3 Time Saving Tools for Entrepreneurial Parents

Kids definitely have their future cut out for them. I, as a young Millennial parent, still have hope for them. Sure there is strong evidence of deep flaws in our systems of civilization, there is still hope that the human spirit will overcome, create, and innovate in response to the needs of the world. The spirit of the entrepreneur lives strong.

But what happens when the entrepreneurial spirit collides with the child spirit? Suddenly the burning obsessiveness that Napoleon Hill says we need to focus on to truly transmute our thoughts into reality, is interrupted, by tiny hands that want to type like Mommy on her keyboard. Those tiny hands love to explore, to help, and to just be, and as someone who doesn’t want to suppress her inner spirit, I have to find ways to fit in time for goal work and family time. Luckily, there are some tricks of the trade to help balance nurturing her and my purpose.

Tool 1 # Baby Gates

One big tool has been using baby gates, not to wrap her up, but to wrap up our stuff. us the baby gate to place around the entertainment systems and other places where she prefers to reach and grab. This way what is freely available she is okay to play with and the glowy electronic buttons are off limits.

Tool #2 Timer

One great quality about a good entrepreneur is we could just do stuff all day. When focused, we do and do and do and the effects are amazing. Yet, balancing our time takes an accounting of our time. When feeling pressed for time, set a time limit and focus happily and completely on what you want to do. For instance, when I get home from work spending time with my daughter is a key source of happiness, but I also have signed up for responsibilities that require me to respond to people, so I set a timer for getting things done. Whether it’s 40-minute session for story time or 20-minute email crafting for my team, by setting timers I am freed from time. One of my favorites is the Pomodoro timer, which sets the time to 25 minutes.

Tool #3 YouTube

Yup, I said it, YouTube has some pretty useful educational videos for toddlers and children. One thing I like to focus on Baby Einsteins. As a double benefit, a lot of the music could double as white noise, which has a minimal distraction for a parent who needs to focus. Just check out one of the episodes below:


Of course, there are plenty of other ways to use tools to help with raising kids while living up the entrepreneurial lifestyle.  What do you use? How do you balance? Like, I’d really love to know…I’ve spent 1.5 decades raising kids and have yet to find the perfect formula.

 

 

Career Champs with Alicia Robinson, Founder and Executive Director of Limitless Ambition

Bootstrapping a non-profit is no light affair.

alicia robinson limitless ambition kent ohio zinga hart

I remember the night like it was yesterday. Frustrated with being severely limited at my job, I needed a way to vent my  insatiable need to create solutions to complex problems, and I found myself meeting with the coolest professional woman in the coolest building on campus at what was formerly known as the Blackstone Launchpad.

It was a semi-transparent glass box, smack dab in the middle of the student center, and having encountered her before, I curiously wondered how we could connect. When we met, she gave me the invitation to an All the CEO Ladies networking meeting later that week. It was after work so I went. It was there that the true connection was made.

It was there that the true connection was made.

We all had to pitch as a part of the membership. I came up with an idea to develop a social app that categorized and simplified who will be on the current political ballot. Everyone cheered, it was and still is a pretty crucial invention that we can’t quite get popularized.

Then it was her turn, Alicia Robinson. She sat and cheered everyone through their ideas and made friends pretty instantly. Like a cool older sister that you wonder where they get their je ne sais quoi.  We all heard her stitch together her vision of a future where women accept our pain because it pushes toward a life of purpose and passion. Where we network together to build youth girls to dream, believe, and achieve without limits. An organization she would call Limitless Ambition, Inc.

An organization she would call Limitless Ambition, Inc.

Her ideas of the future were so grand and so big, it  almost felt like one’s first visit to the late FAO Schwartz. She had the determination in her voice that made everyone feel like all the pitches we gave would pan out perfectly, just because we said it. We wanted her to succeed because we felt our own limitless ambition fueling us there in each others presence. A room full of young, emerging women hoping to craft a better future with our best ideas.

women leadership free lessons a woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman

Start-Up Leadership Lessons

By this point, I had experience with growing and refining strategies for non-profits so I agreed to join the group and help create a strategic plan, while doing some marketing.  that is where I learned that a start-up non-profit is a completely different canvas. This is when I learned that a start-up non-profit is a completely different canvas than the well-established organizations I was used to before starting college. Becuase it was a start-up, I was voted into the position of president, a role I was surprised to be offered. Yet, my initiative and understanding of the mission along with my comfort with strategic management fit for a startup. I agreed to take the position for three years, we the stipulation that we would spend time finding a president of a much higher-profile by the end of my term.

Alicia and I were still in school at the time, we both also worked full-time had tight millennial budgets, an untapped network, and  starter experience to boot. Our passion wouldn’t let that stop us, and, thankfully, Blackstone Launchpad, now KSU Launchnet provided an excellent source of wisdom, connections, and support along the way. We had late nights,  early emails, weekly and twice-weekly meetings; we devoted any minute of our free time, effort, and attention into making sure Limitless Ambition, Inc did everything as thoroughly as possible, to show we could match the pace of our peers. What we learned was that we had something that worked and that we had to keep serving those around us because they found value every time.

When life called she answered cultivated visions

Our Start Up Nonprofit Grows Up

It is no easy journey and we still have a long road to walk. There were small successes, frustrating failures, arguments, and awkward moments of facing our truths, so we could improve and move on. Yet, all along the way, we knew the moments were moments of empowerment, which was exactly the point. Thus, we kept moving forward, ego bruises and all. Now, we are preparing to host our next summer program and we have grown our team from around 5 to over 20 in three years time. Our organization has had a reach of over 600 people face to face and we have a locally-targeted social media reach of 4000+, all while working our passions part time.

As our team grew our hectic schedules quelled, and now we face new leadership lessons beyond the ones of our early start-up days. How do we ensure our mission is reflected in every aspect of our work? How can we provide community transparency that builds trust amongst those we serve and support? How can we be better leaders, still?

This may be my last year serving as the president of Limitless Ambition, so I hope to leave my lessons here for those who will carry the torch forward. Take a moment below to watch me interview Alicia in my special podcast segment below.

one more move sustain small business success

Sustaining Success for Your Self

Howdy! It’s another Monday and this post here is for you!

You know who you are, you are the person striving to realize your vision of success. Yet, success means much more than money to most of us. It is a reality that money is an effective measuring stick of our ability to fulfill goals, it can often be wholly inaccurate when it comes to fulfilling our core desires. You may find fulfillment in your families, friends, plentiful passions, and, most importantly, all of the above. For us, success can be applied to many areas to growth in our lives.

So many goals to be complete — followed by the insistent reminder of the fleeting nature of time. So we make deposit after deposit of our time, money, and energy into our areas of growth.  Then, because we’re human, we take on an ambitious goal. The one that may disrupt our lives immensely and take a risk to build a larger vision of a day-to-day future beyond our current day-to-day grind.

How do we possibly fit it into our current lives? How do we possibly stay motivated to fit it in with our full-time jobs, families, and a host of other responsibilities? There are only so many hours in a day, and your life was full before you set about realizing your dreams of success.

There are a few scenarios we face during a substantive success journey.

  • You are used to managing complex change and fit this new personal risk into your schedule with ease.
  • Your are overall comfortable with managing complex change but find you overlooked areas beyond your limits, and thus are facing a slower growth than you first imagined.
  • You are not comfortable with managing complex change at all, in fact, thinking about it causes a shiver of anxiety. Typically you only think to take the risk and hardly move beyond this comfort zone.

Either of these scenarios can still result in your finding the personal success on the risk you know you must take. While the effort to get from discomfort to ease will vary there are some key points along the way.

Key Point #1 You are the core, captain, engine, leader, etc. etc. 

Albert Bandura’s work on self-efficacy sums up the important role that the Self plays in our ability to succeed. Self-efficacy is essentially our own belief in our own abilities. Much like the story of the elephants who grow up with heavy chains around the ankles. They believe this is the most movement they can achieve when they are on and thus by the time they reach adulthood they can be controlled with nothing more than a rope. Their self-efficacy in their ability to break the chains reaches a low-point and thus they lose a deep connection to the inherent power that lies within them.-source

On a positive end, I recently encountered a touching Facebook post about the story of Edison, who learned from his mother that he was dismissed from school because he was gifted beyond all the other classmates, and then, when his mother passed, years later he later found the note that showed the teacher thought Edison was too dumb for any formal teaching. The lesson distilled is his mother’s beliefs, built his beliefs about his own genius, so, he fully tapped into as much of his potential as possible.

What’s the takeaway?

Your foundation of success comes from believing you can achieve whatever you set out to do. 

Easy to spell out sure, but in action, this key point takes continuous practice. There are many conflicting images, thoughts, and experiences that will run contrary to our beliefs at times. They will attempt to break our beliefs, but the remedy is to find points of faith, whether it’s self-faith, faith in a higher power, or faith in whatever, practice touching base with the future you know will exist.

There are many conflicting images, thoughts, and experiences that will run contrary to our beliefs at times. They will attempt to break our beliefs, but the remedy is to find points of faith, whether it’s self-faith, faith in a higher power, or faith in whatever, practice touching base with the future you know will exist.

Key Point #2 Sustained success comes from systems 

Whether you like it our not, systems achieve a lot for us as humans. Within our body alone we can count over 5 key systems that keep us going, then there’s the road system, the water system, the school system, etc. etc. Organizing actions and activities around shared functions and themes can give us something very, very valuable. That value is and consistency. We can be deeply grateful that a red stoplight means cars will stop or knowing all the words on a spelling test means you will pass the spelling test. Excellent systems function so well we only notice them when they stop function. Consider your computer, millions of calculations are being made and networks are connected for your pleasurable use. Yet, our level of content with the computer working can often be vastly outweighed by our level of frustration should it suddenly stop, even if the computer spent years serving your needs dutifully!

The point is when systems work, we can achieve a lot more, and when systems break down we can face anything from the minute to disastrous frustrations. The takeaway is to pay special care to the how of things: how you do things, how you want to do things, and how you will do things can be key performance indicators on your personal path to success.

Final Key Point: Shift Your Solution Mindset 

You may jump at this one, but trust, I am not saying shift your solution mindset to the opposite non-solution mindset. What we are getting at here is the idea that the solutions you create to solve your current problems may not be the solutions that will help with future undertakings. In fact, the solutions you will need on your success journey may be wildly different than what you are used to doing. For instance, if you are trying to start a small business on the weekends, but are finding there is simply not enough time to do it yourself. How can you possibly do it yourself in between all the commitments? As you ask these questions for your subconscious to solve you may switch to your default solution of doing even more on your own, and staying up waking hours or missing lunches.

solve problems find success zinga hart quote from einstein - we can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them

Ask yourself, what are other solutions beyond the one I am already thinking?  Our small business owner may question other ways of securing time like: outsourcing easy tasks, scaling back on commitments, or honestly finding current time sinks in their schedule. Even if the alternative solutions you create seem impossible at the moment, finding alternatives will open you up to new possibilities for yourself.

Overview:

  1. You can achieve your success- Find ways to remind and affirm this belief.
  2. A system will allow you to sustain success long-term
  3. Systems that aren’t currently serving you may need vastly different solutions. Draw outside of your normal solution lines.

Well that’s all for this post. Let me know if agree or disagree. You could always message me on Facebook.

clarity on social media marketing for small business shows a clear windshield with a dream catcher

Clarity is Imperative For Sustained Success

 

The Law of Entropy. My chemistry professor used to joke entropy was to blame for his messy office.

It’s bound to happen, our persistently organized systems will break down…

Despite our best efforts to build better and better systems, there will always be room for improvement because our systems will eventually encounter a chip, glitch, or setback.

This universal pattern explains why as we try harder and harder sometimes it feels like we find more moments of failure, more than when we didn’t even try at all.  Perhaps we can even give it the term the law of effort: mo’ money, mo ’problems in a sense. It’s why we entrepreneurs are always reminding each to keep hustling and to take one more risk.

You may consider to yourself: what does it take to make sure as we attain new heights of success on our journey? How can we ever continue when we feel the blows of betrayals, letdowns, and disappointments?

One key practice is making sure we are crystal clear about what moves us forward and why we choose to move forward.

It is imperative we keep crystal clear about what moves us forward and why we choose to move forward. @ZingaHart 

Stepping back to unfog our vision’s lens every once in awhile is as relieving as cleaning your car’s windshield. The tension of life’s muck provides a subtle added negative stressor from the strain of trying to see as far ahead as we know we can. So we take a moment to wipe it away, and then we see what we know we have the potential to see. A brighter vision of the road ahead of us.

How do you wipe the subtle stressors that slowly attach to your success goals over time? Do you meditate? Journal? Or perhaps simply unplug? Comment below or share with me on social media somewhere 🙂 

For me, my current long-term project is developing workshops to help small business owners gain social media clarity. Writing this for me takes a lot of concentration and energy, and having a clear strategy helps take the stress of thinking away. When I don’t feel like I know what to do next, I know to defer to my past notes for inspiration, and motivation. No matter what, if you are fighting through a mental fog at any point on your success path: slow down, reflect, and clarify. The next step will open up when your insight can relax on your vision again.

If you are building a social media strategy as a part of your success plan, you should sign up for the 10-day social media clarity challenge.

Go from chaos to clear in just 15 minutes a day – delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign up here for free or sign up below. This is nothing fancy, just simple action emails to keep you moving forward. Do this for your personal brand or your business. Challenge starts May 1st. 

Starting an International Food Business With Founder & CEO of Micah Specialty Foods [Video]

Being an entrepreneur can be exciting for people who are comfortable risks. Starting Career Champs has been a major learning curve, but it is inspiring hearing from other entrepreneurs building their visions into realities. Nana and Natasha, are the respectively the founder and CEO team that runs Micah Specialty Foods

Nana and Natasha, are the respectively the founder and CEO team that runs Micah Specialty Foods. Their signature dish the Supreme Sauce has been appetizing pallets across Northeast Ohio with its international Ghanian flare.

Hear all about how they take risks in their business, work together across international lines, and use their past experiences to get their business right.

Thanks for viewing! If you are interested in being on career champs, email me at zingahart@gmail.com

 

One More Move: Sustain Your Momentum

Agendas, fundraisers, programs, networking and this is just the volunteer work?!?! As a passionate creator that presides over a startup non-profit, #LimitlessAmbition, 2 businesses, a higher ed profession, and a beautiful growing-so-fast family surfing the wave that is seeking success could easily crash, but when we do what we love…love finds a way. As entrepreneurs,  we often find ourselves swimming deep in a variety of projects, responsibilities, deadlines, and commitments that could easily have us feeling burned out, overwhelmed or just swamped. Our ambition won’t let us give up and the people we serve rely on us to be leaders, mentors, and overall figures of what our purpose stands for. So how can we ensure we sustain ourselves while completing complex projects and timelines?
Here a three key factors to take into account:
  1. Honesty is a winning policy: Before you embark on any ambitious journey, you need to honestly assess the progress you and your team can capably commit to weekly. If you are already in your journey and are starting to feel buried, share that with your team as well. Voicing frustrations, delays, and setbacks with everyone allows for many minds (including your own) to create a solution. Journal, set up a meeting or group chat to discuss a strategy for success that works for everyone!
  2. Create and celebrate easy wins in your project, early and often: *Secret Alert* I have a little happy dance EVERY TIME I release a post by the end of Monday. I started it in an effort to share what I learned helps individuals craft their own success, so they can contribute to and grow a thriving community! Although it takes some time to complete, it is still a small step towards ensuring that someone will be inspired to boldly take any small step towards building their own success journey.

celebrate victory zinga hart

  1. Harness the power of your tribe! Being held accountable to our goals boosts our sense of commitment. There is something special about someone else knowing about what you want to do and then checking in on you to make sure you completed it! Schedule lunch dates, send a FB msg or text, connect in a Group chat, etc. etc. Find an accountability partner/group and share your goals and progress with them. Need someone to hold you accountable?
What goals are you sustaining in March? Share them in the comments below.
strive to build trust with social media at zingahart.com for ohio women leader group

Strive to Build Trust With Social Media

I joined the Kent Young Professionals leadership council’s marketing committee recently. Of course, having the chance to lend my expertise to building something from start-up phase is an experience I hold dear. What do you jump at the chance to experience?

Knowing what I’ve acquired after many years of promoting, managing, and strategizing for social media growth, I would strongly advise, anyone travelling into the social media marketing journey to put building trust at the center of the strategy.

Social media is like the force, while powerful, when it is used for good it is good, but when it is used for devious purposes it can cast a shadowy, ugly spirit-crushing light for anyone who dared to trust an appealing link or headline. Customers are aware of the stalker-like practices of ads and the false promises of online shopping and services. The quantity available to them is like a tidal wave, and many of us are cutting off our engagement to keep from drowning. On the business end, our potential audience reach is too as rich as the ocean with cohorts of diverse people, personalities, and personas that we can try to attract. Like two waves, a general strategy will only cause a crash of chaos.

So how do you build an online relationship, especially when you are starting from the bottom?

Start with trust.

 

build trust quotes zingahart - if people like you they will listen to you but if they trust you they will do business with you

Like any relationship, we open ourselves up to be vulnerable by relying on someone or something else to provide the value we need. On both the client and business end, we need to be able to identify the value, while validating reliability. Social media benefits when you focus on providing those two metrics.

As a move to incorporate into your trust into your social media success strategy, reflect on these questions:

  • How is building trust a part of your social media strategy?
  • What ways are you ensuring people can learn to rely on you (or your business)?
  • What guarantee can you commit to providing?

Have you ever been burned or betrayed by an online promise? What could they have done to make the exchange go right? (Comment below 🙂 

 

Braisha Owens Stylist, Career Champ, and Motivator

Finding Your Brand Style, Networking, and More with BOStyle.me

I’m starting, Career Champs, a new Youtube segment. Once a month (for now), where we meet with people who are forging their own career paths by owning their own brand, business, product or service. One of the aspects attached to Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill is that he surveyed 100 men to help formulate his insights.  While his advice has been a useful starting point for discussing the nature of success, continuing the process of surveying a diverse pool will help everyone refine the own success.

 

In this episode, we meet with Braisha Owens, personal stylist and owner of BOStyle.me, she works as a stylist for individuals, professional shoots, and retail. Her recent risk in going out own her own and building her name in a new city, reaches all of us who yearn, to build outside of their hometown.

Braisha Owens Stylist, Career Champ, and Motivator

Find Braisha’s portfolio of work on bostyle.me

What risks have you taken in your career for a better future?


I had a blast interviewing Braisha! Her motivating energy will leave you uplifted. Career Champs premiers the last Friday of every month. Stay tuned to meet co-owners of Micha Specialty Foods! 

 

Share feedback on the new segment!

Rest Works Wonders For Your Leadership

I run social media for our graduate students on Facebook. From asking our students about their content needs I’ve discovered missing a balance between work, family, school, and other human activities can make them feel over-stressed, overworked, and under-satisfied. While, finding balance goes beyond one remedy or another, there are proactive activitiesthat take us towards our core center of being.

One activity is to balance is our active mind. We’re constantly learning, applying knowledge, and making decisions that can draw away our energy from our core being. While our purpose can fuel our passion, it requires us to expend energy, which can only be balanced out with the other end of the spectrum: rest.

Sleep quote

How do you measure a good rest?

Now, you may say, Zinga that’s a bit fluffy. It’s not serious enough to help me achieve success. Or…I’ll rest when I’m dead.

I get it. We feel like more stuff gets done when we’re awake. It’s like a leaders version of FOMO.  Yet, if you are feeling low and groggy from a lack of rest, you may find more mistakes are made, relationships take a toll, and your zest for creativity and innovation is dulled. While we make be able to function when we are sleep deprived, we lose focus more often, which takes away our attention from essential tasks.

Finding rest keeps us focused and when we align our focus with our vision we move towards success.

What’s one way you fit rest into your routine?

As a higher ed professional, non-profit leader, entrepreneur, coach and mom, how I stay calm and rested seems like a mystery to some of my friends and colleagues. Sometimes, I’ve wondered what has sustained me for so long? Especially since at the height of my activities, I was also pursuing my master’s degree full-time. Were there days and nights when I was tired? Yes, but for the majority of the time, I was at ease.

Why?

My reliable secret: Taking a daily nap on my lunch breaks in my car. It would range from 5-20 minutes depending on my lunch activities. To wake up I set a really, loud and obnoxious rooster alarm.

It did take some practice to nap well. I did it by starting off with just napping for a minute or two and getting used to getting up and going back to work as soon as the alarm went off. Then the build up to 20 minutes, which took about a week and a half to get used to doing. Now, I nap like a pro.

For me, the obnoxious rooster alarm is a necessity.

If you can wake up to ringing fairy whispers, go for it.

So that’s one more move towards your success. Take some rest.

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