreau is just breathtaking. We docked the boat and headed to restaurant for lunch and wifi break (lol).

visit st vincent and the grenadines

 

The beach in Mayreau is definitely one of my faves. Clear water and sand. And almost nobody there. I love going to places that are untouched.

visit st vincent and the grenadines

The speedboat ride back to the mainland was pretty rough. Considering we had travelled far to get to Mayreau, the ride was long and the waves were crazy. I’m not going to lie, i was pretty scared.

 

For this reason i don’t recommend taking a speedboat from the mainland to do a tour like this. Rather I recommend flying to Union Island and taking a day trip from there.

 

The Grenadine islands are pretty unpopulated. The tourism industry in St. Vincent is still young, so visiting there is a treat given that there aren’t many tourists. Its no wonder that many celebrities frequent the Grenadines – there is a lot of privacy.

 

This may change in the coming years since St. Vincent did just open their brand new international airport in late 2016. This will likely change things as more flights will be able to land on the island.

 

Next time I come i will probably spend a few nights on either Bequia or Union island.

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Travel

A Week Long Getaway to Cancun

cancun vacation

A Week Long Getaway To Cancun

I took a week long winter getaway to Cancun mexico this past winter. After the busy holiday season, it was nice to get away and relax . A good way to start off the new year.

We stayed at the Paradisus Cancun by Melia, a luxury resort located in the hotel zone. I was surprised at how friendly every staff member was, and all of the little details they paid attention to to make our stay better.tropical cocktail

tropical cocktail

The weather wasn’t too hot. It was very windy and the temperature was around 24 to 25 degrees celsius. However we were lucky that the sun was out for pretty much our whole stay.

The resort has a quieter more relaxed atmosphere.  There were mostly couples there. A nice scent of incense and herbal essences fills the air as you walk through the resort, and green vines hang from the banisters throughout the hotel making you feel like you’re always outside.

 cancun vacation

Food and restaurants were great. The hotel has a lounge feel with couches and leather beds locate throughout encouraging you to relax and socialize.

 

The entire hotel is equipped with Wifi which was super convenient. It was also pretty fast. The lobby has a few Mac desktop computers available for use. So this resort was a great place to work remotely from.

 

Other than enjoy the hotels amenities, we took a day trip to Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan city with ruins. We also swam in a cenote which was beautiful.

This was my second visit to Mexico, first time to the Yucatan peninsula. From the short time i was there, i realized how much there is to see and experience with this rich culture. Will definitely have another Cancun vacation, but next time, will spend more time getting to know local culture and being in mexico away from the touristy feel of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

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