67: Be Accountable To Your Business

One of the most important things you can do as a business owner is develop skills to increase your accountability to your business. As animal, equine or pet-based business owners, we are often very much alone in our business. Accountable to only ourselves… and sometimes our clients. What happens to our business when we aren’t very good at being accountable to ourselves? In this episode of The Business Animal, Kim and Cara share three tips to increase your business accountability and empower you to achieve the results you’ve been seeking.

Our Big 3 Takeaways

Be very clear in your vision

Make sure that the project you are trying to achieve is really clear and not made up of subjective goals. Break it down into actionable steps (SMART) that will lead you to success.

Take active steps to minimize the impulses that can lead you astray

Figure out what’s sucking your time. Then begin to remove distractions and create an environment where there are less distractions.

Your Title Goes Here

Like a mentor, someone checking in on you and asking the hard questions on progress. An accountability partner or work buddy, someone you set deadlines with or bounce ideas off of.

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Show Notes



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Transcripts are autogenerated and may contain typographical and grammar errors. This transcript is copyright©2021 Kimberly Beer and Cara Taylor Swift. DO NOT COPY in whole or part without written permission.

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Kimberly Beer 0:00 The Business Animal podcast is proudly sponsored by WP Engine, your resource for managed WordPress hosting, and Keap, the premier CRM software for small business. Head over to thebusinessanimal.com for the best deals on these two amazing products. Jaz 0:19 Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. Saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts Kim Beer and Cara Taylor Swift. Kimberly Beer 0:40 Hey, business animals, it’s Kim with Be More Business. Cara Taylor Swift 0:43 And Cara with Fast Horse photography. Hi, Kim. Kimberly Beer 0:46 I Cara so today’s episode is about being accountable to your business. Cara, I’m gonna let you intro this one cuz you’ve done a lot of work on this episode. Take the spotlight my friend. Cara Taylor Swift 1:00 Yeah, sure, so okay, so I think one of the most important things as business owners is to develop skills that can increase our accountability to our business. As animal, equine, and pet based business owners, we’re oftentimes I say it all the time, we’re on this island by ourself, you know, hanging out trying to get our work done. We’re very much alone in our business, which often means that when we talk about accountability, we’re talking about being accountable to ourselves, sometimes our clients, but a lot of times it’s being accountable to ourselves, because that trickles down to the work that we do for our clients. So what we’re going to talk about today, I think, is how to be more accountable to your business. Talk a little bit about what happens in our business when you’re not good at being accountable. And to talk a little bit about that. And one of the things that I think about that I found really interesting when kind of researching this topic that really hit me hard and made me think was that in the early years of our lives, we are taught to be accountable to someone. It’s a parent, oftentimes it starts as a parent, we’re accountable to our parents. We’re accountable to a teacher, maybe we’re accountable to a coach or a sports team, a professor and then later on our employer. But then what happens when we decide to take that small business and run with it right. And suddenly, we’re accountable to ourselves, and the only person that standing there holding us accountable is ourselves. So just think about in some cases, when we were younger, there were actually rewards or consequences if we weren’t accountable. But what happens in your business if you’re not accountable to yourself? So I found that concept really interesting. Because how good am I holding myself accountable? I don’t know. You know, so just it really got me thinking about that. What do you think about that topic, Kim? Kimberly Beer 2:42 This is eye opening for me, because you’re spot on, and I watch entrepreneurs, when they very first start their businesses really, really struggle with this. And it’s a mind blowing moment for me to realize it’s because it’s a skill we’re never taught. We simply do not have that skill to be self accountable. Because everything we do in our school, in our employment and all of it to our parents to authority figures, we’re always held accountable by someone else. And in our small businesses, the person that it that it lives and dies with is us. And that is a skill set that you have to create within yourself. There’s no damn manual for that, that I’ve found. Cara Taylor Swift 3:31 And there’s nobody there to give you a consequence if you’re not doing the things that you need to do holding up your end of the bargain. You know what I mean? Like you lose your business, your business fails, or you lose a client, or you get a bad reputation in your industry. Kimberly Beer 3:45 Yeah, exactly. And I think back in season one, we did an episode with my friend Julie Cortes, who teaches freelancers. She’s a freelance Rockstar is her title and she talks to people who want to start a freelance business about creating things in their world that help them become accountable and to my knowledge, that’s as close to a course type of a skill set that’s around what we’re talking about today some of her suggestions and you can go back and listen to the episode Julie is an amazing person but are like get up and get dressed for business. You know, make sure you’re ready to go, don’t if you’re working from home don’t show up to your computer in your house dress and your, do they, people even wear house dresses anymore. Your pajamas. But yeah, you show up for your business in a different way. And yeah, we don’t have this skill set. It’s not something that we’re used to and it damn sure feels uncomfortable when you’re starting out. And it probably does cause a lot of failures in businesses because people aren’t able to make that switch over. Cara Taylor Swift 4:49 Awesome. So do, you ready to jump into the big three? Kimberly Beer 4:51 Yeah. Cara Taylor Swift 4:51 All right. So our big three for being accountable in your business. Number one is be very clear in your vision and Kim and I have a funny story to share about when we were going over this topic and that Kim will share with you. And number two is take active steps to minimize the impulses that can lead you astray. And I really loved this one. So we’ll talk a little bit about that. And then number three, find someone to hold you accountable. Hello, we’ve been talking about how we’re in our small business, and we have no one to hold us accountable. So what can that look like? So Kim, do you want to jump into number one about being very clear in your vision? Kimberly Beer 5:24 Yes. So vision work is something that I use not only in developing my own business, but also with my clients. Because I really feel like unless you know where you want to get, you’re not going to get there. In other words, you’re not going to be able to create the future that you want. Unless you have an idea of what that future is, you’re just kind of floundering around out here with no clear direction or concept. The place where Cara and I part ways in this process is Cara as a high SJ, she needs to when she creates her vision, if it doesn’t feel feasible to her, in other words, if she can’t see a clear path to where that is, she struggles with putting it in her vision. It may be something that she wants, but without that clear path, it’s really hard for her to think that’s possible. Myself as an NF, which is a different typology, I have zero problems with that. I’ll put anything I want in there, I don’t worry how it’s going to happen, I know that if I write it down, I don’t have to have the from here to there, figured out because the universe will take care of that for me. So to me, my visions are love letters to my future self and to the universe, about what I want for this life’s relationship. And I don’t need to know the how I just need to know where and what. Cara Taylor Swift 6:57 Whereas if I can’t see the clear path, it’s really hard for me and I have to have those small, actionable steps. I have to see the little stepping stones that I can cross in order to get to that goal. Otherwise, I’m like, I don’t know if I can make this a goal for my business, because I don’t know how I’m ever gonna get there. Kimberly Beer 7:16 And that’s what I think makes partnerships like ours, so awesome, because I can dream the big thing, and you’ll look at it and go, okay, so how do we get from where we are, to that? And then those steps start to come in? Cara Taylor Swift 7:30 From there Kimberly Beer 7:31 Yeah, Cara Taylor Swift 7:31 Where’s the bridge? Kimberly Beer 7:32 Where’s the bridge, where is the pieces? So the ultimate goal in this is dependent upon, again, your typology. If you’re like Cara, your challenge in creating a clear vision is to get yourself out of your comfort zone. So an example that I gave Cara, when we were talking is if she wants to have a house in the Caribbean, where she spends half of her year with her family and the other half of the year in Florida. I don’t know why I’m putting you in the Caribbean, but we’re going to do that. But if she wants to wants to own a home there, and she’s sitting here in Florida going I’m a photographer in Florida, my husband has this job where he he’s really tied to our area, you know, I have a child that’s in school, how on earth am I going to own a home in the Caribbean and get there half of the year? Go ahead and write it in your vision. That is something you would want and work toward that you don’t need to know the path. So no matter how crazy it is, go ahead and put it in your vision if it’s something that you want in your life. And then the challenge for folks like myself that are NFs, is to go ahead and write that big vision and put it out there, but then go back and read it and think what is one small step that I can take to get in the direction of being able to accomplish that? We can’t always depend on a Cara wandering into your life and going oh, I like this, let’s figure out what we need to do. And here’s this step and this step and this step. And by the way, I’m gonna go to the lumber store, and we’re going to build this bridge to get where we need to go. Cara Taylor Swift 9:09 Because if you’re going to be accountable to your business, you have to have those steps that you’re taking and you’ve got to be able to see that path to me anyway and they have to be something that that you can do. Are you looking to bring awareness to your equine based product or service? Or create a unique way for your audience to feel connected to your brand? Quality horse photos tell your story and breathe life into your marketing. They draw your customers in and create an emotional connection. Powerful images, communicate your core values and highlight the benefits your product offers. Ultimately proving your business is a voice your customers can trust. It’s time to use dynamic images that define your small business and separate you from the rest of the herd. Fast Horse Photography’s professional photo library features 1000s of searchable images available for businesses just like yours. And guess what? 100% of those images are horse related! Now, finding the right horse images for your website, social media, and marketing needs is easier than ever. Help your audience see that your brand offers the answers they are looking for. Search for the perfect images for your equine business right now! Spur your customers into action with FastHorsePhotography.com. That’s fasthorsephotography.com. Kimberly Beer 10:25 My big message to SJs of the world is dream bigger, dream bigger. I love the quote of if your dreams or if your vision doesn’t scare you a little, it’s not big enough. If you can see everything and how you’re going to get to it in your vision, you’re not going far enough into the future, or you’re not pushing out those boundaries. Because I feel like that’s a life journey for all of us in that we do need to push those boundaries, because there’s a need for that. So don’t be afraid to push your boundaries. And for those of you who like to float around in the future with me, be looking for you’re looking for your touchstones to get yourself there rather than just depending on the cloud to come up and carry you. Cara Taylor Swift 11:16 Okay, so let’s move into number two, taking active steps to minimize the impulses that can lead you astray. This is the big one for me. So the first thing I have here is figure out the things that are sucking your time. That are pulling you away from your business, that are keeping you from being accountable in your business. You’ve got to remove those distractions. So I’m picturing someone’s hearing their phone ping and they need to check and then they get lost in Instagram for 30 minutes of their day when they were in the middle of sending invoices. So thinking about those things. So if you can remove those distractions, some of the most productive people that are most accountable in what they do, they actually create spaces so they can sit down, get their work done, and they’re not being distracted, and they’re not being sucked away. Some great examples are can you put your phone in another room for a little while I know we’re all business owners, and we don’t want to miss a call. But can we say I’m putting my phone in the other room for an hour and I’m going to time block and I’m going to get for me this editing done without getting distracted by a text message or an email or a Facebook painting or an Instagram reel or something that’s going to suck my time away. One of the things that I do that keeps me accountable is I set alarms all day long. So it sounds kind of silly. But if I don’t set alarms, I can’t focus on the task at hand because I’m worried I’m going to miss the next thing I need to be doing. So if I’ve got a mentoring call set up, I’m afraid if I don’t set an alarm, or if I get focused on something, I’ll forget to log into the mentoring call. So I set an alarm that will tell me Okay, it’s time for you to stop what you’re doing. And then I can let go of the worry and the stress that is distracting me from being able to focus. So I set alarms all day long. That helps me focus. The next piece is if you can create an environment where there are less distractions such as phone, your social apps, your email, your TV, your family members, you know, coming up and down in and out of your office asking you for help. If you can set up an environment that allows you to not have to struggle so much with the things that you have a hard time with self control around, like if it’s your social media or your text messages. If you can set up a space for that. I think it can lead to us getting more accomplished in our day and being able to focus and be more accountable to our business. What can you add to that or comment on that? Kimberly Beer 13:42 I can add a couple of things. One thing that figuring out what sucking your time, those energy vampires that are kind of hanging off of you. I think that is a true key in all of this. And a big lesson I had when my consulting business as it became more and more successful, it got to be tracking time for clients got to be a huge thing I ended up because I was paid by the hour which by the way, if you’re a consultant I highly recommend against it’s not a good business model. But it’s a model that a lot of businesses take on that do professional services like I do, where it’s consulting and that kind of thing. It’s much better to have a package based practice than an hourly based practice. But I digress. The thing that’s important here is that the time issue became an issue for my clients. In other words, I had to know exactly how much time I was spending with each client with each project and the accountability for it because they expected this report which I stupidly created the expectation for with them. What ended up happening is I ended up having to hire an employee whose full time job it was is to track me and the other employees in the business and to know exactly what we worked on, how much time we spent on it, what client it went to, and what their billing was for that particular thing. And it created a monumental problem for me with my clients, which is a story for another day. But what it taught me was how much of my time got sucked up in figuring out how much time I was spending on things. Cara Taylor Swift 15:29 There’s got to be an app for that these days, right? Kimberly Beer 15:32 There, there is people have come up with really creative ways to solve this problem, by the way, my favorite one is that there’s a little ball that you can get, it’s actually a multi sided thing I think it even has its I have no idea what you call it, I am in liberal arts major, I passed geometry, but that’s as far as it got. But it’s a multi-sided little thing that you put on your desk, and you program whatever side it’s sitting on to be whatever tasks that you repeat. And so all you have to do is flip the ball. So you would like create one little side, you’d program it for each of your clients. And when you worked on their project, you would put it on that side, and then it would set the timer for that side. And then you’d flip it and flip it and flip it and flip it all day long. Personally, I don’t want to be accountable to a ball. So I’ll be accountable to myself, but I’m not going to be accountable to this crazy little gadget on my desk. What I ended up doing was completely changing the way I worked with my clients, it made them happier, it made me happier. And it freed up that employees full time to be able to work on projects, which allowed us to take on more business which allowed us to make more money. So what Cara’s point here is and what my story is leading you to is that this is a monumentally important activity in your business, because when you understand it, then you can make the changes that make it feel good. And I can focus in a world like you had mentioned about focus and removing distractions, I can focus, I can focus really well as a matter of fact, chaos makes me focus better, the bigger the chaos in the situation that I’m in, the better that I am able to tune it out, I do my best creative work in a noisy environment, which really makes people go “what the heck is wrong with you?” but if I actively tune it out, I’m able to focus better. So for me, the chaos actually works in my favor. But I know there are other people that can’t do that. And it would be easier to have that quieter environment and like you Cara, I set alarms, but I set them because I do tune everything out. And I will get lost in a project. And I will like look at the clock when I start and it’s nine o’clock. And if I get really focused into that project, the next time I look up will be like two o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve missed all my meetings. So, I set my alarms to ping me for that. Cara Taylor Swift 18:04 That’s what happens I think is when you’re when you are able to like finally remove the distractions and be accountable in your business and you’re you’re doing the things that you need to be doing is that you can get lost in them and forget that you have other things to do. So I actually the thing with the phone, I actually discovered that kind of by accident, I was working and I had been just solidly just working for like an hour, which is rare for me, I tend to be easily very easily distracted, my phone will ping it’ll vibrate, something will pull my thoughts away from what I’m working on all day long. And I had left my phone upstairs and I had just been working and I was really knocking stuff out and feeling really good about myself. And I needed to send a text message to the client because I have a question about the invoice I was sending. And I realized I couldn’t find my phone anywhere. And because my phone is a time suck for me, I’ll get I’ll get distracted and lost real easy in it. And I realized that if I just go put this in another room for an hour, I’ll forget about it and I will get whatever this monumental task is that I need to get done, done. So I think anytime you can take some active steps to really minimize those things that are pulling you away from what you need to focus on the things that are sucking your time. But you first have to figure out what it is that is sucking your time. You know, where are you spending all your time? You know when you need to be doing your work when you need to be doing the job the work of your business and sometimes that’s half the battle is figuring out where did all my time go? What did I accomplish today? Kimberly Beer 19:33 Every small business owner wants to gain traction in their marketing. After three decades of working with small business owners just like you I have developed what I call my four by four marketing method. In just one-90 minute session, you’ll discover the four major focus areas of a successful marketing plan and together we’ll uncover where your business is getting stuck. You’ll leave the session with an action plan of next steps that engage your revenue engine. Drop by bemorebusiness.com to request Is your session today? That’s B-E-M-O-R-E business.com. See you there! There are coaches out there that will help you figure that out, by the way, that’ll help you Cara Taylor Swift 20:10 Which is rolling us right into number three, Kimberly Beer 20:12 Yeah, Cara Taylor Swift 20:13 Which is find someone to hold you accountable. And this has been huge in my business. It’s huge. It’s been huge in our partnership with the podcasts. It’s been huge with Cowgirls with Cameras, you know, having partners that you can check in with on a regular basis about the things that you said you were going to work on that you were going to accomplish is huge for accountability. So you might be running a business on your own. And you might be out there on your own little island. But there is no reason if you need an accountability person that you can’t find one, Kimberly Beer 20:46 I was just sitting here thinking I know, it’s not in your list here that you’re going to talk over. But one of the things that I found super interesting with us is like when we’re working on things, there are times Cara and I will be on Zoom, and we’ll be talking about something and then we’ll both get to working. And it’s like I’m working with somebody else in the office, which really appeals to my extrovert. I’m not sure what your introvert gets out of it. I don’t even need Cara to hold me accountable. I just need her picture to be on Zoom to kind of glue me into my office chair and to help me focus and to be there to like co-work on Zoom. And I know it sounds freaking crazy. But it works, and it’s highly beneficial if you have a work buddy, that’s okay with sitting there with you on Zoom and just holding space for you not even really saying, you know, what did you get done? Or are you are you working on this, but just simply holding space for you and you holding space for them. Now, other people in our world don’t find that situation comfortable. It’s like, okay, I’m done with Zoom, I want off the Zoom call, but certain temperaments and certain personalities, I think get a lot of benefit from it. And I think we feel weird asking for it. But I think it’s really important. And I started changing in my courses that I teach, I try now to build time in for people to work within the designated course time to where we leave the Zoom channel open and we work on things. I lead a writing group every Monday morning, we get together and we write blog posts. And the whole group is predicated on the fact that we pick words is what we do. And then we designate 20 minutes, and the Zoom channel stays open. And it keeps you focused on getting your blog post written, it is the most amazing thing we’ve been going on over two years now with this group. And it really is beneficial because everybody gets a blog post, pretty much every Monday morning, Cara Taylor Swift 22:52 it’s designated work time, because what happens a lot of times is we say to ourselves, okay, I just need to find the time to do that. But I’ve got to get all this other stuff done first. And this is time when you know, for us with The Business Animal, for example, we might have different things that we’re working on. But if we’re on Zoom together, we might be silent, just doing our work or bouncing ideas off of each other as we need to. But that’s our designated time to do that. That’s our designated time to be accountable to The Business Animal podcast. Because I guarantee both of us the second we hang up that Zoom, we’re checking our phones, we’re checking our email, we’re on to the next thing. But I know during that time period, we are being accountable to The Business Animal at that time. So I think that’s huge. And I love that you’ve incorporated that into your creative writing group, because I can really see how that can give people a small segment of the day that they can’t find anywhere else, but they’re committed during that time period. So they’re being super productive. I love that. Kimberly Beer 23:51 And it also spurs them to do it faster, because they only have 20 minutes, so they don’t spend a lot of time dilly dallying, like if they if they even marked off on their calendar, I’m going to spend an hour writing a blog post they would spend maybe 40 minutes of that dilly dallying around with this. They got 20 minutes and then they’re expected to read their posts back to the group so it condenses is that that experiment down into something really, really small and no, they don’t always finish in the 20 minutes, but it really does work well. So find yourself somebody to do that with find yourself a person to help you Cara Taylor Swift 24:30 Another business owner is a great way to even if they’re not in the exact same line of work that you are just having somebody that also needs to be held accountable and that you can talk to and set your goals with. We have a Monday morning group of photographers that you know at the beginning of the year we announced our goals for the year and then we do check ins throughout the year to see where we are and I’ll tell you knowing that they are going to ask me how I’m doing on my goals makes me more likely to make progress on them because I want to be able to report to them that “hell yeah, I’m kicking ass on my goal” or instead of “yeah, you know what I haven’t even thought about that since we wrote it down. I’ve just been too busy doing other things.” And so that is huge. Another good thing to consider is a mentor might be a good choice here, you know, having someone that’s checking in on you, and asking the hard questions about the progress will keep you moving forward. So you might be working with a mentor, and they’re asking you, okay, well, how are you going in terms of, you know, reaching this goal in your business or getting this job done in your business. And if you’re checking in with them, and you’re not making a lot of progress, a mentor is a great person to maybe get to the heart of maybe we need to add some concrete steps in here. And maybe if you’re like, Cara, me, you need to know what those steps look like. And so let’s actually sit down and figure those out together so that you can move forward. So a mentor is a great option here. And then you know, you’ve got to make the regular check ins part of the routine, Kimberly Beer 25:59 We are taught to be accountable to somebody else. And you shouldn’t beat yourself up, if you’re struggling with this, especially at the beginning of your business. But at any point in time, I don’t mean to just say that. But like any point that you’re struggling with becoming accountable to your business, it’s because you haven’t built the skill set up yet. And so having that person, the mentor, the coach, the business, other business owner, that is just your accountability partner, that goes back to something that feels more comfortable and easy, we need to make life easier. So definitely having an accountability partner, I think is a huge benefit. Cara Taylor Swift 26:39 I would just say that the big takeaway here is that accountability is not always going to be an easy thing. But there are some steps that you can take in your business to be more accountable to your business and to your clients to the animals that you serve. So the big three, once again, be very clear on your vision, you know, make sure that that project that you want to achieve is clear. And it’s not subjective. And that if you’re like Kim, and you’d like to put the big goal out there, then find a way to identify the steps that it takes to get you there. If you’re like me, and you’re terrified to put the big goal out there because you can’t see the way then be brave, scare yourself a little bit, put the big goal out there and then work with someone if you need to define the stepping stones to get there. And then number two, take some active steps to minimize the impulses that can lead you astray. This one was huge for me. And the biggest part of that was literally just figuring out what the heck was happening with all my time, what is the time suck that was taking away from the hours that I was spending in the studio. And then the third piece is do not be afraid to find someone to hold you accountable and accountability buddy, someone else in the business that also you know wants to work with you to be accountable, someone that’s willing to sit on a zoom call with you so that you can work on your island and she can work on her island. But the two of you are knocking out stuff together, find a mentor, someone that’s willing to do regular check-ins with you and help you find the steps that you need to be accountable. So I think that’s it for us today. I love this episode Kim. I think it got me motivated again to go back and think about those distractions. And if you guys are online, please stop by and say hi over on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you guys. Also, if you have enjoyed I think we’re 60 at this point, 67 episodes in can you believe that Kim 67 episodes if you’ve enjoyed them if you’ve gotten something out of them, please stop by wherever you listen and leave us a rating or review. If you don’t already follow the show. Click the little follow all of that helps us get seen or listened to by other animal based business owners out there. That’s it for us today. We hope you guys have a good day. Jaz 28:45 Thanks for listening to this episode of The Business Animal. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. And if you learned something today, leave us a review. To learn more find us at thebusinessanimal.com. We’d love to hear from you. Until next time, keep your business well trained with The Business Animal!

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