Take 5 with Kelsey Ramsden

This week started with a smashed cell phone, which put me behind the eight ball work wise. But I decided to honour my commitment to attend a breakfast meeting with Mompreneurs London on Thursday – and it was well worth the effort.

This month’s speaker was Canadian businesswoman Kelsey Ramsden.

Kelsey Ramsden

Canadian business maven Kelsey Ramsden was this month’s featured speaker.

This mother of three was named Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneur by Profit and Chatelaine magazines in 2012 & 2013. She has founded and run everything from a construction company to a monthly play subscription service, holds an MBA from the Ivey School of Business, and is an in-demand business coach and speaker. And that’s the extreme Coles Notes version of her resumé.

See why I went?

Instead of simply presenting a prepared talk, Kelsey took questions from the audience. She answered with a refreshing mix of candor, humour and no BS honesty.

My journalism ears pricked up. Instead of taking conventional notes, I began to jot down newsworthy quotes.

In no particular order, here are my top five takeaways from Kelsey Ramsden:

On the biggest lesson learned as a business woman:
“Check your ego”

On developing a marketing strategy: 
“Move the closest people closer to the line.”

On selecting an online marketing platform:
“Human interaction converts best.”

On launching a speaking career:
“Learning how to speak is a different skill set from having something to say.”

On time management:
“To find time, steal it from somewhere else. The world will not end if your laundry does not get done.”

Words of wisdom for the week ahead!

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received? 

Nicole Laidler is passionate about helping people achieve success by helping them share their stories with the world. See what she’s been up to at Spilled Ink Writing & Wordsmithing. 

My stop-and-go summer

The summer months can be challenging when you’re a freelancer who works from a home office and the mom of a busy 10-year-old. Throw in home renovations, a steady stream of house guests and a dead laptop, and the regular summer juggling act gets thrown into high gear.

Me and skye

Our 120-lb “lap dog” is also part of the juggling act!

So I’m trying to forgive myself for being less productive than usual over the past two months.

That’s not to say that my keyboard has sat completely idle. Between overseeing new carpets, windows, and painting, chauffeuring my son to soccer and a few weeks of goalie camp, supervising various Pokémon Go outings, and showing visiting family and friends around our beautiful corner of the world, I somehow managed to string together a few words.

Website copy, blogs, a victim impact statement, and a handful of magazine articles have kept me busy. But they’ve all been written in short bursts, at some extremely odd hours of the day and night.

Eat Drink photo

I did manage to churn out a few stories this summer….including my regular music column for Eat Drink .

On the one hand, I recognize how lucky I am to have the freedom to work when I like. On the other, it can make for some extremely long days.

So I am eagerly anticipating the first day of school, when I hope to sit down at a clean desk, in my freshly-painted home office, and do a full day of uninterrupted work on my speedy new laptop.

I’m signed up for a September conference for women entrepreneurs, I’ll be participating in a sold-out evening of fashion in support of Make-A-Wish, and I have a list of story ideas ready to pitch, as well as a new Spilled Ink website – launching soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to spend as much time as I can savoring the last few weeks of summer. If you need me, I’ll be at the lake, refueling for a busy and productive fall.

Slice of paradise

No words needed….

How was your summer? And how are you getting ready for fall?

Five time management tips

If anyone is paying attention to my website blog, they may have noticed that my October post is I missing. There’s a very good reason for this – I never got around to writing it!

Between a ten day trip to San Francisco, catching up on work commitments on my return home, and a rotten cold, it just slipped through the cracks. And that got me thinking about the time management challenges faced by freelancers.

So for the times where there just aren’t enough hours in the day, here are some strategies for getting the work done without losing your sanity.

Embrace the to-do list
When my work schedule is over flowing, making a list of everything I hope to accomplish in a day helps me maintain a sense of control. It also makes it easier to decide which tasks to tackle first, and which ones could wait until later – or even another day. Sometimes I plan out a work schedule for the entire week. It may sound silly, but boy does it feel good to watch the list shrink!

Manage client expectations
If you don’t want to work 24/7 then don’t answer emails, or your office phone, outside whatever business hours you establish for yourself. (Of course it’s OK to check in and respond to emergencies, but most issues really don’t need to be dealt with on a Friday afternoon.)

Be honest with yourself and your clients
What if you’re already up to your eyeballs and a great assignment comes your way? Be honest with yourself and your client about whether you can get the job done in the expected time frame. If people really like your work, they might just be able to find some wiggle room – or perhaps you can push another project back to a later date.

Find more time in your day
Sometimes you just have to get up at the crack of dawn or burn the midnight oil. Suck it up and realize being super busy is a great problem for a freelancer to have!

Don’t cry over dropped balls – but choose them carefully
I didn’t manage to write my October blog, but I did meet the month’s other work commitments. Sometimes you just need to make a strategic decision about which ball to drop, and then pick it up later!

I’d love to hear about how you cope with busy times…